After the time of Solomon the Kingdom of Israel split into two kingdoms known as the two Houses of Israel. The Southern Kingdom became known as the Kingdom of Judah. The Northern Kingdom became known as the Kingdom of Israel. This Northern Kingdom was also often called "Ephraim" after its most prominent tribe. 2Kings 17 tells us of how the Assyrian king Sargon II took the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom captive in 723 BCE and resettled them so that "none was left except the tribe of Judah" (17:18). These came to be known as "the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel". They were divorced by YHWH (Jer. 3:8 ) but there was yet a promise of an eventual reunion of the two houses of Israel ( Is. 11:11-12; Jer. 3:6-18; Hosea 1-3; Amos 9:8-10; Obad. 15-21; Micah 2:12-13; 5:3-15; Zech. 8:13; 9 & 10; Ezekiel 34-37 esp. 37 ).
Part of the reason that the split took place is that Ephraim would not be under the authority of Judah. As a result they rebelled and established their own authority, their own priests and their own sanctuary. They also mixed the true religion of Torah with paganism.
What became of these “Lost Ten Tribes”? The apocryphal book of 4th Ezra (2Esdras) tells us that they went to a region known as “Artzaret”, but this is of little help in actually locating them, because this is simply a contraction of the Hebrew phrase meaning “another land”:
39: And whereas you saw that he gathered another peaceable multitude unto him;
40: Those are the ten tribes, which were carried away prisoners out of their own land in the time of Hoshea the king, whom Shal’man’eser the king of Assyria led away captive, and he carried them over the waters, and so came they into another land.
41: But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never mankind dwelt,
42: That they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land.
43: And they entered into Euphrates by the narrow places of the river.
44: For Elyon then showed signs for them, and held still the flood, till they were passed over.
45: For through that country there was a great way to go, namely, of a year and a half: and the same region is called Artzaret .
(2nd Ezra 11:39-46 (13:39-46) HRV)
The first century Jewish writer Josephus seems to have known something of them, he says only that they were “beyond the Euphrates” and had a large population in his day:
…the ten tribes are beyond the Euphrates until
now, and are an immense multitude, and not to
be estimated by numbers.
(Josephus; Ant. 11:5:2)
According to the Midrash Rabbah the Lost Ten Tribes migrated beyond a river known as the "Sabatyon"
The ten tribes were exiled to within the region
of the river Sabatyon…
(Midrash Rabba, Sh'lach 16).
The identity of this river has remained a mystery. The primary clue to the identity of the mysterious Sabatyon river is also found in Midrash Rabbah which quotes Rabbi Akiba as saying:
...the river Sabatyon carries stones the whole
week but allows them to rest on the Sabbath.
(Genesis Rabbah 11:5)
Similarly the Talmud says:
Let the river Sabatyon prove that the
Seventh day is the Sabbath.
The prophet Ovadyah (Obadiah) speaks of the destination of the House of Israel as follows:
And the captivity of this host of the children of Yisrael,
that are among the Kena’anites, even unto Tzarfat, and
the captivity of Yerushalayim, that is in Sepharad, shall
possess the cities of the South.
Where is Tzarfat? Tzarfat is the Hebrew word for “France”. In fact, if you were reading a newspaper in Israel today, and it referred to France, the word used would be “Tzarfat”.
Rashi’s commentary to Ob. 1:20 says: "Tzarfat is the kingdom of France.”
Recently research has been conducted by Orthodox Jewish Israeli scholars which traces the migrations of these Lost Ten Tribes. Two of these scholars are John Hulley (Yochanan ben David) and Yair Davidy.
John Hulley recently published a paper in the Israeli journal B'Or Ha'Torah (In the light of Torah) in which he traced the migrations of these "Lost Tribes" north west, across the Bosphorus straits between the Mediterranean and the Black sea.
Yair Davidy has written three books under the Rabbinic approbation of Orthodox Israeli Rabbi Abraham Feld. These are The Tribes; Ephraim and Lost Israelite Identity. Yair Davidy's thoroughly documented research has shown that the Lost Ten Tribes, which
had been transplanted to the outskirts of Assyria came to be known as the Sakeans (they were previously known as Yitzakheans or in Aramaic Isakeans). These Sakeans are known to have migrated northwest and made their way into Europe to become the Scythians (S'kitheans) and Saxons (Saksons). Davidy's research has shown that other tribal groups of the Lost Ten Tribes also emerged in Europe under names similar to those of the Tribe of Israel, such as: Galics (Galileans); Danes (Dans); Cimereans (Simeons); Goths/Gots (Gads "Gad" is pronounced in Hebrew as "God").
Dr. James Tabor of the Universtity of North Carolina has said:
Based on this and much additional research it can
be definitely be shown that significant portions of
the Lost Tribes migrated northwest, toward Europe
and are to be found today among the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic
and associated peoples. In other words the tribes are
largely located today in the United States, Great Britain,
northwestern Europe, Australia, New Zealand and
other scattered areas. They are primarily Protestant...
(Restoring Abrahamic Faith; James Tabor; page 46)
Dr. Tabor has also said:
This is not the so-called "Anglo-Israel" theory of many
of the racist groups. This is hard-core historical
research as to where these tribes actually migrated.
(Remarks on the Return of the Lost Tribes; James Tabor)
As these Ephraimites migrated northwest into Euprope they brought their pagan gods and goddesses with them. Thus the Babylonian goddess Ishtar became the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre and Ba'al Gad became "God" . They worshiped these pagan gods in temples they called "KIRKS" .
These same people eventually became Christians. As you will recall we noted in the last chapter that Pope Gregory wrote to Augustine the first missionary to the British Isles (C.E. 597):
Do not destroy the temples of the English gods; change them
to Christian churches. Do not forbid the "harmless" customs
which have been associated with the old religions;
consecrate them to Christian use.
Thus the Anglo-Saxons continued to worship "God"; celebrate "Easter" and worship in their "Churches" (Kirks).
It is by-and-large these western European peoples that eventually became Protestantsism.
Now their is no shortage of Tanak passages which promise an eventual reunion of these two houses. However it must be remembered, that the House of Israel was divorced by YHWH (Jer. 3:8 ) while Judah yet rules of YHWH (Hosea 11:12). The hope of the House of Israel is the reunion of the two houses. This is not accomplished, as some have taught, by merging these two houses on equal terms, and it is not accomplished by an Ephraim that persists in doing its own independent thing apart from Judah since that was Ephraim's fatal error in the first place.
Northern Kingdom rebelled against the rightful king, High Priest and Temple. They established their own non-Davidic King, their own High Priest and their own Temple at a new location in the Northern Kingdom. They were unwilling to submit to the rulership of the House of Judah. They, in effect, started their own new religion. An Ephaimite religion, under Ephraimite authority.
In Jeremiah Chapter 3 the two houses of Israel are discussed. Notice that Israel and Judah are allegorical sisters in this prophecy (Jer. 3:6-7) In Jer. 3:8 YHWH says:
And I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Yisra'el
had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her
a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Yehudah did not fear, but went and committed whoring too.
(Jer. 3:8 - The Scriptures Version)
However YHWH did not divorce Judah as well, as that would have left no remnant. Instead the Prophet Hosea compares the two Houses of Israel this way:
"Ephrayim has surrounded Me with lying,
and the house of Yisra'el with deceit.
But Yehudah is still wandering with El,
and is true to the Set-apart One."
(Hosea 11:12 - The Scriptures Version)
While the House of Israel abandoned the one true faith, a remnant of the House of Judah remained faithful to the one true faith. Since the one true faith had now become the faith of only the House of Judah, it had come to be called "Judaism".
No one knows just when the one true faith came to be known as "Judaism". The earliest known usage of the term "Judaism" in written literature is 2Maccabees 2:21 where it is said that the Maccabees, fighting the Greeks are described as "those who strove zealously on behalf of Judaism". The term Judaism was in common use well before the first century being commonly used by writers such as Josephus and Philo.
Paul himself uses the term "Judaism" in Galatians 1:13 to describe his own faith (see Acts 23:6 for proof that this passage was comparing Paul's former life in Judaism with his current life in Judaism).
In the first two chapters of Isaiah we see a prophetic rebuke of each of the Two Houses of Israel. Isaiah 1:1-23 contains a prophetic rebuke "concerning Judah and Jerusalem" (1:1) while Isaiah 2:5-22 contains a prophetic rebuke directed at the "House of Jacob" (2:5).
The House of Judah ("Judah and Jerusalem") is observing Torah in some way... they are offering sacrifices and incense and observing new moons and sabbaths and the calling of assemblies (1:13). But note that Isaiah 1 calls them "YOUR new moons" and "YOUR appointed feasts" but the Torah calls them "My appointed feasts" etc..
This is why YHWH's nefesh (soul) HATES their appointed feasts (1:14). The House of Judah is observing Torah, but in an empty way (because they have violated Deut. 18:15-18 in rejecting Messiah). Their Torah observance is empty and meaningless because it has lost the Soul of the Torah the Messiah himself.
The House of Israel (also called the "House of Jacob") is rebuked for having turned from the "light of YHWH" (2:5) (i.e, the Torah see Isaiah 8:20); forsaking "your people" (2:6) and turning to idolatry (2:7).
But in Isaiah 1:9 there is a key passage:
Except YHWH of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
Note that this verse takes place in YHWH's rebuke of the House of Judah. While the House of Jacob abandons the Torah and their own people (the House of Judah) and turn to idolatry, and most of the House of Judah observes Torah in an empty way (having rejected the Messiah) there is a remnant of the House of Judah which has not rejected Torah or the Messiah.
In a footnote to Isaiah 1:9 the Ryrie Study Bible has the following comment:
"Quoted in Rom. 9:29 with reference to Christian Jews."
Now I do not always agree with Ryrie's comments and I certainly do not agree with the usage of the term "Jewish Christians", what Ryrie would call "Jewish Christians" we would identify as "Nazarene Jews"
However it is very important that Romans 9:29 does quote Isaiah 1:9 with reference to Nazarene Jews. The "remnant" of the House of Judah in Isaiah 1:9 does in fact refer to Nazarene Judaism.
This brings us to the encounter between Yeshua and an Ephraimite woman (a
Samaritan). There is no doubt that this Samaritan woman is to be counted as an Ephraimite because she refers to "our father Jacob" (Jn. 4:12) and Yeshua makes no attempt to correct her on this point. (Note she mentions the two different places of worship on different mountains in 4:20). Then Yeshua tells her her religion is false and that the Jewish religion is the one true faith saying:
"You worship what you do not know.
We worship what we know,
because the deliverance is of the Yehudim.
"But the hour is coming, and now is,
when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth,
for the Father also does seek such to worship Him.
(Jn. 4:22-23 - The Scriptures Version)
Yeshua makes it clear that the "true worshipers" are the Jews who practice
Judaism "in spirit and truth" as opposed to an Ephraimite religion. ("in
spirit and truth" - a reference to the Torah - see Ps. 119:142, 151; Ezek.
Moreover Paul writes:
"...what is the advantage of the Jew? Or what is the profit of
circumcision? Much in everything!..."
Now the question is: What is the prophetic hope of the House of Israel? Is there to be a last days restoration of a distinct and separate House of Israel (as opposed to the House of Judah) or is the hope of divorced Ephraim to be joined to the House of Judah?
One of the most beautiful prophecies of the reunion of the two houses of Israel is the "two sticks" prophecy in Ezekiel 37:15-20. In this prophecy each of the two houses of Israel are symbolized by two "sticks" which are brought together and made as one (Ezek. 37:15-18) the text goes on to specify that YHWH will:
...take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim,
and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him,
even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick,...
Now lets look at another prophecy in Zech. 8:23:
Thus said YHWH of hosts, 'In those days ten men
from all languages of the nations take hold,
yea, they shall take hold of the edge of the garment of a man,
a Yehudite, saying, "Let us go with you,
for we have heard that Elohim is with you .
Now lest anyone think that the "Jew" (Yehudite) in this passage is a certain Jew, such as the Messiah, I must point out that in the Hebrew the word "you" in "let us go with "you" and "Elohim is with you" is PLURAL and therefore refers not to an individual Jew, but to the House of Judah. No doubt the number "ten" here implies the lost ten tribes of Ephraim. Note that Ephraim says to Judah:
"let us [Ephraim] go with you [Judah]
for we [Ephraim] have heard that YHWH is with you [Judah]."
Finally let us look at the olive tree prophecy of Romans 11. This prophecy parallels the two "sticks" prophecy of Ezekiel 37 (note that the word STICK in Ezek. 37 is ETZ which also means "tree").
Rom. 9 begins the contrast of the "Jews" and "Gentiles" by quoting Hosea 2:25(23); 2:1 (1:10) in Rom. 9:25-26. But if we look up the context of the people "which were not my people" which he calls "my people" in Hosea we find that they are the "children of Israel" (Hosea 2:1 (1:10)) as opposed to "the children of Judah" (Hosea 2:2 (1:11)) So if Paul is quoting Hosea in context and contrasting Jews and Gentiles (Rom. 9:24) using Hosea 2:1-2 (1:10-11) then the "Jews" of Rom. 9:24 are the "Childern of Judah" of Hosea 2:2 (1:11) and the "Gentiles" of Rom. 9:24 are the "children of Israel" of Hosea 2:1 (1:10). If this is true then as this contrasting pair advances into Rom. Chapter 11 the two trees are the two Houses.
Now the uncultivated olive tree in Romans 11 is clearly therefore Ephraim and the cultivated olive tree is clearly that of Judah. This prophecy tells us that branches from the tree/stick of Ephraim will be broken off and grafted into the tree/stick of Judah, are to be fed by the root of the tree/stick of Judah and are not to boast against the natural branches
The House of Judah is the cultivated olive tree that Ephraimite branches are being grafted into.
Judaism is the one true faith that was once and for all time given. Messiah did not come to create a new religion whether Christian or a new Ephraimite religion. Messiah came to be the Messiah of Judaism.
Many of those of Ephraim and the Gentiles being drawn to Torah truth and taking hold of Judah are being troubled by those wishing to discourage them from geing grafted into Judah. These would have Ephraim return to the initial Ephraimite error of creating an Ephraimite faith apart from Judah and Judaism.