The House of Israel
by Lynn Ridenhour
"…The number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which can not be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, that it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come out of the land; for great shall be the day of Jezreel (deliverance)." --Hosea 1:10,11
The House of Israel—what a blessed truth!
This truth will revolutionize your life. It did mine. As a Protestant minister for over 36 years, I never knew the Bible taught…
The House of Israel
First, when we’re talking about Israel, we really mean Judah, whether we realize it or not. However, the Jews are not Israel, but descendants of the southern kingdom, Judah. The majority of Protestants never make the above distinction.
Perhaps we’d best begin by giving a brief overview of Israel’s history.
David succeeded Saul as King of Judah around 1,000 BC. When David died, his son Solomon caused his people to sin, which resulted in the kingdom being divided into two separate kingdoms (I Kings 11:29-36).
Ten tribes, under the leadership of Ephraim, formed the "Northern Kingdom of Israel" with Samaria as its capital and Jeroboam as its king. The other two tribes of Judah and Benjamin (with some of the tribe of Levi) formed what was known as the "Southern Kingdom of Judah." Their capital was located at Jerusalem and Rehoboam (Solomon’s son) was their king (I Kings 12:19).
So Jeroboam is king of the Northern kingdom and Rehoboam, the king of the Southern kingdom.
The 11th and 12th chapters of First Kings record the break up, with a son of the royal family as king over one kingdom, and a son of the House of Joseph as king over the other and larger kingdom.
The two kingdoms became known as the house of Judah and the house of Israel (Jer.3:18). The Jews (house of Judah) stayed in the land of Israel while the ten tribes (house of Israel) migrated primarily northwest and became identified as the "lost house of Israel." Many Bible students believe the ten tribes eventually migrated into Europe, then to America.
Ephraim and Manasseh
For an important side note, Joseph had two sons in Egypt, Ephraim and Manasseh, by an Egyptian woman. While Jacob lay dying, the Holy Spirit told him that Ephraim was chosen by the Lord as the inheritor of the birthright (Gen.48). Though Ephraim inherited the birthright, the name "Israel" was given to both sons. That’s an important distinction: "…Let my name [Israel] be named on them" (Gen.48:16). On both sons.
Ephraim was set before Manasseh, both nationally and tribally, but they were to grow together until they became a multitude of people in the midst of the earth. Eventually Manasseh was to become a separate nation, and as such was to be a great nation, but Ephraim was to become a multitude, or a "company of nations" (Gen.48:19).
"…His glory is like the firstlings of his bullock, and his horn are like the horns of the unicorn; with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth, and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh." --Deut.33:17
Note the ten thousands of Ephraim and the thousands of Manasseh.
Let’s end our overview here for now and return to it later. Suffice it to say, there are two very distinct houses in scripture (something this Baptist preacher wasn’t aware of)—the house of Judah and the house of Israel. And they’re not the same.
The Two Houses
What a blessed thought. Two houses. Two distinct peoples. Which brings up a very thought-provoking observation: all Israelites are not Jews! Just as all Americans are not Californians.
As a Baptist minister, I was totally caught off guard the first time I discovered the "two houses" in the Bible. I had no idea there was such an array of scriptures pointing out that distinction (Jer.33:7; Jer.30:3,4; Jer.32:30; Jer.3:8; Jer.3:11, Hosea 1:11).
"…I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will have mercy upon the house of Judah…" –Hosea 1:6,7
"…For as a girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah…" –Jer.13:11
These scriptures raise the inevitable question—then who are the Jews?
The Name "Jew"
The name is really a derivative, or shall we say, corruption of the name "Judah." (Singular: Ju-dah, or Jew-dah. Plural: Ju-dahs, or Jew-dahs). The names "Jew" or "Jews" are applied only to the people who composed the kingdom of Judah. It was their land only that became designated as "Judah" and "all Judah," or finally, "becoming known as "Judea" and "Judea" and "all Jewry."
Thus, the following distinction…
We do not say that the Jews are not Israelites, just as we do not say that Californians are not Americans. We do say—all Americans are not Californians, and likewise, all Jews are not Israelites. California is part of America; but we could write the history of California without writing a history of America. And we could write a history of the southern kingdom without writing a history of the northern kingdom. In other words, we could write the history of the Jews and not write the history of Israel.
I can say it no plainer. Let’s go on.
The scriptural law of "first mention" might help us. When was the word "Jew" first mentioned in the Bible? It was not until more than two hundred years after the revolt of the ten tribes from the house of David. "…At that time Rezin king of Syria…drave the Jews from Elath…and out of the hand of the king of Israel…" (II Kings 16:6. Note: the king of Syria was called upon to help save the Jews from the hand of Israel!)
E. Raymond Capt, biblical archaeologist, states, "…The name ‘Jew’ cannot be correctly utilized to designate any of the other ‘Lost Tribes of Israel’" (Missing Links Discovered in Assyrian Tablets, p.93).
Where does that leave us? For one thing, we know the common error of Protestant Christianity in general has been to regard the Jews as the whole house of Israel. I might add—distinguishing Israel from Judah, understanding there are two houses changes the entire complexion of latter-day prophecy for me. For one thing, my attention has been drawn to the house of Israel, not the land of Israel.
I want to know more about the ten tribes. What happened to them? For somehow, I believe their fate is my fate. Their spirituality in these last days is somehow linked to mine.
Simply put, what happened to the ten tribes? They were dispersed.
"…In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes." --II Kings 17:6
"…So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day…" --II Kings 17:23
Israel was carried away into Media and the Jews were carried away into Babylon. The Jews’ captivity occurred in 588 BC. (As a footnote, the prophet Amos had prophesied concerning the captivity and return of the ten-tribed kingdom one hundred and ninety-nine years before the Jews went into Babylon.)
It is a well-known fact among Protestant Christians that the Jews returned to their homeland after their release from captivity. It is not well known that no tribe of the northern kingdom, no children of Israel, have ever returned to and dwelt in their former home. And it will not do to make the statement "…the northern tribes ceased to exist…" The proclamation is too reductionistic. Besides, history clearly refutes such an idea.
Media, to whom Israel was exiled, extended north and south from two hundred and fifty to three hundred miles. In this region the ten tribes disappeared as a nation, and ceased to be known by the name of Israel. The areas where the captive Israelites was settled have been located. Most were in Upper Mesopotamia, which at that time formed part of the Assyrian Empire. The area is now best known as Turkey and Asia.
There have been recent discoveries of Assyrian tablets that reveal the fate of the Lost Tribes of Israel. The Assyrians called the Israelites, according to these tablets, such names as "Khumri" or "Khormi". Around 707 BC a people known as "Gimira" and "Gamera" were recorded. It is believed these names are Assyrian names for the Israelites.
The names "Sacae" or "Sakka" (Scythians) are probably derived from "Isaaca" or "house of Isaac." Raymond Capt points out the discoveries:
"…It can now be truly said—archaeology has solved two great mysteries, both occurring at the same time in history:
- What happened to the countless thousands of Israelites that disappeared into Assyrian Captivity?
- Where did the countless thousands of Scythians and Cimmerians come from?
Both mysteries no longer exist. The so-called ‘Lost Tribes’ of Israel were really never ‘lost.’ They only lost their identity during their captivity in Assyria." --Missing Links Discovered in Assyrian Tablets, pp. 122, 123
Think about it. It is almost inconceivable that the tribe of Judah, after centuries of persecution, should number in the millions and the ten tribes not be of still greater numbers. Perhaps tens of millions. Neither does it seem conceivable that the ten tribes since the dispersion should become mixed with other races and so lose their identity as to be lost forever, so lost that God could not find them—a popular notion with most Protestant Christians. Especially after the promise God made to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, concerning Israel. God promised that not one would remain lost (Amos (9:9)! The Lost Tribes are lost. They’re lost as to their identity. But not to God.
Israel was given a prophecy that she would eventually return (Amos 9:14,15) but first the Lord would "…sift the house of Israel among all nations…" (Amos 9:9).
It bears repeating—Amos prophesied Israel’s return from captivity before the Jews were captured by the Babylonians. That precludes any belief that Amos’ prophecies were fulfilled when the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity.
Then what happened to Israel? Where did the ten tribes go? They went northwest.
"…Listen, O isles, unto me, and harken, ye people from far; thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified." --Isa.49:1-3
"…Therefore will I cast you out of this land, into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers, and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not show you favor. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall be no more said, The Lord liveth, that brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but the Lord liveth that brought the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them; and I will bring them again unto their land that I gave unto their fathers." --Jer.16:13-15
There are other scriptures that speak of the migration (Jer.3:9,10; Ezek.16:35-63).
Note three things about Jeremiah’s prophecy:
"…Thus saith the Lord, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel" (Jer.31:2).
So, while Israel was taken to Assyria, they were not to stay there, but to wander into an unknown country called "the wilderness." Eventually, when becoming "many nations" had fulfilled their destiny, the Lord would begin gathering them from the north and the west.
"…Behold, these [Israel in the isles] shall come from far, and lo, these from the north and from the west…The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait [cramped] for me, a place to me that I may dwell." --Isa.49:12, 20
Here are five points worthy of summary:
Veil Lifted from Abrahamic Nations
Israel is now in the wilderness surrounded by foes. The ten tribes were being "sifted among all nations, like corn is sifted in a sieve." They were to "abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an epod, and without a teraphim."
But the prophecy includes the promise, "…Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God…" For now, God said to them, they are "not my people." Later he would "…heal their backsliding, I will love them freely" (Hos.14:4).
They moved toward the north, and as they journeyed, they came in contact with various tribes under different names: the Jutes of Denmark, the Angles who dwelt on the east side of the Elbe, and the Saxons north of the modern Schleswig.
The Saxons are spoken of as being "powerful." The Jutes and Angles joined with them, and together they made descent upon the coast of Britain.
Sons of Isaac
It is a well documented fact that the word "Saxon" is derived from the Hebrew name "I—saac." The affix meaning "sons of." "Sons of Isaac." The Saxons are the Sons of Isaac!
Etymologist, Professor Yatman of England, concerning the root of the word Saxon, says that the Persians used the terms Sacae and Scythian as convertible, "…whether from a corrupt rendering of one from the other or because the Sacae, a great tribe of Scythians (wanderers) bordering upon them, were so called by a tribal name."
Here’s an interesting passage:
--History of Anglo-Saxon, pp. 70,71
…"The vast tract, chiefly consisting of grassy plains, which lies north of the Black Sea, the Causcasus, the Caspian, and the Jaxartes-Syhun River, were inhabited in ancient times by a race or races, known to the Asiatics as Sacae, to the Greeks as Scythians. These are the people 700 years before Christ who are the ancestors of the British people…Where Israel is lost, there the Saxon is found."
"…Where Israel is lost, there the Saxon is found…" Interesting.
Of the fact of the identity of the Sacae and the Scythians there is no doubting whatsoever. These people called their country Sacasena. It is equally clear, says Yatman, that the Saxons of England were the Scythians of Celte-Scythians. Plutarch, Tacitus, Ptolemy, and many authors accurately describe their geographical position in Europe.
Ptolemy finds the Saxon in a race of Scythians, called Sakai, who came from Media.
Pliny says, "…The Sakai were among the most distinguished people of Scythia, who settled in Armenia, and were called Sacae-Sani."
Albinus says, "…The Saxons were descended from the ancient Sacae of Asia."
Here’s an interesting bit of trivia in considering the similarity between Israel and Saxon. The Ephraimite could not pronounce the word Shibboleth, but pronounced it Sibboleth, leaving out the one letter of the alphabet that causes the Englishman of today to be recognized wherever the English language is used (Judges 12:5,6).
Another bit of trivia. It seems that the house of Joseph ("…In Isaac shall thy seed be called…") preferred the name "Isaac" whereas the Jews preferred the name "Jacob."
Israel clung to the name of Isaac, especially after they were taken into captivity. They dropped the name of Israel and called themselves "Saac," "Sacae," or "Saxae" (Latin derivative) which is nothing more than the Hebrew name of Isaac.
Yet another bit of trivia. Israel was known as a people of the covenant. The word "British" means "Covenant Man." Which takes us to…
Israel in the Isles
Thus saith the Lord…I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant people…to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages." --Isa.49:8
The Hebrew word for "covenant" is Beriyth, which in Judges 8:33 and 9:14 is used as a proper name. It is transferred (not translated) into the English text. The Hebrew words Ben-iysh Yemiyniy are translated "Son of a man of Jemini." Ben means "a son," Iysh, "a man," and Yemiyniy, Jemini. The anglicized form of these words is "Ben, ish" and "jamin." Taken together, they mean "A man of Benjamin, or a Banjaminite."
We simply point out—ish in Hebrew means a man. Now back to the Hebrew word for "covenant," which in its original form has no vowel, but which in its Anglicized form retains the vowel i to preserve the y sound, and we have Brith, which joined with ish is Brith-ish, and means "A Covenant Man."
The connections are obvious: "A British Man." "A Covenant Man." British people living in the "far isles." The people of Waels call themselves in ancient Welsh, "Brythy Brithan," or "Briths of Briton," which means "The Covenanters" or "the land of the covenant."
Going back to Isaiah’s phrase, "…I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to inherit the desolate heritages." As a people of the covenant, Israel is appointed to establish uninhabited places of the earth. These desolate localities are given to Israel as an inheritance. She has need of them in fulfilling the destiny of the birthright kingdom of Israel—that of becoming many nations, or a company of nations.
Of course, the parallel with Britain is obvious—one of the first national characteristics mentioned in prophecy concerning Isaac’s seed is "…they shall possess the gates [ports] of those that hate them" (Gen.22:17).
Gates are entrances. National gates are called "ports." The Anglo-Saxon world controls today nearly all the national gateways of the world.
America and England have at one time or another controlled not only the ports of the British Isles and those in Australian waters, but also Gibraltar, Suez Canal, Malta, Alexandria, Cyprus Island, gates into China, the German Ocean, the Cape gate into the Indian Ocean, and all the gates of India, gates along the east and west coasts of Africa, and the Cape Horn gate from the Atlantic into the Pacific Ocean.
"…They shall possess the gates of those that hate them…"
More trivia. Long ago, the Lord promised to Joseph as part of his birthright, "…the deep that croucheth beneath…" (Deut.33:13). Even the bottom of his vessels would be blessed!
Herein lies the connection, the parallel: England, like ancient Israel, has inherited "the desolate heritages" and has become a commonwealth of nations. A company of nations. "Many nations." She too possesses the gates of those that hate her. God has blessed even her vessels.
England’s Lost Child
I find the following passage fascinating:
"…For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even how be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away. The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears. The place is too strait [cramped] for me; give [a] place to me that I may dwell." --Isa.49:19-20
There is no other country on the face of the earth other than England that fits the above description. Here is a group of people called Israel living in the isles of the sea. She has lost one group of people, and yet her other children say that the place is still too small, too cramped. They ask the "Mother country" to give them a place also.
And so began England’s colonization!
Her first child was called New England, but she lost it. After losing her American colonies, her work of colonizing non-populated portions of the world began.
In the past, England has colonized Prince Edward’s Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Vancouver’s Island, New Foundland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, British India, the Fiji Islands, and parts of Africa, Egypt and China.
Isaiah’s prophecy was truly fulfilled through God’s covenant people, "…to establish the earth, to inherit the desolate places…" (Isa.49:8).
Prophecy has gone forth that the sun will never set upon the earth but that some member of the Davidic family is not holding the sceptre somewhere (I Kings 8:25; Psalm 89:36).
Ephraim and Manasseh
Let’s briefly talk about Joseph’s two sons from Egypt, Ephraim and Manasseh. While Israel (Jacob) lay dying, a portion of his blessing on the two sons was "…Let my name [Israel] be named on them" (Gen.48:16). In other words, the descendants of both Ephraim and Manasseh were to be called Israelites. The name of Israel shall rest upon both sons and their descendants.
Included in the patriarch’s blessing was the promise, "…[Manasseh] shall become a people, and he will be great; but truly his younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations" (Gen.48:19).
Many students of scripture believe this is a prophecy of America and England.
Let’s go a step further. Let’s concern ourselves with "earthly things." Remember, Jesus said, "…If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things" (Jn.3:12). Even heraldry emblems match! Or "earthly things."
These two emblems, the unicorn and the lion, which were given to Israel (Numbers 24:8,9) are in the coat of arms of Great Britain!
"…Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth." --Psalm 60:4
Again, Jacob, before his death, called for his sons. He wanted to give them a blessing. In this blessing, Jacob likened each of his sons to either an animal, an object, or personal characteristics, which became his emblem, his tribe’s emblem, and its descendants.
The heraldic emblems of Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, and the United States, are identical to those of ancient Israel!
A brief summary of parallels"
|The Bible records Israel’s migration to the northwest.
||Britain has similar word etymology to that of ancient Israel’s.
||Britain and Israel share identical national emblems.|
More trivia. Prophecy was perhaps fulfilled during the "100 day War," for Manasseh and Ephraim (England & America) lead allied troops into battle against the Prince of Persia (Iraq), that head demon of the Muslim religion.
For the first time in modern history, the two houses (Judah & Israel) fought together! Isn’t it perhaps providential that England and America (house of Israel) and the house of Judah (known as modern day Israel) lead the allies in the Persian Gulf War. The house of Israel and the house of Judah were fighting side by side.
"…Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war; for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms." --Jer.51:19,20
Again, for the first time in modern history, the two houses (Judah & Israel) fought together. His truth indeed marches on! Even in our day. Let’s move on…
The Lord scattered. And the Lord gathers. What about the latter-day gathering?
The Coming Exodus
If God dispersed Israel, he will gather her. The Bible says so.
"…Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all." --Ezekiel 37:21,22
God in these endtimes is going to make the two houses—Judah & Israel—one. No longer will there be two kingdoms of Christians and Jews. What a mighty army that will be!
The promised exodus…
"…Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord that it shall no more be said, ‘the Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, but the Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them; and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers." --Jer.16:14-15
Here is a promised exodus more spectacular than the exodus of Israel out of Egypt!
"…In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping. They shall go, and seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion…" --Jer.31:12
Israel arriving from the land of the north. Israel and Judah asking the way to Zion—those two great events haven’t occurred yet, but they shall. Perhaps in our lifetime.
There’s one more matter we must briefly discuss before we close our essay—the destiny of two lads.
Judah and Joseph
--Gen.49:10, I Chon.5:2
"…The Sceptre shall not depart from Judah…but the Birthright is Joseph’s…"
Judah’s Sceptre and Joseph’s Birthright—two prophetic promises earmarked for the endtime; two distinctive promises Protestant Christians, generally speaking, know little about. Let’s briefly examine the distinction—Judah’s Sceptre and Joseph’s Birthright.
All the screptre’s blessings, privileges, and promises pertain to Judah, from whom comes the royal family of Israel’s race. Jesus, our blessed Messiah, is from the tribe of Judah. Protestants know about the Messianic promise, the plan of salvation; they’re familiar with Judah’s Sceptre, Christ’s bloodline. It’s God’s birthright promise to Joseph we’ve overlooked.
The Messianic covenant was separated from the birthright, and given to Judah, the fourth son of Jacob and Leah, while the birthright fell to Joseph. This individual separation of the Septre and the Birthright took place just previous to the death of Jacob.
Joseph was promised the Birthright. And what was that promised birthright? Land! Joseph’s Land. The Promised Land. Joseph, through his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, was to become the father of many nations which were promised to the fathers of Israel. Nations and land were promised to Joseph and his descendants. Yes, Judah got the royal bloodline, but Joseph got the Promised Land.
And out of all the nations, out of all the lands upon the earth, there was one set aside to be "…choice above all others…" It was Joseph’s land, the Americas. Saved for the endtime. And Joseph’s descendants were to settle in Joseph’s Land and become an Ensign to all other nations (Isa.5:26).
Two lads and their descendants, Joseph & Judah, both play prophetic roles in these endtimes. The Lord promised that a righteous branch would come from his seed—the Latter-day Saints of Israel!
Brothers and sisters, did you know you could very well be from that branch, the House of Israel?!
A Latter-day Israelite living in Joseph’s land. r
From this grand truth—the House of Israel--flows the fountainhead of much truth.
I am not, in other words, a Latter-day Saint because I’m a Mormon or an RLDS or a Culterite or Strangite. Or because I believe the Book of Mormon. I’m a Latter-day Saint because I’ve had a marvelous revelation—I’m an Israelite! A Latter-day Israelite.
What joy that brings to the human heart.
It came to me by revelation. Hands one evening were laid upon my head and I was prophesied these words, "…your lineage is from the tribe of Joseph through Ephraim and all of the families of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…"
To this day I embrace that revelation. I believe that revelation. And rejoice in it.
To have come forth from the lineage of Joseph…"and all of the families of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…" There is no greater fountainhead of spirituality, I believe.
The gospel story indeed is one of lineage.
"…The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat…" (Matt.1:1).
You and I were begotten. The whole human race was begotten.
"…And Harry Edwin Ridenhour begat Lynn Edwin Ridenhour…" The gospel is excruciatingly personal. I am wonderfully made and marvelously connected! And so are you.
Connected to the fountainhead. All the way back to the tribe of Joseph. What a story we have to tell to the nations.
My testimony is--Israel lives!