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This article belongs to a series on what biblical prophecy says about the fate of the tribes of Israel. This present part, regarding ethnic groups which might eventually belong to the ten “lost” tribes, is easier to understand if one first reads the other parts in this series. You can find links to them in the “recommended reading” section at the end of this article.
If one wants to try to “identify” an ethnic group or groups which could be a part of the lost ten tribes of Israel, one must make sure to first check what biblical prophecy actually says in regard to how those tribes would be doing, in our day. Here is a short synopsis of that matter.
Deuteronomy 28 records that when the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land, the Lord had Moses warn them that if they were not faithful to him, he would punish them and finally drive them out from that land. (They had been warned already earlier; Leviticus 26 records this.) And, as things went, they were severely unfaithful, and so, they were severely punished. In the end, this led to that they were driven out from the Promised Land, into exile. This happened circa 734 to 722 BCE (the northern tribes of Israel) and circa 605 to 586 BCE (the southern tribes, the Jews).
In the days of Ezra, a number of people of the southern tribes, Jews, returned to the land of Israel. Around year 70 CE, the Roman army killed countless Jews there, some say three million. It is not fully clear what happened to the remainder. (As to the origin of the people who since the 1800s have moved to the land of Israel and call themselves Jews – that matter is considered in the article nya010.htm.)
The ten northern tribes of Israel never returned to the Promised Land. Through this, they became the “lost” ten tribes. They became dispersed among other nations, without having a country of their own. They still remain in that dispersion. There is a promised restoration, but it is still a matter of the future, after Jesus’ return. (The article nya050.htm sorts out the Anglo-Israelist dogma which claims that those tribes were to be restored 2520 years after their exile from the Promised Land.)
The Scriptures mention only one earthly Promised Land for the tribes of Israel, the land of Canaan, but Anglo-Israelist writers have caused people to think that there are other “promised lands”. Also: Some of those writers have talked about two dispersions and two restorations, especially in regard to the ten “lost” tribes. But, the Scriptures mention only one dispersion and one restoration, for those northern tribes of Israel. And again, the prophesied restoration has not taken place yet. They still remain in dispersion. The article nya010.htm has some notes on this.
Because of the biblical description of how the “lost” tribes of Israel would be doing in our day (see the article nya010.htm), ethnic groups which might eventually belong to those tribes, must be sought among groups who are scattered in the world, without a country of their own. Also: Those ethnic groups must in the past have lived in the area where the northern tribes of Israel were taken when they were banished from their own country – that is, in what today is Syria and Iraq and Iran and the surrounding area. A note: Many of the exiled Israelites’ descendants probably still live in that area. Perhaps most of them.
2 Kings 15:29 and 17:6 record that the northern tribes of Israel were taken to Assyria and “the cities of the Medes”. That appears to refer to Mesopotamia and Media/Persia with their surroundings, eventually including Syria and such places as Afghanistan.
Further, regarding this search for ethnic groups which might belong to the ten “lost” tribes: According to the biblical criteria – see for instance Deuteronomy 28:64 and 65 with their context – those people must be (relatively) few in number, and again, they would not have a country of their own. Also: The Bible indicates that they would serve idols and not the true God who is in Heaven. And, it was prophesied that they would be troubled and persecuted.
In short, that is what the Scriptures say concerning the fate of the “lost” tribes of Israel, before their restoration which is still a future matter. If any of this sounds strange, make sure to read the other parts in this series. Start with the article nya010.htm.
The Assyrian empire was located in the area which today is covered by the states of Syria, Iraq and Iran which was earlier called Persia, with their surroundings. Consequently, some of the ethnic groups which today live in that general area, could be descendants of the ancient Israelites who around 2700 years ago were forcibly taken there. Also: Several ethnic groups have come from that area.
Many of those groups are distressed in our day, and have been that even in the past.
Among them are the people who are today called “Assyrians”. They are a persecuted people without a land of their own. They live in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Armenia and elsewhere; there are “Assyrians” as fugitives in many parts of the world. It is not clear who those people really are, but their fate fits the description the Bible gives concerning what the fate of the scattered tribes of Israel would be. (Again, the article nya010.htm has some notes on that matter.)
There are several other ethnic groups of that kind, for instance in the Caucasus area, and of course there are the Kurds who live in several Middle-Eastern countries, and elsewhere as refugees. There are also the Armenians, a very ill-treated people. Armenians have spread as fugitives to many countries.
Further, the people of Afghanistan and Tajikistan and that general area. Some writers have said that the Pashtun (an ethnic group in Afghanistan) have in the past called themselves Bani Israel (“children of Israel”) and Yusuf zai (“sons of Joseph”). It is hard to say how much of that consists of facts and how much of myths, but, Afghanistan lies in the general area where the northern tribes of Israel were taken into captivity.
There is a tradition which claims that the Arabs are descendants of Ishmael. But, are there any historical records that would support that saying? In short: We simply do not know the origin of the Arabs. What is clear, is that the “Arabs” are not a homogeneous ethnic group but consist of many different kinds of peoples, including such whose historical fate fits the description the Scriptures give in regard to how the tribes of Israel would be doing, before their coming restoration.
There is yet another group, one whose ancestors came to Europe and other areas of the world, from Persia. That group of people is relatively few in number, and it has served other gods, just as the Bible says the scattered “lost” tribes of Israel would do. The people in that ethnic group are spread among the nations and do not have a country of their own – just as the Bible says it would be with the Israelites in their dispersion.
That ethnic group has been persecuted and hated. That group is of course the “Gypsies”, the Romani people, also called Roma.
According to historical sources, the Romani people came to Europe from Persia. Even those who have claimed that they came from Punjab, have drawn maps which show that it was from the Persian area that they came into Syria and Egypt and Europe.
The facts are that it is not clear who or where the “lost” tribes of Israel really are today. What is clear, is that the claim that the Anglo-Saxon people would be Israelites, cannot be reconciled with what the Scriptures say. (Again, this is easier to understand, if one first reads the other parts in this series.)
But, there are certain troubled ethnic groups who fit the description which the Bible gives in regard to how the “lost” tribes of Israel were to be doing, in their dispersion. Among them are the Assyrians, the Kurds, certain ethnic groups in Afghanistan and in certain former Soviet republics, including Armenia and the Caucasus area. Perhaps even some of the various groups who today are called “Arabs”. And, the Romani people. Not to forget other ethnic groups who still remain in Syria, Iraq and Iran and the surrounding areas (which is where the northern tribes of Israel were taken into captivity).
Links to the other 14 parts in this series on the tribes of Israel are found in the “recommended reading” section, below.
Please send or mention the address to this site to others. You can also link to these pages. The address to the table of contents page is biblepages.net/articles.htm
Recommended reading here at the Bible Pages, on related as well as other matters
On the words “gentiles”, “pagans” and “heathen” and what they actually mean and refer to. → nga010.htm
Maps and some notes on certain kingdoms which are mentioned in the Bible – Assyria, Babylon or Chaldea, Media and Persia. → nwa080.htm
What does the Bible say about the “great tribulation”? On Matthew 24:21 and Revelation 7:14. → nta040.htm
The other parts in the ‘tribes’ series:
The lost ten tribes of Israel in prophecy. → nya010.htm
Leviticus 26:19, “and I will break the pride of your power”. How and when was the Israelites’ pride broken? → nya020.htm
On the meaning of Genesis 22:17, the words “and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies”. → nya030.htm
Jacob’s birthright, and that of his son Joseph. On what the concept “birthright” meant and referred to, in regard to inheritance, in ancient times. → nya040.htm
On the meaning of the words “seven times” in Leviticus 26:18, 21, 24 and 28. Does the wording in the Hebrew text mean “seven times more” or “sevenfold” as many translations have it, or “2520 years” as some writers have claimed? → nya050.htm
Jeremiah 30:7, “the time of Jacob’s trouble”. On what chapter 30 in the book of Jeremiah means and refers to. → nya060.htm
On the prophet Ezekiel and his mission, and the “Ezekiel message” dogma. → nya070.htm
The lost sheep of the house of Israel of Matthew 10:6 – who were they, and where? Also: Where did the apostles go? → nya080.htm
Did the ten lost tribes of Israel move to Europe? Are the white north-west Europeans Israelites, as some say? → nya090.htm
Is the line of David the king of Israel still ruling somewhere on Earth? → nya100.htm
The meaning of the words “branch” and “twig” in Ezekiel 17:22. Some notes on Anglo-Israelist dogmas regarding king Zedekiah’s daughters. → nya110.htm
The prophet Jeremiah – where did he die? Did he go to Ireland, as some have claimed? Also, what about the “stone of destiny” which some writers talk about? → nya120.htm
Did people of the ten “lost” tribes of Israel travel to Greece, Denmark and Ireland? Some notes on certain Anglo-Israelist dogmas. → nya130.htm
Regarding Anglo-Israelism: What if it is Russia and her Slavic sisters who are the lost ten tribes of Israel? → nya140.htm
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