“As for me, behold my covenant is with thee, and thou shall be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham: for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to they seed after thee.” Abrahamic Covenant, Genesis 17: 4-7
Many think the current Nation of Israel embodies all that is left of the twelve tribes of Israel, but that is far from the truth. The Lost Tribes, as some call them, are not lost to God. God knows who they are and where they are.
In Leviticus 26 God had warned Israel that the result of their continual sinning would be removal from their land, to be scattered throughout the nations of the earth. In verse 44-45 however, God said He would not cast them away nor break his Covenant with them forever. This is repeated in Deut 4:26-31; and in Isaiah 41:8-9.
Because of their sins, God caused the kingdom of Israel to be 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 – Judah and Benjamin, along with most of the tribe of Levi, formed the Southern Kingdom of Judah with their capital at Jerusalem and Rehoboam as their king (I Kings 12:16-20). It is appropriate to note that Levi, having received no inheritance with Israel (Deut. 18: 1-2) was portioned among all the tribes for priestly duties, removing them from being numbered among the landed tribes of Israel.
With the division, The Sceptre (Judah) and the Birthright (Ephraim and Manasseh) were separated – Judah to fulfill the covenant of bringing forth the Messiah; and Ephraim and Manasseh to fulfill the Covenant with Abraham of having multitudinous seed, spreading abroad and becoming many nations.
Around 640 B.C. the Assyrians captured the Northern Kingdom, resettling the people in Halah and Habor by the river Gozan and the cities of Medes. (II Kings 17:6-18, 22-12). As was Assyrian custom, the Northern Kingdom lands were resettled with captive people from Babylon, Cuthath, Ava, Mamath and Sepharvaim (II Kings 17:24). These were the peoples Christ called Samaritans in Mattehew 10:5-6.
Scripture Lawyers and higher critics argue that these ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom no longer exist, having interbred with the peoples living in the area of their exile. But that was not God’s plan. God sees His people Israel “scattered upon all the face of the earth” as lost sheep without a shepherd (Ez 34:1-16), a people He would deliver (verse 11) out of “all places they had been scattered in the cloudy and dark day (of The Lord).” Christ revealed in Matthew 15:24 that He was also sent unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel, the Northern 10 tribes. Would Christ seek that what truly lost?
So where did the “lost sheep” go? Are the assertions made by contemporary groups claiming to be descended from the Lost Tribes legitimate?
Archaeologist have unearthed and published the original contemporary records of the Assyrians which gives clues as to the location of the “Lost Tribes.” Cuneiform tables identify the “Lost Tribes” with the Assyrian name “Gimira,” and record their migrations out of Asia Minor. One group of “Gimira” escaped to the shore of the Black Sea during the second year of Esarhaddon, 679 B.C. After settling in Lydia for awhile, they crossed the Black Sea to the Carpathian region. The Greeks called these Gimira “Kimmerii, translated into English as “Cimmerians”.
The larger body of Israelites who had not escaped, were later allowed to establish colonies in Sacasene and Bactria. These colonies, first called Gimira, were later referred to as Iskuza by the Assyrians. After the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C., these colonies migrated across the Caucasus Mountains, some settling in the southern regions of Russia while others migrated as far east as the borders of China.
A rock hewn inscription at Behistun in northern Persia shows that the Persian equivalent for Gimira was Sakka. Ancient historians also tell us that the people whom the Greeks called “Scythians” were called “Sacae” or “Sakke” by the Persians.
During the 5th century the Scythian Israelites began moving across the rivers Dan and Dnieper coming into contact with the Cimmerian Israelites who had migrated round the west of the Black Sea. Having lost knowledge of their kinship during the centuries of separation, battles ensured, forcing the Cimmerians west. Some moved to the northwest along the Baltic where they later became known to the Romans as Cimbi; the larger body migrating up the Danube River to southern Germany about 600-500 B.C. where they became known as Celts and Gauls.
About 390 B.C. some of the Cimmerian Israelites invaded Italy and sacked Rome; and circa 280 B.C. they invaded Greece. [As they migrated back into Asia Minor they were called “Galtians” by the Greeks.] The majority of the Cimmerian Israelites spread west and north across France and began to cross the English Channel into the British Isles.
It is difficult to determine with any certainty which Anglo-Saxon – Scandinavian – Lombard – Germanic – Celtic nations of today are from what particular Israeli tribe. But, in God’s plan of the ages they progressively became “many nations” in Europe and a “company of nations” in the Commonwealth of Great Britian. Many of these peoples of the so-called Lost Tribes in Europe and Great Britain later settled in America and Canada.
It is important to always divide the Word. In Scriptures, the terms “Israel” – “Judah” and “Jew” are not synonymous. When God spoke in prophecy to the House of Israel or the House of Judah, he was not referring to the modern “Jewish” nation of Israel. When God spoke to the House of Israel His reference was always to the 10 Northern Tribes.
Source Documents: Abrahamic Covenant by E. Raymond Capt, M.A., A.I.A.; Tracing Our Ancestors by Frederick Haberman; The Covenant People by Destiny Publishers; and Missing Links Discovered In Assyrian Tablets, by E. Raymond Capt
Additional reading: Dan, The Pioneer of Israel by Colonel J.C. Gawler, reprinted from 1880 edition; Strange Parallel: Zebulun, Tribe of Israel, American Edition by Helene Koppejan