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Can You Spot The Mistake?
by Wayne Blank
"Jews of the northern Kingdom of Israel disappeared from history after the Assyrian conquest of 721 BC and are known in legend as the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel."
The Northern Kingdom were not, and are not, "Jews"!
The term "Jew" originated from "Judah," one of the tribes of Israel, who, after the twelve tribes of Israel divided into two independent kingdoms, along with the tribe of Benjamin formed the totally-separate-from-Israel "Kingdom of Judah," as this verse which records war between Judah and Israel makes plain:
"When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah [i.e. Jews], and the tribe of Benjamin, a hundred and eighty thousand chosen warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon." (1 Kings 12:21 RSV)
All Jews Are Israelites, But Not All Israelites Are Jews!
God changed Jacob's name to Israel (Genesis 32:28). Each of Israel's twelve sons (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin) were founders of one of the tribes of Israel, the Israelites e.g. from Reuben came the Reubenites, from Levi came the Levites, from Judah came the "Jews." Although the tribe of Joseph was later divided into two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48:1-20), the number of tribes in the division of the land (see Tribal Lands) remained at twelve, because the tribe of Levi, as the priesthood, were distributed among the other tribes, and had no land allotment of their own.
The Israelites were united as a single kingdom through the reigns of David and Solomon, but after Solomon's death they split into two completely separate and independent kingdoms - the southern kingdom of "Judah," consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (1 Kings 12:21) with their capital at Jerusalem, and the northern kingdom of "Israel," consisting of the other ten tribes, with their capital up in Samaria. Israel and Judah were never united again (see Kings of Israel and Judah). Surprisingly, they even fought wars against each other from time to time (see Jews At War With Israel). A very important fact that many do not realize is that Judah, that is, the Jewish people of today, are only one of the tribes of Israel - while all Jews are Israelites, not all Israelites are Jews.
Because of their forsaking of Him, God permitted the two kingdoms to be destroyed. First, the northern kingdom of Israel was gradually conquered by the Assyrians (see Ancient Empires - Assyria), and by 721 B.C. they had practically all been taken into exile to Assyria (2 Kings 17:1-23). The vast majority of them never returned, and have become known as the "Lost Ten Tribes of Israel" - which is what is referred to in the Encyclopedia Britannica article quoted in the opening paragraph.
Then, about 135 years later, in 586 B.C., the southern kingdom of Judah was conquered by the Babylonians (see Why Babylon?), and the Jews were taken into captivity to Babylon. The original Temple of God in Jerusalem was destroyed at that time (see Temples and Temple Mount Treasures). The people of the southern kingdom of Judah however did return after the Babylonians fell to the Persians (see Ancient Empires - Persia), and their descendants have become the Jewish people of today.
A supplementary point to the topic of this study is that since that return from the Babylonian exile in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, the religious practices of the Jewish people have, over the centuries, evolved into something quite different than their ancestors practiced in earlier times - although Moses would definitely recognize such correct doctrines as obedience to the Ten Commandments and observance of the annual Biblical Holy Days, Moses himself would not understand many of the Jewish religious practices of today. Many man-made traditions and customs were gradually added by authorities such as the Pharisees and Sadducees. By the time of Jesus Christ, when the Jewish authorities accused The Lord of breaking the law, much of which was merely their law, not God's, He rebuked His own people for worshiping God according to their own traditions (e.g. Mark 7:6-9).
One of the most fundamental keys to understanding Bible Prophecy is recognizing that although all Jews are Israelites, not all Israelites are Jews. This is an absolutely vital point because many of the end-time prophecies that speak of "Israel" are frequently not referring to the people of Judah, i.e. the Jewish people - religiously, and more importantly, nationally.
Fact Finder: Along with a spiritual gathering of The Elect at The Return Of Jesus Christ, will there also be a physical gathering of all of Israel (including the so-called "Lost Ten Tribes") and Judah (i.e. the Jewish people)?