THE RESTORATION OF THE 10 LOST TRIBES
DON K. PRESTON
A while back, the A and E television channel aired a program “In Search of the Lost Tribes” that presents a modern day search of the so called 10 Lost Tribes of Israel. In our first article we showed how the 10 northern tribes of Israel were never truly lost, certainly to God! The tribes were never promised total restoration (Amos 5), but a remnant, and that is what returned from Babylonian captivity (Ezra / Nehemiah).
However, the Old Testament also foretold the time when the Messiah would restore Israel. Ezekiel 37 foretold the time when both houses of Israel would become one under the Messiah. He would establish His covenant of peace and build God’s tabernacle among men. Jeremiah 31 also foretold the time when God would make His new covenant with Judah and Israel.
In 2 Corinthians 3-6, the apostle discusses the Old Covenant and the New. He contrasts the glory of the Old with the glory of the New. Now, God never promised two new covenants. He promised to make one new covenant with Israel and Judah! Thus, when Paul, who preached only the hope of Israel (Acts 26:22), discussed the Old Covenant and the New, he was focused on the promises of Ezekiel and Jeremiah! And he says that the Old Covenant was even then in the process of passing away (compare Hebrews 8:13), and they were being transformed into the greater glory of Christ’s New Covenant. The promised New Covenant was being delivered, and since it was to be made with both houses of Israel, it can hardly be argued that the 10 tribes were lost!
Further, in 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul calls on the church to live in righteousness because “you are the temple of the living God.” Now this quote is most often isolated from its historical and prophetic context. Paul does not just tell the Corinthians to live holy lives because they are the Temple of God. He tells them they are the Temple of God foretold by Ezekiel! He says, “you are the temple of God, as it is written…” and then directly quotes from Ezekiel 37:26! The Corinthian Christians, (the church), were the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy!
Ezekiel said that God would unite Israel in one body when He built His New Tabernacle. Paul said that the Corinthian church, not exclusively them, but with the church as the body/temple, was the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s promise! Therefore, the church was/is the fulfillment of God’s promise to reunite and save Israel!
It must not be forgotten that when the church was established, it was comprised of Jews from every nation under heaven (Acts 2). Thus, Jews of every tribe and family were truly reunited in Christ when they obeyed the gospel. As they joined the Gentiles in obedience to Christ they came to be the New Temple of God (Ephesians 2:19-22) just as Ezekiel foretold.
The thing is, in Christ, there is no Jew or Gentile (Galatians 3:26-29). Christians are to give no heed to genealogies for religious purposes. Establishing “blood lines” is meaningless and fruitless. God found and restored Israel when He brought Christ to them and offered them the kingdom. His work of saving Israel, bringing her hopes to fulfillment was to be, and was completed in the first century (Romans 9:28). Any modern day search for the so-called 10 Lost Tribes in hopes of a nationalistic restoration is futile, and is tantamount to a rejection of the work of Christ.