Where Are the 12 Tribes of Israel Today?


"By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies" (Gen 22:16-17).

This story continues in Genesis chapters 26, 48 and 49 where the blessing is passed on to Isaac and then on to Jacob and his sons. Abraham, the father of the faithful, was not promised a small group of righteous or religious men for descendants; he was promised a large quantity of descendants—especially in "the latter days." Where do we find the promise of this quantity of offspring fulfilled? Is the Creator of the Universe able to bring to pass his promise of fulfillment in a way that we can understand? Are these prophecies fulfilled by the modern day nation of Israel and the few thousands of people in the Near East that she officially recognizes as part of the "lost ten tribes?"

When Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are raised from the dead (Matt 22:31-32), and learn the overview of the history of the world, will the Eternal be embarrassed to point out their descendants as a little group of people that occasionally had minor influence on the course of world history? Or will He point to the great nations such as the United States of America, the British Empire and Northwestern Europe—the countries primarily responsible for the spread of the Bible, education, agriculture and technology throughout much of the world? While these countries have also spread a large amount of sin throughout the world (as prophesied), it is difficult to imagine any countries that would better fulfill the promises to the Partriarch's than these countries.

But just this supposition alone would not prove that these nations are the descendents of ancient Israel. There are numerous scriptures giving specific details of the descendants of Israel, particularly Joseph's two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Also, it would be helpful if we could find historical evidence. Is there any?

The evidence is overwhelming! Some people think that recognizing the USA, the British Empire and other nations as modern day Israel is a peculiar doctrine held only by obscure British-Israelists and Herbert Arm strong. Today there are numerous Sunday-keeping groups and even non-Christian groups that hold this belief. Many of them did not gain their understanding from Armstrong, but discovered much on their own. Unfortunately, there are groups that have accepted this understanding and gone on to add their own error to it—claiming that most modern-day Jews are not really Israelites but are (along with blacks and others) a sub-human species. But just because someone mixes error with truth, the truth-part does not become any less true.

We do not have the time or space for Servants' News to cover every aspect of this teaching in detail, but we can point the way to some good information. The History Research Projects Order Form in our literature list is the single best source of other sources that we know of. You will also find good information in Sabbath History magazine—a free sample copy also available on our back page.

We don't agree with everything, but the booklet America and Britain in Prophecy has an overwhelming amount of good information. (It is free from the Global Church of God, PO Box 501111, San Diego, California, 92150-1111, 800-959-1641.) An even more in-depth book can be purchased from non-aligned Sabbath-keeper, Steven Collins, 3901 Crescent Dr, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 57106, 605-361-5069.

One of the areas in which we feel some of the research has erred, is the determination of which country today is Ephraim and which is Manasseh. We have had nearly a dozen people mention this subject, so we include a few short articles in this issue.

—Norman S. Edwards


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