THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL is not Jewish! Those who constitute it are not Jews, and never were! That fact we shall now see conclusively, beyond refute. After David's death, his son Solomon succeeded him to the throne over Israel. Solomon taxed the people excessively and reigned in a gorgeous splendor probably never equalled before or since. He also married Gentile wives from outside nations. Because of them, he burned incense and sacrificed to Moloch and other idols. As a result of this, "the Eternal said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away ALL the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen" (I Kings 11:11-13).
Israel Separated from David's Throne
Note it! It is the kingdom, not part of it, which is to be rent away. It is the part, one tribe, which is to remain. And note — for right here is expressed the great WHY of this whole question — though Solomon himself deserved to have it rent away, God will leave one tribe, not because of leniency toward Solomon, but "FOR DAVID'S SAKE"! God has made a perpetual covenant with David, unconditionally, which He cannot and will not break. David's dynasty cannot be broken! That is the reason the sceptre promise is not destroyed, but the ruler is to be permitted to rule on, without a single generation's gap, over at least a part of the children of Israel. In I Kings 11:26 you read of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite, or Ephraimite, Solomon's servant. He was made ruler over the "house of Joseph" — or Ephraim and Manasseh. Speaking to Jeroboam through Ahijah the prophet, the Eternal says: "Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee .... Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand ... for David my servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes. But I will take THE KINGDOM out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant [remember why] may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel" (I Kings 11:31- 37). These words make plain two facts: The nation Israel is to be taken away from Solomon's son and given to Jeroboam. It is not just a tribe, or a few tribes, but the nation called by the title Israel which this Jeroboam, of the tribe of Ephraim, is to rule. The ten-tribed kingdom was the one to which the national title "Israel" was given. For truly, the name "Israel" was named on the sons of Joseph! (Gen. 48:16.) Wherever they are, the Bible calls them by the national name ISRAEL. To the world, their identity today is lost. But, in biblical prophecy, it is they — not the Jews- -who are called ISRAEL! And they were in, and headed, the ten- tribed nation ISRAEL. On the other hand, because of His promise to David, the Eternal left one tribe, Judah, in Jerusalem under the sons of Solomon, so that a son of David might continue to sit on the throne of David over children of Israel. God had promised David, unconditionally, that the time would never come when he would not have a son or descendant sitting on the throne ruling over children of Israel. Now, in later actual history, we see that promise being carried out — that covenant made binding! The children of Judah, though they do not constitute all the children of Israel and though they are not called by that national title, nevertheless are children of Israel, and thus God can keep His promise to David; can avoid abolishing the sceptre promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And at the same time God can visit punishment upon Solomon by taking away the nation Israel and leaving a son of the sceptre promise sitting on the throne over only one tribe. Note the very important point that, though a punishment must be inflicted, God does not break any of His promises.
David's Dynasty Rules Over Judah
God had promised that "the sceptre SHALL NOT DEPART FROM JUDAH." He did not break that promise. Now note carefully that the ten tribes, rent away, are called by the title "Israel," and that the one tribe remaining under Rehoboam, Solomon's son, is merely called "Judah" or the "house of Judah." They go by their tribal name, while the ten-tribed kingdom continues to carry the national name "Israel." Actually, Israel rejected its king and set a new king, Jeroboam, on Israel's throne. The tribe of Judah seceded from the nation Israel in order to retain Rehoboam as their king. But now Rehoboam, David's grandson, became king of a new nation. That new nation was not the kingdom of Israel. It was the kingdom of Judah! Now see how it happened. When Solomon's son, Rehoboam, succeeded to the throne, the people at once demanded that the heavy taxes imposed by Solomon be reduced. They sent their leader, Jeroboam, as spokesman, to Rehoboam. Pleaded Jeroboam: "Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee" (I Kings 12:4). The reply was: "My father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions" (verse 11). Israel rebelled. The command to the people was: "To your tents, O Israel"! The challenge to the royal family was: "Now see to thine own house"! (Verse 16.) "So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day [the day this was written]. And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over ALL ISRAEL: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of JUDAH only" (I Kings 12:19-20). Then "Rehoboam ... assembled all the HOUSE OF JUDAH, with the tribe of Benjamin" (verse 21). Rehoboam commenced to fight to subdue and bring back the house of Israel, but God said, "Ye shall not ... fight against your brethren the children of Israel ... for this thing is from me" (verse 24).
Israel Divided into Two Nations
Did you notice that it is now the ten-tribed kingdom (headed by the Ephraim-Manasseh tribes with an Ephraimite as their king), the inheritor of the birthright promises, which is called the HOUSE OF ISRAEL? The tribe of Judah left to Rehoboam, along with the Benjamites and later, after Jeroboam kicked them out of office in Israel, the priestly tribe of Levi, is called in Scripture, not Israel, but the house of Judah. They are all actually children of Israel but are no longer called by that national title. This is emphasized so much because the common conception is exactly the opposite. The average conception today seems to be that the tribe of Judah which remained carried the title "Israel." Most people seem to think of the Ten Tribes as merely certain tribes driven out from the nation Israel. But it is ISRAEL which now sets up its kingdom under the Ephraimite Jeroboam, in the land of Samaria, north of Jerusalem. It is not Israel, but Judah — a mere three tribes broken off from Israel — which is left behind in Jerusalem.
The Ten Tribes were not broken off from Israel. Israel did not remain in Jerusalem. Instead, Judah was broken off from Israel.
Israel at War with the Jews
Notice it carefully! The house of Judah, now including the tribe of Benjamin under King Rehoboam of David's dynasty, was about to fight against the nation Israel — with its ten tribes headed by Ephraim and Manasseh. Now let us have scriptural proof that the ten-tribed people called Israel, often prophetically spoken of as Ephraim, are not Jews and never were Jews! Remember that the term "Jew" is merely a nickname for "Judah." Hence, it applies to the one nation, or house of Judah only — never to the house of Israel. From any exhaustive concordance you can learn that the first time in all the Bible that the word "Jew" occurs is in II Kings 16:6. Nowhere in all the Bible before this does the name "Jew" appear. Notice it! Ahaz began to reign as king of Judah (verse 1). He sat on David's throne (verse 2). At this time, a man named Pekah was king of Israel. King Pekah of Israel formed an alliance with Rezin, king of Syria, against Judah, and together the armies of Israel and Syria, allied, came up against Jerusalem. They besieged King Ahaz of Judah, but could not overcome him (verse 5). "At that time," says verse 6, "Rezin king of Syria [the ally of Israel, fighting with Israel against Judah] recovered Elath to Syria, and drove the Jews from Elath" (verse 6). The first place in the Bible where the word "Jew" is used, we find Israel at war against the Jews! Who drove the Jews out of Elath? The ally of King Pekah of Israel! The army fighting with Israel against Judah. And the children of Judah who resided in the town of Elath are called Jews in a manner which distinguished them from the house of Israel, with whom these Jews were at war! Observe the significance of that! The first place in Scripture where the name Jew appears, the Jews were at WAR against ISRAEL! They are of a different nation altogether. They are, individually, children of Israel. But they do not have that national title — house of Israel. It is wrong to call the Jews of today "Israel." They are not the nation Israel — they are Judah! And wherever Israel is today, remember that Israel as a national name does not mean JEW! Whoever the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel are today, they are not the Jews! Wherever you see the name "Israel," or "house of Israel," or "Samaria," or "Ephraim" used in prophecy, remember this: IT NEVER REFERS TO THE JEWS, but to Israel, which was at war against the Jews!
House of Israel Not Jews
No place in all the Bible does the term "Israel" refer to the Jews exclusively. When the sense is not national but individual, the term "Israel" alone, or "children of Israel," or "men of Israel" may, and sometimes does refer to or include the Jews. Such an expression, for instance, as "ye men of Israel," which frequently occurs in the New Testament, refers to Israelites as individuals in a collective sense, not a national sense. It usually refers to Jews as individual descendants of the patriarch Israel (Jacob). Moses may not, scripturally, be called a Jew. He was a Levite. Abraham was not a Jew. Neither was Isaac nor Jacob — nor Adam or Noah for that matter. The descendants of the patriarch Judah are racially Jews and also all who joined themselves nationally to the tribe of Judah — those of the tribes of Benjamin and Levi. Jews are Israelites, just as Californians are Americans. But most Israelites are not Jews, just as most Americans are not Californians. The Jews are the house of Judah only, A PART of the Israelites. But when these people are spoken of as nations, rather than as collective individuals, the term "Israel" never refers to the Jews. "House of Israel" never means "Jews." The three tribes at Jerusalem under the Davidic king are called, merely, the house of Judah. But of Ephraim and Manasseh, sons of Joseph, the dying Israel had said, "Let my name be named on them" (Gen. 48:16). And truly they now bear the name of Israel. From here on, the tribe of Judah, with Benjamin and the tribe of Levi, is called "JUDAH" — not ISRAEL. The ten tribes, headed by Ephraim and Manasseh, from this time on are called "Israel." They are not Jews and never were called Jews! From this time on, the children of Israel, twelve tribes in all, are divided into two nations! And now, for the first time, the birthright goes into one nation, Israel, headed by Ephraim-Manasseh, while the sceptre remains in another nation, called the "house of Judah." The two phases of the promises to Abraham now are divided between two entirely separate nations! For many generations Israel and Judah remained as separate nations, in adjoining territories, having their own separate kings. Why should ministers and professed Bible students be in ignorance of this, when four whole books of the Bible, I and II Kings and I and II Chronicles, are devoted to explaining it and recording the history of these separate, rival kingdoms? Look at the maps in the back of your Bible. There you will see the territory of each nation plainly shown.
Judah retained the city of Jerusalem, its capital, and the territory known as Judea. Israel occupied the territory north of Judea. Samaria became its capital city, and the house of Israel often is called "Samaria" in prophecy. This, too, is a vital "key" to understanding prophecy. "Samaria" never refers to the Jews in prophecy — but always the ten tribes, the house of Israel. We want to impress, here, that Israel and Judah are not two names for the same nation. They were, and still are, and shall be till the second coming of Christ, TWO SEPARATE NATIONS. The "house of Judah" always means "Jew." This distinction is vital, if we are to understand prophecy. Because most so-called Bible students are in ignorance of this basic distinction, they are unable to rightly understand prophecy! The next place where the term "Jew" is mentioned in the Bible, the house of Israel had been driven out into captivity, lost from view, and the term applies only to those of the house of Judah.
Israel Rejects God's Rule
Immediately on becoming king over the house of Israel, Jeroboam (tribe of Ephraim) set up two golden calves, introducing idol worship in the kingdom (I Kings 12:28-33). Jeroboam was afraid lest his subjects, in going once a year to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, should return to Rehoboam and he should lose his new throne. The introduction of idolatry was to prevent this and to keep the people home. This idolatry with Sabbath-breaking (Ezek. 20:10-24) was the great national sin which became such a curse to Israel. Generation after generation God pleaded with the house of Israel to turn from tradition — from their fathers' ways — and to return to keeping God's commandments. But through nine different dynasties under 19 kings, Israel continued these national sins — sins so great in God's sight that finally God caused them to become a conquered, captive nation. Now let us note a passage which has been consistently misinterpreted. In I Kings 14:15-16 we find: "The Eternal shall smite Israel [not Judah], as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them [not Judah] beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the Eternal to anger. And he shall give Israel [not Judah] up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin." This is dealing specifically with the result of Jeroboam's idol worship in Israel — in the northern ten-tribed kingdom which possessed the birthright promises. It is these people who were to be rooted up and scattered beyond the river. Not the Jews. Yet this passage is quoted by nearly all students of prophecy as pertaining to the scattered condition of the Jews today — the very people to whom it does not apply. This is one example of the fact that what we are here covering is a veritable KEY to an understanding of many long-hidden prophecies. Unless this is kept firmly in mind, prophecy can never be correctly understood. The people which this passage says shall be rooted up and scattered beyond the river never were called Jews. They were the people headed by Ephraim and Manasseh, possessors of the unconditional promises of becoming a great nation and a company of nations — becoming so numerous they would number into the hundreds of millions, possessing the gates of enemy nations, becoming a colonizing people, spreading out till their colonies spread around the globe. Yet many who come to see this distinction between Israel and Judah — between Jews and the other tribes — after having seen it as a great new light, will, by force of years of habit, fall right back into the old rut and apply texts referring to Israel to the Jews! The terms "house of Israel" or "all Israel," when the meaning is national, or the terms "Jacob," or "Rachel," or "Ephraim," or "house of Joseph," or "Samaria," often used in the Bible in prophecy, RELATE TO THE TEN-TRIBED BIRTHRIGHT PEOPLE, NOT TO THE JEWS. This is a KEY, and a master key, to Bible understanding!
Israel Driven Out and Lost
In the years 721-718 B.C., the house of Israel was conquered and its people were soon driven out of their own land — out of their homes and cities — and carried captives to Assyria, on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea! And then ... LOST FROM VIEW! "Therefore the Eternal was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only" (II Kings 17:18). The Eternal removed who? Israel! It is Israel which was removed and driven from the Eternal's sight until they became lost from view. Who was left? Judah ONLY — only the Jews! Israel was now gone! They became known as the LOST Ten Tribes and are so designated today.
Gentiles Replace the House of Israel
Now notice II Kings 17:22-23: "For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel [not Judah — not the Jews] carried away out of their own land to ASSYRIA unto this day [written about 620 B.C.]." Observe that the people who had the national title "Israel" and the birthright promises, who were not the Jews, were carried away out of their own land — Samaria. They left that land — never yet to return! Now note the following verse of this same passage: "And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed THEM in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof" (II Kings 17:24). It is these foreigners who were living in the land of Samaria in the time of Christ and who were called Samaritans in the Gospel records. It is well to keep that in mind. For the Samaritans of the New Testament were not in any sense a racial mixture with the Israelites. Only one individual — a priest — returned from among the captive Israelites to teach the newly planted Gentiles the corrupted religion of Israel (II Kings 17:27-28). These people from the land of Babylon, however, did not follow God, nor God's ways, nor His religion. The very next verse shows this: But "every nation [still] made gods of their own ..." (II Kings 17:29). The general state religion of the Assyrians and Babylonians was the Chaldean mystery religion. This was the religion of Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8) who believed Philip's miracles, appropriated the name "Christian," and started a new counterfeit "Christianity" after the apostle Peter rejected him as being bound in "iniquity" — i.e., "lawlessness." He took the name of Christ, rejected God's law, and added licentious false "grace" to the Babylonian mystery religion, calling it "Christianity." This false "Christianity" has deceived millions, down to this present evil generation! A more detailed account of the captivity of Israel is found in II Kings 18:9-12 and 17:5-18. The house of Israel began to "abide many days without a king" (Hosea 3:4). Since they were the people who carried the title "Israel," it is they, not Judah, who must become lost in identity!
Israel, Not Judah, Lost
The Scriptures plainly tell us that Israel was to lose its identity, its language, its religion, its land, and its name. In Deuteronomy 32:26, God had warned them through Moses: "I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would MAKE THE REMEMBRANCE OF THEM TO CEASE FROM AMONG MEN." That warning cannot be applied to the Jew! The remembrance of the Jews has not ceased. The remembrance of them could not cease unless their identity and name were lost. This applies to the LOST tribes, not to the Jews. Now notice Isaiah 8:17: "And I will wait upon the Lord, THAT HIDETH HIS FACE FROM THE HOUSE OF JACOB." Jacob's name was changed to Israel. In other words, this applies to the house of Israel — the ten-tribed kingdom — who were cut off from the presence of God. They consequently lost the knowledge of the true God, and the true religion. The Eternal would cease speaking to them in their own Hebrew tongue, but with "another tongue will he speak to this people" (Isa. 28:11). This cannot apply to the Jews, who still read their Bibles in the Hebrew tongue. Isaiah 62:2: "And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory [after Christ returns]: and thou shalt be called by a NEW NAME, which the mouth of the Lord shall name." While this prophecy refers directly to the future, after Christ's return, it has also been fulfilled, typically, foreshadowing that time, by the fact that Israel is known by a different name today. That cannot apply to the Jews. They were known then, and today, as Jews.
Israel Never Returned
The house of Israel did not return to Palestine with the Jews in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, as some erroneously believe. Those who returned to rebuild the Temple and restore worship in Jerusalem at that time, 70 years after Judah's captivity, were only those of the house of Judah whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried to Babylon. Note well these facts. 1) In 721-718 B.C. ISRAEL began to be "carried away out of their own land to Assyria" (II Kings 17:23). They were soon all removed — completely. "There was none left but the tribe of Judah only" (II Kings 17:18). JUDAH, only, remained. 2) More than 130 years later, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon carried the Jews — Judah — who only remained in Palestine away to Babylon. So none of the house of Israel dwelt in Palestine at the time of this captivity of Judah. 3) Those who returned to Palestine to rebuild the Temple and restore worship 70 years after Judah's captivity were ALL of the house of Judah — all JEWS — all of those whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away. They returned again "unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto his city" (Ezra 2:1). Only those of the tribe of Judah, together with remnants of Benjamin and Levi, who constituted the house of Judah, returned at that time. "Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites" (Ezra 1:5). There are, of course, those who reject this truth God has seen fit now, in our time, to reveal — and who falsely represent that ALL Israelites, including the ten-tribed house of Israel, returned to Jerusalem at the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. They will sift out instances where the word "Israel" is used in connection with individuals or people of the HOUSE OF JUDAH and misrepresent that they are the HOUSE OF ISRAEL. Let it be repeated for emphasis: Jews are Israelites — but only part of the Israelites are Jews. The term "Jew" is a nickname for the national name Judah. Jews are, truly, men of Israel — or people of Israel — but they are not of the NATION called the HOUSE OF ISRAEL, or KINGDOM OF ISRAEL. Those who refuse this truth turn to such a passage as this: "And the residue of Israel, of the priests, and the Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, every one in his inheritance" (Neh. 11:20). Because the word "Israel" is used, they will claim these are all twelve tribes. But it is specifically speaking of priests and Levites — and they are of the house of Judah, but not of the ten-tribed house of Israel. They were truly the "residue of Israel" — the "residue" of the twelve tribes; they were Israelites, but they were not of the nation called the house of Israel. They returned to their inheritance in the land of Judah. Nehemiah says plainly: "These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity [the captivity to Babylon — captivity of JUDAH, not the house of Israel], of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away ..." (Neh. 7:6). And none of the Ten Tribes had been left in Palestine after the Assyrian captivity more than 100 years before (II Kings 17:18). Ezra says: "And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication ..." (Ezra 6:16). These were people of the kingdom of Judah — not the kingdom of Israel — but they were "children of Israel." Names and genealogies are given in Ezra and Nehemiah of those who went back to Palestine from Babylon — and there was none from any of the Ten Tribes! Consequently those in Jerusalem at the time of Christ were of these three tribes, not of the house of Israel. And most, if not all, of those converted were of the tribe of Benjamin, as Paul said he was. The house of Israel became known as the LOST Ten Tribes! Now known by another name, speaking a different language! By what name are they known today? Whoever they are, wherever they are, it is they, and not the Jews, who are the birthright possessors. It is they, not the Jews, who, after the ending of their punishment in A.D. 1800-1803, must inherit the UNbreakable promises to Abraham of national greatness, resources, wealth and power. It is Manasseh who was to become the world's greatest single nation; Ephraim a great commonwealth of nations! Who can they be today?