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 to the throne. Solomon taxed the people excessively, reigned in a gorgeous splendor probably never equaled before or since. And because he also married Gentile wives, sacrificed to their idols, and committed other sins God said, "I will surely rend the Kingdom from thee, and give it to thy servant... Howbeit, I will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake." (I Kings 11:11-13).
ISRAEL Separates from David's Throne
Note it! It is THE KINGDOM, not part of it, which is to be rended away. It is the PART, one tribe, which is to remain. That tribe, Judah, must remain subject to the throne — why? "FOR DAVID'S SAKE!" David's dynasty must not be broken. God will not break His covenant! When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam succeeded to David's throne. The people at once demanded the heavy taxes be reduced. Their spokesman, Jeroboam, (Solomon's servant,) pleaded with Rehoboam: "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 12:1-5). "My father," came Rehoboam's reply "chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions." (verses 6-14) Israel rebelled. The command to the people was, "To your tents, O Israel!" The challenge to the royal house was, "Now, see to thine own house!" (verse 16). "So Israel rebelled against the House of David unto this day. 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 started 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
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 other ten tribes, headed by Ephraim and Manasseh. DIFFERENT AND SEPARATE NATIONS. The term "Jew" is merely a nickname for "Judah" It applies to the one nation, or House of Judah ONLY — never to the House of ISRAEL. The first place in all the Bible where the word "JEW" is used is in II Kings 16:6. 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. With King Rezin of Syria as an ally, this king of Israel came against Jerusalem in war, and besieged King Ahaz of Judah, but could not overcome him (verse 5). "At that time, 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). NOTE IT! The first place in the Bible where the word "JEW" is used, we find ISRAEL at war against THE JEWS! Israel's ally, Syria, drove THE JEWS out of the town of Elath! Certainly this proves that the JEWS are a different nation altogether than ISRAEL. It is WRONG to call the Jews of today "Israel." They are not Israel, — they are JUDAH! And wherever ISRAEL is today, remember that ISRAEL does not mean JEW! Whoever the lost ten tribes of ISRAEL are today, they are not 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, who was at WAR against the Jews! No place in all the Bible does the term "ISRAEL'" refer to the JEWS. The term "Israel" alone, or "children of Israel," may, and sometimes does, include the Jews, where all twelve tribes are included. Jews are Israelites, just as Oregonians are Americans. But MOST Israelites, are not Jews, just as most Americans are not Oregonians. 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 two 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." And truly they now BEAR the name of ISRAEL. It is the TEN tribes that are called "ISRAEL." From here on, the tribe of Judah, with Benjamin and a portion of the priests of the tribe of Levi, are 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 separated into 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, 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 of prophecy. "Samaria" never refers to the Jews in prophecy — but always the TEN tribes, the House of ISRAEL.
House of Israel NOT Jews
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 rightly to understand prophecy! The next place where the term "Jew" is mentioned in the Bible, the House of Israel had been driven out in captivity, lost from view, and the term applies ONLY to those of the House of JUDAH. There are NO exceptions in the Bible!
ISRAEL Driven Out and LOST!
Immediately on becoming king over the House of Israel, Jeroboam (tribe of Ephraim) set up two golden calves, introducing idol worship in the kingdom. The account is found in I Kings 12:28-33. 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 seven 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. And in the year 721 B. C., the House of Israel finally were 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! "Therefore the Lord 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). In Leviticus 26 we find God's solemn warning to all the children of Israel. IF they would worship Him alone, avoiding idolatry, and keep His Sabbath, walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, they would inherit the national material promises to Abraham. They would become great, rich, and powerful, — the dominant nation of all earth. But, if they refused and rebelled, they were to be punished SEVEN TIMES — a duration of 2520 years — in slavery, servitude, and want. The House of Israel now entered — 721 B. C. — (remember this date) — upon their 2520 long years of national banishment to last until 1800 A. D.! And BECAUSE the House of Israel lost their identifying SIGN — the Sabbath — the sign which identified them as ISRAEL — they utterly LOST THEIR IDENTITY! They lost knowledge even of their national name. They came to be considered GENTILES! In Exodus 31:12-17 it is recorded that God made the Sabbath the covenant SIGN between Him and Israel. A sign identifies. At creation God rested on, blessed, made holy, and set apart for man the one day for man's rest and worship which could keep him always in the true worship of the true God — the day that pointed back to CREATION. Creation is the PROOF of God. It identifies Him as the true God. It was intended to keep man in the true knowledge of the true God. When Israel threw aside God's Sabbath, Israel soon threw aside God Himself, and went into idolatry. The Sabbath identified Israel as God's own people because all other nations long since had departed from its observance and gone into idolatry. Israel was the only nation which kept it. Because they rejected this SIGN, they were driven out, and lost their identity. (Read Ezek. 20:10-24.) Judah, too, went into captivity largely because of Sabbath-rejecting. (See Jer. 17.) But those Jews who returned 70 years later under Ezra and Nehemiah had learned their lesson. They became legalistically-strict Sabbatarians — adding so many of their own restrictions to it that Jesus had to sweep aside this maze of man-made rules, saying "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." To this day orthodox Jews have retained the original Sabbath. And BECAUSE those Jewish people who descend from the Ezra-Nehemia leadership have retained God's covnant identifying SIGN, the world today looks upon them as ISRAEL! And yet they actually are only a part of JUDAH! Those of the captivity who did not return under Ezra and Nehemia lost their identity, too, though the world does not realize it. So "the Lord removed Israel out of His sight... So Israel was carried away out of their own land to Assyria" (II Kings 17:23). They LEFT the land of Samaria. never yet to return! Gentiles were placed in their homes and cities, (v. 24), and it is these Gentiles who were known as Samaritans in the time of Christ. A more detailed account of the captivity of Israel is found in II Kings 18:9-12, and 17:5-18. Now the House of Israel began to "abide many days without a king," (Hos. 3:4). Since THEY were the people who carried the title "Israel," it is THEY, not Judah, who must become LOST in identity! Now they must lose their language, their religion, their land. (Isa. 8:17; Isa. 28:11; Isa. 62:2; Isa. 40:27; Hos. 2:5-6; Jer. 16: 13; Hos. 1:8-10)
ISRAEL Never Returned
They 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 B. C. ISRAEL was "carried away out of their own land to Assyria." (II Kings 17:23). They were 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 of the 12 tribes, 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 tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi, who constituted the House of JUDAH returned at that time (Ezra 1:5). Consequently those in Jerusalem in 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 1800 A. D., must inherit the UNbreakable promises to Abraham of national greatness, resources, wealth and power. It is MANASSEH who, after 1800 A. D. was to become the world's greatest single nation — Ephraim a still greater COMMONWEALTH of nations! Who can they be, today? In the next issue we shall conclude this amazing story bringing to light the strangest mission ever given a man to preform — the mysterious, secret mission of the prophet Jeremiah, so little understood. We shall identify the "lost Ten Tribes" of ISRAEL, and establish, beyond refute, the astounding and true identity of the "lost" HOUSE OF ISRAEL today!