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Deepen Your Roots: Origins of the Lost Tribes

by Rabbi Jack Zimmerman
July 09, 2021

Some years ago, I was sitting next to a gentleman on a plane who saw a Bible in my lap. He noted that every group has their holy book and asked me what made my Bible different from all the others.

Smiling, I turned to him and said, “Easy. My book is the only one about a God who makes promises and always keeps them.”
And the story of the “Lost Tribes of Israel” is a perfect example of God’s promises kept.

First, let’s clear the air. 

On the one hand, the tribes are not literally “lost.” God knows quite well where they are.

On the other hand, a nearly 3,000-year history of captivity, assimilation and persecution has caused us to lose track of them.

Sometime around 930 B.C., Israel was divided into two kingdoms: the Northern Kingdom comprised 10 of the tribes, and the Southern Kingdom the remaining 2 (Judah and Benjamin).

Then in 722 B.C., the Assyrian army invaded the Northern Kingdom of Israel. While many Israelites fled the siege by escaping to the Southern Kingdom, others who were part of the 10 tribes were less fortunate. The Bible tells us in 2 Kings 18:11:  

The king of Assyria deported Israel to Assyria and placed them in Halah and Habor on the Gozan River, and in the towns of the Medes. 
— 2 Kings 18:11

Those who managed to escape captivity went south toward Egypt and east into Asia. As Jews, they retained their practices, rituals and traditions, but not as they had before. This is because renewed persecution came in the new countries and communities in which they settled. This too was promised in the Scriptures:   

Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!”— because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see.
— Deuteronomy 28:65-67

Before long, many from these 10 Northern Tribes saw no recourse but to hide their Jewish identity and practice their faith in secret. Up to the present time, they not only still suffer persecution, but many live in abject poverty, face discrimination, and saddest of all, have no access to the Good News of Jesus

And that’s where you and Jewish Voice Ministries come in. 

Today, you’ll find these Jewish tribes in areas where you’d least expect — Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and India, to name a few. That’s where they’ve gone, so that’s where we go – taking with us the message of their Messiah Jesus. We share this message through whatever means necessary; including Outreaches to care for their specific physical needs, distributing Bibles and LifeStraws where needed, and letting these precious people know that they have not been forgotten. It is you who have and continue to make this possible. What a blessing to play such an integral part in God’s End-Time prophetic plan of salvation!   

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