Many believers are being exposed to a false teaching called “The Two-House Theology” and this article will touch on this error briefly. This theory states that the 10 tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel “lost” their identity and that most Christians today are descended from them. These two points are very basic and there are differences from group to group as to how all this applies, but that is the basic idea behind it. This theory is not biblical and it is full of errors.
First, it assumes that the northern tribes of Israel lost their identity, but the Scriptures and history say otherwise. The tribes were not “lost” and they are mentioned as being in the land at the time of Hezekiah and invited to his Passover (2 Chr 30.1). Josiah had a Passover and all of Israel and Judah were there and said there had never been a Passover like this one (2 Chr 35.18).
The author of the Book of Tobit (included in the 1611 King James Version of the Bible) said he was from Naphtali and the main character of the Book of Judith (also included in the 1611 King James Version) was from Simeon. The Book of James was written to the 12 Tribes of Israel who were dispersed, but certainly not lost. He knew where they were. Anna was from the tribe of Asher (Luke 2.36) and in Acts 2 there were Jews coming to Shavuot (Pentecost) from the lands that the supposed “lost tribes” were reported “lost.” The Septuagint was written by six scholars from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. There is more of this type of evidence but that should be enough to tell you that the concept of the “lost tribes” is a myth.
God’s plan has always included the salvation of the Gentiles. Salvation is for all nations, you don’t have to be a member of just one. The adherents to this theory also say that only when one realizes that they are descended from one of the lost tribes can the prophecies of the union between Judah and Israel be realized (Ezek 37.15-28). However, the Scriptures teach that this union will come about as a separate event apart from the salvation of the Gentiles.
Lastly, let’s say that a person who thought he was of a certain nationality comes to faith in Yeshua. Then he hears this theory and believes it. Now he thinks he is a member of a lost tribe of Israel. My question is, how can he prove it. There are no genealogies anymore. There is no way to prove he is from any particular tribe. There are tests that seem to indicate whether or not a person may be from Levi due to DNA, but not all twelve tribes. To prove you are Jewish can be done by DNA, but not from a particular tribe.
Now, it is possible for someone to grow up and think that he is German but later he finds out that he has Jewish ancestors and family names have changed and so on. That happens all the time but it would be hard to prove it conclusively. What a family name indicates may be something else, or maybe ancestors thought they were Jewish but an ancestor was adopted. The point is, you can’t prove you are from a lost tribe of Israel and just believing in Yeshua does not prove anything.
What this theory comes down to is just good ole’ replacement theology. The very ones who teach how the “church” is guilty of replacement theology turn around and do the same thing. The fact is, just because you believe a fairy tale doesn’t mean that you are a prince. It is like the story about the guy who asked how many legs a dog has. Another guy says four. Then the first guy says if you count the tail, now how many legs does the dog have. The answer is till four because you can’t call the tail a leg. It’s the same here.
This theory is similar to the British Israelite theory and the theology of the Mormons. Not all members of the ten tribes of Israel were dispersed, some stayed in the land. Many stayed in the Assyria/Babylon area after Ezra and Nehemiah and the largest Jewish population was in Babylon in the first century. Members of all 12 tribes were represented there and they came to Jerusalem for the feasts while the Temple stood. They participated in scholarly works (Septuagint) and their whereabouts were known, not lost. Even James wrote to them (James 1.1).
Finally, when all else is said and done, they have never been “lost” to God and we see this most vividly in Rev 7.4-8 where the Lord selects twelve thousand males from each of the twelve tribes of Israel to be his messengers. He knows how to preserve his people and all the literary and theological hocus pocus in the world can’t turn Gentiles into members of some lost tribe. People want to feel connected to Israel and all the history so this theory attracts many, but we should follow the truth no matter where it leads rather than follow myths and legends. Discernment is what is needed at this hour and it seems that this manifestation of the Spirit is sorely lacking with many in these last days.
In short, here is what the reality of all this is. When Israel came out of Egypt in the First Redemption, called the Egyptian Redemption, there were three groups. There was Judah, Israel and the mixed multitude. The mixed multitude were non-Jews who attached themselves to the God of Israel but were not Jews.
In Isa 11.10, God will again recover for the second time (the Second, or Messianic Redemption) the remnant of his people from the nations of the world. Isa 11.12 goes on to say that he will lift up a standard for the nations (the mixed multitude, like when they came out of Egypt in the First Redemption). He will also “assemble the banished ones of Israel” or the northern tribes, and he will “gather the dispersed of Judah” (the southern tribes). So, again, we have the same three groups in the Second Redemption that we had in the First Redemption; Judah, Israel and the mixed multitude of non-Jews. The Lord is alluding to in these passages in what happened in the First, or Egyptian, Redemption.
Now, there are many descendants of Israel among the nations today. The Tanak is full of passages about it being that way, and how the Lord will regather them. But we don’t believe that every non-Jew who is observing Shabbat and has a desire to understand and follow the Torah is a descendant of the northern or the southern tribes. This is because we have the three groups, and one is the non-Jewish, mixed multitude, who have joined themselves to the Lord and have a desire to follow the Torah as it applies.
We need to remember there were three groups that came out of Egypt in the First, or Egyptian, Redemption, and there will be the same three groups in the Second, or Messianic, Redemption. The bottom line is, it doesn’t really matter anyway. What does matter is no matter what group you are in, you are saved by grace, through faith, and that you follow the Torah as it applies to you.