The Bible Story of Israel
Its later history from the time of Solomon
Following is an overview of the Bible story of Israel from the time of King Solomon. You may also select the highlighted words to read additional evidence in over thirty research articles supporting the major points made. Numbered footnotes are referenced at the end. This is an excellent summary of later Bible history concerning Israel. Enjoy!
Following the death of King Solomon, the chosen covenant people of Israel were divided into two separate houses or kingdoms, which never reunited, as evidenced by the widely varying prophecies given to each. These were the two-tribe kingdom of the House of Judah (comprising the tribes of Judah and Benjamin), and the ten-tribe kingdom of the House of Israel. The break occurred during the reign of King Solomon's successor, King Rehoboam, about 926 B.C. (1)
During the two centuries after the division of the kingdom, the House of Israel strayed from obedience to the Word of God into pagan religious customs and practices. (2) To God, this represented Spiritual adultery (3), so he gave Israel a bill of divorce and sent her away, in accordance with Biblical precept and custom. Just as a Hebrew husband effected a divorce by physically sending his unfaithful wife out of the home (4), so God sent the ten tribes of Israel away out of their home-land of Palestine to Assyria. (5) At least six million Israelites disappeared to recorded history, and must be found somewhere today, because God promised that they would not die in dispersion, nor cease as a people.
In contrast, the House of Judah, although punished for their sins, was never divorced by God (6), and returned to Palestine after a separate 70 year Babylonian captivity. (7) The House of Judah has a different history, and a separate set of promises than the House of Israel. From Judah, the present-day followers of Judaism trace their origin. See Israel's Tribes Today by Steven M. Collins for details on the fulfillment of prophecies to the two houses of Israel and Judah.
Some critics claim that the two houses were rejoined through a small representative return to Palestine by ten-tribe Israelites during the pre-Christian era. But in Bible prophecy, the House of Israel and the House of Judah were to be reunited only at the end if the present age, at about the time of the last great battle and the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom, as we see in Ezekiel's parable of the joining of the Two Sticks. (8) The Bible specifically indicates that this reuniting of Israel was to occur only after they turned in faith to their Messiah. (9) That turning to faith in Christ could not have been fulfilled before the Messiah was manifested to the world (10), so this reunion could not have taken place in pre-Christian centuries. Furthermore, this turning to faith in Christ also requires the full conversion of Judah to Christ. Until that full conversion, there will be no full reunion, and the "lost" House of Israel must still exist as a separate people. But where?
The House of Israel was taken to at least three different locales in the Assyrian (later, Medo-Persian) Empire. In the far northern region of Mesopotamia, they were settled in the cities of Halah and Habor (11), and near the city of Nineveh.(12) In central Mesopotamia, they settled near the shores of the Caspian Sea in the province of Media.(13) In southern Mesopotamia, they settled in the region of Elam or Susiana on the shores of the Persian Gulf. The capital city of this latter region was Susa (Biblical Sushan), where Queen Esther and some of the other Hebrew exiles lived.(14) The spoken language of Medo-Persia was inflective (today called Indo-European), and the Hebrew captives would have learned this new language (15), tinged with traces of Semitic, before migrating in the early pre-Christian centuries north and then west out of Assyria and Medo-Persia into Europe. Although there is a question of origin concerning the Anglo-Saxon tribes, scholars believe that the Indo-European languages originated in Medo-Persia or Central Asia. The only people lost to history in those regions were the ten tribes of the House of Israel! This same people have fulfilled many Bible prophecies concerning Israel in the latter days.
Even before the Assyrian armies came to conquer and disperse the House of Israel, many of God's people migrated by land and sea westwards throughout the seacoasts of Europe. In early times, while Moses led most of the tribes of Israel by land out of Egypt, the tribe of Dan migrated by sea in another exodus from Egypt to Greece to become known as the "Danaan." These sea migrations continued into later years. Beyond their very evident colonizing spirit was a practical concern. The approaching threat of the brutal, enslaving Assyrian army would have been enough to cause a great many of them to flee safely away out of harms reach, westwards beyond the realm of Assyrian power and influence. In evidence of that, scholars examining the rituals and customs of the ancient Semitic and European peoples have found a Hebrew-Celtic connection. Hebrew scholars, such as Dr. Moses Margoliouth, have commented on evidences of ancient Israel in Spain and Britain. In fact, Norse, Greek, and Celtic mythology all bear a striking resemblance to the religion and customs of Israel in the Old Testament.
If the modern descendants of the House of Israel are found in Europe and North America, is there a language connection between Hebrew and English? Many reputable scholars have clearly shown examples of such a language link for centuries, including leading experts today. Israel's name in the Assyrian dialect, Khumri, is still found today in Western Europe as Cymry, and it is even pronounced the same. But are we not called Gentiles? The Hebrew word, goy, and the Greek word, ethnos, should more correctly be translated, "nations," instead of "gentiles," since Bible verses translated from these words sometimes clearly refer to Israelites. In fact, Bible prophecy in both the Old and New Testaments tells us that the House of Israel's ten tribes were to grow to become a fullness of nations, which we believe to have been fulfilled in the nations of Europe, America, and the British Commonwealth.
With this understanding, it now becomes apparent that many of God's Israel did not reject Christ in this age, since the descendants of the House of Israel have long been known as "Christendom," a term meaning Christ's kingdom or the Kingdom of God on earth. This wonderfully coincides with the prophets' assurances that the chosen nation would accept, follow, and serve their Messiah, carrying the word of the Lord to the end of the earth. (16) As a result, Christianity has a wonderful and historic Hebrew foundation.
What are the benefits of knowing these facts? Issues of the Bible and health, the Sabbath, the New Covenant, and the present reality of the Kingdom of God all hinge upon a proper understanding of the people of the Covenant, Israel. The use of Bible law principles in our national life becomes apparent because Israel was to implement the Divine precepts and teach them to the nations. Our responsibility as the Covenant People includes being a Servant Nation (17) in service to God and taking benign, lawful dominion (18) in the world. Finally, and most importantly, we understand why God had to come in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, dying for our sins, and remarrying Israel. In the Marriage Supper, Israel atones for her past sin of following heathen gods, by remarrying God in Christ through true, faithful, and abiding belief in Him. May we all live up to our Divine obligations!
As God's Servants and Witnesses (19), Israel has an obligation to carry the gospel, or good news of salvation, to all the earth. Israel does not exist in a vacuum, nor is God unconcerned with the rest of His creation. Central to the Abrahamic Covenant was that all the world should be blessed. Israel and her distinctive covenantal promises are a microcosm of what God will eventually accomplish with the whole world, when "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (20) May we all have a part in carrying the good news of His promises throughout the whole earth! -J.S. Brooks
FOOTNOTES: 1. 1 Kings 12:1-25 2. 1 Kings 12:26-33; Jer. 3:2 3. Isa. 50:1, Jer. 3:6-9: 1Chron. 5:25 4. Deut. 24:1-2 5. 2 Kings 17:23; 1 Chron. 5:26 6. Hos.1:6-7 7. Ezra 1:5; 5:12-15; Jer. 25:11-12 8. Ezekiel 37:15-28 9. Jer.3:14-17; Hos. 2:7,16-20,23 10. Heb.9:26; 1Jn.3:5; Jn.17:6 11. 2 Kings 17:6 12. Tobit 1:11 13. 2 Kings 18:11 14. Esther 1:2 15. Isa. 28:11, Isa. 62:2 16. Isa. 49:6 17. Isa. 41:8; 42:1; 43:10; 44:21; Lk. 1:54 18. Num. 24:19; Gen. 1:26-28 19. Isa. 43:20; 44:8; Acts 1:8 20. Isaiah 11:9; cf. Habakkuk 2:14