Have you heard of the Lost Tribes of Israel? According to history, even Jewish history, ten of the twelve tribes of Israel were lost in 722 BC when Assyria invaded Israel, conquering the northern kingdom. At best, the people from these twelve tribes were assimilated into the population. Yet the Bible assures us they are not lost.

Most Biblical evidence demonstrating these tribes aren’t lost comes from the New Testament. Therefore, I could understand that those who practice Judaism wouldn’t believe New Testament claims about the twelve tribes. However, Ezekiel 48, in the Old Testament, deals with the Millennial Reign of Christ, as we who practice Christianity understand.

These are the tribes, listed by name: At the northern frontier, Dan will have one portion; it will follow the Hethlon road to Lebo Hamath; Hazar Enan and the northern border of Damascus next to Hamath will be part of its border from the east side to the west side.

Ezekiel 48:1 (NIV)

The next 28 verses deal with the distribution of land for Israel among the twelve tribes. Again, someone practicing Judaism wouldn’t acknowledge the Millennial Reign of Christ, but how might Ezekiel 48 or even Ezekiel 37-48 be explained because these events have not yet occurred. The temple, as described in these latter chapters of Ezekiel, hasn’t been built yet, so the fact that Ezekiel prophecies about the twelve tribes should be enough to demonstrate that they are not lost.

In the New Testament are records of descendants from at least two tribes surviving. In Luke 1:5, we are told that Zechariah, Elisabeth, and John the Baptist are from the tribe of Levi. We read in Luke 2:36 that Anna the prophetess is from the tribe of Asher. Jesus, when addressing the disciple’s dispute over who was the greatest, tells the disciples they will judge the “twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:30 NIV). James 1:1 addresses “the twelve tribes scattered among the nations,” Finally, in Revelation 7:4-8, there are 144,000 people from the twelve tribes of Israel.

Something else that stands out to me about the lost tribes is these verses from Deuteronomy.

Then the Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods—gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your ancestors have known.

Deuteronomy 28:64 (NIV)

This verse is part of the curses for disobedience that starts in verse 15 and covers the invasion of Assyria and Babylon.

Then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back.

Deuteronomy 30:3-4 (NIV)

These verses promise that God will bring the Israelites back after they turn back to God with all of their hearts. While I can understand the world thinking the tribes are lost, I’m not sure why people who practice Judaism would also think this. Even if they don’t believe that Jesus is the Christ, that doesn’t invalidate the promises of God in Deuteronomy or elsewhere in the Old Testament.

My takeaway from this is that the promises of God will never fail. Like it says in Luke.

“For no word from God will ever fail.”

Luke 1:37 (NIV)