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By the Will of HaShem circa 3038 HH (722 BCE) the Northern Kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians. This ancient tragedy set the stage for many 'replacement theologies' including British Israelism and the Book of Mormon's contention that certain Native American nations are survivors of the Ten Lost Houses of Israel. This is the topic of this study.
The Ten Northern Tribes or Houses of Israel were exiled from Eretz Israel (i.e. the Land of Israel) by the Assyrians and became known as the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. What happened to them? This is one of history's greatest mysteries!
Despite all the speculation and imagination the most likely answer is that most of these Israelites were worked to death by the Assyrians under king Sargon II. Some doubtless intermarried and assimilated, thus abandoning their ethnic and spiritual lineage. Others probably escaped to the south, merged with the House Judah and entered Babylonian exile, forgetting their tribal identities. Whatever became of them, today these people remain 'lost' to Klal Israel (i.e. the Jewish people).
Two House Theology:
Note how this is worded: "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).
This heresy notes that this text does not say HaShem had them 'destroyed', only that they were 'moved them out of His sight'. In part relying on this non-specific wording the various versions of Two House Theology and British Israelism proclaim their Caucasian Christian sect to be the Ten Lost Houses revealed 'in these later days'.
Note that the Ten Houses are often referred to collectively as "Ephraim" in Scripture. From this we have the Twelve Houses of Israel defined as Two Houses: Judah (with Benjamin) and Ephraim (as the other ten). The is the origin of the term "Two House."
Those of Ephraim who survived Assyria are sometimes said to have gone to 'another land': to 'Artzaret' -- based on the book of Second Ezra (11:39-46). These Christians maintain that their ancestors traveled from Israel to Europe and became the main people groups there (and perhaps certain Native American peoples such as the Cherokee Nation according to Mormonism). There are many evidences against this, including that the While Europeans are mainly Caucasian descendants of Noah's son Japheth rather than Semitic descendents of Shem (the Ashkenazim aside). People Israel arose from Shem as I discuss in some detail elsewhere.
According to this Christian sect the research of Garner Ted Armstrong (February 9, 1930 – September 15, 2003) affirms that these Europeans (especially those of the British Isles) have been restored (or 'reconstructed') and anointed as the 'true People Israel', replacing the Jews (Judah and Benjamin) as the Elect because they, unlike Judah (Jews), 'accept Jesus'. In addition to the essential errors of this belief system, this can not be accurate for textual reasons. Among these: notice that of the Ten Houses we read: "And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also" Jeremiah 3:8.
Ephraim (the Ten Houses) remains divorced by God!
Again we note that the text does not say Ephraim ceased to exist nor that she was destroyed completely. We have an important key here that makes it clear that these Two House doctrines are false. The text says they were 'divorced for spiritual adultery.' Where has divine pronouncement ever been revoked?
Spiritual promiscuity eventually led to the fall of Judah as well, however unlike the Ten Houses, Judah was never 'divorced' by HaShem; they were merely chastised with enslavement in Babylon: ...there was none left but the tribe of Judah only" (II Kings 17:18). Judah was restored to the Land by HaShem under Cyrus the Great as both the Bible and secular history affirm.
This experience was a culling of the people by HaShem. It demonstrated the importance of loyalty and obedience to His Torah and established that HaShem is sovereign in the affairs of humanity. He builds up or removes governments as He desires (Daniel 4:17). HaShem chose in favor of Judah and secured their continued existence as His Elect. From then on the Covenant and Promise passed only through Judah and Benjamin. Those of the divorced Ten Houses, even if they were identified through the Genome Project etc. would have no place within the 'Marriage Bed' of HaShem until and unless their 'divorcement' is annulled and the the Covenant is restored to them.
And this will happen one day! We are are assured that HaShem will not forget the people of the Ten Houses forever. This biblical truth emboldens the Two House advocates to place themselves within the prophecy, claiming themselves to be restored Ephraim. However even the New Testament is clear (at Revelation chapter 11) that Ephraim will remain 'lost' and 'divorced' until they are restored by the reigning King Messiah. It is abundantly obvious that the earthly Kingship of Messiah (whoever he may eventually be) has not yet begun. Once Messiah is ruling the Ten Houses will be restored under the authority of Judah (and 'the Lion of the House of Judah' -- Genesis 49:9). Only then will Israel be restored to Twelve Houses and be unified under the rule of Melech HaMoshiach ben David (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 3:6-18; Hosea 1-3; Amos 9:8-10; Obadiah 15-21; Micah 2:12-13; 5:3-15; Zechariah 8:13; 9, 10; Ezekiel 34-37). Indeed this is one of the coming Messiah's main prophetic tasks and one of the acts by which he will be recognized as the Messiah when he comes -- may it be soon and in our lifetime!.
Ephraim's eventual restoration does seem to imply their continued existence somewhere however to say they are the Cherokee or British Gentiles strains credulity to the breaking point and is without any basis in Torah. It is merely another attempt of the Enemy to supplant the Jewish people and the Covenant of HaShem.
HaShem has chosen from among His people. Until the coming of Messiah and his taking up the mantle of King of Israel, the Jews (the House of Judah and Benjamin and those who take shelter under their branches) are the totality of People Israel. Those who wish to work with them in preparing the world for the coming of Messiah may do so as Noahidim. Then the House of HaShem will truly be a House of Prayer for all people (Isaiah 56:7).