Q. Your article on the 144,000, or the 12 tribes of Israel, was insightful. You address the facts that Dan is not mentioned among the 12 tribes of Revelation and that Joseph was divided into two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh, but only Joseph and Manasseh are mentioned in the passages.
So far, so good. But, then, you conjecture that,
“So it makes sense to view the 144,000 of Rev. 7 just as they’re described…Messianic JEWS (my emphasis) called by the Lord to witness to the world after the church is gone.”
No, Jack, it does not make sense. The JEWS are from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and half of the Levites only. The JEWS stayed in and around Jerusalem (the Southern Kingdom – called JUDAH) after the tribes split under Rehoboam and then were conquered by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians in 586 BC. The other 10 tribes, under Jeroboam, formed the Northern Kingdom (called ISRAEL) and was conquered and dispersed in 722 BC by the Assyrians. After 70 years of captivity, JUDAH (the Jews) were released under Cyrus and went back to Jerusalem. These are the Jews of today. The other ten tribes are still dispersed throughout the world and don’t know who they are.
So, while all JEWS are Hebrews, not all HEBREWS (12 tribes) are Jews. So, by saying that the 144,000 are all JEWS is ridiculous and shows a great lack of historical knowledge in the Bible.
I know I’ve emailed you about this before. Why don’t you take note? Don’t you believe me? I didn’t make up the history contained in the OT. Look it up for yourselves (2 Chronicles and 1 Kings are good places to start for the history of the 12 tribes).
A. Sorry, but I disagree strongly. Read what 2 Chronicles 11:16-17 says about the time after King Solomon’s death, long before the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom. (Underlining is mine)
“Those from every tribe of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the LORD, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to the LORD, the God of their fathers. They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam son of Solomon three years, walking in the ways of David and Solomon during this time.”
When the kingdom was divided the faithful from all 12 tribes took up residence in the south. Josephus wrote that the city of Jerusalem greatly increased in size at that time. The Assyrians conquered the land of the 10 northern tribes and took the unfaithful who lived there captive, but God has always preserved a faithful remnant of Israel. (1 Kings 19:18)
After Babylon those who returned came back to the land of the southern Kingdom from which they had been taken, and that’s why it was called Judah, not because only the southern tribes lived there.
Today all 12 tribes are represented in Israel, just as they were in the past, and the fact that God will take 144,000 people from 12 tribes that He specifically called by name indicates to me that they’re all Jews. You may prefer that I call them Hebrews but for most of the world the terms are synonymous.
The notion of 10 lost tribes is one of the many myths surrounding Israel that simply can’t be supported Biblically. It began as an attempt to support the divine right of rule for the British monarchy and continues among those who believe that even though God gave the land to Israel forever, most of the Jews living there today aren’t the people He gave it to.