Brief History: Judah was one of the twelve sons of the patriarch Jacob. His tribe eventually became one of the more important tribes of the twelve for it became the tribe of Kings (Genesis 49:10; Psalm 60:7; 108:8) of which David, Solomon, and even Yeshua (Jesus) came. After King Solomon’s reign, the United Kingdom of Israel was divided into two kingdoms, sometimes called Israel (Joseph/Ephraim) and Judah respectively. The Southern Israelite Kingdom of Judah did not consist of only the tribe of Judah, but also remnants of Benjamin and likely the bulk of Levi (2 Chronicles 11:14). It is from this Kingdom (not the single tribe) that the Jews predominantly descend.
See History and Timeline of Israel and Judah for more detail.
The 10 Proofs:
- The first century historian Flavius Josephus records the ten tribes of Israel as an “immense multitude” remaining “beyond the Euphrates River” (Antiquities of the Jews – Book XI Ch. 5), while “the Jews”, the two tribes in the Land of Israel still, were “controlled by the Romans”. The House of Judah (Jew-dah) was the group who historically returned from Babylonia, from their Babylonian Captivity.
- In Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 110b, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Eliezer (c.117-138 C.E.), disagreed about the eventual return of 10-Israel, indicating “the Jews” of the 2nd Century C.E. were not representative of all twelve tribes, but instead, they represented the Kingdom of Judah primarily/predominantly.
- Many contemporary rabbis and Talmudic scholars have indicated the Jews predominantly represent a descendant population of the ancient Kingdom of Judah.“The captives of Israel exiled beyond the Euphrates did not return as a whole to Palestine along with their brethren the captives of Judah; at least there is no mention made of this event in the documents at our disposal… In fact, the return of the ten tribes was one of the great promises of the Prophets, and the advent of the Messiah is therefore necessarily identified with the epoch of their redemption.” -D.A. Neubauer [Ref. Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. I -1888, p. 15,17] Rabbi Rafael Eisenberg believed the majority opinion of the ancient Sages was this: …the Ten Tribes which disappeared in Assyria shall return. Their decision is quoted in the Tosefta, … “As it is this day” is explained as meaning that “if their deeds remain as they were this day, they will not return. On the other hand, if they are not—that is, if they have repented for and corrected their actions—they will return.” (see the article: Will the Lost Tribes Return? An Analysis of the Lost Tribes in Rabbinic Literature)
- The modern “Jewish” nation of Israel traces its history back to the Babylonian Captivity of JEW-dah! The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the following: “The exile to Babylonia, which followed the destruction of the First Temple (586 BCE), marked the beginning of the Jewish Diaspora.” (also see the MFA timeline) WAIT! Did you catch that? The Israeli Jews call Babylon their “FIRST EXILE”. But HOLD ON! The First Israelite Exile happened more than a hundred years earlier with the Assyrian Captivity! What is amiss here? Jewish scholars simply know the Assyrian Captivity was NOT a Jewish captivity, but it was the captivity of the ancient Northern Kingdom, who were Hebrew, but they were NOT “Jewish”. Consider also another official Israeli government “Jewish History” timeline here: Jewish Agency for Israel (Aliyah.org). Israeli officials are NOT hiding the two-house REALITY. They simply are not volunteering all the pieces to the puzzle. Yet, it is primarily “One-Houser” Messianic Jewish teachers who cannot stomach it for their own theological tReasons. The biblical record plainly displays the two-house reality in history and in End-Time/future events. But the loyalty of some teachers is not founded on reality. It is founded on their own theological doctrinal paradigm which must turn a blind-eye to the biblical and historical record of Israel and Judah (which happens to be a massively important reality within Last-Day prophesies).
- ‘On Friday, May 14, 1948, in Tel Aviv, the Jews were poised to declare their new nation at 6:00 p.m., Washington time. Truman and Clifford expected the new state to be called “Judea.”’ – Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989 by Michael Beschloss Why did President Truman and his White House counsel, Clark Clifford, think the Jewish nation would be named “Judea”? They simply knew that most modern Jews predominantly trace their traditional lineage back to Benjamin, Judah, or Levi (the tribes of the Southern Kingdom of Judah), not to the House of Joseph (10-Israel). The nation was called “Judea” by the Babylonians, by the Romans, and by many other ancient empires. Why would their be any anticipation for the name “Israel” to be used when the Jewish state would be more properly and fittingly represents ancient JEW-dea? If nothing else, the misnaming effectively hid 10-Israel’s existence, especially to the mainstream Christian Church.
- It is traditionally believed the ancient tribe of Judah would always go into battle before the other tribes (see Judges 1:1-2; 20:18). And interestingly, the Jews of Judah began returning to the Land of Israel first (early last century) and the entire world knows it has been nothing but a battle for Judah ever since, even before 1948 and the numerous Arab-Israeli Wars that followed. In truth, the Israeli Jews are a “Lion” the whole Middle East is fearful to go to war with, especially now (even after the occasional liberal-leader weakens the Jewish nation in the eyes of Muslim extremists like Hezbollah and Hamas in the recent 2006 Lebanon War).
- Ancient Jewish tradition forbids all Jews from speaking the Divine Name of the Creator and the Prophet Jeremiah (sent to the Kingdom of Judah before her captivity to Babylon) foretold the Divine Name would be removed from Judah’s lips. See Jeremiah 44:26 where it says, “Therefore hear the word of , all Judah who are dwelling in the land of Mitsrayim, ‘See, I have sworn by My great Name,’ declares , ‘My Name shall no longer be called upon by the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Mitsrayim, saying, “As the Master lives…”
- The Prophets Ezra and Nehemiah succinctly numbered the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi as those who returned from the Babylonian Captivity. The other tribes were not mentioned (read Ezra and Nehemiah for yourself). Even so, some Israelites likely returned later from the Assyrian Captivity or were apart of the residual population that escaped captivity, such as the Asherite prophetess of Luke 2:36. However, many other factors indicate NO LARGE representation ever returned. Remnants undoubtedly did, but that does not implicate 10-Israel having had returned in any prophetic/historical significance.
- The people commonly known as “the Jews” never became a “multitude of nations”, but Ephraim of the Northern Kingdom was promised to become so (Genesis 48:19). Judah was primarily promised the “scepter” and “Kings” (Genesis 49:10). Ultimately it was/is Messiah Yeshua, descending from the House of David of the House of Judah who will fulfill that promise.
- And finally: If the people known today as “the Jews” are representative of all twelve tribes of Israel, meaning the descendant peoples of both Israelite Kingdoms who were divided in antiquity (as many One-Housers would have us to believe), then how does one explain the “Last Days” two-stick prophecy of Ezekiel 37? The whole book of Ezekiel (indeed all of the Prophets) would simply be confused and discombobulated if the above “if” statements were a statement of Truth.
With the 10 points above, the two-house reality should be more easily discernible, unless a person has a biased and emotionally charged reason not to see it and/or maybe being intellectually lazy and/or just does not care. Yet, maybe the Elohim of Israel is the ultimate Culprit in the matter of blindness and/or close-mindedness. Maybe He has deliberately blinded the peoples of Ephraim/10-Israel and the rest of the world until His prerequisite plans are accomplished… until the “fullness of the peoples have come in” and it is time for His Prodigal Son to “come to himself” (Luke 15:17). Unfortunately, if Luke 15 is a guide, it seems that the Prodigal does not come home until after he goes through a great deal of trouble and distress… just as Jeremiah 16:16 and 50:4 seem to confirm.
Shalom Aleichem… on both your Houses