If you are like most people, you probably have not given much thought to the whereabouts of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. The same can’t be said for many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka the Mormons. Joseph Smith, the church’s founder, coined thirteen articles of faith that lay out the church’s primary tenants of the Mormon faith. The 10th of these Articles of Faith begins as follows:
We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes…
Unlike traditional Christian faiths, Latter-day Saints are keenly aware of the relevance of the family of Israel. In fact, Latter-day Saints believe that they themselves are either literal descendants of the original twelve tribes of Israel, or become adopted into the House of Israel upon making sacred covenants with Israel’s God – Jesus Christ. The lineage of church members is declared to them in a special blessing by the laying of hands by a Patriarch, a special man who has been given the authority to administer such blessings. Presently, most church members today are affiliated with one of Joseph’s two sons – Ephraim or Manasseh, but there are those from all the tribes of Israel albeit in much smaller numbers. Interestingly enough, the Tenth Article of Faith uses two distinct terms, gathering and restoration. These words have two very different meanings. The first implies that a large group has been scattered and therefore must be gathered, Latter-day Saints believe this gathering is taking place right now, primarily through missionary work. However, “restoration” means something totally different. To restore means to bring back. Joseph Fielding Smith, the prophet of the LDS church from 1970 to 1972 taught the following regarding this restoration.
The Ten Tribes were taken by force out of the land the Lord gave them. Many of them mixed with the peoples among whom they were scattered. A large portion, however, departed in one body into the North and disappeared from the rest of the world. Where they went and where they are we do not know. That they are intact we must believe, else how shall the scripture be fulfilled? There are too many prophecies concerning them and their return in a body for us to ignore the fact.[i]
According to him, there will be a large body of the Lost Ten Tribes that will one day return in a single event. In the Latter-day Saint’s King James Bible, they include a study reference called “The Bible Dictionary.” This serves to explain key terms and definitions included within the Bible. Included in that dictionary, under the heading of “Israel – Kingdom of”, is stated the following surprising statement regarding the return of the Lost Ten Tribes.
Since their captivity they have never yet returned to their homeland, but extensive promises and prophecies speak of the time when they of the “north countries” shall return when they are ready to obey the gospel. The gathering of the lost tribes is to be a more spectacular event than the children of Israel coming out of Egypt in Moses’ day.
In the entire Bible, there are no miracles equal to those surrounding the Egyptian Exodus. Horrific plagues, the Nile river turning to blood, the Destroyer, and the dividing of the Red Sea to name a few. Therefore, to state that the return of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel will rival the Egyptian Exodus is truly a bold proclamation, but not without biblical support. The prophet Jeremiah essentially stated the same thing when he said the following:
Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the House of Israel out of the North country.[ii]
Latter-day Saints associate the “North Country” with the Lost Tribes of Israel, since this is the direction that they were said to have left from their Assyrian captivity sometime after 700 BC. Another passage from the Latter-day Saint’s scriptural cannon appears to elaborate upon this seemingly extraordinary restoration. This passage is found is what Latter-day Saints refer to as the Section 133 of the Doctrine and Covenants, and consists of a revelation given to Joseph Smith from Israel’s God.
26 And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence.
According to this passage, the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel will one day return on a miraculous highway that is cast up out of the great deep to subdue the enemies of Israel and to receive a blessing at the hands of the children of Ephraim. As noted before, Ephraim is the primary tribe associated with the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The term “Everlasting Hills” is a phrase that Latter-day Saints associate with the Wasatch Front mountain range that runs from north to south along the Salt Lake Valley as attested to by the LDS Church’s weekly musical broadcast – Music and the Spoken Word, which often closes its broadcasts with the phrase, “Again we leave you from within the shadow of the Everlasting Hills”. Mormon’s therefore believe that a large body of the Lost Ten Tribes will be restored to the knowledge of the earth via a miraculous highway that will be cast up out of the great deep. This highway will bring them to the Everlasting Hills, where they will be reunited with the Latter-day Saints.
This fascinating perspective on the latter-day relevance of the House of Israel differs greatly from the viewpoint of typical Christianity – which has all but deemed the Lost Tribes of Israel irrelevant to modern times. Most Christians consider the Jews to be the sum and substance of that once great nation of comprised of the Lord’s chosen people. The events leading up to the latter-day restoration of these Lost Tribes is greatly expanded upon in another post titled Ezra’s Eagle – which is perhaps the most fascinating account that I have ever read. Please take the time to read it by clicking here.
You can also read a life changing book on the latter-day restoration of the Lost Ten Tribes for free by clicking here.
[i] Joseph Fielding Smith, Way to Perfection, p. 130
[ii] Jeremiah 23:7-8