Dr. Winnail on the “Lost Tribes”

Dr. Douglas Winnail, January 2008


What happened to the “lost tribes” of Israel?

Dr. Douglas Winnail of the Living Church of God has written:

Records of History

The Bible and history record that Assyrians carried the ten tribes of Israel into captivity, into what is today northern Iraq, northwestern Iran and Armenia—the area between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. The Black Obelisk from Nineveh in ancient Assyria (now in the British Museum) refers to the Israelites as the Khumri or the people of Omri (the name of the Israelite king who built Samaria—the capital city of the northern kingdom of Israel, as noted in 1 Kings 16:21–27). The Babylonians referred to these same people as the Gimiri. Around 500bc, the Persian king Darius carved an inscription of his conquests in three different languages on a rock face at Behistun in northwestern Iran. This inscription refers to the Gimri as the Sacae (who historians also identify with the Scythians who spread over Europe). Archeologist George Rawlinson stated, “We have reasonable grounds for regarding the Gimirri, or Cimmerians… and the Sacae of the Behistun Rock… as identical with the Beth-Khumree of Samaria, or the Ten Tribes of the House of Israel” (The Story of Celto-Saxon Israel, Bennett, p. 151).
Clear historical and biblical evidence traces the ancient Israelite tribes’ migration through the lands of Armenia as well as northern Iraq and Iran. This agrees with historical records that trace the origins of people now living in Britain. The Declaration of Abroath (the “Scottish Declaration of Independence”), written in 1320ad, states that the Scots’ ancestors came from Greater Scythia (around the Black Sea) through the Mediterranean Sea to Spain and then to Britain “twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea” (Bennett, pp. 159–161). The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, written around 800ad, traces the origins of the Saxon peoples to the region of Armenia (ibid., p. 209). In his work The Ruin of Britain, the early British writer Gildas (475–550ad) refers to the British people as Israelites. Irish legends call some of the first Irish settlers the tuatha de Danann (The Story of the Irish Race, MacManus, p. 5). Cyrus Gordon, a leading American archeologist, recognized the tuatha de Danann as the biblical tribe of Dan, and connected these Israelite peoples with Ireland and Denmark (Bennett, p. 79). These Danite peoples first arrived in Ireland around the time of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. It is also interesting that the Welsh refer to themselves as the Cymri or Cymru—after the Assyrian name for the people of Israel. The records of history link the national identities of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Denmark with the Israelites of the Bible (Winnail D. Modern Nations and God’s Ancient Plan. Tomorrow’s World Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 4. July-August, 2006).

Hence, history shows some of the travels of the tribes of Israel.

Notice additional information from Dr. Winnail:

Though many modern scholars have lost track of the Israelite tribes, the identity and location of the tribes of Israel have not really been lost!…

Josephus, a Jew writing in the first century ad, recorded that “the ten tribes are beyond the Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude” (Antiquities of the Jews, 11:5:2). The phrase “beyond the Euphrates” reveals that the ten tribes were in Parthia—an area south of the Caspian Sea—where the Israelites had gone into captivity centuries earlier. Oxford Professor George Rawlinson noted that the Parthians were part of the Scythians, that their name “Parthi” meant “exiles” and that they had been under the dominion of the Assyrians and the Medes (The Sixth Great Oriental Monarchy, pp. 19, 26)—a description that fits the Israelites! Parthians heard Peter speak in Jerusalem on Pentecost (Acts 2:9). The early church historian Eusebius (263–339ad) relates that Christ’s disciple Andrew went to Scythia, and that Thomas went to Parthia (The History of the Church, 3:1:1). Early traditions also link Bartholomew and Philip with these same areas—which shows that the Apostles knew the location of the Israelite tribes in their day.

Historians connect the Scythians with a people called the Sacae. In his translation of Herodotus’ The Histories, Rawlinson connected the Sacae—mentioned in inscriptions that Darius commissioned ca. 500bc on the Behistun Rock in northwestern Iran—“with the Beth-Khumree of Samaria, or the Ten Tribes of the House of Israel” (p. 378). In the Apocrypha, the book of 2 Esdras states that (after the fall of the Assyrian empire) “the ten tribes… took this counsel among themselves… [to] go forth into a further country… and they entered into the Euphrates by the narrow passages of the river” (2 Esdras 13:40–45)—they headed north through the gorges to the Crimea. Nineteenth century London historian Sharon Turner wrote, “The emigrating Scythians crossed the Araxes [a river between the Black and Caspian Sea], passed out of Asia, and invading the Kimmerians, suddenly appeared in Europe, in the seventh century before the Christian era” (The History of the Anglo-Saxons, vol. 1, p. 98). Turner also described how the Scythians and a related people, the Kimmerians (Kimbri or Kumri or Cymry), eventually reached Britain, and that “The Welsh, who are their descendants, have always called themselves Cymry” (ibid., p. 34)—indeed, that name is on their postcards today!…

Gildas, a Briton writing in the early 500s ad, describes the Anglo-Saxon invasion as God’s punishment on “these His Israelites”—the Britons (De Excidio Britanniae). The early annals of Ireland call some of the Emerald Isle’s first inhabitants the “Tuatha de Danann” (The Story of the Irish Race, MacManus, pp. 2–6; The Flowering of Ireland, Scherman, pp. 51–55), which easily translates as “tribe of Dan”—one of the tribes of Israel. The Tuatha de Danann of Ireland appear to be the same peoples as the Danoi of Greece, who according to local legends came from Egypt around 1500bc—about the time of the Exodus of the Israelites. One of the traits of the tribe of Dan was to rename places where they settled or traveled (Joshua 19:40–48; Judges 18:11–12, 26–29). The Danites were seafaring people (Judges 5:17) who were prophesied to leave their mark in place names: Cyprus was called the Ia-Dnan (Island of Dan), the Danube, the Dardanelles, Danzig and Denmark (see Bennett, pp. 76–79).

Additionally, in the 17th century, Vatican librarian Cardinal Baroneous and Archbishop Ussher of Ireland—one of the greatest scholars of his day—both presented evidence that the Apostles James, Paul, Simon Peter, Simon Zelotes, along with Joseph of Arimathea, preached the gospel in the British Isles (see The Whole Works of James Ussher, vol. 5, chap. 1). This gives further credence to the understanding that the Apostles did heed Jesus’ instruction to “go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Prophetic Significance

But why is it important, today, to know the identity and location of the tribes of Israel? Bible prophecies record traits of the tribes of Israel that will become obvious and recognizable “in the last days” (Genesis 49:1). Moses prophesied that the descendants of the Israelites would become utterly corrupt and face difficult times “in the latter days” (Deuteronomy 4:27–30; 28:26–29). Jeremiah warns of a coming period of tribulation and chastisement for sinful Israelite nations that he calls a time of “Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:1–15). God’s servants have the duty to warn His people of dangers that lie ahead (Isaiah 58:1; Amos 3:7). Understanding the location and identity of modern Israelite nations is a key to understanding Bible prophecies about their future, and it helps to target our message as these prophecies come alive today! (Winnail D. Finding the “Lost” Tribes of Israel. Tomorrow’s World magazine, Nov-Dec 2008, pp. 14-15)/

After His resurrection, Jesus told the disciples:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19).

And while the Apostle Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, it was the Apostle Peter who was the apostles to those of Israel (the circumcision) as Paul wrote:

7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter 8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles) (Galatians 2:6-8).

Peter did not ignore the fact that he was sent to those of Israel. Notice what the Apostle Peter wrote:

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father (1 Peter 1:1-2).

The “Dispersion” or the Diaspora had been a term used to refer to those Israelites who are not located in the area of Palestine.

The author of the Book of James also wrote to those who were scattered:

James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad (James 1:1).

Thus James was apparently acknowledging that the twelve tribes of Israel (or possibly their spiritual descendants) were scattered in many places.

Also in the first century, the historian Josephus noted:

…[W]herefore there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers (Flavius Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews, 11:5:2).

Hence, in the first century, it was known that there were descendants of the tribes of Israel that were not Jewish and were in many lands.  And the fact that they would be likely to have descendants that are alive today is not considered to be of major consequence to many “theologians”.

However, those who reach such conclusions are ignoring prophecies that the Bible teaches must somehow come to pass.

The reality is that the apostles were at first told to go the lost of Israel (Matthew 10:6). After Jesus’ death and resurrection Peter and some others were to reach the non-Gentiles (Galatians 2:7-9) while Paul and Barnabas were reaching the Gentiles (Galatians 2:9). And while the original apostles went into many lands, they specifically tried to reach the scattered tribes of Israel (though apparently some of them who were not mentioned as attending the conference discussed in Galatians 2 also were trying to reach Gentiles as well then).

Notice Hippolytus in the third century (that may or may not be valid), makes the following claims about the apostles:

1. Peter preached the Gospel in Pontus, and Galatia, and Cappadocia, and Betania, and Italy, and Asia …

2. Andrew preached to the Scythians and Thracians, and was crucified, suspended on an olive tree, at Patrae, a town of Achaia; and there too he was buried.

3. John, again, in Asia, was banished by Domitian the king to the isle of Patmos, in which also he wrote his Gospel and saw the apocalyptic vision; and in Trajan’s time he fell asleep at Ephesus, where his remains were sought for, but could not be found.

4. James, his brother, when preaching in Judea, was cut off with the sword by Herod the tetrarch, and was buried there.

5. Philip preached in Phrygia, and was crucified in Hierapolis with his head downward in the time of Domitian, and was buried there.

6. Bartholomew, again, preached to the Indians, to whom he also gave the Gospel according to Matthew, and was crucified with his head downward, and was buried in Allanum, a town of the great Armenia.

7. And Matthew wrote the Gospel in the Hebrew tongue, and published it at Jerusalem, and fell asleep at Hierees, a town of Parthia.

8. And Thomas preached to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and Margians, and was thrust through in the four members of his body with a pine spears at Calamene, the city of India, and was buried there.

9. And James the son of Alphaeus, when preaching in Jerusalem was stoned to death by the Jews, and was buried there beside the temple.

10. Jude, who is also called Lebbaeus, preached to the people of Edessa, and to all Mesopotamia, and fell asleep at Berytus, and was buried there.

11. Simon the Zealot, the son of Clopas, who is also called Jude, became bishop of Jerusalem after James the Just, and fell asleep and was buried there at the age of 120 years.

12. And Matthias, who was one of the seventy, was numbered along with the eleven apostles, and preached in Jerusalem, and fell asleep and was buried there.

13. And Paul entered into the apostleship a year after the assumption of Christ; and beginning at Jerusalem, he advanced as far as Illyricum, and Italy, and Spain, preaching the Gospel for five-and-thirty years. And in the time of Nero he was beheaded at Rome, and was buried there (Hippolytus. On the Twelve Apostles.  In Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume V by Robert & Donaldson.  1885 Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), printing 1999, pp. 254-255).

Thus, the disciples traveled to many lands and most likely encountered descendants of the various tribes of Israel on their many journeys.

We in the Living Church of God believe that we do understand which nation primarily descended from the tribes of Israel.  Here is a list that has biblical support:

    1. Reuben – France (dignified but troubled, Genesis 49:3-4)
    2. Judah – The nation now called Israel as well as the Jews not in that land
    3. Simeon – Scattered throughout the tribes (Genesis 49:5)
    4. Levi – Scattered throughout the tribes (Genesis 49:5)
    5. Issachar – Finland (sits between Europe and Russia, Genesis 49:14)
    6. Zebulun – Netherlands (haven by the sea, Genesis 49:13)
    7. Gad – Switzerland (will apparently have to temporarily accept EU domination, Genesis 49:19)
    8. Dan – Denmark, Ireland (on the outskirts–Genesis 49:17; the tribe that named places “Dan”, Judges 18:12,29) (those in Northern Ireland mainly are descended from the Ephraim)
    9. Asher – Belgium, Luxembourg (wealthy, Genesis 49:20)
    10. Naphtali – Sweden (attractively described, Genesis 49:21)
    11. Benjamin – Norway, Iceland (former vikings, Genesis 49:27)
    12. Ephraim – Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and probably some in South Africa and Zimbabwe (company of nations, Genesis 48:19)
    13. Manasseh – United States of America (blessed nation, Genesis 48:19)

And while some modifications may be needed to the above, we in the Living Church of God do not consider that the tribes are actually lost, only that most today have not been able to find them.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, British, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first?
Prophecies of Barack Obama? Are there biblical and non-biblical prophecies about Barack Obama. Did Nostradamus predict Barack Obama dealing with the Antichrist?  Might Barack Obama set the stage for the kings of the North and South as at least one Shiite prophecy suggests.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States Some claim that Barack Obama is the prophesied “son of Kenya”, based up an early 20th century writing.
Barack Obama in Islamic Prophecy? There is actually a 17th century Shiite prophecy that some believe that Barack Obama will fulfill that will lead to a rising up of Islam.
End of Mayan Calendar 2012–Might 2012 Mean Something? There is a Mayan calendar prediction for change in 2012. 2012 changes were also centuries ago predicted by the Hopi Native Americans and the Hindu Indians (who were not even on the same continent). Do these Mayan/Hindu/Hopi prophecies have any value? Why might Satan have inspired this date? Does the Dresden codex show destruction of the earth by flood? Can the great tribulation start before 2012?

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