Where are the Lost Tribes of Israel?

After King David’s son Solomon died, the Israelites divided the one kingdom into two. The Northern Kingdom was called Israel and included ten of the twelve tribes. Living in the north were the tribes of Reuben, Simeon, Manasseh, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim, Dan, Asher, Naphtali, and Gad. The Southern Kingdom was called Judah and included the tribes of Benjamin and Judah. Immersed throughout both kingdoms were members of the priestly family of Levi.

In 722 BC, Assyria conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel, taking captive and deporting the members of the ten tribes. In approximately 586 BC, the Southern Kingdom was conquered by Babylon, the Temple destroyed, and the people taken captive. Around 445 BC, Nehemiah led a remnant of the Jewish People back to Jerusalem and rebuilt its walls and gates. Over 500 years later, in 70 AD, the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and, again, Jewish People dispersed through persecution into the world at large. By all these means, Jewish People have come to reside all over the world, known to some as the lost tribes of Israel.

Further scattering

Worldwide persecution over the centuries has further scattered God’s Chosen People to the four corners of the earth, causing many to hide their heritage and faith. Some were forced to convert, at least outwardly, to other religions. Many continued their faith and Jewish customs in secret, generation after generation. Populations of these dispersed tribes have been revealed in surprising places the world over: China, Ethiopia, India, Zimbabwe, Somaliland, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and other locations. Today, as more of these groups are discovered, we see the marvel that is the Jewish people. These Lost Tribes of Israel – spread throughout the earth and outwardly oppressed by the societies to which their ancestors dispersed – have maintained their Jewish identity. Historical Jewish customs, religious practices, and their own claims point to their Jewish roots. Now DNA evidence is proving it.

Ethiopian Jews

Ethiopian Jews The Beta Israel of Gondar, the Beta Avraham of Addis Ababa, and the Gefat of Woliso and Hosanna have endured persecution for their “felasha” or “foreigner” status among Ethiopians for centuries. Many believe they are from the lost tribe of Dan. Thousands were rescued from poverty and brought to Israel during the massive airlifts of 1984, 1985, and 1991. The Aliyah (immigration to Israel) program sponsored by Israel has been stopped and resumed a number of times since then. Only those Jewish People who have not converted to another religion, but remain solely Jewish in their faith, are permitted to make Aliyah. Most recently Aliyah of Ethiopian Jews was ended by Israel in August 2013 and many fear this is truly the end as it is believed there are no more truly Jewish People left in Ethiopia.

Yibir of Somaliland

The origin of the Yibir is unclear. They are one of the oldest ethnic groups in Somaliland and are said to predate Islam in the area. They are known as highly secretive of their language, not letting members of other ethnic groups around them even hear them speak it. Some suggest they came from the Beta Israel of Ethiopia, and are therefore also believed to be from the tribe of Dan, having made their way into Somaliland. While it remains disputed and uncertain, the Yibir do have some things in common with the Beta Israel, namely their outcast status in their countries and metal working trades. They have not sought to make themselves known to Israel and Jewish officials because it would create more problems for the Yibir people who already endure a despised position among their countrymen.

B'nei Menashe of India

B'nei Menashe of India When the B'nei Menasha Jews of India were “found” they called themselves Israelites, rather than Jews, and they claim the lost tribe of Manasseh. After the Assyrian conquest, some of Israel’s people of the Northern Kingdom followed the Silk Route into China. The Silk Route was a 4,000 mile long road system developed for commerce between China and the Middle East. Some believe that, after settling in China, some Jewish People migrated south into the northern regions of India. Some of the B'nei Menashe dispute this, saying they do not have the same customs as the Chinese. They remember their fathers sacrificing an animal, taking the blood, and painting it onto the doorposts at Passover.

Igbo of Nigeria

The Igbo are said to have migrated from Syria, Portugal and Libya into West Africa after the Assyrian army deported them. They also believe themselves to be of the tribe of Dan. In the ninth century, a Jewish traveler came across the Igbo and wrote that they had the entire body of Jewish Scriptures except the books of Esther and Lamentations. Written records were lost during years of persecution in Muslim areas. However, they maintained many Jewish practices over the centuries including circumcision on the eighth day, observance of some of the dietary laws, and laws of uncleanness, and celebration of Jewish holidays, including Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, and Passover.

Lemba of Zimbabwe

The Lemba are believed to have fled Jerusalem after the Temple was destroyed around 586 BC. Though not among the traditionally described Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, these Jewish People were scattered when the Southern Kingdom of Judah fell to Babylonia. It is believed they fled Judea and ended up in Yemen. From Yemen they migrated to Africa, eventually settling in Ethiopia and Tanzania. Many left Ethiopia and moved south to Zimbabwe and became known as the Lemba. Seventy percent of the Lemba have tested to possess Cohanim DNA proving their claim to be from the priestly line of Aaron.

Lost and Found…to us

Many ask "Where are the lost tribes of Israel today?" But are they truly "lost"? God has known all along where His People are. Their history is fascinating, and the activity of God’s hand in these Last Days is exciting as He is doing as He promised. He is gathering the Jewish People from the four corners of the earth and bringing them back to Israel. And He is reconciling them to Himself through Yeshua (Jesus) in extraordinary numbers. We’ve seen it firsthand.

Serving the Lost Tribes

Jewish Voice Ministries is privileged to serve the people of the Lost Tribes of Israel through our medical outreaches. We provide free medical, dental, and eye care to impoverished communities of Lost Tribes people in Ethiopia, India, and Zimbabwe. We recently celebrated the milestone of having treated over 275,000 patients since we began conducting clinics. Every patient is invited into our Prayer Room where they have the opportunity to receive prayer and hear the Good News of Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah.

Get The Shofar Book & Small Shofar w/ Stand!

The shofar is the trumpet of Bible times. Used to announce the beginning of holy days such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, it was also used by ancient Jewish People at the beginning of battle. Also comes with a beautifully crafted wooden stand will display your shofar as a special keepsake. Use the book to learn of the shofar's historical and present day uses, its spiritual significance and application in worship.

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Jewish Voice Ministries International is dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel of Yeshua (Jesus) to the Jew first and also to the Nations throughout the world, according to Romans 1:16. The Good News is proclaimed through television, print and online media, international festival outreaches & medical clinics/humanitarian aid.
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