Where Is "Israel" Today?

"Israel is a hunted sheep driven away by lions. First the king of Assyria devoured him [i.e. the northern Israelite kingdom of "Israel" was conquered by the Assyrians by 721 B.C., see below], and now at last Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has gnawed his bones" [i.e. the southern Israelite kingdom of "Judah" was conquered by the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar by 586 B.C., see below] (Jeremiah 50:17 RSV)

Israel Became "Israel" and "Judah"

One of the most misunderstood subjects of Bible study involves the total political division of "Israel" and "Judah" that occurred at the time of King Rehoboam. Before then, all twelve tribes of Israelites were a united kingdom through the reigns of David and Solomon, but after Solomon's death they split into two completely separate and independent kingdoms - the southern kingdom of "Judah," consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with part of Levi since the Levites were distributed among the other tribes (1 Kings 12:23) with their capital at Jerusalem, and the northern kingdom of "Israel," consisting of the other ten tribes (Reuben, Simeon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim and Manasseh (Joseph was divided into Ephraim and Manasseh), with part of Levi since the Levites were distributed among the other tribes), with their capital up in Samaria.

Israel and Judah were never united again (see Kings of Israel and Judah). Surprisingly, they even fought wars against each other from time to time (see Jews At War With Israel). A very important fact that many do not realize is that Judah, that is, the Jewish people of today, are only one of the tribes of Israel - while all Jews are Israelites, not all Israelites are Jews.

Because of their forsaking of Him, God permitted the two kingdoms to be destroyed. First, the northern kingdom of Israel was gradually conquered by the Assyrians (see Ancient Empires - Assyria), and by 721 B.C. they had practically all been taken into exile to Assyria (2 Kings 17:1-23). The vast majority of them never returned, and have become known as the "Lost Ten Tribes of Israel."

Then, about 135 years later, by 586 B.C., the southern kingdom of Judah was completely conquered by the Babylonians (see Why Babylon?), and the people of Judah were taken into captivity to Babylon. The original Temple of God in Jerusalem was destroyed at that time (see Temples). The people of the southern kingdom of Judah however did return after the Babylonians fell to the Persians (see Ancient Empires - Persia), and their descendants have become the Jewish people of today - but that return in the time of Nehemiah, or the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948, were not the fulfillment of the many prophecies dealing with the future (as the context of the prophecies clearly show) gathering of all of Israel, Israel and Judah, to the land of Israel.

The Coming Gathering of Israel and Judah

There are many Scriptures which describe, in great detail, the future gathering of Israel and Judah. Examples:

Fact Finder: What is meant by "spiritual Israel"?
See Physical and Spiritual Israel

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This Day In History, September 10

1224: The first Franciscan missionaries arrived in England. The Roman Catholic monks, also then known as "Grey Friars," were founded by Francis of Assisi 15 years before. England officially split with the papacy during the time of King Henry VIII (reigned 1509-1547), who established himself, and all future monarchs right to the present day, as head of the Church of England.

1588: Thomas Cavendish returned to England, becoming the third man to circumnavigate the globe.

1608: John Smith was elected president of the Jamestown colony council in Virginia.

1813: The Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812 (1812-1815). The Treaty of Ghent ended the North American conflict, the last war fought between the United States and Canada. The two nations have now been close economic and military allies for nearly 200 years.

1846: Elias Howe patented the sewing machine. A device that permitted greater industrial production of clothing at lower cost.

1912: J. Vedrines became the first pilot to reach 100 m.p.h. in flight.

1914: The six-day Battle of the Marne ended during the First World War, halting the German advance into France.

1939: Canada declared war on Germany.

1948: American-born Mildred Gillars, accused of being Nazi wartime radio broadcaster "Axis Sally," was indicted in Washington, D.C., for treason.

1952: The Treaty of Luxembourg was signed between Israel and Germany, whereby Germany agreed to make reparation payments to Israel for German crimes against the Jews in during the Second World War. Conrad Adenauer signed for Germany. Ironically (as news events in the coming years will plainly show), the ceremony was held at the Luxembourg City Hall, a site dictated by Adenauer's presence that day to initial the pact establishing the European Coal and Steel Community - one of the first steps that led to the formation of the new, but ancient, European Union (see Birth Of A Superpower).

1963: President John F. Kennedy federalized Alabama's National Guard to prevent Governor George Wallace from using guardsmen to stop public-school desegregation.


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