The northern kingdom of the 10 tribes of Israel was taken captive by the Assyrians in 734-732 and 722 B.C. (2Kings 15:27-29; 1Chronicles 5:26; 2Kings 18:9-10). Because of their rebellion and sin God would now fulfill His promise to "sift the house of Israel among all nations" (Amos 9:9). God promised that during their captivity the "house of Isaac" (Amos 7:16) would not be destroyed as a people (Amos 9:8, 14; compare Hosea 11:9; 14:4-7). He promised to greatly multiply them after their exile (Hosea 1:10) showing them loving kindness and mercy because of his covenant with Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 12:2-3; 18:18; 22:12-18; 26:4; 28:14).

Eventually they would resettle northwest of the Middle East disappearing from history as the people of Israel partly because they had lost their identity including the identifying "sign" between God and his people – the Sabbath (Exodus 31:13, 16-17; compare Ezekiel 20:12,20).

In spite of Israel’s exile and scattering God promised they would survive to become some of the world’s major powers in the "last days" (Genesis 49:1, 22-26). Israel will be conquered and scattered again, and under control of others at the time of the end.

  1. The migration trial of the 10 tribes of Israel can be traced through two separate groups – the Scythians and the Celtic people.
  1. The Scythians suddenly appeared about the same time that the Israelites were exiled around the area of the Black Sea around 700 B.C. They represented a "cohesive political entity"(Encyclopedia Americana). The Historian Tamara Talbot Rice confirms that "the Scythians did not become a recognizable national entity much before the eighth century B.C. by the seventh century B.C. they had established themselves firmly in southern Russia…And analogous tribes, possibly even related clans, though politically entirely distinct and independent…Assyrian documents place their appearance there (between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea) in the time of King Sargon (722-705 B.C.) a date that closely corresponds with that of the establishment of the first group of Scythians in southern Russia" (Rice pp.19, 20, 44).

    Today, historians use the term Scythian mostly in reference to the Saka, or Sacae, Scyths. These people became the leading tribes of the Scythian culture. From the seventh century B.C. forward, it was the Saka, or Sacae, tribes that defined what it meant to be Scythian from the Black Sea all the way to the mountains of Mongolia. They began to dominate the Eurasian steppe region from 700 to 500 B.C.. Sometime in the fifth or fourth century B.C. the predominant inhabitants of even western Siberia were "a fair-haired people of European origin, and…it was after that date that an influx of Mongolids resulted in a very mixed type of population" (Rice, p. 77). Close examination of the 20th century archaeological discoveries plainly and consistently portray the Sake Scythians as physically like the present-day people of Europe.

  2. The Celtic peoples were of the forested Northwestern European area. In his book The Ancient World of the Celts Historians Peter Ellis notes; "At the start of the first millennium BC, a civilization which had developed from its Indo-European roots around the headwaters of the Rhine, the Rhone and the Danube suddenly erupted in all directions through Europe…Today we generally identify them as Celts" (1999, p. 9). Many of these so-called barbarian tribes were racially and culturally related and the language of the related tribes can be traced to a common parent language.

    `They were adept at traveling the hub, or nexus, rivers north of the Mediterranean Sea including the Rhine, Danube, Seine and Rhone rivers which all come close together. This hub was once a key link to the communication and trade flowing between the Atlantic, Nordic-Baltic, eastern Black Sea and Mediterranean trading zones. It was a major gateway to all of Europe. Historian Samuel Lysons spoke of "the Cimmerians seeming to be the same people as the Gauls or Celts under a different name" (John Henry and James Parker, Our British Ancestors: Who and What Were They?, 1865, pp23, 27).

    Anne Kristensen, a respected Danish linguistic scholar, recently reached the conclusion that the Cimmerians (who later became known as the Celts) can positively be identified as the deported Israelites. In the beginning of her research Dr. Kristensen was skeptical and subscribed to the traditional theory that Cimmerians were "Aryan" tribes the Scythians had scared out of the north. But, as she dug more and more into the Assyrian sources, she found the Cimmerians first appeared in history in 714 B.C. in the region of Iran south of Armenia were the kings of Assyria had settled many of the deported Israelites. She came to the conclusion that the Gimira, or Cimmerians, represented at least a part of the lost 10 tribes of Israel.

    "There is scarcely reason, any longer, to doubt the exciting and verily astonishing assertion propounded by the students of the Ten Tribes that the Israelites deported from Bit Humria, of the House of ‘Omri, are identical with the Gimirraja of the Assyrian sources. Everything indicates that Israelite deportees did not vanish from the picture but that, abroad, under new conditions, they continued to leave their mark on history" (Who Were the Cimmerians, and Where Did They Come From?: Sargon II, the Cimmerians, and Rusa I, translated from the Danish by Jorgen Laessoe, The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, No. 57, 1988, pp. 126-127).

  3. The trading patterns of the Celts of the forested Northwestern Europe and the Scythians of the eastern plains are revealing. The separate Celtic and Scythian cultures interacted with each other much like modern Britain and America. Each was adapted to the geography of its own region. But the people themselves interacted as if they shared an ancestry. Archaeologists have uncovered some remarkable sites of Celtic and Scythian cultures that demonstrate how closely the two people worked with each other. The highways of trade and travel in antiquity were the rivers and seas. They were both adept at traveling the waterways. Even as early as the last half of the first millennium B.C. both groups had been deeply involved in river and sea commerce from the beginning of their appearance of the vast grassland plains of the Eurasian Steepes. In other words, both the eastern Scythians and the western Celts had the waterways of the continent – the "highways" of that day – at their disposal for trade. And they used them effectively. They were far from being a backward people limited to a simple nomadic life.

  4. The Scriptures plainly tell us where the Israelites resettled. After the Assyrians forcibly deported them from their homeland they were relocated "in Halah, on the Habor, the river of Gozan (in northern Assyria), and in the cities of the Medes" (2 Kings 18:11). This is not far from the region of Urartu between the Black and Caspian seas, where the Scythians had established a temporary kingdom.

  5. God promised that during their captivity the "house of Isaac" (Amos 7:16) would not be destroyed as a people (Amos 9:8, 14; compare Hosea 11:9; 14:4-7). Instead He promised to greatly multiply them after their exile (Hosea 1:10) and show them loving-kindness and mercy because of His covenant.

  6. They would be "wanderers among the nations" (Hosea 9:17). This explains why they seem to have vanished as a people. In actuality they simply reappeared in history under new names – separated into independent clans, wandering over the Eurasian plains.

  7. Biblical prophecies indicate that the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel would eventually settle in an area to the northwest of their Middle Eastern homeland. (Isaiah 49:12 NKJV) "Surely these shall come from afar; Look! Those from the north and the west, And these from the land of Sinim." Since Hebrew has no expression corresponding to the English "northwest," this verse may also be understood that Israel would migrate to a region to the northwest of the Promised land. (Hosea 12:1 NKJV) "Ephraim feeds on the wind, And pursues the east wind;" This expression implies Ephraim would migrate to the west (compare Hosea 11:9-10).

  8. Other passages suggest that Israel would ultimately be scattered and found in an island setting. After Jesus’ return, "They shall come with weeping, And with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, In a straight way in which they shall not stumble; For I am a Father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn. "Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, And declare it in the isles afar off, and say, 'He who scattered Israel will gather him, And keep him as a shepherd does his flock.'" (Jeremiah 31:9-10 NKJV) (Also see Isaiah 24:15; 41:1, 5; 51:5; 66:19 and Psalm 89:25).

  9. Israeli Talmudic scholar Yair Davidy, in his book The Tribes: The Israelite Origins of Western Peoples, presents convincing evidence that the displaced Israelites retained their subtribal clan names during and after their captivity (1993, p. xiv). Tribal and subtribal names, he points out, are a key to tracing the Israelites’ wanderings. In his introduction he summarizes his conclusion: "’The Tribes’ produces evidence that most of the ancient Israelites assimilated to foreign cultures and forgot their origins. In the course of time they reached the British Isles and north-west Europe whence related nations (such as the U.S.A.) were founded" (ibid.).

  10. The Apostle James confirmed that the missing 10 tribes were separate from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin in Palestine. He addresses his epistle "to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:" (James 1:1)

  11. Between 200 B.C. and A.D. 500 enemy tribes and drastic climatic changes drove the Scythian clans from the Eurasian steppes to the northern and western regions of Europe. For another 1,000 years the former Scythians were alternately allies and enemies in feudal Europe under a variety of clan names. This lasted until modern nations as we know them began to take shape in Europe (1 Kings 14:15; Isaiah 49:12; Hosea 12:1).

  12. Many historians have acknowledged that the Anglo-Saxon peoples provided the racial stock that founded several modern Western nations, including Great Britain and the United States.


  1. God’s Promises of greatness for Joseph’s descendants. Before his death the patriarch Jacob, through God’s inspiration, prophesied what would happen to the descendants of his 12 sons in the "last days" (Genesis 49:1). This included a special blessing for Joseph’s descendants through his sons Ephraim and Manasseh who were to receive all the benefits of the birthright promises of national greatness and overflowing prosperity. They are the easiest to identify in our modern time because the specific blessings they were to receive stand out distinctly from those of the other tribes. Joseph’s descendants were to be like a fruitful vine with a never-ending supply of water insuring their constant growth. Their populations would multiply rapidly. They would expand to lands beyond their original borders, grow militarily strong and reap the choicest physical blessings of the earth. They would produce and prosper (Genesis 49:22-26; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2). Before his death Moses repeated the special blessings that would flow to Joseph’s descendants (Deuteronomy 33:13-17).


  1. Could these birthright blessings have already been fulfilled in total through the ancient nation of Israel? At one level these physical promises were fulfilled when Israel anciently existed. Promises of land, material blessings and almost limitless descendants, as reiterated to Isaac (Gen 26:3-4) at the time several million Israelites reached Mount Sinai under Moses leadership and later at the time of Solomon (Deuteronomy 1:10; 1Kings 4:20-21). But Moses himself was aware that the blessings of great multitudes were to be multiplied many times over what had already occurred in his day. (Deuteronomy 1:10-11 NKJV) "The LORD your God has multiplied you, and here you are today, as the stars of heaven in multitude. 11 May the LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times more numerous than you are, and bless you as He has promised you!"

    Also, Jacob was promised his descendants numbering "as the dust of the earth," would "spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south;" – In all directions from the Middle East. (Gen 28:14 NKJV).

    The Apostle Paul described Abraham as the "heir of the world." (Romans 4:13) God obviously intended for Abraham’s descendants to eventually dominate much of the world. These promises of physical blessings have been fulfilled and will yet come to pass in an even greater way.

  2. When we understand that the modern descendants of Joseph are the people of the United States and Britain, we see that over the past three centuries God has been true to His promise. He has granted the physical birthright blessings of Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, to their modern descendants – the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic people of Britain and the United States. No other nations in history ever came close to fulfilling this description.
  1. The fulfillment of the prophecy for Ephraim and Manasseh to become a great nation and a multitude of nations (Genesis 48:18-20) fits perfectly the United Sates and British Commonwealth. At the peak of their possessions, the British and American peoples controlled vast swaths of the world’s most fertile farmlands and mineral-producing areas as well as strategic passages and ports controlling crucial military and trade routes. They inherited great physical wealth and world influence.


  1. To their own astonishment the people of the relatively tiny British Isles found themselves ruling over a mighty empire. As the 19th century drew to a close, the British Empire was "the largest empire in the history of the world, comprising nearly a quarter of the landmass of the earth, and a quarter of its population" (James Morris, Pax Britannica: The Climax of an Empire, 1968, p. 21). "It continued to grow until 1933, when its area was 13.9 million square miles and its population 493 million…The Roman Empire in its prime comprised perhaps 120 million people in an area of 2 ½ million square miles…" (Ibid., pp.27, 42). The British Empire, then, spanned 5 ½ times the territory of the Roman Empire, with more than four time the subjects. British rule extended over the choicest and most fertile territories on earth. The sun never set on the British Empire. The British imperial structure included centralized governing of India and Egypt and independent dominion and influence granted to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

  2. The United States, in less than a century added some of the world’s richest farmland and most valuable natural resources as it expanded further west. For example, it doubled it’s size with the 1803 Louisiana Purchase and within a few decades expanded across the continent. In 1867 the United States added almost 600,000 more square miles when it purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million – about 2 cents per acre. Today income from its resources – timber, minerals, oil and the like – amounts to tens of billions of dollars each year. America found everything necessary for national economic greatness – vast expanses of fertile soil; seemingly endless forests; gold, silver and other precious metals; and massive iron ore, coal, petroleum and other mineral deposits.

  3. Much of the Anglo-American dominance during the past two centuries came from the blessing of favorable geography and climate and the seemingly endless supply of natural resources. Both peoples possessed "the best things of the everlasting hills" and "the precious things of the earth and its fullness" within the territories they exclusively controlled (Deut. 8:9; 28:1,6,8,13; 33:13-17).


  1. The U.S. and Britain did gain the possession of the world's military and commercial gateways. (Genesis 22:17 NKJV) "and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies." In this context gate means a strategic passageway controlling commerce and military access for a region such as the Straits of Gibraltar and the Suez and Panama canals. Historical facts reveal that Great Britain and the United States gained control of the majority of the world’s most important land and sea gates, which were critical to their economic and military dominance in the 19th and 20th centuries.

  2. The British and American people have been the instruments used to spread God’s Word to most of the known world. The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy notes that the Bible is "the most widely known book in the English-speaking world…No one in the English-speaking world can be considered literate without a basic knowledge of the Bible" (Hirsch, Kett and Trefil, 1988, p 1). In Britain it was rated as one of the top 50 most-interesting books. In the Unites States it is perennially a best seller and the single book that Americans say has most influenced their lives.

    Biblical principles even became the basis for much of English common law, which heavily influenced American constitutional and regional law. In this manner the Bible has had a greater influence on the United States and the British Commonwealth nations than on any other people in recent centuries.

  3. Israel will be conquered and scattered again, under the control of others at the time of the end. The modern Israelites, including the modern nations of the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the democracies of Northwest Europe, will go into captivity again before Christ returns. The descendants of Israel who finally repent and turn to God are described in prophecies as only a "remnant" of their previous population (Isaiah 11:11,16; Jeremiah 23:3; Ezekiel 6:8). They will suffer enormously during the biblically prophesied time of "great tribulation" (Matthew 24:21).


  1. The prophet Jeremiah spoke to the house of Judah in his day, the sixth century B.C., when Judah faced God’s chastening at the hands of the Babylonian Empire. But Jeremiah also prophesied to the house of Israel – which God had punished and sent into captivity more than a century before he was born. Jeremiah wrote of a time of national trouble that is yet ahead for the modern descendants of the lost 10 tribes of Israel.

    Notice their condition when Christ returns: (Jeremiah 30:3 NKJV) "For behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,' says the LORD. 'And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.' " Then Jeremiah describes why God will have to intervene and save modern Israelites. (Jeremiah 30:7-8 NKJV) "7 Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob's trouble, But he shall be saved out of it. 8 'For it shall come to pass in that day,' Says the LORD of hosts, 'That I will break his yoke from your neck, And will burst your bonds; Foreigners shall no more enslave them."

    It is out of this foreign domination and enslavement that Christ will deliver them at His second coming. This will be the time when King David and Christ’s 12 apostles – along with all the rest of God’s saints – will be resurrected to begin ruling with Christ over a restored Israel in the Kingdom of God (Ezekiel 37:24; Matthew 19:28).

    (Jeremiah 30:9-11 NKJV) "9 But they shall serve the LORD their God, And David their king, Whom I will raise up for them. 10'Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,' says the LORD, 'Nor be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar, And your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, And no one shall make him afraid. 11 For I am with you,' says the LORD, 'to save you; Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, Yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, And will not let you go altogether unpunished.'"

    This will also be the time of the Great Tribulation (Daniel 12:1; Zephaniah 3:8, 11-15; Zechariah 14:1-3) that will bring severe destruction, misery and death to millions at the time of the end of the age of man and the beginning of the age of God and Christ’s millennial reign.

  2. The priest Ezekiel prophesied to the "Whole house of Israel" – all 12 tribes. So many of these prophecies are applicable to the time of the end (Ezekiel 39:25; 45:6). Ezekiel’s mission and message could not have been for the ancient kingdom of Israel. This was long after the ancient kingdom of Israel had been crushed and its people taken away in the Assyrian captivity. Ezekiel was a young Jewish exile in Babylon with thousands of his countrymen from the land of Judah some 130 years after the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel.

    (Ezekiel 7:2-4 NKJV) 2 "And you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD to the land of Israel: 'An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land. 3 Now the end has come upon you, And I will send My anger against you; I will judge you according to your ways, And I will repay you for all your abominations. 4 My eye will not spare you, Nor will I have pity; But I will repay your ways, And your abominations will be in your midst; Then you shall know that I am the LORD!'"

    (Ezekiel 22:15-16 NKJV) "15 I will scatter you among the nations, disperse you throughout the countries, and remove your filthiness completely from you. 16 You shall defile yourself in the sight of the nations; then you shall know that I am the LORD." ' "


  1. Because of modern Israel’s continued rebellion against God their downfall and captivity is predicted. Curses will be upon its people. (Deut.28:15-16) including: crippling diseases and epidemics (verses 21-22, 27, 35, 59-62); mental illnesses (verse 28); upset weather patterns leading to devastating droughts (verses 23-24) and insect infestations that destroy crops (verses 38-40, 42) and bring starvation (verses 53-57); and finally, invasion and captivity (verse 32-33, 36, 41, 47-52, 64-68).

    Leviticus 26:14-39 describes similar consequences, while also noting that God will "break the pride of your power" such that "you will flee when no one pursues you" (verses 17,19).


  1. We seem already to be witnessing the fulfillment of these prophecies in our time. Perhaps even more remarkable than the British Empire's rise to greatness was its rapid dismantling. From an empire on which the sun never set, Britain has lost possession after possession. Most of the nations that once formed the British Empire are now independent, no longer subject to British rule.

    The United States, which emerged from World War II as the world's preeminent military power, soon was fighting to a bloody stalemate in Korea and a humiliating defeat in Vietnam. Even in more recent wars, such as those in Kuwait and Iraq and Bosnia and Serbia, in which America achieved her military aims, U.S. forces remained bogged down with costly peacekeeping obligations and no easy escape. Only in such overwhelmingly one-sided conflicts as in Grenada and Panama has the United States emerged as the clear-cut victor since its stalemate in the Korean War. Even though the United States remains the world's most powerful military power by a large margin, its advantage is greatly undermined by lack of political will and the commitment to decisively win its wars.

    In another sign of their decline, Britain and the United States have lost many of the strategic sea gates they gained and maintained at great cost. In recent years they have surrendered such crucial strategic possessions as the Panama Canal and Hong Kong. No doubt this trend will continue.

  2. Other prophecies indicate that the turmoil prophesied to engulf the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the democracies of Northwest Europe will be only a prelude to a time of tumult and chaos unlike anything the world has seen (Matthew 24:21-22).

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Last modified: 05/15/01