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Are the ten tribes of Israel really lost?
The disposition of the Ten Northern Tribes of Israel: From 722/712 B.C. to 445 B.C., through Jesus first advent.
Jeroboam was the first king of the ten tribes of Israel: 1 Kgs.12:31; 1 Kgs.13:33-34. He set up the wicked/immoral sacrificing, ceremonial activity and worship of pagan gods in high places. Dismissed all the Levitical priests and assigned heathen priests of his own.
As a result of Jeroboam's behavior, all the Levitical priests as well as a remnant of citizens from all 10 of the tribes of Israel, returned to Judah, under Rehoboam, first king of Judah and Benjamin: 2 Ch.11:13-17 and 2 Ch.15:9. That all 12 tribes of Israel were included into what was all Judah during Jesus first advent, is confirmed by His reference to "being sent only to the lost sheep of Israel," among many other places, in Mt.15:24 as well as in Mt.10:5-6. That is why they are now all called Jews. Because the tribe of Judah is where the term Jew originated. However, since all 12 of the tribes are represented, they are referred to as the original Israel. Confirmed by Paul in Rom.11:2-4, when God spared a remnant, totalling seven thousand of all ten tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel
In 612 B.C. Nabopolassar united the Babylonian army with an army of Medes and Scythians and led a campaign which captured the Assyrian citadels in the North. The Babylonian army laid siege to Nineveh, but the walls of the city were too strong for battering rams, so they decided to try and starve the people out. A famous oracle had been given that "Nineveh should never be taken until the river became its enemy." After a three month siege, "rain fell in such abundance that the waters of the Tigris inundated part of the city and overturned one of its walls for a distance of twenty stades. Then the King, convinced that the oracle was accomplished and despairing of any means of escape, to avoid falling alive into the enemy's hands constructed in his palace an immense funeral pyre, placed on it his gold and silver and his royal robes, and then, shutting himself up with his wives and eunuchs in a chamber formed in the midst of the pile, disappeared in the flames. Nineveh opened its gates to the besiegers, but this tardy submission did not save the proud city. It was pillaged and burned, and then razed to the ground so completely as to evidence the implacable hatred enkindled in the minds of subject nations by the fierce and cruel Assyrian government." (Lenormant and E. Chevallier, The Rise and Fall of Assyria).
"Nineveh was laid waste as ruthlessly and completely as her kings had once ravaged Susa and Babylon; the city was put to the torch, THE POPULATION WAS SLAUGHTERED OR ENSLAVED, and the palace so recently built by Ashurbanipal was sacked and destroyed. At one blow Assyria disappeared from history. Nothing remained of her except certain tactics and weapons of war ...The Near East remembered her for a while as a merciless unifier of a dozen lesser states; and the Jews recalled Nineveh vengefully as 'the bloody city, full of lies and robbery.' In a little while all but the mightiest of the Great Kings were forgotten, and all their royal palaces were in ruins under the drifting sands. Two hundred years after its capture, Xenophon's Ten Thousand marched over the mounds that had been Nineveh, and never suspected that these were the site of the ancient metropolis that had ruled half the world. Not a stone remained visible of all the temples with which Assyria's pious warriors had sought to beautify their greatest capital. Even Ashur, the everlasting god, was dead." (Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage, pp. 283, 284).
Therefore, all of the Levites, priests and citizens of all ten of the ten tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel, under Jeroboam, who did not return to Judah/Benjamin, under Rehoboam in [about] 885 B.C., were carried off to Babylon in 612 B.C. Where they were united with the exiles from Judah/Benjamin from 605 through 586 B.C.
From there, remnants of all twelve tribes have been represented ever since the decrees by Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, Persian kings, from 539 B.C. through 445 B.C., to rebuild the temple and Jerusalem, all the way though Jesus first advent. Those who have returned to Israel since May 14, 1948 consist of all 12 of the tribes of Israel, as prophecied in the Scriptures, in various places.
However, in God's great love, mercy and compassion for all His people, He will restore them again after the second coming of Christ, according to Hosea 3:4-5.
From the above Scriptural and historic facts, a remnant of all ten of the northern tribes of Israel were saved, but many thousands of others were lost. See 1 Kgs.19:18 and Rom.11:2-4.