Chapter Six - The History of the House of Israel


This is an extract, the full chapter discusses the history of the entire House of Israel.  This extract focuses on just the portion of Israel that has become known as the Lost Ten Tribe.

The Remnant of Jacob – Lost Ten Tribes

The Northern Kingdom of Israel lived in a continual state of rebellion before Jehovah. They neither remembered the Lord their God nor kept His commandments. They disregarded the Lord in favor of the deaf and dumb idol gods of other nations – perhaps because they required nothing of them. Therefore, as stipulated in their covenants, approximately 200 years after becoming a kingdom unto themselves, they were destroyed and carried off into bondage.  This destruction came to pass in the days of Isaiah, 721 BC. Many of the members of the northern ten tribes were slaughtered by the Assyrians, but a large subset of the population was carried off captive into Assyria.

It is unclear precisely how long this body of the Ten Tribes of Israel remained in captivity. It is, however, clear that around 632 BC, a Babylonian lead coalition attacked Nineveh, the Assyrian capital, which ultimately led to the complete destruction of the Assyrian empire. This seems the likely trigger point, but whether corresponding with the fall of the Assyrian Empire, or at some other time, it is evident that a large body representing the Ten Tribes of Israel left Assyria and headed north. This information comes to us from the Apocrypha.

In this account, the prophet Ezra had a vision of the Second Coming of the Lord, wherein he sees a large group of people. He questions the angel regarding the host and is provided with the following answer:

Those are the ten tribes, which were carried away prisoners out of their own land in the time of Osea the king, whom Salmanasar the king of Assyria led away captive, and he carried them over the waters, and so came they into another land. But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never mankind dwelt, that they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land.
And they entered into Euphrates by the narrow places of the river. For the most High then shewed signs for them, and held still the flood, till they were passed over. For through that country there was a great way to go, namely, of a year and a half: and the same region is called Arsareth. Then dwelt they there until the latter time. (2 Esdras 13:40-46)


This fascinating account states that this group took “counsel among themselves” that they would keep their covenants, which they had never before kept. According to the promises of that covenant, in the day that they remembered the Lord and kept their covenants, he would again remember and bless His people, and make them a holy nation. It appears that must have been the case. Rather than returning these people to the land of their inheritance, as He would do with the Jews from their Babylonian captivity, the Great Jehovah intended to do something else. The God of Israel led them North, to a new land, where never before had man set foot. We do not know where the land of Arsareth is, only that the Lost Ten Tribes will dwell there until the latter-days, at which time they will return.

Archeological and DNA evidence demonstrates that man had already inhabited Europe, Russia, Siberia, and even the Arctic Circle long before the Lost Ten Tribes left Assyria. As the Apocryphal account clearly states they were traveling northward to a place where “never mankind dwelt”, none of these locations could, therefore, qualify as the land of Arsareth under a literal interpretation of the scripture. Where then could these have gone to be where never before man had dwelt?

The belief that the Lost Tribes, like the people of Enoch, were taken from the earth was common among the early members of the church and seems to have its origins in the teachings of Joseph Smith. Consider the following verse written by Eliza R. Snow which was included in the 1905 Hymnal of the church.

And when the Lord saw fit to hide
The ten lost tribes away,
Thou, earth, was severed to provide
The orb on which they stay.
(Eliza R. Snow- 1905 hymn book no. 322 5th verse)


Also, consider the following two separate journal entries from the journal of Wilford Woodruff regarding this subject.

President Young said he heard Joseph Smith say that the Ten Tribes of Israel were on a Portion of Land separated from this Earth. (Waiting for World’s End, The Diaries of Wilford Woodruff, 1993, p. 291)

The evening was spent in conversing upon the subject of the Ten Tribes in the North Country…. a portion of the North Country containing the ten tribes may be separated from the Earth. O. Hyde and others believed they would soon return. (Waiting for World’s End, The Diaries of Wilford Woodruff, 1993, p. 238)

While none of these accounts should be interpreted as authoritative statements, they do demonstrate that members of the early church, with no small reputation, considered such an option as a real possibility. It is my opinion, that an Enoch-like separation of these people, while hard to believe, is also the most scripturally harmonious theory I have found. It also may be the reason the Lord included the following otherwise odd reference in the covenants discussed in the previous chapter: “Though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence”.(Deuteronomy 30:1-4)

Although there remains a shroud of mystery regarding the location of this group, it is crystal clear from the Exodus migration, that when the Great Jehovah is leading His covenant people, nothing is impossible. We know they went north. We know the Lord led them. And we know they left in a large body. From Nephi, we received further insight into this group. Consider the following verses:

For behold, I [Jehovah] shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the House of Israel, which I have led away, [confirming what we learned from the Apocrypha] and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it. And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews. (2 Nephi 29:12-13)

These verses discuss the three groups we know to make up the House of Israel, all of which existed in the past as independent bodies of people:  Judah - the Jews, the House of Joseph - the Nephites, and the Remnant of Jacob - the Lost Ten Tribes. The fact that these groups have scriptures further implies that each group continued as a body long enough to have accumulated a noteworthy scriptural record. Regarding these verses, the Apostle James E. Talmage made the following prophesy from the pulpit in General Conference in October 1916.

The ten tribes shall come; they are not lost unto the Lord; they shall be brought forth as hath been predicted; and I say unto you there are those now living—aye, some here present—who shall live to read the records of the Lost Tribes of Israel, which shall be made one with the record of the Jews, or the Holy Bible, and the record of the Nephites, or the Book of Mormon, even as the Lord hath predicted. (Conference Report October 1916 Page 76)

                In October 2016, this prophecy will have been given one hundred years ago. Presently, approximately 2% of the population lives to be one hundred. According to the Gerontology Research Group, there have only been 226 Americans that have ever lived to be 112 years old. Therefore, for Elder Talmage’s prophecy to be accurate, the return of the Lost Ten Tribes will not only happen in our day but must be eminent.

Another latter-day prophet - Joseph Fielding Smith, made the following statement regarding these Lost Ten Tribes:

The Ten Tribes were taken by force out of the land the Lord gave them. Many of them mixed with the peoples among whom they were scattered. A large portion, however, departed in one body into the North and disappeared from the rest of the world. Where they went and where they are we do not know. That they are intact we must believe, else how shall the scripture be fulfilled? There are too many prophecies concerning them and their return in a body for us to ignore the fact. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Way to Perfection, p. 130)

According to President Smith, the Lost Tribes of Israel are comprised of two separate groups. The first is comprised of those that stayed and mingled among the people and nations wherewith they were scattered. The second was a large group that was led out of the land by the hand of the Lord. This latter group left in a body, they were in a body at the time of Christ’s post-resurrection ministration,[1] and they will return from Arsareth in the latter-days in a body.

As stated by this prophet, many scriptures refer to the Lost Ten Tribes' return in a body. Of their return, we know that they will return from the direction they left, north. However, from a prophetic perspective, the most distinctive feature of their return seems not to be the direction from whence they come, but rather the miraculous nature in which they do. Consider the following reference to the return of the Lost Ten Tribes, given by the prophet Jeremiah, Lehi’s contemporary:

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the House of Israel out of the North country. (Jeremiah 23:7-8)

Note again the use of the term “led” associated with this group. If the Lord led this group away in a miraculous fashion as attested to by multiple accounts, and returns them in the latter-days in a miraculous fashion that will dwarf even the exodus of Egypt, it is fair to say that the whole world will together know of their return. Further insight regarding this group comes to us from modern scripture. Consider the following verses from the Doctrine and Covenants:

And they who are in the North countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence. And a highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep. Their enemies shall become a prey unto them,
And in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water; and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land. And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants. And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence.
And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim. And they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy. Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the tribes of Israel, and the richer blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows. (D&C 133:26-34)


These verses are packed with information regarding the return of the Remnant of Jacob from the North. First, this again confirms that the Ten Tribes will return as a body, with their prophets at their head. Second, their return is likewise described as being miraculous, with the appearance of a highway being cast up out of the great deep.  The term “great deep” leaves much to the imagination, especially in light of Moses’s reference to a portion of Israel returning from the outmost parts of heaven. Third, the returning remnant will come in power, subduing their enemies, which we can presume are the enemies of Israel’s God. Fourth, it is consistent with the understanding we obtained from Jacob regarding Ephraim and his adopted brothers and fellow tribesmen, with the Lost Tribes bowing (falling down) before Ephraim. Fifth, while this account only generally eludes from whence this host comes – “North countries”, it is quite specific about the location to which they will return, at least initially.

These verses provide three separate locational references that when taken collectively all point to the same location. These are the three identifiers: the children of Ephraim, the boundaries of the everlasting hills, and Zion.  The first of these is easily identifiable; there is no other known location on the planet that houses more Ephraimites than the United States of America. The second, the everlasting hills are likewise associated with the United States, and Utah specifically. The term “everlasting hills” is used only twice in scripture. The first time Jacob blesses Joseph that his seed will inhabit the everlasting hills[2] and the second in the verses above.  If you are unfamiliar with this phrase, tune into a broadcast of the Spoken Word, the nation’s oldest continual broadcast. Each broadcast closes with the following phrase: “Again we leave you within the shadows of the everlasting hills.” Lastly, according to the Bible Dictionary, Zion is associated with the United States specifically, and the North and South American continents in general. In other words, the Lost Tribes of Israel, their prophets, and their records will, at least initially, come from a highway out of the great deep to the children of Ephraim in the United States.

The above accounts paint the picture of a miraculous return, an event of an incredible nature. Recall that the Bible dictionary confirms this fact by stating the following regarding the return of this mighty host.

Since their captivity [the Lost Ten Tribes] have never yet returned to their homeland, but extensive promises and prophecies speak of the time when they of the “north countries” shall return when they are ready to obey the gospel. The gathering of the lost tribes is to be a more spectacular event than the children of Israel coming out of Egypt in Moses’ day. (Bible Dictionary – “Israel, Kingdom of”)

The purpose of the Remnant of Jacob’s return is an underlying theme that will be discussed at great length throughout this book. For the purpose of this summary, it appears that the Remnant of Jacob will come as a precursor to the Second Coming to purge the wicked. Consider the following verses from Jeremiah regarding this remnant:

The portion of Jacob [the remnant of Jacob] is not like them [vain of the world]; for he [Jehovah] is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the Lord of hosts is his name. Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms. (Jeremiah 51:19-20)

Likewise consider the following from Jesus Christ during His discourse to the Nephites:

And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people—Then shall [they], who are a remnant of the House of Jacob, go forth among them; and [they] shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and [they] shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. [Their] hand shall be lifted up upon [their] adversaries, and all [their] enemies shall be cut off. (3 Nephi 20:15-16)

Between Jeremiah and Jesus Christ, we understand that the Remnant of Jacob shall sow destruction upon the wicked. The verses before these likewise describe the enemies of “they who are in the Northern countries” as being destroyed. The points briefly touched on in this summary shall be greatly elaborated upon within this book, for now, this summary will suffice.

[1] 3 Nephi 17:1-5

[2] Genesis 49:22-26