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In Their Own Words - Jewish Testimonies concerning the Ten "Lost" Tribes of Israel  By Charles A. Jennings

Upon examination of Old Testament history, the honest minded Bible student is confronted with the task of explaining some difficult events. There has been volumes written in an attempt to explain such events as the Noahic Flood, the crossing of the Red Sea, Joshua’s long day and other miraculous works of God. Yet there remains one natural event, designed by God and executed by human hands, that is still a mystery to the vast majority of Bible students to this day. That event is the alleged ‘disappearance’ of millions of Old Testament Israelites following the Assyrian captivities of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

The following is the Scriptural account of the Assyrian captivity of the Northern Kingdom of Israel which took place in 721 B.C.

"And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea, son of Elah king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it. And at the end of three years they took it: even in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria (the capital city of Northern Israel) was taken. And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes: because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and would not hear them, nor do them" (II Kings 18:9-12).

The Scriptural account is also very clear that ten years after the captivity of Northern Israel, the king of Assyria invaded the Southern Kingdom of Judah. "Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them" (II Kings 18:13). Later on, Sennacherib made a failed attempt to capture the city of Jerusalem, but was defeated by the miraculous intervention of the Lord. It was some 130 years later that the Babylonians conquered and destroyed the city of Jerusalem. One major and very important point that must be kept in mind is that there is no Biblical account which records that these captured people of Israel and Judah ever returned back to the land of Palestine. In fact, the prophecy given many years before, was that because of their disobedience the Lord would bring heathen nations against His people and drive them out of the land which had been given unto their fathers. This historical event is known as the Diaspora or the Dispersion of Israel. The big question remains; what happened to these people? Were they completely destroyed or did they migrate to other lands, multiply and fulfill their God-ordained destiny elsewhere?

It is very apparent, according to the New Testament account, that the whereabouts of these dispersed Israelites was no mystery. In the ministry of Jesus, when He made reference to His departure back to the Father, the Jews responded by saying; "Whither will he go, that we shall not find Him? Will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?" (John 7:35).

Jesus also made it plainly understood that He also knew that these dispersed Israelites were still in existence and would be reached with the Gospel message. Jesus said; " I am the Good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd" (John 10:14-16; fulfilling Ez. 37:15-28).

During the council of the chief priests and Pharisees, the high priest Caiaphas made it known that Jesus not only would die for the Judah nation, but also for the dispersed Israelites scattered abroad (John 11:47-52).

The following are several accounts of various testimonies from Jewish sources, both ancient and modern. They all confirm the fact that the people of dispersed Israel are not the same as the modern people now known as Jews.

Dr. Moses Margouliouth, a Jewish scholar of the 19th Century, in his History of the Jews said, "It may not be out of place to state that the ‘isles afar off’ mentioned in the 31st chapter of Jeremiah were supposed by the ancients to be Britannia, Scotia and Hibernia."

An interesting modern reference is to be found in the declaration of principles given in the United Israel Bulletin, a non-Christian, Jewish publication of April 1951 – "We believe that the Ten Tribes of Israel exist within the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic-Scandinavian-American people and that they in fact constitute them and that they are Hebrews in the same sense that Judah, Benjamin and Levi with the Jewish people are Israelites."


Josephus, the highly respected and reliable Jewish historian recorded in 70 A.D. that: "there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond the Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers" (Book 11, Chap. 5, Par. 2).


"What I want, dear brethren, in addressing these epistles to you, is to protest against those Christians who, in spiritualising the Holy Scripture, and calling themselves spiritual Israel, appropriate all Israel’s promises to themselves, and so give infidels good grounds to say that God is not true to His promise and that He is not a covenant-keeping God, for He has broken His unconditional covenant which He made with our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In order to stop the mouth of the infidel, and to open the eyes of blind Christians who do not see God’s object with Israel in His dealings with His once-for-ever chosen people, let us earnestly search for our lost brethren, the Ten Tribes, and, when we have found them, let us not be silent, but proclaim to the whole world God’s wonderful dealings with them, and that He is true to His promises, not a changeable God, but still the same Jehovah, the covenant-keeping God of Israel." From "Letter to the Jews Concerning the Ten Tribes," by the Rev. Elieser Bassin, B.S. of Edinburgh.

"Before I became a Christian, I believed as most of my Jewish brethren still believe, that the Ten Tribes of Israel exist, somewhere, as a powerful nation, having a king of their own and that they are hidden from the sight of men until the coming of the expected Messiah. It is my conviction that Britain is the nation with whom God has identified Himself from first to last. I as an Israelite of the House of Judah, claim you as Israelites of the house of Ephraim. As believers in the faithfulness of our covenant-keeping God I call you to awake from your sleep." (See companion tract # 53)

Elieser Bassin - 1926 (A converted Jew of Russian birth)


"The fate of the lost Ten Tribes is a mystery which has a peculiar fascination for some minds. While not a link is missing of the historical chain so far as the remnant of the House of Judah is concerned, the Israelites who were subjugated by the Assyrian power disappear from the page of history as suddenly and completely as though the land of the captivity had swallowed them up. Beyond some vague reference to them in a passage of Josephus, no mention is made by an authentic writer of their surviving the destruction of their nationality. There has always been, however, an unwillingness to admit that a fate that has befallen so many nations has overtaken the Ten Tribes. Why should they have been less tenacious of life than their brethren of Judah? Nay, the Scriptures speak of a future restoration of Israel , which is clearly to include both Judah and Ephraim. The problem, then, is reduced to the simplest form. The Ten Tribes are certainly in existence. All that has to be done is to discover which people represent them."


The Jewish Church of England

"You are quite right in your surmise that the ten tribes did not return to the holy land."


"The people known at present as Jews are the descendants of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. So far as is known, there is not any further admixture of other tribes. The Jews look forward to the gathering of all the tribes at some future date. And so as we look around the world, we are driven to believe with Bishop Gobat, former Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, "that a solid ground exists for the Anglo-Israel hypothesis since nowhere else can Ephraim be found fulfilling the required conditions of Scripture."



This is the story of a valiant Jewish soldier of the Cross. Marcus S. Bergmann was born in Wieruszow, a town bordering Silesia ( a small European Country, bounded by Czechoslovakia, Germany and Poland), in 1846. His Jewish father, who was a strong Talmudist and a member of the Chassidim (also called Assideans or Hasidim. A sect which was the most strict adherent of Judaism), did not long survive his infant son’s birth, and so the boy was reared by his uncle, Woolf Bermann, who also belonged to the Chassidim. This man saw to it that young Marcus studied the choicest Rabbinical and Talmudic writing, for he too was to become a rabbi to his people.

Marcus was barely twenty years old when a sudden disturbing restlesness came upon him, and he felt a spiritual burden quite strange to him. Disquieted in his thoughts, he was unable to concentrate on his studies, and he longed to leave his comfortable home and his country to wonder he knew not where.

Finally he obeyed the insistent voice, and he made preparation to leave behind him all the people he loved. Marcus Bergmann arrived in England in 1866, where he set up a small synagogue in London. He ministered there for a while without pay, living on monies from the inheritance bequeathed him by his father.

Although Marcus Bergmann had obeyed God by leaving Silesia and going to the land pointed out by His finger, he was not doing the will of God. Because he had not enquired of the Almighty concerning that which he should do, God’s hand struck heavily upon him, and he was laid low in grave illness. He was taken to a hospital, where he hovered between life and death for a period of six weeks.

Let Marcus Bergmann’s own words tell the story of God’s way with him. In later life he wrote an account of his conversion for the "The Hebrew Christian" (New York) which was published in the September 1894 issue of that magazine.

After mentioning his weeks of illness, Mr. Bergmann wrote: ‘When feeling a little better I began to look into the Hebrew Bible, which was on the shelf in the ward. As a reader in the synagogue, I knew the letter of the whole of the Pentateuch, and other portions of the Old Testament by heart.

"The portion of scripture that made a great impression on me at the time of my illness was Daniel 9. Several verses of this chapter (the confession of Daniel) are repeated each Monday and Thursday by every Jew.; but the latter part of this chapter, which so plainly prophesies of the sufferings of the Messiah is never read. In fact, the Rabbis pronounce a dreadful curse upon everyone who investigates the prophecy of those seventy weeks.

"They say: ‘Their bones shall rot who compute the end of the time!’

"On remembering the anathema, it was with fear and trembling that I read the passage about the seventy weeks and coming to verse 26, Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself – though we Jews are most careful not to let a Hebrew book drop on the ground – I threw that Hebrew Bible out of my hand, thinking in my ignorance, that this was one of the missionaries’ Bibles.

"But, although I threw the Bible away, yet I could not throw away the words I had just read: Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself. These words sank deeper and deeper into my soul, and wherever I looked I seemed to see the words in flaming Hebrew characters, and I had no rest for some time!"

"My heart was burdened with a very great load, and yet I dared not open my mind to anyone. In this state I believed, the Spirit of God led me to Palestine-place. (Situated near the junction of Christchurch and Church Roads in Merton an outer suburb of London.) My heart failed me when I reached the door of the late Rev. Dr. Ewald.

After several vain attempts I ventured to knock, and was admitted to see that venerable servant of the Lord. To him I unburdened my soul and told him all that was in my heart. He asked me whether or not I was willing to come into his home for enquirers, in order to be instructed in the truth as it is exemplified in the Lord Jesus.

"I told him that this was just what I needed, and I at once accepted his kindness. This was just one week before the Passover!

While the members of Marcus Bergmann’s congregation at the synagogue kept the Feast of the Paschal lamb, he learned of the Lamb of God, who was sacrificed for the salvation of mankind, and the redemption of Israel, and he was comforted.

Not long afterward Marcus accepted our Lord Jesus the Christ as his Saviour, and God’s operation upon his soul was finished. The cancerous core of hatred had been cut out, forever, and the Saviour’s healing love occupied the place where it had grown.

Eagerly, feverishly, Marcus searched the Scriptures for more evidence of his wonderful revelation. He found it in Matthew 21:42-45, and his heart ached with anguish for his Christ-hating people. He needed no more evidence, for the Judge of judges had said: "The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you (Judah) and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof."

For hundreds of years it has been the custom for the heads of aristocratic British families to dedicate their sons for the service of their country, and to educate them for public office.

A wealthy and titled English gentleman had a beloved and talented son who showed promise of developing into a brilliant and scholarly man of letters. Determined to give his heir every educational advantage available, the indulgent father decided to have him tutored in Hebrew as well as in other languages.

At that time in England there were many Jews who were qualified to teach, and several of them applied for the position. So did Marcus Bergmann. The fairness for which he was noted compelled the nobleman to grant interviews to every man who was interested in teaching his son, but Marcus impressed him most of all, because he was a Christian.

Marcus and his pupil liked each other from the start, and their liking developed in a strong friendship. The chosen course of study involved the reading of the Old Testament, and one day the young nobleman called his tutor’s attention to Isaiah 42:6, where it is written: "I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."

Then, turning to Isaiah 49:8 the youth read the prophet’s inspired words: "Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate places."

As the dear young voice uttered these glorious words, Marcus Bergmann’s heart leaped within him, and his blood churned so loudly in his ears he could hardly hear the lad say, "then Christ is given to Britain."

Bergmann stared in surprise at his pupil, who confessed, "I am a British Israelite, sire." Marcus was stunned. What had the boy said? Was it possible that the Almighty had forsaken Judah? Had the Messiah given Himself to Gentile Britain?

He fell upon his knees, beseeching Jehovah to take the veil from his eyes and show him the truth of the matter. And God sent His servant to consult His Book.

And Britain had brought forth the fruit, which was the spreading of the Gospel of Salvation! Was not the British and Foreign Bible Society busy bringing out translations of the Bible in many languages – his own Yiddish translation among them? What of the hundreds of British missionaries who had gone to far lands to carry the Word and to suffer for the Lord?

Christ was the first fruit of the Kingdom and the British were proclaiming Him everywhere as the King of Kings "They were God’s Israel!" Humbly Marcus Bergmann prayed God for the honour of teaching this glorious, shining Truth. And God heard, and granted to him the coveted privilege.

It was not long before Marcus was standing before large groups of people, telling them the reason they had been so richly blessed was because they had accepted the Messiah. The Jews, he said, were a persecuted, miserable people, whose sufferings would continue until they too accepted Him.

He contended that Britain’s mighty power was derived from her belief in the saving grace of Jesus, and that she would inherit the Kingdom because of it. Marcus Bergmann made no secret of his Jewish background, and he exulted in his confession of Christ as Saviour. As a member of the British Israel Association he witnessed steadfastly and strongly for the rest of his days, happy and proud to be serving the Lord.

He died in 1923, at the age of 76, glorying in the Crucified One to the last, praying that the time soon would come when Judah would love Him, and breathe His Holy Name in reverence.

The above testimony is composed of excerpts from an article by Mary Hughes and is reprinted from THE ENSIGN MESSAGE.

" the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad..."

James 1:1
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