The scriptures give us great clues as to the wanderings of the house of Israel throughout time since the birth of Jacob’s twelve sons. Tracking the twelve tribes from the birth of these sons down to today is a task only to be performed by those who have the spirit of prophecy and revelation, and who can discern the intent of God through the medium of his prophets’ writings.
Pertaining to reading holy writ, this author’s (Kelly Gneiting’s) default position—his preferred position— is the role of sponge. After all, the scriptures themselves tell us that the treasures thus contained are to be obtained line upon line, and precept upon precept. This seems to indicate that knowledge of God—his ways and his mysteries—are gathered slowly, while treading through the mud of inaccuracies which are the precepts of men. To pause and put down on paper one’s own insights is to pause from forging forward through the minefield, or to stop and momentarily reflect along one’s forward motion while gripping the iron rod—the value of the setback being a hope that others will find clarity in the pure doctrine of Christ.
But every so often the Holy Ghost brings this author to an abrupt stop because of the desire to teach by putting newly obtained knowledge on paper for the benefit of others. Such is the case for this article. As characteristic of all knowledge obtained in the scriptures, I have come across an anomaly that echoes loudly; this anomaly is a point in the scriptures in which the house of Israel (Jacob’s twelve sons’ posterity) divides into three groups, which are 1) Joseph, 2) Judah, and 3) the remaining ten tribes. The most significant of these groups, and the most mysterious, is the travels of Joseph, since Reuben’s (the firstborn’s) “birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel.” (see 1 Chronicles 5)
This writing, and the truth contained therein, was revealed to the author from the scriptures by the Holy Ghost, while considering suggestions from a few others whom have read a first and second draft, and whom I thank for their insight.
From Joseph Smith:
We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory. (Articles of Faith 1:10)
At the end of the life of Moses, he gave each of the twelve tribes a blessing. Within these blessings, Moses saw into the future to the last days, and pronounced his greatest blessing on Joseph. This is how Cleon Skousen put it (in The Third Thousand Years, p. 278-379):
Several thousand years hence he (Moses) knew that God would reap the victory and so would Israel. Therefore, Moses closed his ministry with a blessing on each of the tribes. The most singular of all these blessings was the one he pronounced on Joseph. For the other tribes Moses followed rather closely the blessings previously pronounced upon them by Jacob, but for Joseph there was to be a special calling, in a special land, in the latter days.
It should be kept in mind that Moses already knew a great deal about the last days. When he had been working on the Book of Genesis he had learned about the [prophet] who would rise up to do God’s great work in the last dispensation (from Moses 50). He knew this prophet would be like unto himself and that it would be the great day of gathering and the preparation of the earth for the coming of the Messiah. Therefore, with a note of triumph in his blessing, Moses declared concerning Joseph:
“Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath; and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills. And for the precious things of the earth and the fulness thereof; and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.” (Deuteronomy 33:13-17)
Of the house of Israel, Joseph is a branch, yet He is actually two branches—Ephraim and Manasseh. Each of these two tribes had an equal land inheritance with the other tribes of Israel. Yet when Moses gave his final blessing to the tribes, he did NOT separate them into two, since the purpose of the blessing was not “land inheritance” related. He gave the blessing unto Joseph, both Ephraim and Manasseh.
The question must be asked, does each tribe collectively exist together, or has the Lord caused one or more tribes to be essentially split-off from the rest of that same tribe?
LDS teachings rely on “modern-day” prophecy to answer this question, which differs from the scriptural record. Like most truth in the scriptures, a spirit-filled logic must accompany the reader to gain the correct meaning by the power of the Holy Ghost. If this logic doesn’t exist, the reader is susceptible to filling in holes in their lack of understanding with the precepts of men.
For instance, in Moses’ blessing to Joseph, he said, “let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.” At the point at which Moses was speaking, the tribe of Joseph was NOT separated from his brethren of the other eleven tribes. However, Moses is thinking in terms of what would happen down the corridor of time. A question must be asked, when was this separation?
The answer from the doctrine of the LDS church is that part of the tribe of Joseph did NOT separate from his brethren, and part did. From the LDS Bible dictionary (under “Joseph”):
“It is through latter-day revelation that the larger mission of the family of Joseph in the last days is illustrated. The tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph’s children, were among the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and thus among the “lost tribes.” Also, one portion of Joseph’s descendants came to America about 600 B.C. and established two great peoples.”
The ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom referred to is spoken of in 1 Kings 11. In this chapter, Ahijah the prophet promises Jeroboam that he would soon be the king of ten tribes (which would eventually become the lost ten tribes), being wrestled away from King Solomon. It’s recorded:
And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field:
And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:
And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:
At this point the reader may ask, “which ten pieces did Jeroboam obtain, and what will (or did) happen to the other two pieces (tribes)?” In continuing, the prophet Ahijah says:
But he (Solomon) shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:
Now we have an accounting of eleven tribes, but where is the last one? (And if you believe the LDS Church’s version, two tribes are missing). The final answer is, the record of the Bible never says, other than they “shall be carried into a far country” (Genesis 50:25), and “Joseph… him that was separated from his brethren.” (Deuteronomy 33:16)
Even though LDS teachings on this issue rests entirely on “modern-day revelation,” (meaning revelation after the time of Joseph Smith) that the tribe of Joseph did NOT splinter into two groups is reinforced by the words of Captain Moroni in the Book of Mormon (Alma 46). For said he:
Behold, we are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; yea, we are a remnant of the seed of Joseph, whose coat was rent by his brethren into many pieces; yea, and now behold, let us remember to keep the commandments of God, or our garments shall be rent by our brethren, and we be cast into prison, or be sold, or be slain.
Yea, let us preserve our liberty as a remnant of Joseph; yea, let us remember the words of Jacob, before his death, for behold, he saw that a part of the remnant of the coat of Joseph was preserved and had not decayed. And he said—Even as this remnant of garment of my son hath been preserved, so shall a remnant of the seed of my son be preserved by the hand of God, and be taken unto himself, while the remainder of the seed of Joseph shall perish, even as the remnant of his garment.
Now behold, this giveth my soul sorrow; nevertheless, my soul hath joy in my son, because of , 0that part of his seed which shall be taken unto God.
Of course, Moroni was speaking to and of the people in the Book of Mormon, and their seed.
Going back to 1 Kings, Ahijah reiterates again that which he had already said to Jeroboam, saying:
Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his (Solomon’s) hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes:
But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.
And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.
Where did the missing tribe go? And which tribe is it? From the scriptures, it was the tribe of Joseph, from Moses own mouth, who was separated from his brethren, and sent into a far country (America). They surely are NOT among the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and thus among the “lost tribes.”
The fulfillment of Ahijah’s prophecy came in the next chapter (1 Kings 12), and Jeroboam and Solomon became the first kings in a kingdom that split the original twelve tribes into a group of ten, and a group of one (Judah), which, by the way doesn’t add up to twelve, or thirteen, or ten. Then when Jeroboam’s kingdom became ripened in iniquity the Lord gave them over to be ruled by the Gentiles. As recorded in 2 Kings 17, (and correctly summarized by the LDS church) the ten tribes are carried away captive by the king of Assyria (Gentiles), and henceforth only Judah remained to be written about and followed in the biblical record. The scriptures give this summation:
Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only… For he rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the Lord, and made them sin a great sin. For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; Until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day. (2 Kings 17:18-23)
Why was there the “tribe of Judah only?” Because the tribes of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin were taken captive, and eventually became lost; and Joseph was taken to a far country (America). Today only a remnant remains of the tribe of Joseph, who are the children of those who lived in the Book of Mormon, and no one else. All other remnants of Joseph have decayed, and consist of the remainder of the seed of Joseph which has perished, even as the remnant of his garment.
The fulfillment of Ahijah’s prophecy happened just before the tribe of Joseph separated (through Lehi and his family), since we first hear of the King Nebuchadnezzar—the King of Babylon from 604 and 521 BC—a few chapters later, in 2 Kings 24. It is evident that Lehi intermingled with Judah at Jerusalem before being called of God to fulfill the prophecy of Joseph of Egypt, by separating.
This author is aware that there is a smattering of the lost ten tribes across the globe, and as well, individuals who are of the tribes of Joseph and Judah will appear in various locations around the world, but the mainstream tribes have been kept intact, and have maintained their integrity as a distinct people. Ten tribes are lost in the north country (D&C 133, Jeremiah 6), Judah is gathering to their land of Israel (middle-east), and Joseph is primarily in North America, in a country without a dictatorship, so says the scriptures. (i.e. 2 Nephi 10, Ether 13)
Righteous Gentiles will be “numbered with” or “adopted into” the house of Israel, and then assist those who are already of the house of Israel, and NOT supersede them in the Lord’s ministry. For Christ the Lord said (in 3 Nephi 21):
Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots…
But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance;
And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.
And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem.
Instead of working to recover remnant Israel, the Gentiles have, since the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles, overtaken the Lord’s ministry altogether. This should be increasingly obvious to the honest reader of the scriptures. LDS leadership is made up primarily from Gentile blood, or blood which has come from Europe—a region for which the scriptures amply and often refer to as Gentile territory. (i.e. see 1 Nephi 13)
D&C 45 gives this clear-cut summation:
And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel; But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.
And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (and the times of Israel will commence again, just as it has in the entire scriptural record).
The Book of the Remnant likens the philosophies of men which has come from LDS (Gentile) leaders to untempered mortar, saying:
Even as hath been said by them of old: Because they have seduced my people, saying peace, and there was no peace, yet one built up a wall, and lo others daubed it with untempered mortar. The Spirit saith: Say unto them that daubed it with untempered mortar, it shall fall…
And lo, when the wall is fallen shall it not be said unto the prophets that divine with vanity and lies, where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it? Therefore, thus saith the Lord God: I will rent it with a stormy wind in my fury, and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it. I will break down the wall ye have daubed with untempered mortar, and bring it down to the ground so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered; for it shall fall, and these prophets, and those people who believe and follow them shall be consumed in the midst thereof, and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
Thus shall the Lord Omnipotent, Creator of heaven and earth—the God of Israel—apply his wrath upon the great and abominable church and upon them that have daubed it with untempered mortar, divining in vanity and lying in the name of the Lord, saying this is the Lord’s and we are the Lord’s, we are Israel and Israel is gathered, for their vanity and lies shall be revealed upon the housetops and all the nations of the earth shall know of this lie, for the Lord saith unto all those who do this thing: The wall is no more, neither are they that have daubed it.
But marvelous are the ways of the Lord, for as the prophets have prophesied, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth—both sons and daughters. Behold they shall come forth unto you, my son and servant, and ye shall see their ways and their doings, and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil spoken of that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it…
For I the Lord God have daubed it with tempered mortar to build that Zion spoken of; I have daubed it with my people of literal seed, for they knoweth me and knoweth of my ways and they shall not deny my doctrine that is full of faith and truth, which truth cometh from the Father.
For these are the truths that the fathers divined by virtue of the spirit of prophecy, and much hath been written by thy father Nephi—which is yet to be revealed. Suffice it to say that much shall be revealed by Nephi to his seed as his seed is gathered to the land of the first inheritance, that the Lord may come and manifest himself unto them, wherein there shall be much rejoicing by all the fathers throughout all the dispensations of time. Who can divine vanity and make lies when truth is revealed and made known unto the children of Israel in fulness?
And the Gentiles shall say in that day: How is it that we have used untempered mortar that we have sinned against thee? Then the Lord God almighty saith: Thou didst trust in thine own beauty and playedest the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredest out thine fornication on everyone that passeth by.
I am a witness to the truthfulness of the Book of the Remnant, by the voice of the Holy Ghost. It is Holy Scripture, and cometh of God, the Eternal Father. Furthermore, I am restrained by the Spirit of the Lord to command you, the reader, in the name of Jesus Christ to not think lightly upon these things, but ponder them in your hearts. For wide is the gate and broad is the way which leadeth unto death, and many there be who go in thereat, because of the vain things of the world, and because of the precepts of men—yea, because of the pride of the world, and a desire to obtain honors and glory of those who are in their midst, but seek not the welfare of Zion, for the welfare of Zion is the welfare of the ancient and long-dispersed covenant people of the Lord. Wherefore, let all your doings be centered in the will of God, with an eye single to His glory, and work to recover the Lord’s people, and restore the house of Israel.
Yea, the Lord is able to do his own work, even unto the setting in order the House of God, and restoring that which hath been scattered, yea, they which will be set in order by His servant—the one mighty and strong, and those other few servants in the Lords vineyard who regard not the prophecy of man, nor his vain thing, but seek to be a polished shaft in the quiver of the Lord, to bring to pass his marvelous work and wonder, which is not beholden to man’s ways, nor to the ways of modern-day scribes and Pharisees who either know not the scriptures, or who sell their gift for the mess of potage that cometh of flesh.