THE EARTHLY INHERITANCE SERIES of BIBLE SUBJECTS
Various Bible study guides in subjects pertaining to
New Earth prophecy, as taught by Paul Phelps.
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD,
they shall inherit the earth. Psalm 37:9
The TWELVE TRIBES of ISRAEL
Bible quotes are from the New Revised Standard Version
except for my own translations or as otherwise indicated.
Israel’s twelve tribes are historically real
and they have prophetic reality as well.
A Bible study project by Paul Phelps.
After several years of study this writing was completed in 2000.
The Israeli nation is an Asian race, Shem’s descendants in the lineage of Eber
(1 Chron. 1:24-28,34). Israel is Semitic (of Shem), and Hebrew (of Eber). Jacob
was renamed Israel, and his twelve sons begat all twelve tribes. The successive
generations inherited special destinies (Gen. 35:23-26; 49:1-28; 1 Chron. 2:1-2).
When Moses took the Israelis out of Egypt they came forth as tribes (Num. 1).
Ancient Israel is not understandable unless the tribes are taken into account,
and Israel of the future also is not understandable unless the same twelve tribes
are recognised. The tribes are eternal. Jesus told his twelve disciples that they
will rule Israel’s twelve tribes when he returns to earth as King. Matt. 19:28,
Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things,
when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory,
you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’
In the time of earth's renewal that is promised, Israel’s tribes will be restored.
… he says, ‘It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up
the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel;
I will give you as a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’
In the time of kings, Israel was divided and fell victim to Assyria and Babylon.
Some Judeans returned to rebuild Jerusalem but most of the tribes have become
isolated from Jewish tradition. The tribes are not lost however; God knows them
and he will return them to their heritage. Isaiah 63:16-17,
v 16, For you are our father, though Abraham does not know us
and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our father;
our Redeemer from of old is your name. Why, O LORD, do you make us
stray from your ways and harden our heart, so that we do not fear you?
v 17, Turn back for the sake of your servants,
for the sake of the tribes that are your heritage.
The tribal blessings from Moses (Deuteronomy 33) are for the Messianic age.
Prophecies of Israel’s restoration are for the endtime and for the Messianic age.
Even now, Israel’s twelve tribes exist somewhere on earth, though they may not
know God nor yet are acknowledged as part of Israel. This subject is essential
to know what God is doing in the end times to fulfil prophecy. God is revealing
himself to the hidden tribes and awakening in them awareness of who they are.
The blessings from Moses are awakening in the tribes to prepare them for their
New Earth inheritance.
Most of Israel’s tribes are lost to history but with God’s help we will find them
if we search correctly. The Bible says Israel was conquered three millennia ago
and led captive to Assyria and Babylon—two states in the Euphrates river region
(now Iraq). The conquest was made easy because the twelve tribes were split in
two states in the time of kings. Knowledge of both kingdoms of ancient Israel is
helpful to better understand what happened later.
After Joshua’s conquest the Israelis occupied Canaan as a single nation—until
King Solomon’s death in 931 BCE. The northern tribes then broke from the rule
of Jerusalem to create a separate kingdom called Israel, with Jeroboam as king;
(1 Kings 12). The southern tribes created a separate kingdom called Judah, with
Jerusalem the capital and Rehoboam as king (2 Chron. 11:1,12-14). Since then—
the people of the Judean kingdom were called Judeans or Jews, as it is now. But
the ten northern tribes in the House of Israel were not ever called Jews because,
“What share do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.”
“To your tents, O Israel!” So Israel departed to their tents (1 Kings 12:16).
The two nations divided by tribes. They both had people from every tribe but
gave acknowledgement to only certain tribes. Both nations were called houses.
The House of Judah had Judah, Benjamin, Levi and the priests; (Ezra 1:5). This
nation was led by the tribe of Judah—which included King David’s royal family.
(Also the smaller tribe of Simeon later became absorbed into the tribe of Judah.)
The House of Israel contained the remaining tribes that together counted as ten.
The House of Israel was also known as the House of Joseph because it was led by
Joseph's tribe. Joseph was the largest tribe and considered to be royal because
Joseph had been a monarch in Egypt.
In 722 BCE the northern ten-tribe nation, the House of Israel was captured to
eastern Assyria (2 Kg. 15:29; 17:6,23; 18:11; 1 Chron. 5:26). They did not return.
They migrated east on the only accessible trade route, the Silk Road into China.
Moving eastward they could escape from the Assyrian and Babylonian empires.
Later, Jews from the Judean captivity in Babylon and Persia also went to China;
they were called Judeans or Jews. So the House of Judah also went to the orient.
That is how Israel’s tribes and destinies were transferred to the Asian Far East.
Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will save my people from
the land of the sunrise and from the land where the sun enters in.*
And when I have brought them, and we have dwelt inside Jerusalem,
then they shall be my people and I will be their God, in faithfulness and
*(Heb. M’VO, ‘entering in’ or ‘enters in’)
The destiny-blessings given to Israel’s tribes are a central factor of God’s plan
in his earthly Kingdom. The peoples who have inherited these destiny-blessings
in their soul are scattered throughout the world (primarily in Asia) and their true
identity was lost from human knowledge but God did not forget them; he knows
who they are and he is preparing the Kingdom for them.
… I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, says the LORD. For lo,
I will command, and shake the house of Israel among all nations,
as one shakes with a sieve, but no pebble shall fall to the ground.
God plans to restore the two houses of Israel and Judah—into a New covenant.
v 27... The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will sow the
house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of humans
and the seed of animals. And just as I have watched over them to
pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil,
so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the LORD.
v 31, The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make
a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
This restoration is complete when all the dead are resurrected (Eze. 37:1-14),
but the restoration starts earlier—to serve as a start for the Kingdom. Even now
many of God's servants in the East are being called. Apostle John saw an angel
ascending from the rising of the sun. He has authority to give a protective seal
to God’s servants in the East. Rev. 7:2-3,
I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun,
having the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice
to the four angels who had been given power to damage earth and sea,
saying, ‘Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees, until
we have marked the servants of our God with a seal on their foreheads.
Each restored tribe was seen as twelve thousand in the vision but this number
is not literal. The typology of the twelve thousand number is that twelve apostles
will rule Israel's tribes for a thousand years (see Matthew 19:28).
And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred
and forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of Israel: …Judah...
Reuben... Gad... Asher... Naphtali... Manasseh... Simeon... Levi...
Issachar... Zebulun... Joseph... Benjamin... twelve thousand sealed.
Turn back for the sake of your servants,
for the sake of the tribes that are your heritage.
They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; they shout from the west
over the majesty of the LORD. Therefore in the east give glory to
the LORD; in the coastlands of the sea glorify the name of the LORD,
the God of Israel. From the ends of the earth we hear
songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One!
(but Isaiah then talks about the negative aspect of the end times), 24:16b-17,
But I say, I pine away, I pine away. Woe is me! For the treacherous
deal treacherously, the treacherous deal very treacherously. Terror,
and the pit, and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth.
The catastrophes of Isaiah 24:18-22 are divine judgments to fall on earth after
the Asian tribes of New Israel are sealed. But Goshen, the world’s eastern front,
is under protection, because Israel’s twelve tribes are there. Ex. 8:22-23,
But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen,
where my people live, so that no swarms of flies shall be there,
that you may know that I the LORD am in this land.
Thus I will make a distinction between my people and your people.
In the Exodus story, Egypt typifies this present evil world under Satan's rule,
and the people typify world humanity—including Hebrews. The Hebrews dwelt
in Goshen, the eastern front of Egypt. This is prophetic of the endtime because
the people of the world’s eastern front again are Hebrew, as in the Exodus story.
East Asian nations are Hebrew of Eber’s lineage, through Joktan; Gen. 10:25-31.
The plagues in Egypt symbolise last day plagues. The fall of Pharaoh typifies
the fall of Satan and his antichrist empire when this age ends. God puts his seal
on his people to protect them in the last-day distress; and in our time Goshen is
mainly East Asia. In the Exodus story plagues attacked only Egyptians (Ex. 9:3-4).
And in the endtime, the plagues are only for people who do not have God’s seal.
Then from the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and they were given
authority like the authority of scorpions of the earth. They were told
not to harm the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but
only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
God intends to protect his people in the East during the last-day plagues. The
tribes that migrated to the east were idolaters, but they will return to God at last.
For the Israelites shall remain many days without king or prince,
without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or teraphim.
Afterwards the Israelites shall return and seek the LORD their God,
and David their king. They shall come in awe to the LORD
and to his goodness in the latter days.
The House of Israel is promised to return. The former generations will return
in the resurrection; and those now living may also return to God by acclamation
and repentance. The future is already prepared. Hosea 14:1-2,
Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God,
for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
Take words with you and return to the LORD; say to him,
‘Take away all guilt; accept that which is good,
and we will offer the fruit of our lips.’
The world will be amazed and afraid when God’s favour is returning to Jacob
because that is when Israel’s unknown tribes will be revealed. Is. 59:19-20,
So those in the west shall fear the name of the LORD,
and those in the east, his glory;
for he will come like a pent-up stream that the
wind of the LORD drives on. And he will come to Zion as Redeemer,
and to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, says the LORD.
Before any person can return to God he must know who he is; this knowledge
brings understanding of the future inheritances and the present responsibilities.
God is awakening Israel’s tribes from their centuries of sleep, removing idols
and restoring tribal identities for the last-day generation; they must be ready to
accept Jesus at his return. The sealing of Israel’s tribes by the angel of the east
establishes their Israeli tribal identities and confirms them as the elect survivors
chosen for God’s seal of protection (Rev. 7:3).
The Asian tribes need to know that their heritage is from Abraham and Sarah,
Biblically their father and mother; they will then discover their intended destiny.
Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the LORD.
Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from
which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah
who bore you; for he was but one when I called him,
but I blessed him and made him many.
I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides me there is no God.
I arm you, though you do not know me, so that they may know,
from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is no one
besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.
Resurrection is a main part of restoration but God wants his kingdom in effect
even earlier. Israel’s tribes need to be in the New covenant before resurrection
so that the dead will awaken into a kingdom that is already operating.
Thus says the LORD: In a time of favour I have answered you,
on a day of salvation I have helped you; I have kept you and given you
as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion
the desolate heritages; saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out’,
to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’
(the prisoners of darkness are the dead)
The endtime ministry is to natural Israel, the priority people elected to inherit
the earth. The call to natural Israel is not the same as the Church call to heaven.
Israel’s tribes are spiritual in a sense, but for an earthly hope. Rom. 11:25-27,
v 25, So that you may not claim to be wiser than you are, brethren,
I want you to understand this mystery: a hardening has come upon
part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles* has come in.
v 26, And so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, ‘Out of Zion
will come the Deliverer; he will banish ungodliness from Jacob.’
v 27, ‘And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.’
Apostle Paul had been speaking of spiritual believers but then began talking
about Israel in the flesh, still in unbelief. This is a mystery because many do not
know how a nation can be saved, or understand what he was talking about when
he says 'all Israel.' Most of the twelve tribes are hidden and lost from history but
God recognises them as part of Israel. Jewish believers of New Testament time
also acknowledged that Israel’s twelve tribes still exist (Acts 26:6-7; James 1:1).
The salvation of all Israel is not for only a few tribes; it must include all tribes.
At that time, says the LORD, I will be the God of all
the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.
The northern tribes taken to Assyria were the first Israelis to enter the orient
but many Persian Jews came later; at least 90% of Israelis went into the Far East
and other parts of Asia. Many eastern populations have gained Israeli ancestry
and God knows all the descendants, where they are.
Western world Jews are descendants of the House of Judah taken captive by
the Romans. This western House of Judah began with Jews that returned from
Babylon to Jerusalem (Ezra 1‑2). Most of the Judeans stayed in Persia however.
We read about these Persian Jews in the Book of Esther (written long after the
return to Judea). These Persian Jews became the eastern House of Judah. This
group is mostly lost from history except those few still keeping Jewish traditions.
Through time they have assimilated and become part of Israel’s unknown tribes.
God has planted his blessing in the East. The Garden of Eden was there, and
Semites that migrated eastward planted Shem’s destiny there. That is why Jews
and other Semites were accepted in the East. The blessings inherent within the
Israeli tribes expanded through assimilation, absorbing into the Chinese people
—and others. Destinies in the soul never diminish, they keep expanding forever.
God said that Israel will inherit Canaan first —eventually to repopulate nations
and ultimately the whole world. The first heritage was a land of milk and honey
(Josh. 5:6), but it was also called a devastated land. God also says it is so small
that it will be too crowded for the future multitudes. Isaiah 49:19-20,
Surely your waste and your desolate places and your devastated land—
surely now you will be too crowded for your inhabitants,
and those who swallowed you up will be far away.
The children born in the time of your bereavement
will yet say in your hearing:
‘the place is too crowded for me; make room for me to settle.’
The inheritance of Canaan is eternal but there is more. When Israel multiplies
“as the dust of the earth” more space is needed. God provides for Israel as the
apple of His eye (Deut. 32:10; Zech. 2:8). He indeed has a larger land for Israel.
Israel’s captivity into the east was not a final abandonment nor was it unforeseen.
Israel’s eastward migration was a pre-ordained destiny.
God wants Israel to increase in size. Regarding the Semitic nature, God views
eastern and western Hebrews the same; through assimilation with Israel's tribes,
Israel's Kingdom destiny came to Eastern hebrews. In God’s view, Asian people
are the largest part of the nation of Israel, together with restored tribe identities.
This is both the House of Israel and House of Judah. Both houses with their tribes
are now in the orient.
Coming from Assyria, Israel's tribes entered China before the arrival of Jews.
China was a Semitic and Hebrew nation from the start, and then later took on the
identity of the House of Israel. The Han people have destinies from Israel's tribes
that till now were unknown. The nature of the greater Chinese mainland region
is being determined by the destinies brought in by the House of Israel.
But what about the western world Jews? Who are they? Western Jews are the
descendants of the Babylonian Jews who returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel
in 536 BCE —and following, (but later taken to Europe by the Romans). Ezra 2:1,
Now these were the people of the province who came from
those captive exiles whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon
had carried captive to Babylonia;
they returned to Jerusalem and Judah, all to their own towns.
The House of Judah comprises Benjamin, Levi, Judah and Simeon. Simeon was
with Judah as partners in Judah’s territorial conquest. Simeon’s cities are inside
Judah’s land portion (Judges 1:3,17; Josh. 19:1-9; 1 Chron. 4:24-33), which is why
he is not named in Deut. 33. The land stretched “from Dan to Beersheba,” and
Simeon took Beersheba (Joshua 19:2). All twelve were brothers, but Simeon and
Levi are called brothers (Gen. 49:5) because both are part of the House of Judah.
The House of Judah went eastward and most of them stayed in the east, but the
return of Babylon’s exiles to Jerusalem divided the Jews in two groups. There is
now an eastern house and a western house. Some Jews remained in Persia and
central Asian regions, and others went to south Asia. But eventually many of the
Persian Jews followed the Silk Road to China, as the ten tribes had done earlier,
and these newcomers were known as Jews. Marco Polo’s writings indicate that
China’s Jews were still recognisable as Jews in his time. Some families in China
still possess their Jewish ancestry records even after such a long time.
Jacob took two wives in formal marriage. They both had serving maids who
became Jacob’s wives by adoption, so that Jacob became husband of four wives.
The 'House of Judah' is descended from Rachel and Leah, but the 'House of Israel'
is descended from all four wives. The Judean tribes in dispersion kept more of
their Jewish tradition than other tribes, which is how the Jews kept their identity.
In olden time the House of Israel and the Judean House were separated, but now
in China and elsewhere in Asia all the tribes are combined through assimilation.
Joseph’s two tribes pushed the whole House of Israel from Assyria to the east.
"His horns are the horns of a wild ox; with them he gores the peoples, driving
them to the ends of the earth; such are the ten-thousands of Ephraim, such are the
thousands of Manasseh” (Dt. 33:16-17). The House of Israel at first was ten tribes:
Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh West, Manasseh East, Ephraim,
Gad, Reuben —and Dan, (if Dan was still in the land during the time of captivity).
They entered China by the Silk Road trade route through the Taklamakan desert
into China’s highly populated Yellow River plain. Israel’s tribes began to merge
with China’s people from the sixth century BCE —and continuously from then on.
Only eight of Jacob’s sons are in the House of Israel, but they are counted as
ten tribes because of the enlargement of Joseph. Joseph had two sons and both
were tribal heads; Joseph at first was two tribes, “For the people of Joseph were
two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim;” (Josh. 14:4).
...'he (Manasseh) also shall become a people, and he also shall be great.
Nevertheless, his younger brother (Ephraim) shall be greater than he,
and his offspring shall become a multitude of nations.'
So he blessed them that day, saying, ‘By you Israel will invoke
blessings, saying, “God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.”’
But Manasseh ultimately doubled into two tribes, so Joseph was then counted
as three tribes. Manasseh’s eastern half tribe became the tenth tribe.
Joshua 13:7, and 14:2,
Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes
and the half-tribe of Manasseh.
Manasseh’s eastern half-tribe took land in the east, in Bashan (Golan Heights);
Moses gave an inheritance to the half-tribe of Manasseh; it was allotted
to the half-tribe of the Manassites according to their families.
Their territory extended from Mahanaim, through all Bashan,
the whole kingdom of King Og of Bashan, and all the settlements of Jair,
which are in Bashan, sixty towns, and half of Gilead, and Ashtaroth ...
Manasseh’s and Ephraim’s tribes together made Joseph the main part of Israel
and that continues to be true as they are scattered among the nations.
... and in them let my name be perpetrated,
and the name of my ancestors Abraham and Isaac;
and let them grow into a multitude on the earth.
Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring;
his branches run over the wall.
... such are the ten-thousands of Ephraim,
such are the thousands of Manasseh.
God gave Joseph wide and fertile lands (Deut. 33:13-17), big enough for big
populations, with rich resources “from the chief mountain ranges of the orient”
(Heb. ME-ROSH HAR’REI KEDEM; Deut. 33:15, translation mine).
Joseph’s tribe jewel is spinach green nephrite jade of China’s traditional stone
carving. The Divine Appearance is the gem stones of Levi and Joseph (Rev. 4:3),
red sard and green jade—the first and last jewels in the high priest's breastpiece;
(Ex. 39:10,13). These two stones typify both national houses of Judah and Israel.
The New Earth populace will be mostly from Joseph, (Joseph means 'addition').
The walls of New Jerusalem will evidently be Joseph's gem stone (Rev. 21:18); so
the light of god shining in the heavenly city and on earth will be like green jade;
(Rev. 21:11,23,24; Is. 60:19,20). Joseph has the inheritance rights of the firstborn;
(Gen. 48:5; 1 Chron. 5:1). In Deut. 33:17, the wild ox represents Joseph and the
two horns are his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh. Manasseh means 'forgetting'
(sorrow will be forgotten in the new world), and Ephraim means 'twice fruitful.'
Then the people of Ephraim shall become like warriors, and their heart
shall be glad as with wine. Their children shall see it and rejoice,
their hearts shall exult in the LORD. I will signal for them
and gather them in, for I have redeemed them,
and they shall be as numerous as they were before.
Zion is God’s kingdom in heaven and earth (Rev. 14:1; Is. 52:1,7; 60:14; 62:1).
The 'one hundred and forty-four thousand' (Rev. 7:1-8) are Israel’s twelve tribes
from the rising of the sun. These are the earthly people of Zion. Psalm 50:1-2,
The Mighty God the LORD has spoken, and he will summon the earth
from the rising of the sun unto his entering in.
From Zion the perfection of beauty, God has shined forth.
(the Hebrew word M’VO is ‘enters in’ or ‘entering in’) (translation mine)
If God shines forth from the rising of the sun, then Kingdom Zion is in the east.
A sunrise in the east signifies the dawn of a new day, and Jesus is the rising sun.
But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise…
Therefore from the rising of the sun and unto his entering in,
my name shall be great among the nations. And in every place
incense will be offered to my name, and pure sacrifices;
for my name shall be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.
Psalm 113:3, (translation mine)
From the rising of the sun unto his entering in,
praised be the name of the LORD. (translation mine)
The Levite blessing of Deut. 33:8-11 means that the Kingdom will have priests
and teachers of the law. Priests will serve as judges (Eze. 44-46). Kingdom law
will be enforced by the Davidic princes and by the Levites. Jer. 33:17-21,
For thus says the LORD: David shall never lack a man to sit
on the throne of the house of Israel, and the Levitical priests
shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt-offerings,
to make grain-offerings, and to make sacrifices for all times.
The Kingdom will extend far beyond old-world confines, it will be world-wide.
Your eyes will see the king in his beauty; they will behold
a land that stretches far away. (Heb. the land of far distances)
But you have increased the nation,
O LORD, you have increased the nation;
you are glorified; you have enlarged all the borders of the land.
Zion is God’s kingdom everywhere it rules from the east to the west. In vision
prophetic Mount Zion is in the East. Two Kingdom aspects are visualised here—
Mount Zion in the east, and Jerusalem in Judea to the west (in the land of Israel).
The Kingdom authority of Judah is described in two ways. Isaiah 40:9,
(A) Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings;
(B) lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, do not fear;
(C) say to the cities of Judah, ‘Here is your God!’
… for the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion/ /and in Jerusalem,
and before his elders he will manifest his glory (Isaiah 24:23).
The Messianic age is a world-wide kingdom of God. And the nation of Israel
east and west is God’s chosen elect (Is. 41:8-9) to bless all nations. Micah 4:1-2,
In days to come the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established
as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills.
Peoples shall stream to it, and many nations shall come and say:
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways,
and that we may walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion
shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
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