The purpose of the previous edition of this newsletter on Esau/Edom was to prove as best as we can that the people we call Jews today are not from the blood of the patriarch Judah but are the false Jews mentioned in the Bible. We have endeavored to show that the lineage of these false Jews did not come through the descendants of Jacob but mostly through the descendants of his brother Esau.
So where are Israel’s true descendants, and how can they be identified today? And now that we have come to the conclusion that today’s Jews are not the descendants of Judah, where can the tribe of Judah be found?
Jacob and Esau
Let us go back to the beginning when Isaac’s wife Rebekah was concerned with the activity going on in her pregnancy:
“And the children struggled together within her womb; and she said, If I am with child, why is it thus with me? And she went to inquire of the Lord” (JST Genesis 25:22).
The Lord answered her request, saying:
“… Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” (JST Genesis 25:23).
The Lord gives us quite a bit of information here. He tells Rebekah that her twins shall be boys, that they will have different dispositions, and what shall happen to them and their posterity.
Jacob was the second son of Isaac and Rebekah, born right after his twin brother Esau. While growing up, Jacob wisely chose the correct path. However, his brother Esau chose the path of rebellion and did not regard his birthright. Consequently, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a meal of red lentils. Thus, Esau was called Edom, which means red. Later Jacob rightfully, through deception, stole Esau’s eternal blessing as well:
“And Jacob sod pottage; and Esau came from the field, and he was faint [because, according to the Book of Jasher, Esau had just come from killing Nimrod]; And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint; therefore was his name called Edom.
And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point of dying; and what shall this birthright profit me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he swore unto him; and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright” (JST Genesis 25:29-34).
This situation caused Esau to have an extreme hatred towards his brother. And this hatred, as foretold by the prophets, would be carried forward from generation to generation right into the winding-up scene, which is today:
“And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the Lord hath spoken it” (JST Obadiah 1:18).
The Israelite Nation
The Bible tells us that Jacob had twelve sons and one daughter, all of whom went down into Egypt for some 430 years and became a huge nation. Later, through the instrumentality of Moses, these Israelites were freed from slavery and, for a generation, were purified under desert conditions until they became a united people.
Under Joshua, the Israelites destroyed many corrupt people occupying the fertile land of “milk and honey” (Canaan). Each tribe was then assigned a portion of this fertile land, and, for a time under just judges, together they became a very wealthy nation.
However, because of their prosperity, the Israelites fell into apostasy and desired a king. As always, God gave His people what they desired, but He also warned them that a king, unless he were extremely righteous, could lead them into wickedness. And that is exactly what happened.
While the Israelites were in Egypt, they kept to themselves and became twelve very distinct groups, retaining the individual characteristics of each one of the twelve sons of Jacob. So at the time that they left Egypt, they were mostly pure Israelite. Despite this, once they came into contact with the wicked people in the surrounding areas of Canaan, the Israelites soon were tempted to intermarry with the heathen nations.
King Saul set a particularly bad example to the Israelite nation. Consequently, after his failure at this post, David was chosen to replace him as king and took the Israelites to their highest achievements as a nation. After King David died, his son Solomon became king in his stead.
At first, Solomon was a very wise person, and the kingdom became extremely wealthy under his leadership. However, to pacify his many wives and concubines, Solomon gave them their choice of religion, which resulted in strange gods being worshipped in Israel instead of the one true god. Later at Solomon’s death, the kingdom was split in two.
The ten northern tribes, along with half of the tribe of Benjamin, became a distinct nation. Meanwhile, the tribe of Judah, the other half of the tribe of Benjamin, and much of the tribe of Levi were left in the south. Hence, we have an explanation for the tribe of Judah becoming separated from the other tribes.
This separation continued for many generations, with the two nations each having their own king. The northern nation became more and more wicked until around 720 BC, when they were taken into captivity by the Assyrians and became lost to history.
We will not pursue that avenue at this time, for what we are trying to determine here is what happened to the southern kingdom of Judah. This kingdom managed to exist for another 135 years until around 584 BC, at which time the house or nation of Judah was taken into captivity. King Zedekiah and his sons were killed, thus ending this line of Judah (JST 2 Kings 25:7; JST Jeremiah 39:6, 52:10).
The Sons of Judah
In order to understand why this came about, we must go back to the time when Jacob, with his twelve sons, came down to Egypt. At this point, Judah had five sons; two had died in Canaan, and three remained: Shelah, Pharez, and Zerah. Also Pharez already had two sons, Hezron and Hamul.
“And the sons of Judah after their families were; of Shelah, the family of the Shelanites; of Pharez, the family of the Pharzites; of Zerah, the family of the Zarhites. And the sons of Pharez were; of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites; of Hamul, the family of the Hamulites. These are the families of Judah according to those that were numbered of them, threescore and sixteen thousand and five hundred” (JST Numbers 26:20-22).
After the people of the tribe of Judah were numbered by Moses, the lineage of Shelah is no longer mentioned. Only the descendants of Zerah and Pharez are kept track of from that time forth. Since there is no further written record of this other son of Judah, Shelah, we cannot even speculate concerning him.
What is Judah’s Role?
“Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise; thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up; he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion, who shall rouse him up?
The sceptre [staff of authority] shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet [born], until Shiloh [the Savior] come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes; His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk” (JST Genesis 49:8-12).
Although there are some things we cannot totally understand, from this prophetic scripture we derive the following information:
- Judah would be the main leader in Israel.
- In the latter days, the other tribes will be gathered by the tribe of Judah.
- Judah shall always have the scepter (authority) until the second coming of the Savior.
- The tribe of Judah shall always have a lawgiver born to them until the second coming of the Savior.
“And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die, and go unto my fathers; and I go down to my grave with joy. The God of my father Jacob be with you, to deliver you out of affliction in the days of your bondage; for the Lord hath visited me, and I have obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of my loins, the Lord God will raise up a righteous branch out of my loins; and unto thee, whom my father Jacob hath named Israel, a prophet; (not the Messiah who is called Shilo;) and this prophet shall deliver my people out of Egypt in the days of thy bondage” (JST Genesis 50:24).
Descendants of Zerah and Pharez
We are only left to deal with the descendants of Zerah and Pharez. We have three, possibly four, clues as to where they went.
Let us first refer to the Bible which says that the sons of King Zedekiah were killed (JST 2 Kings 25:7; JST Jeremiah 39:6, 52:10). Even so, this statement is countered by the Book of Mormon, which states that one of Zedekiah’s sons, Mulek, came to the Western Hemisphere, most likely to South America (Helaman 8:21; 1 Nephi 1:4; Omni 1:15).
There could still be a few descendants of this branch of Judah here in the Americas. And it is likely that they even called the name of their city Zarahemla in honor of Judah’s son Zerah.
The second clue we have is that, after the people of Judah were taken into captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar, they dwelt in Babylon for 70 years. And because they were industrious and had repented somewhat from their wickedness, Cyrus, the new ruler of Babylon, became a believer in their God. Cyrus also encouraged those desirous to return to Jerusalem and rebuild its walls and the temple.
According to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, between 42 and 43 thousand people returned to Jerusalem. Among this small group were the true descendants of the house of David through Pharez, of whom our Savior descended. Nonetheless, even some of those who returned did not qualify to hold the priesthood, as they had intermarried with the Babylonians:
“And of the children of the priests; the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai; which took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name; These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found; therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood” (JST Ezra 2:61-62; emphasis added).
Fortunately, most of these Israelites were of pure Judah and Benjamin stock, and some were pure descendants of Levi and Aaron. These 42,000 people, mostly of Judean heritage, became quite a host by the time of the Savior’s arrival 524 years later.
The Savior’s Ministry
We reason today that the people of the Savior’s day were not aware of what was going on in the rest of the world. Possibly the peasantry and unlearned did not have a clear knowledge of the diversity of the people living in other parts of the world, which was mostly under Roman rule at the time.
Even so, the people in the Bible were described as a most well educated people, among whom were the followers of the Savior. Though His disciples were mostly fishermen, one of them was a physician, and another was a tax collector.
The Savior had other influential friends and relatives, particularly His great uncle, Joseph of Arimathea. This Joseph had a fleet of ships which transported tin and other goods throughout the Mediterranean and even as far as English and Scandinavian ports.
There are legends that the Savior may have even visited England and other European destinations by way of His uncle’s ships. We must not forget that the Savior was a rabbi and consequently must have had a thorough education to achieve this status (JST Luke 2:52).
Early in His ministry, did Jesus not call seventy?
“After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also [this is the second council of seventy], and sent them two and two before his face, into every city and place where he himself would come” (JST Luke 10:1).
Jesus gave them detailed instructions on how to proceed in their ministry. Initially He called the twelve and instructed them in this manner:
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and enter ye not into any city of the Samaritans. But rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (JST Matthew 10:3-5).
This scripture tells us quite a lot. The instructions given to the apostles by the Savior were first to go to the lost sheep of Israel, who were to be preached to first. This is significant because there is no record of the journeys of the apostles.
Jesus did not instruct His apostles to go to the Judahites, Benjaminites, and Levites, who made up the bulk of the people around Jerusalem. Instead He sent them to those spread out over Northern Europe and England, and even possibly the Americas. At this time the true gospel teachings went out from Jerusalem to Christianize both England and the Scandinavian countries.
It is no wonder that the Roman Empire later made such an effort to conquer England. And when they finally did so (about 85 AD), they destroyed hundreds of pure Christian churches. Did the Roman Church destroy most of this history because the original headquarters of the true gospel was centered in England and not in Rome?
Not until several years after the apostles had done their work among the lost tribes was Paul called as an apostle in about 45 AD to preach to the Gentiles. (Paul himself was converted about ten years prior to this.) (JST Acts 13:42-52). This is also the timeframe when Peter had his vision to begin to preach to the Gentiles (JST Acts 10:10-16). Inexplicably, during this period of approximately ten to twelve years, there is no history of this huge missionary effort, which, by the way, might have even reached the Americas.
Israelites Easily Identifiable
How could these lost sheep of Israel be identified? They must have had an identifying feature that set them apart from the heathen and the Gentiles. At the time of the Savior, this feature was likely recognized by everyone.
Today we do not have to describe the features of Chinese people; just mention them, and everyone knows what they look like. Likewise, the Savior did not have to describe who the Israelites were. However, He did have to describe the Gentiles, who were the Samaritans.
Everyone at the time of the Savior seemed to know who the Samaritans were: a mixture of Israelite and heathen blood. In fact, when the Savior called the twelve and instructed them, He made it quite clear that the Gentiles were not heathen but were a mixture. Jesus also instructed the apostles not to go to any of these mixed-blood people, just pure Israelite only: the lost ten tribes.
Now we surely know who the Lord was referring to when He said to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel only (JST Matthew 10:3-5). He was saying to not go to the mixture of the Israelite and heathen, whom He classified as Gentile (using the Samaritans as an example), but to go only to those who were pure Israelite and easily identifiable. He had no need to describe these people, as everyone knew how to identify a true Israelite from a Gentile or heathen.
Jesus called the apostles and, later, at least two quorums of seventies. Then for ten to twelve years they not only preached to the local Judah and Benjamin tribes but also to the lost tribes:
“… I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (JST Matthew 15:23; emphasis added).
General Conference in Jerusalem
It seems from the evidence we have in the scriptures that very few of the Judahites and Benjaminites accepted the gospel. But this could not be the case because, for twelve years or more before the headquarters of the church was moved to England, the headquarters remained in Jerusalem. So when the day of Pentecost came, where was it held? In Jerusalem!
“And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven” (JST Acts 2:5; emphasis added).
All the known territories from whence these Jews came are mentioned (although some locations may have been purposely left out). There were Jews who had come from every country. They were not heathen or Gentile, as the Gentiles had not yet been approached (with Paul not yet on the scene). These were true Christian Jews gathered from every known area.
What did Peter say? “… Ye men of Judea…” (JST Acts 2:14; emphasis added). Again Peter says, “Ye men of Israel…” (JST Acts 2:22; emphasis added).
These people who had gathered together were Jews and Israelites. They had come together for something like a General Conference from every known nation existing at that time. Many of them were brought up under different cultures and spoke different languages; regardless, they were all Jews and Israelites.
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (JST Acts 2:36; emphasis added).
For a more complete understanding of these teachings, please read the following in JST Acts 2:
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they [apostles, various stake presidents, and church leaders] were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it rested upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans [the apostles]?
And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians [people from England, Ireland, and Scandinavian countries are possibly deliberately left out], we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words; For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy” (JST Acts 2:1-18; emphasis added).
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know; Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain; Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death; because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (JST Acts 2:22-24; emphasis added).
“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens; but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand. Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (JST Acts 2:29-41; emphasis added).
So what does this prove? It proves that most people could travel freely at that time and that, when the church called the church leaders from all over the known world, they could easily make their way to Jerusalem and meet together.
What happened to all the records of this great missionary work? And why does what we have in the remaining gospels lead us to believe that the majority of the Judaic race rejected Christianity?
The Christian Escape
When Roman legions destroyed Judea and Jerusalem in 70 AD, Josephus says that more than 1.1 million Jews perished and that nearly 100,000 were taken captive. In fact, at the ancient Roman Forum, the Arch of Titus (which still stands) depicts Jewish captives in chains and Roman soldiers carrying the golden seven-branched temple candlestick (menorah) on their shoulders.
Yet while the Jews suffered starvation, slaughter, and capture, their fellow Christians in Jerusalem escaped. How were the Christians spared?
About 37 years before the destruction, Jesus had foretold the terrible events that would follow His death (JST Matthew 24). He warned His followers to immediately flee Jerusalem when the signs He predicted occurred. Accordingly, the Christian community carefully watched for the signs and followed the Savior’s warning.
The Lord first identified the situation leading up to the destruction. He said that many would deceive the people by saying that they were prophets or even Christ himself. The disciples would be delivered up and afflicted, hated of all nations. Betrayal and iniquity would abound, and the love of many would turn cold (JST Matthew 24:5-12).
The Lord then taught of two major signs that would alert believers to flee:
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh” (JST Luke 21:19).
Jesus also said:
“When ye therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, then ye shall stand in the holy place. (Whoso readeth let him understand.)
Then let them who are in Judea, flee into the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop, flee, and not return to take anything out of his house. Neither let him who is in the field, return back to take his clothes” (JST Matthew 24:12-15).
Of the abomination of desolation to which Jesus referred, Daniel wrote:
“… they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate” (JST Daniel 11:31).
Unfortunately the New Testament is silent concerning the fulfillment of the Savior’s prophecies in Matthew 24. History, however, shows that His prophecies were realized, revealing the stunning fact that His believers obeyed the warnings, fled Jerusalem to a town called Pella, and thus saved themselves. The early Christian scholar Eusebius wrote:
“The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella” (Eusebius 3:5).
Epiphanes attested to the Christian escape, according to Bible scholar Adam Clarke, who wrote:
“It is very remarkable that not a single Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem, though there were many there when Cestius Gallus invaded the city; and, had he persevered in the siege, he would soon have rendered himself master of it; but, when he unexpectedly and unaccountably raised the siege, the Christians took that opportunity to escape….
‘[As] Vespasian was approaching with his army, all who believed in Christ left Jerusalem and fled to Pella, and other places beyond the river Jordan; and so they all marvellously escaped the general shipwreck of their country: not one of them perished’ (The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: … with a Commentary and Critical Notes…, Adam Clarke, Volume 5, 1838).
Pella must not have been the only destination of fleeing Christians, but it was the most prominent at the time. The flight to Pella took place in A.D. 66 during the attack by Gallus. [Before this, many Christian Jews had fled to England, Ireland, and other European and Asian locations.]
Four years later came the fall of Jerusalem” (“Be Ye Also Ready”: The Amazing Christian Escape from the A.D. 70 Destruction of Jerusalem, George A. Horton, Jr., Ensign, June 1989).
The False Jews
History shows that the great missionary work instigated by the Savior was a success. The true gospel was spread not only among the Judaic nation but was taken also to the lost ten tribes scattered in Europe and Asia (JST Acts 2:9-11). By whom was the gospel brought? By none other than the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
So who were the Jews that the Savior confronted? They were not the pure Jewish race but were those of a mixed blood who were claiming they were Jews. For instance, Caiaphas was not a Judahite but was an Idumean high priest appointed by Herod (JST Matthew 26:3; JST John 11:49). These Idumeans were the Pharisees (a mixture of Judah and Esau blood) who had gained dominance in Jerusalem and usurped the Judean name. What did the Savior call them?
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do; he was a murderer from the beginning [referring to Cain’s blood in their veins], and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him” (JST John 8:44).
“That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel [shed by Cain], unto the blood of Zacharias [the last true Levitical priest], Son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar” (JST Matthew 23:32).
For a more complete explanation about these false Jews, read the Esau/Edom blogpost.
The Other Sheep
We as Latter-day Saints are also aware of what the Savior meant when He said, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold” (JST John 10:16). Because these sheep could not be visited through this great missionary effort (although there is some evidence among Native American traditions that the missionaries may have reached here), Jesus Himself visited the repentant Nephites and Lamanites on this continent after His death.
There are so many accounts of New Testament times that we simply do not have, such as the details of the Savior’s childhood and young adulthood. Jesus did not even start His ministry until He was thirty years old.
We also do not have the details of the great missionary effort of the twelve apostles and at least two quorums of seventies, whose endeavors encompassed not only the Judahite nation (located around Jerusalem) but the lost tribes scattered in Northern Europe, Asia, and the isles of the sea (England, Scotland, Ireland, etc.). Why are these records missing? Did the Roman Church repress or destroy these records?
James was a brother of the Savior, and, probably knowing a great deal about the missionary work, knew that the ten tribes — plus the tribe of Judah and the half tribe of Benjamin — were all united together again. His discourse was written before Paul’s missionary efforts, and for this reason James was only addressing the twelve tribes:
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting” (JST James 1:1; emphasis added).
Jesus said, “… I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (JST Matthew 15:23; emphasis added).
The Tribe of Judah Split
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (JST Romans 11:25; emphasis added).
So what we have here is proof that the tribe of Judah was split. One branch, the true Judahites, spread the gospel of Christianity throughout the world into every nation, as evidenced by the diverse tongues brought together on the day of Pentecost.
The other half of the tribe of Judah (represented by the Edomite Idumeans) took over the government of the Jewish nation before the time of the Savior. This was accomplished through the instrumentality of Herod the Great, who was also an Idumean.
Herod first destroyed the priestly line of Hyrcanus (Josephus, Book XIV 15:2). Second, to make certain that no legitimate heir of Israel survived, Herod ordered the slaying of all children two years of age and under in Bethlehem (JST Matthew 3:16).
After the Missionary Work
So what happened to the true Jews after accomplishing their missionary efforts to spread the gospel among the lost tribes? They could not return to Jerusalem, as the division had become complete. From that time forth the true Jews would be called Christians along with the rest of the seed of Israel (JST James 1:1). And the Pharisees (who were not Jews but Idumeans or descendants of Esau) would be known as Jews.
We have no written history about what happened during these years. However, if we follow prophecy which indicates that the seed of Judah would be scattered among all the tribes, this is the most likely time period that the scattering may have happened.
Could the missionaries who were sent out return to Jerusalem? No, they had to stay and continue preaching the true gospel among the lost tribes. In any case, this is just one of the several disbursements of the true tribe of Judah.
Judahites Remaining in Babylon
What about the portion of Judah who stayed behind in Babylon? Let us look at what some early historians say as to what happened to these Judahites who remained in Babylon.
The tribe of Dan, or the Danes, had come to the Scandinavian Peninsula along with the other tribes of Bilhah and Zilpah (Jacob’s wives), Naphtali, Asher, and Gad. Gothic historian Jordanes wrote that the Danes originally dwelt with the Swedes (The Origin and Deeds of the Goths, Jordanes, 551 AD) but then migrated southwest and settled Denmark. Later the original Swedes and Geats formed the country of Sweden.
The original Jutes, on the other hand, consisted of the tribe of Judah along with the other tribes of Leah. These made up the Germanic tribes that settled on the European continent and the Jutland (Jute land) Peninsula (http://www.nordiskisrael.dk/artikler/danes_and_jutes_dan_and_judahdan.html).
These Judahites had escaped their Babylonian captivity and had followed the same route that the ten tribes had taken into Northern Europe. We should note that, at the time these people made their trek, the climate in that region was much warmer than it is today.
Thus far we have identified the true tribe of Judah:
- The first group came to America under the leadership of Mulek, who, seemingly in honor of Judah’s son Zerah, named their settlement Zarahemla.
- The second branch of the true Judahites at the time of the Savior, under His huge missionary effort, were split from the Edomite Jews and dispersed among the lost ten tribes in England, Northern Europe, and Asia.
- The third group of Judahites, who were taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar, escaped northward from Babylonian captivity and followed the route of the earlier Israelite migration, ending up as Jutes who occupied Jutland and Northern Europe.
Lawgivers Born to Judah
- Still there is another branch we have not yet explored. In order to understand this part, we must go back to Jacob’s (Israel’s) blessing of his son Judah, where he makes this promise:
“The sceptre [staff of authority] shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet [born], until Shiloh [the Savior] come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (JST Genesis 49:10).
Judah’s descendants can be traced from three sources, namely his three sons: Shelah, Pharez, and Zerah. Though Shelah was born first, after the time of Moses we hear no more of this line.
The other brothers, Pharez and Zerah, were twins. Just prior to their birth, Zerah’s hand came out first. After the midwife placed a red cord on it, Zerah withdrew his hand. Pharez was actually born first, through whose lineage came King David; and by way of King David came the Savior through Mary’s lineage and through Joseph’s by adoption.
There is a question as to how this prophecy could occur about a lawgiver being born. This occurrence happens in conjunction with the gathering, so it could not be in reference to the Savior’s birth because, as we have pointed out, the Savior’s missionary efforts scattered (not gathered) the Jewish nation.
Judah in the British Isles
We have shown that some of Judah’s descendants came to America. Moreover, though we have no record of the timeframe, there is a vague record which intimates that some of his descendants came to Ireland as well. We have strong evidence that, when King Zedekiah was taken into captivity by the Babylonians, all of his sons were killed except Mulek, and two of his daughters escaped through the prophet Jeremiah’s instrumentality.
Jeremiah and his scribe Baruch (JST Jeremiah 45) were taken to Egypt along with the king’s daughters (JST Jeremiah 43:6). Since Jeremiah understood that the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar would come to destroy Egypt (JST Jeremiah 43:11), he took ship with his scribe Baruch and the two daughters of the king, fleeing to southern France.
One of the king’s daughters remained in France, and the other went on with Jeremiah and Baruch to Ireland. Why did they go to Ireland? Because they were aware of some of Judah’s descendants who had gone there previously. The daughter who went to Ireland was named Tephi. Thus we have the Book of Tephi, which tells of her marriage to the local king who supposedly was also of Judean royal blood.
Incidentally, Jeremiah’s party also brought with them the stone that Jacob had used for a pillow when he went to Haran (JST Genesis 28:11). Its significance is explained hereafter.
Edward Faraday Odlum (1850-1935), a respected Canadian professor who helped build the first electric light and telephone in Canada, at first declared that the Anglo-Saxon and related peoples being the lost ten tribes was “pure nonsense.” Odlum later repudiated this statement, coming to the conclusion that it was true by proving to his own satisfaction that they were indeed the lost tribes.
Because Odlum was granted permission to examine the famous Stone of Scone upon which all the British monarchs are crowned, he had the opportunity to prove that this stone actually did not originate in the British Isles. In fact, Odlum traveled to Palestine and found a similar rock formation near Luz.
Charles Fox Parham, who is recognized as the pioneer and founder of Pentecostalism, commented in 1899 about Queen Victoria and her descent from Adam:
“From this royal princess, we obtain, then, a direct and unbroken line of ancestry to King Fergus, who went from Ireland to reign as king of Scotland; and from King Fergus I. of Scotland we get the same unbroken line to the time of King James of Scotland, who himself became king of England; and from King James we get the same unbroken line to our beloved Queen [Victoria], shebeing, then, the seed royal to King David’s house, and therefore the royal seed of King David; she is [was], and must be, the ruling monarch over the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.
I ask, why does this enlightened nation keep such a stone so many generations if there is no meaning to it? Why, because it must continue with the royal seed to be a witness that our Queen is the seed royal to King David’s house, and her subjects are the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel” (Queen Victoria’s Descent From Adam, Charles Fox Parham, The Apostolic Faith, March 1899).
If this is true history, it would fulfill the promise of Jacob to his son Judah that his posterity would always have a lawgiver born to them, from generation to generation, right into the time of the winding-up scene.
Did Jesus Have Posterity?
As you can see, we now have four different places where the true descendants of Judah can be traced. Yet we have one more possibility to consider. Some believe that the Savior had offspring through Mary, Martha, and/or Mary Magdalene. If He did, His posterity is not mentioned anywhere in the historical records of which we are aware. However, one prophet made this statement, speaking of the Savior:
“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand” (JST Isaiah 53:10; emphasis added).
This is interpreted by some to indicate that Jesus may have had posterity. Regardless, if there was once evidence of such, it has been suppressed or destroyed. If Jesus did indeed have children, more information will have to be given by revelation.
Judah Must Be Recognizable
Moving on, we now see that there are several places where the true Judahites could possibly be. But there is a very serious problem in the fulfillment of these prophecies, particularly the main prophecy that the tribe of Judah will be sent out to gather Israel:
“The sceptre [staff of authority] shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet [born], until Shiloh [the Savior] come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (JST Genesis 49:10; emphasis added).
How can this be? In order for this to be literally fulfilled, the true Judahites must be identified. Judah’s posterity, in the foregoing discourse, may possibly be identified within several different groups:
- The Mulekites in South or Central America.
- The Jutes in Denmark and England.
- The dispersal among the ten tribes at the time of the Savior.
- The royal family of England, through Tephi, the daughter of King Zedekiah.
- The possible literal posterity of the Savior.
Despite having this knowledge, a race, place, or region is not surmised, from which we can easily differentiate or recognize the Judahites and conclude: These are Judah’s descendants to whom the promises of God belong.
How to Recognize the Israelites
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes [not just ten] which are scattered abroad, greeting” (JST James 1:1; emphasis added).
Here James, the Savior’s brother, states in his epistle that he recognizes that all twelve tribes are scattered abroad, not just the ten tribes. So how do we even identify Israel, let alone the tribe of Judah among them? It is possible that Israel and Judah will need to be identified by their physical traits.
Remember that God has said that His people are a white and delightsome people. Possibly this is one way that the race of Israel will be identified. Following are some scriptures that show that God’s people, Israel, are white and delightsome:
“And he [God] had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their [the Lamanites’] iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white [skinned], and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my [the Lord’s] people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them” (2 Nephi 5:21; emphasis added).
“And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites; And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;
And their young men and their daughters became exceedingly fair, and they were numbered among the Nephites, and were called Nephites” (3 Nephi 2:14-16; emphasis added).
“And now, behold, it came to pass that the people of Nephi did wax strong, and did multiply exceedingly fast, and became an exceedingly fair [white] and delightsome people” (4 Nephi 1:10; emphasis added).
For some reason, the Church has changed the word white to the word pure in the following scripture:
“… and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a pure [white] and a delightsome people” (2 Nephi 30:6; emphasis added).
We have to wonder why the Church did this. Are they in some way ashamed that the Book of Mormon emphasized this point?
We also have a description of Mary, the mother of the Savior:
“… And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.
… A virgin, most beautiful and fair [white] above all other virgins.
… Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh” (1 Nephi 11:13, 15, 18; emphasis added).
As we have shown previously, the Savior did not have to explain to His twelve apostles how the people of Israel, the lost ten tribes, looked. Everyone knew how they looked. Was it because they were white? If that is the case, then can they not be identified in the same manner today?
Is this another evidence of the Roman Church doctoring the scriptures and eliminating any evidence that Adam’s descendants were white and delightsome, just as the present leaders of the Church have done with the Book of Mormon?
How to Recognize Judah
If Israel is identified as the white and delightsome race, that would include the tribe of Judah. Now we are getting closer to identifying Judah. What other feature would set apart Judah from the other eleven tribes? Possibly height.
Speaking of Judah, the Lord said:
“I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people [Israel], that thou mayest know and try their way” (JST Jeremiah 6:27).
There is little else to prove besides the fact that Judah may tower over his brethren unless, of course, the Lord gives us further revelation on how to identify him.
Judah’s descendants are the ones — not the people of Esau — who are today’s true Jews who will gather the other tribes, just as Judah did at the time of the Savior.
The descendants of Judah are white and delightsome, as all Israelites are, and will eventually be identified so they can do the gathering of Israel as promised. However, it may take new revelation to convince the true Jews of this fact.