17.4. Where are the Tribes Today

“The fallacy inherent in all of the theories about the lost tribes is simply this: they were never lost, but continued as part of the main body of the Jewish people.1 All twelve tribes of Israel are in the world. Although it may only be possible for us to identify the tribe of Levi, due to their names and genetic testing from known Levites, God knows their identity. The twelve tribes are to be found wherever one finds Jews today: they are in the land of Israel and also in the Diaspora, dispersed around the world.2 They are “lost” in the sense that mankind cannot identify them, but they are not lost from the perspective of our omniscient God nor His promises to preserve the nation and seal members from each tribe in the future time of tribulation (Rev. Rev. 7:4-8+).

The question may arise in the minds of some as to how the tribes will be discovered and identified since they are scattered today. They reckon, of course, without the power of God. Just as the Lord Jesus will be able to sort out all of the bodies that have gone back to the dust of the earth and raise them from the dead, “according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Php. Php. 3:21), so God will know the tribal identities.3

When the time is right, God will send His Son to earth (Rev. Rev. 19:11+) to overthrow the governments of man and establish His Kingdom on earth. Then, He will rule from the throne of David (Isa. Isa. 9:6-7; Luke Luke 1:32-33; Mtt. Mat. 25:31; Rev. Rev. 3:21+) over the whole house of Israel (Eze. Eze. 37:11) and the apostles will co-rule over all twelve tribes of Israel (Mtt. Mat. 19:28; Luke Luke 22:30).


1 William Varner, Jacob’s Dozen: A Prophetic Look at the Tribes of Israel (Bellmawr, NJ: Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1987), 95.

2 “ ‘I will sift the house of Israel among all nations.’ If you want to know where the so-called ‘lost tribes of Israel’ are, look in your phone book for the Cohens, the Goldbergs, etc. They are scattered throughout the world, but they are not ‘lost’ as far as God is concerned. ‘Yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.’ God will not lose one of them.”—J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible Commentary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1981), Amos 9:9.

3 Donald Grey Barnhouse, Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971), 150.