Answers to Questions by Yair Davidiy (26 November 2017, 8 Kislev, 5778)
Were the Israelites in the Kingdom of Israel (Northern one) also Jews?
At first they were Jews then they became Gentiles but in the end will return to become Jews. The term "Jew" is derived from the name Yehudah i.e. Judah. It has come to denote a member of the Jewish Religion. In principle ALL Israelites were obligated to keep the Torah Law and in the beginning did so. It follows that they were all once "Jews" in the religious sense. After the death of King Solomon the Ten Tribes separated from Judah. They created their own Kingdom of Israel. Their first king was Jeroboam ben Nebat (1-Kings 12:20). The northern Israelties set up golden calves in Beth-el and in Dan and worshipped them (2-Kings 12:28-30). They changed their religion and the feastdays (2-Kings 12:32). They intermixed with pagan peoples and learned their pagan practices (2-Kings 17:7-12). Then they were exiled by the Assyrians (2-Kings 17:5-6). They lost awareness of their Israelite origins. They also intermixed with other peoples. Both the Prophets (Hosea 1:9-10, 5:7, Jeremiah 3:8) and after them the Sages (Talmud, Yebamot 17) in effect suspended their membership of the Israelite People in the spiritual sense. At what point may the Ten Tribes be considered as not "Jews" in the technical sense? We cannot say. The Prophet Jeremiah speaks as if in his time the suspension was already a done thing,
"Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce" (Jeremiah 3:8).
Jeremiah lived more than 60 years after the Exile of the Ten Tribes. An attempt had been made by Jeremiah under King Josiah ben Amon of Judah to initiate a re-unification with the Ten Tribes. A beginning had been made but was discontinued with the death of King Josiah. Nevertheless,in the End Times the Ten Tribes shall return, accept the Law, and be re-united with Judah.
Ezekiel (NKJV) 37:
21 Then say to them, Thus says the LORD God: Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. 23 They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God. 24 David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them.
Isaiah (NKJV) 11:
12 He will set up a banner for the nations,
And will assemble the outcasts of Israel,
And gather together the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth.
13 Also the envy of Ephraim shall depart,
And the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off;
Ephraim shall not envy Judah,
And Judah shall not harass Ephraim.