The Twelve Tribes of Israel Will Reunite at the Beginning of the Millennial Kingdom.

By Steve Smith

INTRODUCTION

When the children of Israel exited Egypt, they were one nation composed of twelve tribes. Contrary to popular opinion, the tribe of Judah was only one-twelfth of that nation — not the whole nation. At Mount Sinai, that nation made a covenant with Yahweh to obey him and keep his commandments as the nation’s constitution. In return, Yahweh promised to bless and protect the nation of Israel. Several hundred years later, the nation of Israel began to turn away from its covenant promises by not adhering to its statutes and laws and by worshiping pagan deities. The result of this apostasy was that the nation of Israel split in two becoming two nations: the Northern Kingdom (composed of the tribe of Ephraim and nine other tribes) and the Southern Kingdom (composed of Judah and two other tribes more or less).

The tribes of the Northern Kingdom never did come back to God, but continued to walk in the ways of the heathen nations around them. As punishment for their disobedience and rebellion against him, Yahweh Elohim allowed the very nations whom the Northern Kingdom “fell in love with” to take them captive. This resulted in the Israelite dispersion among the nations of the world as Moses predicted would happen. Sadly, the same thing eventually happened to the Southern Kingdom (composed of Judah and two other tribes more or less). Even though the Scriptures predicted this would occur (Gen 49:16; Deut 28:64; 29:25–28; 30:1–5; 32:21–29), they also predicted that Yahweh would regather his people from the lands where they had been scattered (Deut 30:1–5).

The prophets spoke extensively about the exile and eventual return of all the tribes to the land of Israel. Often these prophecies were coupled with end time prophecies. The prophecies about the return of the Israelites to their land was partially fulfilled by the return of a small remnant of pure-blooded Judahites and Levites during the time of Cyrus, king of Persia and Babylon. But this historical event didn’t fulfill these prophecies totally even in the least. First, Ezra makes it clear that only some from the tribes of Judah and Levi returned to the promised land after the Southern Kingdom’s seventy-year exile in Babylon. None from the Northern Kingdom returned. Second, the remnant of Judahites and Levites only came from one nation of exile (Babylon), and not from many nations around the world — including even the furthest islands — as the prophets predicted would happen. So the remnant that returned to Israel from Babylon was only a partial fulfillment of the biblical prophecies about all twelve tribes eventually returning to the land of Israel.

Several passages in the Old Testament serve as the prophetic foundation for the belief that all tribes of Israel would be regathered after having been scattered among the nations. Deuteronomy 32:26 says, “I said, I would scatter them into the corners,…” (KJV). This refers to the exile of the Ten Tribes, who were scattered to an unknown place where they have never been heard from again.

On the phrase in the same verse, “I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men….” (KJV) we have a reference to the exile of Judah and Benjamin, from which today’s Germanic White Christians are most likely descended. It goes on to say that though nations would seek to destroy Israel entirely, Yahweh would never allow Israel to become extinct or disappear. Israel’s perpetual existence is a constant reminder of Yahweh’s plan and eventually Israel will thrive and fulfill Yahweh’s intention for it.

Regarding the house of Ephraim (the Northern Kingdom of Israel or the northern ten tribes of Israel), although it is true that the dispersion [of the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh] was caused by miscegenation and the unfaithfulness and sinfulness of Ephraim’s descendants (Hos 7:8ff), Jacob’s blessing was not in vain for they will return to Yahweh and will have their share in the world to come. In the perspective of history, did not these exiled children of the Patriarchs enlighten the nations among whom they were scattered? It is therefore not surprising to find that the prophet Jeremiah (3:12) speaks affectionately of Ephraim. In this light, Jacob’s words, his offspring will fill the nations, assume the significance of a blessing.

Hosea 7:8–9, “Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned. Aliens have devoured his strength, But he does not know it; Yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, Yet he does not know it.”

King James Version

This is entirely consistent with numerous prophetic pronouncements made by the ancient biblical prophets concerning the return or regathering of the exiled or “lost” ten tribes of Israel. These same prophecies speak of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (also known as the House of Israel, house of Ephraim or just Ephraim) being reunited with the Southern Kingdom of Israel (also known as the house of Judah) into one nation with Jesus as the king over both. This glorious and long-awaited event will occur at the second coming of Christ at the end of our current age just prior to the Millennium (see Ezek 37:15–28).

In Genesis 48:14 and 16 when laying his hands on his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob crossed his arms making a cross and a fish symbol. Then in verse 16 he speaks of the “Angel which redeemed me from evil.” The word “angel” is the Hebrew word malak, which simply denotes “a messenger” and is used in the Old Testament in reference to angels, prophets and to a mysterious figure known as “the Angel of Yahweh Elohim.” Many believe this Messenger of Yahweh was none other than an appearance of the Word of Yahweh who later became incarnated as Jesus the Messiah (John 1:1–14). The patriarch Jacob had an encounter with this same individual whom Scripture calls “the Messenger of Elohim” (Gen 31:11). This same Messenger goes on to say of himself, “I am the Elohim of Beth-el.” So in light of all this, what does the crossing of the hands represent in context of Jacob’s referring to this Divine Being as being his Redeemer? Then in verse 16, we find Jacob prophesying that the descendants of his grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh, would become “a multitude in the midst of the earth.” Onkelos, an early Aramaic translation of this verse renders it: “And like the fish of the sea may they multiply among the children of men on earth.” The literal translation of [dagah] refers to procreation and the word essentially denotes fish. What religious group on earth today has spread out across the face of the earth into all nations, has proliferated a message of redemption pertaining to a Messenger of Yahweh involving a cross-symbol, and who uses the fish-symbol to identify itself? Christianity, of course. On the phrase found in Genesis 48:18, again pertaining to what would become of the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob prophesies that they would become “a multitude of nations.”

THE TEN TRIBES OF ISRAEL EXILED TO FOREIGN LANDS

The prophecy portions of the Scriptures specifically states, in numerous places, that the people of Israel, because of disobedience to Yahweh’s commandments, would be deported as slaves and taken into foreign lands. From there they would scatter to the four corners of the earth only to be regathered in the last days by the hand of Yahweh back to the land Yahweh promised to the patriarchs where Messiah will rule over them in his 1000 year-long Millennial kingdom. Below are a few of the Scriptures that foretell of this regathering.

  • Exiles of Ephraim to Return from the West

I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am El, and not man; the Set-apart One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city. They shall walk after Yahweh: he shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west. (Hos 11:9–10)

  • Exiles of Ephraim to Return from the North

In those days the House of Judah shall walk with the House of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers. (Jer 3:18) Therefore, behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that it shall no more be said, Yahweh lives, that brought up the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, Yahweh lives, that brought up the Children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. (Jer 16:14-15) Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travails with child together: a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. Hear the word of Yahweh, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd does his flock. (Jer 31:8–10)

  • Exiles of Ephraim to Return from the Isles of the Sea

Wherefore glorify you Yahweh in the fires, even the name of Yahweh Elohim of Israel in the isles of the sea. (Isa 24:15) He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. (Isa 42:4) Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people. My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust. (Isa 51:4–5)

  • Isles of the Sea and the Ships of Tarshish

Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Yahweh thy Elohim, and to the Set-Apart One of Israel, because he has glorified you. (Isa 60:9) According to Talmud Chullin 91b, Tarshish could be a reference to the Atlantic Ocean, since the rabbis state, “we have a tradition that Tarshish is two thousand parasangs long.” A Persian parasang (a measurement of distance, like the English mile) was the distance a horse would walk in one hour (approximately six kilometers or three to four miles). In a footnote to the Soncino Talmud, according to rabbinic tradition, Tarshish is the sea of Africa — probably the Mediterranean Sea. It must be noted that there are several seas (and or oceans) associated with Africa. Furthermore, two thousand parsangs would be six to eight thousand miles across — a distance slightly larger than the width of the Mediterranean Seas, and more likely that of the Atlantic Ocean. America is due west of Persia approximately six to eight thousand miles. What Isaiah is saying here is that the sons of Elohim will return to the Promised Land from these far lands.

  • Israel to Inherit the Desolate Heritages and Far Places

Thus says Yahweh, In an acceptable time have I heard you, and in a day of salvation have I helped you: and I will preserve you, and give you for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages. (Isa 49:8; see also 49:6,12)

  • Israel Scattered to the Ends of the Earth

The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came. (Isa 41:5) You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called you from the chief men thereof, and said unto you, You are my servant; I have chosen you, and not cast you away. (Isa 41:9) I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth. (Isa 43:6) Look unto me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am El, and there is none else. (Isa 45:22) Yahweh has made bare his set-apart arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our Elohim. (Isa 52:10) O Yahweh, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto you from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. (Jer 16:19) For so has Yahweh commanded us, saying, I have set you to be a light of the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. (Acts 13:47)

  • Israel to Be Lost Among the Nations

And Yahweh rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land [Eretz Acheret], as it is this day. (Deut 29:28) The Babylonian Talmud, Yevamot 17a (c. a.d. 500) (Soncino Talmud) states,

“[T]hey had declared them [i.e., the ten tribes of Israel, see rabbinic footnote below]19 to be perfect heathens [or gentiles]; as it is said in the Scriptures, ‘They have dealt treacherously against YHVH, for they have begotten strange children.20’” A rabbinic footnote on this passage states, (19) ‘The ten tribes; (20) Hos 5:7.’”

The ArtScroll Tanach Series Bereishis/Genesis (an Orthodox Jewish commentary on Genesis) states, regarding Genesis 48:19, quoting Orthodox Kenite of the Middle Ages, Ibn Ezra:

“Many nations will descend from him [Ephraim]. That is, the word, fullness, melo, connotes abundance, the phrase meaning: and his seed will become the abundance of the nations (Neter; Karnei Or)” (p. 2121). According to Radak (Dovid Kimchi, a OT scholar in the Middle Ages), ‘This refers to the Exile when the lands of others will be filled with his scattered descendants.’ See also Hoshea 7:8: Ephraim shall be mingled among the nations” (Ibid.).

Arazreth: Hebrew for Another Land or New World (?) to Which Israel Migrated —

The apocryphal book of 2 Esdras 13:40-45 (elsewhere known as The Fourth Book of Ezra; quoted from Lange’s Commentary; bracketed phrases are from an alternate translation by James H. Charlesworth in his book entitled, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha — Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments); Two Esdras is a Kenite work written near the beginning of the Christian era. This book contains the following passage:

[T]hese are the ten tribes, which were carried [led] away prisoners out of their own land [into captivity] in the time of Josia[h] the king, whom Salmanasar king of Assyria led captive, and carried them over the river, and they were brought over into another land. But they took this counsel [formed this plan] amongst themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen [nations], and go forth into a further country [a more distant region], where mankind never dwelt, that they might there keep their own statutes, which they had not kept in their own land. But they entered into Euphrates by the narrow passages of the river; for the Most High then wrought signs for them, and held still the waves [stopped the channels] of the river, till they had passed over. But through that country there was a long journey to make of a year and a half; and the same region is called Azareth [Hebrew for “another land”].

Azareth or “another land” is a reference to the prophecy in Deuteronomy 29:28 which states, “And Yahweh rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land [Eretz Acheret], as it is this day.” Acheret in the Hebrew means “another,” but also has the connotation of “new” such as “next year” (or in the “new year,” Gen 17:12), a “another well” (Gen 26:21); “another man” (i.e., a new husband); and so on. Other Hebrew words for “new” include chodesh or chadashah, which can mean either “brand new” or “renewed” such as in “new moon, new heart, or new heaven and new earth”; tiyrowsh, which refers to “new wine” or “new fruits,” which is a unique Hebrew word which specifically describe those things and nothing else; and beriyah, which is used once in Numbers 16:30 to describe the earth opening up to swallow Korah and his malcontents. The point of this brief word study is that Eretz Acheret can justifiably be translated into English as “new earth,” or “new world.” “New World” is a common historical reference to what? North America, of course. It was there that Scripture would seem to indicate that the Israelites would, in part, at least, be scattered and the rabbinic writings of 2 Esdras 13:40-45 make reference to this land or to the New World.

THE FINAL REDEMPTION IS TO OCCUR AT THE BEGINNING OF AND DURING THE MILLENNIUM

The concept of the Messianic Age in Hebraic thought encompasses the concept of the first and final redemptions, which are two separate events. The first redemption occurred when Yahweh set the Israelites from their Egyptian captivity. By contrast, the final redemption will occur when the scattered tribes of Israel are regathered from the nations of the world and return to the Promised Land. This will occur when the Messiah will come to establish his kingdom on this earth at his second coming when he will rule for one thousand years in his millennial kingdom. The “final redemption” is a Hebraic concept that derives from Yahweh’s promises to restore to exiled Israel their land and their kingdom. These prophetic promises are based on Yahweh’s promise to Israel in Deuteronomy 30:1–10 where he says,

1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, wherever Yahweh your Elohim has driven you, 2 and shall return unto Yahweh your Elohim, and shall obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul; 3 that then Yahweh your Elohim will turn your captivity, and have compassion upon you, and will return and gather you from all the nations, whither Yahweh your Elohim has scattered you. 4 If any of you be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will Yahweh your Elohim gather you, and from thence will he fetch you: 5 and Yahweh your Elohim will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and he will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers. 6 And Yahweh your Elohim will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live. 7 And Yahweh your Elohim will put all these curses upon your enemies, and on them that hate you, which persecuted you. 8 And you shall return and obey the voice of Yahweh, and do all his commandments which I command you this day. 9 And Yahweh your Elohim will make you plenteous in every work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, and in the fruit of your cattle, and in the fruit of your land, for good: for Yahweh will again rejoice over you for good, as he rejoiced over your fathers: 10 If you shall hearken unto the voice of Yahweh your Elohim, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if you turn unto Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul.

The Restoration of the Tabernacle of David to Occur During The Millennium as Part of the Final Redemption There is much debate as to what is the “tabernacle of David.” It is the opinion of this author that this is referring to the “kingdom of David,” which during his reign consisted of his ruling over all twelve tribes of Israel, something he will again do in the Millennium (Ezek 37:24–25). After the death of David’s son, Solomon, the united kingdom of Israel was divided between the Northern and Southern Kingdoms or houses of Israel. They have yet to be reunited to this day, yet there are numerous scriptures in the OT prophesying that a time is to come when they will be reunited in the land of their promised inheritance. The time frame of those prophecies (e.g., Ezek 37) is pre-millennial. Listed below are the several scriptures pertaining to the raising up of the Tabernacle of David:

Left: Israelite. Right: Kenite.

And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle [ohel, tent, dwelling, covering, nomad’s tent symbolic of wilderness life] of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness. (Isa 16:5) In that day will I raise up the tabernacle [sukkah, Strong’s H5521, tabernacle, booth, pavilion, etc.] of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old. (Amos 9:11) After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle [skene, Strong’s H4633, tent, tabernacle made of green boughs] of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up. (Acts 15:16) “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, ‘Master, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?’ And he said unto them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power. But you shall receive power, after that the Set-Apart Spirit is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.’ And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:6–9)

Jesus’s words in Acts chapter one were the last words that he spoke on this earth before ascending to heaven. Mark that! Before leaving this earth for two thousand years, he gave to his hand-picked and personally trained disciples their most important commissioning statement — called the Great Commission. He told them to wait in Jerusalem to be filled with the power of the Spirit of Elohim. Why? They needed that supernatural and divine empowerment of the gifts of the spirit so that they would be able to fulfill the great commission to restore the kingdom of Elohim to those who had been scattered to the far corners of the earth. The message they were to preach was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” That was the same message that John the Baptist, who had come in the spirit of Elijah the prophet preached, and the same message that Jesus himself preached (Matt 3:1; 4:17). That same spirit of Elijah, through Yahweh’s chosen end time vessels, will go forth in the last days before the great and terrible day of Yahweh’s wrath to help turn the hearts of the children back to their spiritual Hebraic fathers (Mal 4:4–6). All this, called the restitution of all things (Acts 3:21), must happen before Jesus can return again. What are you doing to follow Jesus’s commissioning command to his disciples to advance the kingdom of Elohim and to help prepare the way for his return by helping to raise up the tabernacle of David?

REFERENCES IN THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS TO THE REGATHERING OF THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL

Jesus himself made several references to the fact that it was his mission to regather the lost sheep (or tribes of Israel). The tribe of Judah was only one of the tribes. There were also eleven others.

But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matt 10:6) But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matt 15:24) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (John 10:16) Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. (John 11:50)

The apostles made several references to the scattered Israelite tribes as well. If these tribes weren’t still viable and relevant to the spreading of the gospel and the fulfillment of the biblical prophecies, then why would the apostles have mentioned them?

Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. (Acts 26:7) Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia… (1Pet 1:1) For ye were as sheep going astray ; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. (1 Pet 2:25; Ezek 34; cp. Matt 10:6) James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. (Jas 1:1)

All twelve tribes of Israel (not just the Christians from the tribe of Judah) will be present during the future millennial reign of Jesus and will continue to be relevant even into the era of the New Jerusalem on the New Earth.

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matt 19:28) That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:30) And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. (Rev 21:12)

The apostolic writers made several references to the northern tribes of Israel. In their minds, the scattered remnant in exile who were coming to faith in Jesus were the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom (or Ephraim) and the subject of Old Testament prophecies about the dispersed Israelites coming to faith in Jesus the Messiah. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 Pet 2:10 cp. Hos 1:9, 10; 2:23 and Rom 9:25)

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh [Dan 9:7; 1 Kgs 8:46] by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one [Ezek 37:15ff], and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God. (Eph 2:11–19) 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. (Acts 2:39) 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 [Gen 48:19] be come in. (Rom 11:25) Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 Pet 2:10  cp. Hos 1:9–10 and Deut 32:21) As he saith also in Hosea, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. 26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. (Rom 9:25 cp. Hos 2:23)

The Testimony of Jesus contains other allusions to the tribes of Israel being regathered as well. For example, the OT likens Israel metaphorically to an olive (Jer 11:10, 17), and to the Gentiles, who in the past had been broken off of that olive tree to being grafted back into it (Rom 11:13–24). If the “Gentiles” somehow weren’t related to the northern kingdom of Israel in Paul’s mind, then his analogy would have been specious and meaningless. The OT also likens lost and scattered Israel to fish in the midst of the seas of humanity (Gen 48:16). Jeremiah prophesied that Yahweh would send fishermen to regather these “fish” (Jer 16:15–16). Interestingly, Jesus chose a number of fishermen to be his disciples to help gather in the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He also made Capernaum — a fishing village located on the Sea of Galilee —  the headquarters of his ministry. When calling some of these fishermen to be his disciples, he proclaimed,

And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matt 4:19) And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. (Mark 1:17)

When the northern tribes of Israel broke off from the southern tribes, a breach was formed in the nation of Israel (1 Kgs 11:13, 29–50; 12:1–20). Several Old Testament prophets predicted that in the future this breach would be repaired and the two nations would again become one (Isa 58:12; Amos 9:11). The reuniting of the nation Israel was the foremost thing on the apostles’ minds just prior to the final ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:6). The restoration of the nation of Israel is to occur at the second coming of Jesus (Acts 3:21). Paul viewed the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles as helping to repair that breach (or breaking down the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles, so that the Gentile remnant Israelites scattered abroad could become part of the nation of Israel (Eph 2:11–19). The repairing of this breach is called the building up again of the tabernacle of David (Acts 15:16) or “the restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21 cp. Acts 1:6). Moreover, in Romans 9:22–29, Paul links the Gentiles coming to faith in Jesus to two prophecies in the OT, which were made in relationship to Ephraim or the lost and scattered children of Israel (Hos 1:10; 2:23; Isa 10:22, 23). Additionally, when the Gentiles come to faith in Jesus, according to Paul, the apostle, they are shown to be the literal seed or offspring of Abraham (Gal 3:29). When Jesus returns, he will finalize his New Covenant with these regathered Israelites who are from both the house of Judah and the house of Israel (Heb 8:8 cp. Jer 31:31, 33).