Vi The Bible Guy (Answers 28-30)
This is the final part of the republication of the Vi The Bible Guy series from the original Southview website. We’ve been publishing three questions/answers each week since the website first relaunched, and we would like to thank Vilas Deane once again for all of the work that went into this series!
Q28: What can be said about the “lost tribes” of Israel?
Around 926 B.C., the kingdom of Israel was split in two: the northern 10 tribes called Israel, and the southern 2 tribes called Judah. At about 722 B.C., The Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom, Israel, and deported most of the people to the Assyrian kingdom and settled them near the current Iran-Iraq border. Many of these deported people were replaced in the Promised Land by Assyrians. These Assyrian settlers intermarried with the remaining Israelites and became the Samaritans that we read about in the New Testament. The pure race of Jews was mixed with the people from Assyria, and the Assyrians brought their false religion with its false gods to result in a mixed religion for the Samaritans. The deported Israelites also intermarried with the people where they were taken. They eventually lost their distinct identity, disappeared, and their culture was lost to history. Some refer to them as the “lost tribes of Israel.” However, they have never been “lost” to God. James writes to “the twelve tribes scattered among the nations” (James 1:1). God knows where they are. During the Tribulation, 12,000 will come to Christ and be sealed from each of the 12 tribes of Israel (see Rev 7). God knows into which tribe each of the descendants of Abraham should be classified.
When the Assyrians were threatening the Northern Kingdom, many from there fled to the Southern Kingdom. 2 Chronicles 35:18 records Israel celebrating the Passover with Judah approximately 90 years after the Assyrian deportation. Even before that invasion, people from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon were settled in Judah (2 Chronicles 15:9). So we can not say that the 10 tribes were lost.
Assyria was conquered by Babylon who then went on to conquer (722 B.C.) and deport the two remaining tribes of the Southern Kingdom, Judah and Benjamin. When King Cyrus allowed the Israelites to return to Israel (Ezra, Chapter 1), many from the ten northern tribes and two southern tribes returned to Israel. In the New Testament, the prophetess Anna (Luke 2:36) was from the tribe of Asher (one of the 10 supposed lost tribes). In Jesus’ day, Israel was a mix of those from the former Northern and Southern Kingdoms.
But, there is a cult that claims that these 10 tribes were lost. This cult is known as British Israelism or Anglo-Israelism, and was made popular by Herbert W. Armstrong and his Worldwide Church of God (founded in 1933). He claims that these 10 “lost tribes” of Israel migrated to Europe and then to England and became the primary ancestors of the British people, and thereby, the United States. Could some of those deported Israelites have immigrated to Europe, or even England? Yes. Is it likely? No. Such a journey in that day would have been extremely difficult, so it is highly unlikely that this occurred. The primary goal of this cult is to claim that England and the United States have inherited the covenant promises that God made to Israel. While England and the United States have been blessed by God in many ways, it is not because God’s promises to Israel have been transferred to those two nations. God’s covenants with Israel always involved the specific land of Israel. The covenant promises cannot apply to England or the United States, as those two nations do not possess the Promised Land. The Worldwide Church of God believes in Saturday worship rather that Sunday, and most seriously, they reject the doctrine of the Trinity and claim that individual humans can be added to the Godhead.
Herbert W. Armstrong makes us “the chosen race.” Here is some of his “logic.” The Hebrew word for ‘covenant’ is brit, and the word ish in Hebrew means ‘man.’ So, the British, living in the British Isles, are the covenant people! Further, someone saying the name “Isaac” might drop the leading letter “I”, ending up with “Saac.” His descendants, of course, might be called ”Saac’s sons” from which we get the word “Saxons.” So, the Saxons are the descendants of Isaac. Note that Armstrong had to make up the nickname Saac for Isaac to come to this conclusion. No self-respecting linguist would take any of this seriously. The word “British” is not derived from Hebrew but from the Celtic word Brettas. And that word referred to Britons who were inhabitants of England before the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons that Armstrong claims were Israelites.
Q29: Where did Satan come from?
In Luke 10:18 Jesus said: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” Satan’s fall from heaven is described in the Old Testament in Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:12-18. While these two passages are referring specifically to the kings of Babylon and Tyre, they also reference the spiritual power behind those kings, namely, Satan. Job 38:4-7 tells us that the angels were created before the earth. Satan fell before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3:1-14). So, Satan’s fall must have occurred somewhere after the time the angels were created and before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Whether Satan’s fall occurred a few minutes, hours, or days before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden, Scripture does not specifically say. Actually, rather than saying that Satan fell from heaven, we could say that God cast Satan out of heaven
Why did Satan fall from heaven? Satan fell because of pride. He desired to be God, not to be a servant of God. Notice the many “I will…” statements in the Isaiah and Ezekiel passages. He is described as an exceedingly beautiful angel. Satan was likely the highest of all angels, the most beautiful of all of God’s creations, but he was not content in his position. Instead, Satan desired to be God, to essentially “kick God off His throne” and take over the rule of the universe. Satan wanted to be God.
Though extremely powerful, Satan is neither omnipotent, omniscient, nor omnipresent. He simply cannot be everywhere at once. Angels, though spirit beings and very powerful, are not omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent. They cannot be everywhere at once and this is true of Satan. However, as the chief of his demons’ forces or as the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2), he is chief of a vast host of demons who are so numerous as to make Satan’s power and presence seem to be everywhere at once (cf. Mark 5:9). Peter warns us about Satan’s attack when he says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8,9)
Here are some of the names applied to him: Satan (Job 1:6-9, Matt. 4:10), The Devil (Matt. 4:1, 5, 9; Eph. 4:27; Rev. 12:9; 20:2), The Serpent (Rev. 12:9), Lucifer, Son of the Morning (Isa. 14:12), The Evil One (John 17:15; 1 John 5:9), The Dragon (Rev. 12:7); The Prince or Ruler (John 12:31), The god of This World or Age (2 Cor. 4:4), The Prince of the Power of the Air (Eph. 2:2a), The Spirit Who Works in the Sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:2b), The Accuser of the Brethren (Rev. 12:10), The Tempter (Matt. 4:3; 1 Thess. 3:5), Belial (2 Cor 6:15), Beelzebub (Matt. 12:24; Mark 3:22), and Abaddon, Apollyon (Rev. 9:11).
Q30: Would God permit someone to go to hell who has never heard the message of salvation?
The Bible teaches us that ALL people are accountable to God whether or not they have heard about Him. Romans 1:20 tells us that God has clearly revealed Himself in nature: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” The problem is that the human race is sinful, and we all reject this knowledge of God and rebel against Him. Romans 1:21-23 puts it this way: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” If it were not for God’s grace, we would be given over to the sinful desires of our hearts, allowing us to discover how useless and miserable life is apart from Him. Deuteronomy 4:29 tells us that those who want to find God, those who truly seek Him will find him. The difficulty is that man rejects what is seen in nature, and man does not seek God. Romans 3:11 tells us that “there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.” Man knows that he needs a god, so he creates a “god” of his own instead of looking to the God of Heaven. Instead of debating the fate of those who have never heard, we, as Christians, should be doing our best to make sure they do hear. We are called to spread the gospel throughout the nations. (Matthew 28:19-20: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Knowing that people reject the knowledge of God revealed in nature, we are motivated to proclaim the good news of salvation that comes through Jesus Christ. It is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone that saves people from their sins and rescues them from an eternity apart from God.If we assume that those who never hear the gospel are granted mercy from God, we will run into a terrible problem. If people who never hear the gospel are saved, it is logical that we should make sure no one ever hears the gospel. The worst thing we could do would be to share the gospel with a person and have him or her reject it. If that were to happen, he or she would be condemned. People who do not hear the gospel must be condemned, or else there is no motivation for evangelism. Why run the risk of people possibly rejecting the gospel and condemning themselves when they were previously saved because they had never heard the gospel? Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way….” He was saying that there is no other path to Heaven, no other way to the Father. Acts
4:12 says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”