Glenn Beck and His 10 Tribes of Israel Theory

Talk show host Glenn Beck.
Talk show host Glenn Beck. (GlennBeck.com)

There are a lot of theories as to what happened to the 10 lost tribes of Israel—most of them improvable, some of them outright wacky. (Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, believed they, along with the apostle John, are floating in space on a piece of Earth that broke off.)

Recently, popular radio host and sometimes Trilateral-Commission-like conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck taught his listeners that the 10 tribes were the founders of the United States—at least, I think that is what he was saying.

He presented a history lesson—that had as much congruity as Ahmadinejad’s teachings on the Holocaust—backed up by no sources, no quote from any reputable historian and not even a Wikipedia reference. It simply left me dumbfounded and, truthfully, unable to figure what his point was.

I have a lot of respect for Mr. Beck. Over the years, he has confronted America on key issues. He has called out those in the political world who don’t share American values. He has revealed socialists and anti-Semites in the Obama administration. And most importantly, he’s funny. But every now and then, he will share something that is so far out in left field that I am left to wonder if he doesn’t have two personalities:

  1. Powerful prophetic voice to America.
  2. Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory before he gets his mind back.

Beck’s theory on the U.S. being founded by lost members of the 10 tribes of Israel went something like this:

  1. There were two kingdoms in Israel.
  2. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was made up of 10 tribes.
  3. The Southern Kingdom “was Judah, that has Jerusalem ... root, Jew!” (Actually the word Jerusalem is not at all connected to the word Jew [Yehuda], and the Southern Kingdom was made up of Judah, Benjamin and half of Levi.)
  4. God speaks against the northern tribes through Jeremiah. (In fact, the northern tribes had already been conquered by Assyria before Jeremiah was born—86 years before!)
  5. Then Israel (the northern tribes) is taken into captivity by the Assyrians.
  6. “The kingdom of Judah was not scattered.” (Wrong! They were the ones to whom Jeremiah prophesied. In 586 B.C., Judah went into captivity. However, unlike the northern tribes, it remained an identifiable people group and returned to Jerusalem 70 years later.)
  7. When the Assyrians were defeated, they, along with the 10 tribes of Israel, fled together. (This is nuts! Beck just explained how ruthless the Assyrians were, but then they flee hand in hand with their buddies, the Israelites?)
  8. They flee together to the Caucasus Mountains. (I am not sure if Glenn knows where these mountains are, based on his next comments. They are, in fact, in northeastern Turkey, bordering Russia, Iran and a few other countries.)
  9. Then the Assyrians settled in Italy, Germany (both very, very far from the Caucasus Mountains) and Russia. According to Beck, the Assyrians were meticulous record keepers, but he doesn’t cite any of those records to prove his theory.
  10. The Israelites went north and settled on the coastlines, referring to the area where our pilgrims came from. (That would be England, Mr. Beck. Please go to a map and locate the Caucasus Mountains and then go north—you will be in northern Russia. London is 2,500 miles west of the Caucasus Mountains.)
  11. The Israelites then populated Western Europe. (Beck forgets that, according to his theory, the much larger group of Assyrians was also populating the region).
  12. Beck seems to claim that the pilgrims (who in reality were separatists from the Anglican Church in England) were, in fact, part of or the entire lost 10 tribes.
  13. Or maybe he is simply saying that the lost 10 tribes (who were idol worshippers, by the way) had a profound influence on the West and inspired the pilgrims (which would be difficult, because if the 10 tribes were actually in Europe, they didn’t know it—they had long ago assimilated).

You watch the clip and tell me in the comments sections if you can figure out what Beck was saying.

There are so many biblical inaccuracies in Glenn’s teaching that it is clear he has not studied this issue. It appears he is simply repeating by memory a theory he read in a book. With such a large audience, he was very reckless in handling the Word of God.

There is evidence that suggests that some of these Israelites did end up in an area near the Caucuses to which Beck refers. Some believe Peter was writing to them (the pilgrims of the Dispersion [as in exile] in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia). There is also evidence that some fled to India, China and even Africa.

I am not an expert on this. However, Beck's assertion (again, he was all over the place, so I am not sure what he said) that Caucasians come from Jews who fled with Assyria and then either were the pilgrims or influenced them is fantasy.

What About the 10 Tribes?

When Assyria conquered the Northern Kingdom, without a doubt many fled to Judah—the Southern Kingdom. Plus, there was intermarriage within the tribes. My point is, every tribe to some degree has been preserved. Luke 2:36 says Anna the prophetess came from the tribe of Asher, and this was more than 700 years after the Assyrian captivity.

Beck does get one thing right. At about 6:20 in the clip, he says, “I am not the guy to go to on [Middle East History].” Sadly, he then went on to teach utter nonsense with an air of authority.

Ron Cantor is the director of Messiah’s Mandate International in Israel, a Messianic ministry dedicated to taking the message of Jesus from Israel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Cantor also travels internationally teaching on the Jewish roots of the New Testament. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua, a Hebrew-speaking congregation in Tel Aviv. His newest book, Identity Theft, was released April 16. Follow him at @RonSCantor on Twitter.

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