Intro to James

Salluz

Well-Known Member
Lots of questions today :lol

Why does James address the letter to the twelve tribes instead of the Church? (Talking about the book of James in the first verse)

"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:

Greetings."
 

mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
Why does James address the letter to the twelve tribes instead of the Church? (Talking about the book of James in the first verse)

"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:

Greetings."
Because he was speaking to the Christ believers among the Jews scattered throughout the Roman Empire by persecution and other tribulations. As pastor of the Church in Jerusalem, he clearly felt the need to minister to all Jewish believers, especially to the majority of them who had been scattered

This does not mean, however, that we can disregard what he says just because of the people to whom he was writing, because through him the Holy Spirit was writing to every person who would ever come into the Church--that mystical, invisible body of believers. All books, all chapters, all verses, of the Bible make up the warp and woof of the fabric of Holy Writ. All parts are necessary. To remove even one tiny bit would leave a hole in the finished cloth of God's Word. What the Holy Spirit says through James fits perfectly with everything else He had said through all the other writers of the two Testaments.

I pray this helps.
 

Salluz

Well-Known Member
Because he was speaking to the Christ believers among the Jews scattered throughout the Roman Empire by persecution and other tribulations. As pastor of the Church in Jerusalem, he clearly felt the need to minister to all Jewish believers, especially to the majority of them who had been scattered

This does not mean, however, that we can disregard what he says just because of the people to whom he was writing, because through him the Holy Spirit was writing to every person who would ever come into the Church--that mystical, invisible body of believers. All books, all chapters, all verses, of the Bible make up the warp and woof of the fabric of Holy Writ. All parts are necessary. To remove even one tiny bit would leave a hole in the finished cloth of God's Word. What the Holy Spirit says through James fits perfectly with everything else He had said through all the other writers of the two Testaments.

I pray this helps.
Okay, so it's like how Corinthians was addressed to the believers in Corinth but eventually redistributed among all believers: this one was originally addressed to those who were saved from Israel, but is applicable to everyone in the same way that the other epistles to specific churches are applicable to the entirety of the Church?
 

josiah7

Well-Known Member
Salluz wrote in part:
Why does James address the letter to the twelve tribes instead of the Church? (Talking about the book of James in the first verse)
"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:
Greetings."

I believe that he was addressing all the tribes throughout the nation of the world, not just those known as Jews and it may simply be that at that time he was just addressing the tribes of Israel who were believers in the Messiah.
 

Kaatje

Well-Known Member
"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings."
I was very intrigued by the question, because I thought that 10 of the tribes were lost.
So, I went “tribe-hunting”, and this is what I found:

Bible Question:
Whatever happened to the 10 tribes of Israel that were captured and taken away? Judah was returned after their capture, but I can't find in scripture what happened to Israel when they were captured.

Bible Answer:

Division of Israel Into Two Kingdoms
Before and during the reign of King Solomon, the term “Israel” referred to all of the Jewish people in the land of Canaan. The nation at that time was called Israel. But King Solomon sinned by not loving God and worshipping other gods. As a result, God responded by dividing Solomon’s kingdom into a northern and southern kingdom (1 Kings 11:9-11, 13).

So the Lord kept the tribes of Judah and Benjamin for King David’s line and gave the remaining ten tribes to King Jeroboam (1 Kings 11:30-31).

The northern kingdom was called Israel and the southern kingdom was called Judah because it included two tribes: Judah and Benjamin (2 Chronicles 11:23).

Two Kingdoms Were Defeated and Deported
But neither the Kingdom of Israel nor the Kingdom of Judah learned from this. Israel repeatedly sinned by forsaking God and worshipping other gods. Consequently, God caused the Assyrian Empire to invade Israel (later known as Samaria and Galilee) and carry them away (2 Kings 17:6).

The Assyrians deported the northern Kingdom of Israel and mixed them with other captives to break down their national loyalty. This encouraged the Israelites to inter-marry and blur family lines of birth. Later God removed the southern Kingdom of Judah because they continued sinning and did not repent. They were taken away into Babylon by the Babylonian army (2 Kings 25:21).

Kingdom of Judah Returned
So Israel went into Assyrian captivity and Judah into Babylonian captivity. Seventy years later God moved the heart of King Cyrus of Persia to allow the Jews who were living in Babylon to return to the city of Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1-5), and God stirred the Jews to move back.

From this verse it appears that God returned only a portion of the tribe of Levi, and most of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin back to the Promised Land. At the time of Christ, the northern region of the Promised Land was called Samaria. The Samaritans and the “Jews” from Judah were at odds with each other. Israel was again dispersed in A.D. 70 when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem because Jesus was not recognized as the Messiah (Luke 19:43-44).

Lost Tribes of Israel Are Not Lost
None of the tribes are lost because some people from each of the tribes were living in the southern kingdom, the Kingdom of Judah, at the time the Assyrian army deported the northern kingdom, the Kingdom of Israel.

Now when we come to 2 Chronicles 15:9; 30:18; and 34:6, we discover that people from the tribes of Ephraim (son of Joseph), Manasseh, Issachar, Zebulun, Naphatli, Simeon, and “from all the remnant of Israel” are present in the Kingdom of Judah. That means men, women, and children from each of the northern ten tribes were living in the southern kingdom at the time the Assyrians invaded the northern kingdom. Those living in the southern kingdom were not taken captive and deported by the Assyrians. They were taken to Babylon. This means that the ten tribes were not lost. At least some of them lived in the kingdom of Judah.

Further, Luke 2:36 tells us that the prophetess Anna was from the tribe of Asher. This is one more example that the tribes were not lost. Nehemiah 11:20 tells us that men from all the tribes from the northern kingdom of Israel were living in the cities of Judah – the southern kingdom. The book of Nehemiah was written at the time the Jews were returning from Babylon. This means that none of the tribes have been lost.

Additionally, in James 1:1 we are told that the book of James was sent to the twelve tribes of Israel (Genesis 35:22-26). That is, none of them were lost even at the time of Christ.

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:
Greetings. James 1:1 (NASB)

All The Tribes Are Returning To Israel
Scriptures also predicted that the nation of Israel will return some day to the land. Not just a portion of Israel will return, but all of Israel. Their return started in 1945 and continues to this day.

And say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations, and they will no longer be divided into two kingdoms. (NASB) Ezekiel 37:21-22

The tribes are coming together and the end times are upon us.

If all of the tribes are not already in Israel, the book of Revelation reveals a wonderful fact. They will all be in the land some day before the end of the world comes. The book of Revelation tells us that God will seal 12,000 Jews from each of the twelve tribes of Israel in the end times (Revelation 7:4-8). The book of Revelation prophesies that 144,000 witnesses will be present in the tribulation. Here is a list of all of the tribes of Israel from Revelation 7.

And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: . . . Judah, . . . Reuben, . . . Gad, . . . Asher, . . . Naphtali, . . . Manasseh, . . . Simeon, . . . Levi, . . . Issachar, . . . Zebulun, . . . Joseph, . . . Benjamin . . . Revelation 7:4-8 (NASB)

Everyone of the tribes exists today some where in the world. Praise the Lord Jesus. Come quickly!

This is an exerpt from a longer and more detailed article: https://www.neverthirsty.org/bible-qa/qa-archives/question/what-ever-happened-to-the-ten-tribes-of-israel-that-were-captured-and-taken-away/
 

mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
May we please have the long answer? :)
Sorry, I lost this thread. Just found it again. The long answer was given by @Salluz up-thread. He wrote:

"Okay, so it's like how Corinthians was addressed to the believers in Corinth but eventually redistributed among all believers: this one was originally addressed to those who were saved from Israel, but is applicable to everyone in the same way that the other epistles to specific churches are applicable to the entirety of the Church."​

Salluz is a good student of the Bible.
 

Salluz

Well-Known Member
Sorry, I lost this thread. Just found it again. The long answer was given by @Salluz up-thread. He wrote:

"Okay, so it's like how Corinthians was addressed to the believers in Corinth but eventually redistributed among all believers: this one was originally addressed to those who were saved from Israel, but is applicable to everyone in the same way that the other epistles to specific churches are applicable to the entirety of the Church."​

Salluz is a good student of the Bible.
Thank you :hug it means a lot coming from you
 

Mikedexion

Well-Known Member
It is very interesting that the header reads "To the Twelve Tribes" however he does mention in Chapter 2 not to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons. Some people get tripped up on "faith without works is dead" when if you read the whole chapter he's talking about genuine faith compared to a lip-service faith. So the argument that the book of James is for the Jews doesn't hold much weight. I agree with Matt's comments
 
Lots of questions today :lol

Why does James address the letter to the twelve tribes instead of the Church? (Talking about the book of James in the first verse)

"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:

Greetings."
Hello.

I think the answer is in who James was.

He was the leader in the Jerusalem church, and many in that church were zealous for the law. In Acts 21 we see Paul going to see James in Jerusalem, and then his imprisonment, fueled by those same Jews that James had in the church at Jerusalem, many zealous for the law.

James spoke to Paul of the letter they sent to the Gentiles, we read of it in the great gathering in Acts 15, how the whole Jerusalem church agreed that Paul was to go to the Gentiles, which would leave James in Jersusalem, with the other leaders, including Peter.

So I think of it in terms of that was the audience of James, the Jews.
 
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