RABBI NEAL SURASKY answers ...

Although there are tests now that are available to genetically determine who is a descendant of Aaron, that is, the line of priests, and they are currently developing a test to determine who is a direct descendant of Levi, there is no completely accurate way to determine who carries Isralite ancestry. The Scriptures say that the Israelites were scattered to the four corners of the earth. There are Jews, known or unknown, in every culture. The bigger question is the second question.

The question of whether it matters is largely subjective. However, I would caution those who strive to learn their genetic origin to really do some introspection as to why they want to know. The question to ask is, "How will this change the way I live my life right now?" If it really won't change the way you live your life, then the answer really doesn't matter. If it means that all of a sudden you are going to begin doing something, or some things, that you have never done before, additional questions must be asked.

In terms of God, He knows who are the physical descendants of Israel. However, He sent His Son so that His relationship with mankind would not be dependant upon the physical descent as much as the spiritual. That is why we can say that we are "one new man" in Messiah.

RABBI CRAWFORD answers ...

Somewhat- yes we can have a general idea of who are in the tribes. Does it matter? No- G-d knows who each person is and which tribe he belongs to. The Jewish people are the chosen people as they would keep the commandments of G-d through the ages. According to Romans we can be grafter in if we aren’t Jewish via bloodline. Also, according to the story of Ruth and Boaz and Naomi, we don’t have to be bloodline to be among the chosen. We can choose to be chosen. Some good materials to read on where the tribes overall went were written by Herbert Armstrong. While I have never belonged to that denomination, I believe he had some very good books.

SANDRA JEFFERY answers ...

The Palestinians and Israelis common heritage is now a matter of scientific proof, as a study done of DNA of male Jews and Middle Eastern Arabs – among them Syrians, Palestinians, and Lebanese, shows that they share a common set of ancestors (pg. 128, National Geographic, December 2001). Seeing as the word Israel means a group regarded as chosen by God, or descendants of Israel (Jacob) by righteousness, we can also look at Job, who was a righteous Arab for example, not an Israelite, who was the greatest of all the men of the east and a follower of Almighty God. He kept himself clean from immorality, greedy materialism, and idolatry, and he was generous to the poor and needy. Job 31: 9 – 28. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God pointed to Job as an example of righteousness Ezekiel 14: 14, 20. All that follow God’s righteousness are Abraham’s children, grafted in regardless of ancestry.

So, does it matter? Not in my understanding of scripture. All Christians can trace their spiritual lineage from Jesus to Abraham, and yet while many people value themselves on their first birth, and its privileges, God tells us in His Kingdom, we are all equal in His eyes no matter who or what our forefathers were or believed.

RABBI GUTMANN answers ...

The short answer to the second question is no, it doesn't matter. What matters is for a person to be in right relationship with the "Saviour of the World" Jesus, Who is also Yeshua HaMashiach. And if a person has experienced the new birth, as a member of His Body, they are engrafted into the Olive Vine which is Israel (Romans 11:17ff). As for theories of the "ten lost tribes," let it not be forgotten that latterly Simeon and Benjamin were part of Judah's portion, and of course the Levites would be present. 2 Chronicles 34:9 suggests Ephraim and Manasseh had a remnant which may well have been represented in Judae and Galilee of the time of Yeshua's earthly Ministry. Other tribes may likewise have come from the Assyrian exile to settle, not in Samaria, with its syncretistic faith, but in Judea and Galilee.

MOSHE COHEN answers ...

We often hear of people looking for Jewish ancestry by having their DNA checked and the like. There are many ways of knowing Jewish ancestry, from family names, country or region of birth, and more. We should understand though that many Messianic believers take the view that once a person is a believer in Yeshua (Jesus), he or she is a new creation, neither Jew or Gentile, as explained by Sha'ul (Paul) in his letters. In the practical sense, there must be millions of people who have some Jewish blood in them, as Jews have intermarried all over the earth for thousands of years. It is interesting that when Israel became a nation in 1948, many Jews wanted to come and live in the Land. The leaders of the day debated for years of who was Jewish, and eventually had to fall back to the Nazi definition, i.e. if your grandparents are Jewish, or of course your parents, then you are. Many also accept that if your mother is Jewish, then you are too. This is important, mainly, in my humble opinion, in the sense that Jews have a greater responsibility to share the Living G-d with the world, and Word of G-d, the Torah, to the nations. The whole thrust of the Bible is clear. Where or from what nation you are born from is just your starting point. What is important is being adopted into the commonwealth of Israel by accepting the Jewish Messiah, then you are a true member of the nation of Israel. Then your ethnic birth is not important, only your new birth.

RABBI JOSEPH KRESEFSKY answers ...

Yes and No - DNA Testing is one source – however, DNA testing can only determine Levitical and Cohen line. Friends and family members have done it, and it has come back showing a multitude of nations – and within these are Jewish indicators. Now, as to whether it matters...no, it does not. Yes, there is an end time purpose for the Israelite nations; however, as Rav Sha’ul states… Romans 10:12 – “That means that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile - ADONAI is the same for everyone, rich toward everyone who calls on Him..”