Question: Does Isaiah say anything about the return from exile of Israel’s Ten Lost Tribes who were taken captive into Assyria?
Answer: The short answer to the Ten Tribes’ return from exile is that just as they went captive into ancient Assyria in Isaiah’s day (circa 722 B.C.), so they will return from exile out of end-time “Assyria” in the days of God’s end-time servant—that being a part of the “restitution of all things” that occurs before Jesus’ coming to reign on the earth.
First, the end-time setting for the return of the Ten Tribes is their scattered condition in the world’s northern lands to which they migrated out of ancient Assyria according to apocryphal writings (see 4 Ezra 13:40–45). Taking counsel together, they made a year and a half’s journey through the Caucuses Mountains into eastern and western Europe.
Second, the Ten Tribes’ return from exile and dispersion occurs at the same turning point as that of the whole house of Israel, including today’s Jews and Lamanites. That is, when the gospel turns to the house of Israel after the Gentiles—to whom it was restored—by and large reject it. That turning point occurs in the days of God’s end-time servant.
Third, the house of Israel’s return from dispersion takes the form of a new exodus out of end-time “Babylon” patterned after Israel’s ancient exodus out of Egypt under Moses. At that time, the whole house of Israel—including Israel’s Ten Tribes—returns from the four directions of the earth to receive inheritances in the old and new Jerusalems.
Fourth, those who lead the house of Israel’s return from dispersion are God’s end-time servant and fellow-servants—the spiritual kings and queens of the Gentiles. These are those who don’t harden their hearts and aren’t cut off from God’s people of the covenant when the servant brings forth the words of Christ that are on the large plates of Nephi.
Fifth, at the time the gospel turns from the Gentiles, many of the house of Israel will be suffering under conditions of bondage and captivity, so that their exodus out of Babylon to lands of inheritance is simultaneously their liberation from prisons, abduction, slavery, and every form of oppression at the hands of tyrants and secret combinations.
Sixth, end-time Assyria—whose military alliance conquers the world—it itself put down after serving God’s purpose of punishing the world’s wicked or unrepentant inhabitants. Those who remain of end-time Assyria, in other words, are Israel’s Ten Tribes, and the places where they lived in captivity ultimately become their lands of inheritance.
Seventh, the Lord acknowledges those of Israel’s Ten Tribes who return from dispersion and captivity in the new exodus as the second of three millennial categories of his covenant people, as he says: “Blessed be Egypt my people [the Lamanites], Assyria the work of my hands [the Ten Tribes], and Israel my inheritance [the Jews] (Isaiah 19:25).
Book of Mormon prophecies concerning the interrelationship between the Gentiles and house of Israel—such as (1) Nephi’s, Jacob’s, and Jesus’ predictions of Israel’s end-time restoration by the spiritual kings and queens of the Gentiles; and (2) Zenos’ allegory of the olive tree, with its three natural daughter trees—depict essentially the same scenario.