Gentiles as the return from exile people
Michael Barber once wrote a tremendously through provoking post on the salvation of 'all Israel'. Among other things he suggested that Paul saw the restoration of the lost northern tribes as directly associated with Paul's mission to Gentiles, suggesting a closer link between the lost tribes and the Gentiles.
Michael summarises part of a Scott Hahn essay with these words: 'God allowed Israel to be exiled so that he could use them to eventually bring the nations home as well--as their relatives'. Among other passages very ably discussed, Michael notes especially the way Paul applies a passage in Hosea 1, which originally spoke of the northern tribes, to Gentiles (Hosea 1:10 'where it was said to them, "You are not my people," it shall be said to them, "Children of the living God". Cf. Romans 9:26). One could add material in 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 to this too, where the return from exile people ('come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord' – i.e. come out from the nations!) are equated with the Corinthian Christians! Amazing! (cf. here for a few references on this)
Does this mean the Gentiles are the lost northern tribes? Or as Hahn implies, their relatives? Or perhaps the Gentiles are simply symbolically represent the lost northern tribes? Or are the Gentiles made holy, included in to the line of Abraham, because of intermingling with the northern tribes (cf. Rom. 11:16)? Or are they related in some other way? Love to read your thoughts…