Did Israel Not Leave Palestine?
In spite of the massive amount of material that demonstrates the movement of the Israelites from the land of their captivity to northwestern Europe and the British Isles, thence to America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, one can read statements like this: “How unbelievable it is that millions of Israelites in the course of only a few centuries could completely lose their identity and become known to the world as Scythians” (Darms, 139). A look at the Afro-American community can quickly answer this argument. How many Negroes know the tribal affiliation of their ancestors, or their original language? If millions of Negroes can lose their national identity as quickly as they did in modern times, why should we think it strange that Israel could lose its identity in ancient times? The only reason the Jews never lost their national identity is because they continued to observe the sign God gave them—the weekly Sabbath (Ezek. 20:12). History tells us that when nations change their language, they change their names even more easily (Minns, 40). Language can be a test of racial contact, but not necessarily for migration. Yet, language can be helpful to determine the affinities and movements of peoples (Haddon, 10–11).
One should discard the notion that race and language are synonymous. Language is not a test of race. The same race may speak different languages, and different races may speak the same language. Languages are easily borrowed from one people to another. Archaeological speculation has been cursed by the attempt to base racial conclusions on language—that is, to say those who speak the same language are all from the same race. It is necessary to realize that race and language are two entirely different studies (Sayce, 13). If the guide to racial distinctions is based on language, the classification of peoples and cultures may be entirely misleading. Evidence of physical characteristics was lacking in the past so attempts were made to identify people by cultural evidence. This is no longer true. Physical types today identify people, and names such as Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean are used which carry no linguistic connotation (Morant, 140).
When one race was more civilized than another and was politically and numerically superior, it was able to impose its language upon the other. When two nations brought together are equally advanced, the one with the most numerous population will prevail. On the other hand, when a small body of invaders with a higher civilization converges with a lower one, the higher culture will prevail. At one time Aryan languages were found being used in vast areas by peoples who were not Aryan. The fact is: Change in language takes place easier than change in physical type. To repeat, language is not a test of race, and more often than not is entirely misleading. Languages are extremely changeable, and countries have altered their language while the race remained the same. Language appears to be almost independent of racial factors (Taylor, 210–211, 197, 204).
On the other hand, language should not be entirely discounted. In certain cases a common language raises the presumption that the people who speak it are from a common ancestry (Sayce, 32). Language and the geographical location of people change, but not race (Jowett, 38). Take the Roman Empire, for example. All races living under the rule of the Romans had to obey one law and learn the language of the imperial city. By the time the Roman Empire disintegrated, Latin was the common language everywhere. Teutonic invaders soon learned the languages of the subject populations, and today the result is the modern languages of France, Spain, and Italy. The Northmen who came to Normandy and southern Italy soon forgot their own languages. In Britain, however, the subject populations learned the language of the Saxons, the Scandinavian invaders, and later, that of the Normans. A dialect of the Aramćan tribes of Syria and northern Arabia supplanted Hebrew, Phśnician, Assyrian, and Babylonian. Arabic, in turn, supplanted Aramaic after the Mohammedan conquest. The fact is: Language is not a test of race; rather, it is a test of social contact (Sayce, 30–31). Therefore, it is unwise to draw conclusions regarding races from the evidence of language alone (Wainwright, 14). To assume the lost ten tribes of Israel could not lose their language in the space of a few hundred years is contrary to the known facts regarding language and race.
A commonly accepted argument is that Israel could not have migrated to Europe because Josephus tells us that the Scythians are descended from Japheth, and that the Greeks called the sons of Japheth “Scythians” (Darms, 143–144). Statements supposedly reinforce the argument that the Celtic family had its origin in Gomer, the son of Japheth, and that the Cimmerians and Cimbri are descended from the Celtic family (ibid, 134). Furthermore, every ancient historian who connects European genealogies with those of the Bible, shows that the northwestern Europeans are descended from Japheth. And, that Josephus said the sons of Japheth settled all the areas of Europe—from the Black Sea to the Atlantic. There is, therefore, no history of the ancient world that shows the Europeans were Israelites (Justice, 77).
Is this true?
The statement by Josephus concerning the sons of Japheth, refers to nations that received their names from their first inhabitants. So, the statement that the children of Japheth had settled from the Black Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, whatever Josephus meant by this remark, refers to those who first lived in these areas. He does not say those inhabitants were living there in his day, nor should this be construed to mean in modern times. We have already seen that the sons of Shem drove the children of Japheth into the holes and corners of the earth, far away from their original inheritance. Other peoples have long possessed all the territories the sons of Japheth originally possessed. Furthermore, the appellation “Scythian” was assigned to at least 50 nations. Many of these people are not described as Japhetic, though the term Scythian could have been applied to some of them. Scythian simply meant “nomad,” or “wanderer,” and referred to those people who adhered to this lifystyle. Historians today generally avoid applying the name Scythian to members of the yellow race. Also, the appellation “Celt” was broadly applied to all the peoples inhabiting Western Europe. The Celtic peoples are not described as Japhetic. Scholars failed to differentiate between the Cimmerians and Celts, mixing the two (Hannay, 119–120). While some Mongol stock may have been included in the appellation Celt, the bulk was Nordic and Alpine stock. Hannay believed the Celts were composed of peoples who at one time had been held captive by the Assyrians in the region of Lake Van (ibid, 125).
Historians, as a whole, prefer to remain in the mainstream of thought and to rely on other historians. Their hypotheses are often built upon previous works, but with a new twist of their own. The idea that all the progeny of northwestern Europe are descended from Japheth came from early Catholic historians who were attempting to connect early European genealogies with the Bible. Keating is a case in point. In the pedigree of Miledh or Milesius of Spain, who brought the Milesian Scots to Britain, Keating jumps the track at Azariah or Easru, the great-grandson of Judah and switches it to Gaedal or Glas, the great-great-grandson of Magog. Thus, he makes the genealogy Japhetic rather than Semitic (Keating, 183). Professor Rawlinson advanced the idea that “Cimmerian” was derived from “Gomerian,” though it was not original with him. Josephus first advanced it, and many scholars followed him into the error. Most of them read an unintended meaning into his statement. Raymond Capt mentions a British scholar who said: “It is quite a wrong supposition that the Cymbrians should have been so called from Gomer; indeed, it is questionable whether any nation has adopted a patronymic name which can be proved to have been derived from its first individual founder” (Capt, 218). Did Catholic scholars deliberately conceal the true identity of the British people under the subterfuge they are the descendants of Japheth? Lionel Lewis strongly hints so. He implies the primary reason appears to be that Catholic scholars were unwilling to admit a British Catholic foundation older than that of Rome (Lewis, 41).
Another argument is advanced by Charles Kent. He says the Israelites could not have migrated into Europe because with the fall of Samaria they not only lost their identity as a nation, but the character of the people was completely changed due to the foreign population introduced into the land. He says the Assyrian policy of eliminating national spirit by the assimilation and merging of different races proved to be extremely successful in the case of Israel, and that the Israelites who survived the Assyrian wars were allowed to remain in their homes. The result, Kent says, was that they mixed with foreign peoples. So the wild theory concerning the “lost ten tribes of Israel” is entirely without foundation (Kent, 105–107). Kent’s view does not agree with the Bible.
The Bible states:
Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only . . . . the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day. And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof (2 Kings 17:18, 23–24).
Jeremiah (643–585 BC) is regarded as the author of the books of Kings. His statement in 2 Kings above was written about 130 years after Israel had been carried away into captivity. It is a summary statement of what took place in the land. Some Israelites were still present during the reign of the Jewish king Josiah (637–607 BC), or about 100 years after Israel was carried away. While a remnant of Israelites had come under the dominion of Jewish kings and remained in the land (2 Chron. 34:1–9), by the time of Jeremiah all were removed. The Israelites in the northern kingdom did not lose their identity because they mingled with foreigners. They lost their identity because they were deported, lost their language, and were called by another name.
Both history and archaeology, which predates history, show an unbroken picture of tribes appearing, and disappearing, crossing and recrossing, assimilating, dividing, colonizing, conquering, or being absorbed (Ripley, 107). So, what happened to Israel was not unusual. Many ancient nations have vanished, not only in name, but also in race. What is significant is that at the time Europe became a seething wilderness of peoples coming from the east, they had the same names as the vanishing Asiatic races. The principal racial stocks of Europe are identified with the principal races of Asian antiquity (Hannay, 223). While nations were generally named according to their geography, often tribes took names from patriarchs or heroes. This was particularly true when a tribe branched off from a larger nation (Kephart, 352).
From about the second century AD, with the massive movements of Germanic peoples pouring into the Roman provinces, countless minor tribes disappeared and were replaced by larger nations such as the Franks, Alemanni, Saxons, and Goths. The tribes on the lower Rhine became known as the Catti and Sicambri, names we have seen earlier in this work. On the Baltic, tribes were known by such names as Frisii, Chauci, and Angli. Many other tribal names appear on the scene. Smaller communities were uniting and becoming larger nations. Some raised themselves to considerable power. At the same time many tribes were exterminated due to internecine wars or during some migration. Some joined with nations to which they did not originally belong. Others separated, such as the Lombards, who detached themselves from the Suevi and united with the Saxons (Menzel, 104, 10). Modern political boundaries are a superficial creation, and nationality bears no constant or necessary relation to race. Half of France, for example, is composed of Teutonic stock, which is racially Germanic (Ripley, 32).
In order to succeed, a migration must be domestic, not military. A wholesale attempt to colonize must include men, women, and children. The reason Roman conquests had little effect on altering races was because they were military. A conqueror can succeed only by great intelligence and continual reinforcements. The Teutons who entered England were successful because they came there by the thousands (Ripley, 30–31). Migrating is not an easy accomplishment. Not only must the migrants fight through enemy territory, but also they must drive the people from the new territory claimed. On occasions, though, nations would permit migrating tribes to pass through their territory if they continued beyond the borders (Kephart, 446).
A permanent witness that a people who spoke a particular language passed through an area is seen in place names. A place name lasts much longer than the spoken language within a particular locality. Since it cannot migrate, it serves as a monument that marks the earlier confines of the language. While newcomers may alter the old name to suit their particular likes, the distinctive quality of age gives it permanence. This is the reason every migration has a trail of place names which indicates previous occupants. Nowhere is the evidence more vivid than in Europe. Each wave of Teutonic invaders can be traced with certainty by this means (Ripley, 26, 312). (The reader will recall this practice by the Israelitsh tribe of Dan.)
We have previously commented on overpopulation as a motivation for migration. This was the primary reason, along with famine, for the German migrations in Europe, though the Germans had warlike tendencies and a thirst for adventure (Menzel, 19). Overpopulation was the main reason the Vikings left Scandinavia (Olson, 117). This began the Viking Age, which lasted from the second century AD to about the middle of the twelfth century without interruption (du Chaillu, 26). Often shepherd tribes are forced to leave because of prolonged drought. They usually attack their agricultural neighbors, thus setting the nomadic tribes in motion (Grant, 224–225). When Roman domination came to an end, large-scale migrations of various tribes brought about vast cultural changes (Crossland, 6–7).
Charles Kent’s argument that Israel lost its identity because it remained in the land of Palestine and was merged with foreigners does not hold water when we consider what history reveals concerning races and languages. Kent’s argument is entirely too simplistic to be believable, and it does not consider the facts of history.
David Baron makes the accusation that the so-called historical proofs used to support the British-Israel theory are derived from heathen myths and fables, as well as faulty philology which traces the word “British” to “Berith-ish” and “Saxon” to “Isaac’s-son” (Baron, 10). Previous chapters in this work have demonstrated historical proofs that are anything but heathen myths and fables. Philological attempts to trace “British” to “Berith-ish” (i.e. Covenant man) and “Saxon” from “Isaac’s-son” may be less tenable, but are essentially only twigs on the tree. Baron adds that some of these pagan writers believed that the object of worship in the Holy of Holies was the head of an ass, and that they believed other absurdities as well. This is his attempt to lump all pagan writers and historians as unreliable, without taking into consideration the subject of their writings. The question we need to ask is this: Do we reject all the events in Greek and Roman history because the historians who recorded these events were pagan? While it is true that no tribe is altogether without tradition—some founded on facts, others on imagination—whatever the origin, traditions are of little value unless supported by written records. Often the fable has a historical record embedded in it that has changed to a childish form and is, therefore, of no historical value (Bancroft, 5:146, 137). On the other hand, hypercriticism often overshoots the mark and rejects all traditions as false when in reality they may be exaggerated truths by which further investigation affords collateral evidence of historical events (Keating, 186, fn). The Annals of Ulster are a good example of reliable information because they assumed their present form in the late fifteenth century which follow with remarkable fidelity earlier, often contemporary material on which they were based (Wainwright, 15–16). It is only in recent times that the Irish legends have been subjected to serious criticism (Ency. Brit., 11th ed., s.v. “Ireland”).
The reality is that in some cases the rejection of tradition can have adverse effects. An example is Greek history. The uncertainty of poetical reports, which were the only ancient histories the Greeks possessed, led philosophers to reject Greek history altogether, and to frame new theories of their own for the original state of mankind. The Greeks had no authentic history of primitive mankind, so philosophers concluded that progress had continued for an indefinite length of time. This hypothesis was popular in ancient times and is still with us today. We call it the theory of evolution (E. Davies, 3–5).
Today, historians stress the scientific character of their work. As a result they have conveyed the impression that their works are scientific, literally. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The only branch of historical writing that is scientific is source criticism. Source criticism involves the examination of chronicles, reports, deeds, charters, letters, and traditions. All are carefully scrutinized. Scientific methods are used to determine the origin, genuineness, and value of this material. But here is the rub. The selection of source material used in any work is strictly a matter of the personal discretion of each critic. What is selected depends on the critic’s concept of the time period he is investigating. In brief, the historian is limited by his own temperament and guided by the spirit of his age. Early source critics ignored the subjective nature of their work because they were enamored by the “scientific approach.” They attempted to reconstruct the growth and decay of nations with separate pieces of data in much the same way one would make chemical compounds by joining separate elements. The result was that all the great historians of the world were discarded, men such as Herodotus, Thucydides, Tacitus, and Suetonius. Otto Spengler described it for what it was. His words were: “Historical writing is fiction.” He recognized the interpretive function of the historian (Marek, 119–120).
Some Greek legends came from events that actually occurred and contain a kernel of truth. The Greeks did not begin to employ writing as a means of preserving history until 776 BC, which was during the first Olympiad. Even so, the heroic age must not be entirely passed over. Traditions of a people are worthy of record, and this is especially true of the Greeks. The Illiad, for example, is a historical novel and does record actual events (Trump, 189–190). The very outside limit of early history goes back only 4,000 years (Wasserman, intro., 14). So, far as ancient history is concerned, tradition and general belief, as far as broad facts are concerned, are what we must consider (Morgan, 63). The idea that we cannot rely on pagan historians overlooks the basis for the original account. Many of the ancient accounts contain important kernels of truth, and while details may be confused, they do add a dimension to what is already known, and should not be rejected on the basis of Baron’s argument.
There are two questions concerning the northern kingdom that can certainly be answered: (1) Were the ten tribes lost? And, (2) are not the names of Israel and Judah two names for the same nation? Those who oppose the belief that the ten tribes lost their identity say the whole hypothesis is based on the assumption the tribes never returned and that they no longer exist. One writer refers to 2 Chronicles 30:1 to “prove” the tribes never left the land because Hezekiah invited people of Ephraim and Manasseh to attend the Passover after Israel had supposedly been taken captive. The northern kingdom was vanquished from 721–718 BC. The first year of Hezekiah’s reign was in 723 BC, two years before the deportation of the northern kingdom began. Israel was removed from the land by three successive deportations. The final removal did not take place until some time later. This issue was also addressed on page 71 of this work. By the time of Jeremiah, or about 130 years after the deportations began, all from the northern kingdom had been removed (2 Kings 17: 18, 23–24). The entire argument is invalid. Regarding the second question above, do the names of Israel and Judah refer to the same people? The answer was given on page one of this work. The fact is: In the political sense Israel and Judah are never used as the same, though we see in both Ezra and Nehemiah that the people of Judah are called as Israel. And indeed they are. They are descendants of Israel through their father Judah, but in the Bible we never see the children of the northern kingdom ever referred to as Jews. The fact is: All Jews are Israelites, but not all Israelites are Jews.
What do knowledgeable Jews themselves say regarding lost Israel? The following quotes are from James Mountain’s book entitled, The Triumph of British-Israel (pp. 106–107). While we do not subscribe to many of the beliefs of the British-Israel movement, these quotes are a valuable source of information regarding the views of informed Jews.
If the Ten Tribes have disappeared, the literal fulfillment of the prophecies would be impossible. If they have not disappeared, obviously, they must exist under a different name (The Jewish Encyclopedia, 12:249).
The Ten Tribes of Israel were irretrievably lost; and a deep and impenetrable silence clings round their dispersion. The thick folds of the veil have never been lifted (The History and Literature of the Israelites, by C. and A. D. Rothschild, 1:489).
The career of the Jews can be traced without difficulty . . . until the present day. Of that of the Israelites, however, nothing authentic is known after their departure from their fatherland to Halah and Habor . . . and the cities of the Medes. With the beginning of their captivity, they seem to have passed from all human knowledge (The Jewish Quarterly Review, July 1903).
By this return of the captives—from Babylon—the Israelitish nation was not restored, since the Ten Tribes . . . were yet left in banishment; and to this day the researches of travellers and wise men have not been able to trace their fate (The Jewish Religion, by Isaac Leiser, 1:256).
The Israelites, who were subjugated by the Assyrian power, disappear from the page of history as suddenly and completely as though the land of their captivity had swallowed them up . . . . The Scriptures speak of a future restoration of Israel, which is clearly to include both Judah and Ephraim. The problem then is reduced to its simplest form. The Ten Tribes are certainly in existence. All that has to be done is to discover which people represent them (The Jewish Chronicle, May 2, 1879).
We are longing to find our lost brethren who for two thousand years have baffled all our efforts to discover their whereabouts, and are at this day a riddle even to the greatest of our illustrious Rabbis (comment by Rabbi Gershom).
The author of Chronicles—a contemporary of Ezra—says that the captives of Israel are “up to this day” in the lands of their transportation . . . . The hope of the return of the Ten Tribes has never ceased among the Jews in exile (comment by A. Neubauer in The Jewish Quarterly Review).
These views contradict the opinions of most modern theologians. Anyone who has done much study into the subject, will quickly find that support for both pro and con arguments is based on the interpretation of prophecy. Many of these prophecies are vague, but there are some that are very specific with respect to time and need no interpretation. For example, Jeremiah 3:18 and Hosea 1:11 are often quoted to prove Israel returned with Judah after the Babylonian captivity. A look at these texts reveals both are vague with respect to time, though the former implies an event after the return of Christ. But look at Hosea 3:5. It is very specific. It reads: “Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days” (Emphasis ours). This is clearly a reference to the last days; it refers to the return of Christ and the resurrection of King David. When the Jews returned to Palestine during the time of Ezra, they did not seek King David. He had died many years earlier, so this text pinpoints “the latter days.” This is a prophecy that will take place after the return of Christ.
Ezekiel 37:15–17 is often quoted to “prove” the schism between the house of Israel and the house of Judah was to be brief. “The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.” Notice the time setting, particularly verses 24 and 25. “And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.” Again, this text is a reference to the “last days,” a prophecy that will be fulfilled after the return of Christ. David will be resurrected at that time (1 Cor. 15:22–23).
According to the Bible, somewhat over 42,000 Jews returned to Palestine after the Babylonian captivity (Ezra 2:64). When Sennacherib attacked Judah, he took 46 fenced cities and deported 200,150 Jews. This number represented only a portion of the population, because Jerusalem had thousands of refugees within its walls. The city was not taken. The number deported from the northern kingdom must have run into the millions, since the Jews were only one tribe. To assume those who came back under Ezra is the fulfillment of the prophecies regarding the restoration of Israel, is wishful thinking. Ezra 6:17 describes a dedication for the house of God, which included offering 12 sacrificial goats representing the 12 tribes. The assumption is that all 12 tribes must have been present. This was a sin offering. The Temple was intended for all the covenant people, whose return to the Lord and to the land of Palestine, according to the prophets was anticipated. Not even all the Jews were present, as vast numbers of them had been deported along with the northern kingdom when it was overthrown.
New Testament texts are also employed to “prove” the Israelites from the northern kingdom returned at the time of Ezra. Since Anna of the tribe of Asher (Luke 2:36) is mentioned, it is assumed the term “Jew” and “Israelite” are synonymous. Since the book of Ezra mentions “Jews” eight times, and “Israel” 40 times, the two must be the same people. Similarly, the book of Nehemiah mentions “Jews” 11 times and “Israel” 22 times. According to Paul Benware, it is a fallacy to assume that the term “Jew” stands for the bodily descendants of the tribe of Judah, since in both biblical and secular usage the term has a far broader meaning (Benware, 83). Anton Darms insists that after the return from Babylon the term “Jew” and “Israel” are used interchangeably. He cites various concordances, Bible dictionaries, and encyclopedias to prove his argument (Darms, 29–30). The problem, of course, is the failure to recognize that all Jews are Israelites, but not all Israelites are Jews. References in both Ezra and Nehemiah are in keeping with this fact. The same is true in Acts 2:22, 36. Nowhere does the Bible use the term “the 12 tribes of Judah.”
Josephus supposedly “proves” that Jews are not distinct from Israel. This is because Josephus uses the term “Jew” to apply to all ten tribes from the beginning of their history (Ant., IX, xiv; VI, ii, 2 and iii, 5; VII, iv, 1; Apion I, xiii and II, ii). Therefore, his statement that only two tribes were in subjection to the Romans has no significance since all these people were Jews. What is overlooked is that Josephus said that the appellation “Jew” was not applied to the Jews until after the Babylonian captivity, and that it was also applied to the land (Ant., XI, v, 7). He knew perfectly well the distinction, but in his works uses the term “Jew” because this was the common practice of the day. He specifically said that only two tribes were in subjection to the Romans and did not refer to them as Jews, but rather as the “people of Israel.” He knew the difference. The fact is: The Bible makes the distinction clear in 2 Kings 16:5–6. In about 740 BC, the Jews were at war with the house of Israel and are here called Jews for the first time. We read: “Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him. At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day.” Even Anton Darms admits the difference. He says the book of Ezekiel proves that Israel was still in the land of the Medes at the close of the Babylonian period, and had not migrated elsewhere (Darms, 142). Actually, portions of Israel had already moved across the Araxes by that time. David Baron also admits, “There is not the least possibility of doubt that many of the settlements of the Diaspora [Dispersion] in the time of our Lord—both north, south, and west, as well as east of Palestine—were made up of those who had never returned to the land of their fathers since the time of the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles, and who were not only descendants of Judah, as Anglo-Israelism ignorantly presupposes, but of all the twelve tribes scattered abroad” (Baron, 32).
Acts 26:6–7 is sometimes quoted to demonstrate that Israel was not lost and was found among the Jews. Paul states: “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.” The inference is that the Jews represent the 12 tribes and are urgently serving God day and night. The fact is: The Jews were doing anything but serving God. Paul tells us: “For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men” (1 Thess. 2:14–15). The entire book of Acts, as well as the Gospels, demonstrate the rebellion and obstinacy of the Jews against the Truth. A much better rendering of Acts 26:6–7 is found in the Williams Translation. It reads: “And now it is for the hope of the promise made by God to our forefathers that I stand here on trial, which promise our twelve tribes, by devotedly worshipping day and night, hope to see fulfilled in them.” What Paul said was that the 12 tribes could hope to attain to the promises made by God when all Israel should be “intently serving God.” Paul’s statement was intended for the future; it is not a reference to what the Jews were doing at that time.
Other texts employed to “prove” Israel was not lost include James 1:1 and Matthew 10:23. James mentions the 12 tribes that are scattered abroad. This has been interpreted as “the 12 tribes of the Jews.” The Jews are not the 12 tribes. They are one tribe only—the tribe of Judah, though at the time the ten tribes of the north broke away from the house of David, the tribes of Benjamin, Levi, and some Israelites, in limited numbers, joined themselves to the house of Judah. Politically they became known as the house of Judah, and were distinct from the house of Israel. Both vast numbers of Israelites and a number of Jews had been scattered in the deportations under the Assyrian and Babylonian kings. These were the people to whom James was writing. They were found in the territory of the ancient Persian Empire, central Asia, throughout the occidental world, including Asia Minor and the Mediterranean region. James says that many of them were warlike (Jas. 4:1–3). In Matthew 10:23, Jesus said: “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” Most theologians interpret this text to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. In reality, the text is a reference to the second coming of Christ. It is a prophecy for a work that will be done in the last days, just before the return of Christ. It demonstrates that very near the end of this age the house of Israel would be scattered around the world, and that not even all these people would hear the true gospel before the return of Christ.
The various arguments presented above are called “the amalgamation theory.” As we have seen, it advocates that the Israelites and Jews fused and came together in representative numbers sufficient enough to become one nation (Mountain, 22). The idea is that a very small remnant of Jews, along with a very few Israelites, returned to Palestine, thus making them representative of all the promises given by God to Israel. They fail to comprehend that the promises could apply to Israel in the last days before the return of Jesus Christ. What is clear is that the two houses—the house of Judah and the house of Israel—will remain separate until the return of Christ, but this separation has no bearing on the fulfillment on God’s promises to the descendants of Abraham. The amalgamation theory was advanced because of the difficulty in locating the ten tribes after their deportation. This was the most “reasonable conclusion” that could be reached (ibid, 22–23). The Bible tells us that a limited number of families was resident within the borders of Judah before the captivity (1 Kings 12:17, 1 Chron. 9:3). This included some Simeonites (Josh. 19:1–9), and probably accounts for Anna of the tribe of Asher (Luke 2:36–38). At times religious pilgrimages to Jerusalem took place (2 Chron. 11:16–17; 15:9–15; 30:1–27; 34:9), though there is no indication these pilgrims chose to remain in Judah. The last portion of 2 Chronicles 34:9 should read: “. . . and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin; and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” Also, the word “multitude” in 2 Chronicles 30:18 should read “many.”
Anton Darms says that British-Israelites seek to propagate their beliefs by teaching that Great Britain is the “stone kingdom” mentioned in Daniel 2:35 (Darms, 11). This charge is not without basis because British-Israelites often apply this text to the British Empire. The fact is: This verse has been taken out of context; it applies to the Millennium after the return of Christ. It is a reference to the Kingdom of God, not the British Empire. On the other hand, some say that if the Israelites are located in northwestern Europe and the British Isles, they are under a curse. This is because only when they are in Palestine are they blessed. This notion doesn’t make much sense when we look at what is happening in the Holy Land today. There is constant bloodshed between the Arabs and Jews, and peace seems beyond the grasp of all the parties involved. Many who have gone to Palestine leave after a few years, disillusioned. Religious tension exists among the Jews themselves—secular opposed to conservative. The state of Israel is heavily subsidized by the United States government, and receives liberal contributions from Jews who reside in America. In the sense of being blessed, the “promised land” is anything but that, though it is probably much better than living in Russia.
It is said by some that there is no Bible reference for Israel to become a multitude of nations in “the latter days.” Furthermore, during the Old Testament period, Israel became as multitudinous as the “stars of heaven,” and that the promise to be like the “stars of heaven” is spiritual in nature and was fulfilled by Galatians 3:29. Also, that the promises given to Jacob regarding the lands applied only to the lands Jacob rested on when the promise was given, and that securing “the gate of his enemies” is figurative, idiomatic, and means that Israel took over the cities of their enemies. In addition, there was no more to the birthright than two tribal portions, and that “body of peoples” and “assemblage of people” was all Jacob’s descendants would become. All these promises were supposedly fulfilled during the Old Testament period and the only place David’s throne has any legitimacy is on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Nations meant no more than little kingdoms in the land of Canaan, and kings meant no more than rulers over cities. Israel is spoken of as “nations” because it was made up of different tribes. They add that anyone who assigns material blessings to the birthright and spiritual blessings to the scepter is manifesting artificiality. In brief, all the promises applied to Israel were meant for the Old Testament period only.
Evidently, some people have not read their Bibles, or refuse to take it at face value. Take Genesis 49:1, 22–26, for example. Notice, it is a prophecy for the last days. We read:
And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days . . . . Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.
Joseph is the eponym for the two birthright tribes—Ephraim and Manasseh. What we read here is a prophecy for the last days, just before the return of Christ. This describes an extremely wealthy and powerful nation, not at all what appears in the Old Testament. The wealth and power described above far exceeds the resources and land acquired in ancient Israel (Micah 4:1, 6). Several verses in the context place the time setting in the last days. Micah 5:1, 8–10 is another important text. Again, We read in verses 8–9: “And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.” This shows the military power and prestige Israel would possess shortly before the return of Christ. In the light of these texts, how can we believe Galatians 3:29 was the fulfillment. Galatians 3:29 refers to the scepter promise—the promise of salvation through Jesus Christ, which is found in Genesis 22:18. It is not a promise of material blessings. The promise of great material wealth is found in Genesis 22: 17. God said: “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.” These promises, known in the Bible as the birthright, belonged to Ephraim and Manasseh. Jacob passed them down to the sons of Joseph. This is recorded in Genesis 48:5–6, 14–16:
And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance . . . . And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn. And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.
Those who oppose the belief that Israel migrated into western Europe and the British Isles, which comprise the Anglo-Saxon world today, may bicker over the meaning of Old Testament texts, but the facts of modern times speak for themselves. If God did not fulfill the material promises He made to Abraham, then we can have no confidence He fulfilled the promise of a Savior.
Jeremiah 31:35–36 states that the seed of Israel shall never cease as a nation before God. Some may argue that this refers to the Jews, but does it exclude the rest of the tribes of Israel? If not, what has become of them? The historical record is clear enough, as has been demonstrated earlier in this work. The standard explanation is that this text refers to the Church. Let us notice a quote from The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1925 ed., s.v., “tribes, lost ten,” (quoted in Parker). A partial quote of this reference was given earlier.
As a large number of prophecies relate to the return of ‘Israel’ to the Holy Land, believers in the literal inspiration of the Scriptures have always labored under a difficulty in regard to the continued existence of the tribes of Israel, with the exception of those of Judah and Levi (or Benjamin), which returned with Ezra and Nehemiah. If the Ten Tribes have disappeared, obviously they must exist under a different name. The numerous attempts at identification that have been made constitute some of the most remarkable curiosities of literature.
The movement from the Holy Land into Europe was through the Caucasus. The Jews of the Caucasus regard themselves as representatives of the most blue-blooded Israelitish nobility. They claim to be the descendants of the Israelites sent there from Judea by the Assyrian kings between the end of the eighth and close of the seventh centuries BC (Pittard, 343). One argument is that Khazar blood vitiated Jewish blood after the Khazar kingdom converted to Judaism. (Pittard tells us that the Great Russians are called Khazars by the Ukranians). Mixed blood marriages between Jews and Gentiles were, in reality, between Jews and Christians, so that the conversion of the Khazars was of slight importance in altering Jewish blood (Ripley, 391). John Beddoe says that the Khazars were Turks of a high type and may be an Aryan mixture (Beddoe, 62). The Turks are a specialized branch of the Alpine race and closely affiliated with the races of Europe.
Those who oppose the truth about the modern identity of Israel assure us that correct prophetic interpretation is the key to a proper understanding of this belief. Then they give us their interpretation of what they think the Scriptures say. They tell us Israel will not come into prominence again until the Messiah comes to rescue them from a scattered condition. This is partially correct. While many Jews are scattered, they do have their own nation that is powerful in its own right. Some Jewish writers admit the Jews today have enough military power to crush all the Arab nations combined. They have atomic weapons, so this could certainly be true. While the ten tribes are in a scattered condition, they too have their own nations—a company of nations. The power of some of them is prodigious. Micah 5:7–10 shows that power, but also shows that they will be punished for their national sins. Opponents of British-Israelism do have some valid points, though. They criticize some of the weak prophetic interpretations and historical links used by proponents. Examples would be interpretation of the “seven times” in Leviticus 26; the “tender twig” in Ezekiel 17:22, as proof a Jewish princess would go to England and establish a royal house; the commission of Jeremiah to plant the throne of David in Ireland; the three overturns in Ezekiel 21:25–27, which move the throne of David from Palestine to Ireland, from Ireland to Scotland, and from Scotland to England. This is not to say any of these are not true. There are authentic accounts of these events in Keating’s History of Ireland (p. 137). Scholars today would demand much more proof than these. What is important, however, is that the identity of modern Israel does not hinge on the transfer of David’s throne to England, or on the perpetuation of that throne. The massive amount of evidence that is available today clearly demonstrates the Israelite migration from the Holy Land into Europe. As such, it far surpasses any unanswered questions regarding David’s throne.
Some questions are easily answered, questions such as: If David shall never want for a man to sit upon the throne of Israel (Jer. 33:17), why is a woman ruling today? If the Scythians are Israelites, why did they not circumcise? In the first instance the Hebrew word for man is “ish.” It refers to both men and women. See Job 12:10; 14:12; 15:16; 34:21, Psalm 39:11; 78:25. In the second instance, Israel had abandoned the Law of Moses over 200 years before going into captivity. They were conquered and deported because they refused to obey God’s Law (2 Kings 17:16–18). The British-Israel claim that the Anglo-Saxons are the lineal descendants of the ten tribes of Israel is only partially true. Other nations of northwest Europe, no doubt, should be included. There is a real danger, though, in attributing to oneself all the promises of God. The British-Israel claim that they are the recipients of the national promises made to Abraham is well and good, but to claim immunity from destruction in the form of national punishment, and that they alone are the executors of the commissions God gave to Israel is being presumptuous. Anton Darms is absolutely correct when he says that anyone who believes that Great Britain is now in the state of promised exaltation and blessedness has been drawn into an alliance with the godless world of British society and the demoralizing results that come from such an alliance (Darms, 28). While the English-speaking world may call itself Christian and be responsible for distributing more Bibles than all other nations combined, what is practiced, as Christianity, is not what Christ and the Apostles taught.