The Ancient Scriptures and the Modern Jew/Chapter 17
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ANGLO-ISRAELISM AND THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE TEN "LOST" TRIBES
ANGLO-ISRAELISM AND THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE TEN " LOST " TRIBES
(A Letter to an Inquirer)
DEAR Friend, I shall endeavour to comply with your request, and to give you in this letter a few reasons for my strong aversion to the Anglo-Israelite theory, which I cannot help regarding as one of the saddest symptoms of the mental and spiritual shallow- ness of the present day. I am not a man delighting in controversy, and I only consent to your wish because I believe that you, like many other simple-minded Chris- tians, are perplexed and imposed upon by the plausi- bilities of the supposed " Identifications," and are not able to detect the fallacies and perversions of Scripture and history upon which the whole theory is based.
The theory is, that the "lost" Israelites who were carried captive by the Assyrians under Sargon, are identical with the Saxae, or Scythians, who appear as a conquering horde there about the same time. These Scythians next swarmed westward into Northern Europe, and became the progenitors in particular of the Saxon invaders of England. The Anglo-Saxons therefore are the " lost " ten tribes, now identified. They are the
Israel of the Bible, to whom belong the covenants and
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the blessings. It is owing to this fact that the British Empire is so great and prosperous.
As to the Jews, they are not Israel at all, but, as the descendants of Judah, are still under the curse. In fact, the Anglo- Israelite by another and more mischievous method is doing exactly what the allegorising, or so- called spiritualising, school of interpreters did. The method was to apply all the promises in the Bible to the " spiritual " Israel, or the Church, and all the curses to the literal Israel, or the Jews ; but by this new system, while the curses are still left to the Jew, all the blessings are applied not even to those " in Christ," but indis- criminately to a nation, which, as a nation, is as apostate from God as any other of which " Christendom " is com- posed, though I thankfully recognise the fact that there are many of God's true people in it.
The supposed ethnological and philological proofs for the British-Israel theory have been again and again demolished by competent authorities. Thus Professor Rawlinson, commenting on Mine's " Identifications," said that the pamphlet is not calculated to produce the slightest effect on the opinion of those competent to form one. " Such effect as it may have, can only be on the ignorant and unlearned on those who are unaware of the absolute and entire diversity in language, physical type, religious opinions, and manners and customs, between the Israelites and the various races from whom the English nation can be shown historically to be descended." As a matter of fact, there is as little abso- lute proof that the Anglo-Saxons are the Saxae, or Scythians, as that the Saxae are the Israelites.
The Scriptural " Identifications " with which Anglo- Israel literature abound, turn out on examination to be mere verbal, and sometimes very childish quibblings on the English letter, depending for their success on the
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reader's ignorance of Hebrew exegesis. Some of their interpretations I can only characterise as bordering on blasphemy. Let me quote one or two examples.
I. Great Britain is declared to be the stone cut out with- out hands which smote the image of Nebuchadnezzar*
" We will see what is to be the future of the British Empire, or, in other words, the stone that smote the image. It is to become a great mountain and fill the whole earth. Our Colonial Empire, then, will continue to grow till it covers the whole world. We have tried to avoid extending our Empire many and many a time, and yet God has caused it to grow larger and larger, and I believe will still do so. We are already by far the greatest empire there is, or ever has been, and we shall yet be far greater.
" The British Empire, again, can never be conquered. Daniel says, ' The God of Heaven shall set up a king- dom which shall never be destroyed : it shall stand for ever.' Consequently we shall never be conquered ; we must continue till the end of time, so that we are to continue to exist as the last Kingdom or Empire this world is to see."
II. The smoke of London identified with the Shekhinah glory.' 2
" During their wanderings in the desert His presence was manifested by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, and during the captivity of the Two Tribes of Judah in Babylon He was with them, until, at the expiration of the seventy years, He stirred up Cyrus to release them. The same Lord still watches
1 " Nebuchadnezzar's Dream " in " The British Empire of Ephraim." A whole collection of similar perversions of Scripture may be found in an excellent pamphlet by Pastor Frank H White, called " Anglo-Israelism Examined."
2 From an article in Tine Banner of Israel.
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over the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel in England, and con- tinues to bless them. The same miracles that were wrought in Egypt were intended to foreshadow the realisation of God's future dealings with the Israelites ; and if a gigantic panoramic view of England could be taken from an elevation above the centre of the island at midnight, a temporal pillar of fire would be as remark- able from the blazing furnaces, the gas, and steam engines, as the pillar of cloud and smoke arising from the same sources in the daytime, marking the chief position and prosperity of Israel."
Once again the solemn words of the apostle are ful- filled in the teachers of Anglo-Israelism : " Professing themselves to be wise they became fools," or how else could they descend to such impious trivialities, or dare to liken the glory of the Personal Presence of the uncor- ruptible Jehovah, of which the shekhinah cloud was the visible symbol, to the smoke ascending from "blazing furnaces" and "steam engines."
III. Edward Him, author of the forty -seven "Identi- fications? is the promised Deliverer who should come out of Z ion.
The following is taken from an article on Romans xi. 25-27, which appeared in " Life from the Dead," which was edited by Edward Hine himself:
" Are the British people identical with the lost Ten Tribes of Israel ? And is the nation, by the identity, being led to glory ? If these things are so, then where is the Deliverer ? He must have already come out of Zion. He must be doing his great work ; he must be amongst us. It is our impression that, by the glory of the work of the identity, we have come to the time of Israel's national salvation by the Deliverer out of Zion, and that Edward Hine and that Deliverer are identical."
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I have said above that Anglo-Israelism applies the promises given to converted Israel indiscriminately to the English nation. It does not stop even here, as the above extracts show, but goes on to rob Christ Himself of His glory by applying to the British people prophecies which belong, not even to Israel, but to Israel's Saviour. I have seen, for instance, again and again, the second Psalm, with the address of the Father to the Son, " Ask of Me and I will give Thee the heathen (or ' nations ') for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession," interpreted of the British Empire ; while not long ago a champion of the British- Israel theory preached on the words of the Lord in Matthew, " Therefore say I unto you, the Kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof " taking it for granted that England is that "nation," which, as a nation, is bringing forth the fruits of God's kingdom.
Now I need not explain to you that this is an utterly unspiritual and baseless assumption, for it is the Church God's elect and converted people out of all nations, which is that " nation," which during the period of Israel's national unbelief, bears fruit unto God ; as is clear from I Peter ii. 9, where believers in Christ are addressed as, " a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation (eflvoe) that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light."
But now discarding the whole heap of Anglo-Israel trash, let us glance at the question of the so-called " lost " ten tribes in the light of Scripture history and prophecy. Anglo-Israelism first of all loses the ten tribes, for whom it claims a different destiny from the Jews, whom it supposes to be descendants of the two tribes only, and then it identifies this " lost " Israel with
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the British race. But there is as little historical reason for the supposition that the ten tribes are lost, in the sense in which Anglo-Israelism uses the term, as there is Scriptural basis for a separate destiny for " Israel " apart from " Judah."
The most superficial reader of the Old Testament knows the origin and cause of the unfortunate schism which took place in the history of the elect nation after the death of Solomon. But this evil was to last only for a limited time ; for at the very com- mencement of this new and parenthetical chapter of the nation's history it was announced by God that He would in this way afflict the seed of David, but not for ever. (i Kings xi. 39.)
A separate kingdom, comprising ten of the twelve tribes, was set up under Jeroboam in 975 B.C., and its whole history, of about 250 years, is one long, dark tale of usurpation, anarchy, and apostasy, unrelieved by the occasional gracious visitations of national revival which light up the annals of the Judean kingdom under the house of David. After many warnings and premoni- tory judgments the kingdom of the ten tribes was finally overthrown in the year 721. B.C., when its capital, Samaria, was destroyed, and the bulk of the people carried captives by the Assyrians, and made to settle in " Halah and Habor, and by the river Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes" (2 Kings xvii. 6 ; I Chron. v. 26).
Before passing on I would beg you to notice two or three facts.
I. Firstly, the kingdom of " Judah " after the schism consisted not only of Judah and Benjamin, but also of the Levites who remained faithful to the house of David and the theocratic centre. 1 Even those who were
1 According to Griitz, " History of the Jews," vol. L p. 186, the tribe of Simeon, which was merely a subsidiary of that of Judah, also remained faithful to the House of David, but this is doubtful.
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in the northern cities forsook all in order to come to Jerusalem, as we read 2 Chron. xi. 14 : " And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defence in Judah . . . and the priests and Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts. For the Levites left their suburbs, and their possessions, and came to Judah and Jerusalem ; for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest's office unto the Lord."
II. Apart from Judah, Benjamin, and Levi there were in the southern kingdom of Judah after the schism, many out of the other ten tribes whose hearts clung to Jehovah, and the only earthly centre of His worship which He appointed. Immediately after the rebellion, we read that " after them " (that is following the example of the Levites) "out of all the tribes of Israel, such as set their hearts to seek Jehovah, the God of Israel, came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to Jehovah, God of their fathers. So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah" (2 Chron. xi. 16).
In every reign of the kingdom of Israel numbers of the religious and more spiritual of the ten tribes must have seceded and joined "Judah." This we find to have been more especially the case during the times of national revival in the southern kingdom, and in the reigns of those kings who feared and sought the Lord.
Thus, for instance, we read of Asa, that " he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, with the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon ; for they fell to him out of all Israel in abundance, when they saw that Jehovah his God was with him, so they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem . . . and they entered into a covenant to seek Jehovah God of their fathers with all their heart, and with all their soul " (2 Chron. xv. 9-15).
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There are also several other mentions of " the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah" and were subjects and members of that kingdom.
III. The final overthrow of the northern kingdom took place, as we have seen, in the year 721 B.C., but when we read that the " king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away into Assyria," we are not to understand that he cleared the whole land of all the people, but that he took the strength of the nation with him. There were, no doubt, many of the people left in the land, even as was the case after the overthrow of the southern kingdom by the Babylonians later on (2 Kings xxv. 1 2). The historical proof for my assertion is found in the fact that about a century after the fall of Samaria we find in the reign of Josiah some of Manasseh and Ephraim, "and a remnant of all Israel" in the land, who contributed to the collection made by the Levites for the repair of the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, and joined in the celebration of the great Passover in the eighteenth year of that zealous and promising young king.
These were the component elements of which the southern kingdom of "Judah" was made up, when it, too, reached the stage, when, on account of its idola- tries and apostasy from the living God, " there was no more remedy "(or "healing" 2 Chron. xxxvi. 16). It consisted, as we have seen, of Judah, Benjamin, Levi, and many out of all the other ten tribes of Israel, " in abundance."
Jerusalem was finally taken in 588 B.C., by Nebu- chadnezzar just 133 years after the capture of Samaria by the Assyrians. Meanwhile the Babylonian Empire succeeded the Assyrian ; but although dynasties had changed, and Babylon, which had sometimes, even under the Assyrian r/gime, been one of the capitals of the
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Empire, now took the place of Nineveh, the region over which Nebuchadnezzar now bore rule was the very same over which Shalmaneser and Sargon reigned before him, only somewhat extended. 1
The exact location of the exiles of the southern kingdom we are not told, beyond the Scripture state- ments that all the three parties of captives carried off by Nebuchadnezzar (that in the first invasion in the reign of Jehoiakim, 606 B.C., and in the second, in the reign of Jehoiachin, 599 B.C., and in the final overthrow of Jerusalem, in the reign of Zedekiah, 588 B.C.), were taken " to Babylon " (2 Kings xxiv. and xxv. ; Daniel i.).
Now Babylon stands not only for the city, but also for the whole land, in which the territories of the Assyrian Empire, and the colonies of exiles from the northern kingdom of " Israel " were included. Thus, for instance, we find Ezekiel, who was one of the 10,000 exiles carried off by Nebuchadnezzar with Jehoiachin, by the river Chebar in the district of Gozan one of the very parts where the exiles of the ten tribes were settled by the Assyrians more than a century previous.
With the captivity the divisions and rivalry between "Judah" and "Israel" were ended, and the members of all the tribes who looked forward to a national future were conscious not only of one common destiny, but that that destiny was bound up with the promises to the house of David, and with Zion or Jerusalem as its centre, in accordance with the prophecies of Joel, Amos, and Hosea, and of the other inspired messengers who ministered and testified more especially among them until the fall of Samaria. This conviction of a common and united future, no doubt, facilitated the merging process, which cannot be said to have begun with the
1 See 2 Kings xxiii. 29, where the King of Babylon is called " King of Assyria."
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captivity, for it commenced almost immediately after the rebellion under Jeroboam, but which was certainly strengthened by it.
Glimpses into the feeling of the members of the two kingdoms for one another, and their hopes and aspira- tions for unity, we get in the writings of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, who prophesied during the period of exile. The most striking prophecy in relation to this subject is Ezek. xxxvii. 1 5-28 : " 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 (that is, those of Israel who before the captivity fell away from the ten tribes and joined the southern kingdom) : then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and all the house of Israel his companions : and join them one to another into one stick ; and they shall become one in thine hand." Then follows the Divine interpretation of this symbol : " Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his com- panions, and I will put them with him (or literally, I will add them upon, or to him), namely, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in my hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thy hand before their eyes. And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land ; and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel ; and one king shall be king to them all : and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all : neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their
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detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions : but I will save them out of all their dwelling-places wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them ; so shall they be My people, and I will be their God. And My servant David 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 which I have given unto Jacob My servant, wherein your fathers dwelt ; and they shall dwell therein, they, and their children, and their children's children for ever : and David My servant shall be their prince for ever " (Ezek. xxxvii. 20-25, R.V.).
Likewise Jeremiah in his great prophecy of the restoration (chaps, xxx. and xxxiii.) and future blessing, links the destinies of " Judah " and " Israel," or Israel and Judah together ; and speaks of one common experience from that time on for the whole people. " For, lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will turn again the captivity of My people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord : and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. And these are the words that the Lord spake con- cerning Israel and Judah " (Jer. xxx. 3, 4, R.V.).
Now let it be remembered that the foreground and commencement of the restoration and future in these prophecies, especially to all the exiles at that time, was the restoration from Babylon, or Assyria, as it was sometimes called. So, Daniel also, towards the end of the seventy years' captivity, includes not only the men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem in his intercessory prayer, but " all Israel that are near, or far off, from all the countries whither thou hast driven them," who, he confesses, were alike involved in sin and judgment, and equally cast on the mercy of God on the ground of promises made to the fathers.
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Now let us go a step farther. Just seventy years had elapsed since the first band of captives were carried away to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in the year 606 B.C. " That the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, that he issued a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying : Thus saith Cyrus, king of Persia, the Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth ; and he hath charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem that is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah."
This proclamation, which was in reference to all the people " of the Lord God of heaven," was issued in the year 536, two years after the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus, and was, we are told, promulgated " throughout all his kingdom," which was the same as that over which Nebuchadnezzar and his successors reigned before him, only again somewhat extended, even as the kingdom of Babylon was identical with that of Assyria, as already pointed out. Indeed, Cyrus and Darius I. are called indifferently by the sacred historians by the title of "king of Persia" (Ezra iv. 5), "king of Babylon" (Ezra v. 13), and the "king of Assyria" (Ezra vi. 22).
The first response to this proclamation was a caravan of " forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty, beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven, and two hundred singing men and singing women," who, under the leadership of Zerubbabel, who was a lineal descendant of the royal house of David, and of Joshua the high priest, made their way from "Babylon to Jerusalem."
Now the leading spirits of this returned party of
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exiles were, no doubt, " the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites " ; at the same time they included " all those " from all the other tribes without distinction, " whose spirit God had raised to go up to build the house of the Lord, which is in Jerusalem " (Ezra i. 5).
They are no longer counted after their tribal origin, but in families, and after the cities to which they originally belonged, which, for the most part, are not easy to identify ; hence it is difficult to say how many belonged to "Judah," and how many to "Israel," but that there were a good many in this company of those who belonged to the northern kingdom of the ten tribes, is incidentally brought out by the mention of two hundred and twenty-three men of Ai and Bethel alone. Now, Bethel was the very centre of the ancient rival idolatrous worship instituted by Jeroboam, and though on the boundary of Benjamin, belonged to "Ephraim." Between the first organised large party of immigrants under Zerubbabel and Joshua, and the second under Ezra, a period of fifty-eight years elapsed, but we are not to suppose that in the interval there were no additions to the community, which now repre- sented the whole united nation in Jerusalem. We read, for instance, incidentally, in Zech. vi. 9, 15, of a party of four prominent men who arrived in Jerusalem in 519 as representatives of " the captivity " (that is, of those who still remained in those parts where they were exiles), bringing with them a present of silver and gold for the Temple, the building of which was resumed about five months before, as a result of the stirring appeals of Haggai. This shows that there was continual inter- course and communication between the community in Palestine and the majority of the people who were still " in Babylon " ; and we may be certain that little parties
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and individuals, "whose spirit God had raised," con- tinually found their way to the holy city.
In 458 B.C. Ezra, "the scribe of the law of the God of heaven," in accordance with the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus, organised another large caravan of those whose hearts were made willing to return to the land of their fathers. Part of this most favourable royal pro- clamation, was as follows : " I make a decree that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites in my realm, which are minded of their own free will to go up to Jerusalem, go up-with thee " ; and in response to it "this Ezra went up from Babylon . . . and there went up (with him) of the children of Israel, and of the priests and of the Levites, and the singers and the porters, and the Nethinim, unto Jerusalem in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king " (Ezra vii. 7).
This party consisted of about one thousand eight hundred families ; and apart from the priests, Levites, and Nethinim, was made up of " the children of Israel," irrespective of tribal distinctions, from all parts of the realm of " Babylon," or Assyria, now under the sway of the Medo-Persians.
The narratives contained in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, under whose administration the position of the restored remnant became consolidated, covers a period of about 115 years, and brings us down to about 420 B.C. Jewish history during the second period of the Persian supremacy is wrapped some- what in obscurity, but we know that nearly through- out the whole period of its existence it was more or less friendly to the Hebrews. There was certainly no revocation of the edicts of Cyrus and of Artaxerxes permitting those " which were minded of their own free will to go and join their brethren in Palestine ; and that there were many other large and small parties of exiles
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who did so, subsequent to those mentioned in Ezra and Nehemiah, may be taken for granted. 1 Anyhow it is a fact that the remnant in the land grew and grew until, about a century and a half later, in the time of the Maccabees, and again about a century and a half later still, in the time of our Lord, we find " the Jews " in Palestine a comparatively large nation, numbering millions ; while from the time of the downfall of the Persian Empire, we hear but very little more of the Israelite exiles in ancient Assyria or Babylon. By the conquest of Alexander, who to this day is a great favourite among the scattered nation, the regions of ancient Babylonia and Media were brought compara- tively near, and a highway opened between East and West. From about this time settlements of " Jews " began to multiply in Asia Minor, Cyprus, Crete, on the coasts and islands of the ^Egean, in Macedonia and other parts of Southern Europe, in Egypt and the whole northern coast of Africa, whilst some made their way further and further eastward as far as India and China. There is not the least possibility of doubt that many of the settlements of the Diaspora 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 (James i. i).
As a matter of fact, long before the destruction of the second Temple by Titus, we read of currents and counter-currents in the dispersion of the " Jewish "
1 It is inconceivable," says Dr. Pusey, "that, as the material prosperity of Palestine returned, even many of the ten tribes should not have returned to their country."
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people. Thus Artaxerxes III., Ochus, on his way to re-conquer Egypt, " having taken Apodasmus in Judea, conveyed the Jewish population into Hyrcania near the Caspian Sea." When he made himself master of Egypt we read of his finding Jews there, and, being incensed against them on account of a stubborn defence against him of places entrusted to their keeping, " he sent part of them into Hyrcania, in the neighbourhood of the country which the tribes already inhabited, and left the rest at Babylon " ; while soon after many thousands were taken to Egypt by Alexander ; and Ptolemy Soter, one of his chief generals, who had become King of Egypt, and had invaded Syria and taken Jerusalem in 301 B.C., carried off one hundred thousand of them, and forced them to settle chiefly in Alexandria and Cyrene. To summarise the state of things in connection with the Hebrew race at the time of Christ, it was briefly this :
I. For some six centuries before, ever since the partial restoration in the days of Cyrus and his successors, the descendants of Abraham were no longer known as divided into tribes, but as one people, although up to the time of the destruction of the second Temple, tribal and family genealogies were for the most part preserved, especially among those who were settled in the land.
II. Part of the nation was in Palestine, but by far the larger number were scattered far and wide, and formed innumerable communities in many different lands, north and south, east and west. 1 But wherever dispersed and to whatever tribe they may have belonged, they all looked to Palestine and Jerusalem as their national centre, and,
1 Thus Strabo (quoted by Josephus in "Ant." xiv. 7, 2) could already say in his day that " these Jew had already gotten into all cities ; and it is hard to find a place in the habitable earth that hath not admitted this race and is not mastered by it."
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with the exception of those (and they were no doubt many) who had ceased to cherish " the Hope of Israel " and were gradually assimilating with their Gentile neighbours, were all one in heart with their brethren in the Holy Land. " They felt they were of the same stock, stood on the same ground, cherished the same memories, grew up under the same institutions, and anticipated the same future. They had one common centre of worship in Jerusalem, which they upheld by their offerings ; and they made pilgrimages thither annually in great numbers at the high festivals." Thus Philo could represent to the Roman Emperor Caligula that " Jerusalem ought not to be considered only as the metropolis of Judea, but as the centre of a nation dispersed in infinite places, who were able to supply him with potent succours for his defence. He reckoned among the places that were still stored with Jews, the isles of Cyprus and Candia, Egypt, Macedonia and Bithynia, to which he added the empire of the Persians, and all the cities of the East, except that of Babylon from whence they were then expelled."
There is ample confirmation on this point in the New Testament. Thus, for instance, we are incidentally told in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles that among the representatives from the Diaspora who were found in Jerusalem at that memorable feast of Pentecost, who were doubtless there also during the previous Pass- over, when the crucifixion took place, were " Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and dwellers in Mesopotamia, in Judea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, in Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt and parts of Libya and Cyrene, and sojourners from Rome, Cretans and Arabians " all of them either Jews or proselytes miraculously hearing in their own tongues the mighty works of God,
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Here it is to be noted that, at the commencement of the Christian era, we find in this motley and cosmo- politan Jewish crowd representatives from Israelitish settlements in the very parts where they were carried by the Assyrians and Babylonians some seven centuries before, but who are all called " Jews," and all alike regarded Jerusalem as their national metropolis. 1
III. The name of "Jew" and "Israelite" became synonymous terms from about the time of the Captivity. It is one of the absurd fallacies of Anglo-Israelism to presuppose that the term " Jew " stands for a bodily descendant of "Judah." It stands for all those from among the sons of Jacob who acknowledged themselves, or were considered, subjects of the theocratic kingdom of Judah, which they expected to be established by the promised " Son of David " the Lion of the tribe of Judah whose reign is to extend not only over " all the tribes of the land" but also " from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth."
" That the name ' Jews,' " writes a Continental Bible scholar, " became general for all Israelites who were anxious to preserve their theocratic nationality, was the more natural, since the political independence of the ten tribes was destroyed." Yes, and without any hope of a restoration to a separate national existence.
1 " Everywhere we have distinct notices of these wanderers," says Dr. Edersheim, " and everywhere they appear as in closest connection with the Rabbinical hierarchy of Palestine. Thus the Mishnah, in an extremely curious section, tells us how on Sabbaths the Jewesses of Arabia might wear their long veils, and those of India the kerchiefs round their head, customary in those countries, without incurring the guilt of desecrating the holy day by needlessly carrying what, in the eyes of the law, would be a burden ; while in a rubric for the Day of Atonement we have it noted that the dress which the High Priest wore ' between the evenings' of the great feast that is, as afternoon darkened into evening was of most costly Indian stuff."
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What hopes and promises they had were, as we have seen, linked with the Kingdom of Judah and the House of David.
Anglo-Israelism teaches that members of the ten tribes are never called " Jews," and that " Jews " are not " Israelites," but both assertions are false. Who were they that came back to the land after the " Babylonian " exile ? Anglo-Israelites say they were only the exiles from the southern kingdom of Judah, and call them " Jews." I have already shown this to be a fallacy, but I might add the significant fact that in the Book of Ezra this remnant is only called eight times by the name " Jews," and no less than forty times by the name " Israel." In the Book of Nehemiah they are called " Jews " eleven times, and " Israel " twenty-two times. As to those who remained behind in the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the Persian Empire, which included all the territories of ancient Assyria, Anglo- Israelites would say they were of the kingdom of " Israel " ; but in the Book of Esther, where we get a vivid glimpse of them at a period subsequent to the partial restoration under Zerubbabel and Joshua, they are called forty-five times by the name " Jews," and not once by the name " Israel " !
In the New Testament the same people who are called " Jews " one hundred and seventy-four times are also called " Israel " no fewer than seventy-five times. Anglo-Israelism asserts that a "Jew" is only a descen- dant of Judah, and is not an " Israelite " ; but Paul says more than once : " I am a man which am a Jew" Yet he says : " For I also am an Israelite." " Are they Israelites? so am I?" (Acts xxi. 39; xxii. 3; Rom. xi. I ; 2 Cor. xi. 22 ; Phil. iii. 5).
Our Lord was of the house of David, and of the tribe of Judah after the flesh " a Jew," yet it says that it is
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of "Israel" "that He came, who is over all, God blessed for ever" (Rom. ix. 4, 5). Devout Anna was a "Jewess" in Jerusalem, yet she was " of the tribe of Aser." But enough on this point.
IV. From the time of the return of the first remnant after the Babylonian exile, sacred historians, prophets, apostles, and the Lord Himself, regarded the "Jews" in the land as representatives of " all Israel," and the only people in the line of the covenants and the promises which God made with the fathers.
At the dedication of the Temple, which was at last finished " on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year in the reign of Darius the king," they offered "for a sin-offering for all Israel, twelve he-goats according to the number of the tribes of Israel" (Ezra vi. 17).
Similarly on the arrival of Ezra with the new caravan of immigrants they " offered burnt-offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel . . . and twelve he-goats for sin-offering " (Ezra viii. 35), showing that the returned exiles regarded themselves as the nucleus and representatives of the whole nation. In the post-Exilic prophets we have no longer two king- doms, but one people one in interests and destiny, although they had formerly for a time been divided.
To show that the revived nation was made up of members of the Northern, as well as the Southern kingdoms, the prophet Zechariah calls them by the comprehensive name of " Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem " (Zech. i. 19), or, "the house of Judah, and the house of Joseph " (Zech. x. 6). In the prophecy occasioned by the question addressed by the deputation from Bethel, in reference to the continuation of the observance of the fasts, he says : " And it shall come to pass that as ye were a curse among the nations house of Judah and
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house of Israel, so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing ; fear not, and let your hands be strong" (Zech. viii. 13).
Here the formerly two houses are included ; together they are for a time among the nations " a curse," and together they shall be saved, and be " a blessing."
Malachi, nearly a century later, when the people in the land had become a prosperous nation, and when, in consequence, the majority was rapidly falling into a state of religious formality and godlessness, addresses them as " Israel," or " Jacob," which surely includes all his descendants, in contrast to Esau and his descendants (Mai. i. 1-3).
In the last words of the last of the post-Exilic prophets we have the expression "all Israel" addressed to the people in the land, and then the long period of silence sets in, lasting about four centuries, during parts of which Jewish national history is lost somewhat in obscurity. When the threads of that history are taken up again in the New Testament, what do we find ? Is there one hint or reference in the whole book to an Israel apart from " that nation " of the " Jews," to whom, and of whom, the Lord and His apostles speak ? There is, indeed, reference and mention of the Diaspora, "the dispersed among the Gentiles" (John vii. 35), forming, as we have seen, the greater part of the nation, and some of them still settled in the ancient regions of Assyria and Babylon, but wherever they were, they are all interchangeably called " Jews," or " Israelites," who regarded Jerusalem, with which they were in constant communication as the centre, not only of their religion, but of their national hopes and destiny.
The " Israelites " who in the time of Christ were dis- persed among the Parthians, Medes, and Elamites (Acts ii.), were as much one with the sojourners in
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Egypt, Greece, and Rome, as the "Jews" in Bagdad, Persia, or on the Caspian Sea to-day, are one with their wandering brethren in London, Berlin, New York, or Australia, although they then, as now (apart from the Hebrew which ever remains the sacred tongue, and thoroughly understood only by the minority), spoke different languages, and dressed differently, and con- formed to different social and family customs.
But let me give you a few definite passages from the New Testament in justification of my statement that the Lord Jesus and the apostles, equally with the post- Exilic prophets centuries before, regarded the " Jews " as representatives of " all Israel," and as the only people in the line of the " covenant, and the promises which God made unto the fathers."
(a) In Matthew x. we have the record of the choice, and of the first commission given to the apostles. " These twelve," we read, " Jesus sent forth, and commanded them saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not ; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" Of course the merest child knows that this journey of the twelve did not extend beyond the limits of Palestine, but the " Jews " dwelling in it are regarded as the house of Israel, although many members of that "house" were also scattered in other lands.
In this charge of the Lord to the apostles, we see also by the way, in what sense Israel is regarded as "lost." Now Anglo-Israelites are very fond of this word, but they use it in an unbiblical and unspiritual sense. The ten tribes were in the time of Christ, even as they still are, " lost " ; but not because they have forgotten their national or tribal identity, but because they " all like sheep have gone astray, and have turned every one to his own way." Or, as Jeremiah patheti-
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cally puts it : " My people hath been lost sheep ; their shepherds [their false teachers and leaders] have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains ; they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten [not their national origin, but] their resting place," viz., Jehovah, who is the true "dwelling- place of His people in all generations.
() On the first day of Pentecost, Peter with the eleven, addressed the " men of Judea," and the great multitude from among the dispersed "Jews," as "Ye men of Israel," and wound up his powerful speech with the words : " Let all the house of Israel, therefore, know assuredly that God hath made Him both Lord and Christ this Jesus whom ye crucified." In the third of Acts, as "all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering," at the notable miracle in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Peter said : " Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this man ? . . . The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified His servant Jesus, whom ye delivered up and denied before the face of Pilate when he had determined to release Him. . . . Repent ye, therefore, and turn again that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. . . . Ye are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham, 'and in thy seed shall the nations of the earth be blessed.' "
From Acts xiii. onward, we find Paul among the " Jews " in the dispersion, and how does he address them ? By the same name as Peter addressed their brethren in Palestine : " Men of Israel . . . the God of this people Israel chose our fathers, and exhorted the people when they sojourned in the land of Egypt" (Act xiii. 16-17) ; and when he was at last brought to
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Rome, " and gathered the chief of the Jews " in that city to him, he assured them that he had neither done any- thing " against the people, or the customs of our fathers," nor did he come to Rome " to accuse my nation," but " because of the hope of Israel am I bound by this chain," namely, " the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers ; as he had previously explained before Festus and Agrippa unto which our tivelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain " (Acts xxviii. 17-20; xxvi. 6-7).
Paul knew of no "lost ten tribes," but on his testimony the " Jews " in Palestine and in the dispersion were the " Israel " of all the twelve tribes, to whom the " hope of the promise made of God unto the fathers " belonged.
(c} And, as it is in the Gospels, and in the Acts of the Apostles, so also in the Epistles. It would be easy to multiply passages, but one more must suffice.
The ix., x., and xi. of Romans form the prophetic, or " dispensational " section of that great epistle, and was written for the special instruction of Gentile believers in the "mystery" of God with Israel. Now I cannot, of course, stop here to give you an analysis of that won- derful and comprehensive scripture, which is also a vindication of God's ways with man ; but there is not a hint or suggestion in it of a " lost Israel," apart from the one nation whose whole history he summarises from the beginning to the end, and which is now, alas ! divided into the small minority the "remnant accord- ing to the election of grace" who believe, and the majority who believe not, until the day of grace for the whole nation shall come, and "so all Israel shall be saved, even as it is written, ' There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer ; He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.' "
But in the touching introduction to this section
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(Rom. ix. 1-6), in which the Apostle gives utterance to his " great sorrow and unceasing pain of heart " because of the unbelief of his own nation, " his brethren and his kinsmen according to the flesh," for whose sake he had been wishing, if it were possible, even to be himself " anathema from Christ " how does he call these un- believing " Jews " who had rejected their Messiah, and were blindly persecuting His servants? Here are his words : " Who are Israelites ; whose is the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises ; whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God blessed for ever. A men"
Now I must try to draw this very long letter to an end. I have not followed Anglo-Israelism in all its crooked paths of misinterpretation of Scripture and history ; I have only shown you the baselessness of its foundations, and that the premises upon which the whole theory rests are misleading and false. I have also given you a summary of the true history of the tribes, which I trust may prove helpful to you in the study of God's Word ; and the conclusion at which you and every unbiassed person must arrive on a careful examination of the facts which I have adduced is, that the whole supposition of " lost tribes," in the sense in which Anglo-Israelism uses the term, is a fancy which originated in ignorance ; and that " the Jews " are the whole, and the only national Israel, representing not only the "two tribes," but "all the twelve tribes" who were " scattered abroad"
I have thought it necessary to enter all the more fully into this point, because even some otherwise sober- minded teachers and writers, who are not Anglo- Israelites, have fallen into some confusion in dealing with this subject ; and no wonder, for already Josephus, who
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vaguely locates a separate multitude belonging to the ten tribes somewhere beyond the Euphrates (" Antiq. " xi. 1-2) a Jewish tradition which locates a mighty king- dom of the ten tribes beyond the fabled miraculous river Sabbatyon, which no one can cross because it throws up stones all the week, and only rests on the Sabbath ; and the Talmud (Jer. Sanhedrin, 29, c.), which speaks of three localities whither they had been banished, viz., the district around the above wonderful Sabbatyon, Daphne near Antioch, and the third locality could neither be seen nor named because it was continually hidden by a cloud all these show how early people's minds became muddled on this subject. 1 Some Christian writers have accepted the view that while some of the " ten tribes " amalgamated with the " Jews," there is nevertheless a distinct people somewhere, who are descendants of the Israel of the ancient northern kingdom, which is to be brought to light in the future, and, together with "Judah," will be restored to Palestine, and enter into the enjoyment of the promises. Thus the Nestorians who inhabit the inac- cessible mountains of Kurdistan (which is part of ancient Assyria), the Afghans, and even the North American Indians, have been variously identified as that people ; but this view rests upon what I believe
1 It has also been supposed that the references by Agrippa in his remarkable oration (reported by Josephus' " Wars," ii., xvi. 4) to those who dwelt " as far as beyond the Euphrates," and to " those of your nation who dwell in Adiabene," upon whom the Jews might rely for help in their struggle against Rome, but would not be permitted by the Parthians to render them any assistance were to some unknown settlements belonging to the ten tribes. But this is a mistake. These dwellers in Adiabene might or might not have belonged to the ten tribes, but they formed part of the known Dispersion and of "your nation" the Jews.
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to be a misconception of the meaning and scope of some of the prophecies.
Even if it were true that the Nestorians, or the Afghans, or some other Eastern tribes are descen- dants of the original Israelitish exiles in Assyria, having more or less mixed themselves up by intermarriage with the surrounding nations, and having given up the distinctive national rites and ordinances, they have, like many " Jews " in modern times (who gradually assimilate with Gentile nations) cut themselves off from the hope of Israel, and are no longer in the line of the purpose which God has in and through that " peculiar " and separate people.
In conclusion, let me very briefly call your attention to the remarkable prophecy in Amos ix., which will show you that the view which I have enunciated in my letter is the only one in keeping with the sure word of prophecy.
The prophet Amos, though himself a Judean, his native village Tekoa being about twelve miles south of Jerusalem, was commissioned by God to prophesy more particularly to the northern or ten-tribed king- dom; and for that purpose he went and took up his abode in Bethel, which was the centre of the idolatrous worship set up by Jeroboam in opposition to the worship and service of the Divinely appointed sanctuary in Jerusalem. There, his duty was to announce the coming judgment of God on the Israel of the ten tribes, on account of their apostasy. The last para- graph of his book (chap. ix. 8-15), uttered not more than about seven years before the final overthrow of Samaria in 721 B.C., is one of the most remarkable and comprehensive prophecies in the Old Testament, and this is the inspired forecast of the history of the
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ten-tribed kingdom which is given in it: "Behold the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth ; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord. For lo, I will command and I will sift (or 'toss') the house of Israel among all the nations, like as corn is sifted (or ' tossed ' about) in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. All the sinners of thy people shall die by the sword, which say : The evil shall not overtake or prevent us."
Here, then, we have the whole subject as to what is to become of the ten tribes in a nutshell.
(a) First, as a kingdom they were to be destroyed from off the face of the earth, never to be restored; for its very existence as a separate kingdom was only permitted of God for a definite period as a punishment on the house of David : and when, after a period of about two hun- dred and fifty years of unbroken apostasy, it was finally broken up by the Assyrians, there was an end of it, without any promise of a future independent political existence.
() But when it was destroyed as a kingdom, what became of them as a people ? This prophecy tells us : " Saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord " that is, they are to return to the house of Jacob. They are to form part of the one family made up of all the descendants of Jacob without distinction of tribes. But as one house of Jacob, or " of Israel " (as the next verse interchangeably calls them), something terrible and unique is to befall them ; and what is it ? To be " lost " for some two thousand six hundred years, and then to be identified with the Anglo-Saxon race? Oh no! this is what was to happen : " For lo, I will command and I will sift (or 'toss') the house of Israel among all nations even as corn
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is tossed about in a sieve "or, in the words of Hosea, another prophet who spoke primarily to the ten tribes, " My God will cast them away " (not for ever, as the whole book shows, but for a time), "because they did not hearken unto Him; and they shall be wanderers among the nations"
I draw your attention all the more to this point, because a good deal has been made by some writers of the expression in Isa. xi. where Israel is called " outcast," from which they infer that " Israel " is to be found somewhere in one place, in contradistinction to the "dispersed of Judah." But this is a fallacy. In Jer. xxx. Judah and Israel are together called "an outcast," but it by no means implies that they are therefore to be sought for and found in one particular region of the world.
It is clear from the prophecies of Amos and Hosea, which, as we have seen, were primarily addressed to the ten tribes, that if they were in the first instance " cast out " by force, from their own land, as the word in the Hebrew means, it was with a view that they should be " tossed about " and " wander " among " all nations."
Now note, Anglo-Israelism tells you to identify the ten tribes with one nation, but if you are on the line of Scripture and true history, you will seek for them "among all nations." And which people is it that is known all over the earth as " the tribe of the weary foot and wandering breast"? Anglo-Israelites call them "Jews" in the limited sense of being descendants of " Judah " ; but God's Word tells us that it is " the house of Israel? or " the house of Jacob " ; and, as a matter of fact, since "Judah" joined their brethren of the ten tribes on the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans in 588 B.C. the two have kept on their weary march together" wandering among the nations." Eastward
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and westward (only a remnant of all the tribes returning to the land for a time), nowhere finding ease for any length of time, nor do the soles of their feet have rest, even as Moses, at the very beginning of their history, and long before the division among the tribes, pro- phesied would be their united experience in case they apostatised from Jehovah their God. And thus they will continue ever more mixed up and intermingled among themselves, with all genealogies lost, and not one of them either east or west being able to prove of what tribe or family he comes until the day when He that scattered Israel will gather him, and by His own Divine power and omniscience separate them again into their tribes and families.
My last words on this subject must be those ot warning and entreaty. Do not think, as so many do, that Anglo- Israelism, even if not true, is only a harmless speculation. I consider it nothing short of one of the latter-day delusions by which the Evil One seeks to divert the attention of men from things spiritual and eternal. Here are a few of its dangers :
I. It goes, sometimes to the length of blasphemy, (as shown in the extracts I have copied for you at the beginning of this letter), in misrepresenting and mis- applying Scripture. One of its foundation fallacies is that it anticipates the millennium, and interprets pro- mises which will only be fulfilled in that blessed period, after Israel as a nation is converted to the British nation at the present time. But by this process it makes all prophetic Scripture meaningless.
II. It fosters national pride, and nationalises God's blessings in this dispensation, which is individual and elective in its character. It diverts man's attention from the one thing needful, and from the only means by which he can find acceptance with God. This it does
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by teaching that "a nation composed of millions of practical unbelievers in Christ, and ripe for apostasy, in virtue of a certain fanciful identity between the mixed race composing that nation and a people carried into captivity two thousand five hundred years ago, is in the enjoyment of God's special blessing and will enjoy it on the same grounds for ever, thus laying another foundation for acceptance with God beside that which he has laid, even Christ Jesus." After all, in this dispensation it is a question only as to whether men are "in Christ" or not. If they are Christians, whether Jews or Gentiles, their destiny is not linked either with Palestine or with England, but with that inheritance which is incorruptible, and undefiled, and which fadeth not away ; and if they are not Christians, then, instead of occupying their thoughts with vain speculations as to a supposed identity of the British race with the " lost " ten tribes, it is their duty to seek the one and only Saviour whom we must learn to know not after the flesh, but in the Spirit, and without whom a man, whether an Israelite or not, is undone.
III. Then, finally, it not only robs the Jewish nation the true Israel of many promises in relation to their future by applying them to the British race in the present time, but it diverts attention from them as the people in whom is bound up the purpose of God in relation to the nations, and whose "receiving again" to the heart of God, after the long centuries of unbelief, will be as " life from the dead to the whole world."
Excuse such a very long epistle, and praying that you may be led in all things by the Spirit of Truth, I am,