There are those who would argue today that Jews should not be reached for
the Gospel because they are saved already, owing to their heritage, their
Torah and their Judaism. These same would then go on to redefine who should
be targeted with the Gospel. They turn out to be none other than "the lost
ten tribes" of Israel. But who are these? Well, if you listen to them further
you will discover that the lost ten tribes are none other than Britian and
the United States. This theology is termed "Anglo-Israelism", and is the
subject for the balance of this message.
This article is quite lengthy, and somewhat technical, but I believe very
much needed, since I found little available to the lay person which would
help counter this insidious false teaching and metamorphasized form of
replacement theology. I compiled and wrote this report not only for the benefit
of those with whom I had my original discussions, but also for you, in hopes
that it might benefit you in some way, now or in the future, by providing
a concise answer to this heresy.
Those who accept the theories of Anglo-Israelism will tell you that their
theology comes straight from the Book - from words that they read with their
own eyes and understood with their own heart. The problem is, which colored
glasses were they wearing while they were reading? Also, historical revisionists
always understand things with their heart. What they fail to realize is that
"the heart is deceitful above all things... Who can know it? (Jer 17:9).
Now, before I launch directly into the cure for Anglo-Israelism, I want you
to see for yourself the logic of those who support it, firsthand. They usually
start by quoting Matt 10:5-6 and Matt 15:24:
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among
the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep
of Israel. (Matthew 10:5-6).
He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." (Matthew 15:24).
With the death of King Solomon, the nation of Israel split, becoming two
(1) the House of Judah on the south and (2) the House of Israel of Israel
on the north.
The Northern ten tribes quickly slipped into idolatry and were infact divorced
by the Almighty before the consumation of the marriage. The promises made
by the Almighty had to be carried out some time in the future; particularly,
those given to the sons of Joseph, Ephriam and Mannaseh.
In their idolatry the Almighty allowed Assyria to invade the Northern Kingdom
and to eventually bring it into captivity. Many forsaw the threat and slipped
out toward the Black Sea and the Russian Steppes. This group later became
the Sythians. The last major group captured included the tribe of Ephriam.
This collection was placed between the Caucauses Mountains and the Caspian
Sea and became the Parthians. Both were avowed enemies of the Romans and
in the time of Messiah were a blocking force for further penetration of the
region by the Romans. Every time the Romans advanced into the territories
of the Parthians, the Romans were soundly defeated militarily.
Josephus (94 C.E.) writes in his book "The Antiquities of the Jew" the follow
regarding the ten tribes of Israel. "There are two tribes in Asia under the
control of the Romans, the ten Northern tribes, however, are beyond the Euphrates
and their multitude is so great they can not be numbered." This statement
notes the ten tribes whereabouts were known during the time of Jesus Christ.
These tribes led by the Sythian and followed by the Parthian migrated across
the entirety of Europe and finally came to rest in Northwest Europe. The
Tribe of Ephriam today is ascribed as England and the United States as the
Tribe of Mannesseh. The promises given Joseph and his sons as the birthright
tribes are fulfilled in the English speaking peoples of this world. There
are others who reverse the roles of the brothers and claim the English as
Mannasseh and Ephriam as the United States. Regardless, combined, the English
speaking peoples are the dominant people of the world as was promise by the
Almighty to Joseph.
Jesus Christ said that his purpose was to reintroduce the knowledge of the
Almighty to the Northern Kingdom, not the Jews. The knowledge of God has
been reintroduced to the Northern Kingdoms, but they compound their idolatry
by making the messenger GOD himself and have slipped further into apostacy
by denying Torah.
The remnant of the House of Judah is already saved. That is what the remanant
is - the elect. Jews who follow Judaism and are otherwise righteous - don't
need to believe that Yeshua came to save them - because he didn't. At least
that is what He said. He said that he came for the lost sheep of the House
--------------------- Refuting Anglo-Israelism --------------------
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There is one principle area in which the Anglo-Israel theory either stands
or falls. This is the question of whether any of the ten northern tribes
were ever lost to begin with, and therefore later were in need of some sort
of reappearance as the British and American nations (Ephrai'im and Menasheh),
or as any other nation or people-group, which needed to redefine their identity
by claiming that they were the mysterious missing and "lost" link to the
ancient Jewish nation.
I am of the much shared opinion that the Anglo-Israel theory should be regarded
as one of the saddest symptoms of the mental and spiritual shallowness of
our present age, expressing itself in good measure within the Church, as
certain individuals seek to redefine themselves, redefine knowledge (gnosticism),
and redefine G-d and the worship of G-d. The whole affair conjures up images
of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" whose box-office sales soared to new heights,
when Hollywood once again proved that the fantisizing public is begging to
be convinced of anything but reality, in order to fill the void of their
own spiritual emptyness. The superhero always connects to that mysterious
and "lost" element which gives him new power and a new identity. The script
is always the same. Only the cast is different.
This is evidenced by the total lack of ability of the church detect the fallacies
and perversions of Scripture and history, upon which the whole theory is
based. If we look at the question of the so-called "lost" ten tribes in the
light of Scripture, history and prophecy, Anglo-Israelism simply becomes
another fairytale, invented by certain Christians in order to satisfy their
own pet doctrines and quests to become something other than what G-d called
them to be.
In other words, since G-d made a mistake with their identities, these same
have an identity crisis, and Anglo-Israelism gives them a convenient way
to circumvent their disapointment of not being "chosen" in like manner as
the Jews were, in what they preceive as a means to merit more of the favor,
power and grace from G-d.
But as it turns out, there is as little historical reason for the supposition
that the ten tribes were ever lost, to start with, in the sense in which
Anglo-Israelism uses the term.
The most superficial reader of the Tenach knows the origin and cause of the
unfortunate schism which took place in the history of the elect nation after
the death of Shlomo (Solomon). But this evil was to last only for a limited
time, for at its very commencement, it was announced by G-d that He would
in this way afflict the seed of David, but not for ever (1 Kings 11:39).
The final overthrow of the northern kingdom took place around the year 721
BCE, but when we read that the 'king of Assyria took Shomron (Samaria) and
carried Israel away into Assyria," we are NOT to understand that he cleared
the whole Land of all the people, but rather that he took the strength of
the nation with him.
Jerusalem was finally taken in 586 BCE by Nebuchadnetzar - just 135 years
after the capture of the Shomron by the Assyrians. Meanwhile the Babylonian
Empire succeeded the Assyrian. But although dynasties had changed, and Babylon
which had sometimes even under the Assyrian regime, been one of the capitals
of the Empire, it now replaced Nineveh altogether, and the region over which
Nebuchadnetzar now bore rule was the very same over which Shalmaneser and
Sargon (Assyria) once reigned before him, except that it was somewhat extended
at this juncture.
Within the context of this combined Assyrian and Babylonian captivity the
divisions and rivalry between "Yuhuda" and Israel were now ended, and the
members of ALL the tribes who looked forward to a national future were once
again conscious not only of one common destiny, but that this destiny was
bound up with the promises to the house of David, and with Tzion or Jerusalem
as its center, in accordance with the prophecies of Yo'el, Amos, Hoshia,
and a host of other inspired messengers who ministered and testified especially
amongst them until the fall of the Shomron. This conviction of a common and
united future no doubt facilitated and strengthened the merging process,
which cannot be said to have begun with the original captivity.
Glimpses into the hopes and aspirations for unity between the two kingdoms,
can be gleaned from prophecies such as those found in Ezekiel 37:
15-17 "The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, take a stick of wood
and write on it, `Belonging to Yehuda and the Israelites associated with
him.' Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, `Ephraim's stick,
belonging to Yosef and all the house of Israel associated with him.' Join
them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand. "
In the verses following, we find the divine interpretation:
"I am going to take the stick of Yosef--which is in Ephraim's hand-- and
of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Yehuda's stick,
making them a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.'
Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on and say to them, `This
is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations
where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back
into their own land. I will make them one nation in the Land, on the mountains
of Israel." (Ezekiel 37:19ff)
In 458 BCE, Ezra the scribe, in accordance with the decree of Artaxerxes
Longimanus, organized another large caravan of those whose hearts were made
willing to return to the Land of their Fathers.
"This Ezra came up from Bavel (Babylon)... Some of the Bnei Israel (Children
of Israel), including Cohenim, Levi'im, singers, gatekeepers and temple servants,
also came up to Jerusalem... (Ezra 7:6-7).
Now I decree that any of the Bnei Israel (Children of Israel) in my kingdom,
including Cohenim, and Levi'im, who wish to go to Jerusalem with you, may
go. (Ezra 7:13).
This party in addition to the "Cohenim, Levi'im, singers, gatekeepers and
temple servants," consisted of about 1,800 families, all of whom were classed
as "Bnei Israel (Children of Israel)," irrespective of their tribal distinctions,
from all parts of the realm of "Babylon," which included "Assyria," now under
the sway of the Medo-Persians.
Over the next period of about 115 years, this restored remnant became
consolidated into one group of people which still later, over the course
of the next 300 years came to be known as "the Jews." The nation grew in
such a way that by the time of Yeshua, it was already numbering in the millions.
During the span of time between Nehemiah, Ezra, the Maccabees, the conquest
of Alexander and Herod, we hear little of Bnei Israel in exile compared with
what we hear of goings-on back in the Land. Nevertheless, we know that those
of Bnei Israel who did not return to the Land with Nehemiah and Ezra, later
multiplied in Asia Minor, Cyprus, Crete, the coasts of the Aegean, Macedonia,
parts of Southern Europe, Egypt, the northern coast of Africa, and as far
as India and other points east. Collectively, these people termed "Jewish"
in ancient texts, were not only descendants of Judah, but of all "the twelve
tribes scattered abroad" to whom Ya'acov addresses, in the salutation of
his epistle (1:1).
In summary then, at the time of Yeshua, the decendants of Avraham, Yitchak
and Ya'acov were no longer divided into tribes, but were one people, with
elements of each tribal identity contained within them as a whole. Up until
the destruction of the second Temple, tribal and family genealogies were
for the most part preserved, especially among those who were settled in the
Part of the nation resided in the Land of Israel, 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. The Josephus passage cited above by
Anglo-Israel proponents simply points this fact out. But wherever dispersed
and to whatever tribe they may have belonged, they all continued to look
to Land of Israel and to Jerusalem as their national and spiritual center.
They all maintained their Jewish identities and in fact the galut (dispursion)
was actually used of G-d to protect and keep their Jewish identity intact,
frozen as it were, until such a time would come to pass some 1800 years later,
when the hand of G-d would once again move to draw the nation back together
from the four corners of the earth.
Therefore, the only thing that got "lost" with regard to the ten northern
tribes of Israel, was their separate political and national independance.
What replaced this was a national hope and promise that the Kingdom of Yehuda
and the House of David would one day raise up a Mashiach and restore the
former days of glory to all Israel.
We find no lack of evidence for the concept of a mixed/joined Kingdom in
either the post exillic Prophets or in the later writings of the New Testament
---------------------- The Post Exillic Prophets --------------------
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On the subject of Israel and Yehuda portrayed as one nation, the New Testament
speaks alternately and interchangeably as "the Jews," and "Israel," in similar
fashion as did the Prophets before them.
For starters, let it not be forgotten that Hanna the Prophetess who shows
up during the purification ceremony of Miryam at the Temple, shortly after
the birth of Yeshua and who is reported to be "of the tribe of Asher" (a
northern tribe of Israel), is called "a Jewess" of Jerusalem; facts alone
which should forever decimate the concept of Anglo-Israelism
Next, a cursory reading of the tenth chapter of Matthew indicates that Yeshua
Himself considered "the lost sheep of the house of lsrael" to include "the
Jews," since the missionary journeys of the twelve disciples were limited
to the environs of the Land of Israel. Yeshua never alludes to some future
nation that would come into being some 1000 years later, eventually to usurp
the name "Israel" and claim to be its lost sheep.
Peter at Pentecost, proclaims the message of redemption to "all the house
of Israel. Proof positive that they were already in existance, and not "lost."
Rav Sha'ul (Paul) in Acts 26:6-7 in testifying about "the hope in what G-d
has promised our fathers...that our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled
as they earnestly serve G-d day and night" apparently refering back Zechariah's
statement in Chapter 8:13.
Elsewhere, Sha'ul comments at length why the scattering of Israel was not
in vain, nor their wandering without purpose, in his letter to Roman
congregations, chapters 9-11. He portrays Israel as being anything but a
nation who has been cast away. Here, he settles the matter by describing
the overall picture and plan of G-d for Israel, not as a geographically "lost"
nation, but as one whose presence trancends time itself. Sha'uls words cannot
be improved upon, except to note the inclusion of, and emphasis upon "all
Israel" from his day, until the very end of the age.
If Israel and Yehuda were separate nations, why then does the Apostle describe
the Jews as "his brethren," and as "kinsmen according to the flesh," and
then identify them and himself as "Israelites heirs to the promises of G-d"
as they are deemed in the Messiah? (Acts 21:39, Rom 11:1)
Summing up judgments on the Anglo-Israel question, it would seem that by
the facts of Scripture and history, the issue stands refuted and therefore
unworthy of further attention. The theory is nothing short of a Pandora's
box containing multiple and destructive heresies which not only robs the
Jewish nation, the true Israel, of her Scriptural promises, but in a blatent
act of replacement theology, which applies those promises to another race,
without permission from any biblical text. It should come as a warning to
us NOT to think, as so many do, that Anglo-Israelism is only harmless
speculation. In reality, it stands in line with an already existant plethora
of other last-day delusions by which HaSatan seeks to divert the attention
of the saints from things spiritual and eternal, amongst them, Israel, the
chosen people, and apple of G-d's eye. Uri Marcus
|Reference: The Kingdom of the Cults, Dr. Walter Martin,
Bethany Fellowship Publishers, Copyright 1965.
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