A Refutation Of
(1) "The United States And British Commonwealth In Prophecy"
Of Herbert W. Armstrong
Editor Of The Magazines
"Plain Truth" And "The Good News" And Also
(2) Of The Anglo-Israel Views Of Various Other Writers
"God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie" (2 Thes. 2:11).
Many sincere Christian people have labored and do labor under various delusions. We should therefore be slow to censure, but swift to help, building up one another in the most holy faith "that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in want to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ" (Jude 20; Eph. 4:14, 15).
It is not our purpose or desire to disparage anyone, but rather to warn against the errors and pitfalls of those who partially or wholly "abide not in the doctrine of Christ" (2 John 9; Jude 3). Our aim is to defend the Bible truth and to attack and destroy the errors, rather than to attack the errorists.
Anglo-Israelism (also called British-Israelism) is one of the most "cunningly devised fables" of our day (2 Pet. 1:16; 2 Tim. 4:3, 4). A refutation of it is found in Thy Kingdom Come, pages 250-253, 290-300 (we supply this book). But in response to many requests that we provide a more extensive refutation, including in it answers to a number of pertinent arguments not treated in that book, we now set forth this further refutation of a "strong delusion" which has confused and deceived many in Christendom, especially in the U.S., Canada and Britain, and is threatening to deceive and more or less divert and estrange many more Christians from their proper attitude toward and relationship to God and to Jesus Christ as our true Shepherd (John 10:1-16), Teacher (Matt. 11:29) and Head (1 Cor. 11:3).
Some U.S. publications and organizations that prominently advocate Anglo-Israelism are:
(1) The widely circulated book The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy (we will refer to it as US&BCP) by Herbert W. Armstrong of Pasadena, California, whose magazines, The Plain Truth and Tomorrow's World, have a circulation of over 3,000,000 each issue. The Ambassador Colleges, here and abroad, were founded by him; his son Garner Ted Armstrong is his main assistant, especially in widespread radio and television broadcasting (using the program name "The World Tomorrow"). They teach some Truth, but claim the Church has no eternal home in heaven, that Christians must keep the seventh-day sabbath, pay tithes, etc.
(2) Destiny Publishers, Haverhill, Massachusetts, headed by Howard B. Rand as the main author and editor (he was one of the main organizers of the Anglo-Saxon Federation of America, founded in 1930).
(3) The Kingdom Digest of Dallas, Texas, with John A. Lovell, founder of the United Israel World Fellowship, as editor.
Some other magazines that advocate Anglo-Israelism are: Identity, published by The Association of Covenant People, in Vancouver, Canada; The National Message and The New Jerusalem Fellowship in England; and The Covenant Message in S. Africa.
Anglo-Israelism's claims are very appealing and seem plausible, at least on the surface, to many who do not study carefully and thoroughly the underlying principles in the light of all the pertinent Scriptures and their contexts, sanctified reason and facts. These claims usually appeal strongly to those of Anglo-Saxon lineage, many of whom are unduly influenced by and yield to Anglo-Israelism's attractive appeals to nationalism and materialism and its accompanying appeal to vanity. Accordingly, to a considerable extent, they are led to claim special favor from God on the basis of their physical birth into what they have been deceived to believe is one or another of what are called "the ten lost tribes of Israel," especially into Britain or into the United States—supposedly the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. Thus they are led away, often almost imperceptibly, from a proper humbling of themselves under the mighty hand of God (1 Pet. 5:5, 6), from diligence in working out their own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12) and from walking not after the flesh, but only after the Spirit (Rom. 8:1; Gal. 5:16-18).
Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). "No flesh should glory in his presence" (1 Cor. 1:29). "Many glory after the flesh"; but we as consecrated Christians should "worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh"; "it is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing" (2 Cor. 11:18; Phil. 3:3; John 4:24; 6:63).
If our examination of some of the prominent and fantastic claims of Anglo-Israelism, in the light of God's Word, reason and the facts of history, will serve to deliver from its clutches any of its estimated three million or more adherents, or help to preserve others from its subtle ensnarements, we will consider our efforts very worthwhile and for this will render to God additional thanks and praise.
The views of the proponents of the Anglo-Israel theory differ from one another on some points, but the following, stated years ago by the Anglo-Saxon Federation of America, seems to cover the main tenets of Anglo-Israelism (the bracketed comments are ours)
THE ANGLO-ISRAEL CREED
(1) "The Bible does not state or infer that the Jews are God's chosen people. Judah and Israel are entirely distinct and separate entities. 2 Chron. 11.
(2) "The Bible made these prophecies and recorded these facts concerning Israel and the Jews. Israel was to find an island home and be moved no more. The Jews were to be strangers in all lands. Israel was to constitute a kingdom but the Jews were never to be a nation until reunited with Israel [obviously erroneous, as facts since 1948 abundantly prove!]. Jews were to remain under the Law and Old Covenant, whereas Israel was to be a Christian people.
(3) "Israel had nothing to do with the crucifixion of our Lord, not being in the land, except Benjamin, who accepted Him.
(4) "'Ephraim' is England and 'Manasseh' represents the United States. Manasseh was the thirteenth tribe [counting the Levites as a separate tribe], and that accounts for the discovery of America on Oct. 13, 1492, and the following 'thirteens' in American history: Thirteen colonies; 13 bars and 13 stars (flag); 13 letters in 'E Pluribus Unum' and 13 feathers, 13 olives, and 13 arrows on American coins. First American navy, 13 ships; Cornerstone of White House laid Oct. 13, 1792. The 13th amendment abolished slavery. The first letter in Manasseh is the 13th both in the English and Hebrew languages.
(5) "The Celtic-Anglo-Saxons are Israel, the chosen people of God. The British Isle inhabitants are descendants, among others, from the tribes of Saxons (Isaac's sons), the Danes of Dan, the Jutes of Judah, the Friesians, the Picts, and the Scots, and Normans of Benjamin.
(6) "'Brith' in Hebrew means 'covenant'; therefore, we have Britain, 'covenant law,' British, the 'covenant man,' Brittania, 'covenant ships.' 'Brittania rules the waves [obviously no longer true!],' controlling the English Channel, Gibraltar, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, the Suez Canal, Malta, Aden, and other gates and stations. America controls practically all of the remaining gates. This, all in fulfillment of Gen. 22:17, 'thy (Abraham's) seed shall possess the gate of his enemies' (read Isa. 14:1-8).
(7) "The Anglo-Saxons are 'Christianized Israel' and are fulfilling Isa. 49:6: 'I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.' The Church is the priesthood of the nation.
(8) "In 1776 A.D. the Lord divided Israel into two nations, so that God's promises to both Ephraim and Manasseh might be realized.
(9) "The throne of David has come down to Great Britain through a clear line of descent and therefore the fulfillment of God's promise that David's throne would endure forever. Great Britain and America, Ephraim and Manasseh (who are to render willing obedience), are preparing the way for the coming of the King. The house of David, removed from Jerusalem in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, was brought to Ireland by Jeremiah the prophet in the person of Tamar Tephi, thus establishing the present line of descent. The Ten Tribes came from Assyria to Europe, thence to the British Isles to be joined to the house of David; God's Jehovah throne was established in the midst of His kingdom, Modern Israel, or Britain. An ancient king of Ireland was married to a Jewish princess from the East and their coronation was on Jacob's stone, and the royal house of Britain descended from that union.
(10) "According to Dan. 2:44, 45, a Stone is to come from heaven, smite all other kingdoms, become a mountain and fill the whole earth. This Stone kingdom is to stand forever, Israel is to stand forever, Jer. 31:35, 36. Therefore, Great Britain is the Stone Kingdom, the forever Israel.
(11) "The little stone [of Scone] now occupies the chief seat in the kingdom, the coronation chair at Westminster Abbey. The Kings of the House of David have been crowned upon this Stone."
The above statement of the main tenets of Anglo-Israelism gives some idea of how it misapplies Scripture and merits a censure similar to that given to the Scribes and Pharisees (Matt. 15:6): "Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition."
Unable to find real Scriptural or historical foundation for their claims, many of the Anglo-Israelites, like the Roman Catholics, appeal strongly to the unreliable and uninspired Apocryphal books, which never belonged in nor were accepted as parts of the Old Testament canon by the Jews, its custodians (Rom. 3:2), and from which Jesus never quoted. They appeal also to legends, traditions (see Matt. 15:6), derivations from word meanings, archeological finds, etc., to which they attach many unfounded suppositions, unwarranted conclusions and wild imaginations.
Anglo-Israelites manifest their poverty for real proofs of their theories when they must resort to such arguments as the claim (1) that the name England is derived from the Hebrew word engle, meaning bull (this is one of their many etymological blunders, for in Hebrew there is no word engle, though there is egel, which denotes a calf or steer; the usual Hebrew word for a bull or bullock is par), and (2) that since Joseph's glory is pictured in a bullock (Deut. 33:17—but the Hebrew word for bullock here is not even egel, but showr), and since Joseph was Ephraim and since Ephraim is (supposedly) British-Israel, therefore Ephraim is John Bull! And they point to another proof (?)—the ancient Britons worshiped the bull! Such a silly argument might be used to prove that the Hindus, who also worship the bull, are a part of Israel! And why not include ancient Egypt, with their sacred bull Apis?
Another outstanding etymological blunder is found in the claim that the word British is derived from the Hebrew words brith (covenant) and ish (man). Thus, according to Anglo-Israelism, every Britisher is a Brith-ish, a covenant man. Factually, the British Isles were originally called Barantanic, which means tin islands, because large quantities of tin came from England's Cornwall mines. The word British is derived from this word.
Still more foolish is the claim that the word Saxon is of Hebrew origin, that it means Isaac's son, and that each Britisher is an Isaac-son. The Anglo-Israelites explain (e.g., in US&BCP, p. 116) that "the House of Israel not only was to lose its identity, but its name. It was to be called by a new name, since they no longer were to know their identity as Israel, as God said plainly in Isaiah 62:2, referring to these latter days, and to the millennium."
Thus they misapply another Scripture, by ascribing to themselves the promise of the "new name, which the LORD shall name" (Isa. 62:2) and which refers to the new (Divine) nature (2 Pet. 1:4) and office that Jehovah Himself gives to the Church in the First Resurrection (Rev. 20:4, 6), the "new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it" (Rev. 2:17). Instead of this new name, they work out a deceptive counterfeit and derive the name "Saxons," a name "which every man knoweth." They lay hold of Rom. 9:7; Heb. 11:18 and Amos 7:16, the last of which speaks of "the house of Isaac," and from these texts they construct their "new name"—[I]SAAC'S sons, in which they find SAXONS as a contracted form. Of this claim a prominent Hebrew authority states: "Anyone claiming correspondence between the Hebrew term Isaac's son and Saxon is woefully ignorant of the Hebrew. Isaac in Hebrew is Yitshak, and son is ben. Isaac's son is Ben Yitshak. A religious system that seeks to justify its claims by an appeal to resemblances in words of different languages succeeds only in displaying the poverty of its proofs."
Incidentally, Samurai, the name of the ancient Japanese military caste, sounds much like Samaria, which was the capital of the ten tribes. Should the Japanese therefore be traced to Israel? No less far-fetched and fantastic is the Anglo-Israel claim that the "Jerrys" of Ireland are named for Jeremiah and the "Davies" of Wales and Scotland for David, that "the harp that hung in Tara's hall" was the harp of David, that "Union Jack" is derived from the "union of Jacob" and that the Scottish plaids and kilts hark back to Joseph's coat of many colors!
According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, "Modern ethnography does not confirm in any way the identification of the Irish with a Semitic people; while the English can be traced back to the Scandinavians, of whom there is no trace in Mesopotamia at any period of history. English is a branch of the Aryan stock of languages, and has no connection with Hebrew." And according to Dr. U.H. Parker, professor of Hebrew at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, "There are hardly more than two dozen words, exclusive of Bible names, in the English vocabulary, which can be traced to Hebrew roots. Nearly every one of the handful of Hebrew words we do have, came to us via the Greeks, and might more reasonably be credited to the Phoenicians than to the Hebrews."
As shown in Item (9) of their creed, the Anglo-Israelites claim that the ten tribes came from Assyria to Europe, and thence to the British Isles. They claim also (US&BCP, p. 117) that some traveled there in ships, because "it is recorded that 'Dan abode in ships' (Judges 5:17)." As "proof" of the tribe of Dan's alleged journeying, they lay hold on any name that has in it Dan, Den, Don or Dun, such as Dardanelles, Danube, Denmark, Donegal, Londonderry, Dundee and Dunsmore. Such "proof" is indeed flimsy and far-fetched! Since the Anglo-Israelites emphasize so greatly the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, it is indeed strange that their alleged journeyings and the journeyings of other tribes among the ten tribes are not similarly marked. And if reference to ships has any significance, why single out the tribe of Dan, when of Zebulun so much more is said in this respect? Note Gen. 49:13: "Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships." And why should not Zebulun therefore represent Britain, once the greatest sea-going nation in the world?
APPEAL TO LEGENDS, TRADITIONS, ETC.
It is claimed also—Item (9) of their creed—that Jeremiah saved a daughter of king Zedekiah, Tamar (Tea) Tephi, from captivity and sailed with her to Ireland, that the king of Ireland's son, later called Herremon, supposedly of the tribe of Judah, married her, whence the claim that the present reigning house of England is sitting on the "throne of David among God's people Israel." Surely believers in God's Word would not question that "the king's daughters" were spared (Jer. 41:10; 43:6); but the Bible is silent as to what became of Jeremiah, Baruch and these daughters. There is no real proof—nothing at all in the Bible or from any other reliable source—to show that they ever left Egypt, or ever came to Ireland. Therefore the Anglo-Israelites, in order to maintain their theories, must obey (?) God's Word in reverse and establish their faith, not in the "power of God," but in the "wisdom of men"—which is "foolishness with God" (1 Cor. 2:5; 3:19).
Herbert W. Armstrong, in US&BCP, p. 118, appeals to "the ancient annals, legends, and history of Ireland," though he admits that "the real ancient history of Ireland is very extensive, though colored with some legend." He then proceeds to "throw out that which is obviously legendary" but retains that which to him is not so obviously legendary, and from this mass of legendary uncertainty he lays hold of what he can use to support the Anglo-Israel fabrication—the idol set up for worship. Thus he refers to the legendary name Tea-Tephi—a name not found in the Bible—as the supposed name of one of Zedekiah's daughters, who supposedly came to Ireland, supposedly with Jeremiah, an "elderly white-haired patriarch," who in Irish tradition came to Ireland in ancient times. Mr. Armstrong states (p. 121): "Beside the royal family, Jeremiah brought with them some remarkable things, including a harp, an ark, and a wonderful stone called 'lia-fail,' or 'stone of destiny.'" On the basis of such uncertainties and speculations much of the Anglo-Israel "faith" is supported.
Regarding "lia-fail," Mr. Armstrong remarks that "a peculiar coincidence (?) is that Hebrew reads from right to left, while English reads from left to right. Read this name either way—and it is still 'lia-fail.'" Many English words, such as level, refer, rotor and madam, read the same either right to left or left to right, but this has nothing to do with Hebrew origin. Is Mr. Armstrong claiming a Hebrew origin for "lia-fail"? One might well ask the Anglo-Israelites the question—very embarrassing to them: What caused Israel to lose the Hebrew language, written from right to left, and invent an entirely new language and write it from left to right, the opposite direction, within 700 years, between the time of the captivity of the northern kingdom of Israel and Julius Caesar's day?
THE CORONATION STONE
And what a fanciful absurdity is found in the Anglo-Israel fable concerning the coronation stone of England! It is supposed to have been the stone that Jacob used as a pillow when he had his vision at Luz, which he renamed Bethel (house of God; Gen. 28:10-19). Without the least scrap of Biblical or historical evidence, it is claimed that Jacob carried this heavy stone with him in all his wanderings and eventually gave it to one of his sons, that it was carried from place to place in Israel's wanderings, that it was preserved from generation to generation, and that at the time of Zedekiah's overthrow it passed into the hands of Jeremiah, who carried it with him to Ireland! Allegedly, it was taken later to Scotland and placed beneath the coronation chair in Scone Abbey—whence its name, the Stone of Scone—and finally was transported to England, where it was placed beneath the coronation chair in Westminster Abbey. Mr. Armstrong in US&BCP, p. 121, says, "A sign beside it labels it 'Jacob's pillar-stone' (Genesis 28:18)."
Much has been made over this stone. The Destiny Publishers have published a tenth edition of The Lost Tribes of Israel, by the late Reader Harris, an ardent Anglo-Israelite. On p. 42 he struggles with the Scriptures to try to make it appear that in Gen. 49:24 "the stone of Israel" does not refer to the Shepherd of Israel, but "perhaps the meaning of the passage is that Joseph's sons were to take charge of the stone, which would be to them a symbol of the Shepherd of Israel. … Evidently a stone or piece of rock was brought out of Egypt by the Israelites at the time of the Exodus when Joseph's bones were carried by them out of Egypt; and this may have been what Paul referred to in 1 Cor. 10:4: 'The Rock that followed them.'" Nor is he hindered in this contradiction of the teachings of God's Word by the Apostle's specification of that Rock as "spiritual," and his explanation that "that Rock was Christ." Reader Harris even adds: "Perhaps this very stone was the one which Moses struck, for 'the rock that followed them' must have been a moving rock." Thus he seeks to exalt the material "Stone of Scone" against "that spiritual Rock"—"Christ"! With this he joins other Anglo-Israelites in "making the commandment of God of none effect by their tradition" (Matt. 15:6).
Another Anglo-Israelite, a "Professor" Odlum, referring to Bethel as the House of God and to Jacob's Pillar as the "Stone of Scone," makes this ridiculous claim: "The spiritual rock that followed Israel was Christ. … It was God, and not Christ, who went ahead. … The only official house of God, accepted by God and His chosen people, followed Israel. Hence Christ followed, because He was in His house, 'the house of God.' And it was the proper place for Christ to be. He, the spiritual rock, was in His rock house of God, viz., with Jacob's pillar. … So in after-ages He could say He was the rock. He had been the spiritual rock inhabiting the material rock (God's house for forty years in the wilderness). Just as He inhabited the material rock for a long period of time, so He at the end came to inhabit the larger and more important Material Rock, the Rock Nation of Israel, Britain; and He is in this Kingdom, David's stone kingdom."
On this absurd statement, W. Lamb in his book Anglo-Israelism, True or False? comments: "I can only say that never have I come across error so absurd and yet so dangerous in its possible implications. … The meaning of all this kind of expression is that the grim, grey-looking piece of Scottish sandstone which lies under the Coronation Chair over there in Westminster Abbey, is really God's house even now"; and he goes on to show clearly that the "spiritual Rock" had nothing to do with Jacob's stone but according to 1 Cor. 10:4 refers to Christ, and that the only house of God that exists during the Gospel Age is "a spiritual house," made up of "spiritual stones" (1 Pet. 2:4, 5).
The Anglo-Israelites claim that the "Stone of Scone" could not possibly have come originally from the British Isles, that no similar rock has ever been discovered in Ireland, but that rocks of a similar type are to be found in Palestine. But C. F. Davidson, a well-known authority, gives the geological evidence (1) that there is "no authority for the view" that this stone originated in Palestine, and (2) that the "whole balance of evidence thereupon is in favor of the Stone having been quarried somewhere in the east of Perthshire, or in southern Scotland, probably not far from the ancient seat of the Pictish monarchy of Scone; … from this study, the Coronation Stone is seen to agree most closely in lithology with sandstones of Lower Old Red Sandstone from Scotland." In other words, it is only an ordinary Scottish rock!
"ELIZABETH: NAME OF DESTINY" (?)
Of course, much was made over Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953, and many ridiculous claims were made in this connection by some Anglo-Israelites. E.g., in the May 1953 Destiny magazine appeared the following by Rev. James Haggart, in his article "Elizabeth: Name of Destiny":
"Many will know that she is the rightful heir to the throne of King David and that she will be seated upon the Stone of Destiny, as King David was, when she receives the crown upon her head. For the symbol most significant in the coronation ceremony will be the famed 'Stone of Scone,' which is fitted into the seat of the throne chair. This stone will be the same stone upon which Jacob laid his head when he had the dream of the angels of God descending on a ladder out of heaven."
Mr. Haggart then proceeds to trace the usual Anglo-Israel fictitious account of Jacob's pillar stone, its supposed conveyance to Ireland and the later legendary and historical story of its experiences, and then, after emphasizing its supposed significance, refers to the prophecy in Luke 1:30-33 and emphasizes the statement that God will give unto Jesus "the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob (Beth-el) for ever." But now note his wild conclusion: "At the time that Jesus was born, the stone of Beth-el had been removed from Jerusalem. It was hidden away in northern Ireland, according to God's plan. It was not yet the hour for Jesus to claim the throne of His father David or else the stone would have been in Palestine"!
It would seem that Jesus in His Second Advent should not, according to this Reverend (?) gentleman, come "having on his head a golden crown" (Rev. 14:14), but should of necessity first proceed to Westminster Abbey in London and there sit on the coronation chair over the Stone of Scone, which apparently was quarried somewhere in southern Scotland, and then call upon the Archbishop of Canterbury to place the golden crown upon His head and proclaim Him "the rightful heir to the throne of King David"! Or perhaps the Anglo-Israelites should demonstrate their faith and their readiness to receive their Messiah King by taking this marvelous stone to Jerusalem, so that Jesus can reign there and there sit on that stone and thus "claim the throne of His father David" in Jerusalem (Isa. 2:3; 46:13; 59:20; Jer. 3:17; Joel 2:32; Obad. 1:17; Micah 4:2, 7; Zech. 8:3, 8), seeing that it is allegedly so necessary for this stone to be in the land of Israel for Him to reign there!
Mr. Haggart next presents a politico-religious, if not almost superstitious, discussion of Elizabeth's name, claiming that it "contains within it the words Beth-el and Elijah." He then explains: "Realizing that Elizabeth does sit upon the throne of the House of David reigning over the House of Jacob, and that Jesus, when He comes again, will take that throne, we should pay special attention to Elizabeth and to the times in which we live. Can it be assumed that Elizabeth will be the last of the sovereigns to sit upon the throne of David before He who is to be King of kings and Lord of lords returns? We may derive a clue from the meaning of her name. In English the letter j may easily be substituted for the letters z or s. Doing this in the first part of the name Elizabeth, we obtain 'Elija,' which is, in fact, 'Elijah.'"
With this presto-chango verbal acrobatic stunt he then draws some strange conclusions. He refers to Elijah's whirlwind ascent into the sky (2 Kgs. 2:11), to the rapture of the saints (1 Thes. 4:16, 17), to the prophecy of Malachi (Mal. 4:5, 6) that Elijah would come before "the great and dreadful day of the LORD" and Jesus' reference to it in Matt. 11:9-15 and His statement concerning John the Baptist, that "if ye will receive [believe] it, this is Elias [Elijah], which was for to come."
Of course, Mr. Haggart does not realize that just as John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus' First Advent, so the Church in the flesh during the Gospel Age, as antitypical Elijah, has been preparing the way for Jesus' Second Advent; hence he tries to exalt the Anglo-Israelites in the person of Queen Elizabeth II to that position, as follows: "In a search for the meaning of the symbology hidden in the name 'Elizabeth,' then, we find in the Queen's name the name of Elijah the Prophet, who was referred to at the time of the first coming of Jesus and who, according to Malachi, is to be sent again before the second coming of the Lord. Elizabeth, having the scepter of the House of Jacob handed to her, is the chosen leader for God's people and her name has a meaning for us that cannot be ignored. From the inference we may deduce that God is telling us that the reign of Elizabeth heralds the coming of our Lord as King of kings and Lord of lords." (It is amazing how far Anglo-Israelites will go to support their theory!)
He then continues: "From the word 'Beth-el,' also contained in her name, we may surmise that her reign will mark the cleansing of Israel, for it was when he returned to Beth-el that Jacob cleansed his household of all evil. Jacob's return to God at Beth-el becomes a pattern, then, for the rededication of the Anglo-Saxon peoples to their God under the reign of their new Queen, Elizabeth II. … The enthronement of 'Elija-beth' is a portent of many wondrous things to come."
The National Message (June 1958) stated the matter thus: "We may truthfully say that our Monarchy is sacramental. Her Majesty the Queen is the Lord's anointed as have been our monarchs (even bad monarchs!) down all the centuries. The anointing of the Queen with holy oil by the Archbishop of Canterbury (symbolizing the Holy Spirit's anointing), and the reception of Her Majesty by the people, establishes a covenant between God and nation. The anointing takes precedence over the coronation, which latter is the seal of God's acceptance of His anointed monarch; whereupon the people join in singing with heart and voice the refrain which caused the hills of Palestine to ring at the anointing of Israel's first king — God save the king!
"Her Majesty is thus a person set apart for a particular and exclusive purpose which no lay president could fulfill. In a true sense she is not 'one of us,' however much our egalitarian age may like to think of her as such. She is the Lord's anointed, and nothing can reduce her to the level of the commoner, or raise the commoner to the level of royalty. In addition to her high calling as the Empire's Queen, she has the royal blood of centuries running through her veins, and to say, as is sometimes said, that she is 'just an ordinary person' is completely untrue."
Thus on the basis of the fable of David's throne now established in England, the present queen is hailed as "The Lord's Anointed"! While we may properly honor England's Elizabeth II as one of the best monarchs that England has ever had, we should not blind ourselves to the fact that she has made some very serious mistakes (such as her visit to the Vatican and her paying homage to the pope, and thus to the great Antichrist system—see The Time is at Hand, Chapter 9), and that she, like all the rest of Adam's fallen race, is a sinner and in need of salvation. Noble as she is, she is not a goddess, nor the Lord's Anointed seated on the Throne of David, nor the Elijah which was to come before Christ's Second Advent, to herald His reign of peace and righteousness.
The Anglo-Israelites make much over Jeremiah's "commission" in Jer. 1:4-10, where God appointed him "a prophet unto the nations" (v. 5), to speak as God commanded (v. 7), "to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant" (v. 10). It is claimed that Jeremiah's building and planting was fulfilled when, according to an Irish legend, with the consent of an aged prophet who brought her to Ireland, "King Herremon married an Eastern princess whose name was Tea-Tephi and who was, according to Irish legend, the daughter of Zedekiah, the last king of Judah" (The Lost Tribes of Israel, by Reader Harris, p. 38). Thus they claim the throne of David was continued in Britain.
But we do not need to look to the uncertainties of legend, tradition or folklore for a basis of our faith or for a fulfillment of Jeremiah's "commission." Frequently Bible verbs mean, not to accomplish a thing, but to declare it. For example, to justify or condemn often means to declare one as being just or guilty (Prov. 17:15; Isa. 5:23), and to remit or to retain sins means to declare them remitted or retained (John 20:23). Thus God's prophets are set forth as actually doing what is enjoined upon them to declare should be done. In this sense they rooted up, pulled down and destroyed, by declaring God's judgments, and they builded up and planted, by declaring the promises of His mercy and future blessings. For example, God said to Isaiah (6:10): "Make the heart of this people fat … and shut their eyes." In other words, Show them that they are stupid and blind, and that, because they have shut their eyes and hardened their hearts, God will in His judgments leave them to their hardness and darkness. Ezekiel mentions "the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city" (Ezek. 43:3); but the marginal reading clarifies the matter: "when I came to prophesy that the city should be destroyed."
Thus God appointed Jeremiah to declare His purposes concerning the overthrow or restoration of kingdoms and nations according as they should persist in or repent of their sins (see Jer. 18:6-10). In pursuance of these directions, Jeremiah's activities in rooting out, pulling down, destroying and throwing down nations and kingdoms were done by him, not by doing these destructive works himself, but by declaring God's judgments, telling what God would do. Note, for example, Jer. 25:15-38. Surely Jeremiah did not go in person to all the nations named and make them drink from a literal cup; rather, he did as God told him to do (v. 30): "Prophesy thou against them all these words"—thus causing them to drink of the cup of God's wrath.
Similarly, when Jeremiah was told "to build, and to plant," he was not told to do so by his own hands literally; God told him to "gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee" (Jer. 1:17). Accordingly, Jeremiah prophesied messages, not only of destruction, but also of restoration. Note how wonderfully he thus built and planted in chapters 3, 30, 31, especially in 31:27, 28, where he directly refers to his "commission" and speaks for Jehovah: "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast. And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD." Note also Jer. 48:47; 49:6, 39; and 50:4: "In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God." Jeremiah's prophecies of building and planting, like that of Ezekiel regarding the joining of the "two sticks" (Ezek. 37:16-28), had a small, limited fulfillment when in response to Cyrus' decree the more faithful of all God's people returned to their promised land and built the temple, though their main and complete fulfillment's are still future. In uttering these prophecies for Jehovah, Jeremiah fulfilled that which he was told to do and in the manner specified (Jer. 1:5, 7); and we do not need to consult, accept or rely on Irish legend—much of which is admittedly unreliable—in order to find the fulfillment of Jeremiah's building and planting.
ISA. 37:31, 32 MISAPPLIED
Another Scripture misapplied to try to prove that the throne of David continues in Britain, is Isa. 37:31, 32 (repeated in 2 Kgs. 19:30, 31). In US&BCP, pp. 103, 108, Mr. Armstrong quotes it in reverse order: "For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this. And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward." He claims that this prophecy was not fulfilled until years later, when after Jerusalem's fall, Jeremiah's remnant, including at least one of Zedekiah's daughters, (allegedly) took root downward in Ireland (was replanted) and bore fruit upward (was builded).
A text without its context often makes a pretext. Mr. Armstrong omits a discussion of the context in Isa. 37, which assures Hezekiah of God's answer to his prayer and God's rebuke of the enemy (vs. 21-29), and gives comfort and assurance in a remarkable sign (v. 30) and in God's promise that He would turn back the Assyrian enemy and save Jerusalem (vs. 33-35). According to Isa. 36:1, 2, Sennacherib the king of Assyria "came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them," and now sent his general Rabshakeh "with a great army" to threaten Jerusalem. This last and strongest fortification was doubtless crowded with refugees—the "remnant" of the house of Judah that had escaped when their "defenced cities" were taken. They now were threatened with starvation (36:12), from which Sennacherib promised them relief if they would surrender (vs. 16, 17).
Hezekiah was strengthened in his refusal to surrender by the sign God gave him through Isaac (37:30), by the assurance of vs. 31, 32, and by God's promise to spare the city and to disperse the enemy (vs. 33-35), which promise was fulfilled that very night (v. 36; 2 Kgs. 19:35). The sign that the king of Assyria would be completely bridled and trouble Judea no more was: "Ye [Hezekiah and his people, whose land had been devastated by the enemy's invasion] shall eat this year such as groweth of itself; and the second [probably sabbatical] year that which springeth of the same: and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof." Thus God assured them of continued freedom of the land from interference by the Assyrian army; the Judeans could again sow and reap in peace.
So God promised (Isa. 37:31, 32) "the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judea [see margin; i.e., the remaining Judeans that had escaped and fled to Jerusalem for protection] shall again take root downward [replant], and bear fruit upward [reap bountifully and also prosper otherwise in their restored land]: for out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and [even] they that escape [will go forth] out of mount Zion [not because they defeated the enemy, but because]: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this."
There is nothing in this text or its context that warrants the wild, imaginary conclusion of Mr. Armstrong and other Anglo-Israelites that this prophecy was not fulfilled until many years later, after the fall of Jerusalem, when supposedly Jeremiah through one of Zedekiah's daughters planted the throne of David in Ireland! Rather, the Scripture itself, together with Isaiah's sign and prophecy and their remarkable fulfillment, completely refutes the contrary application of this Scripture by Mr. Armstrong and his fellow Anglo-Israelites.
A "RIDDLE" AND A "PARABLE"
The Anglo-Israelites misapply also the "riddle" and "parable" of Ezek. 17, in their efforts to find something in the Scriptures to uphold their claim that Jeremiah took one of Zedekiah's daughters (supposedly the legendary Tea-Tephi) to Ireland and thus transplanted David's throne (through the Solomonic line) into Britain. In US&BCP, pp. 107, 108, Mr. Armstrong misapplies this riddle and parable to the ten tribes only. He states: "The riddle is found in verses 3 to 10. Then, beginning verse 11, the Eternal explains its meaning." Mr. Armstrong claims that this covers "the FIRST half of Jeremiah's commission" and that "the PLANTING of David's throne … comes in the parable, verses 22-24."
Mr. Armstrong quotes from v. 22: "I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent," and then comments: "Ah! 'A tender young twig'! The twigs of this highest branch represent the children of King Zedekiah! Certainly a tender young twig, then, represents a DAUGHTER!" He then misapplies the high mountain and the fruitfulness of the goodly cedar to Britain (as Israel), and of the legendary Tea-Tephi he says: "After this Hebrew Princess is 'planted' on the throne, now in ISRAEL—lost from view—that throne is to BEAR FRUIT. She is to marry, have children, and her sons are to continue David's dynasty!"
Thus again Mr. Armstrong erects a counterfeit image and misapplies to Britain and his counterfeit line of David to sit on David's throne, that which Scripturally applies to Christ's Kingdom soon to be established on earth and to Jesus Himself as the fruitful Branch who will bring blessings to all the families of the earth.
Let us now see how wonderfully this riddle and its parabolic explanation harmonizes with all the other teachings of God's Word and illustrates most beautifully the coming Kingdom blessings promised in the foundational Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3; 22:15-18; 26:4; 28:14; Gal. 3:8, 16, 29)—the Gospel message as set forth from Genesis to Revelation.
We note first, however, that Mr. Armstrong's premise, that Ezekiel's message was to the ten tribes only, is not true. He quotes Ezek. 17:12 as follows: "Say now to the rebellious house [God says—the 'rebellious house' being Ten-Tribed ISRAEL (Ezek. 12:9), to whom Ezekiel is sent a prophet (Ezek. 2:3; 3:1, etc.)] …" Furthermore, he says that the prophetic message of Ezek. 17 "is addressed, NOT to Judah, the Jews, but to the House of Israel," that "it is a message to give light to the lost Ten-Tribed House of ISRAEL in these last days!"
As to "the rebellious house," Ezekiel had just declared in chapter 16 a message to the two-tribed kingdom (Jerusalem, vs. 2, 3), stating that they were even more corrupt and abominable than ten-tribed Israel (Samaria, vs. 46, 47, 51, 52). The whole twelve tribes were a rebellious house (2:3; 12:9, 10; 20:8, 13, 21).
Ezekiel, a priest (Ezek. 1:3), was one of those who went into exile with thousands from the higher classes of the two tribes, including their king Jehoiachin (2 Kgs. 24:14-16). God told Ezekiel, "I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel" (Ezek. 3:17; 33:7)—all twelve tribes, for many of his messages were especially for Zedekiah and the Jews still in Judea (see, e.g., Ezek. 4; 5; 8; 9; 21; 33:21-29). Sometimes the elders of Israel in general (representing the twelve tribes) consulted with Ezekiel (14:1; 20:1), and the messages then pertained to all twelve tribes; but when the elders of Judah came (8:1), the message was distinctly for Judah—that portion of the people whose exile Ezekiel shared and those still in Judea.
This message to "the elders of Judah" covered several chapters. It contained a review of the conditions of the people of Judah—both of those still in Judea and of the thousands of Jews who had come with Ezekiel into Chaldea as exiles. The prophet is transported in vision to the temple in Jerusalem, and sees the abominations practiced there (Ezek. 8) and the punishment of all except those who had received God's mark (9). He sees the glory of Jehovah depart from the temple (10), punishment fall upon the princes, and the glory of Jehovah leave the city (11; note that in vs. 5 and 13 the people in Judea are called "house of Israel" and "the remnant of Israel"; compare 9:8, 9). After this vision ended, Ezekiel by a symbolical act expresses to his fellow exiles the coming removal of their countrymen from Jerusalem and the land of Israel, and the doom of Zedekiah, the profane wicked prince of Israel (12; note vs. 12, 13; compare Jer. 52:7-11); and he warns against false prophets and prophetesses, whether in Jerusalem or in Chaldea, who were holding out false hopes that the city would be spared (13).
Josephus tells us (Antiq. X, Chap. VII) that Ezekiel sent this prophecy to Jerusalem, and that Zedekiah was confused, because Ezekiel said "that Zedekiah should not see Babylon, while Jeremiah said to him [Jer. 32:4, 5; 34:3] that the king of Babylon should carry him away thither in bonds." Zedekiah therefore rejected them both as not speaking the truth. Both prophecies, however, were true and were fulfilled exactly (2 Kgs. 25:4-7; Jer. 52:7-11).
THE SCRIPTURAL APPLICATION
Let us be rid of the Anglo-Israel nonsense that Ezekiel was sent as a prophet only to ten-tribed Israel, and that Judah, the Jews, were not included. Now let us consider Ezek. 17 and its wonderful message. Vs. 1-10 contain the riddle; vs. 11-21, the interpretation and application of it to Zedekiah; and vs. 22-24, the promise of the Messianic Kingdom.
Ezekiel put forth this riddle, and spoke this parable, to the whole house of Israel (v. 2), including exiled representatives of Judah, of which people he had just been speaking (16:2, 3). The great eagle with great wings and long pinions (v. 3) represents the great king Nebuchadnezzar (v. 12), who swept victoriously over widely distant lands (compare Isa. 46:11; Jer. 48:40; 49:22); the diverse colors suggest that his subjects were of various races and tongues. He came to Jerusalem, here called Lebanon because it is the proper home of the cedar. The highest branch (topshoot) is Jehoiachin, and the young twigs, carried into a land of traffic, a city of merchants (v. 4), are Jehoiachin's children and the princes led with him to Babylon, the great center of commerce (v. 12).
Nebuchadnezzar took also of the seed of the land (v. 5), Zedekiah the king's uncle, a native prince, in contrast to a foreign Babylonian governor, and took an oath of him (v. 13). He did not plant this shoot like a cedar on top of a mountain, but in low ground, by great waters, like a willow tree, that the kingdom might be base and subject to him (v. 14). This planting became a spreading vine of low stature, spreading out its branches in all directions, though Nebuchadnezzar's object in planting it was that its branches would turn unto him and that its roots would be under him (v. 6).
Another great eagle (v. 7), the king of Egypt (v. 15), also had large wings and many feathers, i.e., a widespread and powerful kingdom, though less so than Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom. The vine representing Zedekiah bent its roots and shot forth its branches toward the king of Egypt, that he might water it where it was planted; Zedekiah was rebelling against Nebuchadnezzar, to whom he owed his very position, in sending to Egypt for horses and much people (v. 15). If Zedekiah had remained quiet under Nebuchadnezzar, as a hanging vine well watered, his government might have continued and prospered (vs. 8, 14), but now, Shall it prosper? Shall not Nebuchadnezzar uproot and cut off this planting he made? (v. 9); for how can he escape who thus breaks his vow of allegiance? (v. 15); the king of Babylon, who had made him king, would surely uproot him and take him to Babylon, where he would die (v. 16).
Thus the low vine "shall wither in all the leaves of her spring [springing, growth]" (v. 9); and (ASV) "not by a strong arm or much people can it be raised from the roots thereof." "Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army" help him in the war (v. 17), "seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant," to which he had given his hand in a pledge of fidelity (v. 18). Zedekiah had made a solemn oath with Nebuchadnezzar in the name of Jehovah his God, upon whose throne he sat as king over Israel (1 Chron. 28:5; 29:23) and as God's representative. By despising what was thus representatively "the oath of God" (Eccles. 8:2) and by breaking the covenant he had made with Nebuchadnezzar, he had brought reproach on the name of the God of Israel. Therefore God solemnly averred, "Surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my covenant that he hath broken, even it will I recompense upon his own head" (v. 19); "I will bring him to Babylon, and will plead with [Hebrew, shaphat, judge, punish] him there for his trespass that he hath trespassed against me" (v. 20). Those fleeing with him would not escape death, and those remaining would be scattered in all directions (v. 21; compare 12:12-16).
THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM PROMISED
Vs. 22-24 describe the planting of the true twig of the stem of David. God says (v. 22), "I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it" (KJV), or, more literally, "I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar, and will set it out" (RSV; compare Keil and The Jewish Publication Society translations). The next clause is a parallelism, giving the same thought in different words: "I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent [or, a high and lofty mountain]."
Who is this sprig, this tender twig or shoot? Surely it could not be of Zedekiah, including one of his daughters, as the Anglo-Israelites claim. In US&BCP, p. 108, Mr. Armstrong with his customary wresting and twisting of the Scriptures and his brilliant jugglery sets Zedekiah on top of the cedar tree as its highest branch, whereas the Bible describes him merely as "of the seed of the land" and "a spreading vine of low stature" that "shot forth sprigs" (vs. 5, 6).
It was not one of these sprigs that God took for planting, but a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar. Furthermore, God said (vs. 9, 10) that "when the east wind toucheth it [the vine of low stature; Nebuchadnezzar came from Assyria, the East, to wreak vengeance]" it shall wither in all its leaves; for he shall "pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it wither" beyond recovery—for "not by a strong arm or much people can it be raised from the roots thereof" (ASV)—"shall it not UTTERLY wither?" How positively God puts the matter! The Solomonic regal government shall be no more restored (in Ireland or any place else). Zedekiah shall be its last monarch, and the Solomonic dynasty shall finally terminate with him—utterly withered, pulled up by the roots, beyond recovery.
But God promises to raise up another monarchy, for which He takes a sprig, a young twig or scion, from the lofty top of the cedar, the rightful representative of the royal house of David (compare Gen. 49:10; Ezek. 21:25-27). Jesus came as "a tender plant" (Isa. 53:2; 11:1), not only tender as a young shoot from David's line, but tender also in the same sense in which David and Solomon were tender in their want of strength for the proper administration of such a government (2 Sam. 3:39; 1 Kgs. 3:7; 1 Chron. 22:5; 29:1; Prov. 4:3). God planted this scion upon "a high and lofty mountain" (v. 22): "in the mountain of the height of Israel" (v. 23), "in mine holy mountain" (20:40); "I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion—the seat and center of the Kingdom of God (Psa. 2:6). How sacrilegious are the Anglo-Israelites in applying this Messianic promise to the legendary Tea-Tephi, supposedly a daughter of Zedekiah, the last monarch of the rejected Solomonic line! They are thus guilty of substituting her for the Messiah Himself!
The branch that God planted in His holy mountain, His Kingdom, was to "bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing [of every race, color and tongue]" (v. 23; Isa. 2:2-4; 4:2; Jer. 23:5, 6; 33:15; Zech. 3:8; 6:12).
During Christ's Millennial Reign (Acts 3:19-23; Rev. 20:1-4, 6) all of earth's great ones (trees of the field, v. 24) shall know that Jehovah has brought down the high tree and dried up the green tree (the Solomonic line) and has exalted the low tree and made the dry tree (the Nathan line of David and its Branch Jesus, to whom God gives "the throne of his father David"; Luke 1:32, 46-55; Isa. 53:1-12; 54:1-17; 62:1-7), from which He and His precious Bride, the Church, "the Lamb's wife," as the Spiritual Seed of Abraham will bless all the families of the earth (Rev. 3:21; 19:7; 21:1-5, 9, 10; 22:17).
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