British Israelism Exposed
British Israelism versus the Bible (An article by Elwood McQuaid from Friends of Israel Ministries)
British Israelism (B.I.) claims that the term ‘Jew’ is not used to denote descendants of all the tribes of Israel. That is, while Jews descending from Judah are Israelites not all Israelites are Jews. They generally teach that when the 10 tribes of the Northern Kingdom were carried into Assyria between 741-722 BC they did not return to their land but were scattered and lost. Judah, the Southern kingdom was then carried into Babylon between 605 BC and 586 BC and a remnant later returned. We believe that the Bible does not support such a view. Rather members of all the tribes returned to the land of Israel and were there in New Testament times. Teachers of B.I. claim the 10 tribes were ‘lost’. Yet James wrote to the 12 tribes scattered abroad. These were obviously members of all the tribes who were living outside the land of Israel. They were not ‘lost’ but were scattered and therefore living outside the Promised Land. When Paul went on his missionary journeys he would go first to the local synagogue to address his fellow countrymen. If the term Jew can be shown to have become synonymous with Israel then the major foundation of BI claims is swept away. Contrary to BI claims we believe the term Jew did come to be interchangeable with the term Israelite. Consider the following verses in the New Testament. When Yeshua told the Canaanitish woman that ‘I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel,’ (Matt 5:24) surely He did not mean that He was sent to the 10 tribes that had been lost in Western Europe! He meant that His mission on earth was to His own people who were lost spiritually. He never left the land of Israel during His ministry. ‘He came unto His own and His own received Him not.’ (John 1:11) Was that ust to two tribes? John preached repentance in Judea (Mark1:4,5) yet preached repentance ‘to all the people of Israel,’ Acts 13:24. Jews "out of every nation" were dwelling at Jerusalem (Acts 2:5). Peter referred to all of these Jews as "men of Israel" (Acts 2:22). Acts 13: 6 refers to the "synagogue of the Jews" in which Paul preached. In verse 16, Paul called them "men of Israel" and in verse 17 "this people of Israel." In verse 24 he says that John "had first preached repentance to all the people of Israel," in verse 26 he called them the "stock of Abraham," and in verse 33 he referred to the Jews as "us their children"; then, showing that the Jews were the ones to whom he was speaking, verse 42 says "when the Jews came out of the synagogue." So Acts 13 adds up to this: Paul went into the "synagogue of the Jews" talking to the Jews in their synagogue, he called them "men of Israel" "this people Israel," "all the people of Israel," "stock of Abraham," and "us their children" and then "the Jews came out of the synagogue." Yet there are still British Israelites who claim that Jews are not Israelites! People on the earth at present are described in (1st Cor 10:32) as being Jew, Gentile or of those "called out" the "church". If, as BI teachers claim, the term Jew does not refer to the Israelite then where is the Israelite? The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, ‘to the JEW first and also to the Greek.’ (Rom 1:16) ‘The JEW first and also of the Gentile.’ (Rom 2:9) See also (Rom 2:10, 14, 17) In (Rom 3:9) ‘We have before proved BOTH JEWS AND GENTILES that they are ALL under sin.’ To get round this clear teaching of scripture many B.I. teachers state that the term ‘Gentile’ actually refers to the ’10 lost tribes’ who were ‘gentilized’ by living outside the land of Israel! Paul being sent as an Apostle to the Gentiles really means he was sent to the 10 Tribes of Israel and even travelled to Britain to preach to them. Such a twisting of the term ‘Gentile’ is easily disproved. In (Eph 2:11-22) Paul describes Gentiles as being "aliens from the commonwealth of ISRAEL" (NOT MEMBERS OF IT) but in Yeshua the wall of division is broken down and believers whether ISRAELITE or GENTILE are one in Messiah. In (Galatians 3) Paul speaks of the two groups of mankind as being JEW and GENTILE and emphasises that when they
believe, JEW and GENTILE are now one in Yeshua. These and other verses prove that the term Jew did come to be used to describe members of all the tribes of Israel.
The most common passage used to draw young Christians into British Israelism is (Jer 33:17) "For thus says the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel . . . " This passage is often quoted as proof for the British Israelite theory by its propagators. The B.I. teacher will argue that the passage teaches that the throne of David is to exist continuously forever through all generations. They then ask, if so then where is it today? They claim to have the answer and an appeal is made to the ‘ancient annals of Ireland’ to attempt to prove that Queen Elizabeth now sits on David’s throne. It is claimed that a Hebrew princess Tephi was the daughter of King Zedekiah of Judah, and therefore heir to the throne of David. The prophet Jeremiah brought her to Ireland to where Israelites had already migrated. They
carried with them the stone upon which Jacob slept and upon which Kings of Judah were crowned. This became the coronation stone "Lia Fail" which until recently was in Westminster Abbey. Tests on the stone confirm it as a red sandstone of Scottish origin and not from the land of Canaan. Achart is produced that claims to trace Queen Elizabeth’s ancestry back to Tephi, to Zedekiah and on back to David. British Israelite speakers love to relate these and other romantic legends. If they just stuck to
the legends we would not take issue with them. However we must take issue with them when they misapply scripture to bolster up the ‘ancient legends’. The text in (Jeremiah 33:17) must be studied in its context. Note two things about the context.
(1) British-Israelites usually only quote the first part of the covenant, but the covenant continues: "Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually"(Jeremiah 33:18). Are there Levites today offering burnt offerings, kindling meat offerings and doing "sacrifice continually?" Notice the similar references in vs. 21, 22. The answer is no! Some B.I. writers have claimed the Druids were in fact Levites and that ‘priests’ in the Church of England are doing the work of Levites.
(2) The promise, "David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel" is referring to Yeshua. Consider the context: "Behold, the days come" (v. 14). What days? "In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land" (v. 15). The Branch is singular (i.e. "he") and does not, therefore, refer to a successive line of kings and queens. This description can only refer to Yeshua ha Mashiach, for ‘Branch’ is a title of Yeshua see (Is 4:2; 11:1) (Jer 23:5) (Zech 3:8 and 6:12) (Rev 22:16) The prophet Hosea foretold that there would be a
period when Israel, "shall abide without a king and without a prince." (Hosea 3:2) In (Luke 1:31-33) we read of Yeshua, "…The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign over the House of Jacob forever; and of His Kingdom shall there be no end." Yeshua came to be the true King of Israel. Jer 33:16)... "In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness." Neither Judah, Jerusalem nor Great Britain can be said to presently be "saved" or "dwell safely" Certainly today, Great Britain does not merit the description, "The LORD our righteousness." Jeremiah’s prophecy has not failed, for it is referring to Yeshua who is the Prophet, Priest and the King. The text is a Messianic text. British Israelism not only takes promises given to Israel and applies them to Britain and to the United States, but they also take prophecies that belong to the Saviour and apply them to Britain and to the United States!
Do the Hebrew scriptures support B.I.?
B.I. writers often refer to the Assyrian captivity of the Northern Kingdom of Israel which took place from 741BC to 721 BC. They argue that all the people of the 10 tribes were carried away into Assyria and then later set off north and west into Europe. They claim the blessings of Jacob upon Ephraim and Manasseh have been and are being fulfilled in the white citizens of Britain and N America. Some boldly state that NONE out of the 10 tribes returned to Israel, however such claims face a major difficulty! The scriptures tell a different story. Years after the captivity, "Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to "Ephraim and Manasseh that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover unto the LORD God of Israel." (2nd Chron 30:1) Further to that (2nd Chron 30:18) states that, "many of Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun" came to Jerusalem. That would have been a long trip if they had to come all the way from Britain and Ireland! In the year 628 BC, a century AFTER the Assyrian captivity, Josiah called Israel and Judah to observe the Passover. (2nd Chron 34:9) records that Ephraim and Manasseh contributed to the repairing of the Temple by Josiah. If the 10 tribes were in Europe at this time, as B.I. teachers maintain, how could they also be present at Jerusalem?
In Luke 2:36 it is recorded that Yeshua was seen in the Temple by a prophetess named Anna, of the "Tribe of Asher" If Asher had disappeared into Europe and lost knowledge of their identity, who had kept the lineage of Anna's family? B.I. teachers claim that the appointed"place for My people Israel"referred to in (2nd Sam 7:10) is the British Isles. Followers of B I in USA, usually known as "Identity Truth" teach the appointed place is North America. We will not take the space to go into detail on the meaning of (2nd Sam 7:10) but rather urge readers to note that the passage specifically mentions the building of Solomon’s temple, and "the place" was where the house was to be built (verse 13). Where was the house built? In the "appointed place" the land of Canaan, not somewhere else. Years later Nehemiah said it was the "place"
to which Israel returned after their captivity, when God "gathered them from thence" to "bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set My Name there", (Neh 1:8-10) One should also note any cross reference from (2nd Sam 7:10) in (2nd Kings 21:7,8) which clearly shows the 'House' referred to is in Jerusalem NOT in London or New York! One wonders how THE place could be said to be in both Britain and the USA at the same time. It is interesting that though challenged we have still not heard an explanation of how those who travelled from Britain (Ephraim) suddenly became the tribe of Manasseh when they landed in North America. Neither has it been explained how USA (Manasseh) could be blessed if they rebelled against the Royal Israelite throne in England. Surely every true Israelite should acknowledge the Throne of David. Verses in Isaiah that refer to "isles" are said by B.I. teachers to mean the British Isles. However in Hebrew the word can be translated "coastlands", "the shore of a mainland or an island coast".
Jacob’s Blessings upon Ephraim and Manasseh
"...howbeit his younger brother (Ephraim) shall be greater than he (Manasseh) and his seed shall become a multitude of nations." (Genesis 49:19) "Starting with the patriarchs, British-Israelism argues that Jacob's promise to Ephraim in (Gen 48:19) predicted the transformation of Ephraim/Israel into Gentiles. In reality this prophecy begins to be fulfilled "from the days of the Judges onward, as the tribe of Ephraim in power and compass so increased that it became the head of the northern ten tribes, and its name became of like significance with that of Israel. Joshua, whom Israel so long regarded as their ruler, was an Ephraimite. The ark of the covenant was placed in Shiloh in the territory of Ephraim, which increased the tribe's prestige. How could Jacob have prophesied Ephraim's supremacy so positively except by divine inspiration?
Dust of the Earth
Another major cornerstone of this teaching is that social historical Israel, as it is traditionally perceived, cannot possibly fulfil the promises of physical multiplicity that was to equal "the sand of the sea," "the dust of the earth," or the "stars of the sky." Such a hyper-literalist reading of these phrases, which rules out their common-sense interpretation, ignores the scriptural record. For (2nd Chr 1:9) states clearly that the people over whom Solomon reigned (Israel) were "a people as numerous as the dust of the earth." (Isa 10:22) also refers to the people of Israel being "as the sand of the sea" in number.
B.I. is in error for the following reasons: flawed, unwarranted, and dangerous interpretation of scripture; inconsistent logic and contradictions; racist and race-based theology; historically inaccurate depictions of Israel.