Wrested Scriptures

British Israelism

British Israel
  Genesis 35:11
  Ezra 1:5; 2:1
  Jeremiah 33:17
  Jeremiah 43:5-7
of Christ


Carbon Dating

& Inaccuracies

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Preliminary Points:

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British-Israelism1 has until recently lost much of its zest. The year 1939 was held by followers of its teaching to be of great significance when the Prince of Wales (called Prince David) became monarch. It was said at the time that he would live a long prosperous life which would result in the advent of the Messiah. The Prince of Wales, however, married the twice-divorced Mrs. Simpson and his abdication dealt a temporary blow to British Israelite doctrine.
Now that Britain is ridden with agnosticism and loss of influence in the international world one would have thought that British-Israelism would have little to offer. But recently through the mass media of radio on a world-wide basis, Herbert W. Armstrong's "World Tomorrow" broadcasts have given new life to British-Israel teaching. A number of Bible passages are cited in support of its doctrine and special publications on the subject have circulated since 1954.
In brief, British-Israelism (with some variation) is the belief that modern Britain and the Anglo-Saxon peoples of Canada, the U.S.A., Denmark, Sweden, Holland, France, Germany and Northwestern European nations comprise the "lost" ten tribes of Israel. The following are key "kernel" beliefs of British-Israelism:
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  1. That the term "Jew" as used in Scripture applies only to the two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) and not to the "House of Israel" - the ten tribes. The terms "Israelite" and "Jew" are not synonymous for British-Israelites.
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  2. That the return of Jews under Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah to Palestine from their captivity was limited to the two tribes.

  3. That David's throne is presently the throne on which Queen Elizabeth sits in London, England.2
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  4. That the "stone of Israel" of Gen. 49:24 was the pillow used by Jacob and carried by him into Palestine. When Nebuchadnezzar invaded the land of Israel in 606 B.C., the daughter of Zedekiah, King of Judah, fled to Egypt with Jeremiah the prophet, taking the stone with her. From Egypt it was shipped by Jews to Ireland, then Scotland and finally found its place in the coronation chair in Westminster Abbey.

A noteworthy blow to British Israelism occurred in the 1990's when Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God renounced British Israelism.  In 1995 the following announcement was made by Armstrong's church:

Position Statement About the Identity of the Tribes of Israel

The following statement has been prepared to answer media inquiries about the Worldwide Church of God's doctrine regarding the modern identities of the lost ten tribes of Israel:
The church teaches that national identity and ethnic origin have absolutely nothing to do with the believer's standing before God. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). The knowledge of any proposed biblical identity of modern nations does not forgive sin, assure salvation or improve human relationships.
For over 50 years, the Worldwide Church of God taught that Great Britain and the United States of America descended from two of the lost ten tribes of Israel. However, while the church has held certain beliefs concerning the identity of the lost ten tribes, it has never embraced all the tenets of what is commonly called "British-Israelism."
Today, after having carefully researched the tenets and history of its belief that the United States and Britain are the descendants of the ancient Israelite tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim, the Worldwide Church of God no longer teaches this doctrine. While it may be an interesting theory, there is simply a lack of credible evidence, either in the biblical account or the historical record, to support a conclusion regarding the modern identity of the lost ten tribes of Israel. We recognize that there were hermeneutical and historical inaccuracies in the church's past understanding of this issue.
Therefore, in accordance with the church's historical position of a willingness to change when convicted that its teachings are biblically inaccurate, the church no longer attempts to identify the modern-day descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. 

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  1. The term "British-Israelism" is used instead of "Anglo-Israelism" since Herbert Armstrong's doctrine is popularly known by the former term. Return

  2. Some astounding conclusions have been drawn from British-Israelite doctrine. Edward Hine, one of the greatest promoters of its teaching said: "It is an utter impossibility for England ever to be defeated. And this is another result arising entirely form the fact of our being Israel." Edward Hine, "The British Nation identified with Lost Israel", p. 73. Robert Roberts, former editor of the Christadelphian Magazine, engaged Hine in a three-nights' debate in Exeter Hall, London, England, 1879. The debate was subsequently published. See, "Are Englishmen Israelites?", (Birmingham: C. C. Walker, 1919). Return