Awe-inspiring prophecies recorded long ago have been fulfilled. Others are now coming to pass. Still others are yet to occur. These all involve the greatest nations in the history of the world—and they are part of a divine purpose far beyond the imagination of the world’s most brilliant minds!
Approximately one-third of the Bible is prophecy—history written in advance. Over 80 percent of this future history is yet to be fulfilled. Tragically, most Bible readers are completely unaware of awesome, impending world events, soon to shock all nations—focusing first on the greatest nations. Vast sections of Scripture are hidden from them, and remain lost to their understanding. The result is that most simply have no idea what the future holds. Even those who are interested in learning remain tangled in a Gordian knot of disjointed, confusing, competing—and plain wrong!—popular ideas and opinions. They remain ignorant of fascinating, incredible—and truly vital!—knowledge, life-changing knowledge.
This need not be you!
God intended these “great nations prophecies” be understood, or He would not have recorded them. They involve events no man could carry out—but God can—and their fulfillment does not hinge on the thinking or agreement of human beings. God’s Word is “sure” and all would “do well” to “take heed”—pay attention!—to what God makes known.
The most educated, prosperous and influential civilizations have all come and gone, with no exceptions. The pattern of history is that Rome, Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Persia, and other powerful, developed empires, rose to dizzying heights before crumbling and final collapse.
Will America’s and Britain’s future be the same?
Everything is at stake for the Anglo-Saxon peoples—literally. Cataclysmic prophecies must yet be fulfilled—and these will soon begin to crash upon unsuspecting populations. You can, indeed you must, understand all that lies ahead for hundreds of millions.
The ultimate future of the American and British peoples is astounding, with their greatest period of prosperity and world influence yet ahead. But this time will not come as their leaders, planners and thinkers might hope.
What precedes it is totally unexpected.
When related Bible passages are placed together in clear and concise form—the Bible is a jigsaw puzzle, and it must be permitted to interpret itself—the prophecies about America and Britain (and certain other Western countries) are not difficult to understand. In fact, you will wonder why so few have been able to comprehend them.
God has left a plain message in His Word—a clear path—for those willing to read and understand, and willing to accept blunt warnings, impossible to misunderstand. If this is you, it is necessary to read the whole book, through the final chapter.
May God help you comprehend all you are about to learn!
Suppose you could know the direction and conclusion of world events—world history—in advance of the outcome. What if you could know the courses of nations before they happen? What if the future of great nations—indeed the greatest nations—could be known? In other words, imagine knowing tomorrow’s biggest headlines before they come to pass, and how events will affect you, and every human being, personally.
Now imagine knowing in detail exactly what is in store for the United States and Britain—the greatest nations in all history. The governments and leaders of the West do not know the shocking, world-shattering changes just over the horizon for the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and certain Western European nations—with the Middle East at the center of the coming explosion of events.
But you can know—and, if you read carefully, you soon will!
Turmoil, fear and confusion now grip the nations of the West. Terrorism, resultant economic upheaval and widespread uncertainty have left people confused, not knowing where to turn for answers to the great questions about the future, now on the minds of millions!
Many sense that the differences both between and within nations are intensifying, threatening to spin out of control. New and different power blocs are forming, with traditional alliances wavering, waning or disappearing.
Ominous signs of grave difficulty in resolving humanity’s most fundamental problems are everywhere. Many sense that the world is hurtling toward terrible trouble, even absolute calamity. Disease, famine and war sweep the planet as never before. New diseases are continually appearing and old ones are reappearing worse than ever. This and famine, which always follows in the wake of war, are decimating entire segments of local populations. Weapons of mass destruction, so incomprehensibly destructive that they boggle the mind, now threaten humanity as never before. Many nations are learning to live “on alert” to terrorist “cells,” which can strike anywhere without notice.
World conditions, events and trends speak daily in frightening terms about how things could quickly turn in the wrong direction. The courses of nations, including the greatest nations, hang in the balance. History shows that all the great civilizations eventually crashed, having become decadent, awash in material prosperity, greed—and educated in wrong knowledge. This can happen again!
Of course, many are unmoved—unfazed—not concerned about the tumultuous events surrounding them, trusting that things will work out in the end “because they always do.” Many, believing things will eventually “turn out alright,” close their eyes, choosing to pursue pleasure and the accumulation of material goods at an even more frantic pace. But for the short term, things will not turn out alright. World conditions are and will become far more serious—even catastrophic—than most realize.
At the same time, regarding just the physical location of nations, the recent “generation X,” and now the much worse “generation millennium,” reflect an appalling ignorance of the most basic geography, and a nearly total lack of knowledge about even the most rudimentary understanding of relationships between countries—with studies now revealing that most people ages 18 to 24 cannot even locate them on a map.
Why can the very best minds not find peace? Why do even these remain in almost complete ignorance of the staggering events soon to strike all humanity? Both Isaiah, in the Old Testament (Isa. 59:8), and Paul, in the New Testament (Rom. 3:17), flatly state that men do “not know the way to peace.” This vital knowledge has been missing for millennia. The institutions of men are woefully uninformed—and ultimately toothless—concerning the causes of peace, leading to the right effects all peoples long for—world peace. In the end, neither diplomacy nor war has worked, while knowledge of the right causes that lead to peace remains unseen, eliminating any hope of success.
While men may talk about, call for and pretend to seek peace, world leaders always seem to fall back on the tool of war to achieve it—and suffering, misery and unhappiness increase in its wake. Even Napoleon warned, “You have got to be very careful with war, because, with all the excitement, you may grow to love it.” Nations have grown to love war—indeed, they are addicted to it. For 6,000 years, man has proven himself unable to break the cycle of war.
As a result, history’s greatest wars lie dead ahead!
Against the backdrop of growing fear, mixed with ignorance, many wonder—and are openly asking—about America and Britain’s role in the great prophecies foretold in the Bible to occur in the “last days.” Recognizing their rise to extraordinary prominence, having become so big and dominant, that their impact on the world at large is enormous, people naturally wonder, “What about the United States and Britain?” Surely, among the Bible’s great prophecies, God would not ignore them. Are they mentioned in prophecy? If so, where? And will these nations be exceptions to the collapse of all the great civilizations that preceded them?
Not knowing who or what to believe, some ask their ministers—and find that they do not know! Others turn to so-called prophecy experts—psychics, seers, crystal ball gazers and self-described prophets, and other “experts”—but find that none of these know either. Truly, the educated of this world—but uneducated in basic, right spiritual knowledge—commentators, columnists, generals, scientists and educators—have absolutely no idea how to answer this question. Deceived, and having closed their minds, many at least do recognize this is beyond their field.
It was only about 200 years ago that America and the British Commonwealth of nations suddenly shot to great prominence and power. Not so long ago, the combined wealth of these nations was over 70 percent of the total wealth and physical resources of the world. All the rest of the nations combined possessed less than 30 percent—considerably less than half of just these two nations. Of Britain, it was often said, “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” Yet, right on schedule, Britain has declined to an almost third-rate power.
Now consider. About one-third of the Bible is prophecy, and nearly 90 percent of this remains unfulfilled. Virtually all of it has to do with world events, trends and happenings for our time. How then could the mightiest nations of all time be left unmentioned?
But, invariably, religious leaders explain that America, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are merely Gentile nations, thus believing that end-time prophecy totally disregards these great nations, with America and Britain the greatest of all time. Deceived, they usually focus on the prophecies describing the Jews, while remaining completely ignorant of the enormous understanding available to those who know where and how to find pivotal knowledge, missing in today’s world, about the identity of the Anglo-Saxon peoples of the West. These “leaders” simply do not know where, how—or what—to look for. Therefore, the answers remain elusive.
Knowing that something is terribly wrong, many sense that the world has reached what the Bible calls the “end time”—or “last days.” This has caused a mushrooming of interest in biblical prophecy.
Literally, millions of people now routinely discuss terms such as “Anti-Christ, Great Tribulation, Millennium, Armageddon, Beast, False Prophet, God’s Wrath, Abomination of Desolation” and others, without proper meaning or comprehension. Again, they simply do not know where or how to look within God’s Word to get correct understanding of what these and other terms mean, and how they will play out, sequentially, within God’s incredible Master Plan for the end of the age. Like a kind of prophetic “Rubik’s Cube,” the many critical pieces of the puzzle never come together. This is because, instead of directly examining the hundreds of clear scriptures on these and other aspects of prophecy—for proof (I Thes. 5:21)!—many seem content to trust in human “experts.”
As a result, confusion and disagreement about how to solve this great Rubik’s Cube are also mushrooming, indeed have never been greater.
The Bible is approximately 750,000 words. Since about one-third is prophecy, this means that 250,000 words are devoted to many, many prophecies. Now ask: What possible purpose would God have for devoting a full third of His Words to a subject—any subject—and then leave mankind in the dark about it? God gives prophecy for two clear purposes: (1) As a warning for those who will take heed and (2) proof of the existence of the true God of the Bible—and, therefore, the authority of the Bible.
This book brings the plain truth of the Bible to the final events prophesied to soon strike an unsuspecting world in general—and the United States and Britain in particular!
Any study of prophecy has to begin with the proper definition of what it is. Most lack an understanding of even this most basic knowledge.
Bible prophecy is “the inspired, divine revelation or foretelling of historical events, written in advance of those events, pertaining to the unfolding of God’s Plan for mankind.” A shorter definition is simply “foretelling the future.”
The apostle Peter wrote this about how God intends that prophecy illuminate the understanding of those who study it: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place…” (II Pet. 1:19). This verse reveals God’s purpose regarding His “sure word of prophecy,” designed to bring “light” to “dark places”—so that people will “take heed.” You must be willing to take heed to what is written.
Now continue: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” (vs. 20). This verse is most crucial to understand. No single verse—or even any two or three passages—is sufficient to bring full, correct prophetic understanding. God says that His Word is recorded “precept upon precept; line upon line…here a little, and there a little” (Isa. 28:10, 13). One must know how to put many related verses together to get the full picture.
Continue again in II Peter 1: “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (vs. 21). In short, prophecy comes from God, through His servants, as He inspires them to record His words.
God alone can fulfill prophecy. No human being has even the knowledge of what are world-shattering future events, let alone the power to bring them to pass centuries or even millennia beyond his lifetime. In Isaiah 41:21-23, God challenges all would-be “prophets” of this world to try to do what only He can do.
In Isaiah 48, God says, “I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of My mouth, and I showed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass…I have even from the beginning declared it to you; before it came to pass I showed it you” (vs. 3, 5).
The Moffatt translation renders verse 3 this way: “What has occurred I foretold long ago; it fell from My lips, I predicted it, then suddenly I acted—it was done.” What God purposes will happen! If He tells us something—anything—is to occur, it will occur!
Isaiah 46:9-10 states, “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.”
Strong words—and all skeptics ought heed them well!
But God goes further. Not only are men powerless to foretell and fulfill prophecy, God is also capable of thwarting and overthrowing the purposes of governments and nations: “The Eternal wrecks the purposes of pagans, He brings to nothing what the nations plan; but the Eternal’s purpose stands for ever, and what He plans will last from age to age…The Eternal looks from heaven, beholding all mankind; from where He sits, He scans all who inhabit the world; He who alone made their minds, He notes all they do” (Psa. 33:10-15, Moffatt translation).
Yes, men may have their plans about how to solve the big, complex problems facing civilization, but God “wrecks”—smashes—them, “bringing them to nothing.” God has plainly told us how He plans to do this at the conclusion of 6,000 years of human affairs.
God gives us this sure promise of what will happen in advance of events He intends to fulfill: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He reveals His secret unto His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).
God keeps His promises. He always reveals major events before they happen.
Everyone wants to know what the future holds. Many have opinions, but few recognize where to find the answers. Others think they understand the prophecies of the Bible—and this is probably most true of the book of Revelation. Yet, when understood, all popular human interpretations of this book are ridiculous—a complete jumble of ideas where a little truth is mixed with much error. They are almost painful to read—yet large numbers now do believe such dangerous, counterfeit scenarios.
What is the truth about prophecy? What does the Bible really say about events preceding Christ’s Return? Sobering world conditions make this question loom larger than ever. Nothing that has occurred over the past 6,000 years even remotely compares to what is yet to come upon this world!
Understand! Almighty God will soon have to intervene and save humanity from itself. But before this occurs, world trouble will greatly increase—intensifying to staggering proportions. This will be followed by unexpected and cataclysmic events that will shake the whole world! Civilization, as we know it, will change forever.
Many have come to believe that it has always been God’s intention to leave all prophecy sealed, closed from understanding. Yet, you will be intrigued—even fascinated—by the ringing clarity of what can be known about the future. Events are building to a final culmination—a tremendous climax! Again, you can understand them.
The introduction to the book of Revelation shows God’s intent is to reveal to “His servants” what lies ahead for all nations. The Revelation comes from Christ, not John, who is merely the scribe recording what Christ reveals to all who will heed His words: “The Revelation [a revealing] of Jesus Christ [not John]…to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass…signified…unto His servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ…Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (1:1-3).
Obviously, none can “keep” the great prophecies of Revelation, or any others, unless they understand them. Therefore, God must provide the necessary keys to understanding all that lies ahead. We will examine these keys.
Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 are parallel accounts of what is called The Olivet Prophecy. This all-important prophecy works in combination with the books of Revelation and Daniel, referenced momentarily. It puts in sequence events that transcend the entire period from Christ’s First Coming until His Return, almost 2,000 years later.
Most have not understood the events of this prophecy because they do not understand the keys to unlocking it—and they do not understand that Christ spoke it “privately” to only His disciples—“His servants.” This must be understood because it identifies who are and are not able to understand what lies ahead for the world!
Matthew uses the most detail, so we will look there, where the prophecy picks up in verse 3. Notice: “And as He sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world [age]?”
Verses 4-15 follow with Christ’s list of a whole series of events, which occur sequentially until just prior to His Return. Verse 15 concludes with a reference to “Daniel the prophet” and “whoso reads, let him understand.”
Of course, most today do not—and will not—understand the shocking crush of events soon to smash into civilization. Here is why. God’s servants obey Him (Acts 5:32). Understanding flows directly from obedience to God: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments” (Psa. 111:10).
All who yield themselves in obedience to God, wishing to be His disciples—His servants—will be able to understand all the great prophecies to be fulfilled in the last days! Almost everyone in professing Christianity refuses to obey God, rejecting His authority over them—and remains blind as a result. No amount of trying to understand will unlock God’s purpose to those who will not keep His Law.
This is the great first key to grasping the meaning of major biblical prophecies for America and Britain. They are intended for, and will only be understood by, God’s true people. All others will remain in confusion, mangling and misunderstanding the horrific, world-shattering events that will soon directly impact every human being on this planet!
There is a crucial second key that must be identified, and understood by all seeking to grasp God’s end-time purpose. Without it, nations have remained in total blindness regarding even the question of human survival on planet earth. Scales cover their eyes. Of course, cynics and skeptics have dismissed all the prophecies of the Old Testament as dusty, antiquated, old Hebrew literature and poetry, of no use to us today.
They will soon learn how terribly wrong they have been!
Now note this second key well, for almost none have understood it: All of the major prophecies of the Bible have been sealed until the “time of the end”—the “last days.”
You do not need to take my word for it. Daniel, under the direct inspiration of God, makes this point plain—for all who will believe it. Recognize that God is speaking through Daniel, rather than Daniel giving some personal opinion about future events. Like John recording, as merely a human scribe, Christ’s words in the book of Revelation, Daniel similarly recorded what he was shown.
Daniel foretells a time—now here—when “knowledge shall increase” and the incredibly compelling, even electrifying, story of what God plans to do in our time. Daniel’s message had no application for his own time!
The book of Daniel spans a period of over 2,500 years of events then all yet to be fulfilled. Again, Daniel works in combination with The Olivet Prophecy and the book of Revelation (with many other smaller passages included). Generations of Bible students, unwilling to believe God, have attempted to interpret Daniel’s prophecy. All have failed, resulting in endless disagreement and confusion.
Here is what a mighty angel instructs Daniel, in chapter 12, near the last verses of his prophecy: “But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (12:4). (Seven times, in just this one chapter, it speaks of the “end, time of the end,” or when all things would be “finished.”)
Unsatisfied, and not grasping what was being told him, once again, Daniel sought to understand. Notice: “I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?” (vs. 8).
The angel repeated himself: “Go your way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand” (vs. 9-10). Recall that Christ was citing Daniel when He said that “the wise shall understand” events described for the end of the age. Let me reiterate that God says that obedience brings understanding. No wonder Daniel says, “none of the wicked shall understand.” Any who rebel against God’s Law, regardless of how they see themselves, fall into this category.
No one with eyes to see could possibly doubt that we are in the end time. God’s promise was always to unseal the prophecy when this time arrived. Also, in the very same passage describing God’s purpose to seal the prophecy until the end, He foretold, “knowledge shall be increased.” Of course, we now live in what is called the “Information Age.” No one doubts that knowledge has been increased in a general way—and this has been extraordinary. But the primary meaning here must be understood in context with the plain knowledge of the prophecy’s true meaning being revealed at the end.
So, the second vital key to properly understand Bible prophecy is that all previous generations—of even God’s true servants—had no chance to understand events described in this book, or in other biblical passages.
Will you be determined to do everything necessary to understand them?—and to act upon them?
A great master lock has padlocked the source revealing where civilization is going. Until the twentieth century, the key to this lock had been lost.
The world had not known where to look. But this master key has been found. Have you ever lost your keys? The world, like you, is literally “lost without them.”
This greatest key to correctly recognize major end-time events has only recently been identified. After all, for God to fulfill His Purpose, and keep “shut up”—“closed up”—and “sealed”—Daniel’s great prophecies, applying to the last days, He had to withhold the biggest key from all of His servants, living prior to the immediate period before Christ’s Return.
Not until the mid-1930s did God begin to reveal the enormous understanding contained in this book. The time to warn the world of impending, climactic, cataclysmic events had come. Therefore, of necessity, the time for unsealing the awesome end-time prophecies had also arrived!
This book does that. You will learn that the identity of America and Britain—and what is foretold to happen to these countries just prior to Christ’s Return—is the most important single key, unlocking the 90 percent of prophecy, yet to be fulfilled.
Now for some basic understanding completely unknown to most: The original nation of Israel split into two separate nations. Literally hundreds of prophecies talk about ancient Israel, often using the terms “House of Israel” and “House of Judah.” Each of these was taken into captivity, Israel being taken approximately 120 years before Judah.
Over a space of three years, 721-718 B.C., the House of Israel was invaded, defeated and taken captive by Assyria to the headquarters of their empire located in the Caucasus region (II Kgs. 17:18, 23-24). By the time Daniel recorded his prophecy, he was a Jewish slave with the conquered House of Judah in Babylon—and about 125 years had passed. Judah (with the tribe of Benjamin) had been attacked, conquered over the period from 604-585 B.C., and then also transported as slaves from their homeland. Therefore, Daniel’s prophecies could not have had anything to do with what had already happened to Israel and Judah well before he wrote his book.
The ancient Assyrians—modern Germany—eventually migrated to northwestern Europe, taking with them many of their Israelite captives. The world has lost sight of these people—the “Lost Ten Tribes”—because they were taken captive and transported, in two stages—far from their homeland. These tribes themselves lost track of certain basic revealed knowledge, which would have kept them in remembrance of their identity. Instead, because the Jews have ostensibly retained certain knowledge that Israel lost, the world correctly identifies the Jews (and they identify themselves). As a result, the world has generally believed that the Jews are Israel, instead of merely one of twelve tribes, which descended from Israel.
The world does not know how to identify America, Britain, Germany, Russia and other great nations—by their Bible names. Again, they have not known how or where to look—or they would know exactly what lies ahead, for themselves and the other prominent, indeed most dominant, nations of the world!
Deceived by wrong education, consisting of false knowledge and values, the best minds and “thinkers” are biased against the revealed word of God’s Instruction Manual to mankind. Thus, incredible truths remain locked away from access to the world’s leaders and other “intellectuals” who disdain the Source that reveals them.
Longstanding but now open outright hatred for America and Britain is at unprecedented intensity. It will grow worse. The truth of the Bible is that the American and British peoples will eventually lose all national wealth, power, influence and greatness. They are going to sink into such complete ignominy that the whole world will hold them in utter contempt.
We are watching this decline grow worse—and it will continue. Britain has been reduced in world stature faster than America, which is rapidly following on the heels of her decline. This is happening faster than any could imagine—but it is only the beginning of what God has in store for our peoples. They will be stripped naked before the world, left in wonderment at how they could not see what led up to their monumental collapse. Leaders are groping in the dark for answers they cannot find to the colossal problems confronting them.
But God shall finally reveal to them the cause of untold suffering and punishment, lying just beyond view. They will be forced to learn that “Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34).
Our nations are choking and drowning in sin!
Sir Winston Churchill, the famous Prime Minister of formerly Great Britain, proclaimed, “Some great purpose and design is being worked out here below.” He knew that in some fashion, a Supreme Being was working out a little-understood (and virtually unseen) plan on earth.
But what is it? Churchill never explained because he did not know.
God has not left mankind without a SOURCE of answers that reveals in detail what lies ahead—and what is His purpose. He understands human nature and where it always leads when left to its own devices. This allows Him to know, and to guide, the awesome future events to occur from now on!
The hour is late. God’s time to plainly reveal His purpose has come. The stage is set and He has lifted the curtain on the future. This world—and you—must be warned, while there is still time! Prophecy is now literally pulsating with building intensity. Horrific, world-shaking events will come, and soon!
If you take heed, you can escape them (Luke 21:36).
The Bible is God’s recorded revelation of His purpose for mankind. It is the written record of how He intends to work with all humanity—all people who have ever lived. This Master Plan directly collides with the plans of modern America, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and certain other Western countries.
But some brief history is necessary to introduce the prophecies about these nations.
Like every human project, God’s Plan—His project—to save mankind, has a starting point. God had to select one nation with which He would initially work. In essence, the entire Bible, Genesis to Revelation, is primarily the history of one single people—the nation of Israel!
Virtually all prophecy revolves around God’s purpose with this lone nation. Other nations are generally mentioned only as they come in contact with Israel. Think of it this way: The central theme of the entire Bible is the story of the Israelite nation and their relationship with the true God.
The story is not complicated, unless men choose to make it so. Once properly addressed, the ancestry of our modern peoples becomes plain. Our national origin becomes clear.
Many have mistakenly thought, “The Jews are God’s chosen people.” This is only partially true, and it denies the tremendous truth about why the United States and Britain rose to such unprecedented prominence and power.
God’s Holy Word clearly reveals that His entire plan of salvation is inseparable from, and relates to, the nation of Israel. Notice: “Who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises…” (Rom. 9:4).
The Jews never fulfilled the national greatness prophesied—and promised—to come on the modern descendants of ancient Israel. Have you wondered why?
Now ask yourself: Why is it then that the English-speaking peoples most profess to believe in the Bible and the God it describes? Why is it that all peoples of the world professing worship of the God of the Bible, were at one time taught by these English-speaking, Anglo-Saxon people? Why is it that these same people have done more to preserve the Bible than any other? Is it not also strange that these nations, and not the Jews, have proliferated the Bible around the world far more than all other nations put together?
The Jews were prophesied to become scattered, and were never foretold to achieve national greatness. It is a far different story for the United States and British Commonwealth! It has been said that “Never in history has any country or commonwealth been so blessed” and that because of this blessing, “Never have so few produced so much to feed so many for so little.” How true of these nations—but this has never been true of the Jews!
Yet, this book in no way espouses the racist concept of British Israelism, which teaches that Britain is the kingdom of God on earth. This is impossible, because Britain is declining not increasing. The Bible teaches no such silliness, but rather that the kingdom of God is vastly greater than the British Empire ever was. God’s promises of eternal salvation were never, and never will be, achieved through the horribly decadent and now shattered British Empire.
Prior to Moses leading the emerging nation of Israel from Egypt, God did not work with any single nation or people. Also, before this time, there was no Bible—no recorded Scriptures. This spans the first 2,500 years of human history. Yet, again, this period of early history reflects no dealings by God with any specific nation. Even the Bible records very little—just eleven chapters of Genesis—of the first two millennia, taking us to about 400 years after the Noachian Flood.
The Creation account shows how God began His work with humans on the smallest possible scale—one man and one woman. God introduced Himself to this first couple, explaining the basics of His Plan, offering revealed knowledge to life’s great purpose. He showed the way to peace, happiness, abundance and health—through the building of holy, righteous character, chosen by free moral agency. God explained how mankind, through eating of the Tree of Life, could achieve eternal life in the kingdom of God. This included revealing His binding, eternal, spiritual law.
Of course, Adam rejected God’s revealed way and rebelled. His sons followed the way of greed and vanity, trusting in themselves to solve problems through human reason apart from God. Humanity multiplied, and followed—and has reaped uncounted misery, troubles, evils and woes.
Throughout early history, only a very few individuals chose to obey God. Abel was referred to as “righteous”—and a few generations later, “Enoch walked with God,” as did Noah. These men were called “preachers of righteousness,” which means obedience to God’s Commandments (Psa. 119:172). Shem, Noah’s son, may have been the only other person to serve God in the period up to and immediately following the Flood.
After Shem, came Abraham, about four centuries after the Noachian Flood. By this time, all knowledge of the true God and His revealed purpose had disappeared. Once again, as in the period just prior to the Flood, men had completely turned from God’s way. It was in this circumstance that God began His Work with one man, Abraham, the one through whom He would build the nation of Israel.
As with the one man Adam, God purposed to initially reveal Himself to just one man—Abraham. This single extraordinary, determined, obedient man was all God needed to start His nation. Notice God’s simple command to him, and what was at stake if he obeyed it: “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, unto a land that I will show you: and I will make of you a great nation… I will bless you, and make your name great” (Gen. 12:1-2).
Faced with a clear decision, what then did Abraham do? Did he drag his feet, make excuses or complain? It says, “…So Abram departed” (vs. 4). Abraham accepted the condition and obeyed without excuse, question or human reasoning. He did not rebel, following Adam’s way, and the world’s course for 6,000 years. Abraham obeyed God without question, setting an example for every person—ever after—who will serve God. Obedience qualified him to inherit the promises—and it can qualify you, too.
Do not lose sight of what really happened in this remarkable account. How many today would react as Abraham did? Most would argue with God’s logic by suggesting a variety of ways God could fulfill His promise to Abraham where he was. Other scriptures show that Abraham was a very prominent, successful man. This meant he had much more to leave behind than would the average person.
He still obeyed without delay!
Much more is contained in this account than meets the eye—or than meets the shallow understanding of almost every Bible student who, at best, only partially understands what was at stake here. We shall see that incredible consequences flowed from this decision.
Recognize that Abraham’s obedience was attached to—“I will make of you a great nation.” Virtually no one grasps the significance of this huge statement, carrying implications almost beyond comprehension. Fascinating knowledge and understanding will soon open before your eyes.
Sometime later, God changed Abraham’s name (originally Abram) because Abraham was to be the father of God’s nation, Israel, established for a great purpose. Notice: “This people [Israel] have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise” (Isa. 43:21).
Isaiah’s prophecy is still future, not yet fulfilled. God never forgets His purpose—and it will be fulfilled just beyond events of the next few years.
Most Bible students do not recognize that God’s Plan carries duality throughout. The first Adam was made physical and material. The second Adam, Christ, was made divine and spiritual. The Old Covenant is material and temporal, the New Covenant is spiritual and eternal. Man was made physical, from the dust—mortal and of the human kingdom. Yet, through Christ, man may receive God’s Spirit, become spiritual—and then immortal and of the kingdom of God.
This sets up what almost everyone has missed: The promises to Abraham, in like manner, carry two separate phases. Most who know anything of the Bible are aware that salvation, through the promised Messiah, was promised through Abraham—that God gave the promise that Christ would appear as Abraham’s descendant. In other words, we receive salvation through Christ, who was born of Abraham generations later.
I must at least add that most have no idea what salvation really is. They simply have never heard the truth of exactly what is the Christian’s inheritance. But this extraordinary understanding is covered in detail in my other books. The focus of this book is on the second promise to Abraham, not just misunderstood, but entirely overlooked by Christianity and the world at large.
Let’s return to Genesis 12 for a moment and notice the great dual promise to Abraham, with the first part having to do entirely with promised physical, material greatness: “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, unto a land that I will show you: and I will make of you a great nation… I will bless you, and make your name great…and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed” (vs. 1-3).
The last part of verse 3, pointing to salvation, though largely misunderstood, has been the world’s focus. But, plainly, there is duality here. This promise has two separate aspects: (1) An unrecognized promise with physical, material, national implications—“I will make of you a great nation”—which is a reference to the race prophesied to descend from Abraham, and (2) the generally recognized spiritual promise of grace through Christ, Abraham’s “seed.”
Next notice Genesis 22:18, which is nearly identical to this promise of Gen. 12:3, stating, “And in your seed shall all the nations [“families”] of the earth be blessed.” Galatians 3:8, 16 confirms that this particular “one Seed” is a specific reference to Christ.
Some have tried to say that both promises are fulfilled in the New Testament Church, asserting that the Bible calls the Church a nation. It is true that God describes His New Testament Church as a nation: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you” (I Pet. 2:9).
Certainly, the New Testament Church is spiritual Israel today. But we will see that it is impossible for the Church to fulfill God’s reference to become “a great nation,” promised to Abraham.
It is at this point that most Bible students and professing Christians go astray. We must briefly examine how Abraham is tied to spiritual salvation for all human beings. It is critical to understand that salvation and material promises of national greatness to Abraham’s physical descendants are part of what God promised him.
While some wish to “spiritualize away” the physical promise to the physical race descending from Abraham, you will find this impossible to do when certain verses are clearly understood. As these verses are examined here, it will also become clear that they point directly to the United States, Britain and other Western countries. More of that later.
First, you may not have understood that every Christian is a child of Abraham. Yet this is what Paul told the Gentile Galatians: “Know you therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham” (3:7).
The book of Galatians calls Abraham “the father of the faithful.” This is because those “of faith” are his “children.” Understanding the phrase “children of Abraham” is key to understanding what Christians will inherit.
The New Testament also speaks of this promise to Abraham. Notice: “Now to Abraham and his seed [children] were the promises made…” (Gal. 3:16). This speaks of specific promises made to Abraham and “his seed”—his children. Here is how this is tied to Christians: “And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (vs. 29). While millions sing “Standing on the Promises,” they do not know what the promises are!
This verse is a fascinating statement. All faithful Christians are heirs—not yet inheritors—to whatever was promised to Abraham.
Grasp this. Your salvation is tied to this promise!
Therefore, you need to know what was promised to Abraham. The answer is all-important since it explains how you will spend eternity!
Surely God would not expect anyone to blindly accept what was promised without investigation. (No agreement, contract or covenant works this way.) The Bible does reveal the nature of this promise. Once you discover what God said, His entire purpose for mankind can be understood. It is revealed in a series of verses, because it is an unfolding promise, not all revealed in any one passage. God’s extraordinary promise slowly expands to enormous proportions.
Prepare to be astonished! You are about to read things no one understands—or even can—without God revealing them. Paul wrote, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared [His promises] for them that love Him. But God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit” (I Cor. 2:9-10).
May God’s Spirit open your mind to understand. What He promised Israel—and has promised you—is beyond the wildest dreams of your imagination!
Christ’s role, at His First Coming, had a direct bearing on the promises to Abraham: “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Rom. 15:8).
We will see how Christ’s sacrifice did this. But first we must identify who the “fathers” are. Acts 3:13 holds the answer: “The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Son Jesus.”
So, the fathers referred to are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Christians will inherit whatever was promised to them!
We saw that Abraham was obedient—faithful. Whatever God told him to do, he did! Because true Christians also faithfully obey God (Acts 5:32), this is another way in which Abraham is a father, in type, to them. He obeyed God without question, setting an example for every Christian. Obedience qualified Abraham to inherit the promises—and it can qualify you.
The promises become more specific in the next verses of Genesis 12 as Abraham begins his journey: “And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto your seed [children] will I give this land” (vs. 6-7).
The land that he went to is the modern-day nation known as Israel. This is the first indication of what God promised him. It is now evident that the promise involves land with unspecified boundaries—“this land.”
But how much land?
The answer to this question develops in stages. We will examine each. Notice: “And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now your eyes, and look from the place where you are northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed forever” (Gen. 13:14-15).
At this point, what Abraham could “see,” looking in four directions, was the immediate region around where he stood. Yet, it was to go to his children forever. Notice that. Forever means eternally!
Verse 16 adds this about his descendants: “And I will make your seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall your seed also be numbered.”
This means that a staggering number of people would eventually descend from Abraham. It also introduces two related points: (1) A number of this magnitude—“as the [grains of] dust of the earth”—has to be far more than just the Jews, and (2) a passage suggesting other nations must be included.
Genesis 15 adds further to the promise, and begins to show the magnitude of what “to your seed” means. Let’s read what God showed Abraham in a vision: “And He brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if you be able to number them: and He said unto him, So shall your seed be” (vs. 5).
But the scope of the promise, and the land involved, is about to increase beyond the boundaries of Canaan. As with a deed, when one inherits land, specific boundaries must spell out exactly how much land is involved. Obviously, God understands this. Notice: “In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto your seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt [the Nile] unto the great river, the river Euphrates [present-day Iraq]” (Gen. 15:18).
This is specific! The Nile River bisects Egypt—and the Euphrates River divides present-day Iraq almost directly down the middle, from northwest to southeast. So this is land on earth, not heaven, as some suggest. And any map will show you that it is much land. It is also much more than Abraham could see. But the final amount God described is actually far greater than this.
Several scriptures explain that, ultimately, the entire earth was the land to be given to Abraham. Here is one: “Our father Abraham…for the promise, that he [Abraham] should be the heir of the world …” (Rom. 4:12-13).
Christ taught, “The meek shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5). Christians will be “heirs” of the whole world because God keeps His promises!
But let’s return to the immediate development of what the promise to Abraham encompassed.
The following expansion of the promise shows that blessings were promised regarding more than just the “one seed,” Christ of Galatians 3:16. This is crucial to understand because many miss this point entirely.
Remember again, the promises to Abraham of both race and grace were revealed to him in stages. Let’s read the next stage, expanding God’s intent: “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be you perfect. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made you” (Gen. 17:1-5).
If Abraham obeyed God—so the promises were still conditional at this point—this passage reveals that Abraham would father more than one nation—“many”—and his descendants would be multiplied.
Understand what this verse is saying. It cannot be solely referring to the Jews, because they have never been more than one nation. (They have always been scattered into many nations.)
In addition, there is no possible way that this could refer solely to Christ. Verse 6 makes this even plainer: “And I will make you exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations [ plural] of you, and kings [ plural] shall come out of you.” This last phrase adds something new—and extremely important!
Consider. How could a reference to “nations” and “kings” possibly refer to Abraham’s spiritual children (Gal. 3:29) and scattered individuals in the Church, forming one “holy nation” (I Pet. 2:9)? The answer is, it cannot—and it must be referring to ethnic descendants of Abraham, the promise of race.
Now notice the next verse in chapter 17: “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting [forever] covenant…” (vs. 7). The reference here to “their generations” confirms that this is more than one seed—more than Christ alone.
Verse 8 strengthens the promise: “And I will give unto you, and to your seed after you, the land wherein you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God,” with verse 9 repeating this for emphasis: “You shall keep My covenant therefore, you, and your seed after you in their generations.”
These are astonishing words! The very course of history is reflected in them. For many “generations,” God promised to bless Abraham’s physical descendants. Of course, the fact that salvation comes by following Abraham’s pattern of obedience and belief in God’s instructions, is of enormous importance spiritually, because it defines the path to salvation for every human being (Rom. 15:8)!
Remember, God’s original promise to Abraham was conditional. Abraham had to prove that he was obedient to whatever he was instructed to do. In chapter 22, God took the test to a new level, commanding him to sacrifice his only son according to promise, Isaac (Rom. 9:7-8). Without hesitation, he did exactly what God said.
Notice: “And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said, By Myself have I sworn, says the Lord, for because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son: that in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice” (Gen. 22:15-18).
At this point, the promise became unconditional. How many people would be willing to sacrifice their only child, if God required it? Abraham was willing, and obeyed God in every point, no matter the personal cost. This is how God described his obedience: “Because that Abraham obeyed [past tense] My voice, and kept [past tense] My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws” (Gen. 26:5).
The Bible plainly says, “Sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). Abraham kept this law, and so must you to inherit what was promised to him.
One other crucial point must be understood here. God told Abraham that his descendants would “possess the gate of his enemies.” This has to be a reference to real nations on earth, not salvation through Christ. You must grasp this!
Genesis 24:60 makes even plainer the material, physical aspect of this promise concerning number of descendants occupying actual nations and strategic positions on earth. Notice: “Be you [Sarah] the mother of thousands of millions [billions], and let your seed possess the gate of those which hate them.”
The Jews have never held such strategic “gates.” They have always lived among or been surrounded by their enemies. Do not let deluded people, ignorant in the Bible, assert that this means the Jews, or convince you to “spiritualize” away or ignore such plain texts. For the Bible to be true, we must look for, and be able to find, in history, one people who occupy more than one nation. Remember, they must be one people and they must possess the gates of their enemies—or the Bible stands disproved!
In the next account, God included Abraham’s son, Isaac, in the promise. Notice that God repeated much of what He had said to Abraham: “And the Lord appeared unto him [Isaac], and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell you of: sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for unto you, and unto your seed [Isaac’s], I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swore unto Abraham your father; and I will make your seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto your seed all these countries; and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 26:2-4). Isaac’s son, Jacob, also similarly qualified to receive God’s promise (Gen. 35:9-12).
The obedience of one man, Abraham, was sufficient to pass on astonishing blessings that would eventually encompass “all the nations of the earth.” This then must include Gentile nations as well.
An important inset is added here, explaining the eternal implications of the promise to Abraham. It involves all who obey God: When do Christians become inheritors, no longer remaining merely heirs? Abraham is also a key to properly understanding this. Where is he now? Is he in heaven? Has he already inherited the promises made to him? When put together, three verses answer these questions, forming a complete picture.
Recall that God told Abraham to depart and he obeyed. Here is what Paul said about this: “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:8-10).
There are several important elements here. Abraham was to “after receive” his inheritance. In faith, he “looked for” what God was building, but understood that he was in a “strange country.” He and his son (Isaac) and grandson (Jacob) remained “heirs” all during their lifetimes—and they still are!
Next comes a remarkable statement. Every Christian must grasp and live by it: “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (vs. 13).
The land that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sojourned in never became theirs during their lifetimes. They died “in faith,” but they did see God’s promises “afar off.”
Many do not want the truth of God’s words explained to them. They prefer the empty traditions of men to the awesome truth of God—and this is awesome understanding!
Some have even paid with their lives for telling others what I have just told you.
The deacon Stephen was stoned to death—martyred—just moments after telling his listeners the following:
“And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; the God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, and said unto him, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and come into the land which I shall show you. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from there, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein you now dwell. And He gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet He promised that He would give it to him for a possession…” (Acts 7:2-5).
This scripture confirms Hebrews 11. Abraham received “none inheritance” during his lifetime. It says, “not so much as to set his foot on [the land].”
How much plainer can God be?
So then, where is Abraham? The Bible answers, “Abraham is dead” and “the prophets are dead” (John 8:52-53). This means that Christians are merely heirs in this lifetime. Like Abraham, they see God’s promises “afar off.” Also like Abraham, when they die, they are dead. They wait in the grave to become inheritors upon Christ’s Return. Scripture after scripture confirms this. But this is a subject for other booklets.
Isaac’s son Jacob was also included in the promise, with the following verses adding that Gentile, heathen nations were also to be ruled by the nations of Israel who received the birthright: “Therefore God give you of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: let people serve you, and nations bow down to you: be lord over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you: cursed be every one that curses you, and blessed be he that blesses you” (Gen. 27:28-29).
This verse is plain! It is a direct statement that physical peoples on earth will serve certain Israelite countries. This prophecy expands the promise to include the types of blessings that flow out of or from under the ground.
The next passage in the unfolding and amplifying of the promises made to Abraham demonstrates that Israelitish nations would eventually spread around the world. Their geographic distribution would literally circle the globe.
God is speaking to Jacob: “And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon you lie, to you will I give it, and to your seed; and your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in you and in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 28:13-14).
Notice the phrase “spread abroad.” The Hebrew means literally “to break forth,” implying there would come a point when this spreading would happen suddenly. Recall from Romans 4:13 that Abraham was to become “heir of the world.” But Genesis 28 does not state that physical Israelite nations would control the entire world prior to the time when Abraham, in the resurrection to occur at Christ’s Return, would inherit the promises made to him. Also recall that all true Christians—Jew or Gentile—are Abraham’s children.
Yet, physical descendants of Abraham have spread to the four directions of the compass, to locations around the world. After their captivity of 721-718 B.C., their captors allowed them to migrate with and eventually beyond them to their own lands. This sets up verse 15: “And, behold, I am with you, and will keep you in all places where you go, and will bring you again into this land; for I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have spoken to you of.”
This is a truly astonishing prophecy. God promised to remain with Israel “in all places” where their migrations took them. But it will not be fulfilled in the greatest sense until the Return of Christ. Take time to read Jeremiah 23:7-8; 50:4-6, 19-20. These and other passages clarify when and how this will happen.
We now come to the all-important passage where God repeats His promise to Jacob. In this account, Jacob’s name was changed: “And God said unto him, Your name is Jacob: your name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel … And God said…I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of you, and kings shall come out of your loins; and the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to you I will give it, and to your seed after you will I give the land” (Gen. 35:10-12).
This is translated by Ferrar Fenton as “A Nation and an Assembly of Nations.” Moffatt’s translation states, “a nation, [and] a group of nations.” Thus, the earlier reference to “many nations” is now revealed to mean, when put with Genesis 27:28-29, one powerful, wealthy nation—and another wealthy group, assembly or company of nations—or commonwealth of nations.
How plain can God be? You do not need to believe some private interpretation by me or anyone else. Believe God’s Word!
Many scholars have studied this promise. Any grade-schooler can recognize what the terminology means. Yet, where and how it was fulfilled has perplexed, indeed baffled, these same scholars, theologians and Bible students. Such men as Robert Ingersoll and Thomas Paine completely lost faith in the God of the Bible, rejecting Him and it, because they could not prove the fulfillment of these explicit promises.
Make no mistake! If these promises were not fulfilled, you cannot have confidence in a single promise or passage in the Bible. The very authority of the Bible stands at stake on the fulfillment of these ancient promises.
No reasonable mind can think that the Jews fulfilled them. Nor has the true Church of God fulfilled it—because it has always been described as the “few,” a “little flock,” never prophesied to grow great in this age—let alone into a nation and company of nations! The people of God are scattered throughout the nations of the world (Matt. 28:19-20, and other verses). Certainly it cannot be explained away as having occurred through Christ.
Ask any minister for the literal explanation of what these crucial passages mean, and—if he is honest—he will tell you that they remain a mystery, that he does not know the answer.
But God does know the answer and you will read it for yourself. Though unrecognized by even the greatest historians, this enormous promise has been fulfilled!
There were two separate promises made to Abraham. Most have not understood that God makes a distinction between the promises of prosperity, power and great material and national wealth, relating to “many nations,” which He calls the “birthright”—and the promise of salvation through Christ, which the Bible identifies as the “scepter.”
The Bible is absolutely clear on this two-fold distinction.
Before discussing these terms, we must define them.
“Scepter: A rod or staff held by a sovereign (king or monarch) as a sign of authority.”—Webster’s II Dictionary; “kingly office; royal power; badge of command or sovereignty.”—Standard Dictionary.
“Birthright: A privilege granted to someone by virtue of birth.”—Webster’s II Dictionary; “Native right or privilege.”—Standard Dictionary.
A kingly line was prophesied to descend from Judah through David (to be explained in Chapter Four). Christ was born of Judah and was to eventually become a King bringing salvation—grace—to all people. On the other hand, a birthright has nothing to do with grace—unmerited pardon of sin—but rather comes as one’s right by birth. Fathers generally pass birthright possessions to the firstborn son.
Most scholars have recognized that the scepter did indeed go to Judah, where it was passed down from Jewish king to king. King David was of the tribe of Judah, with David’s dynasty having all succeeding kings also born to the House of David and tribe of Judah. Of course, Christ was born of both Judah and the House of David.
However, almost none have understood that the Jews were only a fraction of the nation of Israel. Of the twelve tribes of Israel, only Benjamin and Levi remained with the Jews. Almost everyone has erroneously associated all Israel with the Jews. This error totally blocks understanding of the birthright—and this separation of tribes will be clearly explained in Chapters 4 and 5.
This absolutely vital distinction must be made clear. Both promises made to Abraham—the gift of grace and right of birth—were made unconditional by God, and were repromised to Isaac and to Jacob.
The promise of grace—the scepter promise of David’s kingly line culminating in Christ—was foretold to be exclusively of Judah, one of Jacob’s sons. But the independent, separate, distinct promises of birthright never pertained to the Jews. The promise of grace through Christ is summarized in John 4:22, where Christ said, “Salvation is of the Jews.” Paul reiterated, “For it [the gospel of Christ] is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).
I repeat: This promise, fulfilled in Christ, has nothing whatsoever to do with the birthright.
How sad that so few understand this crucial knowledge, made so clear by God to those who will just believe His plain words. It is sadder still that so few are even willing to explore God’s Word for the facts!
The Bible states that the “birthright was Joseph’s.” Joseph was Jacob’s (Israel’s) second youngest son. While Joseph was Judah’s younger brother—he was not Judah, or of Judah. He was the father of two sons, whose role must be understood to unlock both the fulfillment of the birthright—and the entirety of crucial end-time prophetic events.
All rights of birth are separate from the gift of eternal life, which God, through Christ, freely offers to all who yield to and obey Him. If salvation came by birth, it would not be of grace—God would owe it to people. Christ’s sacrifice, death and resurrection become unnecessary if salvation is by race, by birthright. However, material blessings—possessions of wealth, prosperity and national abundance—can be passed through any number of generations by right of one’s birth. But this much has to be understood: The birthright has nothing to do with spiritual blessings. It is entirely physical and material in nature, of race not grace. The reader must get this straight before proceeding.
Unlike salvation, requiring the believer to meet certain conditions in order to receive it, there are no preconditions to receiving blessings of birthright. Sons do nothing other than pass from the womb to receive this. Of course, a son could certainly disqualify himself from either receiving or keeping his birthright.
The gift of salvation means eternal life in the very Family of God. But God would never give such awesome power to one who has not developed righteous character, and is hostile, rebellious, and defiant to God’s Law. Imagine if God owed, by right, immortality in the kingdom of God (salvation), to an atheist or criminal. Such would bring division and misery—for all eternity—to God’s entire Family.
When a young rich man approached Christ, inquiring how he might receive eternal life, Christ said, “If you will enter into [eternal] life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17). While this would not earn the young man salvation, it was a qualifier—a precondition—to receiving it. Millions today ignore this requirement, set forth so plainly by Christ. They listen to twisted arguments from law-hating, rebellious ministers and theologians falsely telling them that obedience to God earns salvation, making it no longer of grace, God’s gift.
But if there are no preconditions to salvation, all could demand it of God! The rich young ruler might have told God, “I demand you give me salvation—it is my right!” God only gives His Spirit to those who obey Him. Speaking of the Holy Spirit, Peter said, “God has given to them that obey Him” (Acts 5:32). Indeed, the Holy Spirit is a gift (“God has given”), but only those who obey Him can receive it. Only Christ’s sacrifice makes this gift possible!
Make no mistake. Salvation cannot be earned—it is a free gift!
Now get this point straight! We must remove all doubt about what brings salvation. It is a free gift from God. There is absolutely nothing that a Christian can do to merit or earn it. The only wage that human beings can earn is death (Rom. 6:23). Recognize that no one can earn eternal life through works.
Salvation is by God’s grace. But what is grace? It is completely unmerited pardon of one’s sin. Salvation means that one is saved from death. Unless God intervenes to apply the blood of Jesus Christ to cover the repentant sinner’s past, there can be no salvation.
What scriptures directly state this? Ephesians 1:5, 7 says, “Jesus Christ…In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:14 states the same thing, verbatim. God gives grace—forgiveness—through Christ’s blood.
But also think of salvation in the following way: A wealthy father approaches his 18-year-old son, heading off to college, with this offer. He states, “Son, upon graduation in four years, I will give you one million dollars if you (1) maintain a B average, (2) abstain from drunkenness, (3) impregnate no girls, and (4) never cut classes.”
Ask these questions: If the young man meets these conditions, will he receive the million dollars? Yes! Has his conduct earned him the million dollars? No! Of course not. He merely did what all young men should do when they go to college. Yet, he would not receive the million dollars if he did not meet the preconditions—the qualifiers!
It is the same with salvation. Of course, God offers far more than a million dollars, but only those who obey Him may receive what He offers. Why cannot millions of Christians understand such basic logic, applicable in every contract and agreement entered into by men?
The Bible says Satan has deceived the whole world (Rev. 12:9), and this matter of how salvation is achieved may be his greatest deception. Do not fall for it!
Salvation is through Christ’s free gift of grace. Yes, it is a gift—but it is one God only gives to those who meet His biblically-prescribed standards. In this way, God insures that no future member of His Family will misuse and abuse such enormous power, conferred on him at the time of salvation.
Take a moment to reflect on this basic knowledge of how the scepter promise of salvation is achieved “of the Jews” (John 4:22) through Christ. While the world has understood that the promises to Abraham involve salvation through Christ, almost complete ignorance reigns within modern, orthodox Christianity regarding when, where and how this happens. These are also subjects for other books.
Let’s now return to what is known by so few today, the matter of the birthright promised to Abraham. Grasp this. The sheer enormous size of this incredible physical inheritance, passed through the generations of Joseph, staggers the imagination. Material wealth of a size never before seen in history was foretold to occur.
This part of God’s two-fold promise to Abraham actually represents the first phase of what God would do through him. Remember also, that vast material wealth and prosperity, unlike anything the world has ever seen, including a huge population explosion, was conferred unconditionally! Just the involving of many nations and the possession of critical enemy sea gates, insured a position of world prominence—and dominance—unlike any combine of nations the world has ever seen.
Let’s better understand what this birthright blessing entails. A series of scriptures paints the full picture—and you will not misunderstand what God reveals about this mind-boggling promise!
Recall that right of birth inheritance, generation by generation, almost always goes automatically to a father’s eldest son. Only divine intervention, having occurred three times, brings exception to this rule.
Now also recall that both the scepter and birthright were promised by God to come to Isaac. Even though Ishmael was older, Isaac was Abraham’s lawful firstborn son because Ishmael was born of Sarah’s Egyptian handmaid, Hagar. God had selected Isaac: “Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac” (Gen. 25:5).
But Ishmael was Abraham’s son, and, like any father, Abraham loved him—and wanted him to receive the birthright: “And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before you!” (Gen. 17:18). This was said because Sarah was still childless at this point, with Isaac not yet in sight.
Notice this prophecy explaining God’s purpose for both Isaac and Ishmael: “And God said, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son indeed; and you shall call his name Isaac: and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto you at this set time in the next year” (vs. 19-21).
The modern descendants of Ishmael (the Arabic peoples) have, indeed, grown into a great people. But here is how God described them: “And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence [Hebrew: to the east] of all his brethren” (Gen. 16:12). Who would doubt that this is the national proclivity of the modern Arabs?
While Ishmael’s descendants were to become a great nation, the birthright descendants—of Joseph, Isaac’s grandson—were to become much greater. But, for prophecy to be fulfilled, the Arabs must be found living to the east of the greater “nation and company of nations” to derive from Joseph, and the rest of his Israelite brethren.
Briefly consider some points about Abraham and Isaac, and how they parallel God the Father and Christ. Recall that Galatians 3:29 shows that if we are Christ’s, we are Abraham’s children—and Abraham is called the father of the faithful (vs. 7). Next, Abraham, in a clear type of the Father, was required to be willing to sacrifice his only legitimate son, Isaac (Gen. 22:2), in the same manner as the Father was willing to give His only Son, Christ, for the world.
Here is another interesting parallel between Rebekah and the New Testament Church: Just as the Church must be willing to love and marry Jesus Christ before actually seeing Him, Rebekah was required to do this with Isaac. Finally, Christ’s and Isaac’s births are an obvious parallel. Christ was born miraculously of a virgin, and Isaac was born by promise, and also as a miracle from God.
Rebekah bore twin sons, Esau and Jacob, to Isaac. The firstborn, Esau, legally held the birthright—but sold it to Jacob because he could not see its true worth. In advance of their birth, God had revealed to Rebekah that Esau and Jacob would father two nations: “And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in your womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from your bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” (Gen. 25:23).
God revealed that Esau and Jacob would father two very different kinds of people—two manner of people. It was His purpose that the descendants of the older, Esau, serve those of the younger, Jacob. However, because Rebekah favored Jacob, she convinced him to use deception to take from Esau what God had promised he was to receive anyway.
Here is the story: “And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob. And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: and Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray you, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day your birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he swore unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright” (Gen. 25:27-34).
Verse 30 shows that Esau became known as Edom, meaning “red soup.” Many Bible prophecies reference “Edom,” and they cannot be understood unless one understands that they refer to Esau, those peoples generally inhabiting modern-day Turkey.
Before God converted Jacob, he had glaring character weaknesses, with the use of deception probably the worst. Genesis 27 records how he also deceived Esau, and stole the blessing Isaac still intended for him.
Some background: As Isaac grew old, his eyesight began to fail. Realizing he would not live much longer, he determined to formally confirm the birthright to Esau. He asked Esau to hunt for and prepare venison for him. Rebekah heard the request and intervened, sending Jacob to secure two goat kids, which he prepared in the fashion Isaac loved his venison to be served. Next, she dressed Jacob in Esau’s clothes and, because Jacob was smooth-skinned and Esau was very hairy, she wrapped the skins of the two goat kids around Jacob’s neck, hands and arms.
The deception now complete, Jacob feigned that he was Esau and entered Isaac’s presence. The account reveals Isaac was suspicious, wondering how the venison could be obtained and prepared so quickly. But his suspicion was not sufficient to withhold his blessing: “And Jacob said…I am Esau your firstborn; I have done according as you bid me: arise…eat of my venison, that your soul may bless me. And Isaac said…How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the Lord your God brought it to me. And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray you, that I may feel you, my son, whether you be my very son Esau or not. And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau’s hands: so he blessed him” (Gen. 27:19-23).
Examine carefully what was at stake in the all-important account you have just read: “And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed: therefore God give you of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: let people serve you, and nations bow down to you: be lord over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you: cursed be everyone that curses you, and blessed be he that blesses you” (vs. 26-29).
These promises do not have to do with salvation—they are not in any way spiritual in nature. They are all physical, material and national. There is nothing salvation-like or spiritual about rainfall, abundant corn and wine or fatness of the earth (the Hebrew means the “fat places of the earth”).
This is talking about people and nations—“Let people serve you” and “Nations shall bow down to you.” It cannot be “spiritualized” away as applying to Christ.
The next several verses record what happened when Esau returned with venison to Isaac, and both learned of Jacob’s deception. The implications of Jacob having received the birthright are magnified when you consider this prophecy Isaac foretold to Esau: “And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, your dwelling shall be [Hebrew: away from] the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; and by your sword shall you live, and shall serve your brother; and it shall come to pass when you shall have the dominion, that you shall break his yoke from off your neck. And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob” (vs. 39-41).
Considering what he lost, no wonder Esau was bitter (vs. 34). Moffatt translates verse 39 this way: “Far from rich soil on earth shall you live, far from the dew of heaven on high.” The Revised Standard Version translates it similarly: “Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be, and away from the dew of heaven on high.” Obviously, this prophecy was more a cursing than a blessing.
We must remember most of the descendants of Esau—Edom—are of the Turkish people. Several proofs, coupled with the scant facts of history, demonstrate this. Perhaps the greatest proof of this prophecy describing Turkey pertains to Isaac foretelling that they “should have dominion,” later breaking the Israelite yoke from off their neck.
History records that the tribes of Israel rebelled against the true God and were all taken captive and driven from the Holy Land, promised to them. Esau’s descendants have always sought control of the land denied them by Jacob’s deception. Millennia later, fulfilling Isaac’s prophecy, the Turks did come to power (Ottoman Dynasty) and seize the Holy Land in about 1517, occupying it for 400 years until Britain captured it in 1917. Another aspect of God’s remarkable prophecy of Esau has certainly been fulfilled in that the Turks, long known as a brutal, war-like people, have spent their existence living by the sword.
A number of lessons come from the story of Jacob’s wrenching the birthright from Esau. Speaking of the Old Testament, Paul writes, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples [types]: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (I Cor. 10:11).
God intends that His servants learn from Old Testament stories and examples. Whether the example is bad, showing how not to conduct ourselves, or good, demonstrating what our behavior ought to be, much can be learned through study of the Old Testament books of the Bible. Tragically, most ignore what is recorded—and this New Testament admonition—believing the Old Testament was “done away” or “nailed to the cross.”
Consider several points. Rebekah knew that God intended to bless Jacob in place of firstborn Esau. Rather than waiting on God’s timing, she took matters into her own hands to insure that it happened.
Unlike Rebekah and Jacob, the true servants of God should be regularly taking their daily needs to God, in prayer. They then must demonstrate faith in God’s ability to answer their prayers. Sometimes patience must accompany faith, even when we know in advance it is God’s purpose to answer our request. Recognizing that God says, “My ways are not your ways,” we must be willing to let Him do it in His own time, and His own way. Truly, in every aspect of the Christian life, we “walk by faith.”
In the sense that Isaac was a type of Christ, Rebekah is similarly a type of the Church of God. Like the Church, she reflected occasional carnality, sin and weakness.
Jacob could have trusted God to work things out in His own time and way. Jacob means “supplanter.” Literally, he supplanted Esau by taking the blessings his own way. Though the birthright was to eventually come to the descendants of Joseph, this supplanting is one reason that God, we will see later, withheld the birthright for a long period of time.
Yet, we saw that Jacob is listed among the three “fathers” of ancient Israel. In time, he became converted, deeply changed in heart and character. After confessing that he was a supplanter, and after a grueling, all-night wrestling match with the angel of God (Gen. 32:24-29), God improved his name to the more honorable Israel, meaning “prevailer with God” or “overcomer with God.”
Recognize this before continuing. God passed on His promise through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, one man at a time. Prior to the birth of Jacob’s twelve sons, and the subsequent beginning expansion toward prophesied national size and greatness, God’s promise of a great nation from Abraham was, for three generations, what could be called a “one-man nation.”
The next generation began to change this.
We learned that the birthright was to come to Joseph. Like Esau, Reuben, the firstborn son of Jacob and legal heir to the birthright, lost it through misconduct. Joseph was actually the eleventh-born son of Jacob—but was the firstborn of his true love and wife, Rachel.
Here is what the Bible records: “Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s:)” (I Chron. 5:1-2).
This verse reveals that it was in the time of Abraham’s great-grandsons—the fourth generation—that the birthright and scepter became separate. One tribe—Joseph’s descendants—carried the birthright, and one tribe—Judah’s descendants—carried the scepter. Therefore, no longer passing from one father to one son, the two aspects of this promise must be tracked separately through history from this point forward. The promise of national greatness, material wealth, prosperity, international prominence and dominance, follows the descendants of Joseph. Similarly, tracing the promised kingly line or scepter is found solely in the tribe or descendants of Judah.
At the outset of this book, it was explained that one-third of the Bible is prophecy, and that much of that third of God’s Holy Word would be unsealed at the time of the end. But mark this well. All who do not understand the vital key—the separation of Joseph’s birthright and Judah’s scepter, towering over virtually all prophecies pertaining to the last days and to Israel—will never understand God’s final purpose among the nations of earth today. At best, like Churchill, they will know some purpose is being worked out—but they will remain in darkness and gross ignorance of what it is!
Most are familiar with the story of how Joseph’s brothers sold him into Egypt, and that Jacob, with his remaining sons, their wives and children (66 people in all), eventually joined him there. When properly understood, Joseph’s function and leadership role in Egypt under Pharaoh was truly prophetic of his descendants’ role throughout history.
There, as prime minister, he supervised the production, storage and distribution of food through seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine. If you are not familiar with how Jacob and Joseph’s brothers joined him in happy reunion in Egypt, take time to read this truly moving story in Genesis chapters 42 through 45.
The stage is now set to learn how the birthright passed from Joseph to his two sons.
How the birthright was passed to Joseph’s sons is another remarkable story. Sometime after elderly Israel (Jacob) arrived in Egypt with his other sons and extended family, Joseph received word that he had fallen ill. Immediately, Joseph took his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, to their dying grandfather’s side. It was a moving and dramatic scene: “And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, your son Joseph comes unto you: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed. And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, and said unto me, Behold, I will make you fruitful, and multiply you, and I will make of you a multitude of people; and will give this land to your seed after you for an everlasting possession” (Gen. 48:2-4).
Jacob recounts how God had promised to make his seed “fruitful,” to “multiply” them, thus making them a “multitude of people.” These terms all pertain to the promise of birthright. Nothing here suggests anything to do with the “one seed,” and its relationship to Christ and salvation. Notice that this is a specific promise about possession of land.
Now verse 5: “And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto you in the land of Egypt before I came unto you into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.” When understood, Jacob is actually adopting Joseph’s two sons as his own, as “mine.” This allowed him to pass the birthright directly to these two young boys—Manasseh as the older, and Ephraim the younger (41:51; 48:1). This last fact is crucial because Jacob specifically mentioned Ephraim before Manasseh.
Jacob then instructs Joseph to “Bring them, I pray you, unto me, and I will bless them. Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see” (vs. 9-10). We should note again that normally the birthright would pass to the eldest son. Thus, the right hand should be on the son to receive the greatest inheritance since both were to share the birthright blessing. God must intervene to make it otherwise.
Now notice: “And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them…and Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near unto him” (vs. 10, 13).
Once again, take note of two facts: (1) Ephraim is blessed with the right hand, putting him above Manasseh in birthright inheritance, but (2) Manasseh also has Jacob’s left hand on him, signifying a shared but lesser birthright inheritance, as well!
In the next passage, to signify explicitly that God’s blessing was to be passed to Ephraim above firstborn Manasseh, Jacob crossed his hands. Let’s read: “And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn. And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth” (vs. 14-16).
This will be shown to be an absolutely astounding prophecy, carrying truly staggering implications for all the nations of the world. We have just witnessed, directly from the pages of the Bible, God’s original promise to Abraham being passed directly to Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh! Jacob said, “let my name be named on them” and “let them grow into a multitude.”
Absolutely nothing in this account says anything about Judah. He was neither included nor apparently even present during the proceedings! Why then do countless millions of people who read the Bible not see this—and acknowledge it?
Jacob specifically asked God, with hands on both grandsons, to “Bless the lads.” This was a joint blessing, conferred on both young boys—now get this—having nothing to do with Judah or any of his children. Together, the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh were promised—actually prophesied—to expand into a great multitude, consisting of the “nation and company of nations” of Genesis 35:11.
I repeatedly urge readers, “Do not believe me unless you can see it in your Bible!” I tell you that now. These verses are most plain!
This account requires no interpretation from me. It contains no symbolism, holding mystery to all but the trained eye. Israel’s name was to be placed on, carried by, the sons of Joseph—not Judah!
Put another way, we now ask: Who does God—not men!—identify as the people who are Israel (nationally and ethnically) today? Again, the answer is Ephraim and Manasseh, not Judah! The modern nation of Israel, home to the Jews who call themselves “Israelis,” is not the nation God has told us actually carries Israel’s name. Yet, the world and virtually all Bible students remain deceived on this point.
The theologians, churchmen, religionists and supposed Bible scholars could know what you have just learned. They could set aside their prejudice and tradition, pick up their Bibles and read these plain verses. But these “leaders” refuse to do this and thereby reject knowledge available to them, with countless millions following them like the “blind leading the blind.”
This need not include you!
When Jacob crossed his hands, it confused Joseph, who did not understand what was occurring. He tried to get Jacob “straightened out.”
Here is what happened: “And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this [Manasseh] is the firstborn; put your right hand upon his head. And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. And he blessed them that day, saying, In you shall Israel bless, saying, God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh” (vs. 18-20).
At this juncture, the prophecy takes on a more specific direction. It is not just generally applied to both, but separate blessings are given to each grandson. In other words, the great, wealthy, dominant single “nation,” of Genesis 35:11, would descend and grow from Manasseh. The even greater, wealthier, more dominant “company of nations,” here called a “multitude of nations,” would spring from Ephraim.
I repeat, there is no sense whatsoever trying to find these nations among the descendants of Judah—nor, for that matter—from any other of the twelve tribes of Israel. Also, this cannot be fulfilled through Judah being the single “nation,” and the other twelve tribes the “company of nations.” Even the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh were not prophesied to fulfill this promise anciently, during their pre-captivity history. In fact, this did not happen. Plainly, the promise of great material prosperity, possession of the gates of their enemies, enjoyment of the fatness of the earth and other physical blessings were only to go to Ephraim and Manasseh!
These promises were not fulfilled anciently. To learn when and how they have been fulfilled, we must examine the period between the close of Bible history and our time. This will be done later.
Any with eyes to see recognize that we are in what the Bible calls the “last days.” We have learned that God’s servants are able to know what lies ahead. God offers many clues in His Word for those with “eyes to see” and “ears to hear.”
Soon after blessing Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob called his other sons before him. His purpose was to tell each what their descendants should become “in the last days.” At this point, we will focus on just Judah and Joseph. Because Joseph’s descendants split into two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh, the Bible generally uses these latter terms when referencing them. When God speaks of the tribe of Judah, He uses their name because they never split into two or more tribes.
Let’s now see Jacob’s prophecy for the “last days”: “And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days…Judah, you are he whom your brethren shall praise: your hand shall be in the neck of your enemies; your father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, you are gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver [the margin says “ruler, staff”] from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be” (Gen. 49:1, 8-10).
An explanation of Shiloh is necessary: It means “the Messiah, Prince of Peace, or the one seed of Abraham.” Shiloh is obviously a reference to Christ.
Here is what Israel prophesied collectively to Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph’s sons: “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches [the margin says “daughters”] run over the wall” (vs. 22).
This prophecy obviously refers to the multitude of people, great nation and company of nations that Joseph would become—having daughters (descendants) that would “run over the wall.” A wall is typically a boundary, in this case undoubtedly a national boundary, with the descendants of Joseph characterized as a colonizing people. Recall that Ephraim and Manasseh were to “grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth” (Gen. 48:14, 16). These are a people who would know almost no bounds in their expansion around the world. Since the earth is round, the “midst” of it means that they would be everywhere.
The prophecy for Joseph in the last days continues: “…the God of your father…shall help you…the Almighty…shall bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: the blessings of your father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from [margin reads “is prince among”] his brethren” (vs. 25-26).
These verses describe phenomenal birthright promises of nations consisting of vast numbers of people colonizing around the world. Abraham was promised that he would expand to the “north and the south, and the east and the west…possessing the gates of his enemies.” And yet, none of the twelve tribes ever returned to Jerusalem from Assyrian captivity to reunite with the Jewish people.
Neither the Church, nor the Jews, nor the American Indians, nor any other humanly-devised, Bible-rejecting explanation accounts for the promises revealed in these astonishing prophecies. But, if the Bible is the authoritative Word of God, they had to be fulfilled!
Judah was prophesied to produce a kingly line, continuing its role of rulership over Israel. As explained, the scepter—“a sign of authority, kingly office” and “royal power”—would not leave this tribe. Remember, the scepter promise to Judah was entirely different than the promise of birthright blessings given to Ephraim and Manasseh. These two separate promises are often referred to as the promises of race and grace.
The birthright blessings included national wealth, prosperity and territorial expansion to a specific people—race.
The scepter promise ensured the continuance of a kingly line in Judah, eventually leading to all people being offered salvation—grace.
David’s coronation, as a descendant from the tribe of Judah, began to fulfill the Genesis 49 promise that those of the other twelve tribes, “your father’s children,” would bow before Judah.
Under King David, Israel flourished in wealth and military success. Although David occasionally sinned, sometimes with disastrous consequences, the Bible records that he was a “man after God’s own heart.” His attitude was always to follow God, and, when realizing he had sinned, to quickly repent and change. His genuineness toward God is reflected in his many psalms, and his faithfulness is seen in numerous accounts. From David’s early years as a shepherd, to his becoming the first of the kingly line of Judah, his relationship with God was established. He never lost it.
However, other kings that succeeded him were not as loyal. This eventually led to the division of Israel into two kingdoms. Before examining this later split, one must understand the implications of a remarkable, everlasting promise God made to David!
Some brief history of Israel’s early development is important. It establishes a backdrop to many things we will discuss later, and to a special promise God made to David.
God had orchestrated events so that the sons of Jacob and their families resettled in Egypt. During Egypt’s severe famine, lasting seven years, Israel was not only preserved (Gen. 45:5), but they also prospered while other nations were afflicted by this disaster. While in Egypt, Israel continued to grow in numbers and, during the next two centuries, though in slavery, they greatly multiplied.
After having long forgotten the true God, and His many promises to their forefather Abraham, the Israelites were delivered through God’s miraculous intervention in the fifteenth century B.C. This large congregation (numbering about three million), now becoming like the “dust of the ground,” was poised to claim God’s promises.
As God led the Israelites through the wilderness towards the Sinai region, they did not have a human king ruling them. However, men such as Moses and Joshua were used by God to relay His commands, and be their physical leaders, as judges. While not perfect, these men were specifically chosen because of their willingness to faithfully obey God and carry out His instructions.
At Mt. Sinai, God chose Israel as His model nation. He made a special covenant with them, and the people agreed to have God as their King. He promised them blessings of good weather, health and healing, sufficient food and water, and protection from aggressors. As their King, God established laws, edicts and principles to govern them, and to make their lives happy and fulfilling. In a system that merged Church and State (Acts 7:38), Israel received civil laws, and spiritual laws—the Ten Commandments.
Reflecting God’s wisdom, understanding and righteousness, His laws far exceeded those of any other peoples. The Israelites did not fully grasp the significance and blessings associated with obedience and submission to God. However, they were destined to reap subsequent blessings or cursings, depending upon their effort and intent in yielding to God’s Way.
God expected His nation to keep the Ten Commandments as their part in the covenant, and bound Himself to protect Israel as long as they obeyed Him. Israel’s acceptance of God’s terms is found in Exodus 24:7: “And [Moses] took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord has said will we do, and be obedient.”
Initially, Israel faced perilous times en route to the Promised Land they were to inherit. After Moses’ death, God used Joshua to lead the twelve tribes to inhabit these lands.
After settling in the Promised Land, throughout the period of the judges, Israel was “on again, off again” in their obedience to God. When they were at peace, and free from outside influence, they focused on productivity and strove to obey God. But obedience never lasted long. Once they achieved prosperity, they turned to pleasures, seeking their own desires instead of God’s will.
The generations after Joshua lacked firsthand knowledge of God’s miracles and deliverance from Egypt. They forsook God and rejected His laws, seeking the gods of the nations around them. Each time they rebelled, God sent them back into captivity.
In time, Israel would cry out for deliverance and promise to do better. God would send a judge (Jud. 2:16-18) to deliver them, and they would remain on track for a short while. As soon as the judge died (Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Tola, Jephthah, Samson, etc.), the pattern would repeat itself.
God time and again forgave Israel, and continued to rule them. This went on for centuries, until the time of Samuel. Eventually, the country had become so corrupt and immoral that the book of Judges ends with “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (21:25).
As Samuel’s life drew to a close, his sons having departed from God, the leaders of Israel approached him with a demand: “Behold, you are old, and your sons walk not in your ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations…and the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto you: for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them” (I Sam. 8:4-7).
Instead of honoring the great God who had protected them, provided for them, and blessed them, the Israelites rejected Him as their King, and sought a human king. No longer were they satisfied with a human representative showing them God’s ways and laws—they wanted a man, not God, to decide for them what to do!
God gave Israel their desire, granting them a king like the surrounding nations. The people rejected Christ—the God of the Old Testament (I Cor. 10:4)—as their King! God then selected Saul, an unusually tall man from the tribe of Benjamin, to be Israel’s first human king.
Israel was now a kingdom with a reigning monarch. No longer did they have a leader who answered to God, the ultimate King and Ruler. They would quickly learn the pitfalls of having a human king.
Impressed by his physical presence and demeanor, the people desired Saul as their king. But he “did wickedly in God’s sight,” even deliberately sinning against God! In turn, God rejected Saul as king and cut off his dynasty. Saul later was killed, as were his sons, and his lineage never again ruled the kingdom.
Here is God’s pronouncement to Saul through Samuel: “You have done foolishly: you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God…For now would the Lord have established your kingdom upon Israel forever. But now your kingdom [dynasty] shall not continue: the Lord has sought Him a man after His own heart [David]…because you have not kept that which the Lord commanded you” (I Sam. 13:13-14).
God recognized that David’s heart was pure and chose him as Israel’s new king, placing him to rule from the throne that God, the first King of Israel, previously ruled from.
This is what it says about David’s son Solomon, regarding whose throne this really was: “Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord instead of David his father…” (I Chron. 29:23).
This is absolutely critical to understand. Through David, God established the royal lineage that would successively produce an unbroken regal line of kings. In fact, these kings would rule Israel from God’s throne.
Recall Jacob’s God-inspired prophecy regarding his son Judah: “You are he whom your brethren shall praise…your father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, you are gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver [the margin says “ruler, staff”] from between his feet, until Shiloh [the Messiah—Christ] come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be” (Gen. 49:8-10).
Take careful note. God was not confined to merely establishing a king in Israel from any regal line of Judah. He sought to confirm His scepter promise—“the scepter shall not depart from Judah”—to one who would faithfully obey Him, whose royal dynasty would have righteous kings, leading to the prophetic arrival and establishment of Shiloh, meaning “the Messiah, Prince of Peace” and the “one” Seed of Abraham.
This describes the ultimate King of righteousness—Jesus Christ!
Because of David’s continual loyalty and obedience, God made a perpetual covenant with him, usually called The Davidic Covenant.
Much erroneous thinking clouds this covenant. Some assume it is a part of the birthright blessings. Others believe it to be a line of “Jewish kings,” that “died off” in antiquity, nullifying God’s promise. Still others believe that Christ is sitting on David’s throne in heaven, fulfilling this covenant. And still others believe it was never fulfilled—that God failed to bring to pass His promises to Israel.
Are any of these beliefs true? Are they false? Can you know?
The next account records David preparing to build a temple in Jerusalem to replace the existing tabernacle. God forbade him to build it because he had been a man of war. However, God did allow his son Solomon to carry out this privilege. Because David sought to honor God in this way, God, in turn, promised David a continuing house—the House of David, which would carry on through his son Solomon.
Notice Nathan’s prophecies concerning David’s lineage, defining the covenant upon which the royal dynasty was to be established:
“And when your days be fulfilled, and you [David] shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, which shall proceed out of your bowels [Solomon], and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be My son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: but My mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you: your throne shall be established forever” (II Sam. 7:12-16).
Psalm 89 adds to the promise: “My covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven. If his children forsake My law…If they…keep not My commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless…My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of My lips. Once have I sworn by My holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me. It shall be established forever as the moon…” (vs. 28-37).
Notice God stated, in both passages, that if any king of David’s descendants disobeyed Him, Israel would suffer captivity at the hands of surrounding nations—that He would “chasten [them] with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men.”
However, God promised He would not remove David’s lineage from ruling Israel, as He had done with Saul’s dynasty. Starting with Solomon, his lineage would continue forever—unconditionally!
These are plain words from God. He bound Himself to a promise He must keep! We will learn He has kept His word.
The scepter promise had a two-fold purpose: (1) It prophesied that a royal line would root in Judah, forever ruling Israel, and that Christ—the King of kings—would be born from this kingly line; and (2) through Christ’s birth, salvation—grace—would be offered to all nations on earth, but first to the Jews!
The Davidic Covenant added to this promise, expanding its implications. God proclaimed that David’s royal dynasty would continue in unbroken succession until the “one Seed” (Gal. 3:16)—Christ—would come from this lineage, and claim David’s throne.
Remember, the scepter pertained to Judah. Although Jewish kings were not ruling over Judah at the time of Christ, David’s lineage was successively passed for generations, leading to His birth! Matthew 1 records Christ’s genealogy, tracing it back to David.
Christ (Shiloh) was born of Judah—from the nation of Israel—from the royal bloodline of David!
These promises can only describe Christ’s re-establishment on David’s throne. While the royal bloodline was passed through Christ, and the regal line has continued forever—unbroken—Scripture shows Christ has yet to claim His final rule from David’s throne!
The descending genealogy of Matthew 1 covers the lineage from Abraham through David ending with Joseph, the husband of Mary. The ascending genealogy of Luke 3 begins with Joseph, who was the son-in-law of Heli (the father of Mary), and continues through David and through Abraham on to Adam. This bloodline of Mary came from David through his son Nathan.
Thus, there were two separate lines from David to Christ: 1) the lineage from David through Solomon that tied directly to Joseph, the husband of Mary; 2) the lineage from David through Nathan that tied directly to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Dr. Archer in his book Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties correctly summarizes the situation: “Jesus was descended from David naturally through Nathan and legally through Solomon.”
According to the law in Israel, if a daughter were the only heir to her father, she would inherit all his possessions, inheritance and rights—but only if she married within her tribe (Num. 27:1-8; 36:6-8). Since Mary had no brothers who could be heir to her father, she was able to transmit David’s royal inheritance, and the right to the throne, to her husband upon marriage. This made Joseph heir to these promises, giving him lineage to David’s throne. This inheritance was then passed to Christ.
In this manner, the throne of David was established through Solomon as stated in II Samuel 7:13: “He [Solomon] shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever.” Even though this throne has already been perpetuated for many centuries, once Christ receives this throne at His return, He will occupy it from that time forward.
Recall that even the Jews, from whom Jesus was born, rejected and hated Him. Much less would they have allowed Him to rule them. Therefore, since Christ did not take David’s throne at His First Coming, are these prophecies no longer valid? What about the kingly line that would branch from David’s lineage? Has the promise of Judah always having a king ruling from David’s throne failed?
The authenticity of God’s word—the Bible—is in question! As previously stated, if this prophecy proves to have failed, the arguments of many skeptics and theologians are valid, and the Bible is not worth the paper it is written on.
Luke 1:32 is the pivotal scripture defining the throne Christ will inherit when He returns in power and glory: “He shall be great [at His Second Coming], and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David.”
That throne must still exist on earth today. Here, “throne” refers to a continuing dynasty or regency. Recall that God promised David that his dynasty would not end, as did Saul’s. And recall that the covenant was unconditional, and did not become void through Israel’s disobedience. If any of his lineages were to stray from God’s ways, they would be chastened, but the dynasty would continue forever.
Why forever? Because the ruling lineage had to continue until Christ’s Return for Him to inherit that throne.
Some insist Christ now sits on the throne of David in heaven. This is ridiculous. The Bible plainly reveals that the throne Christ now occupies is His own (Rev. 3:21).
Examine David’s last few words before his death. They demonstrate his extraordinary faith that God would preserve his unbroken dynasty: “Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse…[God] has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire…” (II Sam. 23:1, 5).
These promises are difficult to fathom, but vital to understand! While the promise of individual salvation is conditional to one’s personal obedience, the birthright and scepter promises were established through the obedience of Abraham and David, and are unconditional!
The throne was to not only continue forever, but remain unbroken in continuity. Note Jeremiah 33:17: “For thus says the Lord; David shall never want [lack] a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel.” This promise is also mentioned in Psalm 89:3-4: “I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn unto David My servant, Your seed [dynasty] will I establish forever, and build up your throne to all generations.”
God’s words are clear—David’s throne was to remain unbroken. After Solomon, the lineage continued through the time of Zedekiah, Judah’s last king at the time of the Babylonian captivity. How the throne continued after the House of Judah was enslaved in Babylon will be covered later.
How sure is God’s promise to David?
Notice again: “Thus says the Lord; If you can break My covenant of the day, and My covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, My ministers” (Jer. 33:20-21).
God adds further emphasis: “Thus says the Lord; If My covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them” (vs. 25-26).
These promises are as sure as the rising of the sun and moon. Even upon facing death, David had unwavering confidence that his lineage would continue intact and would rule from a literal, physical throne until the Return of Christ!
Yet, Christ did not rule from that throne at His First Coming. So a mystery looms over David’s throne. Someone had to occupy it, without interruption, until Christ’s Return. Many years after the Babylonian Captivity, and during Christ’s time, the Jews (with portions of Benjamin and Levi) were living in Jerusalem. David’s throne was no longer extant for Christ to claim rulership. In fact, it was not even in the area of Judea during His days. It had been “plucked” from the kingdom of Judea by the prophet Jeremiah and established at another location. (This will be thoroughly explained in Chapter Six.)
Scripture reveals that Christ was (1) The Root (Rev. 5:5)—the Originator, and (2) the Branch (Jer. 33:15)—the Offspring and Son—of the kingly Davidic line. So diligent was David in obeying God to the fullest, God declares that Christ—His Son—is also the Son of David. Eventually, Christ will re-establish His rule over Israel, and the entire world, as both “Root” and “Branch” of David’s royal lineage!
Near the end of his life, David prepared Solomon to reign in his stead. Solomon, unsurpassed in wisdom, reigned in unprecedented splendor, exceeding the national wealth acquired during the days of his father. But his wealth eventually clouded his wisdom. His 1,000 wives and concubines included many Gentile women, who worshipped other gods and turned Solomon’s heart from the true God (I Kgs. 11:3-4).
As a result, God declared the kingdom would be taken from him: “Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of you, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely rend the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. Notwithstanding in your days I will not do it for David your father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of your son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to your son for David My servant’s sake…” (I Kgs. 11:11-13).
Although the kingdom was to be torn away from David’s lineage, one tribe had to remain to fulfill God’s promise to David.
God showed how this would happen when He inspired the prophet Ahijah to charge Solomon’s servant, the Ephraimite Jeroboam (I Kgs. 11:26): “And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: and he said to Jeroboam, Take you ten pieces: for thus says the Lord … Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to you: (but he shall have one tribe for My servant David’s sake…) Because that they have forsaken Me…and have not walked in My ways…as did David his father.
“Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David My servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept My commandments and My statutes: but I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto you, even ten tribes. And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David My servant may have a light alway before Me…And I will take you, and you shall reign according to all that your soul desires, and shall be king over Israel” (I Kgs. 11:30-37).
After Solomon’s death, his son Rehoboam succeeded him. Solomon’s lavish wealth had placed a heavy tax burden on the Israelites. The elders of Israel appealed to Rehoboam to relieve the burden, promising Israel’s loyalty if taxes were lowered. Rehoboam rejected the elders’ counsel. Instead, he followed the counsel of the younger men, who advised a tyrannical approach toward his subjects.
But God influenced this decision (I Kgs. 12:1-14). Verse 15 summarizes the account: “Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the Lord , that He might perform His saying, which the Lord spoke by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam…”
Israel then declared, “What portion have we in David? Neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents O, Israel: see now to your own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents” (vs. 16). Thus, the ten tribes of Israel were torn away from the former kingdom of Israel. These tribes, geographically north of Jerusalem, kept the name “kingdom of Israel,” and proclaimed Jeroboam, from the tribe of Ephraim, as their king. They also retained the name “Israel,” just as Genesis 48:16 recorded Jacob saying, “Let my name be named on them [Ephraim and Manasseh].”
With ten of the twelve tribes removed, only Judah and Benjamin continued under David’s dynasty. Soon, Jeroboam instituted an idolatrous religion and expelled most of Levi, who returned to Rehoboam.
David’s dynasty was allowed to continue without Israel. The kingdom of Judah (with Benjamin and Levi) was still included among the tribes of Israel, but the name Israel belonged primarily to the bearers of the birthright—the kingdom with Ephraim and Manasseh. Remember, Jacob (whose name became Israel) had declared of Ephraim and Manasseh, “Let my name be named on them.”
Most today equate “Jews” exclusively with “Israel.” All Jews (Jew is merely a nickname for descendants of Judah) are Israelites, but not all descendants of Israel are Jews. In fact, the large majority are not.
The following ten tribes were never synonymous with Jews: Ephraim and Manasseh (Joseph), Reuben, Simeon, Gad, Asher, Zebulon, Dan, Naphtali and Issachar. These are not Jews—not of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi. From the split of the original kingdom of Israel, Judah and Israel became separate nations, never to reunite. Grasp this. Do not accept misguided assumptions and ideas!
Note this fact. The first time “Jews” are mentioned in the Bible, they are at war with Israel (II Kgs. 16:1-6). The setting was that Israel had allied with Syria to attack Judah’s capital, Jerusalem, because of Judah’s King Ahaz’s rebellion against God. The Syrians ultimately drove the Jews from Elath (vs. 6). Ahaz’s reaction was to seek Assyrian intervention, which later proved disastrous to all parties involved. We will later address Assyria’s role in the development of events that followed.
From here on, the scepter—kingly line of David—remained with Judah, while the birthright was with the northern tribes. The two-fold division of God’s covenant with Abraham was now split between two separate nations! These nations co-existed for approximately 212 years. Though they were occasionally allied against common enemies (I and II Kings, and I and II Chronicles), they often fought each other.
Scripture often refers to the northern kingdom as Samaria, its capital, but it is also referred to as Israel, House of Israel, Jacob, Joseph and Ephraim (as the leading tribe). These terms never apply to the Jews. The southern kingdom was primarily called Judah, and sometimes Jerusalem. Also, the term “you men of Israel,” occurring frequently in the New Testament, can refer to Jews, because they did descend from Jacob—Israel. The term “men of Israel” may refer to or include the Jews. It is critical to never blur or confuse these terms!
Once in control of the new kingdom of Israel, Jeroboam made major changes in his subjects’ practice of religion. In blatant disregard for the true God, he instituted a form of idol worship. To maintain the loyalty of his subjects, he set up two golden calves. He reasoned that if he were to allow his subjects to travel to Jerusalem for the Holy Days and for special sacrifices to God, they would turn back toward God and resubmit to the king of Judah. (At this point, Judah was still loyal to God.)
The northern tribes never gave up their idolatry. Ahijah declared to Jeroboam how God saw his rebellion: “But [you] have done evil above all that were before you: for you have gone and made you other gods, and molten images, to provoke Me to anger, and have cast Me behind your back…For the Lord shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and He shall root up Israel out of this good land, which He gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the Lord to anger. And He shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin” (I Kgs. 14:9, 15-16).
Bear in mind that this prophecy pertained to Israel, not Judah. Israel was prophesied to be scattered and removed from the land, with all later Israelite kings following Jeroboam’s idolatrous practices. Unlike Judah (which had a few righteous kings), no king restored the laws and teachings of God in Israel.
Having rejected God, Israel no longer had His favor or help. From about 933 until 718 B.C., Israel continued under 19 separate kings from seven different dynasties. Eight of these kings rose to power by assassinating the existing king or other challengers for the throne.
Israel had cut themselves off from God’s bountiful blessings, including peace. Because they instituted their own religion, instead of submitting to God’s rule, they completely lost knowledge of the true God.
Thus, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were permanently divided. We will explain that the House of Israel, headed by Ephraim and Manasseh, continued to carry the promise of the birthright blessings. The kingdom of Judah, ruled by the royal lineage of David, retained the scepter promise, The Davidic Covenant.
After Israel fell into idolatry, she never returned to God. Yet God pleaded with the northern tribes to return to His ways. Following the example of wicked kings, they always ignored His appeals.
Immediately after the reign of Jeroboam II, and the demise of two kings in quick succession, King Menahem began to reign in Israel. During his reign, Israel began paying tribute to Assyria.
II Kings 15:19-20 begins the story leading to her captivity by this empire: “And Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand. And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and stayed not there in the land.”
Then, shortly after the reign of Pekahiah began, he was assassinated by Pekah, a captain in Israel’s army. During Pekah’s reign, and after ignoring God’s warnings, the first wave of the Assyrian invasion and captivity began: “In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria” (II Kgs. 15:29). This initial captivity, called the Galilean Captivity, occurred about the years 734-732 B.C.
At this time, King Tiglath-pileser took the majority of the kingdom of Israel—about 75%—into captivity. The tribes east of the Jordan River (Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh), in Gilead, were taken away with all the tribes in the northern sector of Galilee and the Valley of Sharon. The Oxford Bible Atlas states, “To the kingdom of Israel was left only Samarina, the capital city of Samaria and the territory south of it” (2nd ed., p. 27). In addition, II Chronicles 30:6 refers to those left behind as a “remnant.”
Before the second siege and complete captivity of Israel, God delivered a final warning to those who were spared from the initial invasion. God wanted to see whether the survivors were now ready to submit to Him.
God used a righteous king from Judah (Hezekiah) to appeal to the remnant in Israel. Notice this lengthy passage: “So they established a decree to proclamation throughout all Israel…that they should come to keep the Passover unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time…So the posts went with the letters from the king…throughout all Israel and Judah…saying, You children of Israel, turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and He will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. And be not you like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as you see.
“Now be you not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the Lord, and enter into His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever: and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you. For if you turn again unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for…God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away His face from you, if you return unto Him. So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them” (II Chron. 30:5-10).
Notice God’s promise to bring Israel out of captivity if the remnant would return to Him! Yet, Israel scorned and mocked God’s messengers. This was typical of Israel, then and now!
But a few did return to God: “Nevertheless various [people of the tribes] of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem…And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast…a very great congregation” (vs. 11-13).
Israel’s stubbornness and rebellion brought inevitable consequences: “In 724 Shalmanezer V, Tiglath-pileser’s successor, began the siege of Samaria. The city fell to Shalmanezer’s successor, Sargon, in 721” (Oxford Bible Atlas, p. 27).
The final siege ended in 718 B.C. Although King Shalmanezer initiated this siege, his death allowed Sargon to complete the campaign of capturing and deporting the remaining tribes of Israel.
The above account is recorded in II Kings 17:1-6: “In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah began Hoshea the son of Elah to reign in Samaria over Israel nine years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord … Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents. And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison. Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years [until 718 B.C.]. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria [King Sargon II] took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.”
II Kings further describes this captivity and the conditions that brought it: “For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, and walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made” (17:7-8).
Why can’t the modern descendants of Israel (and all humanity) read II Kings 17 and see that ancient Israel’s disregard for God’s way brought enslavement: “Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of His sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only” (vs. 18).
While Judah was spared from this captivity, God allowed Israel to be driven from their lands into bondage and taken from His sight. Because of its disobedience, God said the kingdom of Israel (not Judah!) would lose its identity, land, language, religion and name!
Years later, their identity now lost, Israel re-emerged from captivity as the lost ten tribes!
God’s Word stands as a testimony to the modern descendants of Israel and those of every nation who will heed.
The entire northern kingdom was removed from the land that God had provided for them for nearly 700 years. In their place, the Assyrians moved various peoples from the region of Babylon who became known as Samaritans, after the former capital of Israel. Recall: “…there was none left but the tribe of Judah only” (II Kgs. 17:18).
This Assyrian inscription agrees with Scripture: “…Sargon…king of Assyria…conqueror of Samaria and the [entirety of] Israel (Bit-Hu-um-ri-a)” (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, Pritchard, p. 284).
The Assyrians called Israel by the term Bit Humria, which literally means “Omri-land,” in deference to King Omri, who reigned over Israel about 160 years before her final captivity.
Israel never returned to her original land. The removal was final. God surely fulfilled His prophecy to Moses: “I would scatter them [Israel] into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men” (Deut. 32:26).
But what has become of these “Lost Ten Tribes”? Where did they go after being stripped from their homeland and taken to a strange land? Did they, in fact, lose their religion and language? Since they disappeared, did God renege on His promises to grant Ephraim and Manasseh their birthright blessings?
God kept His promises, but the world has been in the dark about the location and identity of modern Israel, until these last days (Dan. 12:9-10). Who they are has been revealed. Bear in mind that, although the birthright blessings were unconditional, God reserved the right to withhold them until the time and circumstances of His choosing.
Remember again, while the Jewish people—the kingdom of Judah—were Israelites, not all Israelites were Jewish! This is all-important!
God’s proclamation that Israel would be forever removed from Judea and forget their identity only applied to Israel—not Judah.
At the time Israel was carried into Assyria, Judah continued in the south, obeying God’s laws for a short time. Soon, having also forgotten the great warning God had given them through Israel’s captivity, she too began to follow the customs of surrounding heathen nations.
As punishment for their rebellion and sins, God also allowed Judah to be taken into captivity in Babylon. But they retained their identity (we will learn why) and some eventually returned to their lands.
Scholars generally recognize that Judah’s captivity occurred about 585 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon—and lasted about 70 years. What is not generally known is that the majority of Judah was enslaved much earlier, and none of these returned to Judah after the 70 years of Babylonian Captivity.
This account is referenced in II Kings 18:13: “Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.” For an Assyrian king to “come against” any walled or fenced city, and to “take them,” meant that those of the city were taken captive. Although given little emphasis in Scripture, this event was very significant.
There was quite a large population dwelling in Judah and seeking refuge in walled cities. At the time of David, Judah’s army alone numbered 500,000 soldiers (II Sam. 24:9). This could translate to well over three million men, women and children. By adding the tribes of Benjamin and Levi, with their women and children, the population of Judah must have vastly exceeded this number.
Although the exact number taken into the Babylonian Captivity is unknown, estimates fall between 100,000 and 200,000.
This occurred: (1) About the year 604 B.C. as Daniel was taken captive (Dan. 1:1-3); (2) again in 598 at the time of Jehoiakim’s death (Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus, bk. X, ch. 6, sec. 1); (3) also in 597 (just 3 months later) as Jehoiachin was taken captive; and finally (4) in 585, as Zedekiah was taken captive. The Jews who returned from the Babylonian Captivity numbered only 42,360 (Ezra 2:64).
Note that the generous estimate of 200,000 is less than 7% of the conservative three million that could be attributed to the kingdom of Judah. This discrepancy is due to Assyria’s earlier incursion into Judah (II Kgs. 18:13) about the year 701 B.C.
On a side note, why does Eastern Europe have so many people of Jewish origin? This is an issue long debated by historians. History does not indicate that they came from the Babylonian captivity.
Bearing in mind that the ancient Assyrians are today’s German people, recognize that Central Europe was already within the Assyrian Empire. This meant that King Sennacherib of Assyria could capture Judah (without Jerusalem), enslave the inhabitants and plant them in Eastern Europe. This is what happened.
The Jews of the “Diaspora” (the dispersion of Jews throughout Europe, Asia and North Africa) most likely originate from this Assyrian captivity rather than from those who chose not to return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian Captivity. The numbers of Jews taken captive by the Assyrians were well over 10 times greater than those taken captive to Babylon. The Austrian Chronicle lists a number of Jewish leaders from family lineages spanning back to when they first became established in Eastern Europe.
Regardless of the numbers involved, the Babylonian captivity of Judah, in 585 B.C., is a key benchmark in prophecy and history. This is also true of Israel’s final captivity in 721 B.C., which involved fewer numbers than the original captivity. Still, the importance of the final captivity is a significant key in prophecy.
These Jews returning to their homeland after the Babylonian Captivity were filling a vital role in God’s Plan. They were responding to Cyrus’ inspired proclamation to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem: “Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:5).
God planned the return of these Jews to fulfill several key prophecies, including the “seventy weeks” prophecy, which set the stage for the appearance of Christ. The focus was to be upon Judah and Jerusalem during the time of Christ and the early Church. However, centuries later, Israel, as the birthright recipient, was to re-emerge “center stage” in history.
First, a significant development in Judah before and during the Babylonian Captivity must be understood. It directly related to the continuing dynasty God had promised David, as well as to the recipients of the birthright—Ephraim and Manasseh. This vital link will be addressed next.
A special commission carried out by the prophet Jeremiah provides a fascinating link between The Davidic Covenant and the birthright recipients.
After the Assyrian invasion into Israel and Judah, God allowed Judah to continue for several reasons. Of the 19 kings who ruled Judah, five remained righteous for the majority of their reign: Asa, Jehoshaphat, Uzziah, Hezekiah and Josiah.
Judah generally followed the inclinations of their kings. Since the few righteous kings were blessed with relatively long reigns, the kingdom of Judah followed God about one-third of their 350-year span.
During this time, God used Judah to fulfill many prophecies in His overall Plan, in addition to enabling Jeremiah, a seventeen-year old Jew, to carry out his extraordinary commission, so important that God selected him before he was born!
Notice Jeremiah’s unique calling and his initial reluctance to accept his responsibility: “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for you shall go to all that I shall send you, and whatsoever I command you you shall speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord. Then the Lord put forth His hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant” (1:4-10).
Jeremiah was set over “nations” and “kingdoms” (plural)—not just the single nation or kingdom of Judah. He was to root out, pull down, destroy and throw down—and to warn Judah before God sent her into captivity in Babylon for rejecting Him. God would literally bring down the nation and the throne—Jeremiah would do this by delivering the warning message over a 50-year period.
The last part of the commission was to build and to plant. This would involve another nation (other than Judah), which was brought down. The identity of this nation (or nations) will become evident.
Judah’s captivity must be examined from one other perspective, relating directly to God’s promise to David of a permanent kingly line.
Many have not understood what happened after Judah entered captivity. After righteous King Josiah’s untimely death, Jeremiah lamented His loss: “And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spoke of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations” (II Chron. 35:25).
Jeremiah knew that, after Josiah’s death, the fate of Judah would hasten. God had previously shown that Judah was overdue for severe punishment, but had promised Josiah: “Behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, neither shall your eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again” (II Chron. 34:28).
Judah’s fate was already sealed. Notice: “And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem” (Jer. 15:4).
Recall that one hundred and twenty-five years prior, Israel had already been taken into captivity, and now Judah had offended God worse than Israel (Jer. 3:10-11). After witnessing Israel’s captivity, they ignored the implications and continued in their disobedience! Notice: “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away [sent her as captives into Assyria], and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also…And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, says the Lord” ( vs. 8-10).
God told Jeremiah to present a roll (scroll) to the king and subjects of Judah, representing all the prophecies He had inspired Jeremiah to make in regard to Judah’s fate. In His mercy, God inspired this: “It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin” (Jer. 36:3).
Remember, when God gave the remnant of Israel one final appeal, they scorned it. Likewise, even after the first phase of Judah’s captivity, God’s final appeal to them fell largely upon deaf ears. Jehoakim’s response was to simply cut up the scroll and cast it into the fire.
Jehoakim’s contempt for Jeremiah and God’s prophecies brought this response: “And you shall say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus says the Lord; You have burned this roll, saying, Why have you written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast?
“Therefore thus says the Lord of Jehoiakim king of Judah; he shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost. And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; but they hearkened not” (Jer. 36:29-31).
Jehoiakim and his counselors even rejected this reply from God!
The first part of Jeremiah’s commission was to warn Judah of impending captivity. He warned that, unless they acknowledged their rebellion and returned to God, their nation and throne would be cast down.
In the Babylonians’ final attack upon Jerusalem, thousands were killed and thousands more taken captive with King Zedekiah. By 585 B.C., the temple was destroyed and Jerusalem laid waste.
At this point, the first part of Jeremiah’s commission of “rooting out” and “throwing down” was complete. Judah was in captivity, and the final king, Zedekiah, had been captured, blinded and taken to Babylon in chains. The last thing he saw was the execution of his sons along with all the nobles of Judah—those who might, through kinship, be candidates for the throne. Zedekiah eventually died in captivity.
Jeconiah (also known as Jehoiachin or Coniah), from the same royal lineage, was taken into captivity 11 years before Zedekiah. Jeconiah was honored decades later, while still in captivity by being given the honorary title of king during his last years. However, Jeconiah never reigned from the throne.
His son Zerubbabel was named governor (never king) of the Jewish remnant that later returned to Jerusalem. However, it was through this royal lineage that Christ was born as the Seed of David. Do not confuse this with David’s dynasty, because his throne had been removed from Judah at 585 B.C. Since Christ will inherit David’s throne upon His Return, it had to continue intact somewhere else.
The New Testament shows there was no remaining king of Jewish descent reigning over the Jews. (King Herod, a descendant of Esau, was given the Judean throne as a favor from the Romans.) After returning to the land of Judah after captivity, the Jews were subject to the great world empires: Persia, Greece, the Seleucids (a later division of the Greek Empire), followed by Rome.
At this point, most simply conclude that the scepter promise and Davidic Covenant came to a crashing halt—that God’s promises were canceled. With the death of Judah’s King Zedekiah, the slaughter of all possible heirs to the throne, and the removal of any possible king in Judah, some assume, “See! God’s promises to David have failed!”
But this is far from true! In what could be one of the most fascinating parts of Jeremiah’s commission, we will learn of the amazing steps God took to preserve the Davidic line!
Consider. The Jews were slaves in Babylon, with no throne left in Judah and no legal heir to sit on it. Seemingly, God’s promise to David that his dynasty would continue unbroken was breached. How is this puzzle solved?
The answer to this dilemma hinges on the second part of Jeremiah’s commission. Remember that he was also to build up and to plant. History records that he did this.
To understand how this was fulfilled, the events immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jews’ captivity must be re-examined from another perspective. We shall clearly see how God’s promise remained intact.
Notice how Jeremiah received favor in the eyes of his Babylonian captors: “Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying, Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto you” (39:11-12).
Jeremiah was allowed his freedom: “And now, behold, I loose you this day from the chains which were upon your hand. If it seem good unto you to come with me into Babylon, come; and I will look well unto you: but if it seem ill unto you to come with me into Babylon, forbear: behold, all the land is before you: where it seems good and convenient for you to go, there go. Now while he was not yet gone back, he said, Go back also to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people: or go wheresoever it seems convenient unto you to go. So the captain of the guard gave him victuals and a reward, and let him go. Then went Jeremiah unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah; and dwelt with him among the people that were left in the land” (40:4-6).
Gedaliah had been made governor of Judah. The Babylonians left a few poor people as caretakers of the land, now possessed by their captors. This small remnant lived together in the town of Mizpah. Before long, a Jew named Ishmael, who conspired with the king of Ammon, assassinated Gedaliah.
Notice both the description of what happened to this small remnant and who was included in that group: “Then Ishmael carried away captive all the residue of the people that were in Mizpah, even the king’s daughters, and all the people that remained in Mizpah, whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had committed to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam: and Ishmael the son of Nethaniah carried them away captive, and departed to go over to the Ammonites” (41:10).
The king’s daughters mentioned here were the daughters of Zedekiah, who had died in captivity. Remember that the Babylonians had executed all his possible male heirs.
Later, a Jew named Johanan rescued the small band taken captive by Ishmael. Out of fear of vengeance by the Babylonians, whose guards were killed by Ishmael and his party, Johanan led the small band of Jews into Egypt. They did this in spite of Jeremiah’s assurance that the Babylonians would not hold them guilty, since they were also victims of Ishmael. Johanan ignored Jeremiah’s advice and his inspired warning of the consequences for fleeing into Egypt.
Jeremiah assured the remnant: “Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid; be not afraid of him, says the Lord: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand. And I will show mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon you, and cause you to return to your own land” (42:11-12).
God was working out an extraordinary purpose here!
Jeremiah proceeded to warn them against going into Egypt: “And now therefore hear the word of the Lord, you remnant of Judah; thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; if you wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there; then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which you feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof you were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there you shall die” (42:15-16).
Jeremiah 43:5-6 reveals who was included in this remnant, escaping into Egypt: “But Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, took all the remnant of Judah, that were returned from all nations, where they had been driven, to dwell in the land of Judah; even men, and women, and children, and the king’s daughters, and every person that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Jeremiah the prophet, and Baruch the son of Neriah.”
Of these Jews who fled to Egypt, only Jeremiah, Baruch (Jeremiah’s scribe and secretary) and the king’s daughters were allowed to escape the fate awaiting this group. Notice the last phrase here: “…for none shall return but such as shall escape” (44:14). Only those whom God granted passage would be allowed to escape.
To show God was working out the details of this prophecy, it was continued in the book of Isaiah (written well over a century before the time of Jeremiah): “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” (37:32).
Verse 31 identifies whom this is discussing: “And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.” Since this defines the second part of Jeremiah’s commission, this remnant is none other than the king’s daughters and Jeremiah and Baruch!
The scepter promise to Judah involves the healing of a remarkable breach between two bloodlines descended from Judah’s sons, Pharez and Zarah. Tracing this breach is a fascinating story—and one that carries an enormous impact on history. It also involves Jeremiah’s commission!
To understand the breach of Judah, we need to briefly review its origin. Judah was the father of twin sons. Traditionally, when twins were the firstborn sons, the firstborn of the twins would receive the honor due to a firstborn, as though they were born years apart. Understanding that twins were coming, the midwife tied a scarlet thread around the hand of the one appearing to come first. “And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How have you broken forth? This breach be upon you: Therefore his name was called Pharez [“a breach”]. And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah [“the seed”]” (Gen. 38:29-30).
This breach between the Pharez and Zarah line continued for over one millennium, until it was healed. Although this event seems to carry little significance, it was an overriding issue with the line of Zarah, who knew that their destiny was to eventually bear the scepter of rulership that fate denied them. I Chronicles 2:6 records about the lineage of Zarah: “And the sons of Zerah; Zimri, and Ethan, and Heman, and Calcol, and Dara: five of them in all.”
Centuries later, Solomon’s great wisdom was compared with the lineage of Zarah: “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol [a term for dancing and music]: and his fame was in all nations round about” (I Kgs. 4:29-31). Here, because of their wisdom, four of Zarah’s five sons were mentioned by name, even though they lived many centuries earlier.
The key is that the Zarah line included men of renown, recognized for their wisdom, with two Zarahites having written Psalms 88 and 89. Why is this point important? Because God wanted this talented bloodline of Judah’s leadership to be incorporated back into the royal line.
The line of Zarah appears to have migrated in close association with the tribes of Israel, particularly the tribe of Dan. Some accompanied Dan in Greece and especially in Ireland, where they were present with the Danites from the time of the earliest migrations about 1200 B.C. Those of the line of Zarah were in positions of leadership, but not in honor of formal royalty as their counterparts of the line of Pharez. Yet the line of Zarah knew that the time would arrive to take their rightful place, bearing the scepter of rulership.
The Genesis account of the initial breach of Judah was recorded by God to show His hand at work in healing the historic breach between the lines of Pharez and Zarah. Before the time of the last kings of Judah, there was no record that the breach was healed. No descendant of Zarah ever sat on the throne ruling over Judah. The scepter had strictly followed the line of Pharez—the dynasty of David.
To heal the breach by transferring the scepter or kingly line from Pharez to Zarah would have broken God’s covenant with David. However, the breach was healed—and The Davidic Covenant was never broken! Only one process would repair this breach—a healing through marriage!
The descendants of Zarah migrated with the tribes of Israel from the regions of Parthia and Scythia on to northwestern Europe and the Island of Britain. Though in positions of rulership, the line of Zarah—that of the Scarlet thread—was never exalted as the line of Pharez and the descendants of David had been. This line of the scepter sat upon a recognized throne in honor and exaltation. Meanwhile, the line of Zarah was without recognition and honor, yet looking to the time that they would receive what was rightfully theirs—the throne and scepter.
The Zarah line was already in place in Britain before the time of David. Although elements of the tribe of Dan were the pioneers of other Israelites to follow, Zarah followed soon. Like Dan, they were an adventuresome and hardy people, and natural leaders among Israel.
This prophecy in Ezekiel sums up Jeremiah’s commission: “And you, profane wicked prince of Israel [margin: Zedekiah], whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus says the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until He come whose right it is; and I will give it Him” (21:25-27).
The phrase “remove the diadem, and take off the crown” describes the first part of Jeremiah’s commission. The diadem and crown were to be removed from Judah’s king. The phrase, “this shall not be the same,” indicates a change took place. This was the overturn of the throne to another. That this change or overturn was to be accomplished through marriage allowed The Davidic Covenant to continue.
Thus, the diadem and the throne were overturned from Judah and the Pharaz line to the lowly, displaced, wandering Israelites led in the Britain Isles by the Zarah line. This fulfilled “exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.” We will see how the throne was overturned three times—the first being its removal from Zedekiah to the Zarah line, through a prince in Ireland. (We will later see that the throne underwent two more transfers within the British Isles.)
The last phrase of Ezekiel’s prophecy states, “And it shall be no more [no more overturned], until He come whose right it is; and I will give it Him.” This clearly shows that the returning glorified Christ has the right to that throne and it will be given to Him!
Another extensive prophecy in Ezekiel, given as a riddle to Israel, shows how the planting and rebuilding of David’s throne was to occur. The entire prophecy should be read carefully: “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel; and say, Thus says the Lord God; A great eagle…came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar: he cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffic; he set it in a city of merchants. He took also of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field; he placed it by great waters, and set it as a willow tree. And it grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature…and shot forth sprigs” (17:1-6).
The great eagle at the beginning of the riddle was the king of Babylon, who took Zedekiah captive. Verse 11 describes the destruction of Zedekiah’s Pharez lineage. The execution of his sons is the cropping off of the cedar’s young twigs. The “vine of low stature…[shooting] forth sprigs” reflects Judah’s freedom to grow while in captivity in Babylon. The second great eagle (vs. 7) refers to Pharaoh of Egypt, because Jeremiah visited there.
This part of the prophecy pertained to the first part of Jeremiah’s commission—the rooting up and tearing down of the existing throne in Judah. But within this same prophecy, the planting and building up is also addressed. This is the second phase of Jeremiah’s commission.
Verses 22-23 go on to describe what was Jeremiah’s commission to re-establish God’s throne in another location. God says that He will take of the highest branch—the seed of King Zedekiah—and set it or plant it. The “tender young twig” of verse 22 could be none other than one of the king’s daughters that Jeremiah took with him to plant in the British Isles! Thus, the “high mountain and eminent” depicts the nations of Israel as God knew they were destined to become, once the birthright promise was realized.
God states that it will eventually be known that it was He who brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree (vs. 24).
In light of this, notice how much clearer Isaiah’s prophecy becomes: “And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward” (37:31). Jeremiah presented this young Hebrew princess—Tea Tephi—to the Zarah line ruling in the British Isles! Her marriage and children would continue the scepter and the dynasty promised David—and heal the breach.
Meanwhile, the Israelites in the British Isles at the time of Jeremiah’s arrival were primarily those never taken into Assyria. Some Israelites—particularly of the tribe of Dan—avoided captivity, escaping by sea before or during the Assyrian invasion. Also, historical sources show that various tribes were present in Ireland long before Israel’s captivity of 721-718 B.C.
The line of Zarah was present among these early Israelites in Britain well before Jeremiah’s arrival. These (primarily of Dan) had achieved independence in Ireland around 1000 B.C.—about the time of David and Solomon.
About the year 569 B.C., ancient Irish history records that a white-haired patriarch arrived in Ireland with his assistant named “Simon Brach,” accompanied by a Hebrew princess named Tea Tephi. Also, this party included the prince of Ireland, who had been in Jerusalem during the time that the Babylonians took the Jews into captivity. The account included the details that this prince had married Tea Tephi shortly after the fall of Jerusalem. Their 12-year old son accompanied them back to Ireland.
The Irish prince, of Zarah, who married princess Tea Tephi (the first overturn), was given the title of Herremon as he ascended to the throne. The dynasty resulting from this marriage continued unbroken through the kings of Ireland. This lineage was then shifted—overturned (a second time)—and transplanted to Scotland, where it continued unbroken. Later, this same lineage was overturned (a third time) and shifted to England—three overturns (Ezek. 21:27)!
This dynasty exists today—the throne now occupied by Queen Elizabeth II. The three overturns are complete and permanent!
Thus, the marriage of the Zarah prince to Princess Tea Tephi of the Pharez line constituted a healing of the breach. This marriage also established the continuation of The Davidic Covenant and the scepter line, the throne to be taken over by Christ at His Return.
Also, according to ancient Irish history, a patriarch called Ollam Folla (Hebrew: prophet), was accompanied by his scribe called Bruch. Obviously, this was Jeremiah and Baruch. These chronicles of Ireland also record that they brought with them these items: the harp of David, an ark, and a stone called Liafail (meaning the stone of destiny).
History confirms that this stone, called Jacob’s pillar stone, has a rich history not only in ancient Israel, but also after its arrival in Ireland. “History comes to our aid to declare that every King or Queen that has reigned in Ireland, Scotland or England was crowned upon this very same coronation (pillar) stone” (The Lineage of the Scarlet Thread, Lawter, p. 90).
During Queen Victoria’s coronation in 1837, a London Sun article discussed the coronation chair and the interesting stone in the lower compartment beneath it: “Between the seat and this board is enclosed a stone, commonly called Jacob’s, or the fatal marble stone…of a steel color, mixed with some veins of red. History relates that it is the stone whereon the patriarch Jacob laid his head in the plains of Luz.”
This stone is utterly different than stones indigenous to the British Isles. It bears a striking resemblance to certain strata of sandstone in the region of the Dead Sea.
Furthermore, Lawter goes on to explain, “It is a fact that the tomb of Jeremiah is in Ireland and the chronicles of his accomplishment are recorded in the annals of history and can be verified by anyone who is curious enough to dig it out” (p. 74). He continues: “There are so very many facts, both scriptural and historical, that it is impossible even to scratch the surface, much less list them all” (p. 80).
Indeed, this is but the tip of history’s iceberg. Much evidence exists beyond what is cited here to verify these ties to ancient Israel.
Examining the history of the single tribe of Dan will reinforce what has been introduced in the preceding chapter and lay more groundwork for what is to follow.
It has been mentioned that the tribe of Dan had populated Ireland centuries before the Israelite tribes from the Assyrian Captivity began to arrive. We now focus on this tribe, which served as pioneer to the rest of Israel in “blazing the trail” into these territories. They represent a truly fascinating historical study, which strongly reinforces not only God’s prophecy about this tribe but the authority and certainty of His prophecies about all the modern nations of Israel!
One of Dan’s key characteristics was the tendency to abruptly migrate to new territories. Notice what Moses foretold about this tribe: “And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion’s whelp [an impatient, adventuresome cub]: he shall leap from Bashan” (Deut. 33:22). As a young lion, Dan would “leap from (the region of) Bashan.” Some of the inland Danites lived in the proximity of Bashan, occupied mainly by the half-tribe of Manasseh. Yet, recognizing the Assyrian invasion was imminent, these Danites migrated to distant territories. About 1285 B.C., their Danite coastal relatives had taken to their ships, when God used Deborah and Barak to deliver Israel from Jabin of Hazor (Jud. 5:17). In escaping danger, these adventuresome Danites pounced upon (like a lion cub) newfound opportunities in other lands.
Even about the time of the Exodus, the first Danites “leaped” away from the congregation of Israel and settled in southern Greece. Here they became known as the Danai. Ancient historians Euripides and Stabo tell of Dan in Greece: “Danaus having arrived in Argos [one of the oldest cities in Greece, settled by Danites] made a law that those who had borne the name Pelasgiotoe [the region dominated by Dan—overwhelmingly Danites] throughout Greece should be called Danai” (Dan, The Pioneer of Israel, Colonel Gawler, 1880, Artisan, p. 11).
This calls attention to another Danite tendency—using their father’s name to mark geographical landmarks or regions. Note Joshua 19:47: “And the coast of the children of Dan went out too little for them: therefore the children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem, and took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and possessed it, and dwelt therein, and called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father.”
Two more examples of this trait should be noted.
Because they were adjacent to the warlike Philistines, who utilized chariot warfare in the open, flat coastal plain, the Danites needed new land in the hill country. In their quest for territory at a higher altitude, “…they went up, and pitched in Kirjath-jearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan unto this day: behold, it is behind Kirjath-jearim” (Jud. 18:12).
After Dan’s attack on the small town of Laish between Tyre and Bashan, “they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel: howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first” (Jud. 18:29).
The tendency to label landmarks with derivations of its name was a prophetic aspect of this tribe: “Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that bites the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward” (Gen. 49:17). This shows Dan as being subtle and wily, from a military standpoint.
Interestingly, the main seal of the tribe of Dan was that of a serpent. Another version of that seal incorporated an eagle carrying a serpent in its claws: “The serpent is held by various Hebrew and Chaldee writers to have been the cognizance of Dan” (Ibid., p. 13). This serpent’s mark ties in with the trait of naming landmarks after their father, just as a serpent leaves an identifying trail wherever it has crawled through sand or loose soil. Dan has also left unmistakable identifying marks of his trail throughout history.
Below is a sampling of landmarks and locations where portions of Dan lived or traveled. They still bear the name of Dan. Derivations of Dan include the following roots: Dn, Den, Deen, Din, Don, Dun, etc. All these forms, with added prefixes and suffixes, allow for many variations, but are acknowledged by linguists and historians as having a common origin.
|Greece (and area)||Europe and Eurasia||British Isles|
|Dardanelles||Denmark (Dan’s mark)||Dundalk|
|Po (originally Eridan)||Donaghedee (Dan my witness)|
|Rhine (originally Eridanus)||Caledonia|
|Rhone (originally Rhodanus)||Dunraven|
|Baltic (originally Cordan)||Dun Laoghaire|
One identifying thread tying the Danites in Greece to Israel, is a letter from Areas, King of the Lacedemonians (the region including Sparta in Greece) to Onias, the Jewish high priest, about 180 B.C.: “We have met with a certain writing, whereby we have discovered that both the Jews and the Lacedemonians are of one stock, and are derived from the kindred of Abraham. It is but just, therefore, that you, who are our brethren, should send to us about any of your concerns as you please…This letter is four-square; and the seal is an eagle, with a dragon [serpent] in his claws” (Antiquities of the Jews, bk. XII, ch. IV, sec. 10).
More evidence is seen in the following correspondence from Jonathan, the high priest presiding sometime after Onias: “He [Jonathan] enjoined the same ambassadors, that, as they came back, they should go to the Spartans, and put them in mind of their friendship and kindred…Accordingly, as they returned, they came to Sparta, and delivered the epistle which they received of Jonathan to them; a copy of which here follows:—‘Jonathan the high priest of the Jewish nation…to…the people of the Lacedemonians, send greeting…When in former times an epistle was brought to Onias…concerning the kindred that was between us and you…although we did not need such a demonstration, because we were well satisfied about it from the sacred writings’” (Ibid., bk. XIII, ch. V, sec. 8).
These Lacedemonians, of which Sparta was the nucleus, formed a military-based society renowned through all time. Not only was Sparta the dominant military power in the Grecian peninsula of Peloponnesian, but well beyond this region.
The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History discusses the might of Sparta and the legacy of Lycurgus, who led Sparta about the time of 700 B.C.: “Under this semi legendary leader, Sparta became, and remained, a completely military society, always maintained on a war footing. From his earliest years the Spartan citizen had only one mission in life: military service. The state was the army and the army was the state. The result was the development of the best individual soldiers in Greece and the creation of what was, for its size and time, possibly the best small army in the history of the world. The Spartan army was not significantly different from those of other Greek city-states in composition, armament, or tactics; essentially an infantry force of armored spearmen, it was composed primarily of the free-born citizens of the upper and middle classes. The principal distinguishing characteristics were the more thoroughly developed individual military skills, greatly superior organization, higher order of unit maneuverability, and the iron discipline for which the Spartans became renowned throughout Greece” (4th ed., p. 14).
It is ironic that many Western high schools use “Spartans” as their mascot, as did my Ohio high school, but have little idea who these great warriors really were.
About 1285 B.C., Dan was involved in a migration by ships (Jud. 5:17). However, their first migrations occurred shortly after the Exodus (about 1440 B.C.), as already noted. Greece was the first location in which elements of Dan settled. These Danites established the powerful city-states of Argos and Sparta, but remained a distinct people, never assimilating into the Greek race.
Although migrations of Dan to Ireland followed their arrival in Greece, we first need to consider another surprising destination to which some of Dan migrated. This was the region of the eastern coast of the Black Sea—near modern Armenia. The migrations there began about the time of Deborah and Barak and continued for centuries. The bulk of the Danites settled in Greece, eventually migrating either beyond the Black Sea or to Ireland.
The Black Sea is significant because the Danites were established there for centuries before the arrival of a people closely related to them—the Israelites in captivity!
Here is what famous British historian Colonel Gawler states of these Danites: “…it shows that, 500 years before Israel’s captivity, God, who foresaw Israel’s sin and necessary punishment, was still providing for Israel’s safety and comfort by having the country—to which as wretched, degenerate captives they would eventually be brought—pioneered, opened up for them, and settled by batches of their more adventurous brethren the Danites…” (Dan, The Pioneer of Israel, 1880, p. 18).
It should be noted that some Danites continued to practice circumcision, demonstrating their Israelite roots. Although few, if any, of the captive Israelites still practiced this by the time of their captivity, certain Danites in the eastern Black Sea region, the Colchians, still were obedient in certain aspects of the Old Covenant, including circumcision. These Danites called themselves “My sanctified ones” (Ibid., p. 18).
Notice the region in which Ezra sought (over 180 years after Israel’s captivity) for the Levites to do service at Jerusalem, after the Jews had returned from the Babylonian captivity: “And I sent them with commandment unto Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should say unto Iddo, and to his brethren the Nethinims, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring unto us ministers for the house of our God” (Ezra 8:17).
This source identifies Casiphia: “And in Dr. Henderson’s Russian researches, Casiphia is identified as a district bordering on the Caspian [Sea]” (Dan, The Pioneer of Israel, p. 18). From this region, Ezra obtained about 2,000 priests, Levites, and servants for the temple at Jerusalem to restore the worship of God.
The Levites from the region of the Caspian Sea could have been among those taken captive with the ten tribes of Israel or, more likely, among the Jews taken captive during Hezekiah’s time. In any case, both would have been under domination of the Assyrians, who placed most of their captives in the Caspian region.
There is also evidence of concentrations of non-captive Danites established just to the north of where Israel was destined to be taken captive. The landmass between the Black and Caspian Seas was where many captive Israelites would soon be taken.
Since Dan’s tendency to migrate by land and sea was established early, this tribe was “pre-positioned” among the Israelite captives (according to Gawler) to pioneer the way toward northwestern Europe—where their descendants would become established throughout the centuries to follow.
Within two or three generations, with the help of his non-captive Danite relatives, Israel was almost “back on his feet” by the time the Babylonians and Medes defeated the Assyrians, about 612 B.C. The initial waves of migration did not take long to materialize. The overall migration process was spread out over centuries.
Even during the first century, the famous historian Josephus made this insightful observation regarding numbers of Israelites still in the Black Sea and Caspian regions, Media in particular: “But then the entire body of the people of Israel remained in that country; wherefore there are but two tribes [Judah and Benjamin] in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond [the] Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers” (Antiquities of the Jews, bk. XI, ch. V, sec. 2).
Josephus would have been blind to God’s purpose of migrating His people to a new (birthright) land. God’s promise to Abraham was that his descendants would multiply like the “sand of the sea” and “stars of heaven.” This obviously continued in captivity. Josephus could observe this. The fact that he records an “immense multitude,” still in the Black Sea and Caspian regions after six centuries of migrations, merely underscores the truth of God’s promise!
Grave markers located north of the Black Sea provide additional archaeological evidence of post-captivity Israel’s presence in this area of Crimea. Most of post-captivity Israel traveled through this region during their wanderings toward northwestern Europe. The source of this evidence is an article entitled “Synchronous History” by J.W. Bosanquet published in 1874 in the following work: Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeological, Volume III, pages 28-29.
Three of the grave markers give interesting accounts. One reads, “This is the tombstone of Buki, the son of Izchak, the priest; may his rest be in Eden, at the time of the salvation of Israel. In the year 702 of the years of our Exile.” Another marker reads, “Rabbi Moses Levi died in the year 726 of our Exile.” Another marker reads, “Zadok, the Levite, son of Moses, died 4000 [years] after the creation, 785 of our Exile.” The dates on these grave markers would have fallen about the time of the first century A.D.
The record of archaeology tells its own story!
Dan’s migrations occurred in “waves” or cycles, following in the wake of certain historical events. In his work, The History of Ireland, Keating observed this trend, acknowledged by other authorities on the subject. (Due to intermediate destinations and other factors, Dan(ites) did not always migrate directly to Ireland from Israel.) As we have seen, the first migration began shortly after the Exodus. Keating observed that Dan’s destination was the islands of southern Greece. A second migration occurred during the time of Deborah and Barak.
The Assyrian captivity prompted Dan to migrate from Israel, even causing some in Greece to migrate toward Ireland. This constituted the third major migration, most bound directly for Scandinavia and Ireland.
Numbers 1:39 records that 62,700 men in Dan bore arms (translating into a total population of about half a million). Although the overall Israelite population more than doubled from the Exodus (Ex. 12:37) until David’s time (II Sam. 24:9), Dan is conspicuously absent in Ezra’s account of the tribes of Israel (I Chron. 4-8).
Migrations had removed him!
Beginning with exploration, and the development of trade among the Greeks and Phoenicians, Dan became the pioneer of Israel, both on land and sea. Dan pushed into the far areas beyond the Black Sea (anciently called the Euxine) and explored many rivers from those points in Asia on into Europe. Dan further pushed throughout the Mediterranean and on into the broad Atlantic. The Baltic Sea and the shores of Denmark became home for many of them, while Ireland became the sanctuary for many others, where they became known as the “Tuath di Dannan,” or “Tuatha de Danaans,” both translated as “the Tribe of Dan.”
In Dan’s earlier migrations directly out of Israel to Ireland, they were called Dannans. In later migrations, they were known as Milesians (from Greece, the Black Sea region and Scythia).
Notice this prominent source, helping to establish when Dan first arrived in Ireland: “The colony called the Tuatha de Dannan conquered the Firbolgs, and became masters of Ireland. It appears that the Dannans were a highly civilized people, far more skilled in arts and sciences than any of the other colonies that settled in Ireland. They ruled in Ireland about two centuries, or 197 years according to the Psalter of Cashel, and were highly skilled in architecture and other arts from their long residence in Greece…” (Annals of Ireland, The Four Masters, p. 121).
Continuing, “The Dannans ruled about two centuries, until the arrival of the Milesians, which took place 1,000 years before the Christian era” (Ibid., p. 123).
We can now better pinpoint the arrival of the Dannans at about 1200 B.C., placing their arrival shortly after the time of Deborah and Barak. Keating further states that the Danaans “left Greece after a battle with the Assyrians, and for fear of falling into the hands of the Assyrians, came to Norway and Denmark, and thence passed over to Ireland” (History of Ireland, p. 40).
Consider. The tribe of Dan was established in Ireland as early as 1200 B.C., before Samuel, during the time of the judges. Dan’s second migration to Ireland occurred about the time of David—in the range of 1000 B.C.
Historians could know what you have just learned. After all, historians recorded it. Tragically, it remains hidden from the eyes of the world, because they have not been willing to look at the obvious trail God prophesied that just this one tribe would leave!
But there were other tribes…
Does history also reveal where the other tribes relocated? Does the Bible provide its own clues, verifying the historical record? Is there absolute proof of what happened—or must we accept suppositions and opinions? First we will look at history, then the Bible.
The answers are at once astonishing, fascinating and inspiring!
Samaria’s final captivity in Assyria continued from about 721 B.C. until the fall of Nineveh (Assyria’s capital) in 612 B.C.—totaling 109 years. Recall that most of Israel was enslaved in the Galilean Captivity in the 730s B.C., increasing the time in captivity to about 120 years. However, many Israelites fled Assyria well before its collapse. We will see that, by this time, the vast majority had already lost their identity.
Scripture shows where Israel was taken: “In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes” (II Kgs. 17:6).
The general areas were: (1) The heart of Assyria, near the cities and rivers noted (Gozan was the name of a city and river); and (2) in Media, about 200 miles to the east, just south of the Caspian Sea. Assyria was directly south of Armenia, being south of the Caucasus Mountains, between the Black and Caspian Seas.
The Assyrians placed only select Israelites within their own region, designating them skilled servants or specialists in critical trades. Most of the captives were transferred to Media and Persia. Others were sent to Armenia, where the Assyrians had driven out the original inhabitants. The bulk of the Israelites were taken to the region of Media: “The king of Assyria…transplanted all the people [Israelites] into Media and Persia” (Antiquities of the Jews, bk. IX, ch. XIV, sec. 1).
These Israelites eventually dispersed throughout this general region from Northern Asia Minor and Armenia as far east as Parthia and later to India. The region between the Black and Caspian Seas was populated by Israelites, as was the entire region adjoining the south coast of the Black Sea. Eventually, the Israelites also came to dominate the areas south and east of the Caspian Sea. (Recall Josephus’ statement about “ten tribes are beyond [the] Euphrates.”)
The population of the ten tribes reached at least five million by the time of the captivity. Even at the time of David, Israel (excluding Judah) had 800,000 warriors. This would have translated to a total population of about four million. By the time of the captivity (300 years later), with a very conservative 10 percent growth per century, the population would have easily reached over five million.
Notice God’s promise regarding the preservation of Israel as a people: “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, says the Lord. For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth” (Amos 9:8-9). Even in their punishment, God would preserve Israel and fulfill His solemn promises to the patriarchs.
We will see that Israel quickly rebounded from captivity with unusual persistence. They became a loose association of tribes, capable of defending themselves and traversing thousands of miles (over the next centuries) to fulfill the destiny God had reserved for them.
About 701 B.C., the Assyrian Empire suffered a major setback, marking the beginning of their decline. Only hours before Sennacherib was to order his decisive onslaught against Jerusalem, God answered King Hezekiah’s prayers, slaying 185,000 of Assyria’s best warriors by the hand of an angel (II Kgs. 19:35). But historians generally discredit the biblical account, denying God’s role: “This repulse was probably the result of a pestilence that ravaged his army” (The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History, 4th ed., 1993, p. 11).
As Assyria declined, Babylon gained momentum. This continued for 89 years, until Assyria collapsed. Babylon filled the vacuum, assuming governance of regions from which Assyria had withdrawn. The Babylonians, together with the Medes, overran the stronghold city of Asshur in 614 and, finally, Nineveh in 612 B.C. The armies of both the Babylonians and Medes included a significant number of Scythians (Ibid., p. 12), Israelites who sought revenge against their ruthless Assyrian captors!
Throughout Assyria’s decline, the Israelites slowly gained greater freedom, sometimes as the Assyrians were in retreat. In other instances, they successfully rebelled against their Assyrian overlords. In the earlier stages (as early as 679 B.C.), most of the rebellions were suppressed, as when various Israelite tribes in the upper Euphrates region were defeated. In Media to the east, the Israelite captives (known as the Cimmerians) also rose in rebellion against their Assyrian captors. Assyrian King Esarhaddon (681-668 B.C.) took credit for suppressing their “incursions” (Ibid., p. 11).
Esarhaddon boasted of vanquishing barbarians he termed “Ishpaki”—the Assyrian name for Scythians, interchangeable with the term “Gimera,” used for the captive Israelites. Within a few decades of Israel’s captivity, the Gimera and Iskuza appeared in the same regions where the Israelite captives were settled.
About 680 B.C., some of the Gimera rebelled and escaped into the mountains of Asia Minor (Esdras, bk 2., ch. 13, vs. 40-44).
A strange irony of history was that many mercenaries hired by the Assyrians, from about 650 B.C., were of the “wild Scythian tribes”—Israelites (The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History, p. 12).
The extent to which such Israelite mercenaries were later used to defend Nineveh, in 612 B.C., is unknown. However, we do know that the bulk of the Babylonian and Median forces who overran Nineveh were, in fact, Israelites. Most likely, in this encounter, Israelites were fighting Israelites, not unlike the many civil skirmishes that affected different factions of Israel when they were together as a nation.
Median King Darius I (521-485 B.C.) commemorated victories over his enemies on a huge inscription on the cliff at Bisitun (Behistun), just south of Media and southwest of the Caspian Sea. The inscription, written in three languages—Persian, Elamite (Median), and Babylonian—in parallel accounts above and beneath the huge relief carved in the stone, depicts Darius receiving the submission of his vanquished foes (Oxford Bible Atlas, 2nd ed., pp. 30, 78-79). It is still there today.
In 1835, Sir Henry Rawlinson investigated the parallel inscription. It provided missing keys, unlocking the ancient languages of Assyria and Babylon, never before understood.
One of the provinces listed in the inscription was “Scythia,” or “Saka,” as it was pronounced in the Persian language. The Babylonian version of this term was Cimmerians and written as “Gimiri,” meaning “the tribes.” Israel was often referred to as the “lost tribes.” This same province in the Median language was “Scythia” (as it appeared in the Persian language) and pronounced “Sakka.”
Of course, the Assyrian equivalent, Gimera (a derivation of bit Humri), referred directly to Israel. The Assyrian Gimera are indeed the same people as the Babylonian Gimiri—both terms for Israel.
Many historians see the Behistun stone as the key to understanding these ancient languages. Also unlocked through this inscription is the fact that the Scythians and the Cimmerians are the same people, and that the Saka, Sakka and Sacre are the same people!
Before this inscription was found, these issues were debated among scholars, with no tangible evidence outside the realm of ancient historical records. Now, tangible evidence unmistakably identifies these peoples as the progenitors of the Anglo-Saxons and Celtics.
It is worth noting that as Israel was emerging from captivity Judah was on the verge of captivity to Babylon, beginning 604 B.C.
As Israel solidified into self-sufficient enclaves, pacts and leagues for mutual self-defense became common. Because they were an unusually strong people, recovering political and military independence happened quickly. By the time her migrations began, Israel had achieved military parity with surrounding peoples.
These former captives later formed a loose federation of tribes and, signaling their future, held their own against powerful world empires!
During the reign of Darius the Great (521-486 B.C.) of the Medo-Persian Empire, the Israelites, known as Scythians, took advantage of Persia’s internal turmoil to gain independence.
In 511, Darius (the same Darius who had honored Daniel) personally took charge of one expedition to bring the Scythians back into submission: “The Scythian horsemen refused to stand and fight, but continuously harassed the Persian army. After two or more months of frustrating and costly marches, Darius returned to the Danube with…his army intact” (The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History, pp. 24-25). Darius abandoned plans to subjugate these elusive, mobile Scythians, so skilled in the use of early cavalry tactics. The Scythians were able to withstand the army of the strongest world empire of that time.
The area the Scythians controlled extended from east of the Caspian Sea, westward nearly 2,000 miles to the Danube River.
About two centuries later, in 329 B.C., the Scythians became a formidable adversary of the Greco-Macedonian Empire. Alexander the Great struggled with them: “He was forced to fight a number of bitter battles against the wild Scythian tribesmen in the mountain passes south and west of the Jaxartes, and was wounded—once seriously—in two of these” (Ibid., p. 56).
Notice what happened in 279-275 B.C.: “A migratory wave of Celts invaded Macedonia, Greece, and Thrace, then crossed to Asia Minor, where they established the kingdom of Galatia…Antiochus I (son of Seleucus) finally subdued the Galatian-Celts” (Ibid., p. 61).
The Celts were of Scythian-Israelite origin. This struggle occurred during the dominance of the Seleucids after the death of Alexander the Great.
The Israelite population flourished over the centuries, allowing them to migrate to northwest Europe, while those who remained in Scythia, Armenia and Parthia seemed to also expand in power and influence. The elements of Israel in Parthia (having migrated from Scythia) expanded and flourished to the level that Parthia became an empire in its own right. It was not a world empire, but a local power. As fellow Israelites, the Parthians and Scythians were usually allies, when not fighting each other (Prov. 17:17).
Notice this about the modes of warfare used by the Israelites. It offers insight into their modern military capability: “The horse archer had been introduced into warfare by the nomadic barbarians of central Asia. Alexander encountered them as the major components of the Scythian tribes he defeated in Sogdiana and north of the Jaxartes. The Parthians, descendants of these Scythians, brought the horse archer to dramatic prominence in southwestern Asia in this period…One of the most significant portents of future military developments was the Battle of Carrhae (54-53 B.C.), where the horse archers of the Parthian leader Surenas gained an overwhelming victory over the infantry legions of Roman Crassus” (Ibid., p. 92).
Rome later defeated the Parthians, but at great price. Both the Parthians and Scythians started to become displaced by the first century B.C., from Roman pressure and a combination of other factors. Although most started migrating toward the northwest, some Scythians initially migrated southeast toward India: “By the middle of the 1st century B.C., the Scythians (known to Indian history as Sakas) were in complete control of the Punjab. Successive waves of Saka nomads now poured through the Bolan and Khyber Passes, precipitating a sanguinary internecine [bloody, destructive] struggle for the newly won land” (Ibid., p. 131).
Military factors always played a major role in the relocations and migrations of the Israelites. But other factors also motivated them. Consider one: “Herodotus also records (iv. 76) that the Scythians ‘studiously avoid the use of foreign customs.’ Now Israel’s sin in the Holy Land was too great a fondness for foreign customs, but we may reasonably suppose that the sufferings they had endured and their banishment had brought them somewhat to a sense of their sin, even though they might have been unable to recover the truth. Ezekiel’s vision was by the River of Chebar, about 590 B.C., and 2 Esdras xiii. 40-42, ascribes as reason for the Ten Tribes moving away from Media, that they desired to serve God in their own way” (Dan, The Pioneer of Israel, Gawler, 1880, p. 26). Israel always obeyed “in their own way.”
So whether to relocate from advancing military threats, spreading drought, or to be at liberty to reestablish contact with God, Israel sought greener pastures, eventually migrating to what God intended to be their new land. Recall what God foretold: “For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth” (Amos 9:9).
Eminent British historian Sharon Turner made one of the most thorough and insightful overviews of Israel’s movements. He observed that much of Europe derived from “three great streams of population from the East, which have followed each other, at intervals so distinct, as to possess languages clearly separable from each other” (The History of the Anglo Saxons, vol. 1, p. 3). He then classified the groups: (1) The Cimmerian and Celtic race, (2) Scythian, Gothic, and German tribes and (3) the Slovonian and Sarmatian nations. Turner identified the first two waves as the ones from whom the English peoples descended. He further stressed similarities between the languages of the Cimmerians and Celts (Ibid., p. 28).
The very earliest of the Celtic migrations occurred when Dan settled in Ireland, as early as 1200 B.C. Yet their language bore many common ties to those of later Celtic migrations, as well as to the Scythians. Besides language, other characteristics distinguished the ancestry of the Israelitish peoples from others migrating about the same time: “The ancient writers regarded as homogeneous all the fair haired peoples dwelling north of the Alps, the Greeks terming them all Keltoi. Physically they fall into two loosely divided groups…The first of these is restricted to northwestern Europe, having its chief seat in Scandinavia. It is distinguished by a long head, a long face, a narrow aquiline nose, blue eyes, very light hair and a great stature” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., vol. 5, p. 611).
These were the typical Israelitish features, as opposed to the Germanic peoples, among whom many of the Israelites settled. The Romans erroneously labeled these Germanic peoples as Celts. They had radically different physical characteristics than the Israelites, “marked by a round head, a broad face, a nose often rather broad and heavy, hazel-gray eyes, light chestnut hair; they are thick set and of medium height” (Ibid.). Gradually, the longer-faced Israelitish peoples emigrated to other countries of northwest Europe and to America in the 1800s and thereafter—oblivious of their common heritage.
Yair Davidy, a contemporary historian who researched the migration of the tribes of Israel, explains the tendency of particular types of Israelites to galvanize in common regions: “Peoples belonging to the Lost Israelite Tribes sojourned in regions now known as Russia, Poland, Central Europe, and Germany, and throughout the European Continent…A separate study, in the case of Germany at least would seem to indicate that those who went to the U.S.A. in the 1800’s were somehow different from those who stayed behind and German officials themselves remarked on such a difference. The claim for such a distinction is based on consideration of physical types, areas-of-origin within Germany, religious orientation and social outlook” (The Tribes, p. 430).
How extensive were the migrations from Germany to America? “The total number of those who sailed for the United States from 1820 to 1900 may be estimated at more than 4,500,000” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., vol. 11, p. 810). This will carry greater significance later.
The Cimmerians originated from the outskirts of the Assyrian Empire and migrated west, where they eventually merged with and dominated the Celts, who can also be traced to the Caspian Sea area. The British Isles, France, Belgium and Northwest Europe were settled by the Celts.
Consider this lengthy quote about the Celts: “Celts, a people who dominated much of western and central Europe in the 1st millennium BC, giving their language, customs, and religion to the other peoples of that area. The earliest archaeological evidence associated with the Celts places them in what is now France and western Germany in the late Bronze Age, around 1200 BC…They probably began to settle in the British Isles during this period [8th century to the 6th century B.C.]. Between the 5th and 1st centuries BC, their influence extended from what is now Spain to the shores of the Black Sea…The word Celt is derived from Keltoi, the name given to these people by Herodotus and other Greek writers. To the Romans, the Continental Celts were known as Galli, or Gauls; those in the British Isles were called Britanni.
“In the 4th century BC, the Celts invaded the Greco-Roman world, conquering northern Italy, Macedonia, and Thessaly (Thessalia). They plundered Rome in 390, sacked Delphi in 279, and penetrated Asia Minor, where they were known as Galatians. The ‘Cisalpine Gauls’ of northern Italy were conquered by the Romans in the 2nd century BC; Transalpine Gaul (modern France and the Rhineland) was subdued by Julius Caesar in the 1st century BC, and most of Britain came under Roman rule in the 1st century AD. In the same period, the Celts of central Europe were dominated by the Germanic peoples. In medieval and modern times the Celtic tradition and languages survived in Bretagne (in western France), Wales, the Scottish Highlands, and Ireland” (“Celts,” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000).
The second major wave of post-captivity migrations involved the Scythians with their numerous subdivisions. The name “England” came from a particular Scythian tribe, the Angles, who came in this wave. Other related tribes arrived at different times and under different names. But all came from the same stock and same general area.
This second wave of migrations essentially began in the early centuries A.D., continuing beyond the time of the Norman conquest of England in A.D. 1066. By then, newly arriving immigrants were not as welcome as they might have been at an earlier time, when reinforcements were sought to ward off the Romans. By this time, when English defenses were better prepared, William the Conqueror arranged a Norwegian invasion to precede his own invasion of England. By drawing away the resistance forces to meet the Norwegians, he was able to land his fleet without resistance, later defeating English King Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
As with previous migrations, the Norman invaders were of the same stock as the English. William’s primary reason for invading England, instead of being content with Normandy, was his desire to be king of England.
In his Origin of the English Nation, Professor Freeman states, “Tribe after tribe, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Frisians, poured across the sea to make new homes in the Isle of Britain. Thus grew up the English nation—a nation formed by the union of various tribes of the same stock. The Dane hardly needed assimilation: he was another kindred tribe, coming later than the others. Even the Norman was a kinsman.” Also, in his paper titled Pedigree of the English People, Dr. Thomas Nicholas states, “The researchers of modern historians unequivocally favor the opinion that under the names of Gauls, Gaels, Celts, Cimmarii, Cimbri, Cymry, Brython, Scots and Picts—only one race under different tribe or clan divisions, political organizations, and periods of existence is spoken of…hence…one people.”
Well-known Professor Huxley, in his work, Racial Origins, states, “The invasions of the Saxons, the Goths, the Danes, the Normans changed the language of Britain, but added no new physical element…I miss no opportunity of uprooting the notion that the people who form the British nation are descended from various nations. All the detachments who flowed into Britain are branches of the self-same stock.” Thus, various elements constituting the British peoples, such as the Celts and Saxons, are distinct and separate tribes, possessing distinct attributes—yet tracing back to a common heritage.
So far, a number of secular sources have connected Israel’s post-captivity military campaigns, migrations and destinations. We now focus on God’s Word—prophecies that provide a wealth of information as to the location of the recipients of the birthright blessing.
Recall that one-third of the Bible is prophecy, most of which is to be fulfilled in the near future. Therefore, we should expect to find much information about the nations of modern Israel.
Again, God had promised, “I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob…and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.”
God said He would sift Israel among all nations. You have seen proof that He did. While dwelling among various nations, unaware of their own identity, the Israelites eventually galvanized into enclaves because God was guiding them back to their individual tribes. This happened after they reached Scandinavia, the British Isles and northwestern Europe.
God also says this: “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim” (Hos. 3:4).
Of course, this happened. For centuries after the captivity, Israel had no governing agency. They were merely wanderers. However, they did maintain a certain level of cohesion for mutual security. Israel abandoned the true God before captivity. This prophecy indicates they would remain apart from God through the rest of the age.
God had carefully guided events so that Israel would settle in their own homeland in preparation to receive the birthright blessings. These incredible and identical verses, repeated for emphasis, state, “Also I will ordain a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more, as at the beginning” (II Sam. 7:10; I Chron. 17:9).
This describes Israel thriving and stable, with security due to geographic layout of their new homeland. After being sifted through the nations during their migrations, and wandering for so long without a king or stable government, God saw to it that they would reach the final destination He had reserved for them. They would wander no more.
Let’s now put several key scriptures together. They paint a remarkable picture of exactly where God would locate the future birthright people.
God says, “Ephraim feeds on wind, and follows after the east wind” (Hos. 12:1). East winds come from the east but blow west—and this had to be the direction relative to Jerusalem!
But the Bible also establishes a second direction toward which the people carrying the name of Israel migrated: “And the Lord said unto me, The backsliding Israel has justified herself more than treacherous Judah. Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, you backsliding Israel, says the Lord; and I will not cause Mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, says the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever” (Jer. 3:11-12).
When Jeremiah proclaimed this, Israel was already in captivity. But some Israelites had already migrated from Assyria—were already in their new homeland toward the north.
Other scriptures confirm this: “In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.” (Jer. 3:18). Again, we see that the land given to the fathers of modern Israel was in the north.
This next passage brings even more clarity, again referencing west: “How shall I give you up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver you, Israel? … They shall walk after the Lord: he shall roar like a lion: When he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west” (Hos. 11:8, 10).
Once again, we see more indications that Israel was located in the west—in relation to where the prophets proclaimed their prophecies.
When placed together, these verses can only point in one direction—due northwest of Jerusalem!
But there is another crucial element in how God tells the careful student of His Word to locate His people. Notice this additional description of where Israel was to be located: “I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers” (Psa. 89:25).
Here is a second passage confirming Israel’s island location: “Listen, O isles, unto Me; and hearken, you people, from far” (Isa. 49:1). The “isles” here can mean coastline or islands.
Verse 3 clarifies whom God is addressing: “And said unto me, You are My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” This shows that these verses are addressing Israel as those living in the isles and far-flung locations.
Verse 12 goes on to show the exact direction of these islands relative to Jerusalem. This passage removes all doubt of where these islands are located: “Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.”
The expression here, “from the north and from the west,” meaning from the northwest, in combination with previous passages mentioning islands, leads us directly to the British Isles from Jerusalem!
The “land of Sinim” is generally understood to be Australia—part of the British Commonwealth. Australia certainly is also a far-flung island, inhabited by the same people as Britain. So is New Zealand.
The context of this next prophecy is at the beginning of Christ’s reign at His Return. First notice Jeremiah 31:7, 9: “For thus says the Lord; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish you, praise you, and say, O Lord, save Your people, the remnant of Israel … they shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.”
The key point follows: “Hear the word of the Lord, O you nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd does his flock” (vs. 10).
This demonstrates God’s mercy in re-gathering the scattered remnants to the area of Jerusalem at the beginning of the Millennium.
Those of Britain call themselves “British.” This name comes from the Hebrew language. The Hebrew word b’rith means “covenant” and the Hebrew word ish means “man.” Combine the two words (“British”) and the meaning would appear to be obvious—“Covenant man.”
It is through the British people—colonizing around the world—that God fulfilled His covenant promise to Abraham. The ancient British language has many similarities to the Hebrew—so many that it is difficult to conclude it did not originate from it! Welsh writer Charles Edwards “was so much struck with its similarity, when he first commenced the study of Hebrew at the University of Oxford, that he felt he must make known his discovery.” It has been stated that Hebrew roots are common in the ancient British language.
At this point, we must establish that Israel traditionally used the name of Isaac, as this passage reveals: “But, in Isaac shall your seed be called” (Rom. 9:7). This is re-emphasized in Hebrews 11:18. Also notice Amos 7:16: “Now therefore hear you the word of the Lord: you say, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not your word against the house of Isaac.”
Since Hebrew does not record vowels (it obviously pronounces them), the “I” is dropped from Isaac, resulting in Saac. The sons of Saac would be Saac’s sons. It came to be spelled in this shortened version as “Saxons.” Just as the term “Celts” was erroneously applied to the Germans by the Romans, the term “Saxons” was applied to the High Germans in reference to their skilled swordsmanship in battle. However, these people are distinct from the Anglo-Saxons of Israel.
Another important area of evidence offers further proof of where Israel was located at the time of Christ—the areas to which the twelve apostles were sent.
In Matthew 10:5-6, we read: “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter you not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” And again in Matthew 15:24: “But He answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
The apostles all understood that the twelve tribes would be intact at the arrival of the kingdom of God on earth, and their enormous role within it. Christ made the following promise to the twelve disciples: “…you which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19:28).
Now notice the greeting in James 1:1: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” Why do scholars not acknowledge what Christ, James and the other apostles clearly were able to know over 750 years after Israel went into captivity?
All these verses set up the fact that the location and identity of the tribes of Israel were known to God’s servants in the first century. We can learn much by studying where these early apostles served.
After initially working in the area of Jerusalem and Judea in the early years of the New Testament Church, the apostles did go to the lost tribes of Israel, shortly after James, John’s brother, was martyred. (The remainder of the book of Acts only relates the accounts of Paul and his mission to the Gentile Greek and Roman areas.) They spent most of the remainder of their lives with the lost tribes. James, Christ’s brother (author of the letter above), was also functioning in the position of an apostle. We do know that a number of other men were later ordained apostles. One of them most likely filled James’ position after his martyrdom. We encounter various reliable secular sources that name a number of loyal servants who were later apostles.
Before examining where each man went, it is helpful to view their commission in a broader perspective. Acts, with the other manuscripts that were canonized into scripture, dealt primarily with the eastern Mediterranean area. That area extended from Judea, in the east, to Rome in the west, with the Greek world near the geographical center. Most people have the misconception that this area was home to virtually 95 percent, if not all, of the converted peoples of the first-century Church.
From the time of the early A.D. 40s, the apostles departed to the lost tribes. Over the next nearly thirty years, about ten times the manpower of top leadership was devoted to these lost tribes, compared to the eastern Mediterranean. It is reasonable to project that no more than 20 or 30 percent of the first-century Church were in these “traditional areas.” That would leave between 70 and 80 percent comprising the areas of the lost tribes. Any account of Church history omitting the commission of the twelve apostles is terribly incomplete.
It is only natural to ask: If this is true, then why has it not been made known? The answer is anchored to the issue of why Israel’s identity was lost in the first place. It was God’s intended purpose to keep the identity of the lost tribes hidden through the ages. It would have compromised this purpose to document in Scripture exactly where certain apostles went. Yet, God’s servants knew.
By the first century, much of Israel had already begun to migrate toward northwest Europe. But by the time of the apostles, there were still Israelites living in the original areas near where they had been captive.
In fact, besides James’ letter, there is another reference addressing some of these Israelites in their specific locations. For example, I Peter 1:1 states, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…” All of these areas were non-Greek. They were in northern (upper) Asia Minor. The greater area of Galatia, mentioned above, was in the north of Asia Minor.
Paul ministered to the Greeks of southern Galatia. He had been forbidden by the Holy Spirit from entering Mysia and Bithynia (Acts 16:6-7). This would have been an area heavily inhabited by Israelites, because their numbers were significant around the coastal areas of the Black Sea in Upper Asia Minor. But they were in a mode of transition toward the northwest. Hence, Peter addressed these Israelites of Upper Asia Minor as sojourners or “strangers.” They were strangers among the Gentiles. But Peter and the other twelve were commissioned to go to the lost tribes. As leader, Peter traveled to many more of these areas where the Israelites were located, than did any of the other apostles.
The following chart summarizes where the apostles went. Parthia was southeast of the Caspian Sea to the east of Media. Some Israelites migrated here from Media and Persia while some migrated to northern India. Israelites were still in these locations during the time of the first-century apostles. Since James was martyred in A.D. 42, the chart includes only eleven apostles.
|Apostle||Location of Ministry||Source of Documentation|
|Matthew||Parthia, Aethiopia (near India)||Metaphrastes quoted in William Cave’s Antiquitates Apostolicae|
|Thomas||Parthia, Media, Persia, and others (near India)||Sophornius quotes in Cave’s Antiquitates Apostolicae, p. 189|
|Bartholomew (Nathaniel)||Parthia, Armenia, & others||Nicephorus Callistus in Ecclesiasticae Historiae|
|Philip||Scythia, Upper Asia Minor||Antiquitates Apostolicae, p. 168|
|Andrew||Scythia, Upper Asia Minor||Antiquitates Apostolicae, pp. 137-138|
|Peter||Scythia, Upper Asia Minor, Europe, Britain, and others||Antiquitates Apostolicae, pp. 138, 45|
|Simon the Zealot||Egypt, Cyrene, Mauritania, Libya, Britain||Nicephorus and Dorotheus quoted in Antiquitates Apostolicae, p. 203|
|James, son of Alphaeus||Spain, Ireland, Britain||Antiquitates Apostolicae, p. 148|
For the following apostles, no detailed documentation exists as to where they served. But tradition strongly indicates the following:
|Matthias||Dacia (modern Romania)|
As with the extensive evidence proving the migrations of the tribe of Dan, for those with eyes to see, the record of history has provided sufficient—even irrefutable—facts, proving exactly where God placed the birthright peoples. The record within His Word is also far stronger than the skeptics have been willing to acknowledge.
Those who close their eyes are without excuse, because they could not only know the location of Israel, but God’s purpose for His chosen people.
But there is still much more to the story!
The primary focus of this book has been the birthright nations of Ephraim and Manasseh. Of course, we have learned that there were other tribes of Israel that also gathered into new locations in northwestern Europe.
While history does not tell us as much about these other tribes, there is definite evidence of the final destination of these peoples.
Genesis 49 contains the patriarch Israel’s latter-day prophecies for the descendants of each of his sons. God inspired this description to be recorded because He also intended that the final homelands of these peoples be known.
Grasp this. All the tribes of Israel rebelled against God! What God prophesied to happen to the birthright nations, if they disobeyed him, also has very definite application for these nations!
Because they were not destined to become as prominent, the available historical information about the final destination of the other tribes is not as abundant as that of the birthright nations. However, a certain general recognition has emerged about the probable nations wherein these tribes reside. Of course, the proof for some is stronger than others.
Throughout history, ensigns have differentiated between families, clans, tribes, countries and nations. These identifying emblems or symbols, often displayed on flags, heraldry shields or clothing, generally featured animals, humans, weapons and other items. They identified friend from foe during battle or routine interactions.
In Numbers 2, the tribes of Israel gathered before Moses. For better organization as they grew in number, Moses instructed, “Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father’s house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch” (vs. 2). Each tribe was to stand together, under the ensign representing it. These symbols, or coats of arms, were to make distinctions between the twelve tribes of Israel.
Scripture and historical accounts record the emblems used by each of the tribes, and evidence additional proofs of the identity of their descendants. The following information is reinforced by The Jewish Encyclopedia and other sources.
Yair Davidy’s book, The Tribes, shows that, although the tribes may have settled in separate areas, this appears to have occurred inside enclaves, within territories and regions, but not always along defined national boundaries.
Notice Israel’s description of each of his sons in Genesis 49, and how it reflected the emblem each tribe would use. Recall that these descriptions are prophecies for their respective modern-day nations.
“Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: unstable as water…” (Gen. 49:3-4).
Reuben’s primary emblem was a man, representing the “excellency of power.” His secondary emblem is recorded as being wavy lines, representing unstable waters (Symbols of Our Celto-Saxon Heritage, Bennet, 1976).
Reuben dominates the Israelite element in France. Therefore, France—especially northeastern France—is heavily represented by the Ribuari Franks, as bearers of the ensign of Reuben (The Tribes, Davidy, p. 158).
In verse 3, Jacob referred to Reuben as “my might” and “the excellency of dignity.” France has portrayed these characteristics to the world. In the past, she was the greatest colonial power behind Britain and called the “queen of culture.”
The Encyclopedia Americana notes that, “during the 70 years of the third republic [1875-1945]…more than a hundred cabinets succeeded one another, in France, with an average tenure in office of less than eight months. The main cause of this ministerial instability was the lack of disciplined parties…” This “unstable” and fickle French political system has also produced eleven constitutions since 1791!
Jacob also goes on to say of Reuben that, “you shall not excel; because you went up to your father’s bed; then defiled you [it]: he went up to my couch” (vs. 4). It is interesting to note that kings and leaders of France usually have their own mistress—“concubine”—a pattern that has nearly become part of the national psyche.
“Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not you into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor, be not you united: for in their anger they slew a man…Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel” (Gen. 49:5-7).
Levi was scattered among the tribes, with some serving within the Levitical priesthood. However, Simeon’s primary emblem was a sword—an “instrument of cruelty” (Ibid.).
The descendants of Simeon and Levi were prophesied to be scattered. Although the Levites are dispersed among modern Israel, their relative population among the Jews probably exceeds their concentration among the other tribes. The same is probably true of Simeon.
“Judah, is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, you are gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?” (Gen. 49:9).
Judah’s emblem was a lion, with two secondary emblems: (1) Three lions (since he is described as a lion three times); and (2) a scepter. A lion with a crown represented the House of David, the royal line of kings (Ibid.).
Of course, Judah is the most recognized tribe today. Having endured much persecution throughout the centuries from counterfeit religions and various despots, they have fulfilled Zephaniah 2 and Zechariah 12 in returning to their ancient homeland, Israel. Only a fraction of Judah lives in the nation of Israel. New York City’s Jews alone outnumber those in Israel.
Recall that the Zarah line of Judah originally settled in Ireland. It is also interesting that “the official flag of Northern Ireland has a Magen David Star in its center which symbol is traditionally associated with Judah and the Jewish people” (The Tribes, Davidy, p. 221). The scarlet hand, which typified the Zarah line, is in the very center of the seal of Northern Ireland.
Jacob’s prophecy foretells Judah will be a “lion’s whelp.” A whelp is another name for a young lion cub. Jacob prophesied that Judah would be a very young nation in the latter-day period of time. This describes the modern Israeli nation, which was “born” in 1948 and is still a “young nation” by today’s standards.
“Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships…” (Gen. 49:13).
Zebulun took on the emblem of a ship on a harbor (Symbols of Our Celto-Saxon Heritage, Bennet, 1976).
Yair Davidy states, “The Netherlands (Holland) features lions on its Coat of Arms. Lions symbolize all of Israel especially as united under the House of David from Judah whose special sign is a lion…The Dutch come mainly from Zebulon though other tribal groups (such as those from Naphtali) are also present” (The Tribes, p. 318).
Prophesied to be a “haven of the sea,” Holland is composed of much rich farmland reclaimed from the ocean. Also, Amsterdam (at the mouth of the mighty Rhine River, with a vast flotilla of barges arriving daily) and Rotterdam (world-renowned as a Europort and vital shipping link for the European Union) were two of the world’s greatest ports in the early 1960s.
Another prophecy in Deuteronomy shows that Zebulun would “Rejoice…in your going out” (33:18). Notice what author Luigi Barzini says about the Dutch peoples in his book, The Europeans: “This passion for the sea drove them [the Dutch] to conquer not neighboring provinces…but to set up distant trading points all over the world…They settled in New Amsterdam [which became New York City], a vast natural port, cluttered with flat sandy islands large and small, at the mouth of a big river, which evidently reminded them of home; in South Africa, Japan, Formosa, Brazil, Ceylon, Indonesia, the West Indies, and many other profitable places” (p. 208).
The prophecy continues by explaining that Zebulun would “suck [of] the abundance of the seas, and [of] treasures hid in the sand” (vs. 19). The Netherlands has always been able to do this in several ways. One is through international commerce by the use of her shipping fleet. Another way has been through the reclamation of land from the sea. The Dutch are well known for building dykes and reclaiming land for the use of farming.
“Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens” (Gen. 49:14). Issachar’s coat of arms was a donkey or ass carrying a heavy load (Symbols of Our Celto-Saxon Heritage, Bennet, 1976).
Several sources state that the tribe of Issachar is primarily found in Finland. Davidy writes, “Finland has been identified in this work as belonging mainly to the Tribes of Gad, Simeon and especially Issachar. For many years, Finland was ruled by Sweden…and many Swedes remained in Finland…Both the Sword (Simeon) and the Lion (Gad) are prominent on the Finnish coat of arms” (p. 217).
From the twelfth century, Finland has been a battleground between Russia and Sweden. It was initially under Swedish rule until 1809. It then became a Russian grand duchy until 1917, when it officially declared its independence. Finland has had to balance careful neutrality, because of close proximity to Russia in the east, and its ethnic ties to Scandinavia and the West. It could be considered the “Switzerland of Scandinavia.”
“Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that bites the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward” (Gen. 49:16-17).
Of course, Dan was covered in Chapter Seven.
Dan’s primary emblem was an eagle carrying a serpent (Symbols of Our Celto-Saxon Heritage, Bennet, 1976).
From Dan, The Pioneer of Israel, by Colonel Gawler, we find that Dan settled in Ireland and Denmark. Although Davidy places Dan primarily in Ireland and Denmark, Dan is also strongly represented in Wales and in all Scandinavian countries. The flag of Wales depicts a dragon, which is one of the symbols of Dan.
“Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last” (Gen. 49:19).
Since it would be difficult to portray an entire troop on an ensign, Gad adopted the emblem of a troop leader carrying a banner into battle (Symbols of Our Celto-Saxon Heritage, Bennet, 1976).
The prophecy for the tribe of Gad is best rendered, “he shall be a troop.” The Swiss people (Switzerland) have a strong, group-like nature, reflecting fierce independence and neutrality, even when the world’s greatest wars were occurring all around them.
The Swiss army serves solely to protect the independence of a country that conscripts all males from 20 to 50 years old. Swiss soldiers keep their equipment, including arms and ammunitions, at home and perform their obligatory gunnery duty each year in civilian clothes, showing a close relationship between citizens and their national security force.
“Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties” (Gen. 49:20).
While this description is brief, Asher’s ensign was a covered cup or goblet (Symbols of Our Celto-Saxon Heritage, Bennet, 1976).
Belgium is almost certainly where the tribe of Asher settled. It is famous for its use of hot vegetable oils and the creation of french fries (chips, or “frites”). Belgium is also famous for high-quality chocolates (the ultimate “royal dainty”?) and pralines. Since the fifteenth century, Belgium has been renowned for its lacework and tapestries, which decorate many castles and palaces throughout Europe.
“Naphtali is a hind let loose: he gives goodly words” (Gen. 49:21).
Naphtali’s emblem was a leaping hind, or female deer.
This female deer “let loose” denotes sexual immorality and promiscuity. This best describes modern Sweden.
Movement towards “equality” of the sexes in Sweden took hold long before many other countries experienced this same trend. The incidence of premarital sex exceeds 90% and divorce is granted on almost any grounds. Many pornographic materials, by other countries’ standards, are widespread in Sweden due to their liberal legislation.
“Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil” (Gen. 49:27).
Benjamin’s ensign was a wolf.
Symbols of Our Celto-Saxon Heritage states, “Many of these [Benjamites] settled in Scandinavia, giving their name to Norway and later to Normandy in France.”
Similar to the Levites, Benjamin (Jacob’s youngest son) was dispersed in Judah and remains so today. However, a higher concentration of Benjamites is within Norway and Iceland.
Both of these countries were heavily influenced by Viking exploration, which always involved plundering, pillaging and “dividing the spoil.” During the Viking Age, family was considered the most important unit of society, and blood feuds were legal and common. Consider how this coincides with the highly structured family unit of wolf packs.
As the primary subject of this book, “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: the archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob…” (Gen. 49:22-24).
In this scripture, Joseph—the father of Ephraim and Manasseh—is likened to a fruitful bough or branch, most likely an olive branch. Joseph is also described as being shot by archers.
Later, Joseph’s descendants are further described: “His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh” (Deut. 33:17).
With these descriptions divided between both sons, Manasseh’s primary emblem was that of an olive branch, and his secondary emblem a cache of arrows. Also attached to Manasseh’s ensign was the number 13, since he was the thirteenth tribe. Ephraim’s primary emblem was an ox, with his secondary emblem being a unicorn (Symbols of Our Celto-Saxon Heritage, Bennet, 1976).
Space does not permit the inclusion of the countless historical records showing the usage of these emblems by early Celto-Saxon peoples for centuries following their migrations throughout northwestern Europe.
It is interesting that one major identifying sign, showing the correlation between the royal family of Britain and Judah’s royal line, is found in Britain’s emblem.
First notice Balaam’s ancient prophecy, “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: has He said, and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken, and shall He not make it good? Behold…the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them. God brought them out of Egypt; he has as it were the strength of a unicorn…Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain.” (Num. 23:19-24).
Recall that Ephraim’s coat of arms was the unicorn and that Judah’s was a lion. In addition to this, the ensign for David’s royal lineage was a lion wearing a crown, as well as the Star of David. After the kingdoms divided, the kingdom of Israel, led by Jeroboam (an Ephraimite), selected the unicorn as their national seal. The kingdom of Judah selected the kingly lion.
In modern times, these emblems have carried over into Britain’s coat of arms—which features a lion wearing a crown—and a unicorn! The union of the national emblems of Israel and Judah represents the connection of the royal Pharez line, the bloodline of King David, to the Zarah line of kings in Britain.
Recall that Manasseh’s two emblems incorporated an olive branch and a cache of arrows. One last fascinating insight into the identity of the British and American peoples is that the American seal has an eagle carrying an olive branch and arrows. While the American seal depicts thirteen stars to reflect the original thirteen colonies, Manasseh was in fact the thirteenth tribe of Israel. This is clear evidence linking America with the symbols described in the Bible for Manasseh. The duality is obvious!
All these significant, yet little known facts evidence additional proofs of the identity of the British and American peoples today.
The facts and national characteristics listed in this chapter are but the briefest thumbnail of what could be presented. But they are enough to strengthen the record of evidence left by God to all those who have “eyes to see.”
In about 1800, two unique developments burst on the world scene. Civilization witnessed the birth of what would become the greatest empire ever known and the most powerful single nation in history. Both occurred among peoples of common Anglo-Saxon heritage and language.
Why were these developments so sudden and dramatic? They happened exactly when God said they would! What seemed largely irrelevant at the time was actually incredibly important. It proves and points to an all-powerful Being with a Master Plan. It was God who prophesied these two world-changing events.
Why did this happen when it did?
Recall God’s promise to Jacob, “I am God Almighty…a nation and a company of nations shall be of you…” (Gen. 35:11). Later, Jacob passed on the birthright blessings directly to Ephraim and Manasseh and said, “Let my name be named on them” (48:16).
Of them, Jacob added, “He [Manasseh] also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations” (vs. 19).
Together, the descendants of these grandsons would share the greatest national blessings ever bestowed upon any nation or nations.
Suddenly, the Anglo-Saxon people became possessors of over two-thirds of the world’s wealth and resources. By any standard, their rise from obscure, struggling nations to dominant powers was swift.
Many contributing events, even predating the miracle of 1588, with the storm that destroyed the Spanish Armada—the largest naval fleet ever assembled by that time—served to protect and expand these fledgling birthright nations. The Spanish fleet’s destruction paved the way for Anglo-Saxon colonization across the seas, and into every corner of the world.
Over the next two centuries, the foundation of the world’s greatest empire was established. It put in place enormous potential for world trade and the development of superior naval power.
By 1800, Britain consisted of only the British Isles, a very small part of India and Canada, and a few other small islands. Yet, it was just beginning to explode on a global scale—to reap the rewards of the birthright blessings and begin its expansion to greatness.
The British Commonwealth came together with dramatic speed! The vast scope of the Empire was the manifestation of the birthright promise to Ephraim. Cumulative resources from colonies around the world contributed to the accelerating wealth of this newly arrived, dominant world power. In effect, the ingenuity, courage and persistence of the people of Ephraim, as recipients of the blessing, were almost inconsequential in their fulfilling of the role set before them.
By the late eighteenth century, the American colonies had gained their independence from Britain. These colonies of Manasseh were now headed toward greatness—to later develop into the world’s single greatest nation!
Is it not fascinating that there were thirteen original American colonies—the same number of Israelite tribes, when Ephraim and Manasseh are counted separately? Is it not also fascinating that the thirteen colonies also comprised what was Israel’s thirteenth tribe?
The facts are incontrovertible. Together, the modern descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh are the inheritors of the birthright covenant!
The period before the American Revolution is its own story. One generally missed aspect of this epic struggle was the remarkable void of strong British leadership from 1768 to 1783. This enabled the colonies to break away. This timing was crucial, and shows that God was guiding events toward the fulfillment of His promise to Abraham.
Leading up to the American Revolution, many British statesmen were in strong opposition to King George III and his partisans’ foreign and domestic policy. The elder William Pitt, with his closest ally, the Duke of Newcastle, and others were openly pro-American. They viewed the stubborn colonies as a valuable ally rather than a permanent trouble spot that never quite yielded to the British crown. Many in Britain opposed the mishandling of the American colonies by the king and his loyalists.
Pitt (Secretary of State) had engineered the British victory over the French in the Seven Years War, ending with the Treaty of Paris in 1763. This war, known as the French and Indian War in the American colonies, won all of Canada for the British. Pitt resigned in 1768, leaving no strong advocate for the colonists within the government. Relations deteriorated and within a decade the colonies revolted. (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is named after the elder William Pitt, for his contribution in the Seven Years War.)
With France’s help, the American colonists won their struggle for independence. Two important events occurred in 1783: (1) The return of capable leadership in Britain, with the emergence of such leaders as the younger William Pitt, and (2) the (second) Treaty of Paris, securing for the colonists their internationally recognized independence!
In retrospect, it is evident that God orchestrated conditions to allow the sudden freedom of the American colonies.
The initial relationship between the two nations was rocky, largely because of British Naval “impressment” (abduction) of American sailors during the War of 1812. But within a few decades the two nations became close allies. This amiable relationship has endured and includes the Commonwealth countries.
Before receiving the birthright blessings, over 2,500 years had passed since Israel’s captivity. Why so much time?
The answer is found in an amazing prophecy.
Originally, God had made the promises and was ready to grant them. But, for Israel to receive the birthright blessings before they were ready to properly use such wealth would have been self-destructive. Therefore, God had to choose the right moment to fulfill His promise. Israel had many valuable lessons to learn, which could only come through time and experience.
Leviticus 26 is actually an astonishing prophecy. Understanding it is vital to recognizing why America and Britain received the birthright when they did. This chapter begins by stressing obedience in two specific areas. Both later proved to be Israel’s major stumbling block: avoiding idolatry and keeping the Sabbath.
Verses 1 and 2 begin, “You shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall you set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God. You shall keep My sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord.”
Keeping the Sabbath and avoiding idolatry are God’s two test commandments. Many yet unfulfilled prophecies hinge on them.
As you read the blessings, take note of the word “if.” The blessings for obedience are spelled out, beginning in verse 3: “If you walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them; then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely” (vs. 3-5).
The next six verses define more of the blessings for obeying God, reiterating the birthright promises to come to Ephraim and Manasseh.
Beginning in verse 14 are the curses for disobedience. It is crucial to carefully notice the wording in this section of chapter 26. This provides the core of a basic prophecy applying directly to the birthright. It also introduces the concept of seven prophetic times: “But if you will not hearken unto Me, and will not do all these commandments; and if you shall despise My statutes, or if your soul abhor My judgments, so that you will not do all My commandments, but that you break My covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague [fever]…and cause sorrow of heart: and you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set My face against you, and you shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and you shall flee when none pursues you. And if you will not yet for all this hearken unto Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins” (vs. 14-18).
Grasp this point! It is absolutely vital.
What you have just read is the pivotal prophecy explaining why God waited thousands of years to give Ephraim and Manasseh the birthright. The key is that if they would not obey God, they would receive many curses and God would punish them seven times.
Had ancient Israel obeyed God, they would have received the unconditional birthright blessings. But God had always reserved the right to designate when Israel could receive them. Disobedience forced their withholding—their delay—for seven times!
Leviticus 26 also relates to our time. But there are a number of other pivotal prophecies pointing to the modern age.
Moses discussed events at the end of the age: “When you are in tribulation, and all these things are come upon you, even in the latter days, if you turn to the Lord your God, and shall be obedient unto His voice…” (Deut. 4:30). Verse 31 explains God forgives anyone who wholeheartedly turns to Him.
Daniel 10:14 states, “Now I am come to make you understand what shall befall your people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.” When Daniel recorded his visions for the end time, both Israel and the Jews were still in captivity. He did not have a means of relaying these visions to them. Yet, they were recorded and sealed—not to be understood until today.
Jeremiah 23:20 records a profound principle: “The anger of the Lord shall not return, until He have executed, and till He have performed the thoughts of His heart: in the latter days you shall consider it perfectly.”
God will surely bring to pass the punishment due modern Israel.
But how could modern Israel be held accountable for ignoring warnings they never heard?
How many will now consider God’s warning perfectly?
While in captivity with the Jews, Ezekiel recorded several extensive prophecies. Yet he spoke to the House of Israel, most of whom never heard of his book until modern times. God’s Church today is commissioned to present Ezekiel’s warning to Israel.
Most prophecy is written to be fulfilled in a dual manner. There is usually a preliminary fulfillment, which is not the main purpose of the prophecy. It is merely a type of it, so we can better understand the latter fulfillment, which is bigger in scope and is the prophecy’s primary focus. Like parables, this duality not only helps those with spiritual discernment—it also serves to confuse and confound the skeptics (Matt. 13:10-16).
Most ministers of this world are taught in theological seminaries with books written mainly by such skeptics. These students are rarely taught directly from the Bible. Thus, when we present God’s message directly from the Bible, most theologians resort to their last means of defense—accusing us of ignorance, because they do not know their Bible!
God’s servants were never popular, and never sought social acceptance in a world unwilling to acknowledge the supremacy of God. God requires His servants to “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isa. 58:1).
Get this straight. The book you hold is the final warning for modern Israel before many apocalyptic events soon occur!
What did God mean when He said in Leviticus 26:18, “I will punish you seven times more for your sins”? The Bible explains this.
The expression “seven times” is translated from the Hebrew word shibah, and it conveys a dual meaning: Seven times in duration, or sevenfold in intensity, depending on how it is used. The terms for “seven times” in Leviticus 26 can refer to a punishment for a duration of seven times, repeated successively over a period of time, cumulatively making one long period of time. “Seven times” is a prophetic term, meaning seven prophetic times.
To better understand seven times as duration of time, we must define a prophetic time. In prophecy, a “time” equals a 360-day year. (God is not the author of the 365¼ day solar calendar and never uses it.) For example, prior to the Noachian Flood, a year was twelve 30-day months. The Flood crested for 150 days and was reckoned biblically as exactly five months.
We must also understand another basic prophetic principle, called the day-for-a-year principle.
This concept is first found in Numbers 14. There, God punished Israel by withholding or delaying their inheritance of the Promised Land. This happened because the Israelites refused to believe God—believing instead the wrong report of the land from the ten scouts. Verse 34 reads, “After the number of the days in which you searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall you bear your iniquities, even forty years, and you shall know My breach of promise.”
This punishment, similar to that of Leviticus 26:18, was a withholding of the promised blessing for a period of time.
Another example of the “day for a year” is found in Ezekiel 4:6: “And when you have accomplished them, lie again on your right side, and you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed you each day for a year.”
God told Ezekiel to lie on his left side for 390 days (representing a siege against Israel), and 40 days on his right side (representing a siege against Judah). Verse 6 shows each day was to represent a year.
The “seven times” of Leviticus 26:18 refers to duration. Remember, a prophetic year consists of 360 days. Using the day-for-a-year principle, the expression becomes: 7 X 360 = 2,520 years.
The birthright blessings were promised unconditionally to Abraham’s seed and God cannot nullify His promises. However, Israel’s disobedience brought a delay or withholding of them for “seven times.” Since Israel did not meet God’s conditions, they had to wait the full course of punishment of seven times before receiving them.
In Daniel 4, a seven times duration of punishment was pronounced upon Nebuchadnezzar, in which he was given the mind of a beast for seven literal years. Though not the primary subject of this book, this event also translated into this Babylonian system being removed from power for seven prophetic times. This began at Babylon’s destruction, and was to last until it re-emerged within the European Union, at the end time.
It should now be clear what God meant in Leviticus 26:18. But when did those times of punishment begin—and why?
After God brought the Israelites from slavery, he offered them a covenant (marriage agreement) and the opportunity to receive the birthright promises to their forefathers at that time. God said to Israel, “I am married unto you” (Jer. 3:14), making the Israelites God’s nation.
With any agreement, both parties must understand its conditions—and meet them. God carefully explained His covenant to Israel, stating, “Now therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine” (Ex. 19:5). At this point, God gave Israel His Law, defining His Way of life. The Israelites replied, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do” (vs. 8).
The conditions were accepted and the agreement ratified with blood (Ex. 24:5-8). This was a marriage between God and the nation of Israel. This covenant formed the foundation for the blessings and curses of Leviticus 26!
Soon after this agreement, Israel fell into a pattern that eventually caused God to divorce them. In Exodus 32, just eight chapters later, is the account of the idolatrous golden calf and Israel’s first great violation of their promise to obey God!
Most church denominations today commit this same abomination with idols! But, if one were to suggest they are worshipping idols, they would stoutly deny it, claiming them to be merely images representing Christ or Mary. Yet, this is how pagans have always worshipped their gods! God hates and has never accepted idol worship in any form (Ex. 32:7-10).
Israel was left to wander for 40 years in the wilderness, unable to enter the Promised Land because they lacked faith in the God who had miraculously delivered them from their Egyptian slavemasters. After the 40 years, God allowed them to enter the Promised Land.
The Promised Land was a type of God’s kingdom. Like our forefathers, we can also resist entering God’s spiritual Promised Land—His kingdom. Today’s stiff-necked Israelites still lack faith to rely on God, and this will soon once again take them back into slavery.
After 40 years of punishment before entering the Promised Land, did Israel learn their lesson? No!
After Joshua’s death, another generation arose in Israel that did not heed God, turning to idolatry. What did God do?
Read the account in Judges 2:14: “And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.”
God keeps His word—He meant what He said in Leviticus 26!
This same pattern continued throughout the period of the judges. God raised up a righteous leader and Israel would follow God. As soon as that leader died, they turned from God. God appointed terror over them and they soon cried out to Him—and He delivered them with another judge.
Yet Israel never truly learned their lesson—and actually grew worse. Ultimately, God had no choice but to divorce His nation—and send them into captivity, thus beginning the seven prophetic times (starting from 721-718 B.C.).
To arrive at the time Israel received the birthright, we count forward 2,520 years from 721-718 B.C. Upon adding 1 year to account for no year “0” (which astronomers correctly adjust, but historians neglect), we arrive at A.D. 1800-1803. So the benchmark of 721-718 B.C. translates into the conferral of the birthright blessings to Ephraim and Manasseh to A.D. 1800-1803.
Although Britain had been establishing itself for centuries as a colonizing sea power, it first rose to true prominence in 1800.
Recall that the United States had been internationally recognized as a sovereign nation by the Treaty of Paris (1783). America had consisted of only the original 13 colonies—by 1800, there were 16 states, with the potentially very wealthy Ohio added in 1803.
As already discussed, before 1800, Britain and America were relatively small, insignificant fledgling nations. Neither possessed great wealth or power, yet both were on the brink of a greatness that neither could envision. The time had arrived for the birthright promise to be realized in full force—this time coming unconditionally, now that the 2,520-year punishment had expired!
In 1803, the United States also acquired the Louisiana Purchase, its greatest single expansion of territory. It added the vast Mississippi basin, with some of the very best farmland in the world and untold wealth in its mineral deposits. This purchase also paved the way for further expansion to the Pacific Ocean.
This sensational thrust from obscurity to limelight, to such power and abundance in so short a time, is irrefutable proof of the divine bestowal of the birthright blessings. Never before in history had such rapid development occurred with any nation or nations. During and after the Industrial Revolution, a great many technological innovations were spearheaded by these birthright peoples of the British Commonwealth and the United States. With astonishing suddenness, these people became the recipients of the greatest abundance of minerals and other natural resources, coupled with rich, fertile farmland, as no other people had ever possessed.
The following is an excellent summary of the expansion of wealth of the British Empire about 1800: “When Great Britain lost its North American colonies, prophets made themselves heard to the effect that its empire aspirations had been dealt a mortal blow. They were wrong. Even after surrendering the middle Atlantic seaboard, there were left the two gains of the Seven Years’ War with France—Canada and India—both of them regions of immense potentiality. Then there was the vast island-continent of Australia, won for his homeland by the explorer, Captain James Cook…If we now add Dutch South Africa, won by the Vienna settlement of 1815, it will have to be granted that Great Britain entered on the nineteenth century not only as the most far-flung colonial empire of the world but also the empire with the greatest opportunity of a truly imperial development” (A History of Europe, Ferdinand Scheville, p. 499, emphasis ours).
This was not coincidental. God orchestrated events in astonishing ways to fulfill the birthright promises precisely on time.
As the 1800s progressed, the British Empire spread around the world, the sun never setting on her possessions. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa received dominion status, as independent nations, thus forming the company or commonwealth of nations, held together by their allegiance to the British throne. High-caliber statesmen made far-reaching contributions as God continued to bless their efforts and guide the wisdom of such leaders as Benjamin Disraeli of the 1800s, and Winston Churchill of the 1900s.
By the twentieth century, the United States had become a world power as well, and both nations, as allies, were victorious in two world wars. Throughout the early-and mid-twentieth century, they came to be viewed as benevolent, peace-loving peoples, standing as guardians against tyranny. The most sought-after destinations for immigration by the oppressed peoples of the world for over a century have been America, Britain and various commonwealth countries. The very mention of these nations became associated with freedom and prosperity!
Although it is astonishing how fast modern Israel came into such unprecedented abundance and power, by comparison, the suddenness of future events will dwarf these developments. Christ tells modern Israel, “You shall be hated of all nations…” (Matt. 24:9). This primarily applies to God’s servants—spiritual Israel—but also in type to the nations of modern Israel.
It is crucial to recognize that the birthright blessings were conferred upon modern Israel precisely 2,520 years from Israel’s removal into captivity. This should inspire awe of God’s ability to fulfill even His greatest promises exactly on time. This is perhaps one of God’s most important purposes for recording prophecy—and for you to study it!
The next chapter explains why all the tribes, particularly Ephraim and Manasseh, will soon face God’s final day of reckoning.
The world’s greatest scholars remain in the dark about what happened to the tribes of Israel. More importantly, they do not know why it happened. The last picture in the Bible is Israel carried away into Assyria, only to disappear into history.
How then do historians and theologians attempt to explain this mystery? They begin with the great wrong assumption that all Israelites are Jews. With this assumption as a foundation, theologians then suggest that all the tribes of Israel returned after Judah’s captivity to rebuild the Temple. This is simply not true! Only Judah, Benjamin and Levi—the kingdom of Judah—returned.
Genealogies in Ezra and Nehemiah show these are the people known as Jews today. They have not disappeared. But the other tribes of Israel have. Why?
There is an all-important reason the ten tribes lost their identity and Judah did not!
God made another covenant with His people. This very special covenant was binding forever—and contained a sign of identity.
Before studying this covenant and its importance in identifying Israel, we must first understand that it applies to all Christians today.
Let’s recap some earlier points.
Six thousand years ago, Adam and Eve rejected God and His Way. This cut them off from Him. By the flood of Noah’s time, the world was filled with corruption and violence. Soon after the Flood, humanity turned again from God’s Way, choosing to follow a false pagan system founded by Nimrod and his mother-wife, Semiramis. Since then, the world has ignored God and followed pagan religions.
We saw that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob obeyed God. Because of Abraham’s obedience, God chose Israel as His people. He saved Israel from slavery and taught them His Way, setting them apart from the world through His truth.
Centuries later, Christ built His Church on these same teachings and truths. He did not discard the Old Testament, but rather expanded on what He had already taught His people (I Cor. 10:4; Matt. 5:17; Isa. 42:21).
Old Testament Levitical sacrificial rituals were abolished by Christ’s sacrifice. But God’s Law was never done away—it still applies today!
Jesus came to reconcile mankind to his Creator. He made it possible for man to obey God—His laws, statutes and covenants! This special permanent identity covenant also still applies today!
In Exodus 31:12-17, God made a special covenant with Israel regarding His Sabbath. Continue in verse 13: “For it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am the Lord that does sanctify [set apart] you. You shall keep the sabbath…the seventh [day] is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord … Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath…for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested.”
This last phrase proves that the Sabbath was established from the creation week, over 2,500 years prior to Exodus 31.
God explains that His purpose is that the Sabbath “sanctifies” those who keep it. They are set apart as belonging to—being owned by—God. Christians are told, “You are bought with a price; be not you the servants of men” (I Cor. 7:23) and “You are bought with a price: therefore glorify God” (I Cor. 6:20).
Those who observe the Sabbath are signified as God’s people—and that He owns them. They are also publicly identified as people who keep the Commandments. Civil laws require people to keep several of the other Commandments (against stealing, murder, lying [perjury], etc.). Therefore, obedience to most or all of the other Commandments, which the world at least generally acknowledges in one form or another, does not identify one as a commandment-keeper!
The Sabbath does! It is a sign that people are of God, since no human would ever think or choose to keep this law without it having been revealed by God. Understand. God had to reveal this sign so that people would appreciate how it functions, what it represents. Take a drive down the street. You will notice all kinds of signs connoting ownership of various businesses and retail establishments. If you are looking for something in particular, the signs are important to you as a shopper.
When God says the Sabbath is a sign, He intends and uses His sign in the same way the proprietor of a business does.
Notice that God established the Sabbath as a “perpetual covenant” to be kept “throughout your generations”—and “forever.” This is ironclad. God’s command is for all time. The Sabbath was to be kept forever! Doing this keeps people in touch with the true God. It is the way God intended that people never lose sight of who He is (their God)—and who they are (His people)! If all peoples and nations kept the Sabbath, as Israel was commanded to do, no one would have ever fallen into idolatry and the worship of other gods—which has happened to all nations who have not kept it!
The Sabbath identifies God for who—which God—He is!
Someone will surely ask: “Couldn’t Sunday point to the true God?” Absolutely not! Here is why. God tied the Sabbath to the creation week: “It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested.” God’s rest was on the seventh day, not the first. Only by keeping the Sabbath are people forced to look back to the creation, and this forces them to focus on which God did the creating. Sunday-worship and Sunday-keeping does not do this!
All others thought to be “gods” are made of things that God made. The Sabbath points to God as Creator, and the creation is a proof that God exists!
Not only does the Sabbath point those who observe it back to the true God, it also sets apart those who do this as different than all others around them. Again, Exodus 31:13 says, “…that you may know that I am the Lord that does sanctify you.”
I cannot overstate the vital meaning of this phrase. Sanctify means “to set apart for a holy use or purpose.” Consider. In a world filled with Sunday-keepers (Muslims keep Friday), and even among those who keep no day at all, the Sabbath-keeper sticks out like the proverbial “sore thumb.”
Every time one keeps the Sabbath day, he puts up a neon sign pointing to the God who created the heavens and earth and rested on the seventh day. When one begins keeping the Sabbath, it immediately separates him as different from everyone else.
Now we must ask: Which commandment would Satan choose to overthrow? Which one would he hate most—and why? Which commandment signifies that those who obey it do not belong to him? The only commandment signifying (which means a sign) that one belongs to God—and the only commandment that directly points to the true God of creation, thus displacing Satan, is the sabbath!
Covering some basic understanding is necessary at this point.
Satan most hates the Fourth Commandment! There is no way to get around whether one does or does not observe the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath. Either you do or you do not. God and Satan are not confused on this point. They know what is at stake. And the world can readily see whether one keeps the Sabbath or not.
The Bible calls the devil the “god of this world.” To most, this is a truly shocking revelation! Yet, II Corinthians 4:4 states, “In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel…should shine unto them.”
Satan blinds the world to the real gospel for a personal reason. It describes the kingdom of God—God’s soon-coming world-ruling government. Of course, Satan seeks to block people from understanding this marvelous truth. He does not want light to shine on God’s incredible purpose for mankind. He wants humanity, collectively and individually, to think that it has no future.
The devil also recognizes that the arrival of God’s kingdom means he will be banished from his current position (Rev. 20:2-3) of enormous influence as the god this world unwittingly worships. He will no longer be permitted to deceive or weaken the nations (Isa. 14:12). He also understands that he can never have what God has offered to all men who obey Him.
In John 12:31, 14:30 and 16:11, Christ refers to Satan as “the prince of this world.” All these verses state that the “prince of this world” will one day be judged. Take time to read them! John 12:31 parallels the judgment of this world with Satan’s judgment.
Why? Because this world is his! He is its “god.” This is the plain truth from your Bible! Since Satan has deceived the entire world (Rev. 12:9), then this cannot be God’s world. And since the whole world is deceived, it is cut off from God (Isa. 59:1-2).
As the god of a completely deceived world, which must, therefore, include all the differing forms of Christianity and other religions, Satan has his own agents, using them to unwittingly spread his false doctrines. Yes, he has been able to achieve this because he has his own ministers! Of course, his ministers are themselves deceived into believing that they are God’s ministers. Some teach a few aspects of God’s truth, but none of His most important truths! Virtually all of them teach that God’s Law, including His Sabbath, is done away.
Paul warned of the cunning deception of Satan’s ministers: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (II Cor. 11:13-15).
Yes, Satan has his ministers! And they do not teach you that you must obey God—that the Fourth Commandment is still in effect!
I have never heard anyone, professing to believe in the God of the Bible, suggest it is alright to knowingly serve another god. Of course, the vast majority do this unknowingly! Virtually no one actually deliberately sets out to worship another god.
Also, most people know that the First and Second Commandments require that only the true God be worshipped. Again, though most do not do this properly, people acknowledge that it is the correct thing to do, and claim that they practice it. Why then do they not read the last statement attached to these Commandments?: “You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep my commandments” (Ex. 20:5-6).
All who serve the true God are told by Him to “keep My commandments.” These—says God—are the basic terms for serving Him! This includes the Sabbath as an identifying sign. The Sabbath is the test of obedience. While people will generally, at least tacitly, acknowledge that the other nine Commandments should be kept, they refuse to keep the Sabbath.
Paul summarized what obedience—to any god or authority—means: “Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16).
The world serves a different god. Soon, it will understand that more is at stake regarding Sabbath observance than anyone could now dream. The Bible speaks of a coming “mark” of the beast—the resurrected supposed “Holy” Roman Empire—that involves “buying or selling”—holding a job and earning a living.
Notice that Christ understood that those who claim to follow Him must do what He says: “Not every one that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). In Luke, He asked, “And why call you Me, Lord, Lord [Master, Ruler], and do not the things which I say?” (6:46).
The Fourth Commandment is the only one upon which a covenant was made. The two Commandments that are the most lengthy and detailed—the Second and the Fourth—are the ones that most churches have altered for their own convenience. (They often combine the Second Commandment with the First, which diminishes its importance.) Virtually all of the world’s churches have claimed authority to effectively change the Sabbath from the seventh day of the week to the first. This ignores the fact that the Sabbath is a special covenant, as God said, “between Me and you” (Ex. 31:16).
Webster’s II Revised Dictionary defines a covenant this way: “A binding agreement: compact.” Anyone who has ever signed a contract—an agreement or covenant (compact)—knows that it involves a certain payment, compensation or reward by one party to another for fulfilling a certain stipulated function or performance.
While the Old Covenant was entirely physical in nature—Israel was to obey certain laws and receive physical blessings as a result (including the promise of being “above all people” as a nation)—the New Testament is different.
It is “a better covenant…established upon better promises” (Heb. 8:6). The New Testament carries “the promise of eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15). It carries rewards that greatly exceed mere physical blessings or even being “above all people.”
Remember, once a covenant is finalized, sealed or signed, nothing can be added to it (Gal. 3:15). Ancient Israel sealed its covenant with God in blood (Ex. 24:6-8). But the special Sabbath covenant does not appear until Exodus 31—seven chapters later. Yes, the Sabbath had already been given in chapter 20, but Exodus 31 came much later. Do not forget that God also presented the Sabbath to the people before they got to Mt. Sinai (Ex. 16). The Sabbath got special emphasis—twice. It was to be a special sign.
How do we know that the Sabbath is an enduring covenant, binding today on any who are God’s people? Exodus 31:16 states, “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” Further, verse 17 says, “It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever.”
What could be plainer? The Sabbath is an ongoing—perpetual—covenant between God and Israel “forever”—“throughout their generations.”
How serious is God about Sabbath observance? In Israel, all who worked on this day were put to death (Ex. 31:14-15; 35:2). II Corinthians 3:7-8 describes the Old Testament administration of a civil death penalty, which is no longer applicable. (This is because, as we will see, God is now building the nation of spiritual Israel.) Of course, God has always said, “The wages of sin is [eternal] death” (Rom. 6:23; Gen. 2:15-17).
It would be terribly inconsistent of God to require the death penalty for those who ignored the Sabbath in ancient Israel, and to say that “all flesh” will keep the Sabbath during the Millennium (Isa. 66:23)—yet declare that He does not care whether His people—spiritual Israel—keep it during the Christian era!
There is another reason God is serious about His Sabbath. Most have no idea that the Sabbath is also a type of God’s coming millennial rest (Heb. 4:1-9), when Satan will be bound (Rev. 20:2-3) and all mankind rests from practicing sin.
This is another reason that Isaiah 66:23 states that all nations will keep the Sabbath test commandment of obedience during Christ’s 1,000-year reign on earth. Observing the Sabbath is a weekly reminder, pointing directly to this wonderful future time (Rev. 20:4-6)!
Almost everyone eagerly asserts that God only bound the Sabbath on Israel, which most suppose to be just the Jews. Recall that they were only one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
But suppose for a moment that the Jews are the only Israelites alive today. All would agree the Sabbath is clearly binding on them—on “their generations.” Those who acknowledge that the Sabbath is binding on the Jews put themselves directly into a box canyon.
Here is why. Romans 1:16 states that the gospel is the power of God “unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” None doubt that salvation is open to both Jew (including all the other tribes) and Gentile. Paul actually stated that salvation is open to the “Jew first.”
Remember, the Jews must keep the Sabbath, so it must be admitted that becoming Christian does not eliminate this responsibility for them. But are the Jews required to keep the Sabbath while other Christians are free to ignore it, keeping Sunday instead? Are there two standards for Christianity—two kinds of Christians?
Remember this critical point, now lost to the world. The Jews are only one twelfth of the tribes of Israel. They sprang from Jacob’s son Judah. There were eleven other sons.
Therefore, the Sabbath is still binding on the lost tribes of Israel. God’s identifying sign was to be kept by these nations. But they have refused to keep it, believing themselves to be Gentiles, and have assigned the Sabbath obligation to “the Jewish people.”
The true story behind Israel’s loss of identity is astonishing, and known to almost none for many centuries. Yet, these modern nations need never have lost sight of their true identity. A choice they made caused this to happen.
While people denigrate and sneer at the Sabbath as merely “Jewish,” it is binding on far more people than the relatively small number of Israelites who have descended from the tribe of Judah.
We must take time to carefully recap, from a different perspective, certain previous points known to almost none. This is vital background to what we will now study. Understanding God’s special covenant springs directly from this review!
The Bible speaks of the term “Jew.” Of course, most think this term is synonymous with all the tribes of Israel, because they never investigate what the Bible actually says!
Recall that the very first place in the entire Bible in which the term “Jews” is found describes a war occurring between the Jews and Israel! Let’s read it: “Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him. At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drove the Jews from Elath” (II Kgs. 16:5-6).
This was not Jews fighting Jews. Most people have no idea that the nation of Israel had become divided—into two different nations, with two separate kingdoms. As explained earlier, when Solomon died, Israel rebelled against the oppressive tax rates he had imposed. The price of Solomon’s luxurious lifestyle came on the backs of the Israelites he overtaxed. His son Rehoboam ignored the wise counsel of those who advised him that reducing taxes would stop a revolt developing under a high-ranking leader named Jeroboam, appointed by Solomon. Instead, Rehoboam listened to younger men who told him to actually raise taxes.
The result? Ten tribes rebelled, leaving only Judah and Benjamin still loyal to Rehoboam. These tribes pulled away from Jerusalem as their capital, much like the Old South seceded from the American Union in 1861. Two separate kingdoms—the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah—emerged, with two separate capitals, Samaria (Israel) and Jerusalem (Judah).
The Bible speaks continually of the “sins of Jeroboam.” Over and over, in the four books of Kings and Chronicles, this term is found. Though referenced earlier, we will learn more detail about what they were—and their long-term effect.
First, recognize that sin is sin—whether committed by Israelites or Gentiles (I John 3:4). When people break God’s great spiritual Law, the penalty is always the same. They are robbed of peace, happiness, abundance and prosperity. Because God loves all people, He punishes all for disobedience. Everyone must learn that sin cannot be taken lightly. All sin is serious! When people break God’s Sabbath, or any other point in His Law, a loving God must spank—punish—them. Otherwise, what would be the point of keeping a law? Certainly everyone understands that if you break the law of gravity, by jumping from a cliff or a building, a terrible price will be paid. Hence, only those who are suicidal consider such an action. It is the same with God’s Law.
God hates sin. He understands that it steals happiness from the lives of all those who commit it. Therefore, He must punish for disobedience. His Law does that automatically—just as it brings automatic blessings for obedience!
I live in Ohio. It is one of fifty states in America. While I am an American, as are all Ohioans, all Americans are not Ohioans. Some are Californians, others New Yorkers or Floridians, and so forth. Grasp the following point! All Jews are Israelites, but all Israelites are not Jews. The Jews are a comparatively small amount of the total number of Israelites. Israel and Judah were totally separate kingdoms.
Following the split of the twelve tribes of ancient Israel, Jeroboam was king over the northern Ten Tribes. He had to find a means of consolidating his kingdom, insuring it would never reunite with Judah and Benjamin. He recognized the danger of people returning to Jerusalem to keep God’s feast days (annual Sabbaths or Holy Days) and then deciding to leave him. He had to take specific—and swift—political actions to diminish the threat to his new solidarity over the ten tribes, and protect his power.
Since the Temple of God was in Jerusalem, the capital city of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, Jeroboam feared that his kingdom would rejoin itself to Judah. Notice what he did: “Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: if this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt” (I Kgs. 12:26-28).
Does this sound far-fetched? Not only did it happen, but history records many millions bought the idea.
In quick succession, Jeroboam created a new religious system, to distance the people in his kingdom from worshipping at Jerusalem. This included building the two golden idols for worship in the towns of Bethel and Dan, at the far northern and southern points of his kingdom. He also established a festival to replace the Feast of Tabernacles—a God-ordained festival. In Leviticus 23:34, God ordained the keeping of this Holy Day and Feast: “The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord.” However, Jeroboam made the observance of his festival on the eighth month! (See I Kings 12:28-33.)
He made one other critical decision that eventually pushed most of the Levites back into alignment with Judah and Benjamin. Recognizing they were the most educated and were the leaders, Jeroboam demoted them, a pattern followed by modern Gentile leaders today. Also, because the Levites were supported by God’s tithes, they had been accustomed to receiving larger incomes. Jeroboam set baser, less-educated people to be Israel’s priests. The Levites became disgruntled and eventually many returned and intermingled with Judah.
II Kings 17:16 records, “And they [the Israelites] left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.” The people of Israel followed Jeroboam’s lead, and worshipped the pagan god Baal, the supposed “sun god,” or “lord of the sun.”
Hislop’s The Two Babylons and Webster’s “Rest Days” explain how this “lord of the sun” was specifically worshipped on the day we now call Sunday. Israel’s example of worshipping on this day demonstrates how quickly the entire nation began to observe Sunday. They ignored God’s Sabbath command—“Remember the Sabbath day.”
How do we know that Israel disobeyed this command? II Kings 17 stated that they had “left all the commandments of the Lord their God”—this would have included the Sabbath!
In Hosea, God warned Israel—almost 200 years after Jeroboam’s rebellion—about what will happen because of her practice of Sunday-worship. Hosea 2:11 stated, “…her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.” God calls Sunday worship Israel’s (“her”) sabbaths—not His! His Sabbath falls on Saturday—and identifies His people! The true originator of Sunday observance is Baal, and God will punish those who participate in it: “And I will visit upon [punish] her [for keeping] the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgot Me, says the Lord” (vs. 13).
Jeroboam caused Israel to forsake God’s Sabbath day—the seventh day of the week, in order to worship Baal the lord of the sun, on Sunday—the false “lord’s day.” His proclamation, setting the “day of the sun” as the national day of worship, led ancient Israel to lose—and never return to—the observance of the true Sabbath!
The acceptance and observance of the “day of the sun god,” Sunday, is a deadly sin with grave repercussions. The result of Jeroboam’s decisions was that all Ten Tribes of Israel, through seven successive dynasties and nineteen kings, practiced the two basic “sins of Jeroboam”—sabbath-breaking and idolatry!
Jeroboam was the only king in Israel’s history noted to have actually “made” the people sin. Notice: “…and Jeroboam drove Israel from following the Lord, and made them sin a great sin. For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them” (II Kgs. 17:21-22). Jeroboam bringing Israel to sin caused God to “remove Israel out of His sight…” Verse 23 further records that the outcome of their Sabbath-breaking was captivity and slavery: “Until the Lord removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.”
Recall that Judah was not taken into captivity until 604-585 B.C. But God caused the Assyrians to take the House of Israel into captivity in 721-718 B.C. The Assyrians literally enslaved them and carried them far away from their homeland to regions including Assyria and nearby areas (II Kgs. 17:6).
We saw that a few generations later, the Babylonian (Chaldean) Empire came to power under Nebuchadnezzar. They entered Judah and took the inhabitants captive into the land of modern-day Iraq, over the period from 604 to 585 B.C.
Not long after Israel was taken to Assyria, the Assyrians migrated to northern Europe and settled in what is now modern Germany. They took some of their Israelite slaves with them, eventually allowing these peoples to migrate further north and west and to regain their independence. They settled in northwestern Europe, including the British Isles and Scandinavia.
A central question looms from this historic invasion, migration and the ten tribes having lost their identity: why did the House of Israel become lost to themselves—and to the world? For over 200 years, Israel had known their identity—that they were the House of Israel. What happened?
The answer is basic, and more crucial to your understanding than you can imagine: Israel stopped keeping God’s Sabbath—and lost the national sign that identified them! They ceased to be the people with whom God was working.
Israel lost all national identity. After they were taken to the regions including Assyria, they ceased to function as a nation, with a king and a government. Eventually, many took on the Assyrian language, losing track of their native Hebrew tongue. They became slaves!
The ten tribes that had followed Jeroboam into rebellion against God became lost to history. Because they gave up God’s identifying sign—His Sabbath—they lost track of who they were. Even the world no longer recognizes them!
God never allows people to decide what is right and what is wrong. That is His prerogative—and He exercises it. But He allows them to decide whether they will obey Him—or whether they will disobey.
In this context, once again, in Leviticus 26, during Moses’ time, God carefully outlined what He expected of His people—promises of national blessings for obedience and national cursings for disobedience. God cited two particular sins—two Commandments—upon which everything hinged. Here were His terms: “You shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall you set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God. you shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord” (vs. 1-2).
God specifically warned against Sabbath-breaking and idolatry. These Commandments were so critical, so vital, to God’s Plan that—“IF you walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments and do them”—He would pour out blessings upon Israel. He described those blessings in the next 11 verses (vs. 3-13). This was followed by 20 verses (vs. 14-33) explaining all of the curses that would come if these two Commandments were broken. God explained that, for 2,520 years, Israel would lose all prosperity, be conquered, taken from their land into slavery and suffer plagues, sickness and disease.
Sabbath-breaking and idolatry were the triggers God stated would bring captivity. Yet these were the very first things that Jeroboam instituted after the nation of Israel was divided into two nations. The result: The Assyrian king Shalmaneser defeated and enslaved Israel!
The House of Judah remained a nation for another 117 years, until 604-585 B.C. Over this 19-year period, they were also taken captive. The reason was directly related to Sabbath-breaking.
Jeremiah prophesied a time when many Jews would return to the Holy Land (29:10), 70 years after entering captivity, to rebuild the temple and restore the knowledge and worship of the true God.
Here is what Nehemiah said 70 years earlier about events leading up to Judah’s captivity: “In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals. There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that you do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? Yet you bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath” (13:15-18).
Disobedience to God’s commands is a serious matter. Let’s review: Sin is the transgression of God’s holy, righteous, and perfect spiritual Law (I John 3:4; Rom. 7:12, 14). When people break God’s Law—any part of it—the penalty is death (Rom. 6:23). God says, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” Men say, “Ignore this command and keep Sunday holy instead.” This is a colossal sin, carrying terrible consequences!
Like any human parent, before God punishes, He warns of consequences for disobedience. He carefully explains the terms—what will trigger the punishment—so there can be no misunderstanding what will happen. God’s prophets always foretold His purpose.
Here is how God inspired Jeremiah to warn the House of Judah on His behalf: “Thus says the Lord; take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do you any work, but hallow you the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers…But if you will not hearken unto Me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day.” And if Judah disobeyed, “then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched” (17:21-22, 27).
Judah rejected God’s warning. Since God does not warn in vain, here is the price they paid: “Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem, and burned the house of the Lord, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire” (52:12-13). Make no mistake. God brought this captivity!
The modern world knows who the Jews are. Have you thought to ask why? Why does the world believe that the Jews are God’s chosen people? This must be understood.
The answer: The Jews have retained the Sabbath. They do not keep it holy and as God instructed, but they have not switched to Sunday, or Friday, as have professing Christians and Muslims. They have generally retained the Sabbath.
The Jews, therefore, have not become lost! They know who they are. As one historian put it, “More than the Jews having kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews!” How true! The other Ten Tribes became lost to history because they rejected what Judah, at least in overall principle, retained.
But with all this comes an irony. Again, the world has come to believe the Jews—exclusively—are God’s chosen people. Virtually no one talks or wonders about the identity of the other tribes. They have become almost entirely forgotten. Yet, today they number between perhaps 500-600 million!
These nations have been deceived into believing they are Gentiles. They are not! They are as Israelitish as the Jews themselves!
God’s Sabbath is binding—and even more so on the modern nations of Israel—our peoples. But Gentile Christians today must also keep the Sabbath, because they are spiritual Israelites. However, it is doubly vital for the modern nations of Israel to understand that the One who says, “I change not!” (Mal. 3:6) commands to keep the Sabbath.
Now we must learn what is at stake for the modern nations of Israel, if they do not obey God’s Sabbath, while there is time in this age.
Millions of professing Christians have the attitude of Israel and Judah—that God does not really mean what He says. But Almighty God does mean what He says!
God used the prophet Ezekiel to warn today’s modern descendants of Israel of these same things. We will see that God outlines the consequences of disobeying His Sabbath most plainly!
Ezekiel was sent with a special warning from God to the House of Israel, not Judah. Here is what God told him: “Go speak unto the house of Israel” (3:1). This is vital to understand, because Ezekiel lived over 100 years after Israel had been taken into captivity. Ezekiel himself was a Jewish captive—a slave—in Babylon. There was no way for him to deliver his message directly to the House of Israel at that time.
Let me say this plainly. Ezekiel could not personally deliver the message to the lost tribes of Israel, because they were already in the regions including Assyria, and on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea. Also, many later migrated to northwestern Europe, eventually settling in Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Holland, France, Belgium, Scandinavia, Switzerland and America, among others. They were outside his time and beyond his reach.
Understand! God knew that the nations of Ephraim and Manasseh would rise to national prominence after 2,520 years of punishment. He also knew they would learn nothing from their punishment and, having lost their identity, would continue Sabbath-breaking and widespread idolatry. Yet, a loving God always warns before punishment. Recall that Ezekiel was told to “Go” to Israel.
It is the responsibility of this Work of God to bring this warning to you NOW! What you are reading here is the fulfillment of a crucial prophecy, which started in 1934.
Time is running out. I pray you will heed this warning!
We will focus on chapter 20 of Ezekiel, verse-by-verse. This chapter begins with God recounting to “certain of the elders of Israel” His repeated warnings to cease their rank idolatry. We pick up in verses 10-12. Notice how it parallels the Exodus 31:12-17 Sabbath covenant: “Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them My statutes, and showed them My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them”—why?—“that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.”
God reminded Israel that the Sabbath was His identifying sign as the God who set them apart. Verse 13 describes Israel’s approach to His Sabbath: “But the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness: they walked not in MY statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them: and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out My fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them.”
Notice God’s repeated use of the pronoun “my.” This is important. Next, God pleads with the following generation of Israel: “But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk you not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: I am the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God” (vs. 18-20).
It is important to make a crucial distinction at this point. Some get confused about God’s use of the words “my” and “their.” Grasp this. God is not condemning His own Sabbaths in the same breath He is condemning Israel for polluting them. The problem was that Israel would not keep God’s Sabbaths. They wanted to keep their own statutes and their own judgments. (Notice Mark 7:7-9, explaining that many worship Christ in vain in holding to the “traditions and commandments of men.”)
In Ezekiel 20:21, God plainly said, “They polluted my Sabbaths!” Of course, Israel paid a terrible price for what they did: “I lifted up Mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries” (vs. 23). Why? “Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers’ idols” (vs. 24).
God never leaves any doubt as to exactly why His purpose is carried out as it is. It is important to Him that people keep His Sabbath—it makes a difference to Him!
Verse 33 speaks of God’s “fury poured out”: “As I live, says the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you.” Now compare Revelation 16:1: “And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of god upon the earth.” God’s fury always refers to the seven last plagues!
This proves Ezekiel 20 is a prophecy for our day, involving the modern nations of Israel. Invariably, similar Old Testament prophecies referring to Israel depict her modern descendants in national captivity—slavery!
This—captivity and slavery—will soon come upon our peoples nationally. I cannot repeat this strongly enough. Prophecy says this will happen one more time! Ezekiel’s prophecy continues with a description also found in Jeremiah 23:7-8. Now continue in Ezekiel 20, with Christ’s promise to gather His people back to Him: “And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein you are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face” (vs. 34-35). Many may scoff or sneer at this, but not for long!
Israel was given a unique opportunity by God to become an example unlike any other nation. Notice: “He shows His word unto Jacob, His statutes and His judgments unto Israel. He has not dealt so with any nation: and as for His judgments, they [other nations] have not known them” (Psa. 147:19-20).
Israel defaulted on their responsibility. God cannot ignore this. Now notice Amos 3:1-2: “Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”
Look around. All that you see will soon change—dramatically! People you know and love are being spoken of in this prophecy. Think about it. Meditate on it—and hear this warning from God through Ezekiel, and through this book, to you!
Noah, Elijah and John the Baptist, and others cried out alone to a world that largely ignored them. Yet God still pleads today with all who will listen. He told Israel, “Hallow My Sabbaths.” Here is how He pleads similarly with you: “Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, says the Lord God. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: and I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against Me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and you shall know that I am the Lord” (vs. 36-38).
The blessings of birthright, prophesied millennia ago to arrive, have been most obvious in the modern nations descended from ancient Israel!
For two centuries, America and Britain have led in agriculture, manufacturing, production, technology, trade, and acquiring key sea gates and strategic defensive strongholds. Also, the United States, Britain and Israel (Judah) still have the three most elite armies, with the most sophisticated weaponry, that the world has ever seen!
Jumping from virtual obscurity to great prominence, and dominance, the rise of Great Britain and the United States to global supremacy came suddenly—and recently. Up until 1800, America and Britain were small in strength, resources and power. Of course, we saw that this marked the end of the 2,520 years of the withholding of their birthright blessings.
Certain events, meticulously timed (particularly Napoleon’s need of additional funds for his war with England, leading to the American purchase of key French territories), added to their surge in power. Just the Louisiana Purchase propelled America toward becoming the world’s single richest nation.
The well-known journalist John O’Sullivan was the first to enunciate the idea of Manifest Destiny. This is what he wrote in promotion of the Annexation of Texas: “…the right to overspread and to possess the continent allotted by Providence, for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government, for our yearly multiplying millions” (Morning Star newspaper article, Dec. 27, 1845).
Within 50 years of the Louisiana Purchase, additions from the British Cession, acquisition of Florida, Texas Annexation, Oregon Territory, Mexican Cession and the Gadsden Purchase provided this budding nation with the world’s richest, most fertile lands.
Meanwhile, Great Britain’s population was exploding, jumping from 7.7 million to 20.7 million, from the 1750s to the 1850s. In addition, London became the financial capital of the world. These factors set the stage for the Industrial Revolution.
With these changes, these nations also acquired most of the world’s wealth. After World War II, America emerged as the top economic and military power, taking the role of “leader of the free world.” In September 1949, they were in possession of nearly two-thirds of all gold under governmental control—nearly twenty-four billion dollars in reserve!
This quick rise to national dominance is unmatched in history. No other nation has experienced such advancements in so short a time. In fact, outside these lands, the incredible prosperity taken for granted by so many here, is non-existent. Devastating famine, crippling disease, raging war, disastrous natural calamities, outright ignorance and oppressive governments are a reality to almost all but the modern children of Jacob. Yet so few seem to truly recognize this.
But the people of America, Britain and the other descendants of Israel have ignored the Provider of these great blessings. They have disregarded biblical accounts as “myths, fables” or “fairy tales,” and have credited their dominance to their own ingenuity and cleverness, ignoring clear prophecies recorded in the Bible!
The birthright nations were foretold to possess the gates of their enemies. Historians have been able to observe the extraordinary acquisition and developing control of crucial trade routes and military strongholds: “By tracing the rise and decline of past maritime powers,” acclaimed historian David McCullough explains, “national greatness and commercial supremacy were directly related to supremacy at sea” (The Path Between the Seas, The Creation of the Panama Canal: 1870-1914).
For over two centuries, Great Britain—and later America—dominated the seas by possessing vital points of passage. By controlling most of the world’s strategic sea gates, their economic expanse and military capability flourished. These ports of passage directly affected British and U.S. victories in the First and Second World Wars.
These included the Suez Canal, the Straits of Gibraltar, Cape of Good Hope, Cape Horn, the Straits of Hormuz, Singapore, the Panama Canal, Malta and Hong Kong. Although these sea gates fell under the control of the children of Abraham through conquest or purchase, they were destined to be in their control long ago!
Remember God’s promise to Abraham: “That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed My voice” (Gen. 22:17-18).
The Fenton translation reads, “I will increase your race as the stars of the skies, and like the sand upon the sea-shore; and your race shall possess the gates [plural] of its enemies; and I will benefit all the nations of the earth through your heir, because you have listened to My voice.”
Abraham’s heirs were to be: (1) A great people, in tremendous strength and numbers—“as the stars of the skies”; (2) they were to be a source of help to other nations—they would, in type, “benefit all the nations of the earth”; and (3) they were to possess the “gates of their enemies”—key strategic sea “gates,” which would help establish and fortify world dominance! Through identifying the people receiving these blessings—the descendants of Abraham are discovered!
God’s promise was then passed to Abraham’s daughter-in-law Rebekah: “…and [Rebekah’s relatives] said unto her, You are our sister, be you the mother of thousands of millions, and let your seed possess the gate of those which hate them” (Gen. 24:60). This is billions!
How ironic that, beginning in the 1800s, these key “gates” began to fall into the hands of Great Britain and America while, soon after, the first steam engine came into existence, allowing great ships to reach them quickly, thus accelerating and expanding world trade!
Which nations have fulfilled these prophecies? Which have claimed these promises? Certainly not the Jewish people!
The following scripture further reveals the identity of the recipients of these blessings: “And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that couches beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, and for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof…let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph [Ephraim—Britain; Manasseh—America]…His glory is like the firstling [the birthright holder] of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns [the national seal of Britain]: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh” (Deut. 33:13-17).
These scriptures, with history, confirm who claimed these promises, and fulfilled great prophecies.
These passages can be proven. Since the 1800s, two nations stand out in growth unlike any in history!
In the second half of the nineteenth century, the rapid advancement of technology and economics, beginning in Britain, changed the lives of most of the population. Technical achievements, such as the invention of the steamboat, assured Great Britain total and complete authority of the sea. It allowed them to colonize new lands, to the point that the “sun never set” on her holdings.
America has a greater concentration of natural resources than any other geographic location. Utilization of new, rich resources kept raw material costs down and allowed for unprecedented growth.
From 1800 to 1950, both nations came to control nearly every important resource on the planet!
Oil, still civilization’s primary source of fuel, has been called “the lubricant of the world economy.” The control of this vital resource has been the cause of many geopolitical and military struggles. In 1950, America produced 52% of the world’s oil supply. (Together, America and Britain produced over 60%.)
The 1950 snapshot also shows that these two great nations produced over 75% of the world’s steel—over 60% from America alone!
They also controlled the world’s production of coal—a more critical fuel in the 1950s—producing 50% more than all other nations on earth combined! Imagine the stability of the world today if just these three products were still under the control of either of these nations.
Virtually every precious metal was mined from the United States and Britain. More tin, iron, lead, copper and chromite were produced by these nations than the rest of the world combined!
Our nations produced 80% of the aluminum, 75% of the zinc and nearly 95% of the world’s nickel. Such important metals were almost completely under the control of just two truly blessed nations.
Another metal vital to construction is pig iron. These nations once produced 33% more pig iron than the rest of the world combined!
But America and Britain dominated many other raw minerals, producing 100% of the world’s chromite supply in 1950. That same year, they produced one-fourth of the world’s copper and nearly 6.5% of the world’s bauxite.
Over 66% of the world’s electricity was produced and used by these two nations in 1950. This almost doubles the rest of the world.
They produced far more ships, cars and trains than any other nation—with over 50% of the world’s railway mileage!
Nearly any index of wealth—from gold to silver to precious stones—would have shown these nations to be the world leaders.
How did such power—such wealth—fall to such new and unknown nations? The skeptic will say that it came by the sweat and effort of our nations—that our workmanship and our effort brought our peoples to this pinnacle of power.
But God’s promises were made thousands of years before either nation appeared. He foretold their growth—and He is the Source of such prosperity, strength and worldwide influence!
As a grade-schooler in the mid-1950s, I learned of America’s unmatched greatness in ways far too numerous to recount here. Classes were filled with stories about America’s unique place in the world.
I also witnessed firsthand, in my own hometown of Lima, Ohio, America’s unsurpassed industrial might at work. Superior Coach Corporation led the world in schoolbus production. This massive factory had produced tanks for the American war machine in World War II, having a direct impact on the Allies’ ability to literally outmass the weaponry of the Axis powers, and save America and Britain’s birthright!
Lima Locomotive was the largest manufacturer of the powerful steam-driven locomotives that once pulled some of the longest trains the world had ever seen, with just one engine.
My hometown was also home to the Baldwin-Hamilton Corporation, which produced some of the largest steamshovels (and other heavy equipment) in the world. I grew up right around the corner from Mr. Hamilton, and often heard the story of his large corporation and the influence that it had.
Standard Oil Corporation had a giant refinery and storage capability in Lima that was so big, it dwarfed the imagination. I recall regularly driving past the vast areas that it encompassed. The father of one of my childhood friends became its president in the 1960s.
I can remember how I felt as though it were yesterday. Every American student or citizen who was paying attention, recognized that we were far and away the most dominant nation on earth. We were simply unrivaled—in either the world of that time, or in history!
America’s forefathers could never have envisioned this nation as the global superpower it became. The United States has continually been at the forefront of economic prosperity, medical science, technology, food production, sanitation, architecture, space exploration, etc. Its citizens enjoy freedoms unattainable to so many. The income and standard of living for most Americans, Britons, Australians and Canadians is far higher than even most other industrialized nations.
But we have forgotten where these blessings came from! Only God’s promises to Abraham kept these nations from joining the Third World’s “brotherhood of poverty.” We have not had to face the grim reality of famine or pestilence continually sweeping our countryside.
From rolling green pastures to oil-rich lands, it is evident that our wealth and countless resources are God-given blessings. Nevertheless, this same national power, prestige and wealth have caused many to become blind to where this awesome bounty came from. The general national attitudes of arrogance and pride, demonstrate a gross lack of gratitude toward God—the Provider!
Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth American President, said in a January 27, 1838 address, “We find ourselves in the peaceful possession, of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate…We…found ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or the establishment of them.”
In proclaiming a “National Day of Fasting and Prayer” (March 30, 1863), Lincoln also said, “It is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God…and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord…We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God!
“We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
“It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
But there are also statements from a few other leaders in American history, demonstrating how they recognized where this national wealth and greatness came from:
“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for benefits, and humbly to implore His protection, aid, and favor.”
“Without a humble imitation of the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, we can never hope to be a happy nation” (George Washington, 1732-1799, first President of the United States).
“…How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy” (Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826, third President of the United States).
“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever” (Jefferson).
“The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God” (John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963, thirty-fifth President of the United States).
These men recognized God as the Source of this sudden rise to power—and warned of the need to be grateful for His provisions and blessings.
Moses also warned Israel: “Then beware lest you forget the Lord, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage” (Deut. 6:12). Moses understood—and recognized—that when people receive much, it is in their nature to become ungrateful and arrogant, and forget the Source of their blessings—God!
But how long will America and Britain’s prosperity last? Indefinitely? Although Abraham’s modern descendants are seemingly “on top of the world,” are they destined to stay there? Can we know?
Revealing seeds of the inherent weakness of Americans, the great American President Theodore Roosevelt said this of America’s expansion to greatness: “It means nothing. There is not an imperialist in the country that I have yet to meet. Expansion? Yes; playing the part of a great nation. Expansion has been the law of our national growth. Our fathers worked, we rest; our forefathers toiled, endured, dared, and we stay at home to avoid trouble; our fathers conquered the West, but we are a feeble folk and we cannot hold the Philippines.”
We are now witnessing the sudden evaporation of the national wealth and greatness given to these nations. Just as fast as Britain, once called “Great” Britain, and America became global superpowers, their greatness and power is coming to an end. All our allies—our “lovers”—are turning against us, despising us. The once-powerful economic engine of America and Britain is quickly coming to a sudden, screeching halt—and it is futile to try to stop it!
Why? We have ignored our Creator and turned from His laws and commands. As Lincoln exclaimed, “We have forgotten God”!
Now, God is turning Himself from us. And He is removing the wonderful blessings bestowed to us through Abraham’s obedience. The skeptic, who thinks that the power and influence our nations had in the world was our own doing, cannot explain why our seemingly unlimited wealth and prestige is slipping from our grasp.
Just as history proves the power and blessing poured upon our nations, recent world developments evidence our decline.
The loss of most of our strategic sea gates should be a shrill trumpet blast of alarm, announcing the downfall of our nations. The national security, military accessibility and economic stability, provided by these gates, are all but gone. One by one, they are being returned to “those who hate” us.
In 1942, Japan seized Singapore. Later, the Suez Canal was turned over to Egypt. In 1977, the U.S. president signed an agreement to relinquish control of the Panama Canal at the end of 1999. Hong Kong was given to the Chinese. Time will tell which sea gate is to be surrendered next by the people no longer destined to control them!
More than the sea gates have been lost by our once mighty nations. Many vital resources are no longer produced on our soil.
America now produces only 17% of the world’s coal. Together, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand produce just another 8%. In 2005, America, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand produced a dismal 12.7 million barrels of crude oil per day—a mere 15.4% of the world’s production! From 1997 to 2001, oil exports from these nations dropped 72%!
We no longer dominate coal production—or supply the world with it. While using more coal than any other nation except China, America now only produces about one-sixth of the world’s supply. Today, we rely heavily on allies—and enemies—to supply us with the fuels that run our economy.
Pig iron and steel remain vital indicators of a nation’s power and economic success. Machinery, ships, cars, etc., all need iron and steel. We now produce less than 4% of the world’s pig iron and 8% of its steel. As with oil and coal, we must rely on the nations around us to build and supply us with cars, trains, ships and machinery.
No longer is our economy self-sufficient!
But there is more. Similar comparisons can be made with many basic resources: While once literally controlling the world’s nickel supply, there are no longer any active nickel mines in the U.S. Aluminum has also seen striking drops—from 80% to 8%.
In the 1950s, we produced over half of the world’s zinc, but that number has now dropped to less than 8%. From completely controlling the world’s supply of chromite, we now produce none. Bauxite is also now entirely produced in other countries.
Copper has seen similar reductions—from 23.4% to just 8% today. The production of so many goods and services that were once the “bread and butter” of our powerful economic engines has dwindled, many now having to be purchased from abroad.
After World War II, America loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to nations in Europe to help rebuild their war-torn cities. Nations literally lined up to receive aid in this rebuilding process, and to fortify themselves against the sweeping expansion of Communism. As the leader of the free world, America increased its spending to combat this.
No longer is this once great nation a lender—it is now a debtor!
Once possessing much of the world’s wealth—including large reserves of gold and precious metals—America is declining from her status of richest single nation ever.
American gold reserves, used to fortify the dollar, have all but disappeared. The same is true of silver, which is disappearing from American coinage. America’s reserves are now far below her debt to foreign nations. If all her creditors demanded payment in full, the United States would go bankrupt!
As statistics have shown, this nation was a powerhouse in the world. In 1950, we were a nation exporting goods and services. Today, we see a very different picture. Most products are made in other countries. Many resources and services are also imported from foreign nations. This has changed the leading production country to one with a massive and growing trade deficit, now importing $56.5 billion more than it exports. While we no longer produce more, we continue to use more, spend more and waste more than any other nation!
We are now beholden to the nations around us—because we have chosen to forsake allegiance to God.
Our nations only have one remaining hope. They must cease from their evil ways, and turn back to God. They must give Him the praise and honor He deserves!
In 1974, a Senate member proposed a resolution to declare April 30 as a “National Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer.” Modeled after President Lincoln’s 1863 “Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day,” the purpose of this day was to repent for “national sins.”
However, the resolution was overturned. Members of the House, and even some of the Senate, did not approve use of the word “humiliation.” Cynics equated “repent for national sins” to Americans feeling sorry or ashamed for the wealth and prosperity of the nation. The purpose of the resolution, as originally introduced by President Lincoln, was dismissed—even ridiculed!
Atheists and cynics actually concluded that there was no need to repent of anything!
That was the world of 1974. How much worse this nation has become in the intervening decades!
America has forgotten God. So has Britain. They have dealt falsely with Him—no longer recognizing that He is the great Provider. Due to this national rebellion and ingratitude, He is withdrawing His hand of blessing from us. Soon He will cause our peoples (America, Britain, Israel, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and certain Western European nations) to suffer horrible national punishment, through war, famine and disease—to be followed by invasion, capture and slavery!
The very blessings now taken for granted by these people will be completely stripped away. We are already witnessing this!
The only way to stop this prophesied fall is to turn to God, repent and follow His WAY! The looming question remains:
Will America and Britain listen?
Most people will not seek God unless forced to—unless severe trials or other circumstances drive them to God. During good times, most are happy to trust in their own strength, crediting themselves for their successes and achievements, when they may have had little to do with blessings that came to them. On the other hand, these same people generally blame God when things go wrong in their life.
But understand this. God does not and has never owed blessings to anyone. He may choose to bless individuals or nations, for His own purposes, but no one automatically deserves prosperity, wealth, abundance and a generous portion of God’s bounty.
So it is with the peoples of America and Britain. God has bestowed to them astonishing, unparalleled blessings beyond what any nation has ever enjoyed. He has kept His promise to Abraham to make many nations from him and to give the sons of Joseph the promised awesome birthright blessings after two and one-half millennia.
But our peoples have neither been grateful for these birthright blessings, nor sought God, repenting of our national sins!
Our peoples have not known that they are Israelites, thinking themselves Gentiles and that the Jews comprise all of modern Israel. How tragically wrong we have been. Yet, we have acted in the same stubborn, rebellious and stiff-necked fashion as ancient Israel. We have been unthankful for what we have received, though it came to us when we had done absolutely nothing to merit it. Instead of ingratitude, we should have sought God and yielded to Him so that such unrivaled blessings could have continued.
But we did not do this, and will not—though we still could!
Since God, after building to it for thousands of years, has now kept His promise, He has no further obligation to continue His birthright blessings—and this He will not do! We learned from Leviticus 26:1-18 how God said that if Israel would not yield to Him after numerous punishments, He would punish them for a full 2,520 years.
After this long withholding of the birthright, it would come time to be fulfilled—and it was—and then would come the following, first, if there were no repentance: “And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass” (Lev. 26:19).
Our national pride is being broken. The decline of Britain is nearly complete, with America to follow soon on her heels. Both these countries have lost their sense of national honor and pride in the extraordinary political, economic and military might they once enjoyed in such splendid grandeur. Now, we are hated, vilified, held in contempt by even the nations we once helped so generously. No matter our true intent or purpose, our motives are constantly impugned. The tiniest of nations no longer fear to spit on or burn the American flag. Insignificant nations now freely ridicule us.
When we are castigated and excoriated abroad, or when our ambassadors and citizens are assassinated, or our embassies bombed, we merely issue anemic protests, crying “foul.” Why? Because God has also kept His promise to “break the pride of [our] power” in front of the nations who once trembled before our mighty power.
When the heavens turn to iron (no rain), the earth turns as hard as brass. No rain means few crops and little food. Thus, God foretold that unprecedented famine and disease will soon follow with such intensity that millions will die.
What will happen next? Notice: “And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits” (vs. 20). But this will no more cause national repentance within America and Britain than have any of God’s previous punishments of His people. We will see that only one national calamity has ever brought repentance to Israel.
Next will come this: “And if you walk contrary unto Me, and will not hearken unto Me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins” (vs. 21). The Revised Standard Version better renders this verse, “I will bring more plagues upon you, sevenfold as many as your sins.”
Recall that we read, “And if you will not yet for all this hearken unto Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins” in Leviticus 26:18. We learned that the single Hebrew word shibah is translated there as “seven times,” but it could also be translated “sevenfold.” It is clear that “seven times” means duration of the punishment, while “sevenfold” would mean degree or intensity of punishment.
We have seen that the usage of shibah in verse 18 conveyed duration—2,520 years. But consider. The use of shibah in verse 21 cannot possibly foretell a second 2,520-year withholding of the birthright that God had already bestowed. The most cursory look at today’s world conditions tells you there cannot be time for another 2,520 years before the last days and Christ’s Return. This makes it obvious that the use of shibah in verse 21 must mean sevenfold in intensity, this time including plagues within God’s promised punishment for His people.
The account centering in Daniel 3:19, in which King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that the furnace be made “seven times hotter” so that it would burn up Daniel’s three friends who were to be thrown into it, makes it easy to understand the difference between duration and intensity in Leviticus 26.
Yes, modern Ephraim and Manasseh are rushing headlong into a punishment so awful, so staggering—so intense—as to nearly defy description. What lies ahead for our peoples is truly as terrible as the birthright blessings were wonderful. The cesspool of rottenness and perversity—of every heinous sin—of every evil imaginable, has risen as a stench to God’s throne. Degeneration, followed by rampant immorality, and now amorality, has become the social norm. The scourge of pornography is literally everywhere. Same-sex marriage is here. And routine mass murder, politely called “abortion” and “a woman’s right,” is an abomination for the ages.
Truly, a punishment sevenfold as severe as the level of national sins (vs. 21), now routinely committed by countless millions of our people, is a chastisement poured out—unleashed by god—beyond belief!
Of course, all the previously described punishments of the 2,520-year times of Leviticus 26:1-18, also reapply. For instance, recall that God said He would “appoint terror” over His people if they did not obey Him. None can doubt that this is now happening in a way never seen in our nation’s history—and no man or government can stop what God has appointed.
Be careful you do not say, “But this could never happen to America and Britain.” Do not assume we earned such marvelous blessings by our own ingenuity, forgetting that they were simply the fulfillment of a great promise made 4,000 years ago. This assumption supposes that we will always be able to rescue ourselves from any national dilemma because we were able to bring these blessings on ourselves. We were not—they were given to us!
The same God who once sent Israel and Judah into captivity can do it again. The facts are in! The handwriting is on the wall—and you need to wake up to the reality of what has already happened to Britain’s greatness, with America soon to follow her decline! And yet, the steepest decline—and complete crash—has yet to occur even to Britain. What lies ahead is so horrible, so awful—so truly terrible!—that you must shake yourself to understand!
It is now clear that the first wave of increased punishment involves plagues of drought and famine, and the resultant disease epidemics that always follow in their wake. Will this cause people to consider the cause of the plagues—the cause of their suffering? Will they connect their punishment to being the consequences of sin? Sin is the transgression of God’s perfect spiritual Law (Rom. 7:14; I John 3:4). When laws are broken, automatic penalties result.
Our material possessions are already being systematically stripped away, now at a faster rate than before. Of course, most have been schooled and conditioned to the idea that it is material wealth and prosperity that bring happiness and true success in life. How utterly false is this hollow thinking, which ignores the truth that real happiness flows from obedience to God’s holy, righteous Law (Rom. 7:12; Psa. 119:172). But men do not consider the great law of cause and effect, and deny that misery, heartache, emptiness, depression, mental ills and almost constant unhappiness have anything to do with right and wrong.
How mistaken they are!
Because our peoples will not repent at the first sevenfold increase in punishment (drought, famine and disease), God promised a horrible new second element would enter His equation to correct His people—slavery: “And if you will not be reformed by Me by these things, but will walk contrary unto Me; Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times [RSV: sevenfold] for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of My covenant: and when you are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy” (Lev. 26:23-25).
There is no misunderstanding what “delivered into the hand of the enemy” means. The second increase in punishment is captivity, national slavery. Once again, God has done it before—and He intends to do it again! Can you grasp this? Does it seem too much to believe—that our people could actually be taken as slaves to a foreign land? But it is the only punishment that has ever awakened Israel from her stubborn, rebellious disobedience—and God says it will happen!
But this is not all. A third sevenfold multiplication of punishment, this time of different plagues follows: “And if you will not for all this hearken unto Me, but walk contrary unto Me: then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times [RSV: sevenfold] for your sins” (vs. 27-28).
The prophecy continues: “and I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste” (vs. 33). The Revised Standard Version says, “And I will lay your cities waste … And I will scatter you among the nations” (vs. 31-33). This third successive sevenfold punishment clearly involves special plagues, the devastation of cities through nuclear war and, now, complete slavery for all who survive, as they are transported for servitude “among the nations.”
Also, when God speaks of punishing “in fury,” it is a reference to the Day of God’s Wrath, most commonly called the Day of the Lord. This specifically refers to the seven last plagues of Revelation 15:1, which are poured out on all nations of the world, because God will punish every person and every nation who disregards His laws.
The God of the Bible is a God of love (I John 4:8, 16). He sacrificed His Son, because of His love for the world (John 3:16). God is also a Parent, and like any human parent, and far more so, He loves His children, and the peoples of the world are His children, despite their rebellious condition today.
Also, like any wise human parent, God uses corporal punishment to discipline His children. Proverbs 3:11-12 states, “…despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of His correction: for whom the Lord loves He corrects; even as a father the son in whom he delights.” Quoting this proverb, the apostle Paul adds that God “chastens, and scourges [to afflict with severe punishment and pain] every son whom He receives” (Heb. 12:6).
This describes what is coming upon America and Britain. But a fair, just and loving God never punishes people before He warns them. This book is a warning to any who will listen!
The record of history is that most have not welcomed God’s warning!
When Christ came to earth announcing God’s kingdom, He was tortured and crucified. Every one of the apostles, with the likely exception of John, was put to death, often after imprisonment, sometimes including torture.
Time could be taken to describe the prophets of old who warned nations, kings and peoples to repent and to acknowledge God as sovereign over their lives. These men were placed in dungeons, forced to flee for their lives, stoned, sawn in two, or otherwise killed in most cruel fashion. Invariably, they were rejected and ignored. Noah preached for 120 years and only a few of his own family heeded.
Our stiff-necked, rebellious, pleasure-seeking nations have never heeded the true servants of God. Except for a tiny few individuals, my words here—really God’s Words—will not change anyone. I fully understand in fact that these truths will make some people intensely angry.
But these are the plain words of God about how He works with people. We are about to read of terrible plagues to be poured out on a God-hating, truth-rejecting, self-willed, rebellious modern Israel. This punishment is coming for a reason. Four thousand years of ignoring God’s commands have come to the full—and God is filled with fury!
God’s three times sevenfold chastisement is correction of His people. But human beings, having human nature, will not enjoy the correction, possibly initially thinking it is unfair—that our peoples do not really deserve it. This is because people want to be thought of as good, but they do not want to do good—to do what is right! Most will be initially stubborn, deceiving themselves (Jer. 17:9) about what have been their ways. But powerful correction will soon soften this stubbornness.
Any sampling of sermons given by the professing Christian ministers of this world’s false Christianity include a liberal mentioning of “God’s love” for mankind or for you. Why do they never speak about how God’s love requires Him to punish for disobedience? But disobedience to what?—the very law that these same ministers refuse to tell people is binding upon our peoples today! The ministers of this world have utterly failed in their responsibility. They have been derelict in their duty in warning people that sin brings consequences—none of them good!
But God’s correction will ultimately get people’s attention in the only way left for Him to do this. The modern nations of Israel will come to recognize what their sins have done to them—that they did these things to themselves. Their spirit of national rebellion will be shattered, finally disappearing, as God’s chosen people become a people corrected—an obedient people. They will learn that spiritual happiness vastly exceeds the value of physical blessings and material prosperity.
Recall that the scepter promise involved more than the House of David always having a human king to sit on God’s throne prior to Christ’s Return. Rather, it points directly to spiritual salvation for all in Christ. Had Israel retained God as their King—and not rebelled against His rule—there would never even have been a need for human kings to fulfill The Davidic Covenant. God always intended that His people focus on the bigger picture of spiritual happiness and prosperity.
God’s warnings through His prophets are still recorded in His Word for us today. They show the absolute certainty of God’s purpose to punish His chosen people. He called and chose them for a wonderful purpose (Ex. 19:5; Deut. 4:5-8; Isa. 43:21) more glorious than they were willing to understand, and they rejected Him—and still do today!
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Hosea and others prophesied great punishments to come upon our peoples. What Moses foretold, Christ also foretold. But all of this has remained locked up from all who do not understand or will not accept the identity of our peoples throughout these awesome, apocalyptic prophecies.
But within this understanding, it must be recognized that God is chastening people He loves. He has always wanted human beings to enjoy spiritual values and principles, having His Holy Spirit guiding and directing their lives, after having come to deep repentance—both as individuals and nations.
Again, some few individuals will yet repent, and will be spared the horrible prophecies we will now examine. This could include you.
The pride of American and British power continues to be broken, with our leaders in fear of what our critics and enemies—and the ever relentless press—will say. Authoritative leadership and decision-making is now systematically undercut and checkmated by this endless chorus of professional naysayers. Also, any leader daring to even hint that God might be involved in the affairs of men is virtually lampooned—and accused of crossing boundaries between church and state. God never intended such an unnatural state.
As both manmade and natural disasters increase in number and intensity, it is evident God’s protection around His people is even now being withdrawn. Headlines daily blare warnings of budget shortfalls, job losses, lack of growth, rising fuel prices, economic problems, growing social problems, war, difficulties and uncertainties, divided government, enormous problems in our schools and families, and much more!
What we have read above is only the beginning of what God says is yet to happen. The book of Micah, carrying special insight into our pride being broken, our loss of possessions and sea gates around the world, and worsening weather conditions, serves as its own tremendous proof of who and where are the peoples of Israel today. Simply reading this prophecy identifies America and Britain as the only nations that have fulfilled what is described in Micah 5.
Notice the enormous wealth, and ensuing downfall, of the people described, beginning in verse 7, as the “remnant of Israel.” Note that references to “dew” and “showers” have a direct bearing on agricultural productivity and reflect the direct blessings of God: “And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people [nations] as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarried not for man, nor waited for the sons of men.”
Recall that, anciently, Joseph himself stored food in Egypt and helped other peoples and nations as a result. When God’s blessings were still being poured out upon our peoples without measure (though we, unlike Joseph, have been rebelling against God’s Law and Way), over and over, our blessings became blessings to other nations of the world. This same spirit in modern Joseph—Ephraim and Manasseh—gave birth to the Alliance for Progress, Marshall Plan, Hoover Program, Four Point Program and so many others that saved millions from starvation after World War I and World War II. No other nations ever did any of these things, let alone all of them.
The next verse depicts this “remnant of Israel” as a lion among all other nations on earth. It was as a lion that America entered these two terrible wars and pulled the world back to temporary peace—until God’s final time had come. Notice: “And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treads down, and tears in pieces, and none can deliver” (vs. 8).
Who can doubt that this describes what have been the roles of America and Britain?
The next scripture pictures what these two countries did throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century, until they could no longer win wars in countries as small as Korea and Viet Nam: “Your hand shall be lifted up upon your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off” (vs. 9).
Invariably, in wars and skirmishes, this is exactly what America and Britain did to their adversaries and enemies. Our enemies were always cut off!
At this point, God’s description of His people takes a sharp turn: “And it shall come to pass in that day, says the Lord, that I will cut off your horses [Moffatt: “war horses”] out of the midst of you, and I will destroy your chariots [tanks, ships, aircraft, missiles]: and I will cut off the cities of your land, and throw down all your strongholds [military bases]” (vs. 10-11). Since God says that He controls the outcome of war (Psa. 33:10-19), have no doubt that He will fulfill this prophecy.
Men now often speak of “disarming” terrorists, rogue dictators and their nations. This passage is God’s promise to literally disarm His own people. Micah explains why He will do this: “And I will cut off witchcrafts out of your hand; and you shall have no more soothsayers: your graven images [idols] also will I cut off, and your standing images [idols] out of the midst of you; and you shall no more worship the work of your hands. And I will pluck up your groves out of the midst of you: so will I destroy your cities” (vs. 12-14).
God is tired of looking at modern “Churchianity,” which condones rank idolatry, spawns soothsayers (false ministers), condones sexual perversion and tolerates now widespread abominable witchcraft. These modern soothsayers should have thundered from their pulpits that if God’s Law continues to be broken, the penalty is that the country doing this will also be “broken” as a natural consequence.
Since the Bible shows that Israel is the first to receive salvation, she is also the first to receive chastening and punishment. But the next verse in Micah’s prophecy shows that God’s punishment, after dealing with America and Britain, includes punishment on all nations: “And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury [the Day of the Lord] upon the heathen, such as they have not heard” (vs. 15).
God cares about all human beings—and the entirety of humanity has ignored Him and rejected His ways and laws. While Israel was taught and understood these laws more personally, all nations, starting at Creation with Adam and Eve in the Garden, have disobeyed the true God. But it has been God’s intention from Creation to fashion every human being in His own character and likeness (Gen. 1:26). This is why Paul was commissioned to preach the gospel to Gentile nations.
Mind-numbing terror, springing from international chaos, lies just beyond the view of leaders, nations and billions of people hurtling toward this disaster. Every continent, nation and tribe of earth will be sucked into the vortex of what must now occur because of the wretchedness, violence, corruption, degeneration, war, strife and oppression practiced worldwide.
Jeremiah expands on what Micah prophesied: “A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord has a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh…” (Jer. 25:31). Since all Gentile peoples—“the heathen”—are God’s children, His love for them requires Him to also punish non-Israelite countries. Ultimately, every nation must learn to submit to the wonderful government of god. Every nation must come to recognize that God’s Way brings supreme happiness and joy!
Other prophecies reveal that this will happen.
Verse 31 shows that God first “pleads” with those He is about to punish. This pleading to “all flesh” includes a warning of exactly what will follow if they do not listen. My books and our other publications, reaching every country on earth, are God’s patient pleading with humanity before time runs out and this occurs: “…He will give them that are wicked to the sword…Thus says the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth” (vs. 31-32).
The Bible speaks of a great European political-military-religious power that will suddenly arise to attack and enslave our peoples. But other prophecies show that vast armies from the East will then destroy this now rising European powerhouse.
Before reading the next prophecy in Jeremiah, recall that Jacob conferred his name on Ephraim and Manasseh (Gen. 48:16). The following stark prophecy is therefore directed specifically at the United States and British nations: “For thus says the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask you now, and see whether a man does travail with child? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:5-7).
Take careful note that Jeremiah says this period of national trial—“Jacob’s trouble”—is so great that “none is like it.” This means it is unparalleled in history.
Many assert that this prophecy speaks of ancient Israel. That is false. It has to be talking about modern Israel, because the rest of verse 7 concludes with “and he shall be saved out of it,” immediately followed by “For it shall come to pass in that day, says the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and will burst your bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: but they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them” (vs. 8-9).
Savor this extraordinary portion of the prophecy. God’s deliverance of Israel from slavery is as certain as is the horrible punishment that precedes this. The Return of Christ and the resurrection of David (to once again be king over all Israel) occur at this time. What time? Notice: “The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until He have done it, and until He have performed the intents of His heart: in the latter days you shall consider it” (vs. 24).
It begins with Christ’s disciples (Matt. 24:3) asking Him about the events that would precede the “end of the world.” They wanted a “sign” about when the end of the age—end of civilized society as we know it—would come. His disciples believed this would occur in their own lifetime, because they saw it in conjunction with the destruction of the physical temple in Jerusalem. This is because Christ had just explained (vs. 1-2) this coming destruction moments before they had asked their question. While the Romans in A.D. 70 destroyed this temple (just a few decades later), Christ understood that His Second Coming would be over nineteen centuries later. He prophesied that certain other events would precede it!
Christ described the breakdown of character on a worldwide scale similar to the way Paul did. In verses 36-39, He warned that conditions would mirror “the days of Noah.” Genesis 6:11-12 describes Noah’s day: “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.”
Corruption is mentioned three times in this one short description. It is highly specific and speaks of men as having individually and collectively degenerated to a condition of absolute corruption. Notice God’s use of both the singular word “his” and the collective word “all” to drive this point home!
Consider how often acts of mass violence now occur in schools, restaurants or other places in ways that were virtually unheard of until recently! Who ever heard of “serial snipers” before recently? The relatively recent phenomenon of terrorism is foretold to happen worldwide! Gang violence and warfare have never been greater. Truly, violence is now a global epidemic.
In Luke 17:26-30, Christ compared the conditions at the time of His Return to conditions found in Sodom and Gomorrah. Genesis 18 and 19 show that these two cities were so rotten and evil that, just before God rained fire and brimstone upon them, only three people (Lot and his two daughters) were deemed worthy to escape. Only eight people were allowed to enter the Ark before God flooded and destroyed the world.
Ask: How much longer before conditions cannot grow worse?
The Matthew 24 prophecy culminates in verse 21. Notice Christ’s confirmation of Jeremiah’s chapter 30 prophecy: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (vs. 21-22).
Clearly, Christ is speaking of the same time Jeremiah referenced! There cannot be two separate times that are both the worst period in all history!
Also take note that just seven verses earlier, Christ had said that the gospel of the kingdom of god would be preached to all nations as a witness (Matt. 24:14) of what was to come, but God’s kingdom would not come before “great tribulation”—national punishment—comes on the people of Israel!
One more reference must be examined regarding this terrible time of national corrective sevenfold chastisement by God of His chosen people: “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people [Israel]: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time…” (Dan. 12:1).
Let’s state this plainly one last time for emphasis. There cannot now be three separate times that are the worst in all history! In every case (tying Luke 21 to Matthew 24 does this), this prophecy is described as the worst period to ever strike civilization—with the initial and worst brunt of the punishment landing directly on the people of whom the patriarch Israel said, “Let my name be named on them”—Ephraim and Manasseh.
There can be no misunderstanding that these prophecies converge on the United States and Britain, and reflect the worst punishment God has ever handed out to any peoples. Do not believe me. Believe Christ, and both Daniel and Jeremiah, who were inspired of God.
But there is good news! Israel shall be delivered by Christ from enslavement, for the prophecy continues: “…and at that time your people [Israel] shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake [the resurrection of the dead at Christ’s Return], some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (vs. 1-2).
Jeremiah spoke of God breaking a yoke (30:8) from off Israel’s neck. What is this? Whose yoke is it?
Isaiah 47:1 speaks of one called the “daughter of Babylon.” This is not ancient Babylon, but rather a great false religious system, described in verse 5 as a “lady of kingdoms”—or one who rules nations. She is extensively described in the 17th chapter of Revelation as a “great whore” (with the name of “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth”), ruling over “many waters,” explained as “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” (vs. 15). The kingdoms this “woman” church ruled, from A.D. 554-1814, were called the “Holy Roman Empire.”
Returning to Isaiah 47, now read God’s interpretation of whose yoke this is: “I was wroth with My people, I have polluted Mine inheritance, and given them into your hand: you did show them no mercy; upon the ancient have you very heavily laid your yoke” (vs. 6).
The European power bloc referenced earlier is the last resurrection of this “Holy Roman Empire.” This political system, ruled by religion, is taking shape in Europe today. A European constitution is being drawn up and its new currency is already in circulation. It is developing a system of courts and laws, to be governed by a Parliament guided by an elected President. Religion will play an enormous part in the last revival of this system, with the Vatican having appealed to it “for the inclusion of Christian roots in its future constitution,” and having endorsed its birth. Germany is already leading the push for such “Christian inclusion.” Shortly, a charismatic super dictator will come to power over ten other kings (leaders) within this union.
This religious-political combine will have its own army—and this army will eventually unleash World War III. At the heart of the military machinery of the forming European Union will be modern Germany—that history reveals to be none other than the ancient Assyrian people. Recall that these people migrated to central Europe, transporting many of the ancient Israelitish people that they had taken into slavery starting in 721 B.C. Space does not permit detailed evidence of the record of Germany’s identity, but history emphatically proves it. History also demonstrates that the modern Italians are none other than the ancient Babylonians, often called the Chaldeans, who themselves migrated west to that peninsula.
The world will one day stand shocked to learn that these two peoples, more than any other, have directly promoted the Babylonian (and Assyrian) Mystery Religion, which has merely appropriated the name of Christ. This system can be traced directly to Simon the Sorcerer of Acts 8, carrying the religious title of Pater (Father) or “Peter” as leader of the first century Babylonian Mystery Religion!
It was this system that turned “grace into license” (Jude 4) and deceived the whole world into believing it to be the true Church of God, also described as a “woman” in Revelation 12. But this woman is described as persecuted and having no real power in the world.
The world will stand, quite literally, in stark wonderment and absolute astonishment at how this great Gentile “woman” church has bamboozled the people of national Israel—America and Britain—into believing that they also are merely Gentile nations!
Throughout his extensive prophecy, Ezekiel describes the coming sevenfold intensity of God’s coming chastisement of America and Britain. His picture is graphic—and horrible: “A third part of you shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of you: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about you; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them. Thus shall My anger be accomplished, and I will cause My fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the Lord have spoken it in My zeal, when I have accomplished My fury in them” (5:12-13).
Chapter 6 adds this: “In all your dwelling places the cities shall be laid waste…” (vs. 6). What else but nuclear devastation is being described here? Take note of God’s using the word “all” when describing the destruction of our cities.
Will you be among the vast majority who ridicule God’s words as being “radical” or “extreme”?
The prophet Joel adds many specifics to what will happen. Notice this graphic description of what will happen, beginning with our fruit trees and crops infected by an invasion of locusts: “He has laid My vine waste, and barked My fig tree: he has made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white…” (1:7).
Drought appears next: “The field is wasted, the land mourns; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languishes. Be you ashamed, O you husbandmen [farmers]; howl, O you vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished. The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languishes; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men…” (vs. 10-12).
Verse 15 shows that destructive plagues are about to come as part of the Day of the Lord: “Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come…” (vs. 15).
Verses 17-20 describe greatly worsening drought: “The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. How do the beasts groan! The herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yes, the flocks of sheep are made desolate. O Lord, to You will I cry: for the fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame has burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field cry also unto You: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire [forest and prairie fires, with heat waves and hot, blasting winds] has devoured the pastures of the wilderness.”
Chapter 2 continues the prophecy, explaining that the Day of the Lord is now almost here: “Blow you the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm [of war and military defeat] in My holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord comes, for it is near at hand…” (vs. 1).
The Great Tribulation will last approximately two and one-half years, followed by the terrifying world punishment to come on all nations known as the Day of God’s Wrath (Day of the Lord). Many in national Israel will awaken as a result of the punishment that will then be behind them.
Here are God’s encouraging words to the surviving remnant of His people: “Therefore also now, says the Lord, turn you even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repents him of the evil” (Joel 2:12-13).
This verse describes many millions who will turn to God in deep repentance, recognizing that national sins brought God’s loving correction upon His people. Recall that Jeremiah 30 ended with “in the latter days you shall consider it.” We are in the last of the “latter days.” Actually, the prophecy continues right into chapter 31: “At the same time, says the Lord, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people. Thus says the Lord, The people which were left of the sword [all survivors] found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest…” (vs. 1-2).
The Moffatt version renders this, “Those who survive the sword shall find grace in the dungeon”—of enslavement.
Now continue the prophecy: “Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin of Israel: you shall again be adorned with your tabrets, and shall go forth in the dances of them that make merry. You shall yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things. For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim [the survivors of Britain and America] shall cry, Arise you, and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God…They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn. Hear the word of the Lord, O you nations, and declare it in the isles afar off [the British Isles], and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd does his flock” (vs. 4-6, 9-10).
Chapter 50 of Jeremiah adds more to this prophecy: “In those days, and in that time, says 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. They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten. my people have been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place” (vs. 4-6).
Later in the same chapter, after God describes His coming punishment on the final European leader—“king of Babylon”—explained earlier, comes this: “In those days, and in that time, says the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve” (vs. 20).
The prophet Hosea brought a remarkable prophecy that applies to the House of Israel. It describes them in a pathetic condition, having lost all knowledge of the true God. Hosea, probably more than any other prophet, captures the big picture overview of God’s relationship with Israel, her rebellion, their divorce, the postponement of her birthright for 2,520 years, a detailed picture of her national attitude now—including her severe final punishment prior to her complete repentance and restoration to God.
God intended that Hosea personally reflect a type of Israel’s entire history with God. In order to picture God’s relationship to Israel, Hosea was required to marry a whore, who bore Him a son named Jezreel. This means “God will disperse.” Here is why this name was chosen: “And the Lord said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel” (1:4-5).
The Assyrian captivity of 721-718 B.C. did bring the kingdom of Israel to an end for two and one-half millennia.
Hosea’s wife next bore a daughter named Lo-ruhamah, meaning “no mercy.” Here is why: “And she conceived again, and bore a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Lo-ruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away” (vs. 6).
Finally, this harlotrous wife had a second son: “Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi: for you are not My people, and I will not be your God” (vs. 9).
Here, God describes Israel as “Loammi,” which means “not My people,” because by Hosea’s time, they had rejected God. How tragic today that the modern tribes of Israel do not know that they were God’s people, that they are Israelites as much as are the Jews. What a shock it will be to the system to find out that they are the people of God once again, and could have been all along. You may be one of many thousands who will learn this astounding truth by reading this book.
So then, the next two verses complete the picture of Israel’s 4,000-year relationship with God: “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, You are not My people, there it shall be said unto them, You are the sons of the living God. Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land [Moffatt translates this as “spread out far beyond their land”]: for great shall be the day of Jezreel” (vs. 10-11).
During her migration from Assyria to her lands in Northwest Europe, Israel was prophesied to get confused about her “paths.” Notice: “Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths” (Hos. 2:6).
This prophecy reveals that Israel was to lose her identity!
Here is why: “For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal” (vs. 8). These are direct prophecies that speak of America and Britain now. Our peoples have rebelled and forgotten how much God has given them!
All this comes at a great price for rebellious Israel. Notice how the blessings begin to disappear: “Therefore will I return, and take away My corn in the time thereof, and My wine in the season thereof, and will recover My wool and My flax given to cover her nakedness” (vs. 9).
Yes, terrible punishment is coming from the hand of God! Hosea repeats what we have seen in other places—massive drought and disease epidemics will devastate the nations of modern Israel, followed by horrific invasion and captivity for our peoples. It is coming soon. All who doubt this will soon wish they had not. All who scoff will soon scoff no more!
The culmination of this prophecy is found in verses 14-23.
Let’s carefully read this lengthy but vital passage in Hosea. It describes God talking to Israel while she is in slavery, but then ready to hear His instruction: “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be at that day, says the Lord, that you shall call Me Ishi [my Husband]; and shall call Me no more Baali. For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. And in that day will I make a covenant [the New Covenant] for them…And I will betroth you unto Me forever…in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth you unto Me in faithfulness: and you shall know the Lord. And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, says the Lord… and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not My people, you are my people; and they shall say, you are my God” (2:14-23).
The context of God’s present statement and final message to Israel picks up at the outset of chapter 4: “Hear the word of the Lord, you children of Israel: for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood touches blood. Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwells therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yes, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away” (vs. 1-3). This passage speaks of Britain and America, their lands and the conditions of all inhabitants, human and animals.
The next section is directed specifically to the ministers of the churches throughout America and Britain. Here is God’s blunt message to them about the cause of the appalling conditions and lack of character described above: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you shall be no priest to Me: seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children. As they were increased, so they sinned against Me: therefore will I change their glory into shame” (vs. 6-7).
The description picks up again later in the chapter: “For Israel slides back as a backsliding heifer: now the Lord will feed them as a lamb in a large place” (vs. 16).
Beginning with chapter 4, the brunt of the warning has been primarily to Britain. Notice this in chapter 5: “Ephraim [Britain] shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be” (vs. 9).
Yet finally, our peoples will respond to God: “I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek My face: in their affliction they will seek Me early” (5:15).
After the horrible punishment that is to fall on our peoples is complete, they will cry out to God, seeking His forgiveness and deliverance from enslavement. This verse does, in fact, show God knows that Israel “in their affliction…will seek Me early.”
How wonderful this will be!
But God’s indictment of Britain (with America) continues in chapter 7: “Ephraim, he has mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned [half-baked]. Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knows it not: yes, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knows not. And the pride of Israel testifies to his face: and they do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek Him for all this. Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. When they shall go, I will spread My net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation has heard” (Hos. 7:8-12).
God’s warning has gone into the nation of Britain, beginning in 1953, with The World Tomorrow radio program. Truly, her “congregation has heard” God’s powerful message of the corrective chastisement and national punishment that will now soon come on both the British and American peoples.
This Work of God has been a living fulfillment of Amos 3:6-7. God always warns before He punishes: “Shall a trumpet [of alarm] be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord has not done it?” Next comes the verse cited in the opening chapter of this book: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He reveals His secret unto His servants the prophets.”
All civilization has reached the time that the Bible calls “the last days”—“the end of all things.” And God has revealed to His servants what will come to pass in our time!
This introduces the need to explain who and what we are. There is very important history behind the book you are reading, and you need to understand it.
We read that Christ foretold the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom of god in “all nations” before the “end come” (Matt. 24:14). Someone had to fulfill this prophesied commission to take God’s true gospel to places it had never been. Many false gospels, particularly the one focusing on the Person of Christ, have flooded the world for 2,000 years! But the true gospel speaks of God’s world-ruling government to be established with the Return of Christ. With that time now imminent, God wanted it announced to the world with authority!
By 1934, God had raised up and trained the first of two servants He would use to preach His true gospel and to deliver His final warning to the American and British peoples before her sevenfold intense punishment would occur. His name was Herbert W. Armstrong. God unlocked and revealed all these prophecies to this man—prophecies that had been sealed since the time of Daniel—2,500 years! Millions of copies of his book, The United States and Britain in Prophecy, went into almost every country on earth. So did The World Tomorrow program and The Plain Truth magazine, which were heard and read by scores of millions of people around the world.
Prophecies in the book of Revelation and elsewhere show that millions of survivors will indeed awaken in time to receive protection from His final wrath, and ultimately salvation, but not in time to avoid God’s prophesied correction of His people. These are among those who heard Mr. Armstrong’s voice—or ours—but did not heed before it was too late to enter the Great Tribulation. Human nature always postpones the hardest decisions.
Much time has passed since this warning began. Very little time is left to complete the Great Commission conferred by God on this man, and the enormous staff that stood behind him until his death in 1986. Remaining time in this age is almost gone. Having been trained by Mr. Armstrong personally to continue the Work, it has fallen my responsibility to finish taking God’s glorious gospel of the kingdom to a sick, dying world—and to complete the strong warning to the American and British peoples to wake up while there is yet time!
This Work is now reaching all countries on earth, thundering God’s message as before—and still “pleading” with people to wake up to the coming most terrible time of trouble the world has ever known!
Today, The World To Come program, and The Real Truth magazine continue to trumpet this warning around the world!
While this age is not God’s time to save the whole world, people in Israelite countries (and elsewhere) are still awakening and turning to God in repentance, because there is still time to escape all that lies ahead!
I pray you have eyes to see and ears to hear the strong, plain words of this book!
What will you choose to do?
In 1980, at the end of his book to the American and British peoples, under the subhead “They Will Realize!”, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this powerful conclusion:
“Some day, people will wake up to realize this is the Work of God!
“Of British churchianity, God says, ‘The Ephraimites are wedding to idolatry; let them alone!—a drunken band, a lustful company, in love with shameful worship, not with my glory. When the whirlwind sweeps them off, they shall feel shame for their altars’ (Hos. 4:17-19—Moffatt translation).
“God says, ‘I withdraw to my own place, till they feel their iniquity and seek my face, searching for me in their distress, crying, “Let us return to the Eternal, for he has torn us, he will heal us, he has wounded, he will bind us up: in a day or two [Authorized Version—after two days] he will revive us, and on the third day he will raise us to live under his care…”’ (Hos. 5:15-6:2, Moffatt translation). The coming Great Tribulation probably will last about 2½ years—the ‘Day of the Lord’ about one year—then comes the resurrection and second coming of Christ!
“The entire book of Hosea carries a blistering message and warning to the British people today!
“God warns us through prophecy that our sins are fast increasing. And now the day of reckoning is here! The foreign sword always has attacked us. In this fearful, awesome atomic age, World War III will start with nuclear devastation unleashed on London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh, without warning! God help our nations to wake up before it’s too late!
“Yes, we are God’s chosen people Israel! Think what that means! Chosen, not for favors while we defy our God, but chosen for service we have failed to perform.
“We should shout for joy at the discovery of our true identity—and we should be brought to repent—and to turn to God—and to get back of this crusade by [media] and by printed word to warn our people, and to call upon God in real heartrending prayer for divine deliverance.
“The sevenfold intensity of punishment now soon to come upon the American and British peoples is simply the prophesied Great Tribulation! It will be the most frightfully intense punishment, and time of trouble, ever suffered by any people!
“Yet you need not suffer in it.
“This terrifyingly severe punishment is simply the correction our peoples have made necessary to bring them to the ways of living which cause desired blessings, instead of terrible curses. It is correction—for the peoples’ good!
“As God lives, this punishment is soon to strike! This book has given the warning from God and His Word!
“Will the U.S. and British nations heed? They could yet avert this colossal national tragedy, if they would!
“But if you—you now reading this, you as an individual—will be corrected, voluntarily, before God lets this indescribably horrendous chastening strike; if you come to real repentance, realizing how terribly wrong you have been; if you can see yourself as you really are—as a rebellious wrong, evil person; and if you can surrender to the loving, all merciful, yet all-powerful GOD—and make it an unconditional surrender, coming to Almighty God through the living Jesus Christ as personal Savior—then no plague shall come near you! (Ps. 91:8-11), but you shall be accounted worthy to escape all these frightful things and to stand before Christ at His return (Luke 21:35-36).
“Those in the true Body of Christ shall be taken to a place of safety, until this Tribulation be over (Rev. 3:10-11, applying to those faithful in God’s Work now going to the world; Rev. 12:14; Isa. 26:20).
“But you must make your own decision—and to neglect doing so is to have made the wrong decision!
“Most people, we know only too well, will take this serious warning lightly—put it out of mind—turn to other immediate interests of no importance by comparison! That is why a loving, just, all-wise, all-powerful God is going to take away from them these unimportant counter-interests, and apply such intensified correction that they shall, finally, come to their senses, and turn to Him and His way which will bring them eternal happiness and abundant blessings!
“But you need not have to suffer this intensified correction, greater than any trouble ever suffered by humans.
“By God’s direction and authority, I have laid the truth before you! To neglect it will be tragic beyond imagination! To heed it will bring blessings, happiness and glory beyond description!
“The decision is now yours!”