Their ancient origins are unknown to most—yet are key to understanding what lies in their future!
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This magazine often writes of the sons of the biblical patriarch Joseph—Ephraim and Manasseh—and the nations that descended from them. The Bible also says a great deal about the modern “house of Joseph,” foretelling—thousands of years in advance!—today’s conditions, trends and problems plaguing the British and American peoples. Scripture also explains what they will soon experience: a time of great trouble, immediately followed by an awesome future.
The book America and Britain in Prophecy, written by David C. Pack, reveals with great detail from the Bible and history the modern identity of these two peoples. Genesis 48:19 foretold the United States “shall be great” and Britain with its commonwealth would be “a multitude of nations.” The facts reveal that these two nations received the birthright promises and unprecedented material blessings. Recent history, however, also shows that these blessings are slowly being removed.
These are the Bible identities of America and Britain. But what about the modern nations of France, Belgium and the Netherlands?
The answer lies in astonishing promises God made thousands of years ago to His servant and friend, Abraham (at the time called Abram):
• “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curse you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:2-3).
• “And I will make your seed [descendants] 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” (13:16).
• “And I will make you exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come out of you” (vs. 6).
God’s promise was part of a covenant—an agreement or contract—between two parties. The dividends for Abraham were obvious: His descendants would receive much. To remove all doubt that this promise of national prosperity was intended for thousands of years to come, the exchange also included, “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your seed [descendants] after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant…” (vs. 7).
Imagine if you were promised the same things. Could you comprehend them? What promise, given early in man’s history, would have a greater impact on our world today if it were fulfilled?
Did the God of the Bible promise something that did not come to pass? Did the tribes of Israel, which descended from Abraham, just fall into obscurity and are now lost to antiquity, as most believe? Would the God that more than a billion people profess to follow be incapable of keeping His word?
Most are ignorant of the identity of the peoples descended from Abraham, who received the promises quoted above.
But you do not have to be in the dark!
The Birthright Nations
God’s expansive promise of national, material blessings was passed down through generations. Abraham had a son named Isaac, who had a son named Jacob. God later changed Jacob’s name to Israel, and Israel had 12 sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher. Their descendants became the 12 tribes of Israel.
Of these 12 sons, one would receive the birthright, and the blessings along with it. As was custom, this would have been given to the eldest son, Reuben. But since he sinned against his father in an appalling and shameful manner, the birthright was given to Joseph (I Chron. 5:1).
At the end of his life, Israel had Joseph bring his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, before him. Israel explained to Joseph that he was given a promise by God and that he was now going to pass along the birthright promise and blessings to Joseph’s sons.
Referring to the elder son, Israel explained that Manasseh “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” (Gen. 48:19).
But what about the other tribes—what happened to them? Are they simply lost to history? Some professing Christians, and the world at large, refer to the “ten lost tribes of Israel.” But why ten?
After the death of King Solomon, Israel split into two kingdoms: the house of Judah (which included Judah, Benjamin and Levi) and the house of Israel.
Judah was never considered lost, and is understood to be the Jewish peoples of today. The Jews never lost sight of their biblical identity—because they generally continued to observe the seventh-day Sabbath, a sign that identifies God’s people. Notice: “Verily My Sabbaths you shall keep: 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” (Ex. 31:13). Observing God’s weekly Sabbath and annual Holy Days automatically sets apart God’s people from all others, and identifies the true God of the Bible and those who faithfully obey Him—“a sign between Me and you.”
Again, Judah (for the most part) never lost sight of this. Yet the first thing the house of Israel did when it split from Judah was set up its own holy days, laws and other religious observances. In effect, Israel rejected the identifying sign that would have, over the centuries, reminded them of their ancient origin. Today, those descended from Israel—the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh (Joseph), Reuben, Simeon, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali and Issachar—believe they are gentiles! The overwhelming majority have no idea that the vast material blessings their nations have enjoyed are the result of God fulfilling His promise to Abraham.
Let’s now examine the identity and condition of three of these tribes, represented by the following countries: Reuben (France), Zebulun (the Netherlands) and Asher (a significant part of Belgium).
“Dignity” and “Power”—But “Unstable”
As well as passing down blessings to Ephraim and Manasseh, Israel also passed along some things to his sons and their modern descendants: “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”—our time now (Gen. 49:1).
Note: Jacob was telling his sons what would happen far in the future. What the patriarch said reveals exactly what would befall all the modern nations descended from ancient Israel. He detailed prophetic trends and events that would “befall” them!
Anyone who has traveled to Europe knows each nation has a distinct character. Think of these great cities of the world: Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. Each has a unique atmosphere.
In Genesis 49:3, here is what Israel outlined about France: “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power.”
This “excellency of dignity and power” is clearly evident in Paris. Each building, each palace and street, revealed an excellency of dignity and power found nowhere else.
Take the Palace of Versailles, for example. Considered one of the grandest palaces in the world, it truly shows the power and dignity that Reuben would be known for “in the last days.” Walking through the hall of mirrors, with its beautifully detailed painted ceilings, marble-lined walls, and gold-leafed ornate trim, causes visitors to stop and think of the power and global influence this nation once possessed. Each room of Louis the XIV’s living and working area is just as impressive as the next. Then there are the expansive gardens, with statue after statue, fountain after fountain, including a manmade lake for boating parties, tree-lined walkways, beautiful terracing, and much more.
But Versailles is just one example. Throughout Paris, one cannot doubt that France, once called the “queen of culture,” represents a national dignity and class that remains unsurpassed. Whether it is the Palais Garnier opera house, the Arc de Triomphe or the Louvre, these all tell the same story.
However, Israel also explained that Reuben would be “unstable as water,” and therefore, “you shall not excel” (vs. 4). 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…”
How “unstable”? The French political system has produced 11 constitutions since 1791.
“Haven of the Sea”
Another nation, the Netherlands, has also fulfilled descriptions foretold thousands of years ago. Israel stated, “Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for a haven of ships” (Gen. 49:13).
The Dutch people are famous for reclaiming land from the sea. In fact, 27 percent of the Netherlands is under sea level! For centuries, the Dutch have been building dikes and draining the terrain dry to create fertile farmland, called polders. (Many of the picturesque windmills found in certain areas of Holland were built to pump water out of low areas.) A large bay in Holland, called the South Sea, was reclaimed last century, and within it a relatively large province, Flevoland, was created. Driving through this area today—which was entirely underwater just a hundred years ago—and seeing developed forests, cities and roads, causes one to consider that these peoples truly had settled in a “haven of the sea.”
Deuteronomy 33:19 explains that Zebulun shall “suck of the abundance of the seas and of treasures hid in the sand.”
The Netherlands has done this in several ways such as through international commerce through the nation’s shipping fleet and through reclaiming land from the sea. The rich, green fertile ground that seemingly goes forever is a clear example of the “abundance of the seas and of treasures hid in the sand.” Only the Dutch have been able to reclaim on such a large scale.
The Netherlands has also been a “haven of ships.” In fact, for decades Rotterdam was the busiest port in the entire world. Because of the giant rivers that flow through it, the nation serves as an important artery into the heart of Western Europe. (The latest statistics reveal that Rotterdam remains 10th in total volume, behind ports in Asia.)
Finally, there is Belgium. A group of peoples within this nation can be identified as descended from Asher, of which Israel stated, “Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties” (Gen. 49:20).
Belgium is world-renowned for its chocolate (as well as its waffles). Along the streets of Brussels, scores of shops offer these high quality chocolate “royal dainties”—visited by countless patrons from nearly all parts of the Earth.
But these dainties are more than just edibles. The Belgian city of Antwerp is considered the diamond capital of the world. For hundreds of years, it was the center of gem-making for European royals. Today it processes about 84 percent of the world’s rough diamonds, and half of the world’s cut diamonds pass through the city for cutting and polishing. (Notably, the famous diamond-making company Royal Asscher, based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, could have roots in Asher. It has cut some of the most famous diamonds presented to British royalty and others, including two of the three largest ever found.)
While this description of Asher is brief, it should be no coincidence to those who believe the Bible that even such a small description specifically matches this modern nation—millennia after the description was given. Consider: What other nation is so internationally celebrated for such “royal dainties”?
Much More to Know
This article contains just the briefest descriptions of contemporary Reuben, Zebulun and Asher. Much more could be said.
Examining France, Belgium and the Netherlands, it is clear each has received tremendous material blessings. Their wealth, prosperity and advanced infrastructure make this clear.
But something else—something far less glamorous—is also evident. Now think again about Amsterdam, a city infamous for its drugs and prostitution. It is painfully obvious that the peoples of these prosperous nations are not obeying God. While only one city, it is still representative of all nations of the West, many of them Israelite.
In America and Britain in Prophecy, Mr. Pack writes: “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.
All the beauty, splendor and prosperity on display throughout the modern nations of Israel cannot continue without end. Having forgotten their ancient identity—as well as the laws, statutes and judgments that would have ensured lasting success (Deut. 4:5-9)—the future of modern-day Reuben, Zebulun and Asher grows ever dim.
These nations have prospered materially—yet they now are besieged by spiritual problems, the result of straying away from being the model nation God expected His people to become. Difficult times are in the future.
The Bible reveals what lies ahead for France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and their brother nations. Learn the whole story by reading America and Britain in Prophecy.