Monday, April 23, 2018

The Abrahamic Covenant, by Dr. George B. Fletcher, Ch. 14

Chapter XIV
     Anglo-Israelism is an attempt to trace the origin of the Anglo-Saxon people back to the so-called "Lost Ten Tribes" of Israel. It is a theory o:f racial super­iority and another one o:f the dangerous "divers and strange doctrines" of the last days. This is evident .from several considerations.
     1. Anglo-Israelism asserts that the members of the Ten Tribes were never called "Jews", and that "Jews" are not Israelites. The TWELVE tribes were present at the dedication of the temple in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah as the books o:f Ezra and Nehemiah make abund­antly clear (Ezra 6:15-17; 8:35; Neh. 11:20; 12:47; 13:3). The two houses of Israel, or some from ALL of the twelve tribes did return and rebuild the temple and Jerusalem as Jeremiah prophesied they would. Jeremiah 50:4 -- "In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, THEY AND THE CHILDREN OF JUDAH TO­GETHER, going and weeping: they shall go and seek the Lord their God." This prophecy will have a still fuller accomplishment, when the Jews, being delivered by Christ, the Divine Cyrus, will turn to God with penitential sorrow, and be joined together in the true .faith, in the spiritual Zion of His Church. It is not claimed that EVERY ISRAELITE WITHOUT EXCEPTION returned .from captivity in Assyria and Babylon to his own land 0£ Palestine and Jerusalem in particular. The promise was, "though my people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a REMNANT of them shall return" (Isaiah 10:22). In the Septuagint, this reads: "A remnant ONLY of them shall return." Con­sequently, the two tribes of Judah were not like "Sodom and Gomorrah" (Isa. 1: 9) , for the Lord left them a "seed" to return to Palestine together with a remnant from the other ten tribes, and thus preserved the whole house of Israel in its twelve tribe relationship (Rom. 9:27-30). Ezekiel prophesied the UNION of the two houses of Israel at the close of the Babylonian captivity and that hence­forth there should be NO MORE TWO NATIONS any more at all, but one nation (Ezekiel 37:15-28). It is a historic fact that since the time of Ezekiel Israel has not been divided into "two kingdoms" thus proving the prophecy true. The Lord did "Make them ONE NATION in the land upon the mountains of Israel" for over 500 years, and "one king" was king to them all. They had no kings from their own tribes after they came .from Babylon; neither were there any more TWO lines o:f kings ruling over the two houses of Israel; but one king, -- the king ruling in Persia was "king to them all". The highest officers among the Israelites after they became ONE nation were called to a higher elevation, and merges itself in Christ and His Church. Thus after the captivity, to speak literally, Israel and Judah had no king; and one of the uses of that evanescence of the monarchy was, that it weaned the minds of the faithful from the literal sovereignty, and pre­pared them for the spiritual Monarchy of Christ. Christ is the greater David who has united Israel and Judah (that is, those that are of faith among them) under one King and one Shepherd, even Himself their Lord and their God (John 20:28). In the book of Romans the apostle Paul uses the terms "Jew" and "Israelite" interchangeably. In Acts 21:39 he calls himself a Jew; in 2 Cor. 11:22 he says he is an Israelite; and in Romans 11:1, he says he is an "Israelite" of the tribe of Benjamin. If Paul could be one of the ten tribes and ·still a Jew, then what becomes :of the theory of a sharp division between them? Paul referred to the Jewish people of his time as the "twelve tribes of Israel" (Acts 26:6,7), and James wrote "to the · twelve tribes which are scattered abroad" (James 1: 1).
     2. Anglo-Israelism claims that "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" were not in Palestine at the time our Lord was here on earth, but that many of them had already migrated from Assyria to the British Isles, while others were destined to reach there later on. The Bible however teaches that "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" were right there in Palestine where they could be reached by our Lord and the twelve apostles (Matthew 15:24; 10:5, 6). Moreover, Peter on the day of Pentecost said, "Ye men of Israel" (2:22) and "Ye men of Judaea" (2:14) and called them "children of the covenant" (Acts 3:12,25,26), even if they were in Palestine and not in the Isle of Britain!
     3. Anglo-Israelism claims that the Anglo-Saxon people, as a people, are the COVENANT PEOPLE. We are told that the Anglo-Saxons are the heirs, of the promise made to Abraham. Genesis 17:9-14 reveals CIRCUMCISION as the sign of the covenant that related to the fleshly descendants of Abraham, but Anglo-Saxons are neither Abraham's offspring according to the flesh, nor are they a circumcised people. This fact debars them from any national blessing as a nation in covenant relationship to God. For spiritual Israel (that is, Christians, whether believing· Jew or Gentile) circumcision is nothing (Rom. 2:28,29; Gal. 6:15). "Israel," says British Israel Truth, "has been re-covenanted by being baptized into the one Catholic and Apostolic Church"; and now "the Gospel of salvation must be preached by His constituted agents, the House of Israel." D. M. Panton writes on this point:
     "That a NATION can be baptized into the CHURCH, still
     remaining a natio􀀺: with a destiny of imperial rule over all
     other nations, while simul­taneously evangelizing them as
     God's sole embassage of the Gospel, is not only a conception
     profoundly un-Christian, but a direct negation of what the
     Holy Spirit says the Church is: 'Where there CANNOT be
     GREEK and JEW, circumcision and uncircumcision,
     barbarian, SCYTHIAN, bondman, freeman' (Col. 3:11)."
     4. Anglo-Israelism lays claim to a racial superiority. Nationalism -- all .favored-nation claims before Jehovah -- since Calvary is a complete subversion of the teaching of the New Testament. It re-erects the barriers of the flesh which the Cross has thrown down (Eph. 2:14; 2 Cor. 5:16); it makes national prosperity and worldly greatness, instead of righteousness and truth, the hall­marks of God's spiritual favor; it ignores and so im­plicitly denies, the individual regeneration and sanctity without which no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:14); and it concentrates the blessing of God on the Anglo-Saxon race in becoming the rulers of the world. No spiritual truth -is more radical, more elementary, than that "the flesh profiteth nothing" (John 6:63); and there­fore no error could be more radical, more fundamental, than to attribute to blood, not grace, to the flesh, not the Spirit, any standing whatsoever before God (John 1:12, 13; Rom. 9:6-8)."
     5. Anglo-Israelism asserts that "Ephraim" is being blessed while Judah is still cursed, Ephraim and Manna­sseh being Great Britain and America. But what saith the Scripture? -- "to the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:20). The throne of Ephraim was occupied by 19 kings, each of whom worshipped the Egyptian golden calves which Jeroboam, the Ephraimite, set up at Bethel and Dan. Many of these kings added to Jeroboam's sin the worship of Baal and Ashtaroth. There were 19 kings but there was no royal house. These kings included murderers, and reprobates, and because of their idolatry, God pronounced against three of them (Jeroboam, Baasha, and Ahab) that the carcasses of their posterity should be eaten by dogs and birds. Seven were assassin­ated, and one committed suicide. The first one was struck by Jehovah and the last was taken into captivity by Assyria. In 2 Kings 17:18 we read that Jehovah was angry with (Ephraim) Israel and removed them out o:f his sight, and in Hosea 4:17, "Ephraim is joined to his idols; let him alone." Because of Ephraim's besetting sin of idolatry they were removed from the land 130 years before Judah, in whom some good thing was found -- who had some God-fearing, pious kings in their unbroken Davidic line. Anglo-Israelism asks us to believe that the more idolatrous of the two kingdoms, namely, Ephraim, is enjoying the favor of God, while Judah, from whom every prophet and psalmist came, was abandoned and under God's curse. Can any one really believe that God rewarded idolatrous Ephraim above Judah, whom Jehovah honored with the city, the throne, the temple, and the worship of Jehovah, and of whom Christ came {Rom. 9:4,5; Hebrews 7:14)?
     6. Anglo-Israelism is contrary to that basic prin­ciple of interpretation, namely, that the New Testament is the culmination, the climax of the revelation of the divine purpose, and that climax is reached in Jesus Christ our Lord (Heb. 1:1,2). Therefore the revelation of God in Christ is the ultimate word; and all revelations which preceded that full orbed disclosure of the divine purpose must be interpreted in the light that shines from the face of Jesus Christ. The mysteries of the Old Testa­ment are unveiled in the face of Christ, and in the light which shines from His face, we are to interpret the Old Testament. 2 Corinthians 3:14 -- "But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ." Dr. T. T. Shields states it thus in his sermon on Anglo-Israelism:
     "No interpretation of the Old Testament can be correct
     which is not confirmed and established either implicitly
     or explicitly by the Hew Testa­ment. That principle must
     be applied, not only to the theory of British Israelism: it
     must be applied, also to all millennial and other theories
     too. No interpretation of the Old Testament can be true
     that does not find its confirmation and establishment in
     the teaching of the New Testament."
     The New Testament says absolutely nothing about the "lost" Ten Tribes, or of Israel being the Anglo-Saxon race; hence, this doctrine is false and erroneous.
     7. Finally, Anglo-Israelism is a last day delusion to draw aside men from the vital matters concerning things eternal and spiritual. It distorts and confuses the whole prophetic Scriptures. It fosters national pride, and nationalizes God's blessings and reckons that temporal prosperity is the fulfillment of prophecy to Anglo-Saxons, the supposed Israel of God. It befogs the fact that Christian destiny whether of Jews or Gentiles is linked neither with Palestine, England, or the United States, but with "an inheritance which is incorruptible, and un­defiled, and that fadeth not away" (l Peter 1 :4). Dr. T. T. Shields writes in his inimitable style:
     "But what are we asked to believe? 'Having by Himself
     purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the
     Majesty on High' -- yet some would tell me that my
     glorious Lord is going to step down from that throne to
     a material throne in Jerusalem and reign over a temporal
     Jerusalem. Is it conceivable that He who weighed the
     mountains in scales and the hills in a balance, and can of
     the very stones raise up children unto Abraham, is
     interested in the preservation of a boulder on which Jacob
     is alleged to have slept for a pillow? I do not believe it.
     Such assumptions seem to me to be utterly childish."
     Appropriate are the words of The Encyclopedia Britannica which says of the Anglo-Israelite theory:
     "The contention that the British people, in the United
     Kingdom, its colonies, and the United States, are the
     racial descendants of the 'ten tribes' :forming the
     kingdom of. Israel, large numbers o-.f whom were
     deported by Sargon, king of Assyria on the fall of
     Samaria in 721 B.C. The theory (which is fully set
     forth in a book called Philo Israel) rests on premises
     which are deemed by scholars, both theological and
     anth­ropological, to be utterly unsound."

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