“This is pure nonsense!
We learn from Alma Hetherington’s book “70 Years Old” that this was the quick pronouncement by Professor Edward Odlum in 1889 concerning the Israel Truth. He was attending a small gathering of relatives and friends in Vancouver, after having returned from Tokyo where he had spent several years as principal of a college.
Another guest at that gathering asked him the question that was to forever change his direction and purpose in life. She asked the professor if he had ever considered the possibility of the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples being the modern day descendants of Israel of old. With his quick response, the professor dismissed the possibility at once.
Yet, the question weighed heavily on the professor’s mind as he traveled across the country by train to Toronto a few days later. He did not realize it at the time but the Lord God Almighty had touched him in a certain way and just as the Apostle Paul was forced to change direction, Professor Odlum was called to serve the Lord in the founding of an organization dedicated to spreading the Israel Truth around the world. The professor could not have done otherwise. God chose him because the professor was a man of untiring energy and both a student and teacher of history. Being a strict disciplinarian let him concentrate on his studies and when he disembarked from the train five days later, the professor’s blindness was lifted. For years after that, he was dedicated to the Israel Truth, that is, that the Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Scandinavian and kindred peoples are the Israel of the Bible.
Professor Odlum was a highly educated person, after schooling at a number of institutes, he graduated from Victoria University, where he obtained his degrees, i.e., a B.A., a M.A. and a B. Sc. He was affiliated with Toronto University for a time and dedicated himself to research. This was a man, who in conjunction with another man of science, a Dr. Hamel, built the first telephones used for public purposes in Canada, the same type of instrument that the professor later took to Japan and installed in his college. What I am getting at is that he was no mere man simply grasping on to a radical idea, the professor was an astute, aware individual, who had the great fortune of having his sight restored by the Lord God Almighty. In Romans 11: 25, we learn about this blindness in part upon Israel from the Apostle Paul.
Professor Odlum wasn’t the only person selected by God to serve in the restoration of sight to His servant people. When he returned to take up residence in Vancouver, he continued his studies and the circle of other students of the Bible grew. One was the Reverend Mark Jukes, one of the many Protestant ministers who came to understand and accept the Israel message. There were small groups of believers right across the country but there was no formal organization. Professor Odlum, Reverend Mark Jukes and other Bible believing students changed all this and on August 2nd, 1909 formed the British Israel Association. The name was subsequently changed three times, the last in 1968 to our present name, The Association of the Covenant People.
The message fell on fertile ground. Community organizations were established in many places and other organizations sprung up in places like Toronto, London, England and many centers in America. Numerous men of the cloth began to preach the message in their churches. It didn’t matter what the denomination, only that they were Israelites. Great leaders came to the Association, men like Reverend Dr. W.M. Pascoe Goard, Reverend Charles E. Batzold, William Savage, Joseph Sproule, Jacob Parker, Lt. Col. J.G. Wright, Rowland Brelsford and Reverend Herbert Aitchison. The message was growing like wildfire and tens of thousands learned of it for the very first time. The fact that so many ministers were coming to the realization they were Israel created a confidence that the great revealing was at the door.
With all the optimism, no one could foresee the momentum slowing, yet, it did. The waters were muddied by an event that took place thousands of miles away, in the birthplace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Part 5 – “Our Identity Becomes Blurred” covers that event.