Recently, while reading some British Israel material, I was a bit distressed because it was basically rehashing old material that was well known to me. The facts concerning British Israel teaching have been published for more than a century and yet there are people who have not heard, or not understood, or not believed. This is particularly the case among professing Christians who say, “What does it matter? We have salvation in Christ Jesus whether or not we be Abraham’s seed.” Unfortunately, this is true but it overlooks some important items.
Forgive me for citing some personal experience, but I suspect my reaction on first hearing of British Israel teaching was not unlike many others. As a teen-ager, I read through the complete King James Version of the Bible. Frankly, the Old Testament baffled me because the wonderful promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David went unfulfilled and ended with the exile of all of Israel and Judah except those living in Jerusalem (and I believe two small towns). What happened to God’s promises? The New Testament proclaimed Jesus Christ as Messiah, and being brought up in the church, I was ready to believe at that time that the church had replaced Israel in God’s plans for redemption and that John 3: 16, (which I consider to be the heart of the Bible) was sufficient for me, like most other professing Christians. My belief in Jesus, the conqueror of sin and death, was sufficient to guarantee me everlasting life, God’s promise to us through the Gospel of St. John.
Wait a minute! Why should I believe THAT promise of God, when He failed on His other promises to the patriarchs? On reflection, how could the Creator of the universe and everything in it make a plan for eternity that would fail? God, possessing all knowledge, and knowing the end from the beginning, is incapable of making errors; indeed, one could rightly claim that He is infallible! Now, in honesty, I cannot claim that that logic propelled me back to consideration of the British Israel theory, but I did think, “What if?” and joined the British Israel Federation in Toronto to learn more. I certainly wanted to know more about the promises because thereon hangs real faith.
In fact, throughout the Bible the prophets explained that God provides prophecies so we might believe on Him who has told us what is to occur before the realization of the prophecy. THIS IS IMPORTANT! This is God’s declared method of winning our trust. He tells us of coming events so that when they happen, we can know that the prophets’ words came from God and can be trusted. This means that we can have faith in unfulfilled prophecy and look for its fulfillment in history or the future. It is noteworthy that Jesus did the same thing with His disciples, telling them of His impending death and resurrection after three days and nights. The greatest “example of fulfilled prophecies” are those pertaining to the birth and crucifixion of Christ which were presented by the prophets in dazzling detail.
Because of scholarly work of others, we learn that the exiled tribes took an important decision when the Assyrian empire faltered. They decided to go where never man dwelt and to practice their (Moses’) laws which they had not done in their former homeland. So, according to Esdras, in the Apocrypha, they crossed the river Euphrates with the help of God holding back the waters, and proceeded for a year and a half into Europe on their way to north-west Europe and the British Isles. I should mention here that some of the tribes left the homeland before the Assyrian invasion and some, like the Zarah branch of Judah, left the tribes before the exit from Egypt. The main point here is that the promise to David concerned giving the nation a new home where they would not be harassed by their enemies as beforetime and would have the opportunity to rebuild their strength. So, the tribes completed their gathering in Britain in 1066 A.D. when the Normans entered Britain under William the Conqueror, with the Jutes, Danes, Saxons, Belgai, Kumri, Picts, Scots, etc. arriving at earlier times.
Of course, we are told in the Bible, that the bounds of the nations were set according to the numbers of the children of Israel and this promise was realized in the pioneers of Britain, settled in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, fulfilling the promise that the Israelites would inherit the desolate areas of the earth. Wasn’t Jacob promised that Ephraim would be a company of nations? Isn’t it also true that many other nations, once a part of the British Empire, are now a part of the British Commonwealth of Nations, forming an even greater group of countries under the leadership of Queen Elizabeth II?
And what of the queen? It is a well known fact that the queen traces her genealogy right back to King David and by now, I believe we all know how the crown was transferred from the last king in Jerusalem, Zedekiah, to the king of the tribe of Judah in Ireland uniting the tribes of Pharez and Zarah. It is a beautiful story how Jeremiah, commissioned to build and plant, took the king’s daughters, after the Babylonian conquest, from Jerusalem to Egypt, Spain and Ireland where the throne was established, the first of the three “overturns” prophesied in the Bible.
So, what is to be made of all this? For me, there are two important points. The first is that the Kingdom of Heaven is here on earth. The children of Israel were formed into a kingdom at mount Sinai and they were given their constitution from God through Moses. That is the everlasting kingdom prophesied by Daniel, the Stone Kingdom that is to last forever. It is also the one that Isaiah prophesied would be ruled for ever by the Prince of Peace from the throne of David. (Recited every Christmas) So, the kingdom and the throne are here, awaiting the arrival of our Lord and King. All those Christians expecting a transport to heaven at death will be disappointed. Yes, God will take care of their spirit, just as Jesus indicated before dying Himself, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my Spirit.” So, when resurrected by Jesus (in the first resurrection) we will enter the kingdom and the marriage supper with our Lord! Hallelujah!!
This brings us to the second point. Those resurrected at that time and entering the marriage supper will be those who will rule with Christ for a thousand years! Yes, they will be called God’s administrators as declared in the Bible. These are God’s elect, overcomers. And Jesus in His revelation declares that He will come bringing His rewards with Him according as our work shall be. What a glorious message this is! And Jesus’ ministry was to say, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” So, get ready; be prepared. Remember the story of the ten virgins with their trimmed or untrimmed lamps.
Did the promises of God fail? Never! This knowledge gave me a sure faith and, with many other Christians, I long for the time when Christ, prophesying the events preceding His return, concluded in Matt 24: 33, “When ye see all these things, know that it (the King and the Kingdom) is near, even at the door.” He also advised us to, Look up! Behold, your salvation draws nigh!” Even so, come Lord Jesus. Amen.