A leading early twentieth century British-Israel exponent, Rev. J.G. Taylor, remarked, “People are apt to colour the statements of Scripture in the way they paint their possessions—namely, according to prevailing ideas. Fashion is proverbially tyrannical, and it is not less imperious in theology than elsewhere. In secularities it exerts a strange and subtle spell, and seems to blind the faculties of perception, rendering palatable the most absurd or injurious of customs. It exercises a similar sway in the religious realm, for theories which we should now pronounce doubtful, or even wicked, have been defended with the extremist confidence by appeals to Revelation.”
Prevailing ideas, the popular customs of the day, exert a “peer-group pressure” on people who by nature do not want to be left out of the mainstream. People want to conform and be a part of something and not ostracized. Added to this, traditions of men exert a great hold, as witnessed by how deeply unbiblical traditions such as Santa Claus and the Easter bunny have invaded our Christian institutions.
Christian theology, in fact, is often more dependent upon prevailing ideas than upon Scripture, and many people are sadly more apt to decide that the Bible is in error than their own cherished ideas. The founder of Dispensational-Futurist theory, Edward Irving, declared, “Of Joseph’s blessing, nothing of all that occurreth from [Genesis 49] verse 24 to verse 27 hath ever been accomplished, especially the introduction, ‘Hence is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel,’ for Christ as the Shepherd or the Gatherer, as the Stone or the Breaker of His enemies hath not appeared out of Joseph. Neither doth Naphtali give goodly words, nor Dan judge His people, nor hath Gad overcome at the last, nor hath Benjamin ravened as a wolf, in the morning devouring the prey and at night dividing the spoil; nor, as I judge, hath any one of these facts in its spirit been fulfilled. It may be said that Levi hath been scattered in Israel, but Simeon hath not; and though Zebulon dwelt at the haven of the sea we hear not of any great maritime distinction he attained. That nothing hath happened to the Tribes of Israel to fulfill these great characteristic distinctions everyone who interpreteth according to the words will perceive.”
Irving and his Futurist followers therefore decided that the Abrahamic Covenant blessings are either to be left all unfulfilled, or postponed due to Jewish unbelief until the Millennium. This is an agnostic treatment of Scripture, for the Abrahamic Covenant was unconditional, dependent only on the faithfulness of God, and not that of Israel. If the Divine covenants have not been in a continual state of fulfillment, then we cannot trust God to keep His Word.
In contrast to the Irvingites, we have comfort in the fact that the unconditional tribal promises have indeed seen a complete fulfillment, as fully explained by historian Steven M. Collins in his book, “Israel’s Tribes Today,” available from CBIA at www.migrations.info. Every one of the tribal promises has a historically documented realization. Yet Futurists sadly would rather undermine God’s Word than admit the truth of British-Israel teaching.
A leading Dispensationalist journal, “Things To Come,” made these astounding remarks on their Question and Answer page: “Question No. 28. Is the converted Jew taught that circumcision is not essential in order that he may receive spiritual blessings, but is absolutely essential to qualify him to receive material benefits, Jewish national privileges? To the first part of this question the answer is an affirmative, of course; but as regards the ‘national Jewish privileges’, of which circumcision is a token, they are neither open to a converted Jew nor required by him. It is unfortunate that in some quarters the Gospel is being preached to the Jews with reference to the Jewish hope—the grant of the land to Abraham and his seed after the flesh, extending from the Nile to the Euphrates—and not with reference to the Christian hope…The Christian is told (Rom. 5:12 to 8:39) by the Spirit that he is dead, crucified with Christ, on account of sin…We are therefore told, ‘Reckon yourselves dead.’ Can a dead man expect or desire ‘national privileges’? Are those, then, who hold up the national hope to converted Jews aware that they have no authority for it?”
What they are claiming is that an Israelite who accepts Christ as his Savior acquires the spiritual blessing of salvation but thereby forfeits all of the Abrahamic material covenant blessings. Therefore, a Jew would be advised not to convert to Christianity if he values his physical covenantal blessings, for he will lose them all because the Abrahamic covenant is only for those who reject Christ! This nonsense is why Dispensational-Futurists often maintain that it is a sin to convert Jews to Christianity, due to the mistaken assumption that the material and spiritual blessings clash and conflict with each other. Instead, the material and spiritual realms parallel each other as a double witness of fulfillment.
Israel’s biblical promises were indeed both spiritual and material, as can be seen in passages such as Genesis chapter 49 and Deuteronomy chapter 33. In fact, physical Israel was promised a very wonderful spiritual blessing. Isaiah prophesied that Israel would accept the Lord and be His instrument for the worldwide propagation of the Gospel: “I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” (Isa. 49:6)
The confusion on these and so many other points of Scripture is due to a lack of understanding concerning the two physical houses of Israel, Ephraim and Judah, and their separate history, prophecies, and promises. A correct knowledge of this important subject is the very basis of true biblical understanding. Instead, theologians try to find a “spiritual Israel” entirely distinct from “physical Israel,” and give the spiritual blessings to one of them and the material blessings to the other. Then they postulate that a physical Israelite who accepts Christ is thereby entirely divorced from the physical group and becomes wholly a member of the spiritual group! Such ideas border on the absurd and have absolutely no biblical basis in the Scriptures.
Another topic in “Things To Come” states, “After the Lord has come for His Church, according to 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5, God will again have dealings with the Jew nationally; but it will be first in controversy; to purge out the silver from the dross by an unprecedented tribulation, and then there will be national repentance, and Jehovah will remember His covenant with Abraham to perform it.“
Here repeated is the false division of God’s people into two physical and spiritual parts, with permanently separate Divine destinies for each. Again, it is incorrectly assumed that any Israelites who convert to Christ are removed from all prophecies related to the chosen people—as if after belief they are no longer chosen!
The false assumption is also made that Israelites (assumed to all be Jews) are only intended to accept Christ as Savior after a removal of the believing Church from planet earth. Strangely, these two groups, spiritual and physical, are forever kept separate in Futurist theories, even after both accept Christ. This ignores the biblical testimonial of two physical branches of Israel, Ephraim and Judah, who repent, believe and are rejoined as one (Jer. 3:18; Ezek. 37:15-28). The respected “Speaker’s Commentary” on Jeremiah 3:18 says, “[Ephraim]-Israel is the first to repent, and Judah must go to her in order that they may come together back to the Holy Land, divided no longer into Jews and Israelites, but merged into one people.”
These examples of misconstrued texts, like many others that could be given, have a common basis: a disregard or avoidance of the biblical existence of the two houses of Israel, Ephraim and Judah, as well as a misunderstanding of the prophecies and promises concerning each of them.