An Ancient Answer To An Age-Old Question—“The Evidence Of Lost Israel In Early Annals”
Where is lost Israel? Bible readers throughout the Christian centuries have pondered the fate of the ten tribes of the House of Israel who vanished into Assyrian exile in the 7th century, B.C. There is no shortage of modern ideas concerning their fate, but the real answer to this historic riddle lies hidden not far beneath the surface of ancient annals found in Europe.
Theses annals are the Norse sagas, which concern events dating back into prehistory, passed down by word of mouth and embellished with mythological elements over time. Yet it is not difficult to see the underlying course of events they describe, even though not written down until over a millennium later.
The book, “Ruling Races of Prehistoric Times” discusses the significance of the ancient sagas. These ancient accounts “tell us of the earliest ages of civilization” and present to us the early “life of the nations, whose home was bounded by the Indian Ocean, the Caspian and Black Seas, the Mediterranean, and the Red Sea.” We know this area today as the Middle-east, an area identified by scholars as the early homeland of both the Israelites and the Celto-Saxon peoples, including the Norse.
ASGARD IN MIDGARD, OR MEDIA
The Norse homeland was a city called Asgard, which was located within a region called by the sagas, Midgard. “The Gods gave them Midgard for a home,” says author Sigvart Sorenson. (Norway, Page 20) The suffix “gard” originally meant a region, city, or stronghold. It is found today in the word, “grad,” meaning a city, as in “Petrograd,” or “Peter’s City.” It is also the parent of our English word, “yard,” meaning a fenced enclosure. A number of scholars recognize that this Norse word, “Mid-gard,” is a thinly veiled reference to the region of “Media” in the Mid-East.
For example, “Etymons Of English Words,” by John Thomson states that “according to Gothic authors, Asgard, in Media, the ancient capital of our forefathers… is called Aderkind [or] Azerkind by the Persians… Kind in the Persian name is the Gothic gard, Russian gorod, an enclosure.” (pp. 7-8) Thomson also adds, “The Massagetae were so named… from Saxon Maethas, the Medians.” (p.9) The Massagetae were one branch of the Getai or Goths, later known in Europe by other names such as Angles, Saxons, and Norse, and the name indicates their place of origin in Media. Historian Sharon Turner commented that the existence of hundreds of Medo-Persian words in the Saxon language was due to their former residence there. (History of the Anglo-Saxons)
The word, Norse, means “northern people,” because their final destination was Scandinavia in Northern Europe. As such, it is a later designation for these people. Sir Francis Palgrave comments that the original homeland of the Norse was in “Asgard, the chief city of the Ases, beyond the Tanais.” (Sir Francis Palgrave, Collected Historical Works, p.xvii) The Tanais was the ancient name of the River Don in southern Russia, located just north of the Caucasus Mountains. A straight line drawn from Scandinavia southeast beyond the Tanais and the Caucasus points directly to the homeland of the Norse in Mid-gard, the Mid-East. Rasmus Anderson, in “Teutonic Mythology,” says that according to the Vafthrudnersmal Edda, an early Norse forefather named, “Njord was… sent as a hostage of the gods to Asgard; he had to journey eastward.” (p.474) Underlying this ancient account seems to be a racial remembrance of their forefathers being taken captive into exile eastward into the Median area of Asgard. The Bible tells a similar story of God’s people, Israel, being captive exiles also sent eastward into Media; and like the Norse saga, it is God who claims responsibility. (Isa. 10:5-6) As we will see, the parallel Hebrew-Norse exile accounts in reality constitute the same event.
THE HEBREW CONNECTION
Links between Israel and the early Norse are pervasive. According to 2 Kings chapter 17, the Israelites were sent into captive exile by God to “the cities of the Medes;” Media, the Norse Midgard. Anderson tells us that in the Lokasenna Edda, the Norse god Loki says to Njord: “From here [Aegir’s Hall located on the sea] you were sent out east as a hostage to the gods.” Here we learn that Njord, as a representative of the Norse people themselves, had dwelled on the sea before his captive exile. The Israelites also dwelled on the sea, in Canaan, before being conquered and exiled. Anderson supposes that this sea “known by the Teutons was the North Sea.” However, it is not the North Sea, but the Mediterranean Sea from which an eastward journey would lead to both Midgard and Asgard in Media. The Bible’s account of Israel’s captivity and exile from Canaan to Media perfectly fits the underlying details given in the sagas.
Anderson also says that “Asgard [was located] not far from the native home of the Vans.” Who were they? The sagas simply refer to them as a race of gods. Historians know of no tribe in past ages called the “Vans,” but the name suggests a people who dwelled in the area of Lake Van in northern Medo-Persia, which indeed would have put them in proximity to the area of the exiled Israelites. They may actually have been another group of exiled Israelites themselves, because Halah, one of the places of exile (2Ki. 17:6) was located near Lake Van; and according to the sagas, the “Vans” later united with the people of Asgard.
The word, Asgard, itself means the “city of the people called ‘Ases’.” This word “Ases” or “Asen,” means the “god-men” or, more properly, “the people of God,” a distinctive term used by the Israelites. (Judg. 20:2; 2 Sam. 14:13) Asgard, the city of the people of God, was ruled by twelve diar or gods (Sir Francis Palgrave, p.xvii); a curious number if not a reference to Israel’s twelve dispersed tribes. Sir Francis Palgrave stated, “According to the Northmen, the institution of duodenary courts is coeval with their race.” (ibid., p.108) The word, duodenary, again refers to the number twelve. This is very significant, because Semitic peoples such as the Hebrews used a sexigesimal numbering system based on multiples of the number six.
The Hebrew connection with the Norse or Goths is shown by Boyd Dawkins, in “Early Man In Britain,” who states that “we can… trace their westward progress over Europe from their Eastern home, from the birthplace of the nations, Asgard… We can prove that they were composed of two distinct elements, the older or the non-Aryan Iberic, and the later or the Celtic…” (p.4) Since the name Iberic means a descendant of the Hebrew patriarch Eber, Dawkins provides a basis for the Hebrew-Semitic descent of a significant proportion of the peoples of western Europe. “The Story Of Celto-Saxon Israel” by W.H. Bennett (available from us) has an important chapter showing the Hebrew descent of the Iberic (or Iberian) peoples.
John Thomson adds, “The Celtic language, including the Hellenic and Latin dialects is supposed to have been general throughout Europe… and its affinity to the Arabic, Hebrew, and Phoenician, has been generally admitted… The [Celtic] Druids practiced their mysterious devotions in sacred groves, like the idolatrous Hebrews.”
This Celtic idolatry was itself an important mark of identification. Du Challu, in “The Viking Age” (ii:44) reveals that “Odin was originally a Jotun [ie., powerful man] and it would appear from the mythological literature of the North that, for some reason, he wished to found a new religion.” The House of Israel was banished from Canaan for this very reason: they had adopted pagan religious practices and were not obeying the commands of God. We read the prophet’s denunciation of these Hebrew and Druidic rites in 2 Kings 17:7-10. For a more complete survey of the connection between the religious rites of the Hebrews and Celts, see the article, “Celtic Mythology” on the CBIA website at www.israelite.ca.
Norse heroes provide additional evidence of a Hebrew identification. “Helgi, the holy one (German heilige), [was] the son of Halfdan, the half of father Dan, the judge.” (Ruling Races, p.96) The word, Dan, means judge in Hebrew, and Dan was the progenitor of one of Israel’s twelve tribes. Settlers from the tribe of Dan later gave their name to the nation of Denmark, or “Dan’s Mark,” as well as a number of rivers in Eastern Europe, such as the Don, Dniester, Dnieper, Danapris, Eridanus, and Danube.
We also find that giants play a significant part in the Norse sagas, which may be a remembrance of one of the best-known Bible stories: David’s victory over Goliath. Our English word, colossus, is derived from the word, Gollius, the Hebrew form of the name Goliath. The sagas even tell us that, “Asgard is a place where giants are refused admittance.” Did these mythological giants receive life and inspiration from an early Bible story that we still treasure today?
Ancient mythology is far more than just fictional storytelling. It is a cultural remembrance of the remote past as well as the travels and deeds of our ancestors. This study has only scratched the surface of a deeper analysis yet to be completed in book form.