Friday, 16 December 2011

Anglo Israelism

Summary:  Anglo-Israelism (also known as British Israelism) is basically a replacement theology which makes England into God’s chosen people, inheritors of the blessings promised to Israel.  Historians have traced this theory back to 1519, but it likely predates this.  Anglo-Israeli doctrine is openly followed in England by some churches as well as political groups and some promoters of the New World Order agenda.  Anglo–Israelism today claims to have three million followers in England, Canada and the British Commonwealth, and hopes for more!

The Jews are generally despised by Anglo-Israelis as evil people who forsook all their responsibilities and blessings as God’s chosen people.  Supposedly, by mixing with heathen people they became a false thirteenth tribe, opposed to true Israel.  It is further alleged that after the fall of Jerusalem (AD70) they mixed with the Khazar tribes of Turkey after the latter repented to Judaism.  

What are the basic beliefs of Anglo–Israeli doctrine?  
• Following the Assyrian Captivity the ‘ten lost tribes’ of Israel eventually migrated as Anglo Saxons to the British Isles.   Therefore Britain (and hence USA) are significantly populated by the ten lost tribes of Israel.  It is believed that the Jews living in Israel at the time of Christ were under a curse for having rejected Him, hence the lost tribes became the inheritors of the blessings promised by God to Israel.  The two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, are the major inheritors. 

• Ancient Judah and Israel are seen as two distinct groups.  The term ‘Jew’ in scripture is said to apply only to the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, not to the ten tribes of the House of Israel.  So the terms ‘Israelite’ and ‘Jew’ are specific and not interchangeable.

• That the "stone of Israel" of Gen. 49:24 was the pillow used by Jacob and carried by him into Israel. When Nebuchadnezzar invaded the land of Israel in 606 B.C. the daughter of Zedekiah (King of Judah) fled to Egypt with Jeremiah the prophet, taking the stone with her. From Egypt it was shipped by Jews to Ireland, then to Scotland and was subsequently used as the coronation chair in Westminster Abbey.  Although now back in Scotland, it will be made available for future English coronations.  It is said by some that Jesus will sit on this stone after his Second Coming.

• Biblical references to the stone or rock eg ‘the stone that the builders rejected’ are taken to refer not to Jesus Christ, but to this ‘Jacob’s stone’.

• The English throne is the ‘Throne of David’.

• Jesus Christ was not crucified, but married Mary Magdalene; they migrated to England and English royalty are their descendants. There are traditions that say that Jesus spent much time at Glastonbury, also the supposed site of the first English Church.

Some of these extreme beliefs are instantly recognisable as Merovingian beliefs, consistent with the teachings of the Da Vinci code. 

When has Anglo–Israelism been popular?
There is early church teaching which supports the theory that the British monarchy is related to the Tribe of Dan.  Anglo-Israelism links back with both Jewish and Christian Kabbalistic personalities of Elizabethan England, such as Sir Isaac Newton and John Milton.  During the days of the British Empire, Anglo-Israelism was very popular; it was believed that Britain was inheriting the blessings of God because they were Israel.  The British Empire was believed to be the Kingdom of God on earth.
Anglo-Israelism has in more modern times been popularised by Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God.  This fact should cause any discerning Bible believing Christian to question its’ legitimacy.  In 1995, after his death, his church publicly declared that they no longer believed or taught it.

However, it may come as a surprise to many that it was believed and hence influenced pulpit teachings of George Jeffreys, founder (1915) of the Elim Pentecostal Movement.  We must remember that Jeffreys, a ‘convert’ of the Welsh revival, was living in a time prior to the return of Jews to their Land, and restoration of the nation of Israel.  If Israel were not in existence on the map today, no doubt we too would have a very different interpretation of prophetic scripture and current world events.  Very few Believers prior to the 20th Century took the view of the restoration of Israel literally.  Jeffreys wrote a tract entitled ‘Three Schools of Thought’ (available on the web) which outlined the 3 alternative views of ‘Israel’:

• the Jews are all Israel
• the Church inherited the promises made to Israel, so is in reality spiritual Israel (traditional Replacement Theology)
• The Anglo-Saxons are Israel

Jeffreys made it very clear that he believed the third interpretation, and he taught this throughout his ministry; furthermore it was taught in the Elim Movements’ Bible schools.
In no way has this stream of teaching gone underground.  Although some of its’ beliefs will be readily ridiculed, far more subtle teachings of Anglo Israelism are being actively promoted in the 21st century.

The British Israel World Federation in London declares on its’ web site (www.britishisrael.co.uk) “Without doubt British peoples are descended from the House of Israel and bear the marks of God’s Chosen People as defined in the Bible, and the Federation contends that the contrary view cannot be sustained.”  Although their statements of faith and many aims are truly Biblical and not to be criticised, they promote Anglo-Israeli doctrine in a way that is not simply Replacement theology, but  appears to be a type of Dominion Theology in a traditional Reformed Protestant context.  The following excerpt shows how they use scripture and experience to back up their claim: 

Their name shall be great – "Great Britain" – and they shall be missionaries throughout the world. "And I will make thee a great nation, I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."(Gen. 12:2-3)

What does Anglo–Israelism hope to achieve?
From today’s viewpoint in history: to defeat the Antichrist system of the EU and Popery and with their own Antichrist restore the British Empire as the Kingdom of God on earth.

Obviously we must remember there are always followers of a doctrine who do not fully understand its’ implications, and are simply deceived.  May they come into a revelation of Truth.
How do Anglo-Israelis interpret the Abrahamic Covenant?

Adherents state their foundational scripture as Genesis 49 when Jacob divided the birthright.  Judah was the only tribe to be called Jews, and they had the right to rule and make laws.  Joseph and his descendants received all the other blessings, including all the prophecies and promises made to Abraham. 

The Bible states that the blessings of God are received in faith and are not just determined by descent. 
Some within the Anglo–Israeli movement believe that Abraham will be resurrected to rule with Christ from Jerusalem.  As the Father of many nations, this means that not only will the Jews rule with him, but Christians and Muslims too.  This would certainly be a One World Religion!

Where do they find Britain in the Scriptures?
It has been suggested that the Book of Hosea is in fact all about Britain.  Jeremiah 31 is said to be about the Lost Tribes, with the ‘isles afar off’ being the British Isles.  There are also suggestions that ‘Tarshish’ is in fact Britain.  There isn’t anything in the scriptures that could imply that Great Britain is one of the lost tribes of Israel.  However, we can not discount historic trade links between Biblical lands and Great Britain. 

In Genesis 32:28   Jacob is renamed ‘Israel’, so all those that came from Jacob are henceforward called Israel.  In Romans 11:1 Paul states  “I am an Israelite, a descendent of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin”.  Verse 25 speaks of a partial hardening coming upon Israel until the fullness of the gentiles has come in (v 26).  The gentile believers are being grafted into the spiritual olive tree to be with the natural branches. It is therefore clear that there are two classifications of believers, those who are the natural descendants of Israel and the gentile believers who are grafted in.   This is confirmed by Ephesians 2:15 “He made the two groups into one new man”.

We recommend www.bibleguidance.co.za for an excellent article with much more depth on this topic of Anglo–Israelism.  (Go to English - Articles - Spiritual Decline & False Teachings -British Israelism) by Prof. Johan Malan, University of the North, South Africa.