The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.
~ Wayne Dyer
It seems that the critics British Israelism or Anglo Israelism are the ones that try the hardest to remain willfully ignorant. Whether or not you believe the theory, there are some facts that the Bible makes plain. Denying those plain facts really do nothing to enhance your understanding or reputation. The extent to which some few will go to try to refute the theory of British Israelism shows not only that they do not want to know but that they do not even care to understand what they are refuting.
What makes it more amazing is who pointed the article out for a refutation of the theory. You know, “J” of Shadows of WCG Next Generation seems like a pretty intelligent person. For whatever disagreements we might have, he or she seems like someone who can coherently talk about things and reason things out. Why “J” would point out this particular article out of all that attempt to refute British Israelism (BI) frankly is beyond me. I really would have expected a higher caliber argument, to be honest.
Basically, it isn’t really even a logical refutation as much as it is a list of “major doctrinal issues” in a sort of blender approach to the theory. How these items got to be “major” is sort of beyond me. I thought “major” meant things like Christ died for our sins, we must accept His sacrifice, we must repent … you know, the things that most say are the major things.
One “major” item is that the “entire concept of British-Israelism is truly anti-Biblical.” If I understand the author, Gary A Hand, support for BI is found by taking verses out of context. However, not one instance is shown as an example. Therefore, I am forced to view this as so much hand-waving.
A lot of the other tired arguments are based upon linguistic differences. It boils down to Hebrew isn’t English, and therefore BI is false. Never mind that transliteration and word borrowing has been going on for millennia. After all, no culture would actually borrow words from another, would they? Again, how is any of this a “major doctrinal issue”?
However, these same arguments have been made by other BI critics who have expressed themselves much better. None of that is really new. And, let’s just state the obvious here. If God had to keep all those promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and King David, then we would be left with a sovereign and supreme God Who also would not change His mind about His Laws and decrees. We can’t have that now, can we? That would mean giving up something and sacrificing some time, energy and money. That would mean we couldn’t place God into a box of our own design, and He might actually interfere with the way we want to live.
Yet, Hand goes beyond the pale and well beyond the usual stick-your-head-in-the-sand routine when he states:
The most damaging evidence against the teaching, is found in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. Apparently He believed that he had come to the real Jewish people and claimed to be their Messiah and king. Is Jesus Christ presumed to be deluded or a liar? British Israelites create their own god and their own way of salvation and have deluded themselves into thinking they are safe from the judgment of the real God against their false system of belief.
OK, so let me get this straight: BI acknowledges that Jesus was a Jew, born of Jews in the land of Judea, where the Jews lived, but it also states that He didn’t really go to the Jewish people? Where does he get this nonsense?
The theory is called “British Israelism” for a reason. It is not called “British Judaism”. The British are primarily descended from the lost ten tribes of Israel. Some of the Jews returned back to Palestine after their captivity in Babylon. It was predominantly the Jews who lived in Judea during the time that Christ walked the earth.
The entire concept of BI rests upon the split of the Empire of Israel after King Solomon’s death into two distinct houses. In an nutshell, the northern kingdom, the House of Israel, went into idolatry very early on. As the idolatry increased in the northern kingdom, they were taken captive and never returned. The southern kingdom, the House of Judah, was taken captive but were allowed to return after 70 years. They were a remnant of the House of Judah and therefore were called Jews. The northern kingdom was not associated with the lineage of Judah and therefore were never called Jews in the Bible. This part is fact, whether you want to believe it or not.
Jesus Himself said He had other sheep. The disciples were sent away from Judea out to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. Jesus said not all of “the cities of Israel” will be gone over before His return. Judea was just a small little area in the gigantic Roman Empire, so obviously He wasn’t referring to Judea. He was referring to all the Israelites scattered throughout the globe.
So, who is denying the words of Christ? Who is denying the person of Christ? Would it not the ones who ignore that He was sent first offer salvation to all of Israel and then to the Gentiles?
God called and chose a special people who were descended from Abraham. Why were they special? Because God chose them. Pure and simple. They had no choice who to be born to. They did nothing special to merit God’s favor. If anything, they were given a huge responsibility and time and time again blew it and ended up being punished as a result.
One real reason it is important for the descendants to know who they are is so they understand why things are the way they are today, why the world is polarized along the lines it is today and to realize that it is only by the grace of God that the descendants of Jacob were given great blessings. The temptation is to instead believe that it was our goodness and our doing that brought all these great blessings upon us, but that just isn’t so! Instead, we need to acknowledge it was God Who provided these things and serve as a warning that if we continue on the path we are on, we will be destroyed just like our ancestors were because of our idolatry, covetousness and greed that is growing upon our society like a spiritual cancer.
The reason it is important for the whole world to know this is because they need to know and understand that God keeps His promises. God is faithful and true and will carry through on His word even when the recipients are not deserving of His magnificent blessings.
Now, if you don’t want to believe in BI, if you don’t want to believe that God keeps His promises, if you don’t want to believe that God can keep track of the descendants of Israel let alone account for the hairs on everyone’s head, and if you don’t want to believe the words of Christ, then by all means take it up with Him. However, if you are going to try to refute the theory, then first learn what it is that you are refuting!
Great post. I've seen so many people who claim that BI is a stumbling block that keeps them from believing any of the doctrines of the church of God, claiming that either it's historically incorrect, racist, or unprovable. You touched on an especially good point in that BI demonstrates that God keeps His promises, and this is in fact the same argument that I use when talking to people who don't believe in BI for whatever reason: regardless of whether or not BI is the exact way that prophecy has unfolded over history, the fact remains that God made certain promises to Ephraim and Manasseh that MUST be fulfilled, because He is God. Even for people who can't swallow the evidence for BI, they should be willing to admit that God fulfills prophecy as He has stated it, and whether we have correctly interpreted history is ultimately irrelevant.
Also, you're spot on with the main point of the article:
"It seems that the critics British Israelism or Anglo Israelism are the ones that try the hardest to remain willfully ignorant"
I have found this to be true in many cases.
I know others have made this a big church issue over the years — but it's never really been a biggie for me.
After all, Jesus came preaching the gospel — and I don't see anything in the New Testament about the identity of tribes being part of that gospel.
I also seriously doubt Jesus's final hearing at the throne of judgment will include a "pop quiz" asking where Issachar and Naphtali wound up.
@Richard: True, and I have acknowledged in the past and will continue to acknowledge that BI is not a salvation issue. However, that cuts both ways. Saying that proponents of BI "create their own god and their own way of salvation" are trying to make it a salvation issue.
Regardless, it is an important issue, and I hope it is clear why.
Like anything else, though, trying to refute something without understanding it only spreads ignorance. People at least need to be aware what the doctrines are, even if they disagree with them. Who knows but that it might lead to repentance in this life?
I'd say that BI is extremely important, although I wouldn't call it a salvation issue, whatever that means.
If you take it out of the equation it would certainly make a mess out of many prophetic understandings.
Certainly Christ did not preach the gosepl of BI however even he differentiated between Jew and Gentile. Additionally James wrote "to the 12 tribes scattered among the nations."
One of the reasons this doctrine is important is because, as part of fulfilled prophecy, it helps to prove God's inspiration of the Bible, upon which every other doctrine depends.