Objections to the Kingdom Israel Thesis Considered
By Reed Benson
Scripture and history offer, in this writer’s humble opinion, abundant, indeed, virtually overwhelming evidence that the Caucasian race is the literal, physical offspring of the ancient Hebrews. Arguments abound in favor of the idea that the northern ten tribes of Israel migrated into Western Europe hundreds of years prior to the time of Christ, following their deportation from their Palestine homeland by the Assyrian Empire. Despite the copious evidence, however, many are reluctant to embrace the idea.
The most common negative reaction is not factually based from Scripture or history, but is purely an emotional, visceral attack. Usually the terms racist, bigot, or hate-monger are quickly launched without any actual substantive argument to back up such charges. It is presumed that this will immediately shut down further debate, and it sometimes does so. But if it does end the discussion, it does not do so by disproving the thesis on any intellectual basis, but merely by intimidating the proponent of the Kingdom Israel thesis into silence. Such intimidation and name-calling is unjust, ignorant, and low-class.
Fortunately in the long run, it is also ineffective, for truth has a way of continually resurfacing. The purpose of this article is not to respond to those who use shallow, name-calling tactics. They are more prejudiced against open discussion than those whom they accuse. The goal here is to consider the arguments of those who raise honest, honorable objections.
The most common honest objections can be generally grouped into five categories. Each of these we shall consider in their turn.
Objection #1: Scripture Versus History
Objection Stated: Scripture trumps history because historically based arguments can be manipulated. Thus, historically based arguments are irrelevant and should not be considered.
Answer: Indeed, Scripture does trump history, for as Christians we accept by faith that the Bible is without error. That being said, however, Scripture has to be interpreted correctly, and it is quite plain that there are many, many different interpretations of the Bible on many, many different topics—resulting in massive confusion and disarray in the Christian world. One does not have to search very hard to find multiple examples of Scripture being manipulated and twisted by those who do so either through stupid ignorance, their own intellectual blindness, or blatant deception for selfish reasons.
Certainly, history has potential for manipulation since facts have to be collected by archaeologists, linguists, and scholars and then collated by competent historians into a readable record. However, to simply brush history off in a casual manner is intellectually irresponsible. There is far more controversy in biblical interpretation than there is in history. That is to say, the level of confusion and debate over interpreting the Bible correctly is far greater than the effort to correctly identify the facts of history. With the exception of politically charged topics in the last century, historians have done a better job in their craft than theologians have done in theirs.
This is not to suggest that we use only history and then force-fit Scripture as a last minute thought. No, we must keep the Bible pre-eminent in our minds, and let history act as a check to see if our interpretation of Scripture is consistent with the real world. Ideally, Scriptural interpretation and historic facts should correlate one with the other. The Kingdom Israel thesis meets this test admirably. It is biblically sound and smoothly fits with known facts of ancient history. To suggest that history should be bypassed altogether as a vehicle to discover truth is an unintelligent, even stupid proposal.
Objection #2: The Great Commission
Objection Stated: Since Jesus plainly stated that is followers were to go preach the gospel in all nations, all races and peoples are the same in God’s eyes, and it is irrelevant who the descendants of Israel might be today.
Answer: The reason that Jesus commanded His followers to "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations" (Matthew 28:19) and "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15) is because ancient Israel was to be scattered among all nations. Since we are not going to take the gospel to every dog and cat, we cannot sensibly interpret "every creature" in its most literal sense. So, in what sense do we take these two verses, known affectionately as the great commission?
Let us consider the context of Old Testament prophecy and fact. A repeated warning to the ancient Israelites was that God would scatter them among other nations and destroy their national identity if they continued to worship other gods. This is what was prophesied and indeed occurred: "I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee" (Ezekiel 22:15). "Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and doings . . . wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it: and I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them" (Ezekiel 36:17-19). That was the bad news. The good news is that God also used the prophets to hold out a future hope and expectation that someday God would regather some of the scattered Israelites from the lands of their dispersion back into the land of Israel: "And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds, and they shall be fruitful and increase" (Jeremiah 23:3). "For lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth . . . And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God" (Amos 9:9, 4-15).
By the time of Jesus’ ministry in the land of Galilee and Judea, the prophecies of Israel’s scattering had been fulfilled hundreds of years before. However, the regathering had not. The Great Commission was the necessary planting of the Gospel seed among all of the Israelites in the many countries where they were sent and scattered. A remnant would respond to that Gospel seed and would be the subjects of God’s regathering at a future point in time. That regathering has not yet occurred. (Why the regathering is still unfulfilled prophecy will be answered shortly.)
Earlier in His ministry, Jesus had plainly stated that His entire effort was focused only upon one targeted group: Israelites. "But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 15:24). This is confirmed quite plainly in Hebrews when we discover that it is only to the twelve tribes of Israel that God is going to make the New Covenant: ". . . Behold the days come, saith the LORD when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the LORD; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people" (Hebrews 8:8-10). The great commission cannot be interpreted to mean opening the covenant to non-Israelites because that would be contradictory to this very specific, plain passage. Hebrews 8:8-10 plainly states that the New Covenant is with the two Houses of Israel alone—no one else!
What the great commission does mean is that if His disciples were going to spread the Gospel to all the Israelites, they would have to go where the Israelites had gone. Since God had sent the Israelites into many nations all over the world, that is where Jesus’ disciples would have to go to fulfill Jesus’ directive. Going to "all nations" and "preaching the gospel to every creature" as Scripture states does not mean that every creature in every nation is the target any more than dogs and cats in every nation are the target. (After all, they are creatures.) The Great Commission is simply stating that to be sure that every one of God’s elect Israelites has the opportunity to hear the gospel, a very thorough blanket approach is necessary. Like shooting a shotgun cartridge that has hundreds of pellets with the desire that a few pellets hit the intended target, so is the Great Commission. The Gospel seed is spread far and wide to cover everyone, everywhere to ensure that Israelites are not overlooked during the planting season.
Who the Israelites are today is thus highly relevant.
The fact that the Great Commission does not target every person on the planet does not mean that God has no plan or destiny for all of His creatures. God certainly loves all people whom He created and certainly is not unjust. We need not worry that God will condemn other peoples to hell unjustly. Why God selected Israel in the Old Testament is not for us to deduce. But we know that is the case. Why He continued with the same people in the New Covenant is again not for us to understand—but that is the case. The plain facts of Scripture are that God has a special relationship with Israel. What He will do with other peoples on the planet He has not revealed in Scripture, but we can surely be confident that He will not treat them with cruelty or injustice.
Objection #3: Spiritual Israel
Objection Stated: Since the New Covenant is made with Spiritual Israel and people of all races are eligible to become members of the New Covenant, it is irrelevant who the descendants of Israel might be today.
Answer: It is a vital principle of biblical hermeneutics that one allows the clear and unambiguous verses on a given topic help interpret those that are less clear and possibly open to multiple interpretations. To those who do not know the Bible well, it man seem that the Great Commission verses are simple enough and easily understood to mean all races and peoples everywhere on the planet. But to the well-grounded Bible student, it is obvious that such an interpretation cannot be.
Hebrews 8:8-10, as quoted above, is the most specific and clear passage in the Bible regarding the New Covenant. It tells us bluntly that the parties to the New Covenant are with genetic Israel. Although the terms and nature of the covenant are different, the parties involved are not: they clearly are Jehovah and the twelve tribes of Israel. This is unmistakable in verse 9: "Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers ..." Note this is the same family tree. Different terms, yes, but different people? No.
Did you know that the term "spiritual Israel" or "spiritual Israelite" does not even appear in the Bible? This is a relatively new idea and is not found in Scripture. It is a concept that poor Bible teachers have wrongly wrangled out of passages taken from Saint Paul’s writings. For example, many assume that Paul teaches this notion based on the "adoption" of non-Israelites into the New Covenant, thus making them "spiritual Israelites." Proponents of such a theory offer Ephesians 1:5 as evidence: "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." But notice this passage does not identify the subjects of this adoption. Does Paul ever state whom the adoption is for? Fortunately, he does in Romans 9:3-4: "For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsman according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises." There you have it in plain words: the adoption pertains to Israelites.
But, one might argue, since a natural born genetic Israelite was already part of the covenants of the Old Testament, why would he need to be adopted? The answer is actually found in the prophets, who tell us that God became so frustrated with His people Israel that He divorced the northern kingdom, the ten tribes that drifted deep into apostasy. Jehovah broke the covenant with them. They were physically cast away into foreign lands, as discussed earlier, but more importantly, they were covenantally cast away. Consider Isaiah 50:1, which reads: "Thus saith the LORD, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? Or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is you mother put away." A second witness to this important decision by Jehovah is found in Jeremiah 3:8: "And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also." (See also Isaiah 54:5-6 and Hosea 1:9.)
It was the divorced Israelites who had been cast out into the nations that were, in the New Testament, given the opportunity to be adopted back in under the new terms of the New Covenant. This is the "grafting" of the "wild olive" into the "natural branches" in Romans 11:16-24. The natural olive was the two-tribed nation of Judah, of whom Paul was a part. Although God had been quite displeased with them at times, they had never been divorced. The wild olives were the ten-tribes that had been divorced some seven centuries previously and who had migrated into Europe, multiplied, and fragmented into a number of peoples now going by different names and speaking different languages. These Greeks, Romans, Britons, Gauls, Scythians, and so forth were eligible to be adopted or grafted back into covenant relationship with God. They did not become "spiritual Israelites." They had been real Israelites all along, but were lost in idolatry, identity, and indifference to the things of God.
Understanding that the Greeks were Israelites also helps us properly understand what Paul meant in Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." The tension that existed between the Jews (that is, the un-divorced nation of Judah, with the divorced Israelites sent into dispersion, of whom the dominant Greek peoples were the larger part) was to be ended. Not only was God going to work among Judah, but also among divorced Israel. This is what Paul’s ministry was about.
Since the New Covenant is only for Israelites, as are the adoption and the grafting in, it is thus highly relevant who Israel is today.
Objection #4: The Regathering of Israel
Objection Stated: The prophesied regathering of all twelve tribes occurred long ago in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah; thus, the Caucasian nations of Europe which developed subsequent to that regathering cannot be of Israelitish descent.
Answer: This is the argument made by Dr. David Baron, an Englishman, in an attempt to discredit the Anglo-Israel movement in Great Britain. It was published and made popular by Walter Martin in his well-known book Kingdom of the Cults, first published in 1965 with several subsequent printings. This was Martin’s rebuttal to Herbert W. Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God, which believed that English-speaking Caucasians of Britain and the United States were genetic descendants of the ancient Israelites.
It is surprising that Martin, often well informed, embraced such a shallow argument in his effort to discredit the Kingdom Israel thesis. First, it is relatively easy to show that the re-gathering, which is profiled so highly in the Old Testament Prophets, could not possibly have been fulfilled under Ezra and Nehemiah. Second, even if it were the re-gathering as they envision it, it does not necessarily eliminate the possibility that other Israelites could be the progenitors of Caucasian Europeans.
Let us begin with the second thought. Assuming that all twelve tribes returned in 526 B.C., why is there clear evidence that large numbers of the northern ten tribes were elsewhere later? Baron himself admits this, stating, "There is not the least possibility of doubt that many of the settlements of the diaspora in the time of our Lord, north, south, west, as well as east of Palestine, were made up of those who never returned to the land of their fathers since the time of the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles, and were not only descendants of Judah, as Anglo-Israelism ignorantly presupposes, but of all of the twelve tribes scattered abroad (James 1:1)" (Kingdom of the Cults, p. 312). I could not agree more. Josephus, the acclaimed Jewish (true Hebrew) historian who lived in A.D. 70, wrote of the return of the exiles from Babylon and had this to say: "And when these Jews had understood what piety the king had towards God, and what kindness he had toward Ezra, they were all greatly pleased; further, many of them took their effects with them, and came to Babylon, as very desirous of going down to Jerusalem; but then the entire body of the people of Israel remained in that country; so that there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond the Euphrates until now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers" (Jewish Antiquities, Book 2:5:2:132-133).
Looking at the Bible, we get the clear sense that it was primarily, if not exclusively, members of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin that returned to Jerusalem in 526 B.C. Ezra 1:5 reads: "Then rose up chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem." After their return, we discover that enemies rose up against them: "Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple . . ." (Ezra 4:1). Notice that it was against the tribes of Judah and Benjamin that enemies of God rose up.
The insistence of Baron and Martin that substantial quantities of all twelve tribes returned is thus unlikely. They cite the fact that Anna was of the tribe of Asher some five hundred years later in the days of Jesus (Luke 2:36). Perhaps there were some of other tribes that returned with Judah and Benjamin, but nowhere in Scripture is it so stated. It is more likely that Anna was a descendant of the poor remnant of the land that was never taken away to Assyria or Babylon. That a few did remain is recorded in 2 Kings 24:14: "And he [Nebuchadnezzar] carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land."
It is thus clear from Scripture and history that the great bulk of the ten tribes did not return in 526 B.C. and remained dispersed among the nations of the then known world. What happened to them? Baron and Martin have no answer. But the Kingdom Israel thesis does.
Now to the first part of their theory, namely, that the return in Ezra’s time was the regathering spoken of by the Prophets. Even if all twelve tribes were present with Ezra and Nehemiah, which has been shown to be implausible, it still could not be the fulfillment of prophecy. Baron cites Ezekiel chapter 37 as the prophetic text of choice. That is fine, but apparently Baron did not read this chapter very thoroughly.
In verse 24 we find that David was to be their king: "And David my servant shall be king over them . . . " That never occurred, even if we assume this is meant to mean one of David’s descendants would rule. For several hundred years after Ezra’s return, the little nation of Judah never had a king. When they finally did establish the Maccabean (Hasmonean) dynasty, it was not of David’s house. David’s house was languishing in obscurity but was finally used when Jehovah plucked up Joseph the carpenter to be the father of Jesus (see Matthew 1).
A second problem for Baron emerges in Ezekiel 37, his prophetic chapter of choice, when the reader reaches verse 25: "And they shall dwell in the land that I have given Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt: and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever . . ." This description of permanent residency did not occur. There was a substantial diaspora of the nation of Judah in 70 A.D. when the Romans obliterated Jerusalem and most of its people. Those whom the Romans missed were eliminated in the Muslim invasion in the seventh century. Without a doubt, Ezekiel 37:25 has not been fulfilled.
Yet a third problem for Baron is found in Ezekiel 37:26, where it states, " . . . and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore." The sanctuary built in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah lasted only until 70 A.D. Since its complete destruction by the Romans, there has been no national sanctuary in Jerusalem to this very day.
It is obvious to any impartial observer that the return of the exiles in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah was not the great regathering spoken of by the Prophets. That event is still unfulfilled prophecy. The vast bulk of true, genetic Israelites remain scattered in the many nations of their dispersion, awaiting the return of Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God to stimulate that long anticipated action.
Objection #5: Modern Jews
Objection Stated: It is a commonly accepted historical fact that the people called Jews today are the only legitimate descendants of ancient Israel. Their return to Palestine in 1948 represents the prophetic regathering of Israel. Thus, any Caucasians claiming to be Israelites must be mistaken.
Answer: There are two branches of Jewry: the Ashkenazi and the Sephardic Jew. The Sephardic Jew traces his ancestry back through Spain and before that to Palestine. There is some evidence that the Sephardic Jew may indeed be at least part Israelitish in his genetics. However, the Ashkanazi are by far the larger part. In excess of 90% of the world’s Jews are Ashkenazi, and they have no genetic link whatsoever to the Israelites of old. Since the vast bulk of modern Jews are Ashkenazi, it is fair and just to generalize that modern Jews, with few exceptions, are not true Israel, but make that claim through either ignorance or fraud.
This is not a new circumstance. Indeed, the Revelation letter informs us that there have been and will be impostors claiming to be Jews: " . . . I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan" (Revelation 2:9). Again, one chapter later, we read, "Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee" (Revelation 3:9). Not once, but twice, we are informed that there exist people who falsely claim to be Jews, that is, of Israelitish descent. Is it possible that the modern Jews of today could be these impostors? Absolutely. Please read carefully the following quotations made by respected scholars, all of whom are Jewish, except the last two. They will tell you themselves that they are not Israelites.
"Strictly speaking, it is incorrect to call an ancient Israelite a ‘Jew’ or to call a contemporary Jew an ‘Israelite’ or a ‘Hebrew’" (Jewish Almanac, p. 1, 1980).
"Political Zionism is almost exclusively a movement by the Jews of Europe. But these Eastern European Jews have neither a racial nor a historic connection with Palestine. Their ancestors were not inhabitants of the ‘Promised Land.’ They are the direct descendants of the Khazar Kingdom which existed until the 12th century" (Dr. Benjamin H. Freedman, National Economic Council Inc., Council Letter #177, October 15, 1947).
"Many [Jews] of whom have clamored to go back [to Palestine] never had antecedents in that part of the world . . . The overwhelming majority of Jews are descendants from the converts of Khazaria and elsewhere who adopted Judaism . . .This view of the non-ethnicity of the largest portion of Jewry is sustained by such prominent anthropologists as Ripley, Weissenberg, Hertz, Boas, Pittard, Fishberg, Mead, and others" (Dr. Alfred M. Lilienthal, Middle East Terror—The Double Standard Address, 30th Anniversary Fund, Phi Beta Kappa, 1985, p. 5).
"Genetically they [Jews] are more closely related to the Hun, Uigar, and Magyar tribes than to the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Should this turn out to be the case, then the term ‘anti-Semitism’ would become void of meaning" (Authur Koestler, The Thirteenth Tribe, New York, Random House, 1976, p. 17).
"The American people have been led to believe that Jews are ‘God’s Chosen People.’ This myth was started by a small group of Jews . . . Leading the cry ‘We are God’s Chosen People’ are the Zionist/Marxist Jews who for political purposes chose Judaism and who don’t have a drop of biblical Jewish blood in them" (Jack Berstein, as told by Len Martin in The Life of an American Jew in Racist Marxist Israel, Costa mesa, CA, Noontide Press, 1984, p. 6).
"The main part of Jewry never was in Judea, and had never come out of Judea" (H. G. Wells, The Outline of History, New York, MacMillian Publishing, 1923, p. 494).
And finally, a quote from Henry Ford Sr., perhaps the greatest industrialist in world history. Despite the fact that the media in recent decades has tried endlessly to malign his character, much of what he stated in on this topic remains without successful rebuttal. "The Jews are not the chosen people, though practically the entire church has succumbed to the propaganda which declares them to be so" (The International Jew, 1921, chap. 2).
So it is clear that despite the popular assumption that modern Jews are the direct genetic descendants of ancient Israelites, careful research reveals that this is simply not true. Now, if modern Jewry is not of Israelite origin, where are the descendants of the Israelites today? Unprejudiced study of the Bible and history prove that the Caucasian race of Western Europe is true Israel.
Are You Courageous or Fainthearted?
I have attempted to prove to those who are open-minded enough to consider the facts of Scripture and history that the great bulk of the genetic descendants of ancient Israel are comprised today of the Caucasians in Europe, the United States, etc. Previous articles have argued this point, I hope, persuasively. It has now been demonstrated here that this topic is relevant for the following reasons: first, modern Jewry is not really of Israelitish origin. Second, the regathering prophesied of old has not occurred, neither in Ezra’s time nor in 1948. Third, the promises of the New Covenant have not been transferred to other people by grafting them in or adopting them to make them "spiritual Israel." Fourth, Jesus never sent His disciples in the great commission to evangelize every person everywhere, but rather sent them to "go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 24:15), who were dispersed into all nations of the world. Finally, trying to sidestep this issue by ridiculously objecting to the facts of history is intellectually shallow and unworthy of serious consideration.
The simple fact is this: Caucasians are Israel. This matters in both the spiritual realm and our tangible world. Are you courageous enough to act upon this information in any meaningful way, or will you brush it off like the fainthearted and politically correct?