THE ANGLO-ISRAELITISH QUESTION.
To the Editor of THE BANNER OF ISRAEL--
DEAR SIR:--The articles by Mr. J. G. Taylor reviewing Millennial Dawn, Vol. III., and especially its reference to the Anglo-Israel Question in connection with the return of the Jews to Palestine, have only now come to my attention; and as they seem to inquire for a reply I hasten to answer them briefly.
Passing by Mr. Taylor's sarcastic flings and nudges, we would advise him and all of your readers that, by the grace of God, we have gotten past the point of boasting of being a "loyal Pennsylvanian," or of having any pride of ancestry according to the flesh, and have reached the position advised by our Lord and by the great Apostle, where we recognize that he is not a real Jew who is merely such outwardly and of fleshly descent, but that only such as are of the faith and covenant of Abraham are the children meant in God's promise-- Israelites indeed in whom is no guile.
The point of discussion turns upon the question whether after the separation of the ten tribes from the two tribes of Israel, in the days Rehoboam, they ever again became united, either actually or reckonedly. Mr. T. claims that there was no reunion and that the name, Israel, from that date forward belonged exclusively to the ten tribes and not to the two tribes, the Jews. This seems necessary to his theory; for he holds that the Anglo-Saxon people are those ten tribes, and that their prosperity is due to [R1340 : page 164] this fact. We hold that from the period of the seventy years desolation, and especially from the return from Babylonian captivity, the nation of Israel has been recognized by God as one, including all of every tribe who respected God's promises and went back to Palestine when Cyrus issued his decree of permission. We hold that all who did not return were not of the commonwealth of Israel, not Israelites indeed, but reckoned thenceforth as Gentiles. We affirm, too, that those "lost" ones who were not Israelites indeed will require recognition and blessing under the new covenant during the coming Millennial age, and not during the Gospel age. Upon some points there seems to be a slight misunderstanding of our position. We do not deny that the ten tribes separated from the two tribes, or that the ten, representing the majority, retained as such the original name of all--Israel, or that the two tribes became known as Judah, or that there was considerable cause for the separation, or that it was in accord with God's plan for their chastisement, or that the ten tribes went into captivity some seventy years before the two tribes, or that God possibly has some portion of blessing for the descendants of the ten tribes, as well as for those of the two tribes and for all the families of the earth, during the "times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began."--Acts 3:19-21.
What we do claim is, that the Great Teacher was right when he declared that "Salvation is of the Jews," and that the great Apostle was right when he declared that God's order is-- "Glory, honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile; for there is no respect of persons with God." (Rom. 2:10.) Our understanding of this is, that after the Babylonish captivity the name Jew became synonymous with Israelite, and included all who held to the Law and hoped for the fulfilment of the Abrahamic promises --including some from the ten tribes as well [R1341 : page 164] as proselytes from the Gentiles--all who were circumcised. Moreover, even at the time of the revolt of the ten tribes all the individual members of those tribes did not join in it. Some continued faithful to the Kingdom of Judah and continued to live among the Jews.-- 1 Kings 12:17.
We have found, and have pointed out the fact, that our Lord and the Apostles addressed the "twelve tribes" under one name--"the House of Israel"--and this, too, in speaking directly to the people living in Jerusalem, who, all admit, were chiefly of the tribe of Judah, but partially of all the twelve tribes. The fact that the Lord and the Apostles thus addressed the twelve tribes as one nation, and applied prophecies to them as such, seems to us quite sufficient reason for doing the same.
To quote the texts of Scripture bearing on the different phases of the subject would require a great deal of time and space. Whoever will take a copy of Young's Concordance and turn to page 528, and note the various instances in which the word Israel is used in the New Testament, will have what seems to be overwhelming evidence that the House of Israel was no longer regarded by our Lord and the Apostles as the "ten tribes" merely, but, as it is expressed, "All Israel." Note especially the following texts: Matt. 8:10; 10:16; 15:24,31; 27:9,42; Mark 12:39; 15:32; Luke 1:54,68; and especially verse 80; also 2:25,32,34; 24:21; also note carefully John 1:31,49; 3:10; 12:13; also Acts 2:22,36; 3:12; 4:10,27; 5:21,30,31,35; 18:16,24; 21:28; Rom. 9:6,31; 10:19; 11:25,26; 1 Cor. 10:18; Gal. 6:16; Eph. 2:12; Phil. 3:5; Heb. 8:8.
"Salvation is of the Jews" or covenant-keeping Israelites in the sense that (1) our Lord Jesus, the Savior, came in this line, and in that (2) a remnant of these Jews (the Apostles, the early Church, etc.), called a remnant of Israel (Rom. 9:27; 11:1,5,7), became ministers of reconciliation to bear the message to the Gentiles, and in that (3) the Lord's provision is that, in the restitution work of the future, fleshly Israel, recovered from blindness, shall be used as a medium through whom the streams of salvation, issuing from the glorified, spiritual Israel, shall flow to all the families of the earth; as it is written, "The law shall go forth from Mount Zion [the Gospel Church, or spiritual Israel glorified] and the word of the Lord from [R1341 : page 165] Jerusalem [the re-established fleshly Israel.]"-- Isa. 2:3.
But in any case the ten tribes are left out of this and all such promises; for neither Zion nor Jerusalem [neither the typical nor the real] belonged to them. To have a share at all in the covenant made with Abraham, either they must be united to the spiritual Israel, of which the Lion of the tribe of Judah is the head, or they must become associated with the literal Judah at Jerusalem, in order to share his portion in the coming times of restitution; for "the Lord shall save the tents of Judah first."--Zech. 12:7.
The arguments of Mr. Taylor, aside from his sarcasm, seem to be summed up in the following extracts, which we quote from your journal. He says:--
"As to the non-return of Israel, a comparison of Jer. 29:1,4,10 with Ezra 1:1shows that the edict of Cyrus was in fulfilment of a prophecy which referred exclusively to the Jews, and from Ezek. 4:3-8it is patent that Israel's term of captivity had to extend far beyond Judah's. There is no proof whatever that the Ten Tribes were embraced in the offer of Cyrus."
We must take exceptions to such statements and ask Mr. T. and your other readers to examine more carefully the very texts cited. Jeremiah (29:1-10) does not advise the people to settle down contentedly, never expecting to return to Jerusalem, but that they should make themselves comfortably at home in the land of Babylon, because there would be no deliverance for seventy years--a much longer period of captivity than they had ever before experienced.
Ezra 1:1does not limit to the members of Judah and Benjamin the privilege or liberty to return. On the contrary, verse 3declares that Cyrus extended the offer to "Whoever among you that is of all his people;" verse 4repeats the "whosoever" and makes the invitation worldwide, as was Cyrus' dominion, by the words "in every place;" and verse 5declares that not only the chiefs of Judah and Benjamin responded, but also "the priests and the Levites, with all those whose spirit God had awakened" --i.e., all whose hearts, like Simeon's, were "waiting for the consolation of Israel." Among such were some from the ten tribes, even though they were fewer. For instance, among those who with Simeon waited in the Temple for the consolation of Israel was Anna the prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.--Luke 2:36.
As for the citation from Ezekiel (4:3-8), Mr. T. offers no suggestion as to when he thinks the forty years upon Judah, or the three hundred and ninety years upon the remainder of Israel, were fulfilled. He apparently, however, overlooks the fact that although this trouble is divided into two portions it is all represented as coming against one people, as illustrated by the one capital city, Jerusalem, which was portrayed by the prophet as a part of his tableau teaching. Some suppose the lesson taught to be that God's wrath against the ten tribes dated from the time of the revolt, when they went into idolatry, about 390 years before the desolation of Jerusalem, and that the wrath against the two tribes dated from forty years before the desolation, when, under King Manasseh, the two tribes became idolaters, and that God's wrath ceased, or was assuaged, by the expiation for their sins in the utter desolation of Jerusalem and the land. If this be correct, his favor returned, while they were in Babylon, to all who revered his promises and waited for the seventy years of desolation to expire, that they might return to God's worship in his holy city and temple.
We answer, then, that Mr. T. is in error: that there is no evidence that the willing, faithful ones of the ten tribes were hindered and did not return to the holy land after its seventy years of desolation. On the contrary, the evidence shows that they had the liberty to return and that some of them exercised it.
After quoting from Millennial Dawn, Vol. III., "They [the ten tribes] deserted the Israelitish covenant, and became idolaters, unbelievers, and practically Gentiles," Mr. T. continues:
"This is perfectly correct: the Ten Tribes did apostatize, and were formally divorced from the Mosaic covenant (Jer. 3:8). But he overlooks the companion jewel-- namely, they were to be remarried in a new and better covenant (Isa. 54:4-8; Hos. 2:7,19; Jer. 31:31-33). The Israelites were indeed practically Gentiles, and are esteemed Gentiles to this day; but that is concordant with prophecy, for Ephraim's 'multitude of nations' are goyim or nominal Gentiles (Gen. 48:19); and the children of Ephraim-Israel, 'which cannot be measured nor numbered,' [R1341 : page 166] are the offspring of Lo-ammi, or nominal Gentiles. --Hos. 1:9,10."
We beg to differ regarding the above statement. We deny that the Lord has remarried or ever will remarry the ten tribes. The citations prove nothing of this kind. Hosea gives some hard pictures of a bad people. Chapter 1:6,7seems to mention the ten tribes separately from the two, but promises no more mercy--instead, an utter taking away of the ten, and mercy upon Judah. Verses 9 and 10show the rejection (for a time) of all Israel the (natural branches of the olive) and the grafting in of spiritual Israel upon the original root or promise--those from among the Gentiles who formerly had not been recognized by the Lord as his people, who had been strangers and foreigners and aliens to the commonwealth of Israel, but who are now brought nigh and made partakers through Christ. This application of this Scripture is made by the Apostle Paul. (Rom. 9:23-26.) Verse 11declares that "then," at the time of their rejection and at the time of the recognition of spiritual Israel, Judah and Israel would be reunited under one head.
Hosea 2:1-7includes one of Mr. Taylor's proofs; but the most careful search in these verses discloses no promise from the Lord that he will remarry them. Reading down to verse 13 proves to the contrary. Then verses 14-18 show the "door of hope" for these rebellious people, which the Millennial reign of the true spiritual seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16,29) will inaugurate; for verse 18locates the date of this "door of hope" by declaring it to be after the time of trouble, when wars shall be no more.
Verses 19 and 20, if applicable to the fleshly seed at all, should be applied to "all Israel" (last before mentioned)--see Chapter 1:11--and in that case would not call for fulfilment before the close of the Gospel age, when wars shall be no more. But there is good reason for believing that these verses (19 and 20) relate to the spiritual class, selected during the time when fleshly Israel has been cast off. To this view the 23rd verseas well as Chapter 1:10give support, both being quoted in Rom. 9:23-26, and agreeing well with the Apostle's other statement, "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for, but the election hath obtained it and the rest were blinded."--Rom. 11:7.
As for Isaiah 54:1-8, the Apostle Paul has thrown the light of superhuman wisdom upon it, and has applied it to spiritual Zion, our mother or covenant, symbolized by Sarah. The fleshly seed of Abraham had been cast out from being heir of the promise, and the true seed, Christ (typified by Isaac and Rebecca), had been received as the only seed of promise.-- Gal. 4:22,24,26-31.
Jeremiah 31:29-33is quite to the point. It was written at a time when the ten tribes, called [R1342 : page 166] Israel, were separate from the two, called Judah, and hence it was necessary for the prophet to mention both, in order not to be misunderstood to mean the ten tribes only. But here, in verse 31, he puts the two together, and, after thus joining them as one, he uses the one name for all, in verses 33 and 36; and this is confirmed by verses 38-40, which describe places lying in the portion of the two tribes, in and about Jerusalem.
But next let us notice that this is a prophecy not yet fulfilled, so that the ten tribes, even if they could clearly identify themselves now, have no cause for boasting yet. They would better wait until the New Covenant is made with them and until the law of that New Covenant has been written in their hearts. Then surely they will no longer boast themselves of their old covenant, but of the new.
During the Gospel age the New Covenant and its blessed heart-writing and spirit-teaching is not for the ten tribes, nor for the two, but only for the remnant selected from the twelve, and the residue selected from among the Gentiles; the fleshly seed (Ishmael) must wait until the spiritual seed (Isaac) has inherited all, and must then get his portion through Isaac. In those days--when the fleshly seed receives its portion--the blessed Millennial privileges, mentioned in verses 29 and 30, will be realized.
Beloved, let us make our calling and election sure by the obedience of faith, and not hope for spiritual blessings to come to us because of fleshly connections--which the Lord's Word clearly shows us cannot be. If the Anglo-Saxon races are the literal descendants of the ten [R1342 : page 167] lost tribes, it certainly is to their advantage that the Lord will overlook the relationship and count them as Gentiles; for his favor was withdrawn from the natural seed when the remnant had been selected, and he turned to take out the people for his name from among the Gentiles, who previously were not his people; and, as we have seen, no return of his favor is promised until the elect Church shall have been completed, in the Millennial Dawn.
Nothing in our understanding of the teachings of the Scriptures is in opposition to the idea that Great Britain, Germany and the United States may contain some of the descendants of the ten tribes which separated from the two tribes in the days of Rehoboam. It could not be claimed, however, by any one who is familiar with the racial mixture which prevails, especially in the United States, that any of these nations are of pure Israelitish stock. Neither do we debate the question whether the prosperity of these nations, more than that of some other nations of the world, is due to their lineage. Perhaps this is true. What we do maintain, however, is that, so far as the Lord's "high calling" of his Church is concerned, the middle wall of partition having been broken down, the Israelitish origin of an individual or a nation would gain the individual or the nation no advantage over other individuals or nations of a different race under the terms of the New Covenant. From it "all Israel," "the natural branches," were broken off, except a "remnant" which accepted of Christ, the mediator of the New Covenant; and that "remnant" had no pre-eminence over others because of nationality. God, through the Apostles, has preached no favors to Israel according to the flesh during the period of the selection of spiritual Israel; but he has declared that when the company of spiritual Israel is complete, his favor will return to the fleshly house.
Because we believe that the spiritual Israel is nearly complete, therefore we are expecting blessings upon the Israelites who are according to the flesh, and the turning away of their blindness, anticipating that they will be the first of the restitution class to be blessed by spiritual Israel, and so "receive mercy through your mercy." (Rom. 11:31.) After they have thus received mercy through the complete and glorified Church of Christ, they will indeed be used as the Lord's instruments for blessing all the families of the earth, and thus the Abrahamic promises will be fulfilled unto both the seeds-- both that which is according to the flesh, and that which is according to the spirit--"To the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham." --Rom. 4:16. Yours truly,
The Author of MILLENNIAL DAWN.