A Rebuttal To The “Worldwide News” Article
By Mr. Ralph Orr Entitled
“United States And Britain In Prophecy”
by Steven M. Collins
he December 19, 1995, issue of The Worldwide News contained an article by Mr. Ralph Orr on the subject of the “United States and Britain in Prophecy.” That article rejected a long-standing belief of the Worldwide Church of God that the people of the United States of America and Great Britain are primarily descended from the Israelite Tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim. The errors in that article demand a scholarly response.
Mr. Orr’s article raises some legitimate issues which deserve detailed answers; however, it also contains arguments which are misleading and/or inaccurate. Mr. Orr’s article opens with a “red herring”: an attempt to equate Anglo-Israelism with racism. He states: “The scriptures proclaim a grace-based, not a race-based message.” I quite agree. However, the “old” WCG, and its major offshoots, never included “Anglo-Israelism” in any race-based message of salvation. I can recall no instance in which the Worldwide Church of God (WCG), or its offshoots, proclaimed that “you had to be an Israelite to be saved,” which is what Mr. Orr’s statement implies.
The “old” WCG had large international ministries to reach people in nations which were regarded as non-Israelite. There were extensive efforts to preach God’s Word to Spanish-speaking nations in Latin America, the Philippines, etc., and many black brethren were welcomed into the Churches of God (non-Israelite racial origin was no barrier to Church membership). Furthermore, the WCG (and its major offshoots) have never been criticized as “anti-Semitic” (i.e., anti-Jewish). Indeed, we have identified Jews as the modern “House of Judah,” and have sought positive relationships with members of the Jewish faith.
Mr. Orr’s article mistakenly implies that any attempt to understand the Biblical origins of modern nations is racist. The whole purpose of the WCG’s effort to identify the origins of modern nations, was for purposes of understanding Biblical prophecies! Since the Bible identifies nations by their Biblical names (i.e., “Israel,” “Judah,” “Assyria,” etc.), one must first identify which modern nations are descended from these ancient nations, in order to apply ancient prophecies to the modern world. There was (and is) nothing “racist” about this effort.
Mr. Orr also states that “some came to believe our message was race-based, not grace-based,” and that “some found the Anglo-Israel belief in The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy as excuse enough, not to repent of racism.” He cites no specific examples to support these statements, and (based on the WCG’s inclusion of all races into its membership) it is apparent that anyone reacting in the manner ascribed by Mr. Orr was simply not paying careful attention to the Church’s message. Let’s examine some facts about Anglo-Israelism.
In the late nineteenth century, many in Great Britain recognized that the prophecies about Ephraim had come to pass in the blessings given to the British Empire. This belief (“British-Israelism”) was even held by influential people. Col. J. C. Gawler, Queen Victoria’s Keeper of the Crown Jewels, wrote two “British-Israel” publications entitled, “Our Scythian Ancestors Identified with Israel,” and, “Dan, the Pioneer of Israel.”l However, was British-Israelism “racist” as Mr. Orr implies? Consider this quote from one of their nineteenth century booklets entitled: “Jeshurun . . . An Elementary Paper on our British Israelite Origin,” which stated:
“Opponents accuse us of vaunting our Israelitish origin as a precious gift of salvation by inheritance. A great error! The fact is, the study is only valuable to those who receive and acknowledge the gift of Christ as the only Mediator through whom we obtain salvation.”2 (Emphasis not added.)
That British-Israelite writer shared Mr. Orr’s rejection of “race-based” messages of salvation. As this quote indicates, the British-Israelites were horrified by the allegation that they taught a “salvation by race” concept. It is easy to misunderstand a message. Even the Apostle Paul’s teachings had been so woefully misunderstood by some, that he issued a strong denial that his message included a rejection of God’s Old Testament laws, Romans 3:31.
Anglo-Israelism was also present in nineteenth century America. In 1857, a pastor named F. E. Pitts gave a two-day presentation advocating Anglo-Israelism to a joint session of the U.S. Congress! Can you imagine such an event occurring in modern, nihilistic America? Ironically, Pastor Pitts was an antimonarchist who was hostile to Britain’s royal family (as his messages make plain).3
Anglo-Israelism should be evaluated strictly on its merits. In any discussion of whether the ten tribes of Israel both exist and are identifiable in the modern world, we must first objectively determine what the Bible (God’s Word) teaches on the subject. Many modern Christians believe that we are living in the Biblical “latter days” which will immediately precede the return of Jesus Christ. The “old” WCG (and its main offshoots) shared this belief with many Protestant, evangelical denominations.
In Genesis 49, Jacob (Israel) was inspired to prophesy that all the tribes of Israel would be present among the nations on earth during the “latter days.” This prophecy offers many clues to assist people in identifying Israelite nations in the latter days (this infers God knew that by the time the latter days arrived, the tribes of Israel would be “hidden” from world awareness, and such clues would be needed). Based on very divergent prophecies about the traits and locations of the latter-day tribes of Israel, it is clear the Bible is speaking of separate nations (or ethnic groups). This is consistent with the prophecy in Ezekiel 37:15-28, that the “house of Judah” and the “house of Israel” (the so-called “lost ten tribes”) would not be reunited until after the Messianic kingdom is established (i.e., David is prophesied to be their joint king when the dead are resurrected). These “latter day” prophecies make it clear that while modern Jews can be the “house of Judah,” they cannot possibly include the “house of Israel” during the latter days. Therefore, if we are guided by a literal interpretation of the Bible, we must look for the ten tribes of Israel among the non-Jewish nations of the world.
Many modern Christian denominations unknowingly call God “a liar” when they teach that the “lost ten tribes” have “died out,” or “can’t be identified,” because the Bible’s inspired prophecies say otherwise! Also, the New Testament affirmed the inspired nature of Old Testament prophecies. Jesus Christ’s statement in Matthew 5:17, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets,” affirms not only the Old Testament laws of God, but its prophecies as well! Some regard Paul as a “liberal,” but he wrote in II Timothy 3:16: “All scripture [including prophecies!] is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine. . . .” The Apostle Peter added:
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed . . . no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit,” II Peter 1:19-21.
It is vital to notice Paul and Peter’s words: “all scripture” and “of the scripture.” They were speaking about (and validating) the canonized Hebrew Scriptures with which they were familiar (i.e., the “Old Testament”). Peter specifically affirmed that the early Church accepted Old Testament prophecies as divinely inspired! Therefore, we have established that in any discussion of the ten tribes of Israel, the early New Testament Church accepted the Old Testament prophecies about them as inspired and binding.
Mr. Orr’s article indicates that the “new” WCG has “lost its faith” in the literal interpretation of the Bible. This is a common view in many secular churches. If the WCG no longer accepts the Bible as the infallible word of God, it should openly say so instead of “picking and choosing” which parts of the Bible it accepts and which parts it rejects.
Mr. Orr asserts “the New Testament takes a strikingly different approach than that of Anglo-Israelism.” Really? We have seen that Jesus Christ, Paul, and Peter, all affirmed the divinely inspired content of all Old Testament prophecies (including those about the tribes of Israel). There is no “strikingly different approach” in the New Testament approach of Jesus Christ, Peter, or Paul, regarding prophecies about the ten tribes, so Mr. Orr’s statement is either misleading or factually incorrect. Is Mr. Orr repudiating Biblical prophecy, or is he still attacking the false notion that “Anglo-Israelism is Racist”?
Mr. Orr does make a valid point when he states: “when reading Anglo-Israelite literature, one notices that it generally depends on folklore, legends, quasi-historical genealogies and dubious etymologies.” I, too, have read Anglo-Israelite literature based on this kind of weak evidence. Folklore and legends may actually come to a right conclusion, but such evidence is admittedly too weak to convince either scholars or skeptics on the subject. However, it must be realized that in the nineteenth century, British-Israelite writers were governed by very different literary conventions. Prior to the general acceptance of evolutionary mythology, the Bible was held in such high esteem that if writers could find support for their conclusions in the Bible, they felt no need for the support of documented secular sources. Today, the situation is reversed: scholars do not accept anything in the Bible unless it is supported by secular evidence.
Mr. Orr continues: “Rarely . . . are the disciplines of archeology, sociology, anthropology, linguistics, or historiography applied to Anglo-Israelism.” His point, while not completely applicable to Anglo-Israelite literature, is true in some cases. However, historical evidence for Anglo-Israelism does exist! British-Israelite publications in the nineteenth century contained considerable hard evidence which was never included in the WCG literature on the subject. Additionally, the modern scientific community has discovered much new evidence concerning Israelite history, which was not available to the nineteenth century writers. However, one has to search diligently through secular sources to find this evidence, because it is not discussed in a Biblical context.
Let us now examine a supposed “conflict” in the Bible which Mr. Orr’s article discussed. He notes that II Kings 17:18 states (regarding the removal of the ten tribes from Israel when Samaria fell): “only the tribe of Judah was left.” The fall of Samaria was approximately 721 B.C.4 Mr. Orr correctly notes that “at face value, the verse appears to say that only the tribe of Judah escaped captivity.” Yet he does not take this scripture literally because during the reign of King Josiah of Judah (circa 639-608 B.C.5), II Chronicles 34:9 states Josiah collected donations to repair the Temple “from the people of Manasseh, Ephraim, and the entire remnant of Israel.” Indeed, verse 6 adds that Naphtalites and Simeonites were also then present in Palestine!
Faced with this apparent contradiction, Mr. Orr resorts to the typical rationalizations used by “minimalists” and “apologists” in various Christian denominations. While the specifics vary, their responses always have the “bottom line” conclusion that “you can’t take the Bible literally.” Jesus Christ himself might say to such people: “O ye of little faith. . . .” Let us examine a combination of Biblical and secular evidence to demonstrate that there is no conflict here, and that both sections of the Bible are historically true and can be taken literally.
The supposed conflict is this: How can the Bible say all the tribes of Israel (except Judah) were removed from Palestine in 721 B.C., but also assert that significant numbers of the ten tribes were again present in Palestine by Josiah’s reign a century later? Notice first that II Kings 17:18 does not prophesy: “no Israelites will ever return to Palestine.” It only asserts that none of the ten tribes were present in Israel in the year 721 B.C., just after the Israelite capital of Samaria fell.
The answer to the supposed conflict is partially found in Mr. Orr’s own article. He observes: “Fundamental to the Anglo-Israel argument is the belief that all significant parts of the house of Israel went into captivity. Biblical and archeological scholars harbor serious doubts about the accuracy of this view.” This statement reveals Mr. Orr has not widely read available Anglo-Israel literature. For example, Col. Gawler’s nineteenth century publication (mentioned earlier) conclusively makes the case that many Israelites did not go into captivity! To assert that it is “fundamental to the Anglo-Israel argument” that “all significant parts of the house of Israel went into captivity” is simply not true. Indeed, the solution to our apparent “contradiction” lies in the fact that they did not!
Col. Gawler’s writings also belie another myth that the detractors of Anglo-Israelism like to spread: that all Anglo-Israel adherents are “anti-Jewish.” Col. Gawler wrote that Jews attended the meetings of the nineteenth century British-Israelites and credits a “Jewish gentleman of great learning”6 for directing him to Jewish historical sources which confirmed that many Israelites escaped the Assyrians and settled independently in a new location.
Col. Gawler noted that the medieval geographer, Abraham Ortelius, recorded that, when the kingdom of Israel fell, many of the ten tribes migrated to Tartary and “took the name Gauthei because they were very jealous of the glory of God.7 Gawler also cited Armenian historians who noted that a large mass of Israelites migrated (through Armenia) into Tartary. Tartary was a region near the Black Sea (which later became a springboard for the huge migrations of the Goths into Europe in the third to sixth centuries A.D.). Another medieval Jewish writer is quoted as asserting these migrating Israelites “evaded the calamity [of an Assyrian captivity], going off with their flocks and turning nomads, and that the chief or prince whom they appointed could muster 120,000 horse and 100,000 foot.”8 With a military escort of almost a quarter-million men, it is clear the escaping Israelites could easily have numbered well over one million people.
In II Esdras 13:39-46, there is an account that a large group from the ten tribes of Israel escaped the Assyrians and journeyed for one- and-one-half years to a place called Arzareth. This passage (in an apocryphal book) records that these Israelites were determined to “keep their statutes which they had not kept in their own country,” and adds the Most High held back the waters of the Euphrates River so they could escape the Assyrians. Here again we see an account that the Israelites who escaped captivity were in a repentant state of mind. Does the Bible support this view? Yes!
In II Chronicles 28:5-8, we read of a war between Israel and Judah just decades before the fall of Samaria, in which God gave the victory to the Israelites who killed 120,000 Jewish soldiers, and were leading 200,000 Jews into captivity in Israel. Clearly, the house of Israel still had a very sizeable population at that time. Loaded with much spoil, the victorious Israelites were met by a prophet (Obed) who gave them a warning from God not to carry their Jewish brethren into captivity. The house of Israel had long spurned God’s prophets, but verses 13-15 record the elders of Ephraim heeded this prophet. Indeed, they gave back all the spoil to the captive Jews, fed and clothed them, and gently assisted the “feeble” to make the journey back to Judah. Interestingly, this account indicates the elders of Israel made this decision to “bend over backwards in obeying God” without any input from their king.
A few years later when Samaria fell, II Kings 17:24-31 records the Assyrians had to repopulate the land of Israel with foreigners because the land was abandoned. Verse 25 (“the Lord sent lions among them”) implies the land had been depopulated for so long that it had “reverted to the wild.” The cuneiform texts of the Assyrian kings claim that when Samaria fell, only 27,290 people were taken captive9 (a very paltry total considering that only a few years previously the Israelites had slain and taken captive hundreds of thousands of Jews). The Assyrians made no claim of taking the rest of the Israelite nation captive at that time.
As discussed above, historical sources indicate the escaping Israelites migrated north of Armenia into the Black Sea region. Many ancient historians note that the Black Sea region thereafter acquired the names of “Iberia” and “Scythia” (the “Sacae”). Genesis 21:12 prophesied that Abraham’s seed would be known by the name of Isaac, and since ancient Hebrew deleted vowels, Isaac’s name is present in the root consonants of “Sac” or “Saac.” The Sacae Scythians kept the name of Isaac in their tribal name, fulfilling the prophecy of Genesis 21:12. Iberia preserved the name of the Hebrews’ namesake “Eber,” and, importantly, Iberian kings bore the name of “Phares.” The Roman historian Tacitus mentions Iberia and their kings named “Pharesmanes,”10 as does the famous British historian George Rawlinson.11
King David had been promised by God that his seed would “never lack a man sitting on the throne of the house of Israel,” Jeremiah 33:17. Some Israelites who migrated to the Black Sea had kings named “Pharesmanes,” and “Phares” was the lineage from which King David was born, Matthew 1:3-6. This strongly argues that the Israelites who migrated to the Black Sea abandoned their old king to the Assyrians and selected a prince from the house of David to be their new king. Why else would they proclaim the name “Phares” in their dynastic name? There is much more evidence that Davidic kings ruled over other Asian Israelites as well, but the above will suffice for this article.
Greek historians indicate that the Black Sea Israelites (now called “Sacae” Scythians) were obedient to prominent Old Testament laws. Herodotus notes they avoided swine’s flesh12, and scrupulously avoided foreign idols and religious customs.13 Herodotus recorded that a Scythian king (with the Israelite name: “Saulius”) executed a prominent Scythian for participating in a Greek festival honoring “the mother goddess,” and a Scythian king was even executed for participating in an idolatrous religious celebration.14 By no means did all Scythians exhibit Israelite customs. The “Turanian” Scythians, for example, were not related to the Sacae Scythians, and their tribes exhibited some bizarre customs. When discussing “Scythians,” one must be careful to determine which Scythians tribes are being discussed, because not all of them were Israelite.
The Bible supports the thesis that many of the ten tribes resettled in the Caucasus/Black Sea region. In the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah (soon after Samaria fell), II Kings 19:37 states that Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, was assassinated by his sons who sought safety by fleeing to “the land of Ararat.” When fleeing for their lives, these assassins would go to an area which was so anti-Assyrian that they would be certain to receive asylum. They fled to the region of Ararat (the Caucasus/Black Sea region) where refugees of the ten tribes had established a new homeland. The anti-Assyrian Israelites would surely give refuge to assassins of an Assyrian king, and the fact these assassins fled to Ararat is consistent with historical records that Israelites had migrated to that region.
The Bible also confirms that the Israelites who fled to the Black Sea experienced at least a limited revival in serving the God of Israel. In Jeremiah 3:11-12, God sent a message to the ten tribes of Israel via Jeremiah in about 620 B.C. (100 years after Israel had been removed from Palestine). God’s message was:
“. . . backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah. Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord . . . .”
Did God’s use of the word “return” mean “return to God,” “return to Palestine,” or both? Whatever the intent, history records the Israelites did “return” to Palestine at that time! While the above quote was not a glowing tribute to the ten tribes’ spiritual condition, God nevertheless acknowledged that they were clearly more obedient to God at that time than the tribe of Judah. Also, He directs Jeremiah to address his message to the ten tribes: “to the north.” If He was addressing Israelites carried captive to Assyria, God would have said “to the east.” Draw a line straight north of Jerusalem (where Jeremiah was) and you will come exactly to the Black Sea region of the Sacae Scythians.
Were the ten tribes of Israel “lost” a century after the fall of Samaria? Obviously not! God himself sent a message at that time via the prophet Jeremiah to the “free Israelites” near the Black Sea.
What does this have to do with the supposed conflict raised in Mr. Orr’s article? That will now be answered, but it was first necessary to establish the Israelite origin of the Sacae Scythians before any sense could be made of what follows.
Secular historians record that (circa 625-605 B.C.) the Scythians poured out of the Black Sea/Caucasus region to invade the regions to the south. Their armies marched in the direction of Assyria and Palestine. The Scythian armies who marched to Assyria devastated Assyria’s homeland. The Encyclopaedia Britannica states simply: “Nineveh was captured and destroyed by the Scythian army . . . and the Assyrian empire was at an end.”15 However, the Scythian army that marched into Palestine was peaceful as they continued to Egypt (which avoided an invasion by paying tribute to the Scythians). Herodotus notes that while the Scythians also conquered Media and “took possession of all Asia,” they marched into Palestine, “doing no harm to anyone.”16
Harper’s Bible Dictionary records that this massive Scythian presence in Palestine occurred in the reign of King Josiah (639-608 B.C.),17 and during the ministry of the prophet Jeremiah (who had sent God’s message to the ten tribes which said “return”). The Scythian invasions clearly exhibit motives that confirm their Israelite origin. By conquering Media, they liberated the Israelites held captive in “the cities of the Medes,” and by destroying the Assyrian Empire, they exacted revenge for the Assyrian destruction of the old kingdom of Israel. [Interestingly, while the Assyrians drove the ten tribes out of Palestine, we can now know that the ten tribes of Israel ultimately destroyed Assyria and its empire.]
If the Scythians had been marauding nomads from the steppes (a common assumption of history books), they would have looted Palestine and Judah as well. However, Herodotus’ account of their presence in Palestine indicates a friendly/protective occupation. This makes sense when we understand the Sacae Scythians recognized the Jews as a brother tribe. Even the Bible acknowledges the Scythian presence in Palestine during Josiah’s reign, in the very passage to which Mr. Orr points as a Bible contradiction! The Greeks called the Black Sea Israelites “Sacae” or “Scythians,” however, the Bible called them by their Israelite tribal names because the Jews still recognized the Scythians as Israelite tribes! That is why II Chronicles 34-35 records King Josiah issuing donations and Passover invitations to people of Manasseh, Ephraim, Naphtali, Simeon, and “Israel.” King Josiah was, in fact, interacting with the Sacae Scythians who had just recently reoccupied their old tribal lands! These passages are powerful Biblical proof that the Sacae Scythians were the ten tribes of Israel! Precisely when Greek history records that the Sacae Scythians had poured into Palestine, the Bible states many of the ten tribes of Israel were again present in the land.
II Chronicles 34:6 records that the ten tribes of Israel had reoccupied their old homelands “with mattocks.” While the Scythians attacked Assyria with swords, they occupied Palestine with agricultural tools! The ten tribes apparently intended to reclaim and resettle the old kingdom of Israel. However, history records they decided to return to their new Black Sea homelands within a few decades. Werner Keller states the Scythians returned to the Black Sea region within ten years18, while Herodotus records they remained in the Mideast 28 years before returning.19
The events of King Josiah’s reign take on new meaning when it is realized that the more devout ten tribes of Israel had reoccupied Palestine during his reign! King Josiah’s spiritual reform of Judah began in the eighth year of his reign, II Chronicles 34:1-3. What motivated him to do this? The eighth year of his reign was 623 B.C., about when the Sacae Scythians (the ten tribes of Israel) reoccupied Palestine. He began to destroy pagan idols and images even though he did not recover the “book of the law” until at least ten years later (verses 3-15). Who taught him how to please the God of Israel? The Scythian Israelites! Jeremiah records the Israelites were closer to God at that time, and Herodotus wrote the Scythians avoided unclean meat and forbid the use of idolatrous images.20
After 10-28 years, the Israelites mostly returned to “the north” after discovering that Palestine was no more a “land of milk and honey.” It had been occupied by foreigners (brought in by Assyrians) for a century, and was now undesirable compared to the Israelites’ Black Sea region. However, a few Israelites likely stayed in Palestine, accounting for limited contingents of Israelites being present in future generations. After the Scythian Israelites left Palestine, a city in the old tribal territory of Manasseh (Beth-Shan) was renamed “Scythopolis”21 in honor of the Scythians who had liberated Palestine from Assyrian domination. The city was still named Scythopolis when it was one of the cities of the Decapolis22 in which Jesus walked, Mark 7:31.
The above is an example of how a careful reconciliation of secular history and Biblical historical accounts mutually verify the accuracy of the Bible! What Mr. Orr regards as a conflict is, in fact, no conflict at all. Since the accounts are factually and literally true, the many rationalizations utilized by Mr. Orr to put new meanings on the terms “Judah” and “Israel” are moot.
Mr. Orr is correct in stating: “The Bible records that Jews and Israelites were still living side by side in the days of the early Church,” but he errs in asserting that it was because Israelites were joined to the house of Judah. Mr. Orr’s assumption is contradicted by Josephus, a contemporary of the early Church. Josephus states that during the time of the early Church:
“There are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers.”23 (Emphasis added.)
Josephus makes it quite clear that the “two tribes . . . subject to the Romans” were Judah and Benjamin, and that the “ten tribes” of Israel were still in Asia during the days of the early Church. Ezra 1 and Nehemiah 11 also confirm that only Judah and Benjamin had returned to Judea and (with Levi) became the ancestors of the Jews of Roman Judea. Note also that Josephus did not regard the ten tribes as “lost” during the 1st century A.D. He even names the Euphrates River as one of their borders. It is important that Josephus recorded that the ten tribes’ population had grown very immensely in Asia; it confirms the Israelites had not “disappeared” or “died out.” Indeed, it confirms the Biblical prophecy of Hosea 1:6-10 that God would make the ten tribes of Israel “too numerous to count” after He removed them from Palestine.
At the time of Josephus, the Euphrates River had long been the recognized border between the Roman and Parthian Empires. Josephus’ euphemism, “beyond Euphrates,” was tantamount to saying the ten tribes were “in Parthia.” Parthia was an immense Asian Empire, which stretched from the Euphrates River to India. Historians have long recognized that the Parthians (who fought many wars with Rome) were fellow tribesmen of the Sacae Scythians.24 There is an immense volume of evidence that the Parthian Empire was ruled by the ten tribes of Israel, but there simply is not space enough to examine that evidence in this article.
During the time of Jesus Christ and the early Church, there was a long period of “detente” between the Roman and Parthian Empires during which extensive travel and trade between the two empires took place. The “Wise Men from the east,” Matthew 2:1, who brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to the young Jesus were Parthians (“Magi” and “Wise Men” were the official titles of Parthia’s priests and nobility).25 Acts 2:9 states that “Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia . . . and Asia,” were present in Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Weeks. All the above named regions were part of Parthia’s Empire. Verse 10 states these devout people were “Jews and proselytes (i.e., non-Jews).” The “non-Jews” were Israelites from the Parthian Empire, and Peter openly called them “men of Israel” when he addressed them, Acts 2:22. Mr. Orr mistakenly puts a different meaning on Peter’s comment, but Peter (like Josephus) knew the many Parthians in his audience were Israelites, and addressed them as such.
Because Parthian merchants, pilgrims, and diplomats could travel freely in Roman Palestine at the time of Christ, there were many Israelites present in Judea throughout the time of Christ, especially (as Acts 2 confirms) during the Annual Holy Days.
Sadly, the arguments in Mr. Orr’s article are consistent with those of Biblical “minimalists” and “apologists,” people who have lost their faith in a literal interpretation of the Bible, and therefore “apologize” for it. As we can see, no apologies for the Bible are needed; its historical accounts can be taken literally!
There is a valid challenge which needs to be made to those who oppose “Anglo-Israelism.” If they claim to be Christians who believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, then they should accept Hosea 1 and Genesis 49, which prophesy that the ten tribes of Israel would have huge populations after their captivity and will be present and identifiable among the nations during the “latter days.” If they do not agree with the “Anglo-Israel” identifications of which modern nations are Israelite, they should offer their own alternative identifications for the modern ten tribes of Israel. If a person really believes the Bible is God’s literal word, they will offer such alternatives. Those who cannot (or will not) offer alternatives, reveal that they don’t really believe in a literally-true Bible. They are simply wasting our time.
In conclusion, there is abundant evidence that Biblical historical accounts are literally true, and that the United States of America and Britain are the modern descendants of the Israelite tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim (space did not permit a discussion of that subject in this article). There is also much historical evidence that the ten tribes of Israel can be traced in all parts of their history from the fall of Samaria till the present.
The author of this article has spent many years researching evidence about the tribes of Israel, and this information has been published in 1996 in a major book, The “Lost” Ten Tribes of Israel. . . Found! It is 440 pages long. This book contains the information offered in this article and much, much more. It examines the subject of the ten tribes of Israel from a historical, linguistic, archeological, and anthropological basis. It traces the empires, migrations, and histories of the ten tribes from the time of King David until the present. It not only documents the whereabouts of the tribes of Israel in the modern world, but also documents that the Israelites ruled major empires at several stages of their history. After reading The Lost Ten Tribes of Israel...Found! you can believe in “Anglo-Israelism” (and the veracity of the Bible) not in spite of the scientific evidence, but rather because of it! This book is based on hard evidence, not folklore and legend.
If you are interested in a scientific documentation of the history and modern locations of the ten tribes of Israel, you may order a copy of this excellent book. See ordering information below.
(Steve Collins plans additional books documenting further evidence of the identity of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel.)
1. “Our Scythian Ancestors Identified with Israel,” and “Dan...the Pioneer of Israel,” Col. J.C. Gawler, were published by W.H. Guest of London, England in 1875 and 1880, respectively.
2. “Jeshurun...”, Mrs. E.C. Daubenay, published by W.H. Guest, London, p. 7.
3. “The U.S.A. in Bible Prophecy,” F.E. Pitts, originally published in 1862, now printed by Hoffman Printing Co., Muskogee, OK.
4. Harper’s Bible Dictionary, “Samaria,” p. 895.
5. Ibid, “Josiah,” p. 510.
6. Gawler, Our Scythian Ancestors Identified with Israel, p. 9.
7. Ibid, p. 9.
8. Ibid, p. 9.
9. The Bible as History, Werner Keller, p. 246.
10. The Annals of Imperial Rome, Tacitus, Books VI, XI-XIV.
11. The Sixth Great Oriental Monarchy, George Rawlinson, pp. 231-270, 320-321.
12. The History, Herodotus, 4.63.
13. Ibid, 4.76.
14. Ibid, 4.76-80.
15. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1943 Ed., Vol. 2, “Babylonia and Assyria”, p. 857.
16. The History, Herodotus, 1.104-105.
17. Harper’s Bible Dictionary, “Josiah,” p. 510.
18. The Bible as History, Werner Keller, p. 273.
19. The History , Herodotus, 1.106.
20. Ibid, 4.76-80.
21. The Bible as History, Werner Keller, p. 273.
22. Harper’s Bible Dictionary, “Beth-shan,” p. 109, and “Decapolis,” p. 215.
23. Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus, XI, 2.
24. The Sixth Great Oriental Monarchy, George Rawlinson, p. 19, and The Scythians, Tamara Rice, p. 45.
25. The Sixth Great Oriental Monarchy, George Rawlinson, p. 85.
NOTE: We recommend the book, The “Lost” 10 Tribes of Israel . . . Found!, by Steven M. Collins, available from Giving & Sharing, PO Box 100, Neck City, MO 64849, for a suggested donation of $15.00, plus postage.