The History of the
Ten "Lost" Tribes:
THE PROMISES OF A MULTITUDINOUS SEED, AND THAT ISRAEL SHALL BECOME A GREAT AND MIGHTY NATION.
A great point is made by all Anglo-Israel writers of the promises which God made to the fathers of a multitudinous seed. The argument is, that since the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were to be a great and mighty and very numerous nation—yea, "a company of nations "—these promises cannot apply to the "Jews," who are comparatively few in number. There must exist, therefore, a people somewhere great and mighty and numerous who are the seed of Abraham, in whom these promises are realised.
Now look at the British Empire, how great and mighty it is in the earth, and what vast numbers it includes, ergo, the British, including the United States of America (which by some wonderful process of divination Anglo-Israelites are able to distinguish and identify as "Manasseh," in spite of the fact that their progenitors, who emigrated from England, were, according to them "Ephraimites," and that those original emigrants have since been mixed up with a flood of emigrants from all other races under heaven), are the descendants of Abraham, and particularly of the "lost" Ten Tribes!
Now the following are the Scriptures on the subject:
To these passages have to be added Isaac’s blessing to Jacob: "God Almighty bless thee and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a company—literally, ‘a congregation’ (qehal ‘amin) of peoples" (Gen. 28:3); and Jacob’s forecast of Ephraim in his blessing of Joseph’s sons, that his seed shall become "a multitude (or literally, ‘a fulness,’ mel’ haggoim) of the nations."
Now in reference to all these particular promises and forecasts, I would beg your attention to the following observations:—
I. There are expressions in them which must not be pressed to the extreme of literalness according to our Western ideas. We speak of "nations," and think of them as embracing populations of whole countries, and of "kings" as being sovereigns of States, but in the earlier books of the Bible we are introduced to many "nations" and "peoples" as comprised in one little country of Canaan, and of many "kings" who were no more than chiefs, or rulers of "cities," which in our modern times we would only class as "villages." As a matter of fact, the term goim, generally standing for "nations," and usually for the Gentile nations, is actually used for the tribes or families of the Jewish people. Here is the Scripture: "And He said unto me, Son of Man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to nations (goim—the word is in the plural) that are rebellious, which have rebelled against Me" (Ezek. 2:3).
The "Jews," or "Israel," as they are properly called are being spoken of as "nations," because they comprised different families or tribes.
Already Moses could say of the Israel of his time: " Jehovah your God hath multiplied you, and behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude" (Deut. 1:10; 10:22); and Solomon, in his prayer for wisdom, says: "Thy servant is in the midst of Thy people which Thou hast chosen, a great people that cannot be counted for multitude" (1 Kings 3:8).
The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews knew nothing of a supposed identification of the millions in Britain and America with the "lost" Ten Tribes, but speaking of the descendants of Abraham and Sarah, he could say that because Abraham believed God, and Sarah herself, in spite of natural impossibilities, judged Him faithful who had promised: "Wherefore also there sprang of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of heaven for multitude, and as the sand which is by the seashore innumerable" (Hebrews 11:12); so that even if we view only the past it is not true to assert that the promises of God that the seed of Abraham should be a multitude which cannot be numbered, and constitute "a company of nations," has not been fulfilled in the "Jews" or "Israel," which has never been "lost."
II. The promises of a multitudinous seed and rapid increase of the seed of Abraham, though in the first instance given to the fathers unconditionally, and therefore will assuredly be fulfilled, were nevertheless made conditional on Israel’s obedience. It is with this, as with all the other great promises, given to the Jewish nation. They were conditional as far as any particular generation of Jews are concerned, who may either enjoy them if in obedience, or forfeit them through disobedience; but they are unconditional to the nation because God abides faithful, and in the end all His plans and purposes in and through them will be fulfilled. For this very reason He has preserved them as a people in spite of all their sin and disobedience.
Now at the very commencement of Israel’s history—long before there was any likelihood of a schism among the tribes—Moses, speaking in the name of God of the whole nation, says: "If ye walk in My statutes and keep My commandments to do them, . . . I will have respect unto you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and will establish My covenant with you" (Lev. 26:3-9).
On the other hand, he solemnly forewarns them that if they shall "corrupt themselves" and fall away from the living God, "I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it, . . . and Jehovah shall scatter you among the peoples, and ye shall be left few in number among the nations whither Jehovah shall lead you" (Deut. 4:25-27).
This is repeated with solemn emphasis in Deut. 28:62: "And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude." In the light of the Word of God, therefore, and apart from all the absurdities involved in the Anglo-Israel theory, the very fact that the British and American races are so numerous and powerful among the nations precludes the possibility of their being Israel, for when out of Palestine and in dispersion Israel was to become "few in number," and oppressed and downtrodden among the nations.
III. The underlying fallacy in the Anglo-Israel argument from the promises of a multitudinous seed which God made to the fathers (and this, indeed, is one of the chief errors underlying the whole theory), is that it overlooks the fact that those promises, according to the testimony of the prophets, will be fulfilled in the future, when (as stated above) the Jewish nation, restored and converted, shall become under the personal rule of their Messiah, great and mighty for God on this earth. Then, when Israel shall be spiritually restored to God, and in and through the grace of their Messiah they shall be a nation all righteous and planted by God in their own land, "the little one shall become a thousand, and the small one a strong nation" (Isa. 60:21, 22); and so. rapidly and marvellously shall they increase that even the whole promised land, which is fifty times as large as the portion of it "from Dan to Beersheba," which alone they possessed in the past, shall become too small for them, so that they shall say to the surrounding nations: "The place is too strait for me, give place (‘make room’) that I may dwell" (Isa. 49:19, 20).
Now all this has been, and will be, fulfilled in the "Jews," who, as I have shown, are the people of the whole "Twelve Tribes scattered abroad." In the dispersion among the nations they became reduced to "few in number," but when they are restored and blessed God says: "I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small" (Jer. 30:19).
Of the capacity for rapid increase of the Jewish people there is sufficient proof already. The following is from a recent number of The Scattered Nation:—
And if this be so now even in dispersion, we can imagine that in the millennial period, under the fostering care and blessing of God, the favoured nation will increase and multiply so that they will be as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore, innumerable.
THE PERPETUITY OF THE DAVIDIC THRONE.
One great Anglo-Israel argument that the British must be the "lost" Israel is based on the promises which God made to David that his seed and his throne shall be established for ever. Sometimes, indeed (as seen in one of the quotations given in Part I., see page 12), and in keeping with Anglo-Israel logic, the argument is used the other way: "If the Saxons be the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, then the English throne is a continuation of David’s throne, and the seed on it must be the seed of David, and the inference is clear, namely, that all the blessings attaching by the holy promise to David’s throne must belong to England";* and since, according to the dictum of the theory, this "must be so," evidence must somehow be found, both "historical" and from Scripture. So on the historical side a genealogical table has been produced in which the descent of the royal house of England (which may God protect!) is directly traced to David and Judah—a table truly strange and wonderful, and which only shows how easy it is to prove anything if wild guesses and perverted fancies be treated as facts. On these genealogical tables and "histories," however, with regard to which we would only apply to the Anglo-Israel "world" the old Latin proverb—Mundus vult decipi et decipiatur—it would be sheer waste of time to enter here. It is the product of a false supposition, supported by a logic which is also false, both in its premises and conclusions. People whose capacity for credulity is large enough to believe the wild romances spun out by Anglo-Israel writers about Jeremiah’s journey to Ireland with a daughter of Zedekiah, who brought with them as part of their personal luggage the coronation stone which is now in Westminster Abbey, are very welcome to believe it; and one would not trouble much about them if they would only let the Bible alone and not pervert Scripture.
* "The Lost Ten Tribes;’ by Joseph Wild. The Eighteenth Discourse.
But it is the supposed Scriptural "proofs" which impose on some simple-minded Christians, with whom alone we are concerned here. The following passages almost all Anglo-Israel writers fasten upon:—
"The Lord hath sworn unto David in truth, He will not turn from it; of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne" (Psa. 132:11).
"I have sworn unto David My servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations" (Psa. 89:3, 4).
"Thus saith Jehovah: If ye can break My covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, in their season, then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne. . . . Thus saith the Lord: If My covenant of day an4 night stand not, if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I also cast away the seed of Jacob, and of David My servant, so that I will not take of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and will have mercy on them" (Jer. 33:20, 21, 25, 26, R.V.).
The argument drawn from these Scriptures is: If the British be not Israel, and the English throne be not a continuation of the throne of David, where is the fulfilment of these promises? In answer to this crude logic I would observe:—
I. That it seems to be quite a characteristic of Anglo-Israelism to ignore our Lord Jesus Christ as the centre of all promise and prophecy, just as it ignores the existence of the Church and the future kingdom of God, for all which it substitutes the British people and the British Empire. But Christ is the true Son of David, and the only legitimate heir to the Davidic throne. "The sure mercies of David," which are sure (or "faithful," as the word may be better rendered), because God has sworn to fulfil, or "establish" them, are all merged and centred in Him. Hence, when His birth was announced to the Virgin Mary, the Angel Gabriel said: "Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign over the House of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:31-33).
If Israel had received Him His throne would have been established, and His visible reign on earth commenced then. But He was rejected, and so the promise in reference to setting up again of the Davidic kingdom, which had ceased to exist since the days of Zedekiah, was still deferred until the purpose of God with reference to the Church should be accomplished.
But the promises which God made to David have not failed, for Jesus, the true Son of David, lives, and though He is for the present sitting on the throne of God in heaven, He is coming again to set up the throne of His father David, and then "He shall reign over the House of Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end."
II. It was announced in advance that during the "many days" of Israel’s apostasy, and consequent banishment from the land, they "shall abide without a king and without a prince," i.e., without the true Davidic king of God’s appointment, and without a prince of their own choice, as Jewish commentators have them-selves explained, until "the latter days," when restored and converted they shall find in their Messiah the true David, both their King and Prince.*
* See "The Interregnum and After "—the first chapter of my book, "The Ancient Scriptures and the Modern Jew."
III. The only place on earth where a throne of David can have any legitimate place, either in the sight of God or of man, is on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, and it is an absurdity to speak of the continuity of a Davidic throne in England. Thank God that the right of the British Sovereign to his illustrious throne rests on a firmer basis than the fictitious genealogies made out by Anglo-Israelites.
IV. The same Scriptures, which speak of the perpetuity of the Davidic seed and throne, speak also of the unceasing continuance of the priesthood. "Thus saith Jehovah, David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the House of Israel; neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before Me to offer burnt-offerings and to burn oblations, and to do sacrifice continually. . . . Thus saith the Lord.’ If ye can break My covenant of the day, and My covenant of the night, so that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, My ministers" (Jer. 33:17, 20,21).
Now it would be quite as logical to argue that the ministers of the Church of England must be the lineal descendants of the Levites, else God’s promise of the continuance of the priesthood has failed, as to argue from these same Scriptures that there must be somewhere now on earth a throne of David, or else these prophecies have proved false.
The truth is that neither have God’s promises in reference to the throne nor to the priesthood failed—for Christ is, in His blessed Person, the Prophet, Priest, and King. He is all this now at the right hand of God, for not only are all the essentials of the Anorak priesthood fulfilled in Him; but He is "a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek"; and when He is manifested again on earth to take up His throne and reign, "He shall be a priest upon His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both."*
* One fundamental of the Anglo-Israel theory is that the destinies of Israel and Judah are distinct and separate. Most inconsistent, therefore, Is their appropriation of David, the King of Judah, with the promises applying to his royal house for ever; their endeavour should rather be to claim, if they can find in Scripture promises made to descendants of Jeroboam’s line, or some other King of Israel—with David they can have nothing to do.
THE SO-CALLED HISTORIC PROOFS OF ANGLO-ISRAELISM.
I have stated on page 10 that the so-called Historic Proofs of Anglo-Israelism, by which the theory is supported, are derived from pagan myths and fables. Let the following suffice as a sample:—
* "Palestine into Britain," by Rev. L. G. A. Roberts, Secretary of the "Imperial British Israel Association."
I will say nothing here about the Scripture references in the first paragraph, but if any intelligent Bible student will look them up he will see that only a perverted fancy can see in them any justification for the theory here propounded. But, as will be noted, the heathen fable about Aegyptus and Danaus is here brought into the history of Israel, Danaus being identified as Dan, the son of Bilhah; and Aegyptus, I suppose, with Joseph. Now here is the pagan fable, and let the reader judge what connection it has with the history of the sons of Jacob.
Aegyptus, who had fifty sons, and Danaus, who had fifty daughters, were twin brothers. Their father, Belus, the son of Poseidon, identified by the Romans with Neptunus, the god of the Mediterranean Sea, had assigned Libya to Danaus; but, fearing Aegyptus, his brother, he fled with his fifty daughters to Argos in Peloponnessus, where he was elected king by the Argives in place of Gelanor, the reigning monarch. Thither, however, he was followed by the fifty sons of Aegyptus, who demanded his daughters for their wives. Danaus complied with their request, but gave to each of his daughters a dagger with which to kill their husbands in the bridal night. All the sons of 2Egyptus were thus murdered, with but one exception. The life of Lynceus was spared by his wife, Hypermnestra, who, according to the legend, afterwards avenged the death of his forty-nine brothers by killing his father-in-law Danaus.
The fifty daughters of Danaus, known as "the Danaides," were punished in Hades for their crime by being compelled everlastingly to pour water into a sieve. Note also that the fable propagated by Manetho that the Jews were expelled from Egypt as lepers, and the legend of Hecataeus, quoted by Diodorus Siculus that, "the most distinguished of these expelled followed Danaus and Cadmus into Greece, but the greater number were led by Moses into Judea," is also accepted as history. Some of these same pagan writers believed that the object of worship in the Holy of Holies was the head of an ass, and other absurdities of the same nature. I wonder if Anglo-Israel "theologians" accept this also as "history."
I may here add that the identification by Anglo-Israel writers of Tea, or Tephi, the heroine of some Irish ballads, with a princess of the royal house of Judah, whom Jeremiah brought to Ireland in one of the ships - of Dan, and who married Esincaid, King of Ulster, and so. became the ancestress of the royal houses of Ireland and Scotland, and subsequently of England—has just as much "history" for its basis as the identification of Danaus with Dan, or of Aegyptus with Joseph.
The value of Irish legends and ballads (upon which the romances of Anglo-Israel writers are largely based), as sources of "history," may be judged from the following introductory statement taken from a standard compendium of the history of Ireland:
" THE GATE OF HIS ENEMIES."
One brief note more must be added on a point which all Anglo-Israel writers advance as proof positive in support of their theory. It is the promise that God made to Abraham, "Thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies." The term "gate" (or "gates" as often mis-quoted) is taken to signify "strait," "port," or strategic maritime position and these writers grow quite eloquent in pointing out the many maritime points of vantage which are in occupation of the British as a fulfilment of this ancient promise to the chosen people.
Thus the writer of "Fifty Reasons" (W. H. Poole, D.D.), with which I have already dealt, asks (page 6i) "What nation or people are now the gate-holders of the nations? We hold Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus, Acre, Suez Canal, Aden, Perim," and many other important maritime points which he enumerates, and concludes triumphantly "For 500 years Britain has been the gate-holder in the lands of those who hate her"—a very doubtful compliment this, by the way, to British rule over her acquired possessions.
But like many other Anglo-Israel "proofs" it has no basis in philology or in fact. The word Sha’ar ("gate") is used hundreds of times in the Hebrew Bible, but never once either literally or figuratively of a maritime "strait" or "port." The "gate" as being not only the entrance to, but as giving control or possession of the oriental (walled) city, often stands for the city itself. It was, moreover, the most public place of the city, where causes were tried and justice administered (Deut. 21:19; 22:15; Prov. 22:22; Amos 5:10-15); and where elders and judges, kings and princes "sat" officially for counsel or often to exercise authority and rule (Dan. 2:49; Jer. 17:19; 38:7).
The promise that Abraham’s seed should possess the gate of his enemies is idiomatic figurative language, equivalent to saying that they shall be victorious over their enemies, and take possession of their cities. This was fulfilled when at the conquest of Canaan the Israelites took possession of the land and thus assumed the position of lordship over the doomed nations who are spoken of as their "enemies."
We may notice, by way of contrast, that in Jer. 1:14-16 God threatens that as a punishment on Israel for their sin He would call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, and "they shall set every one his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem," which is equivalent to saying that the Gentiles would possess "the gate" of Israel—which as a matter of fact, they are now permitted to do by treading down Jerusalem and scattering the people until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
ARE WE THE TEN TRIBES?
BY THE LATE HORATIUS BONAR, D.D.
(Reprinted by permission from The Sunday at Home, October, 1880.)
That the inhabitants of Great Britain are Israelites is a modern theory which has been widely spread. Its defenders have invented a large number of resemblances or "identifications," on which, in the absence of authentic history or national tradition, they rest their proof.
The languages of our country—Saxon, English, Welsh, and Celtic—have no affinity with the Hebrew; but that is made of no account. The history of the many tribes of which our nation is composed—whether Teutonic, or Saxon, or Caledonian, or Latin, or Scandinavian—is totally distinct from that of any of the tribes of Israel; but authentic history is in this case wholly set aside.
The manners and customs of our nation, both religious and social, have not the slightest resemblance to those of Israel; but this is quite ignored. The physiognomy of our countrymen—whether they are English, or Welsh, or Scotch, or Celtic, or Norwegian, or Norman—is the very opposite of Eastern, the Israelitish face being a marked contrast to the British; but that is reckoned of no consequence.
The names of men, women, and places in our land are not Hebrew or Semitic at all, but are traceable to another class of languages altogether; yet this weighs nothing. The occupation of our land by certain tribes, who we now call the Aboriginal Caledonians, or Britons (long before the Ten Tribes were carried captive to Assyria, and who, therefore, could not be Israelites), is passed by. The grand story of an Israelitish emigration from Assyria into Great Britain, whether by sea or land, we are not told, and there is neither history nor tradition nor local monuments to confirm it. And yet, when was there ever an emigration in which the emigrants did not carry their language, their religion, their manners, their dress, and their national traditions with them ? This the identifiers of Israel with England have not considered. The Two Tribes in their dispersion over wide Europe carried their worship, their language, and their manners, into every European city, and synagogues exist to this day which were set up centuries before Christ, and every European Jew can tell for certain that he is a descendant of Abraham, and lives apart from the Gentiles around; yet, if the Anglo-Israelite theory be true, the Ten Tribes poured in upon Great Britain and settled themselves there, drove back the Aborigines, but left their religion, their books, their priesthood, their language, their names behind them, like cast-off clothes, in order to prevent themselves from being identified, as if ashamed of their ancestry. It must have been with Israelites that Julius Caesar fought; their queen, Boadicea, not a Hebrew name, and their general, Caractacus, not a Hebrew name either: these Israelites must have set up the Druid religion in the island, and to them we must owe Stonehenge and similar relics of antiquity.
There is no evidence in the Bible, or in history, or tradition, for any such Israelitish emigration. Such a flood could not have passed over Europe, either north or south, without leaving some trace or being mentioned in history. If some two or three millions of Israelites did pour into this remote and barbarous island of ours, it must have been before the Romans came; and such a flood of Easterns must have made it a populous island, which certainly it was not.
These cultivated Easterns—for the Israelites, even in their apostasy, were a highly educated and cultivated nation—flowed in upon an island of barbarians, yet produced no impression, taught them no arts, gave them no language, and brought no civilisation to the barbarous Britons and Caledonians; whereas the Romans, who followed, carried language, arts, manners, names with them, and left behind them (though theirs was but a brief military occupation) traces of their Latin footsteps, which remain to us after nineteen centuries. Traverse our island, and you will find in every county names and traditions and ruins that tell you that Rome was once here; but no name or traditions to say that Israel was here. Note: In Cornwall there may be some traces of Phoenician commerce; but we know whence these Eastern strangers came and the object of their coming, viz., to procure tin from the mines.
Are such things credible or possible? Prophecy, moreover, intimates that Israel is to remain scattered and under the curse till the Redeemer comes out of Zion, and will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. The whole Twelve Tribes are under the curse till the great day of national deliverance comes for Judah and for Israel.
Let Rom. 11 be studied in connection with this.
The "identifications" gravely announced in some of the many pamphlets of Anglo-Israelitish literature are somewhat peculiar, and do not carry any extraordinary amount of weight with them to counterbalance the above arguments. Here are a few of them:—
1. "Isles and islands," spoken of by the prophets. These must be the British Isles, and, therefore, their inhabitants are the Ten Tribes.
2. "Israel loveth to oppress," the prophet says; "England loveth to oppress "—therefore, England is Israel.
3. "I believe," says one of the Anglo-Israelitish authors, "that Sunday Schools have been raised up purposely for this identity !"
4. "Israelis to occupy the ends of the earth." Britain does so; therefore, Britain is Israel.
5. "Israelis to possess the gates of his enemies." We possess Gibraltar, Malta, the Cape, etc.; therefore, we are Israel, for these are "the gates" of our enemies.
6. "The smoke and fire coming up from the cities and furnaces of our land are like the pillar cloud of Israel."
7. The people in the South of Ireland trouble us, just as the Canaanites troubled Israel; therefore, we are Israel, for the South of Ireland is peopled by the descendants of the Canaanites.
8. Jacob’s stone is still in our possession. It is that on which Jacob slept, that which was the chief corner-stone of the Temple—saved by Jeremiah, and taken by him to Ireland, and then placed in Westminster Abbey under the Coronation chair; therefore, the English are Israelites.
9. "Jacob’s glory is like the firstling of a bullock" (Deut. 33:17). The identifiers write: "The ox being oftentimes applied to Israel may partly be said to emblemise the world-famed power of John Bull."
No evidence (worthy of its name), either historical, ethnological, linguistic, or traditional, is produced; we get nothing but conjectures and fanciful allusions as the proofs of this singular theory.
Some of its defenders boast that since this theory was started the incomes of our Jewish Mission Societies have fallen off by £15,000. Whether this is true or not we cannot say; but the boast, whatever be its foundation, shows the spirit of the writers and the tendency of the new doctrine.
Noah’s prophecy stands out clear and sharp with its threefold ethnology; Shem, Ham and Japheth are the roots of the nations, and God has kept them distinct: let us beware of confounding them. History tells us that our pedigree is to be traced to Japheth. The modern discoveries in ethnology confirm this beyond a doubt; Eastern monuments, whether of Assyria or Egypt, tell the same story.
The above theory rests on a misreading of prophetic truth: such a misreading robs it of all its Divine spirituality. Outward national prosperity and greatness, not righteousness nor truth, are made the characteristics of the Israel of prophecy. England—full of crime, infidelity, immorality, and ungodliness—is said to be now enjoying the favour of God, which is destined for Israel in the latter day! The knowledge of the glory of the Lord is to be the privilege of these tribes, and by that knowledge they are to be exalted. But this theory gives us another standard of the nation’s greatness—a standard which no part of Scripture recognises, least of all the sure word of prophecy, the light in the dark place. This theory darkens the whole prophetic Word, perverting events and inverting times and seasons. It denies Israel’s present guilt, and lowers our ideas of Israel’s coming glory. It puts a Gentile King and Queen in the place of the nation’s own Messiah, under whose sceptre alone it is to enjoy peace, blessedness and holy greatness. It rejects the apostle’s symbol of the olive tree, in Rom. 11; Not merely confounding the Jewish and the Gentile dispensation, denying that the once good olive tree has. for a season become evil, and its branches cut off to make room for the grafts of the wild olive tree.
This is emphatically and pre-eminently the time of the wild olive tree, whereas this theory not only confuses the wild olive with the good, but denies that it is the grafted branches of the wild olive tree that are now bearing fruit and receiving blessing.
When the dispensation of the wild olive, or Gentile, shall end, then, but not till then, shall the blessing and the glory return to the good olive—that is, to "all Israel."
Let us take the Word of God simply as we find it. Let us beware of fanciful identifications, which, even were they true, are not worth the stress laid upon them. Suppose I could prove, not by conjecture, but by registered genealogies, that I belong to the tribe of Ephraim or Issachar, what does it profit me? Will it make me a holier man to know that I belong to those northern tribes against which the Lord, when here, pronounced His darkest woes, as primarily and pre-eminently His rejectors. "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the Day of Judgment than for thee."
Capernaum, the representative of the Ten Tribes, had been condemned for refusing the Lord of Glory before Jerusalem was cast away.
To esteem external national prosperity as God’s special mark of favour, is to carnalise all the prophets, and to degrade, not only the glory of the latter day, but present privileges in Christ; for what a poor thing these privileges and the glory must be if this sinful nation of ours, that seems ripe for judgment and rejection, be the exhibition of these, the fulfilment of Jehovah’s promises to the beloved people.