This is a critical review of the principal beliefs known as British-Israel, and with this paper we will address statements by W.H. Poole in his book entitled Anglo-Israel Or, The British Nation: The Lost Tribes Of Israel (hereinafter A-I/BN). The purpose of this exposé is to praise such a belief system where it is correct, and to give constructive criticism where it is in error. Before I quote from W.H. Poole’s book, I would like to review Jeremiah’s commission as given by Yahweh.
Therefore, I ask you the question: When the Almighty starts something, has He the power to carry that through to its finish? I’m sure that most all will answer with a resounding “YES”! I have in mind Jeremiah’s commission as found at Jer. 1:10. To comprehend this fact, we must read this passage and examine his assigned commission:
“See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms,  to root out, and  to pull down, and  to destroy, and to  throw down,  to build, and  to plant.”
We will notice that Jeremiah’s Yahweh-given commission consists of six parts: (1) to root out, (2) to pull down, (3) to destroy, (4) to throw down, (5) to build, and (6) to plant. One must understand that by the time of Jeremiah’s commission, all the ten tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel, and the greater part (better than 2/3rds) of the southern kingdom of Judah, were already in Assyrian captivity. Yahweh assigned Jeremiah the task to root out, pull down, destroy, and throw down the remaining part of the nation of Judah, although it was not doomed to final extinction until 70 A.D.
The first four parts of Jeremiah’s commission were completed when Nebuchadnezzar invaded; destroying the city and temple and killing all of Zedekiah’s sons. In doing this, Nebuchadnezzar thought he had destroyed the entire royal line of Judah forever. But Nebuchadnezzar was unaware that in Israel, if all the male heirs were dead, the daughters could receive the inheritance in their place (Num. 27:1-7):
“1 Then came the daughters of Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph: and these are the names of his daughters; Mahlah, Noah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Tirzah. 2 And they stood before Moses, and before Eleazar the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, 3 Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not in the company of them that gathered themselves together against Yahweh in the company of Korah; but died in his own sin, and had no sons. 4 Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family, because he hath no son? Give unto us therefore a possession among the brethren of our father. 5 And Moses brought their cause before Yahweh. 6 And Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying, 7 The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father’s brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them.”
The last that is recorded in the book of Jeremiah is where Jeremiah and King Zedekiah’s daughters had arrived at Tahpanhes, Egypt, where knowledge of their known whereabouts ends. Let’s now go to A-I/BN page 55:
“Did. you ever notice what a wonderful man the Prophet Jeremiah was? How much more fully God revealed himself to him than to the other prophets, and how clearly he saw and wrote of the movements of divine providence to his people and to the nations! The Rev. Dr. Potter says, ‘Everybody knew that the whole political history of every nation of the world was admitted to be written in the book of Daniel.’ And yet when Daniel desired to look into the future he became a student of the books of Jeremiah, and from him the great Prime Minister-of Chaldea learned of the times and seasons that were drawing near, Daniel, ix, 2. The prophet Jeremiah was specially entrusted by the Lord with a royal commission to take the daughters of King Zedekiah in charge, with the king’s household. The king’s sons had been killed, and his own eyes put out. There was a small remnant left. By an act of disobedience, the royal household was taken away to Egypt, Jeremiah Ixiii. 6 [sic xliii. 7, 13], ‘So they came into the land of Egypt,’ but they were commanded to leave immediately, ‘For I will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt.’ They were commanded to go to the north and west to Tarshish, Isaiah lxvi. 19.”
I will now quote Isa. 66:19 as cited here, plus verse 20 which Poole didn’t include: “19 And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles [Nations]. 20 And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto Yahweh out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith Yahweh, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of Yahweh.”
I like the Septuagint rendered by Charles Thomson a little better than the KJV on Isa. 66:19-20:
“19 And I will leave among them a sign, and those of them who escape I will send to the nations – to Tharsis and Phud and Lud and Mosach and Thobel and Greece and to the far distant isles. They who have not heard My name nor seen My glory – even they shall proclaim My glory among the nations; 20 and they shall bring your brethren from all the nations, as a gift for [Yahweh] with horses and chariots, in litters borne by mules with umbrellas over them, to the holy city Jerusalem, saith [Yahweh]; as the children of Israel brought up sacrifices for Me with songs of praise to the house of [Yahweh].”
I will now attempt to untangle some of the language used in these two verses. You will notice that both the KJV and Thomson’s Septuagint uses the phrase “in chariots, and in litters” either “borne by mules” or “upon mules”. Of all the Biblical commentators, Adam Clarke was accomplished in several languages as well as history and the Classics. The following is his comment on Isa. 66:20:
“Verse 20. And in chariots – ‘And in counes’] There is a sort of vehicle much used in the east, consisting of a pair of hampers or cradles, thrown across a camel’s back, one on each side; in each of which a person is carried. They have a covering to defend them from the rain and the sun. Thevenot calls them counes, i. p. 356. Maillet describes them as covered cages hanging on both sides of a camel. ‘At Aleppo,’ says Dr. Russell, ‘women of inferior condition in longer journeys are commonly stowed, one on each side of a mule, in a sort of covered cradles.’ Nat. Hist. of Aleppo, p. 89. These seem to be what the prophet means by the word ... tsabbim ...” Strong’s assigns #H6632 to tsâb.
Covered wagons might fall in this category! And the KJV rendered this same word, Strong’s #H6632, as “covered” in the phrase “covered wagons” at Numbers 7:3. If that is true, Thomson in his translation of the Septuagint gave it a good shot by rendering it “umbrellas”! It is amazing, but in a television presentation on the Learning Channel about ten years ago, there was a program entitled The Frozen Tombs Of Siberia where archaeologists were excavating Scythian tombs that dated from 500 B.C. to a few centuries A.D. They showed in one scene a carriage, cart, or wagon that had wheels very much like the covered wagons that were used when our people trekked to the west in America in search of new land. A covered wagon is nothing more than a wagon with a tent or canopy built on it (an umbrella if you will).
At this point, it would be well to read Isa. 66:18, the verse just previous to this passage to establish just who the “those that escape of them” were at verse 19, and I will have to amplify it for clarity:
“For I know their [the residue of idolatrous Judah’s] works and their [the residue of idolatrous Judah’s] thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.” I added “the residue of idolatrous Judah’s” here, as the subject is “Jerusalem” at Jer. 66:10, so “the escaped of them” has to be someone who escaped from Jerusalem and would eventually make their way to Tarshish (Spain) ... and to “the isles afar off”. I know that in-between these two destinations that Isaiah also names Pul, Lud, Tubal and Javan, and Thomson’s LXX has Greece for Javan. Of these named locations, Pul is uncertain. I see these territories as once being occupied by Lud, Tubal and Javan, but by Jeremiah’s time they were also occupied by the lost tribes of Israel, and were the nations that were to “come, and see my [Yahweh’s] glory.” I know of no other interpretation that sufficiently explains Isa. 66:19! While Isaiah 66:19-20 does help clarify the matter of Jeremiah’s escape from Jerusalem with Baruch and the king’s daughters, it also includes all of the lost tribes of Israel. It appears that the isles afar off would serve merely as a launching ramp for many of them to depart for America, the New Jerusalem.
It is usually advantageous to find where these things are first mentioned, and we find two of the names from Isa. 66:19 also mentioned at Gen. 10:4-5:
“4 And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. 5 By these were the isles of the [Nations] divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.” [underling mine]
Here Javan equals Ionia (that part of Greece belonging to the Ionians), and Tarshish is pretty well known as a part of modern Spain, and Jeremiah did indeed travel to Spain where he dropped off one of Zedekiah’s daughters before he proceeded to Ireland (i.e. the isles afar off) bringing the other, named Tea Tephi, who married into the royal branch of the Scarlet-Thread (Zerah-Judah), thus completing the building and planting phase of his commission!
But the most important part of this story is that Yahweh DID NOT lie to David in His promise to him, recorded at Psalm 89:35-37:
“35 Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. 36 His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. 37 It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven.”
This means that there would not be a single 24 hour day that one of David’s heirs wouldn’t be in kingly authority. The last time I checked, the sun and moon were still shining! If we chop it off with Zedekiah that amounts to 2,600 years of Yahweh lying to David!
As one can clearly see, if Jeremiah’s Yahweh-given commission cannot be squared with Scripture, it creates all kinds of ambiguities that cannot be solved, and Yahweh is not the god of confusion. I believe that Isaiah 66:18-20 all boils down to Jeremiah transplanting the glory of Yahweh from old Jerusalem to the New Jerusalem (America) via Britain. Thus, British-Israel comprehends only part of the picture. We must remember that it is stated at Amos 3:7: “Surely Yahweh singular-Elohim will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”
This is absolute proof that Jeremiah’s commission would be revealed to a prophet before he (Jeremiah) ever came on the scene. Here again, we must go to Isaiah, and even Ezekiel, but inasmuch as this is an area where British-Israel interprets it correctly, I will quote from A-I/BN, page 57, on Judah’s plucking up:
“Now when the Lord speaks of his own people Israel, he uses the same figure, Jeremiah Ixv. 4 [sic xlv. 4], ‘... that which I have planted will I pluck up, even this whole land, and that which I have built will I break down.’ And he says Isaiah xxxvii. 37 [sic xxxvii. 31-32]:
“‘And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.’
“This remnant is not to be destroyed, it shall grow again and be a fruit-bearing kingdom. There is to be a nation transplanted to a new soil, for thus saith [Yahweh], Ezekiel xvii. 22 [sic xvii. 22-24]:
“‘Thus saith [Yahweh Elohim]; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent: In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell. And all the trees of the field shall know that I [Yahweh] have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I [Yahweh] have spoken and have done it.’
“Nimrod had planted a tree (Babylon) and it had been cut down. Asshur had planted a tree (Assyria) and it had been plucked up by the roots. Mizraim had planted a beautiful tree in a good soil (Egypt) but it had withered away. Now [Yahweh] says, ‘I will plant a tree (Great Britain) and you Jeremiah, are to be my deputy in this thing, I have this day appointed thee ... to plant a nation.’
“Dr. Adam Clark says, ‘This branch is another Monarchy which shall come up in the line of David,’ – this high cedar is the royal family of the tribe of Judah, the highest branch is David’s family, and the tender one is a daughter of king Zedekiah.’
“If a new kingdom is to be planted, it is reasonable to ask, where? Not in the East, for the Babylonian and Medo-Persian empires are crumbling to the dust. Not in the South in Egypt, or in Ethiopia ....”
I should point out a couple of things here, as Poole reversed the order of Jer. 45:4 “... that which I have planted will I pluck up, even this whole land, and that which I have built will I break down” which should correctly read “... that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land.” It doesn’t change the context, but I thought I should point it out as someone might make more of it than necessary. The other item is where Poole quoted Adam Clarke thusly: “This branch is another Monarchy which shall come up in the line of David ...”, but fully what Clarke stated was, “I will raise up another monarchy, which shall come in the line of David, namely, the Messiah; who shall appear as a tender plant, as to his incarnation; but he shall be high and eminent; his Church, the royal city, the highest and purest ever seen on the face of the earth, (vol. 4, p. 468).” To say the least, this was a bit devious on the part of Poole! In some areas I have a lot of respect for Adam Clarke, but he is totally amiss on his comment concerning Ezek. 17:22! Christ was not the tender one spoken of here! I guess we can’t blame Clark, though, for some lexicons make the same error. Those who make this error confuse the young twigs and a tender one at Isaiah 52:2, which is a prophecy of Yahshua Christ. By making this error, they would have Yahweh lying to David from the killing of Zedekiah’s sons until the birth of Christ, or about 590 years. And since Christ didn’t take the throne at His first advent, they would have Yahweh lying to David now for approximately 2600 years, and that’s a lot of lying!
A Commentary; Critical, Experimental, And Practical On The Old And New Testaments by Jamieson, Fausset & Brown comments thusly on Ezekiel 17:3-5: “... took the highest branch – King Jeconiah, then but eighteen years old, and many of the chiefs and people with him (2 Ki 24:8, 12–16). The Hebrew for ‘highest branch’ is, properly, the fleece-like tuft at the top of the tree. (So in Ez 31:3-14). The cedar, as a tall tree, is the symbol of kingly elevation (compare Da 4:10–12). 4. land of traffic … merchants – Babylon (2 Ki 24:15, 16), famous for its transport traffic on the Tigris and Euphrates. Also, by its connection with the Persian Gulf, it carried on much commerce with India ...”
At Ezek. 17:22 it says “In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it.” Babylon was never at any time a mountain in the height of Israel! That brings up another interesting question: Where other than Judaea in the time of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel would there have been a mountain (nation) of the height of Israel? The only other Israelites that were not migrating from place to place at that time were the Israelites who had settled in Britain. Therefore, it could be no other place! Some might argue that Rome, being made up largely of Zerah-Judah might qualify, but history proves that they did not endure the test of time.
Another thing we should consider about Britain is the fact that they have fulfilled Yahweh’s promise to Jacob at Gen. 35:11 which reads: “And God said unto him, I am [the] Almighty [Elohim]: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee ...” No other great world power or empire has ever achieved the status of becoming a nation and a company of nations in all of history other than Great Britain!
For the next portion I am going to quote from W.H. Poole’s A-I/BN on page 43. I can not entirely prove nor entirely disprove this statement, so it will be up to the reader to make an assessment:
“It is necessary, here, that we look for a moment at our Biblical geography. If our position be correct, we will have a strong argument drawn from this source, and so we have. In the 10th ch. of Genesis, we have the names of the countries allotted to the sons and grandsons of Noah.
“‘The Isles of the Gentiles,’ Calmet says, ‘included all those lands to which they were wont to go by water.’ To Javan was given the British Isles, and I have an ancient map by Ptolemy on which it is so named, England and Scotland are named Javan. Those Isles on the ancient maps and in the Bible are called, ‘Isles of the West.’ To Javan’s two sons, Tarshish and Kittim, was given the western coast of Europe, that we name Spain, Portugal, and France. It also is so named on the ancient maps. Frequent mention is made in the Scriptures of ‘Tarshish,’ the ‘Isles of Tarshish,’ and of ‘the ships of Tarshish,’ and ‘the men and commerce of Tarshish,’ as also of Javan and Kittim, or Chittim.
“‘Tarshish,’ says Hillier, ‘was the west coast of Europe, afterwards called Gaul, and in later times, Spain and France.’ Bochart says, ‘All agree that Tarshish is Spain, sometimes called Tartessus, from the two Greek words ‘Tharseis’ and ‘Nesas,’ the Islands of Tarshish. To this Aristotle, Strabo, Pausanias Aviernus, all agree. Other learned ones say the word comes from ‘Tar,’ a border, or round about, and ‘shish,’ white, or bright, or shining, the name given to England from the whiteness of its cliffs on the shore, or as one would see them from a Southern view, some say Tarshish means ‘Tin Islands.’
“To talk of Tarsus in Cilicia is supremely ridiculous. We are told in a classic story, ‘that the Tyrians fled to Tarshish from the arms of Alexander,’ but going to Cilicia would have no meaning, as it would be no escape from the dreaded danger.”
Here is William Finck’s evaluation: “Notice that these statements in W.H. Poole’s A-I/BN have no citations, and surely they can never be documented anyway, for they are all the product of some British-Israel romantic’s mere speculation! ... NO ‘ancient map by Ptolemy’ is known to have ever survived to our times, and we only have reconstructions drawn from Ptolemy’s work after copies of his manuscripts were rediscovered in the late 13th century. One reconstruction, from the 15th century, is extant today (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geographia_(Ptolemy)), and it contains Roman labels for the British Isles. According to the university of Chicago website:
“On Ptolemy’s maps of the British Isles, Ireland was ‘Hibernia’ and Britain ‘Albion’, the islands together considered to be ‘Brittania’, and no such label as ‘Ionia’ existed in his work in relation to these islands.”