This is the 5th critical review of the principal beliefs known as British-Israel, and as with the first four, we will address statements which W.H. Poole made in his book entitled Anglo-Israel Or, The British Nation: The Lost Tribes Of Israel (hereinafter A-I/BN). The purpose of this series is to confirm such a belief system where it is correct and to give constructive criticism where it is in error.
In part 4, I cited W.H. Poole on pages 10-11 where he was trying to draw a contrast between the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In doing so he confused the pureblooded covenant Judahites with the impostor race-mixed Canaanite-jews. In fact, this is the main flaw wrongly perceived by British-Israel. With this paper, we’ll pick up where we left off in part 4:
“The territory Israel left was colonized by strangers, and a teacher sent back to instruct them, 2 Kings xvii. 27. The territory of the Jews remained vacant, or occupied only by a few poor, Jer. xl. 7.”
My Objection!: The “vacant territory” here is not a curse against, nor does it besmirch Judah. The “few poor” Kenite-Edomite-Canaanites left in Judaea does not establish a blot upon the character of the pureblooded covenant Judahites taken captive to Babylon! Surely W.H. Poole is grasping at straws!
“Israel was to be chief [productivity wise] among the nations, Isa. liv. I5-17. The Jews were to be a trembling and faint hearted people. ‘My servant (Israel) shall eat, but ye (Jews) shall be hungry: My servant (Israel) shall drink, but ye (Jews) shall be thirsty: My servant (Israel) shall rejoice, but ye (Jews) shall be ashamed: My servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart and shall howl for vexation of spirit.’ Isa. lxv. 14.” [italics mine]
My Objection!: Here again, W.H. Poole is confusing the pureblooded Judaeans with the bad-fig racially-mixed Canaanite-jews. A good portion of British-Israel is still doing this same thing today! In doing so, they hate the industrious Judahite-Germans while embracing the parasitic Canaanite-jews in their midst.
“Israel never returned to their own land; a large number of the Jews did return after the decree of Cyrus. Israel is five times called ‘backsliding Israel,’ a term not once applied to, Judah. Judah is four times called ‘treacherous Judah,’ a term not once used to Israel.”
My Objection!: British-Israel makes much to-do demanding the title “the Jews” (in their minds meaning true Judah) is a “by-word” and that somehow Judah wasn’t divorced as the ten northern tribes were. And here they continue their diatribe by stating: “... Israel is five times called ‘backsliding Israel,’ ...” Let’s compare the language used at Jer. 52:3-4 and 1 Kings 9:7-8:
Jer. 52:3-4: “3 For through the anger of Yahweh it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 4 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about.”
1 Kings 9:7-8: “7 Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people: 8 And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath Yahweh done thus unto this land, and to this house?”
The first passage at Jer. 52:3-4 speaks of the casting out of the remnant (and I do mean only a remnant) nation of Judah, while the second passage at 1 Kings 9:7-8 speaks of all 12 tribes of Israel under the rule of Solomon. Thus, it is quite clear that both Israel and Judah were “cast out” and became a “byword” as well as a “hissing” and a “proverb”. What else does it mean to “cast out” other than to divorce? The punishment Yahweh placed upon Judah is in the same language that is used for Yahweh’s divorcement of all the twelve tribes of Israel. Even though the term “divorce” is not used in relation to Judah, all the same causes and effects are there.
William Finck states this concerning this topic: “There is no real Greek word for ‘divorce’, but rather the word usually used means ‘put away’, as in ‘put off’. In the sense of marriage, it is often translated as ‘divorce’, yet so many novices try to make a distinction between the two, as if they were one. The terms ‘put away’ or ‘put off’, ‘cast out’ or ‘divorce’, all mean the same exact thing when used of a wife by a husband!”
Like the Greek, there is no word in the Hebrew for “divorce” or “divorcement”. The Strong’s number for “divorce” or “divorcement” is 3748, and can be found at Jer. 3:8; Deut. 24:1, 3 & Isa. 50:1, and simply means “a cutting”. It just happens that the term “divorce” is the closest word in the English to translate the context of the Hebrew. “To sever” might be a better translation, as “a cutting” simply implies something that can never be put back together again. It should now be clear that this argument by British-Israel for the ten northern tribes being divorced and Judah allegedly not being divorced is flawed.
W.H. Poole continues his faulty premise of contrasting Israel to what he terms the “Jews” on page 12:
“Israel had nothing to do with the rejection and crucifixion of Christ. The Jews put him to death. How great the contrast.”
My Objection!: Again, W.H. Poole is not playing with a full deck, as he does not have all the pieces of the puzzle. The missing card in W.H. Poole’s deck is the Canaanite-jew as contrasted to the racially pure Judahite. Again, I must point out there are three entities that must be identified here: (1) the house of Israel, (2) the house of Judah, and (3) the Canaanite-Edomite-bad-fig-jews! Now the house of Judah absolutely did not crucify Christ! All one need do is go to Psalm 22:16-18, 20 where David, king and prophet, states:
“16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. ... 20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.”
While it was the Roman soldiers who parted Christ’s garments, it was the “power of the dog” who was responsible for His crucifixion, and the Canaanites were always identified as dogs. This ends our criticism of W.H. Poole’s mistaken contrast between Israel and who he termed the “Jews”. I don’t want to be too hard on W.H. Poole inasmuch as he was about the best we had in 1879! But that’s no reason why we should follow his defective assumptions today. I’m just happy that he did as well as he did for his time period.
W.H. Poole on pages 15-16 mentions that one of his contemporary critics argued “that Judah was to retain the kingdom, and the crown, and the sceptre until the Messiah, Jesus, came,” and he quotes Gen. xlix. 10: “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet. until Shiloh come.” W.H. Poole answered his critic thusly:
“The usual interpretation given to this passage is that ‘Shiloh’ means Christ, and that Judah was to hold the sceptre of dominion, or Empire until Christ came. But who does not see the inconsistency and unreliability of such an interpretation? The word ‘Shiloh’ is twenty times given in the Holy Scriptures, and in every case it means a place, and not once does it mean a person. ‘The children of Israel came to Shiloh.’ ‘Came to Joshua to Shiloh.’ ‘Cast lots for them in Shiloh.’ ‘Spake unto them at Shiloh.’ ‘The house of God was at Shiloh.’ ‘The Lord appeared in Shiloh.’ ‘Make this house as Shiloh.’ And many more of the same import. Then, who is it that has read history that does not know that Judah, or the Jews, never had the sceptre of Dominion for one day, since the days of Zedekiah, no, not for an hour. When the sacred vessels of the Holy temple were taken to Babylon the cup of Chaldean iniquity was nearly full, and that great Empire came to its death in a ball room. They were weighed in the balance and were found wanting. The Persian kings, to the number of fourteen, swayed their sceptre over all those lands in the East. Then came Alexander the great, and after him the Syrian conquerors, next ten or eleven of the Ptolemy’s, who all held the country tributary to them. The Maccabean or Asmonean family, nine of them, claimed the kingly authority; but they were not of Judah or Jews; then the country fell into the hands of Pompey and the twelve Caesars; and when Christ came, Herod, who was an Edomite, a creature of Rome, held nominal sway over the land and the people of the Jews. Here were thirty-eight creatures of foreign birth and alien blood, who usurped authority and claimed to govern the land. Surely that system of things could never have been the true meaning of the venerable Jacob when he called his sons to him to hear what would come to pass in the latter days.
“The true meaning of this passage is ‘The sceptre shall not depart from Judah till rest comes,’ or ‘Till he comes to rest’.”
Whatever else might be said about W.H. Poole, we have to admit that he was quite accomplished in Biblical history during the inter-testament period. He is quite correct where he points out that after Zedekiah, there wasn’t a single kingly ruler in Judaea who descended from the royal house of Judah. He is also accurate that the Maccabean or Asmonean (Hasmonean) families were not of the royal house of Judah, they were rather from the priestly house of Levi. It was only under the Maccabees that Judaea ever attained any kind of independence during the inter-testament era. And even that turned out to be a disaster with the absorption of the Edomites that later infiltrated the Temple and political life of Judaea, and they were still in power during the time of Christ. One would do well to become acquainted with this history as well as W.H. Poole understood it! In fact, without such an understanding, one simply cannot fully comprehend the New Testament, as some of W.H. Poole’s other errors reveal! We should build upon W.H. Poole’s premises that are correct and discard those which are not!
When studying and researching Scripture, one cannot avoid the subject of race, and W.H. Poole is no exception! I pointed out in an earlier part of this series how he botched the racial ancestry of Yahshua Christ. In the next portion we are going to cite from his book starting with page 16, where he does much better:
“Dr. Fairbairn in his imperial dictionary says, ‘‘Shiloh’ is now generally admitted to be an adjective meaning ‘peaceful’.’ Kitto gives the meaning of the Hebrew as, ‘To rest, to be at peace.’
“I might quote a score of eminent writers to support the same opinion. The sceptre of Judah remained in the house of David; and in the family of David it was transferred from the East to the ‘Isles of the West,’ where it will remain until the time of the ‘peaceful’ union of the two houses so long divided, that is the ‘rest’ promised in the latter days. The words of the venerable Jacob have in them a great wealth of meaning.
“Another objection is stated thus: ‘The tribal distinctions were entirely lost in Babylon and Assyria, and there was no distinction between Judah and Israel. The ten tribes returned home with the Jews after the decree by Cyrus.’ I am surprised that anyone in this day of bible reading would make such a statement. Turn to Ezra ch. ii, and read of a Court of inquiry appointed to examine certain claims to the priesthood, after the return to Jerusalem, and note how that Court rejected all those persons whose families were unable to trace their family and tribal distinctions; of some it was said, ver. 59:
“‘But they could not show their father’s house.’
“And ver. 62:
“‘These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.’
“Here we find them examining their tribal records in Jerusalem after their return. Then, if this objection has any force, how can we prove the ancestral line of Jesus Christ, if the tribal distinctions and family records were lost; certainly Matthew and Luke did not so understand it, for they produce the family records of both sides of the house from Abraham to Christ. We have also the tribal distinctions of Zacharias and Elizabeth, and of Anna the prophetess, and of Paul and Barnabas and many others. In Luke ch. ii, we have an incidental passage, which of itself sends the objector into cloud-land:
“‘And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David.)’
“How could they go every man to his own city if they had no family record of where to go? Even to this day the Jews have their tribal distinctions.” [Which; Judah or “Jews”?]
With this last sentence, Poole again misinterprets the context of the subject, though he is correct here in showing the importance of genealogy in Ezra’s, Nehemiah’s and Joseph’s day. It was important then, and it is just as important today. One simply cannot be a kinsman of Yahshua Christ without a perfect genealogy all the way back to Adam! Christ’s genealogy was perfect all the way back to Adam, no matter how critics try to prove otherwise. While W.H. Poole did quite well on this portion of his book, he didn’t do as well at other passages. We shall now go to pages 19-20 where Poole addresses a different subject:
“And again in ch. viii, Zechariah rises from the then present, into the far off future of Israel, and says:
“‘20 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: 21 And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also. 22 Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts ... In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.’
“In these passages they are sifted through the nations, preserved, remembered, redeemed, and greatly blessed in their relation to God, and all this, ‘after Judah shall have been bent unto the Lord,’ an event in the future.”
At this point, I will have to disagree with W.H. Poole, as I don’t believe that it is “an event in the future”. Much of the prophecy in the minor prophets has already been fulfilled, although not all. Therefore, it is essential that we determine whether such a prophecy is past or future. As I don’t have any evidence from commentaries on what I’m about to say, I would inform the reader that what I’m about to write is my own idea, and the reader can make up his own mind.
We know for a fact that this passage has absolutely nothing to do with any Canaanite-jew. So that leaves only Israelites of the tribes of Judah, Levi or Benjamin who happened to be citizens of Judaea, which narrows the field considerably. In fact, I believe, that that narrows the field to one of Christ’s apostles, but which one? This passage is clearly speaking of several cities in several nations of people speaking several languages, and the “ten men” in verse 23 could very well represent the ten lost tribes, and that would narrow the field down to the apostle Paul being called to the ethné! Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin, but Benjamin was assigned to Judah by the Almighty, so Paul was also a Judaean as Zechariah designates, (wrongly translated “jew”). “Catching hold of the skirt was a gesture naturally used to entreat assistance and protection”, (Adam Clarke’s Commentary). Wasn’t this what Paul’s converts did? Now back to W.H. Poole on page 18:
“In Ezekiel, after the Lord has opened the graves of Israel in the great valley full of bones, and caused them to know him, and filled them with the spirit, the prophet was commanded to take two sticks, or standards, thus, xxxvii. 16:
“‘Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, for Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: 17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. 18 And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? 19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. 20 And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. 21 And say unto them, thus saith the Lord God; behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: 23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. 24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. 25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.’
“Can anyone say there is no distinction here between Judah and Israel, or that this union took place in Babylon, or on the return home?”
It is true that the house of Israel is not the house of Judah and the house of Judah is not the house of Israel, but some of the distinction which W.H. Poole points out are distinctions between true Israelites and Canaanite-jews! As far as the 37th chapter of Ezekiel and the parable of the dry bones are concerned, I would liken it to America coming to life and standing on her feet in 1776 followed by Ezekiel chapters 38 & 39 where America will be attacked by Gog and Magog. But I would hardly expect an Englishman or a Canadian to have such a perspective especially in 1879, shortly after the American Civil War. Probably the idea of Gog and Magog attacking America was the farthest thing from W.H. Poole’s mind. More difficulties will be addressed in the next paper. I warn you in advance, British-Israel has many questions to be addressed.