Watchman's Teaching Letter #79 November 2004


This is my seventy-ninth monthly teaching letter and continues my seventh year of publication. Since we have completed a series of lessons in defense of Herodotus, we will now continue by defending Josephus; that he was also Anointed of Yahweh for the work he accomplished. In the August, 2004 lesson, #76, it was demonstrated that Herodotus’ writings go hand-in-glove with the prophecy of Daniel 11:1-3. It was shown that the Darius the Mede” at verse 1 should be Cyrus. How very many have been confused trying to figure out the three kings” spoken of in verse 2, and come up with all kinds of opinions without any meaningful success reading their KJV or other Bibles rendering that error. No doubt, you were amazed at how easy that passage is to understand once one understands that 11:1 should read Cyrus.” Once we have established the reality that Josephus was also an Anointed witness to divine prophecy, many other passages of Scripture will be opened to us. 


After a long presentation of several lessons justifying the writings of Herodotus, we will now start our case in the defense of Josephus. The following is a portion of the Introductory Essay” by the Rev. Henry Stebbing, D.D., from the book Josephus by William Whiston, printed by Kregel, Introduction pages XVI-XVII:

Now as to myself, I have so described these matters as I have found them and read them. But if any one is inclined to another opinion about them, let him enjoy his different sentiments without any blame from me.’ But the personal character of a writer must not be passed over-in the estimate taken of the honesty of his narrative. In this respect Josephus may claim honourable attention. The predominant sentiment of his writings is veneration for God and his providence, nor does he omit any opportunity of showing the value of integrity, or the supreme beauty of holiness. His faults may, therefore, fairly be ascribed to somewhat of timidity on the one side, and of literary vanity on the other. Most of the errors with which he has been charged are clearly referable to these sources. Of the others, which cannot be so accounted for, there are some that appear to have originated in the different opinions which prevailed among the Jews of his time, and threw no small obscurity over portions of the Scripture narrative; while the remainder, whether omissions, or statements plainly opposed to the inspired history, must be left without conjecture, and are better disposed of by the acknowledgment that such discrepancies cannot be accounted for, unless by suppositions which involve us in new difficulties.

It is somewhat curious that the two severest critics of Josephus should be the Romanist historian Baronius, and the sceptic Bayle; the one little attentive to the rules of historical evidence, and readily admitting into his work whatever the flood of common tradition cast up; the other anxious only to discover differences in the language of those who acknowledged the divinity of revelation, that he might, by attacking them separately, destroy the treasure equally dear to both. The latter, in a pretended fit of zeal, observes, I have been long indignant against Josephus, and those who spare him on this subject. A man who made open profession of Judaism, the law of which was founded on the divinity of Scripture, dares to recount things otherwise than he read of them in the book of Genesis. He changes, he adds, he suppresses circumstances; in a word, he puts himself in opposition to Moses in such a manner that one of them must be a false historian.’ This statement involves a gross injustice, and is as illogical as it is unjust. Two writers may assuredly disagree in some points, without exposing themselves to the sweeping charge of falsehood as their general character. If disagreement in a few instances should oblige us to consider, that of the writers so differing only one can be worthy of credit, and that, consequently, the rest ought to be regarded as undeserving of any attention, the number of historical references would soon be diminished to such a degree, that the next step would be the annihilation of history altogether. The fact is, that wherever human inquiry begins, human error will be introduced, in greater or less proportion. There will, accordingly, be discrepancies in the statement of witnesses; but, except in the points where they precisely differ, they may be in such general harmony, that each may strengthen the cause of each, and neither the one nor the other, notwithstanding their occasional contradictions, merit the charge of injustice or dishonesty. A very slight comparison of the most esteemed historians will afford ample illustrations of this fact. The experience gathered in the collection of evidence of any kind tends to the same purpose, and plainly shows that several witnesses to a narrative may differ in many minor points, yet be highly deserving of credit as to the main and more important facts.”

I quoted this passage to show you that, like Herodotus, Josephus has had his critics from the very beginning and they have followed him down through history. And criticism for Josephus exists in the Israel Identity Message today by a few who think he was a bad-fig Jew.” But we must remember that in Antiquities 11:5:2, Josephus testifies to where some of the ten tribes” were during his time. This is what that passage says:

When Esdras had received this epistle, he was very joyful, and began to worship God, and confessed that he had been the cause of the king’s great favor to him, and that for the same reason he gave all the thanks to God. So he read the epistle at Babylon to those Jews that were there; but he kept the epistle itself, and sent a copy of it to all those of his own nation that were in Media; and when these Jews had understood what piety the king had towards God, and what kindness he had for Esdras, they were all greatly pleased; nay, many of them took their effects with them, and came to Babylon, as very desirous of going down to Jerusalem; but then the entire body of the people of Israel remained in that country; wherefore 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. Now there came a great number of priests, and Levites, and porters, and sacred singers, and sacred servants, to Esdras. So he gathered those that were in the captivity together beyond Euphrates, and staid there three days, and ordained a fast for them, that they might make their prayers to God for their preservation, that they might suffer no misfortunes by the way, either from their enemies, or from any other ill accident ...”

This establishes our first case in favor for Josephus – that he confirmed the location of at least some of the Ten Lost Tribes during his time. If we toss out the witness of Josephus, we help destroy the Israel Identity Kingdom Message. Surely, this doesn’t help gather the sheep! How could Josephus, with this kind of witness, be an evil person? Testimony such as this makes Josephus not just an ordinary witness, but a Yahweh Anointed witness! Now a lot of people today are calling the Israel Identity Message Christian Identity.” Any old church could claim Christian Identity”, but the designation Israel Identity” separates the true believers of Israel’s Identity” from the others. Some will abbreviate Christian Identity” to simply CI.” If anyone is so ashamed of the Israel Identity label, let them get entirely out of the movement! And for anyone who censures Josephus’ Anointed witness, let them go with them.

The following is taken from the preface of Josephus’ Wars on the Libronix Library System. Because the translators fail to differentiate between the terms Jew”, Judean or Israelite, toleration is necessary:





1. Whereas the war which the Jews made with the Romans hath been the greatest of all those, not only that have been in our times, but, in a manner, of those that ever were heard of; both of those wherein cities have fought against cities, or nations against nations; while some men who were not concerned in the affairs themselves, have gotten together vain and contradictory stories by hearsay, and have written them down after a sophistical manner; and while those that were there present have given false accounts of things, and this either out of a humor of flattery to the Romans, or of hatred towards the Jews; and while their writings contain sometimes accusations, and sometimes encomiums, but nowhere, the accurate truth of the facts, I [Josephus] have proposed to myself, for the sake of such as live under the government of the Romans, to translate those books into the Greek tongue, which I formerly composed in the language of our country, and sent to the Upper Barbarians; I Joseph, the son of Matthias, by birth an Hebrew, a priest also, and one who at first fought against the Romans myself, and was forced to be present at what was done afterwards, [am the author of this work.]

2. Now at the time when this great concussion of affairs happened, the affairs of the Romans themselves were in great disorder. Those Jews also, who were for innovations, then arose when the times were disturbed; they were also in a flourishing condition for strength and riches, insomuch that the affairs of the east were then exceeding tumultuous, while some hoped for gain, and others were afraid of loss in such troubles; for the Jews hoped that all of their nation which were beyond Euphrates would have raised an insurrection together with them. The Gauls also, in the neighborhood of the Romans, were in motion, and the Celtae were not quiet; but all was in disorder after the death of Nero. And the opportunity now offered induced many to aim at the royal power; and the soldiery affected change, out of the hopes of getting money. I thought it therefore an absurd thing to see the truth falsified in affairs of such great consequence, and to take no notice of it; but to suffer those Greeks and Romans that were not in the wars to be ignorant of these things, and to read either flatteries or fictions, while the Parthians, and the Babylonians, and the remotest Arabians, and those of our nation beyond Euphrates, with the Adiabeni, by my means, knew accurately both whence the war begun, what miseries it brought upon us, and after what manner it ended.”

[Note on Upper Barbarians”: Who these Upper Barbarians, remote from the sea, were, Josephus himself will inform us, sect. 2, viz., the Parthians and Babylonians, and remotest Arabians [or the Jews <sic. Israelites> among them]; besides the Jews <sic. Israelites> beyond Euphrates, and the Adiabeni, or Assyrians. Whence we also learn, that these Parthians, Babylonians, the remotest Arabians [or at least the Jews <sic. Israelites> among them], as also the Jews <sic. Israelites> beyond Euphrates, and Adiabeni, or Assyrians, understood Josephus’s Hebrew, or rather Chaldaic, books of the Jewish War, before they were put into the Greek language.]” (<> mine.)

While this last note is not very well worded, it comes tantalizingly close to the truth. Everything else aside, it is clear that Josephus wrote his Wars in Aramaic (here called Chaldaic”) so that the Upper Barbarians” (lost tribes) could understand that portion of his writings. No doubt it was Josephus’ intention of trying to reunite the Tribes of Israel to fight against the Romans. Too bad he didn’t understand that most of the Romans, Gauls, Greeks etc. were also Israelites. Secondly, from what is said here, Josephus understood the location of at least some of the lost tribes of Israel in his day. Possibly Josephus may have also had the knowledge that some of the lost tribes were of Judah, the fighting tribe. If we are to listen to some of today’s Josephus critics, we would have to discard this valuable data and trash it. This is invaluable knowledge for the furtherance of the Israel Kingdom Identity Message! This is the kind of intelligence that helps gather the Israel sheep rather than scatter them! (Matthew 12:30)

This note is interesting because it mentions the Parthians.” There are 77 references in Josephus on the Parthians, so it might be well to do a thorough research on that subject. What I’m about to present to you may well be correct, Steven B. Collins in his book The Lost” Ten Tribes Of Israel ... Found! states on page 228: ... the Israelite nature of the Parthian Empire was apparent from its inception. It needs to be stressed, however, that although the ruling dynasty of the Parthians were descendants of Judah’s King David, the Parthians themselves were descendants of the ten tribes of Israel.”

Collins goes much further than I would with the information that I have concerning the Parthians, yet I would uphold that many of the Parthians surely were Israelites, albeit their empire included Persians (Elamites), Medes and others, including non-Adamites also we can be certain. We must remember that at Acts 2:9-11, the visiting Israelites at the Feast of Pentecost were identified as: 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians ...” These were not Medes and Elamites et al., but rather Israelites from those geographic areas. Surely the term Arabians” here wouldn’t include Arabs, but only pockets of Israelites from their dwelling places in Arabia!

I had misgivings when reading chapter 7 of Collins’ book because he kept speaking of Parthian kings. I was somewhat uneasy because I remembered Hosea 3:4-5 which says:

4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim. 5 Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek Yahweh their Elohim, and David their king; and shall fear Yahweh and his goodness in the latter days.”

Diodorus Siculus’ account of the rise of the Scythians (2:43:2) seems to conflict with Hosea 3:4-5 cited here, but not necessarily. How many days is many”, and what is it that for us constitutes a true king? When it speaks of days” in this passage, it means years. Up to the time period Collins is talking about, surely Israel in their migrations had no established Davidic king.

Therefore, we should not necessarily be uneasy concerning the identification of at least some of the Parthians with Israel. The Parthian Empire rose in the 3rd century B.C., over 300 years after the destruction of the Temple. We should have no more distress accepting the Israelites from these 16 locations than we would accepting the Israelites from Scythia, whose queen Tomyris lived in the days of Cyrus, and inherited the throne from her husband, a Scythian king 300 years before the world ever heard of Parthia! Whether or not the Parthians had a Davidic king, we do not know for sure, but from the time of Jeroboam until long after their captivity by Assyria, they didn’t.

You can see that Josephus, like Herodotus, is a wealth of information. A most unusual event happened in Josephus’ life. After returning from Rome where he successfully pleaded the case of some fellow countrymen he reluctantly joined a party advocating revolt, hoping the governor of Syria, Cestius Gullus, would crush the rebellion, but Cestius failed. After some time, hiding with some companions in a cave, he finally gave himself up to the Romans. He was brought before Vespasian as a prisoner. He then predicted to Vespasian that he, Vespasian, would shortly become emperor. When this prediction was fulfilled in A.D. 69, Vespasian made Josephus a free man.

The question must be asked, was Josephus momentarily inspired by the Holy Spirit to make such a prediction? I, myself, do not believe this incident was mere happenstance. The Almighty had a job for Josephus to do, and by the Providence of Yahweh he was going to live to accomplish it. Now this didn’t make Josephus a major prophet, but his words were very timely!

I will now present several cases in point showing that Josephus was a messenger and witness of the Almighty. I will also present documentation I have for this so that you might reconsider your position on the matter; that is, if you are a Josephus critic. If you do not necessarily criticize Josephus’ works this series may serve to let you appreciate his writings to a greater degree.

In the book The Lost” Ten Tribes of Israel ... Found by Steven M. Collins, page 220, he shows that at Josephus’ Antiquities, XI, V, 2 that he witnesses to where at least some of the Lost Tribes were at the time of his writing where he states: ... the ten tribes are beyond [the] Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers.” How could Josephus, with this kind of witness, be an evil man? Here Josephus gives us a tool we can use today to gather the sheep. Only an anointed of Yahweh could have given us such evidence. How can anyone discredit the importance of this evidence?

Again from the same book, page 257, where he explains how Josephus wrote his Wars in Aramaic so that some of the Lost Tribes would understand what was going on during Josephus’ time. Collins says: Josepus observed that he originally wrote his Wars of the Jews in his native tongue [Aramaic] so that the people of Parthia could understand what happened in the Roman-Jewish war of the first century A.D.” (Josephus’ Wars, Preface, 1-2) Though Collins mentions only Parthia”, no doubt Josephus aimed his Wars with an eye to other Aramaic speaking Lost Israelites.

Here again is strong evidence that Josephus was anointed for a special work. If you are among those who have been condemning this man, I plead with you, don’t be too proud to admit that you are wrong about Josephus! From Josephus’ evidence here, we can be sure that some of the Lost Tribes were speaking Aramaic, at least at Josephus’ time. Inasmuch as Josephus was directing his writings of Wars toward some of the Lost Tribes, how can anyone claim his works were not Anointed?

While Collins cites a couple of good passages from Josephus, obviously Josephus was surely blind to who and where the greater part of them were; the Kelts, Gauls, Scythians, Sakae, Massagetae, and of course, the Romans and many Greeks.

Once the Israelites were deported and resettled in the new lands which the Assyrians assigned them, the Israelites never traveled anywhere en masse. Rather, a large portion remained behind and groups – both large and small – broke off from the main tribes and moved away, themselves waxing stronger than those left behind (Micah 4:7), examples being the Sakae and Massagetae. The ones who stayed the closest naturally retained more of their former identity, examples being the Armenians (yes, many of them were Israel), the Iberians of the Caucasus, the Caspians (part of Iberia, see Ezra 8:17 in the A.V. Casiphia”), the Albanians and those who were brought to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar and never left there (and surely because they were mostly bad figs), many of which eventually migrated into Afghanistan and elsewhere, like eastern Arabia. Josephus was able to identify many of those who stayed close, but was blind concerning those who broke off into Europe and northern Asia.

Many references refer to Josephus as a Jew” or Jewish writer.” If one will only think, it would be overwhelmingly evident he was not. Put on your thinking cap for a moment, and you will realize that no way could Josephus have been a Cain-Satanic-Canaanite-Edomite variety of a Jew”! Josephus, in his Life, makes it clear that he is a Levite, related to the Maccabees, and before he joined the Pharisees he spent some time as an Essene, where we can be pretty sure he was a Judaean by birth.” I will again use the passage at Josephus’ Wars 2:8:2, which I have used many times before:

For there are three philosophical sects among the Judeans. The followers of the first of whom are the Pharisees; of the second the Sadducees; and the third sect, who pretend to a severer discipline, are called Essenes. These last are Judah by birth, and seem to have a greater affection for one another than the other sects have.”

What kind of a chance would Josephus have had joining the Essenes had he not been a Judaean of pure Levitical birth? The same as that famous snowball in hell!




We are indebted and owe much gratitude to Josephus for informing us that many of the Judeans, at the time of Hyrcanus, mixed among the Edomites. We see this at Josephus’ Antiquities 13:9:1:

Hyrcanus took also Dora and Marissa, cities of Idumea, and subdued all the Idumeans; and permitted them to stay in that country, if they would circumcise their genitals, and make use of the laws of the Jews; and they were so desirous of living in the country of their forefathers, that they submitted to the use of circumcision, and the rest of the Jewish ways of living; at which time therefore this befell them, that they were hereafter no other than Jews.”

We have to excuse the translators for confusing the expressions Jew/Jewish” with the term Judean.” Without this testimony by Josephus, concerning the incorporation of the Edomites within the nation of the Judeans, we would have no idea today who the true Israelites were or who the impostor Judeans calling themselves Jews” are. I don’t know whether or not you’re aware of it, but Josephus, illuminating Romans chapter 9, is the main source for this very important information! How, then, can we condemn Josephus and discredit his writings? For anyone who is a critic of Josephus’ works, I would adjure them to reconsider their position. This evidence concerning the absorption of the Edomites within the nation of the Judeans establishes strongly that Josephus was anointed by Yahweh and was His messenger! Without this evidence by Josephus, today we Israelites would be completely in the dark! I’m very concerned about this, and I know truly that the last thing many would want to do is to scatter the sheep rather than gather them (Matt. 12:30).

The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia Of The Bible, volume H-L, pages 41-42 says this concerning the forced conversion of the Edomites to Judaism:

In 128 B.C., Antiochus was killed during a Parthian campaign. From this time on Judea enjoyed de facto independence. John Hyrcanus began a policy of territorial expansion, including the reconquest of the coastal cities ceded to Syria during the early years of his reign: Hyrcanus [then] turned southward and conquered the province known as Idumea. The ancient Edomites had been pushed out of their territory south and east of the Dead Sea by the Nabatean Arabs, with the result that they moved into southern Palestine, including the area south of Hebron. This area came to be known as Idumea, and [it] was forcibly annexed to the Jewish state of John Hyrcanus.

The coastal cities linked the commercial highway through Palestine. From earliest times merchants and warriors passed north from Egypt along the coastal road leading to Syria and Mesopotamia. Without control of commercial routes, Hyrcanus could not hope to build a major state. As soon as Syrian internal affairs made interference from the north unlikely, Hyrcanus took the coastal cities as a guarantee of the future of his state’s freedom of movement.

Another ancient trade route passed south of Judea, through Idumea, to Egypt. As Hyrcanus captured this territory, he compelled the Idumeans to accept Judaism and become circumcised ...”

The Interpreter’s Dictionary Of The Bible, volume E-J, page 530, says this about Hyrcanus’ forced conversion of the Edomites:

... However, there was soon a turn in the tide of fortune, and John Hyrcanus quickly ended his temporary humiliation. He seized the opportunity afforded by the death of Antiochus in 128 [B.C.] and the disputes about the succession which followed, to cease paying the indemnity and to extend the borders of Jewish territory: east of the Jordan, and northward to include Shechem and the Samaritans, whose rival temple on Mount Gerizim he destroyed ... ca. 109, and southward to include IDUMEA (the old Edom). He [then] compelled the Idumeans to become Jews and observe the whole law ...”

The Dictionary Of The New Testament, Christ and the Gospels” by James Hastings, volume 1, page 776:

IDUMÆA (NT [email protected]:"Ê", which is also used in the LXX for the Heb. Edom). — This land is mentioned once only in the NT (Mk 3:8), but it is also notable as the native land of Herod and his family. The Edom of the OT lay between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Akabah. In the early part of the Jewish exile many of the Edomites overran the south of Judæa, and when the Nabatæans, at some time during the Persian period, conquered their own land, many more joined the earlier settlers in South Judæa and that district became known as Idumæa. Thus Idumæa at the time of Christ was practically the Southern Shephelah with the Negeb’ (G. A. Smith, HGHL p. 239), i.e. roughly, all south of a line from Beth-sur to Gaza. Judas Maccabæus fought against the Idumæans with much success (1 Mac 5:3) in 164 [B.C.]. Fifty-five years later, John Hyrcanus conquered the country, and compelled the people to become circumcised (Jos. Ant. 13:9:1; BJ 1:2:6). By the law of Dt 23:7,8 they thus became full Jews in the third generation, though Herod himself was sometimes reproached as a half Jew’ (Jos. Ant. 14:15:2). Although the Idumæans were sons of Esau’, their interests from this time were entirely merged with those of the Jews, and their country was reckoned to Judæa, Idumæa being counted one of the eleven toparchies of Judæa in Roman times (Jos. BJ 3:3:5).

A footnote on the same page of Josephus’ Antiquities 13:9:1 makes the following comment on that passage:

This account of the Idumeans admitting circumcision, and the entire Jewish law, from this time, or from the days of Hyrcanus, is confirmed by their entire history afterwards. See Antiq. 14.8.1; 15.7.9. War 2.3.1; 4.4.5. This, in the opinion of Josephus, made them proselytes of justice, or entire Jews, as here and elsewhere, Antiq. 14.8.1. However, Antigonus, the enemy of Herod, though Herod were derived from such a proselyte of justice for several generations, will allow him to be no more than a half Jew, 15.15.2. But still, taken out of Dean Prideaux, at the year 129, the words of Ammonius, a grammarian, which fully confirm this account of the Idumeans in Josephus: The Jews,’ says he, are such by nature and from the beginning, but Phoenicians and Syrians; but being afterwards subdued by the Jews and compelled to be circumcised, and to unite into one nation, and be subject to the same laws, they were called Jews.’ Dio also says, as the Dean there quotes him, from book 36.37:– That country is also called Judea, and the people Jews; and this name is given also to as many others as embrace their religion, though of other nations ...’”

This is my question at this point: Where would we be in the Israel Identity Message today without this piece of invaluable information? You may throw your copy of Josephus in the trash, but I will keep mine within the easy reach of my hand! Ditto, Herodotus!




Of all the various things to which Josephus witnessed, the fulfillment of Matthew 24:3 is by far the more important. Matthew 24:3 is probably one of the most misunderstood passages in the Bible, and most of our wrongfully indoctrinated clergy place it in the future. Thus, Josephus was the most important witness of the predictions of Yahshua on how Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Romans in Matthew 24! In this discourse, Yahshua is answering the questions put to Him by His disciples in 24:3. They asked, When shall these things [the destruction of the temple, verse 2] take place?” He told them, yet Luke’s account is more clearly applicable to 70 A.D. for us than Matthew’s (see Luke 21:20–24). It took place in A.D. 70 when Titus finally conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the city along with the Temple. Without Josephus’ testimony on this episode in history, we would be even more confused over Matthew 24:2-3 than we already are! Let’s now take a look at Luke 21:20-24 for the answer:

20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

With this last verse, the Latin term Gentile” for the Greek word ethnos”, is one of the few times the context means non-Israelite nations or heathen. I am sure there are many reading this lesson who were never able before to link Matthew 24:3 and Luke 21:20-24 together. Matthew chapter 24 is a very complicated and difficult chapter, and very few understand it. Now Josephus was the primary witness to the fulfillment of Luke 21:20-24. Being a fullblooded Israelite of the Tribe of Levi, there could be no better man at hand during that era to do the job, and he did it very well. No, he wasn’t perfect, but where it counted he came through with shining colors.

This subject of Josephus will be continued in a series, as was Herodotus. Before we are through you will see we have only touched the tip of the iceberg.