British Israelism, as well as the numerous religious cults associated with this false doctrine, is a deceptive identity movement in which certain white Gentile groups claim to be descendants of the ‘lost tribes’ of Israel. These groups state that God only established a covenant relationship with ‘Israel’ [as represented by the white race]; consequently, all the non-white [non-Israel] people cannot be saved. The present Jews are rejected as a group of mixed origin who do not qualify to be called ‘Israel’.
In reviewing the nature of cults it should be kept in mind that religious and political ideologies are often merged to produce a “politically correct” dogma that ties in with whatever political views are held by a particular group. Divergent ideologies of different groups give rise to perverted biblical teachings acceptable to their respective adherents:
On the extreme liberal side there are those who promote an ecumenical dogma by trying to unite Protestant and Roman Catholic Christians as well as all the independent churches and Christian cults. However, the objective of Christian unity has proved to be only an interim stage in a bigger plan to establish an interfaith ecumenical union among all religions. It is argued that all people on earth worship the same, universal God, and should join hands to establish a united human kingdom on earth in which all people can peacefully live together (dominionism, or kingdom-now theology). This view is very popular in the emerging new world order in which national identity is sacrificed on the altar of globalism in order to eradicate cultural, religious and political boundaries and render all people planetary citizens.
On the extreme conservative side there are those who claim that only Israel is the chosen people of God. They allege that the so-called “ten lost tribes of Israel” became dispersed in Western Europe and constitute members of the white race who are the true Israel of God. According to this theory, only white people can inherit the kingdom of heaven since God entered into an exclusive covenant relationship with them. This movement is referred to as British Israelism, White Theology, or Covenant People of Yahweh. This is a politically-motivated identity movement which resents cultural and racial intermingling. The salient features of the movement are discussed below.
Erroneous Tenets of British Israelism
Very complex, highly biased, and historically distorted explanations are resorted to by the proponents of this movement in an effort to try and “prove” their unbiblical dogma. The following are the major tenets which they adhere to:
Children of God and children of Satan
A biological (genetic) classification is made of all people into two groups: (1) the children of God, and (2) the children of Satan. It is argued that God created Adam, through whom a lineage of people descended that, ultimately, became known as ‘Israel’. They are the children of God, and as such commanded to remain pure and separated by not intermarrying with the pagan nations that all belong to the devil.
Outside of Israel there are the children of Satan who are believed to have been biologically procreated by him. The statement by Eve: “The serpent deceived me…” (Gen. 3:13) is interpreted as: “The serpent seduced me [to have sexual intercourse with him].” The child born from this union was, according to this movement, genetically and spiritually a child of the devil. The founding fathers of the pagan nations are identified as Cain, Ham, Ishmael and Esau. From them, all the coloured peoples descended. Since they all have the seed of the serpent in them they do not belong to God and He never entered into a covenant relationship with them. They worship their own gods and, according to this theory, they can never become Christians.
The biblical answer to the theory that Eve had physical intercourse with Satan is clearly refuted in Genesis 4:1: “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.”
It is argued that no reconciliation or mixing should occur between the children of God and the children of Satan since God ruled that perpetual enmity should exist between these two groups: “So the Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed… And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her Seed…” (Gen. 3:14-15).
This enmity should be practised by not trying to evangelise members of pagan nations. Missionaries who do not observe this prohibition may pay with their lives for the mistakes they are making. This is their interpretation of what Jesus said: “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces” (Matt. 7:6).
Should mixing and intermarriage occur between people of God and people of Satan, fatal contamination with the seed of the serpent will be the inevitable consequence. Such people and their offspring are permanent outcasts from the congregation of God: “One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the congregation of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the congregation of the Lord” (Deut. 23:2). Here, again, the critical factors are biological descent and a person’s spiritual status at birth.
However, this scripture did not rule out the principle of miscegenation but was aimed at preventing Israel from mixing with Ammonites and Moabites because of the harm that they had done to Israel (Deut. 23:3-4). In Deuteronomy 23:7-8 it is clearly stated that non-Israelites such as the Edomites and Egyptians should not be abhorred by Israel.
Israel and Judah
An important aspect of British Israelism is the clear distinction they make between ‘Israel’ and ‘Judah’. They base their theory on the historic division that existed for 250 years between Israel’s northern kingdom of the ten tribes and the southern kingdom of Judah. The latter also included the tribe of Benjamin. This division is regarded to be permanent and the movement insists that the terms ‘Israel’ and ‘Judah’ [or ‘Jews’] should never be equated.
The concept ‘Israel’ is expanded to include all the white peoples. A far-fetched theory is advanced that members of the ten tribes, who were taken captive to Assyria in 721 BC, became dispersed to Western Europe and are the progenitors of all the white peoples on earth. They were later joined by the few ‘good’ members of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, thereby restoring the Israel of God to twelve tribes.
Between 597 and 581 BC, Judah lost its throne in Jerusalem and many people from this kingdom were taken captive to Babylon. The allegation is made that, during this time, fugitives transferred the throne of David from Jerusalem to England. The royal throne in England is therefore, to them, the throne of David. In this way, Britain became the Land of the Covenant (Berit-ain), and being British was taken to describe a covenant people since this term was allegedly derived from the Ark of the Covenant (Berit-ish). The Saxons are said to have derived their name from Isaac and thus became Isaacsons.
The 13th tribe of hybridised Jews
According to the theory of the British Israelites, Jews who returned from the Babylonian captivity in course of time mixed and intermarried with Edomites (the descendants of Esau). In doing so, they lost their status as the people of God and became part of the children of Satan, being permeated with the seed of the serpent. A very literal interpretation is given to the words of Jesus, who described apostatised Jewish leaders as ‘serpents’ and ‘a brood of vipers’ (Matt. 23:33). He also said to them: “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do” (John 8:44).
The Jews are completely despised by British Israelites as evil people who forfeited all their former rights and privileges as people of God. By mixing with pagan people they became a false, thirteenth tribe who are opposing the true Israel and attempt to replace them as the Chosen People. It is further alleged that after the fall of Jerusalem in the year 70 and the consequent dispersion of the Jews, they mixed with the Khazar tribes of Turkey after the latter had become Jewish proselytes.
The great conspiracy
The mixed Khazar Jews are said to have gained control over Russia and also over the economies of various Western countries. They are the fathers of socialism, communism and monopolistic capitalism. Apart from attempting to replace the white nations as the covenant people of Yahweh they also aim at controlling the whole world by way of a new world order. They make use of a liberal and distorted version of the Christian faith, which is deceitfully preached to the serpent’s pagan nations in order to exploit, manipulate and gain control over them.
With the help of these pagan nations the Jews will supposedly fight the white nations who are the true Israel of Yahweh. According to Ezekiel 38 and 39 the Khazar Jews of Russia will join forces with countries such as Persia, Turkey, Libya and Ethiopia to attack the true Israel.
Christianity regarded as a false religion
British Israelism rejects Christianity because of the following reasons:
- It does not uphold and observe all the laws of Yahweh.
- It does not use the covenant name of Yahweh as well as the correct name for the Messiah (Yashua, Yeshua or Yahushua). The names ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’ are regarded as falsifications, being derived from Greek names for idols. ‘Jesus’ is said to mean ‘Son of Zeus’ (Je-Zeus), his father being a Greek god.
- It accepts and practises the preaching of the Bible to pagans belonging to the coloured races, while Yashua himself said: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:5-6). He also said: “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 15:24).
- It fails to reject the apostle Paul despite the fact that he broke many of the Old Testament laws. He taught the people not to observe the law, and also wrongfully preached the Word of God to pagans.
- It upholds the book of Acts, written by Luke, in which the evangelising of pagans and the dishonouring of the law are promoted.
South African groupings
There are various ‘Israel’ churches and groups in South Africa, some of whom are more dogmatic than others – even to the extent of having themselves circumcised as the covenant people of God. Others are content with baptism. But they all agree on the basic tenet that only white people can be saved and belong to the Israel of God. They regard all churches, groups and individuals who do evangelistic and missionary work among coloured people as collaborators with the Antichrist and therefore enemies of the people of God. Such people are viewed as co-conspirators with the Jews who are intent on controlling and ruling the world in preparation for the coming of the Antichrist.
Religious and racial prejudice of the strongest nature is inherent in the dogma of all Israel cults since they bar coloured, pagan nations’ entrance to the kingdom of heaven on the basis of their descent and contamination with the seed of the serpent. However, they shift the blame for instituting racist policies from themselves to liberal Christian whites and Jews. In one of their publications, “Destroy the Spirit of Ubuntu said the white Christian Boss!”, it is stated that the colonisers of Africa used the Christian religion of love to destroy the traditional religions of Africans, thereby eroding their resistance towards their new masters. In this book, the authors say:
“We know that we [the Boers] are descended from the twelve tribes of Israel and that Yahweh, our God, had good reason to bring His elect people to this continent… Our ancestors never tried to convert black people to their religion. The Bible states that all other nations, except Israel, may pray to their own gods: ‘For all people walk each in the name of his god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever’ (Micah 4:5)… We have decided to write this book, proving to you, once and for all, that you as black people of mixed blood are victims of the most bizarre and cunning plot, devised by white Jews and white Christians, to manipulate and control you by means of the so-called ‘Christian religion’, a religion responsible for some of the most bloody race wars and ethnic cleansing on the face of the earth…
“Traditionally, the black man’s religion was firmly founded in his ancestral spirits, the Spirit of Ubuntu. With this religion, the African man had power and was a force to be reckoned with… Come on, think for yourselves, why did the [liberal] Afrikaner spend so many millions on the establishment of churches and theological facilities for blacks under apartheid? Definitely not because of brotherly love! They knew perfectly well that salvation, according to God’s original Scriptures, was for whites only. They had to gain control, that’s why they stuffed the black man with churches and preachers.”
However, the statement in Micah 4:5 that the pagan nations all worship their own gods is not a condoning of this practice but merely refers to the common occurrence of idolatry among non-Jewish peoples in Old Testament times. After the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ the command was given to the disciples to preach the gospel to all these deceived nations (Matt. 28:19-20). As part of the same command the Lord Jesus sent Paul to the Gentiles “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins” (Acts 26:18). Those who repented “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9). The traditional cultures of African peoples are based upon idolatry and ancestor worship and they too, like pagans in other parts of the world, need to repent and serve the true God of the Bible.
Biblical Evaluation of the British-Israel Dogma
The dogma of this movement can be clearly refuted from Scripture, and also from supporting historical sources.
The universal applicability of God’s mercy and salvation
During the calling of Abraham God made it clear that His mercy would, in the fullness of time after the coming of the Messiah, be bestowed upon all nations. He said to Abraham: “…in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3; see also 22:18). Two thousand years later, Paul said: “Christ has redeemed us… that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:13-14).
Please note that the blessings of God are received by faith and are not determined by descent. These blessings would specifically be offered to the Gentiles, who are the non-Jewish nations. The Greek word for Gentiles (ethnos) refers to “ethnic groups” and includes all tribal and cultural groups in the human family.
The Lord Jesus has no biological descendants – only followers from all the ethnic groups who are associated with Him by faith. With a view to offering the gospel of salvation to all people, the Great Commission was given to His disciples: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15; emphasis added). This is a very clear and inclusive expression – it includes every human being on earth. Again using the term (ethnos) Jesus said: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:19). In Acts 17:30 it is also stated that “all people everywhere” should repent.
The earlier command of Jesus to His disciples to disregard the Gentiles and only go to the lost sheep of Israel (Matt. 10:5-6), was given at a stage when He exclusively offered Himself as Messiah to Israel. After they had rejected and crucified Him, Jesus rose from the dead and gave the command that the message of salvation should be preached to all people, from Jerusalem to the uttermost end of the earth. Through the fall of Israel, salvation had come to the Gentiles (Rom. 11:11-12).
Witnessing about the salvation of non-Jewish people, Peter said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him… And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also” (Acts 10:34-35, 45). God looks at your heart, not at your biological descent or ethnic affiliation.
Many centuries earlier God prophetically spoke to His Son who would come to the world to save people: “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isa. 49:6). Paul referred to this promise to justify his missionary outreach to the pagan nations:
“…when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. Then Paul… said: It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourself unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us: I have set You to be a light to the Gentiles, that You should be for salvation to the ends of the earth” (Acts 13:45-47).
God is the God of the Jews and the Gentiles. Paul asked: “Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith” (Rom. 3:29-30).
Although the majority of Jews, particularly the priests, rejected Jesus, many others repented and were saved: “And the word of God spread, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). Those who were previously spiritually blinded and hence children of the devil, were forgiven when they confessed their sins and were made new people in Christ Jesus by being spiritually born again. Their descent and genetic characteristics had nothing to do with their spiritual state.
Temporary division between Israel and Judah
There never was a rigid division between the two and the ten tribes of Israel. During the 250 years of their existence the northern ten-tribe kingdom of Israel was ruled by 19 apostate kings. There was not a single God-fearing one among them. The leaders were so incompetent and evil that many of their subjects migrated to the southern kingdom of Judah:
“For the Levites left their common-lands and their possessions and came to Judah and Jerusalem, for Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them from serving as priests to the Lord… So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah” (2 Chron. 11:14, 17).
Whenever a God-fearing king ruled in Jerusalem, the migration from the north recurred with great vigour. The dedication and positive reforms of King Asa had the same effect: “Then he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those who sojourned with them from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, for they came over to him in great numbers from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him” (2 Chron. 15:9; emphasis added).
Another reason for the strengthening of Judah and the weakening of Israel was warfare. King Asa’s father, Abijah, clashed with Israel and slew 500 000 men:
“Then Abijah and his people struck them with a great slaughter; so that 500 000 choice men of Israel fell slain. Thus the children of Israel were subdued at that time; and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord God of their fathers” (2 Chron. 13:17-18).
Within 20 years the army of Judah increased from 180 000 (1 Kings 12:21) to 580 000 (2 Chron. 14:8). After 40 years they had 1 160 000 men (2 Chron. 17:14-18). During the same time, Israel’s army decreased to only 7 000 men (1 Kings 20:15). These figures cannot be explained without taking the large-scale migrations from Israel to Judah into account.
The Assyrian captivity of Israel
People often make the wrong assumption that, in terms of 2 Kings 17:18, the whole of Israel were taken captive to Assyria in 721 BC. In actual fact, only the leaders and prominent families were taken captive while the majority of poor people remained behind. The same pattern was repeated during the Babylonian captivity of the southern kingdom 134 years later (2 Kings 24:14-16; 25:11-12). According to the Biblical Encyclopaedia, Sargon II, the successor to Shalmaneser, indicated in his chronicles that he took 27 290 people from Israel as captives to Assyria (see 2 Kings 17:1-6).
The unfounded allegation must now be considered that the 27 290 captives from Israel became dispersed in Europe and founded the various white nations of the West. It is a well established fact that no such migration occurred. There are no lost tribes of Israel who can account for the origin of all the white nations!
2 Kings 17:6 mentions the Assyrian cities to which the captives from Israel were taken. In 612 BC the Assyrian Empire fell to the Babylonian Empire and was incorporated into the latter. The prophet Ezekiel was taken captive to Babylon in 597 BC by Nebuchadnezzar. In Tel Abib, at the River Chebar, he met with the descendants of the Israelites who were taken captive more than 120 years earlier. God spoke to him about Israel who continued with their rebelliousness:
“And He said to me: Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day… So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away… Then I came to the captives at Tel Abib, who dwelt by the River Chebar… Now it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth; and give them warning from Me” (Ezek. 2:3; 3:14-17).
It is clear, therefore, that a group of the ten tribes was in Assyria (later incorporated into Babylonia), a group of them remained in Samaria, while a large group had already migrated to Judah. Since the Babylonian captivity of Judah the two houses of Israel (the ten tribes and the two tribes) had a common destiny. They again merged into one nation with twelve tribes and were subsequently mentioned together. A year after Ezekiel visited the captives of Israel he cried out to God, saying:
“Ah, Lord God! Will You destroy all the remnant of Israel in pouring out Your fury on Jerusalem? Then He said to me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great, and the land is full of bloodshed, and the city full of perversity” (Ezek. 9:8-9; emphasis added).
There is no biblical evidence, or any credible extra-biblical evidence, which supports Israel’s alleged migration to Europe. Even 160 years after Israel’s captivity to Assyria it is written:
“For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from them, until the Lord removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day” (2 Kings17:22-23; emphasis added).
The fact that Israel and Judah were both oppressed and held captive in the Assyrian/Babylonian region is also confirmed by Jeremiah: “Thus says the Lord of hosts: The children of Israel were oppressed, along with the children of Judah; all who took them captive have held them fast; they have refused to let them go. Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is His name” (Jer. 50:33-34; emphasis added).
From this scripture it is clear that the Assyrians and Babylonians detained the captives and refused to let them go. There could, therefore, not have been a major migration to Europe during this time. It was only after the conquering of Babylonia in 539 BC by Cyrus, the king of Persia, that the command was given to the captives to return to Jerusalem:
“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? May his God be with him! Now let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:2-3; emphasis added).
It was the expressed will of God that the entire nation of Israel (all twelve tribes) be restored to the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem as their capital. It is again and again confirmed that the restoration was an all-Israel affair (see Ezra 2:70; 3:1-2; 6:21; 7:7-13; 10:1-5).
The Israelites in Samaria
The position must also be clarified of the Israelites who remained in Samaria after the Assyrian captivity. Despite the traumatic events that accompanied the siege and fall of Samaria they persisted with their iniquity. Many of them intermarried with Assyrian people and from this miscegenation the Samaritans originated. Those in Israel who came to their senses moved to Jerusalem to join the people of Judah and to participate in the temple service. A few years after the Assyrian captivity there was a great spiritual revival during the rule of King Hezekiah. He also invited the people in Samaria to join in celebrating the Passover in Jerusalem (2 Chron. 30:1-27). It was a remarkable event.
A hundred years later, during the rule of King Josiah, an even bigger feast was celebrated in Jerusalem. Members of the former northern kingdom of Israel were also invited to this occasion (2 Chron. 35:16-19). Before the feast they even contributed towards the costs of restoring the temple (2 Chron. 34:9). There are no lost tribes of Israel!
The terms Jew and Israel
There is no truth in the allegation that the term ‘Jew’ refers to a group of former members of the tribe of Judah who mixed with Edomites and later with the Khazar tribes. Jews (or Israelites) who intermarry with other nations become de-nationalised and in the process acquire another national identity. After mixing with the Gentiles (goyim) the descendants of such people become members of those nations.
The term ‘Judah’ has special significance as it refers to the royal tribe of Israel from which also the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was born. For this reason, all the tribes intimately associate with Judah. As already indicated, large groups from the northern ten tribes of Israel joined the kingdom of Judah even before the Babylonian captivity. During and after the Babylonian captivity, the term ‘Jew’ (derived from Judah) became established as a synonym for ‘Israel’. One needs only to read the books of Ezra and Nehemiah to note how the terms ‘Jew’ and ‘Israel’ are used alternately to describe the same people. Ezra said:
“Moreover I issue a decree as to what you shall do for the elders of these Jews for the building of this house… Then the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites and the rest of the descendants of the captivity, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. And they offered sacrifices at the dedication of this house… as a sin offering for all Israel twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel… Then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together…” (Ezra 6:8, 16-17, 21; In Nehemiah 1:6 and 4:1 the names ‘Israel’ and ‘Jew’ are alternated in the same way).
In the New Testament, the ancient division between the two and the ten tribes is no longer recognised. The same people are 174 times described as ‘Jews’ and 70 times as ‘Israelites’. A few examples will suffice:
Paul was on trial for the messianic hope of the twelve tribes (Acts 26:6-7). James addressed his letter to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad (Jas. 1:1). In Acts 2:5, 14, 22 and 36 the inhabitants of Jerusalem are called both Jews and Israelites. The Jewish elders of Jerusalem were called ‘elders of Israel’ (Acts 4:5-8).
Jesus also used both terms: “There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews… Jesus answered and said to him, Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?” (John 3:1,10). To the Samaritan woman He said: “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).
Paul maintains the same alternation of terms: “And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews… Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen: The God of this people Israel chose our fathers…” (Acts 13:5, 16-17).
In connection with his own descent Paul also indicates that there is no distinction between the terms ‘Jew’ and ‘Israel’: “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus…” (Acts 22:3). “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin” (Rom. 11:1; see also 2 Cor. 11:22 and Phil. 3:5).
There is no trace of evidence that the inhabitants of the land of Israel were degenerated Edomitic Jews from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and that the ten tribes of the former kingdom of Israel were ‘lost’ somewhere in Europe. They were in their own country, as well as in neighbouring countries, where they lived as ‘lost sheep of the house of Israel’.
Israel in Europe?
The unbiblical and historically erroneous supposition of British Israelism that the captives from Samaria were allowed by the Assyrian rulers to freely migrate to Europe in large numbers, and that they subsequently replaced the European nations, is refuted by verifiable facts.
During the Syrian captivity of Israel Europe was, for many centuries already, inhabited by various white nations. Most of these nations can be identified as descendants of Japheth. In Genesis 10:2, Gomer, Magog, Tubal and Meshech, among others, are mentioned as sons of Japheth. From Gomer the Germanic nations of Central, Northern and Western Europe descended. The German, Dutch, Flemish, Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon peoples are all Germanic in origin. Various Eastern European nations descended from Magog, Tubal and Meshech. These nations were in existence long before the Assyrian captivity of Israel.
The genealogical descent of the European nations is traced back to their progenitor, Japhet, while the Semitic nations are descendants of Shem. The nations of Europe also have distinct languages and cultures that are quite different to those of the Semitic nations (Israel and the Arabs). There is no way in which European nations can be described as “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:6).
The initial small groups of Jewish families who migrated to other countries, including various European countries, did so mainly during the four centuries of turmoil before the birth of Jesus. Most of them maintained their Jewish religion and identity wherever they settled, and erected synagogues as places of worship and the conducting of Jewish ceremonies. They certainly did not replace the nations who stayed in those countries. Paul had no problem identifying the Jewish communities in the countries where he preached the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the Bar Kochba rebellion of 132-133 AD, large numbers of Jews were dispersed – not only to Europe but eventually also to other continents.
Our responsibility towards Israel
As for Israel (the Jews), it is of the utmost importance to maintain good relations with them. We should recognise their biblical mandate to the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem while honouring the following commands:
Bless them. Right in the beginning, with the calling of Abraham, God said: “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you” (Gen. 12:3). Do you want to enjoy the blessings of the Lord? Then serve Him with all your heart and bless His people!
Comfort them. “Comfort, yes, comfort My people! says your God. Speak comfort to Jerusalem...” (Isa. 40:1-2). Are you comforting the people of Israel who are experiencing anxiety in a hostile region, who have become victims of an international campaign of hatred, and who also experience financial hardships and unemployment in their own country?
Pray for them. The heart of any support programme for Israel, is prayer: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: may they prosper who love you” (Ps. 122:6). Jerusalem’s King and Prince of Peace is Jesus the Messiah. We must pray that Jews will accept Him and be saved. Until they do that, there will be no lasting peace in Jerusalem and Israel, but only continued hostility and warfare (cf. Ezek. 22:18-22; Zech. 12:3; 14:2).
Identify with them spiritually. Never ask questions about the right of existence of the Jews, but rather give recognition to them as the nation through whom the Word of God has come to you: “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God. What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? Not at all!” (Rom. 3:1-4). There will always be a faithful remnant in Israel with whom we can identify spiritually, while ever reaching out to the unfaithful ones.
Arouse them to jealousy! Do you realise the responsibility upon you to live such a convincing Christian life, and to have such an inspiring testimony of what the Lord has done for you, that Jews who still reject Jesus as Messiah, will actually be aroused to jealousy? Never give up on your calling to be a witness in Jerusalem first (among the Jews) and from there proceed to other parts of the world. Jewish evangelism is no easy task, but certainly most rewarding. Keep on trusting the Lord for their salvation. “So I ask: Have they stumbled so as to fall – to their utter spiritual ruin, irretrievably? By no means! But through their false step and transgression salvation [has come] to the Gentiles, so as to arouse Israel [to see and feel what they forfeited] and to make them jealous” (Rom. 11:11; Amplified Bible).
Proclaim salvation to them. Paul said: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Rom 1:16). It is a tragedy that some Christians are ashamed to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Jews. They do not want to offend them and arouse their resentment. Although it is true that the right example and a very sensitive approach will achieve more than those who just storm in and condemn all unbelievers, we must nevertheless make sure that the testimony about the Messiah is clearly conveyed. There is no hope for Jews who do not put their trust in Jesus. Jewish evangelism now is of the utmost importance as the dark days of the great tribulation are rapidly approaching. Like all other people, the Jews also need to be introduced to the Messiah to be saved. At His second coming they will welcome and greet Him with the words: “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 23:39). This Messianic greeting is first mentioned in Psalm 118:26. Orthodox rabbis repeat it every year during Succoth, not realising that it will be finally fulfilled when it is directed to Yeshua Ha Mashiach (Jesus the Messiah) at His coming.
With the correct attitude of love and compassion, the message can be proclaimed to the people of Israel that their iniquities can be pardoned by the Lamb of God who was sacrificed on Calvary for their sins: “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and tell her that her sad days are gone. Her sins are pardoned” (Isa. 40:2 Living Bible).