"For surely I will command,
and will sift the house of Israel among all nations,
as grain is sifted in a sieve;
yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground."
This is what we know concerning what God has revealed about the whereabouts of the modern-day house of Israel:
» Where Israel migrated after its fall: to the north and west of Jerusalem and to far off islands and coastlands.
» Where God moved the throne of David upon Judah's fall: Ireland, then Scotland, then England.
» When God will stop withholding the conditional blessings: around AD 1802.
Armed with this information, we are finally ready to address the question: Where is the house of Israel today?
Assembling all the search criteria into one list demonstrates the detail, the level of specificity, God has provided us. In the previous articles of this series, we have isolated the following characteristics of modern-day Israel:
1. Multitudes of peoples (Genesis 13:16 17:6; 22:17; 26:4; 28:14), living in
2. a nation and a company of nations—multitudes of nations (Genesis 35:11; 48:19), whose
3. geographic focus lies to the north and west of Jerusalem (Hosea 12:1; Jeremiah 3:12-18; 31:8) but whose
4. lands spread to all compass points (Genesis 13:14; 28:14; Jeremiah 31:8; Isaiah 41:1, 8-9). Israel's people own
5. possessions over rivers, across seas, in the islands and coastlands (Jeremiah 31:10). At least some tribes of Israel will enjoy widespread
6. wealth and prosperity (Genesis 49:22-26; Deuteronomy 33:13-17) and will possess
7. gates, that is, strategic commercial and military positions, in the midst of their enemies (Genesis 22:17; 24:60). They are a people who have been
8. ruled without interruption by a monarchy whose roots lie in the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10; II Samuel 7:8-17; Psalm 89:34-37; Jeremiah 33:17). That monarchy will be
9. currently centered in Britain (Ezekiel 21:25-26). Finally, they are a people whose
10. dominance, politically, militarily, and economically, did not begin until about AD 1802 (Numbers 14:34; Leviticus 26:18, 21, 24, 28).
These are the same criteria listed in the first article of this series. None of them is a vague abstraction or a riddle, as one finds in the writings of Nostradamus and other false prophets. No, these are specific, well-defined search criteria that will point decisively to the folk of Israel today. The people we identify as those of Israel today will meet—or will have met sometime in their history—these criteria.
Where Israel Is Not
For a minute, let us use reverse inductive reasoning—"the process of elimination"—to deselect certain peoples.
» Oriental peoples:Although certain Oriental nations are extremely populous and have enjoyed periods of wealth and prosperity, along with spreading empires, these people could not be the folk of Israel because their geographic and political locus was never north and west of Jerusalem.
» Inhabitants of Oceania:Historically, the island nations of the Pacific lack the wealth, population, prosperity, geographic location, and widespread empires to qualify them as Israelites.
» North and South American Aborigines:The well-publicized Indians of North and South America—the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas—are not the house of Israel. These tribes obviously lack the geographic position we are seeking. While fabulously rich and scientifically advanced, they were eclipsed by their European conquerors in the sixteenth century AD. Their period of greatness came to a close centuries before the period of "seven years more" ended in AD 1802.
» The Spaniards and Portuguese: That these nations enjoyed empires and fabulous wealth is unquestioned. However, their empires were crumbling by AD 1802. Their era of greatness was before the 2,520 years of Israel's punishment had ended.
It is important to note as well that none of these peoples can trace their monarchies back to the Davidic throne; none of them can claim they have been ruled by an uninterrupted dynasty tracing its heritage to King David.1
Where Israel Is
The Israelite tribes, migrating generally west and north of Jerusalem, settled into northern Europe. From there, they more recently migrated to the "isles" and "coastlands" of the New World. God nowhere promises or prophesies that each tribe would become a separate nation. Quite the contrary, He prophesied through the prophet Amos that He would "sift the house of Israel among all nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve" (Amos 9:9). We cannot expect, therefore, a precise mapping between each Israelite tribe and modern states in Europe or elsewhere. Some tribes are quite scattered, their peoples habitually crossing national boundaries. Other tribes appear more concentrated in a general region. Generally, the tribes map to European nations in this way:
Scattered internationally, with some concentration in the State of Israel4
Scattered; no national home.6
Holland (The Netherlands)7
England and her related political entities
The United States of America
There are also numbers of Israelites in Spain, which has long been a stomping ground for Israelites: The people of Zerah founded settlements there, and Jeremiah stopped there on his way to Ireland. Northern Germany, the old Prussia before it was unified with Germany by Bismarck, is probably largely Israelite.8
Probably the easiest peoples to identify are those descended from the tribe of Joseph, that is, the peoples of Ephraim and Manasseh. The reason is their wealth. Remember, God chose Ephraim and Manasseh to be the recipients of the birthright blessing, as recorded in Genesis 48. As the "birthright" tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh eventually received the great physical blessings God mentions through Jacob in Genesis 49:22-26 and through Moses in Deuteronomy 33:13-17.
Ephraim, basically the Angles and Saxons,9 roamed around in Northern Europe, eventually invading England in AD 449. In the course of time, some Ephraimites migrated to Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and other nations of the now-defunct British Empire.10 Ephraim grew to become that "company of nations" God promised would descend from Jacob (Genesis 35:11); more particularly, the British peoples became that "multitude of nations" Jacob prophesied would descend from Ephraim (Genesis 48:19). The peoples of the British Empire (and, later, the Commonwealth) are the "ten thousands of Ephraim" who Moses, speaking of Ephraim and Manasseh together, said would "push the peoples to the ends of the earth" (Deuteronomy 33:17).
Britain grew slowly, protected by her geography and by the hand of God, who, more than once miraculously saved her from destruction.11 Her power grew slowly, as if by fits and starts. All that changed, however, in the early 1800s, when the 2,520-year punishment had reached its term. God was now prepared to bestow the birthright blessings on Ephraim. After defeating the French dictator Napoleon at Waterloo in AD 1815, Britain virtually redrew the boundaries of Europe. Never before had a European nation wielded such unquestioned control over the Continent as a whole—and got away with it for so long.
Moses prophesied that Joseph would "push the peoples to the ends of the earth" (Deuteronomy 33:17). Push is exactly what England did, for the birthright blessings included far more than domination over Europe. They included economic (and in some cases, political and military) dominance over much of the world. Answering the call of the "white man's burden," the British, through its maritime supremacy, created a worldwide Empire an order of magnitude larger than that of Rome. Her folk pushed to India, Africa, North (and, to a lesser degree, South) America, China, Australia, New Zealand, and various islands around the globe.
Britain's Empire came to include a number of African nations, some South American ones, many Caribbean islands, as well as many of the islands of Oceania—and, of course, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and India! Moreover, Britain maintained a heavy economic influence over China for years. It was a fact—the sun never set on the British Empire.
As time went by, Britain assumed control of a large number of "gates" located in or near her enemies' territories,12 this in fulfillment of Genesis 22:17 and 24:60. These strategic positions placed her, geopolitically, on the "top of the world," ensuring her of military and commercial hegemony. Here is a partial list of these valuable gates:
» The Suez Canal
» The Straits of Hormuz (below Iran)
» The Straits of Gibraltar
» The Straits of Malacca and the Singapore Strait (off the Malay Peninsula)
» The Falkland Islands (off Argentina)
» The Cape of Good Hope (at the southern tip of Africa)
» The Kabul Pass (a land gate in Afghanistan)
» The island nation of Malta (in the Mediterranean Sea)
Finally, Britain is ruled by a descendant of the Davidic monarchy. The throne of David, according to the prophet Jeremiah, would rule over the "house of Israel" (Jeremiah 33:17), not over some Gentile peoples. David's throne—overthrown (Ezekiel 21:27) from Jerusalem to Ireland and later to Scotland—now resides in England. Since God states that "the scepter shall not depart from Judah" (Genesis 49:10), sitting on that throne is a monarch who is of the lineage of David. That monarch rules over Israelites, not Gentiles.
The British people, as the modern-day manifestation of the folk of Ephraim, match every single one of the ten search criteria reviewed at the beginning of this article! Next month, we will address the question, "Where is Ephraim's older brother Manasseh?"
1 Not that a few of these people have not tried to attach themselves to the Davidic monarchy. For example, some adduce that the Japanese royal family are descendants of David, that the family secretly practices circumcision, and such. This claim lacks any clear validation.
2 "Dan shall be a serpent" (Genesis 49:17). Snakes leave their distinctive marks in the ground upon which they crawl. So it is that Dan left his name everywhere he wandered in Europe: Denmark, the Don River, the Danube River, perhaps the Dampier River, etc.
3 Finland indeed is "a strong donkey, lying down between two burdens" (Genesis 49:14). This characterization is best demonstrated by the confusion over Finland's European alignment. Is Finland a Baltic state, along with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, or a Nordic state, with Norway and Sweden? That is, is Finland part of Western Europe or a part of Eastern Europe (Russia, Poland, etc.)? Before 1939, Finland was recognized as a Baltic state, clearly connected to those Eastern European client states of the Soviet Union. However, to keep peace in Europe as a whole, Finland also became a Nordic state. She lies between the two, not only geographically, but politically as well. One secular historian says about Finland:
Finland worked out a grand bargain with the Soviet Union (and also with NATO), in which it retained political, economic, and cultural independence while giving up military and strategic independence. Indeed, while being in the strategic sphere of influence of the Soviet Union and having no military connections at all with the West, Finland was in the political, economic, and cultural sphere of influence of the West. It retained its democratic political system throughout the Cold War, and it became first a member of the European Free Trade Association and later a member of the European Community. This was the famous—and, for some, notorious—"Finlandization." (Kurth, James, "To Sing a Different Song: The Choices for the Baltic States," The National Interest, Summer 1999, p. 81.)
Indeed, Finland learned how to cast a middle course between two world powers.
4 The word Jew, as an earlier article showed, is a shortened form of Judah. Jews are of the tribe of Judah. However, subsumed in Judah today is the tribe of Levi. Testifying to this is the fact that some "Jewish" surnames relate more closely to Levi than to Judah. For example, the name Cohen (or Kohn and other variants) derives from the Hebrew word for priest. Levi, remember, is the priestly tribe.
This currently close relationship between Judah (the Jews) and Levi is not hard to explain: The people of Levi, forced out of the Kingdom of Israel by Jeroboam I, moved south to serve in the Temple in the Kingdom of Judah. After the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in AD 70, the tribe of Levi, suffering with their brethren Judah from the same Diaspora, became absorbed into Judah.
5 France is a mixed bag indeed. Within her borders resides a number of non-Reubenites. No interlopers, these long-time residents have shared French soil for more than a thousand years. These folk migrated to France from the Israelite tribes to her north. The Norsemen (later called Normans) invaded France over a period of several hundred years, beginning in the late eighth century AD. Using their shallow-drafted boats to navigate rivers, they raided as far inland as Paris. (Astoundingly, the Norseman actually used Europe's river system to raid Constantinople!) Some of the descendants of these peoples became culturally dominant in parts of France and later successfully invaded England in AD 1066 under the leadership of William the Conqueror. Hence, there is a good sprinkling (or sifting—Amos 9:9) of the "Scandinavian" Israelites in France and the British Isles.
At the same time, there appear to be a number of non-Israelite folk in France as well.
6 See note 4.
7 "Zebulun," Jacob asserted, "shall dwell by the haven of the sea; he shall become a haven for ships . . ." (Genesis 49:13). The Dutch have long been recognized as a sea-faring people. Measured by shipping volume, the vast Amsterdam Harbor is the largest in the world.
8 Few people know much about Prussia today; she disappeared as a political entity in 1947, a victim of the Allies' redrawing of Europe's political map. The Prussians were Protestant (Lutheran) in orientation, distinct from their southern neighbors in Catholic Germany. Historically, she was a strong ally of Protestant England. Prussia has a long history of militarism. These are the disciplined, boot-clicking soldiers of Germany. As late as the Third Reich, Prussia enjoyed a political existence, although by that time it was only an administrative region, consisting of, yes, 13 states, one of which, interestingly, was Saxony.
9 Some believe that the proper noun Saxons is a contraction of "Isaac's sons."
10 The British Empire later gave way to the British Commonwealth of Nations, which is still in existence.
11 The British defeat of the Spanish Armada is a fine example of God's protection. In an attempt to conquer Protestant England for Catholic Spain, King Philip II of Spain dispatched 130 vessels, carrying about 30,000 men, in AD 1588. The smaller British ships proved much more maneuverable—and deadly—in the unexpectedly heavy winds than the gigantic Spanish men-of-war. Having sustained heavy losses, the Spanish fleet sought to disengage by sailing through the storm-battered English Channel. Only 67 of their 130 ships survived the storm and the British Navy, and most of the surviving vessels were ruined as fighting machines.
All this happened in July and August, when such fierce storms in the English Channel are not the norm. What Jacob had prophesied millennia before was true: "The archers have bitterly grieved [Joseph], shot at him and hated him, but his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob . . ." (Genesis 49:23-24).
The war effort demoralized the Spanish and economically "broke the bank." While she remained a formidable foe for decades, her back was effectively broken; her relative stature as a European power diminished against the increasingly powerful northern countries of the Netherlands, France, and England.
12 Some people "spiritualize away" the promises of God to the Patriarchs. It is certainly true that many of those promises have spiritual meaning and will have spiritual fulfillment. For example, the promise of the eternal possession of the land certainly has reference to spiritual Israel's inheriting the entire world. However, it is unfair to limit God's promises in this way. The promise that Israel would "possess the gates of those who hate them" (Genesis 24:60) is a good example of a physical blessing, one that cannot be "spiritualized away." In Genesis 22:17, the reference is to the "gate of their enemies." However, in God's Kingdom, all that offends will have passed away. All the spirit beings there will enjoy rich, eternal relationships with the children of God. There will be no "enemies"; no one will "hate" others. Clearly, the "gate" promise has its clearest fulfillment in this age; it is a physical blessing God bestowed on Israel after the completion of her 2,520 years of punishment.
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