John Wilson, 1877
|Why this matters ...|
|Arguing forward...||Arguing backward...|
(a) Does God keep His promises?
(b) Were any promises of physical blessings made to the Biblical patriarchs?
(c) Is anyone alive today (regardless of ethnicity, race, language, geographical location, ...) the recipient of promises of physical blessings made to the patriarchs?
(d) If someone is a recipient, are there special responsibilities that go along with those blessings?
(e) If there are special responsibilities, then do we need to discover if we are the ones with those special responsibilities?
(f) If we are the ones with those special responsibilities, should we perform them?
(g) Get to it! Perform those special responsibilities!
(a) As a nation (of all kinds of ethnicities, races, languages, ...), do we have more than our share of physical blessings?
(b) Does God gives us these blessings?
(c) Does God have a reason for giving us these blessings?
(d) Is any part of the reason the promises of physical blessings given to the Biblical patriarchs?
(e) Do God's blessings also come with special responsibilities for those blessed?
(f) Do we have special responsibilities?
(g) Let's get to it! Let's perform those special responsibilities!
In 1840, Wilson concluded that the British Empire was blessed as a result of the promises to the patriarchs, and so had a responsibility to set a Christian example, and evangelize, the whole world. He warned that if the British Empire did not do this, its future was bleak.
FIRST. - Twenty years ago a writer the "RECORD" remarked: -
"A strong bias has lately been given to many spiritually-minded people to alienate from the Gentiles the exceeding great and precious promises of the Old Testament Scriptures."
REPLY. - There can be little doubt of the extent of the evil, likewise that it is most dangerous to exalt any fleshly relationship above that which our Saviour reckoned paramount, and possessed by "those which hear the word of God and do it" (Luke 8:21). The most effectual way of meeting the difficulty seems to be this, - allow your friend his desired ground of "literal interpretation." What then? Are the Gentiles excluded on that ground? Certainly not. The promise was not that Israel should be exclusively blessed, but that in Abraham's seed "all the nations of the earth" should be blessed (Gen. 22:15-18). This was also contemplated when the land and the wide-spreading of his descendants was promised to Jacob (Gen. 28:13, 14), "In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."
The same spiritual blessings enjoyed by Israel are promised to "the stranger" who lays hold upon the Lord's covenant. (Isa. 56:3-7). Even in the land the same inheritance is appointed to "the stranger sojourning in any of the tribes of Israel." (Ezek. 47:22, 23). Exaltation, except as placing in a position for higher and greater service, is not more contemplated in the Old Testament for Israel than it is for Christians in the New (Luke 22:25, 26).
The Birthright or heirship to the Promises made to the Fathers was given to the GENTILES in a way in which it was never bestowed upon the people called Jews. Jacob had the birthright which his brother despised; and when he alienated it from Reuben, his own firstborn, he transferred it to the sons of Joseph (1 Chron. 5:1, 2), especially to Ephraim, the younger (Gen. 48:13-20), whose posterity he contemplated as "Gentiles" when blessing him through the cross, saying "His seed shall become a multitude of nations, - or as the same passage is translated in Rom. 11:26, "Fullness of the Gentiles." As distinguished even from his own brother Manasseh, and therefore much more from the Jews, Ephraim was to become "a multitude of nations," or Gentiles, who were to inherit the promises, and obtain and minister the blessing to their brethren. "The multitude of nations," or Gentiles who were to come of Ephraim, having been brought into the promised blessing, "so all ISRAEL - the tribes of Israel his companions - " shall be saved." (Ezek. 37:16-19; Rom. 11:25; Gen. 48:19, 20.)
Even after Ephraim was carried away by the Assyrians and lost, or so broken as to be "not a people" (Isa. 7:8), he was still considered by the Lord as His Firstborn (Jer. 31:8). If the promises to Ephraim's descendants are to be fulfilled to those with regard to whom they were made, then we need not look for their fulfillment in a people called "Jews," for they never had that name. They were separated from Judah at the death of Solomon, politically, religiously, and locally (I Kings 12.), and even "the whole seed of Ephraim" was carried away, dispersed, and lost among the Gentiles more than a hundred years before "the Jews" were carried to Babylon (Jer. 7:15, 2 Kings 17:24, 25).
The Heirs of the Promises made unto the Fathers are, therefore, doubtless to be looked for among the GENTILES. To their condition and name Ephraim was reduced when "backsliding Israel," as distinct from " treacherous Judah," was given a "bill of divorce" and sent away (Jer. 3:8). Ephraim was stripped of all wherein he might glory, and taken back to the land whence Abraham had been called. Thence our ancestors commenced their wanderings in the northern wilderness. The "Firstborn" of Israel was left nothing to trust in but the free grace of God, according to which, through the Cross, Ephraim had been given the Birthright (Gen. 48:13, 14). By the same free grace the people who were put away under the old covenant were to be espoused to the Lord in a "new and everlasting covenant" (Hos. 2:6-3; Isa. 59.).
Not among the people generally called "Israelites," then, need we expect to find those who were emphatically appointed heirs of the promises. "The Jews" have their own place in prophecy, but not that of the "Firstborn," which belongs to the descendants of Ephraim, whose very name was given in the spirit of prophecy, and means "I will bring forth fruits," the people contemplated by our Lord when He said to the Jews, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof (Matt. 21: 43).
If we can ascertain to whom has been given that which was the chief advantage of the Jews, "the keeping of the oracles of God," the ministration of the bread of life among the nations; if we inquire whence came the multitude of Gentiles inhabiting these islands, who have hence spread out to all "the ends of the earth," and have been dealt with in providence as the Lord promised to deal with the children of Joseph (Gen 49:22-26); and if we pursue the subject far enough and carefully enough, we shall be in a fair way to see that God can be rich in His grace to the Gentiles, and most literally true to the promises made unto Abraham and his seed for ever.
SECOND. - "If this view is generally accepted, by turning away the public attention from the Jews, the interests of the Societies for their conversion may be seriously affected."
Reply. - Is it not wonderful that Christians should allow worldly considerations of expediency to influence them in the reception or rejection of Scripture truth? If this be the truth respecting Israel, it ought to be received, however it may affect the Jews' Societies; and if it be not truth, it should be dealt with, not as being calculated either to increase or lessen the income of any Society, but rather as not having Scriptural warrant. Those who suggest such motives for the regulation of our investigation of prophetic truth, do much to induce a suspicion of their own insecure standing.
"Our Israelitish Origin" may undermine the erroneous views of some respecting "the Jews," for it shows the prior duty and importance of seeking the conversion of our own people. But in doing this we are not the farther from promoting the conversion of "the Jews;" rather we are removing one of the greatest stumbling-blocks out of the way of both Gentile and Jew, and we are increasing the instrumentality whereby God has declared His intention of operating for the good of all.
Our view facilitates the conversion of the Jews, because it enables us to approach them upon greater terms of equality, and not as magnifying them in the flesh, which must always be a hindrance to their embracing Christianity, whereby they lose that very caste on account of which they are valued. It is surely better to invite "the Jew" to join the commonwealth of Israel - to partake of the privileges of Ephraim, "My Firstborn" - of being set among "the children" of Joseph, whose is "the Birthright." (Compare 1 Chron. 5:2; Jer. 3:18, 19; 31:9.)
And it is not the case that those who are most interested in "the Jews" have found their zeal lessened by this view, of which we could give many notable instances where the spiritual footing has been made more secure, because the ground had been cleared of some loose insecure rubbish.
THIRD. - "Are you quite sure that the so-called Scriptures are not a mere Jewish fabrication?"
REPLY. - 1. The Lord threatened the people Of ISRAEL with four sore judgments on their land, in case of their denial of His power, rejection of His authority, and oppression of the poor (Isa. 1:17). And just as when, by obedience to His law, they sought to obtain His blessing, the showers descended in their seasons, the land brought forth abundantly, and they were protected by His mighty power from the inroads of the enemy; so, in consequence of their disobedience, have all those threatened judgments, "the sword, the famine, the pestilence, and the beasts of the earth," come upon them according to His word (Lev. 26.).
2. And at length, as had been threatened, the enemy was allowed to prevail, not only to punish them in the land, but also to carry them away so entirely from it, that to all human appearance they were "lost" (2 Kings 17). More especially was this the case with regard to " EPHRAIM and the Tribes of Israel, his companions," who constituted the Kingdom of ISRAEL (Hos. 1:7).
3. As had been predicted, the Jews were allowed to remain in the land, until, "their iniquity being full," they were removed to Babylon for the space of seventy years (Jer. 29:10; Dan. 9:2); after which they were permitted to return, upon condition of defending the poor and needy, and of being ready to receive and willing to obey the Messiah when He should appear (Isa. 1; Mic. 5:2).
4. Messiah did appear in the time and place predicted, as a Poor Man demanding simple justice, and an honest hearing for the Truth; but the Jews would not hear. They hid as it were their faces from Him (Isa. 53:3). They knew not the day of their visitation (Luke 19:24). And so the same generation which had perpetrated the gross injustice of putting that Poor Man to the accursed death of the cross, saw their temple and city destroyed as foretold; while from that time to this the Jews have been as all their own prophets had forewarned Deut. 4, 28, &c., &c.).
5. And it is not because the land of Israel has been so crowded with inhabitants that there has been no room for them; for it has been "lying desolate without them" (Jer. 26:43).
"The Lord hath removed men far away, and there hath been a great forsaking in the midst of the land" (Isa. 6:12). The cities have been deserted, and the most fertile fields untilled, ready to become the possession of whoever would cultivate them. True, the curse has been upon the Land, as well as upon the People. "Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain" (Jer. 3:3), until now, that we are come to the time which the Prophets thousands of years ago foretold, when the mountains were to shoot forth their branches, and. bear their fruit for the people of Israel, who are at hand to come (Ezek. 36:8).
Now if the Old Testament Scriptures were, as you say, "a mere Jewish fabrication," is it at all likely that they would have appointed to the Jews such a destiny as that people have exactly fulfilled? In that case the Jews would have been much more likely to constitute themselves heirs to the promises made to the Fathers.
Not so these Old Testament Scriptures, any more than those of the New, which both plainly declare that the blessing in all its fullness, temporal and spiritual, was to "come upon the head of Joseph;" from whom the Jews of course are not descended (Gen. 49:22-26). We are told, 1 Chron. 5:, that "Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the Chief Ruler; but the Birthright was Joseph's." On moral considerations the Birthright had been taken from Reuben, and given to Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph; but more emphatically to Ephraim, the younger son (Gen. 48:15-20). And thus, when speaking of the restoration of Israel, by the prophet JEREMIAH, the Lord says, "I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn" (31:9).
The Word of God-for the authenticity and truth of which we are pleading - marks clearly the distinction between the respective destinies of Judah and ISRAEL; the latter, under the name of Ephraim, being cast out among the Gentiles and lost, as much as Joseph was when he was carried down into Egypt. Our forefathers came from the borders of the Caspian Sea; from the very neighborhood where these children of Ephraim were lost when they were carried away from their land by the Assyrians between two and three thousand years ago.
And manifestly to us have been fulfilled the promises which we read in the Bible were made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Ephraim; which spoke of our growing into " A MULTITUDE OF NATIONS," of possessing "THE GATES" of our enemies, and of being the means Of BLESSING TO ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH (Gen. 22:16-18; 48:15-20).
FOURTH. What evidence have we that the Scriptures are a Revelation from the Eternal?
REPLY. - 1. EGYPT, which enslaved the nation of Israel in its infancy, and compelled that people to cast their children into the river Nile, had that same river turned into blood, and its king and all his host drowned in the Red Sea (Exod, 1:22; 8:19-25; 14:28). And, as was threatened, Egypt has been left to become "the basest of kingdoms" (Ezek. 29:15); so that no one could be a ruler there except as having been previously sold for a slave. Such was the dominion of the Mamelukes, which existed till our own day. [ABCOG: Even modern Egypt is ruled by ethnic Arabs, not ethnic Egyptians].
2. Of NINEVEH, the capital of ASSYRIA (by whose power the Ten Tribes of Israel were carried captive, and as it were put in "graves," - Ezek. 37.), it was said thousands of years ago, "I will make thy grave, for thou art vile" (Nah. 1:14); and there it lay from soon after the time that Israel were carried thither by the Assyrians until our own day, when it has been disentombed by Englishmen!
3. We might thus not only take the beginning and the end of Israel, EGYPT on the south and ASSYRiA to the north of their land, but also the various countries circling around them, to see how remarkably retributive have been the dealings of God; which, although as regular as what are called the physical laws, are evidently higher than these, and require us to think of a Moral Intelligence as speaking from the beginning, and working throughout all ages in the succession of empires from BABYLON to ROME, and from TYRE to these "ISLES OF TARSHISH," the traffic of which TYRE attempted to monopolize to itself. And now these same BRITISH ISLES are as "the ends of the earth" were promised to be; while TYRE, as was threatened, is now "like the top of a rock - " (Ezek. 26:4-11; Deut. 33:17). [ABCOG: the story of Tyre is complex, as is its geography.]
FIFTH. If your view be true, surely it would have been found out before?
REPLY. - In that case the judgment written against Israel would not have been so remarkably fulfilled (Lev. 26:18, 21, 24, 28). They were to be punished "seven times" for their sins by being cast out of the Lord's land, lost, dead, and put into graves (Ezek. 37.). Seven times 360 make 2,520 years, according to the symbolic language Of prophecy of a day for a year [ABCOG: the ideal year has 360 days]. And it is now more than that time since Ephraim was "lost" among the Gentiles. We have, therefore, come to the time when Israel should be known, and Ephraim the Prodigal Son should come to himself. (See "Lectures on our Israelitish Origin," 5th edition.)
SIXTH. "The Lost Tribes are where God says: in Assyria."
REPLY. - True, God says (Isa. 27:13), "They shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria," which may hereafter be fulfilled in the Nestorians; but these people do not come up to the predictions respecting EPHRAIM, to which they do not even pretend to belong, but rather to the tribe of Naphtali. The people of whom it can be said, "The nations shall see and be confounded at all their might" (Mic. 7:16), must be in a far different position from that of the Nestorians or any people like them.
The great restoration of Israel is to be from other quarters than Assyria (Isa. 48:5), "I will bring thy seed from the EAST and gather thee from the WEST," where we ourselves are. They are not spoken of ... as a people called by the name of the Lord, and created for His glory. Compare therewith 1 Pet. 4:14.
Ephraim was to be so "broken" as to be "not a people" (Isa. 7:8). When cast out among the Gentiles, of course they could not be known as the people of promise. But they were to be known by that which is better than a name; by the blessing to extend to "the utmost bound of the everlasting hills." Notwithstanding all the obstacles presented by either Pagan or Papal Rome - the seven-hilled city which has been called Eternal - the blessing was to "come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren" (Gen. 49:25, 26; Deut. 33:16).
SEVENTH. Drs. Grant and Buchanan, Sir G. Rose, Messrs. Samuel, Finn, Layard, and others, have written on the Israelitish origin of different portions of the human race; therefore "our Israelitish origin" was not required to account for the lost tribes of Israel.
REPLY. - We are not aware that any have attempted to find the "multitude of nations" promised to come of Ephraim; except those who hold with the Mormons about the North American Indians; but these, so far from increasing and filling the face of the world with fruit (Isa. 27:6), are comparatively few in number, are neither blessed, nor show a capacity for ministering blessing to others, and are being rapidly supplanted by the race we identify with Ephraim. [ABCOG: rather Manasseh].
EIGHTH. "There is not a single text which points to any of the tribes so mixing with Gentiles as to beget a new legitimate nation."
REPLY. - Most certain it is, that within sixty-five years from the giving forth of the prophecy in Isa. 7:8, Ephraim was to be so "broken that he should not be a people;" and that of him it is said in Hos. 7:8, "Ephraim he hath mixed himself among the peoples." If Ephraim was soon to be broken so as not to be a people, and was at the same time to be MIXED among the peoples; then even the Firstborn of Israel must of course have been mixed among the Gentiles; and most probably "the tribes of Israel his companions" were mixed in the same way.
But although Ephraim was to be thus mixed up among the Gentiles, and was to be "so broken as not to be a people," was he therefore also to lose his birthright?
No; for long after these words were spoken, the position of the firstborn is recognized as being reserved for Ephraim (Jer. 31:9). In the yet future restoration, the Lord will be able to say, "I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn." Notwithstanding, his being "mixed" among the Gentiles, Ephraim is still the heir to the promises, and may most reasonably be expected to prove himself the nation to whom has come "the Kingdom" which, according to our Lord's prediction, was taken from the Jews (Matt. 21:43). What nation can this be but that of Ephraim, whose very name means "I will bring forth fruits", and that to which the blessing was promised (Gen. 48:16-20).
This nation is clearly to be distinguished from "the Jews," the people from whom the Kingdom was to be taken. Now of what great advantage had the Jews been deprived? Unto them had been committed the Oracles of God (Rom. 3:1, 2). The ministration of the Word - the bringing forth "the fruits of the Kingdom" - was to pass away from them; and unto what we call the Anglo-Saxon race has been committed the stewardship of "the Oracles of God" - the distribution of the bread of life to the whole human family: - to the people we identify with Ephraim.
In the future restoration to the land, those with whom Sion is to be adorned as with a bridal dress are to be a comparatively new and unlooked-for people, whose connection with the Fathers had been lost sight of (Isa. 49:18-21). The people who were lost as having been made "NOT MY PEOPLE" - Lo-ammi - are to be found "sons of the living God" (Hos. 1:6-10; Isa. 7:8).
Judah and Ephraim are clearly distinguished from each other, both under the Mosaic dispensation, and since the coming of Christ. The Lord had not mercy upon Israel while they were under the [ABCOG: penalty of breaking the] law; but He had mercy upon the house of Judah. Their cases were different after the rejection of Messiah by the Jews. "The Kingdom" was taken from "treacherous Judah," and the Word was sent away into the north country after "backsliding Israel " (Jer. 3:11-17).
NINTH - Though the Saxons came out of Assyria, where Israel were lost, this is no proof that the Saxons have sprung from Israel; any more than it would prove a family to be of negro descent, to show that it came from, the West Indies, to which negro slaves had been deported.
REPLY. - True, our Israelitish origin cannot be proved from the simple fact that our Saxon forefathers came from where Israel were lost. But this fact shows the possibility of our being descended from Israel. It amounts to still more when we consider that from Israel were to come a seed to be sown over the earth; while of Nineveh (Assyria) it is said (Nah. 1:14), "The Lord hath given commandment concerning thee, that no more of thy name be sown; I will make thy-grave; for thou art vile." Therefore, when after this we find a people coming out of Assyria to be most extensively "sown" over the earth, appointed to fill the waste places thereof with fruit, of whom God has been pleased to make up the great body of His most faithful witnesses to Jew and Gentile, and has given them multiplicity, supplanting power, and the ministration of blessing such as He only promised to give to Ephraim, we may well suppose them to have sprung from those Israelites who were carried captive into Assyria, whom the Lord was to "sow to Himself in the earth," and who were to "fill the face of the world with fruit" (Isa. 27:6).
In dealing with historic facts we must be regardful of the providential laws revealed in the Scriptures. Thus we find God saying to Israel (Jer. 30:11), "Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee; but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished." As God is true, no nations among whom Israel has been cast can entirely supplant them; but, on the contrary, Israel are themselves to supplant others.
Even when "corrected in measure" and cut off as to name, and to appearance lost among the nations, Israel were to continue throughout all changes (Deut. 33:17; Jer. 33:20-26).
TENTH. "DID THE TEN TRIBES NOT RETURN WITH THE JEWS FROM BABYLON? TWELVE BULLOCKS AND OTHER ANIMALS WERE THEN OFFERED FOR ALL ISRAEL AS A SIN OFFERING" (Ezra 8:35).
REPLY. - The following considerations lead to the conviction that Ephraim, who had been carried into Assyria, did not return with the Jews from Babylon.
1st. Comparatively few of even the Jews returned; and the Scriptures make no mention of others being among them, save descendants of those who had been carried captive to Babylon as belonging to the house, although not all to the tribe of JUDAH.
2nd. At the time of that restoration, EPHRAIM's return from Babylon would have been inconsistent with the Lord's purpose regarding him and his companions (Jer. 3.). They were "put away" under the law of Moses, that they might become the Lord's people according to the gospel (Isa. 54; Hos. 1:2). Having been lost as "children of Israel" they were to be found "sons of the living God" (Hos. 1:6, 7, 10).
3rd. The Prophets speak of the restoration Of ISRAEL as something very different from the return of the Jews from Babylon (Isa. 49; Jer. 30.).
4th. In the promised restoration Judah is to return with Israel, and Ephraim is recognized as the firstborn (Jer. 3:18; 31:9), whereas upon that from Babylon, Judah and Benjamin are spoken of as constituting, the body of the people returning from the captivity (Ezra 10:9). Ephraim is not once mentioned either as restoring his brethren or as being himself restored.
5th. After the restoration from Babylon had taken place, Zechariah prophesied (chap. 10:6-12) the return of Ephraim as still future, after they bad been sown among the people.
6th. As regards the animals being presented as a sin offering for all Israel at the restoration from Babylon, what proof have we that the number of sacrifices was changed at the separation of the two houses under Rehoboam, or after the captivity Of ISRAEL to Assyria? Were no people remembered in sacrifice but those in the land? See for example the case of the Spartans (1 Macc. 12).
7th. Even after EPHRAIM was lost, he is spoken of as the firstborn, to whom the Promises made to the Fathers primarily belonged (Jer. 31:9). If Ephraim's case had been an unnoticed accompaniment to that of Judah: if he had been made a subject people along with the Jews, he could scarcely have grown into the promised multitude of nations distinguished, for the privileges bestowed upon them, as (through grace) inheriting the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
8th. The JEWS, who know they can never return to blessing, except as in connection with the Heir, make no claim to having been joined by Ephraim at their return from Babylon.
9th. After their return, Samaria, the capital city of Ephraim and of the house of Israel, remained in possession of the mixed people placed there by the king of Assyria (2 Kings 17:26, 27) And even the more northern parts of the land of Israel came into the possession of the Jews.
All the circumstances of the case are evidence that Israel, and especially EPHRAIM, did not return with the Jews from Babylon. THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL TO THE LAND HAS THEREFORE NOT YET TAKEN PLACE. (See also "Standard of Israel," Vol. 1.)
from Sixty Anglo-Israel Difficulties Answered. Chiefly from the Correspondence of the late John Wilson, compiled by his daughter. London: S. W. Partridge and Co., 9, Paternoster Row. 1877
John Wilson, 1877. Sixty Anglo-Israel Difficulties Answered
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