An excellent piece of Biblical scholarship, this one was written and researched by the pastor general of the Worldwide Church of God (the ones who make that show “The World Tomorrow”) and the editor of Plain Truth magazine. I found his argument so convincing and his information so helpful that after I was done with it I passed this book on to Sir Hiram Firam for use in his editorial, “In Defense of Kingship and Divine Right.” (And you thought he’d actually read the Bible, or something, right?) Armstrong’s thesis is one of formal logic. On the basis of one assumption, others follow. If God’s word is truth, then we must assume that a promise made by God has either been fulfilled already or will be fulfilled in the future. So if God has promised that a descendant of David would remain on the throne for ever and ever, that “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah... until Shiloh come”, then how could the throne of David have ever been unoccupied? How could the line of succession ever have ended? In Psalm 89, God states:
“I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant. Thy seed I will establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations.
“My mercy will I keep for him forever mine, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven.
“My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that has gone out of my lips. Once I have sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me.”
How can you argue with that? Does that leave any doubt in your mind that God will preserve his chosen House of David, to rule Jerusalem until the last days of Earth, when the Messiah finally returns to occupy the throne himself? How could you think otherwise? Furthermore, Armstrong argues, how can the Messiah occupy a throne that no longer exists? It must be the line of David continued, uninterrupted, until the present day, and that a succession of kings de jure has proliferated all this time, although perhaps somewhat underground - a succession that will one day be restored to its former glory sometime before the Second Coming of Christ. Otherwise (A) God would be a liar, and (B), he wouldn’t have a throne to sit on. The throne of Jerusalem, and all that goes along with it, was a birthright given to the descendants of David, and as Armstrong writes, “A birthright requires no qualification. It is a right by birth.” So true is his assessment, and so vital this truth is to the underlying thesis of this magazine. Therefore, in order to keep his promise, the Lord devised more and more crafty ways for the sons of David to retain their birthright, even as they trespassed against him, and were punished severely. For instance, just two generations after David was crowned King, his grandson, Rehoboam (son of Solomon) lost the majority of his kingdom due to a tax rebellion. After a bloody civil war a separate kingdom was established, so that there were now two, Judah and Israel. The splitting up into the two kingdoms was punishment for an abominations committed by Solomon, worshipping pagan gods in the lord’s very own temple. Yet, even in the midst of his wrath, the Lord did not break his promise to David. His descendants retained their birthright, the throne of Jerusalem.
It is described here in 1Kings 11:26. “Behold”, says God, “I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and I will give ten tribes to thee...Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand... for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes. But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and I will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. And unto his son I will give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light always before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and thou shalt be king over Israel.”
So the kingdom split up into the 10 “Lost” Tribes (if you count Ephraim and Manasseh as one tribe), who became the kingdom of Israel, with their capital in Samaria, and the remaining kingdom of Judah (consisting of the tribes of Judah, Levi and Benjamin.) retained the throne of Jerusalem, and everything implied by that. It is Armstrong’s position that the descendants of these tribes (from the kingdom of Judah) who hereafter became known as Jews, and as such were separate from the Israelites, who were not Jews. This is a rather controversial position, for many would associate it with “British Israelism” and other forms of anti-Semitic ideology. But this is not at all what Armstrong is purporting. He is simply stating that while the Jews were originally Israelites, not all of the Israelites, in fact most of them, were not Jews, because they were not from the kingdom of Judah.
Now as soon as the new kingdom of Israel was set up, Jeroboam arranged for the public worship of two golden calves, to satisfy the religious impulse of his people and to keep them from defecting back to Judah. He also altered the Sabbath celebration so that it was observed not on Saturday but on the pagan feast day of the Sun. This act in itself indicated that the Israelites had broken their covenant with the Lord, for God said himself when he handed down the law of the Sabbath to the Isrealites, in Exodus 31:17, “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever...” Because of this, God warns them repeatedly to turn back from their wicked ways, lest they meet the wrath of the Almighty. Finally, 19 kings after Rehoboam, the lord Tetragrammaton gets fed up and, as it’s described in 1 Kings 14: 15-16
“The Lord shall smite Israel... and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers... because of the sins of Jeroboam.” So in 721 - 718 B.C. (80 years prior to the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem.), the kingdom of Israel was invaded by Assyrians, who took the inhabitants home with them to live as slaves. Having already lost their faith, they now lost their kingdom, their culture, and their language, for it was not long before they were all speaking Assyrian. In Deuteronomy 32:26 God had warned Mosesand the Israelites of this. “I said I would scatter them into the corners, I would make the rememberance of them to cease from among men.” And that is certainly what happened. From this point on the tribes were essentially “lost.” Sometime previous to 600 A.D., the Assyrians began to migrate northwest, through what is now the Baltic region, and they took the Israelites along with. However, Armstrong believes that the Israelites did not remain slaves in Europe but broke away and continued onward, into what is now Western Europe, Scandanavia and the British Isles.
At this point. Armstrong makes the case for his central thesis: that the 10 lost tribes of Israel spread out over the entire world, assuming new kingdoms, especially in Europe, and that many European states actually have their roots Israelites. Had not the Lord promised the patriarch Abram that “I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly... thou shalt be a father of many nations”? That means that his descendants Abram would be heirs to vast, powerful nations, not just what is known today as the political state of Israel. And it is Armstrong’s belief that the European countries, and many of those colonized by them, are in fact these very nations, the birthright promised to the children of Israel. He then goes about trying to prove that Britain and America are the kingdoms promised to Ephraim and Mannasseh, using somewhat shaky etymology. He argues that the word “brit” comes from “berith”, the Hebrew word for “covenant”, and that the word “Saxons” (as in “Anglo-Saxons”) comes from “Issac’s Son’s.” He also points out a number of locations throughout europe and especially Ireland that could have been named after the tribe of Dan, such as “Dundalk”, “Dundee, “Donegal”, and of course, “Denmark”, meaning “Dan’s Mark.” He also points to historical Irish legends stating that sometime prior to 700 B.C., a tribe called the “Tuatha de Dannan” (Tribe of Dan) arrived on the coast of Ireland and settled down, driving out other tribes along the way. He then recounts a rather significant Irish legend regarding a supposed visit by the Prophet Jeremiah in 569 B.C. In that year “an elderly, white-haired patriarch”, whom the locals referred to as a “saint” came to Ireland with a young woman named “Tea-Telphi”, who was the daughter of an Egyptian king, and her husband, “Simon Brach.” Simon was the son of the King of Ireland, and the two had met in Jerusalem, shortly before the siege. They then went back to Ireland, along with Jeremiah, bearing a harp, an ark, and something called the “lia-fail”, which later became known as the “Stone of Destiny”, the stone upon which all British monarchs must sit at their coronation. This is the same one that the Brits believe to be synonymous with Jacob’s fabled pillow-stone, upon which he slept as he dreamt about wrestling with an angel. Armstrong finds significance in the fact that the word “lia-fail” reads the same forwards and backwards, perhaps an indication of it’s Hebraic origin. What to make of all this? Well, the first time I read it I thought it was a bit kooky, but the more I thought about it, and allowed it to sink in, the more it made sense. For would this not explain why most of the royal dynasties of Europe (the so-called Grail families to whom this magazine is dedicated) claim that their bloodlines hearken back to Israel, and why the majority of Europe and it’s colonies worship the God of Israel? Armstrong observes this himself when he writes, “Is it not indeed strange that we English-speaking people are today the greatest believers in and exponents of this Book of the Hebrew people; that of all nations we are the chief worshippers of Israel’s God and Israel's Messiah - in name and in form, if not in truth and deed?” Many anti-Semitic Christians have embraced the idea of the lost tribes of Israel, using it to make ridiculous arguments that Jesus was not a Jew and Aryan Israelites are actually God’s chosen people. But Armstrong is not saying anything like that. He is simply putting forth a theory that harmoniously explains what happened to the lost tribes, and why much of Europe seems to be entangle with all things Israelitish. But even more so than this, Armstrong is making a larger, much more powerful argument: That God is in charge, that his promises will be fulfilled, and that every event which occurs is all part of the big plan, the Magnum Opus, The Grand Design of the Great Architect of the Universe. This is something that all men and women should take to heart, for it brings ultimate meaning to what is otherwise merely the drudgerous, toilsome sorrow of existence. In fact it brings significance to everything you do, and everything that happens to you, because there is a divine reason behind it. “It is true”, writes Armstrong, “ though almost totally unrealized: Mankind was put on this Earth for a purpose!” Keep that that inviolable in mind, lest you ever forget that every hair on your head is numbered.