An obscure person named Richard Brothers who lived in England between 1757 to 1824 is credited with the origination of this farfetched fantasy. He was true to the form of religious fanatics and his movement was strikingly parallel with Joseph Smith and the Mormons. Richards was as eccentric as Smith was ignorant. There is a distinct similarity in the origination of these episodes, a resemblance in the characters of the men, and in the cues to their religious fictions, particularly in the purported saga of the ten tribes of Israel upon which the respective movements were founded. The religious lunacy of these men was about identical in degree, the difference being in the circumstances of Richard Brothers' commitment to an asylum and Joseph Smith to a jail. The dignity which the movement lost by this circumstance in connection with its originator was later regained by one Piazzi Smyth, a Scot astronomer, who evolved the British Israel theory by complicated mathematical calculations in some remote connection with the Great Pyramids upon which he based the claim that the throne of England is the throne of David, and the kings and queens of England Queen Victoria in 1800 and George VI in 1944\u2014 are of the royal lineage of David, and the British people, therefore, the real Israel today, which they claim descends not through Judah or the Jews but from the ten tribes. The true Israel, they claim, does not include Jews but are the Anglo Saxons. There are numerous adherents of this theory, in the main Britishers of the Anglican church. In America it was confined to the parts of the country named, Canada and the New England states, until its recent infiltration into the Pacific coast region, which is due to the fact that California in particular is a sort of rallying ground for all of the fanatical sects from everywhere. The Anglo-Israelists have made a significant showing along the coast from Vancouver, B. C., to San Diego, Calif., if their claims are true that they had upwards of fifty thousand adherents in these coast sections.
Their theoretical views are completely contrary to ethnological history bearing on the origin of the British people and the Anglo-Saxon race, the facts of which the Anglo- Israel authors have the bold audacity to dispute and deny. But their unhistorical claims are no more pretentious than their unscriptural interpretations are presumptuous.
Now what is Anglo-Israelism? It is the doctrine that the Jews are not Israel. That is all a mistake, we are told. Jews are one thing and Israel quite another. It is a doctrine that originated in England, largely surrounding the British people. The doctrine asserts that the Anglo-Saxon peoples are the ten tribes the true Israel. And it is Israel, not the Jews, who will be restored in the millennium. This restored Israel, the Anglo Saxon people, with Jesus Christ seated on the reestablished earthly throne of David as king, will rule the whole world. Anglo- Israelism teaches that the literal throne of David exists today in the throne of the English kings, and when Jesus Christ returns he will simply occupy the throne which the British kings now hold, and have been holding for centuries, for him until he comes, until the millennium commences. That millennium will surround the Anglo-Saxon peoples, not the Jews at all. The Anglo-Saxon peoples of the earth will be gathered together in the millennium, and with Jesus Christ on the throne now held by England's House of Hanover, they will rule the world. Fantastic, do you say? That is not half of it - it is utterly false.
The bibliography of this movement is not as prolific as of some other cults, yet there are numerous books and publications devoted to its promotion. The leading magazine publication advocating the Anglo-Israel theory bears the name of DESTINY, and because of its rather suspicious political character, it was listed as a subversive influence in the book entitled UNDER COVER, by a well known American writer. The author of UNDER COVER appears to have good ground for his belief that Anglo-Israelism is seditious in character. It is, without doubt, a system of national religion, based on the general idea of nationalism, and politically it could hardly be consistent with American principles. The indictment against the system on political grounds appears to be justifiable.
There have been some books written against the Anglo-Israel doctrine, but all such books, so far as I know, were written by religionists who are themselves of the millennial school of thought premillennialists of one form or another. Doctor Rimmer, for instance, has contributed ably to the exposure of the fallacies of the ethnological and philological contentions of Anglo-Israelism, and he debated the issues with the Doctor John Matthews, of Los Angeles; but Doctor Rimmer being a premillennialist also, his Biblical argument was rendered somewhat impotent because of the fact that it was merely one millennial theory pitted against another. No premillennialist can successfully oppose Anglo-Israelism. The one who defeats in debate an Anglo-Israelist must be one who knows how to expose the entire superstructure of premillennialism with all of its latent errors, and in all of its forms.
A ranking authority on Anglo-Israelism is Professor E. Odlum, M.A., B.Sc., F.R.C., Inst., etc. He is author of an unusual book in defense of the Anglo-Israel theory. The book bears the title, "God's Covenant Man: British Israel." The following statements, gleaned from the pages of this book, will show the character of this theory. Let me read them to you:
British empire. We cannot but discern the hand of God, which has grown until now she looms up with a power that will soon fill and control the human family."\u2014p. 48.
compounded. Britannia is the naval covenant, and no wonder that Britons the world over sing 'Rule Britannia." . . . This was and is the covenant of the deep."\u2014 p. 75.
carry spiritual and material blessings to all nations. Only one nation in the history of the world has been doing this as fully as is Great Britain today and for past centuries.'\u2014p. 120.
to divine promise. Further, Britons are the British, and the word 'British' is a compound of two Hebrew words\u2014Brit, a covenant, and Ish, a man, the covenant man."\u2014p. 120.
ancient Mesopotamia, and is the present holder of the Sudan and the headwaters of the Nile. Already she is moving steadily towards Jerusalem. Her ships and men are battering down the forts and Turks at the Dardanelles and at Smyrna, and at the Gulf of Akabah, and at Bozrah, and on and on to the finale, which means the whole of the promised land of Canaan."\u2014p. 123.
good. She is now a confederation of nations such as the world has never known, and she is in crescendo in this respect, and promises to swallow, 'to eat up the nations' of the world, as the Scriptures long since foretold "\u2014 p. 126.
particularly the realty, was passed on from father to elder son? This is quite an Israelitish trait of character and custom. The people who are called in the name of Israel and after their father Abraham are also marked by the custom of the firstborn transfer of property."\u2014p. 132.
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