14-10 British Israelism Considered
14-10-1 H.W. Armstrong's "Britsh Israelism"
14-10-2 The Brit-Am / Yair Davidiy Movement-
Are Australians One Of The Lost Ten Tribes?
14-10-3 Are The Jewish People Ethnically
14-10-3 Are The Jewish People Ethnically Pure?
The idea that the so called Israelite peoples are a distinct ethnic
group differing radically from others seems to me to be flawed by
the simple fact that there are virtually no ethnically pure groups
on earth today. When Yair Davidiy claims [without any serious evidence]
that "the Danes" are Israelite because of the verbal similarity
with the tribe of "Dan", this implies that actually the
"Danes" aren't ethnically Scandinavian but Semitic. That
proposition is ridiculous. Further, the implication seems to be
that whoever lives in Denmark is also a "Dane" and therefore
also Semitic- because so many tribes moved around and came to live
in Denmark over the past few millennia. But these theories presuppose
that the original Jewish or Israelite tribes who supposedly moved
to Denmark and Anglo-Saxon countries were themselves pure. A brief
review of their history shows this is far from the case:
- Abraham, father of the Israelite peoples, was not an inhabitant
of the land we now know as Israel. He was from far away, in modern
- Isaac and Jacob both took wives from tribes who were the forefathers
of the Arabs. God reminds Israel of this later: "Your father
was an Amorite, and your mother a Hittite" (Ez. 16:3,45)- as
if to say 'Listen Israel, ethnically you're really no different
from the surrounding Arabic tribes'. It is following the faith
of Abraham which makes people his children, rather than fleshly
descent (Rom. 4:12-16; Gal. 3:7-9). Hence Paul's comment: "They
are not all Israel who are of Israel" (Rom. 9:6).
- Some of the children of Jacob were by his servant girls, who
were also ethnically 'Arabic' rather than 'Israelite'
- Joseph married an Egyptian, Asenath- Ephraim and Manasseh his
sons were half Egyptian.
- The community which left Egypt and journeyed to Canaan included
a very large "mixed multitude" (Ex. 12:38, Heb. 'a mongrel
people'). However there was no ethnic distinction made between them
and the descendants of Jacob, neither in the Law of Moses nor in
any social legislation. They were assimilated.
- Repeatedly, Biblical history laments how the children of Jacob
intermarried with the local Canaanite tribes and surrounding nations.
- Solomon's mother was an Ammonitess. Yet he was in the royal line.
Other kings also had Gentile mothers.
- In captivity in Babylon, the Jews quickly assimilated, adopting
paganic Babylonian names. Only a minority of them returned to the
land under Ezra and Nehemiah, and even these were characterized
by marriage with non-Jews, to the point that their children couldn't
speak Hebrew (Ezra 10 etc.).
- Much research has been done to investigate why despite the small
number who returned from Babylon, by the time of Christ a few centuries
later, the population of Palestine had increased so many fold. It's
apparent that there was large scale immigration into Palestine of
various groups who assimilated with the Jews.
- Throughout the past 2000 years, the 'Jewish' people have continued
to follow a pattern of assimilation and intermarriage, persecution,
separation, acceptance, assimilation...
This brief summary shows that the Jewish people are far from ethnically
pure- in fact they have experienced far more dilution of their ethnicity
than most other races! What is clear is that being 'Jewish', being
the children of faithful Abraham, is a matter of faith and spiritual
culture rather than genetics or blood ethnicity. That's why modern
Israel includes black Africans, Chinese, Filipinos, Americans, pale
skinned, blonde, blue eyed Scandinavians... all wearing skull caps
and claiming to be Jews. That simple fact shows that the Jews simply
aren't ethnically pure, and to claim that all those nations of origin
are somehow legitimately 'Israelite' is therefore a genetical and
It follows from all this that God counts people as His Israel on
bases other than genetic purity. At the time of the exile, the few
Jews left in the land complained that because Abraham had posession
of the land, therefore they too should have such possession (Ez.
33:23,24)- and God said that this was wrong reasoning. They did
not follow the steps of their father Abraham, therefore they could
not claim to be His seed. The New Testament comment that "they
are not all Israel who are of Israel" (Rom. 9:6) was true in
Old Testament times too. This theme of being counted as Israel without
being genetically pure is witnessed many times in the genealogies
of 1 Chron. 1-9. The context of those records was perhaps to comfort
the returned exiles who couldn't prove their ancestry- they were
still "Israel" even if there had been inter-marriage in
Babylon. And there are other examples of this kind of thing. Take
Caleb as an example. He was a Gentile (Num. 32:13; Josh. 15:17;
Jud. 1:13; Gen. 36:11); and yet in Num. 13:6; 34:19 his descendants
are incorporated into the tribe of Judah. Or reflect upon Samuel,
an Ephraimite (1 Sam. 1:1), counted as a Levite (1 Chron. 6:16-28).
Indeed it would appear that 'genealogies' in the Bible very often
reflect themes of associations rather than being literal accounts
of blood descent.
The fact many Jewish rabbis assume Jewish genetic roots are pure
doesn't mean that they are. An often quoted Rabbinic maxim is that
"When the Holy One, blessed be He, causes His Shekinah to rest,
it is only upon the families of pure birth in Israel" (1).
Yet the Hebrew scriptures are clear enough that no Israelite is
"of pure birth". Frequently the Mishnah and later Rabbinic
writings have warned against marriage of Jews to non-Jews, lest
ethnic and genetic purity be lost. Yet the fact is, Jews have already
intermarried hopelessly. The Biblical warnings against marriage
out of the faith are in order that the Jew would not go and serve
other gods- there is no interest in preserving cultural or genetic
purity. And our own position against Christians marrying unbelievers
should be likewise motivated.
(1) As quoted and referenced in Marshall Johnson, The Purpose
Of The Biblical Genealogies (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock,
2002) p. 87.