Are You an Israelite? Chapter 1

From the Differentiator magazine:
Vol. 15, 16 New Series June, August, October, February 1953, 4 No. 3, 4, 5, 1

Chapter 1

I have been asked a very serious question by a friend. "How do you know that Alexander Thomson is NOT an Israelite?" Truly, it had never struck. me before that possibly I was an Israelite. I must give this serious problem real thought. No one had ever told me I was an Israelite; none of my relatives or forebears. My whole kin and all my kith had always taken me for an ordinary Scot. True, for over forty years I have been very fond of the quaint Hebrew language. But I learned this not from my parents in the natural course but artifically by dint of much serious study over a period of two years. In everything it was so different from the ancient form of English which my forefathers had spoken locally for at least sixteen hundred years.

During the late War and for some years thereafter, everyone in Britain had to possess and carry with him an Identity Card, bearing his or her name and address. My Card, how ever, never proved that I was myself. It might have been stolen from another person.

My problem now is to demonstrate who I am, and whence I am. Is there any way in which I can prove which race of mankind I belong to ? Sometimes when I have been in the city of London, where there are many Israelites, I have spoken a little Hebrew in the markets. But none of these Israelites gave me the secret sign to shew that they recognized me as a cousin or relative. They could only stare in silence. Obviously I was one of the Gentile dogs to them. Why did their sense of kinship, which is very strong among themselves, not extend to me?

Perhaps it might be much easier for me to prove that I am one of the Gentiles, than to prove that I am an Israelite. Or would it be possible for me to prove that those who are universally known and recognized as "Jews" are really Gentiles in disguise?

Let us enquire of the only exact records, the sacred Scriptures, for any information upon the subject. There only may we find unimpeachable scientific statements on this matter. In the Song of Moses we are informed that the Most High (Elyon), in allotting or giving inheritance to the nations. in His parting the sons of Adam, set up the boundaries of the peoples, with relation to the number of the sons of Israel (Deut. 32:8). Thus, there were specific Gentile nations, and a glance at a map will shew that the Land of Israel lies at the junction of three huge continents.

In ch. 10 of Genesis Moses details the descendants of Noah, according to their nations. Verse 32 finishes up by stating that "from these were parted the nations in the earth after the Flood." And lest there should be any dubiety regarding these nations, Moses states in ch. 9:19, "These three are Noah's sons, and from these was overspread all the earth." All the present nations on earth are therefore descended from Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

As regards the identity of the few Shemite nations, there never has been any doubt. Apart from Israel, they have always remained in their own part of the world, in South West Asia. As nations they have not been expansive or colonizing. Had Israel become a Nation of Priests, to lead the Gentiles to God, they would never have gone in for commerce and finance.

What of Japheth? Who is he, and what are his characteristics? Why did he get his name?
"Blessed be Jehovah, God of Shem; and Canaan willbecome a servant to him."God shall enlarge (or make wide) for Japheth,"And shall tabernacle in the tents of Shem; and Canaanwill become a servant to him." (Gen. 9:26-27). The name Japheth is said to mean enlarger or expansive. It implies vast migratory movements. No One could aver that the Shemite Arabians have been expansive colonizers. No; nor could anyone claim that the Shemite Israelites have been expansive. They have been driven all over the earth.

We submit, therefore, that none of the restless, expansive, "globe-trotting," bee-hive nations can belong to Shem; they must be sons of Japheth.

In a special way Shem's characteristic was that he possessed for his God Jehovah. "Blessed be Jehovah, God of Shem." In a special sense the great characteristic of Japheth was to be enlargement, by God, as God, that is, Elohim.

As for the general direction of the Japhethic race movement, the 10th of Genesis indicates that they spread West and North. Gog or Gug and the land of Magog, lay to the far north of Palestine. Yavan, the name by which the Hebrews knew the primitive inhabitants of Greece and the Ionian (i.e. Yavonian) Sea, were a people who moved Westwards. Homer calls them Iavones. Tarshish is understood to have gone to Spain.

As quite a few of the Hamite nations named are darkskinned or reddish-brown, it may be they are all more or less dark, if not yellow.

These spread Eastwards into India and Southwards through Africa.

It is therefore only reasonable to believe that the nations of Europe in general, and all their descendants, are of Japhethic stock. No one could ever say of the European nations what Dean Farrar wrote of the Shemites, "The character of the Semitic race has always been its 'inveterate isolation.'"

In our search for Israelites, it is only reasonable that we should consider, not only the question of language and physical features, but also the question of temperament and mentality. So far back as the Egyptian monuments and paintings can take us, they always depict the Israelite with exactly the same features as the known "Jew" of to-day possesses. This argument, of course, is never recognized by those whose views are moulded by wishful thinking alone. The Scriptures recognize the blasphemy from among those professing them selves to be Jews, who are not (Rev. 2:9; 3:9). They recognize such people as "a synagogue of Satan." As the Greek puts it, these people are "saying" themselves to be Jews. For some reason they want to pass as Jews, although they may possess not one of the natural marks of the Jew. There seem to be many who want to say themselves Israelites.

Every nation possesses a great variety of physical expression. To me, every Negro seems very much alike. Yet if I lived among Negroes for a time, I would soon discover great differences among them. At the same time, every nation possesses certain "typical" features which belong only to itself. Often such typical features are not at all common. The Israelites or Jews are no exception; they have something about them which belongs to no other race. An eminent ethnologist (Gunther) denies they are a race at all, because "a casual glance at once shews men of greatly differing appearance among the Jews." Just so; but the glance has been too casual. Every race shews greatly differing features. Yet on his next page the same writer says "in the Jewish people as a whole there are always somatic and psychological characteristics recurring, and with such uniformity for the great body of Jews in every land, that it is easy for the impression of a 'Jewish race' to be formed."

What is of much greater importance for us to-day is the mental characteristic of the Jews or Israelites. The same writer says "their inherited characteristics are the source of that strangeness which they themselves feel within the racially different European peoples, and which these peoples feel with regard to the Jews—a reciprocal strangeness that has always been attested from the time of the first appearance of the Jew in Europe."

Balak king of Moab fetched Balaam from the mountains. of the East, to curse Jacob, to defy Israel (Num. 23:7). But Jehovah had put a statement into Balaam's mouth, and he said, "From the top of rocks I am seeing him, and from hills I am regarding him! Lo, a People alone (or separate; isolated; l'badad) will he tabernacle, and among the nations. will he not reckon himself (v. 9). With Rotherham and Young we give the full force of the final reflexive verb.
Israel always knew he had to be isolated. And in his heart still, in spite of his dense spiritual darkness, he knows that he is still in isolation.

Another beautiful Hebrew theme claims our attention. In Ex. 19:5; Deut. 7:6; 14:2; 26:18, and Psalm 135:4, Israel is represented as a "peculiar treasure" to Jehovah. They Were to be "to Him for a people sgullah." What does this Hebrew word signify? Frequent researches into Hebrew Etymology have shewn that this word, S-G-L corresponds exactly with the Latin singul-aris, singular. This word means "one at a time; alone; single; solitary; alone of its kind; unique." The insertion of N before G is quite a common feature in some languages.

Israel, though still mostly scattered, still dwells alone and unique among the Gentiles, a singular people. Even when an Israelite marries one who is not Semitic, the offspring soon reverts by the law of atavism to the two original types. No new type is formed. One descendant will be born with Hebrew features, another with Gentile features. The same law operates when two distinct races mingle. It was God who brought into being the three great divisions of the human race, and it is God who still preserves their distinctions. About thirty years ago I suggested that these physical and mental distinctions were probably brought into being through the extraordinary physical and climatic changes which existed after the Flood. Children about to be born are often affected throughout life by any extraordinary experience the mother has undergone before they were born. Rainfall was probably a new phenomenon at the Flood; likewise the seasons.

Tremendously different physical conditions probably helped to produce great diversities in the family of Noah and their descendants. Yet the great prime divisions of mankind remain.
In the realm of thought, the religious Israelite or Jew was marked off from the more civilized Gentiles, such as the Greeks (literally Hellenes), by the fact that he was essentially a seer, rather than a reasoner. As the custodian of the Law and the Revelation, it was not his place or his right to reason about these. He did not need to search for Wisdom or Science, as the Greek did, because he possessed as a national treasure a Revelation which told him all he required to know in this life. The Hebrew seers were not philosophers; as Paul told the Corinthians (1. Cor. 1:22) the Jews were asking for signs, and Hellenes (or Greeks) were seeking wisdom (sophia). Well did the Hebrews know that some of their forefathers had seen and even talked with God. Was not one brief glimpse of Jehovah worth far more than all the Science or Wisdom of the nations?
If we have to identify Israel, let us not seek him in a nation which runs after so-called Science. And let us seek him as scattered among all nations (Luke 21:24). Peter, in Acts 4:27 enumerates four human agents or factors as conspiring to bring about the death of Messiah—Herod, Pilate, "together with Gentiles, and peoples of Israel." These last cannot be other than Israelites.

About the year 1873 a book was published in London by Edward Hine called "The British Nation Identified with Lost Israel." On the final page (296) this amazing statement is made, "One of the most beautiful results of this theory is that the Royal race of David is emancipated from the sin of crucifying the Messiah. They were in Ireland, and were not consenting to the act of the remaining race of Judah." Surely Paul's long sorrowful lament for his people Israel found in the 9th chapter of Romans, and down to the end of the 11th chapter of Romans, cannot mean that they were innocent of the crime of murdering their Messiah. If in the first century these Israelites were in what is now known as Ireland, or in Britain, why should Paul's great sorrow for them be unceasable and painful (9:2)? Why should he quote Isaiah as crying over Israel that a remnant (only) would be saved (9:27)? Why again does he quote from Isaiah, who was very daring in declaring that God was found by those not seeking Him, while towards Israel God says, "The whole day do I spread out My hands towards an unyielding and gainsaying people"? (10:20-21). Why does he write that only the chosen ones encountered what they were seeking, while the rest of Israel were made callous? (11:7). Is it not by the lapse of Israel that "The Salvation" comes to the Gentiles, so that Israel may be provoked to jealousy? It is the "casting away" of the same Israel that is "world-conciliation."

The disciples ought to have known better than ask the question found in Acts 1:6. But had they asked the Lord whether He was about to restore the kingdom to a people dwelling 2,000 or 2,500 miles to the West of Palestine, in the British Isles, we feel sure the Lord would have doubted their sanity.

This again raises another historical point. Are we to go back to the original and primitive people who settled in Britain, and if so, who were they? The date of the erection of the huge monoliths which make up "Stonehenge" in Wiltshire is calculated as being about 1500 B.C., by means of astronomical measurements. If the people who erected such huge structures, about such a time, were indeed Israelites, why did they build what are obviously pagan "Temples of the Sun" throughout all Britain? And how did these Israelites' make their Exodus from Egypt (about the same time), settle in their own God-given land after 40 years of wanderings in the Wilderness, then cross Europe in another Exodus, as a nation, or travel by sea, to Britain, and become settled there by about 1500 B.C.? Moreover, if such temples were really shrines for the worship of Jehovah, it ought to be demonstrated that similar temples of the same age or earlier existed in the Holy Land.

How comes it also, that the descendants of this same people have completely abandoned these temples, and do not know assuredly for what purpose they were erected? And how did it happen that these Hebrews completely lost every trace of their pure Hebrew speech, so that in the days of Paul they spoke a tongue akin to the language of the opposite coasts of Gaul?

Why, in many parts of Britain to this day, "counting-out rhymes" are still used for counting sheep, which preserve the primitive numerals of the ancient Britons. These numerals are not a bit like ancient Hebrew, but some of them come close to modern Welsh, as "pimp" for five, "pethera" for four, and "dik" or "dek" for ten. These come very close to Greek. These ancient words for five are specially interesting, being so different from Hebrew chamesh. When a Greek counted by means of his fingers, the whole hand signified "all-all," or pan-pan, from which the numeral pente or pempe, and the name Pompey (a fifth child or son).

A further complication arises if we have to reckon as Israelites not only the ancient Britons, but the nation of the Angles, who, owing to Slavonic pressure, cleared out of the northern part of the old Kingdom of Hanover, along with many of the Friesians, in the fifth century or earlier, and came to Scotland and the country which they named Engle-lond. It is claimed that these were another part of the nation of Israel. It is often stated that they were pagans. No One can prove that they were all pagans. A great many people in Britain to-day are just as much pagan. For all we know, Wulfila's translation of the Greek Scriptures into the Gothic language in the middle of the fourth century may have made a profound impression upon the Angles, who spoke a tongue very close to Gothic.

Were the ancient Britons and the Angles one and the same people by race, that is, all Israelites? If so, if two branches of Israel were now, after perhaps almost two thousand years, celebrating their reunion, why did wars continue between them for a few hundred years?

The Venerable Bede (died A.D. 735) wrote that in his day the Scriptures were read in all the languages of Britain, five in number-Latin, Angle, British, Scottish (Gaetic) and Pietish. Language is no true test of race, yet it seems odd that two branches of Israel should talk languages so very different as ancient British and Angle, while the people universally known as the Jews have retained some knowledge of the Hebrew language wherever they have wandered.

As for the physical differences between the "Israelites" of Britain and those always known as Jews all over the world, Edward Hine set forth the extraordinary theory that these Jews, whom he called Judah, or the two tribes, had been under the curse since the Crucifixion (while the Israelites had not), and as part of this awful curse the Jews' features had been altered. "The change has been entirely with the Jews." Before the Crucifixion, presumably, the features of the "Jews" were similar to those now found in Britain. Hine was a most clever and cunning writer, but very unscrupulous. It is so easy to hold as "proved" statements which no one can easily disprove. Thousands of simple souls were callously deceived by his specious arguments, and in our day thousands are still being deceived by the same flimsy reasonings. No wonder the Rev. David Baron of London stated in his fine book, "The history of the Ten 'Lost' Tribes," (1915), that the theory we are criticizing was "enough to provoke God's judgment against the nation" (Britain). Let us not-imagine God is pleased with any such teaching which makes His Word so largely of none effect.

The general physical characteristics of a nation change very little in the course of time, only imperceptibly. Ethnologists have found that one of the most permanent features is the measurement of the skull. It is significant that the races with broader heads tend towards Catholicism and subjection to despots,. while those with narrower heads and a pronounced occiput prefer independence and democracy.

In Britain the great bulk of the people are long-headed (dolichocephalic) or nearly so, which important fact has greatly helped to make the various ingredients of the population homogeneous.

The Jews are generally reckoned as melanochroi, that is, white people with dark hair. But there is a fair proportion of blondes and also of red-haired or red-bearded people. There are two types of skull. One is the Semitic type very like the Arabian, a long head, narrow in the forehead, while the other is the Semitic type only somewhat broader than the former type. The broader type comprises roughly the Ashkenaiim Jews (German, Russian, Polish), while the narrower type is found in the Sephardim Jews (Spanish, Italian, Balkans, African).

Strange it seems that no one appears to have sought "Judah" in the small Sephardic portion, and "Israel" in the much larger Ashkenaz portion. That would be a much better theory than making a race so different from the Jews as the British their brethren.

The ridiculous theory that two-tribed Judah alone was punished because of the Crucifixion loses its force when we consider that the ancient Britons or "Israelites" at the same time as the Crucifixion and for four hundred years afterwards were under the heel of that very Roman power which scattered the "Jews" all over the world. Indeed, it looks as though these Israelitish Britons must have been equally guilty— those at least who dwelt in the land which later came to be called England. However, they made up for this to some extent in the year 1290, when King Edward 1. of England expelled all "Jews" for debasing and clipping the coinage, for taking extortionate usury, and for not being Christians. They were not permitted back to England until the year 1650. Yet now, after another three hundred years, they remain in all Britain as a people apart, while the British nation certainly does not look upon them as a brother nation. Nor do the British, if really "Israelites," look on the new State of ISRAEL in the Holy Land with the slightest, jealousy; indeed, for thirty years they have helped to establish it.

Alexander Thomson

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Listing of Articles

Who is our God? Chapter 1
Who is our God? Chapter 2
Who is our God? Chapter 3
Who is our God? Chapter 4
Who is our God? Chapter 5
Who is our God? Chapter 6
Who is our God? Chapter 7
Who is our God? Chapter 8
Who is our God? Chapter 9
Who is our God? Chapter 10
Who is our God? Chapter 11
Who is our God? Chapter 12
Who is our God? Chapter 13
Who is our God? Chapter 14
Who is our God? Chapter 15
Who is our God? Chapter 16
Who is our God? Chapter 17
A Female Deity?
Acts 7:15 & 16
All Things
Amos 3:6
An Answer to the Challenge of Hell
Angels & Men One Species?
An Interesting New Version
Are You an Ambassador?
Are You a Pillar?
Are You a Witness for Jehovah?
Are You an Israelite? Chapter 1
Are You an Israelite? Chapter 2
Are You an Israelite? Chapters 3 & 4
A Special Resurrection?
Baptized for the Dead?
"Beloved" or "Loveable"?
Brotherly Love
Book Review
Colossians 1:23
Common or Unclean?
Common Sense
Did Paul Visit Spain?
Did the Lord give up His Flesh?
"Divine" Fire?
Doctoring the Holy Scriptures
Does God know Everything?
Does God will Everything?
Does your Spiritual Life seem Unreal?
Did God hate Esau?
Earth our Future Home?
Emphasis in the Scriptures
English more Archaic than Ancient Hebrew?
Ephesians 1:23
Erroneous Translations
Gleanings from A.T.
Heaven our Homeland
How is Christ God's "Word"?
How many were Crucified?
In the Christ All Shall Be Made Alive
Is Dust the Serpent's Food?
Is the Devil Impersonal?
Isaiah 26:14,19
James 4:5
Jehovah's Theocratic Organization
Jesus the Saviour
John 19:29
The Kingdom of the Hebrews
Leave it with God
Men or Mortals?
Misplaced Ingenuity
New Light on the Second Death
None Other Things
Objective Value of Prayer
Other or Different
Our Advocate
Paul's Chain
Paul the Sensitive
Paul versus James
Prevailing Prayer
Problems of Translation: I Cor. 7:21
Problems of Translation: II Cor. 3:18
Psalm 66:18
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
Rogues and Rascals
Rom 9 & 10: Human Freedom & Human Choice
Romans 9:14-24
Romans 9:30 to 10:21
II Corinthians 5:16
II Peter 3:10
Seven Wicked Spirits
Shall We See God?
Sir, We would see Jesus
Should we fear God?
The Bloody Husband
The Cherubim of Glory
The Corinthian Error
The Cunning Manager
The Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah
The Designation of Jesus as "God"
The Disruption Fallacy
The Disruption Fallacy #2
The Eighth of Proverbs
The Eleven "Generations" of Genesis
The Elohim
The Ends of the Eons
The Eternal Saviour-Judge
The Eternity of Hell Torments
The First Christian Convention
The Four Gospels
The Gentiles in Ephesians
The Greek Definite Article
The Hardening of Pharoah's Heart
The Hebrew Conception of Time
The Hebrews Epistle
The Hebrew Terms Rendered 'For Ever'
The Hope of Israel
The Life of Prayer
The Lord Jesus Revealing the Heart of God
The Lord's Relatives
The Lordly Supper
The Meaning of Ta Panta
The Ministry of Women Parts 1 & 2
The Ministry of Women Parts 3 & 4
The "Penalty of Sin"
The Poor in Spirit
The Primeval Laws
The Primeval Laws #2
The Problem of Evil
The Quality of Divine Love
The Rich Man and Lazarus
The Serpent of Genesis 3
The Soul and the Spirit
The Talmud of the Jews Parts 1 & 2
The Talmud of the Jews Parts 3 & 4
The Translation of Acts 28:25
The Trial of the Lord
The Truth of the Bible
The Two Seeds
The Works of Henry Clay Mabie, D.D.
"Three Days and Three Nights"
Translator's Incentive
Truthfulness and Mercy
Try the Spirits
Unto Eternity and Further
We have all been Wrong
What did Peter do?
What does Olethros mean?
What Happened to Jephthah's Daughter?
What is Destruction?
What is the Flesh?
What is the Sin unto Death?
Whence "Eternity"?
Who are the Saints?
Who is Jehovah?
Who Shall Deliver Me?
Why Pray?
Why the "Lake" of Fire?
Will God Punish?
Will the Lord Come for Us?
Will the Man of Lawlessness be Killed?


The Differentiator Revisited 2009