Anglo-Israel / British-Israel Covenant Truth
A Guide To Understanding Your Bible
The Main Points of Anglo-Israel / British-Israel teaching:
1. Israel was divided into two groups of tribes, known as the Two Houses of Israel, which became distinct and separate nations after the time of King Solomon. (1 Kings 12)
2. This division, the ten tribe House of Israel and two tribe House of Judah, was according to God's Divine plan and for His purposes in the outworking of providence. (1 Kings 12:22-24) God said, "This thing [i.e., the separation of Israel's Two Houses] is from me" (1 Kings 12:24)
3. The House of Israel, the ten tribes known as "Ephraim" in the later prophets, was conquered by Assyria and exiled by them to various regions of Assyria and Media in at least four invasions of Canaan between 732 - 670 B.C. From there they migrated to other lands (see point 6 below). Few of them returned, instead becoming the "lost tribes of Israel." See other articles on this website .
4. The House of Judah was later conquered by the Babylonians and exiled to various regions of Babylonia. After seventy years, a "remnant" returned. (Isaiah 10:21-22) The Jewish people of today trace their descent from the restoration of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, the House of Judah, in about 536 B.C. (Ezra 1:5) The prophets Ezra and Nehemiah were eye-witnesses to the period of the restoration, and neither includes any of the tribes of the House of Israel in the return from exile. Professor Lester Grabbe stated, "There is no evidence in the archaeology of a sudden influx of new settlers in the early Persian period." ("Exile and Restoration Revisited: Essays on the Babylonian and Persian Periods," 2009, p.117) See articles on this website for more evidence .
5. Each of the twelve Israel tribes had separate and unique sets of prophecies and promises (Genesis 49; Deuteronomy 33), which were to be fulfilled in the "latter days" (Gen. 49:1). Dr. Raymond DeHoop comments, "These words are considered by some scholars as a designation for the far future, the 'end of days', as in the case of Daniel 10:14." ("Genesis 49 In Its Literary And Historical Context," Brill 1999, p. 86) These separate latter-day/end time promises could not have reached their individual fulfillments if earlier during the Babylonian captivity all twelve tribes had fused into only one group, the Jewish people. Further, no Biblical scholar places the latter days prior to the time of Christ, and most believe that this prophetic time period represents the closing period of the present age. The tribes of the House of Israel and house of Judah must therefore still have separate existences today.
6. Bible prophecy stated that Israel was to be spread north, south, east, and west. (Genesis 28:14), which was confirmed by the Prophet Isaiah in chapter 11, verse 12, who spoke of Israel having been scattered (circa 700 B.C.) to "the four corners of the earth." This was indeed fulfilled in history: Israel's migration south to cities such as ancient Carthage in Africa is fully covered by author Steven M. Collins in his book "Israel's Lost Empires." Israel in the east is documented by the same author in his book, "Parthia, The Forgotten Ancient Superpower and Its Role In Biblical History." Israel in the north and west is covered by authors Steven Collins and W.H. Bennett. (See our "Anglo-Israel Books" page under "Resources" for information.)
7. The reunion of the Two Houses of Israel, Ephraim-Israel and Judah, will take place at the end of this age (the latter days), and dawn of the Millennium. (Ezekiel 37:15-28) The time period is specifically stated by Ezekiel as when both Houses together accept (by faith) the rule of the prophetic David, the Messiah, to be ruled by him forever, and are both cleansed forever from sin. (vss. 23-25) The Two Houses are finally reunited under Messiah's Millennial rule! Until that time they are fulfilling their individual prophecies as two separate peoples of God. The Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary says, "Under the Messiah will the two kingdoms that were formerly divided be united once more." (x:335) Therefore, the Two Houses of Israel will be divided until the Millennial kingdom. The Tyndale Bulletin 51.2 (2000), p.310, in an article by Prof. Steven M. Bryan, states: "There was...a common expectation that the constitutional shape of Israel in the eschaton [i.e., Millennium] would be determined by the re-establishment of the tribal league in the land. Some Jews associated this restoration with the return of Elijah before the Day of the Lord." Again, the restoration and rejoining of the twelve tribes constituting the House of Israel and House of Judah would occur at the end of the age at the return of the Messiah.
Each of these points are incontrovertably taught in the Scriptures, and supported by both history and modern scholarship. We encourage you to read the Bible passages above for yourself, as well as other articles on this website. You will find critics of Anglo-Israel / British-Israel who reject every one of the above points by an agnostic treatment of these and other Bible passages; but if you accept the Word of God we invite you to join with us in teaching these truths. These and other key points of the Anglo-Israel / British-Israel teaching are verified more fully in other articles on this website. We thank you for your interest in Scripture history and prophecy and hope that you enjoy learning more about God's plans and purposes with us!
Was the Destiny of Israel's Tribes Fission Or Fusion?
If the Jewish people are the sole representatives in the world today of the Biblical twelve tribes of Israel, then what happened to all of the separate Hebrew tribes that we read about in the Bible? The standard and seldom challenged popular view is that these ancient twelve tribes all fused into one tribe, one people, the modern Jews.
Does God’s Word teach this? Do Bible prophecies say, for example, that Simeon and Judah would have an Anschluss, or political union, and cease to be separate tribes? Do we read that any of the tribes had a “unity ceremony” and proceeded to throw away their distinguishing tribal banners and heritage? Did the distinctive form of Biblical government under tribal boundaries quickly end with the coming of Solomon’s United Kingdom? Modern religious writers seem to talk in such terms. Yet the Bible teaches the opposite: a continuing tribal division, or “fission,” not fusion.
Modern schoolchildren have probably heard the word, fission, used in connection with nuclear technology. Webster’s Dictionary defines fission as, firstly, “a splitting or breaking up into parts;” secondly, “reproduction…into two or more parts each of which grows into a complete organism;” and thirdly, “the splitting of an atomic nucleus resulting in the release of large amounts of energy.” The first two of these definitions have an interesting analogy with the twelve tribes of Israel.
Firstly, Israel did indeed split and break into parts. You might expect that the children of Jacob, being close relatives with a common religion, would certainly fuse into a tightly united nation when encountering strong, armed opposition from numerous Canaanite and Philistine tribes already established in the Promised Land. It is a common and sensible adage that there is strength in unity, and “united we stand, divided we fall.” The circumstances they faced emphasized the need for unity instead of division, fusion instead of fission, and yet Jacob’s twelve sons instead became progenitors of twelve separate and distinctive tribes. These tribes even have entirely separate and distinctive prophecies relating to their individual futures in the “latter days” (Gen. 49; Deut. 33), indicating their continuing separateness throughout this age. Further, Bible history records that these tribes often displayed a definite disinterest in coming to each other’s aid when in distress. (See as an example, Judges 5)
Religious writers often ignore or downplay this division, and children’s Bible stories seem to imply, for instance, that each of the judges of ancient Israel was actually, in effect, a defacto king over twelve united tribes. This was not the case, as evidenced by the research of at least a handful of respected ancient Mideast scholars. One of them is Niels Peter Lemche, who wrote: “There is no information which suggests that any Judge managed to establish a dynasty, or that the narratives refer to a succession of pan-Israelite rulers.” (“Early Israel,” p.275) In other words, the Biblical Judges, such as Samson, were local leaders acting in their own tribal areas, not pseudo-kings over all twelve tribes.
Webster’s second definition of fission speaks of a division “into two or more parts each of which grows into a complete organism.” Modern religious writers ignore the fact that the Israel tribes, although divided, were loosely associated into two separate groups, the houses of Israel and Judah. To quote Professor Lemche, the Israelite conquest in the Book of Joshua “as a rule followed the division between Lea[h] and Rachel tribes;” that is, the separate tribal groupings of Judah and Israel. (ibid. p.63)
Furthermore, the most natural and credible reading of the prophecies in Genesis indicates that Israel would eventually grow in numbers to become twelve separate and distinct nations or kingdoms, each with their own king. For example, Genesis 17:5-6 states, “Nor shall your name any longer be Abram [high, exalted father]; but your name shall be Abraham [father of a multitude], for I have made you the father of many nations. And I will make you exceedingly fruitful and I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.” (Amplified Version) Similarly, Genesis 35:11 promised Jacob, “And God said to him, I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you and kings shall be born of your stock.” Certainly, these are prophecies of fission, twelve individual “parts each of which grows into a complete organism.”
Other examples of fission in Israel’s history include the tribe of Levi, divided and dispersed among the other tribes and yet keeping their identity intact as the tribe composing the priesthood. (Deut. 18:1-7) Another example of fission instead of fusion was the division of the tribe of Joseph into the separate tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. (Gen. 48)
Modern religious writers make a great deal of clamor concerning “missing” tribes that are supposed to have fused into other tribes and lost their individual existence. The tribe of Simeon, it is claimed, merged very early into the tribe of Judah. Yet Dr. Lemche disagrees, saying, “Simeon’s territorial possessions (Josh. 19:1-9) show it existed in the beginning of the national period” under Solomon. (ibid. p.283)
The tribe of Dan does not appear in the tribal list of Revelation 7:4-8, causing proponents of fusion to insist that this tribe must somehow have ceased to exist as a separate entity. Yet the tribe of Judah is missing in the list of Solomon’s districts (1 Kings 4:7-19), without any implication that this tribe ceased to exist! (cf. Lemche, ibid. p.286) It is much more likely that Dan, with a coastland port, very early engaged in sea trade and left Canaan for lands to the west; historians write about the tuatha de Danaan or tribe of Dan, in the history of early Mediterranean lands as well as the British Isles. The lack of mention of a tribe in Canaan does not mean that it did not exist elsewhere. In the case of Judah, it is evidence that Solomon had an entirely separate administration for the house of Judah that was not included in the administrative list covering the northern House of Israel. This again is another example of fission, not fusion, in Israelite history.
It is also worth pointing out that under the united monarchy, a time when many assume separate tribal heritages ended, Solomon’s districts maintained existing tribal boundaries. Dr. Lemche states, “Solomon’s distinct subdivision was undertaken on the basis of existing tribal borders.” (ibid. p.285) So even during the united monarchy, Israel’s tribal divisions continued.
In spite of popular mainstream belief in Israel’s fusion into one united tribe, Jewish scholarship has long advocated fission. The late Chief Rabbi of the British Empire maintained that the Jewish people are descended only from the house of Judah, constituting the tribes of “Judah and Benjamin with a certain number of descendants of the tribe of Levi,” and that “there is not any further admixture of other tribes.” (“Story Of Celto-Saxon Israel,” p.187) The idea of a fusion of all of Israel’s twelve tribes into the Jewish people of today is without Biblical or historical support. It is for this reason that Bible believers have for generations spoken of the “lost tribes” of Israel. Christians need to continue this investigation into the identity of the other “lost ten tribes” of Israel in our modern world. This research is already underway in the book, “Israel’s Tribes Today” by Steven M. Collins, which locates each of the twelve tribes as separate nations in the world today. -J.S. Brooks
Anglo-Israel and British-Israel: What Is The Difference?
In Great Britain and its commonwealth nations, the term "British-Israel" is used for the teaching concerning the separate Two Houses of Israel. However, the founder of the British-Israel movement, John Wilson, used the term "Anglo-Israel" exclusively, as did his followers until the year 1895. In that year the term "Anglo-Israel" was dropped in Britain out of deference to Scottish adherents who complained that Scotland was not an Anglo-Saxon nation, but Celtic, and they therefore felt left out! Originally, British-Israel was meant to convey primarily the Hebrew word, B'rith, meaning covenant; B.I. therefore meant the people of the covenant. In the United States the term, Anglo-Israel, is still used, with an emphasis on American early history and heraldry, rather than the British emphasis on their own history and the throne of David in the royal family. One might therefore say that the difference is primarily one of emphasis rather than any disagreement in teaching. Both Anglo-Israel and British-Israel adherents teach and proclaim the Biblical and historical fulfillment of the Two Houses of Israel in the world today.