This year has witnessed massive assaults on the foundations of Western society. America and Britain have seen national monuments and statues defaced and toppled. Anarchists and Marxists have been at work to erase and replace national history.
On this 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival in New England, attempts are being made to rebrand them and other colonists from Britain as evil pillagers who plunged the world into centuries of oppression and genocide, with the countries they formed continuing on the same brutal and villainous path. Yet this is a terrible lie.
The American and British peoples have not always done right in how they’ve treated others. Slavery was an appalling evil, as were many dealings with indigenous populations. Yet such evils long afflicted mankind for centuries prior, and these nations eventually worked to bring them to an end.
They further expanded freedom throughout large parts of the world, spreading principles and opportunities for liberty, and have been very generous in sharing their resources. These two great powers saved the world from despotism in two world wars. After the second world war, the United States even rebuilt its defeated enemies Germany and Japan, along with helping its allies. And America continued to protect the West against communist tyranny for the next half century.
These nations have been the greatest political powers in human history, using their might to do much good throughout the globe. They distributed Bibles around the world and long promoted biblical morality. While that good example has tragically given way to purveying depravity for many decades now, the Bible continues to influence large parts of society, being deeply ingrained in the national character and history.
Remarkably, it is in the pages of the Bible that we learn just who the people of America and the other British-descended Anglosphere countries truly are, why they are so richly blessed, why they have so greatly helped other nations and what now lies ahead for them.
To see this connection we must begin, surprising as it may seem, with the biblical story of the nation of Israel, starting with prophetic promises made to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph nearly 4,000 years ago.
God told Abraham, “I will make you a great nation . . . and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3). God later specified, “I have made you a father of many nations . . . kings shall come from you,” and “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed”—further promising that Abraham’s descendants would be as countless as the stars and would possess the gates of their enemies (Genesis 15:5-6; 17:1-6; 22:16-18).
National greatness and blessings to the world
We see here a promise of both national greatness and blessing on the world through Abraham’s descendants. This blessing would come in part through the national greatness but ultimately, as we later discover, through the quintessential Seed of Abraham, Jesus Christ, and the spreading forth of Scripture.
Continuing in Genesis, we see that these blessings were passed down through Abraham’s son Isaac and then his son Jacob, who was renamed Israel. The national blessing Jacob received included the promise of his descendants inheriting the richest producing areas of the earth, with other nations bowing to them (Genesis 27:27-29).
God further told Jacob that His descendants would inherit not only the land of Canaan, but that they would spread abroad or colonize around the world and bless all the families of the earth (Genesis 28:13-14). Later, God declared that “a nation and a company of nations” would come from Jacob as well as royalty—thus a great singular nation and a related group of nations (Genesis 35:10-11).
We later find that the birthright promises of national greatness, including colonizing abroad, richness of land and people, and tremendous military power, passed to Jacob’s son Joseph while the promise of chief rulership and kings passed to another of Jacob’s sons, Judah, father of the Jews (see Genesis 49:8-10, 22-26; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2). Through Judah would come the kingly line of David leading to Jesus Christ. But what of the national birthright?
In Genesis 48 we find the remarkable story of Joseph’s two sons being blessed by Jacob. Joseph had placed his eldest son Manasseh at Jacob’s right hand, the place of prominence, and his younger son Ephraim at Jacob’s left. But Jacob put his right hand on Ephraim and his left on Manasseh, evidently crossing his arms, to convey the blessing.
He prophesied that Manasseh would become a great nation, but that Ephraim would become a multitude or group of nations. So here was the earlier promise to Jacob of a nation and a company of nations—with Manasseh to become the great single nation and Ephraim to become the related group of nations.
Thus begins the story that led eventually to the United States of America and the British-descended Commonwealth nations—Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Where are the ancient Israelites today?
Following their Exodus from Egypt, the Israelites lived in the Promised Land for many centuries. They became a great kingdom at the time of David and Solomon—but not to the extent that God had promised to the patriarchs. After Solomon’s death the kingdom split in two—with the Kingdom of Israel in the north and the Kingdom of Judah in the south.
Through Moses, God had promised the Israelites great blessings for obedience and warned of terrible curses for disobeying Him (see Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28). Eventually both nations were invaded and carried away captive for their sins, as God had foretold.
Many of the people of Judah retained their identity, and some returned to resettle the Promised Land in the times before Christ. We know the people of Judah today as the Jews. But the northern tribes of Israel have been regarded as lost and assimilated into the nations. Yet God had said: “For surely I . . . will sift the house of Israel among all nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve, yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground” (Amos 9:9). God foretold they would remain, although scattered, a distinct people group descended from Jacob.
So where did these “lost 10 tribes” go? We explore a number of clues in Scripture and history in our free study guide The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy. Putting it all together, we learn that over the centuries the Israelites migrated westward from the lands of their captivity to Europe. Many of the nations of northwestern Europe are of Israelite descent and have been greatly blessed.
Yet the foremost of all these nations—and of all nations in history—are those that sprang from Great Britain, including the United States. These nations are the descendants of Jacob’s son Joseph. They are Ephraim and Manasseh, to whom the special blessings of “becoming a multitude of nations” and a “great people” respectively apply (Genesis 48:8-19).
Between them the American and British people have dominated the globe for the last two centuries—together ruling over a greater percentage of the world’s people and territory than any people ever. They have clearly possessed, as foretold, the “gates” of their enemies—the vital sea and land passages giving them strategic military dominance over the various regions of the earth.
And, as already mentioned, these nations, despite the wrongs they have done, have used their great blessings to help bless the rest of the world in many ways.
“But we have forgotten God”
Sadly, America and other Israelite nations have not only lost the knowledge of their identity, but they have forgotten the God who so richly blessed them. Even far back in 1863, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued a decree acknowledging, “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God” (compare Deuteronomy 8:11-19).
There have been times of drawing closer to God. But more recently, America and the other Israelite nations have become stubbornly disobedient against God and face a host of national punishments, as listed in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. Ancient Israel and Judah suffered these to a large degree—and the same thing will happen to their modern-day descendants in the last days, yet on a more calamitous scale. In Jeremiah 30:4-7, God warned of the worst time ever, that of “Jacob’s trouble,” the terrible time of Great Tribulation also foretold through Daniel and Jesus (Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21-22).
Other prophecies show that this will be a time of devastated cities, invasion, famine, pestilence and survivors carried away into captivity and enslavement—as before, yet now far worse. This is awful to contemplate, but God’s objective is to shake people out of their rebellion and ultimately bring many to repentance and the opportunity for salvation.
Thankfully, devastation is not the end of the story. Still other prophecies reveal that Jesus will soon return in power and glory to rule the world. At that time He will gather the remnants of Israel from where they are scattered, bringing them back to the Promised Land in a great second exodus. The
Israelites will then submit to God and His ways and at last serve faithfully as the model nation for the rest of the world they were intended to be. Over this awesome future we truly rejoice.
Yet a look at where we are today wrenches us back to the reality of how far we have drifted from God’s intentions for us. As a people we need to return to whom we are and what we were meant to be—or face the horrible consequences!
Thankfully you need not wait until that judgment falls. You individually, whatever your national background, can turn from your own wrong ways and seek God right now. He will bless you personally, and lead you and all who submit to Him through the dark times ahead—ushering you onward to His wonderful Kingdom that waits beyond!
Is Recognizing Israelite National Identity Racist?
Although not commonly understood, the United States, Britain and other nations of northwest European heritage are in large measure descended from the ancient Israelites of the Bible. Yet many view this identification with contempt as racist. It’s true that some believers in certain forms of what is termed British Israelism have been racially bigoted, the worst examples being those in the misnamed “Christian Identity” movement, which is heinously white supremacist and anti-Semitic. But the actual biblical teaching concerning the identity of Israel is in fact anti-racist.
The national blessings and position God has granted to the English-speaking peoples should be understood as not a matter of racial supremacy, but of family inheritance and responsibility. Nations began fundamentally as families grown large. And God says He intends to bless all peoples through the Israelites. Many Marxist agitators today seek to eradicate familial inheritance from society. But inheriting within a family, indeed the family of Israel, is at the very core of the purpose and plan of God for mankind.
It is a fact that God chose a particular man, the patriarch Abraham, and his descendants to fulfill a special role in the world. The Creator God has every right to grant blessings and assign duties to whomever He chooses. To Abraham and his son Isaac and grandson Jacob, who was renamed Israel, God made particular promises in these regards. This did not mean that they or their descendants were inherently superior to other people (Deuteronomy 7:7-8; 9:6). In fact, God is far more critical of the Israelites throughout the Scriptures than He is of other people groups, since they are judged according to their heritage of understanding and blessings. As Jesus stated, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required” (Luke 12:48).
Israelite ethnic heritage is not a cause for prideful boasting, though some have treated it as such. One of the primary purposes for the nation of Israel was to serve as an example for the rest of the world of what happens to a society that honors or rejects God. A number of prophecies concern Israel’s great national blessings in this age and the age to come. But many others warn of terrible consequences to come on the Israelites as judgment for flagrant sin and rebellion against God.
It is not reasonable to label the directing of such biblical warnings to the intended recipients as racist. Nor is it racist to express appreciation for the positive aspects of national heritage. Rather, it is right and appropriate to focus on examples of virtue (Philippians 4:8), realizing that all human beings except for Jesus are terribly flawed.
The biblical record presents Israel’s story in both its moral triumphs and tragedies, and we see the same in post-biblical history and in prophecy yet to be fulfilled. One important observation is that God selecting a particular people group for His holy purposes does not assure privileged ease for them—far from it! Following the suffering of the Jewish people at the time of World War II, one Jewish man sorrowfully asked, “Why doesn’t He choose someone else for a while?”
No follower of Jesus Christ should ever embrace or promote racism. God calls people out of “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues” (Revelation 7:9). The Bible states that people of every ethnic background are the “offspring of God” (Acts 17:29), all with the potential of becoming glorified children in the divine family.
The apostle John wrote that God’s love for the whole world motivated the sending of Jesus to die for people’s sins (John 3:16). Moreover, God led the apostle Peter to declare: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34-35, emphasis added). God does not judge us individually by our ancestry or the color of our skin but by who we are on the inside: “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
The Bible reveals that racial harmony will prevail when Christ rules the world in the Kingdom of God, with ancient enmity healed: “In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance’” (Isaiah 19:24). Yet that does not make physical lineage irrelevant. Note that distinct ethnic nationalities will still exist during Christ’s coming reign.
Paul, the apostle to the gentiles, saw significance in his own ethnic lineage: “For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin” (Romans 11:1). Of course, our most important lineage is spiritual, having God as our Father through the Holy Spirit. Yet remarkably this is equated in Scripture with becoming a true Israelite. As Paul explained, Jesus Christ is the perfect Seed of Abraham, with all others disqualified from ultimate inheritance through sin—yet all who repent and are joined to Christ through receiving the Holy Spirit become Abraham’s seed and coheirs with Christ as Israel, including those who are physically gentiles (Galatians 3; 6:16; Romans 2:28-29; 8:14-17; 9:1-8; 11; Ephesians 2:11-22).
It’s important to understand that people of all nations must become Israelites to be saved. The divine family is in the end Israel in glory, the gates of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21-22 bearing the names of the 12 tribes. Yet while that gives us the ultimate picture of the world blessed through Israel into eternity, we should see that God has blessed the world of this age in many ways through Abraham’s progeny—principally through Jesus but also through great benefits God has brought to the world through the family He has chosen. All this, from one end of the Bible to the other, shows that Israelite national inheritance is central to God’s plan for humanity.
No, proclaiming who the Israelite peoples are today is not racist—as it recognizes what God has been doing over the centuries in working out His great plan to bless all peoples through Israel.