THE question arises, how is it that the British people, if they be God’s Israel, could come into full possession of the promises and blessings of Israel without any attempt to fulfil God’s conditions? How is it that God could cast Israel out of His sight for their disobedience, and yet proceed to fulfil these very promises in spite of their continued rejection of His Covenant and transgression of His Commandments? This question is so important that we must devote a whole chapter to it, for the whole truth of the Israel identity hinges upon this fact that in the last days, Israel is to be found a CONVERTED PEOPLE embracing the faith of Jesus Christ. Jacob said, “The Almighty ... shall bless thee with BLESSINGS OF HEAVEN ABOVE.”1 “And of Joseph he [Moses] said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the PRECIOUS THINGS OF HEAVEN.”2 Balaam said, “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath He seen perverseness in Israel.”3
The Prophet Hosea prophesied from about the year 782BC—60 years before the final deportation of Israel to Assyria and 178 years before the captivity of Judah. He predicted with remarkable clarity the fate of these two kingdoms. The fate of ISRAEL is expressed by the names Jezreel, Lo-ruhamah and Lo-ammi. These words mean scattered, not having obtained mercy, not My people. God said through His servant Hosea, “Yet a little while, and I will ... cause to cease the kingdom of the House of Israel ... I will no more have mercy upon the House of Israel; but I will utterly take them away ... ye are not My people, and I will not be your God.”4
At the same time, Hosea prophesied of JUDAH, “But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.”5 Thus God promised to have mercy upon Judah but not upon Israel. At this time Judah would be saved but Israel would be disowned and scattered. And as we have seen, this prophecy was fulfilled. Both Israel and Judah went into captivity but Judah was restored after 70 years captivity in Babylon, while Israel never returned from their captivity in Assyria. Judah continued to enjoy God’s mercy right up until the time of Christ but then, having rejected their Messiah, they were finally cast off6 in AD70 when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem.
However, Hosea’s prophecy did not end with Israel’s rejection, but reached out into the far distant future when, having lost all trace of their original destiny, they would become a Christian nation. Note carefully what he says. “I will no more have mercy upon the House of Israel; but I will utterly take them away ... yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not My people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the SONS OF THE LIVING GOD.”7
What does this phrase sons of the living God mean, but CONVERTED CHRISTIANS? The Bible says, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the SONS OF GOD, even to them that believe on His Name,”8 and “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the SONS OF GOD ... Beloved, now are we the SONS OF GOD, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”9 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the SONS OF GOD.”10
Here is the fantastic truth, that, despite their having been scattered, their no longer having obtained mercy, their being disowned by God, “Yet”—in spite of all this—“the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered and ... it shall be said unto them, Ye are the SONS OF THE LIVING GOD.” Please note, Israel would be a Christian people at the time when they had begun to multiply more rapidly than any people on the face of the earth. As we have seen in our earlier chapters, this increase was to take place in the last days, at the close of Israel’s 2,520 years of chastisement, at the very time when this chosen race of people would become chief among the nations, and would spread in all directions throughout the ends of the earth. And this is precisely the picture of Britain and America!
In 1792 the Baptist Missionary Society was formed, followed by the London Missionary Society in 1795, the Scottish Missionary Society in 1796 and the Church Missionary Society in 1799. On 22 July 1813 the British Government, following an address by William Wilberforce, passed a resolution altering the Charter of the East India Company to allow missionaries to enter that country. From that time forward, Britain and America have poured an endless stream of missionaries, doctors and teachers into all the earth.
In 1804 the British and Foreign Bible Society was formed, and 12 years later no less than 128 different denominational Bible societies in America amalgamated to form the American Bible Society. From that time forward, Britain and America began to send forth the Scriptures in hundreds of millions of copies and a thousand different tongues. What more logical conclusion can be reached than that we are God’s Israel people?
Fact is indeed stranger than fiction! God said that Israel would be divorced and cast off for her rejection of the Lord, but in this estranged and outcast condition Israel would receive the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, embrace its truth, become a converted people, and thus be the means of blessing the whole world. Israel would be re-married to the Lord and so become the bride of Christ. No wonder the Apostle Paul was moved to exclaim, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counseller?”11
God said that after their captivity in Assyria, Israel would lose all traces of their original identity. They would forget their religion, their race, their language, their customs, everything that identified them as God’s chosen people. They would forget who they really were. They would lose sight of their real identity. To all intents and purposes they would become as Gentiles or the heathen. “We are become as they over whom Thou never barest rule; as they that were not called by Thy name.”11 If it be asked, how can Britain be Israel when we do not speak the Hebrew language, nor keep the true Sabbath Day, nor practise the rite of circumcision, then here is the answer. Israel in the last days would be a people that had forgotten their identity.“Who is blind, but My servant? or deaf, as My messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD’s servant?”13 Why should we expect Israel today to be keeping the true Sabbath Day, observing circumcision and bearing other characteristics of the Hebrew people, when it was their very disobedience to God’s Commandments, their rejection of the Sabbath Day, and their turning to false religions that precipitated their captivity and loss of national identity?
There are many scriptures which establish the fact that Israel is to be found in this New Testament dispensation a converted Christian people. Isaiah says, “Listen, O ISLES, unto Me; and hearken, ye people, from far ... thou art My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified ... It is a light thing that thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a LIGHT TO THE GENTILES, that thou mayest be MY SALVATION unto the END OF THE EARTH ... In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to INHERIT THE DESOLATE HERITAGES; that thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves ... Behold, these shall come from FAR: and, lo, these from the NORTH and from the WEST.”14
Again, Zechariah says, “I will SAVE the house of Joseph, and will bring them again to place them; for I have MERCY upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them. And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their hearts shall rejoice in the LORD. I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have REDEEMED them: and they shall increase as they have increased. And I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember Me in far countries.”15
These and many other scriptures speak of the blessing that would come upon Israel in the last days. They would be a redeemed and forgiven people. “Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art My servant: I have formed thee; for thou art My servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have REDEEMED thee.”16
All the prophets foretold the day when Israel as a nation would be redeemed and forgiven. How else could Israel ever become a blessing to the world? Israel had sinned against the Lord, broken His Commandments, transgressed His laws. And “the wages of sin is death.”17 Israel must have a Saviour who would shed His Blood for the remission of their sins, for “without shedding of blood is no remission.”18 Jesus came as the great Redeemer of Israel, and Saviour of the world. Isaiah said, “He was wounded for OUR transgression, He was bruised for OUR iniquities: the chastisement of OUR peace was upon Him; and with His stripes WE are healed. All WE like sheep have gone astray; WE have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of US all ... For the transgression of MY PEOPLE was He stricken.”19 The angel proclaimed to Joseph and Mary, “Thou shalt call His Name JESUS: for He shall save HIS PEOPLE from their sins.”20 Zacharias prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of ISRAEL; for He hath visited and redeemed HIS PEOPLE, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David.”21
Who can fail to see that Jesus came as the Redeemer of Israel, and that it was Israel indeed which embraced the Gospel? Not the Jews, who rejected their Messiah, but Israel—now far off and dispersed in strange lands, no longer aware of their identity—who received Him. Did not Jesus say, “I am not sent but unto the LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL?”22 Did He not commission His disciples, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL”?23 What other explanation do we have for the fact that after the Resurrection, the Acts of the Apostles is almost silent concerning the whereabouts of the twelve Apostles, but that they were literally fulfilling their commission, proclaiming the good news of the Gospel to the children of Israel now far removed from the Holy Land?
The Apostle Peter addressed his first epistle “to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.”24 Who were these strangers? The original Greek eklektoiV parepidhmoiV diasporaV means simply “the elect dispersed” (see any modern translation). They were ISRAELITES. And to confirm this Peter says, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not REDEEMED with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”25
The word redeemed (Greek lutrow) means to ransom, to buy back that which was originally one’s own. How could these Christians be bought back if they had not once been the people of God? And if they were once the people of God who could they be but Israelites? As if to settle the issue beyond all doubt, Peter, in writing to these Christians of Asia, makes a direct quotation from the prophecy of Hosea when he says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; ... which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God; which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”26
Paul’s epistle to the Galatian Christians again clearly identifies them as Israelites by nationality. “Christ hath redeemed US from the curse of the Law ... but before faith came, WE were kept UNDER THE LAW ... God sent forth His Son ... to redeem THEM THAT WERE UNDER THE LAW, that WE might receive the adoption of sons.”27 What could be the sense of Paul’s admonishing these Galatian Christians not to “turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire AGAIN to be in bondage”28 if they had never been in bondage to it at all? And if we thus admit that the Galatians had once been in bondage to the law, observing “days, and months, and times, and years”29 then we have to acknowledge that they were ISRAELITES who had been CONVERTED TO CHRIST! Jesus Christ came “to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.”30 The whole theme of the epistle is that the Covenant God made with Abraham, with its unconditional promises of spiritual and temporal blessings, is in no way invalidated by the Law, but is guaranteed and fulfilled in Christ. God’s promises to Israel could be fulfilled ONLY AS THEY RECEIVED CHRIST. “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”31
The Apostle James likewise addressed his epistle to “the TWELVE TRIBES which are scattered abroad.”32 He knew that the lost sheep of the house of Israel—the ten tribes—had embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well as some of the Jews.
O how great and wonderful is God’s truth! Israel in this New Testament dispensation is to be found a CHRISTIAN NATION. And from all that has gone before, we know that Israel is also to be found a nation and company (or commonwealth) of nations, dwelling in the isles of the north-west, the chief of the nations, a great colonial power spreading throughout the earth, and taking with them the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are a people enjoying every conceivable blessing that God could bestow, a people blessed moreover not for any merit of our own, but chosen for service to God to do a work for Him. And the tragedy is, we are blind to our identity, ignorant of the true purposes of God for our people, contemptuous of our high calling in Christ Jesus.
One day soon the people of Britain must be awakened to their identity. We must realize that Britain has a destiny, that we are God’s Israel spoken of in Scripture, and that if we fail to fulfil our calling, God’s righteous judgment and indignation must fall upon our heads. Unless we repent and turn to God in bitter sorrow and humiliation, then Britain—and America—are going to be punished as no other nations in human history.