John A. Lovell D.D. 1907-1974 - The Story of Israel, is Dr. Lovell’s firm affirmation in the Gospel of the Kingdom and how God in His great plan of mercy has chosen the Anglo-Saxon nations to be His servant people and the recipients of the covenants of the Bible.
Our belief in the origin of the Anglo-Israel people and their lineal descent from the tribes of Israel does not take one iota from the weightier matters of salvation, which rest – as they must always do – on the precious sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Lord, who died that sinful men might live, and whose vicarious atonement alone can avail to rescue the sinner from the consequences of the fall, whether he be an Israelite of the kingdom of Ephraim, Manasseh, a Jew, or a non-Israelite Gentile.
Why we so persistently urge the fact of our descent from Israel upon the notice of our fellow men is because, if the facts be true and our deductions from them sound, they are to the glory of God and the comfort, consolation and safety of our nation temporally and spiritually, and evidence to all men throughout the world that there is a God who takes an interest in the affairs of men.
Our teaching, therefore, overthrows the arguments of the atheist and leaves the infidel confounded. Many professed atheists and agnostics have testified to their conversion to Christianity as the result of the teachings of the Kingdom Message.
We have one textbook – the Bible. The Bible is the most significant Book of all times. It contains the answer to all of the problems, which are troubling the world today, but it must be read with understanding. Such understanding we believe can only come as a result of the study of God’s Word in the light of Kingdom teaching.
The Bible is an extraordinary book, or, rather, set of books. Writers of vastly different types compiled it over at least two thousand years. Critics and scoffers throughout the ages have assailed it, yet it is still the world’s bestseller. It is misquoted isunderstood and misrepresented, yet it is the priceless possession of the world’s leading nations and the guide and comforter of kings, statesmen and humble peasants alike. Moreover, it purports to be "the Word of the Living God" yet, to most people, it is an appalling jigsaw puzzle. To assist and guide you – if you are willing to understand a little of its sublime picture – is my humble desire.
The picture presented by the Bible is like an ancient masterpiece over which, in the course of time, would-be students – as well as its severest critics – have painted their own ideas of what the picture should have been. The result is deep overlays of man-made opinions and ideas, which have to be removed little by little, or even chiseled off.
The story of the Bible begins with eternity and ends with eternity, but it is chiefly taken up with the events of a period of six thousand years, commencing 4000 B.C. (?), when Adam appeared on the scene.
For a moment, let us look at the first chapter of the book of Genesis, commonly called – even by many who should know better – "The Genesis Myth." The Bible purports to be accurate, and it opens with an extremely concise account of the creation of the universe and the formation of our solar system. Now science states that the five fundamental and basic elements are: time, force, space, matter and motion. Is it not wonderful that in the Bible – in the first book – in the first chapter – and in the first two verses – we find these words? "In the beginning (time) God (force) created the heaven (space) and the earth (matter), and the spirit of God moved (motion) upon the face of the waters."
And the marvelous scientific accuracy of this chapter and the other related passages does not stop there.
Just here I should like to give you what is to me a very beautiful tribute to the Bible:
Many years ago, with the Holy Spirit as my guide, I entered the wonderful temple of Christianity. I entered the portico of Genesis, walked down through the Old Testament art galleries where pictures of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Isaac, Jacob and Daniel hung on the walls.
I passed into the music room of Psalms where the Spirit swept the keyboard of nature until it seemed that every pipe in God’s great organ responded to the tuneful harps of David, the sweet singer of Israel.
I entered the chamber of Ecclesiastes, where the voice of the preacher was heard, and into the conservatory of Sharon and the lily of the valley’s sweet-scented spices filled and perfumed my life.
I entered the business office of Proverbs, and then into the observatory room of the prophets, where I saw telescopes of various sizes pointing to far-off events, but all concentrated on the bright and morning star.
I entered the audience room of the King of kings and caught a vision of his glory from the standpoint of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and passed into the Acts of the Apostles where the Holy Spirit was doing His work in the formation of the infant church.
Then into the correspondence room, where sat Paul and Peter, James and John, penning their epistles. I stepped in the throne room of Revelation where towered the glittering peaks, and caught a vision of the King upon the throne in all His glory, and I cried:
"All hail the power of Jesus’ Name:
Let angels prostrate fall,
Bring forth the royal diadem
And crown Him Lord of all."
Following quickly the story of creation, we are presented to Adam who came on the scene 4000 B.C.
As history shows, rapidly and continually, man went astray from God and His divine law, but some in every generation walked with God and strove to keep His commandments.
An extremely condensed history embodied in about a dozen chapters covers a period of more than two thousand years, which brings us to the call of Abraham about 1900 B.C. (Gen. 12:2,3), where we find the Lord saying to Abraham: "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
In due time Isaac was born – and to Isaac, Jacob was born. The blessings promised to Abraham and his seed were repeated to Isaac and his seed, and again to Jacob and his seed. These blessings were amplified, or rather, were given in greater detail on each successive occasion.
Jacob’s name was changed to Israel – which means "ruling with God." Jacob begat twelve sons who became patriarchs, and from them sprang the twelve tribes of Israel known as the Israelites.
The Israelites, while few in number, went down into Egypt in the time when Jacob-Israel’s son Joseph was what might be termed a prime minister there.
During the next several hundred years the Israelites increased and their Egyptian masters put them into bondage from which they were delivered about 1500 B.C. From Egypt they escaped as a rabble, a host of slaves who had just obtained their freedom. For forty years in the desert of Sinai they had to undergo a severe training to fit them for the work that lay ahead.
And the Lord said unto them, "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel" (Exodus 19:5,6).
God Himself was the King of Israel, and Israel was His people. He gave them laws both secular and religious, and by His servant Moses trained them into an orderly community. He fed and watered them miraculously, and preserved them while disciplining them.
Then they were sent into the land of their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to possess it. In the land of Palestine they were ruled over by Judges until they clamored for an earthly king in the time of Samuel, who reproved them saying: "And when ye saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, ye said unto me, Nay; but a king shall reign over us: when the LORD your God was your king" (I Samuel 12:12).
God allowed the Israelites to have an earthly king in the person of Saul. But Saul was not a success, and David was later chosen to replace him. Regarding David, it was promised (Jer. 33:17, 20, 26) that he should never lack an heir to reign "upon the throne of the house of Israel." David was followed by his son Solomon. Solomon’s reign was a time of great expansion and prosperity, but also of very hard work; and at his death Rehoboam, his son, came to the throne.
The leaders of ten tribes came to Rehoboam and brought a mitigation of the strenuous labor conditions, which had been experienced under Solomon, but Rehoboam not only refused to grant their request but also threatened to greatly increase their burdens. So the ten tribes then revolted and formed themselves into the Northern Kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam the son of Nebat, leaving Rehoboam – Judah and Benjamin. The kingdom of Israel during most of its history had its seat of government at Samaria, while that of the kingdom of Judah was at Jerusalem. This division took place about 1000 B.C.
The Bible gives a resume of the history of these two kingdoms under their separate rulers. The histories are very short but very much to the point, and are to be found in II Kings 15:1-7. It is most explicitly pointed out that according as the people and their rulers kept the laws, which God had given them, were they blessed or punished.
During their period the power of Assyria had arisen in the area of the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates with its capital at Ninevah. Assyria under Shalmaneser, attacked the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and finally his successor – King Sargon – took it into capitivity and exile in 721 B.C. in the sixth year of Hezekiah, king of Judah, which was the ninth year of Hosea, king of Israel. And this fact is very important. In the fourteenth year of Hezekiah – eight years later – Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came up again against all the fenced cities of Judah and took them (II Kings 17:6,23; 18:1-13). Sennacherib – in an inscription – claimed to have sent 200,150 men of Judah to join the Israelitish captives near the Caspian.
From this exile these Israelites never returned. They, together with their Assyrian captors, have become lost to history. But the southern two-tribed kingdom of Judah continued its existence until about 120 years later, when it was invaded by the Babylonian forces under Nebuchadnezzar, and the first captives – including Daniel the prophet – were sent as exiles to Babylon in 604 B.C. The kingdom of Judah was subjected to attacks by Babylon for the next twenty years, until, after a siege, Jerusalem fell in 584 B.C. and King Zedekiah and his sons were captured. The Babylonians slew King Zedekiah’s sons in his presence, put out his eyes, bound him with fetters and carried him away to Babylon. Jerusalem, the kings palace, the temple and all the houses were set on fire and destroyed, and the walls of the city were broken down. The vast bulk of the people were taken away to Babylon and only the poor of the land were left to be vinedressers and husbandmen.
This captivity – the Babylonian captivity – lasted seventy (lunar) years (Dan. 9:2), until Babylon was attacked and overthrown by the Persians under Cyrus in 536 B.C. In that year God moved Cyrus to issue a proclamation to the captives of Judah in Babylon (Ezra 1), authorizing them to return to their own land and to rebuild the temple.
You must keep in mind that during the intervening seventy years most of the original captives would have died. Others, deported as young children, were now very old men and women. Many had been born in Babylon and knew no other environment, so it is not surprising that less than fifty thousand elected to return to the land of their fathers (Ezra 2:64). These returned exiles were nicknamed Jews, and have never been lost to history.
Babylon fell, and as a world power, was succeeded by Medo-Persia, then by Greece, and later by Rome. With Babylon disappeared the captive Israelites of the kingdom of Judah who did not elect to return to Palestine. These have been lost to history. So now ten tribes, plus the greater portion of the two-tribed kingdom of Judah, have disappeared from the pages of history.
The Jews continued in their own land until the time of the Romans. In 70 A.D., as a result of rebellion against their overlords, the Romans besieged Jerusalem, and after a terrible siege the city was
taken and sacked, and the Jews were dispersed to become wanderers among the nations, without a country. (Jer. 24:9)
Between the years 700 and 500 B.C., a number of prophets – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and others – prophesied the troublous times ahead, but all also spoke of a marvelous and blessed ending, for Israel, ultimately. Since 500 B.C., the greater part of the Israelites have been lost to history (though we all know where they are), and since 70 A.D. the Jews have been without a country of their own till recently – a despised race, downtrodden, their very name a by-word. So closed the Old Testament record..
Many people try to separate the Old from the New Testament entirely and thereby make for themselves unnecessary difficulties. The first book of the New Testament; the first chapter and the first verse reads: "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham," and proceeds to give a genealogy from Abraham onwards. Thereafter, there are constant references to the Old Testament prophecies and their fulfillment in – at that time – current events.
Christ Himself said that He came not to destroy, but to fulfill, and He was never tired of quoting the Old Testament. I am afraid that if you have not read and do not have a working knowledge of the Old Testament, you will not be able to fully understand the New.
From Matthew to Revelation, the New Testament is full of references to Israel and the old prophets. Much of the language is, of course, cryptic. Christ taught in parables, and when questioned by His disciples as to why He spoke in parables, He replied, "He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand." (Matt. 13:11,13). An effort has been made to understand, and those who will not make the effort are left in ignorance.
Christ came to His people at the time appointed and preached to them His message. Some believed, but the majority rejected Him and called down on themselves and their children that awful curse "His blood be on us and on our children" (Matt. 27:25)
Within forty years of His crucifixion, Jerusalem was destroyed, the temple – which was the center of this puppet theocratic state – was demolished, its services stopped, and the Jews dispersed as wanderers without a country until now. Where, then, is the wonderful future for which the seed of Abraham was raised, and which was the theme of the prophets? Yet Christ called His twelve disciples and commanded them, saying: "...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" (Matt. 10:5-6).
In Romans 11:1, Paul in his Epistle to the Romans writes, "Hath God cast away his people? God forbid." James (1:1) addresses his epistle "to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad." And so we find continuous evidence that ten-tribed Israel, though lost, were known to be in existence at the time of the early Christians.
Then we come to the last book of the Bible. "The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him," and which was communicated to John. In the Revelation are portrayed most vividly, often in a terrifying manner, events which, at that time, were still in the future. Throughout the Revelation constant references are made to Israel by word or by suggestion until the appearance of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:12), which "had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel."
So the story carries us on until the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ. Such is the basic theme of the Bible, the skeleton structure, as it were, on which the flesh and sinews are built, the whole body being given life by the Spirit of God – and dealing with one great theme – the story of Israel.
But the question arises, "Where is Israel?" Most of them were lost more than 2500 years ago – 500 years before Christ lived upon the earth. We – who know the Kingdom Message – can answer the question as to where Israel is. They are found today, largely among the Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Scandinavian and Judah peoples. What a fascinating tale – The Story of Israel!