|Who God's Ancient People Israel Are|
Before we answer this question as to who God’s ancient people are, let us search the Scriptures to ascertain what God said they were to be. Confining ourselves principally to the Book of Genesis we shall find a full description of Israel "in the last days."Introduction
By Charles A. Jennings
As any honest student of Scripture would observe when considering the various aspects of the Kingdom God, throughout history God in His sovereignty has divinely hand-picked servants for strategic tasks in order to fulfill His plan at any given place and time. The same has been true throughout the history of the modern Christian church. Each of the Lord’s servants has filled a specific need and performed his own particular service in the furtherance of revealed truth. One such servant of God was Frank Weston Sandford.
Sandford was born on October 2, 1862 in Bowdoinham, Maine and received his primary education at Nichols Latin School. On February 29, 1880, he had a genuine spiritual new birth experience through the transforming power of Jesus Christ. In 1886, he graduated from Bates College and then received one year of seminary training in Cobb Divinity School. With an intense spiritual hunger, he accepted the pastorate of the Free Baptist Church in Topham, Maine.
While pastoring in Grand Falls, New Hampshire in 1890, he accepted the Holiness teaching of Sanctification while attending a Methodist Campmeeting held in Old Orchard, Maine. Not long after that, he embraced the belief in divine healing through his contacts with the Christian Alliance. It was here that he became friends with A.B. Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, and his associate, Dr. George B. Peck, a prominent physician who assisted Simpson in praying for the sick and who believed in the Anglo-Israel Message. He also attended summer schools led by Dwight L. Moody in Northfield, Maine. As a result, he became a member of Moody’s Student Volunteer Movement. He soon became intensely interested in world missions. During the years 1893-1899, Sandford founded the Holy Ghost and Us Bible School, held evangelistic crusades, sought greater understanding concerning divine healing and produced a publication called Tongues of Fire. As part of a faith financed project he built a large Victorian structure and named it Shiloh. By 1904, there were some 600 residents in this new community.
Through his ministry, Sandford was instrumental in the training of many Holiness preachers who later became Pentecostal leaders, among whom were Charles F. Parham and A. J. Tomlinson. Parham was pivotal in the early days of the Pentecostal movement and Tomlinson was the central figure in the establishment of the large present day Church of God denomination of Cleveland , Tennessee in January 1906.
Sandford was a man of intense spiritual fervor for his Savior, Jesus Christ. In the fall of 1888 while in Niagara Falls he wrote his life long commitment to the work of the Gospel in order to rescue the souls of men for Christ, he said:
"Oh God, help me to do my part in keeping a poor lost world from the terrible rapids of sin, and that terrible fall which breaks over the edge of time and plunges the sinner into eternity. To this end I solemnly consecrate my every voluntary thought, word and deed. This one thing will I do, subject everything to one all-absorbing purpose – this world for Christ during my lifetime."
In studying the disciplined life and devoted ministerial work, rooted in his deep spiritual commitment to his Lord, it is evident that Frank Sandford was determined to follow the leading of the Holy Ghost. This he did in spite of misunderstanding from fellow Christians and even open opposition. He was committed in obedience to the teaching of the Holy Ghost even when ‘revealed truth’ was not popular or widely accepted. This was true in regard to his acceptance and teaching of the Anglo-Israel message of the Bible. While in the Holy Land for two weeks in 1898, after much prayer and fasting, Sandford was thoroughly convinced by the Holy Ghost of God’s faithfulness in His promises to His Anglo-Israel people.
The following is a quote from Frank W. Sandford’s biographer, Frank S. Murray’s two books, The Sublimity of Faith and All Israel Restored.
"The mystery of what happened to the ten lost tribes of Israel had been engrossing the minds of Bible scholars for the last half century or more. When agnostics like Thomas Paine and Robert Ingersoll had turned against the Bible because God’s promises to Israel manifestly had failed of fulfillment in the Jews, men of God had bestirred themselves to look around and find out why. Two schools of thought had arisen. The first and most prevalent had adopted the easy explanation that all the promises of material wealth and power had been spiritualized and fulfilled in the Christian Church. The other school, recognizing that such an answer left out a good part of the promises, had surmised that either they must have been fulfilled literally or else allowed to go by default.
"True children of God knew that even ‘if we are faithless, He abideth faithful’; His promises simply could not be defaulted. Arguing from the integrity of God, they assumed that somewhere on earth a people had received not merely spiritual salvation, but material prosperity and power commensurate with the promises of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Since the greatest of such benefits had been predicted for the sons of Joseph, and since their tribes were among the ten lost to history, the next step was to ask what had happened to them. A complete Bible study and scrutiny of history such as this subject calls for is not possible here; suffice it to say that during the last half of the nineteenth century one Bible scholar after another came to the joyful conclusion that the lost ten tribes were to be found in the Anglo-Saxon people of the present, principally in England and America.
"Like most ‘fundamentalists’ of his time, Mr. Sandford in his Free Baptist days had scouted this idea as the rankest heresy. Once he stepped out from behind the protective shield of what some great ‘doctor’ has to say, however, and began to study the whole Bible for himself, he saw that Tom Paine was right. Either latter-day Israel would have to be a powerful ‘nation and company of nations,’ capable of ‘pushing the peoples to the end of the earth’ and ‘possessing the gates of their enemies,’ or the Bible - especially the Old Testament - was shot through with error.
"Sometime during the 1890's Mr. Sandford had come across the published studies of Professor Totten, a member of the Yale College faculty. This extraordinary genius had been in his youth a confirmed infidel, but on probing through the Bible, Ingersoll-fashion, seeking proof for his unbelief, he found himself thoroughly absorbed by the inspired record. Possibly he was affected also by earlier scholarship; nevertheless, he became convinced of the Anglo-Israel identity and saw that it cast light on hundreds of Bible statements that otherwise were hopelessly obscure. From that time on he devoted himself more and more to Bible study, until at last he retired from the Yale faculty to make the Word of God his full-time occupation. The Putnam (Connecticut) Patriot called him "the world’s foremost authority on Scripture chronology"; he published a five foot shelf of books and pamphlets.
"In Mr. Sandford’s view professor Totten was to Bible study what Galileo was to astronomy; the theologians who clung blindly to the old school, spiritualizing God’s every promise of material prosperity to Israel were to him like the astronomers who insisted Ptolemy was right. The fantastic "cycles and epicycles" such men had to invent in order to maintain their position were far more of a strain to simple faith than the bold assertion that God meant exactly what He said. Mr. Sandford saw that Professor Totten’s theories championed God’s veracity, whereas the ‘accepted’ Old Testament interpretation did not. To be branded a heretic even as Galileo had been mattered little to him so long as he was on the track of truth.
"He was not alone in his conviction. Scores of eminent Bible students and thousands of spiritual Christians likewise were becoming convinced that the lost ten tribes of Israel were to be found in Britain, America, and a number of other smaller nations. The ‘evidences’ of this identity were far too numerous to be written off as coincidence. For these reasons, as we have noted, the ‘Anglo-Israel truth’ was standard fare for the Bible School from 1896 on.
"Their trip to Jerusalem made it doubly real to the two pilgrims. Audiences in Liverpool and in Charlton-cum-Hardy had received the teaching with gladness. Contacts with Britain’s imperial might in her homeland, in Gibraltar, at Malta, and in Alexandria had inspired both men with the spiritual certainty of the Anglo-Israel truth. Whereas on his earlier visit to Jerusalem Mr. Sandford had written of himself as a Gentile, this time they were ‘two Israelites’ coming back to the land of their fathers.
"What could they do to spread this truth more widely? How could they protect their brethren from the slurs of sharp-minded infidels? During their visit to Malta a Christian worker among the sailors had told them his experience of coming to the Anglo-Israel truth. One day an atheist had said to him with a sneer, ‘You’ve got a great God! He never keeps His promises’ - meaning those made to Israel. This apparently justifiable approach had set the Malta missionary to thinking, with the result that soon he rejoiced in the conviction that God’s mighty promises to ancient Israel have not failed but been fulfill in England and America.
"Mr. Sandford and Mr. Gleason spent the eighteenth of July, 1898, fasting and praying in Jerusalem. As they were to separate the next day, they prolonged their fast through the night. The hours of darkness were occupied largely in writing a long public statement designed for the enlightenment of all who honored the Holy Ghost. The article that followed was 9,000 words long and must have taken far more than that one night to complete.
"What stands out most about this manifesto is its tone of authority. Where other men had been content to raise a question, Mr. Sandford pronounced an answer. The long array of Scriptures that he quoted were convincing indeed to any unprejudiced reader, but it was his own assurance that left no room whatever for doubt. He long ago had promised God not to preach on any subject that dealt in speculation; now he felt that the time for speculation about Anglo-Israel had come to an end. No longer was it a ‘theory’; it was a ‘truth.’
"Having examined the Old Testament predictions as to the latter day greatness of the ten tribes, and having proved that in no nations other than the Anglo-Saxon could these predictions be said to find fulfillment, [Sandford wrote the following, ed.]
WHO GOD’S ANCIENT PEOPLE ISRAEL ARE
By F. W. Sandford
Suppose a man should lose a horse in a certain field, and send out a person in search of the lost animal, with full description of the same; and suppose he found many horses which partly answered the description but none that perfectly did so, till finally he discovered one that answered the description in every respect. Would he not be warranted in declaring, "I have found him at last," and ending the search?
Before we answer this question as to who God’s ancient people are, let us search the Scriptures to ascertain what God said they were to be. Confining ourselves principally to the Book of Genesis we shall find a full description of Israel "in the last days."
SEVEN-FOLD DESCRIPTION OF WHAT
ISRAEL IS TO BE IN SEVEN STRIKING DETAILS
1. Israel when found must be a great nation.
2. Israel was to be exceedingly multitudinous.
3. Israel as described in the Scriptures was to be irresistible in power.
4. Israel must be a royal nation among the nations.
5. Israel must be princely in character as well as regal in power and influence.
6. Israel in the last days was to possess God’s special favor and blessing in every respect.
7. Israel was to be thus signally blessed in population, power, nobility of character, etc., for the one express purpose of acting for the Almighty as a world-wide herald of the Gospel.
The nation that we are looking for then must be great, multitudinous, powerful, predominant among the nations, princely in character, specially blessed of God, and a world-wide herald of the Gospel.
There is but one race on the face of the globe bearing all the above characteristics, and thus answering the required description. There is one race of people which in every respect meets the Scriptural requirements.
The blessing promised by the Almighty to Abraham passed to Isaac, thence to Jacob, thence to spiritual Israel, and being forfeited by the Jews passed to the ten tribes, and was especially to be wrought out through the tribe of Joseph, the dominant tribe among the ten tribes. Joseph, having received the double portion of the firstborn, became two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh, proving the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that their descendants should be two-fold: one a great nation and the other a company of nations.
God said to His friend, "I will make of thee a great nation... and I will make nations of thee." And of Joseph’s sons it was prophesied, "He (Manasseh) shall become a people, and he also shall be great, but his younger brother shall be greater than he. His seed shall become a multitude of nations."
The "great nation" and the "nations" promised to Abraham, then, found its fulfillment in Manasseh, who was to be "a great people," and his brother Ephraim, who was to be a "multitude of nations."
Now as you glance over the face of the earth what people comes to your mind as fulfilling the description that we have given? What people is great, ruling over a multitude of nationalities, unconquerable, feared and respected by other nations, dominant in influence among the great nations of the earth, representing justice in law and high civilization, specially blessed temporally and spiritually, sending out missionaries to the ends of the earth, entering upon world-wide enterprises for the proclamation of the Gospel, holding the military strongholds of the earth, ruling over the sea, and owning colonies around the entire globe, thus "pushing the people together to the ends of the earth"?
What race do you think of as you read? Especially what two nations are the same blood? (For Ephraim and Manasseh were brothers.) The people we are seeking for must be two nations, yet one race. This requirement thrusts aside every nation on the European and Asiatic continents.
The United States of America is a "great" nation. England is a "greater’ nation, ruling sixty colonies and three hundred fifty millions of people - a great and dominant power among the nations of this earth. These two, the "great" and "greater" nations are of the same blood, and in every particular meet the seven-fold description of the text.
NO OTHER TWO NATIONS ON THE GLOBE MEET THE DESCRIPTION. THESE TWO DO. OUR SEARCH IS ENDED. THE LOST IS FOUND.
Mr. Murray continues, "In the years that followed, Mr. Sandford and the movement he headed witnessed the spiritual power of this teaching. He had little patience with fundamentalist critics who tried to find fault with it. ‘ Oh, the blindness of the people who don’t see we are Israel!’ he cried a few years after his public declaration. "What are they going to do with the Scriptures?"
"That was just the point of issue. He knew that most critics of Anglo-Israel could not be honest with the plain statement of material prosperity promised to Israel in "the latter days." He saw that a careful scrutiny of the Bible combined with an attitude that refused to twist it by unnatural interpretation, left no choice but that of Anglo-Israel. Moreover, he was aware of the glorious warmth and vigor that flowed through all the prophetic writings for the student who understood this truth and could think, "They were talking to my own ancestors!" Through the Spanish American War, the Boer War, and both World Wars, Mr. Sandford would point to that otherwise impenetrable passage in Jeremiah where God says to Israel, "Thou art my battle-axe and weapons of war: and with thee will I break in pieces the nations..." (Jeremiah 51:20). He saw what so few Christians seem able to see, that God is not at all averse to showing His Hand in behalf of Abraham’s blood descendants, even before the nations they comprise have been wholly converted.
"At the same time he recognized that there was not a case of Divine favoritism. It was not that Israel was superior, but simply that she had been chosen for special training. He applied to Britain and America the same adjective God used of Israel -"stiffnecked" - and considered people of all other races emphatically their equals as far as the Gospel is concerned. In his opinion God had selected these nations not because they are necessarily any better, but because someone has to take responsibility and be trained to do so. "Mark my words," he would say, "it will be Israel first, then the Gentiles: it will be the hundred and forty-four thousand first, and then the countless multitude. That is the way God has chosen to work, and we had better work with God." And while he believed in foreign missions with all his heart, he also believed it of critical importance that Britons and Americans should realize who they were as they went to the mission field." (End of quote)
BEHOLD HE COMETH
By Miss Sue Paine (1901)
These are days of restoration,
As the glorious time draws nigh,
When, "Behold! Behold, He cometh!"
Shall re-echo through the sky:
Now His herald is proclaiming
In prophetic tones and strong,
"Oh, prepare ye! Be ye ready!
For the King shall come ‘ere long."
We have waited for the dawning,
Often peering through the gloom
Of this night of sin and darkness -
But ‘tis breaking very soon;
And our hearts are taking courage
As His message now we hear;
"Oh prepare ye! ‘Room for Jesus!’
He, the King, shall soon appear."
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"TO SERVE THE PRESENT AGE,
MY CALLING TO FULFIL,
O MAY IT ALL MY POWERS ENGAGE,
TO DO MY MASTER'S WILL!"
MAYNARD G. JAMES