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THE TESTIMONY OF PROPHECY IN THE LIGHT OF HISTORY.


In conclusion let me very briefly call your attention to the remarkable prophecy in Amos ix., which will show you that the view which I have enunciated in my letter is the only one in keeping with the sure word of prophecy.

The prophet Amos, though himself a Judean, his native village, Tekoa, being about twelve miles south of Jerusalem, was commissioned by God to prophesy more particularly to the northern or Ten-Tribed kingdom; and for that purpose he went and took up his abode in Bethel, which was the centre of the idolatrous worship set up by Jeroboam in opposition to the worship and service of the divinely-appointed sanctuary in Jerusalem. There his duty was to announce the coming judgment of God on the Israel of the Ten Tribes, on account of their apostasy. The last paragraph of his book (chap. ix. 8–15), uttered not more than about seventy years before the final overthrow of Samaria in B.C. 721, is one of the most remarkable and comprehensive prophecies in the Old Testament, and this is the inspired forecast of the history of the Ten-Tribed kingdom which is given in it: "Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord. For lo, I will command and I will sift (or 'toss') the house of Israel among all the nations, like as corn is sifted (or 'tossed' about) in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. All the sinners of thy people shall die by the sword, which say: The evil shall not overtake or prevent us."

Here, then, we have the whole subject as to what was to become of the Ten Tribes in a nutshell.

(a) First, as a kingdom, they were to be destroyed from off the face of the earth, never to be restored; for its very existence as a separate kingdom was only permitted of God for a definite period as a punishment on the house of David: and when, after a period of about two hundred and fifty years of unbroken apostasy, it was finally broken up by the Assyrians, there was an end of it, without any promise of a future independent political existence.

(b) But when it was destroyed as a kingdom, what became of them as a people? This prophecy tells us: "Saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord"—that is, they are to return to the house of Jacob. They are to form part of the one family made up of all the descendants of Jacob without distinction of tribes. But as one house of Jacob, or "of Israel" (as the next verse interchangeably calls them), something terrible and unique is to befall them; and what is it? To be "lost" some two thousand six hundred years, and then to be identified with the Anglo-Saxon race? Oh no! this is what was to happen: "For lo, I will command and I will sift (or 'toss') the house of Israel among all nations, even as corn is tossed about in a sieve"—or, in the words of Hosea, another prophet, who spoke primarily to the Ten Tribes, "My God will cast them away" (not for ever, as the whole book shows, but for a time), "because they did not hearken unto Him; and they shall be wanderers among the nations."

I draw your attention all the more to this point, because a good deal has been made by some writers of the expression in Isa. xi., where Israel is called "outcast," from which they infer that "Israel" is to be found somewhere in one place, in contradistinction to the "dispersed of Judah." But this is a fallacy. In Jer. xxx. Judah and Israel are together called "an outcast," but it by no means implies that they are therefore to be sought for and found in one particular region of the world.

It is clear from the prophecies of Amos and Hosea, which, as we have seen, were primarily addressed to the Ten Tribes, that if they were in the first instance "cast out" by force from their own land, as the word in the Hebrew means, it was with a view that they should be "tossed about" and "wander" among "all nations."

Now note, Anglo-Israelism tells you to identify the Ten Tribes with one nation; but if you are on the line of Scripture and true history, you will seek for them "among all nations."

And which people is it that is known all over the earth as "the tribe of the weary foot and wandering breast"? Anglo-Israelites call them "Jews" in the limited sense of being descendants of "Judah"; but God's Word tells us that it is "the house of Israel," or "the house of Jacob"; and, as a matter of fact, since "Judah" joined their brethren of the Ten Tribes on the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans in B.C. 588, the two have kept on their weary march together, "wandering among the nations." Eastward and westward (only a remnant of all the tribes returning to the land for a time), nowhere finding ease for any length of time, nor do the soles of their feet have rest—even as Moses, at the very beginning of their history, and long before the division among the tribes, prophesied would be their united experience in case they apostatised from Jehovah their God. And thus they will continue ever more mixed up and intermingled among themselves, with all genealogies lost, and not one of them either east or west being able any longer documentarily to prove of what tribe or family he comes—until the day when He that scattered Israel will gather him, and by His own Divine power and omniscience separate them again into their tribes and families.