A Review of the Wikipedia Encyclopedia article on British-Israel
We received an internet link to a Wikipedia online encyclopedia article on the subject of British-Israel and a request for our feedback. (Found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Israelism)
Although some of the information given in this article on the British-Israel movement is factually correct, secular sources such as this persist in spreading the falsehood that our movement began with Richard Brothers, a late 18th century seaman who was incarcerated in an insane asylum. The Wikipedia article states, “...the first known books detailing this theory [included] Richard Brothers’ A Revealed Knowledge of the Prophecies and Times, published in 1794.” This is factually incorrect. I have carefully read through this book (actually a two volume set), and there is not the slightest bit of “detailing” of our belief anywhere in it. Brothers’ theme is that he himself is a direct descendant of King David. This is not British-Israel belief; we teach that it is the royal family of Great Britain who are descended from King David, not Richard Brothers! In fact, Brothers states that, “there are many families of the same origin... made known to me in revelation, but I am forbid to mention any of them at present for public knowledge.” (I:65) Instead of this book “detailing” a teaching that the British are Israel, Brothers instead says that God forbid him to tell the public anything at all! Regardless, Brothers believed that he was called of God to lead “the Hebrews” back to Jerusalem, and makes it plain that he considers the Jewish people, followers of Judaism, to be the Hebrews, not the British Christians. Brothers also believed that parts of the Bible were “erroneous” (II:iii), and although he quoted Scripture at length, he changed God’s Word to suit his fancies. This again is not British-Israel teaching.
Apparently, shortly before his death nearly a third of a century later, Richard Brothers did come to believe that lost Israel was to be found in Britain as a whole, and mentioned it in a study entitled, “A Correct Account Of The Invasion And Conquest Of This Island,” written just before his death in 1824. At best, it was a very limited edition, and possibly was not put into print at all. In over 30 years of searching, I have been unable to verify the existence of a single printed copy; not even the venerable British Library in London has seen it. John Wilson had also never seen the book, yet we are often told that Brothers’ work was the catalyst for Wilson and the British-Israel movement. The Wikipedia article states, “Richard Brothers was well known as both an early believer and teacher of this theory.” Nonsense!! The facts are that Brothers came to a belief that Britain is Israel perhaps only shortly before his death; his 1794 work does not state that Britain is Israel; his 1824 work never reached any kind of circulation and therefore could not have influenced hardly anyone.
As a matter of fact, John Wilson credited the ten-volume, “History Of Great Britain,” by Rev. Robert Henry (1780) as giving him the insight that led to the founding of the British-Israel movement. But since Dr. Henry was a well-respected historian and minister, our critics ignore him and point to Brothers instead. Yet if Henry had ended up in an insane asylum, the critics would be only too happy to give him credit for founding our movement! Such is the honesty of our opponents.
There are other important issues related to British-Israel belief that are mentioned in the Wikipedia article, including all of the following which are covered in the “Fiftieth Anniversary Address” sent with this mailing:
1. Israel’s name in the Assyrian and Babylonian languages.
2. The number of those exiled by Assyria.
3. The connection between the people called in Medo-Persian, Saka, and the early Saxons of Europe.
4. Evidence for lost Israel in the Caucasus region, south-east of the Black Sea.