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British Israelism

British Israelism is a theory that the Germanic peoples, especially the British, are the direct lineal descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. Herbert W. Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God was the best known adherent of the theory in the past. Some people believe that the Mormon church has quietly taught the British Israel doctrine for 150 years, particularly in the form of a Patriarchal Blessing. Believers in British Israelism are found across the entire spectrum of Christian denominations, but the majority of believers are Protestants.


References in various ancient manuscripts have provided clues to modern day British Israelists, but the first known book detailing the theory was Richard Brothers' A Revealed Knowledge of the Prophecies and Times, published in the 1790s.

Although accused by many Jews of being anti-Semitic - and being a belief held by some neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups - British Israelism, and its related ideology of Christian Identity, claims to be deeply pro-Semitic, and neutral on the issue of Zionism and the modern state of Israel.

The teaching of British Israelism took off in the mid-1800s after the ancient rock inscription at Behistun in Persia was deciphered. On the rock, one of the kingss of the nations that Darius the Great had subdued was the king of the 'Saka', or the Scythians. The Behistun rock was a type of Rosetta stone written in three languages. In the Babylonian, the Saka were called the Gimirri; in the Assyrian language they were referred to as the Khumri or Bit-Khumri, or Cimmerians by the Greekss and Romans.

In other Babylonian and Assyrian monuments and tablets the conquests of the Khumri and their eventual captivity were chronicled. The Khumri were also called the Bit-omri or the House of Omri, one of the kings of the northern tribes of the kingdom of Israel.

The coming of Brutus (Britis) to England after the burning of Troy is another essential element in most variants of the British Israel theory.

It is known that both the Celts and the Germans came from an area south-east of the Black Sea, and migrated westward to the coast of Europe. The name Iberia for Spain, and Hibernia for Ireland is taken as evidence that the Habiru (Hebrews) traveled to and settled those areas.

According to the hypothesis, the Saka-Scythians migrated west starting with the reign of the Persian King Cyrus, when they declined to help him in his conquest of the Babylonian empire. Herodotus says they were called "Germanii" at that point in time. The Greeks called the Scythians Sakae and Scyths. When the Saxons invaded England in 400 AD, their chroniclers said they "sent back to Scythia for reinforcements." The implication is that the Saxons considered themselves to be Scythians, the name having travelled with them even though they were far away from the region the Greeks had labelled "Scythia". The English are known to be descended from the Anglo-Saxons. Hence the connection with the tribes of Israel.

The burial customs of the Scythians and Vikings also show remarkable similarities.

See also: Israelites, Roger Rusk, Alan Campbell (pastor)

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