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Saturday, February 13, 2016

God, David and Anglo-Israelism (Part 1)

One of the most distinctive doctrines of the Armstrong Church of God movement is their insistence that an understanding of the "Biblical" identities of the peoples of the United States and Great Britain is essential to a proper understanding of Bible prophecy. In short, Herbert Armstrong (the founder of the movement) taught that the peoples (meaning the White folks) of those two nations are the descendants of two of the tribes of Israel (Manasseh and Ephraim to be precise).

One of the principal "proofs" of (and corollaries to) this doctrine is a bizarre and convoluted story about the fate of King David's dynasty. Once again, to spare the reader some of the confusion and tedium associated with the teaching, it can be summarized as a belief that Queen Elizabeth II is the current occupant of the throne of David (his direct descendant and rightful heir, if you prefer). "What?" you may be asking yourself in astonishment.

Their story begins with God's promise of an eternal throne to King David. II Samuel 7:12-16 and I Chronicles 17:11-14 It continues with an assertion that David's throne did not cease to exist with the fall of the Kingdom of Judah and the imprisonment of Zedekiah (the last king of Judah) at the hands of the Babylonians. If you think that's bizarre, "you ain't seen nothing yet!" This is where the story gets really interesting.

Armstrong and his followers taught/teach that the prophet Jeremiah took one of Zedekiah's daughters and spirited her away to Ireland to marry one of the kings native to that island. From there, it's a matter of following the old legendary royal ancestries that were commissioned by the kings of old to embellish and legitimate their claim to rule. The Irish royal line is traced to Fergus MacErc, who founded what became the royal house of Scotland. And, as any good student of British history knows, the story continues with the ascension of the Scottish James VI to the throne of England as James I (or, if you prefer, with the earlier transference of the Stone of Scone to England by King Edward I).

Great story, but it doesn't hold up to closer scrutiny. As a student of history (my major in college) and genealogy (see my website "The Genealogy Homepage of Lonnie C Hendrix"), and an actual descendant of the British kings in question (along with a smattering of Middle East DNA, the blood of Abraham), and a long time student of Armstrongism and the Bible, I feel like I am somewhat qualified to discourse on the subject. Nevertheless, a word of warning is in order before proceeding, some of my friends in the Armstrong Church of God movement will not like what follows.

First, it should be noted that the scriptures used by Armstrong and his followers to support these notions have been twisted and misinterpreted. If one is willing to exam these scriptures in an objective and balanced fashion, he/she will quickly come to the conclusion that extreme liberties were exercised by Armstrong in both what was used, emphasized and derived from Scripture. In other words, I hope that what follows will serve as a clear-eyed refutation of this pernicious teaching.

(More to follow)

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