John D. Keyser
The British-Israelites, represented by The Covenant Publishing Company in London and Destiny Publishers in Massachusetts, have long claimed that Queen Elizabeth II. is descended from King David of Israel and sits on his throne today. Herbert W. Armstrong -- founder of the Worldwide Church of God -- picked up on this idea in the 1920s and made it one of the principal doctrines in the Church's theology. Now dropped by the Worldwide Church of God, the idea remains alive in the Church of God International and the so-called Philadelphia Church of God.
BUT IS IT TRUE? The truth may be even more remarkable than we realize!! Is Queen Elizabeth descended from David "the man after God's own heart"? What are the REAL facts of Irish history?
The Davidic Covenant
First, let us notice a commonly held belief. In the much-circulated booklet entitled The United States and Britain in Prophecy, the late Herbert W. Armstrong makes the following assertions:
Armstrong goes on to say:
Determining the Facts!
While this passage from the pen of the late Herbert W. Armstrong is convincing, it is based on only A FEW verses out of DOZENS that deal with the covenant between God and David. And, furthermore, the meanings of some of the words quoted by the author need to be examined in more detail!
To arrive at the truth of God we have to do what Paul admonished the Bereans to do: "These [the Bereans] were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES DAILY to find out whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11). Also, Isaiah tells us that "precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little." (Is. 28:10). If we follow these directives, we will arrive at a completely DIFFERENT conclusion than Herbert W. Armstrong did!
In What Way Was the Covenant Everlasting?
Armstrong stated that "In II Samuel 23:1, 5, we find: 'Now these be the LAST WORDS of David....God...hath made with me AN EVERLASTING COVENANT, ordered in all things, and SURE.' In other words, a covenant that shall endure FOREVER and CANNOT FAIL!"
What we must realize here is that the "OFFICE" of the kingship over Israel was promised to David forever -- NOT that someone of David's line would always fill that "office." Looking at it another way, the "OFFICE" itself exists forever even if the "office" is vacant from time-to-time!
Christ is King "FOREVER" and DOES fulfill the covenant or "promise" to David, however, there is no promise whatsoever that DAVID'S RULING LINE would continue forever -- reigning uninterrupted over the people of Israel.
Psalm 89 shows that David's throne -- the office of the kingwould endure forever: "And his throne as the sun before Me; it shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky." (Verses 36-37). Since David fulfilled his end of the agreement, God honored the covenant and has kept the "office" open, but for the office to be CONTINUALLY FILLED with someone of David's line a CONDITIONAL aspect to the covenant was added.
While II Samuel 23:5 shows that God's covenant with David was "ordered in all things and secure" at the time of David's death, I Kings 2 plainly shows that God's covenant with David's children was thereafter conditional!
The Covenant Was Conditional!
In this charge to his son Solomon, David makes it VERY CLEAR that the covenant is CONDITIONAL -- conditional on the ACTIONS of those who came after David to sit on the throne of Israel! This CONDITIONAL ASPECT of God's promise to David is reinforced by many other verses in the Bible:
In fact, God fulfilled his promise to David when SOLOMON ascended the throne of Israel -- "The Lord has sworn in truth to David....'I will set upon your throne the FRUIT OF YOUR BODY.' " Solomon was the fruit of David's body! God then says: "IF YOUR SONS will keep My covenant and My testimony which I shall teach them, THEIR SONS also shall sit upon your throne forevermore." In other words, if Solomon should keep God's charge, then HIS SONS would sit upon David's throne forever. As we all know, Solomon, in his old age, turned from God and listened to the advice of his many wives. Therefore the covenant was technically broken -- but not by God!
Now look at I Kings 8:25:
Only with an understanding of the CONDITIONAL aspect of God's promise to David can we make any sense out of Psalm 89 -- which otherwise seems totally contradictory! In the first part of this Psalm God says: "I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David: 'Your seed I will establish FOREVER, and build up your throne TO ALL GENERATIONS.'" (Verses 3-4).
God reinforces this a few verses later by stating: "My mercy I will keep for him FOREVER, and My covenant shall STAND FIRM with him. His seed also I will make to ENDURE FOREVER, and his throne as the days of heaven. If his sons forsake My law and do not walk in My judgments, if they break My statutes and do not keep My commandments, then I will visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless in My loving kindness I will not UTTERLY take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail. My covenant I WILL NOT BREAK, NOR ALTER the word that has gone out of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I WILL NOT LIE TO DAVID: his seed shall ENDURE FOR EVER, and his throne as the sun before Me; it shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky."
You might have noticed in the above that God promised David his "SEED [DESCENDANTS] I will establish FOREVER," "His [David's] SEED also I will make to endure FOREVER." This, in itself, is very significant! Most kings at that time in world history had their children, etc., killed by rival claimants to the throne, and their line exterminated!
Greg Doudna, former Ambassador College student and now with the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University, notes:
Doudna presents another example:
In light of this, it was not a trivial matter for Davidespecially in the aftermath of his killing all of Saul's lineto be promised by God that HE would always have a descendant ABLE to be king.
Now, in the next part of the Psalm we see the writer, Ethan the Ezrahite, WISTFULLY looking back into the past and CRYING:
Dr. James Tabor, in his article The Lord (YHVH) God and His Messiah, comments on Psalm 89: "The hope and promise of the coming Davidic Messiah, the great and exalted King of Israel of the LAST DAYS, develops out of the Babylonian Exile. BY ALL APPEARANCES, as Psalm 89 so plaintively expresses it, Yehovah had BROKEN HIS COVENANT WITH KING DAVID. THE LAST KINGS OF JUDAH HAD BEEN TAKEN CAPTIVE AND SLAUGHTERED. (2 Kings 25). And yet, one by one, the Hebrew prophets begin to speak of a RESTORATION OF THE DAVIDIC THRONE and the coming of an ideal king, one they call a Branch or Shoot FROM THE 'STUMP' OF THE ROYAL LINE." (Published by Genesis 2000, Charlotte, N.C. 1992. P.5).
Continuing Psalm 89, Ethan then asks:
David met the "conditions" of the covenant, but his CHILDREN did not -- otherwise Psalm 89 would be contradictory! Ethan reveals that David's throne was "cast...down to the ground" because the evil actions of David's descendants caused God to be furious with them. God "renounced the covenant of [His] servant [David]", interrupting the line of David filling the "office" that was itself everlasting because David upheld his end of the agreement.
Now we see that God makes the same covenant or agreement with Solomon in I Kings 6:11-12: "Then the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying: 'Concerning this house which you are building, ,IF you walk in My statutes, execute My judgments, keep all My commandments, and walk in them, THEN I WILL PERFORM MY WORD WITH YOU, WHICH I SPOKE TO YOUR FATHER DAVID.'"
Solomon, in his prayer of dedication for the new Temple, asked God to keep his promise to David: "You have kept what You promised Your servant David my father [regarding the Temple]; You have both spoken with Your mouth and fulfilled it with your hand, as it is this day. Therefore, Lord God of Israel, now keep what You promised Your servant David my father, saying, 'YOU SHALL NOT FAIL TO HAVE A MAN SIT BEFORE ME ON THE THRONE OF ISRAEL, ONLY IF YOUR SONS TAKE HEED TO THEIR WAY, that they walk before Me as you have walked before Me.' And now I pray, O God of Israel, LET YOUR WORD COME TRUE, which you have spoken to Your servant David my father." (I Kings 8: 24-26).
If this isn't PLAIN enough, God repeats it again when He appeared to Solomon AFTER the dedication of the Temple:
Obviously, if the nation of Israel was cut off and the Temple destroyed from the land -- so also would the throne be cut off and cast down. THE PROMISE TO SOLOMON WAS ALSO CONDITIONAL! What further proof do we need?
What About the Levites?
If we turn to Jeremiah 33 we will discover a real ENIGMA! Notice!
Every student of the Bible knows that for the period of time between the first and the second temple, and from A.D. 70 to the present, NO OFFERINGS OR SACRIFICES HAVE BEEN MADE BECAUSE DURING THESE TIMES THE TEMPLE DID NOT EXIST! How, then, do we interpret these verses in Jeremiah?
Greg Doudna was puzzled by these same verses:
If the WWCG interpreted this part of the passage in Jeremiah 33 in this fashion, WHY in the world did they not interpret verse 17 in the SAME WAY to be consistent and logical? Because it didn't fit in with Herbert Armstrong's ideas regarding the throne of David!
Returning to Doudna:
A Lamp Before the Eternal
As Solomon grew old he departed from the ways of God and started catering to the whims of his foreign wives. "Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem [Mt. of Olives], and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods" (I Kings 11:7-8).
Because of Solomon's apostasy God tore the ten tribes from him and gave it to Jeroboam his servant. Jeroboam was not even of the line of Judah, but an Ephraimite! Notice what God told Solomon:
In these verses we can PLAINLY see, once again, how CONDITIONAL God's promises to Solomon were! In fact, if it wasn't for the covenant God made with David, God would have stripped the ENTIRE kingdom away from Solomon.
Also, note that God reserved ONE TRIBE for Solomon's son so "that My servant David may always have a LAMP before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there." (I Kings 11:36).
The "LAMP" before the eternal in Jerusalem referred to the descendants of David:
It should be realized that when Jerusalem was taken by the Babylonians, God no longer had a "lamp" before Him and David's dynasty then ceased to exist.
The Three Overturns!
In the United States and Britain in Prophecy, Armstrong makes the following claims:
Armstrong continues with his explanation:
This is an interesting thesis which, incidentally, Armstrong lifted -- almost intact -- from the book Judah's Scepter and Joseph's Birthright, by J. H. Allen! BUT, HOWEVER, THIS THESIS HAS BEEN DEVELOPED FROM AN INCORRECT UNDERSTANDING OF EZEKIEL 21! Let Greg Doudna explain:
Other translations render these critical verses in the following manner: "Now to you, O profane wicked prince of Israel [Zedekiah], whose day has come, whose iniquity shall end, thus says the Lord God: 'Remove the turban, and TAKE OFF THE CROWN; nothing shall remain the same. Exalt the lowly, and abase the exalted. OVERTHROWN, OVERTHROWN, I will make it [David's throne] OVERTHROWN! IT SHALL BE NO LONGER, until He [Christ] comes whose right it is, and I will give it to Him." (New King James Version).
The New Berkeley Version translates these same verses in this fashion: "Thus says the Lord God: Remove the turban, and take off the crown; change is in process. Let the low be exalted and the lofty abased. RUIN, RUIN I will make it [David's throne]; only RUIN will remain; THERE SHALL NOT BE A TRACE LEFT OF IT UNTIL HE [CHRIST] COMES, whose right it is; to Him will I give it."
Now look at the Septuagint: "And thou profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day, even an end, is come in a season of iniquity, thus saith the Lord; Thou hast taken off the mitre and put on the crown, IT SHALL NOT HAVE SUCH ANOTHER AFTER IT: thou hast abased that which was high, and exalted that which was low. INJUSTICE, INJUSTICE, INJUSTICE, will I make it: woe to it: such shall it be until he comes to whom it belongs; and I will deliver it to him."
According to Adam Clarke's Commentary, "the [word] avah, which we translate overturn, is thrice repeated here [Ezek. 21:27]; to point out, SAY THE RABBINS [rabbis] the THREE CONQUESTS OF JERUSALEM, in which Jehoiakim, Jeconiah, and Zedekiah were overthrown." (Vol. III. Note to verse 27, p. 482).
The biblical picture here is that there is a break or interregnum in David's Judaic line from the time of Zedekiah's downfall to the return of Christ. Amos prophesies what will happen when the Messiah returns:
In the margin of my Bible the word "tabernacle" in verse 11 is explained as meaning "a figure of a DEPOSED DYNASTY"!
In Acts 15: 16-18 we find this repeated: "After this I will return and will REBUILD THE TABERNACLE [HOUSE, DYNASTY] OF DAVID which has fallen down. I will REBUILD ITS RUINS, and I will SET IT UP, so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the Lord who does all these things."
The throne of David has fallen, but will be restored again at the end of this age -- at the return of Christ. The throne of David in Jerusalem is temporarily interrupted, NOT transferred to the house of Israel in exile. The throne of David in Palestine (Jerusalem) is now temporarily "trampled" and fallen.
Greg Doudna concludes by saying:
We must remember, however, that God's promise in Genesis 49:10 has NOT been abrogated -- the scepter has not departed from Judah, only from the line of David. GATHELUS, son of Calcol of the royal house of Judah, took the Coronation Stone to Spain in the days of Moses; and from there Heremon took it to Ireland and started a line of kings that has continued down to this day. Queen Elizabeth II. holds the scepter of Judah!
The Tender Twig
Herbert Armstrong, in The United States and Britain in Prophecy, uses the 17th chapter of Ezekiel to try and prove his hypothesis:
Armstrong discusses the great eagle next:
Armstrong now gives his interpretation of the "tender twig":
While the first part of Armstrong's explanation for Ezekiel 17 is fairly accurate, the last part (covering verses 22-24) is sheer invention! Let's go through the chapter and comment on some of the pertinent verses:
Verse 3: "And say, Thus saith the Lord God; A great eagle with great wings, long-winged, full of feathers, which had divers colours came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar."
Adam Clarke, in his commentary, breaks this verse down as follows: A great eagle: Nebuchadnezzar. See Jer. xlviii. 40; xlix. 22; Dan. vii. 4. And see here, ver. 12, where it is so applied. Great wings: Extensive empire. Long-winged: Rapid in his conquests. Full of feathers: Having multitudes of subjects. Divers colours: People of various nations. Came unto Lebanon: Came against Judea. The highest branch: King Jehoiachin he took captive to Babylon. The cedar: The Jewish state and king.
Verse 4: "He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffic: he set it in a city of merchants."
Adam Clarke: A land of traffic: Chaldea. A city of merchants: Babylon; for which this city was the most celebrated of all the cities of the east. Its situation procured it innumerable advantages; its two rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, and the Persian Gulf, gave it communication with the richest and the most distant nations.
Verse 5: "He took also of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field; he placed it by great waters, and set it as a willow tree."
Adam Clarke: The seed of the land: Zedekiah, brother of Jehoiachin. Planted it in a fruitful field: Made him king of Judea in place of his brother. Placed it by great waters: Put him under the protection of Babylon, situated on the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates. And set it as a willow tree: Made him dependent on this city of great waters, as the willow is on humidity.
Verse 6: "And it grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him, and the roots thereof were under him: so it became a vine, and brought forth branches, and shot forth sprigs."
Adam Clarke: A spreading vine of low stature: The Jewish state having then no height of dominion, it must abide under the wings or branches of the Chaldean king. Whose branches turned toward him, and the roots -- under him: Zedekiah was wholly dependent on Nebuchadnezzar, both for his elevation to the throne, and his support on it.
Verse 7: "There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers: and, behold, this vine did bend her roots toward him, and shot forth her branches toward him, that he might water it by the furrows of her plantation."
Adam Clarke: Another great eagle: Pharaoh-hophra, or Apries, king of Egypt. With great wings: Extensive dominion. And many feathers: Numerous subjects. Did bend her roots: Looked to him for support in her intended rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar.
Verse 8: "It was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine."
Adam Clarke: It was planted in a good soil: Though he depended on Babylon, he lived and reigned as Nebuchadnezzar's vice-regent in the land of Judea.
Verse 9: "Say thou, Thus saith the Lord God; Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it wither? it shall wither in all the leaves of her spring, even without great power, or many people to pluck it up by the roots thereof."
Adam Clarke: Shall it prosper: Shall Zedekiah succeed in casting off the yoke of the king of Babylon, to whom he had sworn fealty? Shall he not pull up the roots: Nebuchadnezzar will come and DETHRONE HIM. And cut off the fruit: The children of Zedekiah. The leaves: All the nobles; all shall perish with Zedekiah.
Verse 10: "Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? it shall wither in the furrows where it grew."
Adam Clarke: Shall -- utterly wither: The regal government shall be no more restored. ZEDEKIAH SHALL BE THE LAST KING, AND THE MONARCHY SHALL FINALLY TERMINATE WITH HIM.
Verse 12: "Say now to the rebellious house, Know ye not what these things mean? tell them, Behold, the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem, and hath taken the king thereof, and the princes thereof, and led them with him to Babylon:"
Adam Clarke: Know ye not what these things mean?: They are explained in this and the following verses.
Verse 14: "That the kingdom might be base, that it might not lift itself up, but that by keeping of his covenant it might stand."
Adam Clarke: That the kingdom might be base: Have no political consequence; and at last sink into a miserable government under Gedaliah.
Verse 15: "But he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people. Shall he prosper? shall he escape that doeth such things? or shall he break the covenant, and be delivered?"
Adam Clarke: Sending his ambassadors into Egypt: Zedekiah must have sent his ambassadors into Egypt, between the sixth month of his sixth year, and the fifth month of his seventh year. Compare chap. viii. 1, with chap. xx. 1.
Verse 16: "As I live, saith the Lord God, surely in the place where the king dwelleth that made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he brake, even with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die."
Adam Clarke: In the midst of Babylon he shall die: His eyes were put out; he was carried to Babylon, and never returned.
Verse 18: "Seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when, lo, he had given his hand, and hath done all these things, he shall not escape."
Adam Clarke: Seeing he despised the oath: This God particularly resents. He had bound himself by oath, in the presence of Jehovah, to be faithful to the covenant that he made with Nebuchadnezzar, and he took the first opportunity to break it; therefore he shall not escape.
Verse 21: "And all his fugitives with all his bands shall fall by the sword, and they that remain shall be scattered toward all winds: and ye shall know that I the Lord have spoken it."
Adam Clarke: All his fugitives: All who attempted to escape with him, and all that ran to Egypt, &c., shall fall by the sword.
Now we come to the point where Herbert Armstrong and the British-Israelites depart radically from a correct understanding of Ezekiel 17:
Verse 22: "Thus saith the Lord God; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon a high mountain and eminent:"
Adam Clarke: I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar: I will raise up ANOTHER MONARCHY, which shall come in the LINE OF DAVID, namely, the MESSIAH; who shall appear as a TENDER PLANT, as to his incarnation; but he shall be HIGH AND EMINENT; his Church, the royal city, the highest and purest ever seen on the face of the earth.
That "the highest branch of the high cedar" refers to Christ is made plain by Isaiah 11:1: "There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a BRANCH shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him...with righteousness He shall judge the poor...."
Notice, now, Jeremiah 23:5-6:
To say that the "highest branch" represents the king of Judah is nonsense and untenable biblically!
The "tender one" in verse 22 (that Armstrong claims represents a "daughter" of Zedekiah) is, in reality, Jesus Christ! Notice: "For He shall grow up before Him as A TENDER PLANT, and as a root out of dry ground. he has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him." (Is.53:2).
Armstrong claims that "A 'mountain' in symbol ALWAYS represents a NATION." This is simply not true. While often a "mountain" in the Bible does refer to a nation, the "high mountain and eminent" in verse 22 is MT. ZION -- as all commentaries agree! "Yet I have set My King on MY HOLY HILL OF ZION." (Ps. 2:6).
Verse 23: "In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell."
In the mountain of the height of Israel: Christ shall be "planted" in the Kingdom of God. And bear fruit: Multitudes of people shall be converted during the Millenium. And under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing: All the nations of the earth shall receive his Gospel. In the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell: Trust in him alone for salvation, and be saved in their trusting.
"The mountain of the height of Israel" in this instance obviously refers to the Kingdom of God that is soon coming -- NOT a nation of Israel as Armstrong claims! In Ezekiel 20:40 we read: " 'For on MY HOLY MOUNTAIN, ON THE MOUNTAIN HEIGHT OF ISRAEL,' says the Lord God, 'there all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, shall serve Me; there I will accept them, and there I will require your offerings and the firstfruits of your sacrifices, together with all your holy things.' "
Isaiah 2 also makes this clear:
Verse 24: "And all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the Lord have spoken and have done it."
Adam Clarke: All the trees of the field shall know: All the people of Israel and of Chaldea. I the Lord have brought down the high tree: Have DETHRONED JEHOIACHIN. Have exalted the low tree: Put ZEDEKIAH, brother of Jehoiachin, IN HIS PLACE. Have dried up the green tree: ZEDEKIAH, who had numerous children, but who were all slain before his eyes at Riblah. And have made the dry tree to flourish: Have raised up a rod out of the stem of Jesse, THE FAMILY OF DAVID BEING THEN APPARENTLY DRIED UP AND EXTINCT. This was the PROMISED MESSIAH[!!] of the increase and government of whose kingdom and peace there shall be no end; upon the THRONE OF DAVID, and upon his kingdom, to order and establish it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth, even for ever.
Some commentaries state that the last part of Ezekiel 17 refers to the true Davidic king Jeconiah in Babylon being restored to honor, while the appointed usurper Zedekiah in Judea would be destroyed. However, as Greg Doudna correctly points out, "the one prophetic parable used to predict the transfer from Judah to the exiled house of Israel [according to the British-Israelites and Armstrong] -- the eagles and transfer of the cedar twig of Ezekiel 17 -- is correctly interpreted by commentators as referring to the true Davidic king...in Babylon being restored to honor, while the appointed usurper in Judea would be destroyed -- IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GOING TO IRELAND."
Once again we see that Herbert Armstrong is at variance with all the commentaries AND the Word of God when he says that "all the trees of the field..." are "all the nations of the earth." (USBP, p.90). He goes on to say that the high tree is Judah and the low tree Israel, and that the green tree is Judah and the dry tree Israel. This simply is not true!
Brutus and the Trojan Line
Almost all the British-Israelites, at one time or another, have claimed that the royal house of England is descended from King David of Israel. An example of this is found in the booklet Co-Incidences? Pointers to Our Heritage, by Brigadier G. Wilson: "Our Throne is still held by a descendant of David's Royal line-- and of his forebear Judah, fulfilling the scripture 'The sceptre shall not depart from Judah...' Our Royal House trace their descent back to King David, and through Pharez to Judah (and also through Zarah, Pharez' twin brother). DETAILS OF THIS SUCCESSION through Scottish and Irish kings were kept at Windsor Castle but are now held in the MANUSCRIPT DEPARTMENT OF THE BRITISH LIBRARY. (MS 43968)." (Pages 3-4).
In an amazing about-face THIS SAME PUBLICATION makes the following incredible statement in the Appendix:
What sort of double-talk is this? If the reader of this booklet failed to check the Appendix, he would be under the impression that the British royal family is descended from David, and that Manuscript 43968 in the British Library proves it! Unfortunately, a large number of British-Israelite publications use this dishonest subterfuge to fool the unwary reader!
History records that Edward I. of England used to boast of his descent from the TROJANS who arrived in Britain under the leadership of BRUTUS. Now is it just possible that this line, descended from DARDA the brother of CALCOL (grandson of Judah), brought the DAVIDIC LINE to Britain? Some have thought so. In order to do this, Brutus would have had to migrate with his Trojans AFTER the time of David! When did Brutus arrive in Britain?
According to author E. Raymond Capt:
In the booklet How Israel Came to Britain, published by the Canadian British Israel Association, we read the following: "Another [group of Israelites], under the leadership of DARDANUS, a brother of CALCOL, crossed to Asia Minor to found the Kingdom later known as TROY. When Troy was destroyed by the Greeks, the Trojans fled to Italy and LATER TO BRITAIN where they established themselves as the Kingdom of Britain ABOUT THE YEAR 1100 B.C." (Page 2).
Herman L. Hoeh, of Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, pushes the date of Brutus' arrival in Britain back even further:
Hoeh then goes on to list the reign of Brutus as being from 1149 to 1125 B.C.
The Welsh historian Nennius (circa. 796 A.D.) further dates the arrival of Brutus in the British Isles:
Since the "Beli the Priest" mentioned by Nennius is obviously ELI the priest in the first book of Samuel, then this dates Brutus' reign in Britain as being BEFORE the reign of Saul in Israel. All the references show that Brutus arrived in Britain BEFORE THE TIME OF DAVID, THEREFORE BRUTUS COULD NOT BE OF THE DAVIDIC LINE!
What About the Ethiopian line?
If there was any royal line that had the right to claim it was directly descended from David and Solomon, and also had one of the longest uninterrupted periods of rulership, it was that of the royal house of Ethiopia! The last monarch of this African nation -- Haile Selassie I. -- called himself the "Lion of Judah" and claimed direct descent from King Solomon of Israel. Was this true?
In II Chronicles 9, we read the famous story of the Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon in Jerusalem:
In a parallel account in the Antiquities of the Jews, by Flavius Josephus, the author states that the queen was monarch of BOTH Ethiopia AND Egypt! In Matthew 12:42 and Luke 11:31 Jesus called the Queen of Sheba "the queen of the South." If you carefully read the eleventh chapter of the book of Daniel, you will find that the king of the SOUTH is the ruler of BOTH Egypt and Ethiopia. Jesus' comments about the Queen of Sheba being the "queen of the South" therefore means that she was the ruler of Ethiopia AND Egypt. Who was this queen whom Solomon so awed with his wisdom and magnificence?
During the long history of the Egyptian nation there were only THREE WOMAN PHARAOHS or queens recorded -- Nitocris of the 6th Dynasty, Scemiophris (Sebeknofru) of the 12th, and Hashepsowe (Hatshepsut) of the 18th. Which one of these could have been the Queen of Sheba?
Immanuel Velikovsky, in his ground-breaking work entitled Ages in Chaos, discovered a clue:
Furthermore, Josephus preserves the NAME of the Queen of Sheba in his Antiquities of the Jews:
Anybody with an understanding of philology (historical and comparative linguistics) would immediately recognize in the name NICAULE (NIKAULE in Greek) a form of the Egyptian MAEKAURE -- the PRENOMEN OF HATSHEPSUT!
This evidence (and other which I don't have room for here) proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Queen Hatshepsut of the 18th Dynasty was the Queen of Sheba who visited Solomon in Jerusalem.
In the September, 1935 issue of the National Geographic magazine, an article appeared recounting this same story. Priests in different parts of Ethiopia told the author, L. Roberts, that the Queen of Sheba had visited Solomon in Jerusalem and bore him a child. According to this article: "Solomon educated the lad in Jerusalem until he was nineteen years old. The boy then returned to Ethiopia with a large group of JEWS..." This son of Solomon and Hatshepsut, himself part Jewish, founded the longest-living monarchy in history when he returned to Ethiopia.
When Ethiopia was taken over by a Communist coup in 1974, the royal line from Solomon and Hatshepsut came to an abrupt end and Emperor Haile Selassie was imprisoned. He later died and was buried in an unknown grave. Some of his descendants managed to escape from the country and are now living in the West. THIS LINE OF DAVID, THE ONLY ONE TO CARRY ON BEYOND THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM BY NEBUCHADNEZZAR, IS NOW DEFUNCT AND "CAST DOWN...TO THE GROUND." This once again shows that God's promise to David was CONDITIONAL and dependent upon the actions of his sons.
Astonishing New Evidence -- David Visited Ireland!
On the Ordnance Survey maps of Ireland there is an area three miles north of Tara Hill and one and a half miles from the old Tara castle called "Dowd's Town" -- literally "DAVID'S TOWN." How did this area receive its name?
In the 29th chapter of Isaiah are some enigmatic verses that will take on a NEW MEANING in answer to this question! Notice:
If we go to the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, these verses take on even more meaning:
Herman L. Hoeh notes that this prophecy refers to the House of Israel:
If we study the king lists in the Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland, by the Four Masters, we find that the sixth Milesian king of Ireland was named IRIAL Faidh. He ruled from 1414 B.C. to 1404 B.C., and was the first of the Irish kings to FORTIFY AND BUILD EMBANKMENTS around the city of Tara. He also cleared the plains and built forts throughout the land. Because of his fame, Tara was named after him for a period of time.
Obviously then, this city of Ariel was the city of Tara -- the city which King David besieged! It is no accident that the area three miles from the hill of Tara in Ireland is known as "David's Town" or the "Settlement of David."
Now, if we examine the annals of Ireland we find ruling, in Ireland, AT THE SAME TIME AS KING DAVID OF ISRAEL, a famous king called OLLAMH FODHLA. In an article entitled Was Ollamh Fodhla King David of Israel?, I give convincing evidence that this Ollamh Fodhla was none other than King David of Israel! According to most of the histories the name Ollamh Fodhla means the "Ollamh" or chief POET of "Fodhla" or Ireland. However, the word Ollamh -- pronounced "Ollav" -- bears a striking resemblance to the Hebrew word "olam" which means "forever" or "everlasting." Could not "Ollamh" Fodhla, then, mean "The Everlasting One of Ireland"? Could this be a reference to David who was a TYPE of Christ -- the Everlasting One? Is this just a coincidence?
This Ollamh Fodhla was the most famous king in Irish history; and he established institutions in the land which brought peace and prosperity to the people of Ireland. Thomas Moore, in his book The History of Ireland, reveals how OUTSTANDING this king was:
In The Story of the Irish Race we see how accomplished this king really was: "The legends indicate that he was a TRUE FATHER to his people, and an ABLE STATESMAN. He organised the nation for efficiency -- dividing it into cantred, appointing a chief over every cantred, a brugaid (magistrate) over every territory, and a steward over every townland. Some traditions say that he established a School of Learning. And as a CROWNING GLORY he established the celebrated Feis [FEAST] of Tara, the great triennial Parliament of the chiefs, the nobles, and the scholars of the nation, which assembled on TARA HILL once every three years to settle the nation's affairs. This great deliberative assembly, almost UNIQUE AMONG THE NATIONS in those early ages, and down into Christian times, reflected not little glory upon ancient Ireland." (Seumas MacManus. The Devin-Adair Company, N.Y. 1949. P.15.)
This great feast of Tara fell in the FALL of the year and lasted for SEVEN DAYS! Some of the Irish annals state that the Feast of Tara, as established by Ollamh Fodhla, was held EVERY YEAR during his reign, and after his death was reduced to every three years -- finally falling into disuse. This yearly feast in the fall could only be the Feast of Tabernacles!
Does the line of this Ollamh Fodhla (or David) reach down to Queen Elizabeth today -- uninterrupted and undiluted? Could Queen Elizabeth, after all, be descended from David by way of the line of Ollamh Fodhla?
After the death of Ollamh Fodhla, four of his sons ruled in succession over the land; then the throne went to Bearnghal, grandson of Ollamh Fodhla through his son Gedhe Ollghothach. Gedhe was a warlike monarch; and there was continual fighting during his rule which led to a great scarcity of food throughout Ireland. After ruling for twelve years Bearnghal was slain by his cousin Oilioll (son of Slanoll, the second reigning son of Ollamh Fodhla) in a CIVIL WAR that was supported by SIRNA OF THE HOUSE OF HEREMON, who was paving the way for his own takeover of the throne.
Did the end come to Ollamh Fodhla's line when Oilioll was killed by this Sirna (son of Dian) in the sixteenth year of his (Oilioll's) reign? The "Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland" reveal that "It was this Sirna, son of Dian, that WRESTED the government of Teamhair [Tara] from the ULTA [line of Ollamh Fodhla]." Of this same event, the Annals of Clonmacnoise say that "Oilell was king 15 years, and then was slain by Siorna [Sirna] Mac Deyn (of the SEPT OF HEREMON), who was he that VIOLENTLY TOOK THE GOVERNMENT OF THE SCEPTRE OF THIS LAND FROM THE SEPT OF ULSTER."
Some claim that a daughter of Ollamh Fodhla (David) -- or one of his sons or grandsons -- married into the line of Heremon, thus healing the breach and making it possible for Queen Elizabeth to be descended from David. There is NO EVIDENCE of this ever happening, however. In our article, "Joseph of Arimathea and David's Throne in Britain" we show WHERE the breach was healed -- write for this exciting information about the LINE OF JOSEPH in Britain!
Answering the Points
Now that we have examined the FACTS about the throne of David, we can answer the points laid down by Herbert Armstrong in the beginning of this article:
1) "David's throne was set up and established with Solomon, David's son."
Comment: True -- no problem here.
2) "The throne -- David's throne -- was established FOREVER in Solomon. Observe that this nowhere says that when Christ comes, God will establish it in HIM forever. It says it was to be established forever -- IN SOLOMON."
Comment: The word "forever" can mean "long duration," "long time" -- not necessarily forever without end or interruption! Also, the throne or David's ruling line was cast down to the ground, but not the "office" or the "job opening," if you will. "....You have made his glory cease, and cast his throne down to the ground." God's promise to David was that there would always be someone [a descendant] ABLE to sit on the throne (fill the office) if God purposed to "rebuild its ruins" and "set it up" again. However, Amos makes it clear that this would not happen until the return of Christ. This is an important distinction! The Bible DOES SAY that when Christ comes, God will RE-establish it in HIM [CHRIST] forever. In the meantime, there is an INTERREGNUM..
3) "What if Solomon, or the children of Israel, disobey? Would that cancel this covenant? Verses 14-15 [of II Sam. 7] plainly say that if they commit iniquity, God will chasten them WITH THE ROD OF MEN, but will NOT break this covenant. The throne shall go on forever just the same!"
Comment: In Psalm 89 God says, "If his [David's] sons forsake My laws and do not walk in My judgments, if they break My statutes and do not keep My commandments, then I will visit their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless in My loving kindness I will not UTTERLY take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail." The fact that God said He would not UTTERLY take away from David indicates that He was going to take SOMETHING away from David. What was this "something" God was going to take from him? I Kings 11 explains: "Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, 'Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you. I will surely TEAR THE KINGDOM AWAY FROM YOU and give it to your servant....However I WILL NOT TEAR AWAY THE WHOLE KINGDOM, but I will give one tribe to your son FOR THE SAKE OF MY SERVANT DAVID, and FOR THE SAKE OF JERUSALEM WHICH I HAVE CHOSEN." (Verses 9-13)
Later, in verse 36, God says, "And to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may always have a LAMP BEFORE ME IN JERUSALEM, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there." When King Zedekiah was dethroned and taken captive to Babylon to die there, THE LAMP WAS EXTINGUISHED. God, however, did not abandon His covenant with David -- He merely held rulership on the throne IN ABEYANCE "until he comes who has the legal right [Christ]." "Jesus Christ, the Messiah, THE 'SON OF DAVID,' was heir to that throne FOREVER. Thus 'THE LAMP' of David will never go out. Jesus is therefore an EVERLASTING LAMP as the one who possesses the Kingdom FOREVER."
God certainly DID NOT break the covenant with David because David kept his end of the agreement until death! This was not true in the case of Solomon. Solomon fell into apostacy and, as a result, his line was cast down to the ground. The "office" or the "job" was still open, remember, but there was no one qualified to fill it in Jerusalem. Because of God's loving kindness and because of Jerusalem, God did not carry out the penalty for breaking the covenant until the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians. The throne DID NOT go on forever -- it's held in ABEYANCE until the return of Christ and therefore still exists in principle.
4) "Notice particularly, in case of disobedience, God will NOT take the throne away as he took it from Saul. How did He take it from Saul? Saul's dynasty ended! No son of Saul ever sat on the throne. But Solomon's dynasty would not end. The punishment for disobedience would be chastening at the hands of MEN."
Comment: We have already covered most of this. God certainly DID take the throne away from Zedekiah -- a descendant of Solomon through Rehoboam -- thus ending this line of Solomon. Another line of Solomon, through his son Menelik (born of his liaison with the Queen of Sheba) lasted much longer, but still ended with Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974. One of his sons still lives, however, in Canada.
5) "Since God did firmly establish this throne with David and with Solomon, if David's throne ceased from existence, EVEN FOR THE LENGTH OF ONE GENERATION, could we say it had been established FOREVER as God here promised?"
Comment: A lack of understanding here! The REALITY of this point is that the "throne" never "ceased" in one sense -- it was merely "unoccupied" waiting for Christ to restore it, or "occupy" it. Interregnums in the reigning line of David did not mean the "office" was abolished! Read Luke 1:32: "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the THRONE OF HIS FATHER DAVID."
Notice what Greg Doudna reveals:
How long indeed!! Also, why can't there be interregnums in ANY line David may have established in different parts of the world?
If we look at the line of Ethiopian kings from Solomon and Sheba, we run into the same problem -- there were large "gaps" or interregnums. Grant R. Jeffrey, in his book Armageddon: Appointment with Destiny, points out that "for SEVERAL HUNDRED YEARS following a Muslim invasion in the twelfth century, the Muslims then ruled most of Ethiopia. Finally the original Solomonic dynasty was reestablished in A.D. 1558 by a Jewish king and continued until Emperor Haile Selassie." (P.116). We have already noted that there has NOT been a king on the Ethiopian throne since 1974; so this line, too, FAILS Herbert Armstrong's criteria that the line of David be in existence FOREVER!
The bottom line is, though, that the reign of the Davidic line in Jerusalem is TEMPORARILY INTERRUPTED. Another line of David, however, was established in the house of Israel in exile. Nevertheless, the royal line of Judah (through Zarah) DID go to Ireland (during the time of Moses) in the person of Heremon, who was the son of Gathelus and the great-great-grandson of Judahthus fulfilling the prophecy in Genesis 49:10: "The scepter shall NOT depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes...."
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JEREMIAH IN IRELAND -- FACT OR FABRICATION?
According to Herbert Armstrong in the book "The United States and Britain in Prophecy," the prophet Jeremiah (in the company of his scribe Baruch) took King Zedekiah's daughter to Ireland where she founded a line of Davidic kings that has continued on down to this day. What corroborating evidence can be found in the Irish annals to back up this assertion? What FACTS can be gleaned from the ancient sources to show this compelling story to be true? Shocking as it may sound, there is NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER in either the Irish or the Scottish annals -- not even a TRACE of Jeremiah, Tea-Tephi and the ever-faithful Baruch! The TRUTH is, if Jeremiah ever brought Zedekiah's daughter to Ireland, it went TOTALLY UNNOTICED in the ancient Irish annals.
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