Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Does Queen Elizabeth II Sit On a Throne of David?
Confusion abounds in the minds of many! What was the covenant YEHOVAH God made with David? Was it conditional? Does David's throne exist somewhere on earth today? Here are the REAL facts about David's throne and what Irish history reveals! The truth is far more awesome than could be imagined, and makes myth, hypothesis or human reasoning pale in comparison!
by 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 YEHOVAH 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:
"David succeeded Saul. David sat on the ETERNAL'S THRONE. David's son Solomon succeeded him, also sitting on the Eternal's throne. "Then Solomon sat on THE THRONE OF THE ETERNAL as king instead of David his father" (I Chron. 29:23; see also II Chron. 9:8).
"I wish here to impress another special point. Before Saul, the Eternal had been King over Israel. These human kings were sitting on the Eternal's throne....Jesus is both the "root" AND the "offspring" of David (Rev. 22:16). Since he was the "root," the throne was His before David was born. David merely sat upon the Eternal's throne. Secondly, since Jesus was David's lawful fleshly Son [literal descendant of David], this same throne shall once more become His right by inheritance, continuing David's dynasty. And so, when Christ returns to earth, David's throne will be doubly His right!
"Now we come to a seemingly incredible fact -- fantastic -almost unbelievable, but TRUE! While David was king, God made with him a perpetual covenant, unconditionally, which God cannot and will not break! This covenant is even more amazing, and less understood, than the unconditional covenant with Abraham!
"I want you now to plant firmly in mind the specific nature and character of the covenant the Almighty made with David. For it is a vital link in the purpose and mission of Christ -- an important KEY to Bible understanding!
"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!
"Turn back to the seventh chapter of II Samuel for more specific details. God gave David this covenant promise at a time when David was much concerned over the Ark of the Covenant dwelling in a tent. David wanted to build a great temple at Jerusalem.
"'And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?...When thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels [Solomon], and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, AND I WILL ESTABLISH THE THRONE OF HIS KINGDOM FOR EVER. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. AND THINE HOUSE AND THY KINGDOM SHALL BE ESTABLISHED FOR EVER before thee: THY THRONE SHALL BE ESTABLISHED FOR EVER'" (II Samuel 7:4-5, 12-16).
Armstrong goes on to say:
"Notice carefully these points:
"1) David's throne was set up and established with Solomon, David's son.
"2) The throne -- David's throne (verse 16) -- was established FOREVER in Solomon (verse 13). 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.
"3) What if Solomon, or the children of Israel, disobey? Would that cancel this covenant? Verses 14-15 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!
"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.
"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?"
"Here is the fact as little realized as any in the Bible! Almighty God made an absolutely binding -- just HOW binding we shall see! -- covenant with David, UNCONDITIONALLY guaranteeing that there should never be a single generation from that time forward when there would not be a descendant of David, in UNBROKEN DYNASTY siting on David's throne, ruling over children of Israel! It was the promise of a continuous, unbroken dynasty-- all generations FOREVER -- that was guaranteed.
"This is hard to believe! Yet God promised and UNALTERABLY GUARANTEED just that! There were no conditions. Nothing that would happen could prevent it. The sins of the people were not to change it. The promise stood immutable!"
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 YEHOVAH 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 YEHOVAH 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!
Yeshua the Messiah 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 king would 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, YEHOVAH 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 YEHOVAH's covenant with David was "ordered in all things and secure" at the time of David's death, I Kings 2 plainly shows that YEHOVAH's covenant with David's children was thereafter conditional!
The Covenant Was Conditional!
"And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; that the LORD may fulfill His word He spoke CONCERNING ME, saying, 'IF your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,' He said, 'YOU SHALL NOT LACK A MAN ON THE THRONE OF ISRAEL" (I Kings 2:3-4).
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 YEHOVAH's promise to David is reinforced by many other verses in the Bible:
"The LORD has sworn in truth to David; He will not turn from it: 'I will set upon your throne THE FRUIT OF YOUR BODY. IF your sons will keep My covenant and My testimony which I shall teach them, THEIR SONS ALSO SHALL SIT UPON YOUR THRONE FOREVERMORE'" (Psalm 132:11-12).
In fact, YEHOVAH 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! YEHOVAH 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 YEHOVAH's charge, then HIS SONS would sit upon David's throne forever. As we all know, Solomon, in his old age, turned from YEHOVAH God and listened to the advice of his many wives. Therefore the covenant was technically broken -- but not by YEHOVAH!
Now look at I Kings 8:25:
"Now LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the PROMISES you made to him when you said, 'You shall never fail to have a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, IF ONLY your sons are careful in all they do to walk before me as you have done!'"
Only with an understanding of the CONDITIONAL aspect of YEHOVAH'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 YEHOVAH 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).
YEHOVAH 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 YEHOVAH 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:
"It might seem such a promise could be made to nearly anyone, and if that was all it was, it would hardly be significant. It would seem the promise to David was in having descendants who would BE king, not simply having descendants WILLING to be king.
"However, it was common for rival monarchies to slaughter whole families and every known living heir, in order to destroy future claimants. Herod is recorded as executing children at Bethlehem hoping to remove any descendant of David (Matt 2:16). After overthrowing king Ahab, Jehu killed Ahab's entire clan (II Kings 10:6-11). For good measure he then killed most of the extended family of a previous king of Judah (II Kings 10:12-14)."
Doudna presents another example:
"Another example of this kind of normal, everyday palace behavior is found in II Kings 11:1-2, in which the mother of the king whose family had almost all been wiped out usurped rule herself and slaughtered the children of her own deceased son. Earlier, in the time of the judges, Abimelech was briefly made king of a city after slaughtering 69 out of 70 half-brother rival claimants (Judges 9:1-6). (One got away by mistake.)
"Even David himself, who received the promise of an EVERLASTING LINE OF HEIRS [NOT that his heirs would always SIT on his throne], turned over every remaining able-bodied male heir of Saul to be slaughtered (II Sam 21:7-9). The sole exception to whom David showed mercy was a son of Jonathan who was "crippled in his feet" (II Sam 9:13). Lameness ruled out coming before the Lord in offering of sacrifices (Lev 21:16-24), and in the Israelite view, would likewise have ruled out eligibility to be king (compare II Sam 5:8)" (Afterword on British-Israelism, pp. 131-132).
In light of this, it was not a trivial matter for David -- especially in the aftermath of his killing all of Saul's line -- to be promised by YEHOVAH 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:
"But you have cast off and rejected, You have been furious WITH YOUR ANOINTED. YOU HAVE RENOUNCED THE COVENANT OF YOUR SERVANT [DAVID]; YOU HAVE DEFILED HIS CROWN BY CASTING IT TO THE GROUND. You have broken down all his hedges; You have brought his strongholds to ruin....YOU HAVE MADE HIS GLORY CEASE, AND CAST HIS THRONE DOWN TO THE GROUND."
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:
"How long, LORD? Will You hide yourself forever? Will your wrath burn like fire?...LORD, WHERE ARE YOUR FORMER LOVING KINDNESSES, WHICH YOU SWORE TO DAVID IN YOUR TRUTH?"
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 YEHOVAH God to be furious with them. YEHOVAH "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 YEHOVAH 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 YEHOVAH 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, YEHOVAH repeats it again when He appeared to Solomon AFTER the dedication of the Temple:
"...the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as He had appeared to him at Gibeon. And the LORD said to him: "I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have sanctified this house which you have built to put My name there FOREVER, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. Now, IF YOU WALK BEFORE ME as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, AND IF YOU KEEP MY STATUTES AND MY JUDGMENTS, THEN I WILL ESTABLISH THE THRONE OF YOUR KINGDOM OVER ISRAEL FOREVER, as I promised David your father, saying, 'You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.' BUT if you or your sons at all turn from following Me, and do NOT keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, THEN I WILL CUT OFF [DESTROY] ISRAEL FROM THE LAND which I have given them; and this house [Temple] which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight. Israel will be a proverb and a byword among all peoples" (I Kings 9:2-7).
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!
"For thus says the LORD: 'David shall NEVER LACK a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; NOR SHALL THE PRIESTS, THE LEVITES, LACK A MAN TO OFFER BURNT OFFERINGS BEFORE ME, to kindle grain offerings AND TO SACRIFICE CONTINUALLY'" (Verses 17-18).
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:
"I remember the passage in Jeremiah 33:17-26, LINKING TOGETHER the EVERLASTING THRONE of David with the Levites offering sacrifices, as having been a question to me in my Big Sandy days. If the promise of the everlasting rule by the line of David necessitated the throne being transplanted to Ireland in order to continue, WHY WAS IT NOT THE SAME WITH THE LEVITES, whose PROMISED ETERNAL SERVICE as priests was likewise INTERRUPTED? Both promises are said in the SAME BREATH, LINKED TOGETHER in this passage. It was speculated in classes at Big Sandy that Christ AT HIS RETURN would indeed restore the Levitical, physical priesthood, for use by physical people during the millennium who did not yet have the Holy Spirit, and that as these people turned to Christ spiritually, the physical sacrifices would decline throughout the millennium. BUT WHERE WAS THE LEVTICAL, PRIESTLY SERVICE NOW, IN THIS AGE?
"The WCG answered this basically in [this way]:...there would always be Levites AVAILABLE to do Temple service. There are Levites now in Orthodox Judaism, but there is no temple. IN OTHER WORDS, THE PROMISES ARE INTERPRETED AS MEANING LEVITES WOULD HAVE DESCENDANTS AND WOULD BE ABLE TO SERVE AS PRIESTS" (Afterword on British-Israelism, note 39, p.142).
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:
"David was promised his throne would last forever (II Sam. 7:12-16). Since it is unthinkable that the biblical promise would fail, logic impelled the British-Israelites and Herbert Armstrong to the conclusion that David's descendants are TODAY ruling on the throne of England.
"MOST analysts have sought for a solution more in keeping with historical probability. It is explained that Jer. 33:17-26 shows the real meaning to be God's covenant would be BROKEN if David "shall not have a son [ABLE TO] reign on his throne." The same thing is said of the Levites in the same passage -- there would always be Levites serving as priests, which is explained to mean ABLE TO serve as priests. In other words, THE PROMISE TO DAVID WAS THAT HE WOULD HAVE DESCENDANTS ABLE TO RULE -- as well as have his line result in Jesus Christ, who is destined to rule forever" (Ibid., p.131).
A Lamp Before the Eternal
As Solomon grew old he departed from the ways of YEHOVAH 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 YEHOVAH 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 YEHOVAH God told Solomon:
"So the LORD became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the LORD God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the LORD had commanded. 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. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR FATHER DAVID; but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 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" (I Kings 11:9-13).
In these verses we can PLAINLY see, once again, how CONDITIONAL YEHOVAH's promises to Solomon were! In fact, if it wasn't for the covenant YEHOVAH God made with David, YEHOVAH would have stripped the ENTIRE kingdom away from Solomon.
Also, note that YEHOVAH 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:
"Jehovah God established King David on the throne of Israel, and David proved to be a wise guide and leader of the nation, UNDER GOD'S DIRECTION. He was therefore called "the lamp of Israel." (2 Sa 21:17) In his kingdom covenant with David, Jehovah promised: "Your very throne will become one firmly established to time indefinite." (2 Sa 7:11-16) Accordingly, the dynasty, or FAMILY LINE, of rulers from David through his son Solomon was a "LAMP" to Israel -- 1 Ki 11:36; 15:4; 2 Ki 8:19; 2 Ch 21:7.
"When King Zedekiah was dethroned and taken captive to Babylon to die there, it appeared that "THE LAMP" was extinguished. But Jehovah had not abandoned his covenant. He merely held rulership on the throne IN ABEYANCE "until he comes who has the legal right [Christ]." (Eze. 21:27) 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. -- Mt. 1:1; Lu 1:32" (Insight On the Scriptures, vol. II. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. Brooklyn, N.Y., p.195).
It should be realized that when Jerusalem was taken by the Babylonians, YEHOVAH 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:
"Now consider a much misunderstood passage of prophecy. If you will begin reading at the 18th verse of the 21st chapter of Ezekiel, you will see plainly that the Eternal is here speaking of the captivity of Judah by the king of Babylon. And, beginning in the 25th verse, He says: 'And thou profane wicked prince of Israel [Zedekiah], whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, thus saith the LORD God; REMOVE THE DIADEM, AND TAKE OFF THE CROWN [as did happen, through the first half of Jeremiah's commission]: this [the crown] shall not be the same: EXALT him that is low, and ABASE him that is high. I will OVERTURN, OVERTURN, OVERTURN, it: and it shall be no more, until he comes whose right it is; and I will give it to him.'
"Let us understand this clearly. 'Remove the diadem, and take off the crown.' King Zedekiah, of David's dynasty, had the crown. This says it is to be removed. IT WAS REMOVED. He died in Babylon; his sons and all the nobles of Judah were killed.
"'This shall not be the same.' The diadem is not to cease, but a change is to take place -- the throne is to be overturned -- another is to wear the crown. God's promise to David is not to go by default!"
Armstrong continues with his explanation:
"'Exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.' Who is 'high'? King Zedekiah of Judah. Now he is to be abased. He is to lose that crown. Judah has been 'high,' while Israel has been 'low' -- these many years without a king (Hosea 3:4). The Pharez line has been 'high'; the Zarah line 'low'.
"'I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he comes whose right it is.' What was to be overturned? The diadem, and the throne. Not once -- it is to be overturned THREE TIMES. Overturning by abasing Zedekiah, the house of Judah, the Pharez line, and exalting, now, the house of Israel, and one of the Zarah line! The first of the three overturns was performed as the first half of Jeremiah's commission.
"'And it shall be no more.' Does this mean the throne -- the crown -- is to cease to exist? Not at all! How could it be overturned TWO MORE TIMES -- that is, TRANSFERRED from one to another, if it ceased to exist? How, after these three transfers of the crown, could it be given to Him -- Christ -- whose right it is, at His second coming, if it ceased altogether to exist? How could he who was 'low' now be exalted by the crown, if that crown was to be no more? No, the meaning is: 'It shall be no more OVERTURNED until the second coming of Christ'! And then it shall be given to Him!"
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:
"British-Israel theory bases much of its thinking regarding the throne of England on Ezek.21: 25-27, in which the LORD says of the crown held by Zedekiah, the final BABYLONIAN APPOINTED king of Judah, 'I overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him' (King James Version). Since Jeremiah was told he would be 'over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant,' it was concluded that Jeremiah 'built' and 'planted' the throne of David in Ireland, accomplishing the first of the three overturns (USBP, pp.86-88, 102). The second overturn was from Ireland to Scotland (c. A.D. 800, K. Kenneth). The third overturn was from Scotland to England (c. A.D. 1000, Edward I.). After this, the theory goes, it will be overturned "no more" until Christ's return, when he will receive the rule forever in Jerusalem.
"However, the word translated 'overturn' means, in the Hebrew, 'RUIN,' not 'transplant,' and this is how it is translated in the Revised Standard Version and other translations. This prophecy in fact predicts the same INTERRUPTION IN THE REIGN OF THE THRONE OF DAVID reflected in Amos 9: 11-12 and Acts 15: 16-18. 'Take off the crown...A RUIN, RUIN, RUIN I WILL MAKE IT; THERE SHALL NOT BE A TRACE OF IT until he comes whose right it is; and to him will I give it' (Ezekiel 21: 27)" (Afterword on British-Israelism, footnote 38, p.142).
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 [the Messiah] 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 [THE MESSIAH] 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 the Messiah. Amos prophesies what will happen when the Messiah returns:
"'On that day [at the return of Christ] I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name,' says the LORD who does this thing" (9: 11-12, New King James Version).
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 Yeshua the Messiah. 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:
"The throne of David, then, biblically, is TEMPORARILY FALLEN, for a reason, but at the end of the time of Gentile dominion, at the day of the Lord, the time when 'all Israel will be saved,' the throne of David will be RESTORED forevermore. This is the view of the prophets, and of the apostles, and of Paul" (Afterword on British-Israelism, p. 131).
We must remember, however, that YEHOVAH 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:
"The strange truth of the PLANTING and the REBUILDING of David's throne is revealed in 'a riddle and a parable' couched in symbolic language never understood until this latter day. Yet it stands today so clearly explained a little child could understand!
"It fills the 17th chapter of Ezekiel's prophecy. The whole chapter should be carefully read. Notice, first, this prophetic message is addressed NOT to Judah, the Jews, but to the house of Israel. It is a message to give light to the lost ten-tribed house of Israel in these latter days!
"First, Ezekiel is told to speak a riddle, and then a parable. The riddle is found in verses 3 to 10. Then, beginning in verse 11, the Eternal explains its meaning. 'Say now to the rebellious house [God says, the "rebellious house," being ten-tribed Israel (Ezek.12:9), to whom Ezekiel is set a prophet (Ezek.2:3; 3:1, etc.)], Know ye not what these things mean? tell them...' and then the riddle is clearly explained."
Armstrong discusses the great eagle next:
"A great eagle came to Lebanon and took the highest branch of the cedar. This is explained to represent King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon who came to Jerusalem and took captive the king of Judah. The cropping off of the cedar's young twigs and carrying them to a land of traffic is explained to picture the captivity of the king's sons. 'He took also of the seed of the land' means Nebuchadnezzar took also of the people and the mighty of the land of Judah. He 'set it as a willow tree. And it grew, and became a spreading vine of low statue' means the Jews were given a covenant whereby, although they were ruled over by the Chaldeans, they might live in peace and grow. The other 'great eagle' is explained to represent Pharaoh of Egypt.
"Thus the riddle covers the first half of Jeremiah's commission. Now notice what is revealed concerning the second part -- the PLANTING of David's throne! It comes in the parable, verses 22-24: 'Thus saith the LORD God; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar.' From God's own explanation we have learned that the cedar tree represents the nation of Judah; its highest branch is Judah's king. The riddle told us Nebuchadnezzar took the highest branch -- the king. The parable now tells us God -- not Nebuchadnezzar, but God -- will take of the highest branch. Not the branch, but OF the branch -- of Zedekiah's children. But Nebuchadnezzar took, and killed, all his SONS."
Armstrong now gives his interpretation of the "tender twig":
"God, through his prophet Jeremiah, is now going to take OF this highest branch and 'SET IT' (verse 22). 'I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a TENDER ONE, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent,' continues the Almighty! Ah! 'A tender young twig'! The twigs of this highest branch represent the children of King Zedekiah! Certainly a tender young twig, then, represents a DAUGHTER! '...and will PLANT it.' Could symbolic language say plainer this young Jewish princess is to become the royal seed for PLANTING again of David's throne? Where? '...upon an high mountain and eminent,' says the Eternal! A 'mountain' in symbol always represents a NATION.
"'In the mountain of the highest of Israel will I plant it,' answers the Eternal! David's throne now is to be planted in Israel, after being thrown down from JUDAH! Could language be plainer? '...and it [the tender young twig -- the king's daughter] shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar'"
"Did David's throne cease with Zedekiah? Did God forget His covenant? No! Compare this language with the passage in Isaiah 37:31-32: 'The remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward [be planted], and BEAR FRUIT UPWARD.' It was PLANTED in Israel, who removed from Judah! After this Hebrew princess is 'planted' on the throne, now in Israel, lost from view -- that throne is to BEAR FRUIT. She is to marry, have children, and her sons are to continue David's dynasty!" (1980 Worldwide Church of God. Pasadena, CA., pp. 88-89).
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 the Messiah 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:
"'Behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'that I will raise to David a BRANCH of righteousness; a KING SHALL REIGN and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.'"
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, Yeshua the Messiah! 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" (Isaiah 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" (Psalm 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."
Adam Clarke: 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 YEHOVAH 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:
"The word that Isaiah the son of Amos saw concerning Judah and JERUSALEM. Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.' For OUT OF ZION shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD FROM JERUSALEM" (Verses 1-3).
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 YEHOVAH 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:
"In Section 2 [above statement on pages 3-4] it should be made clear that DAVID IS NOT MENTIONED IN MS 43968 (now kept in the British Library, manuscript section). This particular chart gives the descent from ADAM THROUGH BRUTUS. Charts published by the Covenant Publishing Co. Ltd. by Rev. W.M.H. Milner entitled 'The Royal House of Britain' and by M.H. Gayer entitled 'The Heritage of the Anglo Saxon Race' both trace the ancestry of the Royal House through several lines of descent from the Patriarch Judah including BRUTUS who is shown as a descendant of Judah's son Zarah. Tradition places descendants of Zarah in many places including TROY, SPAIN and IRELAND. The Royal Line from David and Solomon is detailed in the Bible as descended from Zarah's twin brother Pharez (Gen. 38). THIS LINE APPEARED TO END WITH THE DEATH OF THE LAST KING ZEDEKIAH AND HIS SONS AT THE HANDS OF THE BABYLONIAN KING NEBUCHADREZZAR (Jer. 52)."
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:
"The descendants of DARDA (Dardannes or Danaans) ruled ancient TROY for several hundred years, until the city was destroyed in the famous 'Siege of Troy.' AENEAS, the last of the ROYAL BLOOD, (Zarah-Judah) collected the remnants of his nation and traveled with them to ITALY. There he married the daughter of LATINUS, king of the Latins, and subsequently founded the great Roman Empire. Aeneas' grandson, BRUTUS, with a large party of the TROJANS migrated to 'the GREAT WHITE ISLAND' (an early name for BRITAIN due to its chalk cliffs). Tradition says that on the way to the 'white island' Brutus came across four other Trojan colonies upon the coast of SPAIN and persuaded them to join him.
"At TOTNES on the RIVER DART, twelve miles inland from TORBAY (the oldest seaport in South Devon) is an historical stone that commemorates the COMING OF BRUTUS TO BRITAIN. (CIR, 1103 B.C.) The stone is known as the 'Brutus stone,' the tradition being that the TROJAN PRINCE set foot upon it when he first landed. The Welsh records state that three tribes of his countrymen received Brutus and his company as BRETHREN and proclaimed Brutus king at a national convention of the whole island. His THREE SONS, born after his arrival in Britain were named after the three tribes -- Locrinus, Camber, and Alban. BRUTUS' NAME HEADS THE ROLL IN ALL THE GENEALOGIES OF THE BRITISH KINGS, preserved as faithfully as were those of the kings of Israel and Judah" (Missing Links Discovered in Assyrian Tablets. Artisan Sales, Thousand Oaks, CA. 1985, pp. 65-66).
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:
"In 1181 the Trojans were crushed in the First Trojan War with Greece. AENEAS, of the ROYAL FAMILY, fled to Italy. A son, BRUTUS, expelled from Italy returned to the Aegean area and organized the enslaved Trojans, Lydians and Maeonians. The Greeks were defeated and TROY was recaptured. With the recapture of Troy IN 1149 [B.C.] the list of Sea Powers of the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean began. According to the terms of the treaty with the Greeks BRUTUS MIGRATED, with all who wished to follow him, via the Mediterranean INTO BRITAIN. With him [Brutus] the line...continued to RULE ANCIENT BRITAIN, and on occasion vast areas of the continent. The line of Brutus fell in a fratricidal war in 482" (Compendium of World History, vol. I. 1962, pp. 453-454).
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:
"And when BRUTUS had finished the building of the city [New Troy -- London], and had strengthened it with walls and castles, he consecrated them and made inflexible laws for the governance of such as should dwell there peacefully....AT THIS TIME, BELI THE PRIEST RULED IN JUDEA, AND THE ARK OF THE COVENANT WAS IN CAPTIVITY TO THE PHILISTINES" (Nennius: British History and The Welsh Annals, translated by John Morris).
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:
"Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to Jerusalem to test Solomon with hard questions, having a very great retinue, camels that bore species, gold in abundance, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart. So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for Solomon that he could not explain it to her.
"And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers and their apparel, and his entryway by which he went up to the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her...
"Now king Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all she desired, whatever she asked, much more than she had brought to the king. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants" (verses 1-4, 12).
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 Yeshua 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. Yeshua's 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:
"There is a detail in the Ethiopian legend [about the Queen of Sheba] which only by a RARE CHANCE could have been invented. The Ethiopians call the Queen of the South MAKEDA. The royal name of QUEEN HATSHEPSUT, mentioned throughout the Punt reliefs, is MAKERA. 'Ra' is the divine name of a god. (Likewise 'DA' could be the divine name ADAD or ADA, which is a part of several scriptural names). The main part of the name of the Egyptian queen is IDENTICAL with the first two syllables in the name of the Queen of the South [Sheba]. It was preserved in the Ethiopian tradition; it did not come from the Scriptures" (Doubleday & Company, Inc. Garden City, N.Y. 1952, p. 137).
Furthermore, Josephus preserves the NAME of the Queen of Sheba in his Antiquities of the Jews:
"I suppose also that Herodotus of Halicarnassus, when he said there were three hundred and thirty kings of Egypt after Menes, who built Memphis, did therefore not tell us their names, because they were in common called Pharaohs; for when after their death there was a queen reigned, HE CALLS HER BY HER NAME NICAULE....I have discovered from my own books, that after pharaoh, the father-in-law of Solomon, no other king of Egypt did any longer use that name; and that it was after that time when the FORE-NAMED QUEEN OF SHEBA [NICAULE] came to Solomon" (Book VIII, chapter vi, part 2).
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.
"We learn from the Bible that Solomon was not adverse to having children by foreign women and, according to Ethiopian history, the Queen of Sheba (Hatshepsut) married King Solomon and produced a son. 'The Ethiopian Royal Chronicles record that Prince MENELIK I. of Ethiopia was the son of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. He lived in the palace in Jerusalem and while being educated by the priests of the Temple he became a strong believer in Jehovah'" (Armageddon: Appointment with Destiny, by Grant R. Jeffrey. Bantam Books, 1990, p. 113).
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.
"The descendants of the Jews who accompanied him to Ethiopia formed the ruling class during the greater part of the country's history, and are known today as 'Falasha' Jews. 'The dynasty from Solomon and the Queen of Sheba [through their son Menelik] ruled continuously until the twelfth century. The Abyssinian Royal Chronicles record that the Jewish Ethiopian kingdom was still being ruled by a Falasha Queen Judith about A.D. 950 and continued for two centuries. 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'" (Armageddon: Appointment with Destiny, pp. 115-116).
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 YEHOVAH'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:
"Ah, ARIEL, ARIEL, THE CITY WHERE DAVID ENCAMPED! Add ye year to year, Let the FEASTS come round! Then I will distress ARIEL, And there shall be mourning and moaning..." (Jewish translation).
If we go to the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, these verses take on even more meaning:
"Alas for the city ARIEL, which David BESIEGED. Gather ye fruits year by year; eat ye, for ye shall eat with Moab. For I will GRIEVOUSLY AFFLICT ARIEL: and her strength and her wealth shall be mine. And I will COMPASS THEE ABOUT LIKE DAVID, and will RAISE A MOUND ABOUT THEE, and SET UP TOWERS round thee. And thy words shall be brought down to the earth, and thy words shall sink down to the earth, and thy voice shall be as they that speak out of the earth, and thy voice shall be lowered to the ground" (Verses 1-4).
Herman L. Hoeh notes that this prophecy refers to the House of Israel:
"The climax of the prophecy is the time of divine intervention in all human affairs. But why should the 'city where David encamped' symbolize the center of government of the House of Israel today? It is NOT a fitting expression for Jerusalem and Mt. Zion, for David did more than encamp there. He DWELT AND RULED THERE! Notice further the name ARIEL. Here is a city with the name Ariel. It symbolizes the same people as does Mt. Zion in prophecy, but it is NOT Mt. Zion. It is only a place where David ENCAMPED.
"Cities in early times often changed names, or were given different names, due to famous men who restored or rebuilt the sites, or to men who established the priority of their names in a genealogical line. Take for example the change of the name of Aegialea to Sicyon in Greece....Was there at TARA a famous king with the name of Ariel whose blood line rules today in the British Royal Family? Indeed there was. Of four sons of Gede the Herimon, only the LINE OF IRIAL (Irish for Ariel) continued to rule from Tara. His name was as RARE in Irish history as the name DAVID was in Jewish history!
"These scant evidences of history are more than mere coincidence. NO OTHER PLACE ON EARTH bears the names of Eber, of Dan, of David, of Ariel" (Compendium of World History. Vol. I. Ambassador College, Pasadena, CA. 1963, pp. 426-427).
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:
"Among the numerous kings that, in this dim period of Irish history, pass like shadows before our eyes, THE ROYAL SAGE, OLLAMH FODHLA, is almost the ONLY ONE who, from the strong light of tradition thrown round him, STANDS OUT as being of historical substance and truth. It would serve to illustrate the nature and extent of the evidence with which the world is sometimes satisfied, to collect together the various celebrated names which are received as authentic on the strength of tradition alone; and FEW, perhaps, could claim a more virtual title to this privilege than the GREAT LEGISLATOR of the ancient Irish, OLLAMH FODHLA...." (Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, London. 1846, p. 110).
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." YEHOVAH God's promise to David was that there would always be someone [a descendant] ABLE to sit on the throne (fill the office) if YEHOVAH purposed to "rebuild its ruins" and "set it up" again. However, Amos makes it clear that this would not happen until the return of the Messiah. This is an important distinction! The Bible DOES SAY that when the Messiah comes, YEHOVAH God will RE-establish it in HIM [THE MESSIAH] 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 Samuel 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 YEHOVAH 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 YEHOVAH 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" YEHOVAH 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, YEHOVAH 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. YEHOVAH 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 [the Messiah]." "Yeshua the Messiah, THE 'SON OF DAVID,' was heir to that throne FOREVER. Thus 'THE LAMP' of David will never go out. Yeshua is therefore an EVERLASTING LAMP as the one who possesses the Kingdom FOREVER."
YEHOVAH 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 apostasy 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 YEHOVAH's loving kindness and because of Jerusalem, YEHOVAH 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 the Messiah 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. YEHOVAH 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 the Messiah 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:
"The scriptural basis for having heirs of David in the BRITISH ISLES was to remove the perceived difficulty in conventional history of a descendant of David not ruling on earth, as was believed to be the everlasting biblical promise. But there are 'INTERREGNUMS,' as the Compendium [of World History, by Herman L. Hoeh] calls them, or instances in which, even by British-Israel theory, an heir of David WAS NOT REIGNING. For example, a non-Milesian Irishman named Cairbre Cinnchait, in A.D. 90, led the 'Firbolgs' people in a successful revolt against the Milesian kings' rule and took power. Milesian rule WAS NOT REESTABLISHED until A.D. 130....
"There was a GAP IN TIME between the removal of Zedekiah as last king of Judah and the time his daughter (or as the Compendium has it, her Irish son) began to reign in Ireland -- a 26 YEAR GAP according to the Compendium. Furthermore, there are many instances in which a line of Milesian kings ruled Ireland DIFFERENT THAN THE LINE OF 'TEA-TEPHI'/ HEREMON. From the Compendium, which follows the Ogygia, I counted a total of 38 NON-HEREMON, AND THEREFORE NON-DAVIDIC, KINGS ruling Ireland in the period 561 B.C. to A.D. 379, for a cumulative total of 315 YEARS OF NON-DAVIDIC RULE during the time David's throne was supposed to be reigning over Israelites.
"If these many 'gaps' in the years of Davidic rule in Ireland can be found acceptable, WHY NOT simply allow, for the sake of argument, a single gap or 'interregnum' of some 2500+ years between the fall of Judah and the coming of Christ to reign as everlasting Davidic king? How long can an 'interregnum' be before it is ruled unacceptable?" (Afterword on British Israelism, pp.127-128).
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 Judah -- thus 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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