- Genesis 35:11
- "And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a
nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy
- On the basis of this passage Armstrong argues as follows: "The Jews have never been
more than one nation. They are not, and never have been many nations . . . This promise
has never been fulfilled in the Jews. So the 'many nations' are eventually to take shape
as a nation - one great, wealthy, powerful nation;1
and another company of nations - a group, or commonwealth of nations
- Armstrong's argument sounds plausible but it is circular. A Jew is first defined
by him to be a member of the tribe of Judah.3
He then concludes that the Jews have never been more than one nation. Of course if Jews
are defined to be members of one tribe they will not be more than one nation. The
argument assumes what must first be proven, i.e., that the word "Jew" is used
exclusively of one nation in Scripture.
- The following passages indicate that the word "Jew" is not used exclusively in
Scripture for members of the tribe of Judah:
- "Brethren the Jews" (Neh. 5:1,8,17) is synonymous with "all Israel,
dwelt in their cities". (Neh. 7:73).
- "I am a man which am a Jew" (Acts 21:39; 22:3) said Paul. But he also
said, "I am an Israelite". (Rom. 11:1).
- The "all Israel" of 1 Chron. 9:1 includes "Judah" and
"Benjamin". (1 Chron. 9:3).
- "And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned
he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem." (1 Kings 2:11).
David's kingship over Judah in Hebron is counted as part of his reign as king of Israel.
- Nehemiah, a cupbearer to a Persian king (Neh. 2:1) asked one of his brothers
"concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and
concerning Jerusalem." (Neh. 1:2). But when Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, the
enemies of the rebuilding "grieved . . . exceedingly that there was come a man to
seek the welfare of the children of Israel." (Neh. 2:10).
- Shalmaneser, king of Assyria "took Samaria, and carried Israel away into
Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the
cities of the Medes." (2 Kings 17:6). But when Ahasuerus sent his decree to the
127 provinces of his dominion, it was sent to Jews: "Write ye also for the
Jews . . . and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews . . .
unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and
according to their language." (Esther 8:8,9).4
The decree was not addressed to Jews in Babylon and Israelites in Media
which one would have expected if British-Israel theory were true.
- Genesis 35:11 provides no proof that the "company of nations" refers to
the Anglo-Saxon peoples. Armstrong's case rests merely on assertion, but to assert, is not
to prove. Any points of alleged identification must rest therefore, on other evidence
which can be considered separately.
- The land promised to Jacob was the same land promised to Abraham and Isaac (Gen. 35:12).
This was "the land of Canaan" (Gen. 17:8) in which Abraham as a sojourner was
invited to see (Gen. 13:14,15), but not to ultimately possess. (Heb. 11:8-16; Acts 7:5).
It is not the land of Great Britain, U.S.A. and other Commonwealth countries.
- The blessing upon Jacob cannot be understood to refer merely to the literal descendants
- the twelve tribes, since the Apostle Paul's exposition in Rom. 4:16,17 requires an
applications of the "nations" to those who share the faith of Abraham:
"Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be
sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of
the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have
made thee a father of many nations,) . . . " (Romans 4:16-17). The father of many
nations refers to "us all" (Jew and Gentile alike) on the basis of faith, not
pedigree. Faith, not Anglo-Saxon origin constitutes one a member of the "many
- Armstrong argues against the spiritual import of the passage on the following grounds:
"It could not pertain to the Church, for there is but one true Church acknowledged in
the Bible, and it is not a nation, or a group of nations, but a collection of called-out
individuals scattered thru all nations."5
Armstrong is right in saying that there is only one true Church
acknowledged in the Bible, but he is wrong in saying that it is not a nation. Peter wrote
to the "strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and
Bithynia." (1 Peter 1:1). Although they were literally scattered in all these areas,
Peter addressed them as "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation."6 (1 Pet. 2:9). Similarly
"nation" is used in the sense of a "multitude; people living under common
institutions"7 in the following
- " . . . I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish
nation I will anger you." (Romans 10:19). What geographical area, or racial
characteristics can be ascribed to this nation?
- "Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to
a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." (Matthew 21:43). To what pedigree was
Jesus referring by his reference to the "other nation?" What was its
Believers are nations (people living under common institutions) and collectively they
form the one Ecclesia (body of called-out ones).
- Armstrong's conclusion that "'the many nations' are eventually to take shape as a
nation - one great, wealthy, powerful nation" is neither stated not implied in either
the verse or the context.
- The children of Jacob (Israel) grew into "a nation, and a company
of nations", that is, a nation which was a company of nations, a
nation divinely organized in twelve sub-nationalities or tribes, having
each a princely head, in subjection to the authority of God.
- The Hebrew word that is translated "and" in Gen. 35:11 is
the particle wav. If one translates wav in an
expletive instead of a conjunctive sense, the result would be "a
nation, even a company of nations." Some Hebrew
scholars have adopted such a translation. That this
rendering of wav as even is admissible is shown by its
adoption in other instances in the Hebrew scriptures:
|1 Samuel 28:3 - Now Samuel was
dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even
(wav) in his own city.
Malachi 3:1 - Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall
prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall
suddenly come to his temple, even (wav) the
messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall
come, saith the LORD of hosts.
Doubtless the particle wav is most commonly used in a
conjunctive sense, but these illustrations above show that an expletive
sense must be allowed where the sense requires it. Otherwise we
should make Israel bury Samuel in two places at once, i.e., "in
Ramah and in his own city". In the case of "a
nation and a company of nations", it is a question of what
the facts are. We must not subordinate the facts to an assumed
sense of a variable Hebrew particle: the facts must determine the
sense. The facts are obvious. Jacob became a nation, even
a company of nations.
- By "one great wealthy nation" he means the U.S.A., and by
"commonwealth" he refers to Gr. Britain and the British Commonwealth. Return
- Herbert W. Armstrong, The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy,
(Pasadena: Ambassador College, 1954), pp. 2,3. Booklet. Return
- In the same booklet, Armstrong defines a Jew as follows: "The term 'Jew' is merely
a nickname for 'Judah'. It applies to the one nation, or House of Judah only - never to
the house of Israel." p. 7. Return
- Peter on the Day of Pentecost addressed "Jews, devout men, out of every
nation under heaven". (Acts 2:5). Some of these Jews came from Media and Persia (Acts
2:9) and were no doubt descendants of the northern kingdom - Israelites. (Cf. 2
Kings 17:6). Return
- Herbert W. Armstrong, The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy,
(Pasadena: Ambassador College, 1954), p. 3. Return
- "Ethnos", the Greek word translated "nation" in this passage is the
same Greek word used in the Septuagint translation on Gen. 17:5, 35:11 and Paul's citation
in Rom. 4:17. Return
- "Goi" the Hebrew word translated "nation" means "a corporate
body". It is translated "Gentile" 30 times, "heathen" 142 times,
and "nation" 373 times. Robert Young, Analytical Concordance to the Holy
Bible, (London: Lutterworth Press, 1965 ed.). The Greek equivalent used by the Apostle
Paul is "ethnos" which means "a multitude; people, living under common
institutions." E. W. Bullinger, A Critical Lexicon and Concordance, (London:
Bagster and Sons Lt., 1957 ed.). Return