Are We of Israel?, by Elder George Reynolds

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Are We of Israel?, by Elder George Reynolds

Postby admin » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:30 am

Are We of Israel?
by Elder George Reynolds
Second Edition 1883/1895

[In the 1870s George Reynolds published a series of articles in the Millennial Star that promoted British Israelism using arguments and quotes from the prominent B-I writers of the day, including John Wilson, A. B. Grimaldi, and Charles Smyth.]

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Israel shall blossom and bud and fill the world with fruit.

— Isaiah.


TABLE OF CONTENTS.

• CHAPTER I. Introductory — The promises of God to Abraham and his Posterity — The seed of Joseph in America — The Journey of the Ten Tribes Northward — Ephraim mixed with all Nations — Testimony of Prest. Brigham Young.
• CHAPTER II. Israel a Maritime Nation — Tyre and Sidon — The Lacedemonians claim relationship with Israel — The Ionians, Etrurians, Danes, Jutes, etc. — The various captivities of Israel and Judah — Media.
• CHAPTER III. The Land of the North — Jeremiah, Ether and Esdras' Testimonies — The Course of the Israelites Northward — The Jordan, the Don, the Danube, etc. — The Land of Moesia and Dacia — The Getae— Zalmoxes.
• CHAPTER IV. Israel's Journey Northward — Esdras and Modern Revelation Compared — The Testimony of Jesus to the Nephites — Ephraim to be gathered from all Countries — The Coasts of the Earth — The Ancestors of the Latter-day Saints.
• CHAPTER V. The Origin of the Anglo-Saxons — Derivation of the Word Saxon — The Goths and Vandals — Overthrow of the Roman Empire — The Mythology of the Ancient Scandinavians— Baldur- Their early Literature.
• CHAPTER VI. The Numerous Identifications Considered — Religion and Laws of the Ancient Northern Races — Free Masonry — Language
• CHAPTER VII. Salvation a Gift to all — God's Covenant with Abraham — Proselytes — The Dispersion — Conclusion.
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Re: Are We of Israel?, by Elder George Reynolds

Postby admin » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:31 am

CHAPTER I.

Introductory — The promises of God to Abraham and his posterity — The seed of Joseph in America — The journey of the Ten Tribes northward — Ephraim mixed with all nations — The testimony of President Brigham Young.

The belief that the Latter-day Saints hold that the great majority of their number are of the house of Israel, and heirs to the promises made to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, like many other portions of their faith, has received the ridicule of the unthinking and the contempt of the ungodly. However, it is not our present intention to answer such, but to seek to adduce evidence outside of the sure word of modern revelation, to prove that the Latter-day Saints have good reasons, drawn from history and analogy, for believing the words of their Patriarchs who, in blessing them, pronounce them of the house of Abraham and of the promised seed of Jacob.

It is unnecessary to here quote all of the many gracious promises made by the great Father of us all to His friend Abraham, and to that Patriarch's immediate posterity, as they are cherished by the Saints as of more than earthly value, as pearls beyond all price, as sweet comforters in the day of trial, and as strong towers of defense in the hour of temptation; yet it may not be out of place to refresh our minds by the recital of a few of the most prominent, that we may better comprehend the ideas and statements that follow after.

It is recorded (Genesis xvii: 4-7) that the Lord covenanted with Abraham, saying:

"As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee."

Again (Genesis xxii: 16-18.) Jehovah declares:

"By myself have I sworn saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and has not withheld thy son, thine only son, that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."

To Isaac and to Jacob were these glorious promises confirmed if possible in yet stronger wording. (Genesis xxvi: 4 10; xxviii: 14.) To the latter it was said:

"And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth; and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

The blessing of Jacob upon his son Joseph is doubtless so familiar to the majority of our readers, that we shall simply quote the latter portion:

"The blessings of thy father have prevailed, above the blessings of my progenitors, unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be upon the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brethren."

We will take but one step further in this direction. Jacob, in blessing Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph, said: (Gen. xiviii: 16.)

"Let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth."

When Joseph reminded the aged Patriarch that his right hand was placed on the head of the younger boy, he declared:

"I know it, my son, I know it. He (Manasseh) also shall become a people. And he also shall be great. But truly his younger brother shall be greater than he; and his seed shall become a multitude of nations."

There are two points in these blessings that are very noteworthy. The first, that the seed of these Patriarchs should become innumerable, and grow to be a multitude of nations in the midst of the earth; the second, that in or through this seed all the nations and families of the earth should be blessed. With Abraham a covenant was made by the Most High, that he should become the father of many nations, and when we have laid aside the descendants of Ishmael — the Arabians and their fellows, who have grown into mighty multitudes, and not even counted the posterity of the sons of Keturah and of Abraham's other wives, yet in the one son Isaac the promise is renewed, his seed also is to multiply "as the stars of heaven.'" Once again we will divide the posterity, and leave unnoticed the dukes of Edom and the other descendant of Isaac's favorite son. We will speak alone of Jacob. To him was repeated the divine promise: "Thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth;" and again, "A nation and a company of nations shall be of thee." Here let us pause for a moment and ask, are they whom the world regard as the only representatives of Jacob today — the dispersed of Judah — all that that holy man has to show as the fulfillment of so great a promise as the one last quoted? We think not, but believe that future research will vindicate prophecy, and prove that the promises of the Eternal are not cut short in their complete fulfillment.

We are well aware, so great is the tendency of the races of the earth to mix and intermingle, that the Jews, as well as many Christians, point to their continued existence as a distinct people, as an unanswerable argument in favor of the divinity of their scriptures and the inspiration of their prophets. But their history, their exclusiveness, their dispersion, etc., do not fulfill a vast number of the prophecies uttered with regard to Israel. Yet when the history of all Israel is written, of Ephraim as well as of Judah, we are satisfied that no portion of God's holy word will be found to have returned to His mouth unfulfilled, and He will be as much glorified in the hiding up of the Ten Tribes and the mixing of Ephraim among the nations, as in the scattering of the sons and daughters of Judah.

Jacob had one son (and he not the ancestor of the Jews), to whom these blessings were not only renewed, but extended. To Joseph it is said that his blessings have prevailed above the blessings of his progenitors unto the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills, while of Joseph's younger son it was declared, "his seed shall be a multitude of nations." Thus we observe that with each succeeding heir to these choice blessings the promises seem to have grown, extended and spread out. To Abraham it was promised that he should be the father of many nations; to Ephraim, his grandson's grandson, it was said of his seed, his seed alone, that it should become a multitude of nations. Where is that multitude of nations today? is a pertinent question, for God has promised it and they must exist.

The average student of history cannot answer this question. He knows nothing of the posterity of Ephraim; they are hidden from his sight. But the believer in the Book of Mormon will point to its record and declare that in the aborigines of North and South America, and of many of the Pacific isles, we find the seed of Joseph grown into a multitude of tribes, peoples and nations. We thankfully admit this truth, we cannot contradict it did we wish to do so. God has so revealed it, and the external confirmatory evidences are growing stronger and more convincing every year. Yet another pertinent question here presents itself. We understand, from the Book of Mormon, the Lamanites to be of the house of Manasseh; that is their great father Lehi and his sons, the founders of the Nephite and Lamanite races, were of that tribe. If so, his greatness does not fulfill the promises to Ephraim, who was to be greater than he. Surely the Lord, having so abundantly fulfilled His promise to the one brother, has not forgotten His covenant with His "first born." But shall we be deemed inconsistent if we say that we do not think that the whole of that multitude of nations is found in the descendants of Lehi, of Mulek and their companions. Is it supposable that the Lord has confined the fulfillment of the promises to Joseph (whose blessings were to prevail above those of his progenitors), to tribes who are today and the majority of which have been for fifteen hundred years — or one-quarter of this world's existence since mortals dwelt hereon — among the wildest, the most degraded of mankind? If so, the descendants of those to whom no promises were made have enjoyed the greater blessings.

We contend that where Israel is not under the ban of God's displeasure through his sins and follies, he leads the world. His sons are princes among men and the ministers of God's law to all people, indeed that in him, according to the oft repeated promise, all the families of the earth will be blessed. Here we may be interrupted by our readers (for it is Latter-day Saints we are addressing) with the question if we have forgotten the Ten Tribes hidden by Divine Providence in the far off frozen regions of the north, and environed by a belt of snow and ice so impenetrable that no man in modern days has reached them. No, we have not forgotten them, and through them, we believe, as through Lehi and others, have the promises of God to Jacob and Joseph been partially fulfilled. But we ask further, is it altogether improbable that in that long journey of one and a half years, as Esdras states it, from Media, the land of their captivity to the frozen north some of back- sliding Israel rebelled, turned aside from the main body, forgot their God, by and by mingled with the Gentiles and became the leaven to leaven with the promised seed all the nations of the earth? The account given in the Book of Mormon of a single family of this same house, its waywardness, its stiffneckedness before God, its internal quarrels and family feuds are, we fear, an example on a small scale of what most probably happened in the vast bodies of Israelites who for so many months wended their tedious way northward. Laman and Lemuel had, no doubt, many counterparts in the journeying Ten Tribes. And who so likely to rebel as stubborn, impetuous, proud and warlike Ephraim? Rebellion and backsliding have been so characteristically the story of Ephraim's career that we can scarcely conceive that it could be otherwise and yet preserve the unities of that people's history. Can it be any wonder then that so much of the blood of Ephraim has been found hidden and unknown in the midst of the nations of northern Europe and other parts until the spirit of prophecy revealed its existence? But before proceeding further in our research, it may be well to insert the words of one having authority, to the effect that the Latter-day Saints are of Ephraim; to adduce ideas and reasons to substantiate this statement will be our pleasure as we proceed.

President Young delivered a discourse in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, April 8th, 1855, from which the following are extracts:

"The set time has come for God to gather Israel, and for his work to commence upon the face of the whole earth, and the Elders who have arisen in this Church and kingdom are actually of Israel. Take the Elders who are now in this house, and you can scarcely find one out of a hundred but what is of the house of Israel. It has been remarked that the Gentiles have been cut off, and I doubt whether another Gentile ever comes into this church.

"Will we go to the Gentile nations to preach the gospel? Yes, and gather out the Israelites wherever they are mixed among the nations of the earth. What part or portion of them? The same part or portion that redeemed the house of Jacob and saved them from perishing with famine in Egypt. When Jacob blessed the two sons of Joseph, 'guiding his hands wittingly,' he placed his right-hand upon Ephraim, 'and he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads,' etc. Joseph was about to remove the old man's hands, and bringing his right hand upon the head of the oldest boy, saying, 'Not so, my father; for this is the first born; put thy right hand upon his head.' And his father refused, and said, 'I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.' Ephraim has become mixed with all the nations of the earth, and it is Ephraim that is gathering together.

"It is Ephraim that I have been searching for all the days of my preaching, and that is the blood which ran in my veins when I embraced the gospel. If there are any of the other tribes of Israel mixed with the Gentiles we are also searching for them. Though the Gentiles are cut off, do not suppose that we are not going to preach the gospel among the Gentile nations, for they are mingled with the house of Israel, and when we send to the nations we do not seek for the Gentiles, because they are disobedient and rebellious. We want the blood of Jacob, and that of his father Isaac and Abraham, which runs in the veins of the people. There is a particle of it here, and another there, blessing the nations as predicted.

"Take a family of ten children, for instance, and you may find nine of them purely of the Gentile stock, and one son or one daughter in that family who is purely of the blood of Ephraim. It was in the veins of the father or mother, and was produced in the son or daughter, while all the rest of the family are Gentiles. You may think that is singular, but it is true. It is the house of Israel we are after, and we care not whether they come from the east, the west, the north or the south; from China, Russia, England, California, North or South America, or some other locality; and it is the very lad on whom father Jacob laid his hands, that will save the house of Israel. The Book of Mormon came to Ephraim, for Joseph Smith was a pure Ephraimite, and the Book of Mormon was revealed to him, and while he lived he made it his business to search for those who believed the gospel.

* * *

"You understand who we are; we are of the house of Israel, of the royal seed, of the royal blood."
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Re: Are We of Israel?, by Elder George Reynolds

Postby admin » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:33 am

CHAPTER II.

Israel a Maritime Nation — lyre and Sidon — The Lacedemonians Claim Relationship with Israel — The Ionians, Etrurians, Danes, Jutes, etc. — The various Captivities of Israel and Judah — Media.

The idea, though not until lately widely diffused, that many of the races inhabiting Europe are impregnated with the blood of Israel, is by no means a new one. Many writers, in their researches into the early history of that continent, have been forcibly struck with the similarity that existed between the laws, manners, customs, etc., of the ancient inhabitants of its northern and northwestern portions and those of ancient Israel. These writers have endeavored to account for this peculiarity in two ways. First by the supposition that Israelitish colonies for various causes, left the land of their inheritance and gradually worked themselves north and northwestward over Europe; and second, by the argument that remnants or branches of the lost Ten Tribes had emigrated from Media into Europe, and through the ignorance of historians, disguised under other names, they had remained unknown until the present, their habits, customs, traditions, etc., having in the meanwhile become so greatly changed by time and circumstance, as to render them unrecognizable at this late day.

We will take up the first of these ideas, and present a few of the arguments advanced by those who support it. It is asserted by them that Israel early became a maratime nation, that its location on the Mediterranean Sea admirably adapted its people for such pursuit. By means of the Red Sea in its rear, it also had undisturbed access to Africa, India, and the isles beyond. As early as the days of the Judges (say B. C. 1,300) we find that Deborah and Barak, in their song of triumph, complain that Dan came not up to the aid of Israel in the hour of need, but remained in his ships while his fellows were contending with Sisera and his hosts. "Why did Dan remain in snipes?" (Judges v: 17) is the exact question asked. This shows that thus early in Israel's history it had commenced to hold commercial relations with its neighbors. [ i] The tribes whose inheritances bordered on the Mediterranean, commencing at the north, were Asher, Manasseh, Ephraim, Dan and Simeon. Asher's inheritance lay contiguous to the great ports of Tyre and Sidon, while Simeon's bordered on Egypt, and contained within its confines other seaports of the Philistines or Phoenicians, to whom, we think, profane writers have given credit for many of the commercial ventures under- taken by the Israelites.

It must not be supposed that these maratime tribes were the only ones that would be found spreading abroad. The members of the various tribes did not strictly confine themselves to the boundaries assigned their tribe by Joshua, but they intermingled for trade, etc., and many men of other tribes resided within the borders of Judah's inheritance, and vice versa. We have a notable example of this (B. C. (500) in the case of Lehi and Laban, who were of the seed of Joseph, yet were residents of Jerusalem, and Nephi incidentally remarks that his father, Lehi, had dwelt in that city "all his days." The children of Ephraim, from their great enterprise and force of character, seem to have early spread, not only among other tribes, but also into foreign nations, notably to Egypt, and the anger of the Lord is repeatedly expressed through His prophets at His people's disregard of His law in mixing with the heathen. In Isaiah's time, Ephraim had, like a "silly dove," mingled himself among the people to the displeasure of his God.

But it was not only for trade and commerce that Israel spread abroad; her children were sometimes forced to foreign lands against their will. Two hundred years before Lehi left Jerusalem, the Lord upbraided Tyre and Sidon, through Joel his servant (Joel iii: 6), telling them, among other things, "The children also of Judah, and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians" [or Gentiles], "that ye might remove them far from their border." Here we obtain a glimpse of the policy of these two cities; they sought to weaken Israel by deporting her children as captives to other nations afar off, and with true commercial instincts endeavored to make the transaction a profitable one. And if Judah and Jerusalem, at the other end of the land, thus suffered at the hands of Tyre and her sister city, is it not a certainty that other tribes, living nearer, would surfer from this same cause, and probably more severely?

We are of the opinion that this wholesale slave trade of the Phoenicians is greatly under-estimated as a factor in the diffusion of Israelitish blood throughout the world. So great was the number of slaves held by these people, that at one time in their chief city, the slaves exceeded the freemen in number, and their maratime enterprise was such that they established colonies or depots on all the islands of the Mediterranean Sea, in France, Spain, Italy, Britain, and probably in Germany. The whole coast of northern Africa was studded with their colonies, which they carried south as far as Timbuctoo and the Niger, while by way of the Red Sea they reached eastern Africa, Persia, India, and some suppose China; in fact, they traded with, and established colonies all over the then known world. [ii]

It is also a remarkable fact that a few hundred years after Joel had delivered his message of condemnation to Tyre and Sidon, that the people of one of these Grecian states, the Lacedemonians or Spartans, claimed relation- ship with Israel as children of Abraham, and had their claim allowed, and still more remarkable in the light of poetical justice, that these Lacedemonians were the ones used by Alexander the Great in the destruction of Tyre, and in the fulfillment of the words of the Lord through Joel: "Behold I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompense upon your own head" (Joel iii: 7). It would appear that the sons destroyed the cities that had sold their fathers into captivity. The fact that these Lacedemonians did claim kindred with Israel, is narrated both by Josephus and the author of the First Book of Maccabees. The writers of both histories give a synopsis of the letter sent by Oreus, king of the Lacedemonians, to Onias, the High Priest of Israel. The two accounts agree very closely, Josephus gives the opening clause of the king's letter in these terms: "We have met with a certain writing whereby we have discovered that both Jews and Lacedemonians are of one stock, and are derived from the kindred of Abraham." In the book of Maccabees it runs as follows: "It is found in writing that the Spartans and Jews are brethren, and come out of the generation of Abraham." (I. Mac. xii.) The Jews admitted the relationship in a letter full of sentiments of friendship and brotherhood, sent by a special embassy to the Spartan court. This letter is given in full in I. Maccabees, chap, xii. In neither history is any hint given as to which branch of Abraham's family the records showed that the Lacedemonians belonged, but from their rigid virtue and honesty, and their near approach to the united order in their daily lives, it is presumable that they had not been long separate from a people in whose midst the law of the true God was known and observed.

It being thus admitted that the people of one Grecian state were of the family of Abraham, students of history have endeavored to trace Israel to other parts. The inhabitants of the Ionian commonwealth, one of the most enterprising communities of ancient Greece, are claimed to have been of Israelitish stock, the most weighty argument used in the advocacy of this idea is the great similarity that existed between their laws and customs and those of the Jews. Attention is especially drawn to the fact that the Ionians were divided from choice, and not from the force of circumstances or geographical position, into twelve communities, corresponding with the twelve tribes of Israel. The same argument is advanced regarding the Eturians who were among the earliest settlers in Italy, and who, tradition states, emigrated from Tyre or its neighborhood. They also were divided into twelve communities or states, but all under one king. Admitting that these two nationalities were of the outcasts of Israel, there is no difficulty in understanding) how the children of Jacob spread abroad over all the coasts of Europe and northern Africa, as they were (especially the Ionians) renowned for enterprise at sea, the last named being the first people among the Greeks to undertake long voyages.

More than one author has advanced the idea that the Welsh are of the tribe of Manasseh, some vague traditions of that people being thought to point in that direction; it has also been asserted that the Irish are of that tribe. From this idea we differ. With greater show of reason it has been claimed that Denmark was colonized by the tribe of Dan (in Danish it is Danmark, or Dan's land, to this day), so, according to this, a Dane is simply a Danite. Jutland, adjoining, is regarded as Judah's land, Jute being considered merely another form of the word Jew; while a little further north we find Gottland, Gothland, or Gad's land, as these writers believe, thus tracing in immediate proximity the homes of three prominent tribes of Israel through the names given to the regions they settled in.

Some who, of late years, have made the subject of Israel's "identification" their study, have gone almost to the verge of the ridiculous in the minuteness with which they have endeavored to fix the boundaries of the lands which, they assert, were occupied by descendants of the different tribes. Our position is the Biblical or prophetical one, that Ephraim has mixed himself with the nations; theirs, that remnants of all the tribes can be localized and their descendants determined with the same certainty as the posterity of those races who have never in God's providences, and for the accomplishment of His purposes, been "lost." One set of these enquirers claim to have made the following discoveries. They have traced the tribe of Dan to the north of Ireland and of Scotland; Simeon to Wales; Naphtali, as Jutes, to Kent; Gad and Asher, as Angles and South Angles, to Mercia and East Anglia in England; Ephriam to Northumberland and as far north as Edinburgh; Manasseh to the north of England; Reuben as East Saxons, to Essex; Zebulon, as West Saxons, to Wessex; Issacher, as South Saxons, to Sussex; all these last named places being in England.

There is another cause that many believe led to the migration of certain families of Israel and Judah. Before the final captivity of either kingdom was brought about there were several partial deportations of the people to Assyria and Babylon, or local captivities. Assyria commenced by carrying off the inhabitants nearest her dominions and gradually extended her incursions. The captivity of Judah was still later. In the interval, it is argued, that many Israelites, believing in the words of the prophets and seeing the evils that were coming upon them, migrated to Egypt, Greece, or other convenient lands; some, doubtless, led, as were Lehi and the son of Zedekiah, by the revelation and commandment of God, others simply following the inclinations of their own feelings.

As abundant proof that many were led by God from the land of promise before the days of the captivity we have the words of Nephi:

"For it appears that the house of Israel, sooner or later, will be scattered upon all the face of the earth, and also among all nations, and behold there are many who are already lost from the knowledge of those who are at Jerusalem. Yea, the more part of all the tribes have been led away; and they are scattered to and fro upon the isles of the sea; and whither they are, none of us knoweth, save that we know that they have been led away. And since they have been led away, these things have been prophesied concerning them, and also concerning all those who shall hereafter be scattered and be confounded. "

Also the testimony of his brother Jacob:

"And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge, concerning these things, let us remember Him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea. But great are the promises of the Lord unto they who are upon the isles of the sea; wherefore as it says isles, there must needs be more than this, and they are inhabited also by our brethren. For behold, the Lord God has led away from time to time from the house of Israel, according to His will and pleasure. And now behold, the Lord remembereth all they who have been broken off, wherefore He remembereth us also."

That we may better understand the various partial and subsequent general captivities of Israel and Judah, the following short statement thereof is here inserted. The dates given are those of the commonly accepted chronology:

Pul, or Sardanapalus, imposed a tribute on Menahen, king of Israel, about 770 B. C.

Tiglath Pileser carried away the tribes living east of the Jordan and in Galilee, B.C. 740.

Shalamaneser twice invaded the kingdom of Israel, took Samaria, after three years' siege, and carried the people captive to Assyria B.C. 721.

Sennacherib (B.C. 713) is stated to have carried 200,000 captives into Assyria from the Jewish cities that he captured.

Nebuchadnezzar, in the first half of his reign (B.C. 605-562), repeatedly invaded Judea, besieged Jerusalem and carried its inhabitants to Babylon.

The next question that presents itself is, to what portion of the land of Assyria were the Israelitish captives taken. Scripture has not left us in the dark on this point. Both the book of Chronicles (I. Chron. v: 26) and the book of Kings (II. Kings xxvii: 6) give us the needed information. In the latter book it is stated (and the statement in the book of Chronicles is almost identical therewith), that the king of Assyria "carried Israel away captive into Assyria, and placed them in Halah, and in Harbor, by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes."

Media, the land of the Medes, lay to the north of Assyria proper, embracing the country lying on the southern border of the Caspian Sea, as far west as the River Araxes. The exact location of Halah and Harbor has long since been lost sight of and the only river that to-day, in name, bears any affinity to the Gozan is the Kuzal Ozan, which empties into the Caspian Sea to the southeast of the Araxes.
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Re: Are We of Israel?, by Elder George Reynolds

Postby admin » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:35 am

CHAPTER III.

The Land of the North — Jeremiah, Ether and Esdras' Testimonies — The course of the Israelites Northward — The Jordan, the Don, the Danube, etc. — The Land of Moesia and Dacia — The Getae — Zalmoxes.

Having traced the Ten Tribes to Media, the next question is, what has become of them, for they are not to be found in that land today. Many attempts have, at various times, been made to discover the Ten Tribes of Israel as a distinct community, but all have failed. Josephus (Antiquities xi) believed that in his day they dwelt in large multitudes somewhere beyond the Euphrates, in Asareth, but Asareth was an unknown land to him. Rabinical traditions and fables, committed to writing in the middle ages, assert the same fact, with many wonderful amplifications. The imaginations of certain Christian writers have sought them in the neighborhood of their last recorded habitation. Jewish features have been traced in the Affghan tribes; statements are made occasionally of Jewish colonies in China, Thibet and Hindostan (the Beni-Israel), while the Black Jews, of Malabar, claim affinity with Israel. But none of these people would, in any but the slightest degree, fill the place accorded in the prophecies to Ephraim and his fellows.

The fact that James the Apostle opens his epistle with the following words, has been adduced as an argument that the condition of the Ten Tribes was known to the early Christians: "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are scattered abroad, greeting." But it would rather convey the idea to our mind that the epistle was addressed to those of the houses of Israel and Judah, who, for the various reasons before cited, and which by that time had multiplied, had wandered into Egypt, Greece, Rome and other parts of the earth, and not to those whom God had hidden to fulfill more completely His promises to the Patriarchs.

We have before stated that the Latter-day Saints believe that the Ten Tribes still exist, and that their home is in the far north. That they still exist is absolutely necessary to fulfill the unfailing promises of Jehovah to Israel, and to all mankind. The presence of the remnants of Judah, in every land today, is an uncontrovertable testimony that the covenant made with Abraham has not been abrogated or annulled. The vitality of the Jewish race is proverbial, and can we reasonably expect that when one branch of a tree shows such native strength, that the other branches will not be proportionately vital? Is it not more consistent to believe that, as the Jewish race under the curse of the Almighty and suffering centuries of persecution, still survives, so is it with the rest of Jacob's seed, rather than that they, ages ago, were blotted out of earthly existence?

The belief that the Latter-day Saints hold that these tribes are residents of the northern regions of the earth, is sustained by a cloud of scriptural witnesses of ancient and modern days, to whom we now appeal. Our first witness shall be the Prophet Jeremiah. In the third chapter of his prophecies we find the Lord rebuking both Israel and Judah for their treachery and back- sliding, yet still proclaiming His long-suffering and mercy to His covenant people. He then gives command to the Prophet, saying:

"Go and proclaim these words towards the north, and say, return thou, backsliding Israel, saith the Lord, and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you; for I am merciful saith the Lord and I will not keep anger forever. * * In those days [the latter days] the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to this land that I have given for an inheritance to your fathers."

Again, in speaking of the mighty works accompanying the final glorious restoration of the house of Jacob, the same prophet declares:

"Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, the Lord liveth which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, but the Lord liveth which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them, and they shall dwell in their own land." (Jeremiah xxiii). Again it is written (Jeremiah xxxi): "For thus saith the Lord, Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations; publish ye, praise ye, and say, O, Lord save thy people, the remnant of Israel. Behold I will bring them from the north country and gather them from the coasts of the earth . * * I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first born.

We will turn for a moment from the Asiatic to the American continent. There we find Ether, the Jaredite, about 600 years B. C, prophesying of the latter days: "And then also cometh the Jerusalem of old; and the inhabitants thereof, blessed are they, for they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who were scattered and gathered in from the four quarters of the earth, and from the north countries and are partakers of the fulfilling of the covenant which God made with their father Abraham."

But the most definite word on this subject given by any of the ancient writers of the Asiatic continent is contained in Esdras, a book of the Apocrypha (II. Esdras xiii). Therein is given a dream and its interpretation showing forth the works and the power of the Son of God. It is to Him and His gathering of the people together that the Prophet refers. The verses more particularly bearing on our subject read as follows:

39. "And whereas thou sawest that He gathered another peaceable people unto Him.

40. "Those are the Ten Tribes which were carried away captives out of their own land in the time of Oseas the king whom Salmanaser the king of the Assyrians took captive, and crossed them beyond the river: so were they brought into another land.

41. "But they took this counsel to themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth unto a further country where never man dwelt.

42. "That they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land.

43. "And they entered in at the narrow passages of the River Euphrates.

44. "For the Most High then showed them signs, and stayed the springs of the flood till they were passed over.

45. "For through the country there was great journey, even of a year and a half, and the same region is called Arsareth (or Ararath).

46. "Then dwelt they there until the latter time, and when they come forth again.

47. "The Most High shall hold still the springs of the river again that they may go through; therefore sawest thou the multitude peaceable."

The statements of Esdras throw considerable light upon the reasons why the captives in Media preferred not to return to their ancient home in Canaan; supposing always that that privilege had been accorded to them as well as to the captives of the house of Judah. In their home of promise they had seldom kept the counsels and commandments of God and if they returned it was probable they would not do any better, especially as the Assyrians had filled their land with heathen colonists whose influence would not assist them to carry out their new resolutions. Hence they determined to go to a country "where never man dwelt," that they might be free from all contaminating influences. That country could only be found in the north. Southern Asia was already the seat of a comparatively ancient civilization. Egypt flourished in Northern Africa and Southern Europe was rapidly filling with the future rulers of the world. They had, therefore, no choice but to turn their faces northward. The first portion of their journey was not however north; according to the account of Esdras, they appear to have at first moved in the direction of their old homes, and it is possible that they originally started with the intention of returning thereto, or probably in order to deceive the Assyrians they started as if to return to Canaan, and when they had crossed the Euphrates, and were out of danger from the hosts of the Medes and Persians, then they turned their journeying feet toward the polar star. Esdras states that they entered in at the narrow passage of the river Euphrates, the Lord staying the "springs of the flood until they were passed over." The point on the River Euphrates at which they crossed would necessarily be in its upper portion, as lower down would be too far south for their purpose.

The upper course of the Euphrates lies among lofty mountains and near the village of Pastash, it plunges through a gorge formed by precipices more than a thousand feet in height and so narrow that it is bridged at the top; it shortly afterwards enters the plains of Mesopotamia. Flow accurately this portion of the river answers the description of Esdras of the "narrows," where the Israelites crossed!

From the Euphrates the wandering host could take but one course in their journey northward, and that was along the back or eastern shore of the Black Sea. All other roads were impassable to them, as the Caucassian range of mountains with only two or three passes throughout its whole extent, ran as a lofty barrier from the Black to the Caspian Sea. To go east would take them back to Media, and a westward journey would carry, them through Asia Minor to the coasts of the Mediterranean. Skirting along the Black Sea, they would pass the Caucassian range, cross the Kuban River, be prevented by the Sea of Azof from turning westward and would soon reach the present home of the Don Cossacks. It is asserted, on good authority, that along this route and for "an immense distance" northward, the country is full of tombs of great antiquity, the construction of which, the way in which the dead are buried therein, and the jewelry, curiosities, etc., found on opening them,- prove that they were built by a people of similar habits to the Israelites. Dr. Clark, a well-known traveler, states that he counted more than ninety such mounds at one view near the Kuban River.

We will here digress, and give some of the ideas of a writer on the Israelitish origin of the nations of modern Europe (Mr. J. Wilson), though in our own words. He endeavors to prove that Israel traveled north-westward from the neighborhood last spoken of, and claims that the names of all the principal rivers, in the regions round about, show that colonists from the Holy Land gave them. The Jordan was distinctively the River of Canaan as the Nile was of Egypt. The word Jordan is by some claimed to mean flowing, by others the River of Eden. There was also the Dedan or Dan (el Leddan) flowing into it; which would lead to the supposition that the word Dan had some connection with Israelitish rivers not now understood. Suffice it, the exiles doubtless carried with them many hallowed recollections of their ancient river, which it was but natural they should seek to perpetuate as they journeyed farther and farther from its waters and from their long-cherished home. As a result we find in south-eastern Europe the Don, the Daniz or Donitz, the Daneiper and Daniester (now contracted to Dneiper and Dniester) and the Danube The conclusions of the writer already referred to are that Israel gradually drifted westward to the region known to secular history as Mcesia and Dacia, the one north and the other south of the Danube, and called by modern English speaking people, Roumania and Bulgaria. To further strengthen his theory he claims that Mcesia means the land of Moses, and Dacia the land of David (after Israel's shepherd king), and that the people of the latter kingdom were called the Davi. In this country dwelt also the Getai (a Latinized form of Gad) who, some historians assert, were the forefathers of the Goths, of whom we shall speak again hereafter. The historian Herodotus, in recounting the conquest of his people by Darius states, that the Getae "believed themselves to be immortal; and whenever one dies, they believe that he is removed to the presence of their god Zamoxis (Zalmoxis) * * and they sincerely believe that there is no other deity.'' He also states that this god left them the institutions of their religion in books. Mr. Wilson directs attention to this idea of only one God, so different to the Pantheism of the surrounding peoples, and that of man's immortality as tending to prove the Israelitish origin of the Gatae, particularly as in analyzing the word Zalmoxis he finds it to be composed of Za, el, Moses. If his facts be correct, his conclusions are warranted, but of his facts we express no opinion.
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Re: Are We of Israel?, by Elder George Reynolds

Postby admin » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:36 am

CHAPTER IV.

Israel 's Journey Northward — Esdras and Modern Revelation Compared — The Testimony of Jesus to the Nephites — Ephraim to be Gathered from all Countries — The Coasts of the Earth — The Ancestors of the Latter-day Saints.

Having considered the causes that led the outcasts of Israel to determine to seek a home in a new and uninhabited land, we may be excused if we endeavor to follow them in fancy in their journey northward. We have no way of accurately estimating their numbers, but if the posterity of all those who were carried into captivity started on this perilous journey, they must have formed a mighty host. Necessarily they moved slowly. They were encumbered with the aged and infirm, the young and the helpless, with flocks and herds, and weighed down with provisions and household utensils. Roads had to be made, bridges built, and the course marked out and decided by their leaders. [iii] Inasmuch as they had turned to the Lord and were seeking a new home wherein they could the better serve Him, they were doubtless guided by inspired leaders, who, by Urim and Thummim, or through dreams and visions, pointed out the paths ahead. Perhaps, as in the days of the deliverance from Egypt, a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night guided their footsteps; no matter the means, the end was accomplished, and slowly and gradually they neared the frozen regions of the Arctic zone. The distance in a direct line from the conjectured crossing of the Euphrates to the coasts of the Arctic Ocean, would be about 2,800 miles, or a seven months' journey, averaging fifteen miles a day. But according to Esdras, one year and a half was consumed in the journey, which is an evidence that they were encumbered with families and cattle, who could only travel slowly and for whom many resting places had to be found where they could recuperate. It is highly probable that, like modern Israel in its journey westward to the valleys of Ephraim, they planted temporary colonies by the way, where the weary rested and crops were raised for future use.

The length of the journey had its advantages as well as its drawbacks. The slow rate at which the}- traveled enabled them to become acclimatized to the rigors of the frigid zone. We must recollect that we are dealing with a people cradled in the burning sands of Egypt, and who, for many generations, had dwelt in one of the most balmy and genial climates on this globe. Their temporary sojourn in the bleaker regions near the Caspian Sea had partially prepared them for that which was to come, but it required time to give them the capability to endure the rigors of a northern climate, as they were, by ancestry and location, distinctively children of the sunny south.

No doubt, as the hosts of Israel advanced, the change in the climate, the difference in the length of the days and nights, the altered appearance of the face of the country, and the newness, to them, of many of its animal and vegetable productions, struck them with amazement, perhaps with terror, causing some of the weak-kneed to falter and tarry by the way. These defections probably increased as the changes became more apparent and the toils of the journey grew more severe. But what must have been their sensations when they came in view of the limitless Arctic Ocean, if the climatic conditions were the same as those which exist today; of which, however, there is perhaps some reason to doubt. No matter whether they drew nigh unto it in winter or in summer, the prospect must have been appalling to the bravest heart not sustained by the strongest and most undeviating faith in the promises of Jehovah. Supposing they reached the northern confines of the European continent in summer, they were in a land where the snow is almost perpetual, and scarcely else but mosses grow. Before them was a troubled ocean of unknown width, every step they advanced took them further north into greater extremes of cold. Well might they question, if so little is here produced for the food of man and beast, how will it be yet further northward? Must we perish of hunger? If, on the other hand, they approach the frozen shores of this unexplored waste of waters in the gloom of the long night of an Arctic winter, with the intense cold freezing to their very blood, their feelings of dread must have been yet more intense. No wonder if some turned aside, declared they would go no further, and gradually wandered back through northern Europe to more congenial climes. Again it may be asked, how did this unnumbered host cross this frigid ocean to their present hiding place? On this point both history and revelation are silent. The Arctic Ocean was no narrow neck of the great waters like the Red Sea, with the mountains of the opposite shore full in view. No, it spread out before them eternally — north, east and west, with no inviting shore in sight beyond. Yet despite all this, they did cross it, but how, we know not — perhaps on the ice of winter, perhaps the Lord threw up a highway or divided the waters as he did aforetime, that they passed through dry shod. But we must abide His time, when this and other secrets of their history shall be revealed.

Since penning the foregoing ideas, we have been informed that certain ancient Scandinavian legends entirely agree with our theory. We understand that these legends state that the Ten Tribes, in their journey northward, erected at various points, on prominent mountain heights and such like, monuments or heaps of stones, so that if they determined to return they might have some guides on the road back to the Euphrates. These same traditions state that colonies of the very young and infirm, as well as of the wayward and rebellious, were left by the wayside, and from these colonies the fathers of the Norsemen sprang. These legends, in time became crystalized, and make their appearance as verities in the traditional histories of the nations of northern Europe.

Esdras says that he was shown that they abode in this north country until the latter time, when they were to come forth again, a great multitude, to add to the glory of Messiah's kingdom. This statement agrees with the word of modern revelation to which we now draw attention.

More than half a century ago the Lord, through Joseph Smith, in speaking of the lost Ten Tribes, says: (Doc. and Cov., Revelation called the Appendix). "They who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord, and their prophets shall hear His voice, and shall no longer stay themselves, and they shall smite the rocks and the ice shall flow down at their presence. And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep. [iv] Their enemies shall become a prey unto them, and in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water; and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land. And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants. And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence. And they shall fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim."

It is very evident from the above quotation that Ephraim, or at least a large portion of that tribe, had at some period of his history, separated from the rest of the tribes of Israel, and at the time of this restitution was to dwell in a land far from the north country in which the residue were hidden. These tribes are to have the frozen barriers of the north melted, so that the ice shall flow down, then a highway is to be cast up for them, in the midst of the great deep, next they cross barren deserts and a thirsty land and eventually arrive with their rich treasures at the "home of Ephraim, the first born of God of the house of Israel, to be crowned with glory at his hands.

We must now draw the attention of our readers to certain extracts from the Book of Mormon, which show that at the time of our Savior's visit to this continent, Ephraim and the Ten Tribes dwelt neither on this land nor on the land of Jerusalem. Jesus says: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, I have other sheep which are not of this land nor in the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land, round about whither I have been to minister. But they of whom I speak have not as yet heard my voice, neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them; but I have received a commandment of the Father that I should go unto them and they shall be numbered among my sheep, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd, therefore I go to show myself unto them. And I command you that ye shall write these sayings, after I am gone, that if it be so that my people at Jerusalem, they who have seen me, and been with me in my ministry, do not ask the Father in my name that they may receive a knowledge of you by the Holy Ghost, and also of the other tribes that they know not of, that these sayings which ye shall write shall be kept, and shall be manifested unto the Gentiles, that through the fullness of the Gentiles the remnant of their seed who shall be scattered forth upon the face of the earth, because of their unbelief, may be brought to a knowledge of me, their Redeemer. And then will I gather them in from the four quarters of the earth; and then will I fulfill the covenant which the Father hath made unto all the people of the house of Israel." (III. Nephi, chap. xvi.)

The statement of Jesus above cited, that the Ten Tribes did not dwell in the land of Jerusalem neither in any parts of that land round about, effectually disposes of the theory of Josephus and others, that they dwelt near the river Euphrates. The reason why the Jews had lost sight of their brethren of the house of Israel is explained by Jesus in the same chapter of the Book of Mormon as that from which the above quotation is taken. He states: "The other tribes hath the Father separated from them [the Jews]; and it is because of their iniquity that they knew not of them."

Some have imagined that it was unscriptural to look for Israel except in three places: The scattered Jews in all the world, the Lamanites on this continent, and the Ten Tribes in Azareth. But we claim that we have abundant reason from scripture to expect to find the seed of Joseph as well as that of Judah in every nation under heaven. The prophecies recorded in the Old Testament expressly state that Israel, especially Ephraim, was to be scattered among all people.

How completely they were to be scattered is shown by the following prophecies:

Hosea (xiii: 3) in rebuking Ephraim's idolatry in the name of the Lord, says:

"Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud and as the early dew that passeth away, as the^chaff that is driven by the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney."

Amos (ix : 8, 9) states:

"Behold the eyes of the Lord are upon the sinful kingdom [of Israel], and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord. For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth."

Could any scattering be more complete?

We are directly told that the Lord will bring His sons (Ephraim still being His first-born) from afar and His daughters from the ends of the earth. It is further said that He will gather His Israel — not from the north alone — but from the north and from the south, from the east and from the west, and bring them to Zion; and that He (the Lord) will gather them from all countries (not America nor the polar regions only, but all countries) in which He had scattered them; among other places from the coasts of the earth. How apt a description is this last sentence of the lands from which the great bulk of modern Israel have been gathered. From the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean, from the coasts of the North and Baltic Seas, they have come to Zion by tens of thousands.

President Brigham Young stated in the discourse quoted in a previous chapter, that ninety-nine out of every hundred of the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ were of the blood of Israel. The people whom he was addressing were men of various nationalities, but by far the greater portion of them were descendants of those races that in the fourth and succeeding centuries of the Christian era swarmed in myriads out of that mother of nations, Scandinavia, and filled central and western Europe with a new civilization; the people, in fact, who overthrew the great Roman empire and laid the foundation of the majority of the nations of modern Europe. It was to the descendants of the Goths, the Danes, the Jutes, the Angles, the Saxons, the Normans, the Franks, that he was talking, and in our next chapter we shall bring forward some of the historical arguments used by Gentile writers to prove the Israelitish descent of these races, more particularly of that dominant one known today as the Anglo-Saxon. We do not this because we think the word of God's servants requires proving by Gentile evidence, but because it is a satisfaction to many minds, not only to know that a thing is so, but to be able to give a reason, or advance an argument to demonstrate why it is so.
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Re: Are We of Israel?, by Elder George Reynolds

Postby admin » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:37 am

CHAPTER V.

The Origin of the Anglo-Saxons — Derivation of the Word Saxon — The Goths and Vandals — Overthrow of the Roman Empire — The Mythology of the Ancient Scandinavians — Baldur — Their Early Literature.

As the question, "What became of the Ten Tribes?" still remains to the world an unanswered historical enigma, so also is the question unanswered, "Whence originated the vast hosts of so-called barbarians who, descending from the frigid regions of Scandinavia, filled Europe with new races, new laws, new ideas, new languages and new institutions?" Some have traced a connection between the loss of the one people and the advent of the other, and one author of repute — Mr. Sharon Turner — extensively quoted in this connection, claims that the original home of the Anglo-Saxons was in the very country where Israel is historically lost, and further states that these people commenced their migration therefrom about the same time, as the tribes of Jacob must have taken their journey northward.

Mr. Turner, in his valuable history of the Anglo-Saxons, while discussing the Teutonic descent of many of the nations of modern Europe, says:

"It is peculiarly interesting to us, because, from its branches, not only our own immediate ancestors, but also those of the most celebrated nations of modern Europe have unquestionably descended. The Anglo- Saxons, Lowland Scotch, Normans, Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, Germans, Dutch, Belgians, Lombards and Franks have all sprung from that great fountain of the human race, which we have distinguished by the terms, Scythian, German or Gothic. The first appearance of the Scythian tribes in Europe, may be placed, according to Strabo and Homer, about the eighth, or according to Herodotus, in the seventh century before the Christian era. The first scenes of their civil existence, and of their progressive power were in Asia to the east of the Araxes. Here they multiplied and extended their territorial limits for some centuries, unknown to Europe." With regard to the Saxons, Mr. Turner writes, "They were a German or Teutonic, that is a Gothic or Scythian tribe; and of the various Scythian nations which have been recorded, the Sakai or Sacae are the people from whom the descent of the Saxons may be inferred, with the least violation of probability. They were so celebrated that the Persians called all the Scythians by the name of Sacae. * * * That some of the divisions of this people were really called Sakasuna (from which we have our word Saxon or Sacson) is obvious from Pliny; for he says that the Sakai who settled in Armenia were named Sacassani which is Saka-suna, spelt by a person who was unacquainted with the meaning of the combined words; and the name Sacasina, which they gave to that part of Armenia they occupied, is nearly the same sound as Saxonia. It is also important to remark, that Ptolemy mentions a Scythian people sprung from the Sakai, who resided near the Baltic Sea, by the name of Saxones. "

Mr. Turner was not advocating the Israelitish ancestry of the Saxons, hence those who believe in that theory put the greater stress on his two most important statements: that the forefathers of this race dwelt in the region east of the Araxes, the exact spot to which Israel was carried captive, and that they began to spread out therefrom some six or seven hundred years before Christ, answering to the very period that the children of Jacob dwelt captives in that country. One author has assumed a very unique derivation for the word Saxon. He says: "We suppose it is derived from Isaac, by which, we find from Amos, this house of Israel had begun to denominate itself, just before the captivity. It was usual to contract the commencement of the name, especially when they combined it with any other word, or when it came to be familiarly applied. Saxon is, literally or fully expressed, the son of Isaac." Just as Dickson in modern English was abbreviated to Dixon. [v] Such abbreviations, we may remark in passing, in familiar talk are also common with our neighbors, the Shoshones, also a remnant of the seed of Jacob. One writer on this portion of the subject sees in this explanation of the word Saxon a fulfillment of the promise made to our father Abraham, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called," and goes as far as to advance the argument that Cossack is another expression of this same idea, or that a Don Cossack is literally and truly a son of Isaac, of the tribe of Dan.

The ferocity of the northern races, who overthrew the Roman empire, is thought by some to argue against their Israelitish origin. But we must recollect that the pictures of the Goths and Vandals, which have been handed down to us, were painted by their enemies. Nor would the argument, however true, have any weight with us were the rest proven. If they were of Israel they had been wandering, fighting and colonizing for a thousand years since they left Palestine before they overwhelmed Rome. And as far as ferocity is concerned they cannot equal the seed of Joseph on this continent, who but three hundred years after the fullness of the gospel was proclaimed to their fathers by the crucified Redeemer, committed atrocities that no Goth or Vandal ever exceeded. A very pretty theory has been advocated in connection with this portion of their history, to the effect that as the Roman empire was used by the Lord to destroy the house of Judah and slay millions of that devoted race, so the Lord chose a portion of the house of Israel (unknown to both themselves and their enemies) to destroy the Gentile rulers of the world who had slain and scattered their brother's house.

The mythology of the northern races of Europe may also be noticed in connection with these inquiries. Those learned in the mythologies of ancient Rome and Greece say that it bears no likeness to them: its peculiarities would rather tend to the idea that it was of Persian origin (British Encyclopaedia). Some of the early Christian fathers fancied they discovered a great resemblance between one of their deities, named Baldur or Balder, and our Savior. [vi] This god is represented as the son of Odin and Frigga, youthful, beautiful and benignant, the dispenser of kindness, the bringer of joy and blessings, who loves to dwell with men, and whom all men love. But he is killed by the wicked. (The manner of his death is surrounded with mythological nonsense.) All men mourn the loss of their friend, and search through the world for some remedy to bring him to life; but in vain; stern death has taken him away to the realms of the dead, and he cannot come back. His wife Nanna, that she may not be separated from him, has gone to dwell with him there. At last Frigga, his mother, sends a messenger to obtain his release. He leaps the gate of the gloomy world, sees Baldur, and speaks with him, but no, Baldur cannot be released, here he must remain, and his wife Nanna must dwell with him forever.

From some of the details not here inserted, we incline somewhat to the opinion that the above narration is a confused tradition of the way death was brought into the world through the transgression of Adam and Eve, rather than that it bears relation to the life of the Savior. We draw attention to the way Baldur's death was brought about. The tradition runs (American Cyclopaedia), Baldur having long been troubled by dreams and evil omens, indicating danger to his life, his mother traveled through the^whole universe, eliciting from every created thing a promise not to injure the god. But she neglected to ask it from the apparently harmless mistletoe. Loki, the most deceitful among the gods, an enemy of Baldur, noticed this omission, and cut from the mistletoe a piece for the point of a dart. The other gods, surrounding Baldur, made proof of his invulnerability in sport, b}' casting at him their weapons, with stones, etc.; but nothing injured him. Loki approached and induced the blind god Hodur to throw the dart he had made from the forgotten mistletoe. Baldur was pierced by it and killed. In this tradition Loki takes the place of Satan, Hodur typifies the serpent, and the mistletoe the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It is also noticeable that they represent, in this tradition, that man could do nothing, of himself, to overcome the power of death.

The very earliest literature of the Scandinavian people, preserved on the island of Iceland, adds many testimonies to the Scandinavians' Israelitish origin. On this point, the Encyclopaedia Britanica says: "On entering on these ancient books, we are immediately struck with the corroborative evidence which they furnish of the eastern origin of the Goths, the fathers of the Scandinavians. As all languages, so all mythologies run in lines, which converge in one common center, * * * Central Asia. And little as we might expect it, no sooner do we open the ancient religious books of Scandinavia than we are carried back thither. Our northern people are a people of eastern origin. Odin [vii] and his Asar, are Asiatics, declare themselves to be from the great Svithiod, a country which appears to have been the present Circassia, lying between the Black and Caspian Seas. The whole of their memoirs abounded with the proofs of it. They brought with them abundant eastern customs, those of burning the dead, and burying under mounds. They practiced polygamy, looked back with imperishable affection to the great Svithiod, to the primitive district of Asgord and the city of Gudahem, or the home of the gods. They transferred a religion bearing the primal features of those of Persia, India and Greece, to the snowy mountains of Scandinavia." In reading the above we were strongly impressed with the geographical idea there expressed. Without any great stretch of the imagination we could easily consider the traditions regarding the great Svithiod, to refer to Media, the primitive district of Asgord, to be the dim remembrance of their first home in the land of promise, and Gudahem, the home of the gods, to be Jerusalem, the city of the great King. The parallel we consider to be very significant.
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Re: Are We of Israel?, by Elder George Reynolds

Postby admin » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:38 am

CHAPTER VI The Numerous Identifications Considered — Religion and Laws of the Ancient Northern Races — Free Masonry — Language.

It would be almost impossible to enumerate the multitude of likenesses that have been found, by authors predisposed in that direction, between the habits, manners, customs, personal appearance, etc., of the Israelites and the Anglo-Saxons. To give even a cursory glance at these "identifications" would occupy more space than we feel would be desirable. We will simply mention a few that have been advanced by various writers, and then proceed to a short consideration of then laws; it may be observed, however, that some of their identifications are very remarkable, while others, in our opinion, are puerile, and would be advanced by none but zealots. Great similarity has been claimed between the form of the Jewish and Saxon heads, and the great beauty of both races has been advanced as a proof of common ancestry. The style of dress of the early northern European nations has also been claimed to be distinctively Israelitish. The care with which both people kept their records or chronicles has also been largely commented upon. One author claims connection between the two in the manner that they mustered their forces in battle, and their love of distinctive or tribal banners, giving rise in Europe to the system of heraldry and the development of chivalry. Their division of the people into tithings, hundreds and thousands, has been a strong argument in favor of the Saxon's Jewish descent. The three great yearly convocations of the people are also said to have taken place on the same dates as the three great feasts of the Jews. The Saxons' marriage ceremonies, their respect for women, and the great misfortune which the latter esteemed it to be without children, are also adverted to as links in the chain of evidence. One author (Mr. Ed. Hine) pursues a different line of argument and makes the history of the English nation, its constitution, laws, insular position, etc., fulfill the varied prophecies of the ancient servants of God with regard to the Ten Tribes. To our mind, however, these fulfillments of ancient prophecy are often strained and frequently untenable.

In the religion of the ancient Scandinavians, terrible and bloodthirsty as were many of its rites, students have found striking analogies to the religion of ancient Israel, so much so that it is considered one of the strongest proofs of the ancestry of this people in Jacob. And it is claimed that the further we trace the matter back through the centuries, the greater does the likeness become. Least we shall be considered as straining this point we will quote the language of another: "They (the Anglo-Saxons and their brethren of the north or Europe) are described as having been acquainted with the great doctrine of one supreme; Deity, the Author of everything that existeth; the eternal, the living, the ancient, the living and awful Being; the searcher into concealed things; the Being that never changeth; who liveth and governeth during the ages; directeth everything that is high, and everything that is low; of this glorious Being they had anciently esteemed it impious to make any visible representation, or to imagine it possible that he could be confined within the walls of a temple. These great truths, the same as we know were taught to Israel, had in a great measure become lost or obscured before the people's coming into Britain. But this very obscuration itself, speaks of their origin; it having chiefly taken place, it is said, in consequence of their receiving a mighty conqueror from the east as their god in human nature, correspondent to the expectation of Israel with regard to the Messiah. This supposed god incarnate is thought to have presented himself among these people about the same time as the true Messiah appeared among the Jews." (Is it probable that tidings of Jesus' visit to the Ten Tribes could have been conveyed to them or have reached them in a vague or adulterated form?) "The name of this pretender was Odin or Woden, and he was esteemed the great dispenser of happiness to his followers, as well as fury to his enemies. When Woden was removed from them they placed his image in their most holy place, where was a kind of raised place or ark, as if in imitation of that at Jerusalem, where, between the Cherubim, the divine presence was supposed to abide. * * * Before this elevation or ark, in this most holy place on which the symbols of their worship were placed, they had an altar, on which the holy fire burned continually; and near it was a vase for receiving the blood of the victims, and a brush for sprinkling the blood upon the people; reminding us again of what was done in ancient Israel. They had generally one great temple for the whole nation, and in one of these, it is particularly noticed, they had twelve priests presided over by a high priest, and having under their charge the religious concerns of the whole people. This temple is said to have been of the most splendid description — of incredible grandeur and magnificence. It was at Upsala, Sweden."

As nearly related to this branch of our subject, it has been remarked that Free Masonry was first known in Europe among these people, a fact that will have its weight among Latter-day Saints. In the middle ages these lodges of free masons built the cathedrals of Europe, and it is asserted that "the English cathedrals appear to have been built after the fashion of the temples that they frequented previous to their conversion to Christianity. And these cathedrals, it has been observed, seem evidently to be built after the design of the temple at Jerusalem. Like this, they have their most holy place, the altar, and their holy place, choir; and the court outward from thence for the body of the people." It is also somewhat remarkable that the only Gentile people of old, among whom anything like Free Masonry was found, were the Ionians, for whom we stated in a previous chapter some claim an Israelitish ancestry. Their temples dedicated to Bacchus and other heathen deities, were built by lodges, who had secret signs, etc., and conducted their affairs much after the manner of the masons of the middle ages.

But the strongest of all the supposed identifications of the two races, stronger even than the religious phases of the subject, is the peculiar Mosaic tendency of the ancient Norseman's laws. So great is the similarity that most writers on this subject have been greatly puzzled to account therefor. It is written, "To those who have attentively studied the institutions of Moses, and compared them with the Saxon, there must appear a similarity as will be apt to lead to the conclusion that the Saxon commonwealth was thus framed, after their becoming acquainted with Christianity. This, however, does not appear to have been the case. They brought these institutions with them into England, and left similar institutions among the people in the north of Europe, with whom they had been from time immemorial. Limited monarchy, constitutional law, and representative government, an efficient civil police, and trial by jury, are among the most important legacies left the English nation by their Anglo-Saxon forefathers, and these may all be easily traced to an Isrelitish origin. And to this origin they have been traced * * * even by those who were obliged, in rather an unphilosophical way, to account for the connection."

Among the Anglo-Saxons the theory of their constitution seems to have been, that every ten men or heads of families, should choose one from among them, to act for them in the council of their little community, consisting generally of ten such compartments or wards. Ten of these wards formed a tything or parish. And ten of these tithings formed a hundred, the elders of which, thus chosen, were supposed to meet for the management of matters belonging to the ten tithings in general; while each tything took charge of the affairs that especially belonged to itself. The county which was still more extensive corresponded to the tribe in Israel. The word county or compte seems to be derived from the Hebrew word signifying to rise up, to stand — and refers to the rod or ensign of the tribe to which they congregated themselves in the large assemblies of the people. * * * The nation of Israel we have seen, were, at an earlier period of their history, given proper rules for their association, such as were equally adapted for a small society or for a large one. The people were given to have a mutual oversight of each other in tens; each ten had one who represented and acted for them. See 1st chapter of Deuteronmy: "So I [Moses] took the chiefs of your tribes, wise men and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes."

The law of primogeniture, so prevalent in different degrees among the nations overrun by the Goths and Vandals, and their kinsmen, strikes us as being a relic of Mosaic law. According to Hebrew law, the first born son received a double portion of his father's estate. The English law greatly resembles this. It would almost appear that this double portion was conferred, among the Hebrews, on the oldest male child, to compensate in some degree for the loss of the Priesthood held by him of right in patriarchal days, but under the Mosaic dispensation vested in the house of Aaron, so far as the lesser Priesthood called after his name is concerned, while the higher or Melchizedec Priesthood appears, after the days of Moses until the coming of Christ, only to have been held by a certain favored few, who because of their righteousness were endowed with this special measure of Divine favor.

With a certain class of scientists, the language of a people has great weight in determining its origin. This test has been applied to the language of the Anglo-Saxons, and it has been found that a number of Hebrew words exist almost unaltered in our modern English tongue. On this point, the author of "Our Israelitish Origin" writes: "As to language, it is granted, that this, of itself could not identify a people, or distinguish Israel, for example, from the Canaanites. * * * Still it may be expected that a sufficiency would remain of the Hebrew, to tell of this people's (the Saxon's) acquaintance therewith; and such is the case. It has been observed by linguists, that a very great deal of the ancient language of Israel exists in the modern languages of Europe, and that it is through a Gothic medium that this plentiful supply of Hebrew has come. So much have these languages been thrown into a Hebrew mould that a French abbe has lately proposed to make use of the Hebrew as a grand key to these languages."

Another writer, referring to Mr. Wilson's statements, remarks: [viii] " There is no reason to doubt that in common with the wave of nations speaking the Indo-Germanic dialects, which overflowed Europe on the breaking up of the Roman empire, the Anglo-Saxons came from the Zend-speaking districts of Asia. And while Mr. Wilson adduces reasons from the language of the Anglo-Saxons and Danes, for believing that a long and intimate association had existed between these people and the Persians before the former moved westward, he also proves the existence of a large admixture of Hebrew words in the language of the Anglo-Saxons, and not the least in the Scottish branch of that people. In this he sets a proof of the descent of these people from the Israelitish tribes that were removed by the kings of Nineveh, from their native land, and planted in the cities of Media and Persia. They had retained, in their new abode, much of their Hebrew mother-tongue, while gradually adopting the Zend as the body of their new language. An additional and most important confirmation of Mr. Wilson's idea has been supplied by Prof. C. P. Smyth. This is seen in the circumstance that the Anglo-Saxons possessed a metrology [ix] corresponding exactly, as far as it extended, with the metrology common to the temple of Jerusalem and the great pyramid."
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Re: Are We of Israel?, by Elder George Reynolds

Postby admin » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:40 am

CHAPTER VII.

Salvation a Gift to All— God's Covenant with Abraham — Proselytes— The Dispersion — Conclusion.

Before proceeding further we wish to remark that we trust no one will imagine, from reading these chapters, that we believe that the literal descendants of Abraham will be the only ones saved in the kingdom of God. To the contrary we are fully aware that God has made of one blood all the nations of the earth, and realize that all men of every clime and age, may be partakers of the priceless blessings resulting to fallen humanity from the infinite sacrifice on Calvary. We also firmly believe that within the scope of the gospel covenant are provisions, and ways and means, by which the obedient of all races become the recognized children of Abraham, and heirs, by adoption, to all the God-given promises to that Patriarch. John the Baptist told the degenerate Jews of his day who were boasting of their Abrahamic descent, that of the very stones in the roadway, if it so pleased Him, God could raise up children unto Abraham. All we claim for Israel, no more, no less, is the fulfillment of God's covenant with the father of the faithful, which covenant modern revelation lays before us in the following language:

"My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee [Abraham] and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations, and I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this gospel, shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father; and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee, and in thee (that is in thy Priesthood) and in| thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal." (Book of Abraham.)

From this we learn that it has been covenanted by the Eternal One, that Abraham's seed shall bear the message and ministry of God's grace to all nations, and that through him and his seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed with the blessings of the gospel which, through obedience, brings salvation and eternal lives; also as many as receive the gospel shall be called after his (Abraham's) name, shall be accounted his seed, and shall rise up and bless him as their father.

This last mentioned portion of the covenant was well understood by the Jews and acted upon by them, even though they had cringed from obedience to the fullness of the gospel, and were living under a lesser law of bondage and carnal commandments. The manner in which the Israelites received and treated proselytes is certainly not one of the least interesting features of their policy and history, and may here be glanced at, without wandering far from the question under consideration.

There appears to have been two classes of proselytes recognized among the ancient Jews. The first, known as Proselytes of Righteousness, or Proselytes of the Covenant, became perfect Israelites, and, according to the Talmud, were admitted to the household of Abraham by circumcision and baptism. The other class were termed Proselytes of the Gate ("the stranger that is within thy gate.") It is said converts of this class were not bound by circumcision and the other special laws of the Mosaic code. It was enough for such to observe the precepts against idolatry, blasphemy, bloodshed, uncleanness and theft, and of obedience, also, to that precept against eating "flesh with the blood thereof." Of this latter class were converts who embraced Judaism for other than the purest motives; for instance, for the sake of a lover, a husband or a wife, to court favor and promotion, or in dread of some calamity or threatened judgment. Such converts were regarded by the Jews of old very much in the same manner as their counterparts are regarded among the Latter-day Saints. Again, the Jews sometimes spread their faith with the same weapons as those with which they had defended it. The Idumeans, after their conquest by John Hyrcanus, had the alternative of death, exile or circumcision offered to them. They chose the latter. The Iturians were converted (?) in the same way by Aristobolus. In the days of Jesus, when the light of truth shone but dimly in the Jewish creed, and the vices of the degenerate Jews had been engrafted on those of the profligate heathen, the Savior cried, "Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him two-fold more the child of hell than yourselves." (Matt. xxiii: 13.)

There is one factor that tended greatly to the diffusion of Israelitish blood, that we have scarcely noticed, as it relates far more largely to Judah than to Ephraim. We refer to those who remained settled in foreign countries after the return of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity, and during the period of the second temple. At the beginning of the Christian era the dispersed were divided into three great sections, the Babylonian, the Syrian, and the Egyptian. From Babylon the Jews spread through Persia, Media and Parthia. The Greek conquests in Asia extended the limits of this dispersion. Large settlements of the children of Judah were established in Cyprus, and on the western coast of Asia Minor. These latter, to a very unfortunate extent, adopted the Greek language and Greek ideas. In Africa, Alexander and Ptolemy I. established large colonies of Jews at Alexandria, not far from which place a temple was erected to Jehovah after the order of that at Jerusalem. From Alexandria the Jews spread out over the coasts of northern and eastern Africa. How greatly the Jews had become scattered in the time of Christ, may be judged from the devout men who came up to worship and keep the passover at Jerusalem, and who listened to the preaching of Peter on the day of Pentecost. They are stated to have been Parthians, Medes, Elamites (Persians), dwellers in Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphilia, Egypt, Cyrene (Tripoli), Cretes, Arabians, Romans, Jews and proselytes.

There is also another view of the subject, which we are not prepared to enlarge upon in this article, but which bears the weight of abundant proof. It is, that the Latter-day Saints have been, and are today, fulfilling the work that it has been oft foretold Ephraim and his fellows should do. Then, if we are doing the work, and claim that we are they who should do it, and it being impossible to invalidate our assumption, is not our claim worthy of thoughtful consideration and average respect? God has declared that He will make of His latter-day Israel a nation of kings and priests. In former dispensations (except that lesser authority among the Jews given to the house of Aaron) the Priesthood was conferred upon the few, it was an honor of the highest kind; but in the dispensation of the fullness of times, the whole people are to be a race of kings and priests, and not less honorable because of the multitude. To our mind this is a great proof that that people will be of Ephraim. There is a cause for all God's promises — there is one for this. In the order of the higher law, the Priesthood belongs to the first-born. Ephraim is God's adopted first-born in all the races of mankind, therefore, by right of that adoption, they are a nation of priests — priests of God after the order of Melchisedek, under Jesus our Redeemer, the Savior of the world.

To conclude, we believe that there is scarcely a people or nation under heaven in which is not to be found some of the blood of Abraham, leavening with the promised seed all the families of the earth. And this chosen generation will, by right of kindred, administer to all people the word of God, and as saviors will they stand upon Mount Zion, drawing all men unto the great Savior of our race, who will stand in their midst, on the right hand of the Father, crowned and exalted as King of kings, and Lord of lords, the great Apostle and High Priest of our salvation. Truly the Lord is fulfilling His promises, Israel has blossomed and budded and filled the earth with fruit, but in the great future He will do it yet more abundantly and gloriously.
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Re: Are We of Israel?, by Elder George Reynolds

Postby admin » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:41 am

_______________

Notes:

i.  We have seen a translation of an ancient Danish history, in which it is  asserted that Angul of Issacher, a brother of Tola, who judged Israel about  1,225 years B. C, invaded England, and was assisted by Tola in so doing. In  the name of Angul we find another derivation of the word Angleland  (England).  

ii. Although the ancient Jews were mainly an agricultural nation the geographical position of Palestine and the contiguity of some of the tribes of  Israel to the Mediterranean Sea, induced the Jewish people to make common  cause of their friendly neighbors, the sea faring Phoenicians. There were two  causes which conduced to render the Jews well acquainted with navigation on  high seas. Many of them were carried away as captives in their frequent, and  often unsuccessful, warfare with more powerful nations. The prisoners of war  were forced to serve on land and sea. Allusions to redeemed prisoners,  returning from the Islands of the Sea and from the “four corners of the  earth,'' occur in many parts of the Hebrew Scripture and the experiences of the Jews in sea voyages are graphically depicted in the Bible (Psalm 107).  Then there were missionary voyages of the Jews for the inculcation of monotheistic teachings. The Jewish missionaries visited many lands across the  sea, as is attested in many parts of the prophetic writings. Allusions to a life  on the ocean and to the unpleasant experiences of sea-sickness occur in several places in the scriptures together with magnificent representations of the  wondrous sights of mid-ocean. Such descriptions were not borrowed from alien  and pagan nations for the simple reason that the admirers of God's marvelous  work on the sea are mentioned as coming home from their perilous expeditions and praising God's glory in the midst, of their own people. The distribution of the Jews in many sea-port places of the Gentiles is often mentioned in  the Hebrew Bible and bears evidence to the sea-faring habits of many Jewish  families; David's conquest of Ezeon-Gaber; the greatest sea-port in Southern  Arabia, was followed by other kings, Jewish and non- Jewish, who coveted the  possession of that harbor. The history of King Solomon's alliance with the  Phoenician King Hiram is given in the Book of Kings. The building of  merchant-men in Ezeon-Gaber and the voyages undertaken by the Jewish  mariners could not be merely legendary seeing that even in the latter days  when the Romans attacked the Jews the latter had numerous ships and sea-men on the inland seas. On this subject we find many notices in the works of  Josephus and in parts of the New Testament.'" — Dr. Lowry.  
 
iii. Jesus distinctly states to the Nephites, that these tribes were led "by the Father out of the land."
 
iv. Query — The Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans.
 
v. It is claimed by some that the word Brahmin is an abbreviation of Abraham in fact that the god Brahma is the patriarch himself deified.
 
vi. "The early Saxons." American S. S. Union, Philadelphia.  
 
vii. Rev. A. B. Grimaldi, M. A., states: "The Saxon kings traced themselves  back to Odin, who was traced back in his descent from David, as may be seen  in a very ancient MSS. in the Herald's College, London, and in Sharon Turner."  

viii. "Ethnic Inspiration'" by Rev. J. T. Goodsir.
 
ix. Metrology — the science of measures
 
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