Denne artikel på dansk: Kendt norsk pinse-evangelist opdager Israels 10 fortabte stammer
Well known Norwegian Pentecostal evangelist discovers the Lost 10 Tribes of Israel
Review of Thoralf Gilbrandt’s book “Israel in the End Time & the Mystery of the Ten Tribes of Israel” (1999)
By Mikkel Stjernholm Kragh
In 1999 the well known Norwegian Pentecostal preacher and author Thoralf Gilbrandt published the Norwegian language book Israel i endetiden & mysteriet om de ti tapte stammer (Israel in the End Time & the Mystery of the Ten Tribes of Israel). In the book Gilbrandt wrote that the Germanic and Celtic peoples of Europe partly were the descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.
Thoralf Gilbrandt (1919-2006) was a prominent figure in Norwegian Pentecostal circles. He was, among other things, chief editor of an illustrated Norwegian Bible encyclopaedia published in the late 1960’s and a new Norwegian translation of the Bible published in 1988. Gilbrandt was highly respected in all the smaller Christian denominations in Norway and also in many circles within the Norwegian Lutheran Evangelical state church.[i]
The first 2/3 of the book is about the Jews, whom Gilbrandt believed to be Judah and whom he seemed to be unconditionally loyal to. Gilbrandt writes that it were only “relatively few” members of the Ten Tribes who joined Judah, and that that has nothing to do with the fulfillments of the prophecies about Israel and Judah being united spoken of in Isaiah 11:11-12 and elsewhere.[ii]
But the modern Jews are not just descended from the tribe of Judah. In 125 BC King John Hyrcan of Judah conquered Edom and forced the Edomites to become Jews. The Edomites then became a part of the Jewish people.[iii]In the 8th or 9th century AD the greater part of the Turkic people the Khazars in Eastern Europe converted to Judaism. The descendants of the Khazars today make up the Ashkenazi Jews which make up app. 80% of the world’s Jews. Numerous other people of other nationalities have also converted to Judaism since the time of Queen Esther (Esther 8:17). Shlomo Sand, professor of history at Tel Aviv University, writes in his book How and When the Jewish People Was Invented (2008) that the modern Jews do not have any genetic connection to the Jews of the New Testament era.[iv] But that is definitely an exaggeration.
He describes the Jewish religion as “an amputated form of Israel’s revelation religion”.[v] Gilbrandt also writes that Christians “should not glorify an infidel Judaism”.[vi]
Gilbrandt also writes that Jews only can be saved by becoming Christians. After Christ Judaism became “an anti-Messianic movement”[vii] and “the Talmud vaccinated the Jews against Christianity”[viii], but at the same time Gilbrandt believes that the Talmud today has lost its grip on most Jews. Previously Jews who confessed Jesus were excluded from the community, but it is not like that any longer. The Jews as a people do not, according to Gilbrandt, recognize Messianic (Christian) Jews, but they do respect them.[ix]
Many pro-Jewish Christians completely deny that the Jews were responsible for the crucifixion of Christ. But that is, according to Gilbrandt, completely false and against the clear words of the New Testament.[x]
Prophecies about the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel
Gilbrandt states that the Ten Tribes of Israel today are separate nations and not a part of the Jews:
“Those who claim that the Ten Tribes have drowned in the world’s sea of peoples and have ceased to exist have the very words of the Scripture against them.”[xi]
Israel was to become “many nations” and “that seems to indicate that out of these twelve tribes great nations would arise.”[xii] Concerning the prophecies of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh in Deuteronomy 33:17, Gilbrandt writes “that it promises them dominion over all peoples which will stretch to the ends of the earth”[xiii]. The prophecies about Ephraim and Manasseh perfectly fit the British nations and the USA, respectively, which have been the leading nations of the world the last 200 years. Gilbrandt comments numerous Bible prophecies which say that the Ten Tribes would believe in the Messiah and that their Israelite origin would be hidden to themselves and to the peoples of the world.
The Tribe of Dan
In chapter 22 (p. 167-169) Gilbrandt writes about the tribe of Dan. According to many traditions the tribe of Dan was a seafaring tribe which emigrated already before the Exodus out of Egypt and settled in Greece and elsewhere. In Greece the Israelite Danites became known, among other names, as the Greek Danai. The Trojan War is by some considered to be a war between two factions of the tribe of Dan: the Greeks/Danaoy led by Agamemnon and the Dardanoids in Troy.
The book of 1st Maccabees chapter 12, a part of the Apocrypha, describes a correspondence between the King of Sparta (the Spartans were also called Lacedaemonians) and the Jewish High Priest in Jerusalem, where the Spartans wrote that they were relatives of the Jews. The Jews answered that they knew that already. The Spartans were probably of the tribe of Dan, which also fits with both the Spartans and the Danites being known as fierce warriors.
The deportation of the Ten Tribes of Israel
The first great deportation of Israelites of the Ten Tribes took place after Assyria had invaded the Northern Kingdom of Israel c. 732 BC and deported tribes from northern Israel and the 2½ tribes east of the Jordan river:
“In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abel-beth-maachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.” (2 Kings 15:29)
“And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tiglath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.” (1 Chronicles 5:26)
The rest of the Ten Tribes were deported after the Assyrians invaded the remainder of the Kingdom of Israel and took the capital Samaria in 721 BC. In 2 Kings chapter 17 it is described how the Assyrians deported practically all the Israelites to northern parts of the Assyrian Empire:
“Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it in three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.” (2 Kings 17:5-6)
The reason Israel was deported was that after the Ten Tribes had achieved independence from the Royal House of David in Jerusalem, which continued to reign over the southern Kingdom of Judah, Israel had fallen away from YHWH and worshipped other gods.
“Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only. Also Judah kept not the commandment of the LORD their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made. And the LORD rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight. For he rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the LORD, and made them sin a great sin. For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; Until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.” (2 Kings 17:18-23)
These quotes from the Holy Scriptures prove that it was almost the entire population of the northern Kingdom of Israel that was deported. There was only left the southern Kingdom of Judah, which consisted of the tribe of Judah, the tribe of Benjamin and a great part of the tribe of Levi, because many of the Levites in the Kingdom of Israel had moved to the Kingdom of Judah when Jeroboam started a false religion in Israel (2 Chronicles 11:11-12). Individual families of the Ten Tribes joined the southern Kingdom of Judah, which is the reason why we meet one member of the Ten Tribes of Israel in the New Testament – but only one single individual! – namely Anna the Prophetess (Luke 2:36). Thoralf Gilbrandt states that it were only “relatively few” members of the Ten Tribes that joined Judah.[xiv]
New names of the Ten Tribes of Israel
In chapter 23 Gilbrandt start to tell about the migrations of the Ten Tribes of Israel. 2nd Esdras chap. 13, a part of the Apocrypha, tells of how deported Israelites of the Ten Lost Tribes trekked to a foreign country, in Hebrew called “Ar-Sareth”,[xv] which others, Gilbrandt writes, have identified as the Sereth river in Romania. This Apocryphal book also shows how that the Jews after their return from Babylon regarded the Ten Tribes for lost.[xvi]
After the deportation from the land of Israel the Ten Tribes were no longer known under the name Israel, because Israel means “a ruler with God”, and they had been deported specifically because they had worshipped false gods. One of the names the Ten Tribes became known as was “Beth Omri”, i.e. the “House of Omri” after the idolatrous King Omri of Israel. The name of the “Beth Omri” people was later pronounced “Kimmerians”:
“One of these names are Beth Omri, Omri’s House/family/people. In Israel the name was pronounced Gomri, and in Assyrian it became Beth Kumri. Omri was the sixth king of the northern kingdom, and he was worse than all who had preceded him. 1 Kings 16:25. The same can be said of the dynasty which got its name from him, in particular of his son Ahaz. Omri’s name appears on the Black Obelisk and on Tiglath-Pileser’s victory writ. The Assyrians called Israel after the name of the ruling royal family, such as the land of Kumri and the people of Kumri. The name Omri, as it was used by the Assyrians and other peoples of the East, was pronounced in many different ways, such as Gumri, Cymri, Gimri, Gimira, etc. Omri or Kumri becomes the source of the Assyrian Gimeri, which again has its equivalent in the Greek Kimmerioy, later in several languages Kimmerians."[xvii]
Hebrew writers have noted that Omri’s pagan priests wore a black clothing. That is probably the reason why the Black Sea in ancient times was known as the “Kimmerian Sea”.[xviii]
Another name that the Ten Tribes became known under was the “House of Isaac”, which later was pronounced “Scythians” and later again “Saxons”.
“Another name which the deported Israelis [sic] must have taken with them is the House of Isaac. This name was prior to the deportation used by the prophet Amos about the Northern Kingdom. (Am. 7:16) In the Assyrian language Isaaka or Saka/Sakka becomes Iskuza, later Skuza, which in its Greek form is Skuthae or Scythians. The Greek historian Herodotus (484-424 BC), the ‘father of history’, says that the people which the Assyrians call Sakka are by the Greeks called Scythians. (VII-64) The different versions of the name can be seen in many languages.”[xix]
This was confirmed after the Behistun Inscription in Persia was found, which was deciphered by Henry Rawlinson in 1851. The Behistun Inscription is in three languages: Persian, Elamite (Susian) and Babylonian, and describes the peoples over which Darius the Great of Persia ruled. Among the people are the Sacae in Central Asia. In Persian and Elamite they are called Sakka, but in Babylonian Gimiri. Another of Darius’ inscriptions in three languages is found on a golden plate in the British Museum. Here Darius writes that his kingdom stretches from Scythia to Cush (Ethiopia) and from India to Sardis. Scythia is in Persian and Elamite called Har Sakka, in Babylonian Har Gimira.[xx]
Gilbrandt believes that while the Ten Tribes were in Assyria and Media, they divided themselves into several groups, some of which were assimilated and became a part of the country’s population. Some of the Israelites united with the Parthians, even though some believe that Israelites even made up the core of this people which not even Rome was able to defeat.
King Esarhaddon of Assyria (ruler 681-669 BC) writes in his chronicles about his wars against the Gimirian (Kimmerian) refugees which the Assyrians formerly had ruled over but who had rebelled and seceded. The Assyrians could not subdue the Kimmerians/Scythians, so instead the Kimmerians/Scythians became Assyria’s ally. In the alliance with Assyria, the Scythians now became a strong nation, a position they kept until the fall of Nineveh in 612 BC and the fall of Assyria in 609 BC. Then the Scythians were severely pressed by the Medes and before 600 BC the Scythians started wandering north through the Dariel Pass in the Caucasus Mountains and into the Russians steppes. Archaeology confirms this because the earliest Scythian graves in southern Russia are from 580 BC. From that point the history of the Scythians in Europe begins. The Scythians east of the Caspian Sea, however, were driven further into Central Asia.[xxi]
The Ten Tribes of Israel in Africa, Asia and North America
Then Gilbrandt mentions different legends about Israelites of the lost tribes who wandered to and were assimilated into populations of the Caucasus, Japan, Korea, China, India, the Pathans in Afghanistan, in Ethiopia and among the Native North Americans.[xxii] Some of these legends do not sound credible.
The Ten Tribes of Israel immigrate to Europe
When searching for the Ten Tribes of Israel, Gilbrandt believes that one should not look for Israelites who had retained Israelite culture and religious traditions.[xxiii] The Ten Tribes of Israel did specifically worship pagan gods. That was after all the very reason why God let them be deported. Neither must we expect that it were only small groups of Israelites, but rather whole tribes and nations of considerable size. God had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that their offspring should be “as numerous as the stars and the sand upon the sea shore”, and before the Ten Tribes of Israel were deported the prophet Hosea said that the Ten Tribes of Israel in their exile would become as numerous “as the sand of the sea”:
“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered” (Hosea 1:10)
“Furthermore there are found certain historical indications that the Israeli [sic] immigration into Europe did not take place in the shape of small isolated groups which were swallowed up and disappeared in the sea of European peoples. To the contrary, it seems like it was something like national deportations, actually small peoples’ wanderings.”[xxiv]
Anglo-Israel and British-Israel
Thoralf Gilbrandt does not agree with the theology itself of the Anglo-Israel and British-Israel movements, which, according to Gilbrandt, say that the British Empire was a part of the Kingdom of Christ. But that does not make him reject everything from Anglo-Israelism and British-Israelism.[xxv] Thoralf Gilbrandt has obviously also written most of his research on the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel from Anglo-Israel, British-Israel and similar sources, but without naming his sources. Furthermore, it is nonsense when Gilbrandt completely rejects that the European Christian nations are not a part of the Kingdom of Christ, while he at the same time gives unconditional support to the Jewish state in the Middle East, which with Gilbrandt’s own words is built on an “anti-Messianic” (i.e. anti-Christian) religion, Judaism.
The Kimmerians become the Celts
The Israelites known as Kimmerians were driven out of Asia Minor to the country “Ar-Sareth”, which probably is nearby the Sereth river in Romania, and then they disappear from the pages of history under the name Kimmerians. At the same time the Celts appear in the same areas where the Kimmerians disappeared.
“This is then one of the reasons why many historians view the two as one and the same people. The Celts, this culture carrying and culture creating people, had Israeli [sic ] origins.”[xxvi]
However, Gilbrandt does not believe that the Celts were identical to Israelites, but rather that the Israelite Kimmerians became a part of the Celts:
“Now this must not be understood as if the great Celtic peoples’ wanderings which for a long time flooded Europe consisted of Israelis [sic]. Even though there was an Israeli [sic] core in this people which suddenly appeared, it was probably a mixed people. The Kimmerians united with the local peoples where they advanced.”[xxvii]
The Israelite origin of the Celts is also confirmed in the “Declaration of Arbroath” of 1320, where Scottish nationalists are writing to the pope that their ancestors had come from the Greater Scythia through the Gates of Hercules (Gibraltar). After a long time’s stay in Spain, where they fought with wild tribes, they moved to Scotland where they made themselves masters of the country.[xxviii]
The Scythians become the Germanic tribes
Whereas the Kimmerians became the Celts, the Scythians, the other large group of Israelites, evolved into the Germanic tribes. The Empire of the Scythians expanded from southern Russia through the Ukraine to the north-eastern Balkans. The Scythians often attacked Persia, so King Darius I of Persia chose to attack the Scythians in 515 BC. Darius attacked the Scythians through Thrace in the Balkans, but the Scythians withdrew using, as the first in world history, the tactic of the “burned earth”. Herodotus writes that the Scythians lived by the Northern Sea, by which must be meant the Baltic Sea. But where did the Scythians withdraw to, asks Gilbrandt? And how can it be that this mighty and advanced people of culture suddenly disappeared from the pages of history?[xxix]
Gilbrandt writes that the Scythians became the Germanic tribes. The Greek geographer Strabo (64 BC-21 AD) writes that the Romans called the “true Scythians” for “Germanic”, because “Germani” means “genuine” in Latin. The Roman geographer Pliny the Elder (29-79 AD) writes, according to some translations, that “The name Scythians has everywhere changed to Sarmatians and Germanic tribes.” (Natural History IV, 12)[xxx]
The Norwegian school of history
The so-called “Norwegian school of history” believes that the ancient Germanic tribes have immigrated from Russia:
“To continue, we are going to follow the three famous pioneers of Norwegian history writing, the founders of the ‘Norwegian school of history’. They are Gerh. Schøning (1722-80), Rudolf Keyser (1803-64) and the greatest of them all, Norwegian history writing’s foremost name, P.A. Munch (1810-1863). These three all asserted the theory of Norway’s immigration and settlement from the north, from Russia. This is the same as Norwegian and Icelandic historians asserted already around the year 1200, something which only can have been based on popular traditions which still had their place in the memory of the people. Cf. Salomons Leksikon.”[xxxi]
Gilbrandt writes that Munch wrote that the ancient Germanic tribes had their home in Central Russia by the Volga close to the Ural Mountains, and that they from there trekked to Scandinavia:
“From their ancient home in Russia there has been a continual emigration. The emigration has probably gone partially due west, but much actually suggests that the main stream of emigration has gone directly across the Baltic Sea to southern Sweden. This is in particular true of the strong and populous tribe the Goths which got its main residence in southern Sweden and Denmark. This tribe later went back across the Baltic Sea, and through the course of time they made themselves masters over large parts of Europe. Jornandes acknowledges that the Goths trace their origin from Skandje (Scandinavia), and tells the same legend of the Goths’ emigration [from Scandinavia] on three ships under their King Berik. The last Germanic emigration from Russia was to Norway. This can either have taken place over land north of the Bothnian Bay. But it seems like the trek primarily was across water. First one has sailed north on the great rivers of Russia, then one has sailed south down the west coast of Norway and taken the country into possession.”[xxxii]
It is not only these Norwegian historians who have written that the Scandinavians have immigrated from Russia. The Danish historian Peter Friderich Suhm (1728-1798) and the most famous Swedish historian Olof Rudbeck the Elder (1630-1702) wrote, like Snorre Sturlasson (1178-1241) of Iceland, that the Scandinavians had come from “Turkland” south of the Caucasus Mountains via Russia to Scandinavia. Thor Heyerdahl even traced the Norsemen’s origin to Azerbaijan in The Search for Odin (Jakten på Odin) (2002).
Thoralf Gilbrandt’s book is all in all a splendid work, because the Germanic tribes and the Celts are shown to be the descendants of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel, even though much of what he writes about the Jews is not correct.
Thoralf Gilbrandt: Israel i endetiden & mysteriet om de ti tapte stammer (Skjetten, Norway: Hermon Forlag A/S, 1999)
Flavius Josephus: The Complete Works of Josephus (Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA: Kregel Publications, undated)
Ofri Ilani: Shattering a ‘national mythology’ (Ha’aretz, 21 March, 2008): http://www.haaretz.com/general/shattering-a-national-mythology-1.242055 (retrieved 13 June, 2010)
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view_page.jsp?artid=45&letter=E&pid=1 (retrieved 13 June, 2010)
http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoralf_Gilbrant (retrieved 20 Aug., 2010)
[xviii] ibid., p. 172-173.
[xxii] ibid., p. 179-212.
[xxix] ibid., p. 223-224.