BIBLE STUDY SERIES #26, 27 and 28

26 April, 1992


By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

On recent Bible Studies, we have been examining the evidence of some Celtic connections to the ancient Israelitish Tribe of Judah. Last week we used quotations from a most interesting book written by the late Mr. W. H. Bennett of Windsor, Ontario, entitled "Symbols Of Our Celto-Saxon Heritage." I should repeat what I said at that time. This book, beautifully illustrated in full colour, makes a wonderful present for someone whom you feel might find blessing in an understanding of the matters which we are discussing on this programme. It may be purchased from a number of outlets, including our own bookroom in Toronto, the address of which will be given at the end of today's talk.

For those who may not have heard our previous programmes, and who may not be aware of the general thesis which our Federation expounds, perhaps I might, before starting, explain that we of the British-Israel-World Federation believe that the main body of those who descended from the tribes of ancient Israel are today to be found in the generally Anglo-Saxon and Celtic peoples, together with their kinsmen. We say this for a number of reasons, and one major reason is that they, and they alone, bear all the prophetic Biblical marks which latter-day Israel was to hold - even to the blind insistence of many of their spiritual leaders that they are not Israel! That blindness, for a time, was to be one of those very marks (Hosea 1:9-10; Isaiah 29:10-12; Isaiah 42:17-20)!

We had discovered on the last programme that a heraldic symbol common to a number of those residing in the British Isles is a red hand, and we had traced the origin of that symbol back to Genesis 38:28, at which point Zarah and Pharez, twin sons of Judah, were about to be born to his daughter-in-law, Tamar. Zarah thrust out his hand first, and about it the midwife had tied a scarlet cord. Let us pick up our account from Mr. Bennett's book at the point where we had just mentioned that this red hand, circled by a scarlet cord, had been the symbol of Ulster, in Northern Ireland, for nearly 3,600 years:

"Further, three of Ulster's six counties, as well as the towns of Bangor and Dungannon, have the Red Hand as a part of their official emblems.

"It is true, of course, that since the division of Ireland in 1920 the official Arms of Northern Ireland show the Red Hand alone without the Scarlet Cord, but this does not alter the fact that the ancient and traditional emblem of Ulster was and still is a Red Hand circled by a Scarlet Cord.

"Nevertheless, the use of the Red Hand as a racial emblem is not confined to Ulster or even to Ireland. In Scotland it appears in the Arms of several of the old families and in those of at least fourteen of the Clan Chiefs: Davidson, MacBain, MacDonell, MacIntosh, MacKinnon, MacLean, MacLachlan, MacNeil, MacNaughten, MacPherson, MacGillivray, MacDonald of Sleat, Clanranald, and Shaw of Rothiemurchus. Colour variants of this emblem appear in the Arms of several other Chiefs.

"Thus, by their use of the Red Hand, some of the people of Scotland also point to their Israelitish origin as descendants of the Zara branch of the Tribe of Judah.

"Here a most interesting question arises. How is it that the Scots, who invaded and settled the western part of what is now called Scotland in A.D. 501, have among their emblems one - the Red Hand - which is the same as the one which has been the emblem of Ulster since 1600 B.C.?

"There is very little if anything to indicate that the Scots came solely from Ulster. On the contrary, their own records state that they came from Scythia, which is the ancient name of the country to the west and north of the Caspian Sea. Thus, in the Register House in Edinburgh there is an ancient document called the Declaration of Arbroath, which consists of an official letter sent to the Pope by the Parliament of Scotland in A.D. 1320 and signed by King Robert the Bruce and some thirty of the Scottish nobles, in which it is definitely stated that the Scots came from Scythia, that they lived for a long period of time in Spain, and that they moved on from there to the country now called Scotland `1200 years after the outgoing of the people of Israel'.

I might at this point interject that our Federation can supply a leaflet which contains that significant portion of the Arbroath Declaration in an English translation from the Latin. I also understand that a coloured, wall-size facsimile of this priceless ancient Scottish document may be obtained from the Scottish Record Office in Edinburgh for a very reasonable cost. Let us once again pick up Mr. Bennett's account:

"It could be argued, of course, that this `outgoing of the people of Israel' refers to the exodus of Israel from Egypt. In support of this perhaps we should note that a translation of the original document made in 1703 reads `above 1200 years after the coming of the Israelites out of Egypt'.

"Nevertheless, this does not seem to agree with the known facts of history. The exodus of Israel from Egypt occurred somewhere about the year 1480 B.C. This means that the Scots, if they came into what is now Scotland 1,200 years after the Exodus, must have arrived there about the year 280 B.C., whereas Scottish history shows that they did not arrive until about A.D. 500.

"This is a difference of about 780 years, which seems to indicate that the 1703 translation is erroneous, and that the phrase `the outgoing of the people of Israel' refers to the fall of Israel and the deportation of the Ten Tribes to Assyria.

"If so, this agrees very well with the record of history. The deportation of Israel to Assyria was completed about the year 721 B.C.. If, then, the Scots arrived in what then became known as Scotland 1,200 years later (or a few more, as indicated in the 1703 translation) it follows that they must have arrived about the year A.D. 480 or a few years later, which brings us very close to the year 501 which Scottish history gives as the date the Scots did arrive.

"If, then, the Scots came from Scythia through Spain directly into Scotland, it seems very unlikely that the Red Hand of Scottish heraldry came from Ulster. In support of this we should note that the Red Hand, as it appears in Scottish heraldry, is not encircled by a Scarlet Cord as was the ancient Ulster emblem.

"Nevertheless, despite this slight difference, it is obvious that the Red Hand, (sometimes pink) as it appears in Scottish heraldry and the Red Hand of Ulster are the same emblem.

"Then, when we consider the fact that the Scots claim that they came into Scotland from Scythia and that they mention their stay in Spain but do not say anything of a stay in Ulster, it becomes evident that the Red Hand must have been an ancestral emblem which the Scots brought with them from some ancient homeland of both the Heber (Ulster) and the Scythian Scots.

"Of even greater importance is the fact that the Scots dated their arrival in Scotland from an event in the history of Israel. This is something they would be very unlikely to do unless they themselves were Israelites. Further, they say they came from Scythia, which is the place to which the Israel people migrated after their deportation.

"In view of the origin of the Red Hand emblem in the event recorded in Genesis 38, and in the fact that a Red Hand thereby became one of the emblems of the descendants of Zara-Judah, we conclude that the people who brought the Red Hand to Ulster so long ago and the Scots who later brought it to Scotland, though coming at different times, had a common origin, at least in part, in the Zara branch of the Israelitish Tribe of Judah.

"Before ending our consideration of the heraldic significance of the Red Hand we should note that, as descendants of Zara-Judah, the first settlers in Ulster were also entitled to use the Rampant Red Lion, and when we turn to the official Arms of Northern Ireland we see that it holds an important place therein. Another point of interest in these Arms is that the Red Hand has as its background a six-pointed star which is one form of the hexagram or Shield of David... .

At this point Mr. Bennett makes reference to the previous chapter of his book in which the matter of that star in its various appearances is examined. That might make an interesting subject for us to pursue on another occasion.

As our time is about up for today, we shall have to leave more of this study until our next programme, when we shall be looking further at what Mr. Bennett's book reveals concerning that Red Hand of Ulster and of Scotland, and that Red Lion which appears with such prominence in Scottish heraldry.

3 May, 1992


By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

On our recent Bible Studies, we have been examining some evidences which support our contention that significant connections exist between certain Celtic peoples of the British Isles, on the one hand, and the people of the ancient Israelitish Tribe of Judah on the other. On our last programme, I quoted passages from a most interesting book, written by the late Mr. W. H. Bennett of Windsor, Ontario, entitled "Symbols Of Our Celto-Saxon Heritage." I should, once again, remind our listeners that this book is available through a number of outlets, including our own bookstores in Toronto and Vancouver, the addresses of which I shall be giving at the end of today's programme.

We had arrived at that part of Mr. Bennett's discourse at which he has just explained that the Red Lion, along with the symbol of a Red Hand, is found among the Celtic people of Northern Ireland and of Scotland. Just before we pick up the story as recounted by Mr. Bennett, I should say that this Red Hand is an heraldic symbol which certain of the Celtic peoples of Great Britain received as their heritage by reason of their descent from Zara-Judah, one of the twins gendered by Judah himself, and born of Tamar, Judah's daughter-in-law. Zara-Judah's hand was the first portion of either of the twins to emerge at birth, and, an identifying scarlet cord was tied about his wrist. Thus the heraldic device of a Red Hand has since marked those who descend from this branch of Judah's descendants. If you would like to read the Biblical account of that occurrence for yourself, you will find it in the 38th chapter of the Book of Genesis.

Regarding the occurrence of a Red Lion in the symbolism of many of the countries of North-western Europe, I think that some questions might be in order. All too often we tend to take that Lion symbol for granted, not questioning why the Lion, a beast which is not native to the lands of North-western Europe should have been chosen as a dominant national symbol to represent the power and strength of the pre-eminent tribal associations among these kindred folk.

Should we not ask ourselves why they did not choose as their pre-eminent symbol some powerful animal native to their own locality and thus familiar to them? The Indians of North America certainly so chose, for we find such indigenous symbols as the wolf, the bear and the eagle prominent among the North American populations.

In particular, we should also ask ourselves specifically how these people came to establish and to perpetuate the Lion as the pre-eminent beast among their symbols if they do not find this King of Beasts roaming their lands? The answer, of course, is that these people were not always resident in North-west Europe. They emerged from those lands of the Middle East wherein lions might be found in earlier times, and they carried the symbol along with them as they migrated towards the North-western islands and coastlands of Europe.

Israel is not, of course, the only ancient national entity which appreciated the characteristics of the Lion and used that beast to symbolically represent their peoples or guardians thereof. The Egyptian Sphinx displays the body of a lion. Lions or portions thereof are constituents of artistic motifs found in many lands. Most fearsome looking ornate lions are a feature in Chinese art, and figures of 120 lions, symbols of Ishtar, were formed of enamelled bricks to decorate the walled approaches to the famed Ishtar Gate of Babylon.

But the Lion is pre-eminently the symbol of Israel-Britain in today's world. The symbol of the Lion was specifically accorded to Judah by his father, Jacob, as we shall later find in Genesis 49:9, while in Deuteronomy 33:20 and 22, the Tribes of Gad and Dan are thus symbolised. All the tribes of Israel collectively are characterised as a Great Lion in Balaam's prophecies, found in Numbers 23:24 and 24:9.

Now let us return to Mr. Bennett's book. He has already dealt with the history of one branch of Zara-Judah which fled from Egypt under Calcol westward across the Mediterranean Sea to Spain and in a few years onward to Ireland. Mr. Bennett continues:

"With these things in mind, let us now turn to that other part of Zara's descendants which fled out of Egypt under the leadership of another of Zara's great-grandsons called Darda. In the Authorised Version of the Bible this name is spelled Dara, but in the margin the alternate spelling is Darda and the Jewish historian Josephus calls him Dardanus. This is significant because the group which he led went northward across the Mediterranean Sea to the north-west corner of what we now call Asia Minor. There, under the rule of Darda (Dardanus) they established a Kingdom, later called Troy, on the southern shore of that narrow body of water which bears his name to this day - Dardanelles.

"Some hundreds of years later this Kingdom was destroyed in a war with the Greeks. Some of the survivors fled northward into Europe where their emblem, the Rampant Red Lion, appears in the Arms of some of the nations, provinces and old families in the lands near or bordering the North Sea.

"Others fled westward across the Mediterranean to Spain and on to the British Isles where, with some members of other Israel tribes, they were the first settlers in much of what is now called Scotland. A larger group led by Prince Brutus, a direct descendant of Dardanus and Zara, after living in Italy for a time, also moved on through Spain to Britain, arriving here about the year 1100 B.C..

"Though Britain had a considerable population long before the arrival of these Trojans, their coming and the setting up of this transplanted Trojan Kingdom is the actual beginning of the British nation. And from that time until the coming of the Saxons into South Britain (England) 1,600 years later a Rampant Red Lion was the emblem of all Britain. With the coming of the Saxons its use in England as a national emblem was discontinued, being replaced by the emblems brought in by the Saxons and Normans. Nevertheless, in North Britain (Scotland) it is still the chief emblem, as we see in the picture of the Scottish standard.

"That many of the Scottish people are descended from Zara-Judah is also evident in their use of the Rampant Red Lion as a clan and family emblem. Thus an examination of the Arms of the Clan Chiefs and other ancient families will show that at least twenty of them have the Rampant Red Lion. A colour variant of this emblem appears in several more: the Earldom of Fife; Abernethy, Lord Saltoun; Dundas; Duff, Farquharson; Guthrie; Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell; Maitland, Earl of Lauderdale; Moncreiffe; MacDonald of Sleat; Shaw of Rothiemurchus; Spens of Lathallan; Stuart, Marquis of Bute; and Wemyss.

"It is also important to notice that the Rampant Red Lion appears on the Royal Standard and on the shield in the Royal Arms. Further, it was the ancestral emblem of the Royal Houses of several of the ancient principalities of Wales. Note the emblem of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, who died in 1075. A colour variant of this emblem appears in the Arms of several of the other ancient Welsh Royal Houses. Even in England it, or a colour variant of it, appears in a few municipal Arms and in a much larger number of family Arms.

"Important, too, is the fact that the Rampant Red Lion emblem appears in the heraldry of the Netherlands either on the shield or as a supporter, in the provincial Arms of South Holland, North Holland, Utrecht, Zeeland, Limburg and Overijssel; and in the municipal Arms of some fifty other places.

"In this chapter we have presented evidence of the ancient usage of the Red Hand as the emblem of Ulster and its use in much of the rest of Ireland and in Scotland; and of the Rampant Red Lion as the emblem of ancient Britain. What the reader may have overlooked, however, is that for at least 1,500 years before the coming of the Saxons into Britain these two emblems of the Zara branch of the Israelitish Tribe of Judah were the chief emblems of the British Isles - the Red Hand in Ireland and the Rampant Red Lion in Britain.

As a post-script, I hope you will forgive me for inserting a personal note. As it happens, my mother was a Bruce of Clackmannan, and I wear on my own signet ring the Bruce lion which marks, for myself, an honoured personal reminder of a relationship with many of the afore-mentioned great Clans of Scotland and which forms an additional incentive to myself, to investigate these matters even more thoroughly than might otherwise be the case.

We shall return to our continuing series of Bible studies on our next programme with an examination of the first portion of Genesis 39.

10 May, 1992


By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

On previous programmes, we had, by studying the Genesis account, brought ourselves into the household of Abraham, that great patriarch of many clans of peoples, and learned something of his eight sons. Among these, Isaac alone had received the noteworthy blessings of God from his father, and to Isaac's wife, Rebekah, the twins Esau and Jacob had been born, struggling in contention even as they came forth, (a characteristic, it seems, emulated by Jacob's own grandsons, Zarah and Pharez, born to Judah by Tamar). The blessings of God descended to Jacob, who fled his brother and found wives and family at the home of his uncle, Laban.

As the story unfolds, we have been making ourselves, as it were, intimates of Jacob (re-named Israel), his wives and children, as, by this means, we are provided insights into the methods by which Almighty God moves through history to bring about His great plan of Redemption for His people. Jacob will distribute the blessings to all his sons, but especially to Joseph and Judah. However much trial will intervene before that is confirmed.

Far from his father, his envious brothers had grabbed Joseph, Jacob's favourite, stripped him of his noteworthy coat, flung him into a pit, and then sold him to passing Ishmeelite slave-traders. The New Bible Dictionary, by the way, under the heading "Joseph" makes the point that there are valid linguistic and archaeological arguments on all sides regarding whether we are to understand the coat to have been one of long sleeves or of a variety of vivid colours, or perhaps both. Whatever the case, it is certain that it was an outstanding garment, and its bestowal upon the youth must have been intended to mark Joseph out for especially distinguished recognition.

After following the course of Judah's personal life in Genesis 38, a very necessary detour as it explains the origin of Ulster's "Red Hand" emblem, and also that of a number of Scottish clans, along with the red lion emblem of those kinsfolk, the account once again draws us to focus our attentions upon Joseph.

Perhaps we should review a short passage from Genesis 37:29-36, in order to pick up the threads of our story once again.

29. And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.
30. And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?
31. And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;
32. And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or no.
33. And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.
34. And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
35. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.
36. And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard.

The Book of Jasher, while it is not a Biblical source, does, on occasion, yield some details which sound plausible. It speaks of Midianites who actually obtained Joseph from the pit, and paid the twenty pieces of silver to his brothers. These, it says, decided to turn Joseph over to those Ishmeelites who were going down into Egypt, for a like amount of silver. The Ishmeelites brought Joseph to Egypt, according to this source, and there met some Medanites to whom Joseph was once again sold for the same amount.

The New Bible Dictionary, again under the heading "Joseph", suggests that Reuben's absence while Joseph was sold might most reasonably be explained if we realise that as he was the senior brother, in the position of responsibility for the welfare of the camp. He must have felt especially responsible for the guardianship and care of the extensive flocks as the distant approaching caravan of strangers appeared. Naturally, he would not wish to find, upon their passing, that some of the flock had been taken for a free meal by these Ishmaelites.

Use of the terms "Ishmaelite", "Midianite" and "Medanite" need not indicate conflicting sources, we are assured by that reference, for both Medan and Midian were sons of Abraham by Keturah, and the name "Midianite" is used interchangeably with "Ishmaelite" to apply to the same people at another place in Scripture. In Judges 8:24, the Midianites who were beaten by Gideon "had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites."

Having the brief picture of the Biblical account in mind, we must now follow along with the seventeen year old Joseph as he is forced towards his fate. He cannot as yet know, in detail, that which is to befall, although the general picture of slavery would arouse horrifying images of its potential. Joseph lacks his beautiful coat, and thus, not only the comfort and warmth which it might have provided in his forthcoming service, but also the only proof of the status and authority imparted by his father. He is thus cut off from all hope of establishing any legal claim to freedom as the son of a rich and important patriarch.

Normally, in those days, should any such horrible fate overtake one as capture by slave-traders, a person might hope against hope for salvation from the rough brutal hands of the unfeeling alien captors, by members of one's own family and clan. But Joseph's misery must have been doubly compounded in the hands of these rough slavers, for it had been by the very ones who should have protected him, his own brothers, that he had been delivered up, and forsaken. He must have felt quite desperately alone, deprived of any hope of human help. Even those earlier dreams which seemed to speak of his father and his brothers bowing down to him must have granted little to which he might cling as the scenery changed and the long weary measures of the road came and went.

Joseph, however was not alone. The Almighty God of all the earth was yet with him. How he must have prayed with sweat as full appreciation of the situation developed in his mind. Strange lands began to appear and then great ornate buildings; voices conversing in strange tongues might well have denied him knowledge of what was to befall, and finally, we may assume that he would probably be contemplating the prospect of the slave market! Egypt was a land of slaves, many of them Semitic, like himself, and he must have raised yet more prayers as he apprehended the possibility that he was to be selected by some bidder. Not everyone with the means to purchase would eye his frame with pure motives, and the young worshipper of The Almighty must have been greatly concerned as he approached that land.

It would not be inappropriate to mention in this connection that Joseph, the son of Rachel, the more beautiful of the two sisters, doubtless bore in full measure the genetic characteristics which, by imparting perfection of form and colour to the females of his family, endowed the daughters with extreme beauty. He was, by all reports of a very excellent and handsome appearance and demeanour, a fact which God would eventually use to bring Joseph into a time of testing in prison.

Would the God whom Joseph worshipped be kind to him in this matter of selection? But God was in full control, "behind the scenes", so to speak. The account in that Book of Jasher says that those Medanites knew of a certain officer who was desirous of obtaining an overseer for his household. Joseph would not face the slave market if this wealthy personage cast a favourable eye upon him. But what would his fate be in the service of this man of great authority and obvious substance?

The transaction was completed. The Book of Jasher, if it is to be believed, reports the new price for Joseph as 400 pieces of silver. And now, Joseph must learn the life of a slave, albeit one of authority within the household as his qualities were assessed with approval by Pharaoh's Egyptian Officer, Potiphar, Captain of the Guard. He would be required to learn a new language. We know this, for, years later when his own brothers stood before him, he hid his knowledge of their words by using an Egyptian interpreter. Let us once again pick up the Biblical account at the start of Genesis 39:

1. And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.

As we learned before, that term, "Ishmeelite", might, in fact, have held the wider connotation of "trader", so a conflict of terminology need not be a hindrance to acceptance of the Biblical account. Continuing:

2. And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
3. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
4. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.
5. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.
6. And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.

Perhaps we ought to leave Joseph in the relative security of that position for today. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" we are informed by Jesus in Matthew 6:34, and Joseph was in for further testing in the days ahead, but we shall learn more of that on our next programme.