This is a warning to Christians (Bible-believing) concerning a movement that has been around for a very long time.
I first learned of the movement as far back as 1960. It dates to the 1940's. My father used to received in the mail a magazine called 'The Plain Truth' published by the, then "Worldwide Church of God" and Herbert W. Armstrong and its Ambassador College in California. Today, the "Worldwide Church of God" is no longer, however, its off starts are everywhere, that splintered a number of years after Herbert Armstrong died.
The splinter-group movement today goes by many names, more than I can name here. British-Israelism, also known as Anglo-Israelism, is the belief that the "lost ten tribes" of Israel migrated to Europe and then to England and became the primary ancestors of the British people, and, thereby, the USA.
British-Israelism is neither Biblical nor is it historical, despite many advocates of the belief. The Worldwide Church of God was Sabbatarian and taught that we ought to worship on the Sabbath, as other Sabbath observant churches and groups practiced. In my recent post on "SDA Aberrations" I dealt with the issue of Sabbath observance vs. what the Bible actually has to say regarding what day of the week to worship.
The splinter-group movement as it remains today is rooted in two main beliefs:
1. The ten tribes (Israel's northern ten tribes) were lost.
2. The ten tribes migrated to England.
2nd Kings 17:18 states that Israel was deported to Assyria in 722 BC. After this time, mention of the ten northern tribes (Israel) is scant in Scripture. However, the Scriptures and the historical records indicate that the people remained in the land. 2nd Chronicles 35:18 records Israel celebrating the Passover with Judah approximately 90 years after the Assyrian deportation. It is likely that many people of the northern ten tribes fled to Judah to escape the Assyrian deportation. 2nd Chronicles 15:9 records people from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon settling in Judah long before the Assyrian invasion. In the New Testament, the prophetess Anna is said to be from the tribe of Asher -(Luke 2:36), one of the supposed ten lost tribes. So, many people from the northern ten tribes were deported to Assyria, never to be mentioned again. At the same time, there is sufficient evidence in Scripture to prove that the ten tribes were not lost, but rather rejoined with Judah in the south.
It is likely that when Judah was deported by the Babylonians, the people would have sought out the Israelites in Assyria (very near Babylon) and joined with them. In the returns to Israel recorded in Ezra and Nehemiah, the Scriptures nowhere limit the returnees as being entirely from the tribe of Judah.
It is possible that the deported Israelites emigrated to England, however, the distance and travel conditions would have been extremely difficult, in ancient time, especially for a large number of people fleeing as a group. Geographically speaking, Afghan-Israelism and even Chinese-Israelism or even Japanese-Israelism have a greater possibility of occurring than British-Israelism. Furthermore, why would Assyria, or later Babylon, or later Persia allow the Israelites to migrate outside of their territories? Futhermore, if the Israelites had the ability to migrate, why would they migrate to Europe/England instead of back to their ancestral homeland? So, while it is possible that some Israelites migrated to Europe/England, it is highly unlikely that this occurred to any significant degree.
The primary goal behind British-Israelism is to claim that England and the USA have inherited the covenant promises God made to Israel ["Replacement Theology"]. While England and the USA have been blessed by God in many ways, it is not because God's promises to Israel have been transferred to those two nations. God's covenant with Israel always involved the specific land of Israel.
There is no way that England and the USA are the legitimate heirs of God's promises to the Jews, as those two nations today do not possess the Promised Land. British-Israelism is merely an attempt to disown or dislodge the Jews of their birth right.
In 2002, a book 'Israel-Britain or Anglo-Saxon Israel' was written and published by Adam Rutherford. Adam Rutherford is well known in England as author of a book that linked the Great Pyramid with Bible prophecy, written back around 1950. Anytime you see that name Adam Rutherford, you will follow a trail that leads back, either to British-Israelism or the Jehovah Witnesses.
The splinter groups coming out of the Worldwide Church of God, here in the USA, today, all offer their publications "free" for the asking. After all who turns down something that is free? Here are some of the names of these "free" publications:
'The Philadelphia Trumpet' and its TV program "The Key of David"
'The Good News' (not to be confused with another magazine of the same name)
'The Real Truth'
There are many others, and when the Armstrong empire broke apart, it splintered into hundreds of factions and groups proclaiming they were the "True Church". Armstrong died in 1986, and was succeeded by his son Garner Ted Armstrong. His son was involved in a scandal as I recall, about extra-marital affairs. I have read these and other publications that are associated with the various splinter-groups that came out of Herbert W. Armstrong's empire.
He [Armtrong] actually had greater media coverage and exposure than all other Christian ministries on television and radio combined at the peak of the Worldwide Church of God. He had a background in advertising and marketing.
Today these groups all are competing against each other for sheep. Herbert W. Armstrong over the span of fifty years made over 200 errors in prophecies that he claimed would occur. Clearly, he was a false prophet. The Worldwide Church of God was basically a cult-figure based-church. It dissipated into hundreds of splinter groups that seek to seduce and lure members into their so-called "Restoration" movement. At its peak the Worldwide Church of God was taking in $230-million a year from its members.
I can tell you from my study over the years, every one of those groups will sooner or later feature in their magazines and literature about the need for Keeping the Ten Commandments, Sabbath worship, vegetarian dietary lifestyle, British-Israel heritage ties, denial that a third and fourth temple will be built. The splinter groups all hold pretty similar or identical views on much the same theology, and they are, in many ways, hold similar teachings as do the Jehovah Witnesses, SDA's, and even some Mormons. Sooner or later, in either reading their material, most of them posit their teachings that I noted above and offer home correspondence Bible study programs; listening to their radio and television programs, or internet sites, it isn't long before you discover that it will be revealed that they believe they are the True "Restored Church of Jesus Christ". Once a person has been drawn into, it soon becomes know that they see themselves as being only the True Christians.
The Watchtower Society has a hundred or more splinter groups, as do the SDA's rebellion, that has led to internal dissension and dissident groups leaving the cults. Decades ago, I maintained a reference file of the various cults and so-called "true churches" movement and their "statements of faith". As a pastor I wanted to be able compare their belief system just in case I had been deceived. Church folk are always asking their pastor questions about religious groups that pop up in their area. It is my experience that pastors do not take serious the unorthodox groups that pop up and lure their congregations away. Suffice it to say, when you get involved with an offshoot or unknown group, always ask for a copy of their "Statement of Faith." If they will not provide you a copy, run for the exit door. Every Christian college or university and seminary will publish their "Statement of Faith" in their school catalog.
Again, this is one of those situations that warns, "let the buyer beware". Despite the fact, and they tell you, our publications are free, their materials can be very costly in other ways. I had a visit one time when one of their pastors drove two hundred miles to visit me because there was no local church of theirs near my home. He thought I should make a donation because he came so far. I had been receiving their publication.