The Fulfillment of Bible Prophecy in Ancient Israel's Colonies
Modern science and archaeology in recent years have made tremendous progress in uncovering facts about our forgotten past. Not only has much of the Sacred Story been confirmed as fact, but many misconceptions about it have been proven untrue. A common misconception of yesteryear was the idea that although the Phoenicians traded and established colonies throughout the Mediterranean area, their Israelite neighbors never set foot on a boat or visited distant lands in ancient times. This idea persisted in spite of the fact that the word, ‘Hebrew’ itself is known to have signified "a colonist." Modern research has in fact now documented that ancient Semitic colonization in Europe, including Hebrew, was "enduring and significant," according to Dr. Cyrus H. Gordon, whose extensive research was highlighted throughout an entire issue of Biblical Archaeologist magazine (March, 1996). Having written over 20 books and learned over a dozen languages, Dr. Gordon is widely considered the leading American archaeologist and antiquarian of the twentieth century. His research has established that "no longer can we... consider Israel the vacuum-packed miracle from Sinai. Rather must we view Greek and Hebrew civilizations as parallel structures built upon the same East Mediterranean foundation" ' Homer & Bible,' page 72)
COLONIZATION BY THE BIBLICAL TRIBE OF DAN
Scholars have written for centuries about an ancient sea-faring people known to modern history books as the Tuatha de Danan, who founded civilizations in Greece, Spain, Britain, and Ireland. Scholars now know that the word, Tuath, means tribe. Dr. Gordon has also established that the suffix, AN was added to proper names in early times to signify a people or community. Thus, the name of these important early European colonists should be translated, the tribe of Dan. Was this the Biblical people, one of the twelve tribes of Israel? Indeed it was, according to Dr. Gordon, who relates, "A group of Sea People bore the name of Dan. The Bible tells how a segment of the seafaring (Judges 5:17) Danites [were part of] the tribal system of ancient Israel... The Danites were widespread. Cyprus was called Ia-Dnan ‘The Island of Dan(an).’ The same people were called Danuna, and under this name they appear as rulers of the Plain of Adana in Cilicia. Greek tradition has their eponymous ancestor, Danaos (Dan), migrating from the Nile delta to Greece...[Note that the Israelites did in fact emigrate from Egypt.] So important was this movement that the Greeks afterward called themselves Danaoi for centuries. Virgil also designated the Greeks as Danai. Bold scholars see the influence of the Danites in Irish folk lore... and in the name of Danmark (Denmark): the land of Dan... it is a mistake to accept the consensus and to imagine that Sea People with enough striking power... to change the course of history were unenterprising to the point of never sailing west of Gibraltar. (p. 108, 111, Before Columbus)
Dr. Gordon also points out Biblical evidence that "three of the [Israel] tribes are described as navigational: Zebulon, Dan and Asher (Genesis 49:13; Judges 5:17)," ibid., page 112. Based on the eminent Dr. Gordon’s research, we see that the ancient Hebrews not only sailed throughout the Mediterranean and Atlantic European coasts, but settled there and founded European civilization. Similarly, in the appendix to noted antiquarian G. Robert Gair’s "Geographical Environment and Race Movements," (1932) is the statement, "Migration...was responsible for the emigration of a great mass of Dan, Asher, Zebulon and Naphthali, who thus evaded the captivity under Assyria [762-676 B.C.], and turned nomad." Logically, Israelites evaded the Assyrian power to the east, by migrating westward. How do we verify where these Israel tribes went in ancient times? One way is by language study.
Early antiquarian scholar, Aylett Sammes, published his extensive research in 1676 in a work entitled, " The Antiquities Of Ancient Britain Derived From The Phoenicians." He pointed out (p. 58) that the Danites were also known in British history as "Damnonii," but that "the transposition is very easy and usual, and hides not at all the original, Dan." The Danites settled especially in southwestern Britain’s "Phoenician" tin districts, he says, adding that in this area many rivers, cities, and hills have names compounded with the tribal name, "Dan."
HEBREW-PHOENICIAN WORD ORIGINS
Many words and customs in early Britain show their Hebrew-Phoenician origin. Aylett Sammes gives (p. 64), for instance, the Phoenician word, "Rheda," meaning a chariot, as the source of the Celtic words, "Rhediad," a course, "Rheder," to run, and "Redeesa," a race. "Essedum" was a Gaulish and British word for a wagon, and corresponded with the Semitic "Dassedan, signifying the same thing." "Pen" was the Celtic word for a high and steep hill, which came from the Phoenician, "Pinna." The Celtic, "Bro," or "Boro," meaning a region or country, corresponded with the Phoenician "Baro." Numerous other examples are given by Sammes to show that the Phoenician influence in the settlement of Europe was very significant. Modern scholar Cyrus Gordon further relates that historians often use the word, Phoenician, in its "wider sense" of Semitic peoples in general, including the Hebrews. The wide extent of their influence is shown on the map we’ve reproduced from a standard history textbook. Although labeled "Phoenician" or "Syrian," we believe the evidence indicates that ancient Israel deserves credit for much of that which has been attributed to her neighbors. A more complete discussion of the Celtic link with Israel is included in our tract, "The Hebrew-Celtic Connection."
Chapter three of Aylett Sammes’ study provides evidence that much of the coastland of Europe and the Mediterranean was settled by Hebrew-Phoenician speaking people. Here are a few of the place-names given by Sammes with their Hebrew-Phoenician root meanings:
Europe, Greek Europa, received its name from the Phoenician, Ur-appa, signifying "a country of white complexions."
ASIA, or"Asi in the Phoenician language signifieth the country between or in the middle." Evidently, Asia Minor (modern Turkey) was considered the land between Europe and the Mid-East.
AFRICA, "signifies a land of corn or ears in the Phoenician dialect."
SPAIN, or Spania, from "Spania, country of rabbits."
ITALY, or Italia, was called by the Phoenicians, "Itaria, from the exceeding quantities of pitch it yielded. The letters R and L being easily convertible in the Eastern tongue."
LUSITANIA, a region bordering the Atlantic; modern Portugal. "Luz in the Phoenician tongue, signifies an almond; tania is a Greek addition."
BRITAIN, or Britannia, from the Phoenician, "Baratanac, a country of tin. Metals such as tin and lead were mined and exported from the west coasts of Cornwall and the Scilly islands."
ALBION, from "Alpin, in the Phoenician tongue, a high mountain, from the high rocks on the western coasts where the Phoenicians first landed."
CALEDONIA, ancient name of Scotland, named for "its rocky and mountainous nature," from "Galedtun in the Phoenician tongue... a hard, (rocky) hill."
BALEARES, two islands in the Mediterranean on the coast of Spain, from "Bal jaro, a master at slinging in the Phoenician. These islands were ever famous, as is notoriously known, for excellent slingers, upon which account they had their name from the Phoenicians."
CORSICA, a Mediterranean island, received its name from the Phoenicians from its woodiness. "Corsis signifies a woody place."
SARDINIA, a Mediterranean island "received its name from the resemblance it had to the foot of a man. Sarad and Sarda, in the Phoenician tongue, signifies the footstep of a man."
MALTA, anciently known as "Melita, in the Phoenician tongue, signifies a Place of Refuge, or Sanctuary," because it was "lying exactly in the middle between Tyre and the Straits [of Spain], whither the Phoenicians trafficked."
RHODES (Greek, Rhodus), an island in the Mediterranean, "took its name from the multitude of serpents it produced, upon which very account it was called Ophiusa, by the Greeks, or, an island of Serpents. Rod, in the Phoenician tongue, is a serpent."
CYPRUS, anciently (hard ‘C’) Cerastis, "So called from the many promontories, as Stephanus witnesseth. Keren, in the Phoenician, is a horn, or Promontory."
SICILY (Italian Sicilia) "had its name from the abundance and excellency of its grapes, from which it supplied Africa in former times, as witnesseth Diodorus... Segulaia is a country of Grapes in the Phoenician tongue."
SYRACUSE, the metropolis of Sicily, "it is agreed, took its name from a stinking and unwholesome marsh upon which it stood, called Syraco [which], in the Phoenician tongue signifies an Evil Savor."
AETNA, "a burning mountain in Sicily, without question took its name from the continual fire and smoke, which in all ages, and to this day breaketh from it. Attuna, in the Phoenician tongue, signifies a furnace or chimney. Aetuna signifies a smoky fog, in the same dialect."
TANGIER, formerly Tingis, "was a great Mart of the Phoenicians, who had a colony in it, according to Pompus Mela. Tigger, a mart, from Tagger, to trade, in the Phoenician, and Taggar, a trader."
HEBREW OR PHOENICIAN?
Although Professor Sammes gave these and many other examples of European place names indicating a Phoenician origin, it is important to note that the Hebrews and Phoenicians spoke the same language, with only minor differences. The Phoenicians, in fact, were Semitic distant relatives of the Hebrews, tracing their origin back to ancient Chaldea, the home of the patriarch Abraham. Nevertheless, we have good reason for suspecting that much of the so-called "Phoenician" trade and colonization was in reality Israelite.
Early 19th century noted antiquarian scholar, Sir William Betham, studied the Celtic origins of Europe, and his studies of early Italy were published in a two-volume work, "Etruria Celtica." Betham reproduced ancient coins from the kingdom of Utruria, in Italy, known as the Etruscan civilization. Interestingly, several of the Utrurian coins discovered were minted in honor of their deity, which was none other than Yahweh, God of the Hebrews! We have reproduced examples of these coins from the book, and Betham comments as follows:
"A human head in profile, proceeding from a shell, under it, the word, HAT, in the later Etruscan character... The word [also] appears written TAH... it is written both from right to left, and vice versa. The word, TA in the Celtic, is the auxiliary verb am, is, also existence, being, i.e. the self-existent being, God. O’Reilly renders it Jehovah [or Yahweh]... I find in the MS. Dictionary of the late William Haliday, and that of James MacGauran, the same meaning is given.” (vol. ii, page 135) Betham continues, "No. 2 is a human foot, cut off at the ankle, under it the word TAH, emblematic of the subjection of all things to the Supreme being." (ibid, vol. ii, pages 135-136)
"The word... TAH, which appears on some of the Etruscan coins... is the first person present of the auxiliary verb TA, ‘I am.’ It is remarkable that this name God gave to himself from the burning bush, I AM THAT I AM; and again -- ‘Thus shall thou say unto the children of Israel I AM has sent me unto you.’ -- ‘This is my name forever.’ (Exodus 3:14-15) " (ibid., vol. ii, page 33)
Therefore, as Sir William Betham points out, these coins represent worship of Yahweh, the Biblical "I AM," the God of Israel; as such, the early colonists who founded the Etruscan civilization in Italy could only have been Israelites! These were not Phoenicians, the worshippers of "Baal." Note particularly the virtual identity of the ancient Hebrew, British Celtic, and early Etruscan worship of the True God. It is no accident that the Celtic "TA," Etruscan "TAH," and the similar Hebrew, "YAH," all have identical meanings: the "Self-Existent," or "Ever-Living," and the "I AM," showing their obvious connection. Our study, "The Old Testament Roots Of Early European Mythology," shows the amazing similarity of their religious beliefs and customs.
HEBREW CONNECTIONS WITH EUROPE
Much evidence exists of ancient Israel in Europe. Our tract, "Ancient Israel In Spain And Britain," presents information about Hebrew colonization of Spain in the time of Solomon, whose "ships of Tarshish" (or Tartessus, another ancient name for Spain) are mentioned in the Bible. These traditions must have been strong, for the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia (vol. I, p. 316) informs us, “John Sadler, a student of Oriental Literature, published in 1649 his Rights of the Kingdom, in which he endeavored to show...that the English are the descendants of Israelites. He explained the name “Britain” as being derived from the Phoenician Berat Anac...He was evidently influenced by the tradition that in the time of Solomon, Phoenician traders, accompanied by Hebrews, reached as far as England and bartered their wares for the tin obtained from the mines of Cornwall. England was therefore known to the Israelites and they may have sought a refuge there after the fall of their kingdom [by the Assyrians, 762-676 B.C.]” Were a significant number of these early European colonists Hebrews? In ancient times, Israel was a nation several times larger and more populous than Phoenicia, as can be easily seen on Bible maps. It would seem obvious that the few small Phoenician city-states could never by themselves have settled all of the coastlands of Europe.
PROPHECY FULFILLED IN ISRAEL’S EUROPEAN COLONIES
Here are a few key promises of Scripture which were given by God to Israel, not to the Phoenicians. Whose descendants fulfilled them?
Israel was to become "a multitude of nations," Genesis 48:19; "a company of nations," Genesis 35:11 Where are these nations today, comprised of Israel’s descendants, as foreordained in the unconditional Abrahamic covenant?
Israel was to move to a new home-land outside of Palestine. This prophecy, given in about 1042 B.C., states, "Moreover, I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime." (II Sam. 7:10)
History and Scripture clearly indicate a migration of Israelites north and west from Palestine. Isaiah 11:14 declares, "they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west..." Israel was warned to flee the Mesopotamian power, Babylon, an obvious hint that many of them moved in the opposite direction -- toward Europe! (Zech. 2:6-7)
Israel was to become a tremendous number of descendants, "as the sand on the sea shore." (Gen. 32:12; Jer. 33:22; Hos. 1:10), and "as the stars of heaven for multitude," (Gen. 26:4; Exo. 32:13). Later Scripture affirms that was indeed taking place: "God hath enlarged you as the sand on the sea shore.." (Deut. 1:10) The Bible indicates a population of six million Israelites in ancient times before the Assyrian captivity. (See tract, "The Real Diaspora") The House Of Israel disappeared from Palestine as ‘lost tribes’ and populated much of early Europe.
Europe was left virtually empty in ancient times, prepared for the great number of Israelites to be sent there in God’s Providence. "When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance; when He separated the Sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel." (Deut. 32:8)
Israel was to expand in the seas: "Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known." (Psalm 77:19) "I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers." (Psalm 89:25) "Ask of me, and I will give thee of the heathen for thy inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." (Psa. 2:8) "He shall have dominion from sea to sea..." (Psalm 72:8) "His seed shall be in many waters" (Num. 24:7) How wonderfully have these promises of sea migration and colonization been fulfilled!
Abraham’s descendants were to "spread abroad" to the ends of the earth. (Gen. 2814) Israel had already settled colonies in the isles of the west when Jeremiah wrote this in circa 600 B.C.: "Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him and keep him, as a shepherd does his flock." (Jer. 31:10) True to prophecy, Israel was gathered to the great shepherd, Jesus Christ, through faith, and the Israel nations became known as Christendom, or ‘Christ’s Kingdom on earth.’ "Sing...His praise from the end of the earth..." (Isaiah 42:10) And they do!