Envision for a moment this scenario: a man is driving alone on an unfamiliar highway in southern Missouri. He is attempting to find his way back to more familiar territory, but with spotty service, the GPS feature on his smartphone is rendered useless. He is a field adjustor for a local insurance agency and has temporarily lost his way.
Suddenly he spies a sign that reads CHURCH OF ISRAEL. Deciding that this is a precursor to civilization, he turns down the road indicated, in hopes of obtaining directions. Sure enough, he soon spies a woman out walking, and pulls up alongside her, hoping to get directions. He pulls up alongside her, and rolls down his window.
"M'am, could you possibly point me in the direction of Nevada, Missouri?" The woman smiles and nods, when suddenly on impulse, the man gives in to curiosity and interrupts her gesticulating with rapid-fire questions. What is the Church of Israel? Why do you call yourselves by such an odd name? Do you believe you are literally Israelites? And why in the world are you located out here, in the middle of nowhere?
Before the woman could answer the first question, the man thinks of a follow-up: “Are you Jewish?” And then another: "Is this a cult?”
The woman points the stranger toward a building on the opposite side of the road, tells him this is the office of Watchman Outreach Ministries, and suggests he inquire within. The man politely thanks the lady, and decides he has some time to kill. Two hours later, the man remerges into the now-fading daylight with several books under his arm, and a head reeling with implications.
“Do you believe you are literal Israel, and
if so what is the history of this belief?”
Yes, we do believe that the Celtic, Anglo, Saxon, Germanic,
and Scandinavian peoples of the earth are direct genetic descendants of ancient Israel. Moreover, people from every economic class and every social strata are among the Celtic, Anglo, Saxon and kindred peoples who have embraced the proposition that the lost sheep of the House of Israel are not lost, but are in plain sight as they historically have filled the denominations and sanctuaries of Christianity throughout Europe, the British Isles, Scandinavia, America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and elsewhere. The fingerprints of ancient Israel are stamped indelibly upon the Celtic, Anglo, Saxon, Germanic, and Scandinavian peoples of the earth. A detective is able to pinpoint a suspect by a fingerprint that matches a given individual; so it is with identifying the descendants of ancient Israel in our modern world. The history, heraldry, character, religion, laws, literature,
art, and other attributes peculiar to ancient Israel are found exclusively among the Anglo, Saxon, Germanic and kindred peoples alone. The fingerprints of ancient Israel match perfectly with the Celtic, Anglo, Saxon, and Germanic peoples of modern history.
The tens of millions of Caucasians who have populated Europe, the British Isles, Scandinavia, the United States, the Dominion of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and elsewhere are fulfilling all the protocol that the twelve tribes of Israel were to accomplish in history. The British Commonwealth of Nations, the United States of America, the European nations, and Scandinavia have not come into prominence without God’s notice. These people are surely a reflection of precisely what was prophesied
to take place among the multitudes that were to descend from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-Israel.
The proper identification of the Anglo/Israel and kindred
peoples of the earth is imperative if one is to make any biblical and historical sense of the major and minor prophets of the Bible. The covenants, charters, guarantees, and pledges from God to Israel are meaningless unless we can identify the people who are fulfilling these prophetic covenants and divine decrees. Most of the Christian clergy and their followers believe that modern Jews are Israel and that ancient Israel is fulfilled in the relatively small number of Jews in the world today. But absolutely nothing could be further from the truth!
“Is there biblical justification for
the name “Church of Israel?”
Investigation into the Bible demonstrates that this is a perfectly logical name for the redeemed people whom Jesus Christ came to save. The name Israel, first given to Jacob and then to all his descendants, appears more than 2,500 times in the Bible. All forty authors of the Holy Bible were Israelites, and they wrote the Bible to, for, and about Israel. Other peoples are found in Scripture, but only as they pertained to or exerted influence over Israel. Israel is the people of the Book!
The Israelites of Scripture are called the congregation of
Israel(Qahal) 160 times, the assembly of Israel (Edah) 21 times, and Ekklesia 116 times in the New Testament. Ancient Israel in the Old Testament constituted the church, while redeemed Israel, composed of Jews (Judah) and Gentiles (Israelites of the dispersion), made up the New Testament church. Both the “Jews” and the “Gentiles” of the New Testament were primarily Israelites. Only in rare cases would the Jews of the New Testament be called anything other than Israelites (John 8:44, Revelation 2:9 and 3:9) or Gentiles rather than Israelites. “Church of Israel” seems very appropriate as the name for modern-day Israelites since the Old and New Testaments point to Israel being the people who constituted the congregation of the Living God.
Consider this: the name church presupposes and points to
Jesus Christ, Who announced this: “. . . upon this rock I will build my church . . .” (Matthew 16:18). The name Israel identifies the people who comprised the church in the Old Testament (Acts 7:38). They are one and the same people as the church in the New Testament. Moreover, the vast majority of labels used to identify a given church in modern America cannot be found in Scripture at all. “Church of Israel” is appropriately named because both Jesus Christ and the Bible point us to Israel. Jesus Christ Himself was an Israelite, of the seed of David and tribe of Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob (Israel). The Bible itself is the story of Israel, beginning in Genesis 12:1 with
the call of Abram and ending in Revelation 22 with the full
restoration of God’s covenant Kingdom on earth.
“Are you Jewish?”
Real Jews, pedigreed Judeans (meaning certified stock descended from Judah, the fourth son born to Jacob-Israel), constitute only one of the twelve tribes of ancient Israel. Moreover, most modern Jews today are not descended from Judah and are not certified, pedigreed, Judean stock descended from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah. Only a small minority of those called Jews today are legitimate Judeans descended from the tribe of Judah. The major portion of modern Jews descended from the Khazars. The Khazar Empire once controlled an area from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea and from the Caucasus
Mountains to the Volga River and flourished from the sevent to the eleventh centuries of the Christian era.
The Khazars were the “third world” of their day and exercised tremendous influence against the Muslim advances on Byzantium.
They rejected both Islam and Christianity and converted to
Judaism. Additionally, they were a mixture of several different races, including Edomites, Canaanites, Mongols, and Turks. At the collapse of the Khazarian Empire, vast numbers of them movedinto Poland and other countries of Eastern Europe. Eventually, they migrated into Western and Northern Europe, the British Isles, and Scandinavia, making their way to America and Canada. Most modern Jews descended from this admixture and are neither
Judean nor Israelite by blood.
Arthur Koestler, a well known Jewish author, writes of their history in his book The Thirteenth Tribe (Random House, New York, 1976). He traces the history of the ancient Khazar Empire, a major but almost forgotten power in Eastern Europe, which in the Dark Ages converted to Judaism. The forces of Genghis Khan finally wiped out the Khazars, but evidence indicates that the Khazars themselves migrated to Poland and formed the cradle
of Western Jewry.
Regarding the racial origin of modern Jews, Mr. Koestler writes this in his book: “. . . the large majority of surviving Jews in the world is of Eastern European and thus perhaps mainly of Khazar origin. If so, this would mean that their ancestors came not from the Jordan but from the Volga, not from Canaan but from the Caucasus, once believed to be the cradle of the Aryan race; and that genetically they are more closely related to the Hun, Uigur and Magyar tribes than to the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob . . .” (Koestler, The Thirteenth Tribe, p. 17).
The Jews themselves admit they are not blood relatives of the ancient Hebrew Israelites of the Old Testament. The Jewish Almanac (Bantam Books, New York, 1980) records the following statement on page 13: “Strictly speaking, it is incorrect to call an ancient Israelite a ‘Jew’ or to call a contemporary Jew an ‘Israelite’ or a ‘Hebrew’.” It is important to recall that all legitimate Jews (Judeans descended from the tribe of Judah) are Israelites, having descended from Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. Conversely, not all Israelites are Jews. Jews (Judeans) descended from Judah are only one of twelve tribes descended from Jacob-Israel. We can correctly say then
that all true Judeans are Israelites, but not all Israelites are Judeans. It is most unfortunate, indeed tragic, that a majority of the Christian clergy refers to Israelites as Jews. This is so misleading!
It is biblically incorrect to call all Israelites Jews. Sadly, most Christians and their pastors use the terms Jew and Israel interchangeably. They incorrectly believe and teach that all Israelites are Jews, and that the modern people called Jews are all that remains of the ancient people called Israel. But, those who carefully read the Bible would never come to this conclusion. The Church of Israel is not a Jewish church, and in the proper historical definition of the modern meaning of Jew, there are no Jews attending the Church of Israel. However, if one would ask
if there are any Israelites attending COI descended from the tribe of Judah (true Judeans, in contrast to the counterfeit Jews of Revelation 2:9 and 3:9) the answer would be yes. A quick review of the word Jew as it appears in the Old Testament is helpful to most Christians in keeping the record straight on the Jews.
A Review of the Word Jew:
In its singular form, Jew (Yee-hoo-dee’) appears only ten times in all of the Old Testament. Eight of those ten times occur in the Book of Esther, one time in Jeremiah 34:9, and one time in Zechariah 8:23. The word Jew is first mentioned in singular form in Esther 2:5 around 518 B. C. Abraham was called from Ur of the Chaldees around 1921 B. C., more than a thousand years before the word Jew was even coined. Abraham was not a Jew, and neither were Isaac or Jacob-Israel. Except for the Book of Esther, the word Jew (singular form) appears only two times in all the Old Testament, which comprises 85% of the entire
The proper biblical use of the word Jew is only in reference
to the racial descendants of Judah, the fourth son of Jacob-Israel, also the tribe that bears the name Judah, and the multitudes of people descended from this one of Jacob’s twelve sons (tribes). Most people called Jews in the 21st Century did not descend from Judah and are neither Jews nor Israelites.
The word Jew in its plural form appears only seventy-three
times in the Old Testament, and forty-three of those times again are in the Book of Esther. The first use of the word Jew in its plural form is II Kings 16:6, which was about 742 B. C., or more than one thousand years after Abraham died. The Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, is not a Jewish Bible. The Bible is a book written to, for, and about Israel. The name Israel appears more than 2,500 times in the Bible and refers to all the people descending from the twelve sons (twelve tribes) of Jacob-Israel.
The only true Jews are those called Judeans who descended from Judah, the fourth son of Jacob-Israel and the tribe that bears the name of Judah. The word Jew was first applied to that portion of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi that returned from the Babylonian captivity. In Revelation 2:9 and 3:9, our
Lord Jesus Christ clearly divides between the true Jews (Judeans) and those who called themselves Jews but whom Christ labeled as “the synagogue of Satan.” Because of the offensive connotations that have come to be associated with this word, it cannot be used to describe the descendants of Judah without causing confusion. It is preferable to call the racial descendants of Judah by the name Judean. However, one should not take this to mean that the Authorized King James Bible has been mistrans- lated because of its use of the word Jew or any other word. Beware of those who presume to know more than the forty- seven linguists who translated the AKJV.
More Old Testament History:
The collective Israelites of all twelve tribes were united in a confederation during the monarchies of King Saul, David, and Solomon for a historical run of 120 years. At the death of Solomon in 975 B. C., the one nation of collective Israel was split into two separate, distinct nations with the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and the majority of Levi forming the southern Kingdom of Judah under Rehoboam (Solomon’s son), with its capital in Jerusalem. The other ten tribes formed themselves into the Kingdom of Israel under the leadership of Jeroboam, with their capital in Samaria.
The Northern Kingdom of Israel survived under nineteen
different kings from nine different dynasties for some 254 years until it was completely destroyed in a number of invasions by Assyrian armies, with large numbers of captive Israelites taken into Central Asia. Finally, in 721 B. C., the capital of Samaria was captured and plundered, and the remaining Israelites were taken into Central Asia. This marked the political and military end of the Kingdom of Israel, with only a handful of individual Israelites remaining as per Isaiah 17:1-6. However, this handful
of Israelites that were left appears later in history under the name Samaritans (as per the woman at the well in John 4). These particular Samaritans were indeed racial Israelites and were receptive to the Gospel preached by Philip (Acts 8:5-6).
The Southern Kingdom of Judah survived for 387 years under a succession of kings descended from David. In 713 B. C., Assyrian armies raided and seized forty-six fenced cities in Judah and carried in excess of 200,000 of the prime Judean stock into Central Asia, where they were united with Israelites previously taken. A good portion of Benjamin had also been carried captive by the Assyrian armies, where they joined with the Israelites under
The Babylonian (Chaldean) armies invaded and plundered the Kingdom of Judah under the command of Nebuchadnezzar in 606-607 B. C. Finally, again in 588 B. C., the nation of Judah was completely destroyed, and Zedekiah, the last king to reign in Jerusalem, was carried into Babylon along with the vast majority of the Israelites remaining in the Kingdom of Judah. Some seventy
years later, a small remnant numbering less than 50,000 was allowed (under the permissive decrees of Cyrus) to return from Babylon around 536 B. C. under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Jeshua. Much smaller numbers returned later under the leadership of Ezra (around 458 B. C.), as well as a small number with Nehemiah. The primary body of all the twelve tribes of Israel remained in Central Asia under the rule of the Medes and Persians.
The Persians succeeded the Assyrians and dominated the
subjects and lands once ruled by Assyria, including the multitudes of Israelites taken captive by Assyrian kings. Persian rule continued for about one hundred years after the close of the Old Testament canon in 497 B.C. The land of Judea was under the lordship of the governors of Syria. The indigenous Judeans exercised religious functions and a measure of civil authority under Syrian supervision. The returning members of the tribe of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi under Zerubababel and Jeshua had rebuilt the
temple, restored the city of Jerusalem, and reorganized themselves into a nation. The nation of Judah lying between Persia and Egypt suffered much from the constant wars that unfolded between these two nations.
In 333 B.C., all of Syria and Palestine fell under the yoke
of Alexander the Great. Alexander was inclined to treat the
Israelites of Judea with favor; but upon his death, the land of Judea fell between the hammer and anvil of Syria and Egypt. Syria exercised initial control over Judea, but in time, when Egypt was ruled by the Ptolemaic kings (320-198 B.C.), large numbers of the Israelite Judeans established themselves in Alexandria and elsewhere in Egypt. The Septuagint translation is alleged to have
been translated in Egypt about 285 B.C.
Antiochus the Great conquered Judea in 198 B.C. and annexed it to Syria. The country was carved into five provinces that are well known to readers of the Gospels: they were Galilee, Samaria, and Judaea (collectively called Judaea). The other provinces included Trachonitis and Peraea. For a time, the Judeans were allowed a measure of freedom under the high priest and council. About 180 B. C., Judea became the dowry of Cleopatra, a Syrian princess who married Ptolemy Philometor, king of Egypt. Antiochus
the Great was subdued during this time but regained control of Judea at the death of Cleopatra, when a fierce and bloody battle ensued. In 170 B.C., Antiochus, who was growing quite hostile toward the attitude and behavior of the priesthood and those associated with the temple, plundered Jerusalem, enslaved large numbers of people, profaned the temple, forced the Judeans to work on the Sabbath, and prohibited circumcision. The final act of tyranny occurred when Antiochus offered a sow upon the altar and proceeded to erect an altar in honor of Jupiter.
The ruthless plunder and unbridled yoke imposed upon the
Judeans by Antiochus the Great inspired the revolt of the
Maccabees. Mattathias, the first of the Maccabees, initiated the rebellion. Mattathias was an energetic, savvy priest of great character. He led a company of devout Judeans and pledged to free Judea from the yoke of Antiochus. Judas Maccabaeus (Maccabaeus is from the Hebrew word for hammer) succeeded his father, assisted by his four brothers.
By 165 B.C., Judas had seized control of Jerusalem and
purified and rededicated the temple. In celebration of this event, he initiated the Feast of Dedication. Judas lost his life in battle and was succeeded by his brother Jonathan, another brother Simon, and his nephew John Hyrcanus. During this time, the Hasmonean line of priests/rulers grew popular but lacked the great virtues of the early Maccabeans.
Of great significance is the fact that in about 126 B.C., the
Edomities were conquered and given the choice of becoming converted “Jews” or else face harsh repression and even death. It was at this time that the Edomites at least pretended to convert to Judaism and quickly made their way into important positions in the civil and religious life of Judaea. This infusion of Edomite stock into the Judean population becomes increasingly significant as the birth, ministry, and life of Jesus Christ unfold in the first
century. Edomites made their way into all the major religious sects including the Pharisees, Sadducees, and, of course, the Herodians. The Herodians were mostly of Edomite (Idumean) stock, from the Edomites who alleged to have converted to the religion of the Judeans around 126 B.C.
The land of Judea had little peace under the Hasmonean line of priests/rulers; following a time of civil war, the conflict drew attention from Rome. The Roman government led a conquest of Judaea, and Jerusalem fell to Pompei in 63 B.C. Pompei left Hyrcanus, the last of the Hasmoneans and Antipater, an Idumean (Edomite), with the reins of power. By 47 B.C., Julius Caesar had appointed Antipater procurator of Judaea while appointing his own son, Herod, governor of Galilee. When Caesar was assassinated, civil unrest broke out, and Herod fled to Rome. In 40 B.C., Herod was appointed king of Judea. Returning to Palestine, he restored order with his marriage to Mariamne, the granddaughter of John Hyrcanus. This Herod was on the throne when our Lord Jesus Christ was born.
History records that Judea continued to be a thorn in the side of the Roman Imperial government. The Gospels of the New Testament provide insight into some of the political intrigue that continued to plague the relationship between Judea and a series of Roman Emperors. Pontus Pilate was the Roman governor in place when the Jesus Christ was crucified in AD 33. Several religious parties competed for control of the temple and the Sanhedrin. They included the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, and two somewhat obscure groups called the Essenes and the Zealots. The Pharisees and Sadducees dominated the religious scene.
By AD 70, the tension between Rome and various elements
within Judea reached such a boiling point that the Roman General Titus plundered, pillaged, and sacked Jerusalem and its surrounding countryside, leaving the land prostrate and destitute and the Judean inhabitants scattered and fleeing the country by the droves. As terrible and destructive as this Roman invasion was, it was not the end. Again in AD 135, Roman armies invaded the land and this time brought a final end to whatever remained of the
fragmented Kingdom of Judah.
Why Is This History Important?
The foregoing sketch of the Kingdom of Judah following the division of the twelve tribes at the death of Solomon is necessary to demonstrate that by 721 B.C., the ten tribes of Israel in the Northern Kingdom of Israel had been forcibly moved from their homeland into Central Asia under the auspices of the Assyrian armies. By 713 B.C., a large portion of Judah and Benjamin, together with Levi, had also been taken and removed from the land of Judea by Assyrian armies and taken into Central Asia to join their fellow Israelites.
When the first century of the Christian era opened, only a small percentage of the total body of national Israel resided in Palestine. Portions of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, together with individual members from other tribes, remained in Judea and Jerusalem. The main body of all twelve tribes resided outside the perimeters of Judea.
The New Testament confirms this. The Apostle Peter
addressed his epistle to the Israelites in dispersion (I Peter 1:1-2). James addressed his epistle to the “twelve tribes which are scattered abroad” (James 1:1). Standing before Agrippa in defense of his life, St. Paul declared, “. . . I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night hope to come . . .” (Acts 26:6-7). The Apostle John confirmed in the words of Jesus that other sheep existed beyond the confines of Judea: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16). A reference to the Israelites in dispersion in the first century of the Christian era is confirmed in John 7:35 and 11:52.
The Lord Jesus Christ commissioned His apostles and commanded them, saying, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5-6). Some time later in His ministry, Jesus Christ emphasized this to His apostles: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24).
Repeatedly, Jesus Christ announced that He had come to save that which was lost (Matthew 18:11; Luke 19:9, 10). The only people in all of Scripture who ever were designated as “lost” were the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel. Jesus reaffirmed repeatedly that He had “. . . come to save that which was lost” (Matt. 18:11; Luke 19:10). The twelve tribes of Israel were known as the “sheep people” of Scripture. Jesus Christ announced this in John 10:11: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” My hope is that it is obvious now why this history is important.
“Is The Church of Israel a Cult?”
In short, the Church of Israel is not a cult! The fact that the Church of Israel does believe that the Celtic, Anglo, Saxon, Germanic, Scandinavian, and kindred people are the blood relatives of ancient Israel does not mean that this church is a cult. Those Christians who endorse the Anglo-Israel truth are not a cult. Nor are they White Supremacists as defined by the news media. Nor are they some kind of off-beat, religious nuts. Rather, those who attend worship services at the Church of Israel come from many different
denominational backgrounds. They have come seeking to a church that actually teaches all of the Bible—both Old and New Testaments—with a systematic theology that encompasses the total spectrum of Scripture. They include people of high and low rank, the rich and the poor. The Anglo-Israel truth has reached across continents and oceans into the hearts of people throughout the Christian West.
What Is A Cult?
For some people, the church down the street from theirs is
a cult. The word cult has been shaped and defined by the news media, which is fully capable of putting whatever spin they wish on this word. More often than not, people think of a cult as being composed of people who are strange, weird, and bizarre. Sadly, history is replete with glaring examples of people professing religious beliefs that indeed sometimes exhibit wild and even bizarre behavior. The Church of Scientology, the Moonies, Branch Davidians, Jim Jones’s People’s Temple, the Charles Manson family, Solar Temple, Heaven’s Gate, and other such groups have exhib- ited behavior that is not biblical and assuredly not in
conformity with the traditional history of Christianity.
That being said, one should be careful when using the word
cult. The word did not always have the negative meaning
associated with it today. The early followers of Jesus Christ, the greatest charismatic leader who ever lived, might have been called a cult. The early Christian followers of Jesus Christ were probably labeled a cult by the religious establishment of that day, meaning the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
In 1830, Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus
Christ Latter Day Saints (Mormons), probably would have been described as a cult leader by the news media of twenty-first century America. Today that religious body numbers fourteen million people and is one of the fastest growing religions on earth. In its original formation, this group practiced rigid separatism; but now, it has abandon- ed all racial standards of separatism and is instead one of the most multicultural religious bodies in the world.
The Marks of A Cult
The following list of marks of a cult is not comprehensive, but it should be sufficient to prove that the Church of Israel is not a cult. None of the following characteristics profiles this church in Vernon County, Southwest Missouri.
1. A cult is generally led by a charismatic, controlling person. In our congregation, however, three ministers of equal rank and a seven-member board of elders/trustees handle all the important business transactions of the Church of Israel and manage all of its assets. A panel of three men elected every two years by
the congregation adjudicates cases referred to them by the
ministers of the church.
2. A cult is generally famous for exploiting the personal finances of its members, sometimes requiring its members to surrender their personal wealth when they join. The Church of Israel makes no financial demands on anyone and does not even pass a collection plate or make appeals for financial help of any kind. If someone tithes or gives offerings, they do it of their own volition and without
3. A cult as defined in twenty-first century America does not allow freedom for questions and personal exploration into what the cult leaders believes and practices. We, on the other hand, welcome inquiry into all that this church teaches and professes.
4. A cult generally cuts off access to outside people and
discourages any close communion with extended family. The Church of Israel encourages contact with other people, promotes personal Christian witness to people outside the church when the opportunity arises, and even encourages contact with extended family. In fact, extended family members often visit fellow churchgoers and attend services with them.
5. A cult may retaliate against or intimidate people who leave the group. No one is ever barred from leaving the COI. People are free to come and go as they choose. Every person attending services or associated with the COI does so by their own free choice.
6. A cult often uses guilt, shame, and fear as means of
controlling members. If anyone suffers from guilt or shame at the COI, it would result from something that they personally do and are sorry for—not because of any sanctions imposed by the church.
7. A cult often seeks to have their members become codependent upon the cult to survive. This form of intimidation is used to keep the members from straying from the flock. Nothing of this sort takes place at the COI. People attending services here live in their own homes, manage and control their own finances, and make 100% of the decisions they face in life.
8. Some type of criminal behavior is generally associated with a cult. It is not unusual for members of an actual cult to violate various laws within a jurisdiction that places them in conflict with authorities. The Church of Israel has been in Vernon County, MO since 1941, and in that extended time, few people have been arrested or convicted of any crime. The behavior of our people compares favorably with any church in Vernon County. The
ministers and all members of the congregation are encouraged to follow the moral standards established in Scripture.
9. A cult generally makes unusual demands upon its members, demands that might require members to violate civil laws within a given jurisdiction, steal, or even perform acts of violence and perversion. No such demands are ever made by anyone associated with the Church of Israel.
10. A cult almost always claims to have exclusive rights to
the path of salvation. The Church of Israel believes and assumes that all Christian churches that teach from the Bible and believe what Scripture says will point people to Jesus Christ as the only way, truth, and path to eternal life. By no means does the Church of Israel claim exclusive rights to pointing people to the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Mediator between God and man (I Timothy 2:5) and the only door through which salvation is available (Acts
4:12, John 10:9, 14:6).
“How long has the Church of Israel
been in Missouri, and how did you come
to be located in rural Vernon County?”
This question has been asked many times during the 75-year history of the Church of Israel which under different labels has been holding services in Southwest Missouri for seventy of those years. Pastor Dan Gayman is second generation, being the son of Leo Gayman, one of the original founders of the church in 1936 in Colorado before moving to Missouri in 1941. The Church of Israel under a different name was organized in Pine, Colorado in 1936. Several families then moved from various communities in the Rocky Mountains and elsewhere and re-located in Missouri, where they built a church community. This relocation from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado required many trips but was completed by the early summer of 1941.
The primary objective of those coming to Missouri was to build a church community that would follow the spiritual and moralteachings of the Bible and in the spirit of American Separatism preserve the Christian heritage and culture of a body of believers to remain faithful until the return of Jesus Christ to establish His Kingdom in the earth. This goal was to be reached in the form of a covenant where each person would purpose to love God
and serve one another in the bonds of Christian discipleship. The goal was for each family to buy its own private property and then build and operate a private Christian church in common. To this end, the first few men to arrive purchased a 511-acre tract of land, built a small sanctuary, and began to settle on the land while they endeavored to locate and purchase privately owned
farmsteads. The settlers also purchased a steam engine which they used to power a sawmill; from this mill, lumber was used to build rather simple homes as temporary shelters until such time as the settlers could secure privately owned property.
World War II:
Many of these plans were severely interrupted on December 7, 1941, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War II. The church community was still in its early stages of development when the war began. The outbreak of this war was a serious blow to the development of the church community here, and it took several years to recover. Some of the men did not return to the community when the war ended, while other families left during the war because of economic and other hardships imposed by the war.
This first contingent of settlers was a hardy band of people
who had survived the Great Depression (1929-1939) and were used to an austere life. Also, life in the Rocky Mountains was not easy. The high elevation in the mountains provided a short growing season, and there was little or no industry unless one went down to Denver. These pioneer families included Leo and Lucy Gayman and children, Lucy’s father Jess F. and Carmen Cruse and children, Gerald and Rita Hall, Gaius and Cora Reinbold and children, Jerome and Enola Buntin and children,
Thelmo and Dola Hall and children, and others. Others arrived a bit later from New England and included Arthur and Mary Smith, Albert and Ida Fassel, Herbert and Sadie Johnson, and others from Michigan and Wisconsin.
Several of the male leaders of the church were drafted into
the war; the remaining members managed through much hardship to survive. These were grim days. There was no electricity, and the roads were difficult to travel, sometimes having impassible muddy ruts. The houses had no plumbing and no electricity, and after the war began, very few families had vehicles. A trip to Nevada, twenty miles away, was a rare event, and a trip to Kansas
City was simply out of the question for most.
The Church was further impacted by the tragic death of Leo Gayman, father of seven children who was struck and killed by lightning on July 7, 1945 while planting a spring crop on land that is now known as the Four Rivers Conservation Refuge. Following Leo’s death, the church struggled to survive but managed to continue with uninterrupted worship services for many years. Lucy Gayman and her seven Gayman children continued
to live on the eighty-acre farm Leo and Lucy had purchased prior to his death. The family survived by milking cows, selling eggs, raising a large garden, and sending the growing boys out to work for neighboring farmers. These were difficult days when going barefoot most of the year was not uncommon. A new pair of shoes was a rarity and most of our clothing homemade.
The late 40s and early 50s were a time of hardship and struggle for the families here who survived the ravages of World War II. The long years of the war, economic upheaval, and other factors reduced the original congregation to a small, fledgling body of believers. The post-World War II years were difficult as many families suffered in dire economic straits and were forced to leave
for urban areas where they could find employment. The families that did survive did so under harsh conditions, but it is they who held the church together in the years following World War II. Among the survivors of this harsh era were the seven Gayman children born to Leo and Lucy. They continued to attend services with their mother Lucy and others who made the original move to Missouri from Colorado. By the late 50s and early 60s, the Gayman
children were becoming young adults, each going their separate way for a time, but generally remaining faithful to the church.
Beginning in 1958, Dan Gayman, newly married to Deloris
(Allen) Gayman, became active in the church; he and his brothers Duane, Dale, David, and Dean Gayman and Gerald Hall erected a new sanctuary in 1961. After this building project was completed, we built a cafeteria, and three dormitories. We began holding conferences three times each year in April, June, and October. In the late 1960s, these conferences became more formal, and we became convicted of observing the biblical festivals of Passover and Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Some time later in the mid-seventies, we added to these holy day celebrations the Day of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement.
Doctrinal differences, disputes over whether to hold the annual festivals or conferences, and whether to open festival celebrations to other believers across America led to a separation of Duane Gayman and Gerald Hall from the remaining primary families of the congregation. When the congregation persisted in holding annual festivals, the opposition filed a lawsuit which finally was resolved by court decree in 1973, with Duane and Gerald being
awarded 490 acres of land and all but two of the buildings,
including the Sanctuary. The majority of the congregation was denied ownership of the sanctuary and access to the 490 acres of land because the court found that the Anglo-Israel truth had not been part of the earlier doctrinal traditions of the original church.
Following the loss of the sanctuary and most of the land, the congregation under the leadership of Dan Gayman converted one of the two dormitories into a sanctuary on the twenty acres of land the remaining body received in the court decree. This dormitory served as the sanctuary from 1973 until 1978, when we erected a new sanctuary on the same twenty acres retained from the original 511 acres. The congregation outgrew this building and began erecting a new sanctuary in 1986 on nearby property that Dan and Deloris Gayman purchased in 1971.
In the next several years, God blessed the congregation, and we began adding additional buildings. Our private Christian school, Christian Heritage Academy, first opened its doors for the school year of 1976-1977. The school has a present enrollment of about sixty students, K through 12, with four full time teachers and another teacher who serves part time. During most of these years of forging
our doctrine and with our congregation slowly but steadily growing, Pastor Gayman, an honors graduate from Missouri State University in Springfield, taught and served as high school principal in Walker, Missouri while serving the church as pastor.
Christian Heritage Academy is currently under the Headship of Evangelist Reed Benson, BA, MA. Mr. Benson has guided the school for the past eighteen years. Reed graduated from the University of Oklahoma with honors and did his graduate studies at Pittsburg State University, where he earned his MA and presently teaches night classes. He and his wife Julie, (the second daughter of Dan and Deloris Gayman) live near the church campus with their seven children. Their eldest daughter, Katarina Beth,
now married to Lucas Pennington, lives in nearby Nevada. She and her husband also are active members of the Church of Israel. Reed Benson is an active minister, writes for both the Watchman and the Vision, and is an accomplished historian and theologian.
Pastor Gray Clark, his late wife Linda (both graduates of the University of Maryland), and their four children Glenda, Amanda, Nathan, and Jennifer joined the congregation in 1982, coming from the greater Washington DC area, and have been a cornerstone family in the church and active with Watchman Outreach Ministries. In addition to the operation of the Missionary and Literature Room, Gray has been a very faithful minister, assists the teachers part-time in the Academy, writes regularly for both the Watchman and Vision publications, and is in charge of multiple other important areas of ministry in the Church of Israel.
In December of 1987, we at the Church of Israel made a
major and historic decision to transition from Sunday to the biblical Sabbath of the seventh day. This transfer was made after an arduous study of the Sabbath in the Bible and history. The congregation unanimously elected to make this historic transfer in 1987, and it remains one of the most significant turning points in our history. God has blessed this entire congregation as a result of this life-changing decision. The Church of Israel celebrates the biblical Sabbath each week with worship services beginning at 9:45 a.m. We also hold Wednesday evening Bible studies at 7:30 p.m. We hold the festivals of Passover and
Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles on the twenty-acre campus of the Church of Israel each year. The church also celebrates the new moon with a beginning of month service as it appears on the calendar.
About 200 men, women, and children gather each Sabbath
morning to worship our Living God. Our worship services consist of hymn singing, the Service of Morning Prayer, Law Reading and Commentary, prayers, special music, and an hour-long sermon. The approximately thirty-voice Sabbath Choir sings every week, and a brass ensemble accompanies the piano and organ and congregation
in our opening hymns every week. Two bell choirs periodically perform, as do our children’s and advanced stringed orchestras. Watchman Outreach Ministries, which operates independently of the Church of Israel, sponsors a large bookstore containing over 500 volumes. Both the Watchman and the Vision publications are written and published by ministers associated with Watchman Outreach Ministries. In addition, Watchman Outreach
Ministries sponsors the biblical festivals on the campus of the Church of Israel. We have also held a national youth conference every June for the last twenty-five years. We mail cassettes and CDs of sermons regularly to those signed up to receive them, along with books, pamphlets, and assorted other items.
A Biblical World Vision
The Church of Israel believes and teaches that the United States and other nations of the Christian West are in a state of serious decline and that this political, economic, social, and military decline is the result of our spiritual and moral disconnect from God, His Word, and the character traits and values that once made American the showcase nation of the earth. We believe that the present decline will not be arrested and that America will continue
to slide into unprecedented political gridlock, economic meltdown, social unrest, and a loss of influence and prestige throughout the world. Sadly, America suffers from a crisis of leadership in the pulpits with a corresponding spiritual complacency and apathy among the church-going population. Millions of Americans remain unchurched, with young people leaving their respective denominations
by the droves. The cost is very dear.
Likewise, the economic fortunes of America have plummeted in the last decade, leaving little chance of recapturing the lost jobs with the manufacturing and industrial infrastructure dismantled and off-shored to China and the Far East. Tragically, the millions of jobs lost to American workers are not likely to be recaptured. The prosperity and opulence we Americans once enjoyed are
rapidly fading; people are finding it increasingly more difficult to meet financial needs. The proliferation of big government, bloated bureaucracies, the decline of capitalism and the end of the free market system, surging socialism, and a cradle-to-grave Nanny State—this is the worldview that millions of Americans and our politicians seem to prefer.
As our nation turns from capitalism and the free market system to socialism, big government, and heavy taxation, Americans must exercise intelligence and a healthy dose of common sense to navigate the economic waters of the 21st Century. We recommend that young men seek specialized vocational training or apprenticeships that will enable them to develop and perfect skills that cannot be out-sourced or easily replaced. A personal business
that hires minimum employees and markets an expendable product that needs constant replenishing is something for the prudent among us to consider.
One can anticipate terrible social unrest as county, state, and municipal governments default in meeting their pensions and other debt obligations. As our government runs out of money and the dollar continues to decline in purchasing power, Americans will suffer correspondingly. As government welfare programs, food stamps, unemployment benefits, and other federal programs
die for want of funding, millions of sub-culture people packed into the urban jungles of the U. S. will become agitated and take to the streets. Government officials will be forced to use brute force to control these street mobs, flash mobs, and sub-culture demonstrations.
There is an urgent and compelling need for remnant Christians to live apart from large, urban population centers. People who settle among folks of their own ethnic heritage and faith are very wise. Church communities built from people sharing a common ethnic heritage and faith will be much better prepared to survive the chaos and social instability that will characterize America. It will become increasingly more important to know who your
neighbor is and that this neighbor shares a common ethnic heritage and faith. This is a powerfully important factor to consider in insulating a family from the chaos that will accompany the third world status arriving in America.
Becoming rooted in a church/community that shares mutual ethnicity, faith, and moral values should be a primary goal of remnant Christians who want to build a future for themselves and their children in the post-Christian America.
The Church of Israel has a seventy-five year history of ethnic separatism. The future of the church rests upon the faithfulness of the present and future generations to maintain this imperative. Any compromise on this point will result in the forfeiture of the principles upon which the church was founded and is an outright betrayal of all those who since 1941 have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into building this church-community.
Separatism in our personal lives, family structure, recreation, fraternal relationships, and worship services and all activities related to the church is absolutely essential for our ethnic survival. America has a long- standing tradition of practicing separatism. The Pilgrims who arrived upon the shores of North America in 1620 were called Separatists because they had separated
themselves from the well-established Church of England and for all practical purposes had separated themselves from the oppression of the English state. They arrived in America as a separatist church-community and entered a covenant with God (the Mayflower Compact) for the purpose of advancing Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.
These Pilgrims were a homogenous congregation, all sharing a unity in the faith of Jesus Christ and the Anglo-Saxon race. The Puritans who followed them in successive waves between 1620 and 1640 were no less Separatists than the Pilgrims who preceded them.
The majority of Caucasians who arrived in America from the British Isles and Northwest Europe between 1607 through the 1800s generally had assimilated by the early 1900s. However, there did remain diverse groups that maintained their Separatist status. A review of American demographics through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and into the second decade of the twentyfirst
century documents many ethnic groups that practiced separatism, including Mennonites, Amish, Hutterites, Hispanics, Blacks, Jews, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Muslims, and other ethnic groups that voluntarily segregated themselves from the rest of society in terms of race, religion, and social customs. All these groups may have greater or lesser participation in
America’s free market and may assimilate into other segments of American society in the work place, educational institutions, military, etc… But in matters of faith, ethnic heritage, moral standards, and social customs, they have maintained rather rigid separatism.
Likewise, in all aspects of our personal life choices such as
marriage, fraternal and social organizations, elementary and secondary educational institutions, and worship, the Church of Israel promotes and strongly believes that Separatism is absolutely essential to preserving the ethnic integrity as well as the faith of this church community. In regards to the work place, college and university classrooms, the military, shopping malls, voting precincts, and general participation in America’s free market system, the Church of Israel is fully and completely assimilated.
Many of the students graduating from our Academy and even from home school settings have distinguished themselves in the college and university classroom, graduate schools, the U.S. Military, privately owned businesses, and the work place at large.
The Doctrine of Separatism requires that participating members of the church/community known as the Church of Israel refrain from all vaccinations, tattoos of every kind, body piercing, nakedness, lewdness, miscegenation, fornication, adultery, pornography, and every form of sexual perversion including sodomy, pedophilia, voyeurism, and other forms of perversion. The church
holds firmly to the biblical definition of marriage being between one man and one woman of the same race—with no exceptions of any kind!