Manasseh and The United States
By Rev. Joseph Wild, D. D.
Extracts from a pamphlet published by the Reverend Joseph Wild in 1882. This is one of the most famous pieces published by the British-Israel movement. We reprint it here for your reading enjoyment. Wild is also widely known for his “The Ten Lost Tribes,” 1883, London: Robert Banks, Printer, Racquet Court, Fleet Street, E.C.
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No one interested in the course of human events can reasonably afford to be indifferent of the history of the United States, for in the future history of the world, this country has to play a prominent and successful part…For the past century the population has been doubled every twenty-five years:… The tyrannies and intolerance of the past make us blush for our sires, because their opportunities were so grand and the results so feeble…
FOR WHOM DID GOD INTEND THIS COUNTRY?
and what is the Divine ideal belonging to it? in answering these two questions we will need to go back to the beginning of our race, not simply to the Pilgrims and Puritans, but back still, for these folks were Pilgrims and Puritans before they came to this country… These people had their own ideas very distinctly defined politically, socially, and religiously, and they were to the rest of England as offensive as their ideas were distinct. But whence came their ideas, and how came they to be distinct? Divine adaptation reigns through all known creation… Primary differences respond to nature and Providence, and in this they make known to us the intentions [of the] Creator, both through man and beast.
The Pilgrims and Puritans stand for a peculiar character, a regular sui generis, a character who in form and habit, in speech and manners, and in ideals and practice, is in some degree in contrast with the rest of mankind. But again we ask, How came he by these distinct traits?… ”God speaks once, yea, twice, and man perceiveth it not”. The great and mighty rivers…have their rise and origin far back inland… A knowledge of the beginning enables us to analyse the waters, forecast the course, and see the end. So a knowledge of
will enable us to judge more correctly of our work and place among the nations. A true conception of the beginning will give us a prospective view of our destiny and end.
Let us travel back… to the place of our birth…back some 3,500 years… About this time Egypt was great and prosperous, well versed in astronomy, agriculture, architecture, and sociology. There are two kings on the same throne- Pharaoh and Joseph. This Joseph had risen to power and honour from the humble position of a slave. He was the eleventh son of the Hebrew Patriarch Jacob, and the first-born of Rachel, his beloved wife.
His father and brethren were sojourning with him at this time. He had married into the priestly family of Potiphera, by taking for his wife, Asenath. Joseph was known in Egypt by the name of Zaphnath-paaneah, which meant the revealer of secrets. Of his children, two sons are brought to special notice. Let us now repair to the death-bed of the venerable Patriarch Jacob, and listen to the benedictions given and prophecies uttered. He first recounts to Joseph how God had appeared to him at a place called Luz, and how and what the Almighty had promised to him and his seed after him.
Then he says, “Thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee in Egypt are mine: as Reuben and Simeon, they are mine”. These two grandsons the old Patriarch adopted, making them joint-heirs with his own sons. It is very important that we thoroughly understand the nature of this will, what it contains as to time, men, and things, and what the distinction was with respect to Ephraim and Manasseh. Having ascertained this, we must then follow in
THE FOOTSTEPS OF EPHRAIM AND MANASSEH
on the line of history relative thereto, to see if the said will has been executed and fulfilled. the whole will was entailed, even to the end of time, in the bounds of the tribe. it was tribable in its clauses- that is, what was said to each of the twelve sons as well as to Ephraim and Manasseh was to descend to the Tribe, and belong to the Tribe, and be characteristic of the Tribe. This is even true of the children of the concubines of Jacob…
Take for an illustration the case of Ishmael, the brother of Isaac, and son of Abraham; indeed the first-born of Abraham, and we find that the Angel of the Lord said concerning him: “And he shall be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren” (Gen. xvi.12). Now it will be apparent to all that such a prediction was tribal and national. It is not only Ishmael that will be wild and free, but that his descendants will be. Ishmael will re-live and re-appear in his seed after him. And will one conversant at all with history deny that these preditions have been literally fulfilled, even to this day? The …Arab… is proud to claim Ishmael as his father. Will any one be bold enough to claim that the angelic predictions touching Ishmael should be spiritualised? Nay, verily not, because the land and the people are literal facts which none can hide away or truthfully deny…
Remembering these facts, let us examine
THE WILL OF JACOB MADE TO EPHRAIM AND MANASSEH
but with special reference to Manasseh. The language of Scripture recording the same is inimitable… Genesis 48;8-22:
“And Israel beheld Joseph’s sons, and said, Who are these?
“And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God has given me in this place, And he said, Bring them, I pray you, unto me, and I will bless them.
“Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and he embraced them.
“And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see your face; and lo, God has shewed me also your seed.
“And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.
“And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand towards Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand towards Israel’s right hand, and brought them near unto him.
“And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his
hand wittingly; for Manasseh was the first-born.
“And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long until this day,
“The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.
“And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head.
“And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father; for this is the first-born; put thy right hand upon his head.
“And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.
“And he blessed them that day, saying, In you shall Israel bless, saying, God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh, and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.
“And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die; but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.
“Moreover I have given to, you one portion above your brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword, and with my bow. (Genesis 48;8-22).
Here, I believe, we have the origin of the American nation; here we have welded out the first Puritan…And as in Ishmael and Esau’s case, we find a literalness, so in this case.…
The old Patriarch was evidently guided by Heaven in blessing the lads. It was not the will of Joseph that Ephraim should precede Manasseh. Joseph
tried to rectify it, he made objection, and tried to change the hands of his father. The old Patriarch had crossed his hands, and in that position they made a cross, what is now called St. Andrew’s cross. You will also see that if you fold the cross together from the center, you have the shape of the Pyramid. The St. Andrew’s cross is nearly like the letter X. A portion of the Scotch are from Joseph, hence their plaid of many colours and the St.
Andrew’s cross. You will observe that Joseph put his two sons in the right
position , before his father – namely, Manasseh, his oldest son, on the right hand , and Ephraim, the youngest on the left hand – but Jacob’s crossing his hands changed the whole purpose of Joseph. Nor would the old Patriarch yield, though importuned by Joseph to do so. There surely was a Providence in the whole proceeding. The birthright, and preference, and pre-eminence was given to Ephraim. We should remember that Ephraim became
the representative of all national and political blessing, for he not only was set before Manasseh, but he was set before Rueben, the first-born of the twelve sons, as we read in 1 Chron. v.1.:”Now the sons of Reuben, the first-born of Israel (for he was the first-born, but forasmuch as he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph, the son of Israel; and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the
birthright was Joseph’s).”
The plain meaning of this passage is, that all political blessings will flow down through Joseph’s sons; they will have most liberty, and be the most prosperous of the nations of the earth; in them all the nations of the earth will be blessed temporarily… in Judah all the nations of the earth will be blessed spiritually. The inference is
clearly this, that if England stands for Ephraim, and the United States for Manasseh, why then politically, they must be superior to all other nations.
Other nations must get better as they imitate and practise after England and America. Through Judah was to come the best Saviour and best religion… The religion from Judah, and political freedom of Ephraim and Manasseh, will very generally go hand in hand. The temporal blessings falling to Ephraim and Manasseh as representatives are, that Ephraim was to be a nation and company of nations… while
MANASSEH IS A PEOPLE AND A GREAT
And as recorded in Deut. xxxiii. 17, “His glory is like the firstlings of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns; with them he shall push the people together unto the ends of the earth; and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh”. This very thing these two nations have done and are doing.
To better comprehend what follows, let me state a few facts preparatory: About B.C. 980, the kingdom of Israel was divided; nine tribes went off and formed what is afterwards called the kingdom of Israel. Their first king was Jeroboam, their last was Hoshea. This kingdom continued about 250 years. They were carried captive into Assyria about B.C. 725… The Tribes are called the Ten Lost Tribes. The other part of the whole kingdom of Israel contained the Tribes of Judah, Levi, and Benjamin. It was called the kingdom of Judah.
Ever after this the Jews and Israelites were a distinct people, and have remained so to this day… The Tribes were to disappear from view for a time, then come to the fore as inheritors of… blessings. and they and the Jews are to be joined together in the latter days. The Jews have never been lost… Their history and course through the ages is very different from that of Israel.… the Saxon race are these Ten Lost Tribes. Among them was hid this Tribe of Manasseh, and as the prophecies began to fulfill on the line of Ephraim, so it would naturally follow that those having reference to Manasseh would. As pointed out by the prophets, the home of Israel, when coming to view, would be in some islands, for in the islands they were to rest and renew their strength.
These islands we take to be the British. The place would, after resting,…get too narrow for them, hence they will throw off the surplus by emigration. But they are first to lose some of their own children – namely the Manassehites: “The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me, give place to me that I may dwell” (Isa. xlix. 19). Now God had in reserve this country for them, for, geographically speaking, the whole world is laid out in reference to Israel. “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. xxxii; 8). This same idea is frequently set forth in the Divine Book… the settlement of America was neither accidental as to time nor persons.
MANASSEH’S BIRTH TIME OF A SEPARATION
drew near, he began to get restless; and that his brethren might see him and he learn to know his own, Providence permitted them to come to the surface under Cromwell, and for several years Manasseh stood forth in separate character. The people asked Cromwell to be their king, for as yet they knew not the grand purpose of Providence; he refused, well he might, for this people are to choose their rulers from among themselves, and their nobles and governors are to proceed from the midst of them, as the prophets had foretold. This English Cromwell was only a successor of Gideon and Jephthah and other democratic leaders of the Tribe of Manasseh.
When this Tribe was first settled , they were divided in their own land ; half of them stayed on the East of the Jordan and took to farming, the other half preferred exploring and trading. They had a great desire for more land- a desire natural to Americans to this day. They complained to Joshua saying, “Why hast thou given me but one lot, and but one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people?” And Joshua told them if they were a great people to go and clear land for themselves and drive out the giants from the mountains and wooded country of the Perizzites. And again “Joshua spake unto the House of Joseph, even to Ephraim and Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great power, and hast great power ; thou shalt not have one lot, only” (Josh. xvii. 17)… What people on the face of the earth can say as naturally as we can, “We are a great people”?
It is in this Tribe, too, that we find the first Woman’s Rights movement. The daughters of Zelphehad petitioned the State Council for the privilege to vote. No wonder that the Woman’s Rights Movement should be so prominent amongst us. You will remember that Manasseh counted as a Tribe, made thirteen Tribes. So when he settles down to real independence and distinction , he federates thirteen States. He represents these symbolically by thirteen white stars in a field of blue, to signify that they were under Heaven’s protection. He chooses the eagle as his bird of symbolism. This bird formed one of the four faces of the cherubim. And the Almighty often reminded His children that He had cared for them as the eagle cared for its young. When the Twelve Tribes were camped in four squares, the banners outside of the battalions presented the face of a man, ox, eagle, and lion…
Let any one examine
THE GREAT SEAL OF THE UNITED STATES,
and study its design… facts, providence, and prophecies do so wonderfully agree. Take the obverse side. Here you have an eagle… in its beak a scroll, inscribed with a motto, “E pluribus Unum.” One out of many, as Manasseh was… and as the country is building up a grand nationality and oneness… But it is on the reverse side of the Great Seal that we have a wonder. Here we have an unfinished pyramid… exactly the same as the Great Pyramid in Egypt is at this day………(Isa. xix. 19): “In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of Hosts in the land of Egypt.” Now it is somewhat singular that the Congress of 1782 should have adopted so remarkable a sign, one that would witness to God and tell of their origin. The reverse side is the underside , and shows from whence the nation came, and on what it is built… The suggestions of items upon the Great Seal were from St.John Prestwich, Bart, an Englishman. He gave the suggestions to the American Minister, John Adams, and thence the same were conveyed to Congress and adopted.
…When the Tribes marched, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh went together, on the West side of the ark, for their homes were Westward. On their battalion banner was the figure of a youth…
…The word Manasseh in Hebrew is Nenasseh, from Nasshane, and means forgetting. So England and America will be friends, for Manasseh will forget and forgive.
And at the same time Ephraim at Waterloo conquered a world’s peace, changed the course and destiny of nations. Ephraim calls us brother Jonathan. All the other colonies are called sisters. Jonathan was of Benjamin. We speak of ourselves as a people. We begin our laws of enactment “We, the people of the United States.” How Manasseh-like it is ! Other nations legislate by the name of their rulers or the name of their nation. We called England, John Bull, the very thing that Ephraim was compared to in the Bible. Ephraim was spoken of as an heifer, and this word in Hebrew is Engle. Of him it was said he should go forth and grow as calves in the stalls—Ka Engli.
The division of the Tribe away back, accounts for the difference between the Pilgrims and Puritans, between the North and South. When we remember that Manasseh was deprived of his birthright, it is no wonder that he set his face against kings, titles, and monarchical forms of government. This disposition was handed down.
To know our destiny, we must study the prophecies relating to Manasseh… When the Tribes return to occupy, by representation, Palestine, we find Manasseh has her lot and place. I can only wish that the glorious truth committed to our keeping may be cherished, and that we, as a nation, may work out our God-assigned task. The future has work and some trouble in reserve, but if we are faithful… we need fear no evil…