Will the Real Ephraim Please Stand Up?

by Harry Curley

There has been much speculation about the modern identity of the "lost ten tribes" of ancient Israel. When J. H. Allen wrote "Judah's Scepter and Joseph's Birthright", around the turn of the century, not all facts were in. He identified Great Britain as Ephraim because it seemed greater than the United States of America, which he identified as Manasseh. Herbert Armstrong's first book on the subject copied whole chapters of Allen's work and identified the countries the same way. Even up to World War II, Great Britain was a possible country to pick as "the greatest." After that war, the USA took the lead. Genesis 48:19 states:

He shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.

Great Britain became great, but truly, the United States became greater. Some have felt that the multitude of nations pointed to the British Empire. It only lasted a short while compared to man's history and is over with now. The United States, as its name describes, is a multitude or "union" of nation states. It was formed out of many colonies that all would have become their own nations, had they not joined together. California alone would be one of the top nations in the world, if it were a country by itself.

The nation with the larger population, the United States of America, must be Ephraim. "They are the ten thousands of Ephraim, And they are the thousands of Manasseh" (Deut 33:17).

Ephraim and Manasseh have a lot in common, but the Bible does point out some differences. Manasseh was split in two. The same is true today. England on one side of the globe. Australia and New Zealand on the other side. Manasseh got along better with Judah. That may explain why the throne of David is in England. What nation would you expect to say this:

What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents (1Kng 12:16).

Sounds a lot like "Taxation without representation". A typical American response. We have biblical examples of how Ephraim conducted himself in war, and present day examples of modern nations. Which country, Great Britain or United States, would be more likely to respond this way?

We have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings: let us, I pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save thy life (1Kng 20:31).

And they quickly grasped at this word and said, "Your brother Ben-Hadad. So he said, Go, bring him. Then Ben-Hadad came out to him; and he had him come up into the chariot (1Kng 20:33).

The USA is the only nation that treats its vanquished enemies as equals. That is not a British trait.

Also, once the British get involved in a war, they tend to finish it—the 1982 Falkland Islands war being a recent example. The United States of America sometimes gives up when it has the best weapons and could conquer its enemies (Korea, Viet Nam, Kuwait, etc.) Who does that in prophecy?

The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, Turned back in the day of battle (Pslm 78:9).

There is a difference between how a firstborn acts and how someone who is not a firstborn. Firstborn's often think they are "hot stuff." What others think of them is important to them. England and France both act like firstborns. The United States of America is not troubled by that, as long as they are "making a buck" on whatever is happening.

The United States of America looks to England like an older brother. Even though there is a respect there, the USA still "does its own thing." England acts with amazement on how its younger brother could take the lead in the world. You can detect that it kind of hurts her.

A lot of evidence connects Great Britain with the Birthright. Many feel this is proof that they are Ephraim. The facts are correct, but the conclusion could be wrong. Who is most interested in keeping family genealogy? The first born or the others? It is the first born of course. In this case, that would be Manasseh. For the more you can find to link Great Britain with Joseph, the more you prove she is Manasseh and not Ephraim.

Mislabeling Ephraim prevents prophecy from being fully understood. Many think that England will go to Germany for money at the end time. Although it is not the "picture of prosperity", it is solvent. It is the USA that has set all world records for debt.

When Ephraim saw his sickness, And Judah saw his wound. Then Ephraim went to Assyria and sent to King Jareb; Yet he cannot cure you, Nor heal you of your wound (Hos 5:13).

Germany might be able to bail out England with pocket cash, but the United States is a different matter. America is going so deep into debt that even Germany can not help.

What makes a nation great? Take your pick, and the United States comes out ahead of Great Britain:


Habitable Land Size

Raw Materials

Total Wealth

Military Power

High Technology

Even in conquests: Great Britain has Mt. Everest, but the United States has the Moon.

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