On March 18, 2014, in the wake of the Ukraine crisis and the Crimean vote to rejoin Russia, The Times of Israel published a parody on its opinion page based on the fact that most Israeli people—mostly from Eastern Europe—are descended from the Khazars, rather than from Abraham.
The basic facts, of course, were correct. The parody was in their use of the facts, reporting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to be interested in “reverse Zionism,” that is, resettling Jews in the Ukraine and Crimea, parts of which formed their original homeland of Khazaria.
Included in the article were authentic maps showing the existence of Khazaria, including one from 1841 (below)
There have been many individuals over the centuries who have converted to Judaism. There are millions of Falashi Jews who are black-skinned. There are Chinese Jews and Japanese Jews, as well as others who are of various shades of color. But the most important are the Khazar Jews, whose ancestors converted to Judaism about 640 A.D. These alone form about 85-95% of today’s Jews.
Of course, the Jews have engaged in a long-running dispute whether they are a race or a religion. Those who believe in a “Jewish race” find themselves undone by the Khazar conversion to Judaism, since the Khazars were not descendants of Israel or Judah at all.
Others, who understand that many Jews are descendants of converts from other ethnicities and races, have a more plausible argument that Jewish identity is religious, not racial. However, since most Christians are unaware of the multi-racial complexion of those claiming Jewish identity, they continue to believe (as I was raised to believe) that the Jews are the purest race on earth.
The Times article says, “In 2012, Israeli researcher, Eran Elhaik published a study claiming to prove that Khazar ancestry is the single largest element in the Ashkenazi gene pool.” Eran Elhaik is a geneticist at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. His DNA studies show that the vast majority of the world’s Jews—those from Eastern Europe—did not originate in Palestine, nor were they genetically descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but were converts to Judaism around 640 A.D.
The Rhineland Hypothesis
In previous years the origins of Eastern European Jewry were theorized as a 7th century migration of Jews from Palestine after the Muslim conquered that territory. It was called the Rhineland Hypothesis.
The Rhineland Hypothesis has been the favoured explanation for the origins of present-day European Jews, until now. In this scenario Jews descended from Israelite-Canaanite tribes left the Holy Land for Europe in the 7th century, following the Muslim conquest of Palestine. Then, in the beginning of the 15th century, a group of approximately 50,000 left Germany, the Rhineland, for the east. There they maintained high endogamy, and despite wars, persecution, disease, plagues, and economic hardships, their population expanded rapidly to around 8 million in the 20th century. Due to the implausibility of such an event, this rapid expansion was explained by Prof Harry Ostrer, Dr Gil Atzmon, and colleagues as a miracle. Under the Rhineland Hypothesis, European Jews would be very similar to each other and would have a predominant Middle Eastern ancestry….
Elhaik's findings strongly support the Khazarian Hypothesis, as opposed to the Rhineland Hypothesis, of European Jewish origins.
The Old Covenant Factor
Having known about the Khazar conversion since the 1970’s, I have since that time maintained that the Jews are more of a religion than a race. In fact, biblical evidence shows that many non-ethnic Israelites became part of Israel even from the beginning. Further, Isaiah 56:5-8 declares plainly that foreigners were allowed to worship God at the temple and even to come into the same covenant relation-ship with God.
However, today there are secular Jews who claim no religion at all, and many are even atheists, but yet they are accepted in the nation of “Israel” as Jewish citizens. So Jews are accepted today regardless of genealogy or religion.
In my view, the most important factor is that Judaism retains hope in the Old Covenant, not understanding that it became obsolete after it was broken (Heb. 8:13). Hence, when the Khazars accepted Judaism, they attached themselves to a covenant that could not save them, nor did it put them into a valid covenant relationship with the God of the Bible.
The only way to enjoy a valid covenant relationship with God is by the New Covenant, which requires that people place their faith in the Mediator of that covenant—Jesus. This is not a matter of race or genealogy, for even ethnic Israelites cannot claim a covenant relationship with God apart from placing their faith in Jesus Christ.
DNA Science Proves Ashenazi Jews are Khazars
The Jewish Encyclopedia tells how the Khazars, a Turkish-Mongolian nation, converted to Judaism about 740-800 A.D. Many Jews scoffed at the idea, even after Jewish author, Arthur Koestler, drew attention to this portion of Jewish history in his 1976 book, The Thirteenth Tribe. But then in 2012, using the new gene science, the DNA results came in, proving that Koestler was right after all. The Times of Israel reported this in its parody:
Most recently, left-wing Israeli historian Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People took Koestler’s thesis in a direction he had not intended, arguing that because Jews were a religious community descended from converts they do not constitute a nation or need a state of their own. Scientists, however, dismissed the Khazar hypothesis because the genetic evidence did not add up. Until now. In 2012, Israeli researcher Eran Elhaik published a study claiming to prove that Khazar ancestry is the single largest element in the Ashkenazi gene pool. Sand declared himself vindicated, and progressive organs such as Haaretz and The Forward trumpeted the results.
So far so good. Shlomo Sand is a professor of history at the University of Tel Aviv, and he did indeed write a book about this. The title of his book is more accurately titled, When and How Was the Jewish People Invented? The vindication of Shlomo Sand’s view is true. But the Times then begins its parody by saying,
Israel seems finally to have thrown in the towel. A blue-ribbon team of scholars from leading research institutions and museums has just issued a secret report to the government, acknowledging that European Jews are in fact Khazars.
All Jews who wish to return would be welcomed back without condition as citizens, the more so if they take part in the promised infusion of massive Israeli military assistance, including troops, equipment, and construction of new bases. If the initial transfer works, other West Bank settlers would be encouraged to relocate to Ukraine, as well. After Ukraine, bolstered by this support, reestablishes control over all its territory, the current Autonomous Republic of Crimea would once again become an autonomous Jewish domain. The small-scale successor to the medieval empire of Khazaria (as the peninsula, too, was once known) would be called, in Yiddish, Chazerai [which means “trash”].
Prime Minister Netanyahu is supposedly interested in a reverse immigration policy. It is a plan for the Khazars to retake their old homeland—the Ukraine, and particularly the Crimea!
Although it is certain that Jews would never adopt a Reverse Zionism vision, the parody seems to suggest that the Jewish settlements on Palestinian land could be resolved by resettling them in the Crimea. Since those settlers are fanatical about reclaiming their homeland, then let them move to Crimea—their real homeland!
While the Khazar conversion may be well known in Jewish circles, it is certainly not well known in Christian circles. Such knowledge would discredit Christian Zionism’s main premise that the Jewish “return” to the old land of Israel is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel. If Zionism is more of a Khazar invasion-by-immigration event, coming largely from Russia and Ukraine in the north, then Zionism is more likely the fulfillment of the great invasion prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39. In other words, Zionism is actually the invasion of Gog and Magog, not the return of Israel to a former homeland.
The Story of the Khazar Conversion
In chapter 15 of my book, The Struggle for the Birthright, I gave some history of the Khazars, quoting from various Jewish sources the story of the Khazar conversion to Judaism 1,200 years ago. I wrote:
The Jewish Encyclopedia, under the heading of “Chazars,” says this about them:
“A people of Turkish origin whose life and history are interwoven with the very beginnings of the history of the Jews of Russia. The kingdom of the Chazars was firmly established in most of South Russia long before the foundation of the Russian monarchy by the Varangians (855). Jews have lived on the shores of the Black and Caspian seas since the first centuries of the common era. Historical evidence points to the region of the Ural as the home of the Chazars. Among the classical writers of the Middle Ages they were known as the ‘Chozars,’ ‘Khazirs,’ ‘Akatzirs,’ and ‘Akatirs,’ and in the Russian chronicles as ‘Khwalisses’ and ‘Ugry Byelyye’.”
Later, The Jewish Encyclopedia speaks about the Khazar (Chazar) conversion to Judaism:
“It was probably about that time that the chaghan [king] of the Chazars and his grandees, together with a large number of his heathen people, embraced the Jewish religion. According to A. Harkavy (‘Meassef Niddahim,’ i.), the conversion took place in 620; according to others, in 740. King Joseph, in his letter to Hasdai ibn Shaprut (about 960), gives the following account of the conversion . . .
“Some centuries ago King Bulan reigned over the Chazars. To him God appeared in a dream and promised him might and glory. Encouraged by this dream, Bulan went by the road of Darlan to the country of Ardebil, where he gained great victories [over the Arabs]. The Byzantine emperor and the calif of the Ishmaelites sent to him envoys with presents, and sages to convert him to their respective religions. Bulan invited also wise men of Israel, and proceeded to examine them all. As each of the champions believed his religion to be the best, Bulan separately questioned the Mohammedans and the Christians as to which of the other two religions they considered the better. When both gave preference to that of the Jews, that king perceived that it must be the true religion. He therefore adopted it.”
Biblical Origins of the Khazars
I also showed the origin of the Ashkenazim, that is, the Eastern European Jews, as distinct from the Sephardic, or “Spanish,” Jews. The Sephardic Jews trace their origin to Judea before they were expelled from the land in their wars with the Romans.
The Ashkenazi originate long before Abraham was born. Genesis 10:2, 3 says that Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah were the sons of Gomer, son of Japheth. Since all Semitic people take their name from Shem, this indicates that the children of Ashkenaz are not even Semitic!
Hence, Arthur Koestler writes in his book, The Thirteenth Tribe, that King Joseph of the Khazars wrote a letter in 960 A.D. to a Jewish doctor in Cordova, Spain. He had heard of a Jewish Kingdom somewhere north of the Black Sea, and so he sent a courier with a letter to its king. In it the king speaks of the genealogy of his people:
“Joseph then proceeds to provide a genealogy of his people. Though a fierce Jewish nationalist, proud of wielding the ‘Sceptre of Judah’, he cannot, and does not, claim for them Semitic descent; he traces their ancestry not to Shem, but to Noah’s third son, Japheth; or more precisely to Japheth’s grandson, Togarma, the ancestor of all Turkish tribes. ‘We have found in the family registers of our fathers,’ Joseph asserts boldly, ‘that Togarma had ten sons, and the names of their offspring are as follows: Uigur, Dursu, Avars, Huns, Basilii, Tarniakh, Khazars, Zagora, Bulgars, Sabir. We are the sons of Khazar, the seventh . . .”
From this letter, quoted often by Jewish historians, the Khazars are identified specifically as being descended from Togarma, the brother of Ashkenaz. We read in Gen. 10:2, 3,
2 The sons of Japheth were Gomer and Magog and Madai and Javan and Tubal and Meshech and Tiras. 3 And the sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz and Riphath and Togarmah.
Togarma is listed also in Ezekiel 38:2, 6 as being allied with his father Gomer and his uncles (Magog, Meshech, and Tubal) in their invasion of “the mountains of Israel.” Far from being of the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, these are the prophesied enemies of the nation of Israel.
Fulfilling Ezekiel’s Prophecy
Christian Zionists, not knowing this aspect of Jewish history, have assumed from the beginning that the Jews were Israelites and that the Russians were the invaders prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39. But Jewish history itself shows that the invaders would not be Russians themselves, but Khazars from Russia and Eastern Europe in general.
In other words, just because the invaders came down from the north does not make them ethnic Russians. Because they had been conquered by ethnic Russians many centuries earlier and had been incorporated into Russia, they were part of the territory of Russia, while retaining their identity as Jews.
If you are a Christian Zionist, I can sympathize with your dilemma. I too was raised in the Church as an ardent supporter of Zionism, holding all the views that Zionists today believe. But I was fortunate to read books that the Church never recommended, including the Jewish Encyclopedia (See Chazars), which proved that I had been misled for many years in regard to the identity of ethnic Israelites and the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 and 39.
The prophet tells us that the utter destruction of Gog, Magog, and Togarma will occur in the end (Ezekiel 39:9, 17). Verse 17 is referenced in Revelation 19:17, 18, showing that this will occur at the end of the present age. When the moment of truth arrives, Christians will be forced to recognize that most of the Zionists, coming from Eastern Europe, were actually fulfilling the prophecies of Togarma, Meshech, and Tubal.
My hope, of course, is that some will take heed to my words and leave the danger zone. One’s ethnicity identity in Adam does not doom anyone to fulfill the prophecies of his nation. One can always change citizenship to the Kingdom of God. In this case one must accept the New Covenant and its Mediator and be begotten as a new creature in Christ.
The Sephardic Jews
Sephardic Jews trace their descent from the Jews who were expelled from Judea or taken into slavery as the result of their revolt against Rome. Most estimates say that they constitute 5-15% of world Jewry today.
These are the remnants of the Judean nation destroyed in 70 A.D. and again in 135 A.D. They are the ones who are destined to fulfill Jesus’ prophecies during His ministry in Judea. Perhaps the most important prophecy is that of the fig tree which Jesus cursed for its lack of fruit (Matt. 21:19). This curse came at the end of a four-year “visitation,” or divine investigation that was begun under John the Baptist. John looked for fruit but found none. After he was killed, Jesus continued the investigation and likewise found leaves but no fruit on the fig tree of Judea.
As a result, the fig tree was cursed, and it withered by the following day. Later, Jesus gave further revelation that this fig tree was to bring forth more leaves, telling us in Matt. 24:32-34,
32 Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33 even so you too, when you see all these things, you know that summer is near. 34 Truly I say to you, this generation [genea, “genealogy, offspring, race”] will not pass away until all these things take place.
Jesus was saying that the Judeans would not pass away before their nation would return to life as the fig tree. In 1948 the sap began to flow into that tree once again, and it bore more leaves. However, leaves were the reason Jesus cursed the fig tree in the first place. Fig leaves have also been a problem since Adam and Eve used them to try to cover themselves and justify their sin (Gen. 3:7).
For this reason, the nation calling itself “Israel” is really the revived nation of Judah, which has been given a final opportunity to bear the fruit that God requires of His people. Jesus said that no fruit would ever grow from that tree again, so it is not surprising that Matt. 24:32 speaks only of more leaves. The tree cannot bear fruit without proving Jesus to be a false prophet.
In fact, this prophecy is Jesus’ explanation of what He said two verses earlier (Matt. 24:30), when He said, “the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn.”
While many have interpreted this to mean that the Jews will repent when they see Christ coming in the sky, it actually has the opposite meaning. The Greek word phula that is translated “tribes” has a double meaning. It means “tribe, race, class” when applied to people, but it also means “leaves,” which are extensions of a tree. Hence, we speak of family trees, where individuals are branches or “leaves.”
Likewise, the Greek word translated “mourn,” is kopto, which literally means “cut from” or “cut off.” Jesus’ words, then, have a double meaning: (1) the tribes of the earth will mourn, or be undone; and (2) the leaves of the earth will be cut off.
That is the context of Matt. 24:32, where we read of the fig tree bringing forth more leaves. The leaves will be cut off again in the final destruction of Jerusalem on account of its inability or refusal to bring forth fruit. In like manner, the ethnic tribes of the earth, who do not bear fruit through Jesus Christ, will also mourn, for they will be cut off once again.
The Old Covenant is more pervasive than most realize. It is not a question of being obedient to the law, but where we place our faith. If our faith is in our ability to keep the vow that the Israelites took, then our faith is in vain, for all have sinned (violated the law).
But if our faith is in God’s ability to keep His promises, oaths, and vows, as demonstrated by Christ’s death and resurrection, then our faith will bear fruit. The law is the character of God, and as we demonstrate His character, we see evidence of the fruit that He is bringing forth in us.
The law, based on love, prophesies what we shall be like when God is finished with us. It begins when the Holy Spirit begets Christ in us, and it ends when we are fully birthed.