The History of Nations

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, July 19, 2018 0 comments

by Steve Risner

As we continue our look at the Table of Nations, the Tower of Babel, and where people groups come from today, I wanted to touch on how this list of people is connected to the people groups of the world. There are some extra-biblical resources we can draw from here. As I stated in my last blog post, there are a great number of people and people groups listed in Genesis 10-11 and some of them we have no knowledge of other than what the Bible tells us. However, that was true for many more people groups in the not too distant past. There have been several groups unknown to us save the Bible's reference to them until finds in the area where they allegedly lived reveals that, once again, we see the Bible is accurate. Let's take a look at a few of these people groups, though there are just too many for us to investigate all of them fully.

One amazing resource to view on this topic is the ancient historian Josephus. He was a Jewish man charged with writing a history of the Jewish people for his Roman captors. What's amazing is how he beautifully connects many of the people groups mentioned in Genesis 10-11 with people groups that lived around him at the time of his writings. What an excellent resource and an excellent confirmation of Biblical history.

Josephus frequently relates the land area the people settled in, who their founder was (which generally corresponded to the name of the people), and their Greek name if it was different. For example, the Canaanites were descendants of Canaan, Israelites were descendants of Israel, Elamites were descendants of Elam, Cushites were descendants of Cush, etc. He references Japheth and his sons as well. Japheth’s son Gomer founded the Gomerites, and Josephus says they are now called by the Greeks the Galls. These, if you recall, are who Paul wrote to in his letter called Galatians. Japheth's son Magog founded the Magogites, who were known by the Greeks as “Sythians.” Japheth's son Madai was the founder of the Medes. The Medes are known for their part in the Medo-Persian Empire and are now commonly referred to as Iranians. Javan, another of Japheth's sons, was the founder of the Greeks and later the Britons. I'll discuss the history of that and a larger area in more detail further down in this writing. Thiras was the founder of the “Thracians” who are now represented in Scandinavia. Egyptian writings from as early as 1300 BC reference these people, calling them the Tarusha. The Greek historian Herodotus also mentions them. He wrote about 425 BC. From the name Thiras, the Norse people took the name “Thor” and worshiped him as a god. I'll touch more on that later as well.

Now Gomer's son Ashkenaz was the founder of the Ashkenazians. These are now known as the Germans. It stands to reason, possibly, that the Angles and the Saxons (commonly known together as the Anglo-Saxons) migrated to Britain and became part of the people from today's Great Britain along with Javan's descendants. England's name comes from the Angles. A son of Javan, Tarshish, founded the Tarshians and the city we know Paul was from—Tarsus. There are many more examples of Japheth's descendants, but, again, I cannot go into great detail with them all. I would like to look further at Britain.

The history of Britain and her ancestors is, to me, very interesting stuff. There are very large amounts of historical documentation supporting the fact that the people of this area—a variety of rival groups who frequently hated each other—independently trace their lineage back to Japheth and/or Noah. These documents predate the Christianization of these people groups. Let's look more closely at this.

There are six different Anglo-Saxon people groups that trace their lineage back to Woden (aka Oden), and we know from very old records that Woden traced his lineage back to Japheth and Noah. The name Japheth in the local languages was Sceaf or Seskef. There are Icelandic, Danish, and Norwegian records going back to Japheth as well, corroborating each other. These genealogies do not perfectly reflect each other. Some include names others do not and so on. However, there are striking similarities and the names that are similar can not only be matched with the Biblical record, but they are in the same order from one people's list to another. These lists all include the infamous Brutus for whom the Island of Britain and its people were named. To me, again, this is all very fascinating. The fact that genealogies extend back to a man named Japheth or Noah in societies that have, seemingly, no connection to the Judeo-Christian faith is striking!

Some argue these genealogies are forgeries. To that, a sort of silly accusation really, I say, “By whom?” What would be the point of all of these diverse people groups, who were frequently rivals or even hated each other, claiming to all trace their heritage back to the same people? And the fact that there are slight differences, to me, helps confirm they were not forged. The fact that some lists end with Japheth (or his local language equivalent) rather than Noah also tells me it wasn't out of some zeal to make the Bible look true by local Christianized people. In fact, as I've stated, these lists predate the Christianization of this area. Many of the people in these lists were noted for their barbarism and their adherence to pagan rituals. Iceland was founded by Vikings. I don't believe anyone would argue that the Vikings, Norwegian or Danish, were Christians, especially at the time of Iceland's colonization. There's really no merit, that I can discover, to such an accusation—that of these lineages being doctored to appear to demonstrate Biblical truth. Are there other people groups that find their heritage going back to Japheth? Yes!

The Miautso Chinese people, who do not consider themselves to be “true” Chinese, are an intriguing find. They once covered much of inland China, but, over time, according to their traditions, were pushed further and further out and into the mountains of the southwest. When Christian missionaries arrived to share the Gospel with them, they were surprised to find a very similar historical account in the Miautso oral traditions to the creation and Flood accounts found in the Bible, including a story about the Tower of Babel. You can find a translation of this oral history here.

The similarities between their traditions and the historical accounts found in God's Word are amazing. They trace their ancestry to a man named “Dirt.” The first man, Adam, has a name that sounds very much like the Hebrew word for “earth” or “ground.” Sounds a lot like dirt, right? “Dirt's” son was Se-teh. In the Bible, Adam's son was Seth. See the similarities? Further down the lineage, we see a man named Lama. This resembles the name of Lamech. Lamech's son, according to the Bible, was Noah. The Miautso name Lama's son as Nuah. This, to me, is remarkable. And Nuah's sons were Lo Shen, Lo Han, and Lo Jah-phu. These names are remarkably similar to Shem, Ham and Japheth. Lo Jah-phu had a son named Go-men which is the Biblical Gomer. They detail how Lo Han's (Ham's) sons were Cusah (Cush in the Bible) and Mesay (Mizraim in the Bible). They also have in their tradition that Lo Shen's (Shem's) sons were Elan (Elam in the Bible) and Nga-shur (Asshur in the Bible who was the founder of the Assyrians). The Miautso go on to say that several of these families that were present in China became the Miautso while a minority intermingled with the invading Chinese. You can read up on the Miautso Chinese here and here or do some of your own digging. The second link there is to a small portion of Bill Cooper's “After the Flood” which I highly recommend. You can read the book in its entirety online here.

There is a great deal more to say on this topic but obviously I can't get into all the details in a short blog post. I recommend reading this paper on Japheth and Britain. You can also check out this link for the lineage to the Swedes.

The evidence here really solidly supports the historical accounts found in Scripture. There are no rebuttals I have found that seem to have any merit at all, and they generally show nothing more than desperation to reject the Biblical account. If these genealogies are correct and they represent the foundations of all the people groups in the world, then this makes the global Flood of Noah's day true history. It also means God hates sin and desires more from us. It also means the lineages found in Scripture can easily trace for us a timeline back to, at the very least, Noah but really just as easily to Adam who was created on day six of the creation week—also necessarily true if the Table of Nations is accurate. God's Word will always prove worthy of the respect and honor it's due.

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