The Scottish Thistle – a Symbol of Judah?
The ‘Thistle’ has for many centuries been a Royal Symbol associated with the Kings of Scotland. The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, the Scottish order of knighthood whole modern period dates from King James VII of Scotland (James II of England), who revived it in 1687, and Queen Ann, who revived it again in 1703. As with many orders of chivalry, its origins go back much further in time. Some legends relate that King Achaius founded the Order in 809 to commemorate an alliance with Emperor Charlemagne. There is some credibility to this story given the fact that Charlemagne did employ Scottish bodyguards. The foundation of this Order has been variously attributed to King David I of Scots in the 12th century, whilst later King James III created an order of knighthood using the thistle as a royal emblem. The Thistle emblem was first shown on silver coins dated 1474 during his reign. There are indications that it had been used as the personal badge of the Scottish sovereigns during previous reigns. It seems that ever since that time the ‘thistle’ has become uniquely associated with the Royal House of Stewart. As is the case with many other royal emblems the authorities of heraldry are at a loss to explain the origin of the ‘thistle’ as the pre-eminent heraldic device for Scotland. *1)
Membership of the Order established in 1687 comprised the Scottish sovereign and eight knights. Queen Anne subsequently increased the number of knights to twelve, and in 1827 the number was raised to 16, which is the current number. The Orders primary emblem is the thistle, the national flower of Scotland. The motto of the Order is: “Nemo me impune lacessit,” which means “No one provokes me with impunity!” It is also the motto of all Scottish regiments, although more popularly rendered as: “Wha daur meddle wi me?”*2)
Historians and expert researchers in heraldry have to date not been able to come up with a definitive answer as the actual origins of this thistle emblem in the royal history of Scotland. They simply have not been able to pin it down. Why the thistle, a plant many associate with a weed. Why create an Order of Chivalry around this weed and appoint knights to it? Why is this humble thistle associated with royalty? You even find it represented not only in the Royal Arms of Scotland but also in the Royal Coat-of-Arms of the United Kingdom.
Once again it is only when we turn to the Bible that we discover the answer to the mystery. Israel’s history book (the Bible) records furious animosity between King Amaziah of Judah and King Joash of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in which the King of Judah challenges the King of Israel to battle. King Joash responds by sending Amaziah, the King of Judah a sarcastic and most arrogant reply in which he refers to himself rather arrogantly as a Cedar of Lebanon (the king of all trees), whilst at the same time referring to the King of Judah as a ‘Thistle,’ ( a prickly weed). He goes on to say that a wild beast is going to trample the ‘Thistle.’ (2 Chronicles 25:18 & 2 Kings 14:9)
Subsequently, in the inevitable battle that ensued, Amaziah, the King of Judah was taken captive and his armies suffered a terrible defeat at the hands of Israel. His enemy King Joash, King of Israel, broke down the walls of Jerusalem and took all the articles of silver and gold from the Temple and the King’s treasuries in Jerusalem. Somehow, from that time forth the epithet given to the King of Judah has stuck for evermore and it has thus ended up in Scotland. The likelihood therefore is that the origin of the Royal Thistle of Scotland may well have been derived from the above incident. It seems that ever since that time the kings of Judah ended up with a new nick-name and it appears they turned the ‘thistle’ epithet, which was meant as an insult, into a badge of pride instead.
The historians and researchers specializing in this area of heraldry accept that many orders of chivalry have their origins much further, and are frequently shrouded in the mists of time. Might we thus in this Royal Thistle emblem find an indication that the kings of Scotland are descended from that same illustrious Davidic line of the kings of Judah? There are quite a few people with some knowledge of the subject who would certainly say so. This is certainly the case with the “Court of the Lord Lyon,” the official heraldic authority for Scotland. The origin of the office goes way back in history. The Lord Lyon is a great officer of State, who acts as heraldic adviser to the Sovereign, and in his judicial role, he decided on questions of succession and registers pedigrees. *3)
The Sceptre of Judah
When Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, was on his deathbed he spoke a prophetic individual blessing over all of his twelve sons and when he came to address his son Judah, he said the following: “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes” (Gen. 49:10). ‘Shiloh’ was a reference to the Messiah, a direct descendant from King David. This same Shiloh is a reference to the Messiah, the Divine Deliverer, who would come to deliver and rule over a restored Israel in the end times. This same Shiloh is the hope of Israel even to this day. Ask any religiously observant Jew and he will tell you the same thing. And it is absolutely true to say that modern-day Celtic or Anglo-Saxon descendants of the Lost House of Israel are entitled to have that same hope! Furthermore, it is also true for those two billion plus Hebrew descendants of Abraham and Sarah, even though they are as yet totally unaware of the fact.
Moreover, we should not overlook God’s absolutely unconditional promise that the Royal Sceptre would never depart from Judah, together with the immutable promise of the everlasting continuance of the Royal House and Throne of David. The prophet Nathan comes to King David of Israel and, speaking of his son Solomon, he utters the most amazing prophecy about the future of David’s throne:
“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. . . And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”
(2 Samuel 7:12-13, 16)
The psalmist confirms this promise and reinforces its absolute certainty once again:
“I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David: ‘Your seed I will establish forever, and build up your throne to all generations.’ ”
Your seed, your throne and your kingdom will be established forever and to all generations! What could be clearer than that! ‘Forever’ does mean ‘forever,’ and ‘all generations’ does mean ‘all generations’ that will ever live on this planet. There is a considerable mystery about these prophecies, as on the face of it they have not ever been fulfilled. History records that this Royal Sceptre of the Royal House of David has not reined over the kingdom of Judah since the nation went into captivity to Babylon. The fact is that ever since that time the Jewish people have been under Gentile dominion. They have had to wait 2,500 years before they were restored to full independent nationhood, when in 1948 the independent Jewish State was established in the Holy Land. The irony is that this independent Jewish State is a ‘Republic’ and not a Kingdom! This begs the question: Where are the royal descendants of King David and over which kingdom or kingdoms do they reign?
Seven witnesses to a Royal Covenant
The prophecy is that “the sceptre shall not depart from Judah” and that King David’s throne is to be established forever, to all generations. Yet, the plain facts of history do not appear to show that these prophecies have been fulfilled. This is true if we look for this royal line in Judah. It is obvious that we need to look in another direction if we are to find this royal Davidic dynasty actually ruling over a territory and subjects today. Where do we find such a Royal lineage in the world? Let us examine and see if we can find any indication in the history book of Israel as to what kind of people these royal descendants of King David would actually rule over? The prophet Jeremiah gives us the answer to this mystery:
“FOR THUS SAYS THE LORD: ‘DAVID SHALL NEVER LACK A MAN TO SIT ON THE THRONE OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.’ ”
Notice what the prophecy does not say! It does not say that a descendant of King David, who was from the tribe of Judah, would always sit on the throne of Judah! The Prophet Jeremiah makes it clear beyond all doubt that DAVID WOULD NEVER LACK A MAN TO SIT ON THE THRONE OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL!
The record of history itself confirms that the Jewish people have not had a Jewish King ruling over them since they returned from their captivity in Babylon! The Hasmonean princes, who occupied the throne of Judah, were of the tribe of Levi. Even the infamous King Herod the Great, who greatly restored, extended and beautified the Second Temple in Jerusalem, just prior to the birth of Christ, was not a descendant of Judah, let alone of King David. This King Herod was not even an Israelite. He was an Idumean, a people who in turn were descended from Esau, and he was a Roman stooge ruling over the then Roman province of Judea. He was a foreign king and a cruel despot, much despised by the Jews at the time.
After the Romans sacked Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and burned their most glorious Temple, the Jewish people became dispersed throughout the world, and in all that time they have never had their own kingdom. Even now with the return of the Jews and the re-establishment of the nation of Israel in the Land of Promise in 1948, they are being ruled over by a President, not a King. Yet the Bible, that great prophetic history book of Israel, makes it abundantly clear that descendants of King David will always rule over Israel. God actually calls in seven witnesses from nature itself to establish, underline and confirm his covenant with King David of Israel:
“Thus says the Lord: ‘If you can break My covenant with the DAY and My covenant with the NIGHT, so that there will not be day and night in their season, then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levites, the priests, My ministers. As the HOST of HEAVEN cannot be numbered, nor the SAND of the SEA measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to me.’ ”
(Jeremiah 33:20-22, emphasis added)
In verse 25 the prophet also mentions THE EARTH as one of God’s witnesses to His covenant with King David. The seven witnesses in order are DAY, NIGHT, THE HOST (of heaven), HEAVEN, THE SAND, THE SEA, and THE EARTH.
God is saying that as long as there is a day and a night, and as long as there are the hosts of heaven, that is the suns, the moons, the planets, the stars and galaxies, there will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne of Israel. As long as the earth continues to revolve around its own axis there will always be a member of this Judeo-Davidic family wielding the sceptre over a kingdom OF ISRAELITES on this earth. As long as there is sand and sea, and as long as there is an earth, there will always be a son of David sitting on the throne of Israel.
Could anything be stated in more absolute terms than these? The Christian churches, in their ignorance of the true meaning, are inclined to spiritualise these absolute prophecies away, by saying that God is speaking of a spiritual throne, a spiritual sceptre and a heavenly kingdom. Yet the prophecy is clearly speaking of a literal throne, an earthly kingdom and the lineal royal descendants [the seed] of King David, and emphatically states that all of these are to endure forever and ever. As the saying goes: ‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating!’ This is precisely the case in the issue of King David’s descendants ruling over Israel, even to this very day! The plain fact is that it can be proved beyond any shadow of doubt to those who have the open mindedness of spirit to recognise the huge amount of evidence that exists for all of us to see.
Where is the Royal Throne of David today?
We have already seen that God has decreed that a descendant of David will always rule over Israel. Thus if we want to find the ‘Lost House of Israel’ today we will need to look for a most prominent and most ancient Royal Throne and Kingdom. It is a matter of: “Find the throne of David and you will find the Lost House of Israel,” or: “Find the Lost House of Israel and you have found the Throne of David!” These two go together like a horse and carriage. This means all republics are automatically disqualified; we need to look for a kingdom! There are very few of them left in the world today. Consider the royal houses of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, as well as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Then there are some more minor potentates amongst the oil rich Gulf States, and some in Africa and also in Asia. Amongst all of these kingdoms the Kingdom of Great Britain is without question the greatest and most prominent of them all. After all it is the British Queen that rules over Canada, Australia and New Zealand plus some other territories as well. It would be wise therefore for us to begin our search for the true identity and descent of the lineage of King David with the House of Windsor!
Where are the descendants of King David now?
The British Royal family can legitimately claim descent from King David of Israel in 1100 B.C. It is possible to trace the ancestry of Queen Elizabeth II through the kings of Scotland and Ireland back to King David. The College of Heralds in London has traced the ancestry of the present Queen and established that she is the 144th direct descendant of King David. This means the British Royal family has existed and goes back in time for over three thousand years as the Davidic Dynasty ruling over the Tribes of Israel. This also means that the Queen herself is from the tribe of Judah, much like King David himself. This in direct fulfilment of prophecy, as through his prophet Jeremiah, God Himself decreed that:
“DAVID SHALL NEVER LACK A MAN TO SIT ON THE THRONE OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.”
The very fact that a direct descendant of King David of Israel reigns over Great Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand clearly indicates that these nations are of Israelite descent. God gave King David the following most amazing promise:
“Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: his seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me; it shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky.”
A Temporary Custody of the Crown
The Queen of Great Britain holds the crown by a divine stewardship. She is merely the present day custodian of God’s promise to King David, as she possesses both the Scepter and the Crown “until He comes whose right it is.” Whoever inherits the crown after Queen Elizabeth II, whether it is Prince Charles or his son Prince William, they will only have temporary custody of the crown, as ultimately this same Throne, Scepter and Crown are earmarked for the promised Messiah of Israel, who’s right it is. *4)
The Scottish royal house took over the throne of England after the death of Queen Elisabeth I, who left her nation bereft of an heir. It was King James VI of Scotland who ascended the English throne in 1603, as King James I. His ancestors had ruled in Scotland since the fourteenth century and James was crowned King of the Scots in 1567. *5) It was his grandson King James II, who in 1687 restored the Noble Order of the Thistle to its former prominence.
The Royal Scottish Thistle currently also features in the official Royal Arms of Great Britain. Apart from the Israelite tribes of Gad and Simeon being prominent in Scotland, there is considerable evidence that the tribe of Judah also has a major presence in Scotland. We have all heard the expression of the ‘canny Scots,’ and certainly much like the Jews the Scots have a reputation of being awfully good with their money. Banking, Insurance and Investment Management are major industries in Scotland, with Edinburgh being an important financial centre in the British Isles second only to the City of London.
In conclusion we can see that a historical event recorded in the Scriptures nearly three thousand years ago, when Joash, the King of Israel insulted Amaziah, the King of Judah, still is remembered today in the “Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle!” That which was meant as a badge of shame has been transformed into a badge of pride, and the humble Thistle of the Royal House of Judah rules O.K.
(The Scottish Thistle)
*1) Courtesy of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
*2) “The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
*3 “The Court of the Lord Lyon,” Edinburg, Scotland.
*4) “A Game Changing Revelation – The Hidden Ancestry of America & Great Britain,” Vol. II.
*5) “The lives of the Kings and Queens of England,” Edited by Antonia Frazer.