Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

The Modern Descendants of Zara-Judah

For at least 1,500 years before the coming of the Saxons into Britain the two emblems of the Zara-Judah branch of the Israelitish Tribe of Judah were the chief emblems of the British Isles -- the RED HAND in Ireland and the RAMPANT RED LION in Britain. The fact that the use of the Rampant Red Lion as a clan and family emblem is found in Scotland indicates that many of the Scottish people are descended from Zara-Judah.

by W. H. Bennet and John D. Keyser

When Jacob (Israel) gave his dying blessing to his twelve sons, he associated each of them with some animal, object or personal characteristic which afterwards became the emblem of the tribe descended from him. Among these the LION, the emblem of Jacob's fourth son Judah, is of special importance. This lion, in a couchant (lying down) position, became the emblem of the tribe of Judah; then, in a passant position, it became the emblem of the Camp or Brigade of Judah. Later, with the addition of a crown, it became the emblem of the Royal House and the throne of Judah. Still later, in a rampant (standing on the hind legs with both forelegs elevated) posture and with a crown, it became the symbol of the two-tribed House and Kingdom of Judah.

Yet this lion, usually portrayed as tawny or golden in color, is not the only emblem of the descendants of Judah -- or even the only lion!

Zarah and Pharez

In the last four verses of Genesis 38, we find recorded the birth of twin sons to Jacob's fourth son Judah. Notice what these verses say:

Now it came to pass, at the time for giving birth, that behold, twins were in her womb. And so it was, when she was giving birth, that the one put out his hand; and the midwife took a scarlet thread and bound it on his hand, saying, "This one came out first." Then it happened, as he drew back his hand, that his brother came out unexpectedly; and she said, "How did you break through? This breach be upon you!" Therefore his name was called Perez. Afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand. And his name was called Zerah [Zarah].

This is one of the most important events recorded in Bible history. The births of a great many other people are recorded in the Bible, but in this one case ONLY are the details given -- why? Why is this particular birth singled out for such special attention?

This birth was a matter of great and special significance because Judah's other sons could not inherit the prophetic promise that from his descendants would come the future Royal Family of the nation of Israel. This was because they were the children of a forbidden union -- their mother was a Canaanite! Therefore, with the older of these two boys destined to be the ancestor of the future Royal Family of Israel, the question of which of them was born first (and therefore the heir) was a matter of very great importance. It was also, as the Bible shows, the basis or beginning of serious family trouble.

In the record of the birth, we find that the hand of Zarah (Zara) appeared first, and that the midwife tied a scarlet thread or cord around his wrist, saying: "This came out first." We then read that the hand was withdrawn, and that the birth of Pharez ensued. Here, indeed, was the seed of family discord. Which boy was the firstborn and, therefore, the heir: Zara with the scarlet cord around his wrist and the pronouncement "This came out first" or Pharez (Perez) whose birth was completed first?

Eventually Pharez was declared the rightful heir, and from him descended the official branch of the Tribe of Judah and the Davidic Royal House.

Now how did Zara and his descendants react to what they, undoubtedly, considered a wrong decision that robbed them of their rightful inheritance?

That they did not accept this ruling and that many of them left the main body of Israel during the time of the bondage in Egypt, becomes very clear when we examine the tribal genealogies as recorded in the Old Testament. These record the main lines of descent from Pharez-Judah for a very long period of time -- but the record of the descendants of Zara-Judah apparently ends with the third generation.

Since these genealogies -- and especially those of the chief families in each tribe -- were kept with great care, any omission would indicate that those omitted were NO LONGER in the land when the record was made. As the genealogy of Zara-Judah apparently ceases with the third generation, it naturally follows that most (if not all) of Zara's descendants must have left the main body during the time of Israel's captivity in Egypt -- and therefore BEFORE the Exodus. With this mind WHERE, then, did they go?

Since they were descendants of Judah their emblem was a lion. It is very unlikely that they would give up this emblem of their identity and descent -- even though bitterly resentful towards the rest of the Tribe of Judah. They therefore kept the lion as their emblem, but added their own variations to it to show that they were entirely separate and distinct from the Tribe of Judah in Israel. In their bitterness they would make the difference as great as possible without actually doing away with the symbol. So, instead of a tawny couchant lion, they depicted theirs as both rampant and red. As a result, the Rampant Red Lion became an emblem of the Zara branch of the Tribe of Judah.

The Red Hand

Returning again to the birth of Judah's twin sons as recorded in Genesis 38, we find that the peculiar circumstances of this birth gave the descendants of Zarah (Zara) ANOTHER EMBLEM. Note again verse 28 --

And so it was, when she was giving birth, that the one put out his hand; and the midwife took a SCARLET THREAD and bound it on his HAND, saying, "This one came out first."

Here we have an emblem which is ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE, one which could apply to NO ONE ELSE and one to which the historical record draws special and emphatic attention -- a HAND, RED from the blood of birth, circled by a SCARLET THREAD or cord. In this unique way a Red Hand, or a Red Hand circled by a Scarlet Thread or cord, also became an emblem of the Zara branch of the Tribe of Judah.

Pre-Exodus Migrations

As we have already seen, the descendants of Zara-Judah, or most of them, decided to leave their brethren and flee out of Egypt to some new land (or lands) where they could establish independent kingdoms of their own. History and tradition records that they divided into two or more groups which then fled across the Mediterranean Sea from Egypt in different directions.

One of these groups was led by Calcol -- also known as Cecrops -- a great-grandson of Zara. Calcol and his group fled to Greece and founded the city of Athens. Another group, led by Darda or Dardanus, ended up in the Troad and became the ancestors of the Trojans. Not long prior to the Exodus, Gathelus (Miledh), a son of Cecrops or Calcol, returned to Egypt after killing a man. After assisting one of the pharaohs in his fight against the Ethiopians, Gathelus was given the hand of the pharaoh's daughter SCOTA in marriage. After living seven years in Egypt, Gathelus fled the land at the outset of the plagues and traveled westward to a land known today as Spain, where he settled for a number of years. During their time in Spain, Gathelus and his people founded a city which still bears the name of their ancestor Zara -- Zaragossa.

At this point we should realize that these descendants of Zara were racially Hebrews, being descended from Eber (Heber) through Abraham. Wherever they traveled they left this name like a footprint marking their journey to distant lands. Thus the river on the banks of which they founded the city of Zaragossa is still to this day called the Ebro, and to the land itself they gave the name Iberia -- the land of the Hiberi or Hebrews.

After residing for some time in Spain, Gathelus died and his widow Scota, along with her sons, left the land and voyaged northward to the island we now call Ireland. Once again, they took their name with them, calling their new home Hiber-land or Hibernia, and the islands to the north of it, the Hebrides. Then, with Eremon as their king, these descendants of Zara-Judah founded the Kingdom of Ulster shortly after the Exodus, AND FROM THAT TIME UNTIL THE PRESENT, a matter of nearly 3,400 years, the emblem of Ulster has been a Red Hand circled with a Scarlet Cord.

The Red Hand As a Racial Emblem

Not only that, but three of Ulster's six counties (as well as the towns of Bangor and Dungannon) have the Red Hand as a part of their official emblems.

Now it is true, of course, that since the division of Ireland in 1920 the official Arms of Northern Ireland show the Red Hand alone without the Scarlet Cord, but this in no way alters the fact that the ancient and traditional emblem of Ulster was -- and still is -- a Red Hand circled by a Scarlet Cord.

The use of the Red Hand as a racial emblem is not confined to just Ulster -- or even to just Ireland. In Scotland it is found in the Arms of several of the old families and in those of at least fourteen of the Clan Chiefs: Davidson, MacBain, MacDonell, MacIntosh, MacKinnon, MacLean, MacLachlan, MacNeil, MacNaughten, MacPherson, MacGillivray, MacDonald of Sleat, Clanranald, and Shaw of Rothiemurchus. Color variants of the emblem appear in the Arms of several other chiefs.

Therefore, by their use of the Red Hand, some of the people of Scotland also point to their Israelitish origins as descendants of the Zara branch of the Tribe of Judah.

The Declaration of Arbroath

At this point an interesting question arises -- how is it that the Scots who later invaded what is now called Scotland in 501 A.D. also have among their emblems the Red Hand that has been associated with Ulster since around 1350 B.C.?

Not all of the Scots came solely from Ulster. Their own records state that a large number of them came from Scythia, which is the ancient name of the country to the west and north of the Caspian Sea. Thus, in the Register House in Edinburgh, Scotland there is an ancient document called the Declaration of Arbroath, which consists of an official letter sent to the Pope by the Parliament of Scotland in 1320 A.D. and signed by King Robert the Bruce and some thirty of the Scottish nobles, in which it is clearly stated that this branch of the Scots came directly from Scythia after living for a long period of time in Spain. This document states that they moved from Spain to the country now called Scotland "1200 years after the outgoing of the people of Israel."

It could very well be that this branch of the Scots originally came to Spain with Gathelus (who himself came originally from Scythia) and then elected to stay in Spain when Scota and her sons moved into Ireland. They could have then joined their brethren in Scotland many years later after a long stay in Spain.

However, it could be argued that this "outgoing of the people of Israel" refers to the fall of Israel and the deportation of the Ten Tribes to Assyria, rather than the exodus of Israel from Egypt. If this refers to the Exodus -- which occurred somewhere around the year 1487 B.C. -- then this means that the Scots, if they came into what is now Scotland 1,200 years later, must have arrived there around the year 287 B.C. -- whereas Scottish history shows that they did not arrive until approximately 500 A.D.

If the deportation of Israel to Assyria is meant (which was completed in 718 B.C.) then this branch of the Scots arrived in Scotland in 483 A.D. (or a few more years later as indicated in the 1703 translation of the Declaration of Arbroath), which brings us very close to the year 501 A.D. which Scottish history gives as the date the Scots did indeed arrive.

If, then, this branch of the Scots came from Scythia through Spain directly into Scotland, it seems very unlikely that the Red Hand of Scottish heraldry came solely from Ulster. In support of this we should note that the Red Hand, as it appears in Scottish heraldry, is NOT encircled by a Scarlet Cord as was the ancient Ulster emblem.

However, despite this slight difference, it is obvious that the Red hand (sometimes pink) as it appears in Scottish heraldry and the Red Hand of Ulster are the same emblem.

When we consider the fact that this later branch of the Scots claim they came into Scotland from Scythia and that they mention their stay in Spain, but say nothing of a stay in Ulster, it becomes evident that the Red Hand must have been an ANCESTRAL EMBLEM which both branches of the Scots brought with them from some ancient homeland.

Of even GREATER IMPORTANCE is the fact that the Scots dated the arrival of a later branch in Scotland from an event in the history of Israel. This is something they would be very UNLIKELY to do unless they themselves were Israelites. Further, they say they came from Scythia, which is the place to which the Israel people migrated after their departure from Assyria.In view of the origin of the Red Hand emblem recorded in Genesis 38, and in the fact that a Red Hand thereby became one of the emblems of the descendants of Zara-Judah, we have to conclude that the people who brought the Red Hand to Ulster so long ago, and the Scots who later brought it to Scotland -- though coming at different times -- had a COMMON ORIGIN in the Zara branch of the Israelitish Tribe of Judah.

Finally, in consideration of the heraldic significance of the Red Hand, we should note that, as descendants of Zara-Judah, the first settlers in Ulster were also entitled to use the Rampant Red Lion. In the official Arms of Northern Ireland we indeed see that it holds an important place therein. Another point of interest in these Arms is that the Red Hand has as its background a six-pointed star which is reminiscent of the form of the hexagram or Shield of David -- whose significance is another story.


With these things in mind, let us now turn to that other part of Zara's descendants which fled out of Egypt under the leadership of another of Zara's great-grandsons called Darda. In the Authorized Version of the Old Testament this name is spelled Dara, but in the margin the alternate spelling is Darda -- and the Jewish historian Josephus calls him DARDANUS. This is significant because the group which he led went northward across the Mediterranean Sea to the northwest corner of what we now call Asia Minor. There, under the rule of Darda (Dardanus) they established a Kingdom, later called Troy, on the southern shore of that narrow body of water which bears his name to this day -- Dardanelles.Hundreds of years later this Kingdom was destroyed in a war with the Greeks. Some of the survivors fled northward into Europe where their emblem, the Rampant Red Lion, appears in the Arms of some of the nations, provinces and old families in the lands near or bordering the North Sea.

Others fled westward across the Mediterranean to Spain and on to the British Isles where, with some members of other Israelite tribes, they were the first settlers in much of what is now called Scotland. A large group led by Prince Brutus (a direct descendant of Dardanus and Zara) lived in Italy for a while where they founded a royal line before moving on to Britain by way of Spain. They arrived in Britain around the year 1100 B.C.

Although Britain had a considerable population long before the arrival of these Trojans, their coming and the setting up of this transplanted Trojan Kingdom is the ACTUAL BEGINNING of the British nation.

The Rampant Red Lion

From that time until the coming of the Saxons into South Britain (England) 1,600 years later, a RAMPANT RED LION was the emblem of ALL Britain. With the coming of the Saxons its use in England as a national emblem was discontinued, being replaced by the emblems brought in by the Saxons and Normans. Nevertheless, in North Britain (Scotland) it is the chief emblem -- as found in the Scottish Standard.

The fact that the use of the Rampant Red Lion as a clan and family emblem is found in Scotland indicates that many of the Scottish people are descended from Zara-Judah. An examination of the Arms of the Clan Chiefs and other ancient families will show that at least twenty of them contain a Rampant Red Lion. A color variant of this emblem appears in several more: The Earldom of Fife; Abernethy, Lord Saltoun; Dundas; Duff, Farquharson; Guthrie; Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell; Leslie; Lindsay; MacBain; MacIntosh; MacLachlan; Clanranald; Maitland, Earl of Lauderdale; Moncreiffe; MacDonald of Sleat; Shaw of Rothiemurchus; Spens of Lathallan; Stuart, Marquis of Bute; and Wemyss.

It is also important to note that the Rampant Red Lion appears on the Royal Standard and on the shield in the Royal Arms. Further, it was also the ancestral emblem of the Royal Houses of several of the ancient principalities of Wales -- for instance Bleddyn ap Cynfyn who died in 1075 A.D. A color variant of this emblem appears in the Arms of several of the other ancient Welsh Royal Houses. Even in England it, or a color variant of it, appears in a few municipal Arms and in a much larger number of family Arms.

Important, too, is the fact that the Rampant Red Lion emblem appears in the heraldry of the Netherlands -- either on the shield or as a suppoter -- in the provincial Arms of South Holland, North Holland, Utrecht, Zeeland, Limburgh and Overijssel; and in the municipal Arms of some fifty other places.

In this article we have presented evidence of the ancient usage of the Red Hand as the emblem of Ulster, and its use in much of the rest of Ireland and in Scotland. Also, we noted that the Rampant Red Lion was the emblem of ancient Britain. What the reader may have overlooked, however, is that for at least 1,500 years before the coming of the Saxons into Britain these two emblems of the Zara-Judah branch of the Israelitish Tribe of Judah were the chief emblems of the British Isles -- the RED HAND in Ireland and the RAMPANT RED LION in Britain.


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