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12 September, 2012 By Rev. Ted Pike

Until the early 1980s, like millions of Christians, I believed the racial purity of the Jewish people confirmed Scripture. I saw it as vindicating Biblical prophecy that the Jewish people would not cease to exist. I was forced to reconsider by the compelling evidence of Arthur Koestler's book The Thirteenth Tribe. Koestler’s thesis has been highly contested, but today new evidence is emerging to support it.

Koestler said that in about the 8th century AD the Khazars, a nation living in Central Urasia, converted to Judaism. They migrated to Poland and created the eastern European or “Ashkenazim” branch of Jewry. This would have been the largest influx of Gentile converts of all time. Koestler concluded that most Zionist Jews today, being Ashkenazim, have no genetic inheritance from Abraham; they are proselytes who seized land in Palestine that never belonged to their true ancestors.

For more than a decade most genetic researchers have rejected Koestler. They said the Ashkenazim (9 million in 1900) were not descendants of Gentile converts but came primarily from a small (50,000) 15th century population of Jews in Germany. Evangelicals and Jews also rejected Koestler’s thesis, because it diminishes the racial purity central to land claims of Zionists. In their support, genetic testing over the past decade revealed that modern Ashkenazim are highly genetically related to modern Sephardim (authentic Jews). It became clear that most Jews, both Sephardic and Ashkenazim, can claim blood from the Middle East. It was also found that nearly half of Ashkenazim claiming to be descendants of the "Kohanim" (Old Testament Levitical priests) possessed "Y" chromosomes that indeed originate in Israelite roots.

New Research Returns to Koestler

But in 2012, a major genetic study of Ashkenazim was led by Johns Hopkins geneticist Eran Israeli-Elhaik. It concentrates on the compelling genetic evidence that eastern European Jewry's roots are not just in the Mid-East but, perhaps even more so, in the Caucasus, the mountainous heartland of ancient Khazaria. (See "The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses")
Elhaik says that because of dissatisfaction with current theory he and others are forced to look again at the possibility that the Mid-East and Semitic genes present in eastern European Jewry may primarily have come from the east. His team is compelled to research this possibility because genetic testing of Ashkenazim continues to reveal a high percentage of genes particular only to the relatively isolated, mountainous region of the Caucasus. Having completed a thorough genetic study of Ashkenazim worldwide, he is launching an even more extensive analysis in his "Khazar DNA Project," specializing in testing Jews from the region of Khazaria itself.

Elhaik and others pose fresh ideas that could unravel the question of just how Ashkenazim could come to inherit such a high percentage of Jewish genes, as well as how eastern European Jewry attained such staggeringly high numbers from such a small Jewish population in Germany only 500 years earlier.

Here are some of Dr. Elhaik's conclusions as a result of his first genetic study of Ashkenazim:

Early German historians bridged the historical gap simply by linking modern Jews directly to the ancient Judeans (Figure 1); a paradigm that was quickly embedded in medical science and crystallized as a narrative. Many have challenged this narrative (Koestler 1976; Straten 2007), mainly by showing that a sole Judean ancestry cannot account for the vast population of Eastern European Jews in the beginning of the 20th century without the major contribution of Judaized Khazars and by demonstrating that it is in conflict with anthropological, historical, and genetic evidence (Dinur 1961; Patai and Patai 1975; Baron 1993).

…the question of European Jewish ancestry remained debated mainly between the supporters of the Rhineland and Khazarian Hypotheses. The recent availability of genomic data of Caucasus populations (Behar et al. 2010) allowed testing the Khazarian Hypothesis for the first time and prompted us to contrast the Rhineland and Khazarian Hypotheses. To evaluate the two hypotheses, we carried out a series of comparative analyses between European Jews and surrogate Khazarian and Judean populations posing the same question each time: are Eastern and Central European Jews genetically closer to Caucasus or Middle Eastern populations?

Our PC, biogeographical estimation, admixture, IBD, ASD, and uniparental analyses were consistent in depicting a Caucasus ancestry for European Jews. Our first analyses revealed tight genetic relationship of European Jews and Caucasus populations and pinpointed the biogeographical origin of European Jews to the south of Khazaria (Figures 3,4). Our later analyses yielded a complex multi-ethnical ancestry with a slightly dominant Near Eastern-Caucasus ancestry, large Southern European and Middle Eastern ancestries, and a minor Eastern European contribution…
We show that the Khazarian Hypothesis offers a comprehensive explanation to the results…By contrast, the Rhineland Hypothesis could not explain the large Caucasus component in European Jews, which is rare in Non-Caucasus populations (Figure 5) and the large IBD regions shared between European Jews and Caucasus populations attesting to their common origins. A major difficulty with the Rhineland Hypothesis, in addition to the lack of historical and anthropological evidence to the multi-migration waves from Palestine to Europe (Straten 2003; Sand 2009), is to explain the vast population expansion of Eastern European Jews from 50 thousand (15th century) to 8 million (20th century). This growth could not possibly be the product of natural population expansion (Koestler 1976; Straten 2007), particularly one subjected to severe economic restrictions, slavery, assimilation, the Black Death and other plagues, forced and voluntary conversions, persecutions, kidnappings, rapes, exiles, wars, massacres, and pogroms (Koestler 1976; Sand 2009). Such an unnatural growth rate (1.7-2% annually) over half a millennia, affecting only Jews residing in Eastern Europe is commonly explained by a miracle (Atzmon et al. 2010). Unfortunately, this divine intervention explanation poses a new kind of problem - it is not science. Our findings reject the Rhineland Hypothesis and uphold the thesis that Eastern European Jews are Judeo-Khazars in origin. Further studies are necessary to confirm the magnitude of the Khazars demographic contribution to the demographic presence of Jews in Europe (Polak 1951; Dinur 1961; Koestler 1976; Baron 1993; Brook 2006).
Elhaik says Jews migrated in large numbers during the Middle Ages into Khazaria, both to escape Catholic persecution and as missionaries.
Greco-Roman and Mesopotamian Jews gravitating toward Khazaria were also common in the early centuries and their migrations were intensified following the Khazars’ conversion to Judaism (Polak 1951; Brook 2006; Sand 2009). The eastward male-driven migrations (Figure 7) from Europe to Khazaria solidified the exotic Southern European ancestry in the Khazarian gene pool, (Figure 5) and increased the genetic heterogeneity of the Judeo-Khazars. The religious conversion of the Khazars encompassed all the Empire’s citizens and subordinate tribes and lasted for the next 400 years (Polak 1951; Baron 1993) until the invasion of the Mongols (Polak 1951; Dinur 1961; Brook 2006). At the final collapse of their empire (13th century), the Judeo-Khazars fled to Eastern Europe and later migrated to Central Europe and admixing with the neighboring populations.

Historical and archeological findings shed light on the demographic events followed the Khazars’ conversion. During the half millennium (740–1250 CE) of their existence, the Judeo-Khazars sent offshoots into the Slavic lands, such as Romania and Hungary (Baron 1993), planting the seeds of a great Jewish community to later rise in the Khazarian diaspora. We hypothesize that the settlement of Judeo-Khazars in Eastern Europe was achieved by serial founding events, whereby populations expanded from the Caucasus into Eastern and Central Europe by successive splits, with daughter populations expanding to new territories following changes in socio-political conditions (Gilbert 1993). As a result, the Jewish communities along the Caucasus borders appear more heterogeneous than other Jewish communities (Table 1), assuming an even and low admixture rate.

After the decline of their Empire, the Judeo-Khazars refugees sought shelter in the emerging Polish Kingdom and other Eastern European communities, where their expertise in economics, finances, and politics were valued. Prior to their exodus, the Judeo-Khazar population was estimated to be half a million in size, the same as the number of Jews in the Polish-Lithuanian kingdom four centuries later (Polak 1951; Koestler 1976). Some Judeo-Khazars were left behind, mainly in the Crimea and the Caucasus, where they formed Jewish enclaves surviving into modern times. One of the dynasties of Jewish princes ruled in the 15th century under the tutelage of the Genovese Republic and later of the Crimean Tartars. Another vestige of the Khazar nation are the "Mountain Jews" in the North Eastern Caucasus (Koestler 1976). In the 16th century the total Jewish population of the world amounted to about one million, suggesting that during the Middle Ages the majority of Jews were Judeo-Khazars in origin (Polak 1951; Koestler 1976).

The remarkable close proximity of European Jews and populations residing on the opposite ends of ancient Khazaria, such as Armenians, Georgians, Azerbaijani Jews, and Druze (Figures 3, S2-3, 5), supports a common Near Eastern-Caucasus ancestry. These findings are not explained by the Rhineland Hypothesis and are staggering due to the uneven demographic processes these populations experienced in the past eight centuries.

Overall, the similarity between European Jews and Caucasus populations underscores the genetic continuity that exists among Eurasian Jewish and non-Jewish Caucasus populations…Our findings support a large-scale conversion scenario that influenced the majority of the population.

Finally, our findings confirm both oral narratives and the canonical Jewish literature describing the Khazar’s conversion to Judaism and the Judeo-Khazarian ancestry of European Jews (e.g., “Sefer ha-Ittim” by Rabbi Jehudah ben Barzillai [1100] , “Sefer ha-Kabbalah” by Abraham ben Daud [1161 CE], and “The Khazars” by Rabbi Jehudah Halevi [1140 CE]) (Polak 1951; Koestler 1976). We emphasize that we do not intend to cast doubt on Behar’s et al. (2010). and Atzmon et al.’s (2010) remarkable findings, but rather propose a comprehensive interpretation that explains the patterns they observed in whole genome data, those reported in the literature for uniparental data, and those observed here using both types of data. The point in these studies is that European Jews had a single Middle Eastern origin [that] is incomplete as neither study tested the Khazarian Hypothesis, to the extent done here.

Irrespective of these limitations [of possessing authentic Khazarian or Jewish genomes], our results were robust across diverse types of analyses, and we hope that they will provide new perspectives for genetic, disease, medical, and anthropological studies.

Our findings support the Khazarian Hypothesis depicting a large Caucasus ancestry along with Southern European, Middle Eastern, and Eastern European ancestries, in agreement with recent studies and oral and written traditions. We conclude that the genome of European Jews is a tapestry of ancient populations including Judaized Khazars, Greco-Romans and Mesopotamian Jews, and Judeans and that their population structure was formed in the Caucasus and the banks of the Volga with roots stretching to Canaan and the banks of the Jordan.
In summary, Koestler posited migration, primarily into Poland, of a genetically Khazarian but spiritually Jewish nation of Khazars. Elhaik's research reveals that eastern European Ashkenazim (90% of Jews today) are a mixture of Khazarian and Jewish genes. Koestler revealed to the world a tremendous truth. Like all truths, it is subject to clarification with time.

Do the Khazars Destroy God’s Plan for the Jews?

In my 2006 article “The Khazars: Do They Destroy God’s Plan for the Jews?” I point out that the Khazar conversion to Judaism does nothing to destroy God’s prophetic plan for redemption of a remnant of Jews at Christ’s coming.

In Genesis 21:18 God promised Abraham’s surrogate wife, the Egyptian Hagar, that her son Ishmael’s offspring would become a “great nation.” Today's Arabs number 340 million.In contrast, God warned the Hebrews at Sinai that if they rebelled against Him He would curse them by making them a very small people (Deut. 28:62).

Today, after 3500 years, Sephardim, the most authentic descendants of Abraham, are only about 10% of those who call themselves Jews – a tiny 1.3 million – actually less than Moses brought out of Egypt! It is clear how withering has been God's curse on those who killed the Son of God in contrast to those He said He would bless.

In addition, God warned that He would bring in aliens who would live in the midst of the Jews, perpetually dominating and oppressing them (Deut. 28:43). This is exactly what the hybridized Ashkenazi Khazars have done. As the primary founders and leaders of modern Israel, they have consistently discriminated against the Sephardim, commonly treating them as second-class citizens, like Arabs.

Sephardim, however, as revealed in statements by the Sephardic Shahs party and its leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yoseph, are Talmudic/Kabbalistic hardliners, siding with the Ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi "Haridim." They militate for a greater Israel excluding Arabs. Because of the smallness of their numbers, they could never achieve their Talmudic goal of world governance without the massive influx of Khazarian political/revolutionary zeal, communications expertise, and commercial and financial genius. Ashkenazim, in fact, have become the real revolutionary force creating communism and media, government, and financial control, propelling us toward a Jewish world government. Truly, as Christ predicted, the medieval Judean descendants of the Pharisees, "compassing sea and land" to convert the Khazars, made them seven times more the children of hell than they were (Matt. 23:15).

From this we see a continuing pattern: Biblical prophecy is fulfilled before our eyes yet often in very different ways than conventional evangelical eschatology perceives it.

The duty of every true Christian is to remain flexible and receptive to new and unorthodox information but always regard the testimony of Scripture as the final authority. God is a God of truth, and His truth undergirds Scripture. When we give ourselves to God and a sincere search for reality, the truth can be found. As we see with the Khazar puzzle, God and the Bible continue to be vindicated.

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Ted, today - photo: John Pike, October 2019
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