MARY'S CITY of DAVID - The Israelite House of David as reorganized by Mary Purnell

1st Century A.D.





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1st Century A.D. MARY'S CITY of DAVID

1st Century A.D. | Christmas Story

The Seventh Church of Christian-Israel at the Latter Day;
A reflection back upon a Jewish sect of the First Century, A.D.

All of Scripture is written for our learning and admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come ... 1 Corinthians 10:11 and Romans 15:4

Mary's City of David, whose full title, the Israelite House of David as reorganized by Mary Purnell, represents (in America) a singular reflection back to the origins and practices of the Jerusalem commune of Jews that followed Jesus of Nazareth, believing him to be the Messiah of the Hebrew scriptures. The early first century Jesus following was a diverse congregation of Jews expecting an apocalyptic overthrow of Roman authority, supplanting that with God's kingdom upon earth. Many of the adherents to Jesus came from sects within and protestant to the established Judaism of Temple practice and observances. Most of the original followers were "disciples" of Jesus collected in his nomadic walks primarily through the villages of the Galilee and the more southern surrounds of Jerusalem. In this region, there remained predominately two "tribes" of Israel from the period of the Assyrian captivity, after the days of the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah. 2 Chronicles 10 and 11:1. The northern kingdom were of the 10 families carried away, being descendants of 10 sons of Jacob. The southern kingdom was Judah and Benjamin that were still the inhabitants at the time of the ministry of Jesus. Benjamin was largely to the north in the Galilee while Judah remained in their native lands from the period of the Exodus which included Bethlehem (the city of David) and Jerusalem, the seat of authority.

The core of followers were witnesses to Jesus' teachings and had seen the miracles in raising Lazarus from the dead, the feeding (twice) of a multitude with a few loaves and fishes, the healing of numerous diseases and physical impairments and commanding the elements of the wind and waves. The cluster had thinned and feared for their lives, they being associates of a convicted and crucified malefactor. But...they were also convinced with their very experiences in the presence of one whom they came to both love and fear, as the Son of God.

There were various alternate persuasions within the earliest Jesus sect including followers of John Baptist, among the very first disciples. There were Essenes and Nazarites; political zealots and independent believers outside of the Temple and apart from other denominations. With the writing of letters and accounts some 30 to 70 years after the resurrection of Jesus, we read in these fragments (assembled from Paul, Peter, James, John and Luke) these variables being sorted out to arrive at a unified, common understanding, that would become a foundation-body of a new testament.

10 Common denominators among the "Jesus sect" were:

  1. The continued observance of Jewish practices in dividing clean from unclean.
  2. The acknowledgement of Jesus' resurrection in the same flesh that he was crucified.
  3. His return was of imminent anticipation.
  4. Salvation was to be opened to the "gentiles" (amongst whom the scattered 10 tribes were dispersed).
  5. The return of Christ Jesus would herald a new Kingdom of God upon earth.
  6. Those "alive and remaining" through the apocalyptic cataclysm, in the destruction of Roman authority, would  enter a righteous kingdom on earth with their physical bodies.

    The Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious  body, Philippians 3:20,21.
  7. There would again be an Eden (heaven) upon earth.
  8. Jesus would reign forever upon the throne of his father, David.
  9. Jerusalem would be truly the Holy City (no longer to be governed by the wealth and position of corrupt  administers of the Temple service).
  10. The nations around, that were accounted worthy to survive and enter the gates of the Holy City, would "bring  their honor and glory into it" in obeisance and service. Revelation 21:24-26.

The ministry of Jesus, his death, resurrection and return to reign was viewed as the substance of all the holy prophets and testaments of the Jewish people in a long anticipated fulfillment that fell neatly upon the end of the dispensation period of 2000 years from the deluge and the ark. Jesus had prophesied to them, "as in the days of Noah and Lot, so shall it also be in the coming of the Son of Man". Matthew 24:37.

Noah's ark was for the gathering together of a family in faith; an elect family, called Israel, whose seed was in that foregoing ark. The wooden vessel was simply a means to preserve flesh to begin a regeneration upon earth after a destruction of all nations. The ark (Christ) was also to save bodies for the same purpose of a new generation and the management of a new peaceful and righteous kingdom. Matthew 24:21, 22.

Jesus had foretold a time on earth of trouble unparalleled, in the which, it would of necessity be shortened, or no flesh would be saved. But, on account of the elect (Israel), those days shall be shortened. Matthew 24:22.

They fully expected Jesus' short absence and return. 2 Thess. 2:1, 2.

Their mission was an urgent one of spreading a message of alarm. As also found in the latter–day writings of Benjamin (Purnell), " As the angels were sent unto Lot in Sodom, so is this message sent unto you." Star of Bethlehem, pg. 426 (third edition, 1910).

The Apostles were to go out into the world to gather in a faithful "remnant" that were to be saved bodily along with themselves by reason of the protective hand of their saviour in another literal Passover. Their exodus was from the ruins of a decadent and pagan Roman tyranny, to the promised land of a new Eden, kingdom of God, on earth in their own life time. "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you." 2 Corinth. 6:17-18. "For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the peoples that are upon the face of the earth." Exodus 33: 16

The congregation at Jerusalem held differing opinions, but remained mindful and respectful of common Judaic law and tradition; they were still Jews.

Common was the belief in the new kingdom as being a fore-ordained inheritance and the elect were all to come from among the families of Israel. Romans 8:30; Isaiah 46:10; Titus 1:1, 2; Matthew 25:34.

It was a kingdom to be established by works of righteousness; "faith proven by works", as in the admonition of James, 2: 21-26.

There was a strong contingent from the elements of John Baptist (John 1: 35-37), from which baptism, an obscure ceremony coming from outside of mainline Judaism, would become fundamental to Christianity in taking the place of circumcision of ancient Jewish practice.

The Essenes and Nazarites, among the Jesus sect, continued their practice of strict disciplines of abstinence from all that was unclean, so written in the laws of Moses. These ascetic practices of self-denial were looked upon as fulfilling the requirement for what would be chosen from among the congregation and found worthy to be called the church on earth. Jesus had told them there would be many called, but few chosen. The harvest is truly plenteous, but the labourers, few. Romans 9:27; Matt. 9:37.

I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and generations, but now is made manifest unto his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach warning every man; and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. Colossians 1:25-29.

Those maintaining celibacy saw it as a necessity for to effectively separate (nazir) from lusts of the flesh. Galatians 5:16 and 17; 24. 1 Peter 2:11. This would also preclude all marital uncleanness so written in Leviticus 15:16-18.

There were vegetarians in the assembly (Ebionites), reading from the original Eden diet of chapter one. A menu without blood could only be clean (kosher). Genesis 1:29-30; Isaiah 11:6-9; Revelation 21:3,4.

Following a long tradition among Jewish sects and practiced by the inner circle including the ministering women from the Galilee, they practiced community of faith and resources (communal) as later recorded in Luke Acts, after Pentecost. It was a means of denying self-interests that could not enter the kingdom, as was recorded by the incident of Ananias and Sapphira. It was prescribed and practiced as the daily (pure) act of communion and prayer: the showing of care being the act of prayer. The act-ual prayer.

The Nazarites of the sect cut not their hair as a continued vow in service to God, seeing their savior/messiah (Jesus) keeping the same tradition was convincing enough. To cut ones hair was sign of having fallen from the vow, considered defilement. Also part of the Nazarite practice was to have nothing to do with the dead. Jesus' answer ("let the dead bury their dead") in beckoning the young man to follow, who would first go and bury his father, was unquestionably given from the Nazarite tradition. Matthew 8:22; Leviticus 21:1-11; Numbers 6:6.

Though testaments vary over the work of the women within the early gathering, it is recognized that these held positions as teachers and also provided both residence and economic sustenance for the first congregation. It should be understood that the later letters of Paul were not written in reference to Jewish women of the inner circles of early congregations, but unto the later circles of "gentile" women. These (gentile women) were not schooled in the same practices and basic understandings that a Jewess would be brought up in, and which remained fundamental to both the Judaic root of "Christianity" and foundation to the Jewish home. A house without a woman is not a home. Or, "The harmonious coming together of a man and woman and their consummation is figuratively a house. And everything which is without a woman is imperfect and homeless." The Jewish philosopher, Philo of Alexandria. The original circle, in following, very much understood the "Elohim" within Jewish faith. The Apostle Paul cited many women of position within his epistles and in his first letter to the church at Corinth (11th chapter) he carefully shows the Elohim (male and female) as first described in Genesis. Mary Magdalene (in apocryphal early Christian texts) was among the most noted of women as a teacher. Her position has been debated for centuries, but her importance, being the first unto whom Jesus would appear after his resurrection, has given her an unquestionable prominence.

The destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. dispersed the original home of the "Jesus sect" which never again would hold the reigns over the procession of this already splintered and denominational sect. The movement, against all odds, survives. From this time forth, it decidedly moves away from this early nucleus of authority and direction that was predominantly Jewish in numbers and influence.

"The Spirit that leadeth, goeth far beyond the written word", Benjamin Purnell

By 70 A.D. Paul, James (brother to Jesus) and Peter are dead and only Mark has written any account of the actual life of Jesus. During the first 40 years after Pentecost, the following has been held together by oral accounts and "the Spirit of the Word". Paul's letters are recognized in holding a doctrinal standard against the many diversions and false teachers. Matthew later writes to the dispersed remnant of Jews that escaped the Jerusalem slaughter and destruction (burning of the Temple and the entire city) confirming the expectations of Jesus' return and to forever settle any debate over the Judaic root of the movement and teaching.

Luke, a later "gentile" convert, writes the most complete record taken from oral accounts through his various meetings with those amongst the earliest gathering. In the latter half of the first century, he writes to establish a complete record from the nativity of Jesus through the end of Paul's ministry. Luke is also writing to set forth (what has become necessary) a standard testimony. A manual guide to counteract delusions, which also importantly supports the texts of Mark, Matthew and particularly focusing upon the somewhat separate ministry of Paul.

John, the beloved, writes last of all, telling the intimate story. He carefully interweaves the most vivid doctrinal understandings that noticeably stand apart from all the other accounts. John's account completes importantly the circle of a whole perspective that collectively becomes the standard ink of the "new testament". John's Gospel is critical, being the only account from the select inner circle (Peter, James and John) that were privy to several chosen occasions/revelations in Christ's ministry.

Through the numerous political/economic upheavals and religious changes that continue over the next two centuries, the greatest miracle takes place:

Christianity, from its humble beginnings as an obscure Jewish sect, supercedes and condemns all other "pagan" religions in its conquest of Rome.

Bertrand Russell once stated, both Paul and Jesus would have been amazed to see what had become of their work. Christianity would become "the powers that be". Not by the vanquishing of an evil empire, or the overthrow of Caesar, to be replaced by a kingdom of God. But quite literally, it was the marriage of a Roman template of power, to a "Christian" clerical hierarchy. It becomes the only seated and recognized political power and commercial remains of a crumbling western Roman Empire; a flickering candle light and records-keeper of western European civilization through the next nine centuries.

The economic and political remains of Roman authority and its seat would effectively be used by the conquering Christian church whose influence and prestige outdistanced the many other sects of early Christian thought and practice. The fact that the Hebrew testaments (Old Testaments) were held sacred throughout the heated debates of the first three centuries, is an acknowledgement of the original "Ebionite" nucleus at Jerusalem that refused to drop Jewish traditions and practices. The fact that Christianity, by the end of the first century, moved quickly by numbers towards "gentile" persuasions and away from Judaic practices, shows the influence of both Paul and the later Marcian. The fact that John's gospel and Apocalypse were placed in the canonical standard indicates a very possible influence from the Gnostic thought and influence of Valentinus.

Ultimately the guiding hand of the Divine, through the veil of seemingly worldly political agendas within the early Church, collectively scrapped together a NEW TESTAMENT that gave a harmonic voice inclusive of the several Christian persuasions. And by Divine guidance of this seemingly earthly/human driven process, all these texts so canonized, had a primary importance and correct place within the whole picture of the advent of Christ. It is much like the Christmas story ( Matthew and Luke) and also the resurrection story told by all of the gospel writers. Each gave a cohesive yet individual portion of the time sequence within the particular story. Thus, the more complete story was enabled by the several fragmentary accounts of the same story. All of the component parts become critically important in telling what was necessary to achieve a fundamental understanding of a teaching, not written by its teacher.

The LAND of JOSEPH, ( Arzareth, 2 Esdras 13:39-47. Apocrypha )

The year 1611 saw the Wycliffe, English Bible replaced by the standard authorized, King James (James the first of England), translation in the tongue of the period and inclusive of such testaments as are called today, apocryphal.

As in the New Testament, Mary (Jesus' mother) and Elizabeth (John baptist' mother) are cousins; of their children, one child was to excel and the other to decrease. So Elizabeth sat upon the throne of England, but was to remain barren. Mary (Stuart), Queen of Scots, was heir presumptive to the throne. Her son , James 6th of Scotland, would in time take her rightful place upon the throne (after Elizabeth's death) and become the instrument to authorize the standard translation of the New and Old Testaments in the English language. A translation that would encompass the earth, beginning immediately following the magnificence of Elizabeth's reign, which positioned the economic and political growth of the British empire.

The Jews of today are predominantly of Judah, as the Old Testament chronicles tell. From the divided kingdom after Solomon, that geographically placed the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to the south and the other 10 tribes as the "northern kingdom"; the two portions each having its own king and councils. The 10 of the northern kingdom were carried away captive by the Assyrians (721 BC), leaving only Judah (the largest tribe among all 12) and Benjamin, whom was least in numbers among the 12, unto the coming of Jesus.

The land of Joseph...

Joseph, from Jacob's beloved Rachel, was given the spirit of wisdom to administer efficient and effective governing, and Pharaoh made him head over all of Egypt's produce, storage and commerce.

In the Book of Jasher (the book of the up-right: Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18), is shown that Joseph must ascend seventy steps in order to address Pharoah concerning his dreams. (Jasher 48:47). For each step a language was required in reply. It is recorded (Benjamin Purnell, Books of Wisdom), the night before his audience with Pharoah, an angel came and taught him all seventy languages of the earth. The day following he successfully ascended the seventy steps and deciphered Pharoah's dream. Jasher 49:14.

From the seed of his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, came the lineage into the land of "Arzareth"; England. From the Assyrian captivity, the 10 tribes broke away and journeyed north as described in the prophet Jeremiah. 31:8 and 23:18. The areas that were settled predominantly were the modern day nations of Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany , United Kingdom and northern France.

Through the centuries the generations were established through inherent ability to govern efficiently and effectively. This becomes the means by which a small island would become the greatest global empire ever on earth. It is also to be recognized, the patriarch, Joseph, once learned all seventy languages of the earth, now the tongue of his descendants would become the universal/global language (English) that all nations would learn.

There are story records (British-Israelite and Society of Christian Israelites) of Jesus' uncle, Joseph of Arimethea, having great wealth due to his tin mines in England. Evidently the patron saint of Scotland is the disciple Andrew, because his final mission there. It is said that both John, the beloved disciple, and Jesus' mother, Mary, are interred in English soil. From England (Ionia), history sets forth, were sent the first Christian missions into the "heathen" territories of northern Europe; regions that Roman armies were never able to subdue. It is today also recognized that the extensive Jewish diaspora settlements had reached England and northern France by the first century, A. D.


Jane Leade can be credited with the root of modern-day Christian-Israel, being often traced back through the Philadelphian Society, that she founded in 1652. Her published (32 manuscripts held in the British Museum) booklets of visions, presentments and doctrinal essays were most eloquently abridged into "60 Propositions" in the 1699, and can be used as a synoptic view of the teachings of this movement spanning 3 ˝ centuries, yielding thousands of believers internationally unto this day. The "60 Propositions" can be found as an appendage to the booklet, "Ascent to the Mount of Vision", published by Mary's City of David.

Jane Leade was first published in the German language by the following of Jacob Boehme in Germany. She was also read by other German separatist groups like Jacob Hutter (Hutterites) and George Rapp (Harmonists) and the later French group, the Society of Avignon. Her publications became known later to Mother Ann Lee's Shakers and the Communities of Inspiration (Amana) in America. She was widely read in England of her own time and would become a reference sighted within the literatures of the following Seven messengers over the next two centuries, beginning with Joanna Southcott, 1792, through the Israelite House of David (Mary and Benjamin Purnell) of the 20th century.

Joanna Southcott, of the following century, would become the "mother" to the visitation to the scattered seed of Israel of the latter-day. The term "mother" was used to position her as the instrument the Lord had chosen to begin, or birth, the latter-day visitation of the Spirit of Truth (the Comforter, John 14:16, 17 and 16:13). Her ministry from 1792 through her death in 1814, yielded 65 published volumes and a following estimated at 150,000 in England. Bishops of the Church of England, men of wealth and members in Parliament would confess their belief in her "visitation" message.

The most visible tenets of Southcott's literature was:

  • The imminence of Christ's return.
  • There would be a gathering together of the children of Israel to receive the second coming.
  • She was chosen to seal the "elect" members of this church on earth (144,000).
  • The sealing was both to protect and to anoint with the true knowledge of the Gospel salvation.
  • Those that were the chosen would not taste of a physical death but enter into the kingdom of God on earth and
  • Live therein 1000 years.

In 1814 an hysteria grew around her controversial pregnancy and birth of "Shiloh". It would galvanize the English population, fill the press with mockery and add thousands to her following. At its conclusion in mid December, she dies, without bearing a child, from causes that an autopsy could not discover. The "phantom" pregnancy (as it came to be called) was to become both the mystery and fascination of the movement. It was not until the 1902 publication of "The Star of Bethlehem", by Mary and Benjamin Purnell, that the mystery was given a clear understanding, both to her mission and her "Shiloh" child-birth and its applicable reality for the movement ongoing.

Richard Brothers is the second messenger (although he pre-dates Joanna by several years) with his fulfilling credentials from the Book of Revelation 2:8-10. He was living in a poor house at the beginning of his revelations and he spent 10 years ["ten days"] in the Tower of London for his public declarations of the coming end of the monarchy in lieu of Christ's return. Brothers' following became aligned with other Anglo-Israelites that traced their lineage back to the distant centuries migrations of the Isaacsons (Saxons) into England. The teaching was based upon the precepts of a gathering of the "children of Israel", who were at the latter-day scattered throughout northern Europe and particularly in the United Kingdom. The gathering was to welcome Jesus Christ at his return to earth. The overturning of the corrupt kingdoms on earth would be replaced with an Eden age, kingdom of God for 1000 years. Revelation 20. Brothers believed that he would be the chosen captain to gather and lead Israel back to Palestine. There was an American following of Brothers, and among these some would later follow Joseph Smith, and their interests in tracing genealogical roots has followed. (Latter Day Saints). Some of Brothers' literature was printed in Philadelphia in the 1790s and he was a correspondent with Thomas Paine; Brothers himself was born in New Foundland. The name Israel or Israelite is ever after used by the following messenger's organization in identifying their group. This significance is to declare the 12 sons from Jacob in Genesis are a direct lineage that follows to the 12 tribes of 12,000 each in the Revelation. By the Spirit of Truth at the latter-day, this lineage will be discovered much like the lineage from the Eden parents through Abraham and David to Jesus was made known to the Gospel writers, Matthew and Luke.

George Turner (1815-1820) and William Shaw (1821-22) were the third and fourth, "minor", messengers that gleaned from Joanna's splintered and depleted following after her demise amid the mystery of the "Shiloh" birth. Turner published 10 of his own volumes of inspired writings, of which some were during the time of Joanna, in which she acknowledges them as being worthy. Turner was an early follower of Joanna and would become the foremost apostle of her authenticity which placed him as the leading figure of the movement after her death. During the year 1820, Turner would gather together over 700 to London to await the return of the "spiritual Shiloh" which was to begin the great "ingathering of Israel" to receive Christ's return. During this time he forwarned that all would have to give up all possessions. The gathering must follow in the spirit of the Holy Ghost as at Jerusalem's initial Jewish (followers of Jesus) congregation of the first century (33-70AD): communal.

William Shaw's manuscripts remained in circulation but unprinted until in the early 20th Century , when, from Carpenter's Book Shop, San Diego, California, they were collected and finally published. These are amongst the most rare of all writings of the Christian-Israelite messengers.


John Wroe, was a frequent attendee of George Turner meetings (1819-20) and would have a profound vision, in which Joanna appeared to him during that time. In 1822, from Bradford, England, he began his forty year traveling ministry and founding the Society of Christian-Israelites. John Wroe would take his teachings around the globe three times and five times to America. In so doing he set up church congregations around the world, which remained principally English, being also found in America, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Amongst his earliest missions, through a divine direction, were to Jewish synagogues in Europe. John Wroe's mission to the Jews was to proclaim, once again to Judah, that Jesus was their true Messiah. The restoration of the whole family of Israel in the Revelation to John included 12,000 of Judah. So his earliest mission was, like the Ebionites at Jerusalem, to call in their fellow brethren that kept the Law of Moses.

With Wroe's ministry, the movement becomes international and returns to the Old Testament Laws of Moses in several particulars, which included circumcision to become a "covenant member" of the body of Christ. Sabbath keeping and dietary practices along with the Nazarite practice of not cutting of hair and beard were most noticeable in a very legal-orthodox performance of the Old Testament, Levitical practices, excepting the Old Testament rituals of animal sacrifices. Today the Christian Israelite Church is headquartered at Sydney, Australia, and has presently the largest following of the seven messengers going before John Wroe or following after. They, perhaps of all Christian denominations today, would most likely resemble the Jerusalem first congregation pre--dating Paul, (Ebionites). It has been noted that the Christian-Israelite attendance of "camp-meetings" in America (New England) during the 1840s had shared their doctrinal views with the "Millerites"; and seemingly had its effect on down to the present Seventh-Day Adventists (strict Sabbath observance and dietary practices). The ministers of Wroe in America spanned several decades (1830s-1850s) and their strengths in religious ideology lay in observing the correct Sabbath Day, circumcision to become a "covenant member" and dietary practices that were to strictly follow a diet without blood, but did not necessarily prescribe a vegetarian diet. John Wroe died on his last world tour at Melbourne, Australia, in January, 1863.


In Genesis, Jacob blesses Joseph, telling him that he was to be given, one portion above his brethren.

In the Revelation to John, Joseph and Manasseh are both listed among 12 tribes of Israel (144,000). Dan is not listed among the 12. Revelation 7:5-8.

With the two sons of Joseph, Jacob blesses Ephraim before the first-born, Manasseh. The Biblical story has been construed to prophetically forecast that Ephraim, the younger, would supplant Manasseh, the first-born. Genesis 48: 8 through 20. So it written in The Star of Bethlehem, 1902, (Mary and Benjamin Purnell) that the descendants of Ephraim come to America with the early English settlements at Plymouth and Jamestown coinciding with the time of the visitation to Jane Leade and this immigration would continue well into the latter 19th Century.

The Old Testament declares throughout that the seed of Israel would be scattered to the four winds and again be gathered back into the restoration of its lost glories.

The subsequent history of European colonialism explain this prophesy. The generations of the 10 "lost" tribes, from their migrations into northern Europe and United Kingdom, would be scattered to the ends of the earth by reason of these same European powers establishing their global colonial empires.

"Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the North, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth." Isaiah 43: 5&6.


In the latter 1860s James (White) Jezreel attended meetings of The New House of Israel, which was a break away group from John Wroe's Society of Christian-Israelites. Around 1869-70 Jezreel wrote a manuscript entitled "The Flying Roll", (Zechariah 5:1&2; Ezekiel 3:1-4) which he sent to the Trustees of the Society of Christian Israelites for their review and hopeful acceptance. To his dismay they burned the entire writing. He then set out to write, from memory, a text of three Sermons bound into one volume, entitled, "Extracts From The Flying Roll", 1871. This volume was addressed to the scattered seed of Israel among the gentile churches of Christendom. Soon after, he would marry the daughter (Clarissa Rogers, whom he would name,"Queen Esther") of the leader of the New House, and carry away a large portion of that following into his own new organization, "The New and Latter House of Israel". Following the popular immigrant momentum to (the New World) America, Jezreel made one visit on his 1882 world tour. His headquarters inner-circle of fellowship at Chatham/ Gillingham would follow the prophecy of George Turner and also concurred in John Wroe testimonies, reflecting upon the history of the Jerusalem assembly's initial congregation in being communal. They wore their Nazarite locks, were noted for their productive businesses and skilled tradesmen along with Clarissa's harp ensemble and accompanying Israelite orchestra. Following the foregoing Society of Christian Israelites, the New and Latter House would produce a number of musical hymnals for their religious services. Like the many tracts received through Southcott, rhyme and metered poetry is found abundantly in both verse and song.

Neither Wroe nor Jezreel's doctrine allowed portrait or human image photography, which has rendered them faceless to history. Both Joanna and Richard Brothers sat for engraved portraits by William Sharp, London's most prestigious artisan of the trade. Sharp was a believer in Brothers and one the earliest friends and followers of Joanna.

Jezreel's unexpected and sudden death in 1885 left an organization having a number of individual strengths, but without a designated leader for succession. Clarissa (Rogers) Jezreel was a power to be recognized. John Maxwell was a formidable preacher at Chatham as was Michael Mills in Detroit, Michigan. Mills would end up in England with the original Jezreel tower and properties at Chatham while Maxwell later came to Chicago, in America.

The Rogers family relocated to London and held the major portion of the following's attention by reason of their monthly publication of the "Pioneer of Wisdom", which had an international subscription with numerous American readers. Nothing matured and no one took complete control of an organization that is today a scarce and scattered handful worldwide.

What Jezreel did accomplish was successful canvassing missions into America that reaped many new believers in the Christian-Israelite faith. His largest following was at Detroit under the direction of the Canadian-born, Michael Mills. Jezreel's depot for all literatures sent to America was at Grand Rapids, Michigan (Thomas Baxter, agent).

What has been accomplished thus far from the initial awakenings of inspirational visionaries, beginning with Jane Leade in her founding the Philadelphian Society in 1652, is important to note and summarize in anticipation of the final character and coveted number of the Seventh.

A primary notice is the recognition of the feminine stature and on going contribution to a movement that understands the Biblical preamble in Genesis, that God made mankind after the Divine pattern: Male and Female, created He, them. That the first Jesus followers were both genders and the women were both domestic and fundamental to the communal home and very much a part of the evangelist/teaching part of the initial gathering.

Thus we have Jane Leade, Joanna Southcott, Clarissa Rogers Jezreel, separately, and finally, Mary and Benjamin Purnell, as indivisibly, the "messenger".

Following the Biblical scripts in prophecy we see that Joseph and Benjamin were children from Jacob's beloved Rachel.

  • After the Reign of Solomon the Kingdom of Israel divides into two separate kingdoms: the 10 tribes in the north and Judah and Benjamin in the south.
  • The 10 tribes of the northern kingdom are carried away captive of the Assyrians.
  • These 10 later break away and journey northward over a great distance into the present day lands of northern Europe and the United Kingdom.
  • Judah and Benjamin remain in Palestine unto the coming of Jesus.

Because the scripture declares that He would be rejected of his own, Judah (Jesus was born of the tribe of Judah, lineage of David), it is concluded that the principal nucleus of followers were of Benjamin's lineage found principally in the Galilee. ("Ye men of Galilee", Acts 1:11). Paul taking the lead role literally (Philippians 3:5), as the churches of his ministry survive the Jerusalem church in its scattering after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Among the families of Benjamin is the early followers of Jesus (in the Galilee) and would be foremost in going to the gentiles after the rejection of Jesus as the messiah, by the tribe of Judah.

Benjamin also becomes assimilated, through intermarriage, among the gentiles as early Christians.

According to British Israelite thought, England becomes the destination of the tribe of Joseph, and Benjamin also comes into the "United Kingdom" forming a reunion with the beloved Rachel's children.

From this island (England) come the administrative leadership and governors that will create the largest world empire in recorded history and giving the planet its primary universal language.

The Spirit follows in both an authorized translation (King James, 1611) of the ancient scriptures and the beginnings of a whole new "third testament", the inspired writings of Jane Leade and followed by the seven messengers to the seven churches of Israel at the latter-day.

As with the children of Joseph there are two sons and their families: Manasseh and Ephraim.

Manasseh will stay in England, while the younger, Ephraim, will be drawn to the "New England" of America.

Of the two children by promise, Joseph and Benjamin (Jacob was promised Rachel, but was given Leah), Benjamin was the younger and is reunited with Joseph in England, and subsequently follows with the younger (Ephraim) to America.

The visitation to John Wroe (1822-1863) renewed the Law of Moses and which maintains that Israel must be circumcised and fulfill (keep) the Law in order to inherit the kingdom of God on earth. (Ebionites)

The visitation ("Shiloh" the spiritual-child/Spirit of Truth, visiting with instruction) to James Jezreel was to the scattered seed of Israel amongst the Christian churches (gentiles) and set aside the Levitical practices of the Law of Moses.

The visitation to Mary and (Benjamin) Purnell brought the missions of both Wroe (Wroe visits America 5 times) and Jezreel (1882 American tour) in America to fruition. America (Ephraim the younger) supplants England (Manasseh), during the time of Purnell's work (1891-1953). America supersedes England as the world's most powerful economy and military that spreads its investment and economic interests worldwide.

The importance of the Star of Bethlehem (1902) was its explanation of both Wroe and Jezreel's work. Why the Law was necessarily superseded by the testimony and teaching of Jesus. Why the seed of Israel in the Christian churches must to be drawn out and return to the "Spirit of the Word" as taught in the very earliest church of the first century. The Star of Bethlehem is an explication of both New and Old Testaments in a way of providing an insight into the deeper truths of both testaments. As Paul writes, We see in part and know in part, as through a glass darkly, but when that which is perfect is come, that in part, shall be done away. Following the Revelation prophecy that in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

It was effective...For out of both the Churches of John Wroe (primarily in Australia) and James Jezreel (England and America) came portions that made up the entire early foundation of the Israelite House of David in Benton Harbor. (1903-1906).


During the 1880s, at Richmond, Indiana, a party of New and Latter House canvassers held public street meeting(s) through which they met Mary and Benjamin Purnell, residents at the time. The Purnells were impressed with the sermons and obtained a copy of the "Extracts". They later said that "it set them on fire" and undoubtedly was the beginning of a new life interest and direction they would follow for their duration.

1891, Mary and Benjamin, with their two young children, Coy and Hettie, traveled to Detroit to join the Jezreelite commune gathered by Michael Mills. Mills quickly recognized the young couple's ability and propensity to preach. They were soon commissioned as traveling ministers of the New and Latter House and would tour in the summer months through Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. In the Spring of 1895, during the late evening, going into the early hours of March 12, the Purnell couple together, received a spiritual anointing in the midst of the congregation. It appears that the group initially accepted them as having acknowledged the spiritual anointing, but soon would turn away from the Purnells, discrediting the previous event. It would be only a short time after the 12th until Mary and Benjamin, with their two small children, would depart from Detroit, never to return.

 The Seventh Messenger, "the holy wedded twain"

From the early morning hours of March 12, 1895 (referred to as "the lighting of the graft"), Benjamin Purnell began a manuscript that would take 7 years to write; the very seven years that they would remain on the road as traveling preachers. The "lighting of the graft" of the Spirit of Truth (Shiloh) was the long sought crowning substance of the "visitation", that recognize seven messengers and their revelations. The "graft" was more than the many visits (visitation) of the Spirit over the previous two centuries. The graft was in substance the Spirit taking possession or residence of the "temple" body, which was prophetically to crown the Seventh Messenger.

It precisely fulfilled a prophecy from James Jezreel ("before the third watch would close, the graft would alight") and by John Wroe renewing practice of the Mosaic Laws: from the time of the woman's child-birth the church would be unclean for 80 days [years]. Leviticus 12:5 ).

  • The third watch ended in October, 1895.
  • Joanna's child-birth was December of 1814, which would bring the ending of uncleaness to December of 1894.
  • As was foretold, the graft lighting would come before the close of the third watch (October, 1895) and also after the time of uncleaness was fulfilled (December, 1894).
  • The "church" being the people (1 Corinth. 12:12-14 and 27);
  • the uncleanness is the carnal mind that directs the body into diverse lusts and error in understanding
  • (Romans 8:4-7). Hebrews 3:13.
  • The Star of Bethlehem shows that the child was male and female and the 80 years (not 40 for a male child) was because of the female (Leviticus).
  • It is to be noted that no other applicant for the coveted "seventh messenger" fulfilled the above dates nor wrote a further inspired body of instructive literature as did Mary and Benjamin Purnell.

TIME as understood by the latter-day churches of Christian Israel:

  • 1 day equals 1000 years (2 Peter 3:8 ):
  • 12 hours in a day (John 11:9). One hour equals 83 years and 4 months;
  • 4 watches to an hour (one watch equals 20 years and 10 months):
  • even, midnight, cockcrowing, morning. Mark 13:34-35.

Mary and Benjamin---Shiloh
With graft of living tree
Have come in search of the dry bones
Oh shout the jubilee


During the seven years of travel the Purnells printed a small pamphlet as a hand-out that also served as a contact point for future correspondence. Because they had listings of names of Jezreelites in America from their association with the Mills commune, they could use this information to make "Extracts" subscribers aware of the arrival of the long awaited Seventh Messenger, foretold in Jezreel texts.

1902 saw two important accomplishments for the travel wearied couple. They found a place of rest at Fostoria, Ohio, where, a small group of believers in the Purnell message lived and several others had come to support the new church: the Israelite House of David, Church of the New Eve, Body of Christ (the organization's original full title). In May, their manuscript of seven years writing was completed and printed at Ashland, Ohio: The Star of Bethlehem, The Living Roll of Life.

The single volume text of 780 pages was immediately sent to Jezreelite circles all across the American continent, to England and also to the Trustees of the Society of Christian Israelites, headquartered at Melbourne, Australia.

Numerous were those of the American Jezreelites that were aware of the Purnell mission and awaited the "Star" to test against the spiritual credentials of the former "Extracts" of James Jezreel.

Their success was amazing as letters came to Fostoria asking where the gathering (given in the Star to begin in 1903) was to be, and should they come to Fostoria. It was orally recorded, from an interview by the author years later, from a member among the first family (the Hornbeck family from Springfield, MO) "called in" to Benton Harbor (April, 1903). The reply was for them to await future directions, they had not been shown where, unto that time. From letters, in the archive collections of Mary's City of David, to and from the Albert Baushke family in Benton Harbor, Michigan, dating January and February, 1903, it is shown that Benton Harbor was the "chosen" place. The Hornbeck oral communication also told that Mary Purnell was the one to receive the directive as to where the church should be. The Baushkes were Jezreelites, and the head of a circle of nine in Benton Harbor, all of whom had read and accepted the "Star" which they received in 1902.

The Purnell's, with a party of 5, arrived in Benton Harbor on St. Patrick's Day, 1903. Immediately there were lands purchased and agricultural plantations started as American Jezreelite families began arriving at the agricultural/commercial and tourist town, located in Southwestern Michigan, at the mouth of the Saint Joseph River. By December (according to correspondence by the prominent Morton family of Benton Harbor ) there were nearly 300 in the new community church as the locals had become both amazed and cautious, with reserve towards this relatively unknown sect of "second Adventists", as they were first described by the local News Palladium.

"The Star of Bethlehem" is intended and written as the "Covenant Message", the accepted standard literature, laying out the full doctrine, "spirit" and practice of the communal body of people, who are the church.

"When you sign the covenant,  you sign that all you have is God's, we are his and all are one." Star pg. 370

It was first sent to the followings of the former six messengers. Later publications, the Books of Wisdom, primarily were to introduce newly interested people into the Christian-Israelite faith, and so written to lead one into the deeper teachings of the "covenant message".

As a synthesis of the various theological persuasions of the foregoing six messengers, the Star both embraces former inspirations as relevant, while setting aside others, regarded as "dead letter" (not in the "Spirit of the Word" or "Righteousness of the Law"; Romans 8:4). But the true weight of the Star was its further explanation of the ministries of both John Wroe (Mosaic Law) and James Jezreel (Gospel among the gentile churches). The Star was to fulfil Revelation 10 as the "little book open in the hand of the angel" and as the Purnells were numerically number seven: "in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared unto his servants the prophets."

 "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required" Luke 12:48

Tenets of practice in the Israelite House of David were based upon an imminent expectation of Christ's return. Yet the watch word was, to build as though you would inhabit forever, but be able to give up and leave at a moment's notice. It was expected that there be a time of lingering and a falling away. There was expected that when that time was fulfilled that the "great rush" would come and the Lord would set His hand a second time (second coming), and a quick work would he make upon the earth and cut it short in righteousness.

  1. The Nazarite vow is continued with the visible non-cutting of hair and beards.
  2. Vegetarian diet is adopted as full doctrine, whereas in the fifth and sixth churches it was in part, but not required.
  3. Communal organization is the social arrangement that new "members" to the body would sign onto. Participating in the spirit of community, the contribution of properties, monies and labours is construed as working for the kingdom in the spirit of the Holy Ghost. Work is always to be associated with love. The more you love someone/thing, the harder you will work for it. Sincerity and consistency in good works becomes the self evident visibility of love.
  4. Conscientious objection to war can only fulfill the commandment towards all mankind. Thou shalt not kill.
  5. Celibacy is required upon joining the church. The principle concern is over the disciplines in practice for a purified temple (mind and body) in order to receive the anointing: sealed as members of the church on earth, at Christ's return.

 "And there be eunuchs, which made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." Matthew 19:12. "But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none." 1 Corinthians 7:29.

"Shiloh", the "spiritual-child" (Spirit of Truth) is the anointing and sealing of the church. A spiritual guide that "will lead you in the way of all truth and will show you things to come" John 16:13;14:16,17. It is by such anointing that all "messengers" wrote and is the substance to rest and remain upon the church body as the saving ark;... as in the Days of Noah and of Lot.

From the essays and treatises of Jane Leade, through Joanna and the following messengers that led to the seventh, Mary and Benjamin, all taught that the substance of the teaching of Jesus is life of the physical body, without suffering a mortal death. The second coming is for this purpose, to save the flesh of the elect (Romans 9:3-5). There is a preparation necessary for the mind to receive and understand the teaching, which in turn directs the behavior of the body in cooperation: abstinence/self-denial/ overcoming by works in faith...This also has interesting similarities also found in the second century Gnostic teachings of Valentinus and Ptolemy.

The initial Jerusalem assembly fully expected Jesus' return, and so prepared for it by means of "works in faith", that would be found acceptable to enter into the kingdom on earth. Luke 12:47. The Eden restoration; the millennial reign of Christ on earth and the "king of Israel, of the house of David, upon the throne.

The Israelite House of David initially was the union of converts from the Society of Christian Israelites (John Wroe) and the New and Latter House of Israel (James Jezreel). 85 Christian Israelites came from Melbourne in 1905, following the Purnells home to America in their single world tour. 60 Jezreelites came from London in 1906, and by early 1904 around 300 American Jezreelites had come to Benton Harbor.

Revelation 19:9 Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

Luke 14:15 through 20 The parable states that a certain man made a great supper , and when all was ready he sent his servants to invite those that were bidden. Three excuses were made by those that were first invited:

  1. Property was bought.
  2. Possessions were purchased.
  3. A wife was taken.

The whole idea of communal living is to be freed from the guilt of selfish greed. Carnality is closely aligned with lust, and selfish greed. Reference is also found in Mark 10:17-30. It is the visible administration of the Holy Ghost.

In the Revelation 13:16 &17, it shows that none could buy or sell saving they have the number/name/mark of the beast. The practice in the communal order, as in the early church, precludes the mark, etc. by reason of no one claiming money or possessions by which to buy or sell.

The "house" of David is the "body" of Jesus.

In the Chronicles of the Old Testament, the prophet Nathan declares the word of the Lord through him, that upon the throne of David and from David's lineage would come the kings of Israel. That David was to build a house unto the Lord which was to last forever. In the New Testament, Jesus tells his following that the temple would be thrown down, but he would raise it up in three days...and, that "the kingdom of God was within you". After his resurrection his disciples recalled and realized that Jesus spake of his body, the temple. In Hebrews, Paul tells us that Jesus is the High Priest by reason of his resurrection. Thus, he abides forever a priest for us. Both Luke and Matthew trace the lineage of Jesus through David which makes it clear that the house or lineage of David is upon the throne forever in David's offspring, Jesus. Jesus being the everlasting house/temple built unto the Lord; the house of David.

In that initial congregation at Jerusalem, they ( Benjamin ) were instant in their work to bring in a remnant of Judah as well as searching out the dispersed among the gentiles (primarily the descendants of the 10 tribes). The gathering of the scattered 10 to the Jesus message was, "come out from among them (gentiles) and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive unto myself, and ye shall be my sons and my daughters". (Corinthians 6:16) and bringing back into the fold a remnant of Judah was necessary to fulfill John's revelation calling for 12,000 of each of the 12 tribes of Israel.

From Joseph would come the "shepherd and stone of Israel", Genesis 49:22-26. From Benjamin (the only one of the brethren that did not sell his brother Joseph) came his descendants who would not deny their brother, Jesus. And thus the preeminence in becoming the messengers of the "good news": first to their cousins in Judah and then to the world.

The "twins" were to be of Benjamin, (Star pg. 620) being male and female, or the "two" prophecying witnesses of the 11th chapter of the Revelation. In the early church, women held positions of prominence through their economic substance, established positions as servants to the Lord and their witness authority. As Old Testament scriptures clearly gave women equal access to revelations and works of faith, so through the New Testament it is also understood "the man is not without the woman "IN THE LORD" (Paul). Thus the latter-day visitation is "born" of and sustained by women from Jane Leade to Joanna and Clarissa Rogers to Mary Purnell. The Israelite House of David's organizational structure recognized implicitly the "Elohim" in its appointing of an equal number of males and females to both the Board Officers and to the Church Pillars. Women not only voted but held equal responsibilities (offices) in 1903.

Male and Female created he them; and blessed them, and called THEIR NAME ADAM. Genesis 5:2

The subsequent history of the Israelite House of David has many facets of interest that this writing is not intended to explore. The Revelation to John gives 42 months for these two witnesses to prophecy. From 1902 (publishing of the Star of Bethlehem), 14 years brings the high tide of 1000 members of the "foundation" in 1916. 14 years to 1930 brings the necessary "reorganization" of the House of David by Mary Purnell (upon her husbands death in 1927). Another 14 years completes the 42 "months" with the publishing of Mary's crowning work, The Book of Paradise, 1944.

The 10th and 11th chapters of the Revelation deal specifically with the work of the Seventh messenger: two prophecying witnesses. It is noted that these should be killed and there dead bodies remain unburied, as it is to this day. Further, these have power to "shut heaven", and it should not rain in the days of their prophecy: The forecast events would follow after their death.

"While the Bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept". Matthew 25:5

 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, 2 Thessalonians 2:3

It is given that these two witnesses should return (Revelation 11:11). In verse 15: the seventh angel sounded the message that re-echoes the expectation of the first Jerusalem congregation: "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever."

From the reorganization of 1930, Mary Purnell instructed the building of a complex of summer resort cottages. From the first rustic log cabin facilities of 1930-31, these were rented by Chicago Jewish families. By 1935 the building of summer resort accommodations rapidly increased and by 1938 the "City of David" (Mary's City of David) had built a Synagogue for a summer resident, Rabbi, Harry Goldstein, and his Roumanian congregation (Congregation Shaarei Shomaim) from Chicago. Mary's Resort would flourish as predominantly Jewish through the mid 1960s. During Mary's latter years of 1930 to 1950, she preached Sundays at her summer resort auditorium in the midst of the resort properties at the community. There were arranged three sections for the placement of audience: colony members (Benjamin); "gentiles" (perhaps descendants of the 10 tribes); and Judah (Jews in the resort). It was structured very much as a first century congregation arrangement. One of the most noticeable qualities to Mary Purnell's spiritual stature was the fact that she not only drew many from among the Jewish resort families, but held them in audience over the years. Mary Purnell was not one to compromise her principles; she preached Jesus to all assembled, all three sections, Sunday after Sunday, for almost 20 years. Like Paul, of Benjamin, she taught to the brethren of the following, to the gentiles (to whom salvation was opened) and to Judah.

Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in my hand.

Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen whither they have gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land.

And David, my servant, shall be king over them, and they shall have one shepherd.

I will make a covenant of peace with them, it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them forever. Ezekiel 37: 19-27.

Today the "City of David" community is a small number convinced of the many prophesies fulfilled and looking ahead confidently to those yet to be embodied. For among the many prophetic scripts, one from the many in John Wroe's Divine Communications, "When the hope of Israel is gone in the eyes of the world, then the Lord will begin his greatest work." The great falling away, as foretold by Paul in his second epistle to the Thessalonians (chapter two), necessarily must first come before that great and notable day of the Lord. In the Star of Bethlehem, it is defined clearly that almost the whole house shall fall. This must precede the "Great Ingathering of Israel", in a forgotten and humble quarter, at an unexpected time. In Isaiah 54:7 is written, For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.

Cast thy bread upon the waters, ye messengers of hope
And be thou not discouraged, for God himself will look;
For o'er the golden threshold, in God's appointed way,
We'll reap the fruitful increase, returned after many days.


R. James Taylor
Mary's City of David
21 November 2007

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