Saturday, October 24, 2015
Further Discourse with a Professed (Black) Hebrew Israelite - Continued...
This post contains my letter in response to the man in prison whose letter I posted in the previous blog.
I was impressed when I received a 15 page handwritten letter from you. I appreciate the time you spent to compose such a lengthy piece of correspondence. I want to assure you that I have not rejected you like the man you described in your letter who shouted “LIES! Those are all lies Ahki!” and then stormed off in a rage. Even if we disagree on topics that both of us deem to be important, I have observed in you that you continue to write with respect and honor, affirming your brotherly love toward me. Those who confess to be partakers of the Spirit of Yahshua should manifest the fruit of Yahweh’s Spirit in their words and actions.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control...
I have come to see more clearly your beliefs and how you have arrived at them through your continued correspondence. In this letter you made the statement “I’m not your average Hebrew Israelite.” In this statement is the declaration that you do identify with the group, or sect, that calls themselves Hebrew Israelites. Some other names adopted by those who share many of the same views are Black Hebrew Israelites, Black Hebrews, and African Hebrew Israelites.
Having considered your letter at some length, and having looked up various aspects of your stated belief system, I discovered that nearly all of your arguments from Scripture and history are common among those who identify as members of these groups. The emphasis on the names YaHaWHa and YaHaWHashi originate with those who identify as Hebrew Israelites. The same Scriptures that you cited in your letter are used by these groups to argue the claim that the ancient Hebrews were a race of black people.
I accept your statement at face value when you say that you are not an “average Hebrew Israelite.” In looking at numerous websites and videos posted by those who identify as Black Hebrew Israelites, it is apparent that many of them harbor resentment and hatred toward people of other races. In contrast, you have manifested both respect and love toward me, though I am not a black man. I am also glad to see you rejecting such false doctrines as that espoused by the Hebrew Israelite who said that David is the Messiah and not Yahshua (YaHaWHashi).
We share some beliefs in common. I agree with you when you state, “We all are a part of the vine now. If we have accepted YaHaWHashi as our Adon and Saviour and asked to be Dipped in the Ruach HaQodesh we shall be saved.” I would use different language to communicate similar beliefs. I would rephrase your statement as, “All those who have accepted Yahshua as Lord and Savior and who have been born again of the Holy Spirit are one in Christ. We are all part of the vine, and Yahshua is the root into which we are grafted.”
At the same time, there are significant differences in our beliefs and practices. One difference I would remark on is that I am not sectarian. I do not claim affiliation with any denomination, or sect of Christianity. To do so is contrary to the example and teaching of Yahshua’s apostles.
I Corinthians 1:10-13
Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Yahshua Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are factions among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, "I am of Paul," and "I of Apollos," and "I of Cephas," and "I of Christ." Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
I Corinthians 3:3-4
For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not mere men?
There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
I Corinthians 12:13
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
One of the most precious and beautiful passages on the subject of all mankind being made into one unified body in Christ, is found in Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, the city in which he spent many years laboring to build up the church.
But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God's holy people. You are members of God's family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
[New Living Translation]
I don’t normally quote directly from the New Living Translation Bible, but the plain English it uses helps to clarify the simple and profound truth that the apostle is declaring. You can read the same passage in other translations, or even in the Greek, and you will observe that it states the same message. In Christ the dividing wall between Jew (YaHudim) and Gentile (the nations) has been broken down. All division and enmity that existed between them has been removed. Yahshua has brought peace, uniting all mankind into one new man. We are all together being fashioned into a holy temple for Yahweh.
J., do you believe this to be true? You seem to acknowledge that it is true, for you wrote that “we are all a part of the Vine now.” Christ came to reconcile ALL MEN to His Father. He is not the Savior of the Hebrews only.
Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.
This truth has always been a great comfort to me, for I was not born of the natural lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I have never considered the Hebrew people to be white, or European. The Hebrews are a Semitic people. They are of Asian descent. Abraham was an Aramean. He lived in Ur of the Chaldees, which is in Mesopotamia. Contrary to the confident assertion of science today, mankind did not originate in Africa. The Bible places the Garden of Eden between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in the vicinity of Iraq today. This is where many of the great empires of history arose, the Akkadians, Sumerians, Chaldeans, and Babylonians. History does not depict these people as either black or white. They fell into that wide area in between. They likely had the skin color of many of the Arabic people today, similar also to the color of the people of India and Pakistan.
Abraham and his descendants, like the Bedouins of today, were a nomadic people. They raised sheep, goats, and cattle and dwelt in tents. It seems fitting that Yahweh would choose a people from among the nations who were neither white nor black that neither whites nor blacks would boast of their racial superiority.
In your letter you wrote:
“Once you have accepted YaHaWHashi as your Adon and Saviour you are no longer a part of the human race or another tribe. You are born again of the Spirit of the Messiah. Nothing else, Mr. Herrin, nothing else.”
If you believe this is true, then why do you make race such an issue in your religious beliefs and practices? Why are you so intent in declaring that the Hebrews were Black, and that you are a Hebrew Israelite? By doing so you are taking the focus off of being born of the Holy Spirit and placing it on your natural birth in the flesh. The flesh profits nothing! There is no occasion for any man to boast based upon his natural descent. The apostle Paul declared this himself.
Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Yahshua my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith...
If we are all “one new man” in Yahshua, then where is there cause to fixate upon one’s natural heritage? You are focusing on that which cannot help you. There is no benefit to be found by occupying your mind on issues of race. Conformity to Yahshua is internal, of the Spirit, not external according to the flesh. Look again at the fruit of the Spirit that I listed in my letter to you. Which of the fruits of the Spirit have anything to do with the outer man? None of them! They are focused on a man’s character, his inner virtues, and how they manifest through his words and actions.
A man is not made any better by being a Hebrew or an Israelite. Was it not the Hebrews and the Israelites that rejected and crucified their Messiah? Was it not the ancient Hebrew people, the descendants of Israel who rejected Yahweh and went after idols and immorality constantly until Yahweh gave them a writing of divorce and sent them captive as slaves into Assyria and Babylon? Yahweh said that the Israelites behaved worse than the nations they displaced in the land of Canaan. Surely then, there is no moral virtue, or superiority of physical ancestry in which to boast. God chose a people who were treacherous, selfish, wicked, and constantly prone to evil so that He could show forth His grace by redeeming even the worst of the nations. Moses taught the Israelites the following song so that they would be humble before Yahweh.
"They have corrupted themselves; They are not His children, because of their blemish: A perverse and crooked generation. Do you thus deal with Yahweh, O foolish and unwise people?... For Yahweh’s portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so Yahweh alone led him, and there was no foreign god with him. He made him ride in the heights of the earth, that he might eat the produce of the fields; He made him draw honey from the rock, and oil from the flinty rock; Curds from the cattle, and milk of the flock, with fat of lambs; And rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the choicest wheat; And you drank wine, the blood of the grapes. But Jeshurun (Israel) grew fat and kicked; You grew fat, you grew thick. You are obese! Then he forsook God who made him, and scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons, not to God, to gods they did not know, to new gods, new arrivals that your fathers did not fear. Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, and have forgotten the God who fathered you. And when Yahweh saw it, He spurned them, because of the provocation of His sons and His daughters. And He said: ‘I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faith... For they are a nation void of counsel, nor is there any understanding in them.”
J., do you see what Yahweh says about His chosen people? They have no reason to boast. They have been the most obstinate of all the nations. Yahshua said that if the miracles He performed had been done in Sodom and Gomorrah they would have repented. But His own people would not repent.
Then [Yahshua] began to reproach the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You shall descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”
Remember, Yahshua went only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. His miracles were performed among the Hebrews. Yet they did not repent. The wicked cities of Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom were all judged by Yahweh in the Old Testament due to the great wickedness of the people. Yet Yahshua said the cities of Israel were worse than them. The Hebrew people were worse than the citizens of Sodom. Think of that! I ask you then, where is the cause for boasting? Where is the motive to declare yourself a natural Israelite? Our ONLY boast is in Yahshua the Messiah. By receiving His Spirit to indwell us we are given the divine life we lacked; We are able to put the wicked flesh to death and walk as spiritual men. You are fixating on that which is unprofitable by making this doctrine of the Hebrew people being black your focus. Even if they were, it would profit you nothing!
I Corinthians 1:26-31
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Yahshua, who became for us wisdom from God - and righteousness and sanctification and redemption - that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord."
The words Paul spoke above apply equally to both Israelites and Christians. Yahweh has always chosen the common and undistinguished to be His people. Are the Hebrews more wise according to the flesh than other men? Are they more mighty? Are they more noble? No! No! And No! God has chosen the foolish, the weak, the base (common, ordinary), the things which are despised (without value), the things which are not (nothing), so that no flesh will glory in His presence. The Black Hebrew Israelites are acting foolishly as they seek to glory in their flesh. This is what they are doing when they place so much emphasis on declaring themselves to be the true Israel and true Hebrews. Whoever the Hebrews and Israelites are, they have no cause for boasting. They are altogether common in Yahweh’s sight. They have always been just as foolish, just as weak, just as sinful as every other family of mankind. Yahweh has declared this to be true in a thousand places in the Scriptures.
J., this is the problem you fall into when you embrace sectarianism. It was not the Holy Spirit that declared this teaching to you. You fell in with other members of the sect who call themselves Black Hebrew Israelites. You liked what you were hearing. It appealed to your ego to have someone point to Scripture passages and say, “The Black man is special, for he is the true Israel.” Such claims appeal to the pride of the flesh, but they hold no benefit for the spiritual man.
I encourage you to think back to the time you were first introduced to these teachings. Did they not appeal to your pride? Did it not make you feel special, elite, favored by God, to hear another man tell you that as a Black man you are one of Yahweh’s chosen people? Finding merit in the flesh is a fool’s errand. No man has cause for boasting because of His flesh. The true elect of Yahweh are those who have been grafted into the Vine, who have received the indwelling Holy Spirit, and been made partakers of the divine life of their Creator. ALL MEN may attain to this, no matter what nation they come from.
I want to address a response you may send to me BEFORE you do so. Although the majority of your 15 page letter to me focused on the issue of the Black man being the true Hebrew Israelites, you may say race is really only a minor part of your belief system. The evidence speaks otherwise. The racial focus of the Black Hebrew Israelite belief system has become yours as a consequence of having joined yourself to a sect started by other men. Their focus and values are embedded in their identity. Because their primary focus was on race, so too has your focus become primarily one of race.
You call yourself:
IVRI Yisraeli Mashiki Natzri
You provided the following English equivalent for your identity.
Hebrew Israelite Messianic Nazarene
and added “from the tribe of YaHudah!”
Although you reject the identity of being a Black Hebrew Israelite, the racial aspect of your belief system is quite pronounced. You emphasize that you are “Hebrew,” “Israelite,” “Nazarene,” and “from the tribe of YaHudah!” Thus, racial identity becomes a central part of your belief system. This is in contrast to those, like myself, who claim only to be “Christian,” which is to say, “a disciple of Christ Yahshua.” There is no racial aspect to my belief system. The emphasis is wholly upon Christ as I confess to be a follower and disciple of Yahshua, the Son of God. I claim no merit due to race, nor do I find my identity in my natural ancestry.
Out of the nine words you use to identify yourself (Hebrew Israelite Messianic Nazarene from the tribe of YaHudah) eight of the words pertain to racial identity. Only the word Messianic has nothing to do with race or natural heritage. (You might argue that Nazarene is a reference to the Messiah’s identity and not your own, but this still leaves 7 of 9 words that place the focus on YOUR racial heritage.)
Even if you shorten your self-declared identity to Hebrew Israelite Messianic Nazarene, 50% to 75% of your chosen religious identity is race based. If you add the word “Black” to your chosen identity, which I see no reason for you to have removed since you are claiming that Hebrew Israelites are exclusively black skinned people, the percentage of racial elements in your identification climbs even higher.
If the emphasis was purely on the Son of God where it ought to be, you would say only that you are “Messianic.” This is the equivalent to me saying I am “Christian,” for despite your renunciation of the words Christ and Christian, they do not mean what the Black Hebrew Israelites have told you. The Hebrew word Mashiach contains no more virtue than the English word Christ. You are in error when you state that the English word Christ comes from the Latin word Christos which means stupid or dumb. The New Testament was written in Greek first, not Latin. It was the Greek word Khristos that serves as the source for the English word Christ. This Greek word’s root is Khriein which means “anoint, to smear with oil.” Khristos means “anointed.”
This word is used in the book of Acts as Luke is retelling Peter’s first sermon on the day of Pentecost. Luke’s audience are Greek speaking people, evidenced by his addressing the book to Theophilus (a Greek name), so he has written the book of Acts in Greek. Luke declares Yahshua to have been “anointed” (chrio) by His Father.
"For truly against Your holy Servant Yahshua, whom You anointed...”
Luke was NOT stating that Yahweh made His Son Yahshua to be stupid or dumb. Rather, He anointed Him with the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament book of Hebrews we find this same Greek word used again.
“You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
Do you see how ridiculous it would be to suggest that this Greek word means stupid or dumb? Paul would be saying, “Therefore God, Your God has made you stupid with the oil of gladness more than your companions.” The Greek word passed into Latin as Christus, into Old English as Crist, and finally into its modern form of Christ.
I have shared with you previously that there is no special virtue to be found in substituting Hebrew words for English. If you learn the true origin of the Hebrew language you will see that it is no more a divine language than any other tongue spoken by men. In fact, the language derives from the land of Babylon which has always stood as a symbol of Satan’s kingdom, and rebellion against Yahweh. Even as the Hebrew people have no cause for boasting before Yahweh, so too their language has no intrinsic virtue of which to boast.
Abraham was an Aramean. Hebrew is nothing other than a form of Aramaic, the language of the people of Aram. Aramaic was the language of Babylon as well as Israel. When Judah was taken captive to Babylon for 70 years, they laid aside their previous Hebrew language which was Aramaic heavily influenced by the languages of Canaan, and adopted the Aramaic dialect of Babylon. They took this language (Aramaic) back with them to Jerusalem and Judea when they returned from captivity. The language of the Israelites in the New Testament period is interchangeably referred to as Aramaic and Hebrew, for Hebrew is nothing more than a dialect of Aramaic.
Aramaic is no more a divine language than Akkadian, or Egyptian, or Latin. Indeed, Babylon was a land that was mad in their pursuit of idols and idolatry (Jeremiah 50:38). Their language reflects their idolatry. Do you know the 4th month of the Hebrew calendar is named Tammuz, the name of a false deity? (Ezekiel 8:14) The Jews adopted the Babylonian calendar when in captivity, along with the names of the months. Yahweh’s calendar was originally numeric - The first day, the second day, the first month, the second month, etc.. You will find just as much idolatrous influence in the Hebrew language as in English.
J., I would hope that what I have shared already would help you to see how misguided this emphasis is among the Black Hebrew Israelites as they focus on race. Nevertheless, I believe it needful to demonstrate to you from the Scriptures that the Hebrew people were NOT Black. Before I do, let me point out that I am able to look at the Scriptures to discern this matter without prejudice, for I do not claim to be a Hebrew. I do not believe the Hebrews were white men and women, and race is not part of my theological belief.
You, on the other hand, have a bias in your heart when you search the Scriptures to know the truth of this matter. You have embraced the claim that the Hebrews were Black, and since you are also Black you very much want to believe this. If we approach the Bible with a bias in our heart, we will fail to discover the truth. We will fall short of properly testing Scriptures and arguments that are used to support what we want to believe, and we will ignore, neglect, or reject all Scripture and arguments that refute what we want to believe. Therefore, a man must search for truth without any bias in his mind and heart. As I have searched the Scriptures to discern this matter, I have not found it to be true that the Hebrews and Israelites were black. In your letter you have repeated statements such as:
“Anybody who knows the Bible and has read the story of EL of Yisrael and his chosen people know that the Israelites were black...”
I don’t know why you would make a statement like this. Most of the people who know the Bible and are familiar with the story of the God (El) of Israel and His chosen people have concluded that the Hebrews are NOT black. This includes the majority of Black people who know the Bible. You are only insulting others when you make a statement like this, for you are essentially saying that if someone does not agree that the Hebrews were Black, they do not know the Bible. This makes your argument an emotional one, rather than an argument that appeals to reason. This is a form of argument that comes from pride, and Yahweh would have His sons to avoid such an approach.
In your letter you stated that the Black people of the world descended from Shem. You also stated that the Egyptian people were Black, which would also make them descendants of Shem as it is doubtful that two out of three of Noah’s sons would produce nations of black people. There are simply too many Caucasian and Asian people in the world. There is a problem, however, if you contend that the Black races came from Shem, while also saying the Egyptians were black. The Bible refers to Egypt as “the Land of Ham.” Ham was Shem’s brother. You will find that the vast majority of Bible scholars identify Ham as the father of the Black nations. There is good reason for this, which I will present below.
Israel also came into Egypt; Thus Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.
Present in this verse is a form of Hebrew poetry that utilizes parallelism. Israel and Jacob are used interchangeably to refer to the same people, for Yahweh changed Jacob’s name to Israel. Similarly, “Egypt” and “the land of Ham” are used interchangeably. They refer to the same nation. This identity of Egypt as “the land of Ham” is repeated often in the Bible.
He sent Moses His servant, and Aaron whom He had chosen. They performed His wondrous acts among them, and miracles in the land of Ham.
They forgot God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt, wonders in the land of Ham, and awesome things by the Red Sea.
And struck all the firstborn in Egypt, the chief of their strength in the tents of Ham.
In addition to this connection between Egypt and the descendants of Ham, we have the following evidence that comes from Ham’s descendants.
And the sons of Ham were Cush and Mizraim and Put and Canaan.
Canaan was the father of those who settled in the land of Canaan. They were Hamites, descendants of Noah’s son Ham. The Israelites displaced or slaughtered the majority of the Canaanites when they took possession of this land. Historical evidence reveals that at least some of the inhabitants of Canaan when Israel arrived were black. However, the son of Ham who provides the best evidence of Ham being the progenitor of the black nations is Cush. The Bible speaks frequently of “the Land of Cush” and its inhabitants who were called “Cushites.” The land of Cush is called Ethiopia today. The Ethiopians are among the darkest skinned people on earth. The Bible makes reference to the distinctiveness of the Ethiopian’s skin color.
Can the Ethiopian (Cushite) change his skin,
Or the leopard his spots?
Yahweh used the Ethiopian (Cushite) as an example, for they were renowned for their black skin. Even as a leopard cannot change its spots, so too a descendant of Cush could not alter the color of his skin.
The Hebrew word translated Ethiopian in some bibles, and Cushite in others, is “Kuwshiy (koo-shee'); patronymically from OT:3568; a Cushite, or descendant of Cush.” (Strong’s Concordance). Moses’ brother Aaron, and his sister Miriam, criticized him because he had married a Cushite woman. The Hebrews were not immune to racial prejudice. Due to racial prejudice Miriam and Aaron reproached Moses for marrying a black skinned Cushite woman.
And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian (Cushite) woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian (Cushite) woman.
Miriam and Aaron were definitely Hebrew Israelites. If they were black skinned, they would have little reason to criticize Moses for marrying a black skinned woman. I will share this as a point of consideration, though I would not be dogmatic about it. I believe Yahweh’s punishment of Miriam for her criticism of Moses’ wife revealed that it was over the issue of skin color. Yahweh struck Miriam with leprosy.
So the anger of Yahweh burned against [Miriam and Aaron] and He departed. But when the cloud had withdrawn from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow.
It is poetic justice that Yahweh would give Miriam the white skin of a leper for having criticized the black skin of Moses’ wife. By doing so, Yahweh was showing His contempt for the skin color bias being manifested by Miriam.
While I am on the subject, the Black Hebrew Israelites (as you did also) refer to this Scripture and the one where Moses sticks his hand in his bosom and it comes out leprous, as proof that the Hebrews were black. Their argument is that if the Hebrews were not black that the leprosy would not show up or be clearly visible, so as to be described as white. This is a false argument, for Asiatic or Arab people who are stricken with leprosy show a great contrast between the white leprous skin and their normal skin color. Indeed, even with a white person leprosy stands out due to its unnatural whiteness.
The girl pictured above has the skin color commonly associated with Middle Eastern and Asiatic people. She is neither white nor black. The leprosy she suffers from shows up as white against her brown skin. It would have done so for Miriam, or Moses as well.
Before I move on from the descendants of Cush and his father Ham, let me just re-state that the Bible declares Egypt to be “the Land of Ham,” and the Cushites to be black skinned people. If you believe the Egyptians were black then these are two evidences of Ham being the forefather of the Black races, not Shem. A third evidence would be from location. Both Egypt and Ethiopia are in Africa, the natural homeland from ancient times of the Black nations. These countries are populated with Ham’s descendants, whereas Abraham was from Ur of the Chaldees, which is in the modern nation of Iraq. The people of Iraq are not black, nor are they white. They cover a range of colors in between.
Moving on to other evidence in the Bible that the Hebrews were not black, but were even to some degree prejudiced against black skin, let us look at the Song of Solomon. Solomon’s lover is notable for being a black woman. Emphasis is placed on her blackness being unusual, causing the other women of Israel to stare at her. Solomon’s lover defends her black skin, saying that her brothers made her work in the vineyards and her skin was made dark by the sun.
Song of Solomon 1:5-6
I am black but lovely, O daughters of
Jerusalem, Like the tents of
Kedar, Like the curtains of Solomon.
Do not stare at me because I am swarthy (black skinned),
For the sun has burned me.
Why would the daughters of Israel have stared at this woman because of her black skin if they were also black? I am examining this question of the Hebrew’s identity without prejudice for I am not attempting to prove that I am a Hebrew or an Israelite by birth. I cannot find any compelling evidence in the Bible that would lead me to conclude that the Hebrews were black. The evidence before me leads to a different conclusion.
In your letter you claim to be from the tribe of YaHudah which would naturally mean that those from the tribe of Judah were black men and women. David was a true descendant of Judah, as was his son Solomon. The Bible describes both men’s skin color as being “ruddy,” meaning “rosy, or reddish.”
I Samuel 16:11-12
Then Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here." So he sent and brought him in. Now [David] was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance.
Song of Solomon 5:10
My beloved is dazzling and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand.
The word “ruddy” is translated from the Hebrew word “'admoniy (ad-mo-nee'); or (fully) 'admowniy (ad-mo-nee'); from OT:119; reddish (of the hair or the complexion).” (Strong’s Concordance)
You have repeated the arguments of the Black Hebrew Israelites by declaring that those who translated or influenced the content of the Bible through history have brought forth false interpretations of the original languages of the Scriptures, interpretations that have hidden the truth that the Hebrews were black. This is a false argument, for it can readily be shown that this Hebrew word translated as “ruddy” does in fact refer to a complexion that is “reddish.” This Hebrew word is derived from the same word used for man, which is “Adam.” It is defined as:
'adam (aw-dam'); to show blood (in the face), i.e. flush or turn rosy.
The Black Hebrew Israelites have an answer for this. They suggest that the word “Adam” being a reference to his creation from the dust of the earth, could be understood to be a reference to “black soil.” They do in fact teach that the first man was black, and all other races are a deviation from this. This argument is readily cast down by observing that every place in the Bible the word “adam” occurs as an adjective rather than a name, it means “reddish in color.” Consider the following examples.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red (adam) like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Note the parallelism again in the verse above. Scarlet, red (adam), and crimson are all used interchangeably. In the following verse we see the Hebrew word “adam” used to describe the color of wine.
Look not thou upon the wine when it is red (adam), when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
Wine is red from grapes, and the Bible often compares the juice of grapes to blood. In fact, the Hebrew word “dam” (pronounced dawm) which lies at the root of the Hebrew word “adam,” means “blood.” Blood is red in color. Consequently when the complexion of David and Solomon’s skin is described as “adam” we know it means “ruddy,” not black.
This same word used to describe the complexion of David and Solomon is found in the following verse which speaks of the sons of Zion who would obviously be Israelites.
Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies.
Rubies are red. This passage is exaggerated, of course, being a from of poetic speech. Nevertheless, it is difficult to conclude from such a description that the people of Zion were black. Surely Jeremiah would have used another word to describe their skin color if they were black. He might have compared them to ebony, cobalt, jasper, or onyx.
Returning to the Song of Solomon, not only do we find the black skin of Solomon’s lover to stand out from the other Israelite women, we also find Solomon described in the following manner.
Song of Solomon 5:14-15
His abdomen is carved ivory
Inlaid with sapphires.
His legs are pillars of alabaster...
Both ivory and alabaster are white, while sapphires are red. These specific comparisons would lead one to conclude that Solomon was fair skinned with a ruddy complexion. This fits well with the other descriptions we have of Solomon when he was described as ruddy.
You have repeated another of the Black Hebrew Israelite’s arguments when you refer to Job 30:30 as proof that the Israelites were black.
My skin hath been black upon me, And my bone hath burned from heat.
[Young’s Literal Translation]
The error of the Black Hebrew Israelites here is two-fold. First, Job is never described as a Hebrew or an Israelite. The book provides no more history of Job’s ancestry than to mention that he resided in the land of Uz.
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job...
The book of Job is considered by many to be the oldest book of the Bible, and to refer to a man who lived long before Israel was a nation. Secondly, the meaning of Job’s lament in chapter 30 verse 30 is misinterpreted by the Black Hebrew Israelites. When Job says his skin is black he is not speaking of his normal skin color. He is lamenting his physical condition due to the boils and sickness that Satan afflicted him with.
Then Satan went out from the presence of Yahweh, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes.
Even as Miriam’s leprosy turned her white as snow, so too did the boils of Job turn his skin black. The whole argument becomes moot, however, when we realize that Job was never declared to be a Hebrew or an Israelite.
Similarly, the arguments that Joseph, Moses, or other Israelites could not have blended in with the Egyptians unless they shared the same physical characteristics, including skin color, is not convincing. There is debate even regarding the claim that the ancient Egyptians of Bible times were black. Although Egypt is “the Land of Ham” and the Hamites are believed by many Bible historians to have been dark skinned, the land of Egypt underwent a change of rulership from one dynasty to another. Egypt was a melting pot of many people groups due to its location on the Mediterranean and the importance of the Nile River. Even as the land occupied by Judah and Israel for more than a millennia continued to be referred to as “the land of Canaan” due to its original occupants, Egypt may well have been referred to as “the land of Ham” even after it had been conquered and populated by another people.
I encourage you to study the history of Egypt and its dynasties to understand the changes that occurred in that country over the course of several millennia. For example, one of the prominent dynasties of Egypt was the Hyksos Dynasty. These were foreign invaders who conquered and ruled Egypt for a period of time. The Hyksos are believed by most authorities to have come from the area of Syria. The Assyrians were not black, but had mid tone skin coloring.
It is not necessary to debate the skin color of the ancient Egyptians, however, for the Egyptians clearly recognized that the Hebrews appearance was different than their own. Thus the arguments that the Hebrews blended in with the black race of Egypt fails to be persuasive. Joseph is one of the first Hebrew Israelites to go down to Egypt. It is shown in Scripture that the Egyptians recognized him as a Hebrew.
When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and had fled outside, she called to the men of her household, and said to them, “See, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to make sport of us; he came in to me to lie with me, and I screamed...”
Then she spoke to him with these words, “The Hebrew slave, whom you brought to us...”
Then the chief cupbearer spoke to Pharaoh, saying..., “Now a Hebrew youth was with us there...”
So they served [Joseph] by himself, and [Joseph’s brothers] by themselves, and the Egyptians, who ate with him, by themselves; because the Egyptians could not eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is loathsome to the Egyptians.
One of the arguments Black Hebrew Israelites set forth is that when Joseph went to bury his father in the land of Canaan, the Canaanites described all those who mourned as Egyptians.
Now when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, "This is a grievous mourning for the Egyptians."
This is explainable by the fact that this large company of people came from Egypt. The company included a large number of Egyptian officials, and even Joseph who was a Hebrew had adopted the dress and language of the Egyptians.
So Joseph went up to bury his father, and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household and all the elders of the land of Egypt...
If the Canaanites observed a large company of prominent Egyptian officials, elders, and servants of Pharaoh coming with Joseph who was also dressed as an Egyptian, they would quite naturally have concluded that these were Egyptians. Remember also that Joseph’s family was small. There were only 70 people who went with Jacob/Israel to Egypt in the days of Joseph’s rule. Thus Israel was NOT a recognized nation at the time. They were just a small clan. The Canaanites could not be expected to recognize such a small clan as the descendants of Israel, but they would have recognized those who were from Egypt, for it was a mighty nation. The Bible tells us that it was during Israel’s 4 centuries in Egypt that they multiplied and Yahweh made them into a mighty nation, but they were not a mighty nation when they went into Egypt.
J., before I proceed further, I would like to invite you to consider whether you are truly hearing and considering the evidence and arguments I am setting before you. Are you desiring to arrive at truth, or do you have a vested interest in defending the claims of the Black Hebrew Israelites. I don’t want my words to be perceived by you to be adversarial. I have no stake in this discussion other than a desire to arrive at truth and lead others to truth. I am not trying to disprove that the Hebrews were black in order to claim that they were actually my skin color. I have no pretensions regarding my own ancestry, and I do not perceive race to be an important factor for those who aspire to be sons of Yahweh. In His sight we have all come from the same blood (Acts 17:26).
I want to reassure you at this time that I am seeking your welfare by writing these things to you. I am not coming as an adversary. My hope is always that those I write to have a sincere desire to apprehend truth, and my goal is to pursue the truth with them. With these assurances I will now continue to set forth more evidence regarding the ethnic identity of the Hebrews and Israelites.
In your letter you stated that Shem was the ancestor of the black people. Your main argument to support this conclusion is that the Scriptures state that part of the curse Yahweh proclaimed to Israel when the Law was given was that if they forgot His law that they would be slaves to other nations. What you have failed to mention is that long before Yahweh spoke these things to Israel He had proclaimed a curse of slavery on the descendants of Ham.
Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. And he drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father's nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. So he said, “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brothers." He also said, "Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant."
The Israelites were not the only nation of people to experience slavery. Although Israel experienced significant periods of slavery, other nations and peoples have experienced enslavement more consistently by other people groups of the earth than the Israelites. These nations who have a profound history of routine enslavement and exploitation by other nations have predominantly been the descendants of Ham. This is in fulfillment of the words Noah spoke as a judgment on the actions of his son Ham. The curse of slavery to the descendants of Japheth and Shem was spoken to Ham and his descendants.
Understanding the profound and far-reaching consequences of this curse upon the Hamites which Yahweh has declared to us in Scriptures, the entire premise of the Black Hebrew Israelites when they argue that they must be the true Israelites due to their history of slavery, is cast down to the ground. They could make a stronger argument that they are Hamites based on this revelation from the word of God. For the Blacks have from antiquity experienced profound periods of enslavement by the descendants of Shem and Japheth. Of course, the Black Hebrew Israelites do not want to argue they are Hamites, or Canaanites, for that would not accrue to them any status of being specially favored in the eyes of Yahweh. So they reject this first and most prominent statement on slavery in the Bible and choose to focus instead only on God’s curse to the Israelites should they forsake Him and His law.
A great problem arises, however, when we observe in the Bible that every part of the curse spoken to Israel had its fulfillment already. The Bible itself declares this to be true. The Black Hebrew Israelites also ignore or reject these evidences. They are approaching the Bible with blinders on because they want to declare themselves to be the true Israel.
So let me show you from the Scriptures themselves that the curse of rejection and slavery for the Israelite people was fulfilled and recorded for us in the Bible. In your letter you cited the following discourse where Yahweh is speaking to Abraham about the future of his descendants.
Then He said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.
You argue that Israel was not in slavery for 400 years in Egypt so Yahweh’s words could not have been speaking of Israel’s enslavement in Egypt. This depends on how you define slavery. It is obvious, from the time of Joseph forward that the Israelites, although they enjoyed some freedoms, did not have the freedom to leave. Joseph had to get permission from Pharaoh to take his father’s body to the land of Canaan to bury him there. He had to give Pharaoh a promise that he would return to Egypt.
And when the days of mourning for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found favor in your sight, please speak to Pharaoh, saying, ‘My father made me swear, saying, “Behold, I am about to die; in my grave which I dug for myself in the land of Canaan, there you shall bury me.” Now therefore, please let me go up and bury my father; then I will return.’”
Notice that Joseph has to plead with the Egyptians to receive permission to go bury his father. Although Joseph was a top official in the land, he was very much a servant of Pharaoh. The same is true of his brothers and their families. When they arrived in Egypt Pharaoh sought to make them servants as well.
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land, let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock.”
After Joseph died, what began as a congenial service to Pharaoh turned to harsh slavery.
Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, "Behold, the people of the sons of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply and in the event of war, they also join themselves to those who hate us, and fight against us, and depart from the land." So they appointed taskmasters over them to afflict them with hard labor.
You wrote, “They claim it was their people who went into captivity in Egypt for 400 years. But the Israelites sojourned in Egypt for 430 years and was in bondage there for only the last 80 to 100 years!”
You made no attempt to substantiate your claim of the 80-100 years of servitude. I suspect this is because you are merely repeating the teachings of the sect known as the Black Hebrew Israelites and have not tested this matter yourself. Joseph’s family came to Egypt when Joseph was 39 years old, for it was the second year of the famine. Joseph rose to power at the age of 30. The first 7 years of his promotion were spent gathering grain during the years of plenty. Two years later, during the 2nd year of the famine, Joseph’s father and brothers moved to Egypt. Joseph died at the age of 110 (Genesis 50:22). Doing the math we see that Israel (Joseph’s father and brothers, along with their families) had been in Egypt 71 years when Joseph died. They would remain there another 359 years. It would take no more than one generation, and likely less, for a new king of Egypt to arise who did not know Joseph. Consequently, more than 300 years of their sojourn in Egypt was spent in harsh servitude. We must keep in mind also that the statement of 400 years of servitude may include Joseph’s experience as well, for he was sold into Egypt as a slave and also experienced imprisonment as a criminal in Egypt. In Psalms it says the following of Joseph’s experience.
He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. They afflicted his feet with fetters. He himself was laid in irons; Until the time that his word came to pass.
Yahweh may very well have included the time of Joseph’s captivity as part of the 400 years of slavery that He prophesied to Abraham. We need not make suppositions about this matter, however, for the Bible declares in other places that it was indeed Israel’s experience in Egypt that Yahweh was speaking of to Abraham. Part of Yahweh’s words to Abraham include the statement,“Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs...” Moses reveals that this was fulfilled in Egypt:
And you shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
This statement is repeated in Exodus 23:9, Leviticus 19:34, and Deuteronomy 10:19. The Scripture you cited ends with the words, “And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.” There are two distinct statements in these words of Yahweh. Yahweh would judge the nation that held His people in slavery, and when Abraham’s descendants left they would come out with great possessions. Both of these statements were fulfilled when Israel left Egypt. Was there ever a nation that experienced a more profound judgment than Egypt under the ten plagues brought on them by Moses? And the Bible tells us the Israelites “plundered” the Egyptians when they left. They took the wealth of Egypt with them.
Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and Yahweh had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.
Yahweh also told Abraham that it would be during the time of his descendants’ captivity that He would make them a great nation by multiplying their numbers. This too was fulfilled in Egypt.
And Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation. But the sons of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly, and multiplied, and became exceedingly mighty, so that the land was filled with them. Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, "Behold, the people of the sons of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply and in the event of war, they also join themselves to those who hate us, and fight against us, and depart from the land."
These words reveal that Yahweh’s prophecy to Abraham was fulfilled in Egypt. Even in the New Testament we have evidence that Yahweh’s words to Abraham were fulfilled in Egypt. Stephen, when giving his discourse in the book of Acts, speaks the following.
But as the time of the promise was approaching which God had assured to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt...
Stephen, the first martyr, and a man full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, declared that Yahweh’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled “in Egypt.”
J., the sect who call themselves Black Hebrew Israelites have closed their eyes to the truth because they have a bias in this matter. They have found it attractive to embrace the idea that the black people are the true Hebrews and Israelites. You can only escape their error if you love truth more than you love the lies of this sect. Their lies have a certain attraction, for you are a black man. You must lay aside your identity as a black man and see yourself merely as a man who must deal with Yahweh, your Creator. You will see then that Yahweh regards no man for any fleshly heritage or trait. We are all descendants of Adam. We have all sinned and are in need of His mercy and grace.
This letter is quite long, so I do not want to prolong it further. However, it is on my heart to speak once again to the subject of your ritualistic prostration toward the East while you recite rote prayers and alternately rise to speak Hebrew words and perform hand motions. You objected to my suggestion that you might be praying toward Jerusalem, though it is no more comforting to learn that you are intentionally facing East while offering your prayers. There is nothing in the New Testament practice of Christ, His apostles, and the early church that corresponds with this ritual of yours. However, your ritual does mimic the behavior observed by idolaters dating back to ancient times. Are you not familiar with the following Scripture passage from the book of Ezekiel?
He brought me into the inner court of Yahweh's house; and see, at the door of the temple of Yahweh, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men, with their backs toward the temple of Yahweh, and their faces toward the east; and they were worshiping the sun toward the east. Then he said to me, Have you seen this, son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here?
You know that Satan has induced millions of Christians to adopt pagan practices as they celebrate Christmas and Easter. Despite the fact that the rites and symbols observed at Christmas and Easter can be proven to have no origin among the early church or support in the New Testament, but mirror perfectly the ancient practice of idolatrous religions, Christians argue that these things mean something else to them. They say they are worshiping Christ, though the Son of God gave them no commandment to observe these things.
Are you not doing the same thing when you mimic precisely the behavior of idolaters whom Yahweh condemned, but you say you are doing it for other reasons? Like those who observe Christmas and Easter, you have no example in the New Testament, no commandment from the apostles, nor tradition among the early church to base your behavior upon. Your actions are exactly as those described by Ezekiel, actions which Yahweh called “abominations.”
In your ritual prostration toward the East and recital of rote prayers there is no spiritual benefit. Like the claim that the true Israelites are black people, you are embracing beliefs and practices that appeal to the pride of man and that glories in the flesh. You say you have been called to lead men out of Paganism, but you are merely substituting one form of idolatrous behavior and belief for another.
J., it is with sincerity and concern that I have asked you to examine yourself to know whether you have been born again of the Holy Spirit. My question is not meant to offend you, nor is it spoken as an insult. I sincerely am concerned that you have been deceived as you have fallen in with a sect of deceivers. You may not be the “average Hebrew Israelite,” but you have embraced many of their errors. I ask you, do you see a transformation of character among those who identify as Black Hebrew Israelites, Hebrew Israelites, or African Hebrew Israelites? Do you see the fruit of the Spirit increasing in their lives?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Or do you see black men who are exhibiting pride and who are glorying in the flesh as they claim to be “the true Israel of YaHaWHa”? Do you observe men who are dying to self, manifesting repentance, brokenness and a contrite heart over their sins? Or do you observe boastful, arrogant men whose hearts are hardened to the conviction of Yahweh’s Spirit? The flesh profits nothing. It is the Spirit who brings life!
Please receive my words in the spirit of love and concern for you in which they are offered. May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,
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