Flawless is coming soon...

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Black Presence in the Bible - Part V

As I submit this final article on the black presence in the Bible and how Western theologians have muffled their presence, there may be some who are asking if the issue of color in the Bible merits such attention. My response to such queries is if it is in the Bible, it is vital to someone’s salvation. Most Americans take for granted that the Gospel – Christ’s virgin birth, death and resurrection – is enough to draw most people to the cross. Although the Gospel is the ultimate message that all must accept to receive redemption, the majority of the world’s population will not embrace it unless God is drawing them by his Spirit. Jesus’ sacrifice does not translate into a one size fits salvation.

The message that drew me to the cross is not the message that will draw another to the cross, and it certainly is not the message that will draw a hardened Muslim, Hindu or atheist to the Cross. The Scripture tells us that All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17. That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

There are thousands upon thousands of scriptures in the Bible, and each one has the potential of pricking someone’s heart and sending them running to the foot of the cross saying, “What must I do to be saved?” However, if the man of God has been trained with Western theology, then according to 2 Timothy 3:17, there is a high degree of certainty that he may not be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

According to Acts 21, there was a band of men that wanted to kill Apostle Paul for teaching against the Law of Moses, and when the chief captain discovered the uproar, he apprehended him. During his initial interrogation of Paul, he mistook him for an African:

37. And as Paul was to be led into the castle, he said unto the chief captain, May I speak unto thee? Who said, Canst thou speak Greek? 38. Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers? 39. But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people (Acts 21:37-39).

Paul’s physical features resembled the African bandit, and although Paul admits to being Jewish, the chief captain initially believed that he was an Egyptian. Based on the images and biblical teachings that the Western theologians have churned regarding the ethnicity of the Apostles, many Western Christians take for granted that these men were European. Now this propaganda would probably be of no consequence to an American who is seeking salvation. However, if the man of God has access to this tool – that Paul had African features – while ministering in the Middle East, this minute piece of truth may plant a seed or water one that has already been sown into the heart of a lost soul.

Solomon told us that [e]very word of God is pure (Proverbs 30:5a). And despite the Western theologians’ effort to limit the role of the people of color in the Bible, it is not God’s word that has been injured, but the understanding has been tainted of those who have been taught this fabricated message.

The Western theologians’ tampering with the Word of God goes way beyond simply censoring the idea that people of color hold a prominent role in the Scriptures. In an unprecedented display of audacity, the Western world has hijacked the New Testament, by taking custody of this Hebrew book and making it their own. Why is it that most ministers will refer to the “original Greek” when doing a word analysis in the Scripture? This is extraordinary that the Western scholar has conditioned much of the world to believe that the original tongue of the New Testament was Greek; when in fact Jesus and his apostles spoke Aramaic. Therefore if we wanted to look up a New Testament word in its original form, we would need an Aramaic lexicon; however, most students of the Bible have a trusty Greek lexicon sitting on the book shelf.

Although I am not suggesting that the Western theologian has corrupted God’s Word, it is clear to those who know and understand the truth that he has interfered with our understanding of the Scripture. This has been no egotistical effort by him to make it appear that he is the custodian of the oracles of God – this is about controlling the destiny of human civilization.* The irony of this clever deception is that the Saviour of the world was born out of a Jewish genealogy that intersected the lineage of the Hamitic tribe, permitting the dark skinned family to contribute to the genetic disposition of Jesus Christ.

The first genetic intersect point in the lineage of Christ occurred with Judah, Jacob’s son who was promised the royal throne - The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be (Genesis 49:10). Although Judah was married to a black woman, Shuah who was a Canaanite, it was his daughter-in-law, Tamar, another Canaanite, who Judah slept with that produced an heir to the royal lineage. This act of adultery on Judah’s part and prostitution on Tamar’s to extend the lineage of Jesus has been described in detail in the book of Genesis (see chapter 38 for the full account).

The next intersect point came in Jericho after the Jewish family was released from bondage in Egypt. When the nation of Israel sent spies into Jericho to search out the country, Rahab, who the Bible calls a harlot, protected them. According to the hall of faith in Hebrews, she was spared because of her faith when God brought destruction upon the city – By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace (Hebrews 11:31). Her act of faith also caused her entry into the lineage of Jesus after marrying Salmon and giving birth to King David’s great-grandfather Boaz (also known as Booz) - 5. And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; 6. And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias (Matthew 1:5-6).

The third Hamitic woman to contribute her genes to the anthropology of Jesus was Ruth. The book of Ruth is a wonderful story of love and redemption. It describes the plight of a woman whose husband died and her mother-in-law urged her to return to her people. With one of the most poetic recitals in the Bible, she responds to Naomi as follows:

14. And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. 15. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. 16. And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: 17. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me (Ruth 1:14-17).

Ruth married Boaz, the son of Rahab, in a beautiful story that resembles redemption as Boaz redeems her for a life of plenty and a place in the genealogy of Jesus (see the book of Ruth for the story).

The final contribution of the Hamitic tribe came during the reign of King David. While walking upon the roof of his castle, he noticed Bathsheba washing herself, and called for her to sleep with him. After she got pregnant, the king had her husband killed so he could marry her, and she gave birth to Solomon, the wisest man to ever live – And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias (Matthew 1:6, also see I Samuel 11 for the entire account).

The lineage of Jesus is characterized with blood contributed from the Hamitic family. The dark skinned people of the earth have found, within the pages of God’s holy word, reason to celebrate its family heritage, because God in his divine wisdom included their genetic material in the royal lineage of Jesus Christ.

* Although this is beyond the scope of this article, I may expound upon it in a subsequent teaching.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Black Presence in the Bible - Part IV

The Bible describes a time when the earth was inhabited by giants, and during that period, women gave birth to children who became mighty men, who were renowned in knowledge, wisdom and understanding – 4. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown (Genesis 6:4). This advanced civilization of people was lost in the flood. However, their story survives, not only in the scripture, but in the legend of Atlantis, the highly developed civilization that allegedly descended to the floor of the Atlantic Ocean after a flood.

The legend of Atlantis gains traction when we consider the biblical account of the renowned men in Genesis 6. This early civilization of people were scattered abroad in North Africa and the Middle East. Although all of these men were lost in the flood, the flame of their great genius survived. We witnessed it in Noah, who possessed a spontaneous ability to apply engineering standards as he built an ocean-going vessel after receiving limited instructions from God on the dimensions and types of material to use.

To appreciate the magnitude of Noah’s accomplishment and ability, consider how many modern day geniuses could build a ship capable of surviving the torrents of 40-days of rain after being told to make it with Gopher wood and seal it with pitch, along with being given the dimensions? This is in addition to the fact that the ship had to carry thousands of animals and provisions to last for about 9 months.

Noah’s building of the ark was a remarkable feat for a man who never took a course in engineering; however, he possessed the genetic material of Adam and Eve, who was made in the image and likeness of God. The genetic makeup of man evidently provided God-like characteristics for the human family, and one of those characteristics was what I call spontaneous-knowledge – the ability to learn something without being previously taught. Now although I believe that Noah was a person of color, I also believe that spontaneous knowledge is accessible to all men and women regardless of color. This ability to learn without a teacher is a lost art in our modern world; however, I believe that in the right circumstance, God will still open up our imagination to discover, invent or develop incredible things that we had no prior knowledge of.

For we are made in the image and likeness of God Almighty!

If we study the scripture closely, we will discover that it talks about breathtaking advances in the sciences. One such breakthrough was accomplished by the man who is vilified more by Western theologians than any other character in the Bible. His name is Nimrod, and he discovered the physics secret for space/time travel or what I call the Law of Space Penetration. No man that has ever walked this earth, with the exception of Jesus, can produce a resume with the technical accomplishments of Nimrod.

It has been traditionally taught that Nimrod was motivated to build a ziggurat in order to escape another flood. This has been interpreted to mean that he attempted to bypass God in an effort to save himself from a future, divine judgement similar to the flood. This doctrine cannot be supported by scripture and is another vivid example of how the Western world has used theology to remove accomplishments of the people of color in the Bible. In fact, in the classic work on the origins of the Church at Rome titled The Two Babylons, by Alexander Hislop, he described Nimrod as “none other than Satan himself.”

If we use the Scripture as its own commentary, the only conclusion we can draw regarding the identity of Nimrod, is that he was a mighty man before the Lord:

8. And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. 9. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. 10. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar (Genesis 10:8-11, emphasis mine).

Whenever the scripture uses the principle of repetition, there is an emphatic declaration that God does not want the reader to miss. In the above verses, we see that God calls Nimrod ‘mighty’ three times and a ‘mighty hunter’ twice. This is significant, because He wants us to realize the greatness of Nimrod, and to understand that he is not the depraved individual that would eventually find its way into the schools of Western theology. A careful examination of the Scripture demonstrates that if God had not stopped him, Nimrod would have accomplished the greatest scientific discovery of all time – entering into Heaven through the laws of physics:

4. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 5. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do (Genesis 11:4-6).

According to God’s own testimony, if he had allowed Nimrod to complete his tower, he would have not only entered into Heaven, but he would have unlocked a secret that would have allowed him to achieve anything that he imagined. Consequently, the decision by God to confuse the tongues was not a punishment for Nimrod’s disobedience, but a roadblock to prevent flesh and blood from entering into Heaven. In fact, Genesis 10:8-11 seems to suggest that God held Nimrod in very high esteem for his accomplishment.

I once thought that the architects of the Western world demonized Nimrod because he was from the family of Ham, the progenitor of the African nations. However, I am now more subdued, and although I still believe that this is true, I also see that the purveyors of Western society would also be concerned that anyone, regardless of color, would aspire to be like Nimrod. Imagine how the balance of social power would be altered if a Nimrod inspired black researcher or white researcher discovered a method to cause an internal combustion engine to run on water. Since water conducts electricity, I would suspect that it would burn as a fuel if we understood the process of its combustion. This ingenious discovery would significantly limit the revenue of all of the oil companies and motor companies on the planet.

The reason that many of these false, theological teachings continue to exist is that too many Christians are inclined to allow the commentaries to explain the Scripture and not the other way around. We as people of God should never allow a man’s book to prove the Bible. We should use the Bible to prove the man’s book. Hislop’s The Two Babylons and many other Western commentaries could never survive the scrutiny of God’s Holy Word.

…to be continued

The Black Presence in the Bible - Part III

Race is a divisive, synthetic invention that has permitted many types of social horrors, ranging from discrimination to genocide. In a wicked world, it should come as no surprise that the Third Reich passed legislation that encouraged Germans of Aryan descent to dehumanized Germans of Jewish descent. Neither should one be surprised that the antebellum South sanctioned the cruel treatment of black slaves by white landowners. What is surprising, however, is that this type of racial gerrymandering has found a permanent home in the schools of Western theology, which has effectively white-washed the Bible.

The Western world’s interpretation of the Scriptures is vital to its existence and expansion, because it has used the Bible and the cross of Christ as its coat of arms as it has conquered vast stretches of the earth. The Roman emperor Constantine claimed to have had a vision from God that authorized him to march under the authority of the Cross during his battle at the Milvian Bridge. This alleged vision was his motivation to initiate an orgy of murder, where he massacred soldiers, innocent men and women, along with children, until he reunited the Roman Empire.

The invasion of Christopher Columbus to the Americas was the direct result of the Roman Empire’s lust for expansion. However, because “his-story” allows the victor to publish the story, Columbus’s voyage to South America is taught in most American public schools as a discovery, when in fact he was sent by King Ferdinand, the Catholic Monarch of Castile, to “[conquer] some islands and continent in the ocean.”

The following excerpt from Columbus’s charter, Privileges And Prerogatives Granted By Their Catholic Majesties To Christopher Columbus—1492, demonstrates that his voyage is unmistakably an act of aggression to bring the continents of North and South America under the colonial powers of Europe:

For as much as you, Christopher Columbus, are going by our command, with some of our vessels and men, to discover and subdue some Islands and Continent in the ocean, and it is hoped that by God’s assistance, some of the said Islands and Continents in the ocean will be discovered and conquered by your means and conduct, therefore it is but just and reasonable, that since you expose yourself to such danger to serve us, you should be rewarded or it. And we be willing to honor and [favour] you for the reasons aforesaid...(Ferdinand and Elizabeth, King and Queen of Castile)

Columbus’s journey had a duality of purpose: first, it expanded Western Civilization; and second it transplanted the Inquisition to America; a brutal form of Christian conversion, where the subjects were often tortured until they accepted the Catholic version of Christianity. This was done with the sanction of the Church and in the name of God. It lasted from the 12th century through the early 19th century. The reason the Inquisition prospered as long as it did, was because the perpetrators of this godless method of conversion had been conditioned that the God they served favored them over the dark skinned people of the world and that he authorized their form of conversion. This would have been difficult to achieve if those erroneously acting under the authority of the Bible, understood that most of its characters were people of color and that the main character of the book, Jesus Christ, probably had brown skin and wooly hair.

The biblical archives do not classify people by race. It classifies them by family and nation as can be seen in the genealogy of nations in Genesis 10:

15. And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth, 16. And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, 17. And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, 18. And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. 19. And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha. 20. These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations…32. These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood (Genesis 10:15-20, 32).

Genesis 10 demonstrates how the families of the earth were divided after the flood. While verses 15-20 is the lineage of the family of Canaan, who was the grandson of Noah, Noah had 16 grandchildren that were identified in the genealogy of nations. His grandchildren were the offspring of his three sons, Japheth, Ham and Shem. All the families of the earth came from Noah’s three sons; therefore, if we are to properly divide human civilization, it must be classified as Japhethite, Hamite, or Shemite. Coming out of the flood, the Japhethites migrated to Europe, the Hamites migrated to the Middle East and Africa, and the Shemites migrated to the Middle East and other parts of Asia.

The Bible, in its simplest terms, is a story about how God brought redemption to the human family. This story predominantly follows the Shemite division of humanity and how God selected them to be his spokesman, the custodian of his word and the lineage where Christ would be born. If you know this much, then you understand that the Bible is a book of color. Interestingly enough, the word ‘human’ means color man or hue-man, and since Adam was made from the dust of the earth, I would suspect that God created him with a tint. Obviously all of the other colors of the earth evolved from him and Eve.

The invention of race as a broad classification of people, has on one hand robbed people of color of a rich heritage that goes back to the Garden of Eden, and on the other hand does not give true credit to the technological advancements of the great colored civilizations of the past. As advanced as Western Civilization is today, it still has no idea how the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids with such precision. One cannot truly appreciate the genius that went into the construction of these great edifices, until you consider the skill of the ancient Egyptians.

The pyramids were the equivalent of an ancient computer. The Egyptians used them to measure the distance between the earth and the sun; they measured the distance between the earth and moon; they used them to measure the circumference of the earth; they used them to create topographical maps; they used them to determine the moment that the earth crossed an equinox or solstice; they created them using mathematics that had not been discovered by the Greeks for more than 2,000 years later; the builders placed casing stones, some weighing as much as 16 tons, with such accuracy, one could not place a razor between two of them; and they were able to lift these enormous stones to heights exceeding 300 feet.

On a rocky plateau of Giza, 10 miles southwest of Cairo, stands The Great Pyramid of Kufu; “the most majestic and most mysterious monument ever erected by the hand of man. The Great Pyramid is the largest stone building on earth, and the last surviving wonder of the ancient world. Its base covers just over 13 acres, and it is composed of some 2.3 million blocks of granite and limestone, weighing from 2.5 to 70 tons apiece, which rise in 203 layers to the height of a forty-story building.

“The Pyramid is an unrivaled feat of engineering and craftsmanship. It is aligned with the four cardinal points more accurately than any contemporary structure, including the Meridian Building at Greenwich Observatory in London. The 350-foot-long descending passage is so straight that it deviates from a central axis by less than a quarter of an inch from side to side and only one tenth of an inch up and down -- comparable with the best laser-controlled drilling being done today. [According to some researchers, this was because the Egyptians took into consideration the curvature of the earth.] The casing stones, some of which weighed over 16 tons, are so perfectly shaped and squared that the mortar-filled joint between them is just one-fiftieth of an inch -- the thickness of a human nail (from The Great Pyramid by David Pratt - http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/dp5/pyramid.htm.).”

Western researchers are still making discoveries of the ancient’s use of the Great Pyramid. Another structure that challenges the limits of human imagination is discussed in the Bible. It is the Tower of Babel.

…to be continued

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Black Presence in the Bible - Part II

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Assuming that this is true, then the Western world has sabotaged the Bible with images that distort its truth. As an example, consider Leonardo da Vinci’s painting titled The Last Supper; supposedly of Jesus and his apostles, which represents them as Europeans. Da Vinci was not the only European artist to portray the face of Jesus. Other artists captured an image of Jesus in various situations: Michelangelo portrayed him at the Last Judgement; Caravaggo portrayed him revealing himself after the resurrection to his apostles; and he also painted what is called The Doubting of Thomas, where Thomas thrusts his finger in Christ’s wound from the spear during the crucifixion.

The classic book on suggestive selling, Subliminal Seduction by Wilson Brian Key, describes how the advertising industry manipulates our buying habits on one level, and on another level it demonstrates how society can control our tastes, habits and thinking by the images that we see. The images of Christ have conditioned many to believe that he was European; however, Jesus' genetic makeup defies classification: His mother was Jewish and God is his father, which would make him all human and all divine at the same time. And if we examine the scripture, we would see that in order for him to have redeemed humanity, he would have had to be related to all the families of the earth. Leviticus 25 describes the Law of Redemption and part of the qualification of the redeemer was that he had to be a close relative:

47. And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger's family: 48. After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: 49. Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself (Leviticus 25:47-49).

If we could have examined Jesus’ DNA, we would have seen that he was simultaneously related to all the families of the earth.

The Bible doesn’t seem to give us a description of Jesus’ pre-resurrected body; however, it does tell us that when John saw him on the Isle of Patmos, his feet were the color of fine brass and his hair was wooly - 14. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15. And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters (Revelation 1:14-15). Notwithstanding John’s description of him, I believe that it would be difficult to establish a doctrine on his physical characteristics during his life on the earth. However, we do know for certain that when Herod had threatened to assassinate him while he was an infant, the angel of the Lord admonished Joseph to take him to Africa:

7. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also…12. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. 13. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 15. And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son (Matthew 2:7-8, 12-15).

I do not claim to know what Jesus’ physical characteristics were during his time on earth; however, it would appear to be difficult to hide a blond-haired, blue-eyed, white-skinned child in Africa. I think it is significant that God had ordained to call his son out of the dark continent. It would seem based on just a casual reading of the scripture that Jesus and his family had physical characteristics that allowed them to assimilate among the brown-skinned people of Egypt.

Dozens of artists have depicted Jesus as a European; however, Michelangelo exceeded all of the renaissance masters in audacity with his depiction of God as a European in the painting God Creates Adam. These artistic images of God and Christ have had an enduring affect on how people personify them.

Not only has art been used to transform Jesus and God into Europeans, it has also been cleverly used to rob Jesus of his Jewishness. The first paintings of Jesus being associated with the cross displayed a cross with a white lamb next to it in the fifth-century. It was not until late in the sixth-century that artists dared to paint Jesus hanging on the cross, but these first paintings were images of triumph; not images that we’re familiar with of pain and humiliation. In these sixth-century versions of the crucifixion, Jesus wore a long tunic and only had his hands and feet bare to show him being nailed to the cross.

According to former Jesuit Priest, Peter De Rosa, the first 10th century Greek representation of Jesus suffering on the cross was condemned by Rome as blasphemy; however, the Church of Rome soon yielded to its fascination. And although art coming out of Rome removed the tunic, it replaced it with the loin cloth. The scripture is clear that Christ’s tormentors, in an effort to deny him a single shred of dignity, crucified him while he stood naked before them; an act that imposed total humiliation upon our saviour:

28. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe…31. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him…35. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots (Matthew 27:28, 31, 35).

23. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 24. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did (Luke 19:23-24).

Modesty was not the artists's motivation when they affixed the loin cloth to the crucified body of Jesus. With a few strokes of the brush, in what DeRosa called the great cover-up, the artists concealed Jesus’ sex organ so the world would not be constantly reminded of his Jewishness. An accurate portrayal of Jesus on the cross would confirm that he was circumcised according to the Law of Moses, and by placing the veil over his loins, the Roman artists made Jesus an honorary member of the Gentile family. Had the artists down through the ages depicted Christ in all of his shame and humiliation on the cross, with his Jewish ethnicity visible for all to see, would Caesar and Hitler been able to institute pogroms against the Jews in the name of the cross? (Peter De Rosa, Vicars of Christ the Dark side of the Papacy, New York, Crown Publishers, Inc., 1988, p. 3.)

There has been a concerted effort over the last millennium to rob the Bible of its ethnic purity through art and theology. The urgent question is not so much how was it done, but why was it done.

…to be continued

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Black Presence in the Bible - Part I

During my studies, I’m always reminded of the saying that those who forget their past are doomed to repeat it. The past 500 years of world history is littered with colonization, slavery, rape and every imaginable injustice towards people of color. I’m just one small voice, echoing the past in an effort to ward it off as a repeat offender. My passion for educating people about the horrors of the past, the anxiety of the present and the uncertainty of the future is one of my driving motivations in life. For people of color, I am not sure that we can fully appreciate what it means to be black (or African America), because the historical accounts, that could give us a sense of pride and accomplishment, have gaps in them.

History books that have been published by Western scholars have removed or depreciated the contributions of blacks to civilization, and Western Bible commentaries have white-washed the black presence in the Bible. However, a study of black history burns a trail back to the cradle of human civilization in Africa and Asia, and a study of the black presence in the Bible is a study of the Bible itself. Genesis, chapter two gives us a short description of the birthplace of humanity; the Garden of Eden.

Theologians have debated the location of the Garden of Eden, and although most will concede that no one really knows its exact location, most Western, biblical scholars have agreed that it was somewhere between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. I take exception to that conclusion on two fronts: first, most of the area that is outlined to be possible locations have arid climates and are sand deserts. Second and more importantly, the Bible describes a river that flowed from Eden and explains that it was parted and became four rivers. The second river, Gihon, compassed the entire land of Ethiopia:

10. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. 11. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12. And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. 13. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia (Genesis 2:10-13).

I am not an archeologist or a geologist, but it would seem unlikely that a river originating in Saudi Arabia or Iraq could encompass the entire land of Ethiopia, and it’s doubtful that the deserts of Iraq or Saudi Arabia could produce the fertile ecology of the Garden of Eden. Consequently, I believe that it would be difficult to deny that the Garden of Eden was somewhere north of Ethiopia on the African continent. The apparent misplacement of the Garden of Eden, I believe is one of many examples of how Western scholars/theologians distort the historical significance of people of color and places occupied by people of color. In fact, I don’t like the word ‘history,’ because it is just that…his-story; consequently, his-story may not accurately reflect the truth of the past.

The historical record is dominated by those who control the media and the publishing apparatus in a society, and in the Western world the large Christian and secular publishing houses are not inclined to promote significant black presence in history or the Bible. Therefore many people take for granted that people of color have fulfilled the historical role of the laborer who hews wood and draws water. However, this is very, very far from the truth. Not only does the past reflect a technological genius that thrived in ancient Africa and in the Middle East that Western researchers have yet to comprehend, but the Bible depicts people of color in prominent roles from Genesis through the book of Revelation.

Is a discussion about the contributions of the people of color important from a biblical perspective? I would have to give that question a two-pronged response: Obviously to God, the idea of race plays no role in his word or in the plan of redemption. However, it is vitally important to those who have sanitized the color out of the Bible and has marginalized the historical contributions of the colored people of the world. The job of white-washing the Bible has been so effective, that if asked to meditate on Jesus hanging on the cross, most of us will conjure an imagination of a blond-haired, blue-eyed, white-skinned savoir. And if asked to name a dozen people of color in the Bible, most of us would have trouble doing so.

To understand why Western historians and theologians have removed the color from the Bible is the key to understand the world we live. Civilizations have been divided by race; wars have been fought because of race; country clubs have refused admission because of race; genocide exists because one race believe that they are superior to another; and the antichrist will use race as the dividing line to impose his fury on the human family. Race has been the line of demarcation between those who have lived free from harassment in society and those who have had to confront the brutality from a prejudiced society.

There is no easy way to discuss race in America. To the average citizen, race means the division of humanity based on skin color; to a politician, race is a campaign for public office; to an athlete, race is a contest in speed; and to a Western trained theologian, constrained by rigid primeval commentaries, race means only three alternatives: Hamitic, Semitic, and Japhethitic. The many uses of the word do not diminish its potency when applied to skin color. It is not unusual for discussions on race to initiate passions of rage, hatred, anger, resentment, indignation, arrogance, shame, pride, love, hope, admiration and dozens of other emotions.

If race is not relevant to God, then where did the notion of dividing people by color and physical characteristics originate? The concept of race has no basis in science and is not a matter that is addressed by the Bible. In fact, America’s 19th and 20th century concepts of race did not exist in the 17th century. Race is a social invention in the United States that was developed to permit slavery without trampling upon the Declaration of Independence. The preamble of this document begins with these magnificent words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

To promote the Declaration of Independence as the driving force behind the creation of the United States while embracing slavery would demonstrate the hypocrisy of the country’s forefathers. Consequently, hundreds of laws were passed in the South that brought a new form of servitude between slaves and their owners. The first African slaves that were brought to America during the 17th century were actually indentured servants, who worked under contract, usually for four to seven years, and then they were granted their freedom. However, by the early 18th century, racial laws had reduced Africans to permanent slaves and owners were prohibited from freeing them.

America’s antebellum psychology has had a lasting and perhaps a permanent effect on the thinking of many Americans – some blacks still suffer from a slave mentality, which prevents them of thinking that they are equal to all men, while some whites suffer from a superiority complex that makes them believe they are superior to others.

Andrew Hacker, in his book Two Nations, Black and White, Separate, Hostile and Unequal, describes the inequity and misfortunes of the black community better than any author that I have read. He asserts that

“[A]all of us [white people] have set up barriers to avoid facing an unpleasant sensation. At one time or another, all of us have refused to admit certain truths about ourselves. By engaging in what Psychology 101 calls “denial,” we seek to convince others and ourselves of our innocence of blame. All white Americans regardless of their political persuasions, are well aware of how black people have suffered due to the inequalities imposed upon them by white America. As has been emphasized, whites differ in how they handle that knowledge. Yet white people who disavow responsibility deny an everyday reality: that to be black is to be consigned to the margins of American life. It is because of this that no white American, including those who insist that opportunities exist for persons of every race, would change places with even the most successful black American. All white Americans realize that their skin comprises an inestimable asset. It opens doors and facilitates freedom of movement. It serves as a shield from insult and harassment. Indeed having been born white can be taken as a sign: your preferment is both ordained and deserved. Its value persists not because a white appearance automatically brings success and status, since there are no such guarantees. What it does ensure is that you will not be regarded as black, a security which is worth so much that no one who has it has ever given it away. This helps explain why white conservatives so vehemently oppose programs like affirmative action. They simply do not want to admit to themselves that the value imputed to being white has injured people who are black” (Andrew Hacker, Two Nations Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1992 p. 60.)

According to Hacker, we can see why white conservatives oppose affirmative action, but how do we explain why Western theologians have abridged the black presence in the Bible?

…to be continued