THE BLACK PRESENCE IN THE BIBLE
Why Study The Black Presence Of The Bible?
Acts 17:26. And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
1) The Bible is the inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God; it is the only place we can go to receive a totally accurate and objective understanding of race.
2) When a person understands the glorious presence of African people in God’s drama of the unfolding of human history in general and redemptive history in particular, it becomes clear that Scripture should be the primary source of legitimate Black pride.
3) Since race has played such a vital role in social development and the functioning of American society, it behooves one to discover the divine response to this topic.
4) A study of race rooted in the Bible links the pride and understanding of race with eternal purpose.
WHY STUDY THIS TOPIC?
To understand the progression of thoughts, attitude, and behavior. Behavior does not simply happen; it is a result of one’s attitude, which is impacted by the thoughts that enter into a person’s psyche. From where we obtain our thoughts is very important. The only place we find complete truth is the Word of God. To insure that your thoughts are consistent with the Lord we must examine the Word of God. Our search begins with Genesis the tenth chapter, known as the "Table of Nations". After the flood there were eight individuals on the face of the earth, Noah, his three sons; Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their respective wives. The names of these young men indicate their skin complexion. Ham translates black or dark, Shem, dusty, and Japheth, light. Our focus will be on Ham as we seek an understanding of the “Black Presence in the Bible”.
Ham was the father of four sons, Cush, Mizriam, Phut, and Canaan. Cush’s son Nimrod was one of the first leaders recorded in scripture. (Genesis 10:10, Genesis 11:9) He was described as “a mighty hunter before the Lord”. He oversaw the building of the Tower of Babel, a project that was of such magnitude it gained God’s attention. Consider for a moment the various skills that were necessary to build such a tower; engineering, architecture, mathematics, pulleys, gears, and much more. Besides the ability to organize and direct the multitude he needed to accomplish this goal he also had to possess an understanding of the skills needed to build. His followers included the sons and grandsons of Noah. He led Shem’s children, Japheth’s children, as well as Ham’s.
God was impressed with their ability, but not their goal to make a name for themselves. (Genesis 11: 4-8) He went down and both confounded their language and scattered them over the face of the earth Shem went to Syria and surrounding areas, Japheth went north to Europe, while Ham traveled into Africa and the adjacent territory. Cush traveled to Ethiopia, Mizriam traveled to Egypt, Phut traveled to Libya, and Canaan traveled to Palestine. This is how civilization developed. The skills Nimrod acquired from his father and grandfather were put to use. Pyramids were erected in Ethiopia and Egypt as part of the establishment of two great civilizations. Ham became the father of civilization as he ruled the earth for the first two thousand years.
Let us now turn our attention to a few individuals that though they are Hermitic are not normally seen as such. The first two we will consider are Joshua and Caleb. In the book of Numbers, chapter 13 we find the record of the Lord instructing Moses to send out a Ruler from each of the tribes to search the land He had given them. Verse six lists Caleb from the tribe of Judah and verse eight, Oshea (Joshua), the son of Nun from the tribe of Ephraim.
Genesis chapter 38 provides us with the background of the tribe of Judah. Judah fathered three sons with a Canaanite woman by the name of Shula. After the death of both his wife and his oldest two sons, Judah fathered twins with his daughter-in-law Ta’mar. She had disguised herself as a harlot to deceive her father-in-law for not giving his younger son to her to wed. Their sons were Hamites as is now the tribe of Judah. Caleb is a Hamite.
Joseph was a Samite, a descendant of Abraham. He first became a servant in Egypt, and later became second in command to Pharaoh. Pharaoh wanted this young man to have a wife. He chose for him Asenath the daughter of Potipherah, priest of On. The Lord gave Joseph and his wife two Hamite children, Manasseh and Ephraim. Joshua is a descendant of Ephraim. He is a Hamite. (Genesis 41:45-52)
Moses was another key figure in the history of Israel. He himself was a Shemite, but his wife and children were Ethiopians or Hamites. Melchezadek was the King of Salem, which eventually was called Jerusalem. At the time of Melchezadek it was Ham’s country.
A careful search of the gospel of Matthew will reveal some interesting details. This gospel was written to the Jews who did not typically give reference to women. The emphasis is on the male. In the genealogy, which begins with Abraham, only four women plus Mary are listed among the forty-two generations provided. The first woman listed is Ta’mar, the daughter-in-law of Judah. As we discussed earlier she is the Hamite mother of Esrom from whom the genealogy continues. All of the kings of Judah came from Esrom, all having Hamite blood. Verse five of the chapter speaks of Rahab, a Canaanite (Jericho) harlot who hid the two spies sent by Joshua to view the land. Rahab is the mother of Bo’oz who later marries Ruth. Bo’oz, a Hamite, is the grandfather of David. His wife is a Samite. Ruth traces her heritage to Lot and his eldest daughter. (Genesis 19:30-38). Verse 6 lists the birth of Solomon. David is listed as the father, but the scripture does not refer to Bath-sheba as his wife, but the wife of Urias. This Hamite child is Solomon.
As the search continues we conclude with Joseph the husband of Mary. We also know that Jesus is referred to as the son of David. It would appear that the characteristics of Jesus were such that the Lord instructed Joseph to hide his son in Egypt until Herod was dead.
The book of Acts chapters two and thirteen are two additional places in the scripture we will explore. Acts two explains the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Devout Jews from all nations under the earth had come to observe the Old Testament holiday of Pentecost. From this group came the three thousand that were added to the church. Verse ten informs us that a portion of those came from Africa, Ham’s country. Chapter 13 tells of some of the Early Church fathers, five men are listed, two are Hamites (Simeon that was called Ni'ger and Lu'cius of Cyrene). As they ministered to the Lord the Holy Spirit instructed them to set apart Barnabas and Saul to begin their first Missionary Journey. When they had prayed and fasted they laid hands upon them and sent them away.
The Black Presence in the Bible is an involved one. Unfortunately most, including those within the church, are not aware of this fact. Remember true facts are necessary for accurate thoughts. It is the thought that brings forth one's attitude with behavior to follow. Our thoughts must come from the Word of God.