Christian Messianic Analysis and Apologetics
Who are the Black Hebrew Israelites? Within the past year I have had encounters with two adherents to this faith. Both boldly proclaim they have the truth and that Christianity as understood by most is a satanic deception. For informational purposes I’d like to shed some light on this subject to disclose the group’s origins and beliefs.
Church of the Living God, the Pillar Ground of Truth for All Nations founded by F. S. Cherry in 1886 in Tennessee. Cherry’s flock incorporated many Jewish practices and prohibitions along with some Christian traditions.
Church of God and Saints of Christ founded in Kansas by William Crowdy in 1896. Both claimed that they had revelations in which they believed that God told them that African Americans are descendants of the ancient Hebrews. During the ensuing decades, many more Black Hebrew congregations were established, and some of them had no connection to the Christian Church. In Harlem alone, at least eight such groups were founded from 1919 to 1931.
Commandment Keepers were founded in New York by Wentworth Arthur Matthew in 1919 who was influenced by Marcus Garvey who used Biblical Jews in exile as a metaphor for Black Folks in North America. They are noted for their adherence to traditional Judaism. Mr. Matthew taught that all genuine Jews are Black. Other groups include The Law Keepers, House of Judah, and the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem.
African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem were established in 1966 in Chicago by Ben-Ammi Ben-Israel. These Black Hebrews believe the descendants of American slaves and the indigenous peoples of the Americas make up the 12 tribes of Israel. That belief sprang from a vision that Ben Ammi says he had in 1966 when he was a Chicago foundry worker named Ben Carter. In a dream the Archangel Gabriel told him that many African Americans were descendants of the tribe of Judah. Adherents reject black Africans, who are usually seen as “traitors” who sold their black brethren into slavery. In 1986, Ben Israel and his aide, Prince Asiel Ben Israel were convicted of trafficking stolen passports and securities and forging checks and saving bonds.
Nation of Yahweh established in the 1980’s by Yahweh Ben Yahweh aka Hulon Mitchell, Jr. (1935-2007). This sect is an offshoot of African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem. Some of its members were accused of conspiring to commit RICO (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization) violations. Yahweh was sentenced to serving an eighteen-year sentence for another crime.
RESPONSE: Similar to the beginnings of Islam and Mormonism there were angelic visitations with the founders of the BHI’s claiming that the original Israelites were black and the current Jews are usurpers. This necessitated them to ignore the suffering of the descendents of modern day Israel and those that escaped Europe and the Islamic world and focus on themselves as the truly chosen and favored among all people.
Steve Daskal & Joe Butta
Christian Messianic Analysis and Apologetics
The following broad strategy for reconnecting active Christian evangelism with Christian charity within and beyond the church came to Steve Daskal while in prayer on a very different subject. We’ll share it to provide a seed for future thought by other believers on the subject. Thank you for your consideration.
- Over a century of Marxism-inspired, humanist-materialist [a.k.a. Progressive] indoctrination through academia, media, and State-run schools have resulted in a broad acceptance of class- and/or race- based envy and resentment, using an euphemism as “social justice.” This is especially true in the secular world, but sadly even to some degree within the church. Efforts by the better off to care for the less well off are viewed primarily as guilt-driven recognition of “what is due,” rather than a demonstration of care or love — especially if the sharing is primarily material without a direct personal connection. Such charity is viewed as insufficient, implies the assistance is given as assistance rather than compensation for past injustices, and is treated as an inadequate supplement to State-mandated enforced giving.
Joe Butta & Steve Daskal
Genesis: Chapter 1
14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will serve as signs for the appointed times and for days and years.15 They will be lights in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made the two great lights—the greater light to have dominion over the day and the lesser light to have dominion over the night—as well as the stars. 17 God placed them in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth, 18 to dominate the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 Evening came and then morning: the fourth day. — Genesis 1:14-19 (HCSB)
The earth in which we live was draped in darkness until the light was made to shine upon it. The lights in the sky are to serve as signs for appointed times, days and years. The greater light [sun] dominates day, stars are visible at night while a full moon would dominate the night.
By: Steve Daskal,
CHRISTIAN MESSIANIC ANALYSIS AND APOLOGETICS
** A brother in Christ recently asked me about a seeming inconsistency in the Exodus account of Moses’ interactions with God and the Israelites at Mt. Sinai. He thought it appeared as if the number of trips up and trips down didn’t match. I had never actually sat down to work this out, though I’ve been hearing and reading this story repeatedly since I was in grade school. This is what I found:
Ex 19 — The Israelites are three months after leaving Egypt via Rephidim [located in the Sinai desert]. They’ve reached Sinai, and set up camp in front of the mountain. Moses goes up the mountain the first time [v3], he returns to the people [v7] and warns them that they are going to get the terms of the Covenant, and they agree to them — without having heard them — based upon God’s taking them out of Egypt and providing for this huge mass of people in the desert for 3 months.
The unbelievers in our schools and universities often teach that the existence of so much evil in this world negates the existence of a holy and righteous God. Life itself proceeds with no discernible purpose. Events that occur in the cosmos appear to be totally random. The First Law of Thermodynamics proves since energy cannot be created or destroyed the universe has always existed.
Since we cannot argue that creation exists then how can creation exist apart from an act of creating initiated by an unseen Creator?
Most people throughout history believed or practiced their religion because they were raised to do so, made to feel guilty if they failed to do so, or coerced by social pressure to “fit in” with their family/clan/neighbors/local elites. Prior to the 20th century, there was generally little questioning of authority, and swift, vigorous punishment for those who dared to do so. What people learned in the home and school was also not all that demanding – it took an hour or so on a sabbath-day, or was the “price” for a feast day off from one’s work demands, or on fairly rare occasion required some self-denial for a fast day. There were always privileged, authoritative “religious” to obey: priests/monks/nuns on up through archbishops, or rabbis, or imams/mullahs, or the like, many of whom in turn had still higher human authorities to whom they were held accountable. These religious did not share their shortcomings, therefore many of the laity were convinced that they, unlike themselves, didn’t have any.
SELF ASSESSMENT: WHAT KIND OF A FOLLOWER ARE YOU?
Counterfeit Christianity occurs when people identify with being Christian but then practice and promote a lifestyle that violates the essence of what Jesus taught. Counterfeit Christians have a hard time describing how the Holy Spirit has changed or is directing their life. They are worldly by most accounts—that is they are focused upon worldly pursuits. Evidence of that person’s change in behavior and world view would not be evident. If loving is not a word that would describe the person stating they are Christian then it indicates one who is counterfeit. People who have interests that are more important than Jesus, those who worship possessions, use the Lord’s name in vain, disrespect parents, speak of harming people, lie, steal, have sex outside of marriage, don’t attend Church, and lust after the possessions of others. They generally do not display joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. A counterfeit Christian is not advocating Jesus’ point of view and cannot articulate the concept of Christian Biblical salvation. Counterfeit Christians also identify more with an ethnic, religious or other group affiliation more than Jesus as their main objective. People can see these professing Christians as weak or failed. Christians who are genuine also sin including what I’ve described above. The difference is that Christians who are the real deal are convicted by the Holy Spirit and ask God’s forgiveness and don’t persist in the same behavior.