“Black Israelites”

Q: There is a group of people near where I work who call themselves “the Black Israelites” and do street preaching. They claim that Christ was black and at the Second Coming he will enslave the white man. They argue that Caucasians are not white but red and thus descendants of Esau. They also argue that Moses was black because he passed for an Egyptian. What do I say to this?

A: Jesus obviously is not out to enslave Caucasians because he died to save them along with the rest of the human race. In particular, he sent the apostles to make disciples of Greeks and Romans (both Caucasian groups) and in fact to “all nations” (Matthew. 28:20), irrespective of the skin colors of the people living in them.

It is true that Esau himself had a reddish complexion, but not all his descendants do. His descendants were the Edomites, not the Europeans. And having red skin color is no indicator of being a descendant of Esau. In fact, the people most famous for having reddish skin–the American Indians–aren’t related to the Edomites at all.

Regarding Moses, Egyptians even today do not have a Negroid complexion, but look more Arab. Furthermore, Moses lived over 3,500 years ago, during the time of the pharaohs and the paintings on the walls in their tombs reveal that the Egyptians then had a middle-brown skin color, as they do today. This is known with special certainty since the paintings also show non-Egyptians who have a Negroid complexion.

Finally, there was no secret among the Egyptians about the fact Moses was a Hebrew. He didn’t “pass for an Egyptian.” Whether he looked the same as other Egyptians or not (something we really don’t know), everybody at the time was aware, “Oh yeah, that’s Moses–the one who (as his name says) was ‘drawn out’ of the Nile by Pharaoh’s daughter during the slaughter of the Hebrew babies.”

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