From the atheists to the religious, you pretty much run into them all.
One group of individuals I have run into and will focus upon in this series of articles addressing their teaching is the Hebrew Israelites also known as Black Hebrew Israelites.
Every Saturday towards the evening we would head down to the city to preach the gospel in the open air and hand out tracts in the public square. One afternoon, we had the opportunity to get down there earlier than usual. While walking to meet up with others who were evangelizing with us we walked by a group of men who were standing near one of the bus stops holding up signs and proclaiming a message of some sort. They had a sign with a white Jesus who had devil horns on his head, a sign with a twelve tribes chart (which claimed only the Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans were the true Hebrew Israelites, and had them broken down into twelve tribes), another sign with RFID microchips as the mark of the beast, a sign about how America was going to be destroyed, and they were proclaiming how the white man is the devil they called Edomites, which they claimed were descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. They used this reference because God says in the scripture, “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated” (Malachi 1:3, Romans 9:13).
We stopped and engaged with them for a little while and attempted to have a dialogue, however, it wasn’t an easy task to do, because the group of men seemed more inclined to shout over you and weren’t really interested in hearing you out, only reading passages of scriptures that weren’t necessarily dealing with what they claimed it to deal with while shouting white devils at us. We preached the gospel to them and then went on our way to meet up with the group we came out to evangelize with.
This would be the first of many encounters with this group over the years. With more interactions picking up in 2017 until this day, as the group has grown on the streets and the encounters have been not only on the streets but also on YouTube (which is the main platform they use to spread their message).
>>>Just type in Ricky Gantz or G220 Ministries into the YouTube search engine and many videos will show up of either interaction with them or videos they made about me and the ministry.<<<
Not only has this group of men who I ran into about four to five years ago grown in number, but other groups were starting to come together in the city as well. Different camps holding to many of the same things with some distinct differences that divide them from one another. Sometimes you hear them refer to their camp as the true Hebrew Israelite while they call out other camps.
Now that we have a little context of the background in how I became aware of the Hebrew Israelites, let me explain why I feel this is important to address. There are many false religions that claim they have the truth and many cults who claim to be Christian and are not. The Hebrew Israelites are no different than other false groups that claim they have the truth. While they claim they are not a religion but a nationality, the real Hebrew Israelites the Bible speaks of, the reality is they are using the Word of God to promote their hatred and racism against others who do not fall into the list of their twelve tribes chart (Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans), especially their hatred of white people in which they claim are Edomites.
Not much has been written against the Hebrew Israelite teachings, which I believe is due to a few factors:
- Some people aren’t even aware of them, they haven’t come across them on the streets or on YouTube and just aren’t familiar with their teachings.
- Some don’t see the need to address them, just another fringe religious group promoting some unbiblical teachings but not as popular as Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses, therefore, they don’t feel the need to address their teachings.
- It is hard to nail down what they believe, simply because they don’t systematically break down and teach the doctrines they believe in such a way that you can address them and refute their positions because with the different camps believing different things it is hard to generalize them all in one group, even though many of their views are similar, and yet they don’t all agree with one another.
- Honestly, some people view it as a waste of time, that it is not profitable. Because of the aggressive nature of the Hebrew Israelites to shout over you and call you names and attempts to intimidate others, some view it as casting pearls before swine. They shake the dust off their feet and don’t bother.
- Because they simply don’t know the Bible well enough to defend what they say they believe and are not willing to take the time to dig deeper into the Word of God to grow more in the understanding of it as well as to refute the arguments of others.
- Because truth matters and the truth will set them free. They are under bondage to the lie promoted and taught by this movement and seeking to find identity in a heritage rather than finding it in Christ.
- The group is continuing to grow in numbers. With racial tensions high in America, many young black men are joining this group and looking forward to what they believe is going to be a Kingdom in which they make everyone else (especially the white man) their slaves.
- A love for them. Despite how they feel about everyone who is not a so-called Hebrew Israelite, we are called to love our enemies and to do good to those who hate us (Matthew 5:44-45)
- God tells us to contend for the faith (Jude 3-4)
- There is a need to address them. You can find many articles and books addressing Islam, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, and other false teachings but little to none when it comes to refuting the teachings of the Hebrew Israelite.
I have heard Hebrew Israelites say that you must first know who you are in the Bible before you can understand it. They make it more about a nation of people then about Christ. Which is why I can honestly say that I have never heard them preach the good news of the gospel of Christ, they preach what they believe is good news, which is them having the white man as slaves in the kingdom, but never preach Christ crucified on the cross and raised from the dead. They deny Jesus is God in the Flesh and teach he is a created being.
I would agree we need to understand who we are, we are totally depraved by nature, separated from God because of our sin.
I submit to you Chapter Six of the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith:
- Although God created man upright and perfect, and gave him a righteous law, which had been unto life had he kept it, and threatened death upon the breach thereof, yet he did not long abide in this honor; Satan using the subtlety of the serpent to subdue Eve, then by her seducing Adam, who, without any compulsion, did willfully transgress the law of their creation, and the command given unto them, in eating the forbidden fruit, which God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory. (Genesis 2:16, 17; Genesis 3:12,13; 2 Corinthians 11:3)
- Our first parents, by this sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and we in them whereby death came upon all: all becoming dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body. (Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12, etc; Titus 1:15; Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10-19)
- They being the root, and by God's appointment, standing in the room and stead of all mankind, the guilt of the sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation, being now conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath, the servants of sin, the subjects of death, and all other miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus set them free. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22, 45, 49; Psalms 51:5; Job 14:4; Ephesians 2:3; Romans 6:20 Romans 5:12; Hebrews 2:14, 15; 1 Thessalonians 1:10)
- From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions. (Romans 8:7; Colossians 1:21; James 1:14, 15; Matthew 15:19)
- The corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and the first motions thereof, are truly and properly sin. (Romans 7:18,23; Ecclesiastes 7:20; 1 John 1:8; Romans 7:23-25; Galatians 5:17)
Hebrew Israelites though are not referring to the nature of man but rather the nationality of man which they believe is the Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans and they come up with this based upon some proof texts that they believe support their claim.
One such text is Deuteronomy 28.
In this chapter of Deuteronomy God is laying out the blessings and the curses.
In verses 1-6 we see the blessings laid out:
- “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.
- And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.
- Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field.
- Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock.
- Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
- Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
As stated here in James 2:8-13:
8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.
9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.
11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.
13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Consider the underlined and highlighted scriptures above, verse 9 if you show partiality, you are committing sin! There is no getting around the fact that Hebrew Israelites promote and build a whole system around showing partiality for which they must repent. Now look at the next verse, if you fail in one point you are guilty of it all. There is never anytime in which you can keep the whole law perfectly, never has been and never will be in this life a time when you can keep the law perfectly. Which is why the need for Christ, who is God in the flesh come down to take upon Himself the sins of all those who would believe in Him. The righteous laying down His life for the unrighteous. No man was ever justified by the keeping of the law as the scriptures say.
- Romans 3:20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
- Galatians 2:15-16 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
Which would bring us to the curses, if you are careful to do all Gods commandments and obey Him you receive the blessings laid out in Deuteronomy 28:1-14, however, from verses 15-68 God lays out the curses for the covenant breakers, those who do not obey His commandments.
Verse 15 says, “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.
Sadly, the Hebrew Israelites claim to be the people of God is based upon how disobedient and a rebellious people they are to God and His word. Verse 45 says, “All these curses shall come upon you and pursue you and overtake you till you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that he commanded you.
They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed according to the scriptures.
Chapter 28 is filled with many curses and I just want to look at a few as we seek to refute the position of the Hebrew Israelite teaching that this applies to them.
I have often heard from Hebrew Israelites that they are far more superior to all other nations in the world, meaning the Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans. I have heard them say things about sports athletes who dominate their sport, whether it be boxing, baseball, basketball, or football. I have heard the claims that the reason the athletes who dominate their sports do so is because they are Hebrew Israelite. I believe this is a bad argument for their position and I will explain why.
First many of these athletes (who are Black, Hispanic and/or Native American) who are extremely talented in the field (sport) in which they are in, do not claim to be Hebrew Israelites, many of them do not adhere to the teachings of the Hebrew Israelite movement.
So, based upon their own logic about the blessings and the curses, how is an individual who is viewed and more superior in the eyes of the Hebrew Israelites because they claim they are truly Hebrew Israelites prospering in the field or sport they are in if they are not being careful to do all the commandments and obey the voice of the Lord?
Verse 20 says “The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me.
If Michael Jordan, who I believe to be the greatest basketball player to ever play in the NBA does not obey the Lord and is not careful to do all His commands and yet he is considered a Hebrew Israelite by nationality (using Jordan as an example, but you could fill in the blank with a name of any successful athlete), how has he prospered so much and not experienced what is mentioned in the verse above, confusion and frustration in all that he has undertaken in. Again, this is just an example, there are countless other examples of athletes who have won championships and done well in their field. Do the curses not apply to them even though they do not adhere to the commands to obey and worship the god you claim to serve. The one who brings the curses upon His people here in Deuteronomy 28.
How does verse 28-29 apply to these successful athletes, movie stars and entertainers.
- The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind, and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind grope in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways. And you shall be only oppressed and robbed continually, and there shall be no one to help you.
I believe it is important to point out that slavery in America was a horrible atrocity which took place in this nation and is not supported by the scriptures, even though there were men who tried to justify slavery by using proof texts within the Bible trying to fit their wicked theology into the scriptures by twisting the scriptures and not properly exegeting the Word of God.
In this verse is says, “therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything. And he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you.”
We must let the scriptures interpret the scriptures, we see this reference used elsewhere in scripture.
Jeremiah 28:14 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I have put upon the neck of all these nations an iron yoke to serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and they shall serve him, for I have given to him even the beasts of the field.’”
Is this a literal yoke of iron around the necks of the people of all the nations? Well, NO! It is referring to them serving the king of Babylon as we see with supporting scriptures such as in Jeremiah 25:11, 27:6.
Another curse that is almost unimaginable to even think would come upon a people, yet do to their wickedness and rebellion against God, He says this curse will come upon them in verse 52-53.
- “They shall besiege you in all your towns, until your high and fortified walls, in which you trusted, come down throughout all your land. And they shall besiege you in all your towns throughout all your land, which the Lord your God has given you. And you shall eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters, whom the Lord your God has given you, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies shall distress you.
This is also referenced in Leviticus 26:27-33 which says:
- “But if in spite of this you will not listen to me, but walk contrary to me, then I will walk contrary to you in fury, and I myself will discipline you sevenfold for your sins. You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters. And I will destroy your high places and cut down your incense altars and cast your dead bodies upon the dead bodies of your idols, and my soul will abhor you. And I will lay your cities waste and will make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your pleasing aromas. And I myself will devastate the land, so that your enemies who settle in it shall be appalled at it. And I will scatter you among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword after you, and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste.
- Among the residents of the region beyond Jordan was a woman called Mary, daughter of Eleazar, of the village of Bethezuba (the name means "House of Hyssop"). She was well off, and of good family, and had fled to Jerusalem with her relatives, where she became involved with the siege. Most of the property she had packed up and brought with her from Peraea had been plundered by the tyrants [Simon and John, leaders of the Jewish war-effort], and the rest of her treasure, together with such foods as she had been able to procure, was being carried by their henchmen in their daily raids. In her bitter resentment the poor woman cursed and abused these extortioners, and this incensed them against her. However, no one put her to death either from exasperation or pity. She grew weary of trying to find food for her kinsfolk. In any case, it was by now impossible to get any, wherever you tried. Famine gnawed at her vitals, and the fire of rage was ever fiercer than famine. So, driven by fury and want, she committed a crime against nature. Seizing her child, an infant at the breast, she cried, "My poor baby, why should I keep you alive in this world of war and famine? Even if we live till the Romans come, they will make slaves of us; and anyway, hunger will get us before slavery does; and the rebels are crueler than both. Come, be food for me, and an avenging fury to the rebels, and a tale of cold horror to the world to complete the monstrous agony of the Jews." With these words she killed her son, roasted the body, swallowed half of it, and stored the rest in a safe place. But the rebels were on her at once, smelling roasted meat, and threatening to kill her instantly if she did not produce it. She assured them she had saved them a share, and revealed the remains of her child. Seized with horror and stupefaction, they stood paralyzed at the sight. But she said, "This is my own child, and my own handiwork. Eat, for I have eaten already. Do not show yourselves weaker than a woman, or more pitiful than a mother. But if you have pious scruples, and shrink away from human sacrifice, then what I have eaten can count as your share, and I will eat what is left as well." At that they slunk away, trembling, not daring to eat, although they were reluctant to yield even this food to the mother. The whole city soon rang with the abomination. When people heard of it, they shuddered, as though they had done it themselves.
Finally, I want to address verse 68, this verse is used by Hebrew Israelites as a proof text in which they claim is speaking of the transatlantic slave trade. Let’s examine verse 68, which says:
- And the Lord will bring you back in ships to Egypt, a journey that I promised that you should never make again; and there you shall offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.”
- The Lord will bring you back in ships to Egypt. Hebrew Israelites will say that Egypt can be used as a reference to a wicked nation not only the actual nation of Egypt. I agree it is used in scripture that way at times. But what I want to point out here is the fact it says the Lord will bring you back in ships to Egypt. How can this be symbolic of a wicked nation other than Egypt being referenced to as Egypt when the Lord says He will bring you back? Not that He will bring you into a wicked nation like Egypt or similarly to Egypt but back to. That phrase itself should cause you to consider whether or not you want to place your whole belief on this verse trying to prove you are the covenant breakers being cursed in Deuteronomy 28.
- There you shall offer yourselves for sale to your enemies and male and females slaves. The transatlantic slave trade was not men and women who offered themselves as slaves but men and women who were stolen made slaves and sold into slavery among other nations. This is a wicked and evil atrocity that took place in history. However, the verse itself is again disproving the claim made by Hebrew Israelites.
- There will be no buyer. Another part of this curse wrapping up the chapter says there will be no buyer. Slavery as mentioned already was a wicked and atrocious event in history, but history is not on the side of Hebrew Israelites here because as we seen above men and women did not offer themselves as slaves but were stolen and made slaves and they were bought and sold by wicked men. This passage says there will be no buyer. So, the very verse the Hebrew Israelites use in this chapter of Deuteronomy disproves the claims they make that by the curses they know they are the true Hebrew Israelites.
- Galatians 3:10-14 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
I point you back to the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith chapter 11:
- Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing Christ's active obedience unto the whole law, and passive obedience in his death for their whole and sole righteousness by faith, which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of God. (Romans 3:24; Romans 8:30; Romans 4:5-8; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:30, 31; Romans 5:17-19; Philippians 3:8, 9; Ephesians 2:8-10; John 1:12; Romans 5:17)
- Faith thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification; yet it is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love. (Romans 3:28; Galatians 5:6; James 2:17, 22, 26)
- Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are justified; and did, by the sacrifice of himself in the blood of his cross, undergoing in their stead the penalty due unto them, make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God's justice in their behalf; yet, inasmuch as he was given by the Father for them, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead, and both freely, not for anything in them, their justification is only of free grace, that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners. (Hebrews 10:14; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; Isaiah 53:5, 6; Romans 8:32; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:26; Ephesians 1:6,7; Ephesians 2:7)
- God did from all eternity decree to justify all the elect, and Christ did in the fullness of time die for their sins, and rise again for their justification; nevertheless, they are not justified personally, until the Holy Spirit doth in time due actually apply Christ unto them. (Galatians 3:8; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Timothy 2:6; Romans 4:25; Colossians 1:21,22; Titus 3:4-7)
- God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified, and although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may, by their sins, fall under God's fatherly displeasure; and in that condition they have not usually the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance. (Matthew 6:12; 1 John 1:7, 9; John 10:28; Psalms 89:31-33; Psalms 32:5; Psalms 51; Matthew 26:75)
- The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament. (Galatians 3:9; Romans 4:22-24)
May this also bring glory to the Lord by bringing Hebrew Israelites out of this movement, and for the edification of the true saints in Christ as they grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and His Word.
For those in Christ
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.