As one who spends much time evangelizing out on the streets, you often run into interesting people who believe a variety of different views about God and His Word.
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:
Why I believe we should address them.
Now that we have established a basis as to why I believe this is important to address we can move on into the main body of what I want to deal with in this first article on the topic of blessing and curses.
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:
So, I agree it is important for us to recognize our state before a Holy and Righteous God.
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:
Hebrew Israelites believe they have come into the truth and must keep the commandments of God because they are still in effect (Now to be fair this may not be all camps but from my interactions, there is a strong emphasis on keeping the law). My question is are you keeping ALL HIS COMMANDMENTS? Because it clearly states in verses 1 and 2 (underlined above) that you must be careful to do all his commandments and you will receive the blessings if you obey the voice of the Lord. If you violate in any point of Gods law you are a transgressor of the law.
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.
So, you see law keeping cannot and never has saved anyone, through the law comes the knowledge of sin which again was stated above that if you have violated in one point you are guilty of being a covenant breaker a transgressor of the law.
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.
Verse 48 is used as a proof text because it mentions a yoke of iron around the neck. Which they use to say that this is a mention of their people who suffered under slavery.
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.
This is not an easy passage to consider that someone would eat their own sons and daughters, but this is what is stated in this verse. During a time of distress under a siege, which I will mention here shortly concerning AD 70.
This is also referenced in Leviticus 26:27-33 which says:
Again, if you will not listen to God and walk contrary to Him, these judgments will come upon you, such devastation that it would cause the wickedness of man to eat his own children. Which is recorded for us by Josephus the Jewish Historian about the events in AD 70 when the LORD brought His judgment upon Israel. In His writings on The Siege of Jerusalem, AD 70, he wrote:
I struggled to read that honestly, but I wanted to point out how these curses against a rebellious people have been brought to pass at the end of the age in AD 70 on the covenant breakers of Israel.
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:
Three things I want to touch on with this closing verse.
As Christians, we can rejoice in the blessing of God that He gives to His people the Church, those who are the true Israel of God. Knowing that all the curses for the true believers have fell upon Christ.
And we who belong to Christ are not saved by the works of the law but have been justified by faith in Christ.
I point you back to the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith chapter 11:
This will not be the last of articles written to address and refute the claims made by those who hold to the Hebrew Israelite movement. And I pray that those who are caught up under the teaching of the Hebrew Israelites would come out from among them and turn to the one who can free them from the bondage of their sins and the bring them from death to life, the only way is through the God-Man, Jesus Christ. Who gave His life as a ransom for many, if by grace you believe by faith that Christ is who He says He is and has done what He says He has completed, salvation is only found in Christ alone.
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.
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