How Black Church is Among The Descendants of The 12 Tribes of Israel

The part of the problem why Black Philadelphians are dying from COVID-19 at a disproportionately high rate is because there is not enough testing being offered in lower income neighborhoods in the city, where more people of color live. Now, Black churches are partnering with Black doctors to fill the gaps - a concept that has deep historical roots in other disease outbreaks in the city and in the civil rights movement.

In New York for example, where blacks make up 33 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations, black people are just 18 percent of the state's population, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Early data from New York City suggests that blacks are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as whites are. The CDC also reported that, in New York City, death rates are significantly higher for Hispanics/Latinos than for whites.  Other areas hard-hit by COVID-19 have seen similar trends in deaths for black people. Louisiana's population is about one-third black, but about 70 percent of COVID-19 deaths occurred in blacks, according to The New York Times.  In Illinois, 15 percent of the population is black, but 43 percent of those who died from COVID-19 were black. Michigan's population is about 14 percent black, yet black people accounted for 40 percent of that state's COVID-19 deaths.

The term Black church refers to Protestant churches that currently or historically have ministered to predominantly African American congregations in the United States. The Church of God in Christ is the nation's largest predominantly African American denomination. First African Baptist Church, located in Savannah, Georgia, claims to be derived from the first black Baptist congregation in North America. While it was not officially organized until 1788, it grew from members who founded a congregation in 1773. African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry from any of the black racial groups of Africa. The phrase generally refers to descendants of enslaved black people who are from the United States.  Black people have a long history. They are recognized in the Bible. Many of the Hebrew patriarchs married or had children with women from African tribes Abraham had children with Hagar and Keturah both from African (Hamitic) tribes.

Moses married Zippora, who was Ethiopian. Jacob had children with two handmaidens from African tribes, and these children became the patriarchs of two tribes of Israel. It means Black people have always played a central role in God’s plan for humanity and were not an afterthought of the creator.

The stories of the Bible took place in and around what we now call the Middle East, and people moved on and off its stage based on their relationship with the nations of ancient Israel and Judah. Ham had a son named Cush, which means “black” in Hebrew. Cush is the most common term designating color in reference to persons, people or lands used in the Bible. It’s used 58 times in the King James Version. The Greek and Latin word is Ethiopia. In classical literature, Greek and Roman authors describe Ethiopians as black. Archaeology has found these people to be black.  Genesis 10:6-20 describes the descendants of Ham as being located in North Africa, Central Africa and in parts of southern Asia. Psalm 105:23 mentions the “land of Ham” in Egypt, and Psalm 78:51 connects the “tents of Ham” with Egypt.

In Genesis 10, Nimrod, son of Cush (whose name means “black”), founded a civilization in Mesopotamia. In Genesis 11, Abraham was from Ur of the Chaldees, a land whose earliest inhabitants included blacks.  The people of the region where Abraham came from can be proven historically and archaeologically to have been intermixed racially. So it is possible that Abraham and those who traveled with him could have been racially mixed.  Genesis 14 tells how Abraham’s experiences in Canaan and Egypt brought him and his family into areas inhabited by peoples who were very likely black. Both archaeological evidence and the account in 1 Chronicles 4 tell us that the land of Canaan was inhabited by the descendants of Ham.

Further black presence can be found in the accounts of Hagar the Egyptian, Ishmael and his Egyptian wife, and Ishmael’s sons, especially Kedar. The Kedarites are mentioned many times in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Nehemiah, and the word kedar means “blackness.”  Still further evidence of black presence in the patriarchal period appears with Joseph’s experiences in Egypt. Joseph married an Egyptian woman, Asenath, who was descended from Mizraim, which made her Hamitic. Thus there is a strong possibili

The New Testament also contains ample evidence of a black presence. Acts 8 tells the story of the Ethiopian eunuch, one of the first Gentiles to be baptized. He came from a black region, so he may have been black. In Acts 13 we read of Simeon, called Niger, the Latin term for black. There is also Lucias from Cyrene, a geographical location of black people.  Moses was born in Africa, raised by Africans, trained in African wisdom, and was mistaken for a descendant of Ham, the father of all black African.  In the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, we read the story of the “Flight into Egypt” in which, after the birth of Jesus and the visit from the Magi, an “angel of the Lord” comes to Joseph in a dream and warns him to leave Bethlehem for Egypt (Mt 2:12-15).

The Holy Family, as Matthew recounts the story, was fleeing because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” because of their “membership in a particular social group,” in this case people with young children living in Bethlehem. I am not sure how you could get any clearer than that

By Rev Fr  Omolo Joachim