Tag Archives: christian

WHO ARE THE (BLACK) HEBREW ISRAELITES?

9 Apr

 

Hebrew Israelite groups gather and proselytize in metropolitan areas. This group is usually made up of black and brown Americans who claim to be the true Israelites and that modern day Jews are impostors. Their presence has been more noticeable over the past 2-3 years. They have stepped up their efforts and are growing locally. This is a current cultural issue, especially in the urban community in Phoenix.

If you live in a major city and haven’t met a Hebrew Israelite yet, give it time – you will. Whether clad in camo or purple and gold, the Hebrew Israelites go where you go. Yelling, swearing, debating, pointing, and loudly pontificating; they go hard. The light rail stop at Camelback and 19th in Phoenix is a favorite spot. I’ve seen them at the State Fair, Super Bowl XLIX, ASU, and Occupy Phoenix protests. They’ve been known to storm in churches and disrupt services. 

Some think this group is so obscure, they’re irrelevant. Amar’e Stoudemire disagrees. The former Phoenix Sun and NBA star identifies as a Hebrew Israelite. When SB1070 (a controversial immigration bill) was the hot topic in Arizona, Stoudemire tweeted out his disagreement with the legislation. The reason? The “Latin community” is part of “the 12 ttribes of Israel,” which is, “one nation under Yah.” Stoudemire is an executive producer of “Village of Peace”, a documentary about Chicago-based Hebrew Israelites moving to Israel in the 60’s. He’s applied for Israeli citizenship and is part owner of an Israeli basketball team. I could go on: St. Louis rapper Chingy of “Right Thurr” fame and Antoine Dodson of “Bed Intruder” fame both came out as Hebrew Israelites. Boyz II Men crooners Shawn Stockman and Wayna Morris claim this faith. Hebrew Israelite influence outweighs their numbers.

If you run into a Hebrew Israelite, you’d be wise to know what they believe. Even though they often yell and curse, knowing something about their ideology can assist you in having a more productive dialogue.

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10 Hebrew Israelite Beliefs

1: Hebrew Israelites believe those whose ancestors were put in bondage during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade are the true descendants of Biblical Israel.

2: Hebrew Israelites believe modern day Israelites and Europeanized Jews are impostors and not the real descendants of true Israel.

3: Hebrew Israelites usually hold the King James Version of the Bible as authoritative. Some only hold to the Old Testament. Most hold to the Apocrypha as well.

4: Hebrew Israelites believe the “time of the Gentiles” means “the time of the white Europeans”, whom they refer to as Edomites. They believe this time is almost over; America and its allies will soon be judged.

5: Hebrew Israelites believe righteousness is achieved by keeping the Law. Strict Sabbath-keeping, dietary restrictions and a certain physical appearance is important (e.g., beards are good).

6: Hebrew Israelites believe Jesus Christ (although they use a different name for him) was a black man.

7: Many (not all) Hebrew Israelites believe “Edomites” (white people) can’t be saved. They are destined to be slaves for Hebrew Israelites after the Messiah returns. Others believe that “Gentiles” (non-Hebrew Israelites) can be grafted into the Kingdom if they keep the law and are under the authority of a Hebrew Israelite.

8: Hebrew Israelites believe both heaven and hell are conditions – mere “states of mind”. Neither are viewed as metaphysical realities as they are in orthodox Christianity.

9: Hebrew Israelites believe you must refer to God as “Yah” (or some other name) and Jesus as “Yahshuah” (or some other name) but their preference depends on their individual sect (which they call “camp”.

10: Hebrew Israelites believe by spreading their message they are helping to gather the scattered Israelites who do not yet know the truth of their ancestry and heritage.

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Five Common Practices/Characteristics

1. The Hebrew Israelites members on the street tend to be boisterous, belligerent and bold. They blurt, blare and bellow. If you engage a  member on the street, be prepared for a noisy encounter. They often enjoy shouting obscenities at pedestrians and onlookers, especially those whom they deem to be morally repugnant (e.g., women wearing pants, black-and-white couples, etc.).

2. Hebrew Israelites craft their own signage. Common images include politicians with devil horns, “white Jesus” portrayals, images of slavery (men with scarred backs, slave ship diagrams, etc.) and the all-important 12 Tribes of Israel genealogy chart. For example, the Tribe of Judah are said to be the ancestors for black folk,
Isaachar for Mexicans and Gad for North American Indians.

3. Hebrew Israelites travel in groups. I’ve seen anywhere from three to a dozen congregate.

4. Hebrew Israelites members love to carry tattered old Bibles. Their message is often peppered with various Scripture passages. Usually, there is a primary speaker and then a Scripture reader. The speaker will shout a verse to the reader, then the reader yells it out – loudly.

5. Most Hebrew Israelites will engage you – to a certain extent. If they view you as “having a demon” (a common accusation they make against opponents), they will act dismissive and aggressive. If they see you as interested (but not too “talky”), they love the chance to lecture and even “cross-examine.”

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If you are a Christian, you should engage Hebrew Israelites when you see them. Why? They will benefit from well-informed brothers and sisters in Christ dropping knowledge. If you call yourself a Christian but don’t know your stuff, study up and come back later – they eat the biblically ignorant alive!

Remember, it’s not just knowledge they need; the Hebrew Israelites need to see authentic love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control and patience. If you are going to converse with them, ask the Lord for a double-dose of the last one – patience.

If you know the Bible well and are quick on your feet, they may show some extra respect to you, but then again, they may become more irritated than usual – it all depends on the makeup of the group and the nature of the crowd. As you can imagine, engaging a Hebrew Israelite in this environment can be intimidating.

My main goal in this piece was to give the reader the basic about the Black Hebrew Israelites. It is not intended to be an all-out rebuttal; I’m writing more in the vein of “heads up my man, coming at you.” In the future, I’d love to tackle some of the truth claims Hebrew Israelite adherents make.
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Vocab
Malone
Host, Urban Theologian Radio
Staff, Roosevelt Community Church
Student, Talbot School of Theology
Phoenix,
Arizona

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Ministry to Muslims ARIZONA UPDATE 2014

23 Oct

MINISTRY UPDATE!

MINISTRY TO MUSLIMS recently completed its fourth annual outreach trip to Phoenix, Arizona. For four days (October 16-19), we prayed together, trained together, witnessed together, learned together and worshipped together. I was part of it; this is what happened:

TRAINING
Wonderful speakers helped equip attendees for the outreach. Here is a partial list:

Speakers
Sam Shamoun:
Sam resides in Chicago and is well-known for his many debates and articles. A fellow apologist dubbed him “The Assyrian Encyclopedia”. Read his many articles at Answering-Islam.org here

Al Fadi: A passionate, Saudi Arabian-born Muslim who providentially lived with a Christian family during college. Al Fadi is now an author and speaker for reaching out and understanding Muslims. His website and book can be found at TheQuranDilemma.com

Anthony Rogers: Anthony became a Christian and was immediately drawn to evangelism and apologetics. He is currently pursuing a seminary degree and writes articles for Answering-Islam.org. View his YouTube channel here

Topics
-Do’s and Don’ts
-Facing the Islamic Challenge
-Answering Islamic Objections
-Why the Muslims?

THE DEBATESa rogers
There were also two moderated debates on Saturday between Anthony Rogers and ex-atheist Muslim-convert, Andrew Livingston. Andrew is a Muslim apologist and a writer for TAQWA Magazine. The two topics were, “What Did Jesus Say About Himself?” and “Was Muhammad a True Prophet?” More than 50 people listened intently. We had a wonderful time with Andrew; for example, we enjoyed some fine Middle Eastern Cuisine at Fattoush together and talked … Star Wars! I pray that Andrew truly experienced a taste of what a grace-filled and gospel-centered Christian community looks like up close. Check out Andrew’s articles at the TAQWA website

OUTREACH!
Outreach was the main purpose of our trip. We went to several strip malls and struck up conversations at local Muslim-owned shops in the area. About 15 people did this in key areas of the city for a large part of Thursday. On Friday, about 20 of us passed out Arabic/English copies of John’s Gospel at local mosques.

One Muslim man asked a MINISTRY TO MUSLIM team member this as he exited the mosque: “What kind of excuse are you guys going to have when you stand in front of God?” Even though we hear things like this often, it’s still an insight to the way a devout Muslim thinks. One man told us, “I say this with all sincerity and respect toward you guys, but what you are doing out here is the absolute worst crime you can commit – persuading people to commit the sin of shirk.” (Shirk is associating partners with Allah and Muslims believe Christians blaspheme this way when we ascribe deity to Jesus Christ.) Overall, we had some powerful conversations. One brother who was part of the team was a wheel-chair bound Egyptian Christian. It was a blessing to witness his compassion and wisdom for the people he spoke with – both in English and Arabic!

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Stoopid w/Anthony, Luis, Sam @the Arab Fest

Saturday and Sunday nights our team came out in full force to Arizona’s ARAB-AMERICAN FESTIVAL. We partnered with several local churches, a few from downtown Phoenix, another from Mesa and yet another from Tucson. Together, we were able to rent TWO vendor booths, where we took professional pictures for festival-goers at no charge. The booths were filled with gospel material in both Arabic and English, which we passed out everywhere we could to everyone who would take one. We distributed literally thousands of tracts and multiple-language Jesus movie DVDs.

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Hear Jamal on Mid-Eastern Christians!

GOSPEL PARTNERS 
I thank the Lord for moving in his people’s hearts to mobilize and unite for God’s glory and the sake of the gospel. Especially Pastor Jamal Bishara of First Arabic Baptist Church,  a Palestinian-born Christian who has been laboring for 30 years in this field. The Lord used him to bring together Christians from multiple denominations, multiple ethnicities and multiple nationalities. The congregation graciously let us use their campus for the event and were very generous all around. (Listen to Jamal’s interview on BPR by clicking the picture)

Will you prayerfully consider being part of the Phoenix trip in 2015, either by going or sending?

Contact George Saieg at 

http://www.ministrytomuslims.org/join-us.html

 

“Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Mathew 9:36-38, NASB)

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 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Vocab Malone is a Christian hip hop artist and slam poet. He is Pastor of Teaching  and Evangelism at Roosevelt Community Church in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. Vocab holds a Master’s Degree from Phoenix Seminary and is  pursuing a D. Min at Talbot. He is married to Nicole together they have adopted four boys. Vocab can be heard every Sunday night on Backpack Radio on 1360 KPXQ. Follow him on Twitter @VocabMalone
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