Christian Attitudes and Racial Problems
BY FRED MILLER
CHRISTIAN ATTITUDES AND RACIAL PROBLEMS All Rights Reserved
Copyright (c) 1964, 1968, 1992 Fred P. Miller
Originally Published by M. Richie Press 1968,
Revised and Enlarged 1992.
Published by Moellerhaus Books
11600 Grace Lane
Clermont, Florida, 34711
The main theme of this book is to set aside the false doctrine taught by some Christian denominations that God cursed the negro race with black skin and slave position when Noah got out of the ark. This false doctrine persists even though it has no biblical basis.
This book was first written in the 60's at the very beginning of the civil rights movement. ."Blackness," coupled with a sense of pride had not appeared at that time. "Black is beautiful" had not yet been heard. Hence the use of the word "negro" and "colored" in the text. In the revision we decided to retain these words in their historical contexts where the people described would likely use the words to describe themselves or others. Some older people still think of themselves as either "negro" or "colored." Thus all three nouns are used to refer to Afro-Americans in the text. We hope this explanation will keep those who have rejected the descriptive term "negro," and the paternalistic term, "colored," from missing the value in this book. Read the book, you will find it is well worth your while.
The experience of the author in race relations is varied enough to give him some small degree of ability to write in this field successfully. Besides the more ordinary contacts of childhood, an awareness of the basic injustice inherent in relatives' remarks about "one marrying your sister" or not wanting "one to live next door to you, would you?" came about. This awareness grew and became a desire to do something more than just quit being prejudiced.
The church of the Lord Jesus Christ gives ample opportunity to minister to the needs of "every creature". Difficulties in understanding the thinking of prejudiced people, or white supremacists, or segregationists in the church of Christ, have a long history in the author's experience. Outspoken disagreement with the ordinary pattern of race relations began in New Jersey in the year of his conversion, 1949. This kind of feeling and activity had been recognized by many negro and white people during the author's college years in Illinois and Iowa.
In 1957 the Miller family took an 18 year old negro girl into their home during a crucial time in her life. This situation lasted the better part of a year after which she returned from Vermont to Iowa. The Millers learned a lot from this experience, for instance how hard even in Yankee Vermont it is for a negro to get a job and for a family with a black girl to get an apartment. They finally rented from people who thought she was their maid servant! In 1958, Catherine, a mixed white and negro baby of 22 months, was taken by the Millers for adoption. This adoption was blocked by a local judge in Rutland, Vermont, for three years. Finally, after a court battle which gained international attention in the press and other news media, the judge was overruled and the adoption was finalized in the circuit court of appeals in 1961.
In 1959, Gene Van, a part negro-Puerto Rican-Irish baby was taken by the Millers for adoption. His adoption was finalized early in 1960 by the same judge who was refusing to pass on Catherine's adoption at the same time. The reason his was passed while Cathy's was pending: his birth certificate read "white" and to the judge it was not "another nigger adoption."
Four natural children were later born to the Millers. The unusual nature of their family .opened many doors that would otherwise never have been opened. For many years the Millers cooperated through churches in New York in racially mixed youth camps. The family has been used of God to start churches of Christ in black communities of Elmira and Albany, New York, and the thriving church of Christ in Hartford, Connecticut. The work of churches of Christ in England done by the Millers also includes Africans, West Indians, and Asians in all the churches as well as the West Indian church in the Balham section of London. Numerous other contacts with American black people give the author experiences which help in writing on the subject of Christian attitudes and racial problems,--which lacking, makes the ordinary white family culturally deprived! However, apology is made in advance for any vestigial paternalism detected, that may still be clinging to me, although I am personally unaware or any, that has not been rooted out. My black brothers know I mean well and I thank them in advance for tolerating my ignorance,--in spite of trying hard and meaning well, it may still be there.
When this work first appeared in 1964 it was aimed at making a greater social impact than this third printing is expected to make. This is so because many of the social situations which motivated the first printing have been altered, though they have not disappeared. The aim of reprinting the material is to make a clearer scriptural exposition of a difficult prophecy outlined in the second section, which refutes the doctrine that American Black people have inherited the so-called "Curse of Ham." This section in itself makes the social impact we want Christians to consider. A revision and addition of new material has been made to this and other sections of the book.
The false teaching that Hamitic people are recipients of a curse associated with black skin and slave position is still persistent and even held by some black churches. Only recently to this printing the author visited a black congregation where the preacher spoke of the curse on black people because of Ham. When this material was first printed in 1964, the fulfillment of the prophecy, in section II of this work, was only clearly understood as it related to the Semitic portion of the predicted domination of Canaanite nations. The historical fulfillment of Japhetic cooperation in dominating and exterminating the Canaanite national identity was believed by the author but was not discovered by him. This is partially because the archaeological and historical work of Garstang and Gurney on the Hittite Kingdom has not been given the careful attention it deserves and is not therefore readily available nor often cited. This third printing, happily, contains the historical fulfillment of the Japhetic portion of the prophecy of Noah.
The correct exposition, even of the Semitic portion is rare, thus this is a remarkable and may be a unique exposition of the historical fulfillment of a prophecy, which as far as we know, has not met with as full a treatment as it does here. The chance of adding any new thought, which has not already been fully exposed and examined from every angle, is very remote in the world of biblical scholarship. We offer it therefore in this simple form outlining one more of God's great truths of precognition and the consequent historical verification of the Holy Scriptures.
The possibility of error in assigning all the nations mentioned here to their proper racial .group is obvious. Care has been taken but it should be observed that the writer does not make assignments via language families. The languages based in cuneiform inscriptions were invented by Hamitic people and later adopted by Semitic conquerors. Hamitic Ethiopians, on the other hand, speak a Semitic language. (See ftnt. 8.) Language is not, therefore, an accurate measure of racial category. More accuracy is found in following the biblical divisions given in the table of nations in the tenth chapter of Genesis.
The strong black face looked up from affectedly stooped shoulders. "We all got it, we all go it!" The graying temples quivered as the full lips spat it out. "They ain't none of us don't have it!"
CHRISTIAN ATTITUDES AND RACIAL PROBLEMS
He was answering my question about his wife having "white" blood. This was a revelation to me; but different shades and profiles of colored people I had known began to pass before my mind's eye. The illumination of the moment had crumpled the ignorance of years as I realized the fallacious connotation of the word "negro" as it relates to the American colored man. "We all got it. They ain't none of us don't have it!" How the truth of the statement burned in as I observed the facial structure and personally questioned others about their racial background. Years have passed only to more powerfully establish the fact that God has NOT determined the bounds of the habitation of the sperm of the Caucasian and Negro races in the Western World.
Ignorance is not a panacea for ills, but a hindrance to evangelism when it relates to black .people. Ignorance produces the following in churches of Christ:
In the Lord's church a colored family attends church and finds that all the local children continuously stare. Monkeys in a cage could feel no less comfortable while parents, oblivious to the discomfort of others, pride themselves on their open-mindedness: "Colored folk in the same church as I."
A visiting Christian woman asks her colored host to "pass the niggertoes." She means Brazil nuts.
In a Bible classroom an instructor finds that he is the only one laughing (in a racially mixed class) at a "nigger joke."
A preacher holding a revival meeting tells about "niggers, wops, and kikes" with the full assurance that he has the love of God in his breast. A colored Christian with a lovely voice is well appreciated for the negro spirituals that she invariably sings. A young white man in the church teases her for her lack of boy friends, all the while assuming that HE, naturally, could not be one of the friends, and all the while ignorant that a human heart beats under the black skin.
A man going to evangelize negro people publicly states that his wife and children will be socially segregated from the colored Christians. "The only time that they will see them is in the church services."
An evangelist preaching in the south tries to persuade churches that black people "ought to be allowed in the services." He has not yet seen the responsibility of the said churches to preach the Gospel to every creature, --to go to, and invite, and persuade, and win black-carcassed souls.
In a Bible training center, a student tells a "nigger joke." Many preacher students laugh. A teacher of the Bible says, "Cursed be Ham. Black skin was the curse." A student contributes his feelings on what would be a "shameful" wedding to perform: a Caucasian to a colored person! A young woman studying her Bible on the way to call on lost souls, says, "I just couldn't stand to have one sit near me." She means a colored person.
An obese caucasian church member after meeting a black woman medical doctor volunteers in an aside, "I think they are just as good as we are, don't you?"
In a southern church, when the visiting colored preacher did not go back to the door to meet the departing parishioners, an older Christian lady nodded approvingly, noting that "he was one of the nice ones and knew his place."
In a congregation a preacher begins his sermon with a "black preacher joke" which is supposed to exhibit the "quaint wit" of the ignorant colored man. In the same message he rejects the idea that the Ethiopian Eunuch might bear the color of his nation. Someone vigorously "A-mens!" Why?
One preacher says that it is a sin to marry a negro; another says it is not a SIN but that God is AGAINST it. Another preacher equates helping negroes with being a communist.
Preaching on racial identities across the country in many churches, an evangelist finds the same consistent reaction: "We have been wondering about this but this is the first sermon we have ever heard on the subject."
It is not with the intention of scathing or blasting my fellow Christians that I write this .booklet. Rather, because apathy and ignorance have caused many of the incidents above, it is with the hope of giving enlightenment to those who care but are not in a position to get clear thinking on the subject that I propose to discuss the following propositions:
I. God is no respecter of persons.
II. The curse uttered by Noah on Canaan was not black skin and is not at all related to the negro race.
III. It is not a sin for a man to marry a woman.
RESPECT OF PERSONS
A. Racial Prejudice is Excluded From the Kingdom of God Through Commandments Against Respect of Persons.
I. GOD DOES NOT HAVE RESPECT OF PERSONS. HE DOES NOT MAKE HIS CHOICES AS TO WHO ARE CHILDREN OF GOD ON THE BASIS OF SIZE, COLOR, RACE, NATIONALITY, OR FINANCIAL STATUS.
"My brothers have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons." (Jas. 2:1ff) "It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment." (Deut. 1:17) "There is no respect of persons with God." (Rom. 2:11) "No respect of persons with him." (Eph. 6:9) "God is no respecter of persons." (Acts 10:34) "And there is no respect of persons." (Col. 3:25) "God judges without respect of persons." (I Pet. 1:17)Could a single indication of God's will on a subject be stated any plainer in the Bible? The problem in Bible days, however, was not as bad as it is today. In those days one might be given a poor seat if a congregation were class conscious. Now, however, the remedy to the situation is, "Let them have their own building because after all, they would rather be with their own people." How do you know? Have you asked "them?" Today, instead of a lower seat, people are pressured out of the building and forced to congregate with their own "class."
A premeditated program of this type is respect of persons. It is sin.
B. Racial Prejudice is Excluded From the Kingdom of God By the Same Principles that Settled the Jew-Gentile and the Jew-Samaritan Problem.That there were in Bible days feelings of superiority on the part of the Jews toward their neighbors is not hard to establish. Peter said, "It is unlawful for a Jew to keep company with other nations." After Peter had preached to the Gentiles in Cornelius' house, he ate with those present. However, he was called in question about this by the Jewish Christians at Jerusalem. Their accusation: "You ate with uncircumcised people!" (Acts 10:28;11:3) Prejudices are ingrained and hard to remove. After this incident Peter ate with the Gentiles again, but when prejudiced people came to Antioch, Peter refused to eat with the people any more, lest he offend these Jews. For his giving in to the unreasonableness of others, he was rebuked by the apostle Paul, "for he was to be blamed." (Gal. 2:11-15) IT IS NOT RIGHT, THEREFORE, TO PRESERVE "PEACE" BY ALLOWING ONE CLASS OF PEOPLE TO FEEL MORE CALLED OF GOD THAN ANOTHER CLASS OF PEOPLE. God once and for all put away this attitude with the cross of Jesus Christ. God has broken down the middle wall of partition between the Jew and all other nations of men. He has brought us all into one body by the cross, "and has put no difference between us whether we be Jew or Gentile." (Eph. 2:11,17; and 15:8,9)
There is no need to prove that there were Jew-Samaritan prejudices in Jesus' day. It is .common knowledge that the Samaritans were a despised race. Of Jesus they charged, "Have we not said that you are a Samaritan and that you have a devil?" (John 8:48) This was an epithet that corresponds with calling a man a "nigger" in our day. Jesus did not accept the Jewish feelings toward Samaritans. He so surprised a woman with his request for a drink as to have her exclaim, "Jews have no dealings with Samaritans!" How is it then that he talked with her? Because he was not observing the prejudices of the fickle crowd. He showed that a man's neighbor was anyone, Samaritan or not. Jews in Jesus' day crossed the Jordan to journey between Galilee and Judea. They would not pass through the hated and despised Samaritan territory. Jesus did not follow this prejudice but took his journey between Judea and Galilee through the heart of Samaria. (John 4:4) The middle wall of partition has broken down "SO THAT THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE." (Eph. 2:14)
C. God Has Not Regarded the Person of Any Man in Any Covenant But Has Consistently Had Regard to Those Who Did His Will And Trusted in Him In Spite of Their Nationality or Race.
Notice in Genesis 4:4 that God had respect to Abel and to his offering. He did therefore, have respect of persons. How does this harmonize with our proposition that God does not have respect of person? Note in Heb. 11:4 that Abel obtained a witness that he was righteous. Cain received the witness that he was evil. God had respect to Abel but to Cain he had not respect. This was his reason for killing his brother. God respects those who do right and does not respect those who do evil. (Ro. 2-3)
In Jeremiah 38 and 39 is recorded the incident in Jeremiah's life of his being cast into a well. Only through the intercession of a negro eunuch called Ebed Melech was his life saved. Jeremiah had sunk into the muck in the well and had been there for some days when finally this black man obtained permission to bring Jeremiah out of the well by lowering a rope and some rags to be put under Jeremiah's armpits. The conclusion of the story is found in Jeremiah 39:16-18:
"The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah saying, Go speak to Ebed Melech the Ethiopian saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts...I will bring my words upon this city for evil and not for good and they shall be accomplished in that day before you. But I will deliver you in that day saith the LORD and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. For I will surely deliver you and you shall not fall by the sword but your life shall be a prey for you BECAUSE YOU HAVE PUT YOUR TRUST IN ME saith the LORD."Of all the ones in Jerusalem who were supposed to be the chosen people of God at that .time, only Jeremiah and a black man who put his trust in God were saved from the wrath of Nebuchadnezzar. None of the Jews who felt that they were the chosen race of God without respect to righteousness were saved in that day. But a lone black Ethiopian, received the assurance that God has respect for them that put their trust in Him, without regard to race or skin color.
II. THE CURSE OF CANAAN.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE CURSE OF HAM: THE CURSE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH BLACK SKIN AND IS NOT AT ALL RELATED TO THE NEGRO RACE.
If not the source of many of the prejudices against negroes, the so-called "curse of Ham" is often used to bolster the weak arguments associated with prejudice. Very few Bible students have not at least been exposed to the idea that the Scriptures uphold the subservient position of the black race. Many are the times that this writer has read and heard the curse of servitude in Genesis 9 applied to the black race, that curse supposedly being black skin and slave position. That this is a misapplication of the prophetic curse is easily seen. Let us examine it to see to whom it does apply.
"And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it on both their shoulders and covered the nakedness of their father. And Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done unto him. And he said, CURSED BE CANAAN, a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem and Canaan shall be his servant." (Gen 9:24-27)Historians and ethnologists agree with the principle of dispersion of civilization and .nations from the Mesopotamian Valley between 4500 and 1500 B.C.* The same authorities agree basically with the Bible that mankind is divided into three basic racial groups. Ethnologists and historiographers call the threefold division of mankind: 1. Japhetic or Caucasian, Indo-European, Aryan. 2. Hamitic, Turanian, or Negroid. 3. Semitic or Oriental. The fact that ethnologists and secular historians still refer to Hamites, Semites and Japhetides is evidence to the veracity of the Genesis record, which is still used in spite of doubters. Ethnologists have no less problems than biblical researchers in properly placing nations in racial categories. (China is an enigma to more scholars than just the students of Genesis.)
* Speiser and Herget; Ancient Mesopotamia: A Light that did not Fail; National Geographic, Jan. 1951The tenth chapter of Genesis is known as the table of nations and is studied by .archaeologists as well as Bible students. There, are recorded the names of the nations who came from each of the sons of Noah, --Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
A. Who Was Cursed?
In Genesis 9, only two sons of Noah--Shem and Japheth--are prophetically mentioned in the curse; Ham is passed over. Ham is not mentioned in the curse, prophetically or any way. This is an important detail, since Canaan, son of Ham, is mentioned as the recipient of the curse. Ham had three other sons besides Canaan. Obviously they are bypassed and would not inherit the curse since only their brother Canaan is cursed. One may ask why God allowed a curse on Canaan. Why not Ham? Obviously it was not God's design to curse all Hamitic posterity for the fact is the scripture says, "Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be."
It may be of interest here to note that the Dead Sea Scrolls contain a commentary on Genesis and in it the commentator made certain in approximately 100 BCE that it was understood that Ham was no part of the curse. Click here to see that portion. a. What does the prophecy say?
"Blessed be the LORD God of Shem." The fulfillment of this is seen in God's choice of the Semitic line as the source of His special people until Jesus Christ came into the world. Hebrews are called Semitic because of their relationship to Shem. God was exclusively "the Lord God of Shem" for about 2200 years. This period extended from the call of Abraham until the death of Jesus Christ. It is quite easy to see the marvelously accurate outline of Noah's prophecy, "blessed be the Lord God of Shem."
SHEM'S POSTERITY is recorded in Genesis 10:21-31. Nations arising from Shem include the historically famous Elamites, Lydia, Assyria, and other peoples who settled eastern Asiatic lands. (see Gen. 10:30)
JAPHETIC PEOPLE are generally white people. However, not all white people are Japhetic. The Jews are an example. Neither are all Japhetic people white. There are black Aryans or Japhetic people. The aborigines of Australia are an example.
"God shall enlarge Japheth and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem." Since the time of Christ Japhetic people have dominated much of civilization. It .is obvious to the historian that God has enlarged Japheth. Remember again there was a time when God was exclusively the God of Shem, and Shem was the instrument through whom God spoke His truth. That situation changed shortly after the time of Christ. We find that the religion of Jehovah through Jesus Christ became virtually a Japhetic religion. It has been Japhetic missionaries who have taken the truth of the Gospel to Africa and Asia. Surely Japheth does "dwell in the tents of Shem," Japhetic people have become the spokesmen for Jehovah in the place of Semitic people. *
* For further explanation and detailed maps see: Keyes, Nelson B.; Story of the Bible World; C.S. Hammond, New York. Pages 1-24.b. What About the Children of Ham?
THE CHILDREN OF HAM are listed in Genesis 10:6. They are Cush, Mizraim, Phut, and Canaan. Not all the sons of Ham were black skinned people. The word "Ham" [ ] itself carries with it the idea of hot, --dark or swarthy. But of the three clearly identifiable sons of Ham (Phut is not unquestionably identified), only the Ethiopian descendants (Cush) are what Americans and Western Europeans call black, while Egyptians (Mizraim) and Canaanites are swarthy people.
l. CUSH: The Hebrew word Cush [ ] is often rendered "Ethiopia" in the English translation of the Bible. The nation of Ethiopia is always indicated by the word "Cush." These black-skinned natives of Ethiopia are negroes. Jeremiah asked, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin?" (Jer. 13:23) Cushite people first settled in the Mesopotamian Valley where they developed the world's first civilization before invading Semites became the dominate race in Mesopotamia. (Genesis 10) These Cushites are called Sumerians in secular history.
Under Nimrod, a Cushite, the greatest cities of the ancient world in Mesopotamia were built. Nineveh, Babylon, Erech, and Accad are mentioned in Genesis 10 as cities founded by Nimrod. These centers of civilization are known to all students of history. How then are we to account for statements in "learned" treatises which claim that negroes never produced anything worth while? In a booklet by Dr. W. C. George, a professor at the University of North Carolina, it is stated, "The negro race has never produced any civilization anywhere at any time." This seems to be a wide spread fallacy. However, museums, worldwide, i.e., the British Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of New York, are replete with artifacts of the great cultures developed by Hamitic peoples. I have personally seen some of the glories of these ancient kingdoms. The evidence is not limited only to museums as both the sacred and secular histories bear the same record.
Semitic people conquered the darker Hamites of Mesopotamia (about 1900 B.C.), then drove them out. This is thought to have hastened their migration to Africa and Hindu Cush, which was already under way. Secular historians write about the Semitic Accadians and Hamitic Sumerians who lived that history. Negro Cush, though a hamite, settling first in Mesopotamia, was not a Canaanite and therefore not a recipient of the curse of Canaan.
2. MIZRAIM: he Hebrew name Mizraim [ ] is the name of the second son of Ham. Mizraim, Hebrew for Egypt, brought into existence the second old world civilization which followed the Hamitic beginnings in Mesopotamia already spoken of. The pyramids and glories of the dynasties of ancient Egypt were the product of darker-skinned Hamitic people. Many faces of the pharaohs preserved in statues establish plainly the Hamitic features and origin of these people. Amenhotep IV or Ikhnaton, and Tutankhamen are two examples of men possessing features and origins which were then glorious, but are sometimes despised in our day. All the glory of man is nothing in the eyes of God, but the fact that a particular race's ability is called in question and the superiority of another race is held up, is the reason for this defense. Consider the following statement which, while typical, is again from Dr. George's booklet: "Throughout the thousands of years that the different branches of the Caucasian race were developing the civilizations of Egypt, Assyria, Sumeria, Chaldea, Babylon, Persia, India, Palestine, Phoenicia, Carthage,..." With the exception of Persia, none of these named civilizations were Japhetic (Caucasian) in origin. Contrary to the learned Doctor's belief, Palestine and Phoenicia were Canaanite and therefore as Hamitic as Egypt while Sumeria. Assyria, Chaldea, Babylon, were all Semitic in origin. Ethiopia is not mentioned in the list of ancient civilizations in Dr. George's treatise on race.
The Psalmist said, "God did great wonders in the land of Ham." He was speaking of the ten plagues of Egypt. (Psalms 105:27) Egyptians then are Hamites. They are not Canaanites, whom Noah cursed.
3. PHUT: [ ] is the third son of Ham listed in Genesis 10. Phut is identified as Libya in Smith's Bible Dictionary and by other students of the Bible. It should be kept in mind that Libya was a designation of the greater part of the African interior used by geographers like Strabo* and others who were living when the Bible was being written. Since this son of Ham was not a Canaanite either, this nation is not a part of the curse.
* Strabo; Geography; Book I:2;26.4. CANAAN: [ ] The fourth son of Ham. He was cursed by Noah. Canaan's descendants are listed in Genesis 10:15-20. Remember that these descendants are nationality groups. They are listed as: Sidon, Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Sinites, etc. "The border of the Canaanites was from Sidon as you come to Gerar unto Gaza, as you go unto Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboim and Laisha." (Gen. 10:19) Tracing this on a map, one sees that the land of the Canaanites is what we now call the Holy Land or the Promised Land, --the land that God promised to Abraham. These people then, living in that land, are the people whom God through Noah cursed, saying, "Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers." Cushites (Ethiopians) were black people. Mizraim (Egypt) was a dark people. The Canaanites were not a black people but were more like their Semitic neighbors. This is no mere assumption, for many excavations have uncovered Amorite and Hittite civilizations. The art left in stone bears record of the physical characteristics of these peoples.
CONCLUSION: Cushites were black; Canaanites were not black. .Canaanites were cursed while the black skinned Cushites were not cursed. Therefore black skin is not related to the biblical curse. Again: Cushites were black. They were not included in the Noahic curse. Canaanites were NOT black. They were cursed. Black skin has no relation to the biblical curse. Neither, then, has the servitude of negro people of past 100 years ago in America, any relation to the biblical curse of Canaan.
B. What is the Curse?
We have seen the fulfillment of the prophecies of Noah relating to the Semite and Japhetide peoples in their subsequent history. May we not also then follow the historical development of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Amorites, etc., to see if these people did receive what might be described as a curse?
The Canaanites and their descendent nations are next mentioned in the Bible after Genesis 10 as the inhabitants of the land which God promised to Abraham. (Gen 12:12-16) God then renewed the same promise from time to time, evidently to assure Abraham of the certainty of the future fulfillment. Abraham lived his whole life believing God's promise, though he never in his life was more than a sojourner in the land.
He never personally possessed the land that God had promised him. In Genesis 15 the reason for deferring the promise is given. God said:
"Know of a surety that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them and they shall afflict them four hundred years...But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again, FOR THE INIQUITY OF THE AMORITES (CANAANITES) IS NOT YET FULL... Unto your seed have I given the land from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates...the Hittites, Perizzites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, Jebusites." (Gen. 15:13,16,18,20,21)
"The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." In other words, they are not evil enough to bring upon them the curse which was first spoken by Noah. But by the fourth generation they will be. These are the people who were cursed. See in the text above the ease with which God disregards the ownership of the land of Canaan (the cursed people) and gives it to Abraham (the father of the blessed people). This promise to give the land, and mentioning the same names of the same Canaanite tribes is again recorded in Ex. 3:8 where Moses is informed and in verse 17, Aaron. And again in Ex. 13:5, "The LORD will bring you into the land of the Canaanites." And in Ex. 23:23,24 "For mine angel shall go before you unto the Amorites and the Hittites, Canaanites...and I will cut them off...you shall utterly overthrow them." Who? The cursed people.
The twelve spies whom Joshua sent out before invading Palestine brought report of the Canaanites (the cursed people) dwelling in the promised land in strong cities by the Jordan. (Num 21:1-3) There God helped the Israelites EXTERMINATE the Canaanites in that area. This development is crowned in Deuteronomy 7:1ff.
"When the Lord your God shall bring you into the land where you are to possess it and has cast out many nations before you: the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites: seven nations greater and mightier than you. And when the LORD shall deliver them before you, you shall smite them and utterly destroy them."Now THAT sounds like a curse! God was to deliver them for destruction. Let us call to mind now the subsequent invasion of the land of Canaan by the Israelites; the parting of the Jordan, the destruction of Jerico and Ai; how God actually caused the walls to fall down, gave strategic advice, in later battles rained stones out of heaven, and even slowed the rotation of the earth to lengthen the daylight so that THE CURSED PEOPLE COULD BE DESTROYED!
However, some of the Canaanites were not destroyed. They tricked Joshua and the children of Israel into vowing that they would protect them. The narrative in Joshua 9 is about the men who came as "emissaries" from a "far country" whereas they really lived ten miles across the mountain. They brought along moldy bread, old clothes and worn out shoes. They claimed that these things were new when they left their own country. Joshua was deceived by this subterfuge and vowed that they would protect them from their enemies. Upon returning to the city of Gibeon, these new allies were attacked by their Canaanite neighbors. They appealed to their new ally, Joshua, for help. Joshua after the battle demanded to know the meaning of the trick:
"And Joshua said, Wherefore have you beguiled us saying we were very far from you when you dwell among us. NOW THEREFORE YE ARE CURSED AND THERE SHALL NONE OF YOU BE FREED FORM BEING BONDMEN AND HEWERS OF WOOD AND DRAWERS OF WATER FOR THE HOUSE OF MY GOD. AND JOSHUA MADE THEM HEWERS OF WOOD AND DRAWERS OF WATER UNTO THIS DAY." (Joshua 9:22,23,27)These conclusions are now clear: Canaanites were cursed. Canaanites were not black. .Canaanites were not negroes. Canaanites received that which fulfilled the prophetic curse when the Hebrews invaded the land of Canaan. Therefore negroes and other Hamites, in spite of the abuses of "Christian" white men, have not inherited the Curse of Canaan.
JAPHETIDES DESTROY CANAANITES
C. THE COMBINED FORCES OF CELTIC CIMMERIAN GAULS AND MIGRATING MUSCOVITES DESTROYED HITTITE CIVILIZATION ABOUT 1200 B.C.We have seen how the Bible traces the Semitic portion of the fulfillment of the curse on the Palestinian Canaanite nations to their termination as national entities, by extermination, or assimilation. Those assimilated became bondmen and hewers of wood and drawers of water.
1. Second Portion of The Curse Relates to Japheth
The curse, when uttered, indicates a two fronted fulfillment, for it says that Canaan would .become the "servant of servants to his brethren," Shem and Japheth. As we have seen, the Bible reveals the fulfillment of the Semitic eradication and domination of Canaan. Historical documents must be searched to find the fulfillment relating Japhetic tribes to the extermination and domination of Canaanite nations.
2. Japhetic Tribes Extinguished the Greatest of Canaanite Civilization
The Canaanite tribe of Hittites developed a civilization in east central Anatolia (Eastern Turkey) which has often been the subject of archaeological and geographical surveys. According to Garstang, archaeologist of the Hittites, (recorded in his book "The Hittite Empire") it is detailed how that the Hittites rivaled the Egyptians and Mesopotamians in the development of culture, architecture, trade and art. According to Garstang, there was a time when the Hittites appeared to be a force superior to the Egyptians. However, not only their superiority, civilization and culture but their very existence was brought to an abrupt halt about 1200 B.C.
The development of Hittite civilization and its extermination are enlarged upon in the book "The Hittites" by O. R. Gurney* who incidentally is nephew to Garstang. Gurney states that the Hittite Confederacy occupied a mountainous region easy to defend, but the region was adjacent to the northwest end of the Euphrates valley from which Japhetic nationals were still migrating, 1400-1200 B.C. Gomer (called Gimmer in the Assyrian records according to Garstang) had migrated from Mesopotamia through the Caucasus to the regions north of the Black Sea. This tribe, one of the main sources of original Celts, is called Kimmeroi in the Greek writings, (cf. Strabo, Procopius etc). The English translation of Gimmer is Cimmer. This Cimmerian group, was in migration, 1400 to 1200 B.C., because of the inhospitable climate and the pressure of Scythian tribes entering the area north of the Black Sea. They gave their name to the region before they left it, i.e, the Crimea. Among these Cimmerian tribes, there were other names in use, the most important being Celts and Gauls.
* Gurney, O.R.; The Hittites; Penguin, London, 1952.They migrated to south of the Black Sea in two uncoordinated groups about 1200 B.C., part moving east and part west, coming from the north, around the Black Sea, establishing towns on the way (one of these located at the Hellespont is reputed to be Troy.) Thus one group crossed the Bosporus into Anatolia, moving toward the Hittite kingdom from the west, while the other group came from the northeast through the Caucasus and also converged on the Hittite kingdom. This migration of Gomer (the Bible name for Cimmer) coincided with the migrations of yet another Japhetic tribe. According to Garstang and Gurney, at exactly the same time, Mesheck [ ] (called Mushki [ ] by the Assyrians and Moskoi [ ] by the classical Greeks) moving north on the Euphrates, converged and impacted the Hittite nation from the south, at the exact moment that the Celtic Cimmerians were displacing them in the east and west. Although coordinated by "mere chance," (?) this three fold attack brought an end to Hittite civilization! Many of the Hittites suffered the usual division of the spoils of war and became slaves to the new inhabitants of their land. See map illustrating this action that exterminated the Hittite Nation.
A group of the warlike Celtic barbarians were to keep the Hittites' place and one tribe of them give their name, Gaul, to the region known henceforth as Galatia. That barbarian nation later would be among the first to accept the Gospel through the preaching of the apostle Paul. As for the Moskoi, after their depredations of the Hittites, they moved into the lower Caucasus Mountains, waiting almost 2,000 years for their "time" to enter the stream of history, again. (Acts 17:26) and (cf. Ezekiel 38,39)*
* See Keyes, Nelson B.; Story of the Bible World; C.S. Hammond, New York; pages 20, 25 and Pfeiffer, Charles F.; Baker's Bible Atlas; Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1974 edition pages 105, 107 for maps which give the details of the Hittite dislocation and occupation by Gomer and Meshech.The coincidence of the extermination of Hittite culture by these Japhetide tribes with, or shortly after, the invasion of Semitic Israelites into Canaanite Palestine (all being consummated circa 1400-1200 B.C.) is an amazing fulfillment of the prophecy of Noah, --"Cursed be Canaan" who would become the servant of Shem and Japheth.
"Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers. Blessed be the Lord God of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant." Genesis 9:25 Let us not get lost in the history so much so that we miss the wonder of the divine foreknowledge of God. Moses penned this prophecy about 1500 B.C. as being in Noah's mouth a millennium before. What an astounding evidence to the inspiration of the Bible is this prediction and fulfillment of the demise of the historically important Anatolian Hittite and Palestinian Canaanites. How great is our God!
But let us not miss the main point in the argument in this work. That is: It could only be .historically and biblically uninformed people (who either through ignorance or "an ax of their own to grind.") could bring the Black American or any other Black-Hamite African into the context of the "Curse of Canaan."
III. IT IS NOT A SIN FOR HUMAN BEINGS OF VARIED NATIONAL AND RACIAL BACKGROUNDS TO BE MARRIED
May I make it clear as I begin this section that I am not an advocate of mixed racial marriages. That is not my proposition. I feel that marriage in today's world is difficult enough as it is. People are better off with as few obstacles as possible. They are generally better off if they marry someone as nearly like themselves, socially, economically, culturally, etc., as possible. It is an invitation to trouble for a very rich person to marry a very poor person. Marriage across racial lines is bound to be filled with special problems. More than one person who was partner to a mixed Catholic-Protestant marriage has said that they would not do it again even though they loved their mates.
Although conditions have changed greatly since the sixties, racial differences will still bring an added burden to marriage. Many racially naive, though Christian, parents would accept a mixed racial marriage in their family, but only with great difficulty. It seems to me therefore, that a Christian young person will have his mind made up before a situation presents itself that may call forth a decision creating great strain on relations with father, mother, sisters, and brothers, --a decision which may make the children of the mixed marriage aliens in their own blood relatives' homes.
Especially in the Western World, (the society in which we live) --like it or not-interracial marriage is still a long way from being completely "acceptable." Young people should pick mates of the same or similar racial background. That is my judgment.
If two young people, having different racial backgrounds, were to come to me for marriage, I would discourage them, as I have had occasion to do. I would warn them of the problems in store for them. I would try to enlighten them concerning the pitfalls and heart aches that they will certainly encounter. I would see to it that they informed their parents and their in put was registered. However, if after determined counsel, prayer, dealings and discussions, they were determined in their decision to marry, I would marry them. It is not a sin. It may be inexpedient, dangerous, and problem-fraught, but it is not a sin!
Of all the strongholds of prejudice, those aspects which relate to intermarriage are the last to die. That this has not always been the case, however, is evident from the varied backgrounds of millions of souls now living. Whenever different races have lived in proximity there has been racial mixing. Sometimes assimilation of one racial group or national group into another has been accomplished in world history. The barbarian invaders of the Roman Empire are an example of assimilation. The Aryans and darker Hamites (Hindu Cush) of India are another example.
Some so-called "white supremacists" feel that God has given the white race a superior place in all history. We have already noticed the professor who states, "The negro race has never established a civilization anywhere at any time." Others have said that if you were to destroy the white race you will destroy civilization. Such racial arrogance, ignorance, and pride was the same foolish condition adopted by the pre-exile Jews and those of the ruling class in the New Testament period. Because they were the chosen people of God they assumed they were therefore racially superior. This unfounded egocentric pride added another weight to their arrogance which led to their subsequent downfall.
Genesis 10 shows that the first civilizations of Babylon, Nineveh, Assyria, Chaldea, and Palestine were all developed by Hamitic and Semitic (non-caucasian) people. Japhetic people (Caucasian) were still practicing HUMAN SACRIFICES on the steppes of Asia at this time! They (Caucasians) with the one exception of Persia, were not the originators of any of the earliest pre-Roman and Greek civilizations.
History abounds with examples where these and other nations and races were .assimilated. Wherever they contacted each other, great varieties of people who now inhabit a large part of the earth resulted. God made it possible for this to happen. He made no laws in Patriarchal times nor even in Moses' day on INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE. The children of Israel were warned not to marry into neighboring nations. However, if the Gentile would receive circumcision, he would then be received without regard to national background or color. Contrast Deut. 7:1-7 and Exodus 12:43,49 where it is plainly seen that God's restrictions were for the purpose of preserving RELIGIOUS purity, not RACIAL purity.
The one incident of interracial marriage that is fully dealt with in the Bible shows God backing up the individuals who entered into that marriage.
A. MOSES MARRIED A BLACK WOMAN
Before we read the passage, let me repeat that I am not advocating what some people .call "mongrelization." (Let people who use this term beware for they will one day be judged by Him who humbles the proud and hates respect of persons.) Interracial marriage in our society is difficult; and it is not wise, therefore, to enter into it. But it is not a sin for one Christian to marry another without regard to nationality. In spite of social pressure, there are a great many places in the world where interracial marriages can and do work. Men could do God's work under such conditions in New York City, London, Jamaica, South America, the Near East, and other places right here in the Western Hemisphere. Any Christian who contemplates interracial marriage should accept as a foregone conclusion that he will serve the Lord in such an area. Some of my brethren are of mixed racial origin. They are not sinning in marrying. Their parents have not sinned, because "marriage is honorable in all and the bed is undefiled." (Hebrews 13:1)
Let us now examine the passage of scripture.
"And Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite (negro) woman whom he had married, for he had married an Ethiopian [ "cushith" ] (black) woman. And they said, Has the LORD spoken only by Moses? Has he not also spoken by us? And the Lord heard it. Now the man Moses was very meek...And the LORD spoke suddenly to Moses and to Aaron and to Miriam, Come out ye three to the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out. And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation... and He said, Wherefore were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them. And the cloud departed...and behold Miriam became leprous, white as snow...And Aaron said, Alas my lord...lay not the sin upon us wherein we have done FOOLISHLY and wherein we have SINNED." (Numbers 12:1ff)The narrative continues with Moses' appeal to God in behalf of Miriam. God says, "If her .father had but spit in her face she would be shut out of the camp seven days." So they shut her out seven days.
Some Initial ConclusionsThese observations are obtained:: Moses married an Ethiopian woman. (Interracial .marriage) He was criticized for marrying a Cushite woman. (Prejudice) His authority was called in question because he married a black woman. (Rebellion) God intervened and took Moses' part. Moses had not sinned. Aaron said, "We have done foolishly. We have sinned." God has a sense of humor. Can you see it? If white is so good I will make you white, as white as snow! As leprous as snow! God settled the problem of authority in this case that was brought up because THEY felt that anyone IGNORANT enough to marry a NEGRO was a poor leader. God showed that Miriam and Aaron were wrong. Moses had not sinned in marrying.
More on Zipporah, Moses' Wife(Nu 12:1) And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. The Hebrew says, And Miriam spoke, using a feminine singular verb, ["tedaber," ] indicating Miriam's leadership in this opposition. Aaron was an easily led, willing, but weak minded participant, as is his position in other events, hence the punishment was inflicted on Miriam alone.Because of, or on account of, the Ethiopian woman he had married.
The cause of the opposition was Moses' marriage to a woman Miriam considered a social .inferior. It is clear that Miriam spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman. What did she say about Moses and the woman? Did she mention Zipporah's dark skin? If not, what else is implied in the passage? It seems clear that the limited information given contains the cause of the strife. Can the irony of her punishment,-- turning her white,--be lost in the context of her criticism of Moses, brought on by his alliance with a black woman? I doubt it.
More on "Cush.""Cush" is a word often translated Ethiopia. Sometimes it is the name of a person.
"Cushi"  probably means something akin to "Blackie." Jeremiah associates the name with dark skinned people. (Jer. 13:23) Zephaniah the prophet calls himself the son of Cushi. (Zeph. 1:1) He mentions Ethiopia (Cush) in 3:10, so he knew the meaning of his father's name.
Earlier mentions of Cush in the Bible show that Cushites originated in Mesopotamia* (See Gen. 10) but later spread abroad to the east as far as the Indus. In Genesis they are also mentioned as inhabiting eastern Arabia.** In the later biblical period of the prophets, "Cush" almost exclusively refers to Ethiopia, rather than to those Cushites who lived in the Arabian peninsula. But 2Chr. 21:16 links Arabians with Ethiopians in the land of Arabia. "Moreover the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, who were adjacent to the Ethiopians.***
* Speiser, and Herget; Ancient Mesopotamia: A Light That Did Not Fail; National Geographic, January, 1951.The proximity of the land of Arabia to Ethiopia lends itself to Arabia being the source of the first Cushite inhabitants of Ethiopia. The location of Ethiopia just across the Red Sea from Arabia, and the long term coexistence of the nations in the Arabian peninsula as evidence, may be added to the fact that the language of Ethiopia also originated in Arabia. Gesenius says that migrants from Arabia carried into Ethiopia "a branch of the Semitic language, viz. the Ethiopic, which stands in the closest affinity with the old Himyaritic dialect of eastern Arabia." The Greek Historian, Herodotus, says that in Xerxes' international army, (about 450 B.C.), Arabians and Ethiopians were grouped together under one command. Perhaps this was due to language similarity.
** See also Eze. 27:20-24.
** Gesenius, William; trans Robinson, Edw.; Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament; Houghton, Mifflin, Boston, 1882. Page 455.
*** See Herodotus, Book 7:70.
The wide spread distribution of Cush in the ancient world described in the Bible is supported by Greek geographer Strabo* and the "Father of History," Herodotus, both of whom refer to eastern or Asian Cushites in India** as having black skin and straight hair and western Cushites with similar skin color but "crispy" hair.*** Thus Jethro lived in the land of Cush in Arabia among other Ethiopians who had not yet completed migration to Ethiopia. He lived in Semitic Midian but he was not a Semite although he spoke a Semitic language.
* See Strabo, Geography: Book I:2;20-26 for a discussion (circa 40 B.C.) of the distribution of Ethiopians to the most remote extremes of the known world, i.e., south of Egypt and the fartherest east. That those of Africa and Asia were physically similar see Geo. Book II:3;8.Semitic descendants of Abraham, like Edom, and the Ishmaelites, as well as other Semites, afterward occupied almost all of the Arabian peninsula. These Semitic tribes are now named Arabians due to their occupation of Arabia, although the name "Arabia" attached to the homeland predates their occupation of the site. In the same way the Anglo-Saxons who are known as Britons are a modern parallel to this kind of name expropriation. The Angles and Saxons were non-Britons who subdued and drove the Britons out of the land. The Anglo-Saxons occupied the Britons' land and later took the name given to the land by those original inhabitants. Thus the Anglo-Saxons, although not Britons, are called British today. In the same way, Arabia may have been a Hamite name expropriated by a Semitic non-Arab second wave immigration which forced and continued the migratory flight of the Arabian Ethiopians to African Ethiopia.
** A reference to Ethiopians of India as early as 800 to 1200 BC is found in the third paragraph of Homer's Odyssey, Book I. Homer records the location of the Ethiopians as also divided in two parts at the extremes of the civilized world.. He says: "Now Neptune had gone off to the Ethiopians, who are at the world's end, and lie in two halves, the one looking West and the other East."
*** Herodotus; op. cit.
Zipporah, Moses wife, was daughter of Jethro a priest of Midian, probably sister to Hobab, Moses' in-law mentioned in Nu. 10:29. These verses make Jethro's daughter a Cushite. Either Jethro was a Cushite which is most reasonable, that is, Ethiopian priest of Midian, not a Midianite by race, or he bore children by a Cushite wife. Zipporah, his daughter, is the only wife mentioned in the Bible whom Moses married. There is nothing to indicate Moses had two wives and his receiving and writing the law would preclude such an event without more comment than found in Num. 12. Thus Moses had only one wife and she was a black woman.
A letter on this subject came to me some time ago in which the writer stated that "Moses' marriage didn't figure in this incident at all." It is easy to see from the text, however, that there would not have been an incident at all if Moses had not married a black woman. But such is the reasoning used by those who are plagued by this strange bug called racial prejudice.
Presently it may be inexpedient to enter into a mixed racial marriage but this condition is .passing quickly. That God does not consider it a SIN has been forever settled by God's action in the case of Moses and his Ethiopian bride.
Some have used a passage in Acts 17:26 to assert that it is a sin to marry across racial lines. That verse reads: "God has made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the face of the earth and has determined the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitation." Some, therefore, hold that God has set racial boundaries and it would be a sin if man would break them down or cross the boundaries.
UNITY OF HUMAN RACE
B. THE UNITY OF MANKIND IS TAUGHT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
In this verse, however, is taught the unity of the races and nations of mankind. God has made of ONE BLOOD all nations of men. All men now living have Noah as their father. Noah's loins contained ALL NATIONS AND RACES now living. He was a human experiment in interracial living! The boundaries spoken of above are not religiously or ethically uncrossable boundaries and we have shown that they were crossed many times historically and with God's approval.
A position upholding racial purity is not taught in this verse. It is a poor fortress for one who would try to make interracial marriage a sin. The Greek word here translated "nations" is "ethnos." This same word is translated "gentiles", "nations", "heathen", and "people" in the New Testament. If boundaries in this passage are not to be crossed by marriage, then no one of one nation may marry a person of any other nation. Irishmen could not marry Italians, Germans could not marry Britons, and on ad infinitum. Most of us would be sinners from the days of our forebears. The meaning of the word "ethnos" demands this extension if this verse teaches against intermarriage between racial groups. Obviously it does not.
The verse does teach nationalism and the rise and fall of great powers. There are still national boundaries, and times have been appointed to the Roman Empire, the British Empire, The United States, and the Soviet Union, among others.* Why did God ordain nations and times for each power to come into? The text says that it was so that "they might seek after God."
We hope you will be among those who will be willing to consider this material prayerfully, and that it will relieve the serious minded black Christian from the unkindest of burdens in pronouncing on him a curse that relates to others. May it also help you to carry out your commission from Jesus to preach the Gospel to every creature.
*Is it not interesting that the "times" allotted to the Soviet Union have been terminated since this book was first written. Using prophecies in Revelation and Ezekiel this author predicted the dissolution of the Soviet Union. See: Miller, Fred P.; Revelation: A Panorama of the Gospel Age; Moellerhaus Pub., Clermont, Florida, 1991.
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