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Was Jesus A Black Man?





Reprinted from 1998 issue of The Georgia Informer



The Christmas season marks the observance and celebration of the advent of Jesus Christ out of eternity and into this world in human form, as it had been prophesied in the Old Testament.  God became a man, just as he said, without either ceasing to exist as God or being diminished in any way as God.  Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, who had always been with the Father, came to humanity as a human to save humans.  The Word of God became living flesh in fulfillment of the written Word of God.  That is why Christians rejoice at this season:  God keeps his word!


But was the “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” a child of African heritage or was he European as he is depicted in the classical paintings mostly done during the Renaissance in Italy.  Was Jesus Black or White?  THE GEORGIA INFORMER dealt with this question once before, in 1994.  We print again some of the answers given then and some of those given by African American pastors throughout the state who were contacted at the time.


The flight of Mary and Joseph into Egypt to hide the Christ child from the jealous and murderous plot of Herod, as recorded in the Book of Matthew, led Pastor E. Dewey Smith of Macon's Beulahland Bible Baptist Church to conclude, “He could not have been hidden in North Africa had he European features.”  Pastor Smith further explained:  Daniel in the Book of Daniel and John in the Book of Revelation both give us a physical description of Christ.  Both describe him as having hair like wool, eyes like fire, and feet like polished brass.”


Pastor George Moore of St. Philip A.M.E. Church of Decatur, Georgia said, “If we are referring to Jesus, the man who walked this earth in human body, He may have been born black.  If we are referring to Jesus, the Christ, we are talking about all nationalities and ethnicities.”  This fits well with the idea that Jesus Christ came to save “the world.”


“If you accept the Bible as the authentic source of such information, the color of His Skin is not important,” say Ronald Terry, Pastor of New Fellowship Baptist Church of Macon and Assistant Director of Music for the National Baptist Convention.  “However, the Bible also gives credence to the fact that Christ was not European, which is not important either.  The color is not important to Christ, for He is the Savior of the World.  We do know the Book of Revelation describes His ‘feet like polished brass’ and ‘hair like lamb’s wool,’ so one can draw whatever conclusion from this.”


Pastor Terrance Gray of St. Paul A.M.E. Church of Macon, Georgia did draw a conclusion from it.  He explained, “The Bible refers to His hair as ‘like lambs wool’ and His feet ‘like polished brass.’  These references indicate afrocentric characteristics.  I won’t say He was a Black man, but I know he was not blond with blue eyes as Michelangelo depicted Him.  The history and geography of the time would indicate that he had enough melanin to be dark-skinned.  Since Israel was in bondage in Egypt for some 400 years He was also probably of African genealogy and of the African bloodline.  Taking the American terminology of one drop of black blood to make a person (racially) Black, we can see the great possibility that he would be considered Black.  He was also interwoven with the Canaanite tradition.”  Indeed, none of these facts support the European artists’ presentation of an Aryan appearance of the Son of God.


The hair like wool, eyes like flames and feet of brass description does not add up to Christ as a Black man, however, for Pastor (Dr.) William Sheals of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Norcross.  He said:  “In eastern countries, white hair commands respect and indicated the wisdom of years.  The eyes like a blazing fire may portray either his penetrating scrutiny or fierce judgment.  The burnished feet represent triumphant judgment (i.e. treading or trampling down) of those who are unbelieving and unfaithful to the truth of Christ.  Matthew gives us the genealogy of Jesus, which is through Hebrew lineage.”


Pastor Donald Jordan of Bethel C.M.E. Church of Macon, GA. Concurred and added:  By American standards, if one had one drop of Black blood in the body, one is considered Black.  Many of Jesus’ ancestors were Black.  King Solomon was Black.  His actual nationality was Jewish.  However, Jews were darker then.  The Garden of Eden was in Africa, which means Adam and Eve were African.”


“When you read the Bible you get a different idea about this than popular culture which depicts Jesus Christ with slanted eyes for the Japanese or with a curly afro for African Americans,” explained Pastor David Lee-Pitts of Macon’s Covenant lineage as given in the Book of Matthew.  And, even though there are some black Jews, most are considered White people in America today.  That’s not important.  What is important is weather we have given our lives to Jesus Christ.  He is not a racist.  Racism in the church is perpetuated by the myth that whites are superior and blacks are inferior.  It is the responsibility of the church (the Body of Christ) to stand against that myth and the racism that it fosters.  We cannot let culture dictate how we relate to each other.”


Somehow it seems a shame during this wonderful season of the year to be concerned about the same things we are the rest of the year, but we must.  There seems to be enough clear Scriptural and secular history to support the likelihood that Jesus Christ was not lily white with baby blues and a long blond page-boy hairdo.  Students of the Bible, anthropologists and evolutionists generally agree that mankind had a single origin.  They disagree on whether that origin was one man or one cell, but they all pretty much agree that the place of origin was probably an area historically inhabited by people of color.  Some even say Black people.  Jesus Christ came into this world as a human being and like His fellow Hebrews and most other Semitic people, He was most likely tan in skin color, either naturally or from walking about in the hot sun of the region.  Besides, according to the Bible, it was not His skin that He came to shed for the world.  It was His Blood, shed for ALL and counting eternally for the salvation of ALL who would believe on Him.  A portion of The Apostle’s Creed sums up His life with these words:…”Jesus Christ [God, the Father Almighty’s] only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third ay He arose from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.”  One of the questions the Bible records asked by Jesus Christ Himself was “Believest thou this?” That is, no doubt, the most important of all questions to answer.  We cannot help you with that one.  You are on your own.



You are Visitor #  Hit Counter   Updated Wednesday April 05, 2006 12:40:42



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