Question #19

Was Jesus black?

What happened to the Africans in the Bible? Since the Garden of Eden was in Africa would it not be feasible to assume Adam was African/black? Since Adam was created in God’s image is it not possible God was/is black? Noah and his sons, were they not black as was their lineage? All of the middle east, the birth place of Christ, is in Africa. In Genesis 2:8-14 the first two rivers in Eden were in “ Cush,” Greek meaning “burnt face people.” Eden was within the continent of Africa. Genesis 2:10-14 clearly locates four key rivers, Pishon, Gihon, Hiddikal, and Cush, in Africa. Africa and the Middle East were connected centuries ago. Has hollowod (sic., Hollywood?) and western civilization so jaded and distorted history that Africans were completely removed from Africa except as slaves? In Matthew 2:15 and Hosea 11:1 I find the words “Out of Egypt, I have called my son.” Mary and Joseph were hiding from King Herod while fleeing Egypt. Imagine Europeans hiding in Africa.

The Answer:

This is a meandering question containing many parts, so many in fact that it is hard to follow. Its essence seems to inquire if Jesus was black. The interest in a “black Jesus” arises primarily from a black hermeneutic that has arisen in recent years. A number of “minority hermeneutics” have arisen along with the political correctness movement, among the female hermeneutic that pictures God as a woman. The question contains some false assumptions and assertions such as the suggestion that “God [might be] black” because man was made in his image. Man was made in God’s image in the sense that man has certain of the communicable attributes of God. Man was not made in the physical image of God because God has no fleshly body – he is a spirit (John 4:24). Further, the “ Cush” of Genesis 2 cannot be identified with the later Cush, or Ethiopia (e.g., Isaiah 20:3, 5; Jeremiah 46:9). In Genesis 10:8 it means the Cassites, the successors to the old Babylonian empire who were at home in the hills of western Iran. Keil and Delitzsch suggest that Cush in Genesis 2 “must be connected with the Asiatic Kassaia [Anglicized], which reached to the Caucasus, and to which the Jews (of Shirwan) still give this name” [K&D was published in about 1869.] As for Mary and Joseph hiding in Egypt, it is a stretch to suggest that Herod would look for them in Egypt. Egypt was cosmopolitan in nature. Whatever the appearance of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus was, it seems based upon the story of Moses that the Egyptians could recognize Jews when they saw them. Exodus 2:6.

Whatever the appearance of Jesus was, he was a Jew. About the only thing that is certain about his appearance is that it was not that which we commonly associate with him based on Renaissance paintings. All of us descended from Noah. Thus we are all related in the flesh regardless of color or nationality. Man’s greatest problem since creation has been his desire to create God in his own image. Now some are seeking to recreate Christ in their own image. Whatever his earthly image was, it is different now. Rev. 1:10-18. Perhaps it is instructive that scripture gives no physical description of Jesus except to say “ For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” Isaiah 53:2. Surely God desires that we be like him in character and follow him in his full obedience to God. Some of our most un-Christlike conduct occurs when we start fighting over what Christ looked like.


God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)