From Christian to Hebrew Israelite
In the "Valley of Dry Bones"
By Yehudah ben Yisrael

Like most African Americans, my first contact with christianity was through my mother. From as early as I could remember, mama always called up on God Almighty. She didn't know HIS name but she knew HIM as GOD ALMIGHTY. I remember being baptised at the age of 5 at Paradise Baptist Church in Omaha Nebraska. At the age of 7 my father died. He was killed in a construction accident. It was very hard for mama. She was iliterate and there were 8 of us. I was the seventh in line.

One thing mama did every sunday was gather all of us around the dinner table and tell us of all the things that happen to her, the trials and tribulations she went through as a child growing up, how at the age of 12 when her parents died from the influenza, she had to survive on her own. And that through it all, it was God Almighty that helped her through. We would listen to her and join her in tears of sorrow. Every sunday.

Mama took the passing away of my father extremely hard. Shortly after my fathers death, we were visited by Jehovah's Witnesses. The witnesses spoke of the resurrection, how those in the graves would come back to life to a paradise earth and that she could look forward to seeing my father and other loved ones who had passed away.. Mama listened and shortly thereafter began a "bible study" with them. Some of us children would also sit and listen during these "bible studies." My older brothers Woody, Rudy and Bernard were already in their teens and never were exposed to the witness doctrine. Although I didnt embrace the witness theology at that time, it formed the basis for my outlook on life.

I remember thinking to my self back in 1968, I wonder if I will still be alive in 1975. You see, at that time the witnesses taught that the "end" or "Armageddon" could likely come in the year 1975. They never actually came out and said that, but one could conclude that from their emphasis on this date. So in 1971 my 11th year in high school, I also began a "bible study" with the witnesses. In 1973 I became a witness until I disassociated myself in 1985. I have to say, I did increase my knowledge of the bible, but not my understanding of the bible of which was to come much later in my life.

How does one go from being a christian to a hebrew israelite? Well for me being a Hebrew Israelite does not just deal with being identified religiously. A christian is a person who has adopted the teachings of the "New Testament." Regardless of your ethinic background, anyone can become a christian. A hebrew israelite on the other hand, is a person who's ethinic background is that of the nation of israel. Not every person is from the nation of israel.

We live in a christian nation, susposedly anyway. So as with most people of african decent born here, our first exposure to God and the bible is from the christian perspective. Our ancestors brought to this continent as slaves were first exposed to christianity. The europeans thought they were muslims because they didnt eat pork. Even the 1st generation born to the slaves continued to call upon the God of Moses and Joshua even through their exposure to christanity. All one has to do is read any book on the african slave trade, such as Lerone Bennett's book "Before the Mayflower," and recall the "Old Negro Spirituals" to see that slaves were not "christain" when they were brought to the shores of america.

Who were these "Africans?" It is interesting to note that the african slaves were not called "africans" by their capturers but were called "Negros" a term the europeans borrowed from the Spanish-Portuguese meaning "black." This term was used to designate all african people living to the south of Egypt and the Sahara Desert. But it was not a term that orginated in the continent of Africa. There are no true "negros" in any part of sub-Saharan Africa, nor in North Africa nor anywhere that I'm aware of in 1999. In fact, the term is not even used to describe any people around the world today. White's have substituted the term "black" to describe our people.To the African, the term "negro" applied to the black man in the americas. So here we see the term was first used uniquely to describe slaves. Later, our description changed from "negro" to "colored" to "black" to afro-american to what it is today, african-american. Some still refer to us a "blacks." Just read any media.

I also remember in the 60's that we hated to be called "black." The word was used as a derogatory term. I was a Negro! And rejected being called "black,." especially "black nigger." As I grew older and became cogzinant of my "non-identity" and to the society of which I lived to down play anything dealing with the acheivements of my people, it was not surprising that I would "discover" books written by "black" authors concerning the "black presence in the bible." You remember. The time when everything christian was white, the pictures portraying christ, the images? And you remember. The period where we would destroy those images and replace them with "black" religious images? A "black" christ?

In the 70's James Brown "The Godfather of Soul" released the famous song "I'm black and I'm Proud!" Curtis Mayfield, "We're A Winner." In the 70's, we as a people were proud to be called "black." The term still didn't mean anything but if gave us a sense of pride. Proud of our slave ancestors that had shown even through chains, brutality and discrimination; strength and character. And we kept on pushing. The Afro became the hair style of the day. We wore dishiekes and wanted to be identified with mother africa. Soon the term Afro-American replaced black as an identifying description. "Roots" by Alex Haley was made into a mini series. We so desperately wanted to make a connection. Thus the term African American. I would point out that Africa is a continent made up of many nations or nationalites and so the above term also has no meaning because it fails to identify a nation. We are led to believe that the word "nation" has to do more with the geographical location than a family line of which is the word's true meaning.

As a witness during the mid 70's and 80's we couldn't wear our hair "natural," as in "kinky." In fact, any emphasis on our culture was "frowned upon." One year the elders called the "headquarters" (Watchtower Society in New York) because we had insisted that my wife wear her hair in a Afro style, as it was very becoming. In fact the white witnesses liked it. The "Elders" had to receive "official word" before they left us alone. At white witness weddings the white's played "polka," and at black witness weddings blacks were told don't play "black" (worldly) music as it may offend your white brethren. As witnesses, and a so called upper mobile black, I assimilated. You weren't being "modest" if you emphasised your blackness. It would offend your white brothers," I was told. Later in my witness "career" we moved to a middle class neighborhood and began attending the kingdom hall in our new territory. I can tell some stories. Like engaging in the "door to door ministry and having the white brother you are partnered with, remain in the driveway as you go to the door. Or being invited to a home of your white brothers and sisters for dinner, but never having your invitations to invite your white brothers sisters over dinner accepted.

In 1982 we begin to question the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses. If you are in that religious organization for any length of time, you are taught that you have the "truth" and that its "God's organization on earth." My attention was alerted not by any "outside" information" from others, but from material published by the organization itself. The Watchtower society has a history of changing back and forth on its teachings and we are just to go along and accept it without question as if the God of Israel told us a lie. . Well I could not. I knew in 1982 there was a serious problem with the doctrine. I had expressed my concern to close freinds and relatives. Well you can't do that. If you say anything that is outside of the body of "present teachings" you are subject to being excommunicated from the organization. I will not go into all of the details concerning what happen to me, but sufice to say, I was interrogated on my beliefs and told to "recant" anything I may have said to my " freinds" that did not express the current teaching. I in good concious could not do so, especially if it could not be proved from the Bible. (1914 anyone?) So I wrote my letter of disassociation in May of 85. Being seekers of truth we left the witnesses.

After several years of being spiritually shipwrecked, we decided to join a fundalmentalist baptist church. We went from using the scriptures to proving christ was not God but God's son (as the witnesses teach) to proving that christ was God a part of the Godhead as most christian religions teach. Talk about confusion! We did all of the normal things new christians do like attend wednesday night bible study at the church, weekly sunday school and worship. The Pastor was a retired military man. He didnt live in north Omaha where the church was located but in an upper middle class neighborhood. I always wondered why he felt the need to minister to poor people in our neighborhood.. The church was paying his mortgage payment. Like any congregation we had our own problems. Most centered around the word obediance. If you where not in church every week then you were not being obedient to God. For a time we even would go from door to door as we did when we were witnesses. My wife hated it. It reminded her too much of her past as a witness. The straw that tipped the hat was an incident involving my son.

We had recenty bought him his own bible. One sunday morning during the pastor's sermon, he singled out my son from the pulpit and told him to put "that book" down. That "book" was his copy of the bible we had bought him. Well to say the least my wife and I were very upset. I as the head of my family felt the pastor overstepped his bounds, that if my son was doing something he should have not, then it was my place as his father to correct him and not the pastor from the pulpit. The pastor was like that. being obedient to him a man was the same as being obedient to God. This caused me to write him a letter on authority in the christian church. Well pastors want to be the teaches and don't take favorable on their members teaching them. That was the beginning of our leaving the baptist church..After two years of that, we made the decision to stop attending. But our love for God's word continued. We continued our selfstudy. Reading books and history particular African History. Well that was the door to opening what I would later find to be the key to my heritage.

When one is faced with truth, one begins to question everything one has accepted as truth when he finds an un-truth. For years we as black people never questioned the color of the people in the bible, especially those in the "old testament." We thought they were white. Especially Gods Chosen people the Israelites. Heck, the Jews of the holocaust were/are white so...? But as soon as we "discovered" the color of the people in the bible, the cry went out."What does it matter?"

"It doesnt really matter what color the people in the bible were, God doesn't look at the color of a mans skin,." I was told by black christians. Well, my answer to that is, if it didnt matter then why were they portrayed as white when that was a lie? Today, unfortunantly nothing has changed.

What does this have to do with christainty? Well, nothing to put bluntly. But what it DOES have to do with is HISTORY and TRUTH. The bible is history, the bible is truth. (See the article written by my hebrew brother Chawviv ben Yisrael, entilited "The Hebrew People of the Bible What Color are They?") Once this is recognized we are on our way to "discovering" who WE are.

Our first clue to uncovering our true heritage was in 1993 when we purchased a copy of the then newly published Bible entitiled "The African Heritage Study Bible" by James C.Winston Publishing. This bible not only confirmed our belief that most if not all of the biblical characters where of African orgin, but substantuated many of the biblical scholars and other books dealing with the african presence in the holy land. (see References for a complete listing) However, it wasnt until our coming across the book "The Truth about Black Biblical Hebrew-Israelites The Worlds Best Kept Secret" by Ella J. Hughley, that the connection was made. I would encourage every decendant of slaves to read this book. This book not only helped point out who so-called african americans are today but most importantly our connection to the Israelites in the hebrew scriptures. Of course her book cannot replace the bible, but it forces one to review the history of the so-called african american and compare it to that of the curses God said would befall the israelites for sins committed against him. The evidence is no other people on earth can say they have lost all knowledge of themselves, their language, culture and customs through slavery and captivity in foreign lands than the africans taken captive in the western hemisphere. The jews we know of as jews today were NEVER taken captive as slaves and shipped to the land of their enemies.(Deuteronomy 28:32-68)

When one begins to see that there is a reason for our condition as black people today, the lack of unity and oppression and discrimination to name a few, in a so-called christian nation. When one finds through research and study of history and biblical history, we are very much connected to the israelites in the bible, how can one continue with this knowledge and understanding and remain a "christian." When in fact God has shown us through his word found in the Hebrew Scriptures that we are a nation? The Nation of Israel? What is your nationality? Are you a Negro? Colored? Black? Black American? African- American? New Afrikan? I am a Hebrew Israelite a decendant of the ancient Nation of Israel. The Black man and woman is still running around trying to figure out what to call himself for we have been a people without a name. The reason? Bible Prophecy. We have been "bywords" and "proverbs." "Negro" and "Colored" are bywords as we were known by these words but no more. A proverb is a saying. The term "nigger" is a proverb as is coon or sambo spade and junglebunny, words that were meant to describe our condition such as lazy, shiftless, dumb. " And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee." ( Deuteronomy 28:37.) I never made this "discovery" through christianity. In fact most christians know nothing about biblical history and have no idea what the above verses mean.

The christian greek scriptures (new testament) had me believing I was a gentile and that these books were written to me! It didn't matter what my nationality was because I knew I wasn't a "Jew." and christ died "for the sins of the world" of which I was. So why would I be concerned about history? Even worse, biblical history? All I had to do was to believe in christ! Because I was taught that it (the old testament) didnt apply to me. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The reason is because "biblical history" is not found in the "new testament" but in the "old testament" or as we would prefer to call the "Hebrew Scriptures". The Hebrew Scriptures contain the history of all the nations of the earth and the Hebrews Israelites and their dealings with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It foretold the blessings and the curses and the eventual re-gathering of the children of the Israelites who because of the sins of their forefathers were scattered to the four corners of the earth. (Deuteronomy 28:64-66.) The beauty of this is that no matter what land we were scattered to and what language we spoke, The God of Israel preserved our history and now it has been translated in to many languages for our benefit in these last days in the "valley of dry bones." (Ezekiel 37-1-28) Those people and nations were real and many still exist today. There are those who dont want us to learn this history and they have a vested interest in keeping the black man's head turned in the wrong direction, in the "New Testament." I said I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men" (Deuteronomy 32:26)

The God of Israel had it written that the name ISRAEL would no longer be remembered "They have take crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name Israel may no more be in rememberance." Psalm 83:3,4. Today most so-called african americans because of being "cut off from being a nation" have no clue or idea as to who they were or why we are in the state we are as a "people/nation"in 1999.

I give all praises to the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, The God of Israel, for HE is my God. For he has said. "My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments. For length of days, and long life, and peace shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee, bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart. So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" Proverbs 3:1-6.

"I acknowledge you O LORD YHWH for you are my God of whom I fear. You alone are worthy of all of the Honor and the Glory Forever and ever.

Black Hebrews | Who Are the Children of Israel, The Seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? | What is a Hebrew Israelite Part 2 | The Hebrew/Israelites and The African Slave Trade | The Hebrew People of the Bible What Color are They? | The Gospels Fact or Fiction? | A Message to Hebrew Israelites | Hebrew Israelites and the African Slave Trade | Black Hebrew Israelites Online Forum | References