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Uncovering the Truth About Black Hebrew Israelism

Landon Thurman

Why Black Hebrew Israelism Is False

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Why Black Hebrew Israelism Is False

Black Hebrew Israelism is a movement that asserts that African Americans are the descendants of the ancient Israelites, and that they therefore have a special role to play in God’s plan for humanity. This movement, founded mainly in the United States, is growing and gaining momentum. From mainstream media to celebrities the influence of deception is building momentum and we as Christians need to know about it and how to address it.. One thing to understand  is that this group is not uniform. There are many camps and many internal divisions of Black Hebrew Israelism. Some of the largest camps include: Israelites United in Christ (IUIC), Great Millstone (GMS), Gathering of Christ (GOCC), and Israel School of Universal Practical Knowledge (ISUPK). Because of the many differences, there are some generally accepted doctrines: 

  • Salvation Is Only For The 12 Tribes Of Israel  
  • Caucasians Descend From Esau & Will Be Slaves In The Kingdom
  • Jesus Was A Black Man As Were The Israelites
  • There Is No Trinity
  • Mary Conceived Jesus From The Seed Of Joseph Rejecting His Deity
  • Curses of Deuteronomy 28 Fulfilled In African Americans
  • Salvation By Works (Observing 613 Mosaic Laws)
  • The Doctrine of Reincarnation & Incarnation
  • The “GMS Rape Doctrine
  • The Adamic Race were the people God created in Genesis

These beliefs and doctrinal views are a complete distortion of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is important for Christians to approach the beliefs of Black Hebrew Israelites with love and compassion, while also being prepared to refute their claims with facts and evidence. Remember that it is not our job to condemn or judge others, but rather to share the love of Jesus and what He has done on behalf of those who believe in Him with all people and to stand firm in the Truth. Ultimately, the best way for Christians to defend their faith and to refute the claims of groups like Black Hebrew Israelism is to study the Bible for themselves, to become familiar with the teachings of Christianity, and to be willing to engage in respectful dialogue with those who hold different beliefs.

A Brief Overview of the Origins and Development of Black Hebrew Israelism

The origins of Black Hebrew Israelite doctrines are uncertain, with some theories suggesting they date back to post-slavery Southern United States. However, it is clear that the movement gained momentum in the latter half of the 20th century. In 1960, African American Abba Bivens established a Black Hebrew Israelite school in New York City. Prior to his death, Bivens appointed several men to continue the school, including a man named Yaiqab, who claimed to have received special revelation about Black Hebrew Israelism. According to Yaiqab, an angel with a perfect afro, who identified as black, approached him in a bar and informed him that black people were the true Israelites. This group, initially founded by Bivens, became known as ISUPK. One of the doctrines established by ISUPK was the belief in reincarnation, with several prominent members claiming to have been reincarnated from important Biblical figures. For example, Mashah claimed to be King David reincarnated, while Ahrayah claimed to be John the Revelator reincarnated.

However, conflicts eventually arose between Mashah and Ahrayah, resulting in Mashah leaving ISUPK to establish the House of David school (HOD). Ahrayah stayed with ISUPK, but after a failed prophecy in which he claimed Jesus would return in the year 2000 and enslave white people, a man named Tazadaqyah took over and renamed the group to Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ (ICGJC). Tazadaqyah even went so far as to claim that he was the Comforter mentioned by Jesus in the Gospel of John, implying that he believed himself to be the Holy Spirit. Despite this failed prophecy, Ahrayah stayed with ICGJC and supported Tazadaqyah.

Following these events, several other groups formed, such as Yahanna’s ISUPK (Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge) and Rawchaa’s GOCC (Gathering of Christ Church). These groups still exist today and remain popular. Additionally, GMS, founded by Tahar, broke off from HOD and is known for promoting extreme and radical ideas, including a “rape doctrine” which claims that they can rape girls in the Kingdom of Heaven.

In summary, Black Hebrew Israelism has a complex and evolving history, with various groups and individuals breaking off and forming their own camps over time. These include ISUPK, GOCC, GMS, IUIC, HOI, and ICGJC. Additionally, it is worth noting that some of the doctrines of Black Hebrew Israelism bear striking similarities to false religions that have existed in the past.

Salvation Is Only For The 12 Tribes Of Israel  

The claim is that after the Assyrians conquered the 10 Northern Tribes in the Old Testament, God sent Jesus to find the lost tribes. Jesus, to them, is only the savior of the lost Israelites, not of the Gentiles. They claim that the term “Gentile,” when used in the New Testament, is referring to lost Israelites in a Gentile state of mind.

Biblical Position: God has extended His salvation to all who repent and believe in Christ alone.

Exodus 12:47-48 states that all the congregation of Israel are to celebrate the Passover, but if a stranger sojourns with them and wants to celebrate it as well, all his males must be circumcised. This verse shows that the Passover celebration is exclusive to the Israelites, but allows for the inclusion of strangers if they follow the proper rite of circumcision. However, it is impossible for these strangers to be lost Israelites.

Isaiah 49:6 says that it is too small a thing for God to only raise up the tribes of Jacob and restore the preserved ones of Israel, and that He will also make them a light of the nations so that His salvation may reach to the end of the earth. This verse shows that God’s plan for salvation is not limited to the Israelites, but is also for the nations.

Jonah 3:10 tells the story of the repentance of the people of Nineveh, a pagan city at the heart of Assyria. Matthew 12:41 states that the men of Nineveh will stand up with the current generation at the judgment and condemn them because they repented at the preaching of Jonah. This shows that salvation is not limited to the Israelites, but is also available to pagans.

Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands His disciples to “make disciples of all nations,” Mark 16:15 commands them to “preach the gospel to all creation,” and Luke 2:30-32 states that salvation is a light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of the Israelites. These verses show that the message of salvation is not limited to the Israelites, but is also for the Gentiles.

Acts 10:44-46 tells the story of Peter preaching the gospel to a Roman Centurion named Cornelius, who was not Jewish, and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles. This shows that salvation is not limited to the Israelites, but is also available to the Gentiles.

Romans 1:16 states that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. This verse shows that salvation is not limited to the Israelites, but is also available to the Greeks.

Other supportive scriptures include Psalm 67:1-7, Matthew 3:7-10, Acts 13:44-48, Romans 11:11, 25, and Galatians 2:9, 3:8, which all show that salvation is not limited to the Israelites, but is also available to the Gentiles.

Caucasians Descend From Esau & Will Be Slaves In The Kingdom

The claim that Caucasians are descendants of Esau and will be slaves in the kingdom is not supported by biblical or historical evidence. One proof text that is often used to support this claim is Malachi 1:3, which states, “But Esau I have hated.” However, this verse must be understood in context. In the context of Malachi, the prophet is speaking to the nation of Israel and warning them of the judgment that is coming because of their sins. He is not making a statement about the physical descendants of Esau.

Another proof text that is sometimes used to support this claim is Genesis 25:25, which describes Esau as “red” or “ruddy” in complexion. However, the Hebrew term used here, “admoni,” Strong’s #132, has 3 occurrences and is defined as ruddy or reddish (of the hair or the complexion). This same term is used in 1 Samuel 16:12, which describes King David as having a ruddy complexion.

In addition to the lack of biblical support for this claim, there are verses that directly contradict it. For example, Deuteronomy 23:7 states, “You shall not detest an Edomite, for he is your brother; you shall not detest an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land.” This verse, along with others such as Leviticus 19:33-34, make it clear that Israelites were to love the strangers who resided with them in their land.

Furthermore, in Acts 26:27-29, Paul, the apostle, speaks to King Agrippa, who was an Edomite and grandson of King Herod the Great and he says, “King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do.” Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.” And Paul said, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”

The Bible does not support the claim that Caucasians are descendants of Esau and will be slaves in the kingdom. Instead, it teaches that all people, regardless of their ethnicity or background, are equal in God’s eyes and have the opportunity to receive salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Was A Black Man As Were The Israelites

Black Hebrew Israelism claims that Jesus and the ancient Israelites were black and that salvation is only for them is not supported by biblical or historical evidence. Hebrew Israelism uses Revelation 1:14-15 as a proof text, arguing that Jesus is described as a black man. However, the description in Revelation is of His Divine and Glorified state, not his physical appearance. In Revelation 1:14-16, Jesus is described as having white hair like wool, eyes like a flame of fire, feet like burnished bronze, and a face like the sun shining in its strength. The Greek term “chalkolibanon” used to describe his feet is associated with judgment, atonement, and the ability to endure. This description is symbolic and not meant to indicate a physical characteristic. Similarly, the Hebrew word “qadar” used in Jeremiah 14:2 to describe the gates of Jerusalem as “black” is in the context of mourning, not a literal skin color. Job 5:11 uses the same word “qadar” to describe those who mourn.

There Is No Trinity

The claim that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are separate beings, with the Holy Ghost being the Law, is not supported by the Bible. In fact, God has revealed Himself in a plural form from the beginning, as seen in Genesis 1:26-27 where it states “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” This supports the doctrine of the Trinity, which states that there is one God in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Deuteronomy 6:4 also states “The Lord is our God, the Lord is one,” which, while using the word “one,” it is important to note that the Hebrew word used is ‘ehâd, which translates as a compound unit of one. This further supports the idea of plurality within the concept of oneness.

2 Corinthians 3:17 states “Now the Lord is the Spirit,” and 1 John 5:7 states “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.” These verses, among others such as Isaiah 9:6, 42:8, 48:16, 59:16; Matthew 28:19; John 4:24, John 8:24, 14:26 all support the doctrine of the Trinity and refute the claim that the Father and Son are separate beings and that the Holy Ghost is the Law.

Mary Conceived Jesus From The Seed Of Joseph Rejecting His Deity

The claim that Jesus was conceived from the seed of Joseph and therefore was not fully divine is not supported by the Bible. In fact, the scriptures reveal that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary apart from the seed of Joseph.

Matthew 1:18-25 states that Mary was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit before she and Joseph had come together, and that an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, telling him that the child conceived in Mary was of the Holy Spirit and that he would be called Jesus, meaning “God with us.” This passage makes it clear that Jesus’ conception was a miraculous event, brought about by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that he was fully God incarnate.

Acts 13:22-23 and John 6:42, which are used to support the claim that Jesus was of the seed of Joseph, do not negate the fact that he was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And Hebrews 2:15 that Christ did not take on the nature of Angels born of immaculate conception, but rather, it is clear that he took on human nature, born of a woman, but that he was also fully God.

The doctrine of the virgin birth is essential for Christianity, because it confirms that Jesus was fully God and fully man, and that he was born without the stain of original sin. This is affirmed in Romans 5:12-21; 2 Corinthians 5:21; and 1 John 3:5, where it says that Jesus inherited righteousness to bring forth the gift of righteousness by faith.

Curses of Deuteronomy 28 Fulfilled In African Americans

The claim that the curses of Deuteronomy 28 were fulfilled in African Americans through the trans-Atlantic slave trade is not supported by the Bible or by historical evidence. The curses were fulfilled by the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans, as described in the book of Deuteronomy and in other parts of the Bible.

Deuteronomy 28:36 states that the Lord will bring Israel and their king to a nation they have not known, and they will serve other gods there, becoming a horror, a proverb, and a taunt among the people. This was fulfilled in the Babylonian exile, where many Israelites were taken into captivity, as described in 2 Chronicles 34:23-25 and chapter 36.

Deuteronomy 28:53 states that the Israelites will eat the flesh of their own children during a siege, which was fulfilled in the Babylonian siege, as described in Lamentations 4:10.

Deuteronomy 28:63 states that the Lord will delight in making the Israelites perish and destroying them, and they will be torn from the land of Israel. This passage is referring to the land of Israel and not a metaphor for America, and does not support the idea that the curses were fulfilled in African Americans through the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

In conclusion, there is no biblical or historical evidence to support the claim that the curses of Deuteronomy 28 were fulfilled in African Americans through the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The curses were fulfilled by the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans, as described in the Bible, and not any other group of people.

Salvation By Works (Observing 613 Mosaic Laws)

The claim that one must follow the laws and ordinances of God in order to be saved and set free from curses is not supported by the Bible. In fact, the scriptures reveal that salvation is a gift of God and it is received through faith alone, not by works.

Ephesians 2:8-9 states that “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” This passage makes it clear that salvation is not something that can be earned through good works or following the laws and ordinances of God, but is a gift of God given to those who have faith in Him.

Galatians 5:4-6 states that “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” This passage emphasizes that trying to be justified by the law is futile and that righteousness comes through faith.

Other supportive scriptures include Genesis 15:6, which states that Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness; Romans 3:28, 4:4-5, 13-14, which teach that righteousness is received through faith in Jesus Christ; James 2:10, which states that faith without works is dead; and 2 Peter 1:1, which states that we have been given everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. All these verses together make it clear that salvation is not by works but by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

The Doctrine of Reincarnation & Incarnation

The doctrine of reincarnation is not a belief held by traditional Christian teaching. The belief in reincarnation is more commonly associated with Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Christianity teaches that the soul is immortal and that after death, it will be judged by God and sent to either heaven or hell.

In terms of the specific claims made by the individuals you mentioned, that they are reincarnated from previous important biblical figures, there is no biblical or historical evidence to support these claims. These individuals are making personal claims that cannot be verified and are not supported by Christian doctrine. Additionally, the Bible teaches that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, and that there is no other person or being that can claim to be the Comforter (John 14:16)

It is important to be cautious of these kinds of claims and to approach them with a critical eye, and to always compare them with the teachings of the Bible and the doctrine of the Christian faith. It is also important to understand that Christianity teaches that all people are sinners in need of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and that no one, no matter how good or important they were in their previous lives, can save themselves.

The “GMS Rape Doctrine”

The “GMS Rape Doctrine” is not supported by the Bible. The Bible teaches that rape is a heinous crime and it is completely unacceptable. The Bible has a number of passages that condemn rape and other forms of sexual violence.

Exodus 22:21 states “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” This passage teaches that it is wrong to mistreat or harm someone who is vulnerable, such as a person who has been raped.

Deuteronomy 10:19 states “Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” This passage teaches that we should love and care for people who are vulnerable, such as a person who has been raped.

Deuteronomy 24:17 states “You shall not pervert the justice due to the sojourner or to the fatherless, or take a widow’s garment in pledge.” This passage teaches that it is wrong to pervert justice and to take advantage of the vulnerable, such as a person who has been raped.

Galatians 5:19-21 lists various acts of immorality and states that “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Rape is an immoral act and it is unacceptable.

The Bible teaches that we should love and care for people who are vulnerable, such as a person who has been raped. It is clear that the “GMS Rape Doctrine” is completely unacceptable and contradicts the teachings of the Bible. Any kind of sexual violence is a crime and should be dealt with accordingly.

The Adamic Race were the people God created in Genesis

The belief that the Adamic race refers to a group of people created by God rather than just Adam and Eve, is not supported by the Bible. The Bible teaches that Adam and Eve were the first human beings created by God, from whom all other human beings are descended.

Genesis 5:4 states “He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them ‘Mankind’ when they were created.” This passage makes it clear that Adam and Eve were the first human beings created by God and that the term “Mankind” refers to them specifically.

Acts 17:26 states “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” This passage confirms that all human beings are descended from one man, Adam.

Romans 5:12 states “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.” This passage confirms that all human beings are descendants of Adam and Eve and that death entered the world through Adam’s sin.

1 Corinthians 15:22, 45 states “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” This passage confirms that all human beings die because of Adam’s sin,

Concluding Statement

According to Romans 11:11, salvation has come to the Gentiles, not just the Israelites, in order to make Israel jealous. Jesus did not come to save only the house of Israel, but to save sinners, as stated in 1 Timothy 1:15. In Acts 17:30-31, Paul calls on the Athenians to repent and believe, emphasizing that salvation is not limited to the house of Jacob. God, in His wisdom, has overlooked the times of ignorance and is now declaring to all people everywhere that they should repent, as He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through Jesus, as stated in Acts 17:30-31. The promise of salvation is for all nations, as stated in Acts 2:17, and it is through faith, not bloodline or lineage, that one becomes a child of Abraham, as stated in Galatians 3:6-9. The OT promises of Messiah, as seen in Daniel 7:13-14, Psalm 2:8, and Isaiah 2:3-4, all point to salvation for all nations and the worship of Yahweh by all peoples.”

It is important to remember that salvation is not based on false interpretations or specific bloodlines, but on faith in Jesus as the savior. We should strive to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of those who hold false beliefs and trust in the Holy Spirit to guide them to the truth. It is essential to define key terms and concepts, such as the true nature of God and the Gospel, in order to effectively communicate the truth.

Slavery and oppression are not factors in determining salvation, it is an appeal to emotionalism. Instead, salvation is based on confessing with one’s mouth and believing in one’s heart, as stated in Romans 10:9. God does not discriminate based on skin color or bloodline, as stated in Acts 10:34-35 and Genesis 25.

It is important to avoid pointless controversies and genealogies, as they do not contribute to salvation and can cause division. Instead, we should focus on the teachings and testimonies of Jesus, as stated in John 5:39. Additionally, Titus 3:9-10 reminds us to avoid factious people and disputes about the law, as they are unprofitable and lead to sin.


Hebrew Israelism is a heretical and unbiblical twisting of God’s Word. 1 Timothy 1:4-7 advises us to not, “nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.” Jesus teaches that we can recognize false teachers by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20), and Galatians 5 lays out the fruits of the Holy Spirit and the fruits of the flesh. Hebrew Israelites display a lack of humility, love, and care for others, which is not a skin issue but a sin issue that needs to be addressed.

The most important question to consider is “What is the Gospel?” Jesus is the Son of God and God incarnate (John 1:1-3, 14; Rev. 1:8). He was conceived by a virgin and lived a sinless life (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18). He performed miracles, preached repentance, and willingly died on the cross to save us from our sins (2 Cor. 5:21; Luke 9:23-27; Acts 2:23). He rose on the 3rd day and sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding for believers (1 Cor. 15:3-4; Acts 1:9-10; Heb. 7:25). He will return to judge all who have rejected the gospel (Matt. 13:41-43, John 5:28-29, 2 Thess. 1:7-10, Jude 14-15). Those who reject Christ will be cast into the Lake of Fire in the end (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Eph. 5:5-6, Rev. 20:14-15, 21:8). God calls all men everywhere to repent and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15; Acts 17:30). God is patient and merciful, but every day we reject His offer of forgiveness is another day we are storing up wrath for ourselves (Romans 2:4-10).

To be forgiven, we must humbly admit our sins and ask for His mercy and grace to forgive and save us through repentance and trusting in Christ alone (Romans 5:6-11). We can deepen our relationship with Him through prayer, reading the Bible, and attending a biblical church. We should make sure of our salvation now because eternity is too long to be wrong (2 Corinthians 6:2). More information, help, guidance, or counseling can be found by visiting our website or emailing us. We will do whatever it takes to help serve your needs.

May God bless you.

Additional Resources

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Source References

Tyndale Bible Dictionary, eds. Walter A. Elwell, Philip W. Comfort, [Tyndale House Publishers, 2001], p. 401.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament, eds. John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck, [David C. Cook, 1983], p. 1455

Flavius Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, 1.18.6. Taken from: https://www.biblestudytools.com/history/flavius-josephus/antiquities-jews/book-1/chapter-18.html

e.g. Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, 4.4.1, The Works of Josephus, trans. William Whiston, [Hendrickson Publishers, 1987] p. 675.
J. Daniel Hays, From Every People and Nation, [InterVarsity Press, 2003], p.32-33.

Wayne T. Pitard, “Arameans,” Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, eds. David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers, [Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2000], p.86.
The Good News Apologetics: Black Hebrew Israelism A Refutation Guide For Christians

Vocab Malone’s YouTube Channel

Dictionaries and Lexicons: Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. Hendrickson Publishers, 2007. Thomas, Robert L. New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible/Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries. New American Standard, 1981. HELPS Word-Studies. Helps Ministries, Inc, 1987.

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