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"Black Hebrew Israelite" of the USA

Briefly, there's a Black American movement across the U.S., divided into organizations that operate semi-independently. The followers call themselves "Black Hebrews" or "Hebrew Israelites", and their popular activities include street teachings and public lectures.


Who are they?

DMany groups have a strict hierarchy structure with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and a separation of men and women. Roles and ranks include: bishop, deacon, high priest, apostle, captain, officer, soldier and brother. Bishops and other high-ranking members are considered divine and trustworthy sources for truth seeking. Women in the group can organize their own activities and are called "sisters". They are not allowed to wear pants or associate with other male members, and marriage between group members is encouraged and celebrated. Some groups charge a monthly membership fee equal to 10-20% of a member's household income, as well as dues for vacations or ceremonies, family expenses, clothing and equipment, and various other expenses for the benefit of the organization. Branded apparel, music production groups, books and other lucrative activities provide additional sources of income. Although the dress code varies from group to group, members generally wear long tunics, religious garments or clothing bearing the effigy of their group.

Their Beliefs

Black Hebrew Israelites have several beliefs

  • They are convinced that only the true descendants of the Twelve Tribes, which they consider to be: African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans, will have a privileged place in the Kingdom of Heaven.

  • They consider Judaism, Christianity and Islam to be false religions.

  • They preach that Caucasian Westerners and Caucasian Jews are liars and false worshippers of God, who are not part of the 12 tribes and are committing identity theft. They commonly call them "hairy and disgraceful" or "Edomites", descendants of Esau, and biblical enemies of Jacob (Israel).

  • Some groups claim that Caucasians are mostly agents of Satan who conform to the ways of the devil; that Caucasian Jews are liars and false worshippers of God who are not endowed with true divine knowledge and inspiration. 

  • They believe that "Edomites" will become slaves after the Last Judgment and they reject all images of a white Jesus, claiming that these images are further attempts to steal the identity of the true Israelites. 

  • They assert that black people are in fact a divinely superior race and the only true "chosen people".

  • They identify with the biblical Israelite nation and also reject any affiliation with Ham, claiming that African-Americans are Semites descended from Shem, not Hamites descended from Ham.

  • They proclaim that the transatlantic slave trade is representative of the 400 years of slavery endured by the Israelites in Egypt (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). The preachers maintain that the Israelites, after being warned of the repercussions of breaking the commandments, failed to comply with the prescriptions of the Law, leading to their enslavement as punishment, and the establishment of another nation in Israel on their homeland. Thus they characterize slavery, racism, incarceration and other social challenges faced by black Americans as divine punishments inflicted for disobedience.

We have examined their arguments and found that some are questionable inasmuch as they partly distort Scripture and do not take into account the following biblical and historical facts:

Argument 1: Only the 12 tribes will be saved.

This statement is contrary to biblical teachings and the character of ELOHIM, for Divine Grace is not restricted exclusively to the descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel; if that was the case, YESHUA's sacrifice would be meaningless.


ELOHIM loves the whole of His Creation, and although the House of Israel and the House of Judah are nations which, by virtue of their spiritual awareness and sincere belief in ELOHIM, were chosen to worship Him alone and fulfill the mission of proclaiming the Word of Truth to all nations of the world, this did not prevent them from falling into idolatry, a practice which was strictly forbidden to them. As a result, they received a severe divine punishment.

  • Jeremiah 30:12-14 "For this is what the LORD says: “Your injury is incurable; your wound is grievous. There is no one to plead your cause, no remedy for your sores, no recovery for you. All your lovers have forgotten you; they no longer seek you, for I have struck you as an enemy would, with the discipline of someone cruel, because of your great iniquity and your numerous sins"

  • Jeremiah 15:4-5 "I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem. 5Who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem? Who will mourn for you? Who will turn aside to ask about your welfare?"


It's a fact that the nations of the House of Israel and the House of Judah are the primary beneficiaries of the Lord's grace. However, through the redemptive work of YESHUA received by faith, His mercy has also been extended to all mankind and abounds on all who fear God, accept Jesus Christ as their only Lord and Savior, repent and turn away from their sinful practices, adopting a renewed spirit, behavior and way of life. 

  • Galates 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

  • Ephesians 2:14–16 "For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has torn down the dividing wall of hostility 15by abolishing in His flesh the law of commandments and decrees. He did this to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace. and reconciling both of them to God in one body through the cross, by which He extinguished their hostility."

  • Romans 10:12 "For there is no difference between Jew and Greek: The same Lord is Lord of all, and gives richly to all who call on Him."

Argument 2: The 400 years of servitude in "Egypt" will soon come to an end

The Black Hebrew Israelites preach that the time of their servitude in "Egypt" is drawing to an end. They also claim that the word "Egypt" should not be understood in a literal sense, but rather means "slavery". 

Here's another out-of-context argument, because the Bible is clear in stating that the prophetic promise was already fulfilled around the 13th century BC. In fact, the prophecy of 430 years of affliction began when Ishmael, son of Hagar the Egyptian, mocked and persecuted Isaac.

  • Galatians 4:29-30 "At that time, however, the son born by the flesh persecuted the son born by the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does the Scripture say? “Expel the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.“


As part of the 430 years of servitude, 30 years were completed under the persecution of Isaac by Ishmael. And 400 years under the persecution of Jacob's descendants by the Egyptians while they were enslaved and suffered great tribulations.

  • Exodus 12:40-42 "Now the duration of the Israelites’ stay in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD’s divisions went out of the land of Egypt. Because the LORD kept a vigil that night to bring them out of the land of Egypt, this same night is to be a vigil to the LORD, to be observed by all the Israelites for the generations to come."

  • Galatians 3:16–17 "Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ. What I am saying is this: the Law, which came 430 years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. "

  • Acts 7:6 "God told him that his descendants would be foreigners in a strange land, and that they would be enslaved and mistreated 400 years."

The prophecy was fully fulfilled at the time of Moses and Joshua, when they led Israel out of Egypt to the promised land. Therefore, it cannot be attributed to the African-American slave trade and slavery of the 17th century AD.

Argument 3: They are Semites from Shem's lineage

According to Black American Hebrew Israelite adepts, they are Semites, descendants of the Israelites who were transported in ships out of their land of bondage - in reference to Deuteronomy 28:68.

  • Deuteronomy 28:68 "And the LORD will take you back to Egypt in ships, by the way of which I said to you, ‘You shall never see it again.’ And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you"


To begin with, it should be noted that this verse does not say that the Israelites will be taken out of Egypt in boats, but rather that they will return to Egypt in boats to be sold into slavery. The Aramaic translation known as "Targum Yonatan ben Uziel" paraphrases the above verse as follows:
"will exile you to Egypt on boats, passing through the Red Sea, which you crossed and about which I said: "You shall see it no more! You will never see it again! And there you will be sold as workmen to your enemies for large sums of money. Then you will be sold cheaply as slaves and handmaids, until you are reduced to selling yourselves for nothing, and no one will take you in (Deuteronomy 28:68)." (Deuteronomy 28:68)."

Israel's deliverance was a divine act of grace and love. The return to Egypt mentioned in Deuteronomy 28:68, portrays the exile from the land of Israel as a reconsideration, a reversal of the whole exodus process and the cancellation of blessings should Israel disobey the covenant laws of the Lord. And, one of the most common misconceptions of these Hebrew Israelites is that, apart from the transatlantic slave trade, there has been no other historical episode of slavery involving ships. Yet we do find several historical events involving mass deportations on boats, such as the following examples:

  • In the first century AD, a Jewish diaspora migrated from the Promised Land to Rome and the European Roman territories. These black Greco-Romans lived in relative harmony in the Roman Empire, and were allowed to practice their religion. All was well until a rebellion broke out in Judea. The Romans executed thousands of Jews, while others were paraded around the Empire's arenas to be slaughtered for the public's amusement. Many more were enslaved and deported back to Egypt to work in the mines.

  • For more than thirteen centuries before the transatlantic slave trade, Africa was a continuous supplier of slaves to the Arabs.

Moreover, the Hebrew Israelites don't seem to have a sound knowledge of their own history, as they overlook the following historical events:

  • Almost half of the slaves transported to the United States and southern Europe came from two regions: Senegambia, the region comprising the Senegal River, the Gambia River and the lands between them, Guinea-Bissau and Mali; and west-central Africa, encompassing present-day Angola, the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gabon. The Gambia River, which connects the Atlantic to Africa, was an essential water route for the slave trade; during its heyday, around one in six West African slaves came from this region.

  • The other half came from the West African nation of Ghana, as well as neighboring Ivory Coast, the Bay of Biafra (which included parts of today's eastern Nigeria and Cameroon), a maritime entrance to Atlantic waters on the west coast of Africa, which was the center of major slave-trading operations. 

Nowadays, these Africans who were taken into captivity constitute a significant proportion of the black population of the United States, Brazil and many Caribbean islands. The African-Americans who landed in America did not come from Egypt or the Middle East, and were therefore not of Semitic origin, but rather Hamitic.



You be the judge.

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