There is a group of African- Americans that believe they are members of the Lost Tribe of Judah in the Bible. This group calls themselves the Black Hebrew Israelites. Here is a bit of information about this group of people.
There are a number of other sects of this broad Hebrew Israelite movement known as the Commandment Keepers, The Law Keepers, House of Judah, and the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge , Israelite United in Christ and generally most of these Black Hebrew Israelite groups do not align themselves with Judaism.
The Black Hebrew Israelites have some very controversial beliefs when it comes to the Church, God and the Bible. Many Black Hebrew Israelite groups or “camps” strongly disagree that Europeanized Jews are the true descendants of the Tribes of Israel from the bible. However, they also do not consider all people of color to be part of the “lost tribe” either. Some of the core beliefs of the Black Hebrew Israelites are as follows:
- Black Hebrew Israelites strongly believe those individuals whose forefathers were placed in servitude during the course of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade are the real children connected with Biblical Israel.
- Black Hebrew Israelites feel that modern Israelites as well as Europeanized Jews are pretenders and not the genuine descendants of real Israel.
- Black Hebrew Israelites hold the King James Variation of the Bible as definitive. A few solely uphold the Old Testament. Most uphold the Apocrypha also.
- Black Hebrew Israelites think the “period of the Gentiles” means “the period of time of the caucasian Europeans”, whom they refer to as Edomites or Esau. They believe this time is almost over; America and its allies will soon be judged.
- Black Hebrew Israelites feel righteousness is obtained by law maintaining. Strict Sabbath-keeping, dietary restrictions and a certain physical appearance is important (e.g., fringes and beards are good).
And finally, the Black Hebrew Israelites strongly believe Jesus Christ (even though that they use a separate name – “Yahshuah” – or another name) was a black person.
Many (not necessarily all) Hebrew Israelites believe “Edomites” (white people) can’t be saved. That they are destined to become killed or even slaves when it comes to Hebrew Israelites after the Messiah returns. Others believe “Gentiles” (non-Hebrew Israelites) could be grafted into the Kingdom if they keep the law and are for the Hebrew Israelites.
The Black Hebrew Israelites are actually usually component of the Sacred Name trend: these individuals think one must relate to God as “Yah” (or some other name). Their preference for God’s full name typically depends upon their individual faith (which in turn they refer to as “camp”). Essentially, their purpose is to develop a nation.
The 12 Tribes of the Black Hebrew Israelites
The Black Hebrew Israelites believe that the people of color in the Western Hemisphere originate from the 12 tribes of Israel. They believe the 12 Tribes of Israel today are
- Judah – American Blacks
- Benjamin – West Indian Blacks
- Levi – Haitians
- Ephraim – Puerto Ricans
- Manasseh – Cubans
- Simeon – Dominicans
- Zebulom Mayans (Guatemala and Panama)
- Gad – Native American Indians
- Reuben – Seminole Indians
- Asher – Colombia to Uruguay
- Issachar – Mexicans (Aztecs)
- Naphtali – Argentina/Chile
Ultimately the Black Hebrew Israelites Believe
Ultimately the Black Hebrew Israelites believe that the Trans-Atlantic slave trade represents the years of bondage that the Book of Exodus in the Bible. Because of their controversial beliefs, and those beliefs are ones that keep the groups under hate groups. Their belief system closely aligns with the black American aboriginal movement.