Migration of The African Hebrew Israelites Throughout Africa
Prior to the excavation of the Suez Canal (1859-69) the entire Arabian Peninsula and what has become known today as the ”Middle East” were physically connected with the African continent. African people lived and moved freely throughout this region of the world.
After the invasion of the Romans in 70 C.E., remnants of the Hebrew Israelites were driven from Jerusalem. For more than 1,000 years many of them migrated across the continent, eventually reaching West Africa.
From there, they were carried to the Americas where they were to become victims of the most cruel and inhumane slavery in recorded history. However, according to the word of God, this devastating path would eventually lead them back to their homeland (Israel) to fulfill their prophetic destiny.
"The number of slaves taken by the companies and private traders during the whole period of the slave trade is difficult to estimate. One French historian says that it is no exaggeration to say that 100,000,000 people were lost...”
The Story of Sierra Leone, Frances A. J. Utting
There are many biblical references to various locations in Africa and interaction between the ancient Israelites and African peoples and places: King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba; migration into Egypt and subsequent enslavement, etc. Considering that such interaction and migration took place it is not hard to perceive that Hebrew Israelites were among the one hundred million who were taken from Africa during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. There is no way they could have escaped.
This fact is supported by the numerous accounts of Hebrew Israelite culture and religious tradition throughout Africa. In the introduction to his book God the Black Man and Truth, Ben Ammi points out that “We know that many West Africans, especially the Ashantis, are direct descendants of the ancient Hebrews because of the strong Hebrewisms that have been identified in Ashanti tribal customs, observance of the Sabbath (Saturday) as well as the name Ashanti from the words ‘ti,’ which in the west African tongue means ‘race of’ and Ashan, a town in the domain of Judah (see Joshua 15:42).”
An article published in one of Israel’s daily Hebrew newspapers, Ma’ariv (16 Sept. 1991) states, “No other Zimbabweans blow the Shofar except Zacharia who is of the lost tribe of Israel. Tens of thousands of “Black Jews” were discovered there recently... They are called “Lemba” and according to their tradition they are the descendants of Abraham, Moses and Solomon.” Mary Benson documented in her work Nelson Mandela The Man and the Movement, his reference to Israelites in South Africa, “...in 1921 General Smuts, the Prime Minister, had sent an army which massacred 163 men, women and children at nearby Bulhoek in the Eastern Cape; members of an Israelite sect...”
Acknowledging that a mass migration of Israelites did take place throughout Africa forces us to follow their footsteps across the landscape of time and to recall that during the centuries of enslavement in America the captives rebelled against the slave masters who stripped them of their names, their language, culture and religion. In his writing, Before the Mayflower, Lerone Bennett, Jr. points out that “Few slaves accepted this version of Christianity. Their God was the God who delivered the Israelites.”
Additionally, the Israelites who were taken into America maintained remnants of their heritage through the lyrics of what became known as slave songs or spirituals, “Canaan’s Land where my possessions lie...” They never stopped praising the God of Israel and never turned their eyes from Zion. Even in terms of language they continued to use certain words which were definitely rooted in their original language (Hebrew). Words such as “ain’t,” which is derived from The African Hebrew word “ayne” which also means no, not, nothing, there is not, etc.
Throughout the prophetic exile, migration, enslavement and later “assimilation” into the American way of life, many African Americans still know that their heritage is rooted in the Holy Land - Israel. On the eve of his assassination in 1968, the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was inspired to prophesy, “I just want to do God’s will... He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain... I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know... that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.” His words underscore an undeniable spiritual re-awakening.
Our presence in the Holy Land is fulfillment of Dr. King’s vision, the words of the prophets - “And I shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.” (Ezekiel 37:14) - as well as the spiritual yearning of all those children of Israel who had been cast out and have pleaded with God for almost two thousand years to be restored.
An unbiased investigation of the information presented in this writing will bring us to the conclusion that people of African origin have a definite connection with the Holy Land and a role to play in the prophetic spiritual re-awakening that is in progress. While we are acutely aware of the challenge presented, we are prepared (for the sake of the creation and all humanity) to live out our responsibility and invoke the presence of God in the affairs of man. Our purpose in pursuing our heritage, against all odds, is to establish the prophetic “Kingdom of God” in the Holy Land - to be that inspiration and guiding light which is destined to shine forth from Jerusalem.
“I just want to do God’s will... He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain... I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know... that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.”
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1968
“The truth is, blessings or curses are each the fruit (results) of the works of those upon whom they fall. Thereby, in the final analysis, man either blesses or curses himself.”
God and the Law of Relativity - Ben Ammi
Editor's Disclaimer: Names and persons presented in this aricle do not necessitate an endorsement by me. However, the essence of the content of this article supports my historiogaphy of the Black Hebrews worldwide, particularly in the United States of America. All praises to Yeshua the Moshiach of Yisrael.