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Africa’s presence in the Bible 3

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11.MAR.11

Christians in Africa and in countries like the Caribbean, have received Bible teaching from European and American missionaries and evangelists. We have accepted what they taught us about ourselves and our faith heritage. Africans are heathens and bound for hell they say, and we repeat it.{{more}}

In this article, the scripture will speak of the paradox of Africa, from a short selection of the prophets as they deal with the geopolitics of faith.

The book Amos has this to say about Israel, the northern part of Hebrew Palestine, 2700 years ago.

Hear this word that Yahweh has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought out of the land of Egypt: You only have I known of all the families of the earth: Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities (Amos 3: 1-2)

This passage tells us that Israel (and Judah) is special to the LORD, and will be disciplined as such. But read again what Amos 9: 7 says or asks when injustice flourishes in the land:

Are not you like the Ethiopians to me, O people of Israel? says Yahweh (THE LORD) Did I not bring Israel up from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphor, and the Arameans from Kir?

Put plainly, this scripture says: You Israel and the Ethiopians (Africans) are the same to me. The same way I brought you from Egypt, I also brought the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir.

Chapters 18& 19 of Isaiah refer to the empire of Ethiopia or Nubia which ruled under Piankhi an Ethiopian Pharaoh. There is some admiration for the Ethiopian accomplishments and civilization in Isaiah 18: 1-2.

Ah, land of whirring wings beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, sending ambassadors by the Nile in vessels of papyrus on the waters! Go, you swift messengers to a nation tall and smooth, to a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide. Is. 18:1-2

When it comes to the empires and civilisations which border with Palestine, the scriptures move between condemnation, admiration, desire, emulation and appropriation. In the words of Surgitharejah cited earlier, the Hebrew people had an “impulse for empire” and they did make highway in this direction under some of their kings. Two further excerpts from Isaiah show us the paradox of Africa in the Hebrew Scriptures.

DESTRUCTION IN EGYPT

An oracle concerning Egypt (at a time if civil war) see, Yahweh is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt, the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them. I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians and they will fight, one against the other, neighbour against neighbour, city against city…. Isaiah 19: 1-2

The same chapter 19 ends with a coalition of redemption across entire hemisphere or crescent.

On that day (after the healing of Egypt v.22) Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, and the Assyrians will come into Egypt and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. On that day, Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth whom the LORD/Yahweh has, blessed, saying blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage. Isaiah 19:23-25

The imperial environment and impulse in the faith of the Hebrew people come to the surface in this desiring for Africa in Isaiah 45:14.

The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Ethiopia and the
Sabeans, tall of stature, shall come over to you and be yours,
They shall follow you; they shall come over in chains and bow
To you…..saying, God is with you alone.

This last scripture show us that Africa is not bound to hell, far from it.

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