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Are you a Gracist?

For the past 300 years men have debated as to what really happened in the tent of Noah, and who was actually cursed as a result of their actions. Many scholars in Western Christianity have taken the view that it was Ham and his black descendants who were guilty of a crime and therefore cursed. The ridiculous reasons given went from one extreme to another.

Some claimed that Ham took advantage of his drunken father, Noah, and had a homosexual relationship with him. Others said that Ham enjoyed observing his fathers nudity and made jokes about it to his brothers. Whatever the reason given, their wrong conclusions have had a devastating effect on the black race over the years.

Many Christians used the alleged curse as legal grounds to outlaw marriages between Blacks and Whites. Others used it to deny Blacks the position of Pastor or Elders within their Denomination, and still others used the curse theory to justify using Blacks as slaves.

Even today the so-called Curse of Ham is the inspiration and justification for the degradation and mistreatment of Blacks throughout the world. The Curse Theory inspired laws limiting a variety of opportunities to Blacks and justified cities, provinces, and federal governments to permit separate rest rooms, restaurants, schools, and drinking fountains (former segregation laws in the USA, and South Africa are recent examples). There was one set of facilities for black people and another for everyone else. It inspired studies and research to try to prove the inferiority of Blacks. It justified insensitive jokes and other inhumane treatment directed toward Blacks. I am sure that Blacks felt there was no end to their nightmare. The sad commentary to all of this was the fact that white Christians, who in turn introduced this theory to the rest of society, started the Curse Theory. Even though they had no evidence to support the so-called curse, their story (based on a true lack of right division), was persuasive enough to convince Blacks themselves that they were indeed the descendants of a cursed people.

How did they convince Blacks and others? They spent millions of dollars and used scholars from the major Christian publishers[1] to interpret, twist, and stretch the meaning of Scripture. The Theory of the Curse was given a fancy theological name - Racial Prophecy. The teaching of Racial Prophecy became so mainstream that many top encyclopedias adopted Racial Prophecy. The general feeling was if its in the encyclopedia, it must be true. The sad thing is that this doctrine is so entrenched in the professing church that few really take the time to search the Scriptures. In this study we shall search the Scriptures to show the utter folly of Racial Prophecy.

Ham is accused of the following 4 things:

1. He sexually abused his father, Noah.

2. He dishonored his father.

3. He was cursed (via his son), and is therefore responsible for his descendant's perpetual enslavement.

4. He was cursed with black skin.

We shall prove from the Scriptures the following:

1. Ham is one of the three sons of Noah.

2. Regarding the events in Noahs tent, Ham did indeed enter, but he did no wrong.

3. Ham did not dishonor his father.

4. Ham and his descendants (with the exception of Canaan) were not cursed and no one was turned black.

Let us begin with the fact that Ham is one of the three sons of Noah.

Genesis 5:32

And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

The name Ham means Black, sun-hot, and or man with dark skin. This name was given to Ham well before the events of Genesis 9. The only conclusion we can thus make is that Ham was most likely born black. Hams children produce a wide array of looks.

Genesis 10:6

And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.

Some of these civilizations and countries are considered to be some of the greatest societies of all times. Among them are Egypt, Ethiopia, and Asia Minor (Syria). It should be clear that not just black races came from Ham. Hittites (Syria) for instance are considered to be Asiatic.

What happened in the tent?

Genesis 9:20-22

And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: [21] And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. [22] And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.

We need to really decipher these verses in order to understand what transpired in Noahs tent. The statement, which explains to us what happened, is the phrase saw the nakedness of his father.

What does this phrase mean? Many take it to mean that Ham committed a homosexual act against Noah. They speculate here because they have not been noble Bereans, and searched the Scriptures. If we take the time to search the Scriptures we will see that this phrase is defined for us in Scripture. Hence, there is no guesswork as to what is meant.

Leviticus 20:11

And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Leviticus 18:8

The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's nakedness.

Deut. 27:20

Cursed be he that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen.

These verses very clearly define his fathers nakedness to mean having a sexual union with ones fathers wife. Hence, Noah was not violated by a homosexual act; rather Noahs wife was involved with a sexual act. We do not know whether this was willingly or against her will. Either way it is something that God finds abhorrent.

The next important fact that we have recorded for us is that Ham saw something. It is critical to not read into the passage. Nowhere does this account state that Ham did anything. What is recorded is the fact that he was an eyewitness. What Ham saw is someone having sex with Noahs wife. Prior to mentioning this incident in Scripture, Moses continuously connects Canaan's name with Ham. Notice Moses does not mention any of Hams other sons nor did he mention Hams brothers and their sons, only Canaan (Genesis 9:18,22). Therefore, the only conclusion we can make is that Ham saw his son Canaan fornicating with his fathers wife. It is for this reason that only Canaan is cursed (Genesis 9:25).

Genesis 9:22-23

And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. [23] And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.

Ham, after seeing Canaan engaged in intercourse with Noahs wife, tells his two brothers. Shem and Japheth then enter in and cover their mother. Some have tried to take the phrase and told his two brethren without, to mean that Ham was either boasting or joking about what happened. However, this account does not imply that meaning. It simply means what it says, that he saw the nakedness of Noahs wife (someone engaging in sex with Noahs spouse). Nowhere in this account do we read of anyone bragging or boasting or joking. Nor do we read of Ham having committed anything wrong.

Genesis 9:24-25

And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. [25] And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

Interestingly, Noahs response is not to curse Ham, but to curse the younger son Canaan. Nowhere do we read of Ham, or any of his other sons, falling under this curse. In fact, we have already noted, Egypt, and Babylon are two of the nations that resulted from Ham. These nations enslaved Shems sons. Shems children became servants to Hams children, not the other way around. It is obvious that all of Hams offspring were not cursed with Canaan. Furthermore, we do not read of anyone being cursed with black skin anywhere in Scripture. In fact, if someone was cursed with a skin colour change, his or her skin was turned white[2]!

What is the Record of Hams Descendants?

The biblical record is clear that Ham did no wrong; neither did his father curse him. In fact, Scripture nowhere speaks of Ham in a negative way. Neither were any of Hams descendants cursed other than those associated with Canaan. Canaans curse was fulfilled when Hams brothers (Shem) descendants took over the territory of Canaan. In fact, a Bible student will note that it was the nation that sprang from Canaan that was cursed, not the people who constituted it. We shall see later that some of Canaans children will play a major roll in Scripture, even being blessed by God.

Hams name was added to Abraham, the father of faith, by changing his name from Abram to Abraham. God did this to include the many nations and kings Hams seed would produce through Ishmael who also was a descendant of Ham through Hagar (an Egyptian). Abraham, at the age of 140, married Keturah. He had six sons with her. One of her sons founded a country in the east, and named it after himself, Midian. This man was the distant relative of Jethro, the Priest of Midian and the father-in-law of Moses. Jethro was important in the formation of how Israel would be governed (Exodus 18:24).

Joseph married one of Hams descendants, named Asenath. He had two sons with her. His sons became two of the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel (Genesis 41:50-52, Genesis 49th chapter). If Hams descendants were cursed, then two of Israels tribes have always been cursed!

Jacob had four boys with two of Hams descendants Bilhah and Zilpah. The children from these two Canaanite concubines became four of the leaders within the 12 tribes of Israel (Genesis chapters 30 & 49).

Moses also married one of Hams descendants. Her name was Zipporah. She saved Moses sons lives. God loved Zipporah so much that He (God) cursed her sister-in-law, Miriam, when Miriam was upset with Moses for marrying her. (Exodus chapter 2 & 4 and Numbers chapter 12).

Solomon consolidated his kingdom after Davids reign, with Abishag, a black Shunammite. Most likely the Book Song of Solomon was written about her. (1 Kings 1-4; Song of Solomon).

Salmon married a Canaanite by the name of Rahab. She became the great-great-grandmother of David (Joshua 2 & 6:17-23). This Canaanite descendant of Ham is only one of four women mentioned in the genealogy of Christ (Matthew 1:5-6). This means that both Jesus and David had Canaanite blood in their veins. If Racial Prophecy were correct then Jesus and David are cursed because they are descendants of Ham, through Rahab!

Many of the greatest men in the Bible were either married or related to Hams descendants (Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Solomon, David, and Jesus). Hams descendants produced six of the leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel. Jesus Christ and David were descendants of a black Canaanite prostitute. According to the doctrine of Racial Prophecy all of these people are under the curse of Ham and are therefore somehow inferior.

History also shows some of Hams descendants were blessed to build some of the finest cities and greatest nations in the world. In fact, at one time or another the most powerful nations in the world were nations developed and ruled by Hams offspring (Genesis 10:8-20).

The Bible also clearly shows that God used the talents and gifts of Hams posterity to help others when they were in need. Egypt was available to feed the children of Israel when there was a worldwide famine (Genesis 43). The lives of the spies who entered Canaan were saved by a Canaanite prostitute, who in turned married a Jewish man (Joshua chapter 2); Jeremiahs life was saved by a black eunuch when he was sentenced to death (Jeremiah chapter 38); and a child of Ham was present to help Jesus when He could go no further (Mark 15:21).

It should be clear that God did not curse Ham, but rather has oft blessed him. This should be of no surprise, because God in the prophetic plan promised to bless all nations who blessed Israel (Genesis 12:3). Evidence of this fact can be found in both the Old and New Testament.

Mark 3:18

And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite,

This verse tells us that one of the 12 Apostles was a Canaanite. Scripture also clearly shows that God selected a black man to help his Son carry His cross. In addition, Acts 13:1 identifies this same man (Simon of Cyrene) as one of the leaders during the Acts transition period. Paul, the Apostle to the Body of Christ, in Romans 16:13, refers to Simons wife and son (Rufus) as being worthy of note. Referring to Simons wife, Paul says she was like a mother to him.

For the past 300 years Blacks have lived in shame with the accusation that they were cursed, and for the recent past they have shamefully lived with the accusation that they were worshipping a white mans God who really cared very little for them. People who advocated Racial Prophecy made these accusations. This incorrect theology produced societies, which were both ignorant and prejudiced.

Hopefully, this study has provided a multitude of answers to many difficult questions and it has destroyed a multitude of myths and accusations. It should be clear that it is impossible to study the Bible without recognizing the significant role Blacks have played in true Bible history. It also becomes impossible to be a racist when we study the Bible with the principles of right division.

Today Paul states that there is neither Jew, nor Greek in the Body of Christ. Race is something with which God is not concerned. The only thing that matters is whether we are in Christ. Does not Christ now state that we are all one in Christ? Have we not been made members of one another, forever linked together by a blood relationship to Jesus Christ, forever inseparable? (For more information on this topic please click here)   (To order Pastor Bill Petri's book on racism please click here).

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