Jesus was not white! But he wasn’t black either…

25 Mar

classic-jesus.jpg

Seth: A while ago on this blog, we discussed imagery of Black folks in the media, specifically MTV, BET and the like. That makes me think about the way we portray another man in the media and art – Jesus.

black-jesus.jpeg

Most times, we see images of a man with white features: light skin, long straight hair, and facial features to match. Growing up, my mother always told me that these images were not true. She didn’t tell me that because she is racist, but because Jesus, in fact, was not white. “Jesus was a black man,” she would say to me. And when I was a child, I may have believed her. But as a man, I put away childish things, and I know that just as Jesus wasn’t white, he wasn’t black either.

Interestingly enough, those who contend that Jesus was either white or black point to the same Bible verses to prove their point. Either way they are trying to pass off ignorance as knowledge. Those who try to say Jesus was Black point to Revelations Chapter 1. In verses 14 and 15 they find the phrases “hair…like wool” and “his feet were like bronze.” But what they leave out is that which those arguing for his whiteness utilize: “hair white like wool, as white as snow.” Furthermore, the author does not reference bronze in terms of skin color, but rather the aura that they have off “like bronze glowing in the fire.” Later in that same passage, it states that “his voice was like the sounds of rushing waters” and “out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword.” Now, I don’t know what ethnicity can claim those characteristics, do you?

The Bible is full of many scriptures written with symbolic language which (in my opinion) is almost always the case when concerning physical descriptions of Jesus. Being of Middle Eastern heritage, it’s not out of the question that Jesus looked like, well, someone from the Middle East. But as for now, we don’t know. And that’s not even the issue here.

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Ray: Jesus was born as a Jew in Bethlehem to a family of Jewish decent. So were these people:

17.jpgbethlehem-kids.jpgradio-free-palestine-bethlehem-palestinian-police.jpg

Personally, I think Jesus looked exactly like these folks. But I also don’t care about what he looked like. I am fully aware that Christianity flourished in old Europe and their portrayal of Jesus was as someone that was very similar to themselves. As European empires continued to leave their mark on the planet, they also exported the imagery of Christianity that developed within their own ranks.

With that said, a debate about what Jesus looked like is irrelevant. What is relevant is why He came, what He did while he was here, and what we’re supposed to take away from His message. And if we were to look closely into any one of these points, we would see that the issue of race is totally non-existent and inconsequential.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” – John 3:16-17

Rather you believe or not, the purpose of Jesus’ existence is clearly one that was meant for ALL men and woman. It didn’t say that you had to be black, white, brown or yellow. It said all that you have to do is believe in Him. For anyone to argue that Jesus was black or white clearly demonstrates that they are doing so only to achieve a personal objective, not that of the Word of God.

Not only did Jesus come to redeem the lives of sinners, but he also left behind an everlasting message of peace and love. But don’t take my word for it…

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?” – Matthew 5:43-47

My point is, don’t get caught up in the politics that comes with religion. Different groups of people will practice in different ways. They will say different prayers, they call God different names, and Jesus will look different to different people. None of that really matters. The essence of it all is FAITH. Faith supersedes the physical aspects of life. Jesus Himself said that His kingdom is not of this world, but it is spiritual.

In John 4:24, Jesus says that “God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

In your life-time, you will see many pictures portraying an idea of Jesus. It’s important that you don’t lose sight of who He really is.

9 Responses to “Jesus was not white! But he wasn’t black either…”

  1. nativenotes March 26, 2008 at 9:12 pm #

    Always good dialogue over here. Hmm Seth, well both Seth and Ray as I like to call yall the Siskel and Ebert of blogging. I agree with both of your points.

    I will say Ray be weary of the images that you presented, I say this because those are present day images am I correct. Clearly we can look at black people in this country and see the plethora of skin colors because of intermingling of different ethnic groups. The Jews we see in Israel today are very different than the ones years ago.

    Think of Egypt, better known as Kemet and then modern day Ethiopia better known as Nubia. The people who inhibited those places centuries ago look very different now than they did then. I agree with Ray his skin color does not matter but his purpose and message does.

    However we must challenge Euro-centric mindsets when they attempt to bombard us with their falsehoods for the sole reason of belittling those people with skin of color. So I challenge you brothers to continue to host healthy dialogues like this and dig deeper than the surface which is where the media stops.

    In my opinion Jesus was a man of color but I do not hold that view so that I can feel higher than someone else.
    http://nativenotes.wordpress.com

    • adjacent2jason February 17, 2010 at 6:42 pm #

      So, what do you mean when you said a man of color?
      Black, brown, or tan? african american?

      I dont think jesus came from an african american bloodline; If anything, it was predominantly jewish, with possibly a hint of nubian(etophians and hebrews bread). So which one has the stronger gene pool? Is that how you came to the conclusion of jesus being a man of color?

  2. Melissa April 30, 2008 at 4:24 pm #

    yeah i think jesus isn’t white. he is not black either he is like a tanish color. but for a fact i think he is defiantly not white. why does every picture always have to be a white jesus it bugs me. he maybe black and he maybe white but u think he is not neither of these subjects.

    Sincerely,
    melissa

  3. adjacent2jason February 17, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    Jesus was of asiatic decent; In other words, of a dark or olive(tan) complexion, not be confuse with modern orentals. Anyway, If you dont know by now, but when jewish hair gets wet, it straightens, and becomes wooly,and curls(fluffs) when dry. Their a fine line bewteen wooly, and nappy. Lets get it right folks.

    May, I also mention that the essence of jesus existences was to show us how to be our brother keeper( the first question asked in the bible). A few attributes of our human nature: Pride,selfishness, and hate; All can be cure with love, and humility which what Jesus represented. Basically to love someone so much that you would make the ultimate sacrifice: humble thyself, and dead for your neighbor. Would you?

    A majority of christians would disagree with this statement, however in this day in age, so called christians are just “go through the motion” christians. I think to get christinity,one must have a firm understanding of judaism, but thats just me.

  4. adjacent2jason February 17, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    Can yall post something on Islam? That would be interesting.

  5. sethandray February 18, 2010 at 6:30 am #

    I could do something on Islam but I’m sure you know much more than I do. You’re more than welcome to write an entry for the blog. We love guest writers.

  6. Anonymous June 11, 2013 at 12:26 am #

    here is the problem with youre quote, that Jesus looked middle eastern, for one – the name Jesus is greek which doesn’t mean savior – i’ll use jesus for your sake, the so called jesus you quote, according to scripture christ comes from the line of Judah, and if you do you research, Judah was a blackman, But there is one vital part your missing here, according to Judah as well – Deuteronomy 28: the curses and blessings – the curses do not fit anyone in the middle east – it actually fits the black american, and those in the south seas – the scripture indicates that Judah and Israel will no longer be in the HOMELAND until Christ re-returns which he hasn’t. that scripture in Deuteronomy is against those in israel today and any middle eastern. Because scripture indicates, that the israelites will be scattered in captivity to the 4 corners of the earth. and middle easterns have not been sent to the 4 corners in captivity ? Now concerning the image of the so called Jesus – it indicates in Genesis that Christ (future prophesy of christ) would have red eyes with wine and white teeth. in todays terms – everybody brushes there teeth, but no one on earth can deny that black people have the whites teeth on earth like its been dipped in milk. and according to your breakdown of running water and a sword coming out of the mouth – no one can hide the fact that a blackman voice from base to high pitch can not compared – from barry white to michael jackson and so on. and according to the word, no one is breaking out the word like the black hebrew israelites you see on the street, they are bring it out like a sword that cuts. so before you bring this middle eastern bull crap… learn how to read between the lines idiots…

    • hdmgalvan November 6, 2013 at 10:46 am #

      Ok, so the last commenter hasnt done his homework yet calls everyone idiots… now, not to start an argument but the comment needs to be corrected . sorry in advance cause my phone is acting up and i’ll have to type numbers long ways. Now, at this point in history every race has spread out for one reason or another, but for kost of biblical history it was the jewish people who dealt with is fairly frequentle. as for the curse of the law in deuteronomy, it is what would happen if israel rejected God’s teachings. they did this throughout the nation’s history and were exiled, taken captive and sold to slavery many times, etc.. the most striking event, however, is what happened at the “siege of jerusalem” in seventy a.d. (for time purposes, this was about 30-40 years after jesus death and right after the apostles would have died off. With the new covenant being established (see jeremiah 31:27-34), the gemple in jerusalem was destroyed with the jews still inside from passover that year. if you look up an ancient jewish-roman historian who witnessed the event you can type in “flavius josephus siege of jerusalem in 70ad” on the internet and skim through the websites to find one that quotes a couple chapters of his writings. there was widespread starvation, cannibalism, roman troops by the 10’s of thousands sending flaming arrows lilened to fiery hail, mass crucifixions, everything green in sight being burned down, etc. and at the end of it all the people were taken captive for slavery but something happened on the road and no one got to buy them because of it (sorry i dont remember the reason but its in the history books). deuteronomy was fulfilled exactly at the end of the old covenant because of the peoples rejection of their messiah jesus. right after these things, the people were sent into a final diaspora and spread all over the known world, so that even though some have returned to israel, the vast majority are still living around the world. the jewish peopke of today do have lighter skin than they used to because after the diaspora they settled in roman (predominantly white in some areas) territory, but they still have the middle eastern features in many cases. ancient depictions show them to be very dark skinned like the people of india or the middle east but not black in ethnicity. they do often hace curly hair similar to the tight curls of some hispanics. while the people came out of egypt, and were in fact the slaves of the black skinned people there, i havent found anything in reading to indicate the races mixed much. in fact the biblical account of joseph states that israeli shephards were a dirty abomination in the egyptians eyes and were allowed to settle in in the good grazing land if it meant keepingthem from mixing with the egyptians. this to say there wouldnt likely have been much mixing of the races, certainly not enough to change the look of the whole race though a few africans did exit egypt with the israelites (the foreigners/sojurourners mentioned in the law of moses). Aas for the jewish people often said to not have suffered lile africans have, we need not mention the holocause, notlr the fact that many of the slaves sold to america were actuallu sold by other africans who were from enemy tribes, or that egypt, one of the most powerful black nations in history, openly enslaved other races for their own dominance issues. its wrong no matter who does it is the point… … now i say all that because there is a lot of racism and hatred being throwmln out there by people like the anonymous commenter above who, to quote jesus somewhat, want to pull the splinter out of their neighbors eye but ignore the log in their own. if the debates we hold take away from God’s work, salvation, and teachimgs on love and righteousness, then it can only come from satan and people beimg willing to be influenced by his hate and lies – this goes for white and black peoples because both are guilty. but thanks be to god that there are those, like the church i go to, who are coming together as brothers and sisters and koving past the concerns of this world to bring God’s kingdom umtil he returns. no matter how someone twists the scriptures or flatters themselves by saying symbolic things in the bible about jesus refer to a race instead of the obvious descriptolion of Gods gloriohs appearance, the truth is still there for all of us of any color who can get past ourselves to let God be God. no katter what the drawings in your bible show, a european man, a black man, or an asian man, jesus is still lord of EVERYONE who believes, as the apostle paul said, “to the jew first, and also to the gentile” (gentile is any nation but the jews). may we keep discussing these things with love. god bless you.

    • hdmgalvan November 6, 2013 at 10:53 am #

      Ok, so the last commenter hasnt done his homework yet calls everyone idiots… now, not to start an argument but the comment needs to be corrected . sorry in advance cause my phone is acting up and i may have to type numbers long ways. also, the keys on my phone are small for my clumsy fingers and i’m sure there will be typos. sorry :-) Now, at this point in history every race has spread out for one reason or another, but for kost of biblical history it was the jewish people who dealt with is fairly frequentle. as for the curse of the law in deuteronomy, it is what would happen if israel rejected God’s teachings. they did this throughout the nation’s history and were exiled, taken captive and sold to slavery many times, etc.. the most striking event, however, is what happened at the “siege of jerusalem” in seventy a.d. (for time purposes, this was about 30-40 years after jesus death and right after the apostles would have died off. With the new covenant being established (see jeremiah 31:27-34), the gemple in jerusalem was destroyed with the jews still inside from passover that year. if you look up an ancient jewish-roman historian who witnessed the event you can type in “flavius josephus siege of jerusalem in 70ad” on the internet and skim through the websites to find one that quotes a couple chapters of his writings. there was widespread starvation, cannibalism, roman troops by the 10’s of thousands sending flaming arrows lilened to fiery hail, mass crucifixions, everything green in sight being burned down, etc. and at the end of it all the people were taken captive for slavery but something happened on the road and no one got to buy them because of it (sorry i dont remember the reason but its in the history books). deuteronomy was fulfilled exactly at the end of the old covenant because of the peoples rejection of their messiah jesus. right after these things, the people were sent into a final diaspora and spread all over the known world, so that even though some have returned to israel, the vast majority are still living around the world. the jewish peopke of today do have lighter skin than they used to because after the diaspora they settled in roman (predominantly white in some areas) territory, but they still have the middle eastern features in many cases. ancient depictions show them to be very dark skinned like the people of india or the middle east but not black in ethnicity. they do often hace curly hair similar to the tight curls of some hispanics. while the people came out of egypt, and were in fact the slaves of the black skinned people there, i havent found anything in reading to indicate the races mixed much. in fact the biblical account of joseph states that israeli shephards were a dirty abomination in the egyptians eyes and were allowed to settle in in the good grazing land if it meant keepingthem from mixing with the egyptians. this to say there wouldnt likely have been much mixing of the races, certainly not enough to change the look of the whole race though a few africans did exit egypt with the israelites (the foreigners/sojurourners mentioned in the law of moses). Aas for the jewish people often said to not have suffered lile africans have, we need not mention the holocause, notlr the fact that many of the slaves sold to america were actuallu sold by other africans who were from enemy tribes, or that egypt, one of the most powerful black nations in history, openly enslaved other races for their own dominance issues. its wrong no matter who does it is the point… … now i say all that because there is a lot of racism and hatred being throwmln out there by people like the anonymous commenter above who, to quote jesus somewhat, want to pull the splinter out of their neighbors eye but ignore the log in their own. if the debates we hold take away from God’s work, salvation, and teachimgs on love and righteousness, then it can only come from satan and people beimg willing to be influenced by his hate and lies – this goes for white and black peoples because both are guilty. but thanks be to god that there are those, like the church i go to, who are coming together as brothers and sisters and koving past the concerns of this world to bring God’s kingdom umtil he returns. no matter how someone twists the scriptures or flatters themselves by saying symbolic things in the bible about jesus refer to a race instead of the obvious descriptolion of Gods gloriohs appearance, the truth is still there for all of us of any color who can get past ourselves to let God be God. no katter what the drawings in your bible show, a european man, a black man, or an asian man, jesus is still lord of EVERYONE who believes, as the apostle paul said, “to the jew first, and also to the gentile” (gentile is any nation but the jews). may we keep discussing these things with love. god bless you.

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