|Monument of Nehesi in Nubia/Kush. |
Kush was also called Ta-Nuhusi.
Alice C. Linsley
Religious belief is conditioned by the faith tradition which we receive from our parents, grandparents and, if we are to believe Jung’s theory of the collective consciousness, from our ancient ancestors. The Bible articulates this notion in this phrase: “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” And the expectation of the coming Christ was preserved through a long line of priests who were kin to Abraham, the "father of faith."
In as much as Jesus Christ was God in the flesh and He was born of a long line of ruler-priests whose point of origin was Africa, we may speak of Him as having African ancestors.
The ancestry of Jesus Christ our God is not a matter of private revelation. His coming was foretold from the beginning of time. Those to whom God declared that He should be born of their bloodline, lived in expectation of His coming for many millennia. His appearance on earth was announced by the unique conjunction of the king planet (Jupiter) and the king star (Regulus). Indeed all of the created order speaks of the God-Man Jesus Christ, so we should not be surprised when we find signs pointing to Christ in God’s handiwork. St. Paul recognized that all creation makes God’s nature known to us so that all are without excuse when they deny or ignore Him.
An anthropological study of the ancestors of Christ our God reveals that great attention has been paid to the matter of His coming. Most people have not attempted to deny or ignore Him. Almost universally, people have yearned for the benefits of His Incarnation and his shed blood.
It is fitting that attention should be paid to Christ's ancestors and to the evidence that His ancestors included Africans. It is interesting how consistently Africa is ignored when investigating the etiology of biblical practices such as circumcision and the linguistic connections between biblical words and the African languages.
Consider the names Nim and Lot, both Egyptian names, yet neither has been identified as such by biblical scholars. Rulers in Egypt with the name Lot include Iuwelot, Nimlot and Takelot. Egypt is the origin of the biblical names Nim-rod and Lot. Nimlot C was the High Priest of Amun at Thebes during the latter part of the reign of his father Osorkon II. He died before the end of his father's reign since his son Takelot F (king Takelot II) succeeded him as High Priest of Amun towards the end of Osorkon II's reign. This secession is established from the reliefs of Temple J at Karnak which depicts Takelot F as the priest-dedicant at a ceremony and mentions the ruling pharaoh as Osorkon II. Temple J has been dated to the final years of Osorkon II's reign in Tanis (which ended in 837 BC).
The Egyptian word nakh means "the powerful." Ha-Noch, the name of Reuben's first-born son is more a title than a proper name. It should be rendered something like "the Chief." Likewise, the Egyptian anoch can be rendered both Ha-Noch and Enoch. Nakh can also be rendered simply as Nok.
The biblical names Seth and Noah are equivalent to the Egyptian names Set and Nu and there are Egyptian stories in which the principal characters have these names.
Jesus Christ's ancestors were Afro-Asiatics. They spoke Afro-Asiatic languages which include Akkadian, Amharic, ancient Egyptian, Arabic, Aramaic, Assyrian, Babylonian, Berber, Chadic, Ethiopic, Hahm, Hausa, Hebrew, Kushitic, Meroitic, Omotic, Phoenician, and Ugaritic. Twelve of these language groups are spoken by populations in Africa. Christ our God spoke Aramaic, a language that shares many roots with the African languages Tigrina, Tigre, Amharic and the older Ge’ez.
Places associated with clans and rulers in Genesis are found only in Africa - Nok (Enoch), Kano (Cain), Ham, Bor' nu (Land of Noah), Terah, and the Jebu tribe (biblical Jebusites). Elephantine, at the border between Egypt and Sudan, was known to the ancient Egyptians as Yebu, the linguistic equivalent of Jebu. Some of these names appear also in Canaan: Terah, Jebu, Sheba, and Hor are among them. Jerusalem was a Jebusite city in the time of Abraham and Abraham paid tribute to that city’s ruler-priest, Melchizedek. Abraham’s Horite people apparently had kin-based alliances with the Jebusites. Both Horites and Jebusites were closely allied with the ancient Egyptians. Abdi-hepa ruled Jerusalem three centuries before its conquest by David. His name is Egyptian. (Hepa, Hap, or Hapi was a predynastic name for the Nile.) The first mention of Jerusalem, not surprisingly, is found in ancient Egyptian texts.
We also have the evidence of the four rivers mentioned as being at the heart of the Afro-Asiatic Dominion: the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Pishon and the Gihon. The last two are in Africa. Clearly there are two distinct traditions concerning the location of the garden, one African and the other Asiatic. The view that Eden was at the western border of Iran is based on the location of the Tigris and Euphrates. Yet we are explicitly told in Genesis 2:10-14 that the Gihon flowed through all the land of Ethiopia and the Pishon "skirts the whole land of Havilah". Havilah was a son of Kush (Gen. 10:7) and the "Kushites" lived in the upper Nile region and Sudan. So two rivers are in Mesopotamia and represent the Asiatic tradition while the other two rivers are in Africa and represent the African tradition. Both traditions are preserved in Genesis, but obviously the garden can't have been in both places. So where was it? If we accept that God drove the man out of the garden toward the east and the garden was west of Noah's homeland near Lake Chad, we must consider Nigeria as the likely location of the garden. So, we may speculate that some of Christ's ancestors came out of Nigeria.
Institutions and practices that characterize Abraham’s people are also distinctively African. These include the practice of circumcision (both male and female). To understand the cultural context of male and female circumcision we must recognize that Africans assign firm structure to males and softness and fluidity to females. It is important that women be less like men and men less like women (one reason that homosex is abhorred in traditional African societies.) In Africa, a family's honor is vested in the conduct of its women. Femininity is stressed and Pharaonic circumcision is seen as an enhancement of the woman’s femininity, potential fertility and purity. Likewise male circumcision was seen as an enhancement of maleness, potency and purity. The complement to the circumcised male is a circumcised female. The practice of female circumcision is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, but that may be because the female aspect is often hidden.
The African view is different from the binary exhibit of Hinduism in which both the lingam (male organ) and the yoni (female organ) are displayed. In the African tradition, phallic pillars (show right) are never displayed with the female organ. The female organ is always covered or hidden, pointing to the biblical distinction between revealed and hidden.
The institution of priest is distinctively African also. Sheba-qo’s son Hori-makhet, was high priest in Thebes. Hori is related to the Egyptian word harwa (priest) and is the linguistic equivalent of Horus and Horite. (Horus represented the power of kingship.) The term Horite can't be taken anachronistically when speaking of Abraham's ancestors, who were devotees of Horus, who they regarded as the “Son of God.” In African caste systems priests are always in the higher caste. Among the Mande of western Africa the highest caste are called the Horon, although few in this caste are priests. Most are warriors, farmers, animal breeders and fishermen.
As is evident today in traditional African religion, there are orders of priests, each assigned specific duties at the shrines. The Khar (Egyptian word for Horite) order of priests was responsible for providing fuel for the burnt offerings/sacrifices. Joseph's family lived in Nazareth which was the home of the eighteenth division of priests, that of Happizzez (1 Chronicles 24:15). The idea that only the Levites were priests simply isn't supported by the evidence of Scripture.
Rulers married the daughters of priests who served them. Joseph, Jacob's first-born son by Rachel, married Asenath, daughter of a priest of the Egyptian shrine at Heliopolis. Likewise, Moses married the daughter of a priest of Midian and his second wife was likely the daughter of a Kushite priest. Kush was known by many names, including Ta-Kash, Ta-Seti, Ta-Nuhusi and Ta-Kensat. In 747 B.C., a ruler named Kash united Lower Nubia as far as the Egyptian border at Aswan.
There were twenty-four priestly divisions after the construction of the Second Temple. Nineteen of these divisions are listed in Nehemiah 12:10-22. In the Nehemiah list we find these names of particular interest: Joachim, Joseph, and Mattenai. These are the names of priests who married the daughters of priests and from these lines came John the Baptist, Joseph, Mary and Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God.
Joachim is the name of Mary’s father, which is one reason that scholars believe that Mary was the virgin daughter of a priest. Hippolytus writing in the early third century, records that Mary’s mother was a daughter of a priest named Matthan. This means that Mary was of a priestly line. According to the custom of her noble African ancestors, Mary married into a priestly line when she became Joseph’s wife. According to Matthew 1:16, Joseph was the grandson of the priest Mattenai (sometimes spelled Mattai, Mattan or Matthew).
In the Masoretic Text the name of Samuel's city is hara-matatyim zophim. (See The Anchor Bible Commentary on I Samuel by P. Kyle McCarter, Jr., p. 51.) Zuph was a Horite priest of the line of Matthew/Mattai/Mattan. Hara-matatyim is the same priestly line as that of Joseph of Hara-mathea, one of Jesus' relatives and the member of the Sanhedrin who requested the Lord's body in order to bury Him.
Related reading: Recovering the African Background of Genesis; Abraham's Ainu Ancestors; Terah's Nubian Ancestors; Samuel's Horite Family; Abraham's Saharan Ancestry; Is Nehesi the Same Name as Nahor?; Tomb of Nubian Priest Found