I like to start by asking the so-called Black Hebrew Israelites who sense they are being awakened to their true “Jewish/Israelite” identity: (1) Where does the Bible say the Israelites will lose their identity? & (2) Where does the Bible teach it is the job of disciples to help Israelites find their lost identity?
JEREMIAH 17:4 (KJV)
And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.
JEREMIAH 17:1-18 (KJV)
1 The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars; 2 Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills. 3 O my mountain in the field, I will give thy substance and all thy treasures to the spoil, and thy high places for sin, throughout all thy borders. 4 And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.
5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. 6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. 7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. 8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. 11 As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.
12 A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary. 13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters. 14 Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.
15 Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now. 16 As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee. 17 Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil. 18 Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.
BASIC QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CONTEXT
- Does God say anywhere in this passage they will forget or lose their Israelite identity? No- God says nothing about Israelites in this passage “forgetting” or “losing” their ethnic identity.
- What does God say the cursed Israelite will lose? The cursed Israelite will lose all their “substance” and “treasure”- i.e., “their inheritance.” (vs. 3-4)
- Does the passage say every Israelite will lose their inheritance? No- the blessed Israelite will be planted by the waters (vs. 7-8).
- Just like how a rebellious child can be cut from their family’s inheritance, but still remember who they are, the cursed Israelite people are going to be cut off from their inheritance (substance & treasure) because of their rebellion. (vs. 1-4)
- There is still hope for those like Jeremiah and other righteous Israelites (like Daniel and his friends, etc.)- that they will retain their inheritance even though the judgment is coming. God will be their “sanctuary.” (vs. 7-8, 12).
GOD’S THEME OF JUDGMENT IN JEREMIAH, ALONG WITH HOPE TO BOTH ISRAEL & THE NATIONS
Jeremiah 12:14-17 (KJV), “14 Thus saith the LORD against all mine evil neighbours, that touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit; Behold, I will pluck them out of their land, and pluck out the house of Judah from among them. 15 And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land. 16 And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, The LORD liveth; as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built in the midst of my people. 17 But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the LORD.”