Does the Bible say anything about Africa or the peoples of Africa? Did the apostles reach Africa? Have there been Sabbath-keepers in Africa throughout history? What is prophesied to happen with Africa?
This article will attempt to answer those questions.
The Bible discusses the births of many people and many nations in Genesis chapter 10. Actually, many people refer to this chapter as the origin of nations.
6 The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan. 7 The sons of Cush were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabtechah; and the sons of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan (Genesis 10:6-7, NKJV throughout unless otherwise noted).
This information is essentially repeated with a few more details later in the Old Testament:
8 The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan. 9 The sons of Cush were Seba, Havilah, Sabta, Raama, and Sabtecha. The sons of Raama were Sheba and Dedan. 10 Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. 11 Mizraim begot Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, 12 Pathrusim, Casluhim (from whom came the Philistines and the Caphtorim). 13 Canaan begot Sidon, his firstborn, and Heth; 14 the Jebusite, the Amorite, and the Girgashite; 15 the Hivite, the Arkite, and the Sinite; 16 the Arvadite, the Zemarite, and the Hamathite (1 Chronicles 1:8-16).
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary provides some insight into identities:
Ham was to be the father of the other branch of Gentiles, including Egyptians, Ethiopians, Abyssinians, and kindred groups. His son, Canaan, became the father of the groups called Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land of Canaan, later dispossessed by the Hebrews...Mizraim. The correct Hebrew word for Egypt, comprising the lower and the upper divisions of that land. The two capitals of Egypt were Memphis and Thebes (from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)
Thus it appears that the children of Ham mainly settled in the lands of Africa and the Middle East. It is of interest to note the Mizraim refers to the Egyptians--and since the Bible refers to the Egyptians fairly often, I will not mention all the verses that involve them (but will mention a few in the prophecy section of this page).
Ethiopians (which is a term that does not necessarily meant peoples in the modern nation of Ethiopia, but refers to certain African ethnic groups in the Hebrew) are mentioned throughout the Old Testament. The NKJV apparently incorrectly, shows:
43 He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels (Daniel 11:43).
The problem with the above translation is that the word "Ethiopians" is not in the Hebrew in the Old Testament. The word translated as "Ethiopians" is the plural of the word Kuwshiy, which according to Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary means descendants of Cush. Or in other words, people of dark skin color--and it is commonly translated as Cush or Cushite in many Old Testament passages. It is not necessarily those from Ethiopia.
There is one famous person that the Old Testament translated into English refers to as from Ethiopia, the famous Queen of Sheba. Yet, even term Sheba' does not usually refer to Ethiopia in the Bible, as it most of the time refers to specific, non-Ethiopian, people.
Thus most of the time the peoples of Cush or Ethiopia are mentioned in the Old Testament, they are referring to darker skinned people who often inhabited parts of Africa (and many of whom still do). Moses was married to a Cushite himself (Numbers 12:1, NIV),
Getting back to the Queen of Sheba, the Bible shows that she was wealthy, generous, and wanted to learn from Solomon:
1 Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions. 2 She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels that bore spices, very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart. 3 So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her. 4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, 5 the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers, and his entryway by which he went up to the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her. 6 Then she said to the king: "It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. 7 However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard. 8 Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! 9 Blessed be the LORD your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness." 10 Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, spices in great quantity, and precious stones. There never again came such abundance of spices as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-10).
Jesus even indicated that Queen of Sheba may have been converted (Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31) (more information on where she may have came from is in the article Is There a Future King of the South?).
The Old Testament also records that Egypt was a wealthy area (cf. Exodus 12:34-35) and that the children of Israel had many dealings with it.
Later in the Old Testament, the Bible records that it was an African, and not even an Israelite that saved the prophet Jeremiah's life and that this pleased God:
7 But Ebed-Melech, a Cushite, an official in the royal palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern. While the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate, 8 Ebed-Melech went out of the palace and said to him, 9 "My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all they have done to Jeremiah the prophet. They have thrown him into a cistern, where he will starve to death when there is no longer any bread in the city."
10 Then the king commanded Ebed-Melech the Cushite, "Take thirty men from here with you and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies."
11 So Ebed-Melech took the men with him and went to a room under the treasury in the palace. He took some old rags and worn-out clothes from there and let them down with ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern. 12 Ebed-Melech the Cushite said to Jeremiah, "Put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your arms to pad the ropes." Jeremiah did so, 13 and they pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern (Jeremiah 38:7-13, NIV).
16 "Go and tell Ebed-Melech the Cushite, 'This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I am about to fulfill my words against this city through disaster, not prosperity. At that time they will be fulfilled before your eyes. 17 But I will rescue you on that day, declares the LORD; you will not be handed over to those you fear. 18 I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the LORD.'" (Jeremiah 39:16-18, NIV).
So, it was an African, and not an ethnic Israelite that stood up first for God's prophet Jeremiah. He was wise and discerning. Africans are sometimes willing to stand up for what is right when others do not.
However, it should be mentioned that because of prophecies involving Cushites "Ethiopians" in the Old Testament, it appears that some will be involved in supporting the final King of the South of Daniel 11. An alliance that will not end well for most of its participants (Daniel 11:40-43; Ezekiel 30:2-8).
The New Testament discusses in some detail the conversion of at least one influential African and shows that God intended him to receive the message:
6 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot." 30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" 31 And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this:
"He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away,
And who will declare His generation?
For His life is taken from the earth."
34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, "I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?" 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" 37 Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." 38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:26-39).
According to in Fox’s Book of Martyrs, at least one of the twelve apostles preached into Africa:
Surnamed Zelotes, preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa, and even in Britain, in which latter country he was crucified, A.D. 74. (Fox's Book of Martyrs. Edited by William Byron Forbush. Copyright 1926/1967. Zondervan, Publishing, Grand Rapids (MI), pp. 3-5).
Another source agrees that the apostles got to Africa (Ruffin C.B. The Twelve: The Lives of the Apostles After Calvary. Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington (IN), 1997, pp. 17-171).
Early church history shows that there were both true as well as false Christians in northern Africa (as well as other places).
In the third century, once there were some few real Christians in northern Africa, Origen noted that there were two groups that he considered to be “Ebionites”, one who believed in the virgin birth (and that would be those who this paper suggests were also known as the Nazarenes) and those who did not:
Let it be admitted, moreover, that there are some who accept Jesus, and who boast on that account of being Christians, and yet would regulate their lives, like the Jewish multitude, in accordance with the Jewish law,—and these are the twofold sect of Ebionites, who either acknowledge with us that Jesus was born of a virgin, or deny this, and maintain that He was begotten like other human beings…(Origen. Contra Celsus, Book V, Chapter 61).
The true Christians in Africa were not those associated with Origen (please see what happened in Alexandria), nor those that denied the virgin birth. The true Christians were those professed Jesus and had practices similar to those of the Jews.
Origen of Alexandria, however, was not a true Christian. Origen even appeared to recognize several non-canonically writings as scripture and had been influenced by some Gnostic teachings. Sadly, Origen referred to The Epistle of Barnabas like he does actual parts of the Bible (Origen. Contra Celsus, Book I, Chapter 63), seems to also do so with the falsely titled Gospel of Peter (Origen. Commentary on Matthew, Book X, Verse 17. ANF), and even calls what I consider to be the “demonically-influenced” Shepherd of Hermas as “divinely inspired” (Cited in Metzger, Bruce M. The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance).
Antioch (which is now in present day Syria) probably resisted much of this Gnostic influence until some time into the early third century. And while Origen and some others recognized the falsely titled “Gospel of Peter” it was specifically condemned by Serapion, Bishop of Antioch. Serapion went to see a group that he thought was Christian in the seaside port of Rhossus, which is located southwest of Alexandria. When he got there he was disappointed to learn that they were reading this “Gospel of Peter” (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book VI, Chapter XII, verse 1, p. 125 ) and thus he realized that they were not all part of the “true faith”:
For we, brethren, receive both Peter and the other apostles as Christ; but we reject intelligently the writings falsely inscribed with them, knowing that such were not handed down to. When I visited you I supposed that all of you held the true faith…(Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book VI, Chapter XII, verses 3-4, p. 125-126).
Thus while there were some true Christians in northern Africa in the early part of the third century, Serapion ran into false ones. And like the rest of the world, sadly the majority of people in Africa (and elsewhere) who profess the religion of Christ, are not practicing the religion of the Christ of the Bible as the true church was only expected to be a "little flock" (for more information, please see the article The History of Early Christianity).
It probably should also be mentioned that around the time of Serapion, at least one African leader stood up to allegorists like Origen. The Catholic Encyclopedia reported:
An Egyptian bishop, Nepos, taught the Chiliastic error that there would be a reign of Christ upon earth for a thousand years, a period of corporal delights; he founded this doctrine upon the Apocalypse in a book entitled "Refutation of the Allegorizers" (Chapman, John. "Dionysius of Alexandria." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 14 Aug. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05011a.htm>.).
A nineteenth century anti-millennial scholar named Giovanni Battista Pagani went as far as to write the following about Nepos and those who supported the millennium:
…all those who teach a millennium framed according to Jewish ideas, saying that during the millennium, Mosaic law will be restored…These are called Judaical Millenarians, not as being Jews, but as having invented and upheld a millennium according to Jewish taste. The principal authors of this error were Nepos, an African Bishop, against whom St. Dionysius wrote his two books on Promises; and Apollinaris, whom St. Epiphanius confound in his work against heresies (Pagani, Giovanni Battista. Published by Charles Dolman, 1855. Original from Oxford University. Digitized Aug 15, 2006, pp. 252-253).
It should be of interest to note that neither Nepos nor Apollinaris were Jews, but were condemned for having a religion that had “Jewish” beliefs. And since Apollinaris is a Catholic saint (see article Apollinaris of Hierapolis), it should be clear that the respected and non-Jewish Christian leaders in the early third century clearly did hold to ideas that were condemned by the allegorists.
The following from Dionysius clearly shows that Nepos was still respected after he died (Nepos died prior to Dionysius’ mid-third century writing of the following) and really did not refute him from a biblical perspective:
But as they produce a certain composition by Nepos, on which they insist very strongly, as if it demonstrated incontestably that there will be a (temporal) reign of Christ upon the earth, I have to say, that in many other respects I accept the opinion of Nepos, and love him at once for his faith, and his laboriousness, and his patient study in the Scriptures, as also for his great efforts in psalmody, by which even now many of the brethren are delighted. I hold the man, too, in deep respect still more, inasmuch as he has gone to his rest before us. Nevertheless the truth is to be prized and reverenced above all things else. And while it is indeed proper to praise and approve ungrudgingly anything that is said aright, it is no less proper to examine and correct anything which may appear to have been written unsoundly. If he had been present then himself, and had been stating his opinions orally, it would have been sufficient to discuss the question together without the use of writing, and to endeavour to convince the opponents, and carry them along by interrogation and reply. But the work is published, and is, as it seems to some, of a very persuasive character; and there are unquestionably some teachers, who hold that the law and the prophets are of no importance, and who decline to follow the Gospels, and who depreciate the epistles of the apostles, and who have also made large promises regarding the doctrine of this composition, as though it were some great and hidden mystery, and who, at the same time, do not allow that our simpler brethren have any sublime and elevated conceptions either of our Lord's appearing in His glory and His true divinity, or of our own resurrection from the dead, and of our being gathered together to Him, and assimilated to Him, but, on the contrary, endeavour to lead them to hope for things which are trivial and corruptible, and only such as what we find at present in the kingdom of God. And since this is the case, it becomes necessary for us to discuss this subject with our brother Nepos just as if he were present (Dionysius of Alexandria. From the Two Books on the Promises. Copyright © 2008 by Kevin Knight. Viewed 8/14/08).
In other words, Nepos knew his Bible, but did not hold to the same position that allegorists like Dionysius of Alexandria held. But those who held to Judaeo-Christian beliefs, while slightly chastised, simply were almost never condemned by the early allegorists. Mainly, because the early allegorists knew that the original Christians held to beliefs and practices that the allegorists considered to be Jewish--and at this stage, the allegorists simply did not have the ability to condemn the literalists because most who professed Christ at the time knew that the literalists had ties to the original apostolic church. (More information on faithful Christians in northern African locations can be found in the article Arabic Nazarenes May Have Kept Original Christian Practices.)
Going a little further south, it should be noted that the actual area of Ethiopia itself claims a very long history of Sabbath-keeping.
It has been reported that Ethiopia has more people who keep some version of the seventh-day Sabbath than any other country on earth. Notice how long they claim to have been observing it:
W. W. Oliphant, an African church leader in the early years of the twentieth century says that the "Sabbath in Ethiopia [has] been kept from the days of Nimrod, about 2140 B.C. (read Gen. 10:8, 10), that is 700 years before the birth of Moses. . . . Africans or Ethiopians had been Sabbath observers from the days of Nimrod" (Quoted in Bradford C.E. Sabbath Roots, The African Connection. L. Brown and Sons, Barre (VT), 1999, p. 26).
Thus it appears that Africans were familiar with the idea of a seventh-day Sabbath prior to the giving of the ten commandments on Mount Sinai. Nimrod founded Babel (Genesis 10:9-10). It should be noted that historians do believe that the ancient Babylonians taught that God ceased from His works on the Sabbath--however, they (the ancient Babylonians) twisted the reason and said that it was the seventh day that God ceased His destruction of humans through ceasing a six-day flood causing rain. Perhaps it should also be mentioned that since the Queen of Sheba in the Bible is claimed to have been from Ethiopia, if Sabbath-keeping originated in that country prior to the time of Christ, it is possible that she brought back that knowledge after meeting with Solomon (1 Kings 10:2-13) or since she knew about Solomon prior to her visit with him (1 Kings 10:1), that others (perhaps from Israel or Ethiopia) had brought the knowledge of the Sabbath to that part of Africa prior. Jesus mentioned that He was greater than Solomon and if she listened to Solomon, all should preferentially listen to Him (Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31)--and Jesus Himself kept the Sabbath.
In Ethiopia in the fourth century A.D., Frumentius reported:
"And we assemble on Saturday," he continues ; "not that we are infected with Judaism, but to worship Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath" (Davis, Tamar. A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches. 1851; Reprinted 1995 by Commonwealth Publishing, Salt Lake City, pp. 41-42).
Notice some of the statements by Ethiopian Emperor Galawdewos (A.D. 1540-1559):
We do celebrate the Sabbath, because God, after He had finished the Creation of the World, rested thereon...and that especially, since Christ came not to dissolve the law but to fulfill it. It is therefore not in the imitation of the Jews, but in obedience to Christ, and His holy apostles, that we observe that day (Quoted in Bradford C.E. Sabbath Roots, The African Connection. L. Brown and Sons, Barre (VT), 1999, p. 26).
Thus Africa has long had groups of people who have kept the seventh-day Sabbath. In the 21st century, there are Church of God groups throughout Africa.
The Continuing Church of God (CCOG) has congregations in certain African countries such as Kenyan , Nigeria,, Ghana, Malawi, Ethiopia, and Tanzania (see Congregations of the Continuing Church of God). We also have members/tentative supporters that we know of in Uganda, South Africa, and Sudan. I personally visited Africa back in 1985, was able to visit Africa again in 2014 (information related to a conference held there is in the post CCOG Letter and Nairobi Conference), and plan to be part of a conference of CCOG leaders in Africa in 2017.
Here is an older listing of congregations and members in Kenya, as sent by Pastor Evans Ochieng on July 31, 2016 and updated 08/01/16:
Greetings from Kenya,
We thank God for the great work which has been done in Africa mostly
in Kenya. When I was joining Continuing Church of God some 2 years
back, I did not expect the work which I have seen in Kenya right now.
The steps that continuing church of God have moved in Africa is quite
far. We have 25 active congregations. Namely-
LOWER NYAKCH—8 MEMERS
KISII EBEREGE-----85 MEMBERS
KISII SENGERA---- 15 MEMBERS
KISII NYABIORE-----43 MEMBERS
MIGORI A-----------30 MEMBERS
MIGORI B----------20 MEMBERS
KURIA KIHANCHA -13 MEMBERS
We thank the continuing church of God for helping most of
congregations in Kenya to get 9 meeting halls to help the brethren for
Sabbath services. ...
We have members in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria and Mozambique. We
also have one family in Uganda.
The Continuing Church of God has sent songbooks, Bible News Prophecy magazines, other books, history booklets, literature, and other support to those in Africa. In addition to English, the Continuing Church of God has had literature, such as the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God (see KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI) and our Study the Bible Course (see Somo 1 Katika Kiswahili), translated into Kiswahili which is the 'linga-Franca' in many nations in Africa. Our Bible News Prophecy magazine have been translated into Kiswahili (e.g. Okt-Des 2014 UNABII WA BIBLIA: MwanaFiladelfia wa Karne ya 21 ni nani?) and Dholuo (e.g. Dwe Mar Achiel - Dwe Mar Adek 2015: Wheche Manyien Mokor E Muma). We also have a songbook in Kiswahili: Nakala ya Nyimbo za Biblia. We have one booklet in and Ekegusii: Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete. We are currently looking at translating literature into at least other African languages (including Zulu and Chichewa). We now also have messages from African ministers at our CCOGAfrica YouTube channel.
There are groups in Ghana, Malawi, Malawi, and Ethiopia who are also with us. We have over 2000 people in Africa.
Although it reaches more people on radio and the internet in places other than Africa, the Continuing Church of God has has more members and more congregations in Africa than any other continent.
Here is some information about some of the plans the Continuing Church of God laid out for Africa:
Nearly all in Kenya are comfortable with the English language. Most of those in Kenya and Tanzania are also comfortable in Kiswahili. Yet, in those areas, as well as Uganda, many are more comfortable in their native tribal languages. As the bulk of those with the CCOG are comfortable with the Lua language, I proposed to the leaders that we begin to translate the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God into Dholuo, produce a songbook in the Luo language, our Continuing History of the Church of God booklet into Luo, and ultimately, our Bible News Prophecy magazine into Luo.
We currently produce our Bible News Prophecy magazine in the English, Kiswahili, Mandarin Chinese, Tagalog, and Spanish languages. Although our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, was originally just produced in English, prior to the conference we had begun a project to start to produce an edition in Kiswahili. A songbook in the Lua language is now in progress and hopefully something will be ready before the Feast of Tabernacles in 2014.
During the Nairobi conference in April 2014, I laid out plans for reaching Africa. This included going over how our current internet sites, field ministry, and radio interviews cover this region of the world. I also revealed our plans for an Africa specific website, which is expected to have our materials online in at least three languages, with other languages probable in the future. I laid out that we should have congregation locations, leaders emails, and even photographs of meeting sites so that it would be easier for interested individuals to attend with CCOG.
The leaders from Kenya and Tanzania were supportive of the plans and seemed impressed that the CCOG was truly interested in Africa and its part in the work.
A Door That is in the Process of Opening Even Further
Although at this time, relatively few in Kenya and Tanzania have direct access to the internet without going to an internet café (which few can afford), I noticed that nearly all had cellular telephones.
Once “smart phones” become popular in Kenya (I had not noticed any while there), we should be able to reach many, many more than we have been able to over the internet. Our plans for the internet and congregations should be ready by the time many of those in East Africa will have additional abilities to access them. This “door” is opened for Philadelphians (Revelation 3:7-8) to proclaim the gospel (cf. Acts 14:28, 1 Corinthians 16:9; 2 Corinthians 2:12) of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14) is being opened more for us and we expect to go through it to reach even more. Please pray that God will more fully open this door for us (cf. Colossians 4:3).
Many aspects of the final phase of the work are right now going on behind the scenes, and like the situation in Kenya, be ready when the time is right for others to hear the message of the Kingdom of God,
Africa is somewhat functioning as another “proving ground” that the way this work is being led is the way that Jesus Christ wants us to. We in CCOG also expect to lead what the Bible refers to as the “short work” in Romans 9:28 and many steps are being taken related to that as well.
Additionally, from a physical perspective, there are tremendous needs in Africa and we are always trying to figure out how to best serve the needs of our brethren, including widows and orphans, there.
Despite physical poverty, Africa is a significant part of the final phase of the work. It is my hope and prayer that the comments, perceptions, and support there may serve as motivations to those in other parts of the world to better follow their Philadelphian example and support CCOG as we lead the final phase of the work.
The work of God through the Continuing Church of God is bearing fruit (cf. Matthew 7:15-20) around the world (Matthew 28:19-20) and Africa is showing that this is so.
To add to the above, literature for the the Continuing Church of God is also in the process of being translated into the African language of Ekegusii. The Continuing Church of God has many congregations in Africa (see Congregations of the Continuing Church of God) as well as scattered supporters in lands such as Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda, and South Africa.
Africa is important.
There are various prophecies that will affect the peoples of Africa.
Some rather negative ones involve those African nations affiliated with the future King of the South. Notice:
1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, prophesy and say: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says:
"'Wail and say,
"Alas for that day!"
3 For the day is near,
the day of the LORD is near-
a day of clouds,
a time of doom for the nations.
4 A sword will come against Egypt,
and anguish will come upon Cush.
When the slain fall in Egypt,
her wealth will be carried away
and her foundations torn down.
5 Cush and Put, Lydia and all Arabia, Libya and the people of the covenant land will fall by the sword along with Egypt.
6 "'This is what the LORD says:
"'The allies of Egypt will fall
and her proud strength will fail.
From Migdol to Aswan
they will fall by the sword within her,
declares the Sovereign LORD.
7 "'They will be desolate
among desolate lands,
and their cities will lie
among ruined cities.
8 Then they will know that I am the LORD,
when I set fire to Egypt
and all her helpers are crushed.
9 "'On that day messengers will go out from me in ships to frighten Cush out of her complacency. Anguish will take hold of them on the day of Egypt's doom, for it is sure to come (Ezekiel 30:1-9, NIV).
More on northern Africa and the Middle East can be found in the article The Bible and the Arab World In History and Prophecy.
Prior to the actual domination of Babylonian European Empire, all of Africa will receive the witness of the gospel message. Notice what the Bible records:
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).
The "end" being discussed above is the end of this church age, as the time of tribulation begins (see vs. 21) then. What this means for Africans (and all other peoples) is that they will have had a witness just prior to the tribulation. This witness will ultimately help them understand what really will be happening in the world and will set the stage for the ultimate conversion of nearly all African peoples.
Sadly, at first, most will not be converted, but will instead when African and other peoples see the European Beast power they will marvel:
8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is (Revelation 17:8).
They will marvel because of the great wealth, because they did not think Europe would gain such prominence, and because its leadership will have performed various signs and wonders. The Bible shows that after the re-emerging European Empire finally forms, that it will increase the prosperity to many nations. And to a degree, the leaders and merchants in Africa are likely to benefit from this prosperity (cf. Revelation 18:15-17). But this is not a power to be trusted.
Note the following:
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:3-10).
Because of these actions, people throughout the world, including in the African world will (to some degree) worship a false leader:
Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:1-9).
And when you see these things coming to pass, while your nation may be deceived, you do not have to be.
God will provide another witness to the entire world at that time:
And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth... 7 Now when they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves (Revelation 11:3-4,7-9).
And although the above seems a little bleak, understand that people from many nations will have noticed the two witnesses.
Furthermore, many will understand the message of those witnesses and many will be called of God then:
I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" (Revelation 7:9-10).
Those of Africa will certainly be among those of "all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues" who will have responded. And more will respond after they are resurrected from the dead. Hence when you see the two witnesses rise up performing miracles and preaching against the future European Beast power, you should resist. More on the two witnesses can be found in the article Who Are The Two Witnesses?
In Revelation 16, we also see that God will issue punishment to nearly all of humanity after Babylon (the European Empire) falls:
Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!" And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great (Revelation 16:17-21).
God sends the punishments to get all humans, including those of Africa, to repent, but they most will refuse at first:
And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory (Revelation 16:9).
Since the African nations are prophecied to be involved with Babylon, what about you?
Does this mean that you are doomed?
No. God does not require "group salvation". The Apostle Paul wrote:
...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling... (Philippians 2:12)
Thus, your personal relationship with God is not determined by what your fellow countrymen do.
Can, will, God help you during the coming tribulation?
Notice the prophecy for this latter time tribulation in the Hebrew scriptures:
29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice 31 (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them. (Deuteronomy 4:29-31)
Thus, help from God during these hard times will be available to the truly sincere who really strive for it.
After all the prophesied battles and punishments, the tribulation will end. And Christ will return:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matthew 24:29-30).
And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:16).
This will usher in a kingdom that will be established for 1,000 years:
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years (Revelation 20:4-6).
And people of many nations, including Africans, will be part of this kingdom:
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb (Revelation 7:9).
(An article of related interest may include Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism and a 6000 Year Plan?)
After the thousand years are over, there will be problems, and then all will be resurrected:
Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works (Revelation 20:7-13).
It is important to note that all remaining are judged at the second resurrection, but not all are condemned. However, prior to the second resurrection, apparently a Russian-led confederation will rebel and attempt to attack God's people (apparently in Jerusalem)--but they will not be successful. They will be destroyed, but will be raised in the second resurrection.
When is Salvation Available?
Ultimately, however, the Bible shows that God will call everyone who ever lived, including all the Africans. Notice:
28 Your God has commanded your strength;
Strengthen, O God, what You have done for us.
29 Because of Your temple at Jerusalem,
Kings will bring presents to You.
30 Rebuke the beasts of the reeds,
The herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples,
Till everyone submits himself with pieces of silver.
Scatter the peoples who delight in war.
31 Envoys will come out of Egypt;
Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hands to God (Psalm 68:28-31).
24 In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria-- a blessing in the midst of the land, 25 whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, "Blessed is Egypt My people..." (Isaiah 19:24-25).
The mainstream "Christian" view correctly teaches that there is salvation in no other than Jesus (Acts 4:10-12), as "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (vs.12).
But what happens to the multitudes in Africa who have not heard the truth of Christ? What about those to do not respond per Deuteronomy 4:29-31? And what happens to those born before Christ's earthly ministry? Recall that the Bible teaches that after Adam sinned, humankind was blocked from the tree of life as God had it guarded so that humans would not be able to access it on their own (Genesis 3:22-24).
Even the basic Protestant view is that unless one professes belief in Jesus prior to the first death, then salvation will be unavailable (please see the article Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants). It is perhaps because of the difference between this view and that of the Church of God, that Protestants tend to label Church of God groups as cults.
God has worked with Africans in the past and indicated that many in the Continuing Church of God would be of African heritage (see Dreams, the Bible, and the Continuing Church of God). This does not mean that none could leave us, but only that Africans are part of God's plan.
The Continuing Church of God teaches that God is only calling a relatively few people during this age with the Day of Pentecost (also called the Day of Firstfruits, Numbers 28:26) partially explaining this. "Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures" (James 1:18).
Jesus and the Continuing Church of God teach,
44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him (John 6:44).
14 For many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14).
14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:14).
Protestants and Catholics tend to feel, correctly, that God uses ministers to preach (Romans 10:14). Yet, the message is not always clear. In Isaiah 6:9-11 God teaches,
"Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed." Then I said, "Lord, how long?" And He answered: "Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, The houses are without a man, The land is utterly desolate".
In other words, the bulk of the people are not to understand until after a time of great desolation.
Thus, is God going to condemn those for what He has not let them understand?
Protestant and Roman Catholic theology tends to say yes.
Those in the Continuing Church of God say no.
Unless the someone has committed the unpardonable sin (which is unlikely) they will be judged in the future.
Hence, those in Africa are not condemned to suffer forever for what they really do not understand.
Those who were uncalled in this age (including the vast majority of humans of all ethnic groups, including those that have long been dead) will be offered an opportunity for salvation.
And nearly all of them will accept it. The Continuing Church of God teaches that God will ultimately give every individual an opportunity for salvation--and that nearly every individual will accept that opportunity.
This means that ultimately that nearly all Africans who have ever lived will be in the permanent kingdom of God. Notice that the Bible clearly shows that this includes the African peoples:
It shall come to pass in that day That the LORD shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea (Isaiah 11:11).
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:2-4).
God has not forsaken Africa. God loves the African peoples and has called and worked with Africans throughout history.
In the 21st century, Africa's wealth apparently is prophesied to increase, but it will still have problems.
Just because the whole world (and not just Africa) will be deceived by the rising European Beast power, you do not have to be. Hopefully this article has given you some reasons to look at the world and your life and will motivate to come to God now on His terms. To learn more about what happened to Christianity, a good place to start may be The History of Early Christianity page. May God call you today and grant you the understanding so that you will "pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36).
Because most Africans (as well as the non-Africans) do not strive know the true God now, God will punish them as well as the other inhabitants on the Earth.
However, since God is a God of love, He intends to resurrect the African and offer them salvation. A salvation that nearly all will accept as nearly all the African who ever lived will be in the kingdom of God. A kingdom without fear or death or sorrow. A glorious kingdom. And that is the prophesied future for nearly all of the Africans.
Items of related interest may include:
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Will God call everyone? Will everyone have an opportunity for salvation? Does God's plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account? Related sermon videos include Universal Offer of Salvation I: God is love and Universal Offer of Salvation II: The Age to Come and the 'Little Flock' and Universal Offer of Salvation III: All Are to Know Jesus, But When? and Universal Offer of Salvation IV: Will the Guilty be Pardoned? and Universal Offer of Salvation V: All Israel Will be Saved?
Arabic Nazarenes May Have Kept Original Christian Practices Were their faithful Arabs who held to original Christianity?
Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God "Contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3, NKJV), "Let brotherly love (Philadelphia) continue" (Hebrews 13:1) "…continuing stedfastly in the teaching of the apostles" (Acts 2:42 YLT). So, what does that really mean in terms of specific beliefs? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Declaración de las Doctrinas de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. Here is a related link in Tagalog: Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. Here is a related link in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明. Here is a related link in Kiswahili: KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI. Here is a related link in Dutch: Verklaring van geloofspunten van de Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Deutsche (German): Glaubenserklärung der Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Italiano: Dichiarazione del Credo della Continuing Church of God. Here is related link in the French language: Déclaration des croyances de L’Église Continue de Dieu.
Thiel B. Africa: Its Biblical Past and Prophesied Future. www.cogwriter.com/africa.htm 2008/2009/2010/2011 /2012/2013/2014/2015/2016 1231
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