African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem - Beliefs

Beliefs

The group maintain that the Ancient Israelites are the ancestors of black Americans. They reject the term 'Jew' as inappropriate because of their belief they descend from all 12 tribes, not just that of Judah. While rejecting the religious forms of both Judaism and Christianity, the Hebrews maintain the divine inspiration of the Tanakh, as well as valuing the New Testament as a record of the words of Yeshuah, one of an ongoing line of 'messiahs' sent by God to keep the people of Israel in the ways of righteousness.

The core of the group's lifestyle is the Tanakh, Ben Ammi claims that "the Law and the Prophets...are the light; they are the essence of what is required to set man on the path and show him the way back to his Maker." However the group reject the traditions of Rabbinic Judaism including the Talmud as inauthentic to Hebrew religion.

Ben Ammi claims that Africans are the victims of "a cruel plot to control us, an international religious plot that came about as a result of Blacks disobeying the law and commandments of God." The enslavement of Africans is seen as punishment for straying from the righteous path and he cites an "oral tradition that our people were cursed by God for violating His laws, statutes and commandments." He links this to Deuteronomy 28:68, which speaks of a second captivity in a second Egypt which the Israelites would be carried to in ships. The "Euro-gentile" establishment attempted "a deliberate scheme to conceal the truth that ancient Hebrews were Black" and "perpetuated the white Jesus deception".

In the attempt to overcome the history of slavery and the bondage in America, Ammi argues that it is essential to "reexamine and redefine all things...we must question every facet of existence under Euro-gentile dominion." The ability to name and classify the word and social concepts Ammi calls "The Power to Define", which in the wrong hands is "one of the greatest weapons that can be used to control men and nations," but is the key to salvation from past oppression. Thus, Ammi claims that true freedom can never be found within a society that is intrinsically corrupt but can only be attained by establishing a new society based solely on the laws of God: "No government, no party or system can bring salvation unto the Children of God...Their salvation is only of God."

Based on the Hebrew word עבד, Ammi has argued that the distinction between work and worship is false - in fact, the activity we pursue with our lives is both our work and our worship. Therefore, "every job that does not enhance God as creator is the worship of the devil. There is no neutral position."

However, Ammi's concern is not solely for his own people but for the whole of humanity - the role of the Hebrew Israelite community to serve as "a light unto the gentiles": "Black America...were initially chosen by God to guide the world out of its state of ignorance." Recently the group has also begun to claim that Hebrew status is not solely from genealogy, but can be conferred by spiritual behaviour

Ammi admits no doctrine of afterlife, preferring to focus on life on earth: "Heaven is the reality of the righteous as they live, not a place for spirits after death." This is part of his attempt to reconstruct a vibrant, living spirituality away from the abstract doctrines of "Euro-gentile" religion.

As well as considering Jews to not be descendents of the Israelites, they claim that the Palestinian Arab population are not descendents of Ishmael: "Our studies and experience have shown that the present-day inhabitants of this region are not the original people of the land. The majority of those today defined by modern historians as Arabs, are veritably the descendents of European Crusaders."

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