AFRICANS IN THE BABY JESUS’ BLOODLINE
A Biblical Response to Megyn Kelly’s Claim That Santa Claus and Jesus are White
By William Dwight Mckissic, Sr.
“By the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa is white but this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. Santa is what he is and just so you know, we are debating this because someone wrote about it, kids. Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change. Jesus was a white man, too. He was a historical figure. That’s a verifiable fact — as is Santa. I just want the kids watching to know that.” (http://ishouldbelaughing.blogspot.com/search?q=megyn+kelly)
Kelly offered no supporting evidence for Santa or Jesus being White. She was simply echoing the thinking of the culture that surrounded and produced her. In the case of Jesus, Kelly was ethnicizing Deity, and in the case of Santa Claus she was ethnicizing mythology.
By declaring Jesus and Santa White, Kelly consciously or sub-consciously empowered any person who is also White with a sense of high self-esteem and racial supremacy based on her perception of the ethnicity of the historical Jesus and Santa Claus. If Jesus is God’s Son and He is White, what color would that make His Father? If God, Jesus, and Santa are White, what are the inherent implications of those notions?
The implications of Kelly’s remarks are dangerous and deceptive. Inadvertently, perhaps, but Kelly’s remarks were rooted in a racial and racist DNA that America was constructed on; and the residual effect still exists.
There are two reasons that I never taught my four children the Santa Claus myth: (1) Once they discovered that Santa Claus was a myth, I didn’t want to run the risk of them also thinking of Jesus in the same manner. (2) Rather than giving the credit to an overweight Anglo man from the North Pole who brought gifts once a year to place around the Christmas tree, my wife and I decided to give the credit to their overweight African-American father and loving mother who maintained a relationship with them all year long.
Even if one argues as Bill O’Reilly does that the Santa Claus myth is based on a historical person that lived in Turkey in the 4th Century; one has to also admit that the vast majority of people in Asia Minor or modern day Turkey, then and now, don’t fit the description of most blond-haired blue-eyed Europeans. Although O’Reilly joins Kelly in proclaiming Santa Claus as White, the vast majority of people in Turkey and the Middle East simply don’t look like the popular depictions of the American White Santa Claus. As most Middle Eastern people, the people are olive or tannish in complexion with black hair. Megan Kelly and Bill O’Reilly are simply wrong. The color of Santa is the color of the parents who provide the Christmas gifts.
In all fairness to Kelly, after receiving much criticism for her ethnocentrism, unfounded claims, she later said that her claims regarding Santa Claus being White were tongue-in-check, and the color of Jesus was not a settled matter. Nevertheless, because her earlier expressed viewpoints regarding Jesus’ ethnicity is a common view in America, and in contradiction of the Bible, I feel compelled to address her claim related to Jesus being White.
If Jesus is White, that would have huge implications and impact on evangelism, apologetics, Christian Education and the study of biblical backgrounds.
Was Megyn Kelly right? Was Jesus a White Man when He walked this earth? We must look to the Bible for an answer to this question. According to the Bible, Jesus was a person of mixed ancestry with physical features that would reflect a composite of the three basic races of mankind. Jesus can be claimed by Asians because He was born in an Asian country. Israel is on the Continent of Asia, located in Southwest Asia; Jesus can be claimed by Africans because there are four African-Hamitic ladies mentioned by name in the bloodline or genealogy of Jesus. None of the Jewish wives are mentioned—only the African-Hamitic wives (Matthew 1:1-16). Jesus can be claimed by Caucasians because His dominant people-group category was Semitic (Luke 3:36-38). He was a descendant of Noah’s son, Shem. Semitic people, although they range in skin complexion from chocolate to chalk, are anthropologically and academically classified as Anglo or Caucasian. Therefore, Jesus can be classified as a mestizo—a person of missed ancestry. He can be legitimately claimed by all people groups. It is simply dishonest and historically inaccurate for any one people group to exclusively claim Him. My thesis is: We often overlook the fact that Jesus was a Jew—who loved Israel—and four African women were in His bloodline, and was born into a Greek and Roman social and political culture.
The Jewish people are a people of mixed ancestry according to Exodus 12:38. They comprise a mixture of African-Egyptian-Hamitic blood and Semitic blood. They later mingled with Europeans. The Sephardic Jews of North Africa and the Mediterranean carry the sickle cell anemia trait, which is commonly carried by African descendants.
According to John MacArthur, all racial-people groups existed before the flood and after the flood:
“The fact of the matter is that all human beings came from Adam, through Noah. Which means that all there is in the genetic code for all human races was in Adam and Eve, and all that there is of genetic coding that is in all the races that exist today was in the family of Noah. That has all kinds of interesting implications. Because in the world you have so much diversity; a very dark-skinned people, very light-skinned people, you have various features of certain kinds of people that are identifiable; Caucasoid, Negroid, astrolid, etc. Mongoloid. Particular descriptions of physical features, and yet all these differences in skin color and all these differences in facial look and body design and the question is often asked, where did this diversity come from and the answer is the genetic code for all of that was in Adam and Eve. And the genetic code for all of the humanity in all of its diversity today was in the family of Noah. Everyone from pigmies and dwarfs and aborigines to seven foot two Zulus, and basketball players, came from Noah and his wife. All physical features, all skin colors, all physical characteristics, all eye shapes, noses, eye colors, hair colors, etc. All of the necessary genetic coding was in Adam and Eve, and all of it was in those eight people. In fact, all of it was in those three couples, the combinations multiplied by each new union almost without limit.”
“Further along the line thinking this through, for a few centuries after the flood, everybody was one big family. One language, one family, one culture. And so everybody intermarried. No barriers to marriage. And many believe that that tended to keep the skin color and the physical features generally away from extremes. Right? You have the whole of humanity all sort of living together. There are no barriers. There’s one culture. And so it tends to keep features and skin color away from extremes because all are exposed constantly to the full gene pool.
Very light skin sometimes appears, very dark skin sometimes appears, features vary, but because the people intermarry, the average stays generally similar. And biologists will tell you that to obtain distinct separation of color and distinct separation of features, it is necessary to break a large breeding group into smaller groups and keep them completely separated so they don’t interbreed. So you have to pull people off and isolate them, and then they would begin to be dominated by the genetic features that are within that people group. That’s exactly what happened at the Tower of Babel.”
To express it in “hood language,” the people of the biblical world were not “lily white.” Therefore, the bloodline of Jesus could not have been “lily white.” The Bible testifies to the fact that the original occupants of the land of Israel/Canaan were the people of Ham (I Chronicles 4:40), and four of them show up in the bloodline of Jesus. Again, Ham was the progenitor or ancestral father of the African and some of the Asiatic people.
The biblical world consisted of people of all colors. The largest people group in the biblical world was people of Hamitic-African descent (Gen. 10:6-20). Ham had thirty descendants. Shem had twenty-six descendants (10:21-31). And Japheth had fourteen descendants (Gen. 10:2-5). That is the reason that there are more dark and dusky skinned people in the world than fairer complexioned people. Although disputed, the etymology of the word Ham means “dark or black.” The etymology of the word Shem means “dusky or olive colored.” The etymology of the word Japheth means “bright or fair.” Japheth is considered the father or progenitor of the European people. Shem is considered to have been the progenitor or ancestral father of the Semitic people; the Jewish, Arabic and other Middle Eastern People. The entire African Continent was named at one point: “the Land of Ham.” Again, although Jesus was primarily of Semitic lineage, there were people of African-Hamitic descent in His bloodline. Four of the five ladies mentioned in the bloodline of Jesus descended from Ham.
Before I name persons of African-Hamitic descent in the bloodline of Jesus, I want to share with you biblical descriptions of physical features of Jesus:
“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.” (Isaiah 53:2)
This verse suggests that Jesus would not make the world’s ten most beautiful person’s list. Physically, Jesus was not a “beautiful” person. The attraction to Jesus would not be based on physical appearance. The implication is that His physical features might repel one, rather than attract one. In his Genesis Commentary, Martin Luther said that Noah’s son, Ham, had a “foul” complexion. Interestingly, Jesus and Ham were not considered “beautiful.”
The Apostle John was exiled to the isle of Patmos for the Word of God (Revelation 1:9). While at Patmos, John was granted a glimpse of the glorified Savior (Revelation 1:10-17). In Revelation 1:14-15, John gives us a description of the glorified Son of God.
“His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.” (Revelation 1:14, 15 KJV)
John used the word “white” twice in these two verses to describe the physical features of Jesus Christ. Permit me to define this word “white” based on the original Greek word “Leukon(s)” translated “white” twice in this verse. In Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, pages 212 and 213, we discover that “Leukos” is an adjective describing a color that can be compared to “ripened grain.” This same word “Leukos” is also found in John 4:35 as a reference to ripened grain. The Greek word “Lampros” is translated “white” in Revelation 15:6 to describe “white linen.” A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament, page 472, by Arndt, Giugrich and Bauer, explains that the word “Leukon(s),” Greek for white, included for the Greek many shades of that color and gives as an illustration our “white” wine. John tells us his feet were like unto brass. Brass, ripened grain and white wine are all similar in color. This apparently was the color of the glorified Christ, which is consistent with the meaning and complexion of Shem and Semitic people, “dusky” and “olive-colored.” Caucasian Christians usually portray Jesus in their paintings as a man with Caucasian features. Hamitic Christians in recent years usually portray Jesus in their paintings as a man with Negroid features. It will do Black and White Christians well who have strong feelings about this issue to hear the words of Tom Skinner.
“One thing is certain; whatever contemporary man decides about the “color” of religion, Christ stands outside the debate. He was God in the form of man—neither Black nor White.”
The historical Jesus is the Holy Son of God. He came to reveal God, redeem man and reign over our hearts. Regardless of his complexion and physical features, I’m glad that through Jesus Christ God demonstrated his love for all mankind in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8), the just for the unjust (1 Peter 3:18) that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). I’m glad that I’ve met the Holy and historical Jesus by faith. Have you?
The four Hamitic-African ladies in the bloodline of Jesus were Rahab, Tamar, Ruth, and Bathsheba. Rahab, Tamar, and Ruth were descendants of the Canaanites. The Canaanites were descendants of Noah’s son, Ham. Africa and Egypt have been referred to as “The Land of Ham” in the Bible and ancient history. Bathsheba can also be traced through the lineage of Ham (Gen. 10:7). Prominent biblical characters such as David and Solomon who are listed in the lineage of Jesus also descended from these four non-Jewish ladies. Biblical descriptions of David and Solomon are described as “ruddy” (I Samuel 17:42; Song of Solomon 5:10, 11).
Solomon’s complexion and hair features are described in Solomon 5:10-11. This description is apparently given by the woman who described herself as “Black but beautiful” (Song of Solomon 1:5). (David Adamo, Ph.D. in Old Testament from Baylor University, states that this phrase could just as easily have been translated “Black and beautiful” and still remained true to the Hebrew text.) This dark-complexioned lady described Solomon’s features as follows:
My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as raven (Song of Solomon 5:10, 11)
The Living Bible reads:
My beloved one is tanned and handsome, better than ten thousand others! His head is purest gold and he has wavy raven hair (Son of Solomon 5:10, 11).
The Hebrew word for “white” in the King James Version is “tsach” (5:10). The definition given is “dazzling” or “sunny” or “bright.” The Hebrew word translated “ruddy” in the King James version is “Adom” from the root word “Adam,” which means taken out of red earth.” I believe from these two verses we can deduce two facts regarding Solomon’s physical features: (1) his head was as gold — meaning tan, dazzling, sunny, or bright and (2) his hair was black, bushy and wavy.
In the South one was considered Black if one could trace “one drop” of Black blood in one’s heritage. It was often said, the blood of a Negro is like the blood of Jesus—one drop makes you whole. However, it would be unfair to impose the “one-drop” Southern rule on Jesus born in Bethlehem of Judea. Therefore, I do not claim that Jesus was Black. Nor do I claim that He was White. Jesus was Jewish, Semitic. But having been born in brown Asia, hidden in Black Africa, and categorized by anthropologist and scholars as Caucasian based on His Jewish roots—Jesus can be legitimately claimed racially by all. Red and yellow, Black and White, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves all the people of the world.
If Megyn Kelly is searching for Jesus’ racial roots, if she promises not to go back to Europe, I will promise not to go back to Africa, and we will meet up somewhere on Noah’s Ark. Ultimately we will end up at Nazareth and Bethlehem where Asians, Africans, Europeans, and Middle Eastern people meet and celebrate historically (Psalm 87).
Color is inconsequential in the New Jerusalem. And when it comes to the color of Jesus, it would be better if we all would probably make it an inconsequential matter.
The two preachers who have impacted the kingdom the most in the past fifty years were Billy Graham and Martin Luther King, Jr. They both made interesting comments about the color of Jesus.
Alan Blum reported:
“Even Martin Luther King Jr. claimed that Jesus was white, after being asked why God created Jesus as a white man.
King responded that the color of Christ’s skin didn’t matter. Jesus would have been just as important ‘if His skin had been black.’ He ‘is no less significant because His skin was white.’”
Billy Graham stated, according to Blum:
“Famed evangelist Billy Graham preached in the 1950s, and then wrote emphatically in his autobiography ‘Just As I Am,’ that, ‘Jesus was not a white man.’”
The truth of this matter lies between King’s statement and Graham’s statement. Jesus was probably the color of white wine, which reflects His interracial ancestry.
Christmas is a time not to fight about His color, but worship His majesty. JOY TO THE WORLD, THE LORD IS COME, LET EARTH RECEIVE HER KING.