By Reverend Dr. John E. Jackson, Sr.
The Late Jegna and master historian John Henrik Clarke once said “History is not everything, but it is a starting point. History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is a compass they use to find themselves on the map of human geography. It tells them where they are but, more importantly, what they must be.”
The Bible is not a book of history but it has much history in it. In the New Testament book of Acts, there is an episode concerning a man known as the Ethiopian Eunuch. The episode is in Acts 8:26-40.
Philip the evangelist is told by the Holy Spirit to go over to a chariot where the Ethiopian Eunuch is reading a scroll of scripture.
The Ethiopian Eunuch is a royal official, the chief treasurer in the administration of one of the Queen Candaces.
This small sketch of information contains libraries of history in it. The African known as the Ethiopian Eunuch has just come from worshiping during the great festivals of the Jews in Jerusalem. That means he himself is a member of the group known as Falasha’s or more accurately Beta Israel.
These are Africans from central Africa who trace their connection to Judaism back to the relationship between the Queen of Sheba also known as Makeda and King Solomon.
Makeda and Solomon had a son whose birth name was Ebna Hakim but upon ascending the throne of his mother’s land he took the name Menelik I.
According to the great scholar and historian William Leo Hansberry in his classic book “Pillars of Ethiopian History” Solomon assigned priest to travel to Sheba to teach his son about the traditions and religious principles of Judaism.
Those same priest intermarried with the Nubians of this territory and Judaism spread and this Ethiopian in Acts is one of the descendants of those who followed the traditions of Moses because of the relationship between Makeda and Solomon.
And once Philip baptizes the Ethiopian Eunuch, he then returns to Sheba/Nubia/Mero and shares the good news of Jesus and others become converts to the religion of Jesus or what we now call Christianity.
Therefore, it is not the Catholic Church in Rome or the Eastern Orthodox Church but it is the Ethiopian Orthodox Church that is the oldest Christian Church. And they also have the ancient Arch of the Covenant, but that’s another story to share with you at another time.
But there’s more…
This Eunuch is in the Administration of a line of Black African Queens called the Candaces or Kentakes.
The term Candace or Kentake is a title like Pharaoh or Caesar for ruler. Yet these were Warrior Queens who ruled Nubia/Mero. And what is notable is that there is no equivalent to them in European history, Chinese history or anywhere else.
The Late historian Ivan Van Sertima edited an important book titled “Black Women in Antiquity,” where he points out that one of these Warrior Queens and her armies of Black African soldiers prevented Alexander from making any further incursions into central Africa.
I’ve often wondered why a movie has yet to be produced by a Black film maker either in the United States or in Nollywood (Nigerian film industry) about these Great Warrior Queens who are referenced in the bible and in human history by a number of scholars?
The Holy Text of scriptures hold a treasure trove of spiritual uplift and insightful instruction and it also holds a wealth of spine strengthening history of people of African Ancestry that not only tells what great accomplishments have been made but points to even great strides that still can be achieved by Africa’s Dark-skinned descendants now.
An African Proverb says “I pointed out the brightest star in the heavens and all you saw was the tip of my finger.”
I leave you where I started with Dr. John Henrik Clarke’s words: “History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is a compass they use to find themselves on the map of human geography. It tells them where they are but, more importantly, what they must be.”
“Know the truth so that the truth can set you free,” and biblical truth is revolutionary.
Ase and Amen
Rev. Dr. John E. Jackson, Sr. is the Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ-Gary, 1276 W. 20th Ave. in Gary. “We are not just another church but we are a culturally conscious, Christ-centered church, committed to the community; We are Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian.” Contact the church by email at [email protected] or by phone at 219-944-0500.