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Knowing The Truth – Part III

By Reverend Dr. John E. Jackson, Sr.

Let me please do a short and brief recap. Where is Rome? Rome is in Europe! In fact, Rome is in Italy?

Remember that there is no such thing as “The Middle East.” The middle east is a creation of 1850 and then popularized in 1902 by the British. There is no 8th continent called “The Middle East.”

What is commonly referred to as the middle east is actually Northeast Africa and Palestine is in north east Africa. That means the people of Northeast Africa, Palestine were/are people of dark melaninated complexion who make up various ethnic groups of African origin.

Come with me to Acts the 21st chapter. A riot or rebellion has broken out. The streets of Jerusalem near the temple of the Jews are in an uproar.

People are trying desperately to get their hands on one individual in particular. The disturbance is so loud and so boisterous that the occupying force, a cohort of Roman soldiers are alerted when the tribunal/centurion of the cohort is told that Jerusalem is in an uproar (Acts 21:32-33). When they arrive on the scene, they find this massive crowd beating this one man, Paul.

Yes, Paul who once was Saul the star pupil of the great Jewish Rabbi Gamaliel. When the people see the Roman soldiers, they stop beating Paul. The Tribunal then tries to ascertain why all the ruckus but because hundreds of voices are shouting at him at one time, (He speaks Greek and they speak this African language, Hebrew) he can’t understand what caused the riot, so, he orders his soldiers to pick Paul up and carry him through the crowd to the Roman barracks.

Just as Paul is about to be taken into the barracks, Paul says to the Tribunal “May I say something to you?” (Acts 21:36-38)

The Roman Centurion then responds to Paul by saying “You speak Greek? I thought you were that Egyptian who recently stirred up a revolt and led 4 thousand assassins into the wilderness?”

To which Paul responded “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia…”

First of all, Paul could trace his heritage back to the tribe of Benjamin. He knew his African Jewish heritage and his people because of dispersion ended up in Tarsus in Cilicia.

Paul also spoke Greek because Greek was the lingua franca, that was spoken in the Mediterranean and Northeast Africa. It was the language of commerce and business.

To give you a current analogy the lingua franca spoken in air travel today, is English.

It does not matter where the pilot is from geographically, that pilot must speak English to fly planes.

The Ethiopian Eunuch I told you about in Part 2 of my essay was reading the Old Testament in Greek when Philip went up to him in Acts 8. Why, was he reading in Greek? It was because 200 years before Jesus was born 200 scholars translated the Old Testament into Greek and that translation is called the Septuagint (LXX).

That’s why Paul spoke Greek, the language of business; He spoke Hebrew his cultural language and he also spoke Aramaic another cultural language.

The Centurion responded “You speak Greek? I thought you were that Egyptian (African) who started a riot…”

Did you get it? Why did the Roman Centurion think Paul was Egyptian? It was because Paul was dark complexioned. He looked like a Black African in complexion and phenotype.

He thought Paul was Egyptian because Paul talked like an Egyptian and he thought Paul was Egyptian because Paul behaved like an Egyptian.

Remember to colonizing Europeans all dark-skinned Africans were the same to them.

Paul is another Black African of the bible who stands out because Paul took the gospel of Jesus Christ into Europe.

Paul, a Black African, took the gospel of Jesus to cities like Corinth, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea and Ephesus.

Why it this important? It is important first of all because Christian scriptures say “Knowing the truth will set you free.”

It is important second because truth has a way of empowering especially subjugated people to take on their own agency.

It is important finally because truth connects a person to lineage, ancestry and the collected wisdom of their people in order to help guide those living in the present day to know what they must to liberate their people and how they must move through this world.

As the Great Jamaican Jegna Marcus Garvey said “Up you mighty race you can accomplish what you will.”

Jesus said “Knowing the truth will set you free.” Be free!

Knowing The Truth - Part I
Rev. Dr. John E. Jackson Sr.

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.

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