Acts 17:26 tells us that God made all men who dwell on this Earth from one blood; they all have a single common ancestor. Who is that ancestor? Genesis 9:19. While certainly Adam was the first man, Noah was the last common ancestor that all men share. So in tracing the tribes of humanity since that day, we need go back no further than him.
Noah survived the destruction of the pre-flood world with his three sons because he alone was faithful on the Earth (Genesis 7:1). As you already know, the Bible places great importance on the inheritance of His promises in Genesis 1:26, which was to come through Eve’s “seed” – Jesus – and bruise the serpent’s head in Genesis 3:15.
This inheritance was given to Noah for his righteousness and faith (Genesis 6:9, 18). This covenant, this “salvation” from a great flood, was one of the earliest promises of salvation for the righteous. Peter plainly said that Noah’s flood was a type of baptism; just as we are saved by baptism, Noah was saved by the flood (1 Peter 3:18-21).
The flood destroyed the wickedness of the world; but at the same time, it saved Noah FROM that wickedness, and the destruction it would have inevitably brought on the world. In the same way, baptism symbolically kills the old person; but at the same time, saves your life both from that old person, and the destruction he would have inevitably caused you.
Noah’s flood was a very strong message of salvation – for those with ears to hear it, anyway. And after the flood, God added more to the covenant – the covenant that one day would be embellished and given to Abraham and his heirs (Genesis 9:1-17).
You probably don’t notice a spiritual covenant being made here; it looks like a simple promise not to utterly destroy the Earth again. But look closely at verses 5-6. God gives a paraphrase of Romans 6:23, giving us the price of sin AND the only way it can be paid. How? Psalms 49:7-9. And back to Genesis 9:6, he concluded with “for in the image of God made He man”.
It’s vague, to be sure – but why mention the fact that man was made in God’s image in this context UNLESS He was already planning to come in that image and PAY that un-payable debt in a way that no one else made in that image could? And of course we know He was indeed planning it before the world began (1 Peter 1:19-20); and here was promising it, for those who would hear it, to Noah’s seed.
He greatly expanded on the details to Abraham and sons, but it’s important to remember that the “new” covenant was alive and well in the time of Noah. But which of Noah’s sons received the lion’s share of these promises? And why? And who are they today? That’s...
Lesson 45: The Sons Of Noah
Noah had three sons, from whom the entire Earth was populated. It takes no great imagination to look at the world and see three main races; the European, or white races; the African, or black races; and the Asian or oriental races. Certainly these races have mixed and produced middle grounds, but in general no one can seriously propose a fourth race of Man. Every facial, skin, hair, and eye type can be easily explained as a genetic mixture of these three races.
But the word “race” has negative connotations today; and really, it is inaccurate. To the evolutionary mind and to the racist of the 20th century, different races almost imply a different species – certainly other races are always considered inferior to the speaker’s race. But is that the case? Acts 17:26. Was Eve the mother of only SOME men? Genesis 3:20. Are all men on Earth descended from the same man? Genesis 9:19. Do we all share the same Father? Malachi 2:10.
Racists – who always deny that they are indeed racists – do all sorts of dancing to get away from the simple truth that this says. I won’t refute all their arguments here, because it’s a huge subject by the time they get done bending the scriptures to their own selfish ends. Suffice it to say that every man alive is equally human and has equal potential to please God... or disappoint Him. And whoever obeys God will receive an equal reward (Acts 10:34-35).
Notice that verse says those in “EVERY nation” who obey God are blessed accordingly. But what is a nation? Is it a political group, an ideology, a group of people who obey a certain man or live in a certain region? A dictionary might give you any of those definitions, but what matters is what GOD means when HE says “nation”.
First read Zechariah 14:16-19. Note that He uses the term “nations” of the Earth, then uses the term “families of the Earth” in the same context. He specifically used the term “FAMILY of Egypt” to describe that which we know as the “nation of Egypt”. Why is that?
Because the Hebrew word translated as “Egypt” is Mizraim. Who was Mizraim? Genesis 10:6. Mizraim was a grandson of Ham; and he had many children and when there were enough of them they became, Biblically, the NATION of Mizraim; translated as “Egypt” in your Bible.
Remember, the Bible’s governmental structure is strongly patriarchal. So the father of a large number of people is automatically their leader; when he dies, the oldest son is their leader; and so on. When the descendants from this man start to number in the thousands or millions, it’s a nation.
But when a man has many sons, each one of them becomes the father – and thus, leader – of his own section of the nation, with the oldest also tasked with the leadership of the nation as a whole. What is this called? Genesis 49:28. Did people other than Israel have “tribes”? Isaiah 19:12-13. Can one man be the father of more than one nation? Genesis 17:5, Genesis 25:23.
Abraham was the father of both Ishmael and Isaac, each of whom would go on to become great independent nations, even though they had a common father. Isaac was father of Esau and Jacob, who likewise separated to become great nations. Jacob in turn had twelve sons, who lived as one nation for many years until they divided into Israel and Judah; and so on.
As long as a family stays together under one king/elder/judge/patriarch, it is considered one nation. Different groups within that nation descended from different sons are called “tribes”. Tribes become separate nations when they are no longer governed by the same ruler. Very simple.
So back to our point of racism, the word “race” is grammatically correct, but because of its implications it’s often better to use terms like “family”; because the different races of man are all descended from three brothers. They were tribes as long as they were ruled by Noah; but gradually for many reasons separated out to become separate nations, each with their own tribes; and so on.
I dwell on this because this is a touchy subject and a lot of what the Bible says could be abused by racists; and the rest would horrify liberals and conservatives alike. I want it clear what I mean; black people and white people are BOTH PEOPLE. Neither is inherently better than the other.
Black people did not descend from apes, any more than white people did; Jews were not the product of Eve and Satan’s imaginary affair; Asians are not born without a soul; no race of man are “beasts of the field”. When the Bible uses the term beasts of the field it means... guess what? Animals that live in the field! Like cows, sheep, etc. All of these very popular ideas are, obviously, wrong in spite of the fact that a large chunk of the world secretly (or openly) believes it.
When this lesson uses the word “race”, it exclusively refers to the three different branches of the family of Man, defined by the MALE ancestor they all share, not by skin color or eye shape or other physical characteristics.
In other words, suppose a white grandson of Noah married a black granddaughter; they had a black son and he and his offspring continually married into the black family. This family tree would be named after the white son, even if their children were all black, and would be treated as part of his family because skin color is not important to God! How were people divided after the flood? Genesis 10:31-32.
No mention is made of skin color, nose type, height or hair/eye color. They were divided by families, and like all families each tended to resemble others in their family. Later those families became nations, and after Babel each received a language according to their family.
Their languages were not selected/created at random – this was done very specifically and according to a plan. Refer again to Acts 17:26 – God “set the bounds of their habitations”. In other words, much as He later did for Israel, God marked off specific plots of land and each family/nation was given that piece of land for their inheritance.
THREE LANGUAGES, RACES, AND CONTINENTS
Interestingly, anyone who has studied languages knows that, in general, there are three groups of languages; the European/Ancient Indian/Middle-Eastern languages are one group; interestingly, many of the latter are classified as Semetic languages by linguists; the African languages, known a century ago as Hamitic languages; and the Asian languages.
Naturally scholars bicker over details and try to distance themselves from Biblical names and try to confuse the issue by proposing dozens or hundreds of language families, but if you just stop and step back and look at it, all the major languages on Earth fall easily into these three categories.
These two facts are actually a very strong proof of the inspiration of the Bible, since no wild-eyed tribesmen 3000 years ago could possibly have guessed there were three main races with three main language groups on the Earth.
As another interesting “coincidence”, take a look at a globe. Ignore the western hemisphere for a moment. The landmasses of Europe, Asia, and Africa make a rough triangular shape, and easily divide up into three main regions – which is why each one is a separate continent. And each has a different race... almost as if God had a vague idea what the Earth was going to look like after the flood, and how many sons of Noah there should be? (Or knew how many sons of Noah there were and made the Earth to fit them).
Either way, it is easy to see divine design in the shape of the continents, IF you ignore the western hemisphere, and we will explain that later (though not in this lesson). What’s more, Jerusalem, a place visited throughout Biblical history long before Solomon built the temple there, is roughly in the geographical center of those three land masses. Is this an accident? Ezekiel 5:5, Ezekiel 38:12. Did God intend for all other nations to come up to Jerusalem? Jeremiah 3:17, Zechariah 14:16.
So God clearly designed Jerusalem as a central location for all the nations to visit regularly. Equally clearly, it was spaced at the crossroads of history, in the exact center of the three races, and surrounded it with those closest to His covenant; first Levi, then Judah, then the rest of Israel, then the sons of Lot (Ammon and Moab), the children of Esau (Edomites), Ishmael (Midianites/Medes), and so on, for “insulation” between the Temple and the rest of the world – just as he stacked the Israelites around the tabernacle in a very specific order to insulate it from them (Numbers 1:50-54).
It’s also historically placed in the center of the three major language groups. The surrounding languages in Biblical times, and even to some extent today, were quite similar to Hebrew. How did God divide the languages after the flood? Genesis 10:20, 31-32. Why? Genesis 11:1-9.
CURSE OF CANAAN
Remember, just after the flood there was no deception; God dealt with man as closely as He had since Eden. Every man alive knew of the great flood, and the reasons for it. This does not mean they liked it, agreed with it, or trusted God; it simply means that God was there, God was powerful, and all of mankind (all eight people) were intimidated enough to listen; for a while, at least.
But as man spread out from the Ark, the memory of the flood faded in their minds, and new generations grew up who didn’t remember it, and gradually sin began to re-enter the world. The first recorded incident is in Genesis 9:18-23. Canaan was Ham’s son, and clearly Canaan had done something curse-worthy. Exactly what he did is not stated.
It had something to do with seeing his grandfather naked, which was forbidden (Leviticus 18:6). Whether it was something more than that, no one knows, and those who love to speculate about it are generally those who are themselves quite perverted.
It is odd how the wording changes back and forth between Ham and Canaan; nothing Canaan did is mentioned here, only Ham’s actions; yet not a word is said to Ham, and Canaan is cursed. The simplest explanation is that Canaan was to represent the Hamitic race, so God was using the names interchangeably; unfortunately this does not really fit the facts. Regardless, what we are interested in is what Noah said about his sons afterward in verses 24-27.
Of Shem, he said “Blessed by the LORD my God be Shem; and let Canaan be his slave” (RSV). This tells us that Shem is the one who inherited the blessing of God, the one that would later be given to his descendant Abraham. It also tells us that Canaan (and possibly Ham in general) will be a slave race to Shem, which will be helpful to us later.
Of Japheth, he said “God shall enlarge Japheth”, or “May God make Japheth great [in terms of population/territory]” (BBE). This tells us that Japheth would be a very numerous race. Yet Japheth would always be subservient to Shem, who was to receive the blessing of God. Canaan – and apparently, Ham – would serve them both.
God names things what they are, and often keys to prophecy are hidden in plain sight. Shem means “name”, in the sense of fame; like we say “he made a name for himself”. But it is also a veiled prophecy of salvation coming through Shem – compare with Philippians 2:9-10.
Ham is Hebrew for “hot”. As you will soon see, Ham was given a land that was hot, and it could also be said that his nature is “hot”, as in hot-blooded or passionate. Japheth means “expansion”, referring to his great territory and population.
SIN OF HAM
When the sons of Noah came out of the Ark, they – naturally – all spoke one language. What did God command them? Genesis 9:1. But did they want to spread out and refill the Earth? Or did they want to huddle in one place? Genesis 11:4. Who had built this city? Genesis 10:6-10.
God had commanded them to spread out and repopulate the Earth; but they were afraid, and preferred to stay in a city where Nimrod, the great hunter, could protect them. Nimrod was a grandson of Ham, and his desire (expressed through his people) was to stay in Babel and build a great tower and make a NAME for themselves.
But remember, SHEM was the son of Noah to whom God had given the “name”! HE was to be the leader, because HE was righteous. But a son of Ham started the first world empire after the flood at Babel, better known by its Greek name of Babylon, and usurped Shem’s birthright.
So God destroyed Ham’s/Nimrod’s empire and confused the language of the people. Babel means “confusion” in Hebrew and it has the dual meaning of religious confusion, which Nimrod and Semiramis instigated at Babel, and the linguistic confusion that God caused to slow down the spread of their sins.
After the destruction of Babel, what did God do? Genesis 11:7-9. God scattered them since they wouldn’t do it themselves. But God seldom does things miraculously that can be done by His servants; why use a whirlwind to move humanity when they clearly knew how to build ships?
The Bible doesn’t really say how God repopulated the Earth, but from the clues we have, it is almost certain that righteous Shem directed the repopulation of the world after the destruction of Babel. Exactly how that happened is an interesting story, worth a side trip.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE
Where does knowledge come from? James 1:5, 17, James 3:13-18. Does God give His servants the wisdom and skills they need to accomplish His plans? Exodus 31:6, Exodus 28:3. We know God told Noah to build a huge ship; and no doubt gave him instructions, as He gave Moses instructions (Hebrews 8:5); and no doubt gave him the skills necessary to make it.
Since his three sons helped him build the Ark, they surely were well acquainted with shipbuilding. Now put yourself in the shoes of some of these second-and-third-generation people after the flood. God had destroyed the Earth with water; this was certain to leave a lasting impression. In fact, even today practically every single culture in the world has a flood legend tracing back to Noah’s flood.
But suppose you’re a great-grandson of Noah; faithless, rebellious, but scared of floods. God promised not to send another flood... but do you trust God? Of course not! The sinful cannot trust God! They built a tower to “reach unto heaven” specifically to prevent God from destroying them with a flood, which God had already sworn He wouldn’t do! (Genesis 9:15).
So the question is... wouldn’t YOU want a boat for protection against that dreaded flood you know your sins deserve? Of course you would! So it is certain there was a large number of boats available after the destruction of Babel. Now remember the curse of Canaan; he would be a servant’s servant to his brothers, specifically to Shem (Genesis 9:25).
Therefore, when Shem took over his rightful position as Noah’s heir, and the authority of the birthright God had given him, and began the task of settling the continents of the world, it is certain that Shem did not personally do all the work himself! Instead, he used the servants God had given him! Who were Canaan’s children? Genesis 10:15-19. And what were the Sidonians famous for? Isaiah 23:1-4.
Tyre and Sidon were both cities of people descended from Canaan, closely related and engaged in the same activity – merchants and traders. They were famous throughout history for their seafaring and their remarkable innovations in charts, navigation, and shipping.
And since Shem was their master after the flood, and all wisdom comes from God, it is very probable that Shem gave them the advances in the nautical sciences that kept them ahead of the competition for 2000 years; so they could use that knowledge to carry the nations of man to their new homes around the world.
And once they had the ships and the knowledge, by the time the job was finished, they used their skills to become merchants; and in a way, that fulfilled the curse of Canaan as well – for a merchant works for, thus is the servant of, every man.
When God divided the languages and the nations and put them in different places, He did so “after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.” Or as BBE puts it, God sorted them according to “...their families and their languages and their lands and their nations”.
So each son of Noah was split up according to family; and each of the families received an area of land; a language of their own; and formed nations. What this means is that all the sons of Shem went to one continent; and all spoke a similar tongue.
Not mutually intelligible, but with a common root; similar to how Latin is the root of French and Portuguese; and while they are not mutually intelligible, they have many similar words that show their common origin.
Shem had five children; so Shem’s continent was broken up among the five sons, and each was given a different language (Genesis 10:22). And if they had sons, such as Aram’s four children, they received their own piece of Aram’s land, with their own language.
And that language, while unique, was quite similar to the language of the other sons of Aram. And of course, Aramaic is an ancient language used heavily in the near East starting around 1200 B.C. – what this means is that Aram’s language was known as Aramaic – the language of Aram.
In Genesis 10 there are seventy sons, grandsons, etc., of Noah mentioned. These seventy, according to Genesis 10:32 were the ancestors of every nation after the flood. And also the ancestors of every language in the world today.
There is a striking similarity between this number and the number of Israelites that went down into Egypt (Exodus 1:1-7). Moses comments on this in Deuteronomy 32:7-9. Each nation in Genesis 10 received an inheritance; their parcel of land that was theirs, and their children’s after them.
But the REAL inheritance, the inheritance of the firstborn, went to Shem, as promised. Then to his son Arphaxad, Salah, Eber (father of the Hebrews), Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah, and Abraham. If you draw a family tree out based on Genesis 10 – a worthwhile exercise – you’ll notice that Shem’s family tree goes deep into generations, but not very broad compared to the other brothers.
This is because the inheritance of Shem was much greater than theirs; and was passed down from father to son, and not divided up among many sons like the other nations was, so that it could be the greater inheritance, a single Godly nation. That’s why in Deuteronomy 32:9 God concludes “For the LORD’S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.”
Because Jacob inherited the birthright of Isaac, who received the birthright of Abraham, and so on back to Noah; and Jacob passed it on to his children, but that’s another lesson.
WHERE IS HAM?
The purpose of this lesson is to try to get a general idea of which of these races correspond to the sons of Noah. I’ve already given this away by giving the scholarly names for these langauges; Hamitic clearly implies they came from Ham. And in fact, it is very easy to find Ham today. The name alone means “hot”, and that means if we’re choosing between Africa, Asia, and Europe, only one can honestly fit the description “hot”.
Where is Ham’s land? Psalms 105:23, 27. Egypt wasn’t ALL of Ham; but Egypt was in the LAND of Ham. The implication is Africa in general, but we can easily prove that by looking at some of Ham’s sons. Who were Ham’s sons? Genesis 10:6.
Ham’s oldest son was Cush; cush in Hebrew literally means “black”. This was also the Biblical name for the country of Ethiopia; when you see Ethiopia in your Bible, it is always translated from the Hebrew word/name Cush, named for the first Ethiopian, black Cush, son of Ham.
The Bible makes it clear that the Cushite’s skin was different from the Israelite with a comment in Jeremiah 13:23. The Bible in no place denigrates the Cushites, any more than any other foreign nation; in fact, there were several special mentions made of righteous Ethiopians. For example, Jeremiah 38:7-13, 39:16-18, Acts 8:26-39.
It should be noted that “Ethiopia” is a Greek name, meaning, literally “black”. It doesn’t take much imagination to see that the black race, and Africa in general, is easily traced back to Ham, and particularly to Cush.
But all Hamites were not black. The Caananites, according to the art of history, were not black, but a dusky brown color somewhat like modern Arabs. Mizraim, another son of Ham, was the father of the Egyptians; except in the genealogies, Mizraim is always translated as “Egypt” in your Bible. And although it is hotly debated today, it seems that while ancient Egyptians were dark, they were not black.
This can easily be explained by the gene pool. Even if Ham and his wife were both black, when his son married a daughter of a white son of Noah, their children would average dark. If they had four children, one would be very white, one very black, and two would be brown, according to Mendel’s laws of genetics. Add another generation or two, and you can get any combination of color and feature in the human rainbow.
This explains all the “average” races like Indians (both east and west), Middle-Eastern races, Asian-featured races with black skin, Caucasian races with negroid features and so on, as a different proportion of these three gene groups.
WHERE IS JAPETH?
Most Biblical scholars agree that Ham is mostly in Africa. It’s pretty obvious. But they really go astray when they try to locate Shem and Japheth. The world believes, primarily based on one verse, that Europeans are Japheth and Shem is father of the Asians. This is Biblically impossible, as you’ll soon see.
First, remember the names: Ham means “hot”. Ham inherited Africa. This is a no-brainer. But Japheth means “expansion”, and the translation can easily be stretched to say “huge population and very large land area”. If you were to choose between Europeans and Asians, who has the greater population? Asians, by nearly a factor of TEN TIMES! Who controls the greater land area? Again, the Asians by a very wide margin.
Based on that evidence alone, it strongly implies that Asia is Japheth. Now look at Shem, who was to have a great “name” – that is, to be very important, and to have the Lord be his God (Genesis 9:26). Has Asia ever been a Christian continent? Who has scattered Bibles across the globe and upheld democracy and righteousness throughout the last 3000 years?
However imperfectly and often downright badly they have done it, the white races have always paid at least lip service to the God of Shem. Asians have worshipped ancestors and dragons, Buddha and Brahmin, and a variety of animals. Not because they are inherently evil; simply because they have had scarcely any contact with God since the tower of Babel.
Asians have never partaken of the rich blessings pronounced on Shem; their place in world affairs, except briefly under Genghis Khan and more recently as “Red” China, has never been prominent. Their people have seldom been wealthy or particularly influential compared to Europeans.
This is not simply a biased viewpoint; in every important statistic of blessing, European nations as a group have ALWAYS exceeded Asian nations – excepting only in terms of population and land area, which was precisely what Japheth was promised.
The prophecy quite clearly gives the dominant role in ALL future world events to Shem. So if we believe that, the question is easy; who has been dominant throughout history, Europe or Asia? Who has great population, and who has the power and wealth? Who better fulfills the blessing of Noah?
Step back, look at a globe, and look at the three great continents; which one is “hot”? Which one is “big”? Which one has always been “influential”? A child can find the simple answer to this question! Yet this OBVIOUS fact has been ignored by nearly ALL commentators and Biblical scholars.
They are too busy looking at God’s words under a microscope to back up and just see what they clearly say. With these two facts alone, the conclusion is inescapable that Shem was father of the Europeans. But there is much more.
JAVAN AFAR OFF
Most of the evidence presented by worldly scholars in favor of Japheth in Europe relates to Genesis 10:2-5 and Isaiah 66:19. Javan was a son Japheth, and is said to have settled “in the isles afar off”. This is interpreted to mean the Greek isles and “Javan” is said to be “Ion”, mythical father of the Ionian Greeks.
This is supported by Daniel 8:21, where “king of Grecia” is from the Hebrew words “king of Javan”, and from the context and the fulfilled prophecy, this is undoubtedly speaking of Greece. This strongly connects Javan with Greece; but just because Javan settled in the Greek isles does not mean he stayed there!
Suppose for a moment that Javan settled in the Greek isles for a few years or centuries, then was chased out or left; remembering the principle of duality, odds are that Javan would settle in ANOTHER set of isles. Bear with me; remember in Genesis 10:5 Javan settled “in the isles of the Gentiles”. But later, in Isaiah 66:19 God says Javan settled “in the isles AFAR OFF that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory”.
From Israel, Greece is not really “afar off”. But the Asian island of JAVA is! It is highly unlikely that the Greeks had not heard of the God of Israel, considering how far Solomon’s traders traveled and how many lands his fame spread to (1 Kings 4:31). But it is quite possible that the Javanese hadn’t! What’s more, one possible (and likely) origin of the name of the island “Java” is “beyond”or “distant” – in other words “Java” really MEANS “afar off”!
And it was to Javan in THOSE islands that God was prophesying of the spread of His fame; and Christian missionaries have taken it there, and partially fulfilled that prophecy. The real fulfillment of course will be after the return of Christ.
This is not the strongest evidence in the world; indeed, it may be completely wrong. But it does establish “reasonable doubt” that Japheth is in Europe, and allows us to consider other evidence that proves he cannot be. There is considerable location and linguistic evidence that connects Japheth and his sons with various people and places in history; connections like Meshech and Moscow, Russia; Tubal and Tobolsk, Russia; Madai with the Medes of history. Some of these are valid, many are tenuous and subjective at best; but all are beyond the scope of this lesson.
WHERE IS SHEM?
It is difficult to trace Japeth much more than we have, but Shem has left us a wide, wide trail as most history, Biblical and otherwise, was written about Shem. The Bible is almost exclusively written about Shemites.
The world today uses “Semites” (the same word) to refer exclusively to the Jews; the educated world uses it to apply generally to various races in the Middle East. But the REAL meaning of the term is the sons of Shem; of which Jews are only the tiniest part.
So the question is, what did Shemites look like? Most of the ones we know from the Bible were Israelite, and most of those we have descriptions of were from the tribe of Judah; but they were all Shemites. So as you study these scriptures, ask yourself “does this sound more like African, Asian, or European features?” When you find a consistent answer, you’ll know without a doubt WHERE Shem is today.
What did David look like? 1 Samuel 16:12, 1 Samuel 17:42. What did Solomon look like? Song of Solomon 5:10-16. What did the Jews of Jeremiah’s time look like? Lamentations 4:7. How does Solomon describe his lover? Song of Solomon 7:1-7.
The Song of Solomon is a little-understood book, and not our topic today; but it contains more physical descriptions of people than all the rest of the Bible put together. If you read it closely, it is written from the perspective of a man and at least one woman; sometimes it is extolling the beauty of a man – Solomon/Christ – and sometimes it is extolling the virtues of one or more women.
It is a deeply symbolic book, probably about the Gentile church arguing with the Jewish church over the bridegroom, a type of the Hagar/Sarah controversy (compare to Galatians 4:24-31). Someday we’ll dig into it, but for now we’re mostly interested in the physical descriptions which of course are literally true just as much as the spiritual meanings are true.
So when Solomon says his lover’s eyes are like the “fishpools of Heshbon”, in this context, it cannot signify any color but blue/green eyes. A belly the color of wheat would signify a healthy tan on top of a clear white “ivory” skin. Tall and slender, like a palm tree, with hair that is almost purple is a dark colored hair. There are many people today who fit this description but all of them are of European ancestry!
Blue-eyed Asians or Africans are extremely rare. Brown/black hair and blue eyes, with the whites of the eyes being very white, reddish skin and/or hair, are all distinctly European features. Also, the nose “like the tower of Lebanon” implies a long, Roman-type nose, as opposed to the more flattened African or smaller Asian nose.
Once again, putting aside the microscope for a moment and looking at the big picture makes this question absurdly easy. We know that God was with Shem; and with his descendants, such as Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph; and with David, Solomon, Jeremiah, Jesus, and the apostles. They were ALL Shemites! And not ONE of them had oriental features!
Do the Jews of today bear any of the characteristic Asian features? Certainly not. Granting a wide variation in their physical appearance, a fair amount of mixing with other races over the years, and two distinct Jewish types (Ashkenazim and Sephardi), they still readily pass among the other European races. All these facts add up to only one conclusion: Japheth is Asia. Shem is Europe. Ham is Africa.
THE MEANING OF RACE
The world today has made the word “race” a taboo word. It is hard to blame them since so many atrocities have been committed in the name of race throughout history. The “master race”, the notion that one race is inherently better than all others, is not something the Germans invented. It has been around, blatantly or under the surface, since Cain and Abel. It justified black slavery, Russian ethnic purges, the Han Chinese “sons of heaven”, and every brutal conqueror in history.
So it is wise to distance ourselves from the term, since that really isn’t what we’re saying at all. God said in Acts 17:26-29that all men have the same blood; all men are brothers. Well, cousins, anyway. Distant cousins. You know what I mean.
But as the family of man split up and went to their own allotted portion of the world which God gave them, they took with them different attitudes; they set up over themselves different false gods, their own language, and their own chunk of the gene pool.
But for reasons both genetic and angelic, each family follows certain traits after their ancestors. God inspired prophecies to be recorded for us that were useful. Unimportant people didn’t get written about. So if the Bible records an incident that involved Reuben, we can take it not only as a fact, but as a precedent; and therefore, as a prophecy. For if Reuben “defiled his father’s bed” we can expect the entire tribe of Reuben to have a tendency towards promiscuity. If Simeon and Levi were vengeful, we can expect the entire family of their descendents to also bear grudges towards their enemies.
I said before that all men have equal potential for salvation and goodness; this was true, but not the whole story. Because God has to call someone for them to find salvation; I needn’t quote those verses to you again by now. And God saw things in Ham and Japheth that disqualified them from the birthright, which went to Shem the youngest son of Noah (Genesis 10:21).
This birthright included great physical and spiritual blessings, and was passed on to Shem’s sons, and God continually chose the son who would best fulfill His plan to receive the inheritance. This continued down to Abraham and beyond, but the point is, that these sons who did not get the blessing, both the disqualified sons of Shem and the other two races of Noah, did not have much contact with God ever again.
God promised all of them salvation after Jesus’ return, and limited salvation was opened to the Gentiles after the death of Christ, but there are still people in China who have never even heard of God, much less been given any real reason to fight tradition and offend their friends to fight for a God they hardly know.
But if God sees someone in ANY nation who is already acting like they ought to act, already behaving in a manner He might find useful in His kingdom, God finds a way to call that rare, exceptional person. See 2 Chronicles 16:9, Job 34:21, Proverbs 5:21, Jeremiah 32:19, Hebrews 4:13, etc. God need not have the gospel shoved in everyone’s face to notice when a Chinese peasant chooses his neighbor’s good over his own, and give him a chance to know Him better (Psalms 53:2).
The point is, most of the world is not being called today; even most of the sons of Shem. Even the sons of Arphaxad. Even the sons of Abraham. It is the sons of Israel who were given the chance of salvation in this life, and to the Gentiles they contact who love the God of Israel; the rest of the world is not inherently evil, less worthy, or even less important – but God chose Israel... why? Deuteronomy 7:7-8, Deuteronomy 4:33-40.
God chose Israel because their fathers – specifically Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but also including Noah, Shem and probably Arphaxad, Eber, etc. – obeyed Him, and He loved them. And He gave them great blessings, but KEEPING those blessings once they had them was conditional upon their continued obedience. That precious birthright passed through Israel and where it is today will be the topic of coming lessons.
Today there are two views on this; the liberals, who believe the world was meant to be one big brown race; and the fundamentalists who believe anyone who marries another race is going to hell. As usual, both are very, very wrong. And as always, both are wrong because they argue from emotion and two or three scriptures taken out of context. We’re going to do what we always do – look at all the scriptures and see what they really do say.
But first, let’s face the obvious; how can you really draw a line on race? Sure, black and white is easy; but what about white and Mexican? What about Mexican and black? What if someone is half-white and half-Mexican? Should they marry white, or Mexican? Either or neither? Or must they wait to find a compatible partner who is also exactly half white and half Mexican?
Mexicans themselves are usually a mix of Spanish and Amerindian. But some are much lighter in skin color than others; should they only marry equally light skinned Mexicans? Or what about Americans marrying French; or Canadians and Germans; or Russians and Spanish; or Arabs and Greeks; or Japanese and Chinese? Which one of these is a different race? Which one of these would be a sin; which would be acceptable?
This is not arguing by absurdity, as it might appear; these are real questions that white supremacists never think about and don’t care about. They care about the purity of THEIR race, and if the rest of the “lesser” races marry each other that’s their problem. And that’s not only selfish and hypocritical, but completely contrary to the Bible. AND absurd.
It is clear that God put people in separate places because God WANTED variety. If He had wanted a big brown race, Babel was well on the way towards producing it. But God wanted them to separate so that they would be different, unique, and precious because they were each special. That is why He “set the bounds of their habitations”. He set them in places where mixing was impractical and unrealistic.
Remember, God put Shem in Europe and Ham in Africa. Sure, there was trade between them – but there was also a big sea between them. A big desert between all three races; the Himalayas and Siberia and the Gobi desert between China and India and the rest of the west; it simply wasn’t practical that the races would wind up as one race ever again.
We have to assume God expected and intended that... in principle and on the large scale. But what matters most to people is what happens on a small scale. Say, an American of Irish-German heritage falls in love with a Mexican girl; should they marry? Is it a sin? That’s what matters and for that, we have to step back and look at it a different way.
Just as we have to see that God intended for the races to be kept separate, we also have to accept that there has to be a border SOMEWHERE. And there is no border in the world that doesn’t cause mixing between the people; even in Israel it happened (2 Chronicles 2:14 for example).
ONCE THE MIXING HAPPENS...
Let’s give it the benefit of the doubt and assume for a moment that it is a sin to marry another race; but let’s also assume that the mixing has already happened. Now we have a half-breed. Should we kill them or sterilize them? This has been done on a fairly regular basis in history. The townspeople get together and lynch the “abomination”, or the government simply exterminates anyone who looks a certain way.
Or should we make them marry only other half breeds, and thus create a new race? These are real questions that have to be faced squarely and honestly! You can’t throw up your arms and say “oh well, God loves everyone, who cares!” nor can you say “death to everyone who doesn’t look like me!”
So we’re going to take an honest look at it here and see what the Bible really does say. First, did Abraham want Isaac to marry Canaanites (Hamites)? Genesis 24:1-4. Did it trouble Rebecca that Esau married daughters of Heth (Hittites, Canaanites, Hamites)? Genesis 27:46-28:2.
Jacob’s wives also came from the same family, and their handmaidens were certainly Shemites, and probably Hebrews although we don’t know. His sons started marrying the locals however: Genesis 38:1-2; Genesis 41:45. We know nothing about the wives of most of Jacob’s sons, but it’s obvious that they were marrying the natives by now; no more going back to Haran for wives. Joseph married an Egyptian, descended from a son of Ham.
It should be noted that the line of Jesus was unquestionably the most important lineage in the Bible; we know how closely God watched over it by the fact that God hated Judah’s sons and killed two of them so they wouldn’t inherit the blessing (Genesis 38:7-10). If marrying outside your own race was so important, God certainly would have prevented Judah from marrying a Canaanite.
This sort of thing happened too often to be worthy of commenting on each instance; the next significant one was Moses. By the time Moses was grown, Israel numbered in the millions. Yet his first wife was a woman descended from Midian, son of one of Abraham’s concubines after the death of Sarah (Genesis 25:1-4).
Surely there were thousands of “good, white, Hebrew girls” who were making googly eyes at Moses; he could have had any girl he wanted. Yet his second wife was an Ethiopian woman (Numbers 12:1). There can be no real question that she was black, for the word MEANS black. She was certainly descended from Cush, son of Ham; and this troubled Aaron and Miriam greatly. The rest of the chapter is spent covering their punishment, which Moses felt was overly harsh; and God felt was quite justified.
Ruth was a Moabite, descended from Lot, Nephew of Abraham. Moabites were cursed by God quite severely in Deuteronomy 23:3-6. Yet she married Boaz, who was the ancestor of David and later Christ (Ruth 4:13-17). Boaz’s mother was Rahab the harlot (Matthew 1:5), who was a Canaanite of the doomed city of Jericho.
These women all became a great-great-etc-grandmother of Christ; if having Gentile blood in your veins is such a bad thing, or if taking a Gentile wife were such a bad thing, this simply could not have happened. These events were inspired by God and watched over carefully. There are many other arguments to be made, but this is a good one.
BECOMING AN ISRAELITE
God intended – hoped – well, wanted at least – the world to be filled with the truth through the understanding God gave the sons of Noah (Matthew 13:33). These three measures of flour were supposed to fill the Earth, just as Noah’s sons did. But they were to fill it with righteousness. This obviously didn’t happen.
But as God chose one man of each generation to receive the blessing and birthright, at the same time excluding the others, God also left a way for those others to get back into His family. The new covenant way we’re all familiar with; those who have faith are blessed with faithful Abraham and become his spiritual children (Galatians 3:9, 14, 29, etc.).
But there was a way in the OC as well for strangers to become naturalized citizens of Israel. Why did God do this? Isaiah 56:3, 6-8. How was a stranger to become an Israelite? Exodus 12:43-49. Then how were the Israelites to treat him? Leviticus 19:33-34. Did God expect strangers to come to Israel and want to join the nation? 1 Kings 8:41-43. Were there exceptions and conditions on certain nations? Deuteronomy 23:3, 7-8.
But here we find a problem; God said strangers were supposed to come to Israel and join the nation, thus becoming full citizens who were supposed to be loved as any other citizen. But God said that certain nations, such as Edomites (sons of Esau) were to come in only after 3 generations.
But that’s plainly impossible, for in order to become an Israelite you have to become an Israelite! In other words, you cannot remain in Edom and let your grandson (the 3rd generation) become an Israelite, because he won’t be able to until the third generation because HE is still an Edomite!
See the problem? And if you move to Israel and live as a stranger for three generations, who are your children supposed to marry?? How can you have future generations without intermarrying? If you import people from Edom for your sons to marry, then you will have to wait until THEIR third generation to become an Israelite, which will obviously delay it indefinitely. So in order to HAVE a third generation these strangers must marry Israelites!
In these examples, we have Egyptian (Ham), Edomite (Esau), and Ammonites/Moabites (Lot). This proves for a fact that Ham can join Israel and marry into it without sinning. Just as Moses and Joseph and Judah already proved.
ON THE OTHER HAND
But this is only half of the story. Did God want Israel intermarrying with the Canaanites? Exodus 34:11-16. What happened when Israel didn’t destroy all the nations as God commanded? Judges 3:5-7. Had God seen this coming? Joshua 23:12-13. What did Ezra do (much later) to fix the same problem? Ezra 9:1-10:17, 44, Nehemiah 13:23-31.
This cannot have been a fun time; hundreds of weeping wives and children being sent back across the border to their old homes, exiled from Israel. Sometimes there is no easy fix to get back out of situations you should never have gotten yourself into in the first place. Ripping the band-aid off is the only solution, and Nehemiah and Ezra deserve some respect for having the guts to make the hard decision. I don’t know anyone who would have done the same thing in their place.
A favorite scripture against intermarriage is found in Numbers 25:6-9. That does indeed appear to strongly condemn interracial marriage; but wait! Phineas was greatly praised by God for killing this man and his Midianite wife (verses 10-13) ...but Moses HIMSELF married a Midianite woman! What was the difference? Get the context! Verses 1-5.
These women were not coming to Israel repenting of their ways and forsaking their gods! They were bringing their gods into Israel, and the men of Israel were converting to THEIR religion! This is the great danger of intermarriage – hormones often overrule good sense, and Israel never really liked God anyway!
But in any of that, did you see anything that said anything about skin color, nose shape, eye shape? WHY didn’t God want them marrying the people around them? Deuteronomy 7:2-11. What happened to Solomon? 1 Kings 11:1-10.
Women love religion; everywhere in the world, no matter the religion, it is the women who are the force behind it. And you don’t just leave this behind all at once, no matter how righteous your husband or how much you might “love” him. Rachel is a good example (Genesis 31:17-19, 30-35).
The Bible doesn’t say, but it is interesting that she was the first of Jacob’s wives to die, despite being the younger sister; perhaps her love of images would have contaminated her family too much, otherwise? Particularly considering how much power she had over Jacob? We may never know.
Anyhow, the point is that the greatest problem with marrying women from other races is not merely a matter of religion, but of fundamental ideology. Asian religion is nothing like European religion. Likewise native African religions are strikingly different. It’s not just a matter of accepting Christ or something so prosaic, it’s a fundamental shift of EVERY single thought of right and wrong.
Each family to some extent carries the traits of their ancestors. The farther back the ancestry, the more broad the similarity. The Chinese mind works differently than the British mind. It’s not necessarily better or worse – just different.
The Chinese never explored the world like the British did. But the British never spent years painting a scene on the inside of a bottle. The mindset is different. And suited to different things. One is superior to the other only in how God has blessed them and in how well they obey Him.
There are striking differences among the three sons of Shem, and noticing them and working within them is not racism. If you don’t believe that, look at Chinese piano and math prodigies who far excel what Europeans have produced.
But even among the grandsons of Noah there are striking differences; take Shem for instance. Germans are a different branch of Shemite than Americans. And their minds work a lot differently than ours. We have much more in common with them than either of us has with the Chinese, but there are still distinct differences. The same goes for Greeks and Spaniards. They are different sons of Shem and very different in mindset, yet much more like their cousins in Europe than their more distant cousins in Africa or Asia.
But these differences are not limited to genetics. They are also, and more importantly, a result of the spirit world. Remember from Lesson 26 how angels govern the world? Each angel has his own attitude, and that seeps down into each of the families they rule; and each angel is assigned to a certain nation, or more accurately, a certain family.
Remember that quote from Daniel 10:20; literally, it said that there was an angel ruling over Javan’s children. God said He would send an angel to lead Israel (Exodus 23:20-23), who was later identified as Michael (Daniel 12:1). The point is that God has seven top angels, and each of these angels rules a certain region of the world.
And apparently, there is a division of ten among their lieutenants, for when the nations of the Earth were divided in Genesis 10, there were seventy of them; seven top angels each were given ten families to lead, and it makes sense that there were ten lower-ranked angels there to lead them. The same argument, at a lower rank, applies to the seventy sons of Jacob in Egypt.
Interestingly, there were seventy flames in Solomon’s temple, ten candlesticks with seven candles each (1 Kings 7:49). One for each Biblical nation of the Earth? This is a very small glimpse into some of the fantastic symbolism of the temple you will learn before this course is over.
But I digress. The point is, everyone on Earth is under some level of Angelic responsibility (Matthew 18:10). They are the “eyes” of God that roam over the whole Earth (Zechariah 4:10). And just as any boss sets the tone for the jobsite or office, every angel cannot help but infuse his own attitude in the people he guides.
This also helps to explain why 4000 years later, people are showing the traits of their ancestor. Genetics might not quite explain that, but if the same angel is ruling it he has been alive this whole time and still acts basically the same way!
I said above that there is a fundamental difference in ideology between races; this is true, but it’s not just an ideology. It’s a matter of spiritual influence over generations as well as genetics and environment. Asians who immigrate to the USA behave very differently after a generation or two, even without intermarriage, than their cousins in Asia. Because the longer they spend in this culture, under the influence of this spirit, the more like us they become.
These differences in ideology are just as visible among the main branches of the families within each race; northern Europe and southern Europe are quite different; both are quite different from Britain and its English-speaking colonies.
So if you are going to marry a Russian, you need to be prepared for a person who views the world differently than you do; a LOT differently. Men and women think differently enough to begin with; and the farther up the family tree you have to go to find a common ancestor, the more differently you are likely to think about things. Naturally there will be exceptions to all this, but this is a rule of thumb.
Language is a good metaphor for this, since language was divided along the same pattern as families. The harder it is for you to learn someone’s native language, the less like you they are going to think. You might pick up German or Spanish in a few months; it might take a year or two for Russian; or longer for Asian languages, Arabic, African languages, etc. It’s not about the language, this is just an illustration of how different the mindset is likely to be.
When you have an OC marriage this is not such a big deal; early in the history of the USA, many millions of people in the USA married very different types of people and made it work. Irish-Greek and Spanish-German and so on can make for a very... tense home life when there is no single subject that both can see eye-to-eye on. And it can be bad enough when you were raised in the same town and always attended the same church together!
I’m reminded of Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 7:28 about marriage in general “if thou marry, thou hast not sinned... Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh”. The Bible in no place calls interracial marriage a sin, per se. Therefore, it is not a sin. However, it does discourage it in several places, for specific reasons having nothing to do with racism. Because the farther away from your family tree that you marry, the more likely that person is to love a different God than you.
But that aside, the more you have in common with your spouse, the smoother your marriage is likely to run. While there is no specific prohibition against marrying any person of any race, the farther from your own race you marry, the more difficulty you will have in relating to each other. And the stronger the initial bond will have to be if it is to last.
So if you are an American and want to marry, say, a Swede; those are both Shemites, both lived under a democratic spirit for (at least) hundreds of years, both nominally Christian, and so there is a lot in common. Not as much as marrying the girl next door, but still – more than enough, if both parties are in it for the right reasons.
On the other hand, marrying someone from Thailand is going to be like marrying someone from the moon. Thais are sweet, happy people as a rule, but you will both have to be prepared to live with many things that frustrate each other; is it worth it? Can you both handle it? These are the sorts of questions you’ll have to ask. It will be more complicated; but it might be the perfect thing for you both. Only you can decide.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
We have established who Shem, Ham and Japheth are; the white, black, and oriental races, respectively. But how is it possible for one man (Noah) to have three different races descend from him? Most of the Christian world believes that Noah was white, and that his sons were all white, but Shem married a “good” white woman, and the other offended Noah by marrying black and oriental featured women, respectively, and it was these women who brought the other races into to being.
Notice the subtle racism there? The “other” races, implying that everyone was supposed to look white, but somehow sin messed that up. The extremists go on to say that these wives of Noah’s sons were descended from Cain (possible, even probable), and thus descendants from the devil (not possible).
The facts are quite simple. We know that all men came from Adam and Eve; thus, all races – all colors and shapes of people – came from them as well. So why is it so hard to believe that the same thing happened with Noah? When God made Adam, He made him genetically perfect. His genes had the potential to have incredible variety in his children. Eve was basically Adam’s female clone, so the same was naturally true for her.
Think about it this way; when tiny poodles became popular, breeders started selecting the smallest pups in the litter and breeding them to each other; this eliminated large genes and soon all the teacup poodles were only having teacup poodle pups. But housecats can have offspring of all colors and shapes because cats have not been very heavily bred for any particular characteristic.
People being what they are (selfish), they tend to like other people like themselves. That’s why white people today want to make themselves look like the “good” race. But we are not alone; most races act the same way, when they are in a position to get away with it.
But this same trait also makes it quite likely that our pre-flood ancestors very quickly grouped themselves by general features, marrying those who were most like them. Gradually the families developed into very specific and predictable patterns.
But God was watching this and, knowing the flood was coming, saw to it that Noah retained all the important genetic information that would be necessary to repopulate the world. That’s why in Genesis 6:9 God said Noah was “perfect in his generations”. This might mean a lot of things, but one thing it could mean is that Noah was perfect in his genetics; that is, the generations which led to Noah were designed to insure that all the DNA needed to create an abundant population was in Noah.
This had to be the case, because any biologist will tell you that six people, three of them related, cannot possibly form a viable society. If you tried it today, massive birth defects would plague the second and third generation and there is no way to repopulate the Earth from such people. So we KNOW that God made sure Noah’s genes were above average.
That tells us Noah’s genes contained enough information to EASILY have a black, white, and oriental child. And for them in turn to have a variety of colors of their own children. Whether or not they married wives of different races, it is quite easy for them to form the races of today.
But there is another interesting fact; almost all of the genes associated with the white race are recessive. In other words, blue eyes, green eyes, blond hair, red hair, etc., are recessive; if a couple with brown eyes and blue eyes have children, the children will nearly always have brown eyes.
This means if you put, say, 100 blue-eyed people and 100 brown eyed people on an island and come back in 200 years there will probably be no blue eyes left on the island! This explains the remarkable lack of variation in most races; with only minor and rare exceptions, there is only one hair and eye color from Japan to Nigeria – black/brown.
Their traits would quickly dominate the weaker traits like blue eyes and blond hair, so every time there was intermarriage between the sons of Noah’s children – as there certainly was – it would tend to wipe out Shem’s genetics and favor Ham’s or Japheth’s.
Because the thing is, God DID intend for Shem to be the master race. He plainly said so in Genesis 9:26-27. What does that mean, if not that Shem’s sons, the “Sons of the Name” were given divine right to rule the world?
But not by military conquest, not by exterminating the rest of the world. Not by out-breeding the rest of the world. By spreading the truth of God. God gave them the weakest genetics, recessive genes that are so fragile they disappear in a few generations of intermarriage. He did this so that they would be forced to rely on Him for their successes, so that no flesh could glory in His presence (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).
God must be blameless when He judges (Psalms 51:4). So to prove His choice of Israel was not simply a matter of favoritism, He has given each of the other nations a chance at power. Despite His promise to Shem that his brothers would serve him, at various points in history each of the families listed in Genesis 10 have had the opportunity to lord it over their brethren; and each has proven, in turn, why they are not fit to be the master race.
The nations of Shem, and particularly Israel, used their power more benevolently and righteously than most, but even they were clearly not qualified to hold ultimate power, and they have shown this many times in history. The world was supposed to come to the sons of Shem, the sons of Eber, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David, and finally Jesus, and learn the truth from them.
But most of those who were offered this opportunity rejected God and became worse than the Canaanites God drove out of their land before them (2 Chronicles 33:9). So God took away their physical birthright and made it a spiritual one (Romans 11:11-12).
The “master race” idea didn’t work out; so God took it away and made it a spiritual matter, as it really had been all along. Now, for every Shemite who fails to live up to his potential, God grafts in a Gentile as an adopted son of Israel (Romans 11:17-26). And when that happens, each Gentile becomes a spiritual Israelite; grafted into the tribe where they dwelt at the time of their grafting (Ezekiel 47:22-23). And at that moment, they become a member of the chosen, the spiritual master race of God.
No physical race is qualified to rule the world. This has been proven countless times. No race is fit to be the master race; but God IS creating a master race. He is making a spiritual race, a race of beings who love truth and whose names are written in heaven, and for whom an incorruptible spiritual body awaits their just spirit made perfect.
What else could that race be, but kings and priests, with a great Name, just as their spiritual father Shem had? The name God promised Shem will be theirs – the last name of Elohim.