The Bible and Race Relations (Part One)

America has long been the greatest example of an ethnic “melting pot” in the world.  Yet many nations around the world are seeing an increase in ethnic variation.  What should the Christian’s response be to the inevitable conflicts that arise?

The typical response is to see my culture’s way of doing things as the right way.  Your way is strange or silly at best, dangerous or despicable at worst.  I tend to categorize you before I know you.  You’re just like all the rest of your ethnicity, or so I think.  I tend to tolerate you if you don’t make my life uncomfortable or in any way alter my culture.  But as usual, my normal way of responding to others is not the right way.  What should I do? 

Our first response must be to turn to the Scriptures.  If we are Christians worthy of the Name then our attitudes and actions must be governed by God’s standards and not those of our parents or our society.  The place to begin in the Scriptures is at the beginning.  As Paul said, “From one man he made every nation of men” (Acts 17:26).  God has much to say about race relations.

When a Biblical creationist looks at the diverse physical characteristics present in mankind today, he is compelled to recognize that every one of these characteristics must have been present in the genetic structure of our first father, Adam.  Adam, as the father of our race, carried within him the potential for every facial feature, skin color, bone structure, hair color and type.  God’s love of variety is not without precedent in the animal and flower world.

How did the variations become so distinct?  The most likely answer is that the incident at the tower of Babel laid the foundation for such segregation of characteristics.  When God confused the languages, those who understood each other naturally banded together.  A process of continual inter-breeding between same language speakers lead to the dominance of certain traits throughout a “nation.”

To suggest that one of these inter-breedings is better than another is to deny the wisdom of God in creating such possible variations and is an arbitrary and biased decision.  There is nothing inherently bad about inherited traits.  Adam would undoubtedly recognize all such peoples as his children.

More importantly, as God looks at each and every nation that He has created, each with their own unique characteristics, He must see each as a beautiful reflection of how He made humans.  Just as there are multitudes of flowers with various characteristics, and yet each is beautiful, so each kind of human is beautiful in God’s eyes and should be in ours, as well.

It is apparent from the situation surrounding the building of the Tower of Babel that God was creating a solution to a problem.  The unity of the culture at the time made possible the unity of wrong thinking and an emboldening of a rebellious heart to structure a society that felt it could control God.  The diversity of languages that God “struck” humans with made such unity impossible.

This doesn’t mean that God wants us to remain at enmity with other nations.  On the contrary, the purpose of Christ’s death was to be a sacrifice that united both Jews and Gentiles together in one salvation (Ephesians 2:11-22).  The “normal” antipathy between Jews and all other nations should cease, as should the antipathy between all Gentile nations.

God is calling us to “become all things to all men that by all means we might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).  We are to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).  We cannot do that if we don’t love all nations, all peoples, all cultures.  That is a challenge we can only succeed at with help from the loving Spirit of God who has poured out God’s love in our hearts (Romans 5:5).


19 thoughts on “The Bible and Race Relations (Part One)

  1. I was hoping to see a reference to Numbers chapter 12, with Mosses’ second wife and his siblings actions, and The Lord’s outrage toward them.

  2. I am interested to know what evidence you have that this was a racial issue. I am open to learn. Why does God’s outrage seem to be more focused on their challenge to Moses’ unique authority than to his choice of a wife? Thanks for bringing this passage to my attention.

  3. While I agree that the larger focus seems to be on their challenge to Moses’ authority, perhaps including that Aaron allowed Miriam to take the lead, their reason for initially speaking against Moses is stated in verse 1, …because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married…

    Miriam is named first, very unusual. The Hebrew verb translated as spake is feminine singular. The chapter is not refering to Moses’ wife Zipporah, she was a Midianite, also a non-Israelite, these marriages were not uncommon in Israel.
    This wife was an Ethiopian, a Cushite, a descendant of Ham, Gen. 10:6.
    Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Jeremiah 13:23a.
    This was a black woman.

    Interesting too is the Lord’s choice of punishment for Miriam. With all the possible plagues and punishments, she is turned “white as snow” verse 10.
    Giving evidence, I believe, of a just God with a sense of humor.

    Thank you Moses.
    Thank You Lord.

  4. You guys seem like bright, Bible-knowledgeable people. I’d be interested in “reading” your thoughts/beliefs on the rapture. Is the rapture pre, mid, or post 7 years tribulation? The prevailing belief (from what I hear) is Christians will dodge the tribulation by way of the rapture. My perspective, if I may bestow… First let me give a few common verses that are used when referring to the rapture:
    “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet . For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
    (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52).
    “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.”
    (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17).
    “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
    (Matthew 24:29-31).
    I tend to err on the side of caution, be prepared, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket and bank on any 1 view. Someone could find more Scripture to push their viewpoint, but I wonder why. Why so many views? I get the view that the rapture comes before the tribulation. It’s a feel good, comfortable view and I would venture to say that those who believe this also believe the doctrine of eternal security. Both of which I hope is true but I do doubt it. My thoughts are – what’s the harm in believing that we could in fact have to face the tribulation. The Bible is full of stories of man going through tribulation for the sake of their faith in God and He didn’t rapture them. Why are Christians today, to good to have to face a similar fate? Now if the rapture comes before the tribulation, and all the dead in Christ rise first, then all Christians alive are “caught up”, What happens to the ones left behind? Is there a whole new chance for them? If so, who could believe the Anti-Christ after witnessing Jesus with His angels calling up all Christians, hearing the great sound of the trumpet and having the powers of the heavens shaken? The anti-christ must be one good salesman to fool people after that… While I’m at it… Do you go to heaven or hell immediately after death? If so, does anyone have further input on why Jesus raises the dead in Christ during the rapture? Would love to hear back from you thimblefulloftheology or Joe

  5. I really appreciate your compliment. I don’t know who Joe is, but I’ll be glad to try to answer your question with my limited knowledge.

    The reason there are so many views on the rapture is because there is no direct statement regarding the timing of the rapture in Scripture. It is all a matter of inference on our part from the available data. The post-tribulationists have perhaps the most logical argument, that if there is no direct statement one way or the other and the same words are used of the “coming” of Christ in the rapture and the “coming” of Christ to establish the kingdom, they must be the same coming. Why would we presume to separate them into two comings? The main problem I have with the post-tribulation rapture is that if Christ comes at the end of the tribulation and raptures living saints along with the dead in Christ, every person entering the millennial kingdom (I’m a premillennialist) will be in a resurrected body. The things I believe about the resurrected body include that we will not reproduce. That means there will be no new births in the millennial kingdom, or ever after for that matter. I also believe that Christians cannot lose their salvation. But in Revelation 20 it describes Satan being released after the thousand years and leading a group of people against Jesus. Who is he leading? These cannot be believers who turned away from Christ after being resurrected. There have to have been children born to unresurrected believers who entered the kingdom and these children did not all believe. The only way I see to get this situation is for the rapture to happen before the 7-year agreement between Israel and her enemies (Daniel 9, the 70th seven) or before the actual three and a half year tribulation, so that new people come to Christ during the tribulation who when Christ returns to earth enter the millennial kingdom without being given resurrected bodies.

    With the post-tribulational view, there is no chance for salvation once Christ returns, raises the dead in Christ and raptures the living, then comes on down to earth and gathers his elect. In the pre-trib view there is yet another chance to believe during the tribulation. Though it says he comes with a shout and the sound of a trumpet we don’t know how distinct this will be to an unbelieving world or how they will interpret it. They will have to explain missing persons around the world, maybe as a mass alien abduction or something.

    The antichrist will then offer perhaps some explanation that satisfies and brings people to depend on him for getting the world back in order. Many will follow him.

  6. Although I do not know Randall Johnson I am certain we share many similar beliefs, and I hoped he would respond to you as he did to my first writing.

    I do believe in a pre-tribulation rapture of true Christians as supported by the verses you referenced and others. One of the others being Revelation 3:10, with The Lord speaking:… I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
    The Lord does not promise to protect us from it, but to keep us from it, we will be gone.
    Revelation 3:22 is the last reference to the church before chapter 22. I believe showing that the true church will not be present on earth during the Great Tribulation.

    I do not believe in eternal security, nor apparently did the apostle Paul writing in 1 Corinthians 9:27 he said: …lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. Literally- disqualified.
    Even more convincing to me is The Lord speaking in Revelation 3:5. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life…
    Leading me to believe that some names will be, or at the very least can be, blotted out.
    While on this subject I want to point out Revelation 3:20.
    Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
    This verse is often used in an appeal to unsaved, unrepentant sinners but here Christ is speaking to people who consider themselves to be part of the church. Don’t assume becavse someone is saying Hallelujah and Amen at every Sunday and midweek service that they are secure. Christ reads our hearts, sees our motives, and knows us better than we know ourselves. And HE decides.

    After the pretribulation rapture the Holy Spirit and Christian examples will be taken out of the way of people living on earth.
    2 Thessalonians 2:7: For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
    After the rapture I believe the Spirit of The Lord will then come upon individuals, like during Old Testament times, who realize that they were mistaken in their unbelief and accept Christ during the Tribulation.

    It will be an earth filled with danger. Not only during the Tribulation but also at the time of the Rapture. Imagine all of the airplanes, ships, cars, trucks, buses, trains, department of labor employment specialists, police, doctors, nurses, banking employees,prison staff and inmates, all true Christians gone in an instant. All children gone too, unsaved pregnant womem no longer with child.
    All the deaths of the unsaved by all those accidents at that moment. All of those lost forever because they rejected Christ.

    Sadly, many pastors will still be preaching the following Sunday. In many churches it will be pretty much business as usual, minus the children of course. Oh, the former prostitute and the former drug dealer who we didn’t want the kids to talk to, they’re gone too.

    Regarding your question about Christians today being too good to face tribulation, I don’t see it that way. I see it more as another of many promises from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All of which He keeps.

  7. Thanks to both of you for leaving good and valid points on my question. Both were excellent responses, however, in regards to the mark of the beast, why are those who accept it eternally damned? Leaving a question to whether or not you have a “second chance” at salvation. I have heard some say that the second chance is only for Jews, while others have said it is for people who never heard about Gods Word. On the latter point there are versus that talk about the Lords coming will not be until every man had a chance to accept or reject God’s Word. When planes, trains, automobiles, ect… all have certain few disappear and all at the same time, wouldn’t this be an eye opener to the lost? Especially when the earth shakes and a loud trumpet sounds, no to mention Jesus in the clouds. Those who heard but rejected Jesus would know what just occurred, I would think. Those who rejected before the rapture but also who reject the mark of the beast has what kind of fate? I hope you both find my questions as true questions and not to be argumentative, I know that the Bible and Jesus’ teachings weren’t created to cause conflicts and/or arguments, but sincere questions from me to people who probably have a better grasp on the Word then I may ever know… thanks again for your time and your help.

  8. I wanted to add another thought that has me, to a point, stumped. In my first response I mentioned how is that some christians will escape tribulation and in a way they are to good to face it. I wanted to add to that thought. In countless times throughout old and new testament the Bible makes clear that all men must face a certain death. “For the wages of sin is death” “For all have sinned…” “The one who sins shall die” “Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death.” “No man can live on without experiencing death” and on and on. The constant theme is that man must die because of sin. And up to this point nothing is more true, but in a rapture certain christians escape, what ultimately no else has, death… Great Christians throughout the Bible faced death, not to mention persection to a degree that christians today will never see or face. Like with all men, christians sin, and if the wage for sin is paid for by death, why is this true except for the christians who get raptured? I think that no matter what one’s beliefs are on this matter, it will not in any way hinder their chance to be truly saved. So in believing that, to a point it’s not the most important thing as far as being saved or not. The Bible makes no mention that those who get the ending wrong goes to hell. So with that said, though its not the absolute most important thing to get right, I am still confused on the matter and any help and thoughts do wonders for me. Thanks again.

    1. You are right to observe that death is always the fate of humans since the sin of Adam. But as Joe pointed out, there have been exceptions. Enoch and Elijah both were exempted from physical death, as best we can tell. Perhaps they were a foretaste of believers who will be alive when Christ comes back. In a sense, believers still face the penalty of death for sin, but our sin has been atoned for, all of it. Death no longer has the sting for believers that it has for unbelievers (1 Cor 15:55-57). In some way for believers, death as a penalty for sin has been ameloriated. So God is not somehow breaking the rules if He permits the believers who are alive when Christ comes back to escape death.

  9. I’d like my grasp on The Word to be as good as you believe it to be, I’ll keep studying.
    If I thought your questions weren’t sincere I wouldn’t waste the time. I avoid unprofitable strivings. See Titus 3:9-11.

    Reading Acts 18:24-28 you will see that after some further instruction Apollos became a strong Christian leader. The same may very well be true for Goldrush!
    I do suggest each time before reading anything in your Bible that you pray Psalm 119:18. Open thou my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

    Revelation chapter 13 tells us that in order to buy or sell, people living on earth will be forced to receive a mark on their right hand or forehead.
    Unbelievers during the Tribulation will receive the mark. By doing so they will receive God’s eternal punishment in the lake of fire.
    I believe both Jews and non-Jews will be able to accept Jesus Christ during this time and probably be executed by Antichrist’s forces.

    I do believe that there will be an extensive underground network, buying and selling goods and services.

    Many, if not most, will believe the explaination given by the Antichrist, as difficult as that seems with all that has taken place to that point.

    But we are getting easier to fool. What was considered pornography when I was a kid is now on prime time television every evening. And our politically correct society slides further.

    He is coming.

  10. Jesus’ blood paid for sin, past, present, and future.

    Both Enoch Genesis 5:24, and Elijah 2 Kings 2:3-5 escaped death and were translated as Christians will be at the rapture.

    Assuming you mean no matter what one’s Christian denominational beliefs are, as long as one accepts Jesus Christ as their savior, you are right.

    The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9.

    I was working from memory, although if it caused anyone to read a few extra verses of scripture, it’s good.



  14. Hi again, Joe & Randall. I have read your last few replies to questions I asked and I know I have come way off topic from the original post, but… I wanted to say that both replies were very helpful, although I would add that Enoch and Elijah from what I understand will be sent back to earth during the tribulation and eventually will be slain. I read this quite a while back, and on the top of my head I cannot think of the chapter/verse it came from, perhaps you may know. This added to my confusion in the first place. I also wanted to suggest a site to read (if you get the chance) and let me know what you think. I do not know what denomination or know of any affiliation with this site, but after reading it, I thought some points were extremely interesting, while others were fairly common, and some, I just didn’t know what to think. Anayways I am not sure I can add a website link to the post but it had to do with the end times and it brought up points I haven’t yet heard before or points that are un-popular. The article is called “Who or What is the Antichrist” By Roderick C. Meredith. and its on – On the top links click on booklets and find that that title if you have time. Again I am not endorsing this site and know nothing about it, but did come across it and got me wondering more then usual. Again, thanks to both of you, your time and help is much appreciated.

  15. To CARLIE, my answer is that the Bible is ok with marriage between races.

    To GOLDRUSH, the passage you are thinking about is Revelation 11 where it describes two witnesses who cannot be killed until God allows. Some have tried to identify them with Moses and Elijah, or Enoch and Elijah, because they didn’t die or at least die in the normal sense and because they seem to have prophetic gifting. But this is purely speculation. I don’t have time right now to look for the site you mentioned. Maybe I can get to it later.

  16. Carlie, I am sorry. I just came across my reminder note to reply to your question. I hope you use Randall Johnson’s email notification and read this, again, I am sorry so much time has passed.

    I agree with Mr. Johnson.

    If you read my original writing here you will see that I believe Moses’ wife was a black woman.
    Although his siblings may have had a problem with it, God did not. The story is in Numbers Chapter 12.

    Also First Corinthians 15:39 says:
    “All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.”

    We are all one flesh.

    Acts 17:26 says:
    And (God) hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth…”

    So if God says we are all one flesh and one blood, who are we to think otherwise?

    I do hope you see this.

    Thank you Mr. Johnson for your automatic email follow up.

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