False religion and greed are what brought our ancestors to the shores of the new world. It was Catholic monarchs in Spain: Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand who first sanctioned the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
Spanish Conquistadors, sponsored by the monarchy, colonized the new world by using African slaves to work the sugar and cotton fields to increase their profit margins. Diaries and narratives of these early “exploiters” reveal that they were very religious, but their greed blinded them to the assault on humanity to which they were partaking.
The legacy of suffering within the African Diaspora has been unprecedented. But is it possible that God allowed the dispersion and suffering of Africans in the new world to position and condition a people for divine recompense? The Biblical word for Diaspora is puwts. It means to dash in pieces or to scatter abroad. The idea suggests the harsh uprooting of seedlings and scattering them in the wind so that they may take root and blossom beyond their existing sphere. Diaspora is generally associated with the judgments of God against the Israelites when they were driven out of Jerusalem and dispersed amongst the Gentile nations.
However, outside the Biblical Jewish Diaspora, we have the modern African Diaspora. Here, millions of Africans were captured from their homelands along the coasts of Africa and transported to North America, the Caribbean, Central and South America as slaves. Their descendents are now called African-American, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Caribbean and
Afro-Brazilian. No matter what language is spoken in the African Diaspora, whether
English, Spanish, or Portuguese, there is a shared legacy of suffering and oppression. Various social ills still plague the African Diaspora including oppression, poverty, crime, addiction and other forms of self-destructive behavior.
However, these weights have also shaped a culture of resistance, resiliency, vitality, creativity, and spirituality. These weights have caused us to cultivate a rare commodity called hope, which is the ability to see beyond your current condition. It’s the reason we survive. The phrase, “keep hope alive,” popularized by the Reverend Jesse Jackson soon
became trivialized, but it really did speak to the core of our experience. The hope for a better future helped the slaves to endure bondage. When our forefathers read the Bible and grasped its truths, it was all over for the oppressor at that point. Slaves sweating and toiling under the hot noonday sun would “steal away to Jesus” to find strength and courage to persevere. Although they were in physical bondage, spiritually they were free. They learned how to cultivate a relationship with the Almighty God through His eternal Spirit. They knew that where the Spirit of the Lord was, there was liberty. By faith, they knew that it would be just a matter of time before jubilee.
This is why ex-slave Sojourner Truth could boldly proclaim in the face of those who would discount her humanity and femininity, “Ain’t I a woman.” It was the Spirit of the Lord in her who made her see who she was in God. In reading accounts of her life, many authors say she began her fiery assault against slavery after a “mystical experience.” We in the twenty-first century, especially those of us of the Pentecostal persuasion, realize that she was endowed with power from on high through the baptism of the Holy Ghost. That’s why she was able to do exploits and helped to bring down slavery. She, along with many others, appropriated the promises of God for deliverance and recompense. They clung to the promises in the Bible and saw beyond their circumstances. Their faith
and expectation propelled them forward. In short, they saw their freedom and liberty in the spirit realm long before it became reality in the natural.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was another one who had vision. He prophesied in his last prolific sermon, “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the Lord…We as a people will get to the Promised Land.” I believe he saw in the spirit, the end-time glory of God manifested throughout the African Diaspora.
Double For Your Trouble
The Word says that God allows us to go through trouble so that we can receive double reward on the other side. In short, we receive double for our trouble. The Bible says in Isaiah 61:7: For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.
Job experienced this principle first hand as he was assailed by the enemy on every side, stripped of his health, wealth and children. But after his testing, God literally gave Job twice as much as he had before according to Job 42:10. Job’s trial seemed like it was a set-up from Almighty God all along as God asked Satan in Job 1:8, “have you
considered my servant Job?” Little did Job know that God was putting him in position to receive double for his trouble.
A similar set-up I believe has occurred with our people. It is evident that satanic forces have stripped and peeled the African Diaspora relentlessly. But God has allowed the legacy of slavery and oppression to discipline us and not to destroy us. God allowed the scattering of Africans throughout the Diaspora to condition and position a people for a
shared destiny of recovery and recompense. Job was disciplined by the attacks from the enemy. Job’s trials made him humble and broken. He was so desperate that he cursed the day he was born, but God would not allow the enemy or his circumstances to utterly destroy him. Job met Almighty God in those dire circumstances and came away with more than mere religion. He gained perspective and a reverence for the sovereignty of God. God rewarded him for passing the test. Our legacy as well has humbled us and broken us as a people, but we are not destroyed. Overall, our trials have imbedded in our constitution the sovereignty of God and the character of Christ. The devil meant it for evil, but God allowed it to position us to receive double recompense.
The story of Joseph in the book of Genesis is another example for us to follow. Just as Joseph endured slavery, oppression and cultural detachment prior to his ascent in Egypt, our experiences as Africans of the Diaspora have prepared and refined us to ascend the world stage during perilous times. Our unique struggles with captivity and economic
oppression that resulted from being dispersed throughout the Americas and the Caribbean have qualified us for divine favor. Like Joseph, Africans of the Diaspora will soon say to the power structures that perpetuated and profited from slavery: “So it was not you that sent me hither but God…” (Genesis 45:8). The divine providence of God orchestrated Joseph’s path from bondage and hardship to leadership and stewardship in the Egyptian
Empire. A similar path exists for the African Diaspora within the American empire.
Issachar Means Recompense
The name Issachar in the Bible means recompense. I like the word recompense. It means divine restitution. The God who sits high and looks low is keeping tally of what is owed whom, and He will bring restitution. The word “restitution” in the Oxford dictionary means, “restoring of a thing to its proper owner” or “reparation.” Many are familiar with the term “reparations” because it has been debated in the African-American community as of late. The question is should Africans be compensated for past slavery? The answer is yes.
American descendents of slavery are due reparations for the forced slave labor of their ancestors. The African continent is due reparations for the theft of human capital that left its shores. The issue is un-debatable in my opinion, but our grievances have been directed to the wrong source. Let me explain it by way of an old African proverb that says, “The master will never supply the tools necessary to dismantle his own house.” We cannot look solely to the government to redress these grievances. It is okay to organize and push this agenda through legislative means, but the government is not our primary source.
The debate is being waged at too low a level. The magnitude of reparation and restitution owed the African Diaspora cannot be legislated or disseminated through merely natural means. How can one even quantify the effect of a people scattered and peeled for over 400 years? How can physical, mental, cultural and spiritual breaches be repaired? Can
monetary tokens resurrect the estimated 50 million Africans buried in the Atlantic Ocean as a result of the Transatlantic Slave Trade? I don’t think so.
By all means a huge debt is owed and continues to accrue, but the recompense must come from the spiritual realm if it is to be thorough and complete. The demand for reparations must be taken up in the heavenly realms. We must ask Almighty God for divine recompense. We must have righteous indignation like the poor widow in Luke chapter 18 who demanded she be avenged of her adversary. We must stand on the promises of God’s
eternal word. The King of Glory has promised the daughter of Zion that her reward and recompense is coming. Isaiah 62:11-12 says: The Lord has made a proclamation to the ends of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies Him. They will be called the Holy
People, the redeemed of the Lord; and you will be called Sought After, the City no longer deserted.
Let’s ask God to repay us for the atrocities of slavery that our ancestors endured and the persistent repression that still exists. Surely the African Diaspora is due enormous recompense. But rather than receive small monetary tokens and empty apologies, let’s go for broke. Let’s ask God Almighty, the creator of heaven and earth for just recompense.
Let’s ask Him to turn things around. Jesus said that the last shall be first and the first last. Can you imagine what it will be like to be sought after and no longer despised and rejected? Can you imagine the African Diaspora being called the holy people, blessed and chosen, not cursed or forsaken? Can you imagine the feeling of being favored by Almighty God?
In Deuteronomy 32:21, God says that He will provoke the Jews to jealousy with a people that are not a people. The scripture says:
They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: And I will move them to jealousy with these which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
I believe God is referring to us Africans who have been “de-peopled” through dispersion and oppression. When Africans were dispersed throughout the new world, nearly all societal, cultural and familial attachments were severed. We became a people who were not a people. I know we categorize ourselves as African-Americans, but if the truth is told we are neither. We are no longer Africans, nor are we fully Americans. We are still evolving into a people yet to be defined. That’s why we change our titles ever so often. We went from Negro to Colored, from Colored to Black, and from Black to African-American in two centuries.
I believe our ultimate title will simply be “People of God.” God is looking for a people that He can display His glory among who are not constrained by racial, national, or cultural attachments. The Apostle Paul said it best in Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are
all one in Christ Jesus.”
Trust me when I tell you that God was up to something grand when He allowed millions of Africans from the old world to be rounded up like cattle and dispersed in the new world. He was orchestrating a major design whereby He would use a people who were not a people to provoke his original chosen people to jealousy through His divine favor and demonstrative power. This kind of jealousy that God is referring to is not a bad thing. He wants to provoke and stimulate the Jews’ inherent desire for their rightful place in God’s kingdom as His firstborn. I agree with Dr. Alexander Crummell, a Black minister and scholar who in the late 1800’s prophesied this: “The Almighty does not preserve, rescue, and build up a lowly people merely for ignoble ends.” Our deep-rooted faith in
God will prove indispensable in days to come. As wars and rumors of wars rage and as the nations of this world continue their descent, people will be looking for courage and hope, and they will see it in the faces of the African Diaspora. We’ve mastered in courage and hope. These qualities make for great leaders. Anna Julia Cooper, a Black woman
scholar, said this in the late 1800’s: …to be a women of the Negro race in America, and to be able to grasp the deep significance of the possibilities of the crisis is to have a
heritage, it seems to me, unique in the ages…The genius of young Africa in America and the memory of past oppression and the fact of present attempts at repression only serve to gather momentum for its irrepressible powers.
God is looking for a people with a broad worldview where the only boundaries are spiritual, between light and darkness. Spiritual insight is needed in these perilous times, and the African Diaspora is poised, positioned and full of light!
Julie Gibson is the author of Daughters of the Diaspora Get Ready. Ms. Gibson launched her publishing company, Sanctuary Books Publishing Company where she endeavors to reach a world-wide audience with the mandate of Isaiah 2:2 which calls forth the body of Christ to ascend the heights in every area of society in these last days. Sanctuary Books Publishing Company seeks to become the premier publishing house for progressive Christian writers who produce timeless and serious books, which help promote the Kingdom of God. Julie Gibson resides in Tampa, Florida with her family. For more information visit Sanctuary Books http://sanctuarybooks.com/index_001.htm.
Copyright© 2007 Julie Gibson. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission BlackandChristian.com.