For a long time the world had to contend with white pictures of Angels and a blond Christ. But is God white?
During the colonial era, the imperial powers preached Christ in the form of White. They showed the native people images of a White Jesus with white robes. All the angels were white; Mary was White, the Apostles were white.
We know now that those images of Whiteness served the goals of imperialism. Those images promoted the psychology that White is God. We fall short in preaching the truth about God with the zealousness it deserves.
The truth is that we cannot confine God to a race. If God were confined to a race, He would not be God of all the world.
We live in a world of evidence. This article aims to try and shed light on this issue using scriptures.
So let’s get down to it. Is God White?
The Day of Pentecost and the Day of Creation
The book of Genesis speaks of a time when human beings spoke the same language. Genesis 11 begins with the phrase, “Now the whole world had one language and few words” (Genesis 11:1). The people of the old era wanted to build a “name for themselves” (verse 4). Their motive was arrogance and not the glory of God. So what did God do? He confused the languages (verse 7).
When we go to the book of Acts chapter 2, we get a glimpse of God’s sovereignty over human languages. The Bible states that during the day of Pentecost, the disciples were together in one place. The Holy Spirit came over them, and they began to speak in other tongues. The Bible continues to say that in that town where the disciples were, there were Jews. Furthermore, there were devout men from every nation under heaven (Acts 2:5). The spiritual tongues that the disciples spoke shocked the crowd. Each person in the crowd could hear the disciples speaking in their language.
“Are not all these disciples Galileans? And how is it that each of us can hear in his native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Potus, and Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and the visitors from Rome, both Jews and Proselytes, Cretans, and Arabians, we hear them telling in our languages, the mighty works of God” (Acts 2:7-11)
The Spirit of God knows all the languages in the world. When He descended on the Apostles, he gave them the power to speak with a voice that united all the races. The Bible says God is Spirit (John 4:24). If the Spirit of God can reach out to all races, then God is for all races.
Through Christ, all the races are unified. Christ broke down the wall of hostility that divided the Jews (believers) from the Gentiles (non-believers). (Ephesians 2:14).
There are angels in the Bible that appear in the form of human beings. But, the Bible does not describe the colour of their skin. We have grown accustomed to the assumption that they looked like the Jews. In the book of Luke, for example, Gabriel appeared to Daniel. Daniel 9:20 says, “the man Gabriel.”
However, it is evident in the Bible that there are types of angels. In Ezekiel 1, prophet Ezekiel sees the vision of God’s throne. The prophet described the angels that we now refer to as the Cherubims of Glory. What is the appearance of those angels?
- The four living creatures had the appearance of men. But each of them had four faces, and each of them had four wings (Ezekiel 1:5).
- The legs of the four living creatures were straight. The soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf’s foot (Ezekiel 1:6).
- The four living creatures sparkled like burnished bronze (Ezekiel 1:7).
- Under the wings on their four sides, the four creatures had human hands.
- The four living creatures would move without turning (Ezekiel1).
- Cherubims have eyes all over their body (Ezekiel 10:12).
How great is God? The depth of His riches, knowledge, and wisdom is unsearchable (Psalms 92:5). Observe the birds. He made a variety of birds. Same for every family of animals and plants. He made them all in rich diversity. So how can we confine this God to one race?
Even with the human race, God made a way for the different cultures to exist. He achieved this when he confused our languages in Genesis. But now through Christ, He calls for all those cultures to come to Him. This unity is the message that the book of Acts ministered to the Gentiles. When the apostles preached the Good News outside of Jerusalem, the word of God says
“We too are His Children” (Acts 17:28).
Aside from the Cherubims in Ezekiel 1, the Bible talks of other types of angels. We have the Seraphims in Isaiah 6. Each of the Seraphims had six wings. Two of the wings covered his face, and two covered his feet.
No colonial power came with images of Cherubims, Seraphims, and all the sons of God in heaven. Their minds could only think of ‘White angels.’ But now through the word, we can see that angels are also diverse.
God in His Form
No one has ever seen the Father, except the Son, who came from the bosom of the Father (John 1:18 and John 6:46).
Few scriptures in the Bible reveal to us the God who sits on the HIGHEST throne. We have Ezekiel 1, for instance, that says:
And now above the sky, over their heads (over the cherubims of glory), there was the likeness of a throne, in the appearance of Sapphire. And seated on the throne was one who appeared like a human being. The figure seemed to be shining like bronze in the middle of a fire. It shone all over with a bright light that had in it all the colours of the rainbow (Ezekiel 1:26-27).
And at once, I was in Spirit, and I saw a throne in heaven, with the one seated on the throne. And He who sat there appeared like Jasper and Carnelian, and round the throne was a rainbow that looked like an emerald (Revelation 4:2-3).
What race looks like Jasper and Carnelian?
What race shines like bronze in the middle of a fire?
Salvation came from the Jews
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23-24).
If you have ever found time to study the book of Romans, you will discover that the book has one central message. This message is that all races sinned. Even the Jews, the race that God delivered from Israel and saw God, sinned.
When God chose Israel among the nations, He wanted them to be like firstborns among the nations (Exodus 4:22/Jeremiah 31:9). But even the Jews failed God.
So as we proceed towards the end of the old testament, God complains. God says that all the trees in Lebanon are not enough for the fire needed for a sacrifice. All the cattle on the mountains are not enough sacrifice for the sins of Israel (Isaiah 40:16). God had had enough. It was time for Christ to come.
The Bible says that as for his race, Jesus was a Jew. Yet as for His spirituality, He is the Son of God. I love that the Apostles never thought for once, to describe Christ’s physicality. The Apostles were men full of the Holy Spirit. So, I take it that it was God’s will that Christ’s physical characteristics remain a secret.
- Christ did not come to glorify the flesh. He came to glorify the Spirit. We live in a world that pays attention to looks and material things. People idolize good looking men like Chris Hemsworth or Idris Elba. But in the Old Testament, God made it clear that He is not a God who exalts the flesh.
The Israelites liked King Saul. The scriptures say that when King Saul was declared King, the Israelites were proud of Him. Why did the Israelites like Saul? One of the reasons they liked him is because he had the physique of a king. But on the day that prophet Samuel introduces Saul to the Israelites as their King, he was hiding behind some lost luggage (1 Samuel 10:21-22).
In the end, God rejected Saul as King. When God chose David, He said this to Samuel,
“Do not look at his appearance or the height of his stature, because I have rejected him (God is talking about Saul). For the LORD sees not as man sees; man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
We also see the nature of God as a God who values the Spirit over the flesh with Christ. We know from the prophecies of Christ that Jesus was not that handsome face you are likely to see in Hollywood’s films. The Bible prophecy of Christ says,
“He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” Isaiah 53:2
God cares nothing about physical characteristics. God’s delight is a heart that loves Him and chooses to follow Him.
- By not describing the physical traits of Christ, the Holy Spirit created a space where each of us could identify with Christ.
The apostles focused on the actions and character of the Son of God. He was a man who raised the dead. He was poor, he didn’t come from a family of privilege. Yet, he was a descendant of David, living and growing among them. The physical traits that we use to classify a race, e.g. color of eyes, color of skin, texture of hair. It was God’s will that they should be overlooked. This way Christ would be a Christ for everyone. That’s God’s will. Christ for all nations.
There is a need to make this clear. The Jesus in heaven looks nothing like the Jesus that was on Earth. Revelation 1:13. It says:
“And amid the lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed in a long robe and with a golden girdle round his breast. His head and hair were white as white wool, white as snow. His eyes were like a flame or fire. His feet like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace. And his voice was like the voice of many waters.”
What race has eyes like a flame or fire?
What race has skin like burnished bronze?
What race has the voice of many waters?
“Now, Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” (meaning, His Jewish family). He replied “My mothers and brothers are those who hear God’s word, and put it into practice (meaning, anyone who believes in Him). (Luke 8:19-21).
Things are not always what they seem:-
Why did the Jews reject Jesus? One of the reasons they rejected him was because He was not a military King. Jesus did not come like King David. He did not come to deliver Israel from the hands of the Romans. Also, there was no way they could prove that he was a descendant of David. To them, Jesus was the Son of a carpenter and a woman called Mary.
It was God’s will.
It was God’s will that His Son should appear as the least among the people so that he could identify with many who feel the same. Yet, with God through Christ, we are no longer far, but near (Ephesians 2:13). No longer slaves but sons (Galatians 4:7). We are all God’s children.
But why does that race do well and that race do poorly?
In every family, there is always that one child who goes on and becomes a successful entrepreneur. There is also the other child who may not do well in life. Another child may even go on and do drugs. These are things that we have seen in our families. The children are from the same family, but their accomplishments in life are different.
Every race and nation got the space to develop, make their mistakes, and build what they wanted to build. At the same time we have issues such as colonization, corruption, and oppression that interfere with that progress.
Still, God does not favor one race over the other. Joshua met with an angel. The angel looked like a man. So Joshua thought that this man is not from my people, could he be from the enemies camp? He asked the angel whether he was on the side of Israel or the side of Canaan. To this question, the angel answered, “Neither! I am on the side of the Living God!” (Joshua 5:14)
God favors those who believe in Him and obey Him. When the Gospel was preached, Paul said, “For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone” Romans 11:32
Why is this Important?
Race affects ministry. We exist in a world where the wounds of racism still exist. Yet, even God in the old testament had a history of healing people who were not from Israel (e.g. Naaman). God is love, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7-21). For how can we claim to love God who is unseen, yet we hate your brother or sister? That is a liar (1 John 4:20).
Some territories adopted other religions because God and Christ were preached as White. But this White person was cruel to the people. How can you teach a loving God if you practice cruelty?
We cannot complicate God by confining him to our social divisions. Also, we cannot define God based on race. He is simply God. And this God, no matter who you are! This God is your exceedingly great reward (Genesis 15:1).
What more do you want to hear?
“Glory to GOD! To whom ALL families in heaven and Earth are named!” (Ephesians 3:15).
Have faith; God is the God of your people. God is your God too! Your exceedingly great reward.
QUOTE: We build physical borders in our countries, we have unseen borders in our societies e.g. class system. But we cannot transfer those borders to the house of God. For God is above the wisdom of men. Jesus said, a Kingdom divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:24). In the house of God, we are a commonwealth (Ephesians 2:12). And this is the Good News. Glory be to the GOD of ALL.