Jewish Groups – In Order To Reconnect To Jewish Roots IGBO Must Drop Their Worship Of Jesus. More DNA confirmation of Igbo Jewish heritage by a program to test the Igbo of Nigeria for genetic links to Jews has heightened tensions between international groups representing mainstream Jews and Messianic Jews.
In February, Jewish Voice Ministries International organized a test to compare genetic samples from some 100 members of the Igbo group, who claim ancestral connections to the biblical Israelites, against a DNA bank of genes collected from Jews. Yet Another set of DNA results confirm Igbo as the lost tribe of Isreal.
Shavei Israel, a high-powered Israeli organization also ramping up their own outreach to the Igbo, does not welcome the test and sees it as part of the growing threat Messianic Jews pose to the Israeli group’s mission. “So called Messianic Jews are soul-snatchers and missionaries, who are trying to sell people a false bill of goods,” said Michael Freund,
Shavei’s founder and chairman. “They try to convince some of these communities to unwittingly call themselves Jewish while at the same time believe in the Christian faith.” Freund is on his own quest to bring “lost tribe” communities into the fold of the mainstream Jewish world. He has settled thousands of Bnei Menashe, a “lost tribe” from India, in Israel and the West Bank.
He sees Messianic Jews as competition. “It’s a market place of ideas out there,” said Freund. “If the only ones in the marketplace are the so-called Messianic Jews, than they may very well succeed in deceiving many members of those communities into joining their ranks.”
Jonathan Bernis, head of Jewish Voice, said the group is transparent about their beliefs and points out that most of the Igbo are practicing Christians already — even though they proclaim an Israelite ancestry.
But whereas groups like Shavei teach that in order to reconnect to Jewish roots the Igbo must drop their worship of Jesus, Jewish Voice makes no such demand.
“We would attempt to bring them back to an understanding of their Jewish heritage without compromising their faith in Jesus.”
At some 30 million, the Igbo are among Nigeria’s largest ethnic groups. While the Igbo are primarily Christians, for generations they have identified as descendants of a “lost tribe of Israel,” some espousing a lineage to the tribe of Gad.
Shavei Israel, a well-funded Israel organization that encourages immigration to the Jewish state, began sending religious emissaries to Nigeria in 2015. And last year, Jewish Voice Ministries International tossed their hat into the ring.
Messianic Jews believe that Jesus is the Messiah but still identity as Jewish, despite being rejected by mainstream. Jewish groups. Some Messianic Jewish organizations, like Jews for Jesus, make it their mission to “spread the good news” of Jesus to Jews. Jewish Voice shares this mandate, with a special focus on seeking out “lost tribe” groups, in places like Africa. There are smaller groups and individual actors involved, too. For example, the American-based International Israelite Board of Rabbis, a rabbinical body of Hebrew Israelites, has also been sending their own emissaries and providing religious resources to the Igbo for a number of years.
A Messianic Jew named Kris Shoemaker, who goes by Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr, travelled to meet the Igbo in 2010 and has written a series of books on “the Igbo-Israel connection.”
From generation to generation, the Igbo have passed down various versions of a migration story framed around Jacob, a patriarch of Judaism. A popular version of the narrative holds that Gad, the seventh son of Jacob, had three sons who settled in present-day southeastern Nigeria, which is predominantly inhabited by the Igbo. Those sons, Eri, Arodi and Areli (as mentioned in the book of Genesis), are said to have fathered clans, established kingdoms and founded towns still in existence in southeastern Nigeria today, including Owerri, Umuleri, Arochukwu and Aguleri.
Eze A.E. Chukwuemeka Eri, the king of a community in Aguleri, claims he presides over the throne of Gad’s son, Eri. Wearing a white shirt with the Star of David stitched on the front, King Eri points to a calendar on the wall of his palace that lists the names of his 33 predecessors. He has no doubts that Eri is his ancestor. He has even acquired land to establish an educational center for the study of Jewish culture. “Israelites and Igbos are brothers,” he says with a broad smile.
King Eri, like many, claims that the Igbo are the Jews of West Africa. They believe they are descendants of at least one of Israel’s lost tribes. In the eighth century B.C. the Assyrians invaded Israel’s northern kingdom forcing 10 tribes into exile. Historians say it is not unlikely that these tribes migrated westward to Africa.
Throughout history, large populations of dispersed Jews also became “lost” through forced conversions and cultural assimilation.
“There is evidence that is scientific that the Igbos descended from the people that evolved in Israel,” says Remy Ilona. He began investigating the stories from his youth more than a decade ago.
“When I grew up I heard, like virtually every Igbo here, that the Igbo people came from Israel,” the Abuja-based lawyer says. His field work in Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Mali led him to conclude that Igbo and Jewish culture are not just similar, but “identical.”
In his latest book, Ilona draws parallels between Igbo rituals and customs and those practiced by Jews. Shared traditional practices include circumcising male children eight days after birth, refraining from eating “unclean” or tabooed foods, mourning the dead for seven days, celebrating the New Moon and conducting wedding ceremonies under a canopy. Some historians have noted that the Igbo were practicing these customs before their exposure to the Bible and missionaries.
Daniel Lis, from the Institute for Jewish Studies, University of Basel, Switzerland, is one of the foremost researchers on Jewish identification among the Igbo. He says there has been a clear continuity of Jewish identity among the Igbo. “It’s not just something that happened yesterday,” he says. The Swiss-Israeli anthropologist says that Igbo-Jewish identity can be traced back to the 18th century. Cross-cultural comparisons have been documented by people ranging from George Thomas Basden, the influential Anglican missionary and ethnographer who proposed that the word “Igbo” evolved as a corruption of the word “Hebrew,” to Olaudah Equiano, a freed Igbo slave living in the 18th century British society.
The oral stories and historic notations of cultural resemblances between the Igbo and the Jews have proven compelling enough to lure a diverse array of people to southeastern Nigeria.
Olauda Equiano (1745-31st march 1797) a freed Ibo slave firstly asserted that the Ibos are a lost tribe of Israel in his autobiography published in London in 1789 citing cultural similarities with the Hebrews as the basis for his assertion.
Other writers who have since made similar assertion of the Ibo Hebrew connection include Dr. G.T Basden an Anglican Missionary and Anthropologist, Professor Elisabeth Isichie an Australian Historian, Melville Merrskovitas an American writer, Professor Onwukwe Alaezi, Omabal Fidelis C Idigo, Dr Charles Ujah and others.
In the 1929 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica it was published that the Ibo people are descended from the Gad tribe of Israel.
In October 1995,the Israeli Government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin sent an official fact finding mission to the Ibo land in search of ERI their lost brother, the fifth son of Gad.
On March 28th 1996, the Isreali Ambassador to Nigeria Mr. Naom Katz made an official visit to the Ibo town of Nri where he spoke the mind of the Israeli Government that the Ibos are their lost brothers. He said “I’m Sure Igbos Are descendants Of the Jews”.
In May 1997,the Israeli Government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent yet another official fact finding mission to the Ibo land on the same fact finding mission.
Paleo-Hebrew Script has been found in various places in the Igbo Territories of Nigeria.
Drawings like unto the Mogen David, Star of David have been found in various places of Igboland prior to missionary arrival to Nigeria.
“One scholar who visited Iboland, saw a s******a there and questioned how the Ebos/Hebrews could have this symbol and be Jewish. Sar Amariel answered the question stating, ‘This is an ancient Hebrew symbol that represents the sun…”– Document: Tabernacle Congregation Prayer Yeshiva to HRM A.E. Chukwuemeka-Eri (Ezerora 34th and KAK Ji Ofor Igbo) King of the Igbos
And indeed s********s have been found on the reliefs of ancient synagogues in Israel. No wonder the N**** adopted this symbol to imply they were like the sun and greater that the Star of David.
It has already been mentioned earlier regarding the Stone Throne at Obu-Gad with the Paleo-Hebrew Inscription at the foot of the throne as well as the onyx stone. It is interesting to note that the stone representing Gad (as well as the other Tribes) in the Priestly shoulder stones was made of onyx, which is black (Ex. 39:6-7).
In December 1997 a onyx stone found at the palace of Obu-Gad, the traditional site where Gad’s son Eri settled was found an onyx stone that bore the Paleo-Hebrew inscription “GAD” upon it which the King Solomon Sephardic Federation confirmed the authenticity of the inscription. This stone throne is reminiscent of Gad’s memorial altar in Joshua chapter 22 in which they did not sacrifice upon but …
In time to come your children might speak unto our children, saying, What have ye to do with the Lord God of Israel? For the Lord hath made Jordan a border between us and you, ye children of Reuben and children of Gad; ye have no part in the Lord: so shall your children make our children cease from fearing the Lord. Therefore we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice: But that it may be a witness between us, and you, and our generations after us, that we might do the service of the Lord before him with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; that your children may not say to our children in time to come, Ye have no part in the Lord. Therefore said we, that it shall be, when they should so say to us or to our generations in time to come, that we may say again, Behold the pattern of the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifices; but it is a witness between us and you. – Josh. 22:24b-28
In 1917 the British discovered, about 500 feet below the soil on the palace grounds a solid bronze Star of David indicating the Igbo people may have migrated from the ancient city of David. To commemorate this event, Nigerian kobo coins were minted with a Star of David on it.
While attending the Ovala Festival at Obu-Gad in Aguleri at the River Niger where Eri was said to have crossed there is a 12 stone altar built by Eri in the middle of the river that can be seen during the dry seasons when the water is low. This too recalls us to a Biblical passage of striking similarities specifically involving the Tribe of Gad.
Between 1938-1959 Archeologists led by Thurston Shaw at an Igbo-Ukwu excavation near Oaeri town unearthed what is believed to be a mask portraying an Igbo face. Also unearthed were bronze items, pots, bowls, etc., including a pot believed to be used in the coronation of Igbo Kings. Also found were bronze intricate beads that reflected wealth and artistic skill as well as attests to international trade by ancient Igbos. Some archeological dating tests suggest Igbos have occupied Nigeria as early as 3,000 BCE. Radio carbon dating of the objects suggests that Igbos occupied Nigeria before 800 CE. Much of the items found in this excavation seem to have a modified Egyptian design and or influence which would make since seeing as the first Igbo are said to have come from Egypt in the Pre-Exodus-Exodus.