On August 25, 1619, a set of slaves from Africa arrived the shores of Point Comfort (today's Fort Monroe) in Hampton, Virginia in the USA. This was not the first time that slaves from Africa arrived the Americas or other parts of the globe, but it is the starting point for this journey of reconciliation especially because August 25, 2019, marks its 400th anniversary. The first mention of four hundred years in the Bible is when God told Abram that bondage or slavery shall be the fate of his descendants for that length of time. God also told Abram that He will judge the nation whom they, Abram’s descendants, serve.
In Genesis 12:2-3 NKJV we see God’s promise to Abram as follows:
“I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Abraham’s descendants were treated as slaves in Egypt for 400 years. We believe that the guilt of Egypt is the guilt of Africa and that it is God’s judgement of this guilt that’s the root cause of the enslavement of Africa and Africans.
Then He said to Abram: ‘Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward, they shall come out with great possessions.
Genesis 15:13-14 NKJV
Our God is right and just in permitting Africans to go into slavery, and it is our duty to know the number of years that the curse will last. Also, Africa (Cush) is one of the sons of Ham, who himself was the least important of Noah’s sons. Gen 9:22-25 NKJV reads, “And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him. Then he said, ‘Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren.’”
Noah's curse reiterates the curse of those who curse Israel.
“The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan.” Genesis 10:6 NKJV
These represent Ethiopia, Egypt, Libya, and first settlers in Israel.
Our Christian belief is that God is always right and just in His judgment. Israel went into slavery in Africa until Moses came along. Africans have been in slavery for a much longer time, and we believe that the time has come for the new Moses of Africa. In 1 Chronicles 12:32a NKJV we find that “of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do...”
We learn from this that understanding the times of the LORD is very crucial for changing the course of a people. Daniel 9:2 NKJV “in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” Daniel had a proper understanding of the times, to know what his people ought to do, by reading Jeremiah. We strongly believe that the LORD led us to read Isaiah19 in view of the 400th anniversary of the bondage of Africa and Africans.
“In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border.
Isaiah 19:19 NKJV