A Look at God’s Word by
Gary Ray Branscome

“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1 John 4:20)

    The sin of racism, the sin of hating others, belittling them, and making fun of them because of their race is a great evil, and should be regarded as satanic behavior. However, when racists twist God’s Word, and try to use the Bible to sanction and justify their evil behavior every Christian has a responsibility to condemn and denounce their false doctrine, lest they bring shame to the name of Christ.


    I have heard racists twist the words of Genesis 4:15, “And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him,” by claiming that God turned Cain black. However, the Bible says no such thing! Those who make such claims are shamelessly reading their own bigotry into the text, while ignoring what the words actually say. In fact, when I pointed out that the Bible does not tell us what color the mark was, one man brushed aside what I said by claiming that the only color of ink they had back then was black, as if God used ink. [That comment caused the word “stupid” to go through my mind.] When I pointed out that the words “set a mark upon” indicate that the background color was a different color than the mark, that statement was also brushed aside.

    Since the Bible says nothing about the color of the mark, those who assume that the mark was black are adding to what the Bible says, and when they pass that addition off as the Word of God, they are lying in God’s name (Proverbs 30:6). The same holds true for the claim that the mark consisted of skin color, or that it was hereditary. The mark could have been a red checkmark for all we know, and there is nothing in the Bible about it being hereditary. [Compare Proverbs 30:6 with Revelation 21:8]


    Another passage of Scripture that is twisted to support racism is the story of Ham’s mockery of Noah.

“And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant” (Genesis 9:20-27).

    Those who twist that section of Scripture to support racism usually assume that the curse was upon Ham, that the curse made his skin black, and that the phrase “a servant of servants shall he be” justifies enslaving his descendants. However, the Bible says no such thing! At the same time, they ignore the fact that the nations of Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, and Canaan are descended from Ham, and that those nations are part of the white race, not the Negro race. [In the Bible, Egypt is called the “land of Ham,” Nineveh is called the “land of Nimrod,” and we are told that Nimrod (Ham’s grandson) founded Babel. Psalm 106:22, Psalm 105:23,27, Psalm 78:51, 1Chronicles 4:40, Micah 5:6, Genesis 10:9-11.]

    Furthermore, it is ridiculous to assume that the grandchildren of Noah only married their own brothers and sisters, never cousins. And, if the grandchildren of Noah married cousins, there is no way that each of Noah’s sons could have fathered a separate race. Therefore, it is far more realistic to believe that we are all descended in some way from all three of Noah’s sons, than to claim that they each fathered a different race. After all, Noah’s sons were all living at the same place when he planted his vineyard, there was no reason for their children not to intermarry, and physical attraction is not about to limit itself. Moreover, we know that there was intermarriage after the time of Noah. Hagar was an Egyptian, as was the wife of her son Ishmael, making the children of Ishmael three quarters Hamite (Genesis 21:21). In fact, because of such intermarriage the Hebrew language is part of the Hamito-Semitic family of languages. And, it was that family of languages that produced the alphabet.

    In order to justify their bigotry, racists sometimes claim that Ham’s name (which means heat, hot, or brown) is proof that he was brown. Again, they conveniently forget that Noah never placed a curse upon Ham, that the Bible says nothing about the color of his skin, and that he could have been given that name because he was born on a hot day, or for a dozen other reasons.

    Although Canaan was the one who actually received Noah’s curse, his descendants settled in the area that later became Israel and Lebanon. Those living in Lebanon were known to the ancient world as Phoenicians, and ships from their port city of Tyre carried trade goods throughout the Mediterranean world (2Samuel 24:7). They established a colony in Tunisia, which in turn established colonies in Spain, and their ships may have even reached England. At any rate, they were, and are, white people. In fact, the well-known actor Danny Thomas is Lebanese.

[Note: In a way, the curse directed at Canaan was fulfilled when some of his descendants were made “hewers of wood and drawers of water” Joshua 9:21-27.]


    A third passage of Scripture that is twisted to support racism has to do with the words of Christ to the woman of Canaan.

“Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour” (Matthew 15:21-28).

Those who claim that Jesus spoke to this woman in the way that He did because she was black are slandering Christ. If they would simply look at what the Bible says, they would learn that she was an idolater (not one of the “children”), and therefore not entitled to even come to God in prayer. The reference to Tyre and Sidon tells us that Jesus was in or near Lebanon, and the fact that she is called “a woman of Canaan” makes it clear that she was Lebanese. Therefore, Jesus would have been deceiving both her and us if He had simply given her what she wanted without making it clear that she had no right to expect anything from God. Furthermore, since the Jews often held idolaters in contempt, she may have come to Christ expecting Him to say the things that He said, and He may have gone along with it in order to bring out her faith. At any rate, the claim that she was a black woman is false.


    Because those who twist Scripture to support racism were originally trying to justify slavery, they sometimes appeal to the fact that the Bible does not explicitly condemn slavery. However, what they fail to understand is that slavery like war, disease, and polygamy is only in the world because of sin. Just as no one should want war or disease simply because they are a divine judgement on sin, no one should want to see people enslaved.

    Therefore, when the Bible tells slaves to obey their masters, it is not because slavery is good, but because God did not want the slaves that believed to be persecuted for their faith. Likewise, He did not want them to turn their masters against the faith, or conduct themselves in a way that would cause slave owners to try to stamp out Christianity among their slaves, or keep them from spreading their faith. Nevertheless, whenever Christianity has become the dominant religion, slavery has been abolished.

    Finally, read the following passage carefully, and ask yourself if it sheds any light on the question of why slavery led to an outpouring of God’s wrath on both sides during the American civil war.

“Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless” (Exodus 22:21-24).

[Note: God law takes such a strong stand against the slave trade, that Joseph’s brothers would have been put to death had they been living under the law of Moses (Exodus 21:16, 1Timothy 1:10).]


    The words, “All liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone” are God’s word of warning to all who lie in His name (Revelation 21:8). And, the words, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” are His warning to all who twist His Word to justify their sin (Isaiah 5:20).