The sample essay on The African Connection deals with a framework of research-based facts, approaches, and arguments concerning this theme. To see the essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion, read on.
Sabbath Roots. By Charles E Bradford. (Barre: Ministerial Association of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1990. Pp. 234. Acknowledgements, foreword, introduction, overview, works cited. $14. 95 paper) The purpose of the book “Sabbath Roots” is to show the tracings that led back to the seventh day being the sacred and holy day of rest in Africa. The book also dwells on the fact that Africa was an initial place of where Sabbath was founded. This book displays about many countries in Africa but emphasizes on Ethiopia.
Ethiopia, it was the first Christian nation and was also a Sabbath keeping nation. It also has the distinction of being the only African nation that never assimilated to European colonialism. Ethiopia alone withstood the persistent attempts of the European church’s assault to eliminate the Sabbath from Africa. Today, the numbers of Sabbath-keepers are exploding in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Gabon, and Congo. Even though there was corruption going on around them they still stood their grounds in believing the seventh day was the holy day of worship.
The African connection shows the historical roots of the Sabbath in Africa and it’s prevalence on the African continent. The book also states that Christian Africans had preserved the Sabbath for more than 2000 years, long before the existence of Islam. The book discussed the time in Africa when Sabbath observers both Jew and Christian found shelter in Africa because of the Roman persecution of the Jews and Sabbath keeping Christians in Europe. The Roman emperor Constantine had succeeded in establishing Sunday as a legal holiday in the lands and nations controlled by Rome.
The African Connection
Those rules luckily did not extend to Central Africa. Sabbath Roots also stems as far back as Queen Sheba when she questioned the Sabbath keeping of the empire and wanted to know more about it when she was involved with King Solomon. Sabbath Roots talks about the Curse of Ham on page 69 when Noah was making his living breeding animals and taking care of a vineyard. He drank wine and got so drunk that he lay down in his tent without any clothes on. Noah’s son Ham walked into his father’s tent and saw him naked. Then he ent to tell his brothers, Shem and Japheth. Shem and Japheth got some clothing and held it between them and walked backwards into their father’s tent, so that they could cover him up without looking at him. When Noah sobered up, he remembered that Ham had seen him naked. He was so mad that he cursed Ham’s son, Canaan, and made him and his descendants slaves until the end of time. He blessed Shem and Japheth for their actions, and made it clear to them that Canaan was their slave forever. Cush, Ham’s oldest son represents the African tribes known as Ethiopians.
Canaan normally represents the land of Palestine and Phoenicia, the Old Testament, uses the term for inhabitants of the area in a general sense. These many tribes are in some way related to Canaan, and are called Canaanites. So Ham is the ancestor of all these people from Phoenicia through Palestine and Egypt to Africa. It is an unjustified leap of logic to reassign Noah’s curse away from Canaan to Ham or Cush, his black “Ethiopian” brother. The notion that Ham himself was black, originated in later rabbinical folklore.
It is without Scriptural foundation. Therefore expositors determined that the reputed curse of Ham is not on Ham, but on Canaan, one of Ham’s sons. Bradford also discusses how they try to make it a racial issue. Bradford does a great job showing how African Christians are heartfelt and hearty in their beliefs. These Christians already struggle in the lands they live in; yet, the Sabbath communities are very united and strong. Sabbath keeping in Africa has a rich history. There is old history and new.
The interesting area is that of the Ethiopian Sabbath keepers who were constantly persecuted. From the early church starting with the Ethiopian Eunich whereas today with the many Adventist, Church of God groups, and Sabbath keepers have a heart and desire to keep that day in spite of hardship. Bradford also reveals that there are more Sabbath keepers on the continent of Africa than on any continent on the globe. There are over 20 million Sabbath keepers in Africa. Sabbath consciousness is increasing among God people in Africa and in the African Diaspora.
Africa is reaffirming her covenant relationship to her God according to the prophecy: “Princes shall come out of Mizraim (Egypt); Cush (Ethiopia) shall soon stretch out her hands unto God. (Psalms 68:31). The only conflict with the book is that these Africans were Sabbath keepers had a great deal in common with the Seventh day Adventist religion but they also had a lot in common with the Jews. Also with their being no form of organization with in the barriers of the “church” or “religion,” how can we be so sure that it is the same religion as the Seventh Day Adventist church.
The Ethiopians were strong believers in Sabbath keeping and also they sanctified the Sabbath has its similarities to the Adventist church. Although the church was raised off of Western European traits that contradicts some services held by the church in Africa. For example, when they have new converts they dance and sing welcoming them into church family through celebration. There may be a slight possibility that the church has lost its sight because of western European characteristics where the church focuses much more on control, organization and discipline, a conservative- style church.
Those are also the same churches that are crumbling as time passes. Dr. Bradford reveals that there are more Sabbath keepers on the continent of Africa than on any continent on the globe. There are over 20 million Sabbath keepers in Africa. Sabbath consciousness is increasing among God’s people in Africa. This book also challenges the churches to take a different outlook to find a way to break from conservatism and be more welcoming and understanding to others. Aftyn S. Knight Sabbath Roots HI 104-01 November 18, 2011 Oakwood University Dr. Samuel London