A good detective has to have witnesses and informants to be able to get to the truth and must explore every lead and interview every witness. The Internet is full of sites which speak of the Igbos being of Gad as well as many books, some of which can be found in the “Bibliography” section of this book.
“Ibo Tribe of Nigeria” The wild landscapes of Africa, its exotic rhythms and mask dances provide the picturesque background for this tribe, who believes itself to be the descendants of the Israelite tribe of Gad. They have numerous legends which explain their origins, many of which don’t exactly fit in with the others. But this doesn’t seem to bother the Ibo, whose powerful faith allows them the flexibility of accepting what is considered by Western man as a logical contradiction. They interpret their name “Ibo” as a mispronounced “Hebrew” and till today, the members pray to “Chuku Abiama” - Abraham’s God. The Ibos, well known for their struggle for independence in the Biafra war, are now considered the “Jews of Nigeria” and have contributed greatly to the intellectual and economic development in that country.” -- http://www.aranpa.com/Tribes.htm
“Outreach to Nigerian Jews by the wider Jewish world community gained official status in 1995 – 1997, when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin sent a team to Nigeria in search of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Western rabbis and educators such as Rabbi Gorin have visited the community at times and Jewish communities in the West support those in Nigeria by sending books, computers, and religious articles. However, the State of Israel has, to date, not officially recognized the Igbo as one of the Lost Tribes. In 2004-2008, Rabbi Yaacov Behrman made numerous trips to Nigeria to help the Israeli community with Jewish community development. During those visits Rabbi Behrman met with Igbo leaders and visited their community centers. Rabbi Behrman concluded that they lack evidence and refused to recognize them as Jews.” -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igbo_Jews
Chief Anthony Enahor, Nigeria’s Commissioner of Information and Labor said at the Addis Ababa Peace Talks in August 1968 in the New York Times, “…said that, the Biafrans were trying to convince the outside world that they are another race of Jews who want to form a state of their own because of oppression by fellow countrymen in Nigeria. Biafra’s case, the Biafrans say, has rarely been put so succinctly.”
Israel Today originally reported in 2006 how Chief Rabbinate recognized the Ebos as sons of Israel descended from Gad. And indeed, there is an Ebo-Gad community in Tel Aviv Israel who have their own synagogue. There has been a great debate in the Israeli courts, secular and religious regarding the identity of the Igbo’s; many immigration and deportation legal battles. The argument is not necessarily are they truly of Gad, but should they be considered returnees or new converts and it was eventually decided to allow them to make Aliyah as a returning Tribe.
Haaretz Magazine in Oct, 12, 2005 article declared the Igbos to be sons of Israel through Gad. Dr. G.T. Basden, an Anglican missionary and anthropologist, along with Prof. Elisabeth Isichei an Australian historian and Melville Merrskovits, an American writer all strongly believe there is enough evidences to link the Igbo’s of Nigeria to the Israeli tribe of Gad. Among Igbo authorities, Prof. O. Alezi and ex-slave Olaudah (Ikwuano) Equiano also believed without a doubt that the Igbos were descendants of Gad.
In several editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1929 connects the Igbo people to Gad. A Torah commentary on Sh’mot (Exodus) in 1922 makes the Igbo-Gad connection also.
Godfrey Chukwuneke and M. Okoye said in an edition of African Readers Digest, Igbos are Not Nigerians” Vol. 1 No. 4, 1993, “That the Igbos are part of the lost tribes of Israel or at least mixed with some Jewish tribes in remote antiquity.”
Israel Nigerian Ambassador Noah Katz said of the Igbo, “I am sure Igbo are descendants of Jews.” This quote was posted in the Nigeria Daily Sun March 28, 2004 “The History of the Igbos as Revealed to Innocent Okorie, A Stigmatist” who, while in a trance like state during the Holy Week reported that Rabbi Yeshua (Jesus) came to him and told him that the Igbos and the Efiks first arrived in Nigeria in 638 BCE after the exile of the Israelites in 718 BCE. And that the original town of the Igbos was Schechenigbo in Judea.
Anglican Missionary G.T. Basden was so sure of the Igbos being of Israel he told coming missionaries to familiarize themselves with the Old Testament Law so as to better witness to the Igbo, because the Igbo lived like ancient Israelites. His superiors believed G.T. Basden’s reports that they instructed him and other missionaries not to tell this truth to the Igbo for fear of losing them to Judaism. In fact, the Anglican missionaries tried to teach them to stop observing many of their Jewish like practices and so the argument some have that the missionaries taught them how to live like Jews is absurd. Igbos clearly lived this way long before the white man or missionaries ever came to their shores.
Olaudah (Ikwuano) Equiano
Olaudah (Ikwuano) Equiano in his fascinating autobiography called, “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” who was a slave they eventually gained his freedom goes in to great detail in the first couple chapters of his book and compares the Igbo way of life to that of the Children of Israel. Mind you that his recollections are as a child before the Igbo ever met a white man or a missionary.
He talks of his father being a chief in his tribe and the way he describes the council of chief’s sounds much like Moses and the 70 elders of Israel. It sounds like a Jewish Sanhedrin. He speaks of kidnapping considered a serious crime and although the Torah (5 books of Moses) calls for the death penalty (Exd. 21:16, Deut. 24:7) The Igbos instead keep the spirit of the Law and had to pay a life for a life. For kidnapping the Igbo require a slave given to the victim of kidnapping for recompense. Equiano says that Adultery among the Igbo was meet with the death penalty and this is just as the Torah demands (Deut. 5:18, 22:22, Lev, 20:10-12). He speaks of the Igbo having polygamist marriages and we know the Biblical Patriarchs had more than one wife also. Olaudah also told his reader that the Igbo had arranged marriages and this too is found in Hebrew culture Abraham had Isaacs marriage arranged as well as Judah did with his sons and we could go on regarding the examples of arranged marriages in the Bible in regards to the Children of Israel.
Olaudah Equiano also spoke of public celebration of song and dance on victories and special occasions and this to me is reminiscent of Miriam and the women singing, dancing and playing musical instruments after crossing the Red Sea and Pharaoh and his men drown. Also David singing and dancing before all Israel after the Ark came into the city, to the chagrin of his wife Michal which was Saul’s daughter. Also we must recall how the Kenaniah of the Levites would sing and dance before a battle.
He also spoke of the musical instruments they have and use and it resembles the instruments of Psalm 150.
Olaudah also spoke of the way the Igbo dress spoke of and how blue was the favorite color of the Igbo and blue is a very important color to the Hebrew, for it is traditionally thought of as the color of the throne room of God as well the thread worn in fringes the Jewish prayer shawl.
He went on to speak of the social structure and how men worked the fields separate from women, as we see with Cain, Jacob, Esau and Boaz and women would make and dye garments and this is described for us as proper or Hebrew women in Proverbs 31 and with Dorcus in Acts 9:38,39. Women would also make clay pots too.
It is common knowledge that Jews only eat certain animals which they deem clean and Equiano lists these same animals. The Igbo ate kosher just like the Jews! He also mentions that they were not cannibals. Obviously neither are Jews.
Then Olaudah goes on to say how the head of the family usually ate alone apart from his wives as we see done in Genesis 27 with Isaac. He also takes great pains to mention that before they eat they wash their hands as has been the custom of Jews to this day. In Gen. 27:15 we read of Rebecca having her own tent separate from her husband.
The Igbos were also makers of wholesome perfumes reminiscent of that which is in the Scriptures regarding such Exodus 30:25, 35, 37:29
“In the middle stands the principal building, appropriated to the sole use of the master, and consisting of two apartments; in one of which he sits in the day with his family, the other is left apart for reception of his friends. He has besides these a distinct apartment, in which he sleeps. Together with his male children.” - “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” pg. 9-10
This is precisely like Abram when he entertained visitors. Sarah had a parlor and Abram entertained quests in another parlor of the tent.
“And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day… And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.” – Gen. 18:1, 9-10
Together with his male children.” - “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” pg. 10
This is like what we read in Luke 11:7
“And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.”
Olaudah Equiano then proceeds to describe the more semi-permanent Igbo dwellings and how they are plastered, etc. and how he described them was much like the way the Torah describes the Israelite dwelling places in the Promised Land, because the Torah speaks too of plastered dwellings and how to properly maintain them (Lev. 14). He goes on to describe the sleeping mats and they are similar if not the same as we read in Mark 2:11-12 and John 5:9-12. He also speaks of stationary style beds such as is found in Mark 7:30, Heb. 13:4, Gen. 48:2, 49:4, 33, I Sam. 28:23.
Ironically seeing Olaudah was a slave, the Igbos also had slaves, especially acquired from war just as the Israelites did as described to us in the Scriptures (Deut. 20:10-17, Josh. 9:21).
He goes on to say that the Igbo had no beggars and this is because their agricultural practices mirrored that of the Torah and the book of Ruth.
Equiano also speaks of how highly prized a woman’s virginity was just as we find it among the ancient Hebrews. He spoke of the modesty of the Igbo women and it reminded me how it is recorded how modest Sarah and Rebecca were (Gen. 18:1. 9-10, 24:64-65).
After a battle Olaudah told of how the leader of the opposing side would be taken prisoner and publically executed just as we read Moses, Joshua and Samuel had done to the leaders of the enemies of Israel. He then goes on and speaks of how the spoils of war was divided up and how the prisoners of war were kept as slaves and we find that it is in line with what we read in Deut. 20: 10-17.
“As to religion, the natives believe that there is one Creator of all things…” - “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” pg. 15
This too lines up with Hebraic Scripture.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord. – Deut. 6:4
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. – Gen. 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1
“…and that he lives in the sun…” - “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” pg. 15
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. – I John 1:5
And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. – Acts 9:1-5
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it… And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. – Rev. 21:23-24, 22:5
“…and is girded round with a belt…” -“The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” pg. 15
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. – Isa. 6:1
“…that he may never eat or drink…” -“The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” pg. 15
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. – John 4:24
Further along he tells how the Igbo believe in the transmigration of souls, a type of reincarnation which the early Jews and Christian both believed and many Jews still believe today and they actually call it the transmigration of souls.
Olaudah then speaks of how the Igbo recons a day by sundown and the calendar by the moon, and how they celebrate with a festival, the new moon just as Jews do. He tells of agricultural festivals that sound very much like Sukkot and Shavuot (the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost). He mentions a feast that involves the consumption bitter herbs like Jews do during Passover. He confirms that the Igbo practices circumcision and a naming ceremony as is done in Israel among the Jews. This causes him to mention his own name, Olaudah (which by the way is a corruption of Yehudah or Judah) but means fortunate, and the Igbo are from the Tribe of Gad and what does Gad mean? FORTUNE! He goes on to say how names were always spoken with reverence. This reminds me of how Jews do not disrespect a Hebrew name, especially the Name of God. He said is a curse was pronounced over someone their name was not used, but something was said directly to the person, “May you rot, or may you swell, or may a beast take you.” This sounds very much the way David and others cursed their enemies in the Scriptures.
Next Equiano goes on to describe washing ceremonies which in Hebrew are called a Mikvah and in Christianity a Baptism after one has come in contact with a dead person or a woman after her menstrual cycle.
“I have before remarked, that the natives of this part of Africa are extremely cleanly. This necessary habit of decency was with us apart of religion, and therefore we had many purifications and washings; indeed almost as many, and used on the same occasions, if my recollection doeas not fail me, as the Jews. Those that touched the dead…women too, at certain times, was forbidden to to come into a dwelling-house, or touch any person, or anything we eat…” -“The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” pg. 17
The Igbo priests were described by Equiano as like the Levitcal Priests in the Bible. He said they wore beards and that their sons succeeded them when they died. We find this to be true of Numbers 20:23-29. He said these priests were like doctors too and Leviticus 13-14 tells of the Levitical Priests functioning in this capacity too. He also mentions a curious ceremony regarding jealously and we find a curious ceremony in the Scriptures that deals with this also, in Num. 5:11-31.
Olaudah Equiano is quoted to say things like:
“…the manner and custom of my countrymen, and those of the Jews, before they reached the Promised Land… Like the Israelites in their primitive state…” -“The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” pg. 19-20
Not only confirm his feelings of the Israelite origin of the Igbo, but that the Igbo from Gad likely came before or during their wandering in the Wilderness prior to reaching the Promised Land!
He is quoted to say regarding the Igbo governmental structure:
“Like the Israelites in their primitive state…” -“The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” pg. 20
He says the Igbo religion and their religious calendar is like that of Israel:
“…even their religion… we had also our sacrifices and burnt offerings, our washings and purifications, on the same occasions as they had” -“The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” pg. 20
There is no denying that they way of life, the culture and customs of the Igbo were just like that of Israel which can only mean, just a detailed and ordered way of life can only mean one thing, that the Igbo are Israelites!
Prof. Chinua Achebe
This man, the great Igbo story teller wrote fictitious stories based on the facts of Igbo life and custom. I will parallel such customs to that of the Israelites from his three monumental works, often call the Great African Trilogy; Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease and Arrow of God.
Things Fall Apart
Things Fall Apart, though fictions full of insightful things regarding Igbo culture. Unoka, Okonkwo’s father said, “That whenever he saw a dead man’s mouth he saw the folly of not eating what one had in one’s lifetime.” Judaism teaches it is a sin not to enjoy what God has given for us to enjoy.
Unoka loves the song the children sang to welcome birds back to the area. This is like the chant, like the blessing Jews pronounce in Judaism over various natural events such as birds returning in the Spring.
Breaking the Kola Nut is like breaking bread in Judaism. Okoye a friend of Unoka said, “He who brings Kola brings life.” And bread in Judaism is regarded in like manner.
“Among the Ibo the art of conversation is regarded very highly and proverbs are palm oil with which words are eaten.” Jewish Rabbi’s and Sages feel the same way and the Proverbs of Solomon and much of the Talmud, especially the Perkei Avot is virtually all proverbial sayings that teaches us great and essential things.
“Fortunately among the people a man was judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father.” This is like Deut. 24:16
The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
Achebe said that the Igbo elders wore beards as do Elders in Judaism.
The “Oracle of the Hills and the Caves” is similar to the consultation of the Urim and Thumim of the Levitical Priests.
The seven year locust came and the village of Umuofia was excited because they knew they could eat them and in the Torah it deems such insects as okay to eat and we see Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah’s cousin John the Baptist who was of the Priestly house of Levi eat locust too. (Lev. 11:22, Matt 3:4).
There is a fine spoken of man whose cow got loose and trampled a neighbor’s crop. This is likewise found in the Torah.
"If anyone grazes their livestock in a field or vineyard and lets them stray and they graze in someone else's field, the offender must make restitution from the best of their own field or vineyard.” – Exd. 22:5 “A man’s life from birth to death was a series of transition rites which brought him nearer and nearer to his ancestors.” This sentiment is an equally shared belief in Judaism.
Drinking horns are mentioned quite often in the book and it is no coincidence that horns in Judaism were used to drink from and hold oil and at times used to pour out a libation to the LORD.
When Okonkwo came to his mother’s land in exile, he was welcomed. Seven years later he departed and the elders blessed him when they broke Kola. We read from Genesis on to today, that in Judaism, children and relatives are blessed when they leave a community and strike out on their own. Likewise if someone is exiled they go to their mother’s people as Jacob when to Laban, his mother’s brother when running from his brother Esau.
There is also a film adaptation to Things Fall Apart and we see young men and women and children bow in respect to their elders when greeting them especially when Okonkwo brought his family before his uncle. We see in Scripture that Moses bowed before Jethro his father-in-law (Exodus 18:7) Jacob and his children bowed before his elder brother Esau (Gen.33:7) and Joseph bowed before Jacob his father (Gen. 48:12). This is most definitely an ancient Hebraic custom we see demonstrated in the Igbo culture.
Okonkwo, for accidental homicide was exiled for seven years in his mother’s homeland which is similar to, as we have previously mentioned, Jacob running to Laban, his mother’s people and we see this as similar in concept the cities of refuge (Num. 35).
During a marital ceremony Unchendu’s eldest daughter Njide asked the bride-to-be to answer her truthfully or she would suffer or even die in child birth. This time of questioning was to see if she was till a virgin; hence, if she saved herself for her future husband. The Bride-to-be had to swear upon the patriarchal ancestral staff truthfully to answer and then a hen was sacrificed. This is in some ways like unto the bitter water ceremony when a husband suspects his betrothed or wife of unfaithfulness (Numbers 5).
Uchendu mentions a child belonging to his father’s family which is Hebraic.
In many of the blessings said in Things Fall Apart, during the blessing of the Kola, one is to ask for health and children and not monetary wealth. If one has children, wealth will come naturally. This is a very Hebraic concept as more importance is placed on family and not riches. We see the Biblical Patriarchs naturally prosper when one obeyed God and put family first. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were rich but greater emphasis was placed on family and the continuance of the family line.
No Longer at Ease
Unity and community is so strong in the Igbo culture that one rushes to the aid of a fellow Igbo in trouoble regardless if they disagree with him or have questions about him as with Obi Okonkwo and the Umofia Progressive Union. “A kinsman in trouble had to be saved, not blamed; anger against a brother was felt in the flesh, not in the bone.” Just as Israel and the Benjamites in the book of Judges Chapter 20.
Just as the Israelites, Igbo men desire sons to carry on the family name and the Igbo culture. In No Longer at Ease, of Obi’s father before he was born said, “Obi Okwonko was indeed an only palm fruit. His full name was Obiajulu – ‘the mind at last is at rest’; the mind being his fathers of course, who, his wife having borne him four daughters before Obi… called his fourth daughter Nwanyidinma – ‘a girl is also good.’ But his voice did not carry conviction.”
Like Israelites one was expected to marry in Israel and not seek gentile wives, as it is said in No Longer at Ease by Mr. Ikedi, “… ‘I have heard of young men from other towns who went to the white man’s country, but instead of facing their studies, they went after the sweet things of the flesh. Some of them even married white women.’ The crowd murmured its strong disapproval at such behavior, a man who does that is lost to his people…”
Achebe said in No Longer at Ease regarding an Igbo song “Oyiemu” for a man to seize and kill his in-law, “To the Ibo mind it was the height of treachery. Did not the elders say that a man’s in-law was his chi, his personal god?” This reminds me of the respect and affection Moses had for his father-in-law Jethro
And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of [their] welfare; and they came into the tent. - Exd. 18:7
The character Ogbuefi Odogwo said, “When a titled man dies his anklets of his title are cut so that he will return as he came…” This is very similar to the Jewish custom of cutting the fringes off of the prayer shawl that a Jewish man is buried in.
The splitting of the Ikenga in two occurs after the death of an Igbo. One half is buried, the other half thrown away, symbolizing somewhat of the goats of Yom Kippur. One is to atone for sin and one is to carry off sin into the wilderness. The Ikenga buried with the man is a witness to his good deeds in life and the half thrown away takes his misdeeds into the desolate place of the evil forest to be remembered no more.
Arrow of God
In the opening line of Achebe’s book, “Arrow of God” it says, “This was the third nightfall since he began to look for signs of the new moon.” Igbos keep a Lunar calendar just as Jews do. The paragraph that follows speaks of the sighting the new moon being announced by drums, flutes and messengers that were sent to all the Igbo communities. In ancient Israel this was done in much the same way, they celebrated with instruments, set bonfires on high hills and sent messengers to other Jewish communities to officially announce the sighting of the new moon.
Ezeulu said, “Moon may your face meeting mine bring good fortune…” This is the way the Igbo man in Achebe’s story blessed the sighting of the new moon and in Judaism there is a blessing for the new moon as well. After the blessing Ezeulu prayed a prayer at his shrine that is very similar to the blessing of the new moon found in all Jewish prayer books.
Ezeulu who was a chief priest ansd who spotted the moon said, that, “he did not choose the day (of the festival). He was merely a watchmen.” – italics mine. This is the attitude of Israel regarding the calendar and the Holy Days contained in it. Ezeulu also dreams of children welcoming the new moon. As mentioned before this is what is done in Judaism, the welcoming and blessing of the new moon.
In Chapter one of Arrow of God, the character Ezeulu laments a curse on his son Obika who beat up Ibe his brother-n-law for beating his sister Akueke. This is likened to Jacob’s curse of Levi and Simeon for killing Shekem and his people for the rape of their sister Dinah (Gen. 34; 49:5-7) and also likened unto Davids curse upon his son for killing his brother who raped his sister (II Sam. 13).
Regarding the Younger son of Ezeulu named Nuafo, “Although he was only a little boy he had the mind of an adult, he could tell when someone looked at him with a good eye or with a bad.” In Judaism the concept of a good and bad or evil eye is very prevalent and many traditions and rituals surround escaping the bad or evil eye.
Edogo when he became of marriage age and was financially secure, he took a wife and built a small two hut compound up against the wall of Ezeulu’s compound. Achebe mentions that this was only temporary because he would inherit the large compound of his father when he passed. This too is in accordance with Hebaric tradition, a Hebrew man would not marry until he was able to care for a wife and he built his home on his father’s land and the son would also inherit the land when his father died.
We read the evidence of a woman’s virginity as found in the Torah (Deut. 22:13-21) mainly from the blood of the torn hymen after intercourse was also important to the Igbo as found in chapter 12 of Arrow of God. Recall the concern of Obika’s bride, Okuata regarding the evidence of her virginity, if it would be found or not because in her youth prior to marrying Obika she had another man’s penis (Obiora’s) between her legs though it never penetrated her vagina.
We find in Arrow of God that the Igbo women called their husbands lord just as Sarah called Abraham lord, “Like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.” – I Peter 3:6
Obika’s wife becomes pregnant and Obika “no longer went into her.” This concept is Jewish and is seen in the instance of Joseph and Mary.
And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. – Matt. 1:25
Ezeulu’s youngest son was called by his sister and others “anthill nose” in derision, but this is reminiscent of the legend of Eri, son of Gad, the progenitor of the Igbo people having a pointed nose like an anthill which in Eri’s day was seen as a mark of beauty.
Igbo Messianic Rabbi; Rabbi Gavriel Ogugua
A Messianic Igbo Rabbi, Rabbi Gavriel Ogugua from Nigeria and founder of Key of David Ministries and Redeem Israel Tabernacle, who now resides in Florida wrote:
“I was doing my morning devotion; the Lord led me to read from the book of Genesis: “The sons of Gad were Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli” (Genesis 46:16). As I read this verse, the name Eri literally jumped out of the book and hit me in the face!
I thought, what if this whole dream, and the accompanied Torah verse of Genesis 46:16, which confirmed it, were all a figment of my imagination? Who will believe my report since there is no so called “empirical evidence?” Could any other human being still alive ever corroborate this finding? These questions, and many others, ran through my mind even as I felt a tingling of excitement in my heart. When I arrived at my office that morning, I telephoned two Nigerian friends of mine. First, I called Attorney Innocent Chinweze (from Aguleri) and inquired of him if the name Eri meant anything to him and his town folks. He informed me that Eri was the first Hebrew man to settle in Nigeria. Eri was the father of Aguleri and other sons who together became great ancestors of the Ibos. The compound where Eri settled in Aguleri is called Obu Gad and has become a historic site in Aguleri. Obu Gad when translated from Ibo language means, “The Compound of Gad.” Attorney Innocent Chinweze shared a great multitude of facts with me concerning His Royal Majesty, Eze A.E Chukwuemeka-Eri, Ezeora 34th & Aka Ji Ofor Igbo the Traditional Ruler of Enugwu Aguleri who was ordained king at 21 years of age. To my amazement, he informed me that in 1995, a number of Jewish Rabbis came to Nigeria in search of their lost brother, Eri. Their search took them to Aguleri where there was a very emotional ceremony and reunion of kindred.
Secondly, I contacted my other friend born in Umueri, a neighboring town of Aguleri in Nigeria. Felix Eziagulu confirmed much of what Attorney Innocent Chinweze narrated to me. “Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses, the Counsel of the Lord is established.” I wondered why no one ever told me about Eri while I lived in Nigeria. In fact, I wondered why throughout my entire educational career in Nigeria, achieving to the master’s level, I never came across any literature or individual who knew about this and why the information was never shared with me from the time of my birth to the writing of my testimony. Also, I pondered whether my father (Late) Gabriel Udeorah Ogugua (O-goo-gwa) knew about this, and why he never shared the information with his son. Astonished by the account of Eri and the Ancestral Hebrew Heritage of the Ibos, I decided to visit my Dad and the people of Aguleri in December of 2003. Sadly, on October 2, 2003, just a few days after I received the revelation and made plans, I was devastated when I received a call from Nigeria. My father had moved on to be with God on October 1, 2003!! Grieved by the loss of my father because of who he was in my life, and the lost opportunity to explore the one question that meant everything – Eri. I asked the Lord why he chose to take my father home at the time He did. To my greatest astonishment, the Lord impressed upon my heart that the business concerning Eri and the Heritage of the Ibos is between Him and me and not between me and my earthly father. I “sucked it up” and went home on November 23, 2003 to bury my father. On the night of November 24, 2003, my first night in Nigeria, the Lord spoke to me in the following words,
“Reveal My name to My people according to the Tabernacle of David and you shall declare the Year of Jubilee in the land.”
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob wanted to reveal Himself to the Ibos afresh as ‘Chukwu Abiama’ (God of Abraham) through a renewed revelation of Yeshua ben David (Jesus, son of David).” – Rabbi Gavriel Ogugua
The State of Israel
A good detective will take notice of who else takes notice of the suspect or victim one is researching or tracking. Depending upon the caliber of people seeking out the same person you are could attest to the person of interest’s worth and credibility of rumored claims regarding them. We know since at least 1789 CE that Jews have been interested in the possible Igbo-Israel connection when a former Igbo slave named Olauda Equiano, living in London first proposed the Igbo-Israel relationship in his autobiography. Some Igbos, including a Dr. Ikedife recalls Israelis visiting Igboland and investigating such claims during the Biafran War.
Jer. 16:14-16 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.
It basically says that a hunt would be on one day for the lost tribes scattered abroad. This prophecy has been and is still being fulfilled.
Under direction of Israeli Prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, in October of 1995 and in May 1997 under Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli government sent delegates, looking for a long lost brother Eri. They went to Nigeria, state to state, town to town, tribe to tribe, quietly observed to see if any recognizable Hebraic traits or customs will pop out. When they made it to Obu-Gad their search ended as they seen the Igbo there display Hebraic-ness in their culture. They even seen the ancient stone throne of Gad and immediately recognized the script at the foot of the throne as Paleo-Hebrew. They also visited many sites that have been connected to Eri and the Igbo people. This was documented on film and later shown on Israeli Television. I have been given a DVD copy of this documentary by Eze A.E. Chukuwuemeka-Eri.
On March 28th 1996 Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria visited Nri and cried acknowledging that the Igbo’s were among the Lost Tribes of Israel. Before he left he gave Eze Nri a gift of olives and oil stating that such gifts were only given to Kings of Israel.
In October 23rd 1997 Yitzhaq David an American Jew and Program Director of King Solomon Sephardic Federation was televised visiting the King in Nwewi (Also a King I have personally visited myself, pictured below), Igwe Kenneth Orizu III. It was said during that visit by Zagi David, another delegate which came with the K.S.S.F. “After much research work on the origin of the Igbos, the archaeological findings indicate that Israel is the true home and they should make a quick come back for historical reunion.”
Today in Israel there is an Igbo synagogue in Tel Aviv. The problem is not necessarily are Igbo’s Hebrews, the issue is how the Israeli government recognize will recognize those Igbo who make Aliyah to Israel. For now they return as converts, but the Igbos want to return being officially recognized as Hebrews. Converts would imply they were never really of Gad, they want to officially be recognized as a Lost Tribe who has been found and is coming home.
As you can plainly see, it is not just a select few that are proclaiming the Igbos as a Hebrews, nor is it just Igbo’s, but Igbos, Nigerians, Isralei’s, Whitemen, Christians and Jews all stating their believe and evidences which led them to believe that the Igbos are indeed Hebrews; and we know what the Scriptures state:
“…At the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” – Deut. 19:15