The Gathering of Christ Church is a movement claiming to be "sending an epistle throughout the world to the 12 Lost Tribes of Israel, which are scattered abroad and to all the Gentiles who believe the true doctrine of Christ by denouncing paganism and are baptized into the fold of Christ, keeping the commandments contained in the Bible." The statement sounds almost orthodox, but the reality is the group teaches extra-biblical and confusing doctrines.
First, the group claims the only true name of God is Ahayah Ashar Ahayah Ahayah (I am that I am in Hebrew). Yet, the Bible identifies God as Lord, God, Father, Savior, YWHW, and other names.
Perhaps the Gathering of Christ Church's most difficult doctrine has to do with the "Lost Tribes of Israel," which they claim are made up of minority groups in North and South America, and in the Pacific. Here's how the Gathering of Christ Church identifies the twelve tribes:
Reuben = Seminole Indians and Australian Aborigines
Simeon = Dominicans
Levi = Haitians
Judah = African-Americans
Naphtali = Pacific Islanders
Gad = most North American Indians
Asher = the South American Indians
Issachar = Mexicans
Zebulun = Central American Indians
Ephraim = Puerto Ricans
Manasseh = Cubans
Benjamin = Jamaicans
The Jews in the state of Israel and ethnic Jews elsewhere, this movement says, are not really Jews, but rather the "synagogue of Satan," a phrase from Revelation 2:9. The Gathering of Christ Church calls Jews today "the Roman powers" and identifies them as Western cultures that oppress Africans and native people in the Americas. In the biblical context, Revelation 2:9 refers to a group of Jews in Smyrna in the first century AD; it has nothing to do with Western powers.
The Gathering of Christ Church also identifies the slave trade of the 16th through 19th centuries as the judgement of God against Israel foretold in Deuteronomy 28:68. It is difficult to see how they make such a connection.
They also believe the Africans and Native people in North America are referred to in Isaiah 42:22, which, in biblical context, is a prophecy about Israel being taken into captivity by Babylon in 586 BC.
The group has some odd beliefs about the tribulation, which it says is imminent, and believes the Illuminati are running a New World Order to carry out the wishes of Satan. The Gathering of Christ Church desires to get out of United States of America because they believe the USA will suffer first and most grievously from the new world governance.
Often ancient, extra-biblical sources are used as proofs for the teachings of the Gathering of Christ Church. Particularly noteworthy are the Book of Jasher and the Book of Enoch (neither inspired by God nor included in Orthodox Christian canon) and a book published in 1976 by Arthur Koestler called The Thirteenth Tribe.
This relatively new church follows extra-biblical doctrine and adds to the orthodox Christian faith. It seems similar to the "Black Hebrews / Black Israelites." The movement should be avoided. However, Christians can pray for those who follow the Gathering of Christ Church and, when given an opportunity, share with them a more accurate view of the sufficiency of the Bible for doctrine and instruction.
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