By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
About a year ago, a friend of mine told me about a gentleman he had heard lecture on the subject of Native American religion and how it confirms several elements of the Bible.
Being very curious, I purchased a book entitled That’s What The Old Ones Say: Pre-Colonian Revelations Of God.
The author, Joseph RiverWind, is a descendant of the original tribe of Native Americans that personally handled relations with Christopher Columbus.
I have several books in my library which discuss how other nationalities (like the Chinese) contain elements in their language which offer powerful testimony to the authenticity of the Bible (especially the Book of Genesis), and I thought that this would be similar in nature.
However, it turned out to be much more. Being commissioned by the leaders of his nation to put to writing for the first time the Native American traditions and legends that had been told for centuries by his people (long before the Native American introduction to Christianity), RiverWind has put together an incredible book that should make all of us pause to read and consider.
In this article, I would like to provide some examples of how the Native American stories and traditions help to provide powerful evidences of the authenticity of the Bible.
The book starts off with a fascinating prophecy that was made among the Indians long before they met Christopher Columbus:
“The old ones foretold that three strange war canoes would come to our shores and that these war canoes would be filled with pale- faced, bearded men who were hicotea guami’ke’na (hee- ko- te- ah gua- me- ke- nee which translates to “covered like turtles.” These hicotea Guami’ke’na would carry with them Talking Leaves which would bring further knowledge about Creator. With the advent of these Talking Leaves, there would come a great destruction of our people and way of life. November 19th 1493 was a day that would forever change my Taino people’s world. Never again would life be the same as it had been for centuries or millenia. As one, my people had arrived at a crossroad. Just as the old prophecies foretold, the three strange war canoes called La Nina, La Pinta, and La Santa Maria were sighted off the coast of the shore of Kiskeya. These strange “canoes” brought a message of eternal life with their cold steel swords standing by as if waiting for orders. The Bible came off those ships which we would soon recognize to be the Talking Leaves foretold. Unfortunately its advent came with a terrible price. (Rouse, 1992)”. (Chief Joseph RiverWind, assisted by Laralyn RiverWind, That’s What The Old Ones Say: PreColonial Revelations Of God, 17 (Kindle Edition); Marble, NC; Word Branch Publishing)
As the book unfolds, RiverWind provides a detailed description of how the Spanish (and eventually the English and American) brought about horrible devastation to the Native American communities and tribes, even as they introduced to them the “Talking Leaves,” which contained the Word of the Creator.
With this introduction in mind, let’s notice some of the ways that the Native American traditions and legends confirm important elements of the Bible.
In the Book of Genesis, we are told about a time when the “sons of God” went in to the daughters of men and produced a race of beings called “the Nephilim.”
These giants were extremely powerful and exceedingly wicked, and these events were what prepared the world for the Flood that would cleanse it of such evil (Genesis 6:1-8).
Through the ages, people have wondered who the “sons of God” (been Elohim) were. The evidence from the Scriptures are pretty clear that they were fallen angels (see how the same phrase is used throughout the Book of Job to refer to Angels-Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:4-7).
Ancient Jewish testimony is similarly clear that these “sons of God” were angels who had rebelled against the Lord:
“This strange passage describes the bizarre circumstances that led to the cataclysmic disaster of the famous Flood of Noah. The Hebrew term translated “sons of God” is , B’nai HaElohim, a term consistently used in the Old Testament for angels.224 When the Hebrew Torah, which of course includes the book of Genesis, was translated into Greek in the third century before Christ (giving us what is known as the Septuagint translation), this expression was translated angels.225 With the benefit of the best experts at that time behind it, this translation carries great weight and it was the one most widely quoted by the writers of the New Testament. The Book of Enoch also clearly treats these strange events as involving angels.226 Although this book was not considered a part of the “inspired” canon, the Book of Enoch was venerated by both rabbinical and early Christian authorities from about 200 B.C. through about A.D. 200 and is useful to authenticate the lexicological usage and confirm the accepted beliefs of the period. The Biblical passage refers to supernatural beings intruding upon the planet Earth….The “angel” view of this classic Genesis text is well documented in both ancient Jewish rabbinical literature and Early Church writings. In addition to the Septuagint translation, the venerated (although non-canonical) Book of Enoch, the Syriac Version of the Old Testament, as well as the Testimony of the 12 Patriarchs234 and the Little Genesis,235 confirm the lexicological usage and the extant beliefs of ancient Jewish scholars. Clearly the learned Philo Judaeus understood the passage as relating to angels.236 Josephus Flavius also represents this view: “They made God their enemy; for many angels of God accompanied with women, and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good, on account of the confidence they had in their own strength, for the tradition is that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants.”237 In accordance with the ancient interpretation, the Early Church fathers understood the expression “sons of God” as designating angels. These included Justin Martyr,238 Irenaeus,239 Athenagoras,240 Pseudo-Clementine,241 Clement of Alexandria,242 Tertullian,243 Commodianus,244 and Lactantius,245 to list a few. This interpretation was also espoused by Luther and many more modern exegetes including Koppen, Twesten, Dreschler, Hofmann, Baumgarten, Delitzsch, W Kelly, A. C. Gaebelein, and others.” (Chuck Missler, & Mark Eastman, Alien Encounters, 205-208 (Kindle Edition); Coeur d’Alene, ID; Koinonia House).
This unholy Union produced the rise of the “Nephilim,” or the Giants. These giants are said to have been as tall as cedar trees in some instances (Amos 2:9). We are told that they were of a huge stature that King Og was nearly thirteen feet tall (Deuteronomy 3:11).
The evidence of the Giants may be found throughout the world through historical accounts, legends, traditions, and archaeological remains.
Speaking of Native American history of these matters, RiverWind writes:
“Rarely do we hear why the Creator destroyed the earth with water. I turned my attention back to PipeCarrier, whose war scarred face was showered with moonlight as it cascaded down his back as if tracing the length of his long black hair and asked him, “What do you know of the star people?” PipeCarrier focused his gaze beyond the moon into the deep evening sky full of shining stars. He pointed to The Warrior constellation’s belt and said. “They fell from the heavens in the ancient times. They took our women. They were not washte [good].” PipeCarrier confirmed what I have heard from many other tribal elders. My father told me that there was a great battle in the Sky World where good spirit and bad spirits were fighting one another. The bad spirits were thrown from the heavens down to the earth below where they made themselves out to be gods. These star people took our women by force and the resulting children became the race of giants that we read about in historical accounts from cultures around the world, including the Bible. Interestingly enough, the repeating similarity is these beings came from the sky, took the human women, and produced a race of giants….Kokopelli is just one of many “star people” that fell to the earth and made themselves out to be “gods.” There are numerous accounts of giant tribes that sprung forth as a direct result of these fallen ones mixing with the human women. The common thread in the many cross- cultural stories across the globe is that these beings taking human women and breeding a race of giants. It is found throughout the world; so many cultures have stories that have been passed down for thousands of generations centering on these giants.” (Chief Joseph RiverWind, assisted by Laralyn RiverWind, That’s What The Old Ones Say: PreColonial Revelations Of God, 122-125 (Kindle Edition); Marble, NC; Word Branch Publishing)
RiverWind goes on to ponder why so many churches and preachers are silent about these matters when the Bible goes into such detail.
Could it be that perhaps one of the reasons why so many preachers do not write and preach about these subjects is because they do not believe the Word of God?
While discussing the evil of the Nephilim and the fallen angels, RiverWind also describes in vivid detail the events leading up to the Flood.
At one point, he speaks of the teachings of the Chickasaw people:
“He shared how his people carried a story that the earth had been covered with water. Creator had come to a man named Nu- u (Noo- uh) and told him to build a large canoe because water would soon cover all the land. Nu- u did as Creator instructed and he built the large canoe that would float upon the great waters. Only one family survived and two of every animal that Creator had led into the giant canoe. He also said that at the time, right before the world is destroyed by fire, it will rain down blood and oil.” (Chief Joseph RiverWind, assisted by Laralyn RiverWind, That’s What The Old Ones Say: PreColonial Revelations Of God, 40–41 (Kindle Edition); Marble, NC; Word Branch Publishing).
Writing next of the Choctaw Indian history of the Deluge, we learn:
” ‘“We know . . .” Perseverer began, “We know that The Creator has destroyed the earth with water once and that fire will come next.” He paused as his patient gaze fell upon everyone. “The story as I was told about the Great Flood, I will share with you so that we remember what happens when The Creator is not happy with what people are doing on the earth. We must be careful with how we treat one another as well as look to walk the ancient path of our ancestors. Then things will be well with our people.”’…In the far distant ages of the past, the people, whom the Great Spirit had created, became so wicked that he resolved to sweep them all from the earth, except Oklatabashih (One Who Mourns for the People) and his family, who alone did that which was good. He told Oklatabashih to build a large boat into which he should go with his family and also to take into the boat a male and female of all the animals living upon the earth…The door closed; the rain began to fall increasing in volume for many days and nights until thousands of people and animals perished….All earth was at once overwhelmed in the mighty return of waters, except the great boat which, by the guidance of the Great Spirit, rode safely upon the rolling and crashing waves that covered the earth. For many moons, the boat floated safely o’er the vast sea of waters. Finally Oklatabashih sent a dove to see if any dry land could be found. She soon returned with her beak full of grass which she had gathered from a desert island. Oklatabashih, to reward her for her discovery, mingled a little salt in her food. Soon after this the waters subsided and the dry land appeared then the occupants of the great boat went forth to repeople another earth. But the dove, having acquired a taste for salt during her stay in the boat, continued its use by finding it at the saltlicks that then abounded in many places to which the cattle and deer also frequently resorted.” (Chief Joseph RiverWind, assisted by Laralyn RiverWind, That’s What The Old Ones Say: PreColonial Revelations Of God, 42-44 (Kindle Edition); Marble, NC; Word Branch Publishing).
One of the things which is truly incredible about the Native American Food legends (as well as other Flood legends from around the world) is the high degree of agreement in these accounts with what the Bible teaches.
Speaking of these similarities, Bill Cooper has documented:
“Well, we have reached the end of our enquiry. We have noted dozens of Flood traditions that are preserved by nations around the world, making sure that we have noted only those which date to times before any Christian influence could have placed them there. We have listened to witnesses that have often been hostile, or indeed ignorant of the issues involved. Some of the evidence heard, dates from the end of the third millenium BC; some of it to the 20th century CE, a span of 4000 years or more. It has come to us in languages as diverse as the many cultures of the world. But however old the testimony, and no matter where in the world it has come from, it has always proved remarkably consistent and faithful to the known facts as contained in the Book of Genesis. No other subject on earth has ever produced the like…When witnesses are few and their testimonies inconsistent and contradictory, then the court will invariably decide that the case is not proven. But if, in any given case, witnesses, hundreds of them (some of them hostile) from all parts of the world, turn up and give independent and consistent testimony to the fact that such and such took place at such a time, then the laws of probability alone would compel the court to pronounce that the case is indeed proven. Men have been hanged on much less testimony than that of hundreds of witnesses. Would it therefore be reasonable, or just, to declare that the entire world’s testimony to a Great Flood is worth nothing, and that it proves nothing? Hardly. To evaluate the quality of the evidence that we have heard, we would do well to consider the work of Dr John Morris in this field. Dr Morris had collected (by 2001) more than 200 Flood traditions from around the world, and dismantling them down to their component parts, he found that 88% of the traditions feature a ‘favored’ family; 66% tell of the warning that that family received of the coming Flood; 66% tell how the coming Flood was due to man’s wickedness; 95% mention that the Flood alone was responsible for the world’s destruction; 95% likewise testify to the universality (global extent) of the Flood; 70% testify to a boat being the means of survival; 67% state that animals were also saved; 73% testify to the participation of animals (birds being sent out, and so on); 57% state that the survivors landed on a mountain; 82% name local places and peoples; 35% testify to the use of birds; 7% hark back to the rainbow; 13% state that the survivors offered a sacrifice; and 9% specifically state that eight persons were saved. It was a brilliant piece of research, and we may assume that the traditions we have looked at would yield a similar indication of evidential quality. Dr Morris remarks, concerning this data: “ Putting them all back together, the story would read something like this: Once there was a worldwide flood, sent by God to judge the wickedness of man. But there was one righteous family which was forewarned of the coming flood. They built a boat on which they survived the flood along with the animals. As the flood ended, their boat landed on a high mountain from which they descended and repopulated the whole earth.” 1. (Bill Cooper, The Authenticity Of The Book Of Genesis, 5485-5522 (Kindle Edition)
The truthfulness of the Great Deluge may be ascertained from Scripture, archaeology, geology, and sociology. How incredible the confirmation of the Word of God from around the world!
The Tower Of Babel
The Bible teaches that after the Flood, the descendants of Noah’s sons eventually planned another rebellion against Heaven. Preparing the famous “Tower Of Babel,” the post-delusion world was disrupted when God came down and divided the languages of the people (which until that time, all people spoke the same language).
We read about this in Genesis 11.
Remarkably, the Native Americans had similar traditions of the Tower:
“The details of this ancient flood story are uncanny. The Choctaw Native American accounts that have been passed down orally by the Choctaw storytellers also tell us another story that bears great similarities with the Bible. They say that there was once a time when the earth was one solid land mass. The land looked like a turtle’s back as it was rising out of the ocean. It is because of this story that many Native Americans still call the North American continent Turtle Island. It is passed down that all of humanity was one tribe of people living on Turtle Island and we all spoke the same language until the people decided they wanted to be able to ascend into the Sky World in order to meet with The Creator. The people set about to building a large sky tower that would reach past the stars and into the heavenly realm. The Creator saw what the people were doing and became very upset, so He promptly destroyed the Sky Tower that the people were building. Then the Creator grabbed the land and spread it apart separating many of the people. It was then that the Creator gave people different languages so that they would not come together again in an attempt to rebuild the Sky Tower. (A.Teit, 1917)” 9. (Chief Joseph RiverWind, assisted by Laralyn RiverWind, That’s What The Old Ones Say: PreColonial Revelations Of God, 47 (Kindle Edition); Marble, NC; Word Branch Publishing).
The Coming Of The Messiah
Without any doubt, the central theme of the Bible is Jesus Christ.
Indeed, of Him all the Prophets bear witness (Acts 10:39-43).
It is estimated that there are possibly more than four hundred prophecies of Jesus Christ found in the Old Testament Scriptures (cf. John 5:39; Luke 24:27, 44-47). The Patriarchs had detailed information about the coming of the Messiah, even though they did not fully conceive of such at the time (as seen from Genesis 5); and even the starry constellations teach us about the Gospel of Christ (Genesis 1:14-15; Psalm 19:1-7; Romans 10:17-18).
Should it therefore surprise us that God had revealed many of these things to the Native Americans? RiverWind writes:
“In the long ago time, there was an old Chief of the Lakota people. This was in the time when the Lakota were still on the east coast. The Lakota weren’t always buffalo hunters of the plains as most people today have read about in their history books. They were originally located in the east and there is still a remnant of them who can be found there today called the Wacamaw Sioux by some. This story takes place before the Lakota were pushed to the west where they are today. A great and terrible sickness fell upon the land. All of the people were getting sick and dying and no one knew what to do. The medicine men and women tried everything to their deepest knowledge with teas, salves, and ointments made from plants but nothing was working and the People continued to die. As is custom among the People, the old man Chief prepared for his journey to go up the sacred mountain in order to fast and pray for an answer. The first day the Chief was on the mountain he stood with his weathered arms stretched out towards the heavens and he cried out in a loud yet humble voice. “Creator! Maker of all things and giver of breath, I come humbly before you on this vision quest. Your people need help! They are dying, and I do not know what to do. We have tried everything that we know and nothing has worked to keep the people from dying. Is there a plant medicine that you can show me how to make a tea or salve that I can then bring to the people to heal them?” There was no answer… The second day the Chief stood once again after a full day of singing, dancing, and praying. He looked out upon the land and raised his eyes to the sky and cried out once again. “Wakan Tanka! Oh Great One! You alone know all things and you are the one who spread the stars out across the sky. Your people are dying, and I do not know what to do. Our medicine people have tried every herb, and our holy men have tried every prayer. Nothing is working and the people are dying. Is there a song that you can give me that I can sing over my people so that they may live?” There was no answer… The third day the Chief stood again; although, the hunger had begun to gnaw at his empty stomach, and the thirst was like fire that cannot be quenched. This was to be expected. It did not stop him from his duty to his people and as he stood he looked desperately to the sky for an answer. With hands raised high he called once again upon the Creator. “Tunkasila..Grandfather! You who are without beginning or end! You who formed man from the earth in the palms of your hands, your children need your help! They are dying, and nothing we have done has worked. Please Creator, is there a dance that you show me that I can pray and war in the spirit realm with?” There was no answer… The light of the sun was on its journey to the west as the Chief looked on in awe at the beauty of what Creator had made. With only a small amount of time left before the end of the fourth day, the Chief held out hope that Creator would answer his prayer. He slowly stood with arms raised high and his head facing the heavens. He was over the hunger pangs and was no longer thirsty as his spirit was being fed now through the songs and prayers of the People. “Great Mystery! You who made the moon and the stars and placed them in the sky, you gave us life and have sustained us throughout the generations. Please Creator, your children are dying, and I don’t know what to do other than pray and seek an answer from you. How can my people be saved, oh, Great One in the Sky?” Just then, Creator sent a spirit being who hovered in the sky above the old Chief who dropped to his knees in awe at this powerful spirit being that appeared before him. The spirit being moved its arms and with its fingers drew a window in the sky above the old Chief then looked at where he was standing. “Look through this window, and you will see the answer to your prayers.” The spirit said with authority. The old Chief looked through the large opening in the sky that the spirit had formed. He saw a man who was pierced and hanging on a tree. The spirit spoke again “He is dying so that your people may live.” The spirit then turned toward the opening in the sky and it began to shrink as the last rays of the sun were being pulled into the western horizon. “Wait!” the old Chief exclaimed, “What is his name so that we can remember him and his sacrifice for our people? There is no greater honor among our people then to give your life for another.” The spirit turned to look at the old Chief and with an ageless voice the spirit said, “His Name is Bright Morning Star. Remember His Name.” And with those words, the spirit looked to the Sky World and was gone as fast as a bolt of lightning. The old Chief fell to his knees weeping and thanked The Creator for he knew that his people would be healed. That’s what the old ones say.”” (Chief Joseph RiverWind, assisted by Laralyn RiverWind, That’s What The Old Ones Say: PreColonial Revelations Of God, 61-65 (Kindle Edition); Marble, NC; Word Branch Publishing).
Later in the book, we read of another account among the Native American histories of the Messiah:
“That reminded me of something I brought up to PipeCarrier. “You know, the Cherokee have stories of Kanati, the Great Hunter. But my favorite Cherokee story is one called The Oldest Cherokee Story Ever Told. “It tells about when a great star appeared in the eastern sky so the Cherokee gathered near modern day Tallulah Falls [located in Georgia] and how spirit beings brought the message to the Cherokee that the greatest Holy Man the world had ever seen was born. They brought stories from across the great waters about miracles this great Holy Man performed. “But one day, the sky grew dark, the earth shook and the spirit beings came across the great waters crying because this great Holy Man had been killed in a cruel and unusual way. Their tears hit the stones and the stones turned into crosses that can still be found to this day.” (Lossiah, 1998)”. (Chief Joseph RiverWind, assisted by Laralyn RiverWind, That’s What The Old Ones Say: PreColonial Revelations Of God, 91-92 (Kindle Edition); Marble, NC; Word Branch Publishing).
All of Creation bears witness to the Son of God.
What Will Happen When The Messiah Will Return
The Scriptures teach that when Jesus returns, the Creation will be destroyed by fire (2 Peter 3:9-12) and a “new heaven sand new earth” will be fashioned (2 Peter 3:13).
At the same time, God’s people will be “caught up” to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) as the Resurrection of the dead occurs (John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15).
Before the Lord’s Return, the Earth will increase in horrible wickedness leading up to the end (2 Timothy 3:1-9).
Notice what the Native American traditions teach regarding these matters:
“In the old stories, Creator had made man from the dust of the earth by shaping the clay and breathing life into him. This is why the Muscogee name for God is Hesaketvmvse- The Giver of Breath. Once the people had multiplied on the earth, Creator told them many things and about the last days that were coming. Creator told the Muscogee people that fire would destroy the world; people who had long been dead would come back to life, and horrible things would emerge from the earth. There would be a large gathering of people and that death would no longer exist. It is then that the Giver of Breath will seek out those among the people who have lived good lives according to Creator’s ways and that Creator would then “take them up.” (Grantham, 2002, p. 19)”. (Chief Joseph RiverWind, assisted by Laralyn RiverWind, That’s What The Old Ones Say: PreColonial Revelations Of God, 47 (Kindle Edition); Marble, NC; Word Branch Publishing).
Much more could be cited in this article about this fascinating subject and how Native American history confirms in multiple and varies ways the authenticity of the Bible. While Joseph RiverWind does not fully grasp New Testament Christianity, his writings are indeed a powerful apologetic of the Christian religion.
Indeed, the Son of God came to the world to suffer and die for man’s sins (Isaiah 53). He was buried, and three days later He arose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
He invites those who have heard His Word (Acts 18:8; John 6:44-45) to believe in Him (John 8:24), repent of their sins (Luke 13:3), confess Him before men (Acts 8:37), and to be baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38).
If you haven’t obeyed the Gospel of Christ, why not do so today?
If you are a child of God who has been living in sin, isn’t it time to come back to the Savior in repentance and prayer (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9)?
The Lord is coming back friends. Please get ready!
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.