Today in South Africa we celebrate a public Holiday known as The Day of Reconciliation. The following document is abbreviated …
December 16 looms large in the history of South Africa. Today in the new South African it is celebrated as the Day of Reconciliation between Blacks and Whites. It was first celebrated as the “Dingaans Day” and stood for the triumph of the Voortrekkers against the Zulu army led by Dingaan at the ‘Battle of Blood River’. It became a powerful instrument in the arsenal of the White Afrikaner drive to build Afrikaner Nationalism when in 1952 it became the ‘Day of the Covenant’. Since the 1920s, the day was also used by the ANC, SACP and other political organisations to mount protest action against White minority rule and was used in 1961 to launch uMkhonto weSizwe. Initially 16 December was celebrated by Afrikaners as Dingaan’s dag (Dingane’s Day.) This was in celebration for what Voortrekkers viewed as a ‘victory’ over Zulu warriors near the Ncome River in KwaZulu Natal. On that day an estimated 10 000-20 000 Zulu warriors led by Dingane’s generals Dambuza (Nzobo) and Ndlela kaSompisi attacked about 470 Voortrekkers at dawn. With the advantage of gun powder Zulu warriors were repelled with an estimated 3000 warriors killed. The blood of casualties flowed into Ncome River turning its water red earning it the nickname “Blood River”. This earned the confrontation between Voortrekkers and Zulu regiments the name “Battle of Blood River”. December 16 remained a rallying point for the development of Afrikaner nationalism, culture and identity. After the first democratic elections in 1994, December 16 continued to form part of the history of post-apartheid South Africa. On 16 December 1995 the name was changed once more and was celebrated as a public holiday known as the Day of Reconciliation. The establishment of December 16 as a public holiday was an attempt to strike a balance between a divided past and promoting national unity and reconciliation in a new political dispensation.
(From sahistory.org.za.) History, even Biblical History, can be horrific! However, when one considers the many military excursions of king Saul and later king David in the Bible, one cannot equate that with the “Battle of Blood River”. I say this whether ‘your’ history belief relates to the “White Settlers” in the Cape who venturing into the northern regions or the “Black People” (Zulus) as they migrated south. Neither of these people groups were sent by God to settle in the “Promised Land” with a mandate of exterminating those who lived there. Nor to conduct God-authorized military operations against either of these people groups … because there were none. One cannot equate Biblical Israel and their God sanctioned warfare with any other war anywhere else in all the world. God’s purpose and promise to Abram in Genesis 12 (and following promises), culminating in the formation of a nation in Egypt, conquering the Land of Canaan and becoming a United Nation under king David was and is never His purpose for any nation anywhere in the world. Your reference to prove or disprove my position is the Old Testament section of the Bible.
What is important though is another Reconciliation Day that gives continued credibility to what we celebrate in South Africa as the Day of Reconciliation on 16 December of every year. According to His promise in Genesis 3:15 … and followed by many other promises, maturing them with more information, God steps into our world, takes on our flesh, remains sinless, ministers for three years (teaching, evangelizing, healing, exorcisms, etc.) and eventually sacrificing Himself at Calvary as the “Scapegoat”, the one who substitutes Himself for the sin of all who would believe, repent and be saved.
Jn 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
His purpose was to change the status between God and mankind. In the beginning man was in a healthy, vibrant and dynamic union with God. Then came the substitutional fall into sin and depravity causing the race to duplicate their first father’s rebellion against God. The unique relationship between the divine and human was literally destroyed with mankind doing as they please. But God needed to honour His Genesis 3:15 promise and this meant reconciliation. Consider how God did two amazing things when Jesus died on the Cross.
Eph 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
In God’s economy, there is no longer Jew and Gentile. Through faith is Jesus’ sacrifice, the two are one … reconciled to God and to each other! But there is more:
2Co 5:19 And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
We who have been reconciled to God through faith in Jesus’ blood need to take the gospel message to all so that as many as possible might be reconciled to God … and in our country it starts with being reconciled to each other today, irrespective who “we” are and who “they” are. No reconciliation–no gospel call.
O You Who are the Great Reconciler, we are all one blood because we are one race. Mercifully help us to love all our neighbours and to seek through prayer and personal evangelism to see many reconciled to You. Amen.