Ethiopia and Christianity

           Many modern-day black Christians have endured the western interpretation of the faith in a very inhumane fashion to validate chattel slavery in the New World. As well as, the whitewash of the faith to the point that people of color do not reference themselves in the word of God. The actual contributions of the Africans to the faith has been misrepresented and buried.

            As recorded in Genesis 2:13 KJV, “And the name of the second river is Gihon, the same is it compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia”; has resonated in my spirt since the first day of class. And as a result, I have memorized this scripture and held it close to my heart. Ethiopia, the birthplace of civilization. The first country or land mass that was mentioned in the Bible. The area in which the Garden of Eden was located, many believed, and the first home God gave to Adam. This is a clear start of where God has created man and gave him everything including direction. But due to disobedience these things were striped of Adam and Eve. As time continued, many descendants of Adam and the Angels from the heavens ruined Gods plans for man and God made a decision to start over.

            After the fall of man, God commissioned Noah to build an Ark to save his family which included, “Mrs. Noah” their son’s Japheth, Ham, and Shem as God brought upon a great flood. As a result, Noah’s family created the African Kingdoms and Dynasties as they populated across the continent. In fact, Noah’s sons were men of different hues. And at that time the only race that existed was the human race. Biblical scholars agree that Genesis 10 points that the descendants to the Ethiopians, and Libyams are from the sons Ham. Their Names were Miziraim, Put and Cush. The people of this region of Kush were all called Cushites. The word Ethiopian in Greek means “black skinned peoples”. And thus, the Cushites were renamed Ethiopians by the Greeks. Kush (Cush) and Ethiopia are both used in the bible to represent the same group of land and or people. Also, the name Cush is mentioned in the bible 52 times.

            Keep in mind, Judaism was practiced in Ethiopia before the arrival of Christianity. Biblical reference to this would be seen in I Kings 10:1-13 and II Chronicles 9:1-12 within the story of King Solomon and Queen Makeda. Queen Makeda was overwhelmed by the blessings she saw that God had done for King Solomon she converted to Judaism. And also birthed a son by King Solomon, his name would be King Menilek I.

            Ethiopian Jews of the ancient times studied the Torah but not the Talmud. The primary language spoken was called Ge’ez not Hebrew. Ethiopian leaders of the church are called Kohanin not Priest. Although, Christianity is the predominate religion at this current time, lets never forget that Paganism and Judaism came first.

Conversion to Christianity

A notable conversion took place recorded in bible in Acts 8:26-40, Phillip encountered a eunuch, a treasurer for Candace the Queen of Ethiopia as he traveled from Jerusalem to Gaza to a temple. The eunuch was there to worship at the temple as well was listening to a man read Isaiah 53:7-8, and the eunuch became confused and the spirit of the Lord told Phillip to explain to the eunuch the story of Jesus and God’s plan for salvation. From that point on the eunuch believed that Jesus was the coming Messiah, and was baptized by Phillip that very day. This is one of many evangelism moments that people of Ethiopia had encountered over time. 

And According to Ethiopian Scholars, a slave to the King by the name of Frumentius and his companion Edisius lived among the Christians who sought refuge in Ethiopia from Roman persecution. They learned about the new religion, became believers and secretly shared the Gospels to others. By 331 A.D., Frumentius was promoted to bishop and converted the King Ezana the Great, ruler of the Axum Kingdom to Christianity. The Axum Kingdom was one of the greatest empires in Ethiopia in the 4th Century B.C. And within Ten years later it was declared the official state religion.

Finally, the African presence was scattered throughout the bible. Africans were practicing the principles of Christianity before the word Christian even existed. How else could Africans give asylum, protection or guidance to a people (Israelites) fleeing their own lands and tribes following the word of God if they were not people of color? Christianity is not a white man’s religion. Many white men used it as spiritual suppression and political annihilation. After great study, I have come to understand that Christianity is a religion of all believers of Christ.

Fun Facts:

            The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewaheo Church has a membership of 36 million people. It is one the oldest churches of Ethiopia. Tewaheo means “united as one” in Ge’ez. The Ethiopian biblical canon contains 81 books. My favorite book in this canon is the book of Enoch.

            And finally, The Ethiopian church to this day, claims that one of its churches, Our Lady Mother of Zion, is the host of the original Ark of the Covenant that Moses carried with the Israelites during the Exodus.

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