(Extract from “Zion Train – A Rastafari Journey Through Spirituality And Daily Life” by Ras Julio)
The Christ, the Son of God, the anointed one of Israel, would have had to come here to earth twice for His mission to be complete. The first time He had to be a spiritual teacher. He had to teach the nations to seek God in their hearts and to find that Kingdom of God that He Himself describes in many wonderful parables. In this first coming, He had to be born in a humble context. He would dedicate His days on this earth to the spiritual edification of simple people who would later become the ambassadors of the Gospel, which means the ‘good news’.
His task was to free people from religious formalism and teach them to call God ‘Abbah’, Father. This would reduce, or eliminate that distance between God and man so that they could rediscover that the Almighty dwells within us and not just on the altar of a temple. The first coming takes place in a historical and religious context in which the Mosaic Law has become much institutionalized. Here, unfortunately, starting from certain levels of the priestly hierarchy, intimate, spontaneous, and profound communion with God has been lost.
The Messiah, a Jew among Jews, comes to fulfil and not annul this Law, but to complete it with the new commandment of love. This fulfilment will renew the Law with the freshness of forgiveness, transforming it with the cascade of benevolence, compassion, and charity.
The Messiah was to transform and renew everything to free humanity from its chains and limitations.
In addition, what is the greatest limitation for a human being?
Here it is that the Son of God in His first coming had to conquer death precisely in order to free human beings from this limitation. This was to be the ultimate evidence that life, in reality, has no boundaries but is eternal. The resurrection establishes a new phase in which man can now truly testify that God’s gift is eternal life.
In His first coming, He is Yashua (Iyasos in Ethiopian), the son of Joseph and Miryam and later called Krestos or the anointed one. He was born in Bethlehem during the Roman occupation of Palestine and opened the hearts of men, initiating a new era for all Mankind.
He walked on water to teach men how to walk on Earth, He raised the dead to show the living not to die, He instructed fishermen that they might become fishers of souls. He took in the sinner woman and challenged the great priests because the Kingdom of God dwells in the heart of nonjudgment. So does deliverance in the annihilation of hypocrisy.
Here we are witnessing a new revelation, after the Mosaic one. This is Christ’s revelation, from which Christianity will be born.
The Scriptures tell us that when this new doctrine would reach the four corners of the earth, then Christ would return to fulfill the second and final part of His messianic ministry.
Let us now jump to 1930, exactly in St. George’s Cathedral, in the heart of Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa. Here, Ras Tafari Makonnen was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia taking His baptismal name Qadamawi Haile Selassie (Haile Selassie The First). He was also invested with the titles of King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God, and Light of the World.
He is the two hundred and twenty-fifth direct descendant of King David, father of King Solomon. The 38 years old Tafari Makonnen is now crowned with the crown of diadems to reign over the Davidic throne of the oldest Christian kingdom on the planet. His coronation ceremony is equal to those of the great kings of the Old Testament, such as Saul, Solomon and David himself. He is anointed with holy oil to reign according to justice and judgment on the throne of Israel.
Upon hearing the news of this famous, biblical-style coronation, some Christians in Jamaica are deeply intrigued by the event. They remain profoundly impressed by how similar this event was to the biblical prophecies announcing the King Messiah of the House of David.
Thus begin a period of some two years of profound research. During this time the Bible’s pages are penetrated and pored over to see if indeed this Davidic King could be the long-awaited Messiah, returned in His second coming.
The answer came directly from the hearts of these men who, although not initially in contact with each other, come to the same conclusion. Haile Selassie The First of Ethiopia is the Christ returned in His kingly character to bring the messianic plan to completion.
His titles are in fact those that in the Bible are attributed to Christ. His lineage is exactly the bloodline dynasty from which the Messiah was to return (just as in the first coming Iyasos was in the same way from the genealogy of David). His throne rules over the only country in the world which was still at the time a Christian empire. Ethiopia was, and this is no small thing, considered the new Israel where even the Ark of the Covenant rested (precisely in the church of St. Mary of Zion in the city of Axum). As the Scriptures say, where the ark dwells, there dwells the presence of the Almighty.
The newly crowned emperor is an unbroken genealogical descendant of Menelik the First the son of King Solomon (king of Ancient Israel) and the Queen of Sheba (queen of Ancient Ethiopia). This beautiful and inspired queen is also mentioned in the Gospel by Iyasos Himself with the appellative of “queen of the South”. She was responsible for bringing the faith in one God, Yahweh, to the ‘Land of the South’ or Ethiopia at the time. Haile Selassie The First corresponds unequivocally to the descriptions that the prophets, Isaiah first and foremost, gave of the King Messiah. In the eyes of those early Rastafari in Jamaica, He is undoubtedly the Christ returned to reign on the throne of David. All the ancient prophecies that speak of a Messiah-King, which could not be linked to Iyasos Krestos because he was a spiritual master, now match perfectly with the person of Haile Selassie The First.
As if by a miracle, everything immediately makes full sense.
All the pages that spoke of this divine ruler, who would be recognized by His titles, find their perfect attribution. Those appellations in fact, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God, and Light of the World, remained as a pending issue for two thousand years of Christianity. They were proper to Christ but mysteriously could not be matched to the figure of Iyasos, the son of Joseph.
The explanation is that, in His second coming, Christ had to be a king and no longer a teacher or a priestly prophet. Yet, He would still have manifested a prophetic and priestly attitude as well. However, this had to be applied to the government of a kingdom and the real and practical dimension of Mankind. He would have governed history according to the spirit of God. He would have brought together material and spiritual dimensions to demonstrate the perfect completeness of humanity and life here on this Earth.
He would make the Gospel a reality through His political, social, diplomatic, and humanitarian works and not only through parables and spiritual discourses. In His second advent, the Messiah would change the events of history by showing men a blueprint of how to live this age of modernity and progress in a righteous and godly manner. Just as in His first coming He had shown the way to find God in one’s own heart, in His second coming He shows the way to find and manifest God in the historical, external reality, in society, and the world community.
In doing so, the task of the Messiah is fulfilled because spiritual and material become one. With Iyasos Krestos God becomes man, with Haile Selassie The First God becomes history.
Furthermore, in the first coming His task was to bring the human spirit to a level where we can intimately call God “our Father” and thus find the Kingdom of God within us and in whatever we do. In the second coming, His task is to show how any aspect of human life, including economics, politics, etc., can be handled divinely so that the dichotomy between the ideal world and everyday reality is annulled. In this way, He manifests to us that everything is in truth the Kingdom of God and illustrates how to practically live according to the heart of God.
Iyasos openly challenged the religious hypocrisy of His time. In the same way, Haile Selassie The First confronts the unhealthy and corrupt governance of so many of the powerful of the Earth who used their authority to bring mankind to a hell-like condition. Instead, the King of Kings shows how mankind can live in peace if acts according to the rules of respect, interconnection, and collective security.
Two thousand years ago Iyasos, a Jew among Jews, had brought the Mosaic faith to completion. In this new era, the Emperor of Ethiopia, a Christian among Christians, fulfilled the Christian doctrine by taking it to its ultimate and definitive level, that of the Messiah’s earthly kingdom. In Christ’s government, the Gospel is not just a moral code but also a clear existential model of government and life on this planet. No longer religion but life.