Who is Jah? What is Rastafari? Who is Haile Selassie?
What is Babylon? Was Bob Marley a Christian?
Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his
name JAH, and rejoice before him.
Psalm 68:4 KJV
In this verse in the Bible, Jah (Yahh in Hebrew)
is a contraction of the root word Jehovah (Yehovah in Hebrew),meaning "the existing one", the proper
name of the one true God. This is the only time Jah is used in the King James Version of the Bible. This
word is used and translated as LORD 45 other times in the Old Testament, KJV.
Ras Tafari is one of the titles given to a man named Haile Selassie. Jah is often placed in front of Ras
Tafari, referring to him as lord. He was an Ethiopian Emperor that many claim to be Christ in the
second coming or Almighty God himself. Many Rastas consider Haile Selassie to be divine. Many
Rastafarians worship him. Before his coronation as the emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie was
thought by early Rastafarian preachers to be the Messiah—or God himself. Some Rastas believe that
it was never Haile Selassie who was Christ, but the “lion spirit” within him. Though some Rastas deny
his diety and worship Christ, to most Rastas he is their redeemer and Africa is the promised land
(Particularly Ethiopia which they believe to be Zion). Many Rastas use marijuana as a holy sacrament.
Marcus Garvey campaigned against marijuana and Haile Selassie outlawed its use in Ethiopia. All
Rastas need to accept the emperor’s own self-denial of deity, and follow his lead to full faith in Christ
alone for salvation.
Here are some excerpts from an interview with Haile Selassie, conducted by Dr. Oswald
Hoffman on Christmas Day 1968.
Dr. Hoffman: Your Imperial Majesty, it is a great honour to be permitted to speak with you today and
also to have you as a guest on this special Christmas programme which will be broadcast to people all
over the world. Your Imperial Majesty, what is it that makes you want to follow Jesus Christ?
Haile Selassie: "When Jesus Christ was born from Virgin Mary, from that time on He lived an
exemplary life, a life which men everywhere must emulate. This life and the faith which He has taught
us assures us of salvation, assures us also of harmony and good life upon earth. Because of the
exemplary character of the life of Jesus Christ it is necessary that all men do their maximum in their
human efforts to see to it that they approximate as much as they can the good example that has been set
It's quite true that there is no perfection in humanity. From time to time we make mistakes. We do
commit sins, but even as we do that, deep in our hearts as Christians we know we have [a chance of]
forgiveness from the Almighty. He taught us that all men are equal regardless of sex, their national
origin and tribe. And He also taught us all who seek Him shall find Him. To live in this healthy life, a
Christian life, is what makes me follow Jesus Christ."
Dr. Hoffman: Your Imperial Majesty, what advice would you give a person who is considering the claims
of Christ, perhaps for the first time?
Haile Selassie: "I would tell a person who was considering the claims of Christ for the first time that it is
necessary to have faith in the Almighty, that it is necessary to have love, and that it is necessary to
conduct oneself in a manner that we have been taught to do in the Bible.
I would also advise him to seek the secular knowledge, for the more one knows the more he realizes the
need for a prime mover, the need for a Creator, a Creator who is good, and the need for salvation and
also for peaceful life upon earth.
I would also tell him to learn and to think for himself the ways he would serve the Lord. In this thought
and in this undertaking of his he will inevitably find the way of serving his fellow men. For his faith
would then be manifested by His conduct. If Christians behave in this way, if we dedicate ourselves to
this fundamental task, then we will have a peaceful world and will be assured of not transgressing against
the will and the Commandments of God."
Here are some other comments made by Haile Selassie in the same interview, from a
document he wrote called
"My Life and Ethiopia’s Progress, Volume 2", an interview by Bill McNeil,
and from his address to the World Evangelical Congress in 1966.
Haile Selasssie: "When He [Jesus Christ] sacrificed himself at Golgotha for the atonement of our sin, He
prayed with His last breath for the forgiveness of those who had tortured Him saying, ‘Father, forgive
them for they know not what they do’. Shame on those of us who are Christians and do not follow the
way of the Savior of the World, whose life was filled with kindness, humility, and martyrdom!"
Haile Selassie: "Without love all of our human efforts in the sight of God can be useless. He loved us and
on our behalf He was given as a ransom, and it was because of love and His love for us that He
accomplished the act of love."
Haile Selassie: "We in Ethiopia have one of the oldest versions of the Bible, but however old the version
may be, in whatever language it might be written, the Word remains one and the same. It transcends all
boundaries of empires and al conceptions of race. It is eternal…. And I might say for myself that from
early childhood I was taught to appreciate the Bible and my love for it increases with the passage of time.
All through my troubles I have found it a cause of infinite comfort…. Today man sees all his hopes and
aspirations crumbling before him. He is perplexed and knows not whither he is drifting. But he must
realize that the Bible is his refuge, and the rallying point for all humanity. In it man will find the
solution of his present difficulties and guidance for his future action, and unless he accepts with clear
conscience the Bible and its great Message, he cannot hope for salvation. For my part, I glory in the
Haile Selassie: "This age above all ages is a period in history when it should be our prime duty to preach
the Gospel of grace to all our fellow men and women. The love shown in Christ by our God to mankind
should constrain all of us who are followers and disciples of Christ to do all in our power to see to it that
the Message of Salvation is carried to those of our fellows for whom Christ our Savior was sacrificed but
who have not had the benefit of hearing the Good News…. However wise or however mighty a person
may be, he is like a ship without a rudder if he is without God. A rudderless ship is at the mercy of the
waves and the wind, drifts wherever they take it, and if there arises a whirlwind it is smashed against the
rocks and becomes as if it has never existed. It is our firm belief that a soul without Christ is bound to
meet with no better fate. Therefore, O Christians, let us arise and, with the spiritual zeal and
earnestness which characterized the Apostles and early Christians, let us labor to lead out brothers and
sisters to our Savior Jesus Christ, Who only can give life in its fullest sense!"
Haile Selassie: [in response to the question "There are millions throughout the world, your Imperial
Majesty, who regard you as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ."] "I had heard of that idea. I also met
certain Rastafarians. I told them clearly that 'I am a man,' that 'I am mortal,' and that 'I would be
replaced by the oncoming generation, and that they should never make a mistake in assuming or
pretending that the human being is emanated from a deity.'"
Babylon in the Bible is a literal city in the Old Testament and the word means "confusion". It
also represents corruption, idolatry, and a fallen or pagan system in the New Testament.
The view held by the majority of Rastas is far more broad. When they refer to Babylon, they are
defining any city that is not Zion--this usually means modern capitalistic evil society.
Was Robert Nesta Marley a Christian?
Only God know for sure.
Bob Marley is infamous for being reggae music's ambassador to the world. He was raised in the
Christian church but strayed away as a youth. He dove into Rastafari and the worship of Haile Selassie
and his career exploded as he toured around the nation preaching the beliefs of Rastafari.
It is also widely believed in Jamaica that Bob Marley became born again 7 months before he died of
Arch Bishop Yesehaq head of the Kingston chapter of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Jamaica was
initially sent to Jamaica by His Majesty to establish the church and to dispel the worship of Selassie.
Selassie felt that if he personally commissioned someone to start a church that worshipped Christ and
not himself, the Rastafarians would follow the true Christ. It was these reasonings and many others that
eventually brought Bob Marley to be baptized into the Ethiopian Orthodox church by Arch Bishop
Yesehaq. This conversion is well documented in Jamaica and was strongly criticized by many Rastas.
In Yesehaq's interview with Ian Boyne on JBC's "Profile" (Jamaica's most popular talk show), he
discusses this matter in great detail, explaining Bob's conversion as one whole hour of weeping
sobbing and tears of repentance. Another confirmation of this fact is the following: If it was not for his
denouncing Selassie as God, his conversion and baptism into the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and
acceptance of their belief system, his funeral would have never taken place in their church. For the
Ethiopian Orthodox Church does not hold any ceremonies (including funerals) for non-members.
To further back up this fact is the testimony of Judy Mowatt. She was one of the famous "I-Threes," and
a strong worshipper of Selassie. Judy was initially disturbed by Bob's commitment to accept the
doctrine of the Ethiopian Orthodox church and be baptized into their body. She and others were
frustrated with Bob for forsaking all that he had stood for in his music and mission for so many years.
However, almost twenty years later Judy Mowatt completely understands the commitment that Bob had
made. For just a few years ago as documented in Reggae Report vol 14#6, Judy Mowatt became what
she calls a "fulfilled Rasta," by becoming a born again Christian. She believes that Selassie was a very
godly man, but was not God. This belief was backed by two recordings that she possessed that were
interviews with Selassie in which he discussed the fact that Rastafarians revered him as god, yet he
clearly denied being God/Christ.
Judy Mowatt was one of the singers in the I-Threes, the backing vocals of Bob Marley. After 22 years of
being a Rasta who believed that Haile Selassie was the returned messiah, she felt very unfulfilled and
dissatisfied. She started to read the Bible which she already read several times, but this time it was as
she was seeing new things that she had never realized before. So she read that ‘there is no other
name given among men whereby we must be saved, but by the name of Jesus Christ.’ (Acts 4:12) That
verse flew out of the Bible and into her spirit and really turned the key. Another time she was listening
to an interview with Haile Selassie where the interviewer asked him, ‘Why is it that people say you are
the returned Messiah?’ and he answered through an interpreter - ‘I’m a mere man. I will be replaced by
the oncoming generation and a human being should not be emulated for a deity.’ Somebody gave Judy
a book, an autobiography and selected speeches of Haile Selassie and so she came to understand
that ‘His Majesty’ was a Christian king and not the returned Messiah. Today she recognizes that
instead of worshipping Haile Selassie, she should be worshipping who he is worshipping, Jesus Christ!
By coming to this revelation, she is stepping in the footsteps of no one less than Bob Marley himself.
She says: “When Bob was on his dying bed, his wife Rita called me on the phone and said to me that
Bob was in such excruciating pain and he stretched out his hand and said, ‘Jesus take me.’ I was
wondering to myself, ‘Why is it that Bob said “Jesus” and not “Selassie”?’ But I never said it to anyone.
Then I met a friend of mine and he said his sister, who is a Christian, was a nurse at the hospital where
Bob was before he passed on, and she led him to the Lord Jesus Christ. So when Rita saw him saying
‘Jesus take me’, he had already received the Lord Jesus Christ in his life.”
Judy continues: “Telling the truth about Marley’s conversion, isn’t popular in Jamaica. I said it on a
popular television programme and a Rasta man met me and asked me why did I have to say that? I
said: Because it’s the truth!”
Let those who have ears hear. Truth must prevail. We are not here to tell people what they would like
to hear. We are here to tell the truth. And the truth is Jesus. Today if you hear the voice of Jahweh, our
Father in heaven, do not harden your heart, but rather let Him come into your heart in all truth!
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