Having just returned from our East African Christian tour we have learned so much more about the Judaic customs of the Christian Orthodox brothers and sisters in Ethiopia. We learned that the priesthood of Aksum (Axum) believes it is the inheritor of the Hebrew Aaronite priesthood and the Beta Israel priests believe they themselves are Aaron’s descendants. We did some research to see how this could be backed up and found the Biblical tour of Ethiopia to be quite insightful. A few of the things we learned include the following:
Scholar, Frederick C Gamst of the University of Massachusetts writes “Beta Israel, innocent of Hebrew, the Talmud, and extra Old Testament Judaic lore and practices, share many behaviors, including Mosaic food taboos, with neighboring Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. These Christians possess a markedly Old Testament religion; have a hoary movement championing a Saturday Sabbath; call themselves Children of Israel; place the Ark of the Covenant at the center of their churches, wrote in Ge’ez (the precursor to Amharic) the religious texts from which Beta Israel derive all of their scriptures which are entirely in Ge’ez, have monarchs putatively descended from Solomon and Sheba; and label their emperors the Lion of Judah, which is their national icon.” He goes on to say “During the past three centuries, both forcibly and voluntarily, many Beta Israel have become Amharized, some becoming completely assimilated.” Many Ethiopian Christians claim to be of Judaic descent.
Dr. Michael Brown of Ask Dr. Brown.org made the following statement: “Some (Christians) may have retained their Israelite-Jewish origins, retaining their ancient traditions and continuing to preserve a conscious identification as Israelites and Jews.” Among these would be groups such as Ethiopian Jews.
In addition, scholar Edward Ullendorf, a leading authority on ancient Hebraic practices in the regions of Ethiopia supports the research that the religious practices in Tigray spanned a continuum from pagan-Hebraic thru to First Temple Israelite (not Second Temple Judaism), Judeo-Christian and Monophysite Christianity.
The combination of such rich Christian and Judaic history along with the beautiful countryside was far more than we anticipated. The hotels were lovely, especially the new lodge in Lalibela. Those that had an interest in eco-tourism took a day as well to visit Gheralta Lodge where they were able to do some hiking. The rest stayed for a day and enjoyed fishing on Lake Tana and the lovely spa at Kuriftu Lodge. Kuriftu Lodge is one of the many new romantic and exotic lodges to grace emerging Ethiopia. Join us in 2016 for an enriching Bible tour that you won’t want to miss. Learn more about our available Ethiopia tours so you can begin planning an unforgettable trip. For additional Biblical-based African tours, check out our available Egypt tours we offer in 2016!
BRAND NEW! Living Passages is offering a new & unique educational Creation tour through South Africa in 2016!