Today all Ethiopian churches have many similarities to Judaism. Scholars also now agree that Beta Israel or the Ethiopian Jews practiced First Temple Judaism. They had not been introduced to the Talmud, etc. We visit the communities of Beta Israel and continue to learn of more discoveries surrounding their rich cultural heritage. This is why the Old Testament practices are so prevalent.
The Orthodox churches are not even considered churches until the local bishop gives them a tabot, a replica of the tablets (tabots) that were in the original Ark of the Covenant of Moses. The tabot is at least six inches (15 cm) square and made from alabaster, marble, or wood (acacia). They can be as large as 16×10 inches. It is always kept covered by expensive cloth or in ornate coverings or boxes to hide it from public view. In an elaborate procession, the tabot is carried around the outside of the church amid joyful song and dance that is replicated from King David’s time. The music is mainly from the Book of Psalm’s and they use instruments from King David’s time as well. The best places to see the celebrations is at Lalibela, Gondar and Axum (Aksum). Join us on one of our Christian teaching tours or let us help you develop one of your own.