Ethiopia in Prophecy
65 Million Plus
Chief of State
Head of Government
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
Capital City -
Ahara and Tigre 32%
Ethiopian Orthodox 35-40%
With more than a million square
kilometers of land, Ethiopia is about five times the size of the United Kingdom.
A landlocked country Ethiopia is bordered by Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and
Eritrea. It's magnificent landscape ranges from desert area to forested
highlands. The waters of the Abay River, or Blue Nile, feed Lake Tana and flow
into the Nile. Most of the Nile's waters originate in Ethiopia.
This land is considered by some to be Africa's oldest continuously identifiable
nation and many anthropologists believe that the Great Rift Valley is the site
of the origin of mankind. "Lucy", believed to be the oldest complete skeleton
ever found, was discovered in the Great Rift Valley.
Apart from neighboring Kenya, Ethiopia is home to more wild animal than any
other country in the world. The elephant, giraffe, rhinoceros, zebra, buffalo,
monkey, antelope, gazelle, lion, leopard, cheetah and ostrich are just but a few
of the species that inhabit this land.There is no doubt that humans have
inhabited this land since the dawn of history. The earliest Egyptians believed
that they were descended from Ethiopians and in fact an Ethiopian dynasty was
established in Egypt in 720BC.
According to tradition, the nation of Ethiopia was founded by Etiopik who was a
great grandson of Noah. Some scholars believe that the name Ethiopia is derived
from the name Etiopik whilst others believe that it comes from the Greek
expression for "sunburned faces". A reference to the fact the inhabitants of
this land were black.
Ethiopia has existed in some form or other as an identifiable state since the
10th century BC. and has been known by various names including Abyssinia, "Cush"
(or Kush) by the Hebrews and "Punt" by the Egyptians. The founding of the Empire
of Axurn (Axum or Aksum) in the 1st century BC is often taken as being the start
of Ethiopian civilization. This dynasty survived until around the end of the
10th century AD when Queen Yodit (Gudit) conquered their last king and brought
the Zagwe dynasty into existence. This queen is known to have been strongly
anti-Christian and destroyed many churches.
This dynasty was in turn overthrown in1270AD by Emperor Yekuno who declared that
his was the rightful place as a direct descendant to Menelik I, the offspring of
King Solomon and Queen Makeda (Queen of Sheba). Thus began the Solomonic
dynasty.The Bible records that the Queen of Sheba (Makeda) traveled from
Abyssinia to Jerusalem to examine and learn from the great and wise king of the
Jews, King Solomon. (Read 1 Kings 10:1-13)
Legend records that the Queen was converted to Judaism and spent much time in
study with King Solomon. When Queen Makeda advised the King that it was time for
her to return to her homeland he persuaded her to have supper with him in his
Staying the night in the palace, she was compelled to go to bed with the king.
In his dreams that night the king saw that the queen would begat him a son, and
that God's blessings would be with him and his country. When the child, Menelik
I, eventually grew to adulthood, he journeyed to his fathers country. There he
studied the Mosaic law and was proclaimed Emperor of Ethiopia by King Solomon.
Further tradition has it that when Menelik returned home after 3 years of study
he took with him the Ark of the Covenant and that the ark has been hidden and
guarded throughout the following centuries by members of his family. Some
believe that the Ark is in fact being held somewhere in Ethiopia until such time
as the third temple is built in Jerusalem at which time it will be returned to
its rightful place in the new temple.
Many scholars believe also that the Ethiopian Jewish Felasha peoples (also known
as the "black Jews") are direct descendants of Jews of Solomon's time. Some also
believe that these peoples may be the lost Jewish tribe of Dan.These peoples called themselves Beta Israel (the house of Israel) and for
centuries the Jewish world outside Ethiopia did not know of their existence. In
1769 a Scottish explorer, James Bruce, advised the world of their existence. He
found a community of around 100,00 who had for centuries lived their lives
according to the Jewish Torah. Sadly this 100,000 were all that were left of an
estimated community of more than half a million.
In 1977 the Israel government begged the Ethiopian government to allow 200 of
these peoples to leave. President Mariam agreed and 200 Felasha Jews were picked
up by military jet and taken to a new life in Israel.Operation Moses was launched in 1984 under a worldwide news blackout. It
commenced on November 18th 1984 and ended 6 weeks later on January 5th 1985
after 8000 more Felasha Jews had been rescued and brought to Israel. However
Arab nations pressured the Sudan government to refuse to allow the Israeli's to
use the Sudan any further in their rescue attempt. As a result two thirds of the
Jews were left behind.
Later in 1985 Operation Joshua was launched and a further 800 Jews were brought
from Sudan to Israel. In November 1990 Israel and Ethiopia reached an agreement
to allow all Ethiopian Jews the opportunity to leave if they wished. Operation
Solomon started in early 1991 with the Israeli government authorizing a special
permit for the Israeli airline, El Al, to fly on the Jewish Sabbath. On Friday
May 24th and continuing non stop for the next 36 hours, 36 El Al jumbo jets and
Hercules C130's brought a further 14,324 Ethiopian Jews home to Israel.
The Solomonic line ruled Ethiopia until 1974 and a number of kings from this
line were devout Christians. How many Ethiopians were converted to Christianity
as a result of the Ethiopian eunuch's conversion through the apostle Philip can
only be guessed at. (Acts 8:26-40). In 1869 the British sent troops into
Ethiopia to subdue the current king, Kasa Hayla who had proclaimed himself
Emperor. This was the first time that a serious attempt had been made by a
European power to subvert Ethiopian sovereignty.
Years of unrest followed. Bitter disputes broke out between Ethiopian princes as
well as attempts by various other nations to rule Ethiopia by waging a policy of
"divide and conquer" between the princes. In 1889 Emperor Menelik II took
control and is often considered to be the founder of the Ethiopian nation as it
exists today. He successfully united, by conquest as well as appeasement, the
various regions and peoples that made up his land. The rapid modernization of
his nation is considered one of Menelik's greatest achievement's.
During Meneliks reign, Ethiopia practiced absolute religious freedom with
Menelik himself being both Amharic and Christian. Following his death in 1913,
Menelik was succeeded by his grandson, Iyasu. He was overthrown 3 years later
partly as a result of his having embraced the Muslim faith in violation of
dynastic law. A number of Kings and a Queen followed until in 1930, Tafari
Makonnen was sworn in as Emperor Haile Selassie I. (His name meaning "Might of
Haile Selassie continued Menelik's modernization efforts but is remembered most
for his role as a warrior king. Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935, with no
declaration of war and just pior to their taking the capital, Addis Ababa, the
Emperor and what was left of his army, managed to escape into exile.
During it's occupation of Ethiopia the Italian fascist army carried out large
scale murder and mayhem on the population. Many monks were murdered including
the Archbishop Petros, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. It is
estimated that more than a quarter of a million civilians were murdered during
this period of time. As a result of its conduct during the Ethiopian campaign
and occupation, Italy became the first nation ever to be cited for crimes
against humanity by the United Nations War Crimes Commission.
In early 1941. Haile Selassie and his troops returned with the British and the
Italians were routed. The Emperor re-entered Addis Ababa on May 5th 1941. The
Lion had returned. One of Haile Selassie's first acts was to ensure the
protection of Italian prisoners and civilians in his country. In 1974 a
Soviet-backed coup d'etat took place resulting in the Emperor being imprisoned.
In 1975 the monarchy was illegally abolished and in August of that year Haile
Selassie was assassinated.
A Marxist council replaced the monarchy until its overthrow in 1991. With the
fall of Communism a transitional government under Meles Zenawi was installed.
Under this government the country has continued to carry on certain human rights
abuses and factional strife is rampant. It is a sad fact that this land that
seems to have had such a prevalent place in Bible history finds its recent
history to be so unpleasant. What then of its future? Does the Bible tell us
what place Ethiopia will take in last day events?
Sadly we have but to read Ezekiel's account of an invasion of Israel by an
alliance of nations in the last days to see that Ethiopia is listed
predominantly amongst that alliance. (Ezekiel 38:1-23). In the latter days,
Ethiopia will join together with a league of nations that many believe will be
headed by Russia (Gog/Magog) and will attack Israel. As a result these nations
will incur the full fury of God. This alliance will be decimated as God causes
what appears to be a great earthquake, overflowing rain, great hailstones, fire
and brimstone to fall upon the troops. No doubt as a result of these, the troops
will turn against each other.
What a sad end to a nation that has been given such opportunities in the past to
follow Jesus as their Saviour. Pray for this land, for the Felasha Jews that
still remain and for the Christians that survive there.
This article is written by Rev Bobhines