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Some Key Biblical Concepts in Rasta Reggae Lyrics...
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Frequently Occurring
Biblical Quotations
In Reggae Songs

Book of Revelation

Revelation is the last book of the New Testament, and contains many vivid descriptions of visions and symbols. The ultimate and complete destruction of all evil, as personified by figures like
Babylon, is a prevalent theme. The Greek word for 'revelation' is 'apokalypsis', which has led to the term 'apocalyptic' being applied to the genre of sacred literature that predicts end-time judgements. The book of Daniel in the Old Testament was the earliest known example of such writings, though there are apocalyptic tendencies in even older scriptures. There are many links between the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation - Daniel was told, 'shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end' (Daniel 12:4), and so not until John's Revelation do we learn that the only one found worthy 'to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof' is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Christ Jesus himself.

Revelation 5:5 - And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
The phrase, "Lion of the tribe of Juda", is found nowhere else in the Bible, though Judah's name is here incorporated into a title of the Messiah, because he once unselfishly offered himself in place of his brother Benjamin (
Genesis 44:18-34). As St Matthew records in the first chapter of his gospel, David, Solomon, and all the Israelite kings that followed them, as well as Jesus Christ, were all descendants of Judah. Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, also claimed descent from Solomon, and thus from Judah. At his coronation, on 2nd November 1930, he therefore bore, among others, the title of 'The Lion Of The Tribe Of Judah [hath prevailed]', which is a long-standing motto of Ethiopian monarchs. In Rasta reggae lyrics, the term 'Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah' is usually associated with Haile Selassie I, who is seen as a christ figure. Some Rastafarians see Haile Selassie as God incarnate, or even as a reincarnation of Jesus Christ, despite the fact that Haile Selassie himself said otherwise, and was after all an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian who trusted in Christ as his Saviour. ... Songs to check out include Lee 'Scratch' Perry's own idiosyncratic version of the Wailers' Classic, 'Soul Rebel'.

A charcoal drawing of a lion

Revelation 14:8 - And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Babylon is finally punished and cast down. The '
Babylon' referred to in the book of Revelation is originally Rome, but in Rastafarian terms, the name has become applied to any oppressive society. See, for example, 'Rastaman Chant', a traditional song arranged by Bob Marley and the Wailers.

Revelation 16:16 - And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Armageddon' (Hebrew 'Har-Magedon') is likely to be purely symbolic, rather than referring to an actual place. It signifies the final spiritual conflict between evil and God's Kingdom. See, for example, the song called 'Armageddon' by Bunny Wailer (in which this word is pronounced 'Armagideon').

Revelation 17:5 - And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
Mystery Babylon, here symbolically revealed and put to shame by having this title written on her forehead, is contrasted with the "mystery of God" and "godliness", as spoken of elsewhere in the Bible (
Revelation 10:7, and 1 Timothy 3:16). ... See, for example, 'Mystery Babylon' by Peter Tosh, or 'Babylon' by Messian Dread.

Revelation 19:16 - And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Christ is not only a very powerful King, but the most powerful of all ages. The expression, "King of Kings and Lord of Lords", is also found in
Revelation 17:14, and in 1 Timothy 6:15. It is also another title associated with Haile Selassie I. See, for example, 'King Of Kings' by Max Romeo and Dennis Alcapone, or 'Mighty Negus' by Israel Vibration.

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