Theology

Sounds of the Old Testament: The Biblical Theology of Reggae Music 🎶❤️💛💚 • The Rev. Nicole Foster

Musicians from Bob Marley and the Wailers, to the Congos, have artistically woven in biblical theology within Reggae Music. Believed to have originated in the 1960s in Jamaica, particularly amongst the mountain-dwelling Rastafarians. Reggae music has been defined to be, “the kings music”, derived from the Latin regi meaning “to the king”.

Rastafarian interpretation of Christianity which adheres to Haile Selassie, (which means Power of the Trinity)–as the last king of Ethiopia — who was formally known as Ras Tafari ( from Amharic ራስ ተፈሪ (ras täfäri), a title of Haile Selassie, from ራስ (ras, “chief, head”) + ተፈሪ(täfäri, “revered”)), as the Divine Incarnation. This, along Marcus Garvey and Pan Africanism were the main influences of reggae music.

With the above context, biblical theology plays a huge lyrical role in Reggae music. Biblical theology can be defined as the divine activity or self-revelation of God as it unfolds in biblical history.

Whether you believe that Rastafarianism is Nicene or Orthodox Christianity is not the scope of this article. However, the biblical literacy present in mainstream Reggae is worth listening to.

The Book of Exodus: Bob Marley and The Wailers

Exodus: Movement of Jah people! Oh-oh-oh, yea-eah!
…….
Men and people will fight ya down (Tell me why!)
When ya see Jah light. (Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!)
Let me tell you if you’re not wrong; (Then, why?)
Everything is all right.
So we gonna walk – all right! – through de roads of creation:
We the generation (Tell me why!)
(Trod through great tribulation) trod through great tribulation.Exodus, all right! Movement of Jah people!
Oh, yeah! O-oo, yeah! All right!
Exodus: Movement of Jah people! Oh, yeah!Yeah-yeah-yeah, well!
Uh! Open your eyes and look within:
Are you satisfied (with the life you’re living)? Uh!
We know where we’re going, uh!
We know where we’re from.
We’re leaving Babylon,
We’re going to our Father land.2, 3, 4: Exodus: movement of Jah people! Oh, yeah!
(Movement of Jah people!) Send us another brother Moses!
(Movement of Jah people!) From across the Red Sea!
(Movement of Jah people!) Send us another brother Moses!
(Movement of Jah people!) From across the Red Sea!
Movement of Jah people![Instrumental break]Exodus, all right! Oo-oo-ooh! Oo-ooh!
Movement of Jah people! Oh, yeah!
Exodus!
Exodus! All right!
Exodus! Now, now, now, now!
Exodus!
Exodus! Oh, yea-ea-ea-ea-ea-ea-eah!
Exodus!
Exodus! All right!
Exodus! Uh-uh-uh-uh!

Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! Move!

Open your eyes and look within:
Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?
We know where we’re going;
We know where we’re from.
We’re leaving Babylon, y’all!
We’re going to our Father’s land.

Exodus, all right! Movement of Jah people!
Exodus: movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!

Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! Move!

Jah come to break downpression,
Rule equality,
Wipe away transgression,
Set the captives free.

Exodus, all right, all right!
Movement of Jah people! Oh, yeah!
Exodus: movement of Jah people! Oh, now, now, now, now!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!

Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! Uh-uh-uh-uh!
Move(ment of Jah people)!
Move(ment of Jah people)!
Move(ment of Jah people)!
Move(ment of Jah people)! Movement of Jah people!
Move(ment of Jah people)!
Move(ment of Jah people)!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!

Source: AZ Lyrics

The Psalms: Steel Pulse

Rejoice rejoice
Good tidings I bring you
Hear ye a message to you my friend
Voices cry invoke your angels
When pressure drop it cannot conquer dread no
So blow away your bluesy feeling
Spirits say take the world off you shoulder
One foot in the grave is a foolish step to take (dancer)

Who sow in tears shall reap in joy
Wise man doctrines assure your safety
No more stumbling block back stabbers get down
To the righteous revealed
The secret of the scriptures
The wicked dem portion is vanity
Disciples of Lucifer

In your hands lie your destination
The book of true life you hold the key
Mystical powers to you unfold
Seek ye the half that has never been told
Get behind me satan (in dis ya Armageddon)
I’ve got chant

CHORUS
——
Chant a psalm a day

Come walkies down easy street
Attract these angels in dreams and your prayers
Remember the three holy children
Remember the visions of Daniel
Remember the magic of Moses so
Dash away your bluesy feeling
Spirits say take the world off you shoulder
One foot in the grave my friend
A foolish step to take
When pressure drop it cannot conquer dread
Got to be wise yes yes in dis ya Iwa
Woe betide for the wicked
Disciples of Lucifer
Get behind me Satan (in dis ya Armageddon yeh)
I got to chant

CHORUS
——
Chant a psalm a day

Moses he did chant chant
Samson he did chant chant
Elijah he did chant chant
I want the whole a we fe chant chant
Solomon he did chant chant
His father King David chant chant
John the Baptist chant chant
I want the whole a we fe chant chant

Lyrics: Genius

Exile and Return: The Congos

Open up the gates of Zion
Africa we want to go
Africa we want to go
Repatriation is at hand
I and I know where the Black man stands
To the west coast of Africa
East, north and south
Repatriation is a must
Jah said unto the south ‘give up!’
To the west ‘keep not back!’
Send my sons from afar
And my daughters from the end of the world
Hallelujah
Please send the Father
The Almighty One of Creation
Living inna man
The Almighty Redeemer
The Word, Sound and Iwa
Living inna man yeah
Ooh allelujah!
Listen to Father
Almighty Bongo Ashanti I and I
Living inna I and I
Mighty, mighty Redeemer of Creation

Lyrics: Genius

Loving God (JAH): Bob Marley and The Wailers

[Intro]We’ll be forever loving JahWe’ll be forever loving Jah[Verse 1]Some they say see them walking up the street

They say we’re going wrong to all the people we meet

But we won’t worry, we won’t shed no tears
We found a way to cast away the fears

Forever, yeah!

[Chorus]

(We’ll be forever loving Jah) We’ll be forever

(We’ll be forever loving Jah) Forever, yes, and forever!

(We’ll be forever loving Jah) There’ll be no end

[Verse 2]

So, old man river, don’t cry for me
A-have got a running stream of love you see

So, no matter what stages, oh stages

Stages, stages they put us through

We’ll never be blue

No matter what rages, oh rages

Changes, rages they put us through

We’ll never be blue

We’ll be forever, yeah!

[Verse 3]

Because only a fool lean upon
Lean upon his own misunderstanding

And then what has been hidden
From the wise and the prudent
Been revealed to the babe and the suckling

In everything, in every way, I say, yeah!

[Chorus]

[Verse 4]

Because just like a tree planted
Planted by the rivers of water
That bringeth forth fruits
Bringeth forth fruits in due season
Everything in life got its purpose
Find its reason in every season
Forever, yeah!

[Chorus]

Source: Genius

Bible Study via Reggae, anyone?🎶

Peace and Love, ❤️💛💚

The Rev. Nicole Foster

 

The Rev. Dr. Nicole Foster the T.V. Host and founding minister of The Hippie Theologian. She holds a Doctor of Ministry from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, a Master of Divinity from Redeemer Theological Seminary and a B.A. in History from Southern Methodist University. She’s an ordained Anglican minister and teaches Old Testament for various organizations. She loves to hike, camp, make organic soap, and be a beach bum as often as possible.

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