Haile Selassie never considered herself a God, and neither joined Rastafari. But Why Emperor Haile Selassie I is regarded as the Messiah and God by the Rastafarians?
Rastafarians consider Haile Selassie I as God because Marcus Garvey’s prophecy – “Look to Africa where a black king will be crowned, he will be the Redeemer” – was quickly followed by Haile Selassie’s ascension as Emperor of Ethiopia.
Emperor Haile Selassie I is considered by the Rastafarians as the God of the black race. This is supported by the Rastafarian idea that God himself is black, an affirmation supported by this biblical text Jeremiah 8:21: “For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me.”
Rastafarians use biblical names such as Lord of Lords, King of Kings, and Lion Conqueror of the tribe of Judah for Haile Selassie. These terms had been used throughout history to describe Ethiopian emperors, but with the coronation of Haile Selassie I, they was considered evidence to support his divine status.
Many Rastafarians trace Haile Selassie’s lineage back to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. They believe that the visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon found in the Book of Kings (1 Kings 10:1-13) provides further proof of the divinity of Haile Selassie I.
The Rastafarians believe that King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba had sex during the visit, which led to the conception of a child who was in the same line as Haile Selassie I.
For many Rastafarians, this shows the divine nature of the emperor, because Haile Selassie is therefore related to the father of Solomon, King David, and hence to Jesus.
When Haile Selassie I was crowned emperor, the King of England, who at that time was considered by many to be the most powerful man in the world because of the size of the British Empire, was unable to attend. However, he sent the Duke of Gloucester to represent him.
The Duke of Gloucester bowed to Haile Selassie on meeting him. Many Rastafarians believe that this revealed that the new Ethiopian emperor was more important than the most important man in the world. The Rastafarians consider “Ethiopia” as their homeland and think that they will eventually return.
During colonial times, Africans were divided and sent to different destinations around the world, in most cases, as white slaves. This is why many Africans have ended up in Jamaica, which is why it is considered by many Rastafarians to be hell.
Ethiopia, the homeland, was considered a place of fond memories of freedom and life before the oppression. This meant that he was ultimately considered paradise. To develop this belief, the Rastafarians refer to Psalm 137 vs.1: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.”
Black people believe they will be repatriated to Ethiopia, where they will no longer be abolished and will live in freedom. According to most Rastafarians, this repatriation will be led by Haile Selassie. They believe their God will take charge, and this will result in a joyous rebirth with their homeland.
In practice, while many modern Rastafarians hold Africa in great admiration, they do not want to live there and are content to live outside Africa.