‘Nolawi’ ኖላዊ is a Ge’ez word meaning “The Shepherd”, which refers to God who gave his life for the sake of his sheep (mankind). The week of 'Nolawi' covers the week from Tahisas 22-28 (December 29 - January 4). It is the last Sunday before God The Son came down from heaven to declare peace and to find Adam who was lost. This was also to bring all of Adam's children closer to The Father by uniting his divinity with our flesh. During the time of the Old Testament, the Prophets cried out for their shepherd saying…
“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the Cherubim, shine forth.”
Our Lord Eyesus Kristos being the Good Sheppard answered this question…
“Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”
Every year, the Ethiopian Church recognizes the clear prophetic statements that foretold the coming of Eyesus Kristos for the salvation of mankind. The Church celebrates one of the feasts of Our Lord Eyesus Kristos in Four consecutive weeks known as:
Sibket (Prophetic Announcement)
Our Lord Eyesus Kristos used the comparison of sheep and their nature to describe believers. Sheep have a natural tendency to stray off as Isaiah said:
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way”
When sheep go astray, they are in danger of being attacked, even killed. Sheep cannot survive without a shepherd, likewise, we believers are totally dependent upon Our Lord Eyesus Kristos, the Good Shepherd, to protect us from all evil.
As we celebrate the birth of Our Lord Eyesus Kristos, our Orthodox Tewahedo Church remind us of the importance of this holy day. Let us come together and rejoice for the Gift of Salvation we have been given.
Below are some of the prophetic evidences and symbols recorded in the Holy Scriptures:
“Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, Eyesus our Lord,”
“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”
“Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”
King David in the Old Testament put his own life at risk by battling with wolves and lions who threatened the flock.
1 Samuel 17:34-35
“But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it."
The Feast to the Archangel Gabriel (ቁልቢ ገብርኤል)
Gabriel means servant of God. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church celebrates the Feast of Kiddus Gabriel on 19th day of each month of which two are great annual feasts.
Tahisas 19 (December 28) dedicated to commemorate the deliverance of the three youths Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego (Sidraq, Misaq and Abdenago) from the burning fire of Nebuchadnezzar through the help of Saint (Kiddus) Gabriel. (Dan. 3:19-25). Saint (Kiddus) Gabriel also clarifies visions when ordered by God. This appears in the vision of the prophet Daniel. When Daniel was perplexed with the vision, God-Egziabher sent Saint Gabriel to clarify the meaning of the vision to Daniel. (Dan. 8:16) In the subsequent chapter, the angel said, “O Daniel, I now come forth to give you skill and understanding.” (Dan. 9: 22)
Hamle 19 (July 26) dedicated to commemorate the deliverance of three-year old Kirkos and his mother Eyeluta from the boiling water through the help of Kiddus Gabriel.
May the intercession and prayer of the Holy Archangel Gabriel be with us, Amen.