1. The Name of’ the Church is “Celestial Church of Christ (Nigeria Diocese)”. Celestial Church of Christ (Nigeria Diocese) is part of the one spiritual, world-wide, united, indivisible Holy Church which came into the world from heaven by DIVINE ORDER on the 29th of September 1947 in PORTO NOVO, REPUBLIC OF BENIN (formerly REPUBLIC OF DAHOMEY) through a single individual, a man who is the founder of the Church, the Reverend Pastor Prophet Founder SAMUEL BILEHOU JOSEPH OSHOFFA. The Church is a Diocese of the world-wide Celestial Church of Christ with National (Diocesan) Headquarter-, at 12/15 Church Street, Makoko, YABA, LAGOS STATE, the Supreme Headquarters in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin and with International Headquarters at Mission House, KETU, I.AGOS STATE, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.
2. On the 29th of September, 1947, in the deep mystery of the divine appearance, during prayer, of the winged angel bathed in intense light, word came from God to the Founder:
“It is the wish of God to send you on an errand of preaching to the world. Many nominal Christians there are who, when confronted by difficulties and problems of this world, they run after fetish priests and other powers of darkness for all kinds of assistance. Consequently, on their death, they cannot see Christ because, by their action, Satan has left his spiritual mark on them. To assist you in your work so that men may listen to and follow you, miraculous works of Holy divine healing will be carried out by you in the name of Jesus Christ. These works of divine healing and God’s spiritual mark on you will testify to the fact that God sent you”. Thus was born the world-wide CELESTIAL CHURCH OF CHRIST.
3. The name of the Church came down from Heaven by divine revelation through MR. ALEXANDER YANGA, who was at that time undergoing spiritual healing at the residence of the Pastor Founder and who was held in trance for seven days. At the end of the seventh day, he asked for a piece of chalk and wrote the name of the Church on the wall thus.. “EGLISE DU CHRISTIANISME CELESTE”, meaning “Celestial Church of Christ”.
4. Apart from also being a prophet, the Founder was allowed by DIVINE ORDER to use the name “EPASTORAL” in angelic language, which was also translated for him’ as “PASTOR”. This was after he had spent the first five years since the birth of the Church as “EVANGELIST”.
He is thus Reverend Pastor Prophet Founder (hereinafter referred to as “Pastor”), whose unquestionable authority on earth on all matters of the Church symbolises the oneness, unity and indivisibility of the Church. “Pastor” shall refer not only to the present Pastor but also to his successors in eternity.
5. The final sole authority in the Celestial Church of Christ Nigeria Diocese is vested in the Pastor or the person who succeeds him on his death.
6. Whoever is chosen to succeed as Pastor should have his Headquarters in the land set aside for the Pastor in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin.
7. The Prophet Pastor Founder Reverend S. B. J. OSHOFFA asserts that if he should die in the Republic of Benin, he should be buried in the land he had pointed out in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin.
8. If he should die in Nigeria, he should be buried in the town of IMEKO in Egbado Division of Ogun State near his mother on the family land given to him.
9.The Pastor asserts that his burial ground wherever it is should be set aside as Holy ground and a place of pilgrimage.
10. Herewith the English Translation of the history of Celestial Church of Christ as told by the Reverend Pastor Prophet Founder S. B. J. OSHOFFA during evening service on Wednesday, 18th January 1969 at MAKOKO, the headquarters Church of Celestial Church of Christ, Nigeria Diocese. The History was related in place of the regular sermon for the Church service.
11. “It is a thing of pleasure that I am still alive today twenty one years and some months after the birth of Our Church. “Right here today at MAKOKO, the Headquarters Church of Celestial Church of Christ in Nigeria, I have been asked to give a short history of the Church for posterity. But before doing so, I shall start by giving a short history of myself to clarify matters.
12. “My father was a Methodist born and bred in Dahomey (now Republic of Benin). His Father, OJO, and his mother, KOSHINA, came from Abeokuta in Nigeria to Dasatre where they settled. The artificial boundary between Nigeria and Dahomey set up by Europeans meant that my father was – a Dahomean. His name was OSHOFFA (this is obtained from ‘OJU KI ISE OFA TI OTA LE TA BANI KA SUBU, or, for short, ‘OJU KO SO FA”, which was shortened further to OSOFA’ in Yoruba’ language; and it means, in English, ‘the human eye is not a missile that an enemy can fire at one to make one fall’). He had many wives each of whom bore him up to five to six children. All the children were, however, female and only one survived. This made him entreat God according to Methodist doctrine: ‘0 Lord if, thou would give me a boy, I shall give him up to thy service just as Hannah and Elkana did”. As a result, I was born in 1909 in Porto Novo of a Nigerian mother named ALAKE IYAFO from IMEKO Egbado Division,’ Abeokuta Province. I was named SAMUEL and also BILEWU (BILEAIYEBAWU KOGBE, SUGBON MO MO WIPE MO TI TORO RE LODO OLORUN) which means ‘if you prefer to live in this world, then you are welcome but if you prefer to live above in heaven, then you are equally welcome to go, but I know I specially requested for you from God’.
13. “In fulfilment of my father’s vow to God, I was sent at the age of seven for God’s service to a Methodist Catechist MOSES YANSUNU, father of Evangelist NATHANIEL YANSUNU of our Church. Because my father was not happy with the way I was treated he brought me back home and later sent me at the age of thirteen to stay with Revd. Bishop David Hodonu Loco, the Methodist Bishop of Porto Novo, formerly of Methodist Church, Olowogbowo, Lagos, Nigeria. I was there with some other children. After a number of years, Rev. D. H. Loco was replaced by Bishop Garner from London. The new Bishop ordered that we pupils should participate in making blocks for a new College building. We all refused and so he sent us all back to our parents. When I got back home, my father admonished me that I was different from the others because he had specially requested for me from God and so I had to do the work. Whereupon he took me back to the Bishop, but the Bishop would not reverse his decision. Whereupon, my father said there was no alternative but that I should learn to be a carpenter like himself.
14. “I became proficient as a carpenter. I was good at roofing buildings, wood planing and working with ebony which I bought regularly from a friend. I kept on working happily as a carpenter until my father died on June 15th, 1939.
15. “After my father’s death, I continued to bear the burden until December 1946 when I decided that I would henceforth trade in ebony. I would myself go into the forest to purchase ebony and bring this into the town to sell to carpenters. I began this trade, going into the forest areas in search of ebony. I bought it cheaply and brought it to town to sell at a premium. I continued this lucrative trade until one such trip in May 1947 during the floods. As usual I had my Bible with me. I also loved much to pray.
16. “On the 23rd May 1947, the day of the eclipse of the sun, as I was praying in the forest on this trip, I heard a voice and could not open my eyes. The voice I beard was ‘LULI’, and the same voice told me ‘This means The Grace of Jesus Christ’. When I opened my eyes, I saw a white monkey with two teeth each top and bottom with winged hands and feet like those of a bat. When it wants to fly, it flaps its wings forward. But it was stationary. I saw a bird with yellow feet, yellow beak and long tail. It would sometimes fan out its tail like a peacock does, and it was rnulti-coloured. It was also stationary. I also saw a short snake about one foot long. As it stood stationary, it was coiled and its mouth was puffed like a cobra. When I heard this voice, I noticed I felt quite different from my normal self. I now found myself toying with the snake. The bird stood for a time and then went into the bush. The monkey also flew away and I then noticed that there was a complete change in me.
17. “I had been rowed to the forest by a canoe paddler I hired from TOFFIN in GANVIE. I always gave him money for his own food. But he stole some of my soup. Soon after, he began to have stomach pains and groaned to my hearing. I ran to him enquiring what was the matter. He said all he did was taste some of my soup. I then admonished him that he should not have eaten any of my soup since I gave him money for his own food. I lay my hand on his stomach and the pains left him. He ran away leaving me alone and saying that he did not wish to stay with this odd man who lives in the forest and whose soup he tastes only to find he has stomach pains which this odd man removes simply by placing his (odd man’s) hand on his stomach. I was thus left with a canoe without paddler, and I myself did not know how to paddle. This was precisely why I wandered about in the forest for three months.
18. “During these three months, I did not cook and I could not paddle the canoe. But I soon discovered a hole in a tree into which bees flew. I soon made fire by lighting two pieces of dry wood together. I would take a dry leaf, light it and stick it in the hole at night. Once the bees have run away, the bees’ honey was my food. My drinking water was the flowing stream nearby.
19. “But there I saw many visions and experienced many changes in me. The forest was so thick that one looked up and saw no skies but trees, snakes, boar, monkeys and birds singing. In the midst of all this, I prayed a lot. I did not hunger, I felt no fear and I had no illness but basked in the glory of Jesus Christ.
20. “As I wandered about in the forest, I came to a hillock called FAGBE (after the township of ZINVIE) where I met a man who became Senior Leader MICHEL when he subsequently joined Celestial Church of Christ. It was he who told me the name of the village. I saw a lot of children and prayed there. I returned into the forest wandering round looking for the canoe and soon came by a lake called GODRO near which there is a village named HUNGON. I continued my wandering past WHEDO and on to AGLANGOUN until I found the canoe tied up along an isthmus (narrow stream) from AGLANGOUN well into the forest.
21. “Not knowing how to paddle, I got into the canoe and just allowed myself to be carried down stream by the current of the stream which was then in full flood. While the canoe was thus carried from side to side by the current, snakes fell from trees into the canoe, but I carried them from the canoe with my hand back into the stream unhurt. I continued my trip down the river and soon got to AGANGE. There I found a Methodist young man called KUDIHO at the point of death who was reported to have been very ill for a long time. I touched him and Jesus raised him up. He is alive today and so are his children, all in AGONGUE.
22. “I now went to collect more ebony wood from the forest. On my return after five days from the forest, the whole of AGANGE was in ferment. ‘What kind of a man is this?’ They said, ‘We will certainly follow him in his Church’. I told them I did not have a Church. They would not listen and I prayed for them. I stayed with YESUFU in AGONGUE who was a neighbour of mine back in Porto Novo. After the miracle of raising KUDIHO on the first day of my arrival in Agange and before my return from the forest, YESUFU had gone back to Porto Novo to tell my relations that he had seen me at Agange, that I looked very odd and like a mad man, that my hair was long, unkempt and matted, that even my dress was rough and untidy and that I touched the dead and they rose up, he did not know what was the matter. with me. My relations replied him that the reason for my untidy appearance could not be anything but laziness.
23. “I began to prepare to return home to Porto Novo on the fifth day. I engaged ZINSOU as my new paddler. On my return there, all those who had known me before were curious. I began to have crowds of visitors. “About three days after my return to Porto Novo, my elder sister, ELIZA.BETH EKUNDAYO, came to me to say that her son, EMMANUEL MAWUYON (i.e. O’LORUNDARA) GUTON, had died. I went to him and found native doctors there who had tried unsuccessfully to bring him back to life. When they saw me, they quickly packed out of the room. What the native doctors failed to do, Christ did: for I touched the deceased, and he came back to life all in the name of Jesus Christ. It was this miracle that made my sister leave U.A.M. (Eleja) Church and follow me. Her son, Emmanuel, immediately received the holy gift of prophecy and thus became the first prophet of the Church. It was through him that a lot of our worship was revealed such as PAJASPA, the specially designed receptacle for taking collection at services (with a candle lit at one end).
24. “On the 29th of September 1947, while, I was praying in my house with some visiting friends, I saw a strong ray of light rather like that from the headlamp of a car. I then saw a winged being whose body was like fire and whose eyes were tiny flying towards me behind the beam of light. As it approached me, the beam of light shortened until the being stood about a yard from me. This being then proceeded to say to me: ‘God wishes to send you on an errand of preaching to the world. Many Christians there are who, during their lifetime, when confronted by problems and difficulties of this world they seek after fetish priests and other powers of darkness for all kinds of assistance. On their death, they think they are Christians, but they are no longer Christians because Satan has left his mark on them. For this reason, such people, after death, cannot see Christ. God wants to send you to the world on a mission of preaching and exhortation, but the world will not believe you. To assist you in your work so that men may listen to and follow you, miraculous works of holy divine healing will be wrought by you in the name of Jesus Christ. These works of divine healing and God’s spiritual mark on you will testify to the fact that God sent you.
25. “Immediately after I got this message, MARRIE, the wife of FREDERIC ZEVENU, one of those present, exclaimed that she saw Jesus. I asked her how? She said she saw a cross made of wood, tall, big and wide. She said He came down from the cross, stretched His hand, and she could see blood oozing out of both left and right hands where nails had been driven in, she could see the same on the feet and from other parts of the body. She said Jesus then displayed His sides and she could see where He had been speared and that Jesus came down from the cross, stood before him (Pastor) and took him (Pastor) into a room. When they both re-emerged, the woman continued, he (Pastor) was dressed in a white tunic full of stars, and the Pastor’s eyes were so full of blinding light that she could not look at them. But now, she continued, she was surprised to find him (the Pastor) without the tunic or the blinding light. I also related to her what I had seen and heard. She, her husband and others all departed.
26. “I could not sleep all night; various heavenly visitors came and spoke with me. At ten o’clock the following morning, FREDERIC ZEVENU, husband of MARRIE, a Roman Catholic, in Porto Novo, met a group of young people playing ‘ayo’ (a game) in a quarter in Porto Novo called JOGREY. He related to them what had happened in my house the previous day, what I had seen and what his wife had seen as we knelt down to pray. He told them that his wife was at home and had not slept all night, but had been talking all the time, and the things she said were rather mysterious and far above her. About twelve of those young people ran to my house in disbelief that such things could still happen. Seven of them were possessed by the holy spirit delivering different messages about the tenets of the Church and could not move, the remaining five retraced their steps and went back to ZEVU in Porto Novo to spread the news. Those who heard them again ran to my place in disbelief that in this day and age such things could happen. But they also experienced some of the things the first lot experienced.
27. “This led to gossips throughout Porto Novo that I had commissioned and bought magic. All the Churches were bewildered, the Methodist Church was shaken to its foundations and alive with gossips that I was dealing with the powers of darkness and so on. When I found that thirteen days passed by without my being able to sleep because my house was full of Moslems, Catholics, Methodists, idol worshippers (some two hundred of them) I sent word through DOMINIC ADANDE on the Friday to the expatriate police officer in charge of the town at the time that I, whom he must remember as a music player in the town, implore him to dispatch police officers to my house to drive away all these people in my house because I have not been able to sleep for the past thirteen days. Dominic confirmed to him that I was a citizen of the town and he asked to see me. I went to see him and related to him the entire episode. He replied that he had no right to send police officers to drive people out.
Rather, since he suspected that God wished to use me for a certain purpose, he would suggest that I arrange an open air meeting the following Saturday to which I should invite people all round by means of notices to offices and other forms of publicity. He said that he himself would be there. As his own father was a Christian, he did not have the power to drive away anybody. This reply made me thoroughly fed up with the whole situation. But those who were with me agreed readily to the officer’s suggestion and those among them who were literate went and prepared notices and distributed them throughout Porto Novo.
Open – Air Meeting
28. “On reading these notices, many people who had earlier only
just heard rumours, now congregated on my premises anxious to see
what would happen. We erected a wooden dais on which I sat, with a
prophet seated either side of me. I was spiritually guided to open a Bible before me but not to read it, and to light three candles before me which I did. Whenever a question was asked, the reply I should give usually came to me from Him that sent me. I sat down.
29. “The first question was from one man whom we called Alex Aganyimi, a member of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church. He was a Togolese. Whenever a question was asked, one of my ears gave a high pitched noise while the other was silent, the noisy ear did not hear what was being asked, while the quiet one did. Alex said he understood that Moses Orimolade was sent by God and he performed all kinds of spiritual works, now I came along again and claimed that God sent me, which should they accept? The noisy ear became quiet and I heard as follows: ‘With regard to your question, John the Baptist came before Jesus; you must surely know that Cherubim and Seraphim’s are angels all of whom wait upon and worship our Lord Jesus. The Celestial Church of Christ is Christ’s Church , while the Cherubim and seraphim’s belong to the angels and is no more than a fore runner to prepare the way for Celestial Church of Christ. Whether the world likes it or not, its glory will soon become known to all mankind”. As I heard this, I relayed it to Alex.
30. “Catholic and other Churches were there because the publicity had kindled interest in the answers I would give to the various questions they would put to me. And I myself had no idea how to answer except to transmit the answers given to me. A Catholic said that it was common knowledge that St. Peter and St. Paul took the Catholic Church to Rome, and he knew that it was by the authority of Jesus. Would the same Jesus again send me as I claimed there then? Which should they follow? As he spoke my ears went into action, the noisy one gave out its high pitched noise, while the quiet one listened. I then heard as follows: ‘Young man, we gave you one Kobo to hold to, and you held on to it; now we are telling you to reject the one kobo and accept two kobo, because the glory of two kobo is more than that of one kobo. But if you refuse to relinquish one kobo in time, when in future you come to see the glory of two kobo, you will want to retrace your steps and embrace it, but it will be too late as others will have taken your place’. I answered as I was instructed, and so on for subsequent questions left and right. We left the gathering that day glorifying God. Also as a result of the success of the meeting, many more people began to join me. That marked the beginning of the Church and its growth.
31. “Now, I was born a Methodist. I now wish to speak about the visit of REV. PARRINDER, A Methodist Pastor, who had been transferred from Porto Novo (where I was under him) to an Institute in Ibadan. He was a tall man. He heard about me and came to see me. The Church was about three months old then. He asked me why it was that, since I was a Methodist, I did not deploy this spiritual power that had just been bestowed on me for use within the Methodist fold. I replied that his point was well taken, but the Methodist Pastor in Porto Novo at the time named GBEYANGBE was the one who went on the pulpit and preached that no Methodist should come to my house because I had acquired magical powers by purchase and was deceiving people about. This turned many Methodists against me and they did not come near me. Moreover, my dear Reverend, I continued, if the Methodist Pastor at the time had sent word to me to inquire truthfully and diligently about me don’t you think that I would quite gladly have joined forces with the Methodist Church because I myself had no understanding of the whole episode as shown in the fact that I sent to the police to help to send multitudes away from my. house.
32. “However, before you came, I continued, He who sent me told me that a European will be coming to see me and that I should speak with him patiently and calmly. I was then asked to tell you that you should stay awhile until next Sunday and worship with them at the Methodist Church in Porto Novo. After service, position yourself at the exit with one half of the door closed so that they can also shake your hand as they file out. Note their fingers for any rings which are not engagement or wedding rings and which are made of metal or such like, you should know for sure that in such peoples homes are to be found idols, witches and other powers of darkness and that they are idol worshippers. It is they who use the powers of magic. And those who would truly worship and serve him must serve no other god. The message given to me is that many Christians there are who on their death do not see Christ because they had become idol worshippers before their death. This is the task entrusted to me. After giving him this message, he stood speechless for some half-hour in thought beating his forehead with a pen and with one leg crossed over the other. He then went out to the doorway of my father’s house (which is where it all started, not my present house), stood by his car for another half-hour with ADIHU another Pastor from Republic of Benin (formerly Dahomey) who had accompanied him on the visit. After consulting for some time he promised to come back but I did not see him before he returned.
33. “But, according to God’s promise (and God never fails to fulfil His promise), at the same time that these things were happening, a woman in Porto Novo called TINAVIE from ZEVU district died in hospital after a short illness. The Church was barely two months old. Tinavie’s younger sister, MAWULOWOE (God will oblige), it was who prophesied that Tinavie’s dead body should be brought to me and that Jesus would raise her from the dead. Church members in. the area came to tell me of her death and I asked them to bring her dead body to my house. When it was brought on a stretcher, I told them to put it on the bare floor.
34. “Now all my relations in our compound were all Moslems.. Only my father was a Christian. But we were all Yoruba. We have eight marks on our cheeks according to Yoruba tradition. When the dead body was brought in, my relations, who were all Moslem’s, exclaimed in Muslim fashion ‘I-LAHILA, HILALAWU, what has this boy done again? Brought in a corpse!’ But I asked them to leave the dead body on the floor. In short, Jesus Christ my Saviour raised TINAVIE from the dead. She became alive and I asked that she be taken to the hospital to greet the doctor who had treated and certified her dead. The doctors name was Alexandre. When the doctor saw her alive, he ran slamming the door thinking that a dead person was about to speak to him. He did not realise that it is God the King who brings the dead to life again. It was also MAWULAWOE who at the first seaside Christmas festival gave the song (in Yoruba):
Jesu emi yio sin o (2ce)
Nibi mimo yi
Larin ‘jo nla re
Emi yio sin o titi d’opin
Emi yio mu ‘bukun rele’ .
Meaning in English:
‘Jesus, I shall worship thee (2ce)
In this holy place,
Amidst thine large Church,
I shall worship thee until the end,
I shall go with blessings from Thee’ .
35. “Another miracle related to a friend of mine MOISE SURU AFOYAN from ZEVU district of PORTO NOVO who died. His relations came to tell me that my friend had died and that they had come to buy the coffin with which to bury him but had merely called to let me know. I went to the house of MOISE and I saw his dead body lying on the floor. He was my friend. I was wearing three sets of clothes. I took one off, covered the dead body with it and told everybody to leave the room. When it was the wish of Jesus, MOISE SURU was brought back to life at twelve midnight.
36. “I went back the following day. MOISE SURU said he very much wished to tell me what happened. He said he saw an old man with hair and beard all white standing on the balcony of a storey building. The old man brought me to show him (MOISE) and asked him whether he knew me. He said he replied that he did. The old man then told him that he (MOISE) was already dead but because of and to honour me (PASTOR), he would be returned to life; and moreover, he (MOISE) would not die again until the person (PASTOR) who raised him from the dead shall have built a storey building.
37. “It was thus MOISE SURU who foretold the event of my building a storey house. And yet, at this time, I did not even have the financial strength to buy a single brick. I went along with it because I knew that my God’s word never fails. I am thankful to God that MOISE SURU and his children are still alive today, and the storey building has been built in his lifetime as he foretold.
38. “The next notable event was at the town of GRANPOPO where the sea had overflows its banks thus constituting a serious problem. Because of the news reaching him of various miracles wrought by Christ through me, the chief of the town sent word to me in PORTO NOVO that the sea had penetrated the town and had destroyed all their houses. He sent word that they believed that God had sent me and that there was nothing that God could not do. He implored me to come and stop the sea washing away their entire township. I prepared to go, taking six people with me including Wolida AFOSE YANGA, his wife Elder SILVESTIN, YAMAN and Leader MATHIAS from DANNU.
39. “When we got to the sea front at GRANPOPO, I saw a European Catholic Reverend Father carrying a curved shepherd’s staff standing by the sea, and the sea pushed him back as he prayed with the staff. But when I got there, I was told by HIM that sent me that to HIM the entire world was like an egg and that similarly the sea was like a needle. I was further instructed that I should, therefore, insert a needle in an egg in full view of all the inhabitants of GRANPOPO and throw the egg with the needle into the sea which would carry it away. I did as I was instructed as it was not my wish but that of HIM that sent me. A miracle happened, the sea receded completely.
40. “It was noteworthy to record a further development of this event. There was a Lagoon in the town (Granpopo) which normally emptied into the sea. The Point of entry was dangerous as many boats had been carried away there. The sea had now receded so much that the whole area at the Point of entry of the lagoon to the sea was dry. When the idol worshippers in the town who did not accept Jesus Christ saw what happened, they became annoyed and protested that the recession of the sea had gone too far. They brought cows to offer as sacrifice and dragged them along until they-threw them in the sea. Because of this faithless act, the sea returned with doubled fury after three months and did more havoc than before.
41. “The fame of these deeds spread far and wide. Consequently, people in TOFFIN rushed to join the church. From AGANGE, the Church spread to GBEKO, from GBEKO to GOGBO. As the Church spread far and wide, the Catholics in Porto Novo, the Moslems and Methodists began to plot and mobilise against me. They all had informants in my house – the Catholics had theirs, the Methodists had theirs and the Moslems also had theirs. Any Catholics who worshipped in my house were immediately informed upon by the Catholic agents. Any Methodist who worshipped in my house were immediately informed upon by Methodist agents. Similarly, any Moslem who worshipped in my house were immediately informed upon by the Moslem agents. Consequently, I moved to WEME, a district of TOFFIN.
42. “When my detractors did not see me in Porto Novo, they imagined that the Church was reducing in strength. But the opposite was happening among the few I left behind. Meanwhile, some of the members in TOFFIN established another branch in GBAJI from where it spread to Lagos in Nigeria. Those who introduced the Church into Lagos were fishermen, about seven in number – people like the present LEADER SAMUEL FRANCOIS, the present Senior Leader Leyon who is right here among us, people like JOHANA from GBAJI and the late SEPO.
43. ” Their unique church and spiritual works which people in Lagos noticed about them led to persistent demand to see me. I was then already back in Porto Novo where the Church had then grown and become big and firmly established. When word came that LAGOS wished to see me, I feared to go either to LAGOS or indeed anywhere in Nigeria. Being the only surviving male of my father, I feared for Nigeria which I understood was a fast and difficult country. The emissary from LAGOS was always MOSES AJOVI from IJOFIN, Nigeria, now a Senior Leader. After refusing twice to go to Lagos, I relented the third time on the understanding that MOSES AJOVI would be with me always. And so we both travelled to LAGOS together during the Passion Week 1951.
44. “Soon after my arrival here in LAGOS I learnt of a young woman who was mad and laid up in a room. I went to see her and Jesus cured her instantaneously. This caused a stir, and by Maundy Thursday word had gone round of this famous miracle.
45. “A number of clergymen from various Churches sent for me to meet them on the Good Friday in a hall in YABA which had a piano in one corner. They told me they had heard stories of miracles of the dead rising and so on. Although they were all Christians, they wished to make it clear that I should consider them to be thorough-going doubting Thornases. They very much wished to believe that God sent me, but they would not unless they saw miracles performed there right before their eyes. I agreed. I asked them which of them would like to see the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ and to know that God sent me. They all replied that they would.
46.” I then selected two women from among them, one married, the other unmarried and asked them to lie down. I removed two of the clothes I was wearing, placed one each, on the two women. After about one hour, nothing happened. I asked them both to get up. The elder one said she seemed to notice something brush past her, but she looked up and saw nothing. The other said she felt something about to happen to her but she saw nothing. At this stage, they began to think they would not see any miracles.
47.”I then remembered and sang the song which the eleven month old child of MARIE ZEVUNNU gave, the world through the HOLY SPIRIT some time before which runs thus (in Yoruba):
‘Emi Mimo sokale sarin wa, S:s:d:m:-:-d:r:d:t:l:s:-:-:-:-
Awa nse ireti re s:s:d:m:-:-d:r:-t:-d.-:-:-:-
Wa wonuwa ko wa fun wa I’agbara s: s: 1: s: m: s: f : m: r: m: -m:
Agbara t’awa yio fi segun,
0 ki ise ‘Ieri re lai mu u se,
Ranti ileri re to se’.
meaning in English:
‘0! Holy Ghost descend thou upon us,
We wait upon thy coming down,
Come enter us and give us thy holy strength,
The strength with which we shall overcome,
Thou never makes a promise without fulfilling it.
Do thou remember thine promise!’
They all began to sing this song with me.
s: s: d: m: -d: r: -t.: -d:
s: s: 1: s: -: -m: s: f : m: r: m: -m:
48. “Suddenly, as they sang, the Holy Spirit descended upon them. Among them, somebody said: ‘He is my beloved. I sent him, hear ye him’. Another said: ‘you married woman, you are in your menstrual period, you want to see the glory of Jesus, do ask her whether or not she is in her period’. Still another said: ‘you young woman, you know very well you have just had sexual relations and you have not bathed to cleanse yourself. I am a selective God’. They were all bewildered at all they saw and heard coming from among them. The whole hall shook and they saw the power and glory of God.
49. “Now, these people at Yaba that day knew many Christian songs of their own denominations; they were so impressed with what they saw that they declared that they would do nothing but sing when they saw Jesus. So they began to have a feast of songs. After sometime, I told them it was time to go home. They said I should not go home and they would not stop singing until day break. And moreover, they continued, it was raining and once it started raining in those parts, they said, it was a long time stopping. I replied that what they took for raining was indeed part of God’s work; it was a special down pour which would stop as soon as I wished to go home. When I saw that they had contributed a lot of money, I told them I wanted no money. One woman among them gave me two shillings loaves of bread which I accepted, saying ‘Jesus said a worker deserves to have his food’. I then said I was going and they said I could not go yet. I peeped out, stretching my hand in the rain. It stopped and I left. This fresh miracle really startled them and started a rush of people to the Church here. That was how the Church really started in Nigeria.
50. “Next occurred here the miracle of the rising from the dead of HUNSU, a seven-year old boy. He was found in a room clasped to the bosom of an old. woman. The body of the boy was forcibly removed from the woman and brought to me in front of the Church. As directed by the Holy Spirit, I sprinkled holy water on him and he rose lip immediately. This caused a sensation. The Chief Imam of Lagos who was on his way to dedicate a new mosque (Owodunii Mosque at lwaya) stopped by together with his followers determined to see whether or not the name of “ANOBI YISA” (Jesus Christ) would work miracles as had often been claimed. After seeing the miracle happen, he and his followers exclaimed: ‘LAIIAILA HILALAWU’ (God is mighty).
51. “Shortly after this, word came of the death of another young woman named THERESA HUMPE. She had died early that morning in the fishermen’s quarters. Because they could not find a doctor to certify her dead and issue a death certificate, they intended, as was often the case in Makoko at the time, to wait until dark and secretly have her buried. Makoko at the time was largely bush and this was not difficult. But the Holy Spirit was with me and I asked for the dead body to be brought to me. The body was carried to me in broad daylight in full view of everybody. But He who sent me was fully behind me. I placed my hand on THERESA and she instantly rose up. This THERESA is alive today and is a mother of children.
52. “This was why the owner of Makoko, the late RAMOTU EMMANUEL, a Moslem woman, approached me to say that she had a dream that a holy man had just entered Makoko, and that if she wished the landed property of Makoko to be hers, she should go and see the man. She told me that I was the man and requested me to pray for her so that Makoko could remain hers and she wanted to know my terms. She came with her son RAIMI, her clerk and BALOGUN, her caretaker. I replied that I took nothing. I asked her to bring a single white candle which I used to pray for her. Her prayers were heard. The town of Makoko became her undisputed property during the third month from then. Even though she was a Moslem she remembered that God had helped her through this Church and so she gave the Church the land on which the present Church is situated. Because of future possible litigation after her death, she conveyed the property to the Church (although it was in my name) and obtained one KOBO in payment. It was thus a gift because of the miracles observed. May God bless the family. RAMOTU EMMANUEL died on 23rd March 1952, Easter Sunday.
53. “The miracles performed by our Lord Jesus Christ through me were numerous. I shall now make particular reference to that of the young woman named OLUSOLA who died and whom Jesus raised from the dead after the third day.
54. “A young member of the Church who was fond of saying ‘Please say Halleluyah with me’ and who, for short, was nicknamed ‘Halleluyah’ came one Sunday morning and reported the death of a woman at 3.00 p.m. the previous day (a Saturday) in a house which belonged to him. He said that in view of the many miracles performed by Jesus through me right there in Makoko, particularly those of IIUNSU and THERESA, he felt sure that OLUSOLA could be raised from the dead. He first spoke to me at ten o’ clock on the Sunday morning as service was about to start. Service finished at three o’clock in the afternoon and he kept on worrying me but I still did not answer him. Owing to his persistence, however, at 4 o’clock that afternoon, I sent Evangelist BADA (then a LEADER) with one of my robes to follow the man called ‘Halleluyah’ to the house and put the robe on the dead body and tell the relatives that if and when the body moved, it should be brought to the Church. On the way there, ‘Halleluyah’ was to go in front and Evangelist to follow behind.
55. “Evangelist returned and reported that he had carried out my instructions. At about five thirty that afternoon, they brought the dead body in a car because they were amazed to see the body actually turn over although it was still lifeless. I asked that the body be placed in the Church vestry for women.
56. “Now there was a young man from Ondo who came with them. He belonged to one of the other spiritual Churches, but I do not know which. When he saw that we left OLUSOLA’s dead body in the vestry for hours without bothering to pray or go near it but that we went on talking generally, he came to me and counselled that instead of doing nothing we should pray for the dead body as it was already stinking. I replied that I was not the one going to bring OLUSOLA back to life and that he should be very careful and not go near the dead body. I told him that if he did, he would have to accept responsibility for whatever happened to him. But he would not listen. He continued to pace up and down. Finally at about twelve midnight, he suddenly went to have a look at the dead body. He ran back to me startled, and reported that he had seen a man clad in white with his hair parted into two standing at the head of the corpse. I retorted to him that I had warned him not to go near the dead body. He ran away and I went to bed. OLUSOLA’s mother also went to bed. I did not bother about the dead body. These miracles are not done with my own power I am no more than a servant for HIM that sent me. There was therefore no need for me to go into a bout of prayer or staying up all night or fasting or such flagellation.
57. “In the morning of the third day of OLUSOLA’s death, her mother, watching the hours go by, became restless. At nine o’clock in the morning she came to me and said in despair that as the body of OLUSOLA was still as dead, stinking and lifeless as ever, and already covered with ants, she should be allowed to take the body home for burial. As she said this her loin cloth fell off her. This aroused my sympathy and I got up and followed her to where the dead body lay. I asked her the name of her daughter and she replied that her name was OLUSOLA. I struck the body and called ‘OLUSOLA’ and the dead girl replied ‘SIR’. I struck her again and said: ‘In the name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk’. She immediately got up and walked. She is still here with you, you all know her. Her younger sister is Sister IPADEOLA-
58. “With regard to our LORD JESUS CHRIST, LORD of heaven and earth, who sent me, it was time for HIM to reveal HIMSELF in all HIS power and glory right here in Makoko. This happened in 1954 on the Friday following the Harvest Thanksgiving Service for that year which was the third Harvest Thanksgiving service in Nigeria. For three months previous to HIS coming, spiritual messages had been pouring out of our prophets to the effect that the Lord Himself would soon pay us a visit, suddenly walking into our midst, and that we should always be prepared to be able to identify Him on arrival.
“At about 3.00 a.m. on the day of his arrival, I was possessed by the Holy Spirit and, as reported to me later, I continually uttered the following words, until about 5.30 a.m. during which time the whole house reportedly shook to its foundations: ’Jesu, Jesu eniti iri re dabi iri oju omo kiniun, eniti nti ori ekanna re tan imole’, that is, in English ‘Jesus, Jesus, thou whose eyes are like those of a lions cub, and from whose finger tips light beams out’.
“This was reported to me later in the morning by Evangelist Bada (then Leader) who was sleeping very close to me in the Church together with some of :the ‘other Members.
59. The Lord came, as a blindman. He appeared walking towards the Church at about 9.00 a.m. He spoke first to my wife CHRISTINE and asked her for tobacco. She replied that she had none. Then He asked her for cigarettes, and again. she replied that she had none. Then He asked her for kolanuts,to which she replied angrily that she should be left alone, particularly as the three things He asked are forbidden to Celestians. At this point YAMAN, who was nearby, intervened and offered Him some money to buy the things He wanted will never be empty. He, then, told YAMAN to caution her daughter CHRISTINE to beware because the world is delicate. He left them.
60. ‘ I was not there, I was in the other house some fifty yards away. I saw a man coming towards me. He was tall and graceful and covered Himself with a single piece of white cloth wrapped round His whole body from Head to toe. As He approached. I saw spiritually a sudden beam of light before Him and recognised at once that He was the Lord whose coming had been foretold.
61. “I went to meet Him. He was blind, the usual black spot being totally absent from the eyeball which were totally white. I then asked:’ ‘My Lord, whence cornest thou and whither goest thou?’ He replied: ‘the son of Man comes from nowhere in particular nor does He have any destination but goes wherever the wind guides HIM” I replied: ‘I thank you my Lord’. I then said: ‘Very well, my Lord, would you not like to come with, thy son into the house?’ He replied as He walked with me: ‘Art thou not the prophet? You had been given to know me because of your loving kindness. I will come with you to your house’. As we walked, I put my hand in my pocket and offered HIM money as aims. He declined and said: ‘Mine is, not money but Love. May it be so for you as well’.
62. “We walked together, I on the left, He on my right. Now, them was a trench at the time near the entrance to the Church to drain away underground water oozing from under the Church into the lagoon. As we got to the trench, I said: ‘My Lord, take care here, there is a trench, let me take your hand so that you can cross safely’. He replied: ‘Not at all, the Son of Man may not have visible eyes, but He has spiritual eyes which see better than yours’. Before He had finished, He had smartly crossed the trench ahead of me. We walked along and entered my house together.
63. “When we entered, He asked me for water, and I gave Him water in a bowl. He asked for sugar. Makoko was not as developed as it is now. I saw this as an opportunity to please Him. He did not accept alms from me, but perhaps I could please Him with a whole packet of sugar. I searched through Makoko for sugar to buy, but there was none came back to tell Him I could find no sugar. He then said the lumps in my room would do. I went into my room and searched and indeed found seven lumps there and brought them to Him. He asked me to put them in the water and said; ‘As from today, let there always be sugar in your house’. He stirred the water with his hand, sipped seven times and gave to me saying. “Men will, rush to you with various problems. and went on to tell the various uses to which water could be put. I also sipped seven times and kept the remaining water which I retain till this very rnoment.
64. “He then asked for a cloth large enough to wrap, around a dead body. I looked round and could only get a yard of white material from my wife CHRISTINE. I wrapped it with paper, and as l was approaching him from behind, He asked: ‘Could this be enough to cover my whole body from head to toe?’ I became baffled, and was going to return it. But He said :Since you intended it as a gift ,for me, do not take it away. Leave it and go look for something bigger’. Then Evangelist BADA who was nearby drew my attention to a new- soft white cotton material which was wrapped round the altar for the Harvest the previous Sunday. Then our Lord cut in and said: ‘Yes, that will be big enough to wrap’ round me from head to toe’. Whereupon I went into the, Church, removed it from the altar, folded it, wrapped it in paper and brought it to HIM. He said: ‘Yes, this is my own portion (share) of this year’s Harvest’. He did not touch it, but asked me to pack it together with the earlier material. Also present at this time was EMMANUEL YANSUNU who was a Methodist and had only escorted his brother Evangelist Nathaniel Yansunu.
65. “He spoke many things with me. Among other things, He confirmed: ‘All your services of worship in the Church are acceptable unto the Father. Tell all members of the Celestial Church that they should be steadfast in their services of worship because worship will be the ultimate salvation of mankind. The love of money will constitute the downfall of many in their bid to enter the kingdom of God”. He said I should fix my eyes on Him as much as I could because I would not have the opportunity again of seeing Him as I saw Him then and talking to. Him in this fashion. He said I would surely see Him again, but how He could not tell me at that point in time. This referred to the time when I myself would leave this world.
He then sought to take leave of us and urged us not to announce his departure. Evangelist BADA, who remained present throughout, then rejoined: ‘Who can fail to see the glory of this sunshine?’ To which our Lord replied in surprise: ‘What?’ Then, BADA repeated: ‘FATHER, who can fail to set the glory of this blissful sunshine?’ Then our Lord chanted: “Halleluyah seven times. Evangelist NATHANIEL YANSUNU from Porto -Novo (he was not even Leader then) was sleeping in the other room. He was paralysed on one leg. But as soon as he heard us talking in the other room he woke up and sprang up his leg straightening at the same time. It will be recalled that this NATHANIEL YANSUNU was the son of MOSES YANSUNU with whom I stayed when I was at the age of 7.
66. “Continuing, He said He came to talk to me because there was a lot to talk about but I would have to walk with Him a little, just the two of us. We left the house, leaving the others behind. He asked me to bring both cloth parcels 1 had brought for Him. I brought them along. We walked along Church Street in broad daylight and yet we met not a soul all the way to Makoko bridge. He talked to me a lot giving explanations and specific injunctions on a number of matters relating to the Church. One of these injunctions was that we should hence forth celebrate Holy Communion at our annual Christmas gathering at Porto Novo beach and that He Himself would be present and partake. Previous to this we had not celebrated Holy Communion at our Christmas gatherings which was the seventh in the history of the Church.
67. “At that time, logs of palm tree were positioned either side of the bridge to retain the road and stop it being washed away by the stream. We stood on the palm tree log to the right and we both faced
the West. He then requested me to bring out the clothes and drop them in the mud. I did so and He put His left foot on the cloths while His right foot remained on the log. I remained standing on the log. Then with His left foot still remaining on the cloths which were bubbling under His foot, He said: ‘SON OF MAN, HERE AT THIS SPOT WE PART. GO AND DON’T LOOK BACK’. I turned round and started to go. After taking three steps, I felt curious to know how He would go. I turned round and could no longer see Him. He had disappeared.
68. “On the third day, there was an incident concerning a particular woman who professed to be a member of our Church, but had secretly been visiting and seeking for help from the powers of darkness fetish priests and so on. Apparently, as she was passing by APENA CEMETERY ‘ the white robed man who had appeared to me here earlier also appeared to her and she was frozen stiff and could not move. She was taken into a house nearby. As this was happening there, it was being prophesied to me here in the Church at Makoko that there were those who came to me claiming to be Christians but who were worse than idol worshippers; that one of them had just been caught and would be brought to me. On her arrival, I should inquire from her why any member of the Celestial Church of Christ should still seek help from herbalists and other Satanic agents. I should inform her that it was He, CHRIST, who appeared unto her.
69. “True enough, some time later, they carried in the woman unconscious. When I put my hand on her, she became conscious and got up. What I was asked to tell her I did exactly and she confessed.
70. “Another appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ was at the Lagos Bar Beach in 1954 on the occasion of the anointment of some members of the Church in Nigeria amongst whom were LEYON, SAMUEL and a few others. (It is pertinent to mention that LEYON and SAMUEL were the first to be elevated to the rank of LEADER in the Church in Nigeria). Our Lord appeared from the sea. “As had happened prior to His first visit to us in Makoko, I was possessed by the Holy Spirit at about 3.00 a.m. on the day and reportedly prophesied His coming in my sleep. At about mid-day while we were on the beach performing the anointment, a boat suddenly appeared lying far out to sea. In the twinkling of an eye, it came within about two hundred yards from the beach. The next moment we saw a man on the beach in a reclining position wearing a piece of blue loin cloth round His waist reminding one of the one on Him in the usual picture of Him on the cross. His body showed signs of having come out of the sea. He had by His side a well worn old Bible wrapped round with a piece of string, a copy of the Koran and some sun-dried crayfish. I knew it was our Lord and I went immediately towards Him. He spoke to me giving me further injunctions and explanations on a number of things. In particular, He directed me not to engage in any form of eye service to any one.
-While this was happening, a woman wearing a simple apparel moved around Him, coming not too close, to look at Him with some concern, then moving away again. She did this repeatedly. I knew it was MARIA, the gracious mother of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. It was midday and the sun was high and we had sought to assemble under the shade of the trees which were still on the beach at the time. As I walked towards Him, the sand burned under my feet, but immediately I got near to Him, everything became cool as if under a shade. After He spoke to me, I returned to the congregation of our members and disclosed to them that He of whom I had prophesied had arrived and was reclining up there. Members present rushed towards Him and He spoke to many of them. Notable among them was a particular lady, Mrs. Adedoyin Adekoya, who was gorgeously dressed in Yoruba attire. When she related her own experience, she told us that our lord queried why she came naked. This puzzled her. At this juncture, YAMAN cut in and pointed out that it was because she was not dressed in her sutana like the others. Some members of other spiritual Churches worshipping on the beach that day also saw Him and many of them rolled on the sand in spiritual turmoil, digging the sand with their hands and testifying to His identity and presence. Various fishes, whales and other animals of the sea dipped in and out of the water in salute.
71. “We went on with our prayers and all the time , l kept an eye on Him and continued to see Him. We closed our eyes to say the grace. After the grace, we opened our eyes and discovered that He had disappeared. So also had the woman MARIA and the boat. Members searched up and down for Him but He was nowhere to be found.
72. “The miracles that take place daily are too numerous to mention. Before God and man, prior to 1958, several persons had been raised from the dead. And in 1958 alone three were raised from the dead two in ABEOKUTA and one in IBADAN. They are all with us here. Glory be to God in HEAVEN. HALLELUYAH.
73. “The blind see by the GRACE OF JESUS CHRIST, sometimes as many as eighteen, a day, the dumb speak, the lame walk, the sick (too numerous to count) are healed, the barren become mothers, those who are pregnant but are prevented from giving birth to their children by the powers of this world are released from these powers -one of such, you all remember, is. NIMBE’s mother who is with us here. When she was brought to the Church, medical opinion said she was not pregnant and so did everybody, you all remember what I am talking about. But by the power and .glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, it was disclosed that the woman was pregnant. She eventually gave birth to the child whom we all call OLUWAMBE (that is, God is indeed present). He has now become a young man. Similarly Mrs. SOMORIN whose pregnancy was denied by medical opinion, also gave birth to a female child named MOJISOLA.
74. “Miracles are indeed an everyday occurrence with us. These testify to the fact that He who sent me and who promised that these miracles will happen through me so that the world may believe that He sent me – that He is still with me. Glory be to His name in Heaven. Halleluyah. May the Celestial Church of Christ continue to wax strong. Amen”.
75. The Pastor Founder was asked at a meeting of the Board of Trustees held on Tuesday 22nd May 1979 at the International Headquarters, Celestial Church of Christ, Mission House, Ketu, Lagos State, Federal Republic of Nigeria, to give in greater detail how actually the various aspects of the Church’s worship were handed down together with the surrounding events. The Pastor Founder replied in the following paragraphs.
76. “A few days after my return to Porto Novo from my sojourn in the bush through AGANGE where, you will recall, KUDIHO was raised from the dead by our Lord Jesus Christ through me, word came from my elder sister (ELIZABETH OSHOFFA married to GUTON) that her only child and son, EMMANUEL MAWUNYON GUTON (who later became our Evangelist in Ivory Coast) had died. I was in my praying attire and I sent word that he was not dead. On my arrival, I found the dead body and I sent everybody out of the room. The idol worshippers, who had earlier been trying to revive him, hurriedly left the room and, as I touched him, Jesus raised him and he immediately received the gift of the Holy Spirit and became the first prophet in Celestial Church of Christ.
Injunction to Found a New Church
77. “During the first week in October,1947 and on the fifth day after I received the DIVINE ORDER on September 29, 1947, we were gathered together early in the morning when word came to me (I regularly heard voices and still do) that the DIVINE COMMISSION I was given was to found a new Church and that I should start it right there in my house. The first song given to us was (in Yoruba).
Enyin ara ‘nu Kristi d:s:s:m:l:s:-
E gbe orin soke d:m:s:-f:m:r.-..
Ke e si gbo ohun ti d:s:-ml:s:-d:
Jehovah n’so m:s:-f:m:r:-:-
Ere di re te fi wa s: d: d: t: 1: s: s:
Ninu Ijo Mimo yi? m:m:f:m:r:f:m:-:-
Ere di re t’e fl wa s: d: d: t: 1: s: s:
Ninu egbe nla yi? m:m:f:m:r:f:m:-:-
Ki Maria lya wa s:d:d:t:l:s:-
Le e wa a sin wa lo m:s:f:m:r:f:m:-:-
K’Eni mimo rere yi s:d:-t:l:s:-m:s:
Wa ma sin wa lo f:m:r:r:d:-:-
We all sang this song together early that morning.
Covenant with Christ
78. ‘Later the same day, in the evening, while I was alone in an inner room of my father’s house, I heard a voice (I still regularly hear the same voice until now) telling me to go and bring a short strip of wood.
I went out and cut a short length of wood from the first tree I saw. Being a carpenter, I planed it neatly and brought it inside. I was then instructed by the voice to put it down somewhere as He Christ wished to make a covenant with me and I was going to be betrothed as a bride of Christ. I then saw a hand which indicated the sign of the cross. I was instructed to use the cut stem of a leaf (fetched from outside) and purple ink to make the sign of the cross in remembrance of Christ. I was told: “THIS IS THE SYMBOL OF THE COVENANT BETWEEN YOU AND ME”. I dipped my finger thrice into the ink we used and was then asked to pray for the most wonderful and unfathomable power of the Holy Spirit. I slept late that night because of visits from heavenly visitors talking to me.
Culled from Celetial Church of Christ’s Constitution