TIME TO DECLARE A STATE OF EMERGENCY IN THE NIGERIAN CHURCH!
A British Newspaper recently published a remarkable story of an interview with a terrorist who was complaining about the failure of Hamas of Gaza to do huge damage inside Israel, despite firing hundreds and hundreds of rockets and missiles at the Jewish people. He had a unique explanation: “Their God changes the path of our rockets in mid-air”. Nigerian Christian believers must know that our PRAYERS to God of Israel matter a lot! Israel is not just defended by the courageous men and women of the Israel Defence Force (IDF) and the Iron Dome Missile Defence System. Israel is defended by the unseen hands of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That same God is the God of Nigeria. He is our Judge, our Lawgiver, our King and He is the one keeping Nigeria (Isa. 33:22). We should therefore never hold our peace day or night, nor keep silent. We will give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Nigeria a praise in the earth (Isa. 62:6-7). What I am about to share is an accumulated spiritual burden of almost two years now. And this has several confirmations from leading ministers and intercessors across Nigeria and beyond. This passage from the book of 2 kings 3:16-17 aptly captures and explains this burden. And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches (altars of prayers). For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts. (2 kings 3:16-17) God is saying – if you can raise me fervent and sustained Prayer Altars all over this troubled nation, then get ready for an uncommon, sudden and supernatural intervention from My presence. This to me is very encouraging and promising. THE PRESENT DISTRESS On October 1, 1960, the day Nigeria formally came into existence, the late premier of the Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, made a statement whose import did not seem to sink in for a long time. On that day, as most Nigerians were busy celebrating their independence, the premier made a declaration that has continued to haunt the nation. He had said:
“The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great-grandfather, Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We must use the minorities of the North as willing tools and the South as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us, and never allow them to have control over their future”. (Parrot Newspaper, 12th Oct. 1960; republished on November 13, 2002, by the Tribune Newspaper, Ibadan.)
Take this statement as the tap root of the religious war going on in Nigeria today (It is a religious and political war, make no mistake about it!). The fruit and the flower of this declaration can be deciphered in the stated declaration of Boko Haram, the terrorist group ravaging Nigeria. The mandate of Boko Haram, as declared by Abubakar Shekau, its leader, in a 2012 video recording now available on the Internet is clear and points inexorably to its inspirational source:
“… this [Boko Haram] war is not political. It is religious. It is between Muslims and unbelievers (arna). It will stop when Islamic religion is the determinant in governance in Nigeria or, in the alternative, when all fighters are annihilated and no one is left to continue the fight. I warn all Muslims at this juncture that any Muslim who assists an unbeliever in this war should consider himself dead.”
The first statement is an unprovoked declaration of war without end on Nigeria from the very day of its birth and naming, as well as on the hopes of other religious groups, especially Christians. The second is the physical fulfillment of the evil tree planted on Nigeria’s day of independence. The statements, fully digested and interpreted, explain why Nigeria has continued to move from one small crisis to greater one, never getting it right. It is the reason why Nigeria is a case study in arrested destiny. More than anything else that anyone can say, these two statements define the very moment that Nigeria is currently in, and that definition has been conveyed to us through the mass murder of Christians across Nigerian history and in particular through the well-oiled and systematic genocide that has been ongoing in Nigeria since 2009.
Nigeria has fought one war or the other across time, but no war is as deadly as the one that has been declared against Nigerian Christians and, sadly, many whose destiny are affected by the war are blissfully ignorant. Hosea 4:6a says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”.
Since the violent eruption of the most deadly war on Christians in 2009, the Boko Haram war, several thousands of Christians have been murdered, hundreds of thousands have fled their home – many of them to Cameroun. The Internal Displaced Monitoring Centre (IDMC) says Nigeria has the third largest population of internally displaced persons in Africa (about 3.3 million) and the third highest in the world.
In all the countries of the world where beatings, abductions, rapes, arrests, and forced marriages are recorded, Nigeria takes the lead – even over countries like Syria that are officially at war. A Jihad has been declared against the Nigerian Church and what we do now or fail to do will determine if the Church of God will still be standing when Christ returns. It is worth repeating that there is an Islamic agenda against Nigeria which the Islamist groups are carrying out.
Over 27 communities have been sacked, its residents killed or driven into exile in Borno State. In one Damboa LGA alone, another 20 communities have suffered the same fate. When the leaders of a community report to the army for protection, men dressed in army colours would visit them promptly, gather them together and fell them in their hundreds with bullets. Nigeria is unprotected by its paid police and army. Every day, Christians are dying in their numbers and nothing is being done about it.
In December 1856, the Fulani Jihadists besieged Osogbo town. Twenty years earlier, they had over-run Ilorin and put the town firmly under their grip, but never had they ventured beyond Ilorin up till that time. An army led by Balogun Oderinlo was dispatched from Ibadan to rescue Osogbo from the Jihadists. After initial reconnaissance, Balogun Oderinlo discovered that he was up to no match with the rampaging Jihadists as they were mainly cavalrymen with very strong horses while the Ibadan army were on foot and the avenue for the war was plain savannah, which would have made them easy prey for the invaders.
During one night, he infiltrated the camp of the Jihadists and poisoned their horses. The rest was finished during the day, the Jihadists were roundly trounced, and their advance was forcefully stopped at Ikirun. Both Osogbo and Ikirun are in present day Osun State. Osun State was created in 1991 and twenty years after the creation, it is firmly in the grips of a man who not only is suspected of having sentiments for the fundamentalist brand of Islam but one who with Jeroboamic passion actually resurrected all the pantheon of idols that Christianity had succeeded in reducing their impact with the declaration of a public holiday for Isese Day, a festival for celebration of idolatry. At the same time, schools with a background of Christianity were forcefully merged with others under a policy called ‘reclassification’. Now, the same Osun State where the advancement of the Jihadists was halted over 150 years ago is now the fulcrum of not only a brand of radical Islam but also a resurrection of idolatry as they seek to penetrate the South West. Ritual killing has now assumed an alarming dimension, especially in the South West.
According to Wikipedia, Boko Haram has killed over 2,000 civilians in the first half of 2014 in about 95 attacks and in the preceding 3 years more than 3,000. Initially, there was an apathy on the part of most Southerners as we initially thought it was a ‘northern’ affair. Even at that, the reality that it was a brazen attack on the Church in a bid to totally extinguish Christianity was lost on us. In an article ‘Re-introducing Northern Nigeria’ by Mark Amaza, he wrote that of the 19 Northern states, at least 5 have a Christian majority – Plateau, Adamawa, Nassarawa, Taraba and Benue. At least 6 more have at least 40% Christian population. These states include Niger, Gombe, Kaduna, Kogi, Kwara and either Borno or Bauchi. That then leaves only Kano, Kebbi, Katsina, Jigawa, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara as having Muslim populations above 60%. According to the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, over 750 churches have been burnt by Boko Haram.
However, the battle against Boko Haram would enter another gear with a twin bombing of targets in Apapa, Lagos on Wednesday June 25, 2014. With initial denials by the authorities, Boko Haram would later claim responsibility. Is Nigeria still truly part of the international community? Why then has the international community subtly taken the side of the aggressor? For a very long time America refused to designate Boko Haram a terrorist group until American interests became a target.
The international media have continued to fuel the fire by accusing the Nigerian military or blackmailing the government as the reason for the insurgence. Even Amnesty International conveniently betrayed its ethos by shamefacedly blaming the state and its agencies. Why would the international media and community want to take sides and overlook genocide in the north of Nigeria? Because they have sold themselves cheaply. Europe is being overrun by radical Islamic renaissance. America too is roasting in the same fire. The West is trying to court and not provoke Islam. The West is playing up PR tools, because it wants to continue its lifestyle that does not glorify God. Godlessness is ruling in the West; and it is impossible for the godless to lead a godly battle. Thus, the Western appeasement of the Islamic world is costing the poorer nations of the South, the international Christian community and even the natural state of Israel considerable harm. There is considerable evidence now in the public domain that America is the biggest funder of terrorism. Terrorists like Al Qaeda and even Boko Haram get the huge chunk of their funding from abduction. It is so easy the terrorists have labelled it their “low-hanging fruit”. Also, since WW2 (World War Two), America has poured over $5 billion dollars into Pakistan alone to help contain The Taliban and Al Qaeda, but the money goes expressly into funding Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups around the world. When America complains, Pakistan gets angry. The West shies from making the Arab nations angry, both individually and collectively. Self-preservation has thus made America and the West an ally of the terrorists they are fighting.
SUGGESTED WAY OUT
Where, then, do we turn to in this war of annihilation against Nigerian Christians? First, we need to turn back to God and turn back to ourselves. Every bloodshed that has taken place in this country against innocent people (Christians and Muslims alike) is an affront to the Almighty. It is a national sin from which no one or group is exempted before the throne of grace. We are, therefore, guilty of mass bloodshed as a nation. Our hands are vicariously full of the blood of our brothers and sisters shed by bestial religious fanatics. We all need to repent of this evil even though we and our Christian family are the victims. Nigerian Christians are double victims because they suffer the genocide and are yet made guilty vicariously. After repentance, we have work to do. IF NIGERIA IS A FREE NATION RULED UNDER A DEMOCRACY AND NOT A NATION OF SERFS, WE HAVE WORK TO DO BEFORE THE ELECTION OF 2015.
What to do:
1. Every Christian must be mobilized and educated about the real danger they face and so be constituted into a standing army of the faithful before the election. The battle before them is to come out and vote out any agenda or delegate of a cause that threatens their hope of peaceful and harmonious living. There is no law that says Christians cannot mobilize their group even for election. We have been too apologetic and the result is the pogrom we have allowed in the Church. We have a right to self-defence.
2. The Nigerian Christian community must decide collectively if they want to live to declare the glory of God (Psa. 116: 9) or to die, not according to God’s plan or will, but under the bullet of the enemy. If we choose life, then we must BARGAIN with our vote. For once, the Church must vote a government that will defend its freedom and corporate existence.
3. Before the election of 2015, the Church must begin the active campaign for COMMUNITY POLICING. The armed forces of Nigeria has failed and, from all indications, may continue to fail to protect the life and rights of Nigerian citizens in all the places of their abode. The solution is for people to take the protection of their lives more seriously. There are many more Nigerians than the army, the police and the Boko Haram put together. No insane force can defeat the people who stand guard over their lives and family. If government cannot do the first duty of governance, which is protect its people, then the people have a right to protect themselves. What is more, community policing has a double advantage: it is an effective solution for violent robbery as well as the mass murder going on in the country. America has shown that the only way to stop violent elements determined to kill is to undermine their confidence in their ability to solely impose terror. By 1964, and that’s quite a long time ago, there were over 4 million guns in ordinary American hands. That understanding by everyone is the reason why a group cannot take it upon itself to go on a killing spree. Isolated cases do happen, but not a network of terrorists expanding a hate project of killing en masse without check as is happening in Nigeria.
4. The youths of Nigeria are our wealth and everything must be done to defend them. It is no longer right, safe or wise to leave our youths without the ability to defend themselves militarily. From now on, Nigerian youths on the NYSC scheme must be given compulsory military training. That is what is done in all the civilized countries. Ultimately, every Nigerian should be trained to be his community peacekeeper. We cannot continue sending peacekeeping missions abroad when we have become the most insecure community on earth. Where is our sense of priority or rationalism?
5. From now on, the Nigerian Church should have a declared stand on the fate of the nation. The Church Fathers should get themselves and their fold into a strong advocacy on the fate of the nation. Nigeria is a blessed nation, but some people are determined to perpetuate a curse on it. The Church must return to the cause of the Cross and begin to work to enthrone righteousness and to decree the will of the Almighty. It is time for the Church leaders to declare a wholesale war over the multitude of evil that has kept Nigeria hostage and reduced our people – souls so precious to Christ that He came from heaven to die for them – to mere targets for some maniacs to waste.
6. It is barely six months to the election. THE CHURCH MUST DECLARE A STATE OF EMERGENCY OVER NIGERIA. ALL CHURCHES OF WHATEVER DENOMINATION SHOULD CLOSE DOWN THEIR PROGRAMMES AND TAKE UP A BATTLE CRY TO HEAVEN FOR NIGERIA AND THE CHURCH FOR THE NEXT THREE MONTHS. HEAVEN SHOULD HAVE NO OTHER PROGRAMME NOW UNTIL IT DELIVERS NIGERIA. This is the time for the Church to fight for the destiny of Nigeria. It is time to plead with the Mighty Man of War in heaven, for the God of the Church to take up the battle. This is what King Hezekiah did when his nation faced annihilation (2 Kgs. 19) and God gave him swift victory. How should the Church go about declaring the state of emergency of mobilizing several millions of believers to sustainable, fervent and importunate prayers for the survival of their faith and their nation?
There are clear Biblical patterns in several scriptures of the Bible. Joel 2:12-13 says: Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
It says further in Joel 2: 14-17: Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
If the Church unites to do this faithfully, the response of the Lord is sure, as declared in the same book of Joel 2: 18-19: Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:
It has been predicted that unless Nigerian Christians take up the gauntlet and fight for their freedom now, Christianity may be wiped out in the country within the next forty years. This may sound incredible in some ears, but the systematic execution of the plan is what we are already seeing. To wipe out Christianity is to abort the destiny of Nigeria. But Nineveh preceded Nigeria. Nineveh was to be wiped out in exactly forty days and the prophet sent to it refused to go until he was imprisoned in the belly of the fish for three days.
What happened when he eventually went?
And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not (Jonah 3:1-10).
Again, in this passage, we see how God looked on the repentance of the people and forgave their sins and turned the calamity that was to befall them away. No matter how impending the doom, God can turn it away once He sees genuine repentance. Will the Church of Nigeria, the House of His Glory, bring collective and universal repentance to God today and He will not move on our behalf? How should the Church of God in Nigeria go to God in the three-month emergency?
We have another scriptural pattern in Lam. 2 14-16; 18-19: Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment. All that pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth? All thine enemies have opened their mouth against thee: they hiss and gnash the teeth: they say, We have swallowed her up: certainly this is the day that we looked for; we have found, we have seen it (Lam. 2:14-16). Their heart cried unto the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease. Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street (Lam 2:18-19).
This passage tells how Zion, the joy of the whole world, became a reproach to all who knew it – just exactly as Nigeria has become reproach in the comity of nations. Zion had great destiny, but sin arrested it. Nigeria also has great destiny which sin is threatening to abort. If we do not cry to heaven for deliverance NOW, then we have surrendered the nation and future generations to the satanic plots over it. These Biblical examples show that the key to breaking the arm of Islamic agenda over Nigeria and restoring the country to its rightful destiny (a double advantage) is to go back to the Author of the Universe in repentance and supplication to restore, reinstate, re-establish, impose, consolidate and render immutable His original plan for Nigeria and His Church. Our God is waiting. He has been waiting since 1914. He has been waiting since October 1, 1960, when the spiritual manipulation of Nigeria’s destiny became a desperate politico-spiritual agenda of the enemies of the Church. Our God is on His throne waiting. Are we ready to meet Him in sobriety and supplication? Is the Church ready?
7. In view of these copious examples, the Church should arise and declare a three-month emergency. Within this initial 3-month period, let all Christian Churches virtually convert all their Sunday services and mid-week meetings to fervent and agonizing prayer, supplication and intercessory sessions to the God of heaven for His merciful help. This action will sound an alarm in heaven that the Church means business. All the congregation of God, as a united force, should turn to Him in repentance and mourning for the sin of the nation and seek His face in repentance. With three months of purposeful, heart-felt, desperate and collective prayers, God might turn the tide against the foe and bring deliverance. Time is ticking and the time to act is now. The more we delay, the more souls will perish needlessly. The enemy has declared the emergency, we have to take the battle to its gates and remove the evil from our land.
8. If anyone thinks this is a false alarm, remember Syria, Turkey, the whole region of the Asia Minor and much of the present-day Middle East. They were all Christian communities. They were the territories traversed by Paul in his missionary journeys. Great, effective and flourishing Churches were planted in these places by the early disciples, apostles and missionaries. Today, the envelope of darkness covers them all because they failed to heed the warning. The alarm has been sounded. Christ’s command stands for all time. What he is saying to His Church in these perilous times is the same thing He has said before: Watch and pray!
9. Finally, we must remember God’s open-door promise anticipated whatever we may be going through as a nation. Said He: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” ( 2 Chro.7:14). It is time for the church to awake from its slumber and defend its heritage! Delegating some ‘prayer specialists’ or intercessors as we are called to do this prayer work has not worked, nor has it produced the desired result for Nigeria. The situation on ground now demands the total involvement and commitment of the corporate Church in Nigeria. The Church in Nigeria must become one territorial Church in this matter. Thus we shall be fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 56:7, in becoming God’s House of Prayer for our nation, and the nations of the world. Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people (Isa. 56:7).
10. In all these things, we must never despair nor lose hope and faith. Our God is on the throne. His redemptive purpose, prophetic agenda and covenant promises over our nation are our weapons for this battle. Let us in penitent and tearful intercession remind Jehovah of all the profound things He has said over our nation, and plead with Him to, in-keeping with His nature, fulfil with His mighty hands, what has proceeded out of His mouth in righteousness. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it (Isa. 46:9-11). I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory (Isa. 46:13).
HOW THE ALTAR OF PRAYER SAVED RUSSIA
In 1996, I was in Russia for some meetings with the Russian church. We flew to Ukraine and I was with Pastor Sunday Adelaja for one week of Prayer School in Kiev. Several former Communists leaders were there en masse because they were hungry for God. There was this Russia General Superintendent of a denomination with several churches all over Russia. He was a former KGB (secret police) officer who had killed many Christian pastors, but now a minister of God. This miracle happened after ex-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev had brought reformation that dismantled Communism.
At this time, American evangelists were coming to Russia in large numbers for evangelism. These Russians had been denied access to the Bible for seventy years. Now they were hungry for the Word of God and Bibles were being sent to them in millions. This ex-KGB now turned denominational superintendent grew very fast in the faith after his salvation.
It was time for the general elections and the incumbent president, Boris Yelsin, a drunkard, was performing dismally. The people at the top took over the businesses of the land and the country was left impoverished. Army officers were hungry and army captains could be seen beside the road begging for alms because salaries were unpaid. It was now the election time and Yelsin was campaigning to come back for another five years. He had a strong opposition in a Communist candidate called Gennandy Yugannov who reminded the electorates of the ‘glorious days of Communism’ and encouraged a return to communism.
Yugannov campaigned much against democracy and the opinion pool seemed to favour him. In the opinion poll conducted, those who wanted Communism to come back were 65-70%! Democracy of Yelsin took 20% and other parties 5%. With the result of the opinion poll, those in favour of Western democracy became afraid and desperate. Churches were packing up and American pastors who were in Russia started handing over their churches to the indigenes and preparing to return home.
One of these evangelists that came to establish churches handed over to the former KGB officer who was now a Christian leader as the General Superintendent. I was in one of the man’s churches to preach in the heat of all these where spoke on ‘the Role of Intercessory Altars in National Salvation’. For almost two hours of my speech, thousands of Russians listened to me and began praying, and weeping.
I said, “I challenge you to raise national prayer altars everywhere and communism will be soundly defeated”. The communist candidate had threatened that as soon as the communists come back to power, they would close down all churches and nationalize all companies again.
I admonished, “Let every Sunday meeting be turned into praying altars, including mid-week meetings. No more sermons, if you don’t want to go back to the dark days of communism, let there be a cry on every altar, ‘O Lord save Russia from return to the communist era…”
After my message, the Bishop took the microphone and said, “I make a covenant before God with God’s people in this country, I am going to shut down my Sunday services and turn them to prayer meetings for the nation of Russia. I will get other pastors and General Superintendents all over Russia to start prayer altars across the nation for national salvation and deliverance. Communism must never come again.”
I left Russia for Ukraine, and the Russian church started this prayer altar to pray across the length and breadth of Russia – cries of deliverance. When the election came, Boris Yetsin and the Democratic Party won by a landslide victory – 75% of the votes! God overturned the calculations of the communists. The national corporate altar prevailed.
God can do this in Nigeria; He can overturn the calculations of the enemies of the Church.
By Rev. Dr. Moses O. Aransiola
Int’l. National Director, Nigeria Prays.
For further reading on altars, the book ‘The Altar, The Sacrifice, and The Blessing’ by the author please visit Redemption Bookshop, Kilometere 46 Lagos/Ibadan Expressway, and Scripture Union Bookshop Sango Ibadan.