By Osahon Uwagboe
In the last few years, Nigeria has been held in the grip of protesters and many other aggrieved forces. Secessionists seem to be having a free day around the country.
Banditry and kidnapping on the other hand have continued unabated. All these happenings make it look as if the country would soon disintegrate. Many are indeed worried about the sanctity of the Nigeria project.
But God has graciously not left His people in the dark about His purpose for Nigeria. “He is the governor of the nation’s “(Ps.22:28); “He rules in the affairs of men “(Daniel.4:17); “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings ” (Acts.17:26)
God spoke through Pa Elton
It is heartwarming that God has spoken concerning Nigeria through various voices. He particularly has spoken through His servant, Pa Sydney G. Elton, the white missionary who spent over 50 years in Nigeria, died and was buried in Nigeria.
Among various words of prophecies of this servant of God is that “Nigeria and Nigerians will be known all over the world for corruption. Your name Nigeria will stink for corruption but after a while, a new phase will come; a phase of righteousness. People from the nations of the earth will hold to a Nigerian and say, We want to follow you to your nation to go and learn righteousness .” (*culled from “Messenger: Sydney Elton and the Making of Pentecostalism in Nigeria Book by Ayodeji Abodunde. This is a recommended book.*.)
This prophecy has since been with the Church. Many are looking forward to the day it would be fulfilled.
Handling the doubt
The series of agitations that rocked Nigeria however seems to have made some people ask if that prophetic offering has a date with Nigeria.
It would be recalled that Pa Elton’s first assignment in Nigeria was to help bring about order and structure to the then revival God used Apostle Ayodele Babalola of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) to bring to reality. Unfortunately, his corrective moves were greeted with skepticism.
That did not stop him from raising disciples. He was reputed to have mentored the then Benson Idahosa and a coterie of present-day church leaders. He also reached out to students in tertiary institutions. God used him significantly to raise a lot of young folks in ministry.
Elton had also seen a vision of a youth programme that would give opportunity for young people to preach the gospel across Nigeria. When the Nigeria Youth Service Corp programme was introduced, it was a vision come through. He was quick to advise students of tertiary institutions to embrace it when they complained about the programme.
NYSC programme, fulfillment of prophecy
He told them the NYSC programme was a fulfillment of an earlier prophecy. He assured them that the NYSC would be a catalyst for revival in the land. Indeed, that was the case as many youth corps members became village evangelists during their service years.
The scheme gave an opportunity to young graduates to engage in rural evangelism across Nigeria especially in the North of Nigeria. It is noteworthy that many ministries were birthed by corps members as a result of the NYSC programme. The now well-known mission agency, Calvary Production was made possible because of the NYSC opportunity.
WIth the fulfillment of the NYSC prophecy, it is believed that the prophecy on Nigeria will one day be a reality. That is why we should guard our hearts and not give in to unbelief as a result of the present happenings in our nation.
How to respond to prophecy on Nigeria
Prophecies are meant to comfort us and give us hope. But then, how should we respond to this word of prophecy concerning the destiny of our nation in the face of the present reality?
Firstly, it is to recognize that there is certainly an impending revival starting from the Church.
The revival will start from the Church because the Church is a reflection of the society. When the Lord Himself was here on earth He said “as long as I am in the world I am the light of the world,” John.9:5. He also placed this responsibility on the Church before He left the earth: He said “you are the salt of the earth…you are the light of the world “.(Math.5:13-14). Therefore, if the church is light that light should shine into the nation and dispel the darkness in the land.
Bible and Nigeria
A classical case study is drawn from the book of Ezekiel when God revealed to Ezekiel what was happening behind the scenes in His temple: “He brought me into the inner court of the LORD’s house; and there, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east. ” (Ezekiel.8:9-17):
Elders were involved in heavy occultism as opposed to what God had ordained for his temple. They did all these behind the scenes and this led to the glory of God leaving the temple and by extension the land.
God said further to Ezekiel Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel commits here, to make Me go far away from My sanctuary? Now turn again, you will see greater abominations .” (Ezekiel.8:6).
He said to me, “ Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it a trivial thing to the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence; then they have returned to provoke Me to anger. Indeed they put the branch to their nose” (Ezekiel.8:17).
A parallel to Nigeria’s situation
Indeed, this is a parallel to what we see in Nigeria today. God said it was the ungodly practices being carried out in the temple that caused Him to go far away from the temple and ultimately the land.
Read also: Nigeria’s 61st anniversary and a reflection on Pa Elton’s prophecies by John Abiola:https://churchtimesnigeria.net/nigeria-independence-elton/
Now, these occultic practices that we see in the book of Ezekiel transpose to the teachings and practices of material prosperity, hyper-grace as opposed to Christlikeness which have eroded the values of the kingdom of God even that which the Lord said we should learn of Him:
“.. learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart and you shall find rest for your souls” Mathew11:29.
This is what we are supposed to be emphasizing in the church; being conformed to the nature and character of Christ.
But regrettably, the present-day teachings including material prosperity, signs, and wonders, hyper-grace have swamped the body of Christ such that it has become the definitive face of Christianity.
These abominations have ultimately caused His glory to leave the Church.
Days of King Asa
Again, another similar episode occurred during the days of King Asa of Judah: the Spirit of the Lord came upon Azariah, and he said ” Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; but when in their trouble they turned to the LORD God of Israel and sought Him, He was found by them, in those times there was no peace to the one who went out, nor to the one who came in, but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the lands “(2Chronicles15:1-5).
This happened because the true priests of God that were to teach the right ways of the Lord were absent. They have abdicated their responsibility. Notice that for a long time Israel had been without the true God.
The experience with Judah is also the experience of the Church in Nigeria. Little wonder, the more churches in Nigeria, the more the corruption. Let us not get deceived to think we are okay because things are still not okay. But I believe when we continue to cry to God in repentance of heart, God will come to our help.
Teaching God’s word will bring revival
But then, it would require the true teaching of God’s word again if we are going to experience genuine revival, “who gave Jacob for plunder, and Israel to the robbers? Was it not the LORD, He against whom we have sinned? For they would not walk in His ways, Nor were they obedient to His law” (Isaiah 42:21-25).
Once the accurate teaching of God’s word is restored and His fear fills the church with His people turning from age-old wrong practices everything opposed to God in the land would bow again.
This is how the anticipated revival will occur. We will be shooting ourselves in the leg if we think otherwise. It was a tragedy for the church to have thought that the ” EndSARS” protest would bring about the fulfillment of the much-anticipated revival promised in Pa Elton’s prophecy.
That protest originated on the heels of people protesting against the so-called excesses of SARS operatives. It was escalated to a social cum religious movement that invariably brought in the Church.
Church, blackmailed to join EndSARS protest
As a matter of fact, the Church was somewhat blackmailed into joining the protest. Some people had told the Church it would be insensitive for it not to support the protest since many other organizations had lent support to it. The church was thus railroaded into it.
Regrettably, nearly all the front-line churches in Nigeria got involved in this protest. In fact, some considered the movement, as it were, the anticipated revival spoken of by Pa Elton. Indeed, the protest had the semblance of a Nigeria Spring. Many believers in fact led prayer walk across the country.
But it turned out to be very far from the patterns of revival as set down by the scripture. The involvement of the church showed the extent to which it had sunk into the cesspool of darkness:
Protest not for the Church
Did we not know from the Bible that our responsibility is to pray for the state and our leaders in positions of authority? Did we not know that if we did, it would bring about a society where we would live peaceable lives in all Godliness and reverence? (1 Tim.2:1-2).
This is not to say citizens have no legitimate right to protest. But we need to accept that the Church is responsible for the decline in the country. And until the church repents, any protest from it will make no meaning.
The revival we are expecting must begin in the church with teachings that would denounce materialism and practices that don’t promote Christ. God is ultimately going to bring about a revival that will cause a shift from corruption to righteousness in the land.
A new set of leaders coming
God would raise a new set of leaders. A classical case study is Saul and David. God removed Saul due to his acts of disobedience and anointed David in his place. But Saul was still on the throne.
During this period, God was building David to eventually handle the throne. If the present Church leaders repent they can join the new movement to learn God’s principles for now and future.
We however have to trust and pray that these new leaders be revealed to us pending when Saul ultimately leaves the scene.