Pastor Gbenga Odubanjo is a graduate of University of Lagos. He studied Electronic Physics. He is the coordinator of 11th hour ministry. The Ministry’s sole aim is to remind believers of the imminent return of Jesus and the need for believers to live the Christian life in truth and in spirit. Odubanjo who reveals that he has had about four visitations to heaven during which God showed him some deep truths as it relates to His word shares his encounters with Church Times
When and how did you give your life to Jesus?
I gave my life to Christ in May 1990 at the Christ Chapel International Churches pastored by Dr. Tunde Joda. God used the woman who later became my wife to preach Christ to me. She was the one who drew me to Christ. I worshipped in Christ Chapel for 10 years. When I was in the University of Lagos I was a member of the visitation department. My leader then was Paul Adams.
Who were the people you looked up to in those days?
My father in the Lord today is Pastor Gbolahan Dada of Life Changers Ministry. We were all together in Christ Chapel. I went to Winners Chapel from Christ Chapel. Pastor Dada has since pulled out of Christ Chapel to start his own ministry.
So how did this journey of going to heaven and hearing from God begin?
It was while I was in Winners’ Chapel that God called me to a fresh assignment. But the truth is that I have been hearing God speak to me audibly when I was a student at the University of Lagos. I was then in a fellowship with Pastor Poju Oyemade who later went to start Covenant Christian Centre. God had been calling me then but I kept resisting his call. My desire then was to be a lecturer and a business man. But the voice of God was always coming to me since 1991 and that happened after reading the book of Benny Hinn: Good Morning Holy Spirit. I just had this encounter I began to hear God speak to me audibly.
What were the kinds of things you hear from God?
The first time I would hear God was when He called my name. I was shocked. I said to the voice who are you. He said, “I am your Lord” and I said “which Lord”, he said, “the Lord Jesus. I was so scared. And I said why “have you called me”. He said, “You have desired to hear me after reading the book of Benny Hinn”. I said, “yes but I did not expect it to be this real”.
I said further to the Lord, “if you are the Lord, tell me the person who is in the kitchen” I said that to trap him because I knew there was nobody in the kitchen. My grandmother was earlier in the kitchen but she had just gone out at the time I was asking the question. But the Lord said to me that my grandmother was in the kitchen. And I said to Him, “you see you have failed because I saw my grandmother when she was going out of the kitchen”.
But the Lord insisted that my grandmother was in the kitchen and that she was preparing what I would eat. And I said to the Lord again, “you missed it again because I had a quarrel with my grandmother and each time we had a quarrel she would not prepare food for me”. But the Lord insisted and urged me to go and check. By the time I went to the kitchen I saw my grandmother making eba (a local delicacy) for me. It turned out that she went out and passed through the backdoor to enter the kitchen unknown to me.
So I said now that you got the first question right I want to ask more questions. He gave me the go ahead. So I asked about my wife. I said this is the lady that I am going out with and my intention is to marry her. I then asked what he thinks. And he said to me, “I am the one that gave her to you because of what I want to do in your life. I asked what he meant by that. He now reminded me of my prayers when I was 10 years old. One of them was that I wanted I wanted to marry a virgin. I said I wanted a woman I would be proud of and that both of us would be known as one of the most successful couples. I envisioned that people were coming to interview us and put us on national newspaper.
Interestingly this came to pass. Adaeze Amos of the PUNCH Newspapers came one day and interviewed us. She came to our house and said we have been chosen as the couple of the year. I wondered how she arrived at that conclusion. It was a big interview. The interview was one and half pages. The headline was: Courted for 10 years without sex, today happily married.
So going back to your encounter with the voice of God?
So the Lord reminded me of that prayer and said my wife had been brought to my life to fulfill His purpose. That was how my life had been. But I remember another encounter. In my final year the Lord spoke to me and said, son this certificate you’re reading for you will not use it to work for one day. I was shocked at that message and wondered why God was cursing me because I believed it was a curse. I pleaded with God and said, “Lord I had been faithful to you, except that I had not heeded the call to be a pastor. I argued that I did not go to school to be a pastor.”
So you kept on with the voice?
Yes. I kept the message close to my heart. But I kept studying to earn a degree. I finished 1996. When I finished I served in Katsina Steel Rolling Company. When I came back to Lagos I applied to so many places. I would do well in the exams but when it comes to securing the appointment I would not get it. Even the one I did in a computer company on Ogunlana Street in Surulere, Lagos turned out to be one of my best outing. They told me I was the man for the job and that the last stage was to meet with the chairman of the company. As I gave the chairman my certificate upon meeting him he asked just one question and I fumbled. And that was how I lost the job.
The only place I worked was a company at Ikeja, Lagos. I just walked up there and I was interviewed and I was asked to start work. I told the owner of the company that I would bring my certificate the following the day. But he said to me, “don’t come with your certificate. I am not interested.” That was the only place I worked. And I did not present my certificate. It was from there I was having this urge to stay on my own. I resigned to start a computer company of my own. I also had a printing press. I was doing quite well in business. And things were looking up.
All along where were you worshipping?
I was in Winners. I had left Christ Chapel because I moved from Surulere to Egbeda. I had been praying asking God where would I live and he directed me to Egbeda. I did not know anybody there. I told God I wanted a place where only me and my wife would live. And God did just that for us. That was where we lived for 12 years before we moved to our own accommodation. I was in Winners’ I was in the Sanctuary and also an Usher in Winners. I was with them when they were in Iyana Ipaja. My wife was with them from inception when Pastor Afolabi was there. She had moved earlier to Ipaja. We were together. I had met Bishop Oyedepo in 1990 December when I was still in UNILAG. He flew in from Kaduna on the invitation of Pastor Poju Oyemade who was then the president of the campus fellowship. Bishop Oyedepo made a statement that day which stuck to my mind. He said men that have vision will rule this world. I held to the word.
When we got married in year 2000 I moved down here and we were attending the Raji Oba Winners Chapel. But I was still not fulfilled.
You mean you were not fulfilled worshipping in Winners Chapel?
No. I was fulfilled worshipping there. But I knew there was something God wanted me to do that I was not doing. I knew something was wrong. So there was this void in my heart. When I was doing business I was doing well. But this urge was there that I was not fulfilled. So I said Lord, Let us strike a deal. I would give Scholarship to any man of God who comes to our computer company for schooling. I did that for some time but I was still not fulfilled. And I said Lord, I would do tracts. I was printing tracts and giving to evangelists. But I still had void in me until one day I had this encounter in my spirit.
The Lord said to me, “You will go to hell” I was startled. And he urged me to read Mathew 25 talking about the parable of the talent. He said the last man that hid his talent what happened to him I said the man went to hell. The Lord said to me did he commit adultery? What did he steal? I said nothing. He said to me you are that man. He said the only thing that He was asking me to do that I was not doing it. I broke down in tears and pleaded for His mercy. I said here I am. “If you want to kill me kill me. Anything you want to do with me do” It was in the morning. I said “from today I submit everything to you Lord.”
That day I decided I would write a letter of employment to become a pastor in Winners. The Lord said “I am not sending you there”. I responded and asked, “where are you sending me?”. He said “the message I am giving you is unique and different from the message they are preaching there” He said he wanted to send me to start a fresh work for Him.
Did you say you heard God tell you that. Was it like hearing somebody talk or you had an impression in your spirit?
I was hearing God speak clearly to me as a man will talk to another man. He asked me to get a book and a Bible. And he said he wanted to use me to announce the coming of Jesus Christ. And that does not mean some other people have not been announcing Jesus’ coming. But I was to join in that call.
He said many churches today preach materialistic gospel and no one is ready to preach the second coming; that we are lost in the world. He said he was going to bring up young men and women that are not known to crusade his second coming. That the fathers of faith can’t preach this message because of the amount of wealth they have acquired. He said He would use younger ministers that are not known to announce His coming.
For that reason he said I would have to come out of the place I was worshiping. He said if I continue in winners I would still go to hell. He said there are many ministers there that are there because of what they will eat. He said he did not send them there. I think what God was trying to say is that everybody has specific assignments. So it will be disobeying God if you do what God has not called you to do or join a ministry when God has a different assignment for you. So God specifically told me not to apply to be pastor in Winners Chapel. I shared the vision with my wife and she said to me that she was willing to abide with whatever God asked me to do.
One thing I have always been praying for is that God should make me have an encounter of heaven. My contention is: if I tell people about the second coming people will ask me if I had seen Jesus before? They want to know how Jesus looks like and all kinds of question people may ask me.
So on November 8, 2000 around 5 am I felt somebody hit my leg and I thought it was my wife but then I saw that she was still sleeping by my side. l slept again. But not long I felt the same touch on my ankle; this time with a corresponding voice. I voiced out and asked in panic, “who are you” and the voice said I am your Lord Jesus. He said you’ve forgotten you have been praying for an encounter of heaven? I said yes. He said because you have asked for it I want you to come and experience what you asked for. So he said let us go. I felt my spirit come out of my body. I saw my body lying down while I was going out with the Lord. Initially I thought I was going mad.
So your physical body was in bed while your spiritual body came out and followed after Jesus?
Exactly! I followed Him. Naturally I don’t like flowers but it was during that encounter that I saw a lot of flowers and I saw that we were walking on road that is dazzling. It was so dazzling and said to myself could it be the reason why they say the streets of heaven are paved with gold? My legs were not touching the ground but I also noticed that at a point in the course of the journey Jesus was not with me. But I saw two angels; one at the right, and the other at the left. We were just going.
I saw houses. In front of every house I saw pots of flowers. I saw a lady and then another lady. And I saw that the ladies were hugging themselves. I asked the angel who are these? And the angel said to me that the ladies were prostitutes on earth but that a pastor preached to them and they accepted Jesus and they died thereafter.
The angels had information on everybody we met. So the ladies spoke to the angel and asked the angels to take them to where the pastor who preached to them is. They were making the inquiry from the angel when another angel spoke and said to the ladies that the pastor did not make it. And the angel said to me that heaven will be full of surprises.
That was like an analogy of what will happen?
Yes. The ladies laughed and laughed. I was wondering and said to the ladies, the man that preached to you did not make it and you are laughing. Immediately the angel said to me people don’t mourn here. It is not their fault. Just after the angel made that statement I came to myself. And the Lord spoke to me that the encounter he has shown me has not happened. But it was a glimpse of what will to pass. He said this is where many people miss it. He said they get revelation of events that will happen but present it as if it is happening. Actually I became confused and was asking has judgment started? But God made me to understand from 1 Thessalonica account that the dead will rise first and they will be judged first. So, most of the revelations of heaven that people have are things that are yet to take place. But they come up and say it as if it is something that is already happening.
From your study of the Bible and the encounter you had what happens after somebody dies. Jesus talks about paradise is that different from heaven?
The word paradise is not heaven. It is where people are waiting for the judgment of God. In my third experience of heaven, I was taken up in a revelation and the Lord said to me that he would show me the path to heaven . During this encounter God showed seven different doors that one would pass through to get to heaven. He showed me the door of salvation and six others.
I call it a door because they look like doors. I saw endless queue of people. I saw two angels. If you are born again and had genuine salvation you are qualified to pass through the door of salvation to a place called paradise. But then God made me to realize that the fact that one is saved does not mean he is forever saved. He made me to pass through seven doors and I remember we got to the door called the door of money. And he told me if I had died that I would not have made it through the door. I wondered why and the Lord said to me that there was somebody I collected money from but I had not paid the money back. Immediately I remember the person when I came to myself and I had to pay back the money I owed the person.
There is a need to put the doors in context?
I think the doors are only a metaphor of what Christians are expected to experience while still on earth. Salvation is just the starting point but we are expected to live a holy life and go through the temptations and challenges of life without compromising our faith. The fact that one is saved does not mean that person will make it to heaven if the person continues to live in sin and disobedience. That is the point about the doors.
One of the issues with this encounter is that it happened suddenly but the time spent in the course of the encounter cannot be compared with the real time. But the fact is that the person who has been saved still has to go through some doors. The doors are not the physical door we see. It is a metaphor of the process that one has to go through as long as one is still on earth. I think it is just synonymous with what Jesus said in his conversation with Nicodemus. He said except a man is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God and he said further in that encounter that except a man is born of water and spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. So there is a graduation from seeing the kingdom of God to entering the kingdom of God
The Lord made me to realize that no unrighteous person will enter the kingdom. He spoke to me about restitution. I also found out that not one person that remarried whose wife is still alive made it through the doors to heaven. The doors I think are just to represent the processes that lead to heaven. It is just to establish the fact that mouthing being born again without bearing fruits of righteousness will lead nowhere. The angel said to me that nobody who remarries while his wife or husband is still alive would make it to heaven. I was alarmed and said but I know there are men of God who re-married. The angel said to me to go and re-marry is not of the Lord. He said the only reason why a man or woman can remarry is the death of either party, nothing more. If you divorce your wife or husband because of infidelity you are not permitted to remarry.
The angel told me that re-marriage is man’s idea. He said to me that by creation a man is not permitted to see the nakedness of two women at the same time. And I said what if the woman is the one at fault. He said it is either the couples settle the issues between them or they remain unmarried after divorce.
But this is really difficult to preach?
Yes it is. But that is the experience I had. It was a way of reminding us of what has already been stated in the Bible.
Now you have had four encounters?
Yes. I published the first encounter in a small booklet. The second encounter was very short. It happened during worship. I was caught up to heaven. I have read about the third heaven that Paul talked about. But I heard a voice say to me: This is the second heaven. In that place all you see are archangels. I used to think archangels are big beings. But I saw that they are small and they have minimum of four wings and you see a scepter in their hands.
I heard an angel telling me: This is where Lucifer was sitting. I saw all manner instruments and saw the 24 elders that John talked about 12 on each side and you see a door. I was going through the door. The door is not a door in the sense that we know of but just like a passage and that passage was filled with cloud of smoke, which leads to the holy of holies. I was told no one goes in there. I was told I could not enter because that it is the throne of the Almighty. I discovered that the almighty God does not have a figure. He is there but you can’t see a figure all you see is the awesomeness of His glory. I kept seeing white cloud and all kinds of instruments.
Do many roads lead to heaven?
The truth of this is there is only one way to heaven and the only way is Jesus. He is the only one through which man is saved. But the Lord told me that there are many people we call Muslims from the outside who are not. He said many of them have accepted Jesus Christ. He said I should go and read the Bible where the Lord said there are many people who will come from the east who will make it to the kingdom of heaven. But there are no two ways. He told me that these Muslims follow him fully and believe in the saving grace of Jesus will make it to His kingdom.
What happens to those who did not hear the gospel?
The obedience of Abraham was without Jesus. The laws of God has been written in our hearts. The Lord spoke to me that the fruit of the spirit is key to our making the kingdom. These people who exist without Jesus who exhibit the fruit of the spirit will make it to heaven.
How is your encounter different from several others?
I remember Jesus once saying to me that there are some people he has given this opportunity who have bastardized it by adding their own version to the story. For instance God did not speak much to me about dressing in all my four encounters. But in our church our women didn’t cover their hair in the past.
But one day we were in service and the Lord spoke to me and said look at the hair of your women in church. He asked: What did I see. I said “I see different styles”. And he said to me “this is what they are worshipping”. He said “when they are worshiping me some concentrate on the hairdo of others and thereby get carried away. And the Lord told me that “each time we come to His presence whatever takes our attention have become our god.”
And He said “for this reason tell your women, whenever they come to my presence they should cover their hair and they should be careful what they put on.” So I told my church people and not one of them left. One of the reasons we stopped wearing trousers in our church is because of the shape of the African woman. When an African woman wears trousers it shows her shapes and sometimes these shapes become distraction in the place of worship. So it is better to avoid such outrageous dressing. If a woman wears trousers especially the African woman who has a robust size; I think she should be careful enough not to wear tight-fitting trousers that tend to make women sexual preys.
We also don’t encourage men who dress opening their shirts. We don’t encourage our brothers to wear chain. There was a day I called a brother who was putting on chain and was trying to counsel him to remove the chain and he told me that God already spoke to him at home before coming to church not wear it but that he was just being disobedient. But we don’t preach these things. We don’t tell people not to wear trousers. The bottom line is that every man should be so led of God. It is important we listen to what God is saying to us individually.
God had also warned me about using his altar anyhow. He once told me, “Never use my altar for comedy” He said what has been consecrated to him should not be ridiculed. He said have we ever seen people go to the shrine of the herbalist to crack jokes and make jest? He said if we will not make jest of the gods made by the hand of men how much more the almighty God.
He said one of the reason we don’t see His glory in many churches is because the altar is being desecrated and people don’t have regard for him. In our church when we are praying you don’t walk in and walk out. God said to us that we should bring back His consciousness among the people. We don’t answer calls when praying. We can’t be in front of ordinary local government chairman and be receiving calls. It is not about doctrine. It’s about what is right. Somebody does not have to go to heaven and come back for us to know that it is disrespectful to be talking to God and at the same time answering calls from mortal man.
But you said God never talked about gold, cloth and earring?
God did not tell me anything about that in all my encounters. It is not proper to add to what the Lord showed me. The other day somebody was talking to me about full holiness and I wondered what that meant. I said there is nothing like that. It is either you are holy or not. God spoke to me that many people will come and say they had encounter of heaven just to bring confusion to people so that they will not believe the truth. He said to me that when you listen to the messages of people who claim to have been to heaven and it is becoming too personalized and not centred on Christ it is not of God. For instance I saw people in heaven but God never told me their names. And it is important to note that the judgment had not taken place yet so it is unfair to mention names of people in hell. God told me no one has been judged yet and that he will not permit a situation where people’s names are being linked to hell. He said the revelations were just to prepare us for His coming. All my encounter he never told me the name of anybody even when I wanted to know.
Why then do we have all kinds of accounts of people going to heaven?
As I said it is a ploy of the devil. There was a time the Lord spoke to me and said I should pray more for myself, I said why; he said because the devil is mad at me. He said anyone who talks about heaven provokes the devil. The devil does not want us to talk about heaven. He does not bother us if our prayers and concerns are more about this earth. But anything that has to do with holiness and heaven the devil will be mad. The church is now carried away with materialistic gospel. People talked about Christian being killed.
But my position is that they will keep killing us. Killing of Christians is a sign of the end time. If they are not killing us we are not making impact. They must kill us because Jesus said so. So when I hear agitations that we must not be killed, it is a sign that we have lost touch with the reality of God. Killing Christians makes us fulfilled. I saw martyrs in heaven. The body we have is a terrestrial body and it will give way to celestial body when we die. So whether they kill us or we die natural deaths is no issue. Unfortunately we are afraid to die and it is a sign that we have lost it. Jesus told us don’t fear those who can kill the body but can’t kill the soul.
So you honestly feel Christians should not be worried that they are being decimated?
We should not be worried. But that does not mean we should deliberately set out so that we could be killed. That is not the point. The point I am making is that we are soldiers of Christ. A soldier can die at his duty post. What Christian should be concerned about is living the Holy life.
People are talking about Nigeria being Islamized but I am convinced that It is not possible. Nigeria is currently being seriously evangelized. If the sultan could say it is not possible for Nigeria to be Islamized we should take it as prayer point and stamp what he says. We should not keep mouthing it that Nigeria will be Islamized. I believe Nigeria is the Jerusalem of the end time. It is the most spiritual nation in the world yet there is great darkness in the country. It is so sad that we are going through this phase in our nation. Those who are asking for Nigeria to divide don’t know the enormity of the grace upon us as a nation.
When was the last time you had this heaven encounter?
What has been the outcome of all your encounters?
The outcome has been tremendous. A man called me and said the book talking about my last encounter transformed him so much. He confessed to me that he was a prayer warrior in His church but that he still smoked. Nobody spoke to him but he got transformed by just reading the book. I discovered that many Christians need to re-dedicate their lives. We have turned the church to an entertainment forum. Today we don’t preach Christ we preach church. And the kingdom of God is not about our church building but about Christ. I tell my people when they go to preach they should not preach church. It is not compulsory that people come to our church. What is important is that they be saved. God told me that once my church is 200 we must split. He said because when people are becoming many teaching will no longer be effective. God told me to make disciples and not to just gather people.
You’ve also seen the revelation of hell?
I had the hell encounter once and it scared me and I prayed never to have it again. But then it is something that is futuristic. It is a revelation. It is not like what I saw was happening. The first thing I saw in the revelation of hell was a hospital. And the angel said to me that the hospital was the deception of the devil. He said people will get here because they will have many bruises and they would think they will be treated but they will be tortured.
Since the body of man would have been transformed after death how come they still feel pain in hell?
In hell the atmosphere is different. In hell people feel pain. You can see heaven not too far from hell. But such representation is a metaphor of what it means to be in Christ and what it means to be governed by the devil. It means just a step can take you to hell and one decision can take you to heaven. The experience of heaven for those who make it is for a while. We are still coming back here on earth to reign with Christ. That is talking about the millennium reign of Jesus.
To be continued (pastor Odubanjo could be reached on 08032390788 08028281282: His church address: 1, Church Street, off Babalola Street, End of Ogunlana Street, Akowonjo, Lagos, Nigeria.