By Chika Abanobi
Nigeria’s foremost gospel artiste and trumpeter, Nathaniel Bassey has narrated how he narrowly escaped the horrendous and horrifying attack by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) on Israel on October 7, 2023. He gave the narration while ministering at the Lagos-based House of David Church which exprerienced a fire incident recently.
The Yom Kippur Festival
The Hamas attack which Bassey escaped claimed about 1,139 lives while hundreds are still being held hostage to date. But Bassey, who ministered at a Jewish festival around the time the attack occurred said he left the country five days before the attack.
Bassey was in Israel, on the invitation of an Israel-based Nigerian church, to minister in worship songs during the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur/Shabat Shabbaton. The festival is also known as Shabbat of Solemn Rest or Sabbath of Sabbaths.
The festival is usually held between mid-September and early October, it is marked by 10 days of national repentance, called Rosh Hashana.
It is aimed at individual and collective purification and marked by abstention from food, drink, and sex. Celebrated among highly orthodox Jews the festival is also marked by the wearing of leather shoes and long white robes called kittel. Ironically, the festival abhors the application of anointing oil on oneself.
Day of the attack
But on October 7, 2023, the day that the Hamas attack took place, the Jews were busy celebrating another aspect of the ceremony called Simchat Torah, also known as Simhat Torah.
It is a significant holiday in Israel which marks the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings and the beginning of a new cycle.
Last year, the ceremony fell between sunset on October 6 and nightfall on October 7. And, it was during that period when the Jews were in festive spirits that Hamas militants chose to strike.
But Bassey who ministered recently at the House of David in Lagos said he had left Israel five days before Hamas struck in an attack codenamed Operation Al-Aqsa Flood or Deluge.
He said he was invited purposely to sing his song “Yahweh Sabaoth” which pleads with the Lord of Hosts, to among, other things, to reveal or show forth His glory.
Between Hamas attack and fire incident at the Household of David
It will be recalled that a huge fire broke out on Wednesday, January 31 at the Household of David Church located at No. 7 Surulere Industrial Estate Road, off Adeniyi Jones St, Ikeja, Lagos. The fire razed practically all that the church had acquired over the years which runs into billions of naira.
This happened some hours before the start of their annual special gathering called Mercy Conference. Many members also believed that the fire was aimed by the Devil and his angels at achieving the same purpose as the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.
This year’s episode with the theme“The Resurrection” was said to be aimed at solidifying the spiritual gains of yesteryears.
But speaking at the opening ceremony held at High Point Hotel and Suites, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos, Sola Osunmakinde, the Senior Pastor of the church said some people called to ask whether the conference would still hold and he replied that not even the fire can stop it from being held as all things were ready.
Osunmakinde on the lessons from Christ’s Resurrection
Talking about the import of the fire and their plans to relocate long before now, he said: “When God allows some things to happen in our lives it is not as if He cannot stop it; of course, He can if He wants to do so, but it is for a purpose.”
He likened the fire incident to Christ’s death on the cross.
He said however that it was Jesus’ resurrection that determined the great power that he now wields not his death. “So, it will be with the church and indeed, with everyone who hopes to see the Resurrection power work out things in their lives.”
Before that can happen, however, he admonished, “We’ve got to activate our faith in the Resurrection power by the spiritual operations and applications of the Word, Worship, and Warmth of fellowship.”
Waking up the Power through Worship
It was to practically demonstrate the workability of what he was talking about that he ceded the stage to Nathaniel Bassey who led the congregants in hours of Spirit-filled praise and worship.
Many who were “slain in the Spirit”, including Bassey himself were either kneeling or lying with outstretched arms, on the floor of the expansive event hall of the High Point hotel.
Bassey likened the fire incident to the kind of fire that burnt Ziklag in 1 Samuel 30: 1-6. He assured the congregants that they would come out of the experience stronger than they were when they went into it.
“When the Devil seeks to bring you low by sending fire or other calamities into your life”, he said, “move to the high point,” Bassey added that he had never been more proud of Sola Osunmakinde than now for demonstrating the conquering spirit of men of old by refusing to postpone or call off the conference.
He then assured the church that they would build a bigger edifice somewhere soon and he would be personally there to minister at the opening ceremony.
This time around the members with whom he had pleaded initially not to clap could not help clapping at his remarks.