“In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Judah came this word from the LORD saying. Thus saith the LORD, stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the Word that I command thee to speak unto them;
diminish not a word: if so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent Me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings. And thou shalt say unto them, thus saith the LORD; if ye will not hearken to me to walk in my law, which I have set before, to hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened”; (Jeremiah 26:1-5).
By Solomon Abutoh
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, blessed art thou Simon Bar-Jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”; (Matthew 16:17-18).
“And Jesus came and speak unto them saying all power is given unto Me in Heaven and in Earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:18 – 20).
When our LORD Jesus Christ was rounding up His earthly ministry, He made above emphatic statements; the first before His crucifixion, while the second after His resurrection and at a point of Ascension unto heaven. Taking a look at the Church globally today, can one say as it was in the beginning that the Church is standing on a rock and that the gate of hell not prevailing against it ? can one also confidently say that the church is indeed to fulfilling the primary purpose for which Christ established it – that of of seeking the lostsheep?
Before delving deeper, I consider it expedient to refresh our minds way back on creation. “And GOD said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. And GOD Blessed them, and GOD said unto them, be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdued it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26, 28)
“And the LORD GOD took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and keep it. And the LORD GOD commanded the man, saying of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:15 – 17)
“And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die: for GOD doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil, And when the woman saw that it was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her ; and he did eat. And the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they made fig leaves together and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD GOD walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his Wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD GOD amongst the trees of the garden and the LORD GOD called unto Adam, and said unto him where art thou? And he said I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:4 – 10)
And the man said, the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD GOD said unto the woman, what is this that thou hast done? And the woman said because the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD GOD said unto the serpent, because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam He said because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread ; till thou return unto the ground, for out of it was thou taken: for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3: 4 -19)
At this point the beautiful fellowship between GOD and Adam, Eve was broken, as duly amplified in the book of Romans 3:23 – 26 thus “For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of GOD. Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Whom GOD hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through, the forbearance of GOD. To declare, I say , at this time, His Righteousness: that He might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” By the same token, the book of John 3:16 -21 states “For GOD so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of GOD. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For everyone that doeth evil, hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds shalt be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds maybe made manifest, that they are wrought in GOD”
Even when fellowship between GOD and man got broken or severed, the LORD GOD still had to device a redemption plan in order to restore this fellowship.
“Wherefore GOD also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is LORD to the glory of GOD The Father” (Philippians 2: 9 – 11)
In preparing the Church for its core assignment, Jesus Christ assured His early disciples in Acts 1: 8 – 9 thus” But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you. And ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when He has spoken these things, they beheld Him, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight”
In the book of Acts 2: 1- 41 Our Lord Jesus Christ did send the Holy Ghost upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost, an event that amazed and confounded all surrounding nations to the extent that after Peter spoke in an unusual way, over Three Thousand souls were converted. Thus Peter the unlearned fisherman became a fisher of men, along with other Apostles. As Paul who was once Saul and persecutor of the Church became one, demonstrating the power of GOD wherever they went, for He who commissioned them was ever present to fulfill His purpose.
Taking a look around the world today, the Church seems to have grown in terms of branches, but the question AM asking here, can the Church in her current state boldly, confidently say as in psalm 23:1 “The LORD is my shepherd I shall not want? Or in psalm 27:1 “The LORD is my light and salvation whom shall I fear? Even in Psalm 91: 1 – 2 “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty, I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress, my GOD in Him will I trust”? Proverbs 14:34 says “Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people” Bishop Matthew Kukah of Sokoto Catholic Diocese recently in his Christmas 2020 message, made scathing remarks on the Federal Government, citing the persecution and killing of Christians, especially in the Northern part of Nigeria. Bishop Kukah didn’t deem it fit to admonish Christians to look inwards, mend their ways, and be in right standing before GOD. Isaiah 59: 1 – 3 says “Behold the LORD’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy that it cannot hear: but you iniquities have separated between you and your GOD, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear; for your hands are defiled with blood , and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongues hath muttered perverseness”
Isaiah 9:12 – 16 says “Who is the wise man, that may understand this? And who is he whom the mouth of the LORD hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what that the land perisheth and is burned up like a wilderness, that none passeth through? And the LORD saith, because they have forsaken my Law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; but have walked after the imagination of their own heart and after baalim, which their fathers taught them; therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the GOD of Israel; behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them”
The book of Judges 6:1 – 6 states “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.
And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and against them; And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou came unto Gaza, and left no substance for Israel, neither sheep, nor OX, nor ass. For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD”
Judges 13:1 says “The children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; And the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines Forty years” Sin brings reproach to any people, and in diverse ways or manifestations, as the LORD deems fit or appropriate to be meted upon a rebellious people, especially those who are supposed to be His own, the Christians.
“Behold, ye trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD”. (Jeremiah 7:8 – 11)
The Church today has been permeated, infiltrated by different shades and characters, bringing with them strange and dubious practices, all with the sole aim of deceiving, misleading the unsuspecting, the gullible who are eager for miracles, miracles miracles !
“Woe be unto the Pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture; therefore thus saith the LORD GOD of Israel against the Pastors that feed My people; ye have scattered My flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: Behold I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:1 – 2)
“For the Land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right. For both Prophet and Priest are profane; yea, in My house have I found their wickedness saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 23: 10 – 11)
“For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard His word? Who had marked His word, and heard it? Behold a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind. It shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD shall not return until He have executed, and till He have performed the thoughts of His heart: in the latter days, ye shall consider it perfectly. I have not sent these Prophets yet they ran; I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words; then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doing” (Jeremiah 23:18 – 22)
1 Peters 5:2 – 4 states “Feed the flock of GOD which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over GOD’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not”
What do we see in the Church today?. From my 12/9/2015 publication titled “The Church And its Shortcomings” I quote “the past four decades or thereabout have witnessed a proliferation of Churches under the auspices of the Christian Association of Nigeria, and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria. These Churches any keen observer would agree are tailored in a manner of personal/family enterprises, raking in billions of Naira, US dollars in GOD’S name! yet completely negating the strict injunction by our LORD Jesus Christ in the Book of John 2:15-17 thus “feed My lambs, feed My sheep, feed My sheep” I quote further “Rather than holistically assess and address these few, the authority of a mega Church along Lagos Ibadan Expressway, after its 63rd annual convention, resorted to a rather brash, violent, inhuman and ungodly approach. For instance, on 27th August, 2015, at about 3:pm, Church officials from the code of conduct office, invaded the arena, chasing and beating up people, mostly women and children, hounded and bundled them into a waiting long American School Bus belonging to the Church as clearly marked, and dumped them in far away Ibadan. A middle aged woman trying to evade Church official’s brutality dropped her baby from her back on the gravel! I saw women wailing and cursing the leader of the team seated on a yellow power bike, calling his name. I quote further “It is baffling that a Church like that whose General Overseer flies a jet worth 4 billion Naira, owns caterpillars, bulldozers, loaders, mobile concrete mixers, mobile hoists, fire engines, armored personnel carrier, dozens of patrol vehicles and power bikes, towing vehicles for cars and even trailers, waste disposal vehicles, pick up vans, cars, Jeeps outside broadcasting vans, not to talk of real estate spanning several acres already built up, with most of them uninhabited lying fallow, finds it difficult to obey our LORD Jesus Christ commandment, with all the huge financial and material resources, acquired in GOD’s name! The Church of GOD refused to show a little care, compassion and love, preferring its cold, selfish, wicked, non charlant disposition towards children created after the image and likeness of GOD, and the very reason the Church professes to exist” “The nation has k leg, the k leg is as a result of the fact that the Church in Nigeria is living in disobedience – there is no love, no unity in the Church, that is why Boko Haram now has a field day in parts of the Country:- Reverend Simon Mashika from Gboko, Benue State.
“And Jesus went into the temple of GOD, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves. And said unto them, it is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:12 – 13).
It is sad to note that these Churches build and operate schools up ti tertiary levels, charging fees way beyond the reach of several of their members, even non-members, in other words, these schools are meant for the rich and well to do only! Yet in all of these, you find several General Overseers competing with worldly business men in the acquisition of private jets and SUVS, Mansions, and even flaunting them on social media, the Church!
When Government now saw these financial recklessness, and introduced CAMA, Church Leadership became Jittery and confused. I AM not here to justify CAMA, but, dare say that the grandiose life styls of Church Leadership made it imperative.
My letter dated 7th March, 2008, addressed to then President George W. Bush, was personally delivered at the US Consulate in Lagos on 18th March, 2008 highlighted US withdrawal from Iraq, gay issues and pornographic business, release of Prisoners from Guatnamo bay and of course settlement of the long standing US – Cuba rift. 16th of April 2008, saw Pope Benedict arrive the US; President Bush, wife Laura and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice were at the Airport to His Holiness on a Three day official visit; who was quoted on day one as “Pope ashamed of history of Sex abuse in the Clergy” other Captions were “Young Catholics struggle with relevancy as Pope Benedict visit US” “Sex abuse scandal has devastated US Church” “some Catholics blame Vatican for Sex abuse record”
On 17th April 2008, it was “Pope attacks Sex abuse record” “Gordon Brown, British Prime Minister in US” “ Leaders of three world regions visit US”
Incidentally, Pope Benedict en route to Portugal in May 2010 was quoted as saying “the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from enemies from outside, but is borne from sins within the Church” Pope Benedict was to resign shortly after
I consider it very auspicious here to mention Pope Albino Luciani (Pope John Paul 1) who in his honest, sincere drive to sanitize the Vatican Bank and its unholy alliance with the Sicily mafia, was allegedly murdered through his coffee on September 28th 1978 the book titled “In GOD’S Name” lucidly, succinctly, graphically put together by David Yallop, gave al the insider accounts, facts that were not denied by the Vatican itself.
In one of my publications titled “Warning to the Nations 2016” I did unambiguously WARN that YAHWEH was on the rumble and set to demonstrate His Power, Majesty, Authority and Soverngty over this wicked, defian, stiff-necked generation, there will be no super power in this matter; Vatican, yes Vatican beware! “From another of My publications titled” Linguistic Pedagogue “I quite “over the different ages, man by his thoughts, imaginations, and actions always felt they could achieve or accomplish things by their own ideas, independent of the Creator of heaven and earth, and everything therein. Yes, from architectural master pieces, vehicles of different shapes and sizes, ships, aircraft for diverse purposes, space craft, weapons of different kinds and sophistication, including the deadly atomic bomb. Scientific inventions such as information, communication technology, foods, clothing’s, energy, you name them. Ironically, the more man thinks he has arrived, the more unfulfilled they become, even becoming victims of their own inventions!
Man over the ages tried at grouping themselves into ideological political blocs. From the Romans, Ottoman, Moors, to mention but a few. The modern era saw the world divided into two broad ideological blocs – namely, communism led by the USSR, and capitalism led by the USA. Despite the collapse of the Berlin wall in 1989, with a speck of communism still in a few countries like, Russia, China, Cuba and Venezuela, Capitalism has not fared better. There remains myriad of Socio-economics political situations that have defied even the best of brain storming by technocrats from the capitalist world. The entire world has turned full circle, yet more strange disease conditions are claiming the lives of millions, even rich people! The Concord which was once paraded as wonder aircraft went down in Paris amidst a huge ball of flame, thus sending it into oblivion, a supposed aviation showpiece!
World religion is another kettle of fish. Ideological and intellectual reasoning are being brought to bear by various protagonist of one religious belief or the other. Any wonder that even religion has become part of growing uncontrollable global crisis! “For the wrath of GOD is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppressed the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of GOD is manifest in them, for GOD has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and GOD head, so that they are without excuse. Because and although they knew GOD, they did not glorify Him as GOD nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts and their foolish, hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible GOD into an image made like corruptible man and birds and four footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lust of their heart to dishonour their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of GOD with lie, and who worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever, Amen. For this reason GOD gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchange the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men leaving the natural use of the woman burned in their lust for one another, even men with men committing what is shameful and receiving in themselves and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which is due. Even as they did not retain GOD in their knowledge, GOD also gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting. Being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, strife, evil-mindedness, they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of GOD, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning; untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful, who knowing the righteous judgment of YAHWEH that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who do practice them “(Romans 1:18-22)
In the early hours of January 2020, the LORD revealed to Me that “that drastic, very drastic changes ware emanating from China, yes Peoples Republic of China,” As it turned out, COVID -19 literarily shut down the whole world. Commercial airplanes, even private ones were grounded, leisure business and many others closed down, with its attendant job losses. More worrisome was the hundreds of thousands who died-from America to UK, Canada, France, China, Germany, Italy, name them, making nonsense of the medical expertise in those supposedly advanced contries!
“sing unto the LORD all the earth; show forth from day to day His salvation, declare His glory among the heathen, His marvelous works among all nations. For great in the LORD and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. Glory and honour are in His presence; strength and gladness are in His place. Give unto the LORD, ye kindred’s of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; bring an offering , and come before Him; worship the LORD in the beauty of His holiness” (1 Chronicles 16: 23 – 29).
With COVID-19 has come restrictions, protocols many that negate the primary essence of GOD’s dealings with His people (worship). Now Church services are being conducted virtually. Psalm 100:2 says “serve the LORD with Gladness come before His presence with singing” Now how can the people sin unto the LORD with face masks on? How can the people come before His presence with the virtual protocol? Now Herod is stretching forth His hand to vex and muzzle the Church!
His Holiness the Pope Francis is not Galvanizing the Church as of old, rather He is kowtowing along with the multi-billion dollar COVID -19 Vaccine initiative of the world!
When one hears of Church leaders boast of the size of their auditorium, capable of accommodating a village, quality of interior finishing, the number of private jets they own, is simply validates Hosea 4:6 which says “My people perish for lack of knowledge” “And the word of the LORD came to Solomon saying” concerning this house which thou art in building if thou wilt walk in My statues, and execute My Judgements, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform My word with thee, which I spake unto David thy Father” (1 Kings 6:11-12)
So Solomom overlaid the house within with pure gold; and made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with Gold. And the whole house he overlaid with Gold, until he had finished all the house; also the whole altar that was by the oracle he overlaid with gold” (1 kings 6:21 – 22).
So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom. And all the earth sought to Solomon to hear his wisdom, which GOD put in his heart. And they brought every man his present vessels of silver and vessels of gold, and garments and armour, and spices, horses and mules, a rate year by year” (1 Kings 10:23-25)
“But Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh women of the Moabites, ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites, of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come unto you; for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love” (1 Kings 11:1-2)
When king Solomon forsook the GOD that kept his father David, and went buying down before the gods of his foreign wives, burning insense unto them, building high places unto them, GOD did not only raise an internal adversary in Jeroboam , leaving only Judah. Eventually GOD caused so many terrible things to befall Jerusalem; Solomon’s magnificent palace and temple, his horses, chariots, cattle, sheep and chest of precious stones.
608BC After the battle of Carchimich Nebuchadnezzar as crown prince of Babylon , advanced to Jerusalem He spared King Joakim who had rebelled against him, but came off several of the princes of Judah, among them Daniel Shedrack, Meshack and Abednego.
597BC Nebuchadnezzar now king of Babylon (608 – 562BC) and again conquered Jerusalem. Among the captives taken in this battle was the prophet Ezekiel. 586BC – King Zedekiah reneged on his oath of allegiance to Nebuchadnezzar, who besieged the city from January 10, 587 – July 9, 586BC – approximately eighty distinguished Leaders were executed. The palace and the city were set on fire – 63BC in the year 63BC, Pompey, the Roman General, captured Jerusalem, and the province of Palestine, became subject to Rome. All of that king Solomon’s opulence, magnificent palace and temple were allowed to be looted, plundered and burnt by heathen Nations because Solomon and his subjects decided to worship strange gods, hence the GOD of their Fathers, also turned His face, protection away from them.
The Jerusalem experience should serve as a warning to kings and presidents, especially Church leaders not to trust on wealth and riches, or even the huge auditorium they are building and the private jets, you name them.
“seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon His name while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our GOD for He will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither my ways your ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud that if may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater so shall my word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent “if” (Isaiah 55:6 – 11)
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of GOD: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of GOD? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear”? (1 Peter 4:17-18)
* Dr Solomon Abutoh, a Prophet and Prince lives in Lagos