It was past midnight or thereabouts when my phone blipped: a message had been received. It was from a woman internationally respected for her remarkable global interventions in prayer. The message simply said, “Christian, seek not yet repose.” Those were familiar words, the opening line of a Christian hymn; but they were ominous words, coming at that time of night, in the midst of prayer mobilizations with respect to the approaching portentous political elections in Nigeria. I have since deleted the message from my phone, but it is hard to delete its momentous resonations from the mind.
That message echoed another encounter in a similar political season more than three decades ago, from the opposite side of the Kingdom of Light. It was 1979. Every Christian in Nigeria was involved in trying to determine through prayers the outcome of the political elections, especially the presidential elections, that year. It happened in the same season that a team of young persons from our church was casting out devils from a fine Christian sister when one of them spoke up. It identified itself as having originated from the River Niger, the river after which the country is named, then that spirit-principality announced mockingly, “We wanted to come into this country, but you people were praying, ah! yah! yeh! I know that you will sleep, and when you sleep, we shall return.” Occasionally, one looks at events in the Church and the slant of political affairs in the country, and one wonders with shame if Satan were not already keeping his 1979 promise to Nigeria.
Not every experience is so easily forgettable; 1979 is one of them. I do not keep a diary of Satanic confessions. I cannot recall many other things that devils have said. I do not make those confessions my foundation, but Scripture shows at least once, that Jesus had a dialogue with a demon-principality, and He did not suggest that everything that Legion said was a lie (Mark 5:1-13). At least his name, Legion, was not a lie, neither the intention thereafter to continue destructive tenancy in the herd of swine. Besides, scripture also reveals that there comes a time in spiritual warfare when strategy might be enhanced by information from the other side. Gideon had been called and ordained to break the protracted yoke of the Midianites over the people of Israel, yet that called man was confined by fears. God stepped in and sent him to the camp of the enemy. God said to him, “Arise, get thee down unto the host… And thou shalt hear what they say” (Judges 7:9, 11).
Do we need to hear what ‘they’ say? Is it not sufficient to hear what Heaven has already said? Well, God had to explain why that mission was necessary. He added, “…and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host” (v.11). Gideon was in no doubt of the voice of God that he had heard, yet his hands still lacked strength, as even God admitted. The critical adrenalin to shoot him forth was going to come from an enemy’s confirmation to the words of God that he since had received. On that trip, God ensured that Gideon did not go alone; that he had a witness – his servant Phurah. Did the news from the other side help the battle preparations on this side? Yes.
And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian (v. 15).
That anointed man’s hands were strengthened only “when” he heard the confidential confessions from the other side, confirming the revelations he had since been receiving from above. Gideon said to his troops, “Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.” That was not when God delivered the enemy into their hands; that was only when Gideon realized what God since had done.
On one occasion, Jesus dialogued with the demon-boss of a legion of devils that had possessed a man (Mark 5:5-13); on other occasions, He simply cast the “many devils” out “and suffered not the devils to speak”; and if they had already begun to speak, He told them to “Hold thy peace, and come out” (Mark 1:25, 34). The matter is not whether devils sometimes tell the truth or not; it is a question of striking the correct balance. I remember 1979 because I have also read Matthew 12:43-45:
43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44 Then he saith, I will return into MY HOUSE from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
And I have read Matthew 13:25:
But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
One passage confronts us with the picture of a total re-capture of a previously evacuated and cleaned but thereafter abandoned system; the other is about infiltration with like-looking tares for a pre-planned future devastation. Neither of the diabolical strategies is a Christmas option. The devil will always keep trying even after having been once chased out, and nobody chases him away by going to sleep (James 4:7). A devil ignored is a bad time bomb. I remember 1979 because I also recall the more recent December 2011 prophetic alarm that went globally viral, “The Spirit of Sudan.” Checkwww.thepreacher.info.
I got a mail a few days ago, and this is the statistics it gave: “15 die every day since Day 1 of Buhari.” It stated that “in 38 days” since the inauguration of Buhari to July 7, there had been 556 deaths, according to the statistics available to that writer. Several cases are no more reported, or are otherwise compromised by the media and reported the other way round.
May 30 — 13 killed during an attempted night invasion of Maiduguri,
May 30 — 26 killed, in bomb attack on a mosque near Borno market,
June 2 —– 17 killed at Maiduguri abattoir, …
July 5 ——7 killed in a Church suicide bomber attack in a Bauchi Church,
July 5 —— 6, including pastor, killed in RCCG church bombing in Potiskum,
July 5 —— 48 killed in twin blasts in Jos,
July 6 —— 1 killed in suicide bombing at Kano Mosque along Zaria Rd. Suicide bomber is only casualty.
July 7 —— 20 killed by suicide bomber in Kaduna as civil servants collect salary,
and so on. The writer added, with concern, “Checkpoints dismantled. Soldiers ordered to stop bombing Sambissa [the Boko Haram stronghold]. The church has relaxed in prayer after the election, because we either felt the change has come or resigned to fate.” About the military checkpoints ordered off the road by the new government, a bishop who works among the Christian victims of the war in the north, said to me, “Watch it; those checkpoints will return, but by then, certain weapons shall have been moved to respective locations across the country.” In my city of Port Harcourt, abductions, often ending in huge ransoms or sad deaths or both, have suddenly returned with a worrisome prominence, and other fears have become palpable.
Protest voices have lately been heard in the media on the curious transfer of Boko Haram detainees to prisons in particular southern Nigeria regional cities: Enugu in the South-East, Port Harcourt in the South-south, etc. Although government voices would not confirm the report, the protesters fear that there could any day be a ‘prison breakout’ of those terrorists, who could escape with other prisoners already indoctrinated by them, to ammunition dumps at designated locations, from where they could commence a ‘southern Nigeria’ phase of their Caliphate jihads, thereby giving a widespread and ‘national’ image to the current question. I take a deep breath.
Somebody has wondered why a young man who made such loud and elaborate advertorial wedding plans, and spoke so loftily of the future home, would have no bedroom and no kitchen for the bride so long after the wedding. He probably did not believe in the marriage, having been persuaded that the bride would run off with another groom from the altar, so he could have an argument for the plotted blackmail and mayhem for which the true preparations had been very earnest. Someone has wondered why, more than a month after having been sworn in as president, he still has not announced cabinet ministers, as if there never was a plan or team of builders in place to bring about the promised change. I heard not a few post-election thanksgiving voices which said that God verily used the turn of the elections and the other’s conceding of defeat in that election to save the nation from rivers of blood plotted by a red dragon furious at the man-child and the mother that bore that son designated for the throne he maliciously sought (Revelation 12:1-11).
A week or two after the elections, I met a pastor at one of Nigeria’s busy airports. He works in one of the religious battlefronts in the north. The elections have come and gone, we agreed. While we thanked God for aborting the malicious predictions on the split of the country in 2015, and disappointing the arms merchants who had prepared to make good that prediction so as to trade more viciously in our blood, we further agreed that the danger was not over. He said to me, “For many Christians, it is time to sleep because the elections have come and gone with little incident of the much that was feared, but it is now that the time to pray has come.” I agreed strongly.
What do you see in the horizon? You probably would say, “Here comes the prophet of doom again.” Good name. In the past few days, I have received a few calls and SMS’s from souls whose reading of the clock of the time suggests to them that we are at the thresholds of a momentous national event. One SMS from a young man said, “I can still hear the drums of war.” Another troubled soul has been pleading that we resume the Church mobilizations for concerted prayers. His message said in part, “The days ahead are delicate, and call for strategic prayers.” A globally respected apostle and father of the Church committed to worldwide and national Kingdom affairs, called me a few days ago: he had heard distressing news he wanted me to confirm. I called some spots to confirm the matter. He is no longer at ease.
I wonder what you hear! Info from the other side lately reaching us reported a briefing in a mosque in Port Harcourt where wives were advised to ensure that nothing happened to their children in the event of a coming Day, when their young men, most of whom have already undergone military trainings in a country north of Nigeria, who daily pass us by as innocent hawkers of yam and fruits and other trifles, who have been armed with phones networked to receive a given mobilization code, would do the thing. Some of those soldiers are taking over the transport industry, mapping places, doing surveillance, knowing who lives where and who goes where. You wish to sleep? “Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners” (Matthew 26:45).
A few days ago, as we met again to pray, the leader of the one of the participating intercessory groups shared a dream she had had, which had bothered her. She was not sure what it meant. She was “heavily pregnant,” according to her, and labour had set it. The baby was about to come out. Other women from her prayer fellowship stood around her, encouraging her. They told her that what she was about to bring forth was “a man child.” Suddenly, she lost all strength to push, and delivery was terminating. Everybody knows what that could mean to mother and child. She woke up. By virtue of her spiritual status and involvements, I thought the dream was significant, and of national proportions. The interpretation to the dream is summed up in one Bible passage: Isaiah 37:3:
And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.
It confirms one of the many echoes in the November 2014 edition of The Preacher publications entitled “And there was War,” about this season and its tumultuous “birth pangs of a new nation,” which birth pangs unfortunately also have the potential of becoming “death throes” which might result from pre-birth neglects (page 3, column 2).
This is not just a Nigeria matter; it is a global battle against the Church. In America, for example, the church has lately been overwhelmed with a sudden gay law that has criminalised holiness and legalized sodomy. Many Christians are still coming to terms with that tremor, and the aftershock is still coming. Once more, in the words of Charlotte Elliot (1836), “Christian, seek not yet repose… Thou art in the midst of foes… Ambushed lies the evil one; / Watch and pray.”
From The Preacher’s diary,
July 12, 2015.