•Why The POPE Had To Travel To LAGOS To Meet Him
The telling impact of Pa. SBJ Oshoffa’s contributions and miracles that boosted Christianity and its spread to all the continents of the world through Celestial Church didn’t leave the Vatican City unaffected. The wonders wrought by the founder of Celestial Church stirred curiousity of the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome and ignited their urge to send emissiaries to Nigeria on a fact-finding mission. The icing on the cake that mistified the Pope and other members of the highest body of the Catholic Church was that the clergyman sent to find out the truth about Celestial Church became a member, based on what he saw. That was what aroused Pope John Paul to visit Pa. Oshoffa in Nigeria in 1982. Below, his son, Superior Evang. Tosho Oshoffa reveals a lot about the life of his dad and how the Pope had to come to Lagos to receive Oshoffa’s annointing. Below are excerpts of his interview.
Recently, the Celestial Church celebrated the 34th departure anniversary of the late founder of the church, S.B.J Oshoffa. Why has it been impossible for the church to forget him?.
You are right. Till the end of this world, Papa could never be forgotten. He was not just an ordinary person. He was an extraordinary person. He was the only and sole founder of the last Ark of Salvation which today is called Celestial Church of Christ. He was the only one who received the call to establish the church. As long as this church liveth, and as long as the world exists, this church will keep on existing, The name of the sole founder, the late Samuel Bilewu Joseph, Oshoffa, will keep on ringing bell in every home of Celestial members and non-members who have, in one way or the other, benefitted from the Grace given to Baba SBJ Oshoffa some 72 years ago. We recently marked the 34th year after his demise. The church, which he founded has spread to all over the world. Believe me, he had never travelled out of the country before. He has never flown before. He had never entered a plane before. Yet the church is all over the continents of the world. Why? Because it was an order from heaven that the church will continue to spread all over the world, as far as the earth exists.
“When my father was called and the church founded in 1947, what God told him was that He would send him to this world. Many Christians when they die they do not see Christ because while they were alive they were worshipping Jesus Christ and they were also worshipping other idols. And when they died, their souls become disputed souls. And when they get to the gate of heaven Jesus would make a claim on such a person, while Satan too would lay claim on the soul. No, he or she belongs to me. Jesus will then wonder how come Satan lays claim on this person. Satan would then say Yes, on Sunday he or she was with you but during the week, he or she used to come to me and worship me. Can’t you see my sign on him. That is how many souls were lost to hell.
Jesus told my father listen, I will give you a church. And the church will be called the Last Ark of Salvation. My last Grace for this earth, it will be called Celestial Church of Christ. When the church is given to you it is a proof that I really sent you, to establish this church. Many miracles will be happening through you. The deaf will speak. The lame will walk. The blind will see. The dead will be raised. These are the signs to the world to prove that I sent you. And the world will see them. They will believe the miracles. And they will follow you. So, the foundation of this church had been laid upon miracles, upon signs and wonders. That was why the 1st miracle occurred when my father left for Agange, after 3 months sojourn in the forest. The first village he stepped into was Agange. The first miracle that occurred was that one of his friends died. When my father was told that his friend had died a day before, he went to where his friend was laid. He laid his hand upon the person and his friend was raised back to life. That was the beginning of the miracles of God through my father SBJ Oshoffa. That was one.
“No 2. My father was taught to be humble so that anything you become in this world doesn’t place yourself above Godswill. One day, they interviewed my father at a TV station. The interviewer said Baba, we have discovered that in the Bible Jesus rose about 3 dead people but you, as a human being you have raised more than 20 persons from death, 20 undocumented ones as at that moment. Don’t you think you are greater than Jesus? Can you imagine that kind of a question? If it were to be the Pastors of today, they would claim to be the Jesus who had promised to return. My father got angry. He said listen to me, a servant can never be greater than his master! That he was just a simple carpenter when Jesus found him he was merciful. the showed him mercy and gave him the key to found his church, that there are many thousands and millions of carpenters all over the world, who have not got this mercy and, therefore, the world has not recognised them. He said if today, Jesus should take away his mercy from him, nobody will suffer again. That is the kind of humility that singled out the late Oshoffa from other men of God of his generation. That is Humility, always obedient to his Master, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Oshoffa placed the kingdom of God above worldly things.
“Let me give you another example. This Ikosi area that we are now. There was a time Lagos State wanted to take it over for LASPOTECH. Lagos State goverment wanted to take it all, as a government acquired area, but something happened. They were demolishing houses until they almost got to my father, the late Oshoffa’s house. And it was because of the Grace that Papa carried in him that made them leave his house alone. Papa made some contacts and, of course, by the power and the mercy of God, because of Papa SBJ Oshoffa, Ikosi area that we are now was spared of demolition and acquisition by the government. But do you know what? My father never owned a street in this Ikosi. No street bears his name. He has no street.
“Because of his humility. He didn’t want to. He didn’t ask for it. He places heaven above anything in this world. That is why no street bares Oshoffa in the whole of this Ikosi. That is humility.
Do you also know that my father never owned a bank account? He never opened a bank account. He placed the heaven above any worldly thing. When he passed on, journalists were thinking, they were imagining that going by the huge number of the members of CCC, that the late Oshoffa will be the richest man.
There was even a newspaper that came out then in 1985, that said my father had about N2.8 billion, that my father could even lend money to Nigeria. But it’s a lie. When we opened his drawer after he passed away, the money we found there was not even up to N1,000 then. Why? Because he was a Philanthropist. He kept giving out. He never believed in acquiring wealth in this world. He could if he wanted to. But No. He believed all these are vanity upon vanity. He so much believed in that pillar of heaven.
Tells us about your father’s encounter with the Pope…
Oh! That is another interesting story. My father met the Pope, John Paul II in 1982, precisely on the 13th of February, 1982. Before they met, there was an incident that happened. When the CCC was founded in Benin in 1947, there was an inflow of many Catholics (and many Christians) who were joining Celestial Church. And something happened. The Vatican got worried. They were wondering who was the man, a black man, who had been taking all our members away? The Vatican sent emissaries to him. The Vatican sent a white clergyman called Micheal Gerry, a Reverend Father. They sent him to my father to make a research about SBJ Oshoffa and how he got his power. When the white man got here, my father said to him, you are highly welcome, you can go ahead with your research. After a few weeks, he got convinced. And he told my father, “please baptise me. I want to be baptised in your name. I want to be baptised in the Celestial Church, through your hands”. He got baptised and something happened. He told my father, Oshoffa, to listen to me. I have come here and I have discovered that your church is based on 3 things. He said I have found out that Celestial Church of Christ is based on 3 major things.
“The first thing is that you believe in God. The 2nd thing is you believe in Jesus Christ. and you believe in the Bible. The 3rd thing that you believe in is Holy Spirit”. These are the 3 things upon which the Celestial Church was founded. Believe me, the man got baptised at a stage and he got admitted into the church by my father as a Celestial Church member. When the Vatican got to know, that the man they sent to make research on Celestial Church in Nigeria has become a Celestial member, they got angry and they sent the man a Telegram. They gave him 72 hours to return to the Vatican, if not, the Vatican would disown him.
He met my father physically before he left. When he was leaving finally, he left a note for my father. He said SBJ Oshoffa, I came here. I can see everything you did and I say you believe in God. But my people at the Vatican want me to return within 72 hours. If I do not see you again in this world, I will surely meet you again at the feet of Jesus Christ because I believe you were sent by Jesus Christ. That was how he left for the Vatican. He never met my father again until both of them left this world. When that incident was happening at the Vatican in the mid-’50s, Pope John Paul (II) was a Reverend Father at the Vatican. When he became Pope in the late 70’s he made his research and said: listen to me: where is that great man, who was raising the dead, that was performing miracles? Catholics do not believe in miracles anymore. After the passing away of the Apostles and Disciples, they don’t believe anymore. The Pope was wondering: Where is that black man who was raising the dead, who was performing miracles, all in the name of Jesus Christ? I want to meet that man. Where is he now? As at that time, my father had left Benin. left Dahomey for Nigeria in 1976. Pope John Paul II became Pope in 1978. They went all over. They located Papa here in Nigeria.
The Pope had to send emissaries here to meet Papa and they told Papa, that the Pope wanted to meet him. My father said really, you mean the Pope wanted to meet me? How come? Hope no problem? They said noo”.
The Pope wants to meet you so that he may believe that you are real.
He said Ok, let him come. The Pope now asked, through his emissaries that, when he comes to meet you Oshoffa, how will he know that you are real man of God?
The white men will like to know with proof.
My father said listen to me. When the Pope comes, when His Eminence comes and he is speaking to me, tell him, as he is shaking my hand, let him look straight away into my eyeballs, some of the Holy Spirit that I have will leave me and go into him. And when he gets back to the Vatican, let him organize a Revival and he will see God’s miracle will happen when he gets back to the Vatican. Let him organize revival, miracles will happen.
After they delivered this message to him, the Pope came to Lagos in February 1982. On the 13th of February, he came to Catholic Mission House at Marina in Lagos. That was where they met.
My father went there with his lieutenants, like Baba Bada, Baba Ajanlekoko, and other eminent leaders of the church. When they got there they wanted to enter into the Waiting Hall, where all other church leaders were and the Protocol, who did not know what had transpired between Papa SBJ Oshoffa and the Pope before the Pope came to Nigeria, told my father: You are the only one that was invited. All these aides following you can’t be allowed to go in with you. So, its either you come in alone or you go back. My father now told them that, listen to me, how can I be accepted into this place, and those that followed me won’t be allowed to go in?
That is wrong. He could have said Yes to the officials and say all of you my aides wait for me, I am coming. He didn’t say that. He said if I am allowed in and my followers are not allowed in, I won’t go in.
The Protocol shouted at my father: let him go away. Who is this black man when compered to his Holiness? Who are you? You can go back. My father turned back and went back to his car. He went in a Peugeot Station Wagon white Car, 504. Before he got to the car, the Protocol had gone to meet the Pope. They said there is a black man here that says he wants to meet you. The Pope said what? That is the man I came to see in Nigeria. If he wants to come in with 1,000 people allow him to come in. I need to see that man. That was how they all rushed back to my father’s car to beg him to come back.
They prostrated before him. They begged and begged. He came out of the car with his aides and they went back into the hall. A few minutes after, the Pope came out and he was shaking hands fast, fast with all other leaders. He shook each hand in half a second each. He didn’t have an interest in those hands. He was eager to shake hands with Baba because he had a previous agreement with Baba. When he got to my father, he paused. The Pope shook Rev. Prophet Pastor Founder SBJ Oshoffa’s hand for more than one minute.
He was looking straight into my father’s eyeballs as agreed. Immediately after their eyes met, there was a transaction. The Holy Spirit moved from my father into His Holiness, the Pope, John Paul II.
He was looking into my father’s eyeballs as he was prophesying to the Pope. The Popes’s hand was shaking at a point and he abandoned my father’s hand in haste.
Believe me, when the Pope got back to the Vatican, he organised a Revival and miracles happened. The Pope asked my father what he wanted in return for what he did. My father said he should do anything that he thinks is good for a man of God.
Pope John Paul II offered my father 3 types of crowns and 3 types of staff. My father’s blessing for him soon began to manifest. Before the Catholic Church will Beatify you (to make you a Saint) it usually takes years.
His own happened in less than 5 years, they made Pope John Paul II a Saint? It is the Holy Spirit from SBJ Oshoffa, the poor carpenter man of Yesterday that worked for the Pope.
He was a humble man. He has been promised by God that this is the last Ark of Salvation. After this church, no church will come from heaven again till judgment day.