•City People Reveals Shocking Details, 34 Yrs After His Death
A few days back, members of the Celestial Church of Christ marked the 34th remembrance of the founder of the church, Samuel Bilewu Joseph Oshoffa in Lagos.
Below, City People reveals a lot about this man who Cele members can’t forget in a hurry
Samuel Bilewu Joseph Oshoffa (sometimes spelt Oschoffa) was the founder of the Celestial Church of Christ. He died in 1985, founded the church in 1947 after being lost for 3 months near Porto-Novo in the Republic of Benin. The church now has its main branches in Bénin and Nigeria. Five percent, or 400,000, of the 8,000,000 people of Benin are Celestial Christians. Oshoffa was reported to have had 34 wives and 150 children when he died in 1985 although some say these figures are high.
Samuel Bilewu Joseph Oshoffa was born into a Yoruba family of mixed religion. His father was a Muslim, but had become a Methodist, while his mother followed the traditional religions and objected to Christianity. His mother left him when he was only 3 months old to return to Imeko, where her husband lived. His father was a Carpenter (a fact which was later thought important to a person who later reported receiving visits from Jesus Christ).
He was born May 19, 1909 in Porto-Novo, which is now the capital of Benin, but was then the new capital of the French colony of Dahomey. His family was also involved with the Cherubim and Seraphim Church. Felicia Yaman was Oshoffa’s first wife, and she was involved with the launch of the new church. She was said to be able to prophesy conflict and was invited to many of Oshoffa’s meetings.
Oshoffa was working in the ebony wood trade in 1947 when he was instructed to found the new church. He reported that he had been searching in the forests to find the correct type of tree. He said he lost his way and had to live off the land for 3 months. When he emerged, he was empowered with the gifts of healing and prophecy.
A spiritual purification ceremony in Cotonou in Benin Republic in 2009—100 years after the birth of Oshoffa
His first act of healing was reportedly the resurrection of his nephew. As a result, his elder sister, Elizabeth, was the first convert. The nephew was to become recognised as the first prophet of the new church. Over the next few years, several other people were reportedly brought back from the dead by Oshoffa. Between 1947 and 1951, the church grew in the country of Benin. In 1976, it was relocated to Nigeria because Oshoffa was in a minor conflict with the government of Benin. This was timely as he was just about to be arrested. Very soon after arriving in Nigeria, Oshoffa cured a mad woman, although many people doubted the healing. Oshoffa held a public meeting in Yaba, Lagos, where those whogathered reported his ability to prophecy. In the same year, he again claimed a resurrection.
The new church grew rapidly, and it attracted followers across West Africa and the world. The church was estimated to have several million followers in 1998. In Nigeria, Oshoffa was sold a large piece of land after the owner was assisted by the “holy man’s” intervention in a legal dispute. The new church continued to the resistance from the Nigerian authorities, but it was officially recognised in 1958. He took on two partners for the church, namely Reverends Alexander Abiodun Bada and Samuel Ajanlekoko.
Oshoffa died on 10 September 1985 after he was told of the death of his driver during an accident in which he was involved. After the accident SBJ OSHOFFA was taken to hospital and later got better. He asked about the other persons in the car and was given a bad news of their death. Therefore, to avoid any bad rumour that he used them to prolong his life, he asked God to accept his soul, which happened as he prayed to God. He was buried at Celestial City, Imeko. Oshoffa was the sole source of authority for the church and because of this, his death caused some problems of succession.
After some confusion, Alexander Abiodun Adebayo Bada was appointed his successor by the church trustees. Nigeria is considered a diocese of the worldwide church, and with its supreme headquarters at Porto- Novo. Therefore, Benoit Agbaosi would be appointed by the Supreme headquarters leaders to lead the church. In the beginning, those who became leaders of Celestial Church of Christ parishes were appointed by the Pastor Founder Reverend S.B.J. Oshoffa. A church is called a Parish and the Spiritual leader of the parish is called a Shepherd. To be a Shepherd of a Parish, one must be called through spiritual revelation. After the revelation was confirmed, the would-be shepherd was required to serve as an apprentice under established shepherds. As the church grew, it became necessary to establish some form of training system for the clergy. A seminary to train shepherds was established for male clergy a year after Oshoffa’s death.
Porto-Novo, the supreme headquarters, chose Benoit D. AGBAOSSI (1931-2010) to succeed the Founder. The church celebrated the 100-year anniversary of its founder’s birth with a music festival and had awarded prizes in memory of him in Benin. Five percent of the 8,000,000 population of Oshoffa’s home country of Benin were Celestial Christians in 2009.
ABOUT THE CELESTIAL CHURCH
Many don’t know that the Celestial Church of Christ is a spiritual, world-wide, united, indivisible Holy Church, which came into the world from heaven by DIVINE ORDER on the 29th of September 1947 in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin through the founder of the Church, the Late Reverend, Pastor, Prophet, Founder Samuel Bilehou Joseph Oshoffa. The Church is well known with Parishes, Dioceses all over the world with its International Headquarters in Nigeria.
The movement was founded by Samuel Joseph Bilewu Oshoffa, a son of a carpenter born in Dahomey (now Benin) in 1909. He was raised as protestant (Methodism), he had a divine revelation on 27 May 1947, during a solar eclipse, in a forest where he was lost. He felt called to pray, to heal the sick, and to raise the dead, and he founded his church in September 1947.
Having appointed himself prophet, Reverend, pastor and founder, he occupied the highest office of the movement he had just founded. The control he exercised on doctrine and discipline issues made succession difficult after his death in 1985 in Lagos, Nigeria.
The Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) was recognized and authorized by the Republic of Dahomey (former name of Benin) in 1965. From 1976, the church launched an evangelistic campaign in the former colony of the French West Africa, which became independent in 1960. From the late 1990s, the church had shown its willingness to use the Internet as a privileged means of evangelisation thus allowing the many existing branches of the church within the Africans in diaspora (United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, France, USA) to maintain contact with one other and with Nigeria, the country in which the church is the most popular.
THE DIVINE ORDER
God called Rev., Pastor, Prophet Oshoffa on the day of total Eclipse of the sun in West Africa, when he was in the forest of Dahomey (now Republic of Benin), to purchase Ebony wood being a carpenter and timber trader, just as his father. He was in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights. Just as our Lord Jesus was led by the spirit into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. St. Matt. 4: 1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13. Just as our Lord started his mission of redemption alone, so also did our highly esteemed Rev., Pastor, founder, S.B.J. Oshoffa started alone, on the 29th September 1947.
THE SPIRITUAL MESSAGE
In the deep mystery of divine appearance, during prayer on the 19th September 1947, a winged Angel bathed in intense light, told the founder:
“It is the wish of God to send you on an errand of preaching in the World. Many nominal Christians there who were confronted by difficulties and problems of this world. They run after fetish priests and other power of darkness for all kinds of assistance. Consequently, on their death, they cannot see Christ because, by their action, Satan has left his spiritual mark on them. To assist you in your work so that men may listen to the fact that God has sent you.”
THE NAME OF THE CHURCH
The name of the Church “Celestial Church of Christ” was revealed by the Holy Spirit through a Prophet who was held in trance for 7 days.
THE TENETS AND MODE OF WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH
ORDAINED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
The rules and regulations written in the booklet of “Tents and Admission into the membership of Celestial Church of Christ.”
Mode of worship includes the setting of the Altar, and the Seat therein, the number of candles used for various types of services and the seating arrangement in particular, it should be noted that the seating arrangements was revealed through a Prophetess who under the influence of the Holy Spirit in the wilderness on Friday 5th of October, 1947, sketched the seating arrangement using oranges.
THE SERVICE OF THE CHURCH
Revealed through the Holy Spirit as promised by our Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:25-26)
There is an order of service laid down in the Celestial Church of Christ for different occasions such as Marriage, Funeral, Naming Ceremony, Mass in Remembrance of the dead, etc. The order for the respective occasion is strictly as revealed by the Holy Spirit and as set out in the booklet titled “Order of Service”.
HOLY RITES OR SACRAMENTS
There are a number of Holy Rites or Sacrament within the form of worship in Celestial Church of Christ utmost importance. Members shall avail themselves of the opportunity to partake in these rites or sacraments: Baptism, Holy Communion, Annual Washing of Feet, Annual Pilgrimage to Imeko, Ogun State, Nigeria at Christmas Eve, Annual Harvest Thanksgiving Service, and Holy Mary’s Day.
All persons, who earnestly, sincerely desire to be saved looking for salvation and, therefore, accept Jesus Christ as the son of God and Holy conversion by taking up such duties and privileges as entailed in the fellowship and the Ten Commandments are welcome into the fold. Celestial Church of Christ is an inclusive congregation, with the desire to observe the Tenets and Mode of Worship is welcome.