Pastor Abraham Akinosun is the president of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC). In this interview by OMOTAYO LEWIS, he speaks on the effect of the coronavirus disease on the church and other national issues.
HOW has the Church been coping with the incidence of COVID-19?
The church is made up of members of the community. The Church is not isolated, so we are very much involved, especially the shutdown order that was extended to the Church. In 1918, a similar incident also happened. That was the beginning of the persecution of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) during the influenza epidemic. It defied medical solution but those who came to the church got healed instantly, so, the hospitals became empty. That ignited the first persecution against the Church. The orthodox churches and the government attacked the CAC churches. We are embarrassed when they said churches should be closed. We had spread out our services, but then the order for total shutdown came.
What solution did the CAC proffered then?
Prayers, they were praying and people got healed instantly. But this one that they said we should not go to church… Initially, we had already decided to spread services in our churches so that people are not more than 50. Later, there was another instruction that churches should not open at all. Well, we believe it is for the good of all, so, we have taken it in good faith and have continued praying in our homes.
Why are we not experiencing divine healing like that time, now?
God has not changed. The God of that time is still there, when God talks and people listen, God helps them. We are not blaming the government; they are caring for the people. The Bible says we should obey those in authority and that is why we are praying from home so God will see our plight and help us.
How come there was no revelation or prophecy before COVID-19?
Sometimes, God moves in different ways, He may sometimes be direct and sometimes, He talks indirectly. Generally speaking, every leap year is usually difficult and strange things happen.
I see the hand of God in this because it is like foretelling the great tribulation. It will just happen and envelope the whole world. When the Antichrist will order that everyone should worship only him and there will be several epidemics. It is written in the Bible that an angel was ordered to take peace out of the world. Before then, the Church might have experienced rapture then. So, this is a foretaste. As scientific as the United States and others are, they were not able to predict it.
What counsel do you have for Christians in times like these?
Christians should not panic. The Church is the body of Christ on earth. Christians should take solace that God knows about it. There is a covenant with all Christians that whatever happens, it will not affect them. They will only be hearing about it. They should trust God.
Some Christians have classified the ban on social gatherings which involved churches as the emissary of the Antichrist, what is your take on this?
The signs are here already. I received some text messages about some books I wrote about persecution from the government and some of them were asking me, ‘why should we submit?’ When it comes to an ultimate disorder, it is only if they say we should not call on our God.
How are you reaching out to the Christians in your church following government’s directive?
We are reaching out to our members through the church’s television, although not everyone has that facility. We also call them on telephone to encourage them to hold on to their faith. When the order to limit [gathering of] members to 50 came, I called the deputy governor of Osun State and he told me if the people didn›t abuse it, it would be fine. By evening, he called back to inform of the directive on the total lockdown. I also communicated with the Oyo State governor advising him to take counsel from God and not just do what others were doing. Even when Baba Olowere called me about his programme, I counselled him to obey government›s directive and I thank God that the Church at large has complied.
The good thing is that they have not told us not to pray. It’s a shame we have been directed not to open the church. I trust God that when people pray, He listens irrespective of one’s location. But it is fine since the directive has been made; let us keep praying in our homes.
This experience may lead to a revival because even the advanced countries were taken by surprise. They are the worst-hit. It’s not that one is rejoicing over their misfortune, but I believe this will engender a revival. God may want everyone to look unto Him that He is truly God. He will put an end to it because God has not told us this is the end, the Antichrist government is unfolding, but this is not the end.
Did God tell you about this or anything related to this occurence?
Early this year, precisely February, ever before the first case of coronavirus penetrated into Nigeria, God gave me a revelation of people starving and famine in the land. I want to call on the government to do something drastic about the current situation of the country so as not to lead to famine. After coronavirus, famine may follow because everything has been shut down now. Even the economy, the places from where food comes to the cities have been locked down. The government should focus on mechanised agriculture. We should take it very seriously so that, God forbid, people don’t starve to death.
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