The General Overseer of Synagogue Church Of All Nations, Prophet T.B. Joshua, has penned a touching tribute in honour of those who died exactly four years ago in the infamous building incident within its premises of its headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria on September 12th, 2014.
“Whether we die young or old, what matters is the grace to continue living hereafter,”Joshua began in a message published on his social media accounts, emphasising that the 116 victims of the controversial incident, including 85 South Africans, “slept in the Lord”.
He proceeded to wax lyrical about the ‘persecution’ that should be expected by all genuine believers. “The level at which satan attacks us seems to be equal to the level of our commitment to the Lord,”he explained.
Joshua stressed that becoming a committed Christian is akin to “accepting citizenship in Heaven and death here on earth”.
He went further to counsel believers to not fall into the trap of harbouring offence when facing harsh or unjust circumstances of life.
“If you stay free from offence, you will stay in God’s will. If you become offended, you will be taken captive by the enemy to fulfil his own purpose and will,” he advocated.
The cleric likewise pontificated on the inherent virtues of forgiveness, stating that believers must learn to follow Christ’s example.
“If He could forgive the people who were killing Him, we can certainly find a way to forgive those who hurt us. When we cannot forgive, we hurt ourselves more than anyone. Nursing a grudge damages our heart,” he surmised.
He referred to death as not “a period”but only“a comma”, adding that“when a believer dies, he goes into glory, where there is no conflict.”
“Those who try to kill us are only helping us to go home and rest,”he solemnly continued, coupled with a harsh message for those responsible for the ‘attack’ on the church.
“Those who send us home will go into further conflict; they will have more questions to answer than when they were alive,” he warned.
Joshua concluded by calling on believers to “honour the memory”of their fallen brethren, whom he affectionately termed “martyrs of faith”,by endeavouring “to live for the Lord and give yourself to the needs of others”.
After four years, the court case instituted to unravel the circumstances behind the deadly incident has not yet yielded any fruitful conclusion.
The SCOAN still insists the building fell as a result of an ‘attack’, pointing to CCTV footage of a military plane encircling the building shortly before its implosion, evidence equally attested to by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Alaba Haruna, in a recent court hearing.
Nigeria’s former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, also waded into the controversy last year, stating that “certain members” of Nigeria’s intelligence agency “blew up” the building.
The fatal incident, however, has done little to dampen The SCOAN’s popularity as foreigners continue to troop to the church on a weekly basis, making it West Africa’s most visited destination for religious tourists.
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Ihechukwu Njoku is a freelance Nigerian journalist