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CELESTIAL CHURCH OF CHRIST

By the end of this unit, you should be able to:
• Narrate the story of Oshoffa
• Discuss the teachings of the Mission
• Describe the trance of Yanga. 
 

3.1 The Birth of Samuel Bilewu Oshoffa

Samuel Bilewu Joseph Oshoffa was born in 1909 in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin. His mother hailed from Imeko in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. His father Mr. Ojo had many children. All the male children except Bilewu died. His father Ojo Oshoffa hailed from Abeokuta in Ogun State, Nigeria. He was an adherent of Methodist 
faith. Bilewu was given to the Methodist Reverend to take care of him by his father in the early age. It has being said that Bilewu refused to mould blocks for the College building which he attended. For that reason, he was sent back to his father. His father immediately made him 
learn Carpentry and also to work with him until 5th June,1939. After the death of his father, he specialized on trading in Ebony planks. While he was in the forest to purchase planks for sale, he would also pray and read his Bible. Bilewu got married to Alake Iyabo of Imeko, Egbado, in 
Abeokuta, Nigeria.

3.2 The Birth of Celestial Church of Christ

On the 23b of May 1947, Bilewu went into the forest to pray in Porto rd Novo. It was at the period that the eclipse of the sun took place. While he was praying, he heard a ‘Voice’ saying; ‘LULI’ meaning; ‘The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ’’. . According to Okunola Bilewu saw the following objects as he opened his eyes after prayer.
1. A white monkey that had two teeth with winged hands. Its feet looked like that of the bat.
2. A stationary bird that was behaving like a peacock. It had various colours.
3. A short snake about one foot long and it stood coiled and its mouth was puffed like a cobra.In the presence of the above named creatures, Bilewu felt awed and his body had goose pimples.
The interpretations of the visions which he saw here explained thus: 
The Monkey meant the tricks or pranks which human beings play in the universe to achieve their selfish goals or desires. Bilewu was then warned not to allow himself to be tricked by human beings, for tricks lead to the down fall of people. While the bird which he saw behaving 
like a peacock indicated the pride which do causes the downfall of many people. Bilewu was told not to imitate the people who are proud for pride leads to the downfall of such people.
The short snake signified deceit and mistake of the past in the Garden of Eden. Bilewu was warned to learn from the lesson that the story of the Eden. He should probably avoid these things which God had shown to him. The inability of the snake to hurt hum indicated that he was 
anointed to deal with all evil deeds in the Universe. It also fulfilled the Scriptures that says, “And these signs will follow those who believe;
In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues.
They will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly; it will by no means hurt them;they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.’’ 
All the named above incidents that took place in the bush with Bilewu marked the beginning of the Celestial Church ofChrist.

3.3 The Growth and Establishment of the Celestial Church

On the 29b September, 1947, Bilewu was in his house praying when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a strong ray of light and he was told that he had been chosen to carry out a Spiritual Message to the whole world. The angel further told him that many people die without salvation. This is because people do look for salvation from Satan when they face problems in life. Besides, they also fail to listen to the Word of God that is being preached to them by anointed men of God. He was told that his calling would be backed by miracles. Bilewu began his 
Mission by preaching and healing the sick came to hear the Word of God. He also healed those that were brought by their relatives to him. 
As these continued, Mr. Alexander Yanga was taken to Bilewu for spiritual healing. There, Mr. Yanga fell into trance for seven days. As he was in the trance, Yanga named the Mission of Bilewu, thus; ‘Eglise Du Christianisme Celeste’ which means’ Celestial Church of Christ’’.
Bilewu continued the spread of the Gospel to various places such as Agange, Kudiho,and Porto-Novo where the died were raised to live and people were healed. Bilewu also loved music. He played the following musical instruments: Piano, Guitar, Trumpet and Violin. These activities drew many people to hear him as he preached the Gospel. Bilewu used 
the following languages to preach the Good News to his hearers: French, Egun and Yoruba. He some times used English language to preach, but he often used interpreters to interpret his messages to English speaking people.
Bilewu spread his gospel to Abeokuta, Ketu, Lagos, Odogbolu, Ibadan and other parts of Nigeria

3.4 The Doctrines of the Mision and the Death of the Founder

The Celestial Church believes that all people who have faith in the Lord 
God worship the same Almighty who created human being and the Universe. The religious and denominational differences provided each adherent the way to practise his or her religion and have good relationship with other fellow human beings on the earth.
The Mission is out to seek salvation for all worshipers of God in the world. Believers should see themselves as brothers and sisters who serve God under the same umbrella. The adherents regard everybody that worships God as One body in the Lord God Almighty. Therefore, They see no reason for people to engage in religious quarrel. The mission of the Church is to shed more light on the Ministry of the Lord Jesus Christs on the Earth. The Mission is also out to search for the lost souls 
and lead them back to Jesus Christ. The mission also considers the period which Jesus Christ spent on the earth to set people free from bondages to have been very short .Therefore, the Mission has been commissioned by God to continue the spread of the Gospel and set people free from their bondages. The Mission is also out to continue the work of Salvation which the disciples were unable to complete while they were on the earth. The church regards the following prophets as the fore runners of Oshoffa: Orimolade, Babalola and Ositelu.. The Mission 
teaches Christians to love their neighbours who are not Christians, especially, Muslims. Christians and Muslims should be encouraged to live together as brothers and sisters who serve the same God. Also, white and black races should see themselves as Creatures of God. They 
must not discriminate against themselves. The mission believes that their achievements are part and parcel of Christ’s achievements in the Universe. The Mission pays homage to those who have preached the Gospel and departed the world to paradise. The Church teaches that man’s kingdom of heaven begins as soon as he or she dies. It also teaches that there should be no religious condemnation or discrimination of any kind. Further more, it teaches that it is only God that knows who and who will be saved. The Movement condemns pride. It also teaches people to respect constituted authority and also our parents. Oshoffa 
died in 1985. 
 
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 
The slavery of Ojo in the Republic of Benin was a blessing to the Christendom.Discuss.
 

4.0 CONCLUSION

Oshoffa was born in the Republic of Benin. He was an adherent of the Methodist faith. His father called Ojo hailed from Abeokuta in Ogun State, Nigeria. Bilewu was the only son of his father. Ojo made a covenant with God that if He gave him a male child, he would be made to serve him. For this reason, when Bilewu was born, Ojo gave to one the Methodist Priest to take care of him. The Pastor put Bilewu in a School, but Bilewu disobey the School authority when all the pupils were ordered to mould blocks, he refused to compile. For this reason, he was sent out of the School. Bilewu was then forced by his father to learn carpentry skill. He was very good in the work. While at work, he was always praying and reading his Bible. Bilewu got married to Alake Iyafo of Imeko of Abeokuta in Ogun State, Nigeria. History has it that the grand father of Bilewu was taken as a slave from Abeokuta to the 
Republic of Benin. But when he got there, he fell sick. As a result of his sickness, his master who bought him could not resold him to any other slave buyers. So, he retained him. There he gave birth to Oshoffa who in turn gave birth to Bilewu the founder of the Celestial faith in the 
Republic of Benin and Nigeria. The teachings of the Church emphasize unity of all believers irrespective of denominational differences and also 
unconditional love among peoples of the world.

5.0 SUMMARY

In this unit, you have learnt the following points: the planting of the Celestial Church of Christ in Nigeria and the Republic of Benin. 
• Bilewu whose grand father was sold into slavery at the then Dahomey was the Founder of the Celestial faith world wide. 
• The adherents spread the Good news to all parts of Nigeria. 
• Many people were healed of various diseases by Bilewu
• Members of the Celestial faithful helped themselves spiritually and financially.
• Members of the church are told to love one another and other people irrespective of their religious inclination.

6.0 TUTOR-MARKED ASSIGNMENT
1. Narrate the Call of Bilewu.
2. Do all believers worship the same God?

7.0 REFERENCES/FURTHER READINGS
Ojo, P. A. (2006). Christian Education and The Celestial Church of Christ, Lagos: Great News Communications Network.
Okunlola, D. O. (Date of publication not indicated.) Celestial Church of Christ Last Vessel for Salvation, Lagos: Bengo Comm. Printers

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