WHAT to many serious minded Christians must be yet another unChristmas – like Christmas Day passed by quietly yesterday. It was yet another testimonial that many so-called Christians do not understand the High Mission of the Lord Jesus or Its import for the salvation of their souls. Christmas Day dawn broke in Nigeria as on any other day. The sun rose from the East, spiritually speaking the direction of Paradise, which is why Prophet Mohammed taught his followers to pray while facing the East, and why knowing people who build temples or places of Worship of God place the altar in the direction of the East. As this thought flashed through my mind, I wondered if the architects who design church buildings today have such a recognition.
This is Christmas season, a time to think seriously about why the Son of God came to this lowly earth, a time to separate body and soul from the hurly burly of crass materialisms, a time to gain new and deeper recognitions of life which make our existence on earth and beyond it more meaningful to us. If the foundation of the understanding of the purpose of this High Mission is false, the labour for spiritual salvation is in vain. Christmas is, therefore, a time to pull the spiritual bandage off our eyes so that “seeing, we can see”. But what happened yesterday? For many people, it was yet another descent into, rather than ascent from revelry and pleasure. Everywhere was filled with cooking, dining, wining, dancing, pleasure of all sorts with little or no thought for that great event about 3,000 years ago, which ushered in the “Age of the Son” from the “Age of the Father”, and would prepare mankind for the “Age of the Holy Spirit”, of which many well-meaning Christmas, fastidious as they are in faith, still have little or no knowledge.
I would have liked to mention the name of a Christian leader of today who, in the 1980s, blew my mind. At that time, I was editor of The Guardian Newspaper. Those days, an editor had to read every copy, news report or advertisement word for word, including punctuations, and line for line. I would remember three interesting experiences in this regard. One was a letter purportedly written by Chief M.K.O. Abiola, now of blessed memory, in which he allegedly asked the recipient to help him murder one of his business associates. I asked myself: would Chief Abiola be so stupid as to put such a criminal matter in black and white? I declined to run the copy, despite pressure from the reporter and line editors who were involved in it most possibly for pecuniary reasons. Other newspaper went to town with it next day, making The Guardian the odd newspaper. Soon, it turned out that the letter was fake, planted on those editors. Chief Abiola threatened libel brimstones against them I guess he gave up after a public apology by those public concerned and a retraction of the publication by the newspapers. It would have been foolish for Chief Abiola to nail those editors because, as a politician, he would need them by his side someday! A second event was the rumoured death of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria’s African colonial Governor-General and First President of Republican Nigeria Chief R.B.K Okafor, brought the news of Zik’s death, claiming to be by the old man’s death bed. He said Zik held his hands and named him his political successor. I asked that Mr. Ebube Wadibia, our news editor, record Chief Okafor’s statement on three tapes to be replicated and kept in safe custody. I called Chief Adeniran Ogunsnya, zik’s political son in South-West Region of Nigeria. But rather than Chief Ogunsanya confirming or denying the speculation, he began to cry on the telephone. Next, I called the divisional police officer (DPO) in Nsukka, where Zik lived. When I asked him about Zik, the phone went dead. Three times I tried but couldn’t reach him again. We were to go to bed (that is, when the paper goes to the printers) at 11.pm, but we were still undecided about what to do at 2am. By 3a.m, we sent the paper to bed with the headline which suggested CONFUSION OVER Zik’s HEALTH. On the newsstands, that day, other newspapers made nonsense of us with categorical headlines. But it was only for a while. For Zik didn’t die. There was, also, the reported death of Chief F.R.A Williams. We always took great interest in his matters not just because of his father-son relationship with Mr. Alex Ibru, the publisher, Chief Williams robustly legally defended the newspaper against the military gangsterism of Mohammed Buhari and Tunde Idiagbon, then Nigeria’s military rulers whose government made publication of the truth punishable with imprisonment if the publication, though true, embarrassed a public officer. Chief Williams took no kobo for his services which would have cost millions of naira in those days. The Guardian was always a cautious newspaper and that was where its strength derived form. I sent out a team of reporters led by the political editor. Their job was to go to Chief William’s house. If through any of his sons they learned he was alive, they were to say they were passing by and decided to pay homage. They were then to set up an interview on current affairs to be published the following day. Without reporting the speculations of his death, this would burst the balloon. If he had died; they were to go to work professionally. Chief Williams didn’t die! If newspapers learn to be careful while being sprightly with the news they may avoid such embarrassment as the purported Iyabo Obasanjo letter has caused. This should explain, also, why I am hesitant to mention the particulars of the church leader I said earlier blew my mind in the 1980s with a publication in The Guardian. What if he has changed his opinion on such a sensitive issue as I still consider his statement to raise. His advertisement said it was not Jesus, but the Holy Spirit, who would judge the world!
My heart pounded. This was a recognition I had gained in 1977. Jesus himself told His Disciples that He had many things He would have loved to teach them. He did not because, being children still in spiritual terms, they would not understand it. But on His departure, He would send the Holy Spirit who would remind them of His teachings, expand their knowledge, reprove the world of sin and proclaim the judgment. That means the Holy spirit would declare the World Judgment. Elsewhere, the Lord Jesus had also warned that any sin against the Father and the Son, that is Himself, would be forgiven, but not any against the Holy Spirit. Christians ought to wonder why this is so. I did in my 20s. Then, I recognised that, if at Creation, the Spirit of God hovered over the Earth, that Spirit must be the part of the Creator who bears His Might and carries out His Will. In this case, can He, carrying out the Will of God, not be the author of Creation? Him, of whom it is often said that He is the Alpha and Omega in Creation? The Lord Jesus, the Love of God, spoke of Him as “He, the Spirit of Truth, suggesting to us that the Holy Spirit is personal like Himself. The Revelation confirms this conviction. In verses 4 – 6 of chapter I, we are presented with two personalities. Of the first, it speaks of peace from Him WHICH IS, WHICH WAS, and WHICH IS TO COME. Of the seconds, it says PEACE ALSO FROM JESUS, THE FAITHFUL WITNESS…. Thus, I came to recognize the Trinity or Godhead as God the Father, the Son (Love of God) and the Holy Spirit (Will of God).
Thus, if the Holy Spirit brought Creation into being (the spirit of God hovered over the earth) and will judge it someday in the fullness of time (not even the Angels know the time), and if no sin against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven, Jesus could not have come to take the sins of the world away. Since these sins are committed against Creation, the Work of the Holy Spirit. We should bestir ourselves: if He came to take sins away, where did He deposit them? In Paradise or with the Father, where He told us He was going far, far, far beyond Paradise? It seems more reasonable to see the Mission of Jesus as an Act of Love to show the way to Salvation to those very few among the multitudes of humanity who genuinely long for it. Jesus would, therefore, warn us that we could not get back home to paradise unless we fulfilled the will of the Father, which is anchored in Creation by the Holy Spirit.
As Christians, we need to get many things right. And the season of Christmas affords us an opportunity to do this. The Holy Spirit is personal like Jesus. It is not the Holy Spirit which filled the Disciples up on the Day of Pentecost. It was Power from the Holy Spirit. This Power maintains Creation and is renewed, like the pumping of the blood by the heart, in this case once a year: The Lord Jesus knew of this renewal and asked His Disciples to gather in the Upper chamber for it. They were sorrowful, their master having just been suddenly and brutally taken away from them. This condition opened their souls to receive and absorb this Power which they used a right. Pentecost still happens every earth year, irrespective of the incapacity of the majority of humanity to recognise or experience it. For many Christians, the Holy Spirit remains that nebulous rushing wind, not a personality that they can identify with like Jesus.
The Lord Jesus told of His Mission clearly in the Parable of the Vineyard. Many people volunteered to participate in this mission. The Four Wise Men reach one presenting a pillar of the Four Square Creation, were to smoothen His paths with the wealth and influence. But only three made it to Bethlehem when He arrived on earth, accompanied by a Heavenly Host which was revealed to these wise men on Holy Night. They would soon forget their mission, abandon their charge and duty post, and even break the top secret news to a tool of Lucifer, Herod, who, pursuing his master’s bidding, would seek to abort the Mission in the mass murder of infant male children.
Jesus would later sense the hiss of the darkness even among the Disciples and admonish Judas that it would have been better for him if he were not born and, having been born, if a heavy lead were hung on his neck and he was drowned. This warning complements the parable of the vineyard as a refutation of the idea that he had come to shed His blood for the remission of sins. For if He had come on such a Mission, why would He have had to chastise Judas for helping him to fulfill the Mission? Nature would later show displeasure at His brutal murder (rushing of wind, day becoming night, thunder, earthquake and the shredding of the curtain of the Holy of Holies, signifying abrogation of the covenant. Before then, did the wife of Pilate not have a dream in which her husband was advised to free Jesus? Judas would commit suicide from guilt, the multitude would be angry (“Truly, this is the Son of God”) and the religious establishment would save its neck from their wrath by floating the idea that the death on the Cross was necessary to wash them clean of their sins. And till this day, the Christian community would buy this idea without questioning. Yet they believe God is eternal and never changes because he was perfect from the beginning of Time and will be for all eternity. If that is so, and he commanded from the beginning of Time that “thou shall not kill”, and even Jesus is known to obey the will of the Father (I have come to obey the law, not oppose it) why would God have agreed that His Son be murdered? Why would Jesus have needed to pray? “Father forgive them”.
We live in the time of the Third Kingdom or the Third Age. Adolf Hitler’s Germany recognised this and called if The Third Reigh” The people of old discovered three movements of the earth: rotation, revolution and a third in the venal point of the earth’s equator transverses the cosmos 360 degrees in a period of time. They divided this period into 12 equal parts which we know today as the Zodiac. I do not know if it is from here that the numeral 12 derived its significance… 12 hours of day and night, 12 tribes of Israel; 12 Disciples of Christ; 12 months of the Gregorian calendar etc. They found that every two, too or so years on the Zodiac, a significant event occurs. The time between Abraham and Moses, between Moses and Jesus, and between Jesus and this time of, “that which is to come” may fit the teaching that the dawn of the Age of the Holy Spirit has broken. In this Age, the earth will come under such intense power that will quicken the pace of everything towards the ultimate end. Every tendency, that is weakness or strength, ignoble or noble, which has dormant within everyone will be energised, and released so that it can be manifested, and in the manifestation, the author comes to judgment. That explains why, today, there is so much unprecedented tension world-wide, not just in Nigeria. This season affords us yet another opportunity for sober reflection on the so many distorted concepts of true or pure Christianity, to appreciate the love which brought Jesus to us, to seek the will of God in everything we do, to strive to unconditionally fulfill this Will, so that the changes such an endeavour brings about in every-one will pave the way for ascent of the spirit back to its home, Paradise, before the end of Time for planet earth. For there is nothing in Creation that has a beginning that doesn’t have an end. By the Law of the Cycle, everything returns to its starting point, be it the air we breathe in which we must exhale to its source, the water we drink, or the food we eat. Time is running out. For the cycle of Age of the Holy Spirit must close someday for a new beginning. Thus, when one stands apart from the madding crowd”, observing how yet another opportunity of Christmas day has been mis-spent by many people, one cannot but conclude: this is yet another unchristmas-like Christmas Day.