His sheer presence in The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) headquarters to fully participate in the affairs of the Easter celebration on Sunday, 8th of April, 2012, created much interest. As he was introduced, thereafter, by Prophet T.B. Joshua to the congregation, the 83 years old cleric still full of vibrancy and spiritual power, moved to the pulpit, where he was to speak on elements of vision which was revealed to him over 40 years ago, on The SCOAN.
Naturally endowed with spiritual grace and self-assuredness, Pastor C.S. Upthegrove was filled with the spirit of happiness as he looked around and asked the enchanted congregation to praise the Lord.
A man called to preach the Word of God from age 15, this respected American served with the likes of A. A. Allen, Oral Roberts and Robert Schuller in the work of the ministry, moving from one part of the world to the other. He has always been happy and fulfilled doing what he has been called to do and he is determined to remain faithful to His grace and work till he breathes his last, so he told the congregation.
Pastor Upthegrove had come to share that significant moment of grace with T.B. Joshua, the General Overseer of The SCOAN, and to make it known to the world that he was told in a vision that T.B. Joshua is one of the twelve end-time prophets anointed by God, to perform His service. While doing that, the seasoned minister of God provided a short speech, followed by the handing over of some of A.A. Allen’s personal mementoes, suggesting confirmation of the continuity of service in the Lord, on T.B. Joshua.
Referring to the 1960s when the world was yet to know scientific technology, especially the internet, this father of four said serious ministry work involved movement from place to place, and it was then A.A. Allen had prophesied to him, while driving in a car, that a prophet would soon emerge, greater in impact and spiritual strength than all of them; and that the prophet would preach to a multitude of people all over the world, and be widely accepted.
The prophecy came to be confirmed to him a few years back, when God had told him in a vision that T.B. Joshua was the man referred to, earlier, by A.A. Allen – himself an outstanding, and universally acknowledged God’s General. God had made it clear, as he prepared to leave America for Nigeria on this unique occasion of Jesus’ resurrection, that he was actually going to a Holy land, and this was repeated to him as he landed in the Synagogue premises. He had prayed earnestly to personally come to the church to see things for himself; that God would make provision for him to be personally there. But he had also been encouraged with what he encountered on Emmanuel TV over the years, where unusual deliverances and prophecies happened, and being watched by millions of people across the globe – men and women, young and old, the rich and the poor.
The writer and well-travelled Minister of God said, “T.B. Joshua is from God”; God had told him: “This is my prophet,” and that was why he picked up the challenge to personally visit Nigeria. He had narrated his personal experiences over the years in his ministry, his encounters with angels, and the resultant spiritual empowerment, occasioned by his ‘changed’ hair. He had fasted and prayed, and God has listened to him, quite extensively on many issues; he has received tremendous inspiration in which God has promised to always make way where there seems to be none. He has been privileged also to have his hands so anointed, supernaturally.
If T.B. Joshua has been using water for prayers and deliverances, according to the revered man of God, it is God’s own unique gift to him, especially as the Creator has been known to use sticks, stones and dead men’s bones to save people in moments of distress, wake up the dead, and restore lost hopes. He referred to the experiences of David (and his encounter with Goliath) and of Elisha (whose bones were used to raise the dead). He had added that God could show his mysterious self through a shadow, or through the stretching of hands (as done by T.B. Joshua). It could also be through the ‘now faith’ and ‘touching faith’ as “the answer to your problem could be within yourself” as seen in the example of the woman with the issue of blood. God can, to prove that He has power, “use me and you” – the old man said. He added that God can use anything to achieve His purpose in the life of people.
The man of outstanding spiritual performance, honour and exemplary virtues also spoke on the fact that God wants his people “to go above the snake line” because the lower portion of same is governed by aches, pains, troubles, frustrations, tribulations, tears, fears and discontentment. To Pastor Upthegrove, T.B. Joshua is “living above the snake line and he teaches on how to live beyond the snake line”. And that “Anything between you and God is your god. When you get into the glory realm, everything is forgiven. You are free”. This credible personality of enviable versatility said God had mandated him to present some of A.A. Allen’s articles to T.B. Joshua to remind him always of the need to hold on fast to the faith and be more exemplary in performance and character. These included the symbolic personal stamp of Allen, used on every letter especially between 1965 and 1968; the “Miracle Magazine”, (published in 1960) and photographs of the Miracle Valley in Arizona, USA. Though personally handed over to C.S. Upthegrove by A.A. Allen, it was his desire to pass the “seal of authority” to another prophet of God.
The Easter celebration, 2012, was thus of dual significance. It was to commemorate the resurrection of the Lord as a symbol of God’s acceptance of man and for His salvation. In The SCOAN, it was a season of authentic confirmation of T.B. Joshua as a strong tool fashioned by God to be one of the twelve end-time prophets/ apostles, and it was significant that the message was delivered to a God’s minister in a far-away land.
Of course, The SCOAN is not a strange name among thousands of widows, widowers, the physically challenged, the poor, the helpless, the sick, the needy and orphans within Nigeria and beyond. Joshua has been massively honoured for his limitless and unsolicited philanthropic acts through award of scholarships and assistance to the homeless, bereaved, lonely, famished and abandoned, regardless of nationality, ethnic particularity and religion. Emmanuel TV has been a source of hope for the sick and hopeless; people have received healing and deliverance by placing their hands on its screen! Sharp-edged, truthful and instantaneous prophecies had been made (and still are) in the church, which is why the crowd is always tumultuous in the vicinity of the church’s headquarters in Lagos. It is the church for the leaders and the led; men and women with fervent hope of spiritual liberation. Various organizations have sprung up, in the name of Emmanuel TV Partners across the globe, and are doing well in the area of philanthropy and mass mobilization for Christ – the awards to Joshua will not end, really, and this may be confirmed with the recent proclamations by C.S. Upthegrove, the irrepressible man of God!
Fajenyo and Patrick are foremost journalists and Fellows of Social Engineering Research Initiative.