HISTORY: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ESAN PEOPLE OF EDO STATE, NIGERIA

Republished by Theophilus Izobofolo

HISTORY: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ESAN PEOPLE OF EDO STATE, NIGERIA

The Esan people (Esan: Ẹ̀bhò Ẹ̀sán) are an ethnic group of south-south Nigeria who speak the Esan language. The Esan are traditionally agriculturalists and hunters. They cultivate palm trees, Irvingia gabonensis (erhonhiele), Cherry (Otien), bell pepper (akoh) coconut, betel nut, kola nut, black pear, avocado pear, yams, cocoyam, cassava, maize, rice, beans, groundnut, bananas, oranges, plantains, sugar cane, tomato, potato, okra, pineapple, paw paw, and various vegetables.

The modern Esan nation is believed to have been organized during the 15th century, when citizens, mostly nobles and princes, left the neighbouring Benin Empire for the northeast. They formed communities and kingdoms called Eguares among the aboriginal peoples whom they met there.

There are on the whole 35 established kingdoms in Esanland, including Ebelle, Ewohimi, Ekpoma, Ubiaja, Uromi, Uzea, Igueben, Ewatto, Irrua, Opoji, Ugboha and Ewu.

The Esan people primarily speak the Esan language, an Edoid language related to Edo, Urhobo, Owan language, Isoko, and Etsako. It is considered a regionally important language in Nigeria, and it is taught in primary schools in addition to being broadcast on radio and television. The Esan language is also recognized in the Census of the United Kingdom.

It is estimated that the Esan people who reside in Esanland number about one million to 2.5 million citizens in Nigeria and there is a strong Esan diaspora. Esan-speaking communities exist in the United States, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada, Spain, and Italy. Pan-Esan groups such as the Esan World Congress have kept the Esan community tight-knit.

ORIGIN OF ESAN

The biggest influence on Esanland came from Edo, founders of Benin Empire.

In 1460, Oba Ewuare passed laws of mourning that prohibited sexual intercourse, bathing, drumming, dancing, and cooking. These laws proved too restrictive for many citizens, and these citizens fled the kingdom to Esanland. This exodus shaped Esanland’s modern cultural identity and gave rise to the term “Esan,” or “refugee.” Oral tradition has heavily supported this theory. Prominent Esan and Edo historians have collected stories about this migration.

The term Esan has been applied to the Esan people for thousands of years and was used before contact with Europeans. It is believed by many historians that the name ‘Esan’ (originally, ‘E san fia’) owes its origin to Bini (meaning, ‘they have fled’ or ‘they jumped away’ from an uncomfortable system).

‘Ishan’ is an Anglicized form of ‘Esan’, the result of colonial Britain’s inability to properly pronounce the name of this ethnic group. It is believed that similar corruption has affected such Esan names as ubhẹkhẹ (now ‘obeche’ tree), uloko (now ‘iroko’ tree), Abhuluimẹn (now ‘Aburime’), etc.

ESAN WARS

During the 16th century, the Uzea War occurred. This war was between the Uromi Kingdom and the Benin Kingdom. The war lasted from 1502 to 1503, and resulted from a refusal of friendship from Oba Ozolua of Benin by Onojie Agba of Uromi. The war ended at the town of Uzea, when both leaders were killed. However, in peaceful times Esan kingdoms would loan soldiers to the Benin Kingdom, such as during the Idah War of 1515-1516, and the sacking of Akure in 1823.

During the nineteenth century, northern Esanland was continually attacked and sacked by the Muslim Nupe people in the hunt for slaves and converts to Islam, having previously taken over the Kukuruku peoples’ lands. Many Esan kingdoms from the south helped in the battle to fend off the Nupes. The battles came into the Esans’ favor; several Nupe and Etsako warriors were brought into Esan cities where their posterity reside today. The nineteenth century brought increasing influence of Europe on Esanland, as the English demanded palm-products.

In 1897, the British sacked the Benin Empire, effectively leaving the Esans free from British rule.

In 1899, the British led an invasion into the Esan kingdoms that lasted for seven years. Esanland proved to be harder to conquer than the Benin Kingdom because of its strong autonomy: Kingdoms chose to keep fighting the British even if its neighbors fell. Fallen Benin chiefs like Ologbosere and Ebohon were still resistant to British rule inadvertently guarded Esan soil from the west, by establishing military camps and blocking roads. This lasted from 1897 to April 22. 1899, where Ologbosere surrendered at the border village of Okemue.

The first kingdom to be attacked by the British was the Kingdom of Ekpon. Ekpon launched a fierce resistance against the British invasion on April 22, which nearly destroyed the kingdom. After the near genocide of Esans at Ekpon, the kingdom of Ekpon led an ambush of the British camp at Okueme, on April 29. This led British forces to retreat, consolidate their power, and kill Ologbosere in May. Subsequent attempts by the British failed as well: conquests into Irrua, for example, led to an adoption of a guerrilla warfare strategy followed by a retreat; this method was so successful that other Esan kingdoms adopted it and the British did not invade Esanland until 1901.

On March 16, 1901, the Kingdom of Uromi, headed by the old, yet intelligent Onojie Okolo, was attacked by the British. The Uromi resistance, led by Prince Okojie, was swift and employed guerrilla warfare.

After a short time, British forces overtook the village Amedeokhian, where Okolo was stationed, and murdered him. This angered Prince Okojie so much that he killed the Captain of the British troops before reinforcements were brought in. The British then realized that Uromi was nigh impenetrable without native help, and contact local sympathizers such as Onokpogua, the Ezomo of Uromi. This succeeded in napping Prince Okojie out of the forest and deported to the British offices at Calabar.

GEOGRAPHY

Esan land is bordered to the south by Benin City, to the south-east by Agbor, to the north and east by Etsako, to the west by River Niger. From Ewu to Benin City, the State capital, is 100 km long. No accurate demographic data of the people is available and the various local governments in Esan appear to lack reliable information in this direction. The people populate areas such as Uromi, Ewohimi, Ewatto, Igueben, Irrua, Ubiaja, Ogwa, Ebelle, Ekpon, Ewossa and Amahor, Ekpoma, Ohordua and Ewu in central Edo State, South-South Nigeria. It has a flat landscape, lacking in rocks and mountains, and good for agricultural purpose. The topography of Esanland Ekpon plateau starts its rise from Ekpon and into six miles slope to Ewohimi, creating “Ekpon mini Plateau” . Ekpon is the gateway to Esanland, South East and the first of Esanland Kingdom therein as a border town, where centuries contacts with neighbors south in the Niger Delta, have influenced its Esan dialects by its earlier contacts through subsistence agriculture with the Ika speaking people of Igbanke, Oligie Igbodo etc.

PRESENT DAY LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS

Esan West L.G.A., with it’s headquarter in Ekpoma

Esan Central L.G.A., with it’s headquarter in Irrua

Esan North East L.G.A., with it’s headquarter in Uromi

Esan South East L.G.A., with it’s headquarter in Ubiaja

Igueben L.G.A. with it’s headquarter in Igueben.

AGRICULTURE

Rubber trees (used for the production of plastic products) and palm trees rank highest among Esan trees. The land’s variety of fruits range from mango, orange (ate), grapes, pineapples (edinebo), guava, cashew, banana (oghede), plantain, black pear, avocado pear, lime to walnut and even more. Cassava, yam, cocoa yam, sweet potato, pepper, okra and rice are some of its farm produce. It has numerous streams that are too small to afford fishing.

CULTURAL ENTERTAINMENT

Esan dance is dominated by the Igbabonelimhin, an acrobatic dance performed mostly by young males. Igbabonelimhin involves spinning and somersaulting to a timed beat. This dance was mostly performed at New Year’s. Today, the dance is taken as a unique symbol for Esans everywhere.

Other highly entertaining dances include, Agbenojie, Uleke, Ukinabojie, Asonogun, Abayon, Ojeke, etc.

Among musical instruments, the akpata, an African harp, is common among traditional Esan storytellers who would tell stories known as Ulogho.

RELIGION AND FESTIVALS

Today, Esan People are mainly Christians. Over the centuries, Christianity spread across the Esan community. The New Yam Festivals of the Esan people are celebrated from September to November and are collectively referred to as ‘’Ihuan’’.

FOOD

Esan people are addicted to pounded yam with ogbono soup and bush-meat. Their native black soup, omoebe is a must! They however appreciate other Nigerian cuisines.

DRESSING

For the men, Ukpesan is the traditional attire. It is mostly worn at weddings and important events.

The Esan people also dress in an ashobi (a headpiece, a blouse and a long skirt) and traditional village garments.

MILITARY

Esan kingdoms did not have standing armies; rather, kingdoms set up emergency programs in which all of the able bodied men in said kingdom would fight. If a kingdom was attacked, the onojie would contact the edionwele to mobilize the forces. The onojie or odionwele would then appoint a commander, or ‘’okakulo’’ to control forces. The ‘’okakulo’’ would usually be a noble, physically strong, of the ‘’Igene’’ age group and a feared medicine man and man of valour. Typical Esan weapons would include the bow and arrow, crossbow, barbed cudgel and machete, in addition to Dane guns used after the fifteenth century. War would be declared if the kingdom was attacked, if a wife was seized, or if a man was killed (if the latter two occurred, the kingdom could choose to make reprisals.)

ESAN TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE RITES AND BRIDE PRICE REQUIREMENTS

Esan people value their children, male or female, this is why unlike some cultures; the bride price is very low. The payment of bride price is vital to the conclusion of marriage notable under Esan native law, which like any other customary law marriage in Nigeria; it is recognized under the Marriage Act.

The impression being that Esan people do not sell their daughters into marriage, the requested amount for bride price is usually meagre; 24 Naira (representing 24 cowries or British pounds used in the pre-colonial and colonial days). A huge sum is usually presented these days, from which the prominent members of the bride’s family would remove a small amount and refund the balance to the groom for his wife, their daughter`s up keeping.

We have two major types of marriages in Esan Land: Monogamy- A marriage between one man to one woman and Polygamy- A marriage between one man to two or more wives.

Traditional marriage is usually an arrangement between two families as opposed to an arrangement between two individuals.

The man usually pays the bride-price and is thus considered the head of the family. Adultery is acceptable for men but forbidden for women.

Marriage ceremonies vary among Esan Clans.

Sometimes parents actually go looking for a wife or husband for their children. This led to the BETROTHAL SYSTEM where marriage was conducted with or without the consent of the individuals involved. Sometimes such betrothal, took place when a baby girl was born. Suitors would begin to approach the parents by sending a log of wood or bundle of yam to the parents of the child. You are likely to hear statements such as -” Imu’ Ikerhan gboto”-I have dropped a log of firewood. When a boy decides to get married and the parents have accepted the bride as a prospective daughter-in-law, messages go up and down between the two families. This is called IVBUOMO-SEEKING FOR A BRIDE.

Series of investigations are conducted by both families – about the disease, scandals and crimes which may affect the families.

The terms of the marriage which of course may include the bride-price, would be settled in some families. Gifts for mother of the bride and IROGHAE- members of the extended family would be part of the settlement. Then a date would be set for the ceremony which would take place in the home of the woman’s family.  The OKA EGBE of the woman’s family would normally preside over the ceremony.

Many years ago, the woman would be sent to the bridegroom house about thirteen days after IWANIEN OMO and gingerly hoisted either on her husband’s lap or the OKAEGBE of his family. They are done immediately nowadays in the home of the bridegroom. The bride, now known as OVBIOHA would be led by her relatives to the husband’s house with all her property meanwhile, the family and friends of the bridegroom are feasting, drinking, singing and dancing while waiting for the bride to arrive.

As the family and friends of the bridegroom await the bride (OVBIOHA), messages will arrive suggesting that there are UGHUNGHUN-barriers on the road. The bridegroom has to remove the barriers by sending money to the party, bringing the wife to him or else the wife will not arrive. As they approach the house of the bridegroom, you can hear the echo of OVBIOHA GHA MIEN ARO-ARO, meaning “Bride! Be proud/ the Bride is proud.” Arrival at the bridegroom’s house is immediately followed by the ceremony of IKPOBO-OVBIOHA-washing of the bride’s hands. A bowl of water with money in it would be brought out. A woman in the groom’s family, sometimes his senior wife would bring out a new head tie, wash the hand of the Ovbioha in the bowl and dries her hand with the head tie. Both the new head tie and the money in the bowl belong to the bride.

A few days later, the bride would be taken to the family altar and prayers are said for her. She undergoes what is called the IGBIKHIAVBO ceremony-beating of OKRO on the flat mortar. This would be followed by a visit by the bride’s mother-in-law and other female members of the family to the newlywed if they are not living in the same house. She would demand the bedspread on which they both slept when they had their “first sexual relationship” after the wedding and if the bed-spread was stained with blood, the bride was regarded as a virgin and as such she would be given many presents including money. If it is proven that she was not a virgin, then the preparation for the ceremony of the IVIHEN-OATH TAKING ceremony would be set in motion.

First, she has to confess to the older women, the “other men” in her life before she got married. The husband would never be told any of her confessions, then, she would be summoned to the family shrine early in the morning, without warning to take an oath of FIDELITY, FAITHFULNESS, TRUSTWORTHINESS, HONESTY ETC, to her husband and family. This ceremony is the equivalent of the oath people takes in the church, mosque or marriage registry. Once the oath taking ceremony is over, she would be fully accepted back into the family and immediately becomes married not only to her husband but to the family and sometimes to the community.

Christianity, Islam and Westernization of today have weakened the Edo traditional system of marriage. The traditional ceremony is sometimes done the same day with many of the rituals avoided in the name of Christianity or Islam and many women would rather die than take the oath we described above. It was the oath that kept Edo women out of prostitution for many years; thus making the Edo women, in general, to be regarded as very faithful, trustworthy, honest with strong fidelity to their husbands making neighbouring tribes want them as wives. It also made divorce on the ground of adultery, less common in those days.TES AND BRIDE PRICE REQUIREMENTS

Below is an average bride price list.

Use the below bride price list to draw up your marriage introduction budget, and be prepared by saving up before contacting your future in-laws.

The Holy Bible  – 1 (one)

1 Umbrella

1 suitcase filled with clothes (box of wrappers)

2 bottles of hot drinks (schnapps)

1 crate of malt drinks

1 plate of kolanuts

1 bag of salt

25 liters of palm oil for the bride’s mother

1 jar of palm wine

1 carton of wine for sundry use (the groom should hold this)

3 crates of malt for women of the lineage

6 carton of beer for men of the lineage (broken down into: 2 cartons of small Guinness stout; 2 cartons of Star beer; 2 cartons of Gulder beer)

28 tubers of yam arrange in groups of seven

14 tubers of yam for the eldest man in the lineage

N1,500 cash for the dowry

N5,000 cash for the bride’s mother

N3,000 cash for the bride’s father

N9,000 cash for the men in bride’s lineage

N6,000 cash for the women bride’s lineage

TABOOS

– When a woman is married to an Esan man, it is an abomination for another man to touch her wrapper, else it is considered as though she has committed adultery unless the married woman shouts at the man or reports to her husband.

– It is an abomination for married couples or anyone at that to have s*x in the afternoon as it is believed that a certain spirit would be angered by the act.

– When a woman commits adultery, she will loose her children and her life as repercussion for the abominable act unless she confesses and as restitution, she is stri*ped completely unclad, a part of her head is shaved, a part of her private part is shaved, one of her armpits is shaved and both of her hands are tied behind her, while a basket full of trash is placed on her head. She is then paraded around the community by other women.

– If this is not done and the woman goes ahead to cook for her children, her children will die one after the other including her. If she also confesses to her husband and out of love or pity her husband conceals the confession, he will die within a week, if he eats a meal cooked by the woman.

– It is a taboo for another man to cross an outstretched legs of a married woman else it is considered as though she already had s*x with the man.

– A married woman can not steal her husband’s money in Esan land as it is seen as an abomination. She must tell him about it.

– It is considered an abomination for a man to sit on the matrimonial bed of an Esan couple as it is seen as a taboo.

– It is also an abomination for a woman to spit on her husband under any circumstance. If she does, she must sacrifice a fowl to appease him but the man can bathe his wife with his own spit.

– It is seen as an abomination for an Esan man to use the same bathing bucket with his wife but due to widespread Christianity, this taboo has almost gone into extinction.

– The husband of a woman who just gave birth must stay away from her sexually for three months as she’s considered unclean because of the after delivery blood she discharges.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/875243252562326/permalink/2329438590476111/

ESAN CULTURE ON WOMEN’S INFIDELITY

Facebook With 27 Organizations In The world to Start The Non-profit Libra Association By 2020

By: Mark Zuckerberg


On the 18 of June Mark Zuckerberg updated his Facebook page saying “Facebook With 27 Organizations In The world to Start The Non-profit Libra Association By 2020”

Today, Facebook is coming together with 27 organizations around the world to start the non-profit Libra Association and create a new currency called Libra.

Libra’s mission is to create a simple global financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people around the world. It’s powered by blockchain technology and the plan is to launch it in 2020. You can read more about the association here: https://libra.org

Being able to use mobile money can have an important positive impact on people’s lives because you don’t have to always carry cash, which can be insecure, or pay extra fees for transfers. This is especially important for people who don’t have access to traditional banks or financial services. Right now, there are around a billion people who don’t have a bank account but do have a mobile phone.

We aspire to make it easy for everyone to send and receive money just like you use our apps to instantly share messages and photos. To enable this, Facebook is also launching an independent subsidiary called Calibra that will build services that let you send, spend and save Libra — starting with a digital wallet that will be available in WhatsApp and Messenger and as a standalone app next year.

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Calibra will be regulated like other payment service providers. Any information you share with Calibra will be kept separate from information you share on Facebook. From the beginning, Calibra will let you send Libra to almost anyone with a smartphone at low to no cost. Over time, we hope to offer more services for people and businesses — like paying bills with the push of a button, buying coffee with the scan of a code, or riding local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.

In addition to our efforts, many other companies will build their own services using Libra — from payment companies like Mastercard, PayPal, PayU, Stripe and Visa, to popular services like Booking, eBay, Farfetch, Lyft, Spotify and Uber, to non-profits doing important work around financial inclusion like Kiva, Mercy Corps and Women’s World Banking, to companies in the crypto space like Anchorage, Coinbase, Xapo, and Bison Trails. A number of leading Venture firms are also joining to help drive innovation on the Libra network. We’re hoping to have over 100 cofounding members of the Libra Association by the time the network launches next year.

All of this is built on blockchain technology. It’s decentralized — meaning it’s run by many different organizations instead of just one, making the system fairer overall. It’s available to anyone with an internet connection and has low fees and costs. And it’s secured by cryptography which helps keep your money safe.

This is an important part of our vision for a privacy-focused social platform — where you can interact in all the ways you’d want privately, from messaging to secure payments.

Privacy and safety will be built into every step. For example, Calibra will have a dedicated team of experts in risk management focused on preventing people from using Calibra for fraudulent purposes. We’ll provide fraud protection so if you lose your Libra coins, we’ll offer refunds. We also believe it’s important for people to have choices, so you’ll have the option to use many other third-party wallets on the Libra network.

There’s still a lot more to learn and do before Libra will be ready to officially launch. We know it’s a major undertaking and responsibility — and we’re committed to getting this right. We’ve been working with policymakers and experts in areas like financial inclusion, economics, security, privacy and blockchain, and we’ll continue listening to their feedback as we figure out the best way to move forward. We’re thankful for their partnership, and for all the businesses, organizations, and academic institutions that are part of the Libra Association.

This is the beginning of an exciting journey and I’m looking forward to sharing more soon.

ERRORS OF THE WORD OF FAITH – YOU ARE GODS 

By: Abiodun Jemilehun


ERRORS OF THE WORD OF FAITH – YOU ARE GODS

The main pillar on which the Word of Faith hangs is the thought that the Christian is a god! Faith teachers teach that since the Christian is a child of God, it implies that he is also a god because like begets like. They claim that the man in Christ is in the class of God by virtue of his faith. He has a creative ability like God and can speak things into existence just like God spoke the world into existence in the book of Genesis. All these they premise on John 10:34-35.

“34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’? 35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken).” (John 10:34-35)

Is it true that the man in Christ is a god?

We have to start by firstly comparing the characteristics of the true God to those of the man in Christ.

First, there is only one God, according to the Scripture. All other gods are false. So, the man in Christ cannot be a god. Though he has the Spirit of God in him, he is human.

“Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Mar 12:29)

“5 For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth-as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”- 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (1Co 8:5-6)

How a Christian could refer to himself as a god despite these scriptures and several similar ones that speak clearly to the contrary beats my imagination.

Second, God has no beginning and end. He was not created and He does not die. Though the man in Christ has eternal life by faith, he was created and “recreated” by God and he dies in the natural. Therefore, he is not a god. He is a full-blooded man.

Third, the true God is all-powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient) and present everywhere (omnipresent). We know that the Christian does not possess any of these attributes, hence, he is not a god. He is a man.

Forth, God is perfect. He has no flaws. We know that the Christian man is imperfect. Though he is legally righteous before God, practically speaking he makes mistakes, thence, he is not a god.

Fifth, God is autonomous. He is self-existing. He acts independently. He does not derive His authority from anyone. The man in Christ is dependent. Though he has a reasonable level of latitude to act, he will give account of his actions to God one day. His authority is a delegated one. Christ gave it to him. This simply shows that he is not a god.

What message was Jesus getting across to the Jews in John 10:34-35?

The event that led to Jesus’s comment in that Bible passage happened after He healed the man who was born blind in John chapter 9. One must at least read from verse 22 to 36 of John 10 to get Jesus’ message clearly. For the purpose of this discourse, we would cite verse 30-36.

“30 I and My Father are one.”31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?”33 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’? 35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” (John 10:30-36)

The Jews came to Jesus asking Him to tell them in clear terms if He was the Messiah. Jesus answered that He had told them in the past that He is but they would not believe. He reprimanded them that the works (the miracles) he performed in His Father’s name bore witness to his Messiahship but they would not believe. In verse 30, Jesus stated categorically that the Father and Himself are one. This offended the Jews because they interpreted it to mean that He equated Himself with God. They picked up stones to kill Him for blasphemy. Jesus then quoted Psalm 82:6 to educate them.

“I said, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High.” (Psalm 82:6)

Again, we have to examine the whole of Psalm 86 in order to understand what God said through Asaph the Psalmist here.

“1 God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods. 2 How long will you judge unjustly, And show partiality to the wicked? Selah 3 Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. 4 Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked. 5 They do not know, nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable. 6 I said, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High. 7 But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.” 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; For You shall inherit all nations.” (Psalm 82:1-8)

The Hebrew word translated “gods” in this Bible passage is “Elohiym.” It occurred 2601 times in the Old Testament part of the KJV Bible. Elohiym is a plural word (gods) that is generally used for the supreme God. It is also used for false gods and occasionally used in deference to magistrates (judges). For example, Elohiym is translated as “Judges” in Exodus 21:6, Exodus 22:8 and Exodus 22:9.

“If the thief is not found, then the master of the house shall be brought to the JUDGES (Elohiym) to see whether he has put his hand into his neighbor’s goods.” (Exo 22:8)

God’s message in Psalm 82 is very clear. He addressed the corrupt Judges of Israel who perverted justice. They could have done this as a result of bribery and corruption.

We know that justice primarily belongs to God. Judges are God’s delegates in the dispensation of justice to man. Therefore, God referred to them as gods because they perform a function that primarily belongs to Him. This is the sense in which the word “gods” was used in the Mosaic Law and Psalm 82 in deference to Judges. God didn’t refer to them as “gods” who are in the class of the supreme God as the faith teachers teach. God stated this without ambiguity in verse 7 as he reminded them of their humanity and mortality.

“6 Didn’t I commission you as judges, saying, ‘You are all like gods, since you judge on my behalf. You are all like sons of the Most High, my representatives.’ 7 Nevertheless, in death you are nothing but mere men! You will be laid in the ground like any prince and you will die.”

(Psalms 82:6‭-‬7 TPT)

Juxtaposing Psalm 82 with John 10:34-36, we see that Jesus was not referring to the man in Christ in this Bible passage as faith teachers often assert. His reference was to the corrupt Judges of ancient Israel to whom “the word of God came” through Asaph the Psalmist. That if God could refer to human Judges as gods, what is the big deal in referring to Himself, whom the Father separated apart and sent to the world as the Messiah, as the Son of God?

We see clearly here that Christians are not gods who are in the class of the supreme God as the faith teachers assert. They are humans who have the life of God in them.

ARE BELIEVERS CHRISTS? (part 1)

GOD-KIND OF FAITH: DOES GOD TRULY NEED FAITH LIKE MAN?

By: Evang. Theophilus Izobofolo


GOD-KIND OF FAITH: DOES GOD TRULY NEED FAITH LIKE MAN?

The Word of Faith (WoF) teachers are in the habit of saying people should have God-kind of faith.

This is premised on the Greek rendering of Jesus’s statement in Mark 11:22b, “Have faith in God” (echō pistis theos). This can be fairly translated to “Have the faith of God” or “Have faith in God” but the WoF teachers translate it to “Have God-kind of faith.”

With this phrase, the WoF teachers say God exhibited faith at creation when He spoke the world and its contents and the planetary bodies into existence (Gen 1:1-30). They also say He used this faith to give a child (Isaac) to Abraham in reference to Romans 4:17, “(As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead, and calls those things which are not as though they were.”

They say God used repetitive faith confessions to “call those things which are not as though they were.”

Does God truly need faith like man as these people claim?

We need to be aware that the Greek language is different from the English language in a variety of ways. In several places in the New Testament, there are no conjunctions like “of” or “in” between “faith” and “God” or “Christ” when these words are used together. It is usually the translators that supply these conjunctions with discretion. This is why many modern English Bible translations now exchange “of” with “in” in such places in contrast to what obtains the old King James Bible.

Here are five examples to buttress our arguement:

“For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the FAITH OF GOD (pistis theos) without effect?” (Rom 3:3)

“Even the righteousness of God which is by FAITH IN JESUS (pistis Iēsous ) Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.” (Rom 3:22)

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the FAITH OF CHRIST (pistis christos), and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Gal 2:16)

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the FAITH OF THE SON (pistis uihos) of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)

“And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the FAITH OF CHRIST (pistis christos) , the righteousness which is of God by faith.” (Phil 3:9)

So, in line with this thought, it is correct to translate Mark 11:22b to “Have faith in God” like we have it in most English translations of the Bible.

Christ was not telling the disciples to have God-kind of faith like the WoF teachers say, He was simply telling them to have faith in God as we have it. So, it is of no use making a doctrine of a mere grammatical issue.

Roman 4:17 can also not be used to teach that God was making faith confessions to Abraham like the WoF teachers say.

If we consider Romans 4:17 in conjunction with verses 18-22 of the same chapter, we would see clearly that God wasn’t making any faith confessions here. Rather, these scripture refers to the repetition of God’s promises to Abraham as we have it recorded in Genesis to reassure him that He would do as He promised. It was a reassurance thing and not a faith confession issue.

17 (As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead, and calls those things which are not as though they were. 18  WHO AGAINST HOPE BELIEVED IN HOPE, that he might become the father of many nations, ACCORDING TO THAT WHICH WAS SPOKEN, So shall your seed be.19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” (Rom 4:17-22)

It was not God “who against hope believed in hope”. It was Abraham who did that.

Would it not have been ridiculous if God, who created the world by mere pronouncements of “let there be”, had to make repetitive faith confessions to make Sarah conceive a child?

This type of teaching results from lack of understanding of the nature of God and the use of words.

GOD-KIND OF FAITH: DOES GOD TRULY NEED FAITH LIKE MAN?

Man is finite but God is infinite. Faith is only needed when a person is limited either by knowledge or ability. For example, a Christian does need no faith to collect money he has in his bank account but he needs faith for provision when he is broke. 

Unlike man who needs faith for tomorrow because of his limitations, God does not relate to time the way humans do. The past, present and future are the same with Him in terms of His knowledge. He is all-knowing. Not only is God all-knowing, He is also all-powerful. So, God doesn’t need any faith.

God is infinite. He is sovereign. “In him we live, move and have our being.” The Sovereign Lord needs no faith. It is finite beings like man that needs faith.

Again, faith does not exist in isolation. Faith is a relational word. It is the lesser being that exhibits faith in the higher being. We know God is the Highest. There is no one above Him.

If God needs faith indeed, in whom will He have it?

Shalom!

A CLOSED MOUTH IS A CLOSED DESTINY – words activate faith!

AFRICA AND THE BURDEN OF FUNERAL RITES – The Lessons not Learned!

By: Theophilus Izobofolo


AFRICA AND THE BURDEN OF FUNERAL RITES – The Lessons not Learned!

Africans have great value for celebrations. Death is celebrated even more than birth unless the death of an infant or a young person.

The death of a father, mother, grand and great grand parents is a celebration of life, which brings together all members of the family. Including extended family members, friends and associates, colleagues, neighbours, and towns people. It’s a fun fair that hold great tourism value.

The length of the funeral varies from place to place ranging from three to seven days or more. Food, drinks, clothing, decorations, musicians and dance groups, canopies, chairs, security, transportation, casket, and requirements for traditional rites constitutes the sum of the budget for funeral.

The traditional funeral rites which is the burial itself has witnessed evolutionary transformation. Chickens were acceptable for the burial of women, goats for men and cows for tittle holders (chiefs and kings) depending on the financial status of the affected family. In modern times only cows are acceptable for funeral rites which cost between One Hundred and fifty thousand and three hundred thousand naira (N150,000.00 – N300,000.00). Today, poor families use between two to three cows while the rich may use between five and as many as ten or twenty.

Financing the funeral is a huge burden. Some families have had to sell family assets such as land, plantation or borrow from money lenders at exorbitant interest rates. In recent times, family members have resorted to sharing the total budget as levies. In some cases, unemployed youths and women are also task to pay the compulsory burial levy.

Every family member strives to pay the levy so as to participate actively and fulfill the wish of their parents.

The unemployed members of the family usually will face some conditions that reminds them of their financial status. There are cases where they have to borrow money to pay the transport fare back to the town or city. After the funfair, everyone returns to his or her place.

While family celebrations and parties are good in themselves, the issue that should be of serious concern to every African is the financial implications imposed on poor people in the family and society.

Can’t a family task themselves in like manner to start a family business and provide employment for their members? Imagine if the N5,000,000 or N7,000,000 spent for funeral was invested in some viable members of the family or on a viable venture that can empower members, or relations.

Imagine how many assets has been lost for funeral of parents.

Educated Christian elders who retire to their communities have a great role to play here. The culture of exorbitant funerals must be discouraged. Funeral should not bury assets of the family along with the dead. The imposition of levies upon the viable members of the family is good where the proceeds forms a family pool to empower her members or create a family business.