March 30th // March 31st: NIGERIA’S GREAT “PASSOVER”

 

“In the eleventh year (of his sojourn in the top echelon of national politics), in…the third month, GOD's Message came to me: “Son of man, tell (that man), that pompous old goat: “'Who do you, astride the world, think you really are? I made (you) beautiful, a work of art in limbs and leaves, The envy of every tree in (Nigeria’s Politics)…'” Therefore, GOD, the Master, says, “'Because (you) skyscrapered upwards, piercing the clouds, swaggering and proud of (your) stature, I turned (you) over to a world-famous leader to call (your) evil to account. I'd had enough.” (Ezekiel 31:1-2; 9-11 MSG)

 

Could that be a word from the Lord or a fallacy of hasty generalisation? This much I know:

  • The Presidential election results so far has been interesting…
  • God can change a seat of government without changing the one who sits on the seat…

 

I've said it before and I will say it again that Nigeria, like Israel, has an interesting place in God’s scheme of things. Yes, we are not Jews, but GOD SEEMS TO HAVE SOME INTERESTING INTEREST IN OUR NATION.[1]

 

In the Bible, Isaiah prophesied to a nation “beyond the rivers of Ethiopia … WHOSE LAND IS DIVIDED BY RIVERS” (Isaiah 18:1-2). Another translation describes that nation as a “people FULL OF FEARS FROM THEIR BEGINNING, and UNTIL NOW, a people TIRED OF WAITING and TRODDEN DOWN” (Jubilee 2000). Is there a better geographical and pictorial description of Nigeria?

 

But I’ve got some good news; the same people that had so waited for freedom and fulfilment of God’s words that they are “tired of waiting” can now expect the much-sought-after liberation! Why? Passover is here!

 

The first Passover occurred on the night before Israel’s exodus from slavery in Egypt and has ever since been observed as a reminder of their great deliverance. It’s one feast that involves EVERY MEMBER of the family.

 

DADDY plays a game with the children, hiding crumbs of bread (leavened bread) throughout the house—on the bookshelves, behind the furniture, on window sills. Then the children come like an army, ferreting out all the crumbs. When they find some leaven they shout for their Dad, who comes with a feather and a wooden spoon. He carefully brushes the crumbs into the spoon with the feather, carries them to the fire and throws them in. He dons a white robe, called a “kittel”, and a white crown to “officiate” the service as it were.

 

***Interesting symbolism! Nigeria is entering into A SEASON OF PLEASANT DIVINE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN OUR FATHER AND HIS CHILDREN, TO RUN THE LEAVEN OF CORRUPTION OUT OF OUR WALLS! The “God of Creation” has donned Himself in His royal cape to guide our leaders right and help our youths the truth to know…

 

While Daddy and the kids are busy doing that, MUMMY is busy in the kitchen, bringing out the special Passover dishes and tableware. She trims the home with white linen for the Passover service. The table is set with a white tablecloth and white candles, and ONLY A WOMAN (supposedly the mother of the house) is permitted to light the candles as the preparation continues. Normally, women do very little in Judaism, and almost nothing in orthodox Judaism. But during Passover, THEY LIGHT THE CANDLES.

 

***Yes, WOMEN ARE NOT SPARED IN THIS WIND OF CHANGE. You think women have been active in recent times in the evolution of the Nigeria of God’s vision? Wait and see what is about to happen! God is set to use the women tremendously at various cadres. SOME OF THEM ARE LIGHTING THE CANDLES OF THIS GREAT PASSOVER ON THEIR KNEES AND IN THEIR CLOSETS…SOME OTHERS ARE DOING IT ON THE SILVER SCREEN, IN THE MARKET PLACES, IN THE UNTHINKABLE ZONES OF RURAL AND URBAN LIVES.

 

THE YOUNGEST MEMBER of the family who can read asks the father FOUR QUESTIONS. These questions have undoubtedly been asked since the Exodus from Egypt and have to do with the particulars of that great event. And THESE QUESTIONS ARE POINTERS TO THE NITTY GRITTY OF OUR PROPHETIC EXODUS:

 

1. On all other night, we can eat any bread we so desire, but on this night we eat only UNLEAVENED BREAD. Why?

2. On all other nights we eat any kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat only BITTER HERBS. Why?

3. On all other nights we do not dip, but tonight WE DIP TWICE. Why?

4. On this night WE ALL RECLINE IN OUR CHAIRS at the table. Why?

 

The answers to those questions hold an interesting revelation for the ESSENCE OF THE SEASON THAT NIGERIA IS IN!

 

***THE UNLEAVENED BREAD symbolizes PURITY, of course, since leaven (yeast) represents sin. Nigeria, as a nation, has sinned—no doubt about that. We have been “terrible from our beginning onwards”[2]. I once shared how our national flag was adulterated. There was something that Pa Taiwo Akinkunmi, who designed the flag, added but was removed from the flag by the committee-in-charge: THE SYMBOL OF DIVINE PROTECTION (a red quarter Sun). As if that was not enough, at age 17, we hosted the largest celebration of idolatory… Immediately afterwards, we changed our national anthem[3]… and deeper and deeper, we spiralled into series of uncontrollable issues.

 

But our Father is doing some LEAVEN EXTRACTION right about now. Many of His children are gathering here and there to commit the nation back into His hands at such a time as this. More pertinent than arguing on who the crown fits or whose certificates are genuine is our need for our Father to REDEFINE OUR NATIONAL VISION TO US. We need Him to purge our land of the DEMONS OF CORRUPTION, EXTREMISM and TERRORISM. We need Him to take out the leaven… that we may cross over into the depth of His pleasant realities for us as a nation.

 

THE BITTER HERBS reminds the Israelites of the bitterness of slavery in Egypt. It’s the picture of Nigeria before our national salvation. And how we have had our share of bitterness!

 

#BringBackOurGirls

#BokoHaram

#Poverty

#FailedPowerSector

#PoorRoads

#Insecurity

#Corruption

#FailedLeadership

…to mention but a few.

 

***As you go to the polls on the 14th day of February, rehearse the unpleasantness of our yester-moments … and rejoice at the arrival of our exodus! 

 

THE DIPPING TWICE, (by which Jesus identified His betrayer, Judas) has several traditional meanings. The parsley is dipped twice in salt water—an imagery of how the Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry land. The “first dip” is Israel, going into the Sea and coming out unharmed. The “second dip” is for the Egyptian army who tried to follow them—the parsley is dipped and then immediately eaten—down the hatch with Pharaoh's persecutors! 

 

***So guess what? ANYONE THAT ATTEMPTS TO HINDER GOD’S TIMELY SALVATION FOR THIS NATION AT THIS TIME SHALL BE “IMMEDIATELY EATEN!” As Pharaoh and his host perished in their scheme of opposition, ANY OPPOSITION TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF GOD’S COUNSEL FOR NIGERIA AT THIS TIME SHALL PERISH, SAYS THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD! 

 

RECLINING IN THE CHAIRS has to do with A POSTURE OF REST AND FREEDOM. Not only do the Jews recline in chairs during Passover, they actually sit on pillows! They are no longer slaves and so they can relax. If being delivered out of slavery is symbolic of redemption, then sitting on a pillow is symbolic of what it feels like to be assured of one’s salvation.

 

***So, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE OUTCOME OF THE ELECTIONS, be assured that THE TIDES HAVE CHANGED FOR NIGERIA. Be assured that THE KINGDOM HAS CHANGED! Be assured that “THE KINGDOM HAS COME!” BELIEVE IT, AND RECEIVE IT! Put a nice soft pillow on a nice soft dining room chair and sit on all that nice softness. That's salvation, brother! …and ours is here, says the Spirit of the Lord. 

 

Passover, then, tells our whole story, from our bitter life of slavery before the divine intervention that set us on our final trip to be with our Father in the Promised Land. How wonderful that God has connected it all together so beautifully, and placed it into the Passover service.

 

THE HYMN

The Passover service ends with the hymn. In the gospel it says, concluding the Passover, “And WHEN THEY HAD SUNG AN HYMN, they went out into the Mount of Olives” (Matthew 26:30).

 

In fact, “Hymn” is hardly the term for the Passover songs. A proper Passover hymn might have the neighbours bringing in the cops! The Jews rocked the whole block with their singing and their downright happiness. They gave Passover a send-off that would last a whole year!

 

***Can we embrace and seal our new found freedom with joyful chants of our national hymn! I’ll give you an excerpt—from the OLD and the NEW stanzas…

 

Nigeria, we hail thee,

Our own dear native land,

Though tribe and tongue may differ,

In brotherhood we stand…

And this we count as gain,

To hand on to our children

A banner without stain.

 

O God of all creation,

Grant this our one request,

Help us to build a nation

Where no man is oppressed,

And so with peace and plenty

Nigeria may be blessed.

 

O God of all creation

Direct our noble cause

Guide our leaders right

Help our youth the truth to know

In love and honesty to grow

And living just and true

Great lofty heights attain

To build a nation where peace

And justice shall reign.

 

Amen.

 

IN CONCLUSION: A BIBLICAL PARALLEL (2 Chronicles 30 MSG)

 

It has happened before—a National Passover that was held in a kingdom that had been baptised in the murky waters of corruption and idolatory…in the days of Hezekiah.

 

King Hezekiah sent out a prophetic note like this piece that you have read and ended it with an invitation to be a part of the Passover But the people poked fun at (the messengers sent and), treated them as a joke. But not all; SOME…WEREN'T TOO PROUD TO ACCEPT THE INVITATION and come to Jerusalem” (vss 10-11).

 

Eventually, multitudes gathered. But not all of them were “qualified” to partake of the Passover according to God’s laid down rules. Hezekiah prayed for these as follows: “May GOD who is all good, pardon and forgive everyone who sincerely desires GOD, the God of our ancestors. Even—ESPECIALLY!—THESE WHO DO NOT MEET THE LITERAL CONDITIONS STATED FOR ACCESS TO THE TEMPLE.” (vss 18 & 19).

 

And wouldn’t you know it? The Gracious God “responded to Hezekiah's prayer and healed the people.” (vs 20).

 

What was the end-result of this mass-Passover celebration?

 

So there was GREAT JOY in (Nigeria): for since (INDEPENDENCE) [there was] not the like in (Nigeria). Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came [up] to his holy dwelling place, [even] unto heaven.” (2 Chronicles 30:26-27 KJV)

 

May this be our national reality in Nigeria, too.

 

Amen.

 

 

P.S.

Just a suggestion from me to you.

  • Tomorrow morning, observe the Passover in your home! Turn your breakfast into a Passover. Your rice and beans, eba or tuwo, biscuit or pop corn—turn it into a feast of celebration!
  • If you don’t know what to do, just say a prayer of thanks for our national deliverance from the demons of corruption, extremism and terrorism. And chant the second stanza of our national anthem.
  • And would you share this note with someone?

 

I’ll appreciate it.

 

________________

[1] The other day I shared some prophecies that are hanging, awaiting fulfilment concerning Nigeria. (You can check it out here https://www.facebook.com/notes/ola-joseph-kolawole/nigeria-shall-rise-again-says-the-lord-1924/460270901810 ).

[2] See Isaiah 18:2 NKJV

[3] While working on this article, I discovered that by popular opinion, the former anthem is even more vision-casting and prayer-filled than the new one and that there is already an agreement at the National Conference to revert back to the old anthem. http://www.punchng.com/opinion/the-problem-with-nigeria-we-hail-thee/

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