Is Russian meddling on the cards in Nigeria’s 2019 election? By Bernard Oluwole/New Jersey

The 2016 election in the United States opened my eyes to collusion and by collusion, I mean the ‘Russian Collusion’ that has led Special Counsellor Robert Mueller on an investigation. As an African American I’m seeing similar signs unravel in Nigeria and I think a collusion might on the cards.

That Atiku Abubakar, one of the presidential candidates, share the same lobbyist as President Donald Trump should be worrying to Nigerians but more disturbing is the fact that the same night that Abubakar slept at the Trump Hotel, Vice President Mike Pence was at the hotel.

That was not a coincidence in my books, it was well orchestrated by Brian Ballard, a well-known lobbyist and a long-standing Trump ally, there the collusion must have been agreed.

Fast forward to last week, the President of Nigeria for some reasons suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the reaction of Abubakar and his party was startling. They decided to suspend their campaign. Who does that? Is the CJN a member of their party?

No, it only goes to show that he has been assured that even if he doesn’t campaign, he will win the election. You’re probably wondering, why I said that, the statement of the UK, US and EU after the suspension pointed to a collusion.

Following the official statements released by the US, UK and EU on the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, who has immediately been replaced by an acting CJN, one begins to see an all too familiar pattern.
The sovereignty of the Nigerian state is sacrosanct; hence this gang-up is not being convened in the best interest of Nigeria.

We are still watching the daily revelations coming out from the probe of Russian meddling and collusion in the US Presidential Elections of 2016 which produced Donald Trump as US President. For our ‘friends’ in the US, UK and EU, their stance clearly amounts to crying more than the bereaved.
They would not condone such infractions from their own judges, so it is baffling how they want to advise Nigeria to do the same.

Senior justices have been suspended and tried in American and British courts, but we never heard their outcry, why is it that Nigeria has suddenly become their favorite now that Onnoghen got suspended?

We know that Atiku desperately lobbied to get into the US using a PR firm that is loyal to Trump, so the swift alignment of the Trump administration that is mouthing the same words as the PDP is not surprising, millions of dollars are doing the talking here.

The UK government also tried its best to ensure safe passage to Atiku from UK to US but could not succeed until Ballard Partners were signed up to do the job. America should first take care of her domestic problems arising from the ongoing US government shutdown, before trying to pontificate on Nigerian matters. It would do well for the UK and EU to realize that the colonial era is long gone, and Nigeria is an independent nation. We need not cross any lines here.

This trend of events portrays a grand plan of interference and meddling in Nigerian affairs in order to effect a clandestine change of government by any means necessary.

Only the real voters of Nigeria have the right to decide who wins on February 16 and will get sworn in to occupy Aso Villa as from May 29, 2019.

*Bernard Oluwole is a political commentator and social activist*

THE PACT PDP HAD WITH ONNOGHEN

The truth be told, Justice ONNOGHEN should have been removed before the breakout of the asset declaration saga. Intelligence report had captured the role he played with Justice Mary Odili in the Rivers State gubernatorial election tribunal. Wike is like a godson to Dr Odili – the husband of Mary Odili a justice of the Supreme court of Nigeria. Wike’s wife is also a judge of the High Court.

Intelligence report has it that millions of dollars exchanged hands between Wike and some justices of the Supreme Court of which ONNOGHEN was chief. The supreme Court at that time reversed the judgements of the election tribunal and the appeal court in a very dubious manner. The senate president Dr Bukola Saraki also bought his acquittal at the supreme with a lot of dollars. The payments were made using fronts with different companies’ account. Nyesom Wike is the link man for the PDP with the justices of the supreme court. He was also the one who secured their support for Fayose at the supreme court. President Buhari got this report but declined to move drastically against the justices involved. It was after this that justices of the supreme came under close monitoring and scrutiny. Of course it wasn’t long before their dirty acts were exposed. If Nigerians know a quarter of the corruption these justices are involved in, nobody will bother to approach the supreme Court for redress except their partners in crime – a few corrupt SANs.

Onnoghen was just unfortunate to have mistakenly allowed deposits to be made into his bank accounts. Many judges and justices collect dollars in cash through fronts. This way, it is almost impossible to trace the bribes. Many store them in secret safes at home. The DSS knows this. Reason the residences of some judges and Justices were raided last year. I led the operation to Ngwuta’s (JSC) properties. I know what we found. It was alarming and mind boggling. If all his salaries and allowances since he started his legal career were summed up it could never have purchased what we found in his houses even if he had worked for 100yrs. They were charged to court to fulfil all righteousness but we weren’t stupid. We knew their colleagues will let them go. And they sure did. Today, the same Ngwuta JSC still sits at the Supreme Court dispensing justice. What justice?

Now to the issue of pact between Onnoghen and the PDP. Atiku knows it is very unlikely that Buhari will be defeated in February. But his plan B is to use the judiciary. Again, Wike is the go-between. That is why Atiku was desperate to have him support his candidacy. The crux of the pact is to rule against PMB at the election tribunal and order that Atiku be sworn in. They need just three justices to do this. Mary Odili will not be involved so as not give any room for suspicion. But Bode-Rhodes Vivour and Ngwuta JSC are on stand by. For your information, Bode-Rhodes Vivour is a well known PDP sympathiser. In fact, his son is a PDP house of representative aspirant in Lagos State. Ngwuta has an axe to grind with the federal government. So you can see it’s almost a done deal. There is no way Buhari would have survived an election tribunal with Onnoghen being the CJN. The CJN is the one who will constitute the panel to try the case.

The judicial option is a major game plan of the PDP. They are not depending on it for the the presidential election alone but for the barring of APC candidates in Zamfara and Rivers states. They also depend on it for Ogun state where Ladi Adebutu and Buruji Kashamu are laying claim to the governorship ticket of the party. The supreme court is set to pronounce Ladi Adebutu as the party’s candidate if PDP wins in Ogun. And by the way, the DSS has copious evidence that Chief Secondus, the PDP chairman got a cash gift of N250m from Ladi to lay claim to PdP’s ticket in Ogun.

So the suspension of the CJN is a major set back for Atiku and the PDP. It has thrown a spanner in the works for their plans. One is not surprised the party cancelled it’s presidential campaign because of the CJN’s suspension. They have no choice but to return to the drawing board. Let’s see how far they can go with less than 30days to the election.

If Nigeria must win this war against corruption, the judiciary must be sanitised. This includes lawyers and justices. Nigeria’s judiciary remains the weakest link in this fight. Unfortunately, Buhari is not doing enough. With what we have heard from his close aides at the Villa, he is always afraid of what people will say. He seems confined by the fear of being referred to as a dictator. But no one achieves anything worthwhile by being afraid of what people will say. There was enough evidence not to have confirmed Onnoghen as CJN. But he gave consent to Osinbajo after a lot of pressure. The fight must be frontal not minding whose ox is gored. That is what Lew Kuan Yew did in Singapore. He said ” I had to do some nasty things, locking fellows up without trial”. That was a Cambridge trained lawyer.

And to those who argue this fight is one-sided. As persuasive as this position is the question they should be bordered with is are the accused innocent or not. If APC is after thieves in PDP, as long as they are thieves it is fine. When PDP gets into government they should endeavor too to go after the thieves in APC. By so doing the number of thieves in our midst will be reduced. But till then,let every caught thief face judgement.

CHRIS MADUKA
Director at DSS
(PhD Criminology, University of Hull)

NB…Yes, I am a director at DSS but Chris MADUKA is a pseudonym. I’m not that stupid to reveal my real identity.

FIRST FRUITS PART 2 – MONETARY FIRST-FRUIT: ANOTHER TRICK FROM THE ARCHIVE OF THE ‘PROSPERITY GOSPEL’ PREACHERS

The doctrine of firstfruit is not as widely believed as the tithe doctrine in the Church. Let me state beforehand that I have never been a part of any Christian denomination or group that believe or teach the doctrine. However, some denominations believe and practice the doctrine and it seems to be gaining more popularity by the day.

This practice in the Church is probably based on the admonition of Solomon in Proverbs 3:9:

“Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase.” (Proverbs 3:9)

However, we know Solomon was not establishing a new doctrine apart from the Mosaic Law because to do that would have amounted to blasphemy that was punishable by death under the Old Covenant. He was only affirming the Mosaic Law.

Firstfruit has no single definition in the Church today. Since I have never been a part of any Christian group that practices the doctrine, I would rely on the definitions I gleaned from different sources. The definition of firstfruit, according to those who advocate it, is the first salary or wage the Christian receives from a new job. There is the firstfruit of increase which they define as the difference between the previous salary and the first new salary of a Christian whenever he gets promoted at work. Some go to the extreme by defining firstfruit as the whole of the January salary of the worshiper! All these must be compulsorily paid to the local Church.

In fact, some assert that while the regular Church offerings belong to the Church, the firstfruit wholly belongs to the pastor! I was made to understand that in one denomination text messages are sent to members to remind them of the need to contribute their January salaries as firstfruits. I got to know from another source that this particular denomination teaches that the firstfruits of the entire members of the denomination must be deposited into a single bank account so that the overall leader, who is the “High priest”, can bless the contributing members.

What then is the Bible’s definition of firstfruit? According to the Mosaic Law, firstfruit was a small amount of the first crop harvest of the Israelite farmer which was offered to God in thanksgiving at the Temple in Jerusalem. It was small enough to fit into a hand-held basket. The Israelites of old were also required to give the first offsprings of their animals to God. As a matter of fact, the firstborn of man was supposed to be given to God but provision was made for his redemption. These agricultural products were taken directly to the Jerusalem Temple and consumed by officiating priests.

“Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me. Likewise shalt thou do with thine oxen, and with thy sheep: seven days it shall be with his dam; on the eighth day thou shalt give it me.” (Exo 22:29-30)

“Then it shall be, when you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, and you possess it and live in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground which you bring in from your land that the Lord your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His name.You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare this day to the Lord my God that I have entered the land which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us.’ Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the Lord your God. (Deut 26:1-4)

According to the Bible, God made a special prescription on how the feast of the firstfruit was to be celebrated. The firstfriut was to be celebrated on the day after the Sabbath (a day after the feast of unleaven bread). A special offering consisting of a waved sheaf, a male lamb offering, two loaves of bread, wine and oil were offered to God. The remainder of all the firstfruit and the animals were given to the officiating priests.

“Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest, and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, so that you may be accepted. ON THE DAY AFTER THE SABBATH THE PRIEST SHALL WAVE IT. And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to the LORD. And the grain offering with it shall be two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, a food offering to the LORD with a pleasing aroma, and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, a fourth of a hin. And you shall eat neither bread nor grain parched or fresh until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your God: it is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.” (Lev 23:10-14)

“The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to the Lord, shall be yours; everyone of your household who is clean may eat it. Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours. Every first issue of the womb of all flesh, whether man or animal, which they offer to the Lord, shall be yours;

nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem. As to their redemption price, from a month old you shall redeem them, by your valuation, five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs. But the firstborn of an ox or the firstborn of a sheep or the firstborn of a goat, you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar and shall offer up their fat in smoke as an offering by fire, for a soothing aroma to the Lord. (Num 18:13-17)

We see from these scriptural passages that the firstfruit and firstborn offerings in the Old Testament were essentially agricultural in nature. Money was never involved. Nonland-holding Jewish workers like blacksmith, goldsmith, masons, tentmakers, fishermen, hired farm laborers, scribes, seafarers etc. were never mandated to give the firstfruit.

Since the Old Testament is the shadow of the realities that the death and resurrection of Christ brought to light, the significance of the firstfruit can only be accurately interpreted in the light of the New Testament. We shall, therefore, examine what the New Testament Scriptures say concerning firstfruit in order to ascertain its relevance to the Christian.
The New Testament used the word “firstfruit(s)” to refer to different phenomenons or individuals.

1. It was used to depict Christians, generally, who are said to be the firstfruit of creation. This is because those who believe in Christ are the first to taste of the redemptive power of the cross of Christ.

“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Rom 8:22-23)

2. It was used in reference to the first believer(s) in a geographical location. This simply implies the first Christian convert(s) in a geographical location.

“And salute the church that is in their house. Salute Epaenetus my beloved, who is the firstfruits of Asia unto Christ.” (Rom 16:5)

“But I exhort you, brothers. You know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruit of Achaia, and they appointed themselves to ministry to the saints. (1Cor 16:15)

“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” (2Thess 2:13)

3. It was used in relation to the early Jewish Christian converts. Paul the apostle argued that despite the refusal of the majority of the Jews to embrace the Gospel initially, the fact that some of them (the firstfruit) embraced it indicates that the rest would eventually embrace it at a later time. In this respect, firstfruit implies the first set of Jews that embraced the Gospel.

“For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree” (Rom 11:15-17)

“Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob.” (Rom 11:25-26)

4. It was used in reference to the symbolic 144,000 resurrected saints who were considered to be the firstfruits among the redeemed of the Lord. Going by what we know from Revelation 7:1-9, these are likely to be the symbolic 144,000 Jews who were the first to accept the Gospel.

“Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.” (Rev 14:1-5)

5. It was used in reference to Christ as the first to truly resurrect from the grave. This gives us the assurance that we will also resurrect from the grave after death. This is the ultimate.

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (1Cor 15:20-23)

We see clearly that the firstfruit relates to humans in the New Testament, of which the ultimate is the resurrection of Christ which gives us the assurance that we will also resurrect if we die in the Lord. Just like in the Old Testament, the word was never used in reference to monetary offering.

What inferences can we make from the foregoing?

1. The firstfruit has never been about money, whether in the Old Testament or in the New Testament.

2. Since all New Testament believers are priests of God, it not only wrong but it is totally unscriptural to ask a priest to give the firstfruit to another priest in whatever name. We have no other High Priest apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. It is sacrilegious for any minister of the Gospel to refer or allow others to refer to himself as the “High priest”.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1Pet 2:9)

3. The firstfruit offering is a Jewish practice. It belongs to the ceremonial component of the Law of Moses that has been abolished by the sacrificial death of Christ. The Christian is, therefore, not under any obligation to observe it.

“For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.” (Heb 8:7-9)

4. According to Leviticus 23:10-14 we cited earlier, the firstfruit feast is usually celebrated on the day after the Sabbath. There are three Jewish feasts that are celebrated in succession- the Passover, the feast of Unleavened bread called the Sabbath and the firstfriut. Jesus was crucified on the Passover day and resurrected on the day after the Sabbath (firstfruit day).
Since the Old Covenant is a shadow of the New Covenant, firstfruit ultimately represents the resurrection of Christ which gives us the assurance that we will also resurrect on the last day.

5. It may not be wrong for a Christian to dedicate or give a certain portion of his income to God as a sign of appreciation for his new job, promotion or the new year so long as it is freely given, but to rigidly and legalistically insist that a child of God must pay the so-called firstfruit offering to the Church or a pastor in order to access God’s blessings is completely against the letter and the spirit of the New Testament.

6. It is cruel and unjust to ask a worshiper to compulsorily donate the whole of his January or first salary to the church or a pastor. How in God’s name would anyone make it a law for Children of God to donate the whole of their January salaries seeing that most people would not have recovered from the numerous expenses of the festive season and the school fees of children paid in January? How do they intend for them to feed their families? Why would anyone ask a newly employed person to donate the whole of his first salary? How is he supposed to survive till the next salary? To my mind, this doctrine is the height of man’s inhumanity to man and does not represent the mind of our kind and loving heavenly Father (God).

7. This doctrine is at best a convenient means of raising money which is based on a distorted Bible interpretation. It serves man’s interest and not God’s.

I ask, why do we enjoy imposing the Mosaic Law on ourselves despite that the Bibles states clearly that we have been redeemed from it? Why do we take delight in shadows and similitudes when we already have the real substance, which is Christ?

My advice to the reader: know your God. Take time to study and know His word for yourself. Don’t allow anyone, no matter their rank or status, bamboozle you because of your inadequate knowledge of the word of God.
Shalom!

Full Credits: Abiodun Jemilohun

First Fruits Part 3

My Discoveries about The First Fruits Offering
===============================================
I first learnt about First Fruits Offering about 22 years ago as a christian. I really didn’t get it back then until 3 years afterwards when I became a member of a certain ministry that really believed and taught it.
We were taught back then that there were two compulsory givings you must do:
1. The tithes and
2. The First Fruits Offering
We were also taught back then that if you don’t release it, God would take it from you. I obeyed even though within me something seemed amiss. We were also told that when you give your first fruits you don’t pay tithe that month”.I could go on and on but I don’t intend to make this post very lengthy.

After having searched the scriptures for close to a decade, below are a few points I have come to believe

POINTS:
1. The First Fruits offering was first offered by Abel (Genesis 4:4 NLT), so it was before the law of Moses and then instituted in the Law and God accepted it. Meaning that the first fruits offerings are acceptable to God today too. It is in tandem with the principles of the “First things”.

2. It is not true that when you give your First Fruits, you don’t pay tithes. I will prove it: 2 Chronicles 31:5 says the children of Israel, during the days of Hezekiah’s dedication of the temple brought, both First fruits of all the field and the tithes of all things.

3. From Point 2 above it can be established that your first fruits is therefore not 100% of your First Harvest but a PORTION OR PART of your First Harvest. All preachers and scholars of the bible would agree that First Fruit is “The First and the Best” right? So my question is the BEST out of what? Now you see my point exactly: It is the Best out of your First Harvest. So I would say it is the BEST OF THE FIRST.
–Exodus 34:19(NLT)

4. There is nothing wrong in giving 100% of your income as First Fruit as long as you are cheerful about it.

5. I consider giving a 100% of your income a different kind of Offering: “Sacrificial Offering” and it goes with a different kind of attitude. This kind of offering is between you and the Lord. There are some offerings that costs you “Something” and there are those that Costs you “Everything”; that is what a sacrifice offering is, first fruits offering is not in this category.

6. Who determines what is the first fruit ,that is the Best?. It is YOU.

7. Whether or not it is compulsory is left to you. There is no direct reference to it in the new testament in monetary terms. There is a deeper meaning to the doctrine of First Fruits which is not being talked about. If you look at the new testament carefully you would understand that the First Fruit offering refers to Jesus and the New Creation….I would talk about these in later posts.

Other Scriptures: Leviticus 23:9-10(NLT is clearer);Deuteronomy 26:1-2(NLT);Exodus 23:19(NLT); Exodus 34:19, Colossians 1:18, James 1:18

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FIRST FRUITS PART 2 – MONETARY FIRST-FRUIT: ANOTHER TRICK FROM THE ARCHIVE OF THE ‘PROSPERITY GOSPEL’ PREACHERS

FIRST FRUITS PART 2 – MONETARY FIRST-FRUIT: ANOTHER TRICK FROM THE ARCHIVE OF THE ‘PROSPERITY GOSPEL’ PREACHERS

The doctrine of firstfruit is not as widely believed as the tithe doctrine in the Church. Let me state beforehand that I have never been a part of any Christian denomination or group that believe or teach the doctrine. However, some denominations believe and practice the doctrine and it seems to be gaining more popularity by the day.

This practice in the Church is probably based on the admonition of Solomon in Proverbs 3:9:

“Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase.” (Proverbs 3:9)

However, we know Solomon was not establishing a new doctrine apart from the Mosaic Law because to do that would have amounted to blasphemy that was punishable by death under the Old Covenant. He was only affirming the Mosaic Law.

Firstfruit has no single definition in the Church today. Since I have never been a part of any Christian group that practices the doctrine, I would rely on the definitions I gleaned from different sources. The definition of firstfruit, according to those who advocate it, is the first salary or wage the Christian receives from a new job. There is the firstfruit of increase which they define as the difference between the previous salary and the first new salary of a Christian whenever he gets promoted at work. Some go to the extreme by defining firstfruit as the whole of the January salary of the worshiper! All these must be compulsorily paid to the local Church.

In fact, some assert that while the regular Church offerings belong to the Church, the firstfruit wholly belongs to the pastor! I was made to understand that in one denomination text messages are sent to members to remind them of the need to contribute their January salaries as firstfruits. I got to know from another source that this particular denomination teaches that the firstfruits of the entire members of the denomination must be deposited into a single bank account so that the overall leader, who is the “High priest”, can bless the contributing members.

What then is the Bible’s definition of firstfruit? According to the Mosaic Law, firstfruit was a small amount of the first crop harvest of the Israelite farmer which was offered to God in thanksgiving at the Temple in Jerusalem. It was small enough to fit into a hand-held basket. The Israelites of old were also required to give the first offsprings of their animals to God. As a matter of fact, the firstborn of man was supposed to be given to God but provision was made for his redemption. These agricultural products were taken directly to the Jerusalem Temple and consumed by officiating priests.

“Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me. Likewise shalt thou do with thine oxen, and with thy sheep: seven days it shall be with his dam; on the eighth day thou shalt give it me.” (Exo 22:29-30)

“Then it shall be, when you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, and you possess it and live in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground which you bring in from your land that the Lord your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His name.You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare this day to the Lord my God that I have entered the land which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us.’ Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the Lord your God. (Deut 26:1-4)

According to the Bible, God made a special prescription on how the feast of the firstfruit was to be celebrated. The firstfriut was to be celebrated on the day after the Sabbath (a day after the feast of unleaven bread). A special offering consisting of a waved sheaf, a male lamb offering, two loaves of bread, wine and oil were offered to God. The remainder of all the firstfruit and the animals were given to the officiating priests.

“Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest, and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, so that you may be accepted. ON THE DAY AFTER THE SABBATH THE PRIEST SHALL WAVE IT. And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to the LORD. And the grain offering with it shall be two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, a food offering to the LORD with a pleasing aroma, and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, a fourth of a hin. And you shall eat neither bread nor grain parched or fresh until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your God: it is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.” (Lev 23:10-14)

“The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to the Lord, shall be yours; everyone of your household who is clean may eat it. Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours. Every first issue of the womb of all flesh, whether man or animal, which they offer to the Lord, shall be yours;

nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem. As to their redemption price, from a month old you shall redeem them, by your valuation, five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs. But the firstborn of an ox or the firstborn of a sheep or the firstborn of a goat, you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar and shall offer up their fat in smoke as an offering by fire, for a soothing aroma to the Lord. (Num 18:13-17)

We see from these scriptural passages that the firstfruit and firstborn offerings in the Old Testament were essentially agricultural in nature. Money was never involved. Nonland-holding Jewish workers like blacksmith, goldsmith, masons, tentmakers, fishermen, hired farm laborers, scribes, seafarers etc. were never mandated to give the firstfruit.

Since the Old Testament is the shadow of the realities that the death and resurrection of Christ brought to light, the significance of the firstfruit can only be accurately interpreted in the light of the New Testament. We shall, therefore, examine what the New Testament Scriptures say concerning firstfruit in order to ascertain its relevance to the Christian.
The New Testament used the word “firstfruit(s)” to refer to different phenomenons or individuals.

1. It was used to depict Christians, generally, who are said to be the firstfruit of creation. This is because those who believe in Christ are the first to taste of the redemptive power of the cross of Christ.

“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Rom 8:22-23)

2. It was used in reference to the first believer(s) in a geographical location. This simply implies the first Christian convert(s) in a geographical location.

“And salute the church that is in their house. Salute Epaenetus my beloved, who is the firstfruits of Asia unto Christ.” (Rom 16:5)

“But I exhort you, brothers. You know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruit of Achaia, and they appointed themselves to ministry to the saints. (1Cor 16:15)

“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” (2Thess 2:13)

3. It was used in relation to the early Jewish Christian converts. Paul the apostle argued that despite the refusal of the majority of the Jews to embrace the Gospel initially, the fact that some of them (the firstfruit) embraced it indicates that the rest would eventually embrace it at a later time. In this respect, firstfruit implies the first set of Jews that embraced the Gospel.

“For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree” (Rom 11:15-17)

“Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob.” (Rom 11:25-26)

4. It was used in reference to the symbolic 144,000 resurrected saints who were considered to be the firstfruits among the redeemed of the Lord. Going by what we know from Revelation 7:1-9, these are likely to be the symbolic 144,000 Jews who were the first to accept the Gospel.

“Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.” (Rev 14:1-5)

5. It was used in reference to Christ as the first to truly resurrect from the grave. This gives us the assurance that we will also resurrect from the grave after death. This is the ultimate.

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (1Cor 15:20-23)

We see clearly that the firstfruit relates to humans in the New Testament, of which the ultimate is the resurrection of Christ which gives us the assurance that we will also resurrect if we die in the Lord. Just like in the Old Testament, the word was never used in reference to monetary offering.

What inferences can we make from the foregoing?

1. The firstfruit has never been about money, whether in the Old Testament or in the New Testament.

2. Since all New Testament believers are priests of God, it not only wrong but it is totally unscriptural to ask a priest to give the firstfruit to another priest in whatever name. We have no other High Priest apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. It is sacrilegious for any minister of the Gospel to refer or allow others to refer to himself as the “High priest”.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1Pet 2:9)

3. The firstfruit offering is a Jewish practice. It belongs to the ceremonial component of the Law of Moses that has been abolished by the sacrificial death of Christ. The Christian is, therefore, not under any obligation to observe it.

“For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.” (Heb 8:7-9)

4. According to Leviticus 23:10-14 we cited earlier, the firstfruit feast is usually celebrated on the day after the Sabbath. There are three Jewish feasts that are celebrated in succession- the Passover, the feast of Unleavened bread called the Sabbath and the firstfriut. Jesus was crucified on the Passover day and resurrected on the day after the Sabbath (firstfruit day).
Since the Old Covenant is a shadow of the New Covenant, firstfruit ultimately represents the resurrection of Christ which gives us the assurance that we will also resurrect on the last day.

5. It may not be wrong for a Christian to dedicate or give a certain portion of his income to God as a sign of appreciation for his new job, promotion or the new year so long as it is freely given, but to rigidly and legalistically insist that a child of God must pay the so-called firstfruit offering to the Church or a pastor in order to access God’s blessings is completely against the letter and the spirit of the New Testament.

6. It is cruel and unjust to ask a worshiper to compulsorily donate the whole of his January or first salary to the church or a pastor. How in God’s name would anyone make it a law for Children of God to donate the whole of their January salaries seeing that most people would not have recovered from the numerous expenses of the festive season and the school fees of children paid in January? How do they intend for them to feed their families? Why would anyone ask a newly employed person to donate the whole of his first salary? How is he supposed to survive till the next salary? To my mind, this doctrine is the height of man’s inhumanity to man and does not represent the mind of our kind and loving heavenly Father (God).

7. This doctrine is at best a convenient means of raising money which is based on a distorted Bible interpretation. It serves man’s interest and not God’s.

I ask, why do we enjoy imposing the Mosaic Law on ourselves despite that the Bibles states clearly that we have been redeemed from it? Why do we take delight in shadows and similitudes when we already have the real substance, which is Christ?

My advice to the reader: know your God. Take time to study and know His word for yourself. Don’t allow anyone, no matter their rank or status, bamboozle you because of your inadequate knowledge of the word of God.
Shalom!

Full Credits: Abiodun Jemilohun

Are we even capable of learning from history?

There is another evil i see under the sun: People don’t learn from history, from the experiences and mistakes therefrom.

There are so many instances I see in this country!!!

Let’s look at a few examples.

1. Look at MC OLUOMO of Lagos; he couldn’t study the history of what happened to ELEWE OMO of Oyo barely 10years ago. He failed to accurately read the pressure of his environment to know that his time was up with the Political Godfathers. He couldn’t even learn from the very recent experiences of Hamburger and Saka Saula. Why didn’t he just take off when the ovation was get too loud? Our Elders. say, when the Bàtá drum gets too loud it is ready to tear!

2. In Ogun State, Governor Ibikunle Amosun is in APC contesting as Senator and at the same time sponsoring his anointed candidates in the APM party. He thinks that is smart. This is an EXACT replica of the stupid action of his IMMEDIATE PREDECESSOR, Gbenga Daniel who [ just 8years ago ] was balanced in PDP as Governor but was at the same time sponsoring his anointed candidates in PPN party. The result was a resounding disgrace, so bad his name, administration and record is almost totally obliterated in Ogun State. Why cant Amosu learn from such a fresh history?

3. The one that is called Femi Fani-Kayode is an EXACT physical image of his father Remi Fani-Kayode and his ways. He does the EXACT things, thread the EXACT path and behaves in the EXACT ways that took his father Remi from glory to infamy and oblivion! How can the son suffer same fate when its not a generational curse?

4. There is one called Nnamdi Kanu who has NOTHING but useless and dirty mouth; No Weapons, No Sense, No Tactical Alliances anywhere, No Credible Plans, No Useful ideology, PUSHING Millions of already endangered People into hate-filled zones in the name of agitation for Biafra, spurring them to insane ideas he doesn’t have an intelligent blueprint to back up. Dragging a people to a very familiar road of destruction! Is that one learning from history?

5. Religious activities SUDDENLY increased at an exponential rate that should alarm a PEOPLE, if they were reasonable and learning from history. “Missionary” activities poured all over the land, men moved in desperate effort to save the PEOPLE and Mankind from Eternal Damnation, to bring them closer to God. The PEOPLE took the messages and messengers hook, line and sinker. Soon the People became totally torn apart; Values destroyed. Sanity eroded. Environment destroyed. Inflation, Corruption, Poverty, Godlessness, a multitude of anti-social activities and despair INCREASED at a rate exponentially proportional to the rate of increase of these new religious ideas. This is a familiar road. it’s so familiar that Prof Achebe and Prof Ola Rotimi wrote TWO great books [ Things Fall Apart and The Gods Are Not to Blame ] to serve as documented lessons for us. Did we learn? NO!

6. I was in Ijebu-Ode earlier today. At the area called “Lagos Garage” there are two houses, on the left and right sides of that road by the bridge. One of them belonged to the man known as “Kékèré Owó and the other to the man known as Bóbasùwà of Ijebu. Both houses were imposing mansion at the time these men reigned. You need to look at the Houses to imagine what it was in the time of those men. You can never fail to notice these houses if you entered Ijebu-Ode from off the Benin Expressway. That Kekere Owo’s house this morning is the place men of the NURTW, urchins, street traders and just about anybody go to pee!!! The house looks like it is ready to be demolished. The Bobasuwa house is just there, none of his children or grand children will ever contemplate spending a night in it. I see Bashorun Abiola’s uncompleted house everytime in the Ibara GRA of Abeokuta and I shiver.. Whereas my Leader, Asiwaju is busy buying the whole of Lagos. Some stupid ones are even busy stealing pants to make money!!!

7. And there is so much anguish and frustration in the land yet our Leaders, Politicians and so-called Rich Men forget the word of our Elders ” When the fowl perches on the rope, neither the rope nor the fowl will know comfort”. How is it they don’t know that when hunger keeps the poor away from sleep, the rich man himself must be very alert and shouldn’t sleep too much? How is it that they can’t learn from the words of Kwameh Nkrumah ” Anger and frustrations when suppressed and bottled up for too long will one day explode into multiple Volcanic eruptions”?

8. The same Europeans who makes the proverbial charms of invincibility for the cockroach will also make the good-fortune charms for the fowl to find it. And those are the people guiding us into the new world order of “global village”.

Are we even capable of learning from history?

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THE PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE ON STRAIGHT PEOPLE BY HOMOSEXUALS

So much has been said on Nigeria’s anti-gay law.My thots on this : Though I dont hate gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transexuals, LGBT, i do love them but hate their detestible acts. They are just abnormal to me and rather than think we normal people hate them by launching attacks on them, it is actually the other way round. They are launching attacks on us normal people to accept an abnormal thing as normal. That’s my opinion though i may be right or wrong, but that’s what i feel. Lets summarise this

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE ON STRAIGHT PEOPLE BY HOMOSEXUALS

These are some of the psychological war of deceit and vilification of gay opponents we see every day at play by this gang of deviants they all would want us to:

1.Talk about gays and gayness as loudly and as often as possible. Because they know that any behavior one is constantly exposed to gradually become normal.

2.Portray gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers. First we are made to belief that they are naturally born gays, secondly they are portrayed as victims of discrimination and undue brutalization by the society.

3.Give protectors of gay a just cause. Make gays look like people who are denied their freedom of speech, association and Belief.

4.Make gays look good. Giving too much media attention to Scientists, Doctors, Celebrities, Business Men/Women and Politicians that are gays and thereby give the impression that gays are super-human beings compared to heterosexuals.

5.Make the victimizers look bad. Align all gay opponents with the worst set of humans in the society like Boko Haram, Alquaida, Kidnappers, Rapists or link the character of gay opponents to that of Aluu killers.

They try to achieve acceptance through:

a. Desensitization­: This involves inundating us with a plethora of gay-related adverts and discussions to the point that we get used to it. The type of situation where if u can’t stop the rain, then you should get used to being wet.

b. Brainwashed us into believing that speaking against gay is a hate-speech and one is termed a bigot when he/she speak against gays, you get bombarded with all sort of negative names till you are subdued.

c. Conversion. The pro-gay is not satisfied with silencing opposition only, he is also interested in confusing us and making us act and become indifferent towards gay which is an indication that we liked them. This is crucial in making them feel accepted and at ease.

But a pro-gay activist will never want the society to know that Homosexuals engage in a variety of perverted deviant sexual acts. Here are just a few of them:

•Anal intercourse

•Oral sex

•Rimming, the practice of licking the anus this frequently results in the ingestion o fecal matter, which leads to intestinal diseases.

•Golden Showers, urinating on one’s sexual partner.

•Sex Orgies involving dozens of men.

•Anonymous Sex using “glory holes,” holes cut in a sex club cubicle wall through which one homosexual engages in oral sex with a stranger.

•Fisting, the act of shoving one’s fist and arm up the anus of the sex partner.

•Sadomasochism:­ involving whipping, cutting, beatings, etc.

•Drug use: including the taking of amphetamines to enhance sexual pleasure.

•Bareback Parties, these are sex orgies involving several men. These men may be HIV-infected, but do not use condoms. In many homosexual circles, getting AIDS has now become a badge of honor to the sexual revolution.

It doesn’t matter if a Bishop, Sheik, Oba, Eze, Emir, Senator, Governor, or President engages in the act, it doesn’t make it worth legalizing. They have failed to capture the Nigerian Legislature, now they are utilizing the Media and Entertainment industry to sustain their fight.

DO NOT FALL VICTIM TO THEIR MIND GAMES, SAY NO TO ANY FORM OF HOMOSEXUAL TOLERANCE AND PACIFICATION

Honesty and Integrity pays

At the point of death a man, Bakare Ologbenla, called his children and after praying for them, he advised them to follow his footsteps so that they can have peace of mind in all that they do.

The youngest child, Folasade, a female, looked at others and yelled, DADDY, ITS UNFORTUNATE YOU ARE DYING WITHOUT A DIME IN YOUR BANK ACCOUNT, PERSONALLY, I CAN’T EMULATE YOU. OTHER FATHER’S THAT YOU TAG AS BEING CORRUPT, THIEF OF PUBLIC FUNDS LEFT HOUSES AND PROPERTIES FOR THEIR CHILDREN; EVEN THIS HOUSE WE LIVE IN IS A RENTED APARTMENT, SORRY, I CAN’T EMULATE YOU, JUST GO, LETS CHART OUR OWN COURSE, LETS PADDLE OUR OWN CANOE. Few moments later, their father gave up the ghost.

Three years later, Folasade went for interview in a multinational company. The interview panel already penciled down a candidate for the highly covetted post but wanted to comlete the formality of interviewing all applicants on the list. As soon as Folasade sat before the interview panel, the Chairman of the committee asked, “Which Ologbenla is yours” and the Folasade replied, “I am Folasade Ologbenla. My dad Bakare Ologbenla is now late he died a poor man… then the Chairman cuts in, O MY GOD, YOU ARE BAKARE OLOGBENLA’S DAUGHTER? He turned to other members and said THIS BAKARE MAN WAS THE ONE THAT SIGNED MY MEMBERSHIP FORM INTO THE INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ADMINISTRATORS AND HIS RECOMMENDATION EARNED ME WHERE I AM TODAY. HE DID ALL THESE FREE. I DONT EVEN KNOW HIS ADDRESS, HE NEVER KNEW ME FROM ADAMS, HE JUST DID IT FOR ME. He turned to Folasade, I HAVE NO QUESTION FOR YOU, CONSIDER YOURSELF AS HAVEN GOTTEN THIS JOB, RESUME TOMORROW, YOUR LETTER WILL BE WAITING FOR YOU.

Folasade Ologbenla became the corporate affairs manager of the company with two cars, one official ad one for private use, attached to the office, with a duplex and two drivers and a salary of N500,000 per month excluding allowances and other Esta-code when she travel outside Nigeria.
After two years of working in the company,the Group Managing Director of the company came from America to announce his intention to resign and needed a replacement. A personality with high integrity was sought after, again the company’s Consultant nominated Folasade Ologbenla.

In an interview, I asked her the secret of her success and the sudden sky rocketing profile and in tears, she replied, MY DADDY PAVED THESE WAYS FOR ME. IT WAS AFTER HE DIED THAT I KNOW THAT HE WAS FINANCIALLY POOR BUT STINKINGLY RICH IN INTEGRITY, DISCIPLINE AND HONESTY. I asked again, why she is weeping since she is no longer a kid as to miss her dad still after a long time. She replied, AT THE POINT OF DEATH, I INSULTED MY DAD FOR BEING A HONEST MAN OF INTEGRITY. I HOPE HE WILL FORGIVE ME IN HIS GRAVE NOW. I DIDN’T WORK FOR ALL THESE, HE DID IT FOR ME TO JUST WALK IN.
So finally i asked, WILL YOU FOLLOW YOUR FATHERS FOOT STEPS AS HE REQUESTED? And her simple answer is I NOW ADORE THE MAN, I HAVE A BIG PICTURE OF HIS IN MY LIVING ROOM AND AT THE ENTRANCE OF MY HOUSE. HE DESERVES WHATEVER I HAVE AFTER GOD.

Are you like Folasade Ologbenla, it pays to build name, the reward doesn’t come quickly but it will come however long it may take and it lasts longer.
INTEGRITY, DISCIPLINE, SELF CONTROL AND FEAR OF GOD MAKES MAN WEALTHY, NOT THE FAT BANK ACCOUNT. Live a good heritage for your children, I am building a good name for my children, not a fat bank account.

Credits: Oluseyi Joseph Da Silva

BAYO AJIA OF ILORIN

Gang violence was a status symbol in Ilorin in the 1990s and up till early 2000. They called it campus cultism but the exprience of Ilorin and its environ was more than mere youthful exuberance.
We lived under the perpetual heavy fear of attacks from these groups as they prowled and growled thirsting for human blood daily. In fact they became serious tools in the hands of the politicians and other stakeholders in Kwara state.
They were further promoted when one of them became a prominent member of the regime in 1999 and violence grew to become state art. These boys determined what political party one must belong and where party rallies must hold.
They hosted their gangs’ flags in the open and carried out intiations without restrains. They held night parties for their members without any facade. Their activities were no longer masked under any humble cloack.
They ruled the affairs of men in Kwara. There was a particular month when over forty , I mean 40 young men were murdered through gang clashes. They called it “counting”; gropus were killing to even number killed from each side.
A serving member of Kwara State House of Assembly was muredered by people believed to be these murderous guys.
Thank God I was secured by the operatives of DSS and a Yoruba Self-Determination Revolutionary soldiers when they came for me in April 2003.
I was very active in the politics of Ilorin South Local Government and by extension the whole state.
Saraki Oloye’s deadly gang was led by one Akaje who used a special cutlas. Same Akaje was latter murdered in Idi-Ape area of Ilorin in the manner Ajia was reportedly killed yesterday. While Bayo Ajia was a prominent name on the side of late Gov. Lawal’s group.
A special task force set-up to curtail the activies of these boys failed as the chairman of the task force , one Inspector Ajayi , was violently murdered by these gangs along Coca-Cola road in Ilorin.
Bayo Ajia was arrested and was sentenced to death at the Supreme Court but got pardoned by Saraki side.
“Ajia was shot dead and cut several times with machetes by four unknown men in Taiwo area of Ilorin, kwara state, yesterday.
Vanguard gathered that the assailants were said to have arrived the deceased workshop in a taxi cab around 4:15p.m. and met Ajia under the bridge, close to the State Stadium complex, where they shot him several times on his forehead and dealt several machete cuts on his lifeless body to ensure that he was dead.
It was furthered gathered that before passers-by could discern what happened, the assailants had jumped into their car and sped off.”
Such is life.

(Author unknown)

Written three years ago