By Leke Beecroft
On a newly declared public holiday (May Day) by Nigeria’s first executive President, Shehu Shagari and on the 1st day May 1981, during a period of crisis between Ife and Modakeke, Brother David Oyedepo, 26, went to visit Pa S.G Elton and another friend in Ilesa, a town in the old Oyo State but ‘unfortunately’, the friend was not home. He was disappointed, but instead of going to stay with any of his numerous friends in Ilesa, he said in his spirit that all things work together for good to them that love God.
He then heard God say to him “Seek a quiet place; I want to talk to you”. David went ahead and rented a room in the ‘International Hotel Ilesa’. The hotel was anything but ‘international’ in its outlook. As he knelt down to pray, he had an open vision. At the end of the open vision encounter which lasted about 18 hours, he saw a roll of afflicted, battered, beaten, tattered, deformed people.
The blind, the lame and those in rags were weeping, wailing, groaning and agonizing as a result of pains and pangs and crying for rescue. David was moved with compassion, sobbed profusely and even joined them in weeping, asking “Why Lord?”
He heard God respond “But from the beginning, it was not so”. Still, David questioned further, “But why Lord?” and then he got a mandate
“ The hour has come to liberate the world from all oppressions of the devil through the preaching of the word of faith, and I am sending you to undertake this task”.
The mandate was further confirmed to him from the epistle of Paul in the book of Ephesians of the new testament of the Bible. “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16).
After that encounter, David called his partner, Faith Abiola Akano, along with Brother David Abioye, Emmanuel ‘Oset’, Joseph Ebrohimen and Dickson Olorunda among others and shared the vision with them. Shortly after, a weekly teaching program took off known as the “Faith Liberation Hour” Also, a group known as the “Power house” was assembled which engaged in prayers and fastings among other activities in order to actualize the heavenly vision. Additionally, Brother David began to engage in deep study. He studied 39 selected biographies, among them were those of Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola, Bishop Benson Idahosa, John G. Lake, Kenneth Erwin Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Thomas Lee Osborn, Oral Roberts, Smith Wigglesworth, Asa Alonzo Allen, Jack Coe, Billy Graham, John Alexander Dowie, Kathryn Kuhlman and many others. This he did because of his knowledge that there was nothing new under the sun and he wanted to understand how people were called, how they pursued their calling and the mistakes they made so that he would not have to remake those mistakes. He also checked what gallant steps they took as instructed by God and what came out of it.
Among the lessons he learnt was from the biography of Jack Coe who engaged in endless competition with his contemporary ministers of the gospel and died at the age of 38. He learnt that as Christians, “ we are not in a competition but pursuing the great commission in our various commissions”.
Brother David was inspired in the school of prosperity by Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, in the school of faith by Kenneth Hagin, in the school of boldness by Asa Alonzo Allen and in the healing school by Smith Wigglesworth. He spent 26 months in preparation, communion, watching, praying, fasting, thinking and planning.
There was need for him to lay hold on details of the vision as well as a time chart to follow. During that period, he once wrote a letter to Florence his fiancee, it stated:
“Jerusalem is in pains, our mother is in travail, the whole creation is groaning, awaiting Zion to manifest her sons. Prisoners are awaiting their emancipation. Zion shall not only bring forth prophets, apostles, evangelists, pastors and teachers, but shall bring forth saviours” (Obadiah 2:1).
He continued ’Yet a little while and these saviours shall surface on the face of the whole earth. Joel 2, Zechariah 8 and all the related scriptures shall be fulfilled. The arrival of these saviours will compel the followership of multitudes that cannot be numbered. They will carry such aroma, the awesomeness of God will be so visible upon them, their operations shall be unique and strange. Yet a little while and saviours will surface on the face of the whole earth. Zion is in her month, this mighty army shall be released in just a moment.”
ABROAD TRIP CANCELLED
He was also of the opinion at the start of the ministry that he had to go to the United States of America for tutorship in ministry at a Bible School just like Benson Idahosa had done a few years back. Paul also had been tutored in Arabia he reasoned. This was therefore announced to other brethren who were to go along with him. One day God spoke to him via scriptures “the things you are looking for come not from Abroad but from ABOVE; you are going to NO America”. Immediately he announced this to the brethren which got some of them upset and even left the young budding ministry.
On 10 April 1982 at a unique vision sharing meeting of the Power House, God gave Brother David the following prophecies which he declared at the meeting. He said God told him the following:
1.This ministry is not out to debate doctrines, but to prove the power of the Holy Ghost.
- The work of this ministry shall not be limited to this country alone, but to other nations and Church establishment on the mission field shall be the goal, where the living word will be taught”.
- “At the base of this ministry, a tent shall be built to contain 50,000 people”.
- ‘A telecast shall be used to put on screen the gospel across nations”.
- “The printing press shall operate at an industrial scale, first to christian organizations, and then to the public at large…..”.
- Brother Oyedepo declared that he saw ‘wings passing across nations’. this was interpreted to mean an airplane flying to other nations carrying the gospel of liberation. 7. Lastly, it was declared that very soon, millions shall gather at the base of the ministry to listen to the gospel. These prophecies were however too hard for some members of the group and they soon left the power House.
During this period, Brother David was involved in so much fasting and prayer in his quest for genuine power that he grew very lean and on many occasions vomitted blood. Many times, he would go up alone to the mountains like Apostle Babalola to seek God’s face in prayer.
On one occasion, he encountered a snake but came to no hurt. Another time, he was under heavy rain for 3 days and nights in spiritual solitude. He decided to ‘burn his bridges’ early and bind himself to his new assignment. He said to God “Lord, should I pretend not to have heard You, see to it that I do not succeed in any other thing I do”.
Shortly before the 18 hour vision, David went on a trip in March 1981 to locate the secret of ’Kingdom Prosperity”. he took along 3 books. The Bible, ‘God’s Will is Prosperity’ by Gloria Copeland and ’The Law of Prosperity’ by Kenneth Copeland on the trip meant to last at least 3 days. At the end of the first day, he came across Jeremiah 33:20-22 and understood that prosperity for God’s children was a covenant. Illuminated with that understanding, he came out of the room where he had been studying in only his short knickers and screamed “ I Can Never Be Poor”.
On October 4, 1981, while in prayers and meditation in the city of Jos, Plateau State in Nigeria, David wrote a letter to his future wife, Faith sharing some things he believed God was saying to him. This day according to him was when he entered the office of a prophet. “I speak from my office as a prophet” he said “that we matter to this generation by divine election”. David continued “The living faith is the acting faith, and the acting faith is the winning faith and the winning faith is the conqueror’s faith”. That day, he received the name of the church to be established “LIVING FAITH CHURCH”.
At about this time, Brother David prayed to God to connect him with the secrets behind the Acts of the Apostles. Shortly after, he was called to minister and as he was preaching, he found himself at the back of the congregation without realizing he had gotten there.
Shortly before then, he had gone into the mountain in Illesa town to spend some time with God. He got into the mountain and went on a study of the Book of Ezekiel with a torchlight and in the process, saw a snake. Later it began to rain heavily and he got drenched in the rain. At the end of the study, he heard God say “Behold, I have touched your tongue with a coal of fire, from henceforth, as you say it, you shall see it.”
CHURCH PLANTING DIMENSION
The initial understanding brother David had about the liberation commission was that it was going to be an outreach operation since as he felt then, all every kind of church was already existing. He could not imagine a church connection with the commission and believed that what was needed to ignite the fire of the Holy Ghost in churches was itinerant preaching in churches instead of founding new ones. One day in November 1982, he heard God clearly from Luke 1:1-3,
“Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
IT SEEMED GOOD TO ME ALSO…..
From these verses, he understood that the mandate shall have a church base, all that was in existence notwithstanding.
On the 4th of February 1983, as he was in his study going through a magazine called ‘New Wine’, he heard God say “The word I put into your mouth, the same commit into writing and I will cause the same unction upon the spoken word to rest upon the written word, bringing about the same effect.” This gave birth to the Dominion Publishing House (DPH) of the ministry. While waiting in a fast in May 1983, he heard a voice saying “I will through this ministry raise the foundation of many other ministries.” This was understood by brother David to mean that the ministry would be involved in training men and women for spiritual leadership, not only in pulpit ministry, but in all areas of human endeavours.
BE IN TIME!
Brother David began to sense in 1983 that the stage was set for the vision to set off. He set time apart to secure his marching order. He asked in prayer if it was time and he heard a heavenly host singing “Be in time, the harvest is ripe”. He was in tears and knew the time had come.
David Oyedepo resigned from the Federal Ministry of Works to begin the quest. A respected minister then called him and asked him to make sure he had money to fall back on since he was embarking on a very challenging vocation. He replied that he did not have any savings and that if he had any, he would make sure he spent it before starting off. It was an action that seemed like arrogance. His Brother Hezekiah called to ask him what he was going to be doing in Kaduna and he said he would be writing tracts. Amazed at the answer, his uncle asked how he would be feeding and he answered “God will provide!”
In September 1983, David was directed to request a certain pastor, Enoch Adejare Adeboye, a recently ordained General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) to come and lay hands on him to commission the ministry as he was not supposed to start off on his own like other ministers had done before him. This direction was based on Deuteronomy 34:9. He requested Pastor Adeboye’s presence in Ilorin but Pastor Adeboye declined since he had another engagement for that same day. Oyedepo went back to God in prayers and God directed him to go back to Pastor Adeboye and before he could do so, Pastor E.A Adeboye sent a message that God had asked him to come and do the commissioning.
RIDE ON MY BACK!
On 17 September 1983, in Ilorin, Kwara State, Pastor Adeboye preached a message from Matthew 21:1-11. The lesson was that Brother David was the ‘donkey’ who was stepping on people’s garments while Jesus was his rider and that as far as he kept Jesus the rider on his back, people would keep spreading their garments for him to step on.
During the service, Pastor David made a statement which upset a number of people present. He narrated an encounter he had with God while praying. He said God told him “My son, you have two eyes. Can you make one to look up and the other to look down?” he gave it a try and discovered that it was not possible. God then said “Whenever you are looking unto man, never claim you are looking unto Me, and whenever you are looking unto Me, you can not be looking unto man. For they that look unto me are lightened and their faces are not ashamed (Psalm 34:5). Look unto Me and you will not be ashamed. If you look unto men, you will fail. I am your source, I am your strength for the battle. I am all that you need, I am your sufficiency. The moment you start looking to any other source for help, you will fail woefully.” Brother David declared “God has warned me not to rely on you.” The newly ordained Pastor declared that the ministry will not have ‘supporters’ or ‘partners’ which was the vogue in many other ministries. He added that the salaries of the Ministry workers for their whole lives will never be enough to run the Ministry.
The Ministry was named the “Living Faith World Outreach Centre” (LFWOC).
Watch out for Part 2 and the concluding part tomorrow 2100 GMT.