The clock ticks to the beginning of eternity
Critics have had more than a few plausible reasons to defy erroneous claims, predictions and so-termed prophetic declarations about the end time. Such efforts on eschatology, while correctly condemned as mercantilist, also do little to proselytize and establish an urgency and red alert to make the reader prepared and ready for the event of all human events since creation. Yet, these-affirming the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and warning of the calamity awaiting the unrepentant at the return of the Son of God-ought to form the goal of all literature on the looming gloom.
Now, these writers on the last days ignore the core message; they opt for pseudo erudition by appending specific dates to the occurrences prognosticated in the Holy Bible. Thus,thrust deep in a fruitless dates and numbers game, they fail the key duty of employing Jesus’ teaching about the future to evangelize. It is a tragic waste of given opportunity! I’m glad to report that after carefully reading Pastor William Folorunsho Kumuyi’s end time book, Countdown to the End-Revelation of the Great Tribulation and the Antichrist (Part One – Publishers: Life Press Limited, Lagos; 2017), I can vouch for the cleric’s fidelity to biblical facts. He perfectly understands that “no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.”
Those who came before Kumuyi, including vocal members of a US-headquartered sect with a foothold in Nigeria, have ignored this warning and littered their doctrine with presumptuous timelines detailing how and when the world would drop on us. First, it was 1878. Later they gave us 1881. Then the group’s caucus said 1914 would witness the end of the world. When that failed, they proposed 1918. 1925 followed with the world still standing. More projections for the landing of Armageddon were slated for 1975. They repeatedly brought on themselves avoidable ridicule.
Kumuyi’s book has escaped these flaws and pitfalls of a date-centered enterprise because he is conscious of the Lord’s wise counsel: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” The result is a clean unadulterated book deriving its assertions exclusively from the Holy Bible. So, in the entire 240-page presentation, you have only one identified secular reference (the ancient Greek historian Herodotus). All others are biblical allusions. There is little room for fictional extrapolation, storytelling or support from ex-biblical sources.
But there is plenty of space for evangelism, profuse expository teaching and illumination on abstruse end time symbolism found notably in the books of Daniel and Revelation. Which is why Kumuyi hardly leaves a chapter without an altar call, as it were.
From the first chapter, Pastor Kumuyi, the General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry popularly called Deeper Life Bible Church, makes it clear that the book isn’t addressing conditions in the world predating the Rapture. It is a post-catching-away-of-the-believers undertaking. The countdown he speaks of means the events that would lead to the Great Tribulation under the Antichrist culminating in the cataclysmic Armageddon and the great Age of the Ages when Jesus’ Glorious Kingdom will come into effect with the abolition of death and sin. This first part of the volumes ends with Satan’s Antichrist and false prophets performing misleading miracles.
The Church in its redeemed state under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, will not be in the world when this full array of the Antichrist power is at work because, Kumuyi declares solemnly: “There is no country that declares war against another without first withdrawing its Ambassadors. Similarly, before God declares war and pours out His wrath upon this world, He will take all His ambassadors out of it.”
The early chapters open up events in Heaven after the departure of the saints from the earth to pave way for the arsenal of woes to be unleashed by Satan and his cohorts. It is Apostle John who is invited to God’s abode to serve as a witness. He observes an unparalleled celestial order characterized by salutary worship of God and His Son Jesus by elders, angels and the countless multitude of those saved from their sin by the Lamb of God, Who also performs the momentous unsealing of the book enclosing the plagues constituting the Great Tribulation.
The book shown John is a seven-seal scroll symbolizing the judgement that would come upon those who miss the Rapture. There would be famine, unprecedented crisis, suffering, wars, deprivation, torments, carnage, persecution, misery and unimaginable agony, “as was not since the beginning of the world… no, nor ever shall be.” Kumuyi refers to such Old Testament writers as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel etc to prove that the subject of Great Tribulation is not a latter day idea.
Kumuyi writes: “The opening of the scroll as the seals are broken reveals the process by which Christ takes over the earth from Satan, the usurper. In the process, sinners and all the servants of Satan who have corrupted themselves and polluted the earth are punished severely. By the time the outpouring of divine wrath reaches its climax with the opening of the seventh seal, the kingdom of the earth will have become the kingdom of our Lord.”
Not being a Jonah who would warn of God’s anger around the corner without presenting the other side of the coin, Kumuyi repeatedly says that the sinner can escape the wrath on the way if he repents and accepts the salvation plan of God. He can be spared the trouble of the Great Tribulation and eternal damnation in hell. The Deeper Life Bible Church Pastor speaks of a way out: “Today, the Lord pleads and asks everyone to seek His face for turnaround as the time of grace and love still abounds. The Lord does not take pleasure in the suffering and death of the sinner. Repentance from sin through faith in the Lord Jesus is the only way of escape from the fury of the Just Judge of the universe. Those who reject the call of God will face His full-scale judgement.”
Pastor Kumuyi’s Countdown to the End-Revelation of the Great Tribulation and Antichrist (Part one) contains expressive description of the destruction humanity would encounter during the Great Tribulation. He deploys graphic, yet inoffensive prose to stir our imagination. An example of this unbottling of one of the woes can be found on page 119: “These demon-locusts are revealed as invulnerable creatures with the strength, power and conquest of horses on the battle field; as intelligent creatures with the face of men; as inhuman creatures, having the teeth of lions; as indestructible creatures with breastplate of iron; as intriguing creatures, provoking curiosity with hair like those of women and as irresistible creatures with wings that make sound like those of chariots of horses running to battle. What pain and suffering would such a swarm of angry demons cause men, women and children on earth when they are released from the smoking bottomless pit where they had been suffering for thousands of years!”
The book is also able to address some controversies. Who will make Heaven? Is it only the 144,000 sealed Jews in Revelation 7? Who are the two angelic post-rapture evangelists in Revelation 11? Are they Moses and Elijah? Kumuyi’s position differs from the popular view, notably that posited by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins in Assassins, one of their Left Behind fictional series on the end time. Some readers would allege that Pastor Kumuyi seems to be contradicting himself with the claim on page 197 that there would be “no protection for Gentiles” during the Great Tribulation when earlier on, on pages 69 and 70 he had declared that other believers among them Gentiles of the Great Tribulation period will be saved though they missed the Rapture.
Countdown to the End impresses the reader with elegant simplicity of prose and inspiring takeaways in the form of memorable one-liners. Consider these: Satan leaves no effort untried in his determination to destroy Israel, and God leaves no miracle undone in His determination to protect and preserve His people. It is unscriptural to expect to serve God without persecution. If the persecutors are strong be stronger. The Devil is not a dummy, he has reasons for performing miracles.
Is it possible for Pastor Kumuyi to write or preach without resorting to his trademark application of the imagery of alliteration? The answer is no as this book reveals. He has a harvest of it on page 116 when he describes the torment of the locusts: “painful, protracted, personal, and perplexing”. On page 223, it’s letter ‘D’ at work: “delusion, distaste, departure, divine displeasure, death and damnation”. At page 230, it’s letter ‘F’ in action: “falsehood, force, furnace, famine, fear and flattery”.
Does this figure of speech instill substance and life into language? Does it drive discernment? Yes, according to an expert Dr. Tunde Opeibi in his book Discourse, Politics and the 1993 Presidential Election Campaigns in Nigeria, “Although alliteration can be described as a stylistic device… it is a strong rhetorical tool deployed to evoke emotions, get attention and convey… messages in a more appealing and persuasive way. It is a figure of speech because it often creates images and conveys meaning beyond the strings of words that make it up… when creatively and effectively modulated, they can deepen meaning and enhance musicality”
Now a word on the illustrations. Future revisions could do with full colour rendition not only to brighten the pages, but also and more importantly to deepen the reality of the message in the book. Colour does so tellingly. Secondly in picture on page 131 the presentation of the Mighty Angel’s position doesn’t match Revelation 10:2 where He has His “right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth.” The opening pages also suffer some typographical travail.
You can’t read Countdown to the End-Revelation of the Great Tribulation and the Antichrist (Part One) and not be swayed by Pastor Kumuyi’s earnest preoccupation to enlist Bible eschatology to call man back to God. There are lessons for all: the sinner, backslider and the saved. We all need the Grace of God, he says, to run from the wrath to come: the first two need God’s Grace of pardon to be redeemed; the third also need His Grace to endure to the end.
Truly the book is a project of incontrovertible gravitas.
Ojewale is a writer in Ota, Ogun State.