Today makes it 23 years that the icon and ambassador of the gospel of Christ to the world, Benson Idahosa departed suddenly. He continues to speak loudly even in death. What many do not know is that he actually described in vivid terms how he was to depart when his time was over and that was exactly what happened on the day he died at the ripe young age of 59 years and 6 months. Leke Beecroft brings together the description by Idahosa in one of his sermons “Benefit of Death” of his death with the day he actually died as documented in The Week magazine editions of 17 and 30 March 1998 for the first time ever in his forthcoming book, as yet another evidence that as controversial as he might have seemed, truly, Idahosa was a man of God.
“I will go when my work is finished; therefore when I am gone nobody should be double-minded concerning the will of God for my death. I am going to go by the will of God, not the will of witches or wizards. No man can kill me. Many have tried to hurt me spiritually and physically to no avail.
God has not given the key of the vault in which he has hidden me to any man or devil. He did not invest so much in me only to hand me over to the devil to fulfil his dark and unholy idiosyncracies. I am indestructible by the grace of God, so are you if you know my Jesus. You know, here in Edo land, I do not know about you and where you come from, but here in Edo land, where I am from, when a man dies, the wife is always accused of having killed him.
I share a beautiful life with my wife Margaret, at least as beautiful as my human nature and God’s grace in my life can make it. She is not dreaming of killing me-she is the flesh of my flesh and bone of my bones, the wife of my youth and the mother of my lovely four children. No, when I go it will be by the will and call of God.
You may ask if I am preparing to die. Not at all. I hope to live for at least one hundred and twenty years. I look forward to when I will hobble into the church with my walking stick and sit back on my big chair to listen and watch my children in the ministry show forth the stuff which God has invested in them through the ministry of God committed to me.
But, and this is the big But… if the Lord calls me before then, if He calls me NOW, I am ready to answer ‘’Here I am O Lord’’ with joy and expectation because death is gain. Yes, yes! Ha, I see heaven open and the voice that I hear says ‘’Come up hither!’’
My going will be a Glorious one, I will NOT be sick and be taken from one hospital to the other. Like Elijah, whew! I will be gone before you can say Jack Robinson…
No. Nobody will mourn me with regret because of a prolonged illness. Nobody will have the pleasure of sympathising with me because of long suffering; that is one of the gifts which I do not have: the gift of Lo-o-ong suffering!
When my day comes, I may be sitting with people in the Church and will go when I hear the call like Rev. Gordon Lindsay did. It is a glorious way to depart. I MAY BE WITH PEOPLE AT HOME AND WHILE WE ARE TALKING, I WILL BE GONE JUST LIKE THAT. That will be a precious death”.
-Archbishop Benson Andrew Idahosa
On Thursday, the 12th March, 1998, Idahosa started the day as busy as always. In his office he asked for a cup of tea which he did not drink up. He told one of his staff members; ‘’I am going home’’. This was not strange. But when he repeated it unnecessarily, there was a reason to suspect the unusual but no notice was taken of it. Later that afternoon, at lunch with his guests, he spoke about heaven. He asked them whether they believed it was possible for one to walk to heaven like Elijah did? He said he would prefer to be translated like Enoch and Elijah.
He told them he had a heavenly drink in his cup. He took the “pure heaven” juice on the table and drank from it, making a humorous statement about going to heaven. The drink tasted like heaven’s drink he told his guests. His high sense of humour was on parade.
On that day he had received “members of an educational foundation team from the U.S.-based Oral Roberts University” at the Christian Faith University after ministering in church. He excused himself to go to Miracle Centre, his Church office and prayed with different segments of people at the Church Office and including the Bible School students before he went back to meet his guests at home.
It was a busy period at the headquarters of CGMII, the Archbishop had just returned from one of his many tours, this time from the UK. Members of the Oral Robert University Educational Fellowship (OREF) were at the headquarters of Word of Faith Group of Schools for the yearly OREF program. They were led by Professor Don Petri, a friend of the Benson Idahosa University and a Professor of Christian Education at the Oral Robert University. Both he and all the American participants at the conference were guests at the Archbishop’s home. It was an early afternoon and Idahosa and his guests were at the table. A characteristic humour of the Archbishop eliciting laughter and chatter punched with the lunch. It was a sumptuous meal and both local and international guests were satisfied. Then a fruit juice was passed around in packets of which were printed the brand name “pure heaven”.
The caption started another round of conversation. It was about heaven. Then suddenly, there was a hush as the archbishop broke into the good natured conversation and asked. “how many of you are ready to go to heaven right now? You see he continued; “all Christians talk about heaven and its beauty and desirability but not one is prepared to go there straight away”. I have news for you. I am prepared to go to heaven right now, anyone going with me? Everyone was silent. The mood of the diners changed and went to their rooms. The Archbishop called for Professor Don Petri to join him in one of the mainly sitting rooms in the new Benson Idahosa University. He indicated those aspects of the master plan he had implemented and requested the professor to continue from where he was ending. Yet Professor Don Petri did not understand the meaning of the Archbishop’s words. The Archbishop was the symbol of the university. It could not have entered the mind of anybody that he would be translated a few minutes after.
Shortly after he had spoken instructing a deaconess on what the guests should eat for dinner, he began to repeat the words ‘Thank you Jesus’ then suddenly threw his head back on the easy chair and gave up the ghost. Professor Don Petri did not immediately understand until he saw the body slumping off the chair then Don Petri rushed at him calling for help and laying him on the rug. He tried all the resuscitation techniques that he knew but to no avail, they called for help from the Faith MediPlex but the doctors testified that from the moment he hissed that sigh of relief, he had clearly departed. His going was an air of finality which the doctors knew but could not admit. He was not sick. He never had high blood pressure. He was never down. Even the doctors were surprised that he died because he was not sick at all”.
“I MAY BE WITH PEOPLE AT HOME AND WHILE WE ARE TALKING, I WILL BE GONE JUST LIKE THAT. That will be a precious death”.
Archbishop Benson Idahosa, the undisputed prophet and apostle of Christendom in the twentieth century was gone.
Culled from the book:
From Heaven to His Generation: The life and ministry of Benson Andrew Idahosa
by Leke Beecroft