“The Last Days
It was under this shadow of ominous warnings and prophecies that CAC entered 1959. Warnings and dreams were now coming frequently and sporadically as to the effect that a big fish would soon leave the waters.
Another little girl from the country side in a prayer meeting told the leaders of a vision she saw in prayer where he saw our father Apostle Babalola bidding the world goodbye. Yet in spite of all these the leadership did not take note of all these omens and signs.
Babalola himself gave a clue to the effect that it was time for all those who were perceptive and discerning enough to know. Usually during the Lent period he would produce a pamphlet for the prayer and fasting program. He had been doing this since 1945. In the pamphlet of 1959 was this cautionary note: keep this document for use of several years to come. This was Babalola’s warning to the generality of the church of the imminence of his transition. …
“… From June through July he was virtually on the road from one town to another on account of church affairs. Three of the places he visited last”… are however worthy of consideration here. In the month of June on the 16th day, he made an unusual trip to Erio-Ekiti where his mother Madam Martha Talabi lived. Knowing that his time was up and he would leave this world before her, he asked his mother very boldly and pointedly, If I Joseph Babalola your son should die today will you desert Jesus? The answer Babalola got must have pleasantly surprised him from the old woman. Since my lord that was how Mama referred to Apostle Babalola, she never called him directly by name, has shown me the way of life there is no cause for alarm. I know Jesus will take care of me if He takes you away. Then Babalola added this word disguised in parable so that the old woman would not get what he was saying, When Jesus called me in 1928 He did not tell me that He would stay this long before coming back for me. It’s now thirty years ago and He has not come. If I did not see him in the next 40years I will have to go to Heaven to go and call Him. The old woman did not discern. But forty years became forty days, for exactly 40 days to the letter after those conversations were exchanged Babalola made good his threat to go and meet Jesus. It was after the news of his death reached the mother at Erio that she cast back her mind and remembered that her son had already forewarned her.
He went to Warri in the Delta area around the first week of July. He had to go because the people needed him to confess their sins and ask for his forgiveness. They had been rude to Babalola during the crisis over the separation between The Apostolic Church and Christ Apostolic Church in the late 30s and had chosen to go with the former even though it was Babalola who founded the church. But problem had started thereafter and finally God told them that until they reconcile with His servant and got him to pray they would move from one tragedy to another. This was what brought him to Warri to pray. From there he went to Ilofa and Odo-Owa his home place where the church convention was to hold in September that year, to assess their preparations. He was however not impressed. In fact he was greatly saddened by the total unpreparedness of the people, his own people and his next-of-kin. He had written to them three years earlier to tell them to begin to plant cassava and in 1958 he had written them to tell them to plant yams because they would be hosting the whole church. But few weeks to the Convention there was very little or nothing on ground. To change the venue was no longer possible because of the imminence. Other towns had hosted the church successfully in the past, how should it be heard that the leader’s own town was the place where the thing flopped. This was what pained Babalola and he spoke to his people that day in the bitterness of his soul.
He even told them that they didn’t know him because he was from their town but on the day of Reckoning, on that Glorious Day they will know who Babalola is and how great he is. At this statement the whole church began to weep. It finally dawned on them that they had sinned against God and His servant and they all began to confess their sins and to plead with him not to leave the town in anger. He forgave them and prayed for God to forgive his people. …”
“…. Early in the morning of Sunday 26th July the apostle got up as early as 5a.m and requested for hot water. A coffee was prepared for him but he insisted it must not have sugar or milk. That was how he drank it raw, the last thing he ever took before leaving the earth. It was a life of self-denial from beginning to end. After preparing for the service he called for his deputy, the Assistant General Evangelist, Prophet David Babajide and his host, Prophet S.O Akande. He asked two of them to …kneel and began to talk to them rehearsing his experiences in ministry from the beginning when he received the call to the present day and all the hassles he’d met in ministry. He reminded the duo that within the limit of human possibility he had done his best. He now asked each of them to pray for him that if there had been any sin he Babalola had committed in the course of his ministry from the beginning to that day that God should forgive him. Thereafter he himself prayed the last prayer and made the benediction. He told the duo, Now I thank God the way is clear. But they didn’t understand. He encouraged them to be faithful and thereafter he dismissed them. They went for the morning service and he made the opening prayer. J.A. Medaiyese the Superintendent gave the sermon at the service. Throughout the service Babalola never stood up for once not even when the congregation rose to sing hymns. He remained on his seat, until at the end when he gave the benediction. After the service the congregation moved straight to the dedication of the Faith Home but Babalola went straight to his chambers to rest. After the dedication delegates began to depart to their various destinations. Some of these also came to Babalola to bade him goodbye and to ask for his blessings and prayers and he willingly obliged them. One of these was Pastor Odusona, the General Superintendent of the Church. As he was going Babalola called him back and reminded him of the young man he had met at Ibadan few days before who he promised to help with his wedding. This man had reached the age of marriage but had no father or any helper to see him through. Babalola then took it upon himself to give him the support he needed and reminded the General Superintendent of the church to expedite action on the matter. This was his last act of mercy before he left for eternity.
He was left to rest. At 3p.m his associates came for prayers with him. Medaiyese was the first to pray followed by Odutola. Then just before Babajide could pick up the prayer, Babalola himself took it and began to pray the very last prayer he made on the earth. And what was he praying about? According to Babajide he was praying for all people of the earth that their salvation may be sure and not once did he make mention of his immediate family. He was allowed to rest while Medaiyese went for the evening service. One Michael Isajimi, one of the assistants with Babalola stood at the entrance of his door.
Around 4p.m the walls of the room where Babalola was began to shake as if experiencing a tremor or vibrations. But the cause of the movement could not be located. At 4.30p.m on the dot Babalola breathed heavily three times: Hi, Hi, Hi- as if to say God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit and like lightning the man was no more. It was exactly forty days to the time he told his mother he would be going to call Jesus. The entire room shook and yet the window panes did not break. Michael cried with a loud voice to summon the elderly men to come. As they opened Babalola’s room a wave of power hit them and they all fell to the ground. By the time they rose up and moved near they found he was lifeless.
They began to pray while Babajide sent for Medaiyese who was preaching at the evening service to stop his sermon and close the service immediately and come. They all surrounded Babalola each one holding a part of his body and they began to pray from 5p.m till 7p.m. Medaiyese began to plead in prayer, Lord what is our sin? What have we done wrong? Where have we missed it? It was then a vision was shown to someone where he saw Babalola before the mighty gates of heaven and entering through the gate he laid his sword at the feet of the Lord Jesus. The Lord then revealed to this servant that Babalola could not return to them again as they desired because the heavens have already received him. At 7p.m Medaiyese declared plaintively, The Great Apostle is Gone. He was 55, still fit and agile and without a single grey hair on his head. Thus marks the end of an era in Nigeria’s religious and evangelical history. Arrangements were made and the body was taken to Efon that night. Even in death his eyes were not closed and there was a smile on his face. Eight days later he was committed to mother earth amidst a flood of tears, wailings and lamentations. All the schools in Ijesha and Ekiti were shut for the week as a mark of respect to the great apostle. Thus
marks the end of an era….”