I am Dominion!
“That was what the Parable of the Talents was all about in Matthew 25. If you bury your talent, it will be taken from you. Use your talent for God. For instance, the choir has an audition after Service today and I expect many people to wait behind to participate. God bless you as you do so.”
The lady quietly left her seat at the back of the church and walked out sadly as the Service began to round up. She had just wanted to attend Service in any church for the last time…just once more…perhaps there would have been a different message…a message that gave life…but it was the same everywhere she had gone to…another lady tagged along behind her.
Why Scripture was being so blatantly manipulated these days, she couldn’t understand. She knew that the reference to Talent in that parable was in reference to talents of silver – the units of money used in those days – and she knew also that the pastor knew it was so, yet…
This was the third church she was attending this month…but all the same kind of manipulation! Men were building kingdoms for themselves…
The woman she was conversing with, tapped her on the arm…she had thumbed through her bible while her older sister had been talking.
“The Scriptures say in John 18:36; Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
Her older sister nodded her head sagely. “Yes my sister, there will come an appointed time when prophecy reveals that the Kingdom of our God and of his Christ will come, but men want to usher it in by their own power…by taking ‘dominion’. That is why I will always resent the name my husband gave to my son.”
“Yes sister, my brother in law was too much into the new doctrines the church is preaching now. I remember once when I sat him down and showed him 2Tim 4:3”
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” quipped the older sister.
“He got annoyed and walked away from me. He asked what do I know of the scriptures and that I shouldn’t meddle in things I know nothing about…I should leave spiritual things to pastors.”
“He often told me the same things too, may his soul rest in peace.” said the older sister.
It was a crashing sound but nothing was in sight as the two women began crossing the road…that was when it careened into sight, completely out of control. The older sister saw it first and walked faster thinking her sister was doing the same…but her younger sister was rooted to the spot in shock.
It was the sickening crack of bones being crushed and a body thudding on to the ground that the older sister heard.
“So that was how my younger sister died” she finished telling her story to her son.
“So my Dad named me Dominion because of the doctrine of taking dominion over the earth that he was preaching?”
“Yes, but it isn’t a bad name…there are other ways…”
“Mother please stop…I’m not a child anymore.”
“Please don’t change your name my son…for my sake.”
The teenager held his mother’s face in his hands tenderly.
“You know I won’t do anything to make you cry mother…not ever. But I will not stand idly by either and watch souls perish as a result of the doctrines of men.”
“But there is nothing you or anyone can do about it, prophecy has to be fulfilled.”
“Yes mother, but I can also make myself a vessel of honour in the hands of the Lord, a vessel fit for his use…then we will see what he will use me to do.”
“So you will not change your name?”
“No mother, I give you my word. I will not change my name. I am Dominion.”
Pastor Emmanuel doodled on a piece of paper in his office…he was giving his wife’s advice some serious thought…the tithes had been dwindling for several months now and the bills were mounting up. Soon they would be asked to quit the hall they rented in the hotel for Services if he couldn’t pay the bills that were due by the end of the month, and the church building was far from completion.
His wife had advised two options: to preach the coming Sunday on Tithes, or to make a call for donations towards the completion of the church building and use part of the money to pay the rent they were already owing for the use of the hall.
He was a shy man, not liking the idea of asking people for money…so he opted for preaching a sermon on tithing…except that no fiery message seemed to be forthcoming…oh certainly he had all the right scriptures…but how to tie them together convincingly was the problem.
His heart was cold…he had prayed for a couple of hours but he still felt cold inside. A thought crossed his mind and he picked up his phone. He would call his bosom friend – Pastor Lekan…sometimes pastors needed refreshing too!
The choir was rehearsing and the noise filtered into his small office…they had also rented a small two-bedroom apartment as a church office…a base for the church. Pastor Emmanuel often wondered if he hadn’t bitten off more than he could chew…but the business men and women in his church often assured him that “God would do it!”.
So he had believed them…he had joined his faith with theirs…and now they were failing…the economy was taking its toll on them gradually.
“Hello Man of God…”
A few minutes later, he put down the phone greatly encouraged…he was refreshed…Pastor Lekan had fired him up again!
He began to pore over the bible again, and words and inspiration began to flow into his mind…if people did not bring their tithes and offerings into the house of God, how was God to bless them?
There was still a nagging thought that had been at the back of his mind for a long time now…people still came with testimonies about how God was blessing them in various ways…but nothing in the proportion of what the bible described in Malachi…
MAL 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
How come the part that there shall not be room enough to receive it had not yet seemed to come to pass all these years…no one in his church had ever had such a bountiful supply that he had had no room to contain it…yet they were all paying their tithes faithfully…year after year…wasn’t there something wrong somewhere?
Shouldn’t there have been such a bountiful supply in the church by now? Yet finances were dwindling daily…for how long could he keep preaching the doctrine of tithes and offerings…sooner or later the people would get disillusioned…questions would be raised in their minds…
He had once asked his friend Pastor Lekan about his thoughts on tithes and offerings and how it was producing results in his church…because of this same nagging thought in his mind…but his friend had been so excited…it appeared to be working for him…then he realized that if he too had been asked the same question by any of his pastor friends…he too would have given the same excited answer…in faith of course…
He began to write faster as the points came in greater detail to him. There was a knock on the door and his wife who doubled as his secretary came in.
“One of the deacons is here to see you,” she said.
“Ok, please let him come in.” Pastor Emmanuel had a good idea which of the deacons it might be. One in particular had been asking for an appointment, but the pastor knew what he wanted…he was broke and needed some money. Whenever someone said they wanted to see you, there was usually a financial problem at stake.
Deacon Osho came in smiling, he looked a little emaciated. Pastor Emmanuel stood up for a handshake then ushered him into a chair.
“So what can I do for you sir?” asked the pastor, folding his arms on his large desk.
“Sir, my business has crashed. I am bankrupt. I have been paying my tithe faithfully and so I don’t know why this has happened to me.”
There was a knock on the door and Mrs. Emmanuel came in.
“Pastor, there are two other deacons here to see you sir.”
The song sounded nice but that wasn’t what Dominion wanted…it was easy for him to write emotional songs, he was a very emotional person and it always reflected in his songs…but he had long since learnt that God wasn’t moved by the emotional content of a song, nor the emotions songs elicited from the singer.
He strummed his guitar and closed his eyes…he knew he was still filled with some bitterness towards his late father for giving him such a name, based on a doctrine he was trying to push in church…a doctrine he Dominion did not even believe in.
With a sigh he placed the guitar down…he knew that for as long as his heart was still filled with bitterness against his dad, it couldn’t be filled with anything worthy enough to offer to God…and he certainly wasn’t going to offer God the emotional content of a song!
He had once prayed about it before…but he knew it was only half-hearted prayer…he hadn’t really forgiven his dad…because every now and then that he thought about it, his heart filled up with anger…but this time he was determined it would end…he knelt down to pray and ask God to take away his hurt and the bitterness he felt. He finally forgave his father…after all this while, because he knew he would never make headway with God otherwise…he felt lighter…he was finally free.
He was an only child and he had often wondered what it would be like to have a sibling…older or younger it didn’t matter…just someone else to talk to and play with…so he had cultivated the habit of chatting with God, and had found it to be quite helpful even though God didn’t talk back…still it was reassuring to know that he was always there anyway.
He glanced at his wristwatch…9:25…he could see the crescent moon through the curtains in his bedroom window. He didn’t feel tired, so he took out his text books and chose one to study.
It was Maths…he didn’t like it that much but still he supposed he had to study it all the same…he flipped through the pages and then as an afterthought he checked the Table of Contents to look for one of the topics he had been having trouble with recently.
He began to read through the several examples given, his mind not really interested in it…till he lost concentration…this was boring! He stared unseeing at the equations that littered the pages of his textbook…they were like Greek to him.
He had started bringing out some other book to study when something caught his eye…he looked again at the Math text book and saw a symbol he thought he hadn’t understood before…but now its meaning suddenly became clear to him as day!
Others swiftly began to follow…wherever he turned his eyes, the symbols and equations unfolded and revealed themselves to him…the light of understanding seemed to follow the movement of his eyes…the equations were opening up to him gradually…rearranging themselves in patterns he had never seen before!
He paused as it began to dawn on him what was happening…the Holy Spirit was opening up his understanding…teaching him! Feverishly he opened up a note book and began to answer questions that he had previously shied away from.
“Thank you Lord,” he whispered.
A couple of hours later, he flopped down on his bed, exhausted…he had worked his way through three straight chapters and it was the same thing…it was as if his Math problems that seemed to have been hidden in darkness had suddenly come out into the light! Dominion chuckled and chuckled…then burst out laughing…till tears filled his eyes.
There was an urgent knocking on his door and his mother popped in her head…she wore a worried look on her face when she saw her son laughing on the bed. Dominion stopped abruptly.
“I’m okay mother, I just had an awesome experience!” he said, getting up from the bed and beckoning to his mother.
“For two straight hours the Holy Spirit has been teaching me Mathematics, can you believe that!”
His mother looked at him with uncomprehending eyes…
“My maths that I used to hate before, has suddenly become clear to me mother!” continued Dominion, patiently.
“Then I am very happy son, maybe you are beginning to take Dominion after all” she said.
“What do you mean mother,” said Dominion uneasily.
“Nothing, sometimes names have a way of being lived out by their owners…who knows if that will be the case with you.”
“Why are you saying this mother…what are you not telling me?”
Dominion’s mother stroked her son’s hair and looked away…
“If he is opening up your books to you, then He will certainly open up much more. He has done the same with me too.”
Dominion leaned closer to his mother breathlessly…
“And what did he teach you mother?” he whispered.
“That your name was not by chance…that it was never through your father’s choice that you were named Dominion…that it is a name of prophecy and destiny.”
“But why didn’t you tell me this before?”
“Because you hadn’t forgiven your father…therefore you were still in darkness…you wouldn’t have understood.”
“What else did he tell you mother?”
“Nothing. The rest, He will teach you Himself. Good night my son.”
He smiled as she walked towards him…she looked tired…
“I need a drink Dominion please?”
“Sure, come on, let’s go to one of the cafeterias,” replied Dominion, as he linked hands with his girlfriend of over two years.
They had been dating since their 200 Level days, and still going strong now that both of them were in their final year. Her name was Kemi and she was the most beautiful creature Dominion had ever set his eyes on.
She was eighteen years old and he was nineteen, getting ready to celebrate his 20th a couple of months down the line.
He had chosen to study Maths in the University because of his track record in the subject and how well he had performed in the JAMB exams. But no sooner had he entered the Institution, his interest in Mathematics had begun to wane…as did his prowess…he had suddenly begun to lose ground and once had had to do a resit exam in his third year.
Kemi was a decent girl and not once had either of them ‘crossed the line’…perhaps due to their mutual upbringing. They had just been intimate friends and companions…but somehow every time the temptation came up, he found he had been able to squash it rather easily…now he understood that the Holy Spirit had been keeping him…preserving him…
Of course you know you can’t marry her!
The Knowing came up in his heart rather unexpectedly…he had had a series of these kinds of ‘Knowings’ ever since his Mathematics teaching experience with the Holy Spirit.
On one instance he had Known not to enter a bus even as he entered it and came down again, much to the annoyance of the bus conductor…but later, the bus he finally entered passed the unfortunate bus on the road…it had broken down and its numerous passengers were stranded, looking for a bus in the impossible ‘rush hour’.
Since then he had known enough not to argue whenever he had a Knowing…like this one…except that he wasn’t very happy with this Knowing…
“Why are you so pensive or subdued today?” asked Kemi, studying her boyfriend’s face, his drink hardly touched.
Dominion smiled brightly at her, trying to shake it off…now wasn’t a good time to think about it…besides he was still going to beg the Holy Spirit…three years of courtship wasn’t a thing to throw away lightly…
“Just had a bad day,” he lied before he realized it and kicked himself thoroughly in his heart…
“Sorry for lying Lord,” he winced painfully in his heart…he truly regretted the lie even though it had been deliberate…because Kemi wasn’t one to be thrown off a scent so easily…she would have pestered him for a reason like a dog refusing to give up a juicy bone, till he had told her the truth…and he wasn’t about to do that…not when he hadn’t discussed it with the Holy Spirit…
He sipped his Pepsi, searching for some thread of conversation he could begin, but he was too rattled by the Knowing he had just had.
“You are obviously not in a talking mood today. So tell me what happened to make you have a bad day,” said Kemi, putting down her half empty bottle.
It had taken Pastor Emmanuel precisely thirty minutes to get to the bottom of the problem. Apparently all three deacons had met before hand to agree to see the pastor at the same time…there was safety in numbers they had reasoned together.
All of them were government contractors, but with the approach of the new government to dealing with corruption, they had found themselves out of the loop. In fact, they had come for prayers that the EFCC would ‘overlook’ them and pick on some other hapless people.
Pastor Emmanuel was truly a God fearing man, and had told them without mincing words that if they had been dishonest with government money; their sins would find them out.
“So what exactly do you mean when you say your businesses have collapsed?” he asked as he leaned back into his chair after sharing God’s Word on honesty and integrity.
“Pastor, I have sinned greatly,” began Deacon Osho, anxious to tell the whole truth in hopes that God would not only forgive him, but also deliver him from his troubles.
“It is true that I was awarded contracts with huge sums of money, but the contracts were inflated and much of the money was not used to execute the projects. I diverted it into some other business ventures sir, and now I have been having sleepless nights in fear. I keep having this dream about EFCC coming to arrest me.”
“Hmmm…the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom,” began the pastor, seeing that the other deacons were not yet willing to talk.
“God will forgive you if indeed you are repentant, but repentance is not enough, you must also make restitution.”
“You mean as in giving back what I have taken?” asked the Deacon.
“Yes just like the tax collector I spoke of did!” emphasized the pastor.
“That would mean immediate arrest pastor,” said Deacon Onyemachi, chuckling…he was not impressed with Deacon Osho’s show of honesty and obvious naivety.
“Not necessarily,” replied Pastor Emmanuel.
“What is important is that you are honest before God and you throw yourself on his mercy. If He does not want you arrested, He will keep you safe Deacon, but your honesty matters a lot to him. Do not underestimate the power of God. I perceive that you are not yet truly repentant Deacon Onyemachi.”
“If God can get me out of this trouble, it will be the last time I will ever do anything corrupt,” said Deacon Osho.
“I will return all the monies I have enriched myself with, and I will redo the contracts as best as I can, then I will throw myself on God’s mercy and see what he will do with me. At least my heart will be at peace,” finished the Deacon.
“That’s the way to go Deacon Osho!” applauded the pastor.
Deacon Ayorinde stared stonily at no one in particular…he was bored with the ongoing religious nonsense…quite frankly he had only agreed to come because he was in cohorts with the other two, and there was no way they were going to confess without bringing in his name into the picture.
He had already decided what to do in his mind…before he was implicated in anything he would have to get rid of the other two.
“Do you have anything to say, Deacon Ayorinde?” asked Pastor Emmanuel.
“Of course sir, but my colleagues in particular Deacon Osho has said it all. I agree that repentance and restitution is the way to go…I was merely giving my life some sober reflection pastor,” smiled Deacon Ayorinde.
“I am so glad to hear that. I strongly believe God will take firm control. I want us to begin a time of fasting and prayer when we will come together to seek the Lord for his divine intervention. Perhaps the Lord will visit us and give us clear guidance as to how to go about making restitution.”
Deacon Ayorinde sighed inwardly…these morons! He thought to himself…
It was a small room in a modest house in a peaceful neighbourhood…but no one could have guessed that it belonged to one of the most powerful people in the country…for such people didn’t flaunt their power carelessly…nor were they interested in others knowing just how rich or powerful they were…it was how they kept their anonymity.
The house was a dedicated chapel of sorts…black curtains draped the windows of the temple of self-styled spiritual leader Prophet Faleke; spiritual adviser to the Governors of four States in the country.
Each of the four rooms was designed like a shrine dedicated to various deities. Deacon Ayorinde waited in the small outer office where a dwarf watched him suspiciously from behind a table that hid all but his face…another dwarf lady dressed in a single black wrapper stood by a door beside a single giant black candle into which she occasionally threw some ground herbs that caused a stench in the room.
A dwarf came out of a door leading to the rooms, with a single black wrapper in his hands and handed it over to Deacon Ayorinde. They all stared stonily at him as he turned his back on them and began to undress.
Minutes later he was ushered into the presence of the Prophet – a thin, gaunt man with a bald head and a long bushy beard. He was dressed in a black robe decorated with cowrie shells and a sash around his waist.
“You are late; the others were here almost an hour ago!” said the Prophet a little impatiently.
“Yes sir, I had a little emergency with my daughter she- “
“She fell down the stairs and broke an ankle, that is because the gods are angry with you Ayorinde!”
Deacon Ayorinde fell on his knees in stark fear, then assumed a prone, prostrate position on the ground.
“E jo sa!” he begged, grovelling on the ground before the Prophet who seemed to know everything about anyone without asking any questions.
“It isn’t me you should be begging; you should beg the gods. What possessed you to follow your ignorant colleagues to your pastor for prayers…you think I wouldn’t know?”
Deacon Ayorinde was dumbfounded…how did he even know? He was speechless…he hadn’t realized just how powerful the man in whose presence he grovelled was…he had heard stories of how he had once blinded a man by speaking mere words, and how he had been responsible for the mysterious murder of a previous governor who had ‘grown wings’…
“I’m sorry sir, please!” said Deacon Ayorinde as he began to babble in fear of the retribution that was coming to him.
“You are only lucky that the gods still have a use for you Ayorinde,” said the Prophet, smiling evilly as he paced around the trembling figure lying prone on the ground.
They were in a room where a gigantic round Drum had been mounted on a dais…the drum was made of skins…
“It is made of hundreds of layers of dried human skins, among other things” said the Prophet pointing to the drum when he had permitted Deacon Ayorinde to get up on his feet again.
“It is the most powerful Drum on earth, for it makes no human or earthly sound…yet it summons forces you cannot even begin to comprehend” he continued, finally seating himself on the only stool in the room.
“So what sacrifice have you come to pledge?”
“My lord, I have come to pledge my last born son Yemi, in hopes that the deities will protect me from being exposed by the government,” said the Deacon as he grovelled again at the feet of the Prophet.
“If you do as you say and bring his blood and hair as is our custom, you shall remain under the protection of the gods for another full year, like the others,” said the Prophet.
“I will bring the materials this very evening my lord, without fail.”
“Then all that remains is the sacrifice to propitiate the deities for the embarrassment you have caused them by seeking the help of your pastor…you will pay 5 million Ayorinde.”
“Yes my lord, all shall be done today.”
Deacon Ayorinde left, a happy man…he knew he had gotten off lightly, unlike the unfortunate senator who had refused to comply with his annual sacrifices, because it had been the turn of his last born child…he had eventually run mad.
Ayorinde knew the ways around these things…that was why he kept several concubines who had given him children…it protected his nuclear family…his first born son had been from a concubine as was his last born son Yemi who unfortunately was now to be sacrificed to maintain his incredible wealth and position.
The Prophet had given no law that stated that the first and last born children had to be from the nuclear family, neither was there any law that stated that his wife had to be used rather than a concubine…he chuckled softly…he was free to live as he liked for another year…nothing could happen to him…he was under the protection of the deities…this was what he believed in…his church attendance was merely to keep up appearances with his nuclear family…to maintain social and business connections that he might not otherwise have access to outside the church.
His driver jumped out smartly out of the car to open the door for him…he should celebrate…have one last get together with his last born son Yemi, before his demise…
“To mummy Yemi’s house,” he ordered the driver.
As the driver eased into the congested highway, he wondered about the other two deacons whose money was tied to government contracts…he on the other hand merely used it as a front to cover up where his money really came from…after all, he had to have some physical and visible source of income…or how could he possibly explain that his wealth came from the spirit world?
So when he and the others had been denied contracts by the new government, he had known that he would have to play along with them…but now that Deacon Osho was running his mouth about going to spill the beans…he had to protect himself…so even though he was under the protection of the deities, he would certainly not leave anything to chance…Deacon Osho would have to go…but he would keep watching Deacon Onyemachi for now…he hadn’t appeared too willing to tow Deacon Osho’s path, at the meeting they had had with the pastor.
Prophet Faleke concluded the Ritual of the Drum along with his accolades the dwarfs…carefully he moved slowly around the Drum, beating it once in specific places…not a sound was heard…he beat the Drum four times…his accolades lay flat on their faces around the Drum. The Prophet returned to the small stool in the corner of the room and waited patiently…he whom he had summoned would come…
He seldom knew which deity would appear…sometimes he didn’t even recognize the deity that appeared…it seemed they liked to keep their identities anonymous for some strange reason.
The Ritual of the Drum had been handed down to his father and his father before him for several generations…no one knew the actual facts, but legend had it that the Drum had at one time been used to summon the children of the gods that once walked the earth in its early days…
He believed the story because of a similar story he had read in the bible about angels coming down from heaven to take wives of the daughters of men, and producing children who were giants on the earth in those days…
Of course the bible had said they had all perished in the Flood…but he knew better…Oranmiyan…Sango…Obatala…and all the rest of them still existed…they still came when they were summoned…for they did not have mortal souls like Mankind…they were the seed of fallen angels…they were the Rulers of the Darkness of this world, howbeit no longer inhabiting the physical bodies they once had.
He sent his accolades out of the room and stood in front of the Drum, watching its smooth skin…knowing that his Visitor would soon manifest himself…
He felt a thrill as the smooth skin of the Drum began to ripple as though it was suddenly melting into liquid…this was the usual way the Beings from the Other Side came through…he stared at it anxiously, hoping that it would not be one of the fierce ones…
There did not seem to be any figure forming in the now turbulent rippling of the surface of the Drum, instead…a whirlwind seemed to be forming from the depth of the Drum…way down at the bottom…it rose at tremendous speed…Prophet Faleke felt himself falling…the whirlwind appeared to be sucking him in…he felt himself losing balance and screamed as he fell inside…
Dominion woke up with a start, not quite sure what had woken him up…he was a light sleeper by any standards. He looked around his dark room listening for sounds, but heard nothing.
He lay back thinking about the dream that he had just experienced…he had never felt so conscious within a dream before…he could still feel the tingle of the cold water that had splashed on him as someone he had never seen before, fell from somewhere pretty high into a gigantic pool…screaming…
There had been a lot of fiendish laughter all around him from unseen people…or beings…laughter that sounded more like wailing and wheezing and short intermittent screams…
He hadn’t been afraid for some reason…but he had been curious enough to look more closely at the figure now floundering in the gigantic pool…he would remember that face for a long time…
Tall figures had begun to emerge from the corners of the pool as though unseen stair cases were all around…till he had seen that they were actually hovering and rising in the air…they had no faces…only the form and figure of men…they were rather very thin and too tall to be human…
That was when he had another Knowing…
They are demons…fallen angels!
That was also when he had woken up suddenly…
He felt an urge to pick up his bible and just flip through…he began reading on the page he first opened…
Gen 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
It started coming together…just like his Maths equations had begun to form patterns…the sons of God were the fallen angels…their goal had been to corrupt God’s creation by creating a hybrid race…part angel and part man…
Their goal has still not changed!
He knew that they were planning something big…for some strange reason God had allowed him into their counsels…and the person he had seen falling into the pool was to be their main instrument…he would remember the face…
Just before he woke up he had seen one of the faceless creatures reach out and pull the man out of the pool…then the others had surrounded him…blocking him from his view…