Are there still Apostles today? Joseph Ayo Babalola was clearly an African definition of Apostle. He is widely known and esteemed for the great spiritual revival of 1930 that started in Oke Ooye in Ilesha, South-Western Nigeria in Africa and whose influence has since spread to the ends of the earth. He is popularly known as the Apostle of Africa. The history of Christianity in Africa cannot be complete without mentioning this man. This author’s aged grandmother who is still alive as at the writing of this article was privileged to have lived with the great Apostle for some time. She confirms as a firsthand witness many of the recorded exploits of Joseph Ayo Babalola. Right from when we were young, granny would tell us many incredible stories about the great apostle.
Back to the question “Are there still Apostles today?” Firstly many children of God have the notion that the apostolic age ended at the start of the early church. Others claim that apart from the 12 apostles of Jesus, no other person can really lay claim to the title of an apostle. The truth is that while there are apostles appointed by Jesus during His earthly ministry (the 12 Apostles) there are also apostles appointed by the Holy Spirit e.g Paul, Barnabas and Silas. The earthly ministry of Jesus ended at His ascension to heaven while this marked the beginning of the earthly ministry of the Holy Spirit. Since the ministry of the Holy Spirit continues till date as well as the building of the Church, it means that apostles are existing even till date.
The True Apostle must walk in purity and power. The evidence of signs and miracles must follow the apostle. All these were clearly evident in the life and ministry of Joseph Ayo Babalola. He was a native of Ilofa, Kwara State in Nigeria. He was born in April 1904 and He passed on to glory in 1959. Many great ministers of the gospel, great ministries and Churches got their fires lit from the blazing torch of this great apostle. In this article we will look at some of the exploits of Joseph Ayo Babalola in two towns in Nigeria in the 1930s…
At Efon Alaaye
Revival fire swept through the town and many were arrested by the Holy Spirit. Afterwards, the Apostle charged the people of Efon Alaaye to give up their idols. The people complied in complete obedience to the Lord. So many images and gods were surrendered including Osun (goddess of the river), ere ibeji ( twin god), Sango (god of thunder), egungun (masquerade god), sigidi, and many others. All these were publicly burnt.
Of particular note is the Ayara god which had been used to kill thousands of people. Sixty of such gods were surrendered by their adherents. Each of these gods had at least fifty nails on its head. The number of nails signifies the number of people it had been used to kill. The revival brought an end to all such demonic practises in the land.
Even the Alaaye of Efon Alaaye the paramount ruler of the land surrendered himself to Jesus. He gave up all the weapons of darkness and all the graven images in the palace without sparing one. The King forsook the drinking of wine and palm wine completely and gave himself up to God’s use. Consequently God gave him the gift of prophecy and revelations were given to him in abundance.
The Apostles exploits also took him to Ifira. There were many terrible gods in the land. One of these is the Egunle god from Isowo quarters. When this god was arrayed during its festive days. It was a forbidden thing for anybody to call people’s attention to it by pointing a finger at it. Anybody found contravening this rule was sure to die or run mad or have his finger cut off completely. A big python-like snake usually coiled round the big pot on which the god was mounted. For the yearly sacrifice, a live-sparrow was used as offering to the god. The chief priest to this god usually killed goats and rams as sacrifices to appease the python on which the god was enthroned. In any year, when it proved abortive to capture a live sparrow to offer to the god, a human being would be used instead!
The god then had its habitation in the bush at the outskirt of the quarter. The bush was not meant to be visited by hunters for the purpose of their hunting expedition.
It is with this background that the Apostle determined to confront the powers of the egunle god. Therefore when Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola announced his willingness to go to the hills, in the habitation of god, the people of the land were horrified and gripped with unspeakable fear. They felt he would be killed by the terrible snake. In fact the King of Isua, the great Onisua now late, had to send a high powered emissary to Ifira to see firsthand if the Man of God would be able to make his evangelistic expedition to the mountain and also to see if the snake would allow him to come near the egunle god.
The apostle upon the direction he received from the people headed towards the hill top. In fact every person living within the vicinity of the hill deserted their domain. They felt this man of God was definitely going to meet his end on that day. The man of God went up to the hill with a hand bell and when he got to the habitation of the god, he rang the bell out loud at the Lord’s command. As he rang the bell, the bell rang with a thunderous heavenly amplification that the sound shattered the pot. The juju in the pot flew out thus rendering the egunle god impotent.
At the sight of this wonder, the crowd at the base of the hill broke into songs of jubilation. As the Apostle was returning to the town, the people beheld the snake and trampled down on it till it died. There has not been any snake as big as this snake since then in this part of the world. The people sang with incredibly joy.
God is still raising Apostles today. One distinctive characteristic of true apostles is that they are VERY HUMBLE. If any man will pay the price, God will use him in the capacity of an apostle. Many times Joseph Ayo Babalola would go into the bush for 19 days or more without food in earnest prayer for new anointing. He would always return with fresh fire! Till his earthly exit he never lost the fire.