People all over Africa are questioning whether reports of a man said to have been raised from the dead in Johannesburg last Sunday are accurate. Or whether this supposed miracle at a service at Alleluia Ministries International in South Africa was entirely staged?
The service, which can be watched on the Facebook page of the church’s founder Alph Lukau, features him praying for a man in a coffin who supposedly comes back to life. The story has gone viral on social media and has been picked up by the mainstream media including BBC Africa who referred to it as a ‘resurrection stunt’.
The world are quick to refute reports of the miraculous, however what about the Body of Christ? Are we that desperate to prove to the world that miracles exist that we would stage a miracle healing or resurrection. Hopefully the answer is no.
Alleluia Ministries advertised the service on Facebook saying that “A dead man came back to life in this service. I speak a resurrection miracle in your life.” However the church later issued a statement saying the man wasn’t dead.” So, it’s confusing to know what actually went on. Many are saying ‘the dead man’ was a paid actor and “a bad actor at that.”
Bible believing Christians know that we serve the God of the impossible which includes raising the dead. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and the New Testament promises us that we shall do greater works than Jesus. So the question is not, “Can God raise people from the dead?” But rather, was this man, named Elliot raised from the dead?
The video certainly makes for compelling viewing. Picture a mass auditorium filled to overflowing. A smartly dressed pastor is speaking when the cameras switch over to a funeral van arriving. A coffin is revealed and the brother and landlord of ‘the deceased’ claim the man died the previous Friday and they have brought him from the mortuary.
Cut to the pastor making his way to the coffin. The expectancy in the crowd is clearly building. You couldn’t ask for more drama in a service than this… Then, Pastor Alph Lukaut prays for the man who is clothed all in white, including gloves, perhaps emulating the look of a shroud. In an instant the man sits up in the coffin, allegedly revived, with a startled look upon his face and a wide-open mouth.
The mass crowd goes wild with jubilation as the pastor says “the coffin is empty” and it is paraded through the auditorium and added to the large number of empty wheelchairs already on the stage. “This is what you call an uncommon miracle,” the announcer says, “The Bible is come to life!”
“It’s an outstanding miracle,” Alph Lukaut says, starting to preach… “When you are in an atmosphere like this nobody can mess with your miracle…”
There is no doubt about it, miracles release faith for people to believe God for their breakthrough. But when there is cause to question the validity of a miracle then doubt and confusion come and in this case ridicule.
We as believers need to be careful we don’t misrepresent God. And those who try to ridicule Him do so at their peril. “Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God. You will reap exactly what you plant.” (Galatians 6:7)
In an interview on South African TV with Elliot’s employer, it appears Elliot was trying to recruit people to act as disabled people who rise up out of their wheelchairs. If that is the case then it discredits the Alleluia video. They have taken a substantial knock as have the funeral service company that provided the van. According to the BBC report they are now suing Alleluia Ministries for damage to their reputation.
Not surprisingly, the story has initiated a spate of spoof posts on social media using the hashtag #ResurrectionChallenge. These posts show people jokingly coming back to life, emulating Elliot’s startled look and wide open mouth…
The #ResurrectionChallenge will soon go international pic.twitter.com/BwnnEJGOfV
— E M P E R O R TEECEE???????? (@TCMabasa) February 25, 2019
Looking objectively it does seem the Alleluia video was staged, in some way, although that does not prove the church to be complicit. Many will not see the sequence of events as authentic especially if you consider the dramatic build up to the ‘miracle’ during what was supposedly a LIVE broadcast, however readers will have to make up their own mind. There are literally hundreds of comments both for and against.
The important question though is what if you were to put God to the test? What if you were to give Jesus a resurrection challenge? He is more than up for it because His resurrection power is 100 percent genuine. He was crucified for our sins on the Cross and yet He rose on the third day securing our eternal salvation.
He said “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25)
If you are a Christian don’t be confused. Be confident in your faith. If you aren’t a Christian, accept Jesus today, put Him to the test in your situation and see His resurrection power at work in your life.