Is Anything Too Hard For God?
Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead? Acts 26:8
From Rigor Mortis Corpse to Resurrection Man
The Story of Daniel Ekechukwu Reported by field correspondents Robert Murphree and George Canty
The following banner headline appeared in the Nigerian newspaper, The Post Express."BONNKE RAISES MAN FROM DEATH IN ONITSHA".
Was it true, a divine miracle, or sensationalist press exaggeration? Jesus did say, "Though one rose from the dead they would not believe." Judge for yourself. The evidence and facts are here without embroidery but on the very spot they stunned critical journalists and left them speechless.
Crossing Death's Path
In the morning of November 30th 2001, Daniel Ekechukwu, the pastor of the Power Chapel Evangelical Church in Onitsha, with his friend Kingsley Iruka took a Christmas present of a goat to his father in a village near the town of Owerri. Daniel drove his 20-year-old Mercedes 230. On the way back home, traveling down a steep road, the Mercedes brakes failed. Daniel could do nothing. Gathering speed the vehicle hurtled downhill unstoppable. Its career, and Daniel's, ended as it smashed into a stone pillar.
Without a seat belt Daniel was catapulted violently forward. His head hit the windscreen and the steering wheel and knob punched into his body. Daniel's friend Kingsley Iruka, shocked though not badly hurt, turned to Daniel, hoping all was well. But the sight appalled him. Blood was pouring from Daniel's nose from a head injury, and then he began vomiting blood from heavy internal hemorrhage.
Rescue presently came. Marvelously Daniel held up until he was placed in the local hospital's intensive care, or the Nigerian best equivalent of it. His wife, Nneka was sent for. She found Daniel still alive but only just. He hung on to life to ask her to have him taken to his family doctor's hospital in Owerri a very serious mistake. It meant anything but a smooth ride of one and a half hours.
Within minutes of being lifted into the ambulance Daniel felt himself dying. He tried to whisper his last words and instructions to Nneka. Especially he begged her to see the work of their church continued. He also tried to inform her about one or two church situations she ought to be aware of, but his speech slurred, became incoherent and stopped as he drifted into unconsciousness.
The ambulance driver pushed on however, at full speed, warning sirens blaring. Reaching the Owerri Regional Hospital they ran in shouting "Emergency! Emergency." Daniel's doctor, however, was not on duty. Instead a member of the medical staff took charge and checked Daniel's now limp form. He turned to them with a sad face. He could only certify that Daniel was already dead.
His wife Nneka naturally was shocked. But a Bible verse had been ringing in her mind from Hebrews 11 "Women received their dead raised to life again." An irrational conviction seized her. This meant her. She would see Daniel alive and well again. In what follows Nneka was the key figure.
Evidence of things Hoped For
The text in Nneka's head made it impossible for her to accept the plain evidence that Daniel had gone or allow him to be buried. Her agitation dictated that something must be done. They hurried to see Daniel's uncle, Okoronkwo Emmanuel living near the hospital and asked if he knew where their own family doctor was.
He did not know, but led them to see his own doctor, Dr. Jossy Anuebunisa at the St. Eunice Clinic. Daniel was taken there and seeing Nneka's determination again the doctor checked. He could only confirm death had taken place. The time registered was 11.30 p.m. of the day of the car accident.
The doctor then wrote out his report on the decease of his patient and asked if they wished to have Daniel laid in the clinic's mortuary. They declined. Instead they again moved the body to Daniel's father in the village near Owerri and from there to the Ikeduru General Hospital Mortuary, not far away. The resident mortician, Mr. Barlington R. Manu, also carried out the normal checks and by then it was after midnight, one o'clock Saturday morning.
The mortuary having no cold storage facilities, the mortician administered the usual chemical injection and prepared the body for embalming on the following morning. With a staff member he laid the body out on a mortuary slab between two other dead people. Everyone then retired for the night.
Faith: The Turning Point
Meanwhile Daniel's wife convinced her husband would live again, wanted his body taken to the church in Onitsha where Reinhard Bonnke was to speak at a dedication ceremony of the Grace of God Ministries.
Daniel's father, however, was a Mormon and declared he would decide. He said he would go and "hit him with the Bible seven times", and if Daniel did not rise, then Nneka must accept the fact that he was not going to rise from the dead, and that must close the matter. He did go and struck the corpse as he said seven times, with no result whatever.
Nneka, being a Christian, considered a Mormon would not understand. His performance meant nothing except to put her off. She would not give up. She pestered her father-in-law. Daniel must be taken to the Bonnke meeting. Realizing that if he refused this favor, she would remember all her life he had denied her request on behalf of her husband. Eventually he relented.
On the next day, Sunday, December 2, they went to take the body from the mortuary. But the mortician was worried about their intentions. To hide the fact that a body was being taken away as it was, with a one and half hours drive to Onitsha, as a pretext he dressed the body as for the funeral, placed it in a coffin and shut the lid. They took Daniel in his coffin and set off.
Arriving at the Onitsha church compound, the State security officer and the ushers saw them entering with a coffin and ordered them to turn round and leave immediately. Nneka however was determined. She pleaded and persisted not only for the coffin to be allowed in the church compound but brought into the church itself. Seeing her agitation, the State security office checked that the coffin did contain a body and was not a terrorist trick to plant a bomb.
Finding only a pallid corpse he allowed them to proceed. However the idea of bringing a coffin or a dead body into a crowded church brought consternation and upheaval. Finally the Head Bishop's son Pastor Paul Jr. sought his father's permission to get the body into the building, but it would have to be only into the children's department.
The children were ushered into the lower hall, and the corpse brought in the upper room and laid out on a table. The Bishop's son, Paul, and another pastor on the church staff, Bathcomery Nkwando, attended to this and found rigor mortis had stiffened the limbs.
Two other staff pastors, Lawrence Onyeka and Luke Ibekwe joined them to guard the body. Meanwhile Reinhard Bonnke knew nothing of this and was preaching and praying upstairs in the main auditorium. After a while the pastors noticed a slight twitching of the stomach of the corpse.
Then the corpse drew a breath, and presently irregular breathing took place in "short bursts" as they reported. Encouraged, the pastors threw themselves into powerful petitionary prayer, stripped the body of the mortuary gloves, socks and shirt and began massage from head to foot, Daniel being as said "as stiff as an iron rod".
They asked for fans to be brought in to give Daniel more air to breathe. As this news broke out in the sanctuary above it created hysterical pandemonium. Then, said Pastor Lawrence, at 5:15 on the Sunday afternoon, nearly two days after death had taken place, Daniel opened his eyes, sat up and leaned on Pastor Lawrence.
People began crowding into the hall to see this resurrection man. Pastor Lawrence was worried Daniel would not have enough oxygen, so he lifted and carried him into the church sanctuary. Daniel spoke for the first time "Water. Water." They gave him sips and then warm tea.
To give him a clear space they seated him on a chair on the platform, where hundreds of people saw him slowly recovering. He had not yet collected his thoughts and for a while could not recognize anyone, not even his own son who came up to see his dad. However, he progressed, and within only hours, during the evening, he had full consciousness and coherence.
He became a wonder, and crowds besieged his home, so he was taken away to a secret location for two days of physical re-strengthening. The once-dead man not only rose from his coffin but the serious injuries, which had brought about his death, were also healed without the slightest trace.
Reinhard Bonnke meanwhile had left the immediate scene to board a planned plane flight. Any doubts? Here are some hard facts that won't go away. For two days Daniel did not breathe, his heart had stopped beating.
It was in a hot climate, not suspended animation in an ice chamber. He had been injected with a harsh chemical to keep back mortification. As a corpse he was carted around for hours, pulled about, and lay in an airless narrow coffin for hours. He should have had severe brain damage, but he is alive now without any ill effects.
This is no unsupported claim of bringing someone to life privately, as in a house. Here was a public event, an open demonstration of revival from death. If anyone has to be named, it is Nneka. Her incurable faith alone prevented Daniel's burial simply to bring him where she was convinced God could bring him back to life. She regarded Reinhard Bonnke as a man of God and that in the atmosphere of faith where he ministered this miracle was possible.
The faith of Nneka dictated the whole event and her faith was honored. By whom? Who honored her faith? If not God, who else?
Report by Robert Murphree and George Canty
Click here for an account of Daniel's dream as recounted to David Servant in September 2002.
Click below to view the video on YouTube.There are 4 videos making up the whole story - the next video comes up in order on Youtube as the previous video finishes.