Was the raising of Pastor Daniel Ekechukwu from the dead through the ministry of Reinhard Bonnke in 2001 another amazing miracle or something bigger—a last warning to this generation?
We all hear of spectacular miracles happening in Africa, blind people getting their sight and the deaf hearing. As the television producer for Reinhard Bonnke, I filmed and documented many such awe-inspiring stories.
The raising of Ekechukwu from the dead, Dec. 1, 2001, after two nights in a mortuary and the verification of a doctor, a mortician and numerous witnesses is a story unlike any I have encountered. It just so happens that after being with Bonnke for more than four years, I became a missionary to Nigeria and had an apartment on the grounds of the senior pastor of the church where this miracle happened. I know Bishop Paul Nweke very well and did extensive work in many of his branch "Grace of God" churches in different parts of Nigeria. I also conversed with Bonnke about this story and then researched it for myself. I am a trained journalist and television producer, and my research left me with no doubts about the authenticity of what happened in this story.
In a nutshell, Ekechukwu had delivered a Christmas gift to his father, and when driving back on a Friday night, his brakes failed on a steep hill. He drove headlong into a concrete pillar. He did not have his seatbelt on and hit his head on the windshield. He also hit his chest on the steering wheel and was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Onitsha (a large city in Nigeria) coughing blood, having difficulty breathing and in a serious condition. Although it was late at night, he asked to be moved to a hospital and doctor near his father's town of Owerri about 90 minutes away. On the journey in an ambulance, two angels appeared to Daniel. He was having trouble breathing, and he understood that death was imminent. He said goodbye to his wife and was then transported to Paradise. An angel then proceeded to show him paradise, the mansions that Jesus had built for the saints and finally hell. These he describes in vivid detail in the documentary.
Back on earth, the dead body was first taken to a clinic where Dr. Josse Annebunwa examined him, found him to have no respiratory movements, no pulse and the eyes were fixed and dilated. He pronounced him dead upon arrival at his clinic at 11:30 p.m. and said he should be moved to the mortuary. A copy of the original signed death pronouncement is clearly shown in the documentary. The mortician, Barlington R. Mann, examined the body and said there was no heartbeat, no signs of breathing and life in the body. Everything was stiff, he said, and he began the embalming procedure but only injected the embalming chemicals into the hands and feet.
The body lay on a hard, stone slab for two nights, but the morning of Sunday, the wife had a dream directing her to take the body to the church dedication service happening that day at 1 p.m. where Bonnke would be ministering. Her family hired an ambulance, and the body was transported in a coffin that they had purchased. The church refused to allow the dead body to be brought into the service, but instead, they took it out of the coffin and put it in the basement on a wooden table. A number of saints gathered around to pray for the corpse. After Bonnke had preached and prayed for the sick in the auditorium above, they suddenly noticed that the chest was showing signs of irregular breathing. This fact they told Bonnke while he was in Senior Pastor Paul Nweke's office after the service.
The Nigerian saints in the basement continued for hours to pray for Ekechukwu's body and to worship around it. They began to massage the ice-cold hands, feet and neck as rigor mortis had set in, and blood flow began to return to the body. Sometime around 5 p.m., Daniel suddenly sneezed, jumped up and opened his eyes. He was very disoriented but alive. Over the next few hours, his comprehension returned, and there was no evidence of any brain damage. Hundreds of saints were now gathered around worshipping and praying. By that evening he was fully back in his right mind, and his wife told him all that had happened.
The documentary video available for free on YouTube called Raised from the Dead is wonderfully produced. What is critical is what the angel told Ekechukwu right before he returned. The angel said his resurrection story was a last warning to this generation and that God was answering the prayer of the rich man in hell in Luke 16 who said that if someone were to come back from the dead, people would believe.
This whole story of Pastor Daniel Ekechukwu and its meaning to the times we are in is what this week's Lessons From Legends is all about. Download a free copy of this fascinating and deeply moving episode by clicking here.
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