“ Simeo Ondeto, the Black Messiah is alive. He was always alive. He spoke to us spiritually at a time when his body was lifeless. He still speaks today.” Romanus On’gombe
Is Simeo Ondeto Alive: The Big Question
The common question that is asked of Legio Maria church of Africa is whether their God Simeo Melkio Ondeto is really alive. It is a question that shakes many. It is indeed the biggest question that can be asked. The answer that Legio Maria church has for this question is simple and firm: Yes, Baba God Simeo Ondeto is alive. “Baba Simeo Ondeto talks to us every day. He answers our prayers and responds to our needs. He is alive.” Once the answer is received by the inquisitors, the next question they usually pose is whether Black Messiah Jesus Ondeto was resurrected. This too Legio Maria church replies to without shame: Yes Emmanuel Simeo Ondeto resurrected. We have seen him several times. He is resurrected.
After the answer to this question is unequivocal, the inquisitors ask the next question: when did this happen and how was he resurrected if his body is still buried and rotten and decayed at Got Okwon’g in Migori. Legio Maria answer to this is again unambiguous: resurrection is spiritual and not bodily. Black Jesus Simeo Ondeto was resurrected spiritually. Let us now examine the Legio Maria Africa Church perspective of resurrection and whether it holds any grounds.
Simeo Ondeto: The Meaning of the Resurrection of Black Messiah
Simeo Ondeto Resurrection means renewal/ renaissance/ rebirth/ restoration/ resurgence/ revivification/revitalization/ reappearance etc. It is not limited to body, spirit, or energy. When one talks of resurrection, he/she implies that something/someone already ended/dead is back again to life/existence. It implies the realization that what was thought to be completely dead is never at all dead.
In the Christian context, the resurrection of Jesus Christ implies the existence and life of Jesus after his death. The disciples experienced their master as vividly as they had done prior to his catastrophic death on the cross. As to whether Jesus was resurrected in bodily form that is subject to debate. The reality of his resurgence cannot, however, be denied because of the restoration of hope in his disciples and the eventual spread of his message across the globe. In fact, it is this resurgence after death that is the cornerstone of Christianity.
Resurrection in Legio Maria church theology implies Simeo Ondeto living after death. It implies a form of living that can be experienced by other human beings. Black Messiah Simeo Ondeto was indeed dead on the 5th of September 1991. He was not breathing and his brain was completely dead. Yet in countless Legio Maria churches, he was still alive. Many Legio Maria faithful did not even know he was dead until the news was broken through the media. And during that time when he was physically dead, they still worshipped him and he talked to them in spirit. He taught them and guided them. He answered their petitions and prayers and was always communing with them, even though physically dead.
Simeo Ondeto Resurrection: The Context of the Bible
Since the inquisitors are usually Christians, it is important to swim back into the biblical perspectives of the resurrection before returning to the Legio Maria Church perspective. From the outset, the bible does not mention resurrection. The book of Genesis is clear about the fate of man. Man is created from dust of the earth and returns to the dust after death. Genesis seems to suggest that man was always alive eternally before the sin of disobedience. Eden was a wondrous garden and man always had an easy and holy life. God warns man that the day he sins he will surely die. When man sins, he is cursed by God. Though Adam and eve do not die on the same day of their sin, they now appear to be living in an environment full of sin, inequities and suffering. Indeed, very soon, Cain and Abel are presented as struggling with sin; a struggle which culminates into the killing of Abel by Cain.
At the death of Abel, we find the Bible’s first allusion to survival after death. The voice of Abel’s blood is heard by God who reprimands Cain for his crime. Though we are not told of the eventual fate of Abel, we learn the preliminary lessons of survival. The blood of a dead man is presented as able to communicate with God. Essentially, Abel becomes the first resurrected man. We do not find the story stating that he communicated with his relatives again, but the fact that God could hear the cry of his voice from his blood means that he lived on, in a form capable of demanding justice from God. If the story of Abel’s death and demand for justice is taken not to refer to revivification/revival/survival, then there is no reference to life after death in these early chapters of the great book.
Another interesting story that describes something akin to the survival of human beings is in God taking Enoch away unto himself. Enoch is said to have been a righteous man. To escape physical death that results from sin, he is taken away by God. While the story is not so relevant in supporting the resurrection argument, it asserts the argument for survival of humans after death. Enoch would simply go nowhere if humans were never surviving into another life. Moreover, the rupture of Enoch is only possible if there is a place set aside (already) by God for his holy people. So, while Enoch did not die and resurrect, his disappearance reinforces the argument for the survival of humans after death.
The book of Genesis does not explicitly discuss the theme of resurrection. However, the hope of survival after death was already becoming a growing theme in the minds of the writers. Abraham, the father of faith is promised a long life and peace at death. The patriarchs die with the promise of peace at death. The priests and kings also die in peace, with no fundamental hope in everlasting life. However, with the growing hope for the coming of the son of David (Messiah), the hope for everlasting life on earth begins to build. This leads to a common theme of universal resurrection. Job mentions it. But Daniel is more explicit about it. By the time of Malachi, the theme of universal resurrection is already stronger and boasts of strong proponents. Nonetheless, there was still a huge portion of people who still believed that there was no survival after death.
Sadducees and Pharisees
Philo of Alexandria followed the footsteps of Plato in theorizing about the human soul. According to Plato, humans had a soul that survived death. But Philo of Alexandria was also an important authority on matters of the scriptures. After reasoning for a long time about the truthfulness and historicity of the Old Testament, he returned a verdict that the Genesis accounts were simply myths. Philo did not oppose the usage of these myths because he believed that those myths carried important spiritual lessons. So, at the time of Philo, already goodwill was shifting in favor of spiritual interpretation of the scriptures and towards a spiritual religion.
Around this time too, there were different sects among the Jews. The sects had varying beliefs and interpretations of the scriptures. Some three most important sects were the Essenes, the Sadducees, and the Pharisees. John the Baptist is said to have belonged to the Essenes sect, which believed and practiced that the coming of the Messiah was at hand. But the most important sects in the debate about resurrection were the Pharisees and Sadducees. The Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead while the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead.
At this time, the most important point for these two groups was the potential of humans to survive.
Survival in the next life was difficult to fathom for the Sadducees, and unclear to the Pharisees. They imagined of people going with their property to the afterlife. They imagined of living again as men and women. This is why Jesus is asked about a woman whose husband dies and is inherited by the brothers of her husband in succession. Jesus makes a decisive point. He states that in the afterlife, humans are completely different. They do not go to the afterlife as husbands and wives, but as angels in heaven. They are completely spiritual. Jesus also states that God is God of the living and not of the dead. This essentially affirms the point that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, were already living as spirits or in a form similar to that of angels.
Two Competing Perspectives Survive
While Jesus had already made a complete decisive point on the argument about life after death, two competing perspectives survived him. There survived a perspective of individuality against universality of salvation, a perspective of soul against body survival, a perspective of earthly paradise against heavenly paradise. The writings of the New Testament exemplify the doublespeak about eternal life. At one point, it talks about the kingdom of God on earth and at another time it talks about the Kingdom of God in Heaven.
At some point it talks about humans living like angels in heaven and at another time it talks of humans living in a New Jerusalem descended from heaven to earth. At some point it talks about Jesus as God and spiritual and at other times it talks of Jesus as the Messiah and King on earth. The two perspectives are even evident in the Jesus resurrection story. At some point, Jesus is presented as having resurrected in bodily form from the grave and at other time he is presented as a spiritual being that appears and disappears to acquaintances. So, the believers in physical resurrection would accept Jesus as God dying for three days and then waking up. The death of God which is not a possibility is held as part of Jesus fight with death, which eventually culminates in the appearing and disappearing body.
Only Spiritual Resurrection is Possible
Apostle Paul is one of the greatest theologians of Christianity. He was clear in his understanding of Jesus’ resurrection. He believed that Jesus was now a spiritual being who could appear to people. The same Jesus that appeared to him is the one that made him an apostle to the Gentiles. He preached the spiritual Jesus and claimed the same title of Apostle with the others. He rebuked Peter. He founded many churches. He died believing in a spiritual resurrection of Jesus. Yet, many times, Paul’s writings about the resurrection are read and interpreted to mean physical resurrection.
For instance, when Paul says that Jesus appeared to 500 people, many people do not take this to mean a spiritual appearance. They take it to mean a physical appearance. But this is certainly wrong. There can be no reason why a physically alive Jesus should appear and disappear. There is no reason why a physically resurrected Jesus should not have visited people in their homes, attended a Sabbath in the Temple, and taught the disciples gain after he was resurrected. If he was alive again in the flesh, he should have gone home to Mary. And even if Mary was living with the most beloved disciples, Jesus would still have visited her and shared with her mother before departing to heaven. Therefore, because Jesus was now a ghost/spirit that only took up a visible human form as spiritual angels are said to take, the resurrection of Jesus was spiritual and not physical (bodily).
The spiritual resurrection of Jesus should not mean that Jesus died spiritually and rose again. If he was God, he never died. If he died, he was not God. An argument that God died and was completely absent from the universe for three days is untrue, unless Jesus was not God. But if Jesus is taken to have died in the manner of bodily death but with the spirit passing on into the spiritual and divine state in which he was before his incarnation, then the resurrection story is a little more plausible. Moreover, the resurrection should refer to the human side of observation. It should refer to the realization by humans that Jesus was still alive. It should mean the surprise interaction with Jesus after he was physically dead. The appearances of Jesus is enough evidence that he was now not living in any home on earth, but was now spiritual.
Simeo Ondeto Spiritually Alive: No Spiritual Death of God
Legio Maria theology allows no space for the spiritual death of Baba Melkio Simeo Ondeto. According to the greatest cardinal and Legio Maria elder, Romanus On’gombe, “God never dies. God lives. He lives eternally. So the thought of God dying and waking up after some days is a misunderstanding of what actually happened.” Another lead arch bishop, Romanus Odongo affirms: “we do not believe in the death of God. That is not even possible in the first place, so it is not worth any place in our worship.” According to Samwel, a lead theologian in Legio Maria of Africa, “the concept of resurrection means the human experience of incarnated God after he is physically no more.” Therefore, Legio Maria church only accepts spiritual resurrection, including the spiritual resurrection of Jesus.
The Debate about Bodily Resurrection of Jesus
What about the missing body of Jesus? Can a spiritual resurrection be biblical or even scriptural? The debate about the physical resurrection of Jesus is futile according to Legio Maria theologians. Samwel of Gwassi, for instance, insists that Christians experienced Jesus spiritually before they even thought about the possibility of physical resurrection. He says: “there is no way Jesus could have resurrected physically and not seen by his opponents and killers. That holds not water. The truth is that all of the people who experienced Jesus after his death had spiritual experiences. This is why the Book of Mark does not include the story of Jesus and what are present in the book are evidently spurious additions. Later on, the spiritual experiences were passed on orally to other generations and became literal physical experiences. But to people like Paul and Mary Magdalene, Jesus was like a Ghost, a spiritual apparition like that of Mary in Fatima.”
Spiritual resurrection is completely biblical or even scriptural. The bible is a record of human experiences with God and cannot negate any spiritual resurrection claims. The Bible lays claim to spiritual inspiration, not physical inspiration. The basis of the bible is spiritual things and experiences, not physical ones. The verses seen in the gospels are a record of the spiritual experiences of various people. The missing body is in no way a stumbling block on the way of a spiritual understanding of the story of resurrection of Jesus. There are many possible explanations to the absence of the body and no one can affirm that the only possibility is that the body became live again.
The Spiritual Appearances of Simeo Ondeto
Jesus Simeo Ondeto has appeared several times after his death. While his followers believe that these appearances were completely spiritual and his body still is in the tomb where he was buried, they firmly assert that these appearances is how people know that God Jesus Simeo Ondeto is alive. In September, 2012, on 13th, Jesus Simeo Ondeto appeared physically to over 30,000 adherents who were gathered at his annual memorial at Calvary Hill. The appearance followed Ondeto’s spiritual instruction to the group on the 12th/9/2012 that if they prayed persistently during the memorial he would appear physically and teach them. So the hill was full of fervent and unwavering chorus of prayers from 12th till around midnight on the 13th.
At that time, Bishop Melkio was leading the worship, when suddenly a man appeared at the dais and asked to teach Legios. Bishop Melkio gave him the opportunity to do so without knowing the person he was giving the microphone. Immediately, the entire hill was filled with spiritual ecstasy, tongues and cheerful noises for the over two hours that Baba Simeo Ondeto taught the congregation. He did not mention who he was. He simply taught. After he concluded his teaching, he gave the microphone to a deacon who was assisting before the altar and disappeared. A few minutes later, Simeo talked in spirit again to explain the way he had appeared to the over 30,000 Legios and yet they could not recognize him. That is when the congregation realized he had actually visited them and they remembered all that he had taught, his stammering voice, his characteristic laughs, and his diction, and believed that truly he was with them.
There have been other appearances to Legio Maria, including the appearance to the Order of the Michaels on the day of his burial, the appearance to Gombe and others after his burial, the appearance in 1992 memorial at Calvary, and the appearance to Salome in prison. Interestingly, these appearances were physical but Legio Maria church takes them to be completely indicators of spiritual resurrection.
The Resurrection of Black Messiah Simeo Ondeto
Baba Simeo Ondeto is resurrected. Legio Maria Africa Church affirms this truth without shame or fear of contradiction. It is this truth that anchors Legio Maria belief that Baba Simeo Ondeto is God. He never died spiritually. He is God and never died. His physical death was like his physical incarnation and did not change his godhood. He speaks to Legio Maria today as he did during his earthly life. He directs the church spiritually as he always did. So, to those who ask whether Simeo Ondeto is dead or alive; this is the Legio Maria position on this.