Members of New Jurusalem sect in Lukhokwe village, Tongaren Constituency in Bungoma County are preparing for a big party to welcome ‘God’ in the compound of their leader, Jesus of Tongaren later this month.
According to Jesus of Tongaren – whom nation.africa has established that his official name is Mr Eliud Simiyu – God showed visions to three of his sect members that He would be visiting ‘Jerusalem’ from February 24 to 26.
Sect members believe that Jesus of Tongaren’s compound at Lukhokwe village is the Bible Jerusalem – the city in which Jesus Christ was brought up as a child, preached the gospel and performed a number of miracles.
Visions or dreams is the main driver of this sect – they claim everything they do has been revealed to them by God through visions.
For instance, the design and colour of the clothes they put on during worship is revealed to each member.
“That is why the colour and design of clothes we put on during worship are not similar,” explains Jesus of Tongaren.
When nation.africa visited ‘Jerusalem’ last Sunday, sect members were quick to inform our team that they had ‘seen’ us about two weeks earlier before the visit.
Everyone here is referred to as angel or prophet(ess) and are prohibited from using their official names.
For instance, nation.africa team was received by Angel Rachel who we found waiting for us at Bondeni area along Kitale-Webuye Highway.
She boarded our car and headed to Jerusalem. Inside the car, our efforts to have her tell us her official name were futile. She kept insisting that: “My name is Angel Rachel; I don’t have any other name.”
Rachel, however revealed that she started following Jesus of Tongaren in 2014 and from that she has remained steadfast.
“I saw a vision from God that reveled to me that Jesus of Tongaren was the true Jesus Christ who has come back as promised in the Bible. I shared the dream with my husband and he was excited,” says Angel Rachel.
It is Rachel who makes worship attires without using a sewing machine.
“God sent a dream to some of the members of our church where I was appointed maker of worship attires,” she says.
Rachel records everything that happens in Jerusalem in a black book. She records visions revealed to members of the church or their leader, names and questions asked by journalists and the answers given by Jesus of Tongaren.
She also records news items related to their leader reported in the media.
The dreams and visions recorded in the black book will then culminate into a new bible which they will call Agano Jipya Safi (Pure New Tesatament).
When sect members come to Jerusalem they must pass through a cleansing’ hut to repent their sins first.
Jesus of Tongaren says that God requires people to repent their sins first before entering His temple.
“In Exodus 30:17-20, God ordered Moses to make a bronze basin and place it between the tent of meeting and the altar and put water in it. Those entered the altar were required to wash their hands and feet first lest they die,” he explains.
Suprisingly, the hut used for cleansing has no water.
“The water is Holy Spirit not the physical one we know of,” he argues.
The sect holds three festivals a year – New Year, July and October. Each celebrated for three days where goats, sheep and cows are slaughtered.
According to a neighbour, Mark Baraza Masinde, 52, during these celebrations Jesus of Tongaren, invites many people including neigbours.
“I don’t subscribe to his teachings but I can confirm that he is a good man. He usually invites us to celebrate with him at his home,” says Mr Masinde.
Members of this church worship for two days; on Saturday and Sunday.
“Saturday is the true Sabbath God ordered us to rest and worship him. On Sunday we worship to celebrate the resurrection of this body,” says Mr Simiyu pointing his finger at himself.
Women worshipers are not allowed to enter the church in trousers or makeups.
“Women who wear trousers, makeups, rings or wigs already have the mark of the beast 666 (as recorded in Revelation 13:18 in the Bible). Their fate is already sealed,” he claims.
Mohawk hairstyle is also prohibited for men. Other sins which Jesus of Tongaren says are unforgivable are eating meat from camel, dog and cats.
“Disobeying the Sabbath on Saturday and failing to seclude self after attending a funeral for seven days, are serious sins,” he says.
According to him, the Bible (Numbers 19:11) requires those who touch dead human body to quarantine themselves because they are unclean.
“All people who attend funerals become unclean regardless of whether they touched the body or not,” he says.
Members of this sect who attend funerals are prohibited from attending church service before the elapse of seven days.
Jesus of Tongaren seats in front of the church with his wife whom he calls Queen or the Blessed One. His other 11 disciples seat besides the couple. The Queen is the 12th disciple.
Any worshipper are required to address Jesus of Tongaren: “The Holy One” three times before uttering anything inside the church.
Women on their Periods
Women on their periods were black attire and seat behind inside the church. They are not allowed to stand, talk or shake hands with fellow worshippers.
On Sunday, nine women were on their periods and retreated in their hut immediately after the service to avoid interacting with other worshipers.
When nation.africa team followed them in their mud walled hut to find out why they were separated from other worshippers, they quickly read for us the book of Leviticus 15:19 which says:
‘When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening.”
In Jerusalem, there are three kitchens – the one used by women on periods to cook their food and the other for other worshippers.
The third kitchen which is always under lock and key, is used to cook food for Jesus of Tongaren and his family. Only two people – the Queen and Angel Asher (female worshipper) are allowed to use this kitchen.
Asked the criteria used to select Angel Asher to cook for him yet is not his wife, the father of eight says she was chosen by God through a vision.
Another hut is the one used by worshippers who are fasting. This is a mud walled hut has a small window. On Sunday, there were eight worshipers – six women and two men -who completed their three –day fast.
The worshipers on fast spend days and nights inside this hut and are not allowed to get outside unless they are going to relieve themselves.
Those who fast for three days are not allowed to drink or eat anything. Worshipers who fast for seven days are allowed to drink only one glass of water every evening. Those who fast for 40 days are required to drink only one cup of black tea daily but are prohibited from drinking water or eating food.
“Some of my angels (worshipers) have managed to survive on black tea for 40 days. It is a matter of faith,” he says.
The day of marking the end of fasting, Jesus of Tongaren meets them and each person shares the vison God brought to them during that period.
Seven out of eight people who completed their fasting on Sunday had a vision which were interpreted by Jesus of Tongaren.
One of the participants narrated how she met a bus written Msamaria Mwema on her way to home near Webuye town.
“Inside the bus there was a woman called Mercy who asked me to give her the birth certificate of my lastborn son. She did not tell me what she wanted to do with the certificate but I rushed home to look for it. I did not get it and that was the end of dream,” she narrated.
While interpreting the dream, Jesus said the Msamaria Mwema Bus means that God wanted the worshiper to become a good Samaritan.
“The Mercy who was inside the bus means that you need to be merciful and the birth certificate implies that your name is already in the Book of Life in heaven,” he said.
Another hilarious interpretation was that of the lady who said that she saw a hand from heaven then a voice followed requiring her to write anything on the palm.
“After thinking for a while, I decided to write letter ‘V’ and the hand vanished,” she said.
Jesus of Tongaren said that meant that the lady needed to up her game in matters of faith to become acceptable before God.
“You see; letter V is proceeded by three letters (WXY) before reaching the final letter Z. This is a clear indication that you have to increase your faith for your name to enter the Book of Life,” he interpreted.
According to Jesus of Tongaren, only 168,000 people will entre heaven in the entire world.
“In Nairobi, only two people will be saved and are yet to be born,” he says.
Why Jesus is married?
Asked why he is married yet Jesus Christ did not mar or had children, Jesus of Tongaren claims that the Jesus who was prophesised by Isaiah (Isaiah 53:9) was supposed to marry and have a family.
He says he will finish his work in 2058 but refused to reveal what will happen to him when his time elapses.
According to neigbours, Jesus of Tongaren was born a Catholic where his parents worshipped.
“When he dropped out of Form One at Mukuyu Secondary School he became a farmer. One day in 2009, there was some disagreements at their home and Eliud Simiyu was hit in the head with brunt object. He was rushed to hospital and when he was discharged, he started calling himself Jesus.