E I Jacob
E I Jacob was one of the greatest music composers among the Brethren. Many of his songs are popular even decades after he passed away.
Birth & Childhood
Jacob was born in Parur (Kerala, India) on 19th May 1894 in the famous family of Eraly, belonging to Jacobite church as the only son of Iype Asan. He had also a sister. His father was a knowledgeable person, having an important place in the church who used to play the musical instrument (Veena) in the church. He also used to teach little children as ‘Asan’. Bro. Jacob completed his study upto 10th Std. Soon he got a job in the Parur Sessions Court as a bench clerk. This job was a great relief to his family which was not in a good financial position. He continued in that job for many years. It was a practice in those days to get married very young. Likewise he also got married. Sister Saramma from Kooran House, North Parur was his wife.
Christian Life & Official Duties
Jacob had the opportunity to know God in the childhood itself. This made his life fit to be emulated. His house was near to a place where missionaries were living. In order to learn Malayalam, the missionaries approached him for his assistance and he willingly helped them. The constant contact with them enabled Bro. Jacob to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord, Savior and Redeemer. God had predestined him as a useful vessel for Him. From the very first day he accepted the Lord as his Savior, he dedicated himself as a separated faithful servant for his Redeemer. The faithfulness and honesty shown in his official duties were exceptional. He could have taken bribes and lead his family into material prosperity. He considered these things as temporal.
His aim was to seek the eternal. Till the end he remained holy from all such blemishes. For a common man a gold coin is definitely a good saving. One day a gold coin was put in his pocket as bribe, but he forced the person to take it back with the same hand. He kept his life so clean that even his opponents respected him. Many such incidents in his life enabled him to testify to others the Savior he believed. His simple living, meekness, loving and noble face etc. are still abiding in the hearts of many believers.
His father was an important person in the Jacobite church, who was leading the choir in the church. But the model Christian life of his son became a fifth gospel to him. This influenced his parents to separate from the church and to follow their son's path. Instead of praising the glory of church or religion and he explained with zeal the unique love of Christ, the salvation accomplished on the cross and the royal priesthood obtained by the believers. Once certain people tried to belittle his faith and praised about the glory of the saints in their religion. To those people he explained about the justification and righteousness by faith. He also told them that according to the word of God, he and all his brethren were saints. The testimony of their son helped his parents to believe the truth.
Not only in his home, but also whenever he got time he witnessed Lord with great zeal. During holidays and evenings after his official duty he witnessed to others about cross without any rest. Payyappilly Ittyachan a brother from Parur assisted him in the gospel work. He was a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. During the initial period when the first love towards Christ was bubbling with full vigor, both of them went to many places and preached gospel in the open air. They were both handsome. Ittyachan was tall and with attractive personality and Bro. Jacob was noble, ever smiling and blessed with a melodious voice. Those who were hearing his speech sat attentive till the end of his speech due to his melodious voice and knowledge in the word of God. In those days no vehicles or restaurants were available and hence he had to walk miles together hungry and thirsty even though he was frail and weak in his body. Eternity will reveal his work for the Lord. These things would be very difficult for most of the present day gospel workers.
He could get baptized only certain days after he was saved. The divine commandment regarding baptism was not revealed at that time. There were not many scholars in the word of God in that level. However he understood about the necessity of getting baptized in the meeting conducted by the evangelist Fredrick Thampy and he got baptized. He made clear to his coworker in gospel work Bro. Payappilly Ittiyachan, about this commandment of the Lord. But he could not take baptism or leave Marthoma Church. Bro. Jacob's baptism was totally unexpected for his friends. They were expecting that he would become a Marthomite priest. But when he understood about the truth from the word of God he was able to obey it any cost. God's spirit helped his servant to put forth his steps ahead in faith without looking back. After baptism he continued his cordial relationship with Bro. Ittyachan, but did not conduct much gospel works together.
In those days gospel was preached in places where people usually gathered. Market junctions, festival places, church feasts etc. were some of the places where gospel could be preached. Bro. Jacob’s favorite place for evangelization was the riverbank of Periyar at Aluva during the Sivarathri days. Sivarathri is one of the greatest festivals of the Hindus conducted in the riverbank of Periyar at Aluva. In those days Parur Assembly was taking the leadership for conducting the Sivarathri gospel work. The main speakers were Bro. E.I. Jacob, Bro.K.J. Thomas etc. Apart from them, brothers from Angamally and some assemblies in the east also took part in the gospel work. Bro. Jacobs intimate friends in the gospel work
Bro. E.P. Varghese, Bro. C.T. Mathai etc took part in these activities. During Sivarathri days gospel messages were given throughout the night, by putting temporary sheds in the riverbank. The entire responsibility and finance for the above work was met by Parur Assembly and especially Bro, Kalathil Ittop. For providing food and the necessities for the brothers coming for gospel work, a boat used to wait permanently close to riverbank at a particular place. Other Christian denominations, mainly members from Marthoma, CMS etc also conducted meetings there. Many famous international speakers came there in those days. During one year Sadhu Sunder Singh, one of the greatest Christian leaders whom we know only through books, also was among the preachers. This was one of the best places to preach gospel to Hindus. During that period Bro. Jacob wrote a pamphlet named "Mukthi Margam" (way of salvation). Until that day no tract was written in such a simple manner bringing gospel to Hindus. This tract is still useful in the gospel work. During that period an announcement came in the magazine Indian Christian requesting to send tracts in English that would help Hindus to understand gospel truths easily. They also promised to give a prize to the selected tract. He sent the English translation of Mukthi Margam to the magazine and got the prize. Thus "Annotated Bible” written by A.C. Gabaleen was included in his library.
Spiritual Activities During Holidays
Whenever he was getting holidays from his official work, he used to go out and preach the gospel along with fellow brethren. He went to nearby places where the gospel has not reached and the eastern regions where there were no assemblies or believers and did gospel work along with his brethren. "Yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! For necessity is laid upon me." This spiritual vision of Apostle Paul was found in Bro. Jacob also. Aluva, Perumbavoor, Muvattupuzha, Valakam, Thripunithura, Ernakulam, Edappally etc were some of the places where he preached gospel along with fellow brethren and this shows his deep love and mission of his life towards gospel.
Gospel tours he conducted in many places along with Brothers Lonappan Upadeshi, E.P. Varghese, Kidangoor Ouseph were tedious and sacrificial. They had to walk or travel in bullock carts during that period due to lack of other travel facilities. They were doing gospel tours walking miles together, suffering thirst and hunger revealing their deep love towards Christ. On the way in some places there were eating places conducted by some old women in huts where they ate tapioca, kanji etc to satisfy the hunger and did gospel warfare along with other great warriors of faith. Today his life may be seen as a race already run or a book written completely since the generations have changed and the memories about the warriors of faith are fading. But the Lord will never forget anything when He divides the rewards on that golden morning. Bro. Jacob in his new glorious body will receive his reward in that royal court. On that day he will be recognized – not only he but also all who have loved His appearing.
Inquisitive Enquirer Of Truth
In Christendom, he was a curious enquirer of truth. His speeches were not only humorous but also were meaningful and firm, which made the listeners to think deeply. During that period Bro. E.P.Varghese, E.I. Jacob and C.T.Mathai were shining as three beautiful flowers on a single stalk. These three brothers were usually seen together in common gatherings and gospel activities. In Acts 17: 10-15, Apostle Paul writes an important thing about the brethren in Berea. They were fair-minded in that they received the word with readiness and searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. These three brethren dedicated in the works of the Lord, resembled the believers in Berea. After the forming of Brethren Church in the Christendom few years were over.
When these brethren believers were moving ahead faithfully in the word of God and life, a new gathering in the name of Pentecost formed in the Southern Kerala and spread throughout Kerala. Speaking in tongues, gift of healing, different and confusing teaching about Holy Spirit- these were their deviations. Even though Christ has said that those who believe without seeing are blessed, may like to believe by seeing. Pentecostal people’s speaking of tongues, shaking, sound and false statements about healing etc attracts people. Those who try to understand by seeing gave big welcome to these teachings. Their number increased day by day. When they heard that some who were standing close to the great poet and teacher Mahakavi K.V.Simon had changed to this doctrine, they were anxious. They wished to understand the truth about this new institution.
At that time they came to know that Pentecostal Pastor K.C.Cherian was coming to Valakom for preaching. Bro. Jacob went to the meeting along with brothers E.P.Varghese and C.T.Mathai . They were confused hearing certain testimonies from people who were trained to tell that they have received Holy Spirit and baptized. Afterwards Pastor Cherian began his speech .He explained with flair that Jesus Christ called him by name for the ministry and told him to leave all his wealth. Thus he had left lot of wealth such as bungalow, coconut plantation, paddy fields etc. After the meeting his friends had a naughty idea in their minds to enquire about the truth. Bro. E.I. Jacob and Bro. E.P.Varghese went to see directly Pastor Cherian’s bung law and wealth. What they saw were a hut without any facilities and a coconut plantation of only 21 coconut trees including two withered coconut trees. Bro. Jacob was a missionary who was seeking the truth. He tried to discern the correctness of things in order to reveal the truth. This experience enabled Bro. Jacob to stand firm against the propaganda of Pentecostal people.
From Parur To Cochin
Even though Parur was the birthplace of Bro. Jacob, he was later on known as Bro. E.I. Jacob from Cochin. It happened that his last days were in Cochin because he shifted his job to Cochin. In 1924, Bro. Jacob got a job as clerk in Volkart Brothers, a European company in Cochin. Thus he shifted his residence to Cochin. In the beginning he was staying alone in Cochin and his family was in Parur. His coming to Cochin was a gift of God for the Cochin Assembly for its blessing and growth. In Cochin City there was a building in the name Ebenezer that was used for worship meetings which was bought with the initiative of Bro. Bird and on the opposite side was a building bought by the missionaries. The building bought by the missionaries were lying vacant in those days. Bro. Jacob stayed in this home initially along with a brother who was working in another company. Some of the brethren from Irinjalakkuda Orphanage also stayed there occasionally for getting experience in various jobs. Believers were staying in that house and taking food from homes of other brethren.
For the believers in Cochin, Bro. Jacob's stay in Cochin was a precious gift from God. The believers in Cochin at that time were financially poor and not having high social status. Syrian Christians, who were considered high in society, were looking down upon these believers. They did not normally attend the meetings arranged by such believers. But when Bro. Jacob came to Cochin, as he had a high position in the society and as he was an official of an important company, many people who were having high social status became his friends. They came to his home and maintained good relationship with him. He gracefully shared gospel with those who were coming to his home and became an ambassador of free salvation from Lord Jesus Christ. Bro. P.T.Varghese, a youngster was among them, who heard the gospel of grace. He was a Catholic and was zealous in the church matters and doctrine. However when he understood from Bro. Jacob that the only way of salvation is by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ he believed and continued in fellowship with the believers in Cochin and worshipped the Lord. Afterwards his brother and sister also came to this belief. He joined Lords presence in 1971. Till that time he stood firm in the belief and worked very profitably for the Lord. His wife is still living. His children are living as believers in different places.
Another brother who believed and came from the Jacobite was Bro. K.I.Paily. He was a businessman and highly placed. Afterwards he became an elder in the Cochin Assembly and was a good adviser in the spiritual field. In 1974 after completing his work in the Christian field entered the eternity. His children are giving witness to this faith and living in many parts of the world.
As regards Cochin Assembly he was keen in fulfilling his responsibility. After coming back from his work, in the evenings, he used to go to the houses of believers. He visited the houses of believers who were facing financial or other problems and shared the sorrows with them and prayed for them. For the believers in Cochin, he was an angel sent by God. During Sundays his messages from the word of God were simple, meaningful and brimming with Gods love. He encouraged youngsters to come forward in the worship meetings to praise the Lord. When he heard blessed exhortation from youngsters his heart Overjoyed and his eyes were filled with tears. His objective was to give glory to the Lord, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Because of his job he was staying alone in Cochin. Soon he brought his family also to Cochin. He rented a house in “Vadathazhe” and stayed along with his family. He wanted his home to be a model of Christian faith. His neighborhood was mostly Christians belonging to CMS denomination. He was a witness of pure gospel of cross amongst them and attracted many towards Christ. Then he shifted his residence from the rented home to the Missionary Home. He stayed in this home until his death.
When he was staying in Cochin he used to conduct open-air meetings. On one such occasion some Catholics mocked and insulted him. But he bore joyfully all the shame and insults he had to suffer in the name of Christ and returned to his place. The God who changes all oppositions into favor lead this incidence for the repentance of a sinner. If a person, working in a good position in the European Company’s office was suffering the mockery and insult without any provocation, there might be God’s power behind it. A man called Paulose was thinking in that line. The testimony of Bro. Jacob converted Paulose into a true believer.
He also conducted open-air meetings in Koovappadam near Fort Cochin. Due to this ministry, a brother called Pallam Xavier came to God’s presence. His next generations also followed God. He used to go to Vypeen, Njarakkal, Vallarpadam etc. for open-air ministry. Once he went to a place called Pachalam during a Sunday afternoon for open-air ministry. When he was preaching a crowd came against him. They made uproar and opposed his speech. When he completed his ministry and returned back they people came along with him. When those people were coming along with him very closely, others who were with him were frightened and called upon God. At the right moment God acted for his servant’s deliverance. Unexpectedly two policemen came there and the enemies ran away. “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him and delivers them “. The believers reached their homes safely, praising and thanking the Lord for the deliverance.
Bro, Jacob was very much interested in conducting conventions in Cochin. He was having the co-operations of his friends Bro. E.P.Varghese, C.T.Mathai etc. Apart from them many missionaries, famous bible scholars Mahakavi K.V.Simon and his disciples were invited as speakers. Also Bro. K.G.Thomas, Bro. K.G.Kurien etc were some of the blessed Lord’s servants who ministered the word of God in Cochin. He considered it as his duty and desired that nobody should perish without hearing the gospel. He invited the Lords servants to his home and considered it as a privilege to serve these guests. He took the full responsibility of the conventions, but played silent role behind the scene. He wanted nothing of praise other than the cross of Jesus Christ and his aim was to serve the cross.
Into Full-time Ministry
He did the Lords ministry along with his secular job to the maximum extent possible. But he was not satisfied. According to the calling given by the Lord, he resigned his job in 1943 and dedicated his life to full time ministry. He submitted everything into the hands of the Lord as mentioned in one of his song. He dedicated his intelligence, talents, tongue, every part of his body, wealth, home, children and everything to the Lord and sang that song. Nothing was there in the earth to consider as his own. This song was an open book about his life. He was a burning lamp. Wherever God sent him., he lived and worked for Him alone. Full time ministry was his decision and this was acceptable to his assembly. As a bird freed from the cage, he went through Kerala preaching the gospel of cross. He exhorted other believers. He was a loving God’s servant to all. But he could do his full time ministry only upto one year since he was called to Lords presence for rest. When we evaluate a life, it is important to see how he lived than how many days he lived.
Completion Of His Race
He was fully involved in the Lords ministry in his homeland at Parur. At that time monsoon started early it was raining heavily and very cold. He was not having a healthy constitution, but lean and weak. He was suffering from hernia. Since he was having cold and fever, the condition of hernia aggravated and he became very weak. In those days proper travel facilities were not there. It was very difficult for him to travel in the bus. The brethren in Parur brought him to Ernakulam in a boat for treatment. This journey also affected his health adversely. Since immediate operation was necessary, doctors made urgent arrangements. While preparing to go to the operation theater he bid farewell to everybody. But the Creator prepared a special vehicle for him and he entered into the presence of his savior. That day it was June 2nd 1944. His sudden demise shattered all the brethren. His friends were shocked. His own household was drowned in sorrow. All became speechless without words of consolation. Infallible God in his divine wisdom declared, “It is time”.
For the funeral that took place next day, God’s children from different parts of the land took part. His departure was a heavy loss to the people of God. Servants of God gave condolence messages trusting in the wisdom of God. Remembering about the resurrection morning, his material body was placed in six feet of earth. The depth and meaning of his faithful life are great , even though he lived only upto the age of 50.
A model Head Of The Family And Loving Father
Bro. Jacob was a faithful servant of God as well as a respectable head of the family. His family consisted of his wife, three daughters and one son. His one daughter died at a young age. This daughter was an object of affection to him. Her departure was painful to him and he mourned. When he used to meditate the word of God and had communion with God, she used to sit near the door very silently. She was waiting for him to come out of the room to chat with him. She wanted her father’s love and affection. During morning father and daughter together used to play and enjoy. But a sickness for a short period resulted in her demise. He felt it unbearable to him. The memory of his daughter made him sad during day and night. One night God himself consoled him. His daughter is safe with the Lord. She is resting in a place where there is no tears, pain or sickness. He did not want it to be made public as a vision. But he told this to one of his friend that this incidence helped him not to be sad about his daughter henceforth.
The brother who tasted the love of God, whose heart melts at the moments of tears, was a noble husband and a loving father. He cared for his wife who was by nature very weak. He wished to see his children very spiritual. His life before them was an open book. He tried to impart his talents in singing to his children. His children used to sing melodiously. Most of them had his melodious voice. His home was open always for believers. His home was a training place for young believers. His wife and three children are with the Lord. His youngest daughter Nimmy is staying in Bombay with her husband who is an evangelist.