The man clearly wasn't dead to begin with. Image Credit: Alleluia Ministries International
A pastor who 'resurrected' a man at a funeral recently is now at the center of a viral Internet phenomenon.
The ridiculous stunt saw Prophet Alph Lukau of the Alleluia Ministries International Church perform an apparent 'miracle' by resurrecting a man who hadn't actually been dead in the first place.
To create the illusion of a resurrection, the 'deceased' man, who had been lying in a coffin with his mouth wide open, simply sat up when Lukau placed his hands on his chest and said "rise up!"
While the crowd seemed to be convinced by the stunt at the time, a viral video of the hoax has since landed Lukau in hot water with multiple funeral services suing him for "reputational damage."
Bishop Elly Mogodiri has also opened a criminal case against both Lukau and the Alleluia Ministries International Church on the basis of fraud, organized crime and misrepresentation.
"I have seen too much pulpit greed and commercialisation going on in the church, amongst other disturbing practices," he said. "Right now we are witnessing the staged fraudulent and unfaithful act of resurrecting a deceased person in the church of Alleluia Ministries International (AMI) under the leadership of prophet Alph Lukau."
"I am aware and have been duly advised that this case falls within the ambit of organized crime, fraud and misrepresentation amongst other misdemeanours."
Footage of the stunt, which has gone viral in South Africa, has proven so popular that other people have now started mimicking it as part of what has become known as the 'resurrection challenge.'
Some examples, including a clip of the hoax itself, can be viewed below.