The Year 2020 ended as terrible and imperfect as it began. It was a year like no other.No one, not even any of our renowned ‘men of God’ foretold the horrifying events that made 2020 a year not to be forgotten in human history. Indeed, the most revealing part of 2020 was that none of our pastors, preachers, and prophets, some of them who have always boasted about their divine power, was able to foretell the emergence of the pandemic and the devastating impact on lives and livelihoods and world economy in ruins.
Could that be a failure of spiritual perception? Could the failure to foretell the emergence of COVID-19 the reason why many still believe the virus is a hoax, a conspiracy theory of sorts, an alternative reality by some unknown forces to cause so much windblown confusion in the world? I don’t know the answer. But here we go again! 2021 is already underway. Many of our ‘men of God’ are out with their predictions of 2021. Some of the pastors and evangelists see blood everywhere. Few of their predictions are uplifting. Many are, in fact scary.
Let’s deconstruct some of the prophesies. In his December 31 ,”Crossover Night Ministration, the controversial Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministries, Rev.Fr.Ejike Mbaka, foretold danger for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, unless “he acts fast and save his government from looming extinction”. He advised the government to take swift action to create jobs to prevent unprecedented youth restiveness. “The Holy Spirit asked me to warn the government of the day to be careful, to change policies and take care of the youths without politicising their condition…” On his part, Bishop David Oyedepo, founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide(Winner’s Chapel) predicts that “2021 will be full of surprises”, adding that “previous afflictions will not be witnessed this year”. Hallelujah! Isn’t that uplifting?
For the General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God(RCCG), Pastor Enoch A. Adeboye, some of the awful things that happened last year “will spill over into 2021”. He says this year, God will begin to deal with nations on individual basis and heal heal nations where “people are humbled and prayerful”. For some, the year will be “slow and steady, for others, “fast and steady’. He also sees “sounds from heaven”. In all, Adeboye says 2021 will be “Year of Restoration”.
Many others have predicted calamities to happen in Nigeria this year and have called for fervent prayers to avert them. The founder of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele, has predicted that 2021 will be tougher than 2020. He says by September, Covid-19 will be contained. According to one Prophet Emmanuel Omale, General Overseer of the Divine Hand of God Ministries International, there will a lot of flooding in the country, a federal Minister will be removed because of “unmanageable corruption”.
Surprisingly, Prophet TB Joshua, of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations(SCOAN) hasn’t said anything yet about this year. He said he would climb the “mountain” where he expects God to give him New Year prophesies to be released later. Does that make you curious?We are waiting! Recall, TB Joshua, has courted and hosted top political and corporate titans in his sprawling church. Among the political leaders include former President of Ghana, Prof. Attah Mills, Fredrick Chiluba of Zambia. And Nwankwo Kalu, is just one of the numerous ex-footballers who had sought his labour is prayer. Some of his past prophesies got unfilled. In 2011, he said one of the presidential candidates would be assassinated. It didn’t come to pass. In 2016, he predicted that Hilary Clinton would be the President of USA. Donald Trump did will that presidential election.
Doesn’t all this get your curious: Are these men, prophets, or they just have gift of prophesy? There’s a difference between the two. To be a prophet, you have to be called into that office. And why do a lot of people claim to have the ability to foretell the future? Why does even the devil like gift of prophesy? The answer is simple: God loves the gift of prophesy. I like the gift of prophesy too . But the gift of prophesy doesn’t foretell the future. That does not mean you can’t know the future, provided you have the Holy Spirit. But for your spirit to be a sure guide to know what may happen in future, it must be trained in the word of God, well educated.
The point I’m making is this: We all need to be careful about prophesy, and be circumspect about the people we listen to. The truth is that the Holy Spirit can show you things to come, if it’s well trained, as Apostle Paul did( Acts 21:8-10, 27:9-40). That doesn’t mean that person is a prophet. The need to be careful in taking some of the predictions we have heard is rooted in the scripture, when Apostle John admonished Christians , “…believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets are gone out into the world”(1 John 4:1 KJV). But again, “quench not the spirits, despise not prophesying… Prove all things, hold fast that which is true”(1 Thessalonians 5:19-21).
Again, the point here is to critically examine, evaluate all predictions, even though we shouldn’t dismiss them as worthless. Do you know that an old, fake Prophet in the Bible caused the death of a young Prophet by telling him what God didn’t say?(1kings 13:1-18). Make no mistake about this: There are genuine men and women of God who have the gifting of spiritual perception with which they can predict things that may happen, it may not be accurate or perfect. That’s the essence of prophesy, and understanding the power that controls our future. After all, God gave some, apostle, and some, evangelists, and some, teachers(Ephesians 4:11).
My takeaway in the midst of the multiplicity of ‘prophetic predictions’ that are unleashed on us every new year has to do with our present circumstances and the nature of our politics that is making our nation falling off the cliff. We are like accident victims meandering around the hospital casualty ward . Our nation is broken, ripped apart, and therefore, needs to be attended to urgently. Imagine a house that has been leaking for years. The roofs are caving in, the doors have fallen off their hinges and the exterior has been vandalised. That’s the state of Nigeria today.
That’s why, no matter how we doubt and tremble at some of the predictions, we shouldn’t ignore them.