Did God really say…? Prophecy in modern world
The prophetic office has served as one of the most popular offices that links the mortal and spirit world through time. Prophets include seers, oracle givers, soothsayers, and diviners, all of whom predict the future or tell the divine will.
In the past, prophets played a vital role in the shaping of societies. They were confrontational towards leadership and ways of life, rebuking evil, bringing people to repentance and change of behaviour and other times, simply giving hope in the time of need. The messages conveyed through these chosen ones are believed to come from God himself.
The desire to divine the future is a venerable one, fueling faith in figures from ancient Greek oracles to modern astrologists. Christianity in particular is a religion whose foundational text is filled with prophecies proven true by the end of the book. Whether the gift of prophecy continues into the present day has long been the subject of intense theological debate. But in recent years, self-described prophets have proliferated across the country.
James Mwangi, a Nairobi-based pastor shares how some dubious prophets take advantage of numerous challenges faced by people. He says false prophets have cunningly learnt to parrot what impoverished or troubled followers are desperate to hear. But despite awareness of the abuses, self-proclaimed prophets retain thousands of followers who fund their activities.
“I do not know of any other ministry that has damaged the image of the church in the African continent more than that of the self-proclaimed prophets,” he says.
He shares how even charismatic prophets who have served well in the past are capable of being sidetracked by fame, success, and pride to the point of becoming charlatans to maintain their image. “As Jesus mentioned in the parable of wheat and the tares, in a field that is truly alive with the rain of the Spirit of God, it is hard to distinguish the work of the devil,” he says.
Pastor Daniel Ng’ang’a Mwangi is a gospel artist from Malindi who also prophesies. He believes anyone can be used by the Holy Spirit to prophecy as long as they have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And for him, prophecies come to him when he is in the middle of a sermon or when asleep.
He shares,” Prophesy is progressive, so you have to be under mentorship of someone You need guidance on the best way to deliver prophetic messages. Sometimes, it can be for a specific person and sometimes for the church, you have to know the dos and don’ts. You can’t always just confront someone; you need to pray over the revelation so that you get understanding and accuracy instead of just getting excited. The end game is to deliver what God wants in order to help his people. A prophesy reveals a mystery in God’s plan.”
However, Ng’ang’a concurs that the biggest challenge for young prophets is the abuse of the ministry for profits. This coining has lowered credibility of prophets.
“A lot of people would rather accept prophecy from older people than a young person. This assumption is misguiding. At the same time, people nowadays have hardened their hearts. They don’t want to be rebuked. A lot of young ministers are shying away from this confrontation because they have a need to be accepted,” he adds.
Lola John is a 33-year-old Mombasa-based prophetess. While it took years before she understood her gift of prophesy, her closest circle had caught the sparks early.
“My mother was a staunch Christian and a choir member and would bring me with her to church. As my mum tells me, there was a time I warned them about seeing our pastor being attacked. It turned out that someone had tried to attack him. After several experiences, my parents started to pay close attention to everything I said would happen. And it all manifested,” shares Lola.
When she was in Class Five, praying over other children during their play time became a norm. She would know when one was sick and would pray for healing.
“The older I grew the clearer it became that I was different. Soon, I would get visions of someone looking for me and I would know exactly what their problem was and what I needed to do. A person would show up, and before they speak, I would already know what they wanted,” shares Lola who is also a hairdresser and YouTuber.
While being a prophet has allowed her to help a lot of people, she shares that it has come with many challenges as well.
“Sometimes, people come to you , expecting you prophesy to them, and you cannot do so until it is revealed to you. Other times someone comes to you wanting a good prophecy, but what you are shown is how they need to repent and I have to rebuke their sinful lifestyle. Young people don’t like this. And sometimes the visions are just painful, for instance death… Sometimes when you say it is coming, people start accusing you of causing it and this hurts,” she shares.
Testing the spirits
Njeri Rionge is the founder, director and chief executive office at Wananchi Group (ZUKU), Chairperson at African Union Headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and also a prophet by the Order of The Covenant of Melchizedek.
“I was born with the gift of prophesy and my destiny was announced to me as a child by the age of five. I was aware, but not yet wise in the knowledge of what this meant until around 2015,” shares the prophet
Since fully coming into her calling, Njeri claims to have prophesied the present and future of nations as guided by the Holy Spirit including the fall of Building Bridges Initiative. She intimates that prophets who tell the truth are hated.
However, Mwangi says false prophets exist and that they represent a major threat to the church. Both the Old and New Testaments repeatedly warned believers about the danger of false prophets. But how do you tell they are false prophets? “God’s true prophets proclaim doctrines that are right and true. They are characterised by personal holiness. Those who claim to speak for God must also live out that truth in their lives. Finally, true prophets foretell future events or reveal hidden things with 100 per cent accuracy,” he says in ending.