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prophets and their prophecies

2023 election prophecies and why God cannot be mocked

by Church Times
Since the inauguration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on May 29 as the 16th president of Nigeria, the media have been agog with all kinds of commentaries that tend to drag prophets in the mud and by extension the Church.
It was expected. Many were indeed waiting in the wings to see how some of these outlandish prophecies would come to pass, while some could not bring themselves to believe them.
Those who are discerning enough would rather stay quiet and not join the bandwagon of mockers. But then, in the first place, it is hard not to gloat over these failed prophecies, especially for those who never believed them.
And also for those who were ardent supporters of Asiwaju Tinubu, it will be a celebration for them. At least they have seen the end of one of the many war missiles fired at their principal.
Indeed, it calls for celebration. If it had been the other way, the pro-prophetic gang would have rolled out the drums too, celebrating that their prophecies came to pass.
The prophets would have gotten a standing ovation and in turn, an increase in their mileage and adherents. Their congregation will soar and certainly, they would have more clients to prey on or pray for.

Call for reflection

That is the way of the world. But where people are discerning enough, the drama that unraveled before our eyes in the last few months should rather make us more sober than garrulous. It should make us more circumspect than confrontational.
 The events of the last few months should make us bow our heads and reflect on what is being cooked for years to come. Sure, the seed of this present time will bear fruit. It’s a matter of time.
For Bible students, the failure or fulfillment of any prophecy is not something to cheer about. In the first place, nothing can compete with the glory of God. And that should be clear to any believer who truly has a relationship with God.
It’s not in doubt that God speaks to his people and indeed to his prophets. It’s either the case of the prophets hearing well, but did not talk well. Or, they did not hear well and rather chose to disseminate their emotion, in talking to men, rather than talking to God for clarity.  And it could just be the players in the prophetic were jesters who had nothing to do with that office in the first place.

Prophecies will fail

Whichever way, the truth about prophecies is that they do sometimes fail because as we know, the ways of God are never the ways of men.
The Bible makes it so clear that prophecies will fail that is in the sense that it will get to a point where we will no longer need prophecies. It will come to an end. Only Love will stand forever. But then, prophecies also do fail not because they were not meant to come to pass, but because the emotion of the person delivering the prophecies often gets in the way. And in some cases, these prophecies tend to make a god out of some people. It will fail because it is subject to manipulation.

The Noah example

Usually, if God is in the picture, He would not allow Man to take the glory. It is also important to note that prophecies are not designed to follow the heart of the prophet.
When God spoke to Jonah to go and warn the people of Nineveh that calamity awaits them, if they do not repent, he did not want to go because he knew God would change his mind if the people repented.
Noah on the other hand wanted Nineveh to be destroyed.  But then, he had to deliver God’s message after his three-day sojourn in the belly of the fish for his indiscretion. As expected, the people repented. And he was not happy. The doom was averted at least for that generation. But Jonah was not happy.

Prophet Isaiah and Prophet Samuel

While there are scriptures that tell us about fake prophets and their impending doom, there are instances where genuine prophets of God also had to contend with the veracity of their prophecies. The case in point is that of Isaiah when God told him to tell King Hezekiah that he would die. Hezekiah in turn cried to God.
And God told Isaiah to go back and tell him 15 more years have been added to him. Assuming there was internet and Isaiah goes online to make the declaration that Hezekiah was going to die and got a crowd around him, it may be difficult for him to hear God speak again on the matter.
But then, God would have just added to the age of Hezekiah quietly and people would tag Isaiah as a fake prophet. Also in the case of Samuel. He got to the sons of Jesse, saw Eliab, and immediately declared, surely this is God’s anointed.
Assuming the announcement was made on social media, such a declaration will draw attention to Samuel. Usually, you can’t get the attention of God and that of man at the same time.
The point also is that God’s primary concern is His kingdom. He is interested in the affairs of a nation to the extent that he created everybody. There is a global agenda for the human race which has been accomplished in the death of his dear son Jesus Christ. Every other thing he does is tailored towards that ultimate agenda of reconciling man to Himself.

The Nigeria example

What happened in Nigeria or what is happening in Nigeria is not without the knowledge of God. But then, God can only act to the extent that we act. If Christians do not take their position and act rightly, they will continue to slave.
It has nothing to do with seeing a vision. The problem with the church is that we have ceded our responsibility to some abstract forces with no basis in the Bible.
In the first place, many of the people who took to social media to make prophetic offerings were emergency social media creations that wanted to seize the rave of the moment to ride to stardom. We never needed a prophet in the first place to tell us we are tired of a directionless government.
And that is the point many fail to see in the likes of Prophet Isa El-Buba in Plateau. At no point was he involved in making prophecies that God told him Obi would win. But he kept declaring his conviction about the need to change the APC government. He campaigned for Obi and made statements that he would win.
But there was no time he said God told him specifically Obi would win. He based his position on personal convictions. Many politicians did say their candidates would win.  Nobody could have accused them of making fake prophecies because they did not tie their declaration to God. Prophet El-Buba only stated that he was rooting for Peter Obi because he believes he represent equity justice and fairness. He used his pulpit to fight that cause.
Many may fault him for using his pulpit for politics. But if we celebrate Martin Luther King today, it is because Luther used his pulpit to fight racial discrimination and the unjust political system of his days. He was a  Baptist pastor but he would not close his eyes to injustice. Nobody can also accuse Abuja-based Pastor Sarah Omakpu of fake prophecies. She played out her conviction whether rightly or wrongly.
This is a woman who said she was ready to waste her vote for Peter Obi. So there are cases of pastors who were vehement in their criticism of the APC government like Pastor Paul Enenche and Bishop David Oyedepo. And they have a right to do so.
On the other hand, there were instances of pastors who publicly declared for Tinubu and campaigned for him. I don’t know what could be frontal than the support given to Tinubu by the CAN Chairman of Lagos, Bishop Stephen Adegbite. Some pastors held vigils and prayers for him. So, it is hypocritical to zero in on pastors who gave prophecies as if that is all that the Church was doing.
But then if you take a quick excursion to what happened in the recent past, it is clear that when something strange wants to happen, it usually escapes the binoculars of the self-acclaimed prophets. For instance, many of them did not see the Endsars coming.
So, any discerning person will know that God is not a showman. He does not place himself at the whims and caprice of human manipulation. He will do what he will do. But man usually would be taken unawares. That is what makes him God.
There are a thousand and one prophecies in the Bible by servants of God that came to pass. But those prophecies did not come with the kind of drama that accompanied what we had in the Nigeria case. They were specific words, to specific people and nations. But there was no drama and the prophets did not seek attention for themselves perhaps largely because it was not a media era.
In the New Testament days of the Bible, we only had the case of Agabus who gave prophecies concerning Paul and an impending famine. The famine occurred during the reign of the emperor Claudius in Rome.  He told Apostle Paul he was going to be arrested and jailed. It came to pass even though God had already told Paul what he would suffer. There were no cases of prophets who made merchandise of their gift.
The Bible also tells about the four daughters of Philip who prophesied. The office of the prophets is not a voodoo arena. It is a gift from God to strengthen and comfort believers. So when prophecies come with hate and bile mixed with the emotion of the prophet, they often fail.
In Nigeria for instance, Pastor Tunde Bakare rightly predicted the June 12 debacle and the death of Abacha. But that prophecy did not get media attention. At that time, the media did not so much focus on the church in their reportage.
In 1998 he also gave a scathing prophecy that Obasanjo would not be sworn in and that he was like King Saul that would be killed.  That prophecy was a media rave. But Obasanjo who had experienced Christ in prison knew what to do. He engaged prayer warriors and the death trap for him was averted.

Beyond Prophecy

The issue however is not whether the prophets are right or wrong. It is about knowing the mind of God and the responsibility of the believer. It is time for Christians to wake up and ask if they are truly contributing to a new Nigeria or part of the bandwagon that wants to drag the nation backward.
The average Nigerian wants a government that will serve the people genuinely. The Bible tells us that righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach. The believers are agents of righteousness. If they can not play that role they are better trodden underfoot.
God can’t be mocked. With time we will begin to reap what we sow one by one for or against this nation. Any leader or people whose interest does not align with the will of God has a date with destiny. It is a matter of time.
We can’t deny the fact that some prophecies were over-dramatised.  We can’t also deny the fact that God rules in the affairs of men. The crux of the matter is for the people of faith to remain positioned in the place where God can continue to speak so that righteousness can exalt Nigeria.
Indeed, the righteousness that is needed is beyond the pulpit and a microphone. It is in the place of prayers. It is in the place of our lifestyle and our commitment to the right thing.
It is well with Nigeria.
By Gbenga Osinaike
Scriptures to note
1 Corinthians 13:8 Isaiah 42v8 Isaiah 38v1-5, I Sam 16v6, Jonah 4

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