Tom Tirivangani, a Canada based preacher whose hugely publicised prophecies went south on more than enough occasions, spends most of his sermons explaining his prophecies that would have missed the spot. In his own words the word or prophecy of God is accurate and never misses. On 18 February and on 1 July 2018, the preacher prophesised in clear terms that Chamisa would win the 2018 elections. Heavily bruised from this false prophecy, towards the end of 2018 the preacher then prophesised that there would be protests and demonstrations in many parts of the world. Prophet Tom, in which year has there never been protests in many parts of the world? Without shame he then made noise counting a few protests in the month of January saying his prophecy is coming to pass. Really now? A young prophet married to a non-black wife, who says he is a son to Urbert Angel, prophesied that there would be drought during the 2016-2017 season in the country. Zimbabwe recorded some of the highest rainfalls in its history during that very same season.
Without a doubt where there are false prophets out there it inversely means there are true prophets somewhere. The Bible gave a yardstick and guidance to the believers in that false prophets you will see them when their prophecies do not come to pass. However, this shall by no means be the only yardstick as the Bible itself warns that during the last days even the select will be deceived, and that false prophets will even make fire fall from the skies to earth (figurative to mean shocking miracles). This undoubtedly means there will be false prophets whose predictions will indeed come to pass. For one to foresee and foretell what is to come, a connection to the spiritual is all that is needed. Demons and occult powers are spiritual forces and can empower mortal men to foresee and foretell and so, just because a prediction has come to pass does not mean the prophet is a true prophet sent by God. The Bible urges the believers to pray for discernment and not be deceived.
The most important question that begs a solid answer is why only when the country's economy started going south when the charismatic churches surged at an unprecedented rate. Every street corner in Johannesburg is littered with a church with a general seer prophet or prophet of prophets, usually a non-South African for that matter. School leavers during those golden old days went into the job market, pastors were mostly men and women of mature age. They prophesied without pomp and fanfare, preaching salvation, repentance, forgiveness, love and virtues of living in purity, exactly the virtues that the Bible teaches will prepare your way to Heaven. Make no mistake, the book of Joel in the Bible the Lord speaks saying during the last days He will pour His Spirit and young men and women shall prophesy. This therefore means ministry has absolutely nothing to do with age. The issue has always been that the papa movement came with its own of what many have come to know as prosperity gospel. There is nothing wrong with teaching people to lead comfortable lives, actually that is the advantage of following the God of Heaven and earth who owns all gold and pearls. In Psalms it says He is my "Shepherd and Provider, and I shall not want." God wants us to live comfortably, and be rich even. But let it not be the word that believers come to church to hear day in day out as if that is the A-Z to reach Heaven, riches do not take people to Heaven, in fact it is all vanity. Let it not seem like it is a sin to be poor. It is not. A crippled man who used to sit by the gate into the temple asked money from Peter and John as they went into the temple, but they replied to him, "silver and gold we do not have, but what we have we give you. In the name of Jesus, get up and walk." Silver and gold they did not have, but the power of God was with them.
We have all seen the antics of how some congregants are led to drink petrol and eat human hair and grass, testifying that it tastes like chocolate. In all of their miracles, Jesus and the early apostles did them to meet a need. They did not do miracles just for the fun of it or boast about it. At times is it unfair to place all the blame on the papas alone as most of them are merely looking for a living like the rest of us in our jobs, the congregants themselves are to blame too. Without the congregants who give this demigod status to the papas, the papas would not have been able to exercise such demigod influence. The bandwagon and a scramble for a slice of the cake has been hijacked by all and sundry. Those papas who have not been blessed with the true gift of prediction, or been able to raise enough money to get powers from that famous sorcerer in Ghana, all chant in their Sunday sermons "I see some of you here getting promotions at work, some of you will get married, the Lord tells me some of you will buy houses," this whilst the congregants all shout "I receive papa." Even the dumbest mathematician can tell you that in a congregation of tens and hundreds of single people, unemployed people, people who are renting from landlords, the probability of some of them getting married, employed or buying their own houses is imminent. There is nothing prophetic about that. I would fancy that one day the congregants during such a sermon when the papa says, "some of you will get married," to ask him "which one of us papa and when exactly."Many would remember that TB Joshua prophesied that he sees a woman winning the US presidential election in 2016. To justify it when it did not come true, it was told that Hillary Clinton had indeed garnered more votes that Donald Trump. The problem with that narrative is that it presupposes that God does not know how the US election system works. God does not know that in America you win according to electoral colleges and not necessarily majority vote.
Salute goes to the men and women out there, who have chosen to follow what the word of God says, and listened to His voice in their hearts, and chose to remain undeterred even though their churches have been left with less than 20 members after everyone has rushed to the papa churches for miracle money in their bank accounts. There are men and women who have known that people belong to God and one must not commit the serious mistake of leading them astray for personal gain and comfort. There are men and women out there who have remained believing that ministry is a personal devotion and commitment to the growth of the body of Christ and that all honour and glory must go to Him, and not to any individual. Remember how and why Herod died. One famous papa a few years ago during a church service prophesied to a Nigerian man that he is Yoruba, the man confirmed that he is indeed Yoruba then the congregants started clapping hands. The papa then immediately turned around in boastful mood and walked across the stage staring at cameras and declared, "I stand to be corrected, I stand to be corrected. But I think I am a major!" If indeed you prophesied with God's power, what then makes you a major as if it was your own power?
There are men and women who have remained entrenched in their belief that ministry is not a service in which one goes when his own career or business ventures have failed, but one which a person answers a call from God, leaving everything and doing that which God has called him to do like Matthew and the rest of the disciples. The truth is that title does not matter at all in one's service to God and to adopt funny titles being adopted by preachers around these days is meaningless. There are men and women equally so, out there, who have remained entrenched in belief that God loves us all despite cultural demarcations and that the decision whether believers of another religion will enter Heaven or not is entirely to God. It is true that if one looks at the teachings of all the major religions, they teach more of less the same things; love, forgiveness, peace, devotion, alms giving, service and sacrifice. So are we then saying that God will disqualify those who enerstly exercised these virtues in their daily lives just because they belong to a different cultural method? Religion is a mere cultural method but relationship with God, salvation and entering Heaven, are a personal affair. That is what God will judge us on. Even papas are also busy hunting their own place in Heaven.
To the believers, do not waste time arguing which prophet is true or not. Do not attack any of them especially if you do not know who is true and who is not. Some of them are doing God's work and indeed some of them are after fame, riches and women. Rather work on your relationship with God and practice the teachings of His word, He will show you where you should go and where you should not. As alluded above, as much as there are false prophets, there are true prophets out there. Rather keep quiet and work for your own salvation. That will save you precious time. Find a church that teaches salvation, and if you feel unsettled in your heart about your attendance to a certain church, most likely that is the voice of God telling you to move. Going to a church is good, in fact Jesus himself went to the synagogue on the appointed days. But for what it is worth, one must know why we go to church. It is not a show to parade new suits and latest fashion, or even spend time on Sunday. It is a place that provides that conducive environment to cry out to your Lord and grow your relationship with Him. It is an institution where youth camps and Easter camps to Gokwe or Kariba are organised. God will not disqualify you for Heaven because you did not attend the youth meeting in Mutare, that is congregation institutional business. God will not disqualify you for Heaven because you did not attend church meetings or pay subscription fees, that is institutional business. God will not disqualify you for Heaven because you did not speak in tongues, in fact tongues are simply a sign manifestation that the power of God is at work and that the gospel must be taken to all nations. Tongues are actually worldly languages and not the language of Heaven as we were made to believe growing up. If you look in your Bible, Acts 2 vs 1-12 you shall learn that tongues are actually world languages because the people who had gathered in Jerusalem for the Pentecost asked amongst themselves how the disciples from Galilee could speak each of their native tongues/languages. Effectively, God was instructing the apostles to spread the gospel to all nations and that the gospel is not for the gentiles alone, God listens to all. God will not disqualify you for Heaven because you drank alcohol, it is not a sin. Jesus even changed water into wine at the wedding in Cana. However drinking to the extent of losing oneself in drunken stupor is a sin, Jesus himself warned against gluttony. Indeed the truth shall set free!
You will qualify or be disqualified for Heaven as per your own relationship with God based on how you heeded His word, obeyed his commands and voice in your life every day. The Kingdom of God is not an event to say there it is coming; the Kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21). Church must live within your heart and you daily life, not a Sunday place where you go to look for a good wife or just because mama taught you to go to church on Sundays. The pastor, prophet, papa, major prophet, emeritus prophet, general prophet, number 1 prophet, apostle, reverend, fire fire prophet, overseer prophet, prophet of prophets, will also account for his relationship before the Lord on Judgment Day.
Robert Sigauke is a political and social commentator. He can be contacted on WhatsApp +27713348876. He writes from Cape Town.
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