The online storms that brew this week over the prophecy of Nigerian Pastor T.B. Joshua about the crash that ended the lives of Governor Yakowa and General Azazi seem to be slowly abating. As the news of the tragic deaths reverberated nationwide, Joshua released a controversial video on YouTube which claimed he had predicted the incident and details relating to it on four different occasions. However, I still feel the need to air my views, furnished by contextual consideration, as the dust settles on the heated debates within social media that were triggered by the prophecy.
Understandably, the video drew its fair share of criticism, the major bone of contention in the minds of viewers and observers being Joshua’s continued proficiency in predicting negative events and his seeming inability to change them after such revelations come forth. I can well understand this mindset, having been one of Joshua’s most skeptical distant observers for long. However, it was last year when my brother fell mysteriously sick that I was basically ‘forced’ to look in Joshua’s direction for help. Doctors told me he had a treatable kidney infection but what I saw was my brother transform from a healthy, vibrant young man to an almost unrecognisable emaciated figure in literally two months, on the verge of death.
After exhausting medical treatment, a good friend of mine advised me to take him to The SCOAN for prayer. Circumstantially driven, I acceded and financed his wife to take him there. Three weeks later, my brother was back on his feet, eating well and regaining his lost vigour. Thus, my interest in Emmanuel TV was born, and I must confess, it has slowly become my daily spiritual food and a constant source of discussion and wonder within our home.
I don’t claim to completely understand T.B. Joshua’s ministry at The SCOAN. On the contrary, many of the things I see there on Emmanuel TV (especially the deliverance) baffle me. However, I have seen enough to know that Joshua is a humble servant of God with quite extraordinary powers he is unequivocally using to uplift society. In my view, he is the best pastor to have come from these shores – with an uncompromising message of salvation, an admirable array of charitable projects and real solutions provided to people who come with myriads of diverse problems.
So, on the argument dealing with his tendency to deliver ‘negative’ predictions, I think this is a case of blaming the messenger for delivering his message. It is sadly indicative of the state of our society and nation and the type of seed we have collectively been planting. As one commenter on the issues arising from Joshua’s prophecy opined, “It’s the prophecies of prosperity and ‘it shall be well with the abominable’ that has destroyed any remaining chance for Nigeria’s restructuring. The ‘prophecy of doom’ is to the sharpening of man… Let those who prophesy prosperity tell us what has come of it save the acute and nauseating love for money which, as the Holy Book says, is the root of all evil.”
Everyone wants to hear good tidings but how many are genuinely pursuing a righteous and just course that will amalgamate in a tide-turning shift within Nigeria’s political and socio-economic landscape. God cannot break His own Divine statutes, set in stone from the earth’s formation, the principle of seed-time and harvest. If we continue to harbour corruption, celebrate decadence and have a compromising conflict of deeds and words, what then do we expect God to reveal to His servants about our future? Indeed, a flick through our national dailies reveals enough about the actions and attitude of our nation, its leaders and inhabitants, especially that of our youth, to know that a bleak future awaits us unless there is a radical change.
On Joshua’s revelation without apparent corresponding action and subsequent redemption, I believe the majority of people who heard about the prophecy and quickly drew such abrasive conclusions never actually took the time out to watch the video released on YouTube to the very end. Joshua is very explicit in explaining this issue. He said, “I have been wrestling with certain things. When I say, wrestle, it’s an issue that I keep praying and asking God, ‘What I’m seeing should be changed.’ But God said, ‘No, the whole nation should come together and pray’. So, when I’m hearing my country should come also and pray together, that is when I will come out and tell you what I am seeing in the vision. When I see a vision and I know I can handle it myself, I don’t need to tell you. I will call the wise men and we’ll pray. But when I know that this thing is not possible for me alone and my people to do, I will come out to tell you that this is what I have seen.”
If our eyes were opened spiritually, perhaps we would be privy to see devastating events on the verge of occurring within Nigeria that were forestalled through the prayers of God’s people at SCOAN, the news of which will never reach our earthly ears. Aside from this, the prophet prayed and enjoined the nation to join him. Did we?
I believe many of those blindly criticising the prophet are not well versed with his ministry or accustomed to watching Emmanuel TV. This prophecy is not an isolated proclamation. Indeed, every week, Prophet Joshua prophesies to individuals in the church with uncanny speed, accuracy and consistency. Whether its prayer for the terminally ill, reconciliation of a broken family, deliverance of people under demonic oppression or charity to the widow, orphan and reformed militant, Prophet Joshua is settling real problems with real solutions. It seems to me both insolent and incoherent to suggest he is just a ‘prophet of doom’ who capitalises on misfortunes to project his name. Please, don’t base your view on a single news report.
On a related note, Pastor Enoch Adeboye whose global influence on his flock and command on the common Nigerian is almost inestimable prayed for President Jonathan in his Redeemed Camp just a few hours before the ill-fated crash. The question beckons, did he not have any such revelation about the tragic events on the verge of unfolding merely hours after his public prayer with the President knelt before him? If so, were his prayers effective? Respected Nigerian journalist Femi Adesina of The Sun Newspaper, wrote in his column this week, “Didn’t Pastor Adeboye see the crash as he prayed with President Jonathan? Didn’t the Lord reveal it to him? Couldn’t he have interceded, so that the monumental tragedy would be averted… ‘The secret of the Lord is with those that fear Him,’ says the Good Book. So, why didn’t the Lord confide in Adeboye about the Bayelsa crash, which was to happen some hours after Jonathan had come for prayers… I’m sure the pastor himself must have been somewhat embarrassed when he heard the news.”
The reason I write this is not to gloat or in any way suggest Adeboye’s spiritual incompetence. I just believe it’s time Nigeria recognises who is who in God’s vineyard. Baba Adeboye is a fine preacher but, in my own humble opinion, not a prophet. This is evidenced by his yearly prophetic declarations which are almost nonsensical in nature if perceived to be divinely inspired. He declares simple biblical principles and realities of life and packages them with the title ‘prophecy’ on a yearly basis. It’s high time someone like Adeboye can publicly acknowledges God’s gift in his brother in the vineyard, instead of the baseless bickering, crude condemnation and pulpit-judgement that have caused division within the Nigerian church fold for far too long.
I believe our nation should recognise God’s voice in this trying time and acknowledge the potential pastors, who are genuinely doing God’s work, have to bring Divine direction to those in the helm of affairs in this nation, if they are willing to listen. Who knows – if President Jonathan had visited Joshua for prayer on that fateful day, perhaps Kaduna would still be with its Governor and the deaths of six men would have been averted…
Emeka I. – Lagos, Nigeria