On Prophecy

On Prophecy

If you have some exposure along these lines you will know that most of the January 1 prophecies are not what they are called in the real sense.

The most sincere are words of encouragement couched like foretelling the future. Some are plain Christian common sense

When a person says, 'God says this year, those who obey Him with have abundance this year', or example, that's not prophecy but Christian common sense. If you attempt to use your common sense you will see that clearly even as a theist non Christian.

The others are deep impressions the preacher has and which he sincerely feels are things that will happen. However, they may not - not in time or location or not at all. If it does not have the force of the divine, it will fall and fold like any other dead leaf. The next category are informed guesses and the rest are unforced errors and things designed to deceive according to the character of the person in question.

Very few are in the category of prophecies because prophecies are loaded and locked and they are extremely powerful. Nothing derails them. In January 1990 for example. I was in a service in a village called Iyanomo around Benin/ Ethiope axis.

A fellow, a member of the church stood in the middle of the service and listed a number of things as what God said will happen soon. It was a regular Sunday morning village church service and the man was dressed in his Sunday best, which was a little better than work clothes, a 'conductor' I clearly remember had a big tear in the armpit. He expressly prophesied that a coup attempt will be made that year among other things.

I tracked about four of his predictions and they all came to pass precisely. I don't remember the rest of those predictions and I don't want to embellish anything, but I tracked them back then and saw that he was clearly an inspired man. There was no way a regular peasant farmer or even a well informed person could have figured out those things

Of course the coup attempt came in April (20th?), as you all know. (The gift has nothing to do with your standing or popularity, but that's for another day).
This trend of January 1 prophecy is actually a recent development in Pentecostal-Orthodox Christian communities. It featured more regularly in syncretic churches which were founded as a fusion of African mysticism and Christian liturgy around 1918.

However, this recent version was borne out by extraordinary societal pressures as people sought to find direction and meaning in an increasingly hopeless and distressing national environment that abounded with unreasonable dangers. As demand rose for protection, assurances and power in areas social order should have taken care of but failed, preacher rose to fill the gap.

Worship in Nigeria is under extraordinary stress because there is a demand upon it to do what it is not meant to do: worship and the God we worship will not do for us what we are designed and commanded by God to do for ourselves, something like social justice, especially. This explains a lot of things about the drift and emphasis of the clergy in our days. We should also admit and in fact stress that the human spirit needs hope at all times.

We should recognise that some of the clergymen who rose to offer it have noble motivations and offered help, even if they went wrong in some details.

But January firsts apart, there is another prophecy bind you see that is very concerning and that is environments where people dare undertake nothing unless their 'Man of God' has prophesied for them and given them clearance.

It comes pretty much to consulting a medium (refer to the syncretic origins of these practices as mentioned earlier). The prophets tell them whom to marry, where to invest, when to travel or abort the plan, which school to send their children or to not send them to school at all. Some of these cases get people totally robotized and the settings of their lives all fouled up you'll be surprised.

These are not things you can treat in a simple social media post as they are deeply personal and experiences differ, but it is worth stressing that if a man has become your final guide and decider of all you do, you should be concerned. You should feel worried and sense that something is wrong. It cannot be right to have a life fully under the control of agent. You should be so ill at ease that you should do something to break free.


-John Ogunlela