By Prince Kurupati
If a survey is to be conducted with the participants asked what they think is the one thing that possesses the power to unify a nation or the world at large, then the odds are, religion will be one of the most popular answers. Religion despite which one of the several that are practiced in the world today always speaks about the need to embrace each other in love and live peacefully and harmoniously in society. Such tenets when looked at automatically mean that religion is a unifying force. However, the puzzling thing is that in practice, religion often fails to unify people; rather, at times it actually opens gaps between various sects. A case in point relates to the prophecies which pastors, prophets and as some call themselves ‘men of God’ do that end up dividing the congregants and outsiders who follow with keen interest.
Recently, the United States held its presidential election. As has become the norm, before the elections, several African pastors had already told their congregants who the winner of the presidential race was going to be citing prophetic revelations which had been revealed to them. For the devoted congregants, they just took the prophecies related to them as is. However, to those who don’t like to just scratch the surface but have an affinity for getting deeper insights into anything that may concern (and potentially affect) them, they started to ask some critical questions. Three main questions have been raised relating to prophecies on elections and this article is going to explore the questions in detail. Before that however, lets first get to see some of the prophetic revelations revealed by some top African pastors and prophets.
- TB Joshua
When talking of African prophets, one of the very first names that come to mind is that of TB Joshua. TB Joshua is the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN). Days leading up to the 2016 US presidential election, TB Joshua during a televised church service informed all the congregants that he had just had a prophetic revelation. Speaking on the prophetic revelation, TB Joshua said. “Ten days ago I saw the president of America with a narrow win…What I frankly saw was a woman.”
As the leading presidential candidates during the election were Donald Trump representing the Republicans and Hillary Clinton representing the Democrats, many after hearing TB Joshua’s prophecy concluded that the next person to become the US president would be Hillary Clinton solely based on the notion that she was a ‘woman’ as stated by TB Joshua in his prophetic revelation. After Election Day and when all votes had been tallied, the outcome showed that a ‘man’ (Donald Trump) instead of a ‘woman’ (Hillary Clinton) had actually won the presidential race. This therefore meant TB Joshua’s prophecy had not come to pass. TB Joshua faced ridicule from some critics soon after but defended his prophecy saying he operates on a different spiritual level to his critics. The fact that Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote albeit narrowly as outlined in the prophetic revelation did convince his strong followers that he was in the right path.
TB Joshua also revealed a prophetic revelation for the recent US 2020 presidential election. Posting on his social media page, the prophet had this to say, “What is happening in the American election is as a result of the power of the tongue…We Christians would have loved it to go the way we wanted. But the Bible says it is never proper to base our faith on our improvement after prayer. We should not worry…There is likely going to be pockets of resistance here and there but nothing will change. Let me preserve what I am seeing until the inauguration.”
Many taking cue from the prophetic revelation concluded that Joe Biden was going to become the next president. The statement ‘We Christians would have loved it to go the way we wanted’ is taken to mean that Christians would have loved to see Donald Trump winning referencing the huge support for Trump among evangelical Christians – but unfortunately that’s not the case.
- Apostle Suleman
Apostle Johnson Suleman is another man of God who prophesized a win for Joe Biden. In a sermon televised way back in March, Apostle Johnson Suleman said, “America should not joke with the next election, because they all will support the opponent of the current president. The Lord gave me a prophecy last year or so, that Trump would not be reelected. The opponent is not the issue, but his running mate is, the running mate is a lady and if the opponent wins, the opponent will be impeached for the running mate to take over.”
There are three important things to take note of from Apostle Suleman’s prophetic revelation. These are as follows:
- Opponent of Trump to have a female running mate: Here, it’s important for readers to note that Apostle Suleman’s prophetic revelation was televised all the way back in March. At that time, Kamala Harris had not been officially picked as Joe Biden’s running mate. In fact, Kamala Harris was still an outsider according to many polls to be formally nominated as a Vice Presidential candidate. The mere fact that Kamala Harris, a ‘lady’ ended up being the official running mate means Apostle Suleman’s prophecy came to pass
- Trump’s Opponent to win: In his prophetic revelation, Apostle Suleman prophesized that Trump’s opponent (that is, Joe Biden) would win the election. The prophecy thus came to pass as Joe Biden officially polled the most Electoral College votes
- Winning candidate to be impeached and replaced by his running mate: The last part of Apostle Suleman’s prophecy stated that the winning presidential candidate would end up being impeached during his term in office and would be replaced by his Vice President. Currently, the winning candidate hasn’t yet been inaugurated hence the prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.
- Chris Oyakhilome
Another popular Nigerian pastor Chris Oyakhilome backed Trump to win the election. In numerous sermons that he had since June this year, Pastor Chris has been calling for all Christians to pray for President Trump to win the election. He said that a Trump presidency would safeguard Christian principles hence the need to keep him in office.
“Pray for him (Trump) because when God places any of his children in a position, hell, sometimes would do everything to destroy that individual…They are angry at Trump for supporting Christians, you better know it. So the real ones that they hate are you who are Christians.”
Pastor Chris’ sentiments echoe with those expressed by many evangelicals across the African continent. Many evangelical Christian groups in Africa are anti-abortion, against gay rights and support Israel hence why they are more in support of the Republican candidate over the more liberal Democratic candidate. Other evangelicals who backed Trump had this to say:
- Emeka Ezeji (A vicar and archdeacon in the Missionary Christ Anglican Church in Nigeria)
“Faith is personal, mine is pro-life…African Christians believe that a Republican President is better for the US and the world.”
- Juliet Binitie (A Nigerian theologian and preacher)
“We need somebody who defends the rights of believers.”
- Richard Chogo (A Pastor at the Deliverance Church in Kenya)
“The Obama administration had been pushing a liberal agenda here in Africa and that agenda was of concern to some of us Christian leaders. It was a relief that during Trump’s time he’s taken a bit of a back seat…There’s an increasingly liberal world in the academia and politics, it has felt like the evangelical is a cornered person and was being targeted.”
Having seen the prophetic revelations that have been revealed by African pastors and prophets, it’s now time for us to explore the questions that have been asked by many relating to the quest to get a deeper understanding of the nexus between religion (with a particular focus on Christianity) and elections.
- Are there any examples of electoral prophecies in the Bible
Whenever something is done or said more so by pastors and prophets, the general populace feels more comfortable when they know that such a thing is a precedent of things that are contained in the Bible. When it comes to prophesying election results, the question therefore would be, is there any instance where the prophets of the past prophesized the outcome of an election. The unfortunate thing however is that during the time the Bible is set, Kings were anointed and the concept of democracy as we know it today was non-existent.
Be that as it may, politics was a part of life during that time and prophets of the time did venture into the political realm. Great preachers such as Isaiah or Jeremiah did touch on political issues in their line of work. Prophets of doom such as Elijah and Elisha also did prophesy the end of ‘dynasties’. This in essence therefore showcases the fact that religion and politics did cross paths in the Bible. Though the concept of elections as we know it nowadays is non-existent in the Bible, the mere fact that prophets of the time did venture into politics demonstrates that pastors and prophets aren’t restricted to the religious world only but can venture into matters of the secular world.
- Different prophecies to the same event
From the first question, we came to the conclusion that pastors and prophets are allowed to venture into matters of the secular world hence there is nothing wrong with them making prophecies that relate to issues such as election winners. The question that now arises is, why then do different prophets prophesy different things that relate to the same event. Taking the instance of the recent US presidential election, there were some prophets who predicted a victory for the incumbent Donald Trump while others predicted a win for former vice-president Joe Biden. For those who predicted a win for Trump, what then as Biden won? Well, this question is best answered by the Bible itself in Deuteronomy 18:22 which say:
“If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.”
While the above answers the question on why prophecies may differ as told by different prophets, Jeremiah 18:7-10 tells us that at times, the outcome of a prophet may change owing to a change of circumstances by those that are targeted by the prophecy. Jeremiah states that “If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.”
According to Jeremiah, therefore, the actions of either Biden or Trump leading up to the election therefore could have played a part in changing the outcome of the election.
- Relating Prophecy as is or a case of seeking fame and international recognition
By now, we know that prophets and pastors aren’t restricted from reciting prophecies that have to do with politics and elections and that there exist genuine as well as false prophets while it also possible for circumstances to change even after a prophecy has been said – now, the question that boggles the mind is, who should know about a prophecy. Should a prophet only tell his congregants about the prophecy he is shown by the Lord or should the prophet do all things possible to get the attention of the person that he sees in the prophetic visions? The answer is provided in Ezekiel 2:9-3:4:
“It was then I saw a hand stretched out to me, in which was a written scroll which was unrolled before me. It was covered with writing front and back and on it was written: Lamentation wailing and woe! He said to me: Son of man, eat what is before you; eat this scroll then go, speak to the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth and he gave me the scroll to eat…and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. He said: Son of man, go now to the house of Israel and speak my words to them.”
What the above shows is that a prophet in the prophetic visions can be instructed to go to the person that he sees in the prophetic vision to relay the visions he has just been shown. When it comes to the question of who should a prophet tell when he is shown a prophecy, the answer is – the person he sees in the prophetic vision.
When it comes to prophecies such as those that relate to presidential elections, prophets may find it hard if not impossible to get the chance to talk to the presidential candidates on a face to face basis to recite the prophecy they have been shown by the Lord. As such, they can look for alternative ways in which to reach the presidential candidates which include the mainstream media as well as social media platforms. The question therefore of whether prophets will be seeking fame and international recognition when they recite their prophecies can be dismissed as they will simply using the methods that are available to them which they hope will help in sending their message to the intended recipient who in this case is the presidential candidate.