As many parts of the African continent are swept by a wave of ‘prophesy’, Zimbabwe is no exception as it has and is continuing to register the advent of many ‘prophets’ in the Pentecostal circles.
About a decade ago there were a few prophets known nationwide in Pentecostal churches around the country but the scenario seems to have changed with time as almost every month seems to produce a prophet as seen on posters around the city centre.
The office of the prophet as known by a layman in Zimbabwe used to be a preserve of the white garment or Apostolic churches where some people, accompanied by members of those churches, would go Nicodemusly to enquire every time they were plagued by challenges of this world.
In recent years, a number of charismatic prophets have arisen attracting tens of thousands of worshippers every Sunday including the elite of the city and towns.
A crop of young prophets who are in their 20s and 30s have arisen in Zimbabwe especially in the capital, Harare, taking it by storm. Among them are well known Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa and Prophet Eubert Angel who have proved to have large followings where ever they go.
The types of miracles they perform and their type of prophecy which seems to be spot-on have also in some quarters raised some eyebrows prompting people to engage in debates in their quest to ascertain the prophesies’ authenticity.
The Christian community has now divided in ideologies on this issue of prophesy as some tend to think that some of the prophecies do not tally with the dictates of scriptures and others saying that Jesus promised those who believe in Him to do ‘greater works than these’.
Many other prophetic ministries have also sprouted in cities and towns with some suggesting that many of these ‘prophetic ministries’ have become lucrative businesses, especially in a difficult economic environment where so many seem to be looking for a solution to their plight.
Others are of the opinion that God has in this time chosen to raise many prophets in a bid to comfort His people and give them guidance as He would from time to time do for His people, Israel in order to give them spiritual guidance and direction during hard times so that they would not deviate from a holy path of life due to suffering.
Since everyone is entitled to their opinion, it remains for God to judge who is and who is not genuine in their operation in the prophetic office.
The Greek word translated as prophecy in a number of Bible verses is ‘propheteia’ meaning gift of interpreting the will of God or a discourse emanating from divine inspiration and declaring the purposes of God whether by reproving and admonishing the wicked, comforting the afflicted or revealing things hidden; especially by foretelling future events.
Though the scriptures serve as the yardstick, prophecy has always been a tricky subject, and there is risk that followers who do not study the Bible and consider God’s word when hearing prophecies, may become prone to indoctrination and believe anything they hear.
Prophecy is a vital office in the Christian world if received from God properly and operated in accordingly but it is equally dangerous when it is misunderstood as it can be easily mixed with heresy.