I grew up in a church that operates a residency-prophets system, as against the freelance prophet-system which is in vogue. As a kid many years back, I observed that most prophets hardly have time for themselves, as they are besieged from dusk-to-dawn by those who are in dire need of prophecy. Irrespective of the low educational level of the prophets, and their humble background, both the low and high in the society visits the prophets wherever they live. How these prophet-mongers locate the prophets without antenna still beats my imagination. Some visit in the day time, while some visit the prophets only at night, like Nicodemus, so as not to be seen by wagging tongues.
This makes having the gift of prophecy, a treasure and automatically translates such person to a person of importance whom many treat with honour. In fact, some of their words are law, as it deemed that “that is what God said.” That was in the 70s and 80s. When they say “thus saith the Lord”, it’s authentic!
Who are those vulnerable to prophets?
Today, prophets are in high demand than ever. In fact, the title of prophet is fast replacing the title of pastor, evangelist, and apostle, among others. Just like we have pastors and senior pastors, we now have prophets, senior prophets and mega prophets. What we see today is the commercialization of prophets. This is partly because this generation has developed what the holy book described as, “itchy” ears-they want to be told only what they want to hear. Another reason is that there is so much uncertainty around us, and people are desperate for information to quench their fears and give them direction. This situation has created the demand for prophets. In their desperation, most of them who do not know the difference between miracle and magic play into the hands of these prophets, who do not “see” for free. They need physical money to delve into the supernatural to “see” what God has to say. Off course, no one sees a prophet with a prophet-offering, or have you gone for one of them to “see” for you without parting with cash?
“…they shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce…” Mark 13:22
A politician-friend of mine, Emeka (not real name) told me that he always see his prophet so that he would know what would happen to him before it happens. In almost all the business meetings we have had, we rarely get to conclusion, as he would say, “I would sleep over it.” He would invariably visit his prophet to inquire from him if the business would work. Emeka would not travel if the prophet has not affirmed the journey and so many other aspect of his daily life depends on his prophet’s utterance. Some might say that Emeka is a prophet-slave or addict, but he quickly admits that, “it works for me.” “Will the prophet equally tell you the day you will die, even when the prophet himself do not know when he would die? I asked! Does it really work for you like Emeka?
Are they really prophets?
I may be wrong, but most times one listens to some of these prophets, one would discover that there is no difference between them and what the Yorubas call, Babalawo. Some of them are just soothsayers, fortune tellers, 419, and all manner of psychologists; who conjure words, emotions and frame it with “thus saith the Lord” or “I prophecy” to give it credibility and force. They “prophecy” and pronounce “curse” upon the enemies of their clients, but they do not “prophecy” that their client are looting the state treasury and keeping mistresses. Well, if they go in that direction, the principle of hire-and-fire becomes their portion. Most of those who bear the tag “prophet” these days carry themselves with some air of arrogance, as if they have the monopoly of “hearing from God.” They advertise themselves heavily on posters, billboards, electronic and social media, even more than core advertising agencies, just to get hired! In their characteristic manner, they say “I saw” when they did not see anything, and they say “God told me”, even when they did not hear a whisper.
Hiring of prophets
The act of hiring of prophets is getting popular in Nigeria today. Well, it did not start today, if you read the book of Numbers chapter 22, you would discover that Balak the king of Moabites hired Balaam the prophet to curse his enemies (Egyptians). In belief of Balaam’s prophetic abilities, Balak said to Balaam, “whom thou blesset is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed.” However, contrary to the king’s instruction, prophet Balaam blessed the Egyptians, not curse, as the Lord put in his mouth. The prophet obeyed God and not the king. These days, the reverse is the case where prophets curse whom God has blessed, and bless those who God has cursed. We saw their grandstanding prominently in the campaign leading to the 2015 Nigeria Presidential election.
One would hardly find a politician or business man in top class, who do not have a hired prophet. Some have one, while other have more prophets depending on their pockets. A politician told me that one prophet “sees” about his political activities, while another “see” about his businesses. Some hire prophets locally, while some go beyond the shores of our country. To be precise, there are massive import and export of prophets over here. In previous case, both the poor and rich visit the prophet. The current trend is that the poor visits prophet’s house, while the rich fly-in prophets to their domain.
It’s a like a big industry! Prophet-contractors are everywhere, brokering deal between the prophets and their principals. Some prophets are willing to pay bribe to be hired. Those who are hired move alongside with other retinue of aides, who benefit from state funds. Constantly, their hirers asked them, “what has the Lord spoken?”
False prophets are on the loose, they are among us already (I Peter 2:1) it only takes a discerning spirit to detect them. (I John 4:1).
I boarded a commercial vehicle recently, and behold a man sitting by my right hand side introduced himself as a prophet. I asked if he is affiliated to a denomination, he answered no. “I’m a freelancer”, he said. I asked further, how do you survive? It was not far from what I thought-random guesswork on people his path crosses with. He “guessed” two incorrect history of my life, which gave me a clue that he saw me as a potential prey. Unfortunately for him, I knew their antics so well. He was like Barjesus in (Acts 13:6). When all his strategies failed, he said he has been looking for who would connect him to the president face-to-face to deliver a special message to him. Well, I wished him well, as I alighted from the vehicle.
“And many prophets shall arise and shall deceive many.” Mathew 24:11
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” Mathew 7: 15
Well, for those who are desperate to know about what God says about tomorrow and gain direction, the answers have been provided already by God in the holy book. What the prophets do is basically to re-affirm what God has spoken concerning every situation; anything beyond that is divination and sorcerer! Sure! They will never go unpunished, find out how in (Revelation 20:20). But for those who fall prey to them, “the memories would be their punishment,” thus saith prophet Obinna.