GHANA AND THE PROPHETIC ENCHANTMENT
One phenomenon common to almost all religions is the ministry of prophets and prophecy. Though not new in the history of Religions, Ghana has been witnessing a meteoric rise in the ministry of prophets and prophecy aided by the proliferation of radio stations over the last few months . Whiles we thank God for the ministry of prophets, we cannot pretend that all is well with their modus operandi. For questions are being raised as to the role of prophets in our country in the light of Christianity.
The word for prophet in the Hebrew Bible is “nabi” which means spokesperson and is derived from the root word “naba” (to prophesy; to speak on behalf of another (cf Exodus 4:10-17; Exodus 7:1) Also Dt 18:15.18; 2Kgs 17:13: states that the prophet’s role is to interpret the Torah and call Israel’s attention to the obligations of the covenant by reproaching them against their wickedness (idolatrous practices, infidelity, injustice among others. see Is 1:21, Jer 3:6-10, Ez 16:23ff. etc.)
From the aforesaid, the prophet as a spokesperson of God is tasked with the responsibility of speaking on behalf of God. The prophet provides interpretation from God’s perspective about past events, present circumstances and future possibilities (rather than future events).
This is important because when prophets spoke about the future, they did so in the context of what might happen (if the people fail to heed the call of God) and not what will inevitably happen. The prophet is to warn the nation against the evils in their lives, bringing them closer to God.
Consequently, the current situation in Ghana where prophets are claiming credit for predicting accurately disasters and misfortunes is a cause of worry. For it is painting a picture of God as one who rejoices at the destruction of his people. And in wonder I ask “does God need to affirm His supremacy and potency through the destruction of His creation. Certainly not!
This is affirmed by Jonah 4:1-11 where God clearly remind His people that His interest is not in punishment and destruction but in mercy and forgiveness. Therefore, the warning of potential future disaster is to change current behavior ; to be forewarned is to be forearmed. For the death of sinners bring no joy to God. (Ezekiel 18:23)
Another area of worry is the use of radio stations and social media in making these prophecies of doom and destruction. They do this without regard for it’s psychological and emotional impact on those people concerned and their families. A case in point is the story surrounding the circumstances under which a sensational dancehall artist, Priscilla Opoku Kwarteng ( aka Ebony Reigns) lost her life; without denying or affirming the prophecy purported to have been made prior to her death. Those prophets could have delivered their prophecies in this case to her in private or her family or those very close to her. This is affirmed in the case of Samuel and Saul (I Sam 15:16), Nathan and David (2 Sam 2:7) and Jonah and the people of Nineveh (Jonah 3:1-10) just to mention a few.
Let the prophets of our land know that they are not “divine meteorologists”. For in Jeremiah 18:5-10, God also has the prerogative to change the prophecy depending on how His people choose to react or act.
As “divine watchmen”, their duty is to warn us against bad behaviour and encourage good behaviour. They should challenge us to remain faithful to God and also to repent if we have strayed; for the potential of future disaster is meant to change current behaviour. Therefore, let them not use these prophecies of doom and disaster to seek to prove how powerful they are. Remember the true prophets prophesies to edify the Church, the community and offer counseling in religious matters.
Finally, let not the prophets of our land limit their prophecies to doom and destruction because we worship a God who does not glory in the death of the sinner but his repentance and conversion. Hence He is a God of all possibilities, and not only of doom and destruction.
REV. FR. EMMANUEL DOLPHYNE