Since the recent death of Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika, the internet has been alive with claims that TB Joshua predicted it. The claims referred to a prophecy which TB Joshua gave during a live service on Sunday 5th February 2012. Numerous rumours were circulated about the time period of the prophecy; many believed he said this head of state would die within 60 days. SCOAN denied that there was any timescale given with the prophecy, which I expect they are regretting now since Mutharika died precisely 60 days later.
In this article, we aim to cut through the hysteria surrounding this prophecy to look more closely at the facts and the context.
First of all, we need a reality check:
- Mutharika has had ill health for a long time, so much so that he was even rumoured to be dead a year ago.
- Despite popular rumours, TB Joshua did not predict the time frame. Any time up to a year of the prophecy could have fitted.
- Mutharika was 78 years old. If we were mathematicians we’d be able to calculate the probability of an ill, 78 year old, Malawian male dying within the next year (if anyone is clever enough to do this, please let us know!). If you were to calculate this probability for all heads of state potentially fitting TB Joshua’s prediction, the probability of one of them dying is almost certain.
- SCOAN clearly stated that TB Joshua “did not say that the prophecy was unchangeable”. Again making this is a win/win prophecy – if it happens he’s a true prophet, if it doesn’t he saved the presidents life.
- TB Joshua never named the country or the president to allow for specific prayer or support to be given. Why didn’t he name names even when he said he would? Did the death come sooner than God told him? Did he not even know the name at all?
Secondly, the questions should be asked about how much TB Joshua already knew about Mutharika’s state of health. His Vice President Joyce Banda has very publicly expressed her support for TB Joshua in the past and regularly worships at SCOAN in Lagos. She said she visits the church “just the way some Christians visit Israel, or Muslims visit Mecca”, a comment which tells us a lot about how she views TB Joshua. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that TB Joshua had some insider information that Mutharika was already on his death bed. Despite being constitutionally placed to succeed him, Banda was not on the best of terms with Mutharika after falling out with him in 2011 and being expelled from the party, leading some to speculate an even more sinister connection than this, but we’ll leave the conspiracy theories to others.
Finally, the bible makes clear that even if a prophecy seems accurate, this does not mean it was necessarily from God. The accuracy of a prophetic word is only one factor to consider when weighing the legitimacy of a prophet (which lest we forget, all Christians have a responsibility to do).
So again we must ask the question: What purpose did this prophecy have?
- Was his death prevented? No.
- Did he name the country or president, so specific prayer and support could be given? No (although he said he would).
- Did this bring glory to God? No.
- Did this bring glory and fame to TB Joshua? Yes.
We’ll close the article with a comment from Noah Bishop of Life and Liberty Churches International (source)
“(This prophecy) is unbiblical. There is no biblical precedence to that prophecy. God’s character is not given to inciting or causing confusion, despondency, apprehension or fear in individuals or nations.
In the Bible, when a prophet is given a message regarding an individual’s ill health, death or demise of a leader, whether it is a good leader or bad leader, the prophet is given specific instructions to approach the particular leader and speak directly in the presence of some witnesses.
TB Joshua has caused despondency, fear and apprehension. The prophecy is so general and open to anyone’s interpretation, it is not of God. He is very clever to make vague prophecies and has never been caught to be a false prophet. This guy is just a trouble causer.”