columnBy Hildegarde Manzvanzvike
THE prophetic has become a topical issue in Zimbabwe's contemporary discourse. It is contentious, and judging from what I have seen, read and/or heard, this Godly gifting remains mysterious to many of us.
The proliferation of prophets has also become very argumentative. While I agree that some could just be conmen/women, this is no big news. For, there is nothing new under the sun. During the time of Biblical prophets such Elijah and Elisha, it was no different.
In the book of 2 Kings chapter 2, we read about "the company of prophets at Bethel"; "the company of prophets at Jericho"; "fifty men of the company of prophets". In 2 Kings 4:39, we also read, "Elisha returned to Gilgal and there was a famine in that region. While the company of the prophets was meeting with him . . . "
These were companies of prophets against a small size population like that of Zimbabwe. In a majority of cases, these prophets communicated with the king, and a nation had one king at a time.
This is an example of the mysteries that entail the prophetic in the Old Testament only. How has the prophetic affected the church's standing in Zimbabwe? The article was part of a two and half hour interview I had with Prophet Angel, after a prophetic conference they held at the Zanu-PF Headquarters Hall:
"This week we feature Prophet Uebert Angel Snr, a prophetic leader who is also pastor, founder, and general overseer of a three-year-old church Spirit Embassy Ministry. Together with his wife Pastor Beverly, they are based in Manchester, UK.
Prophet Uebert holds a PhD in Theology, but says that theology does not teach spirituality, and well-respected American preacher, Kenneth Hagin, mentors him. He also says that he is not a prosperity preacher, but a preacher who is prospering.
Based in Manchester, UK, Prophet Uebert is said to "flow in the supernatural of miracles, signs and wonders. His prophetic gifting often reveals people's names, addresses and other pertinent information that flows from a deep, consecrated communion with the person of the Holy Spirit. The Lord regularly uses him to prophesy regarding national and international events with great accuracy."
Among his favourite sayings are: "Jesus said it, I believe and act upon His words and that settles it.
That is my story . . . It's all Jesus and less of ME" and, that anointing "is a heavenly materiality, perceptible to the touch, that is capable of being touched".
The key scripture that anchors his ministry is 1 Corinthians 4:20: "The kingdom of God is not in word only but in the demonstration of power".
God's good sense of humour. Recently, The Arena caught up with Prophet Uebert during and after the "Greater Life Conference", co-hosted by his church and Tabernacle of Grace Ministries in Harare. He could easily pass for a basketball player. How could such a young man be escorted around by a number of people? But I was counselled, "God has a good sense of humour, and this could be one of them".
Signs, miracles and wonders
During the three-day conference, a number of people summed up what they had witnessed: he is a powerful man of God. Others said that the way he performed signs, wonders and miracles was not very different from how Prophet T. B. Joshua does it. As he performed wonder upon wonder, he sang:
And, changing you...
But still, who is this flamboyant thirty-four year old prophet, exploding on the Zimbabwean scene? Yet another foreigner coming to make claims about what the Lord is saying about Zimbabwe and its people?
In an exclusive interview with Hildegarde, Prophet Uebert said he was born in Masvingo in 1978.
"I prophesy because I was born to prophesy. I knew that I'd be a prophet at the age of five when I fell critically ill. This was confirmed when I was in Grade 2 when a voice called out to me from a bush and told me that it was Jesus Christ who had saved me from death."
After St. Antony's, he did a CPA (Computer Professionals Association) course with a Harare college, and then worked for some private companies, before relocating to the United Kingdom in 2001.
He said that when he went to the United Kingdom, he was not running away from anything or anyone. His brother was already there. It was more of an adventure and that feeling of saying I am going to the UK.
He was already married to Beverly whom he met in Marimba Park, Harare. They now have three sons, and his wife is in pastoral work with him. Pastor Beverly said, "he is the one who led me to salvation. I was in the Roman Catholic Church. He ministered to me showing me things in the Bible that I thought were not there - pure Word and not other people's opinions".
Prophet Uebert said he got born again ("a little") into the Family of God church led by Prophet Andrew Wutawunashe when he was doing his Form 2 at St Antony's Mission in Zaka, a Roman Catholic School.
In 1995, when he was in Form 4, his brother took him to a FOG conference at the City Sport Centre, and this is when he was really led to salvation.
Said Prophet Uebert, "Now that we see people who doubt, we doubt a lot. (As I grew up), I had never seen people with or without (spiritual) power. At the Show Grounds, a demon manifested, and my brother cast it out. I laughed it off and I said, "my own brother casting out demons? "After that, I did not want to be part of any Pentecostal Church, because I said, "they have too much of God. I don't want to get close to God. I just wanted to be human, and not this.
"In other words, I wasn't skeptical, but I was thinking: 'between being intelligent and being stupid, there are no demons'. I had reached the level, which I could doubt. My father had never told me about demons. He believed that there should be a God somewhere. He didn't believe in a personal relationship."
Even after these reservations, he stayed on in the church.
How the ministry started
Prophet Uebert said when they went to the UK, the motive was their educational and professional qualifications, but they continued to be members of the church. He also said that when they were in Ipswich, he had a powerful vision, and towards the end of that spiritual translating experience, a voice from the Lord said, "I am sending you". And, he was given 1 Corinthians 4:20.
"That is why it is a central verse in our church . . . I remember after a year from there, we joined another church. We were very quiet, just backbenchers in the church. Then one day, a pastor called Mike Aldaco - Mexican-American said he had received a vision. This is an old man. We were not even close
"He (Aldaco) told me that God wanted me to start my own church. We knew this, but we learnt to submit, because if you submit, you wait until the leader releases you . . . When your leaders understand, it's a blessing. So, when he told me, we left.
"It is a multi-national church. There are more than ten nationalities. So, it's not a Zimbabwean, Kenyan or British church. It's a church of Jesus Christ. When we started, it was just my wife and me".
The couple said that for two years, they were out of God's plan as they refused to take any offerings, including tithes because they wanted to prove that they were not after people's money. They just wanted people to come for the Word. Since giving offerings is a Biblical principle, they said God reprimanded them.
"We really believe in giving," said Pastor Beverly.
Prophet Uebert called on other pastors, "If I believe people should give, shouldn't I be doing some giving too? Tele-evangelists shouldn't be saying send your money. They should say, if you are needy, send your phone number, and I will send you something . . . how come the preacher wants your 20-pounds and not a hundred fold that he promises when you send money?
Why Spirit Embassy
Prophet Uebert said, "Our church is called Spirit Embassy because God said he wanted it to be the embassy of the Holy Spirit, where they Holy Spirit will work. So, the Holy Spirit, and not I does every miracle I perform. God gave it the name . . . The Holy Spirit is a friend. He is ever present, and I acknowledge His presence every time".
On miracles, signs and wonders
Prophet Uebert said, "Miracles only come to confirm God's word. That's why the Bible says, the Apostles went about doing good, preaching, but God confirming His word by the miracles they performed. So, the Apostles had to preach first, and the miracles followed, to validate the word".
During the period, he followed this format: preach and then work miracles and wonders.
Identifying fake prophets
The Arena asked prophet Uebert, "Fakes or counterfeits come. They know the word. They can also perform miracles. How do people distinguish between that which is true and that which is false?"
Prophet Uebert said; "You can only distinguish between the two if you are a man of the word, because you can never find the genuine, by studying the fake. The genuine only comes in one form, while counterfeits come in many forms. But the best thing you can do is to study the right one so that whatever else comes after; you know the correct one.
"The problem we have as Zimbabweans or Christians is that we like to study the fake so that if another fake comes, we know. Yet, it does not follow. Study the genuine, and when the fake comes, and does not match, then question". He also said that people are now confused because they are used to going to false prophets who tell them that they were bewitched by relatives: "This does not promote the main rule Jesus Christ left -- love. So if your prophecy will cause me to hate, it is not for the glory of God. The problem is that people do not understand the role of the prophet in the New Testament setting. The Bible says, 'let no man teach you except the Holy Spirit. So many people feel there is no need for prophets because the Holy Spirit is here, but too many people don't hear the Spirit. It's all about faith. Faith is the victory that overcometh the world".
Describing the nature of his prophecies, he said, "It's not the name that is special. It is what I say after I identify the name that matters. But still, if you don't have faith, you won't get it. When I call your name, it is a faith booster. Prophecy does not mean for someone to get something. It only lifts your faith up, and you, by your own faith, you get something".
He said that during the conference he ministered to people with diverse interests, needs and expectations. In order to balance the equation, the prophetic gifting was necessary, and this was combined with healing and casting out of demons.
As pointed out, prophet Uebert and his wife are Zimbabwean, and they are black. They were not always called Angel. This is how the name-change occurred: "I got to Angel because God told me. There is a revelation we got. It might not go down well with people, but we follow God. We have the family name 'Tsindikidzo'. You know what it means?
"An uncle of ours married his own father's second wife. They had a son whom they called 'Tsindika', meaning don't talk about it; keep this a secret.
"But, what happens is that every time you meet God, He changes your name: Abram to Abraham; Sarai to Sarah; Jacob to Israel; Saul to Paul, etc. Every time God sees that the name is not congruent to His plan, He changes it. In the Bible, when God does something, He gives it a name.
Why, because a good name is hard to find?
"Another (family) name is 'Gonzo' (rat). Who wants to be a rat? Then the third one is 'Mudzaniri'. Our grandfather used to dance a lot when he got drunk. And, that's the name you would have to carry with you?
"I'll not tell you how many things changed because of that name - Angel - the spiritual things that people do not want to think about! Angel means beautiful messenger and Uebert is a German name that means intelligent.
"My eldest son is Uebert; the second born is Levi Hanoch - Levi (the priestly tribe), and Hanoch (Enoch), the man who walked with God all his life. The last born is Jude Eloi. Jude means from the tribe of Judah and Eloi means God my Father. So it is, 'praise God who is my Father'".
Asked about how he relaxes Prophet Uebert said, "I pray 10 hours a day; read the word and spend time with my wife".
On the first evening of the conference, Prophet Uebert Angel remarked that some people could be asking themselves, "How can a small boy do this? I save a big God, is my answer".
He also said during the interview, "I don't have anything against those who oppose me. I am not surprised because what I do is extraordinary."
Speaking about the future, he said, "you have to wear sunglasses because it is too bright".