It’s Saturday, the 28th of March 2020. The global cases of coronavirus have surpassed 600,000 and there has been over 28, 000 fatalities confirmed. Of course, this goes without saying that there also been more 130, 000 recorded cases of recovered patients. Quite positive news, right?
Anyway, what’s peculiar about this day is that it is only a few hours after the 27th, yes indeed, the day that revered Lagos-based cleric and founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Prophet T. B. Joshua, predicted would see the end of the novel coronavirus.
“I came out at the beginning of this year saying last year will end in March, and the year will continue to be very fearful till this month [March]. This month, 27th, it will be over. By the end of this month, whether we like it or not – no matter the medicine they might have produced to cure whatever, it will go the way it came. If it is not a medicine that brought this to the world, medicine cannot take it out. It will go the way it came,”
T.B. Joshua said in a video broadcasted live during a church service.
The SCOAN shepherd also said that it would rain in China and that would wipe away the virus.
Corresponding to the said prophecy, many Christians around the world were hopeful that it would come to pass.
Lugubriously, the internet and world at large (or at least those who care enough to have paid any mind to the controversial Nigerian pastor) is ablaze after it appears that even after March 27, the deadly Covid-19 continues to rage and kill. Judging from the latest events around the world, people are even more afraid and the coronavirus pandemic isn’t showing any signs of stopping as there is no vaccine or cure in sight.
By now, many have since concluded that Joshua’s prophecy on coronavirus has failed to come to pass, despite that his pedigree in the ministry is full with prophecies that came to pass and that he has also performed jaw-dropping deliverance miracles.
The problem with Joshua’s predictions was not only the specificity of the event itself but that it was dated in red letters, thus put his credibility on the line. Of course, nothing of the sort actually happened, at least in the world of visibility and that has left many/some in his movement with a classic dilemma of usual apocalyptic movements: What do you do when prophecy fails? We don’t know just how many of them there are, but however many there are, they probably have found themselves facing the same problem that has confronted others dealing with failed prophecies and predictions: cognitive dissonance.
Cognitive dissonance occurs when individuals are pulled in opposite directions by their beliefs on the one hand and their real-world experience on the other, according to Michael Barkun. The conflict between them creates psychological pressure, which people seek to reduce. This situation has been faced many times before, by people who have made huge personal investments in belief systems that claimed some great change would take place at a given time but who were then left psychologically stranded when the change did not take place.
The general pattern with cognitive dissonance situations is that the less heavily invested will eventually drop away. Some who are relatively heavily committed may find similar affiliations to which they can transfer their loyalties. But a core group will remain, even in the face of predictions or prophecies that simply didn’t happen. That includes at least some of the T.B Joshua’s believers who have remained loyal. What keeps them there?
In the first place, no one who has made a heavy commitment to any belief likes to admit that they have made a mistake. In addition, the belief is likely to be one around which they have structured their view of the world.
Consequently, one way of dealing with the dissonance is to try to keep the belief even in the face of a world that denies that the belief had any validity. There are two ways of dealing with this: One is to tinker with the timing of the prediction; the other is to reinterpret the prediction itself.
Some of the SCOAN believers I’ve interacted with for the last 24 hours have done both.
As the world has taken it upon itself to remind the cleric of his coronavirus oracle, it has surfaced that actually this is not the first time Mr Temitope Balogun Joshua’s prophecies might not have been on point. He has made a number of prophecies that relentlessly did not come to pass.
Here are some of his alleged prophecies.
Narrow Hillary Clinton Win?
In 2016, the US held its 58th quadrennial presidential election, which mostly pitied Republicans’ Donald Trump and former USA First Lady and Democrats’ Hillary Clinton against each other.
Along came T.B. Joshua. The pastor said he saw a woman emerge emerging with a “narrow win”.
While many Americans on social media had said that they had had enough of the Republicans, President Donald Trump was declared the winner.
World War 3
In 2011, blogs were awash with a prophecy by T.B Joshua on an impending World War 3. Reports stated that this would begin as soon as Israel strikes Iran.
In a swift move, the SCOAN team debunking this wrote on their page,
“There is currently a rumour circulating that on Sunday 11th December 2011, TB Joshua predicted a third world war. CORRECTION: Prophet T.B. Joshua did not say that there would be a third world war. He did not say that civilisation would be gone. We should be very careful about changing a prophetic message to suit our own philosophy or our own world view.”
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