The phenomenon of miracle money has taken the world in general and Africa in particular by storm. Church congregants across the world claim to have had considerable amounts credited into their personal accounts and handbags.
Recently, a Bulawayo prophet claimed to have miraculously re-charged Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) meters for his congregants. The Nketa prophet shocked the nation with claims that he had performed miracle airtime and electricity recharge wonders.
Actually, when stories of miracle-money appearing in people’s accounts and handbags first broke out, former Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono, rightly sought enquiry into the claims because it’s simple financial understanding that money cannot be created but it has to come from somewhere. Dr Gono expressed his concern saying, “We also, as the central bank … are charged with ensuring that earthly laws and regulations are observed…”
In light of the recent incident, a ZESA official said, “… we are really worried because this will affect our business revenues if people use electricity without incurring costs. It’s illegal”
The truth is that each cash-note on you right now is ‘known’ by the Central Bank of your country. No one can create their own notes. However, disturbingly, we have heard of excess amounts being credited into congregants’ accounts and wads of crispy notes being ‘withdrawn’ from the air and given to shocked congregants. How is this money accounted for? Are these miracles biblical?
Well, it is critical to understand what a miracle is in the first place. The Concise English Dictionary defines a miracle as “a nature-defying occurrence which is beneficial to human beings and is not ascribable to human power.” A miracle is an occurrence which is beyond the comprehension of the human mind. It is agreed among Bible scholars that a miracle is beneficial to people yet cannot be attributed to human power. A miracle can be established by a three step inquiry; (1) It has to be beneficial to human beings (2) It defies nature (3) It is not ascribable to human power.
In other words, a miracle is beyond the scope of understanding of nature or science. An example of a miracle will be the healing of a person born blind or feeding five thousand people from two loaves of bread. As an example, let’s check whether Jesus’ miracle of feeding thousands (Matt 14:13-20) fulfils the above three-step criteria;
Did the feeding benefit humans? – Yes it did
Did it defy science? – Yes it did
Was it ascribable to human power? – No, it was God’s power.
That’s a typical miracle.
Now, how is it possible that after reading this piece, someone can ask you to check your wallet or handbag and you will find $500 inexplicably stashed in there? Are these real miracles? Well, let’s take miracle-money through the above three-step test;
Does (miracle) money benefit humans? – Yes it does
Does miracle money defy science? – Yes it does
Is it ascribable to human power? – Proponents claim its God’s power
Based on the above criteria, it would appear like miracle-money is a miracle just like any other yet a world of difference exists. There is a key ingredient in identifying a Biblical miracle which I deliberately omitted in the three-step inquiry. It is the organic test for miracle money. It is this: apart from the three requisites of benefitting humans, defying science and not being ascribable to human power, a Biblical miracle never flouts the laws of the land. A real miracle never, even remotely, conflicts with State or International law. Yes, a miracle flouts the laws of science but it does not flout State laws no matter the circumstances.
Driven by malice, Jewish authorities often investigated Christ’s healings but at no point where his miracles found in breach of country laws. Backers of miracle-money make attempts to draw from the incident in which Jesus asked his disciples to go and catch fish and open its belly to pay authorities. “Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin.”(Matt 17:27) Now, it can never be said or hinted that Jesus created a coin which was not in circulation. The coin which was found in the belly of the fish could be accounted for by the Reserve Bank of Israel. He simply directed people to where it was. Jesus could have effortlessly “withdrawn” money from the air if he had wanted but the reason he did not is simple: a true miracle does not conflict with State laws.
It is precisely here that miracle money loses the plot. My West African friend Howard Tundu once wrote in his article, ‘Miracle money or devil’s work?’, “Do not envy miracles but seek God …” No miracle in the Bible ever flouted the laws of a country or city. Did the feeding of the five thousand come into conflict with the laws of Jerusalem? Did healing a lame man break the laws of the land? Did Jesus walking on water lead to investigation by authorities of Israel? The answer to these questions is an emphatic NO.
Jesus never conducted a miracle that conflicted with the laws of Israel. To date, I am yet to find anyone with a meaningful explanation of what miracle money is, in essence. Surely, it’s not money that people lost in the past which is being returned to them as we have been told. Proponents of miracle-money have repeatedly failed to explain the phenomenon serve to insult “unbelievers”. I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that miracle money is anything else except Biblical. God wants His people to remain alert.
See related reading: