Profetha Hezekiya: A Song of Praise Inspired by King Hezekiah

Profetha Hezekiya: A Song of Praise Inspired by King Hezekiah

Profetha Hezekiah is a song by the Christian Church in Zion, a South African religious group that follows the teachings of Isaiah Shembe. The song is part of their album Silwa Nemimoya, which was released in 2018. The song praises God for his power and mercy, and invokes the name of Hezekiah, a biblical king who reformed Judah and defended Jerusalem from the Assyrian invasion.

Hezekiah, whose name means “God has strengthened”, was the son of Ahaz, an evil king who led Judah into idolatry. Hezekiah became king at the age of 25 and reigned for 29 years. He was one of the most righteous kings of Judah, who followed the commands of God and restored the worship of Yahweh in the temple. He also destroyed the idols, altars, and high places that his father had built. He celebrated the Passover with all Israel and brought revival to God’s people.

Hezekiah also faced a great challenge when Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, invaded Judah and besieged Jerusalem. Hezekiah prayed to God for deliverance and consulted the prophet Isaiah, who assured him that God would defend his city. God sent an angel who killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night, forcing Sennacherib to retreat. Hezekiah also experienced a miraculous healing from a terminal illness, after he prayed and wept before God. God added 15 years to his life and gave him a sign by making the shadow on the sundial go back ten steps.

The song Profetha Hezekiya celebrates these acts of God’s grace and power in Hezekiah’s life. It also acknowledges that Hezekiah was not perfect, as he made a mistake by showing his treasures to the envoys of Babylon, who later invaded Judah and destroyed Jerusalem. The song warns against pride and urges the listeners to trust in God alone. The song also expresses hope for the restoration of Zion and the coming of the Messiah.

The song is sung in Zulu, one of the official languages of South Africa. It has a lively rhythm and melody that reflects the joy and faith of the singers. The song is accompanied by drums, guitars, keyboards, and other instruments. The song is popular among the members of the Christian Church in Zion, who believe that Isaiah Shembe was a prophet sent by God to restore his true worship in Africa.

The Christian Church in Zion is one of the many branches of the Zionist movement in South Africa, which combines elements of Christianity and African traditional religion. The Zionist movement emerged in the early 20th century, influenced by the Christian Catholic Apostolic Church in Zion, a Pentecostal church from Chicago that sent missionaries to South Africa. The Zionists adopted some of their practices, such as divine healing, baptism by immersion, and wearing white robes. However, they also incorporated aspects of their African culture and spirituality, such as ancestor worship, drumming, dancing, and prophetic visions.

The Christian Church in Zion was founded by Isaiah Shembe, who claimed to be a prophet sent by God to restore his true worship among the African people. He was born in 1865 in Natal and joined the Baptist Church as a young man. He later left the church and started his own ministry, preaching and healing among the Zulu people. He established his headquarters at Ekuphakameni (the place of spiritual upliftment) and gathered many followers who called him uNkulunkulu (the great one) or uMqali waseNkosini (the messenger of the Lord). He taught that he was the reincarnation of Moses and that he had come to lead his people to the promised land of Canaan.

Shembe died in 1935 and was succeeded by his son Johannes Galilee Shembe, who continued his father’s work and expanded the church. He also faced challenges from rival factions within the church, who claimed to have the legitimate succession. The church split into four main branches: the Nazareth Baptist Church (eBandla lamaNazaretha), led by Johannes Galilee Shembe; the Nazarene Baptist Church (iBandla lamaNazaretha), led by Londa Shembe; the Holy Nazareth Church (iBandla lamaNazaretha eliHlwele), led by Amos Shembe; and the Christian Church in Zion (iBandla lamaKristu eZion), led by Petros Shembe.

The Christian Church in Zion is the smallest of the four branches, with about 50,000 members. It is based in Cape Town and Eastern Cape, where it has several churches and schools. It is led by Petros Shembe’s son, Mbuso Shembe, who is regarded as the fifth prophet of the church. The church follows the teachings and traditions of Isaiah Shembe, but also adapts to the changing times and needs of its members. It emphasizes education, social justice, and environmental stewardship. It also celebrates its African identity and heritage, while acknowledging its Christian roots.

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