A 24-year-old self-styled South African prophet who allegedly commanded a snake to turn into chocolate, then had his parishioners feast on the reptile as a show of their faith in God's power, was arrested for animal cruelty over the weekend.
Photos posted to the Facebook page of End Times Disciples Ministries in Soshanguve, South Africa, led by the controversial young prophet Penuel Mnguni, show several of his congregants being fed what appear to be snakes as others look on with squeamish expressions.
Accompanying the photos was a message quoting Scripture and testifying of the alleged conversion of the snake into chocolate.
"#Demonstration of God's Power, Romans 14. Those with small faith eats (sic) only vegetables but the ones with a great faith eats (sic) everything. During service Man of God commanded a snake to change into a chocolate and it obeyed. People ate it and enjoyed it. To God Be The Glory!" noted the message.
Mnguni was reportedly an understudy of another controversial South African pastor, Lesego Daniel, who convinced his followers to eat grass and drink petrol last year.
South Africa's Eyewitness News reported that Mnguni was arrested over the weekend after the country's animal rights group, the SPCA, charged him with animal cruelty. He was later released on bail as local courts try to find a date for his next appearance.
There were no conditions set for the young pastor's bail and the SPCA's Mishack Matlou said he was troubled by the lack of conditions as Mnguni reportedly fed his congregants rats on Sunday.
"When a child sees someone eating a snake, they will be traumatized," Matlou told Eyewitness News.
Since the snake-eating incident the church has posted other photos showing Mnguni riding a congregant's back like a horse, and allegedly commanding snake spirits to enter some of them.
He also posted the text of his Sunday sermon to the church's Facebook page that came across like a bizarre rant against his critics.
"[Acts 10:10-14] – Peter said I cannot eat what is unclean, Peter was not lying when he said that, but God says 'hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches'. You are the church, your bodies are the temples of God, and every temple must have an ear. Whenever we gather as the body of Christ we must speak what comes from the mouth of God," Mnguni noted.
"Many people I have prophesied, delivered and healed but are still not sure that I am a man of God. Let those who have an ear hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches, not in my church because when I speak I already approve what the Spirit is saying, I listen to what God is saying about other churches," he continued.
"When you speak against me you curse the ground you walk upon. When I sleep angels are ascending upon me day and night, those angels are not from heaven, and they are from me because I command them. [John 1:47-48] — Jesus saw that there was no word in Nathaniel and yet he prophesied him. If you're like me you're able to discern angels ascending day and night. I don't have a stomach, I only have a heart and a mind, so when I eat my food gets stuck next to my heart, food loses power along the way," he said.