As usual when God speaks, the enemy of God and the enemy of the souls of men will begin an attempt to discredit what God says and this has been going on from the beginning of God’s spoken word to the paradise couple, Adam and Eve. In reference to the word of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah many false prophets began to prophesy lies to the people telling them of prosperity, happiness, and glorious times. The people followed these lies because it was what they wanted to hear. Jeremiah wasn’t saying what the people wanted to hear. He was saying what thus said the Lord. These false prophets were basically standing flat footed and calling God a liar as did the devil in the Garden. God is not a man who lies, or a son of man who changes His mind. Does He speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill? Numbers 23:19 [Holman Christian Standard Bible] No spoken word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. If God speaks something it WILL come to pass. So, the false prophets prophesied lies to the people, and this is what the Lord said referencing them.
Jeremiah 23: 16-40
16 Thus says the Lord of hosts: Do not listen to the words of the [false] prophets who prophesy to you. They teach you vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility) and fill you with vain hopes; they speak a vision of their own minds and not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They are continually saying to those who despise Me and the word of the Lord, The Lord has said: You shall have peace; and they say to everyone who walks after the stubbornness of his own mind and heart, No evil shall come upon you. 18 For who among them has stood in the council of the Lord, that he should perceive and hear His word? Who has marked His word [noticing and observing and giving attention to it] and has [actually] heard it? 19 Behold, the tempest of the Lord has gone forth in wrath, a whirling tempest; it shall whirl and burst upon the heads of the wicked. 20 The anger of the Lord shall not turn back until He has executed and accomplished the thoughts and intents of His mind and heart. In the latter days you shall consider and understand it perfectly. (see notes at the end of the discourse.) 21 I did not send these [false] prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in My council, then they would have caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them [My people] from their evil way and from the evil of their doings. 23 Am I a God at hand, says the Lord, and not a God afar off? 24 Can anyone hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? says the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? says the Lord. 25 I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in My name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed [visions on my bed at night]. 26 [How long shall this state of things continue?] How long yet shall it be in the minds of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even the prophets of the deceit of their own hearts, 27 Who think that they can cause My people to forget My name by their dreams which every man tells to his neighbor, just as their fathers forgot My name because of Baal? 28 The prophet who has a dream, let him tell his dream; but he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat [for nourishment]? says the Lord. 29 Is not My word like fire [that consumes all that cannot endure the test]? says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks in pieces the rock [of most stubborn resistance]? 30 Therefore behold, I am against the [false] prophets, says the Lord, [I am even now descending upon them with punishment, these prophets] who steal My words from one another [imitating the phrases of the true prophets]. 31 Behold, I am against the prophets, says the Lord, who use their [own deceitful] tongues and say, Thus says the Lord. 32 Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, says the Lord, and tell them and cause My people to err and go astray by their lies and by their vain boasting and recklessness—when I did not send them or command them; nor do they profit these people at all, says the Lord. 33 And when these people, or a prophet or a priest, ask you, What is the burden of the Lord [the thing to be lifted up now]? then you shall say to them, What burden [indeed]! [You are the burden!] And I will disburden Myself of you and I will cast you off, says the Lord. 34 And as for the prophet, the priest, or [any of these] the people, whoever [in mockery calls the word of the Lord a burden and] says, The burden of the Lord, I will even visit in wrath and punish that man and his house. 35 [For the future, in speaking of the utterances of the Lord] thus shall you say everyone to his neighbor and everyone to his brother: What has the Lord answered? or, What has the Lord spoken? 36 But the burden of the Lord you must mention no more, for every man’s burden is his own response and word [for as they mockingly call all prophecies burdens, whether good or bad, so will it prove to be to them; God will take them at their own word]; for you pervert the words [not of a lifeless idol, but] of the living God, the Lord of hosts, our God! 37 Thus shall you [reverently] say to the prophet: What has the Lord answered you? Or, What has the Lord spoken? 38 But if you say, The burden of the Lord, therefore thus says the Lord: Because you said these words, The burden of the Lord, when I sent to you, saying, You shall not say, The burden of the Lord, 39 Therefore behold, I, even I, will assuredly take you up and cast you away from My presence, you and the city [Jerusalem] which I gave to you and to your fathers. 40 And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you and a perpetual shame which will not be forgotten.
There is nothing new under the sun. The arena of the church is filled with the same issues as is in these passages of scripture. There are so many prophets and apostles in this era of time that it is sickening. Unlike the prophets and apostles of old, today’s prophets and apostles do not deal with the sins of the people. Blessings and honors are bestowed through spoken word upon people who sin against God and these utterances are accredited to the True and Living God. The prophets of our day do not want to hurt feelings, because they want the money and the accolades to keep rolling in. Is losing your souls worth the temporaries of this life? Many of our today’s prophets and apostles are hirelings. They are not good shepherds in that; they see the sicknesses and blemishes upon and within the flock and does nothing to address what is not acceptable to God. The things that people do not know or acknowledge as sin would utterly surprise you and I’m referencing the lack of knowledge of sin among professing believers. Many professing believers do not read their bibles for themselves. They feast from the mouths of the preachers, teachers, evangelists, ministers, deacons, and other ministry gifts. For this cause if preaching and teachings are not going forth about sin, many of the hearers are oblivious to what is sin because feasting from the preacher’s table doesn’t many times, include a meal on sin. God has not changed his mind in reference to unrighteousness, why have we? In times of old whenever a prophet entered a city, fear came upon the whole town. The people knew that the prophet was there to either pronounce judgment or deal with their sins from the word of the Lord and through actions instructed by the Lord to perform. The people were not in a hurry to get into the face or the presence of the prophet. Today if there is advertisement of a prophet coming to a city, the place is packed out on the day of his arrival because of itching ears. Many go with the hopes of the prophet calling them out and giving them some deep profound word from the Lord referencing blessings in their lives: a new home, a new car, a husband or a wife, a new job, an insurmountable flow of financial blessings, Many to most know that there will be no addressing sins in their lives, and they will be brought into great excitement and joy from the words of the prophet that he accredits to sayings of the Lord.
Verse 17 in the above passage says: They are continually saying to those who despise Me and the word of the Lord, The Lord has said: You shall have peace; and they say to everyone who walks after the stubbornness of his own mind and heart, No evil shall come upon you.
This erroneous way enables those who have no love for righteousness, no love for God, and no intentions of changing their ways; to stay in sin with great expectancy and hope as they look to be blessed from God even though their lifestyles and actions deny him. In verse 21 God says: “I did not send these [false] prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in My council, then they would have caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them [My people] from their evil way and from the evil of their doings.”
So what the Lord is saying here is; if these prophe-lying prophets had really sought both His word and His will they would have addressed the sins of the people and in so doing the prophets would have helped the people to turn from their evil and turn back to God.
There is one prophet out of the many prophets in the bible that I want to bring to the forefront. His name is Hananiah. With great boldness this prophet stood up in the house of God, in the presence of the priest and all the people in the house of God and began to prophesy or utter words that he said was coming from the Lord. Now keep in mind that God had already spoken that he was going to lead the people into 70 yrs of captivity under the human reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Listen to what the prophet Hananiah said the Lord was saying: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. 3 Within two years I will bring back to this place all the vessels of the Lord‘s house, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon. 4 I will also bring back to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the exiles from Judah who went to Babylon, declares the Lord, for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.”
Jeremiah had been commanded by God to make wooden yokes to wear around the neck as a symbol of bondage and servility. Leaders from the surrounding nations who were also under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar had met in Jerusalem and were plotting a revolt from Babylon. Jeremiah was used of God to advise these leaders to submit to the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and encourages them to admit that 70 years of captivity is God’s will for each of the represented nations. Along with the advice Jeremiah sent these leaders a wooden yoke to take back to their nations and give them to their King. Jeremiah wore the wooden yoke around his neck to drive home the point through symbolism; the captivity.
Mind you, the Hebrews , the tribe of Judah from which the earthly lineage of Jesus is traced to; were already in captivity. Jeremiah was not taken captive and there were quite a few people who were not taken. The word of God was fulfilled referencing the captivity and Nebuchadnezzar taking the vessels out of the house of God. It is evident during the up rise of the prophet Hananiah, priest, prophets and commoners had gathered in the house of the Lord. When Jeremiah announced the destruction of the temple, Hananiah basically rose and begin to prophe-ly differently. So in the house of God there is fighting going on. There is a spiritual battle going on. There is confrontation in the house of God. Knowing that Hananiah was lying, Jeremiah simply said, When the word of a prophet comes true, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet” (28:9).
After this was spoken by Jeremiah, Hananiah got physical and snatched the wooden yoke from around Jeremiah’s neck and broke it…..Really? He called himself dramatizing the breaking of the power of Babylon. The honest truth is Hananiah was rebelling against God and he would pay the consequence. After he broke the yoke he kept on lying. “Thus saith the Lord: Even so will I break the yoke bars of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all the nations within the space of two [full] years.
Jeremiah walked away. I can only imagine him shaking his head in bewilderment. Heaven knows I have been in his shoes. And I wore them just like him; in the house of God. Two or three Pastors became angry with me on different occasions because their prophesies were wrong and I would not receive what they prophesied. Personal prophesy my friends should confirm what God has already spoken to you. Personal prophesy should encourage and build faith in what the Lord has already spoken to you. As much as I hate using material things as an example, I will in this case, to bring a point. Let’s say the Lord has said to you that in the space of 6 months he is going to give you a promotion. You’ve not shared the word of the Lord with anyone. A few days later a pastor, teacher, prophet calls you to the front of the church and says to you, brother or sister do right, the lord has said to tell you that in two years you are going to get a promotion on your job and you are to just hold on and wait for it. Well…..you aren’t moved by what the leader has said the Lord has said. You thank him and go sit down. The leader becomes offended that you didn’t dance or run around the church or roll around on the floor because of the spoken word. The leader then from the pulpit began to talk about disbelief and rebellion. Really? Six months later you are promoted on your job. You share the news with the body of Christ and the leader says. “God moved early to increase your faith”. Really?
Jeremiah had walked away from Hananiah. After a time The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah:
3 Go, tell Hananiah, Thus says the Lord: You have broken yoke bars of wood, but you have made in their stead bars of iron. 14 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I have put upon the neck of all these nations the iron yoke of servitude of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and they shall serve him. For I have given him even the beasts of the field. 15 Then said the prophet Jeremiah to Hananiah the prophet, Listen now, Hananiah, The Lord has not sent you, but you have made this people trust in a lie. 16 Therefore thus says the Lord: Behold, I will cast you from the face of the earth. This year you will die, because you have uttered and taught rebellion against the Lord. 17 So Hananiah the prophet died [two months later], the same year, in the seventh month.
People, God’s word is very important to him. His word goes out and does not return to him void. His word accomplishes and prospers where he sends it. Isaiah 55:8-11 from the Amplified Bible Classic Edition says this:
8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain and snow come down from the heavens, and return not there again, but water the earth and make it bring forth and sprout, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
It is only by the grace of God that some of the today’s prophets are still walking around. There are so many people who have eaten from the tables of the prophets and are messed up. Some are in debt up to the yang because the prophet said. Some have turned away from God because what the prophet said did not come to pass and they paid him. Some people are in ineffective ministries because the prophet said. Some are in heart wrenching marriages because the prophet said. Is God not able to speak to you personally? Going through the old covenant and looking at the lives of the prophets, I don’t see where there was a great following of people. I don’t see where they were rounding up folk to follow them. The only prophet I have seen with a multitude following was Jesus and he held and holds the positions of Priest, Prophet and King.
One thought that I will leave with you from the NOTHING NEW topic is: Just as under the old covenant God did not accept sin and brought judgments as well as pronunciation of pending judgements for sin; know that it is coming around again. Scriptures have forewarned, Jesus forewarned, the Holy Spirit is forewarning, and world events are forewarning. Hear this that Jesus said:
When the Son of Man comes, it will be the same as what happened during Noah’s time. 38 In those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving their children to be married right up to the day Noah entered the boat. 39 They knew nothing about what was happening until the flood came and destroyed them all. “It will be the same when the Son of Man comes. Matthew 24:37-39 [Easy to Read Version]
notes: Jeremiah 23: 20b ” In the latter days you shall consider and understand it perfectly.”
This statement God quoted when telling his people not to listen to false prophets. God said these false prophets would teach you vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility) and fill you with vain hopes; they speak a vision of their own minds and not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They are continually saying to those who despise Me and the word of the Lord, The Lord has said: You shall have peace; and they say to everyone who walks after the stubbornness of his own mind and heart, No evil shall come upon you. God was saying that the false prophet has not stood before him, or sat in his presence to even hear or know what is on the mind and heart of God to say to his people. The false prophet hasn’t even paid attention to the word of God, 19 Behold, the tempest of the Lord has gone forth in wrath, a whirling tempest; it shall whirl and burst upon the heads of the wicked. 20 The anger of the Lord shall not turn back until He has executed and accomplished the thoughts and intents of His mind and heart. In the latter days you shall consider and understand it perfectly.
The latter day that God is speaking about here is the time of the tribulation period when the church has been taken away. The antichrist will arrive and arise yet there will also be a false prophet who will join forces with him. This false prophet was described in Rev. 13:11 as a beast coming up out of the earth having two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. In other words this beast in character would look like a lamb, gentle, harmless, appearing to be about good and doing good religiously but inwardly he is a dragon. He will manipulate and deceive people and cause them to worship Satan through the antichrist by taking the mark of the beast and bowing to the Statue of the antichrist to worship him as God. What this false prophet says will sound so right and true, so logical and the people will fall for it sealing their fate to an eternity in the lake of fire.
We will discuss more of the false prophet in further study of Revelation.
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