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Pentecost 6

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The Bible Guide Jeremiah Confronts a False Prophet (28:1–17)

A rival prophet called Hananiah confronts Jeremiah in public debate (28:1). He tells Jeremiah that God is going to break the yoke of Babylon, and return King Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) and the other exiles to Jerusalem (28:2–4).

Jeremiah welcomes Hananiah’s prophecy—if it is true. But the only way to know if a prophecy is true is to wait and see if it is fulfilled (28:5–9)! Hananiah is so angry at this sarcasm that he seizes the yoke from Jeremiah’s neck and breaks it (28:10). This, he says, is God’s sign that the yoke of Babylon will be broken within two years (28:11).

Later, Jeremiah visits Hananiah (28:12). He tells him that his prediction of a successful rebellion is not from God. Hananiah is guilty of preaching a lie (28:13–15). Jeremiah declares God’s judgment on Hananiah; within two months, the false prophet is dead (28:16–17).

Evangelical Commentary on the Bible E. Submit to Babylon’s Yoke! (27:1–28:17)

The year 594/3, in which there was plotting of a revolt, must be assigned to both chapters 27 and 28, if one takes “of that same year” (28:1) seriously. Hananiah, whose name means “the Lord is gracious,” hailed from Gibeon, a town five miles northwest of Jerusalem (28:1–11). He is repeatedly called “prophet” (vv. 1, 5, 10, 12, 15, 17). Both Jeremiah and Hananiah speak in the name of the Lord Almighty. Hananiah’s announcement, however, directly contradicts Jeremiah’s (27:16–22). While both predict the return of temple furnishings (27:22; 28:3), it is the time of their return that is at issue: two years (so Hananiah) or seventy years (so Jeremiah—25:12; 29:10). Hananiah also announces Jehoiachin’s return. The people now hear conflicting interpretations of the yoke sign act; the onus for a decision about the true prophet is on the people.

Jeremiah proposes two tests for the accuracy of a prophecy. Former prophets, given similar societal conditions, prophesied disaster. Examples would be Amos (2:4), Hosea (4:6), and Isaiah (3:13–15). The first test then is one of consistency with tradition. A second test has to do with the fulfillment of a prediction. Hananiah meets Jeremiah’s symbolic action with one of his own: he breaks the yoke. In so doing he endorses the proposed revolt against Nebuchadnezzar.

Holman Bible Handbook Exile and Restoration (26:1–35:19)

Jeremiah Confronts the False Prophets (27:1–29:32). Early in Zedekiah’s reign Jeremiah warned the people not to believe the false prophets’ messages of hope and peace. In accordance with the Lord’s instructions, Jeremiah made a yoke and placed it on his neck. He then sent messages to the kings of the surrounding nations, informing them that Nebuchadnezzar would subjugate their lands. They were not to believe their lying prophets and diviners who were advocating resistance and predicting deliverance. Resistance would only bring disaster and exile. They should submit to Nebuchadnezzar’s authority (symbolized by the yoke) so that they might remain in their lands. The message was the same for Zedekiah. He should reject the messages of hope delivered by the false prophets, who were even promising that the temple articles already carried away to Babylon would be returned. Zedekiah should submit to Nebuchadnezzar’s yoke in order to spare the city and the temple further suffering and humiliation.

In that same year Hananiah, one of the false prophets, confronted Jeremiah in the temple (28:1). He declared that within two years the Lord would deliver Judah from the Babylonians, restore the temple articles, and return Jehoiachin and the other exiles. After expressing his personal desire that Judah might experience such blessings, Jeremiah reminded Hananiah that historically the Lord’s prophets had been messengers of judgment. Prophets of peace could only be authenticated when their predictions came true. In response Hananiah removed the wooden yoke from Jeremiah’s neck, broke it, and once again declared that the Lord would deliver Judah and the surrounding nations from Nebuchadnezzar’s yoke. Not to be denied, Jeremiah announced that the Lord would place an unbreakable iron yoke upon Judah and the nations. He then announced that Hananiah would die before the year ended, a prophecy that was fulfilled two months later.

During Zedekiah’s reign Jeremiah sent a letter to those who had already been taken to Babylon (29:1). He encouraged them to settle down there, marry and have children, and pray for the prosperity of their new home. In seventy years the Lord would restore them to the promised land. They were not to believe the deceiving prophets among them who were giving them false hopes of a quick return. Even greater calamity was about to fall on sinful Judah, and those still living in the promised land would be driven among the nations.

Jeremiah 28:5–9 NIV
Then the prophet Jeremiah replied to the prophet Hananiah before the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord. He said, “Amen! May the Lord do so! May the Lord fulfill the words you have prophesied by bringing the articles of the Lord’s house and all the exiles back to this place from Babylon. Nevertheless, listen to what I have to say in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people: From early times the prophets who preceded you and me have prophesied war, disaster and plague against many countries and great kingdoms. But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true.”
Show sketch of the church which was made before it was built.
This sketch of our church has been on display in our fellowship hall for a number of years. It is a fairly good sketch of the church and those familiar with our building can easily recognize that it is of our church. We also have other sketches of our church as well as many photographs. They are all of the same building showing it at different times. But there is one difference between this sketch and all of the other sketches and photos. The latter all show the building at some time in the past. This sketch is a picture of what it would like in the future. It was drawn before the ground breaking of the church. It is a prediction of what would happen in the future.
Predictions of the future. We hear them on a daily basis.
Weather forecasts.
Who will win the game.
Who will be our next elected official.
Whoever leaked information about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting last year with a Russian Lawyer will be fired, according to Trump's Former Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski. As the White House reportedly scrambles to find the source, Lewandowski went on Fox & Friends Wednesday saying anyone who is not on the president's agenda should be removed immediately and that Trump himself will do the same. "I don't know who the leaker is but let me tell you this, if it were up to me, and somebody was speaking to the media and leaking information detrimental to Trump, I would fire them on the spot and Donald Trump will do the same," Lewandowski said.
As the White House reportedly scrambles to find the source, Lewandowski went on Fox & Friends Wednesday saying anyone who is not on the president's agenda should be removed immediately and that Trump himself will do the same.
"I don't know who the leaker is but let me tell you this, if it were up to me, and somebody was speaking to the media and leaking information detrimental to Trump, I would fire them on the spot and Donald Trump will do the same," Lewandowski said.
Results of meetings between world leaders.
What impact a country’s nuclear capabilities will have on world peace.
The effects of global warming.
In our personal lives we also deal with predictions about the future.
Short term examples
Daily or weekly plans.
Who we plan to talk to.
When we will get hungry or sleepy.
Long term examples
Marriage
Children
Employment
Retirement
Health issues
In our text we have a confrontation between two men who were predicting the future for the nation of Judah. In order to understand their predictions, we do well to familiarize ourselves with the political situation at the time.
Holman Bible Handbook Exile and Restoration (26:1–35:19)
Jeremiah Confronts the False Prophets (27:1–29:32). Early in Zedekiah’s reign Jeremiah warned the people not to believe the false prophets’ messages of hope and peace. In accordance with the Lord’s instructions, Jeremiah made a yoke and placed it on his neck. He then sent messages to the kings of the surrounding nations, informing them that Nebuchadnezzar would subjugate their lands. They were not to believe their lying prophets and diviners who were advocating resistance and predicting deliverance. Resistance would only bring disaster and exile. They should submit to Nebuchadnezzar’s authority (symbolized by the yoke) so that they might remain in their lands. The message was the same for Zedekiah. He should reject the messages of hope delivered by the false prophets, who were even promising that the temple articles already carried away to Babylon would be returned. Zedekiah should submit to Nebuchadnezzar’s yoke in order to spare the city and the temple further suffering and humiliation.
In that same year Hananiah, one of the false prophets, confronted Jeremiah in the temple (28:1). He declared that within two years the Lord would deliver Judah from the Babylonians, restore the temple articles, and return Jehoiachin and the other exiles. After expressing his personal desire that Judah might experience such blessings, Jeremiah reminded Hananiah that historically the Lord’s prophets had been messengers of judgment. Prophets of peace could only be authenticated when their predictions came true. In response Hananiah removed the wooden yoke from Jeremiah’s neck, broke it, and once again declared that the Lord would deliver Judah and the surrounding nations from Nebuchadnezzar’s yoke. Not to be denied, Jeremiah announced that the Lord would place an unbreakable iron yoke upon Judah and the nations. He then announced that Hananiah would die before the year ended, a prophecy that was fulfilled two months later.
During Zedekiah’s reign Jeremiah sent a letter to those who had already been taken to Babylon (29:1). He encouraged them to settle down there, marry and have children, and pray for the prosperity of their new home. In seventy years the Lord would restore them to the promised land. They were not to believe the deceiving prophets among them who were giving them false hopes of a quick return. Even greater calamity was about to fall on sinful Judah, and those still living in the promised land would be driven among the nations.
Hananiah gave an optimistic view of the future but it was not based on a message from one who knows the future. He was like a propagandist who pours out lies to further a political agenda. We want to be wary about what the media tells us because there have been times in even recent history when public proclamations were not always accurate.
Jeremiah gave an honest view of the future even though he himself wished it were not true. His view came directly from the Lord and he trusted that it was true. History shows that his predictions (not Hananiah’s) were correct.
Application: Our God has given us some predictions about the future too. In the grand scheme we have the prophecies about the Last Day. On a personal note we have these statements about what will happen to us.
We are all going to die (unless Jesus returns first)
Romans 5:12 NIV
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—
We must all appear before the Judgment seat of God.
We must all appear before the Judgment seat of God.
2 Corinthians 5:10 NIV
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
Those who believe in Jesus will enter eternal life. Those who reject him will perish.
Those who believe in Jesus will enter eternal life. Those who reject him will perish.
Now there are many Hananiah’s in the world today who predict wonderful things for everyone who dies regardless of how they lived, what they believed, or their relationship (if they even have one) with Jesus. “All dogs go to heaven.” It sounds good. But is it true? You will find out when you die because prophecies are only proven when the time for them to be fulfilled arrives.
There are also those who solemnly warn that certain people will be excluded from heaven just as Jeremiah predicted a dire future for Judah. His message (God’s message) was not acceptable nor is the proclamation of judgment on those who do not believe.
Who said the following harsh statements about the fate of those who reject Jesus? (Quote from Jesus).
John 3:18 NIV
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 5:29 NIV
and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.
2 Thessalonians 1:8–10 NIV
He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
Revelation 21:7–8 NIV
Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
This did not please Jesus and the apostles to say this. When he wept over Jerusalem we see how it caused him great anguish when people rejected him. But he did not change his message to make them happy or create a false sense of hope.
This did not please Jesus and the apostles to say this. When he wept over Jerusalem we see how it caused him great anguish when people rejected him. But he did not change his message to make them happy or create a false sense of hope.
Some day you and I will meet our ultimate future. On that day we will find out for sure whether the Hananiah’s in our lives were true or the Jeremiah’s. I prefer to listen to the warning of judgement and the promise of salvation given to me from the one who came to save us from our sins. It is important that we continue to trust in him AND to proclaim what he has said in the face of those who pour out lies.
This is not just in regard to what the Bible says about our eternal future. It is imperative that as we encounter our immediate future that we also seek the counsel and guidance of God’s word for it has the power to aid us as St. Paul teaches in (NIV)
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
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