Jeremiah 27 & 28

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When William Tyndale translated the first English Bible from Greek and Hebrew in the early 1500s, he had to do it while on the run from the Catholic authorities. Before he was able to complete the Old Testament he was arrested and after a long imprisonment burned at the stake…

Even the priests and monks and nuns in the monasteries had personal Bibles only in exceedingly rare circumstances. They had breviaries and portions of Scripture selected for them by Rome for use in their repetitious devotions and masses, but typically they did not have their own Bibles and they did not pursue systematic Bible study. – David Cloud, Contemplative Mysticism: A Powerful Ecumenical Bond

The Roman Catholic Vatican has never been interested in anything other than bringing people back home to “Mother Rome.” And there is only one “apostle” in “Mother Rome,” and it’s the Pope.   Period.  There aren’t many “apostles”– there is one, and he’s the Roman Catholic Pope.  And his word, his revelations are superior to every other word or revelation—including the Word and the Revelation of Scripture.

The better part of two Chapters of Jeremiah to close out this week…

“‘Do not listen to your false prophets, fortune-tellers, interpreters of dreams, mediums, and sorcerers who say, “The king of Babylon will not conquer you.” 10 They are all liars, and their lies will lead to your being driven out of your land. I will drive you out and send you far away to die. 11 But the people of any nation that submits to the king of Babylon will be allowed to stay in their own country to farm the land as usual. I, the Lord, have spoken!’” (Jer 27:9-11 NLT).

Enchanters prophesied lies to the kings of these nations, as the false prophets prophesied lies to the kings and people of Judah. It was a real racket.  But had Israel submitted to the Word of God they would have continued to remain in their own land under the control of the king of Babylon.  They would not yield to the king Babylon—though they knew it was God’s Purpose, and so they suffered destruction.

Then I repeated this same message to King Zedekiah of Judah. “If you want to live, submit to the yoke of the king of Babylon and his people. 13 Why do you insist on dying—you and your people? Why should you choose war, famine, and disease, which the Lord will bring against every nation that refuses to submit to Babylon’s king? 14 Do not listen to the false prophets who keep telling you, ‘The king of Babylon will not conquer you.’ They are liars. 15 This is what the Lord says: ‘I have not sent these prophets! They are telling you lies in my name, so I will drive you from this land. You will all die—you and all these prophets, too’” (Jer 27:12-15 NLT).

Judah and all these surrounding nations had no excuse for their rebellion. The Word of the LORD came to them very clearly.  Whereas the sorcerers prophesied from the realm of demon spirits, these false prophets in Judah and Jerusalem were prophesying a lie in God’s Name.  They attempted to give authenticity to their lies by using the Name of the LORD—deepening their great iniquity.  In fact, they blasphemed by attempting to make God a part of their lying schemes.

Then I spoke to the priests and the people and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not listen to your prophets who claim that soon the gold articles taken from my Temple will be returned from Babylon. It is all a lie! 17 Do not listen to them. Surrender to the king of Babylon, and you will live. Why should this whole city be destroyed? 18 If they really are prophets and speak the Lord’s messages, let them pray to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Let them pray that the articles remaining in the Lord’s Temple and in the king’s palace and in the palaces of Jerusalem will not be carried away to Babylon!’ (Jer 27:16-18 NLT).

The false prophets were claiming that the vessels from the Temple which had been taken to Babylon in the first two excursions by Nebuchadnezzar would be brought back, while Jeremiah was saying that not only were the remaining vessels going to be taken to Babylon but the Temple and the city would also be totally destroyed.

“For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has spoken about the pillars in front of the Temple, the great bronze basin called the Sea, the water carts, and all the other ceremonial articles. 20 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon left them here when he exiled Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon, along with all the other nobles of Judah and Jerusalem. 21 Yes, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says about the precious things still in the Temple, in the palace of Judah’s king, and in Jerusalem: 22 ‘They will all be carried away to Babylon and will stay there until I send for them,’ says the Lord. ‘Then I will bring them back to Jerusalem again’ (Jer 27:19-22 NLT).

These vessels were very important simply because they were a part of the worship of God regarding the Temple at Jerusalem. They would be brought back only when the LORD said so, not when they false prophets said so.

One day in late summer of that same year—the fourth year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah—Hananiah son of Azzur, a prophet from Gibeon, addressed me publicly in the Temple while all the priests and people listened. He said, 2 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will remove the yoke of the king of Babylon from your necks. 3 Within two years I will bring back all the Temple treasures that King Nebuchadnezzar carried off to Babylon. 4 And I will bring back Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the other captives that were taken to Babylon. I will surely break the yoke that the king of Babylon has put on your necks. I, the Lord, have spoken!’” (Jer 28:1-4 NLT).

Zedekiah was listening to the false prophecies of Hananiah, who seemed to be a leader of those who opposed Jeremiah. He was probably a priest, and the language he used was very similar to the terminology used by Jeremiah.  However, he thoroughly contradicted Jeremiah.

Jeremiah responded to Hananiah as they stood in front of all the priests and people at the Temple. 6 He said, “Amen! May your prophecies come true! I hope the Lord does everything you say. I hope he does bring back from Babylon the treasures of this Temple and all the captives. 7 But listen now to the solemn words I speak to you in the presence of all these people. 8 The ancient prophets who preceded you and me spoke against many nations, always warning of war, disaster, and disease. 9 So a prophet who predicts peace must show he is right. Only when his predictions come true can we know that he is really from the Lord” (Jer 28:5-9 NLT).

Virtually all of Judah and Jerusalem were in unity—against the Prophet Jeremiah. He disturbed their unity by proclaiming the Word of God.  Jeremiah referred to the Prophets of old who prophesied as he, and who had also been opposed by false prophets foretelling peace.

But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in My Name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if you say in your heard, How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?  When a prophet speaks in the Name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken, but the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him (Deut 18:20-22 KJV).

Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke off Jeremiah’s neck and broke it in pieces. 11 And Hananiah said again to the crowd that had gathered, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Just as this yoke has been broken, within two years I will break the yoke of oppression from all the nations now subject to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.’” With that, Jeremiah left the Temple area (Jer 28:10-11 NLT).

As Jeremiah stands with a “yoke” of wood about his neck, symbolizing the Babylonian yoke that would remain and even intensify upon Judah, Hananiah, no doubt, ridicules the stupidity of such and holds up Jeremiah to derision. He then proceeds to take the “yoke” from off “Jeremiah’s neck” and then “breaks it.”

However much the people might have appreciated Hananiah—his words and behaviors—the LORd had not said anything to the man. So, Jeremiah leaves the Temple alone.  The people have made their choice—they want Hananiah’s message.

Soon after this confrontation with Hananiah, the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: 13 “Go and tell Hananiah, ‘This is what the Lord says: You have broken a wooden yoke, but you have replaced it with a yoke of iron. 14 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I have put a yoke of iron on the necks of all these nations, forcing them into slavery under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control’” (Jer 28:12-14 NLT).

By listening to the false prophecies of Hananiah, the people were making the yokes heavier and harder—“yokes of iron.” And so the Message now delivered by Jeremiah is harder.

Then Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, but the people believe your lies. 16 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘You must die. Your life will end this very year because you have rebelled against the Lord.’” 17 Two months later the prophet Hananiah died (Jer 28:15-17 NLT).

Hananiah had taught rebellion against the LORD, and he would die. He had preached deliverance within two years but he himself would be struck down within two months.  But even the situation with Hananiah did not bring people to the Light of Truth.

And to him they agreed and when they had called the Apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the Name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name.  And daily in the Temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ (Acts 5:40-42 KJV).