THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
False Prophets Will Lead You Astray
WHILE FALSE TEACHERS DECEIVE, GOD DECLARES TRUTH OF HIS SONS RETURN
23:1-3 Jeremiah summarized the unrighteous kings as shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture! v 1. He says they have driven them away from God v 2. Therefore, God is going to drive them away. I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds. But if God removes them, who will tend His sheep and re-gather them? Then I Myself shall gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries...and shall bring them back to their pasture. ...I shall raise up shepherds over them v 3 who will care for the people the way God intended.
23:4-6 The branch of David through Jehoiachin had been cut off. But “behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch v 4-5, that is, another member of the Davidic line. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of this prediction. As King, He will act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land (in contrast with God’s condemnation of Jehoiachin in 22:25). Although Jesus offered Himself as Israel’s Messiah at His First Coming, the final fulfillment of this prophecy awaits His Second Coming, immediately before His millennial reign. Then the two nations of Judah and Israel will be reunited as a single nation and will dwell securely v 6. And this is His name by which He will be called, “The Lord our righteousness”. This King will live up to His name as Israel’s righteous God. This future restoration will be so dramatic that the people will no longer look back to God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt.
23:7-8 They will no longer say, “As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,” v 7 but, “As the Lord lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them v 8. This return from the north (Europe and Russia) began in 1948, when Israel became an independent country once again. Jews have returned from all twelve tribes. Then they will live on their own soil. They have begun to return to their own soil but they do not have peace. Peace and security will come with the reign of the Messiah/King in the future Millennial Kingdom.
Application: There is a future for the united twelve tribes of Israel, “living on their own soil” (the land of Israel) with Jesus, “the Lord our righteousness” as their Messiah/King!!
FALSE TEACHERS ARE FALSE BECAUSE THEY PURPOSELY DECEIVE ABOUT TRUTH
False teachers are treacherous 9-15
23:9-12 Jeremiah’s heart is broken within me and his body felt weak v 9. Why? Because of His holy words. The land is full of spiritual adultery (rejecting God and worshipping idols). God sent a drought. But they continued in evil v 10. Both prophet and priest are polluted [profane, disrespect for God]; even in My house [the Temple] I have found their wickedness,” declares the Lord [“they have set their detestable things in the house which is called by My name, to defile it,” 7:30]. Therefore...I shall bring calamity upon them v 11-12.
Application: We are God’s house (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). What detestable things are we bringing into it to defile it? What pollution, and deception are you inviting into your life? Gods offended.
23:13-15 Among the [false] prophets of Samaria [capital of Israel] I saw an offensive thing. They prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray [from God’s Word] v 13. And what happened to the Northern Kingdom? God destroyed it in 722. Now among the [false] prophets of Jerusalem [capitol of Judah] I have seen a horrible thing: v 14. The committing of [spiritual] adultery [worshipping idols] Walking in falsehood they strengthen the hands of evildoer’s. Result? No one has turned back from his wickedness (repented). Therefore, they became to God like Sodom and Gomorrah. And what
happened to Sodom and Gomorrah? God destroyed them (Genesis 19:29). Therefore, thus says the Lord...concerning the prophets: I am going to feed them wormwood [bitterness] Make them drink poisonous water v 15. Their false words will turn on them as Babylon arrives. Because from the prophet’s pollution has gone forth into all the land.
Application: A false message pollutes the spiritual lives of people. Error is mixed with truth making the concoction lethal. Anyone listening to it is set up for death, destruction and judgment. Today, the body of Christ is not served well by all the pollution of false teaching in the church.
False teachers declare their opinion as God’s Word 16-40
23:16-23 Thus says the Lord...do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility [senselessness, uselessness, pointlessness] v 16. They speak a vision of their own imagination [the deception of their own minds 14:14] Not from the mouth of the Lord [prophesying falsehood in My name]. They keep saying to those who despise Me [who don’t live in obedience to God’s Law] The Lord has said, “You will have peace” For everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, they say...Calamity will not come upon you [i.e., there are no consequences for not obeying God] v 17. But they have not stood in the council of the Lord to see...hear...given heed to His word v 18. They don’t even know Gods Word. His Word is that His judgment is coming, even a whirling tempest; it will swirl down on the head of the wicked. And the anger of the Lord will not turn back until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart v 19. That’s the Word of God. The ppl are unprepared. In the last days you will clearly understand it, when God has finished His judgment v 20. God’s judgment of the Jews will end with the Second Coming of Christ. I did not send these prophets but they ran. I did not speak to them but they prophesied v 21. How can we tell if they are from God or not, if they are speaking in His name? If they had stood in My council, then they would have announced My words [been consistent with God’s words, the Mosaic Law, the Scriptures] to My people v 22. God’s message is for God’s people, who believe in Him. And would have turned them back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds. If these prophets were truly from God, they would have turned the people away from the idols. Instead they strengthen the hands of evildoers and no one has turned back from his wickedness v 14. They do not know Gods Word and only teach their opinion. There is no truth in their words.
Application: Today a true teacher teaches the Bible is the sufficient authoritative Word of God. Their message is for true believers in God, and the purpose is to turn them away from evil and toward God, near to Him v 23, that they be conformed to the image of His Son Romans 8:28.
23:24 “Can a man hide himself...so I do not see him?” declares the Lord. “I have heard...” v 24. A person cannot hide from God. God is listening to what they say. He is not some localized idol piece of carved wood that can’t hear or speak. God in His omniscience fills the heavens and the earth...I have heard. God sees what we do and he He hears what we say. Everything about us is an open book.
Application: Why are secret sins so attractive to us? We think somehow we won’t be accountable. We tend to believe that because others don’t see us, God doesn’t see us. Satan encourages secret sins. Jesus said that the devil does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him Jn 8:44. Not only does Satan want you to sin against God, but when you do it in secret, you are lying about your sin. You are doubling your sin.
23:25-32 The prophets claimed that God had given them revelation in “a dream, a dream” but their visions were only the deception of their own heart v 25-26. These dreams were intend[ed] to make My people forget My name, just as their fathers forgot My name because of Baal v 27. Their dreams were as worthless for meeting spiritual needs as straw was for meeting physical hunger v 28. Their words had no force, while God’s Word is as penetrating as fire and as effective as a hammer which shatters rock v 29. Nothing can prevent God’s Word from being fulfilled. Because God had not spoken to these false prophets, they would steal My words from each other v 30 and declare, “The Lord declares” v 31. God is against those who prophesied false dreams v 32 because they have led My people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting. God says, “I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest benefit.” False prophets use religion and Bible to further agendas not truth!
23:33-40 When the people, prophet, or priest asks, “What is the oracle of the Lord?” v 33. An “oracle” is literally “burden” that someone had to carry, and the “burden of the Lord” is the message laid on his heart by God (Isaiah 13:1; 14:28; Nahum 1:1). When Jeremiah thought he would no longer say God’s Word, then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire...I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it (20:9). The oracle Jeremiah (and most of the prophets of God) had was of judgment, the Lord declares, “I shall abandon you.” But these false prophets have ignored God’s oracle v 34-35 because every man’s own word will become the oracle and you have perverted the words of the living God v 36. So they either completely ignore what God said and preach something they’ve made up in the deception of their own minds or they pervert God’s Word. Nothing left now but judgment by the oracle of the Lord. The result is that God will cast these false prophets away from His presence, along with the city (Jerusalem). They have unending reproach, unending humiliation for their wicked words v 37-40.
First, we must to take responsibility for the teaching we receive, the teachers we listen to, and the leaders we choose to follow. You will be accountable for what you believe to be true. The people in Judah faced the consequences of their own deception.
Second, false teachers and teaching uses the spirit of the age and mix in the Bible to convince you that what they are saying is true. Tolerance becomes a virtue today. They ignore what’s going on and create an alternate reality for you to believe just as they were doing in Judah.
Third, false teachers claim to be from God when they have their own agendas. Those agendas steer you away from God and toward them as they pervert Gods truth. Don’t follow.