False Teaching Lies and Rebels

Jeremiah 28 SCC 3/8/17



28:1 The following event took place in the same year as the preceding one, 594 or 593 B.C., in the fifth month. Another prophet, Hananiah ben Azzur from Gibeon in Benjamin (about 5 miles northwest of Jerusalem), spoke to Jeremiah in the temple courtyard, in the presence of the priests and the people who had assembled there. Ironically, the Gibeonites had deceived the Israelites in Joshua's day, and now a man from Gibeon would again try to deceive the Israelites.

28:2-3 Hananiah prophesied that God had broken Babylon's authority over Judah. Within two years the Lord would return to the temple the vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had already taken to Babylon. Jeremiah predicted that the captivity would last 70 years but Hananiah predicted it would last only two years.

28:4 He claimed [God said], the Lord would also return Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) and the people who went with him to Babylon as captives, Hananiah predicted, because God would break Babylon's yoke. This flatly contradicted Jeremiah's prophecy that Jeconiah would die in Babylon. Hananiah’s message directly contradicted Jeremiah’s prophecy.

NB: Now what we have here is a flat out lie. God had said no such thing and Hananiah knew that. But it did not matter. God could be named and then used to justify his own ends. And what was that? All the vessels of the Lord’s house…carried to Babylon…I am also going to bring back along with Jeconiah and all the exiles. To promote a fantasy everyone wanted to be true. That Babylon was really not a threat! The oppression will disappear so let’s rebel against them!

PT: Now all of this directly contradicted what God’s clearly revealed directive will had declared, that they submit to the Babylonian King Neb (28:11). So this false prophet declares the exact opposite of that and attaches Gods name to it. Here we learn a characteristic of a false prophet or teacher is that they deceive others to achieve their own selfish ends. They use people rather than serve people. But they also compete with God about what is true. They liars and they lie!


Verse 5-11 Both prophets had made conflicting claims, each one attributing his message to God. Jeremiah wanted to make a public announcement about this before the people v 5. Jeremiah wanted Hananiah’s prophecy to be true. Jeremiah responded to Hananiah sincerely but ironically v 6. Would that the Lord would do just as Hananiah had predicted.   Amen. May the Lord do so; may the Lord confirm your words which you have prophesied... Yet Hananiah’s prophecy was false v 7. What Jeremiah wished could happen, would not. The ultimate test for prophets was whether their prophecies were fulfilled v 8. ...when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then that prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent (Deuteronomy 18:20-22). Jeremiah's meaning was that the usual message of the earlier prophets was one of doom, and that when he spoke of judgment he was more in the line of the predecessors than Hananiah, who spoke only of peace and prosperity. Those earlier prophets included Joel, Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, and possibly Obadiah.

Time would tell, he said, whether Hananiah's prophecies of peace, or Jeremiah's prophecies of war, were truly from God v 9. As if to convince the people he was right, Hananiah went up to Jeremiah and took the yoke from around his neck (which God had told him to put on 27:1-2) and broke it v 10. Hananiah proceeded to deliver a symbolic act of his own by vandalizing Jeremiah's sign. He dramatically smashed the yoke that Jeremiah had been wearing on his neck. Then he stated again that in two years God would break the yoke of the Babylonians from the neck of all the nations v 11. Rather than opposing this open insult from Hananiah, the prophet Jeremiah went his way.

NB: So understand that there will be competing voices claiming they are from God or they have the real meaning of the Bible or they have some new knowledge you must hear or they need to be followed and heard. Some false teachers are ignorant and need to be grounded. Many are deliberate and need to be exposed.



Verse 12-14 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah after Hananiah...had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah v 12. God’s message used Hananiah’s actions to show the harshness of the coming judgment. Go and speak to Hananiah, saying, Thus says the Lord, ‘You have broken the yokes of wood but God would replace it with a yoke of iron that could not be broken v 13. He had only made Nebuchadnezzar's oppression more certain. Failure to repent had resulted in more certain judgment.

. . . we only add to our chastening when we resist it, exchanging wood for iron. This iron yoke, figuratively speaking, will be on the neck of all these nations (that had gathered in Jerusalem to possibly plot a rebellion against Babylon 27:3). They shall serve him (Nebuchadnezzer) v 14. The Babylonian king would even control the wild animals; his supremacy would be total. Nothing the people could do would divert this judgment.


Verse 15-17 Now Jeremiah attacked Hananiah’s credentials as a prophet: The Lord has not sent you. You have made this people trust in a lie v 15.

PT: So false teaching needs to be exposed. We should never just let it hang around. Of course, attacking and exposing it is done by expounding the truth which is reality, the way things actually are. No time to beat around the bush.  


Therefore, thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. This year you are going to die because you have counseled rebellion against the Lord v 16. It is already the fifth month (28:1), so within the next seven months, Hananiah would die because he had encouraged the people to rebel against the Lord's Word. The penalty that false prophets were to suffer under the Mosaic Covenant: was death. This was why Jeremiah took special care to state the exact month in verse 1. God fulfilled His word.

So Hananiah the prophet died in the same year in the seventh month v 17. God showed that Jeremiah was His true prophet (his near prophecy happened exactly) and judged the false prophet, Hananiah. Sure enough, about two months later Hananiah died. The prophet who predicted deliverance in two years died in two months. God graciously gave him two months to repent before He put him to death. His death was another object lesson to the people on the importance of obeying God's Word.

NB: It is a serious thing indeed to use the name of God to say that secondary solutions can cure our problems when the real problem is that people have turned away from God and the truth that He has revealed in verbalized, propositional form concerning Himself.


So What?

·      False teachers or prophets should never be tolerated. They are a poison full of deception as they lead people astray by lying to them.

·      The difference between a false teacher and a true prophet of God is the one promotes error by blending it with truth. The other magnifies truth and by that exposes error.

·      False teaching is counseling rebellion against God. God said that was worthy of death. This is the only thing God can do with rebellion. There is no negotiating.

·      False teachers are in it for themselves. They make pronouncements and plan things and teach things for their own chief ends. Usually this is unnoticed until it is too late and one’s allleginace has already been acquired.


Think about it…

1. Beef up your knowledge of the Word of God or you will become a victim of false teaching.

2. Develop your comprehensive knowledge of Gods Word. You may know about something about scripture or about god but how comprehensively do you know that? Here is the path to mere knowledge to comprehensive understanding—the path to maturity.

3. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, as a workman who does not need to be ashamed accurately handling the Word of truth. (2 Tim 2:15)