Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hananiah’s False Prophecy

Jeremiah 28:1-17

“And it came to pass the same year, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, and in the fifth month, that Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, which was of Gibeon, spake unto me in the house of the LORD, in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. 

Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the vessels of the LORD'S house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon: And I will bring again to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah, that went into Babylon, saith the LORD: for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon. ” (Jeremiah 28:1-4)

Four years after Judah was invaded by the Babylonians, just after  Jeremiah had made the yoke described in chapter 27 and Zedekiah had assumed the throne,  in the fifth month of the year, Hananiah, one of the prophets, approached Jeremiah in the Temple.  He proclaimed before the people and the priests that God had said that he had set them free from Babylon’s power.   He stated that within two years, all the things that had been taken from the Temple would be returned, and that Jehoiachim would return and take his place as the rightful king of Judah.  All the captives would be returned as well because god was going to break the power of Babylon. 

“Then the prophet Jeremiah said unto the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests, and in the presence of all the people that stood in the house of the LORD, Even the prophet Jeremiah said, Amen: the LORD do so: the LORD perform thy words which thou hast prophesied, to bring again the vessels of the LORD'S house, and all that is carried away captive, from Babylon into this place.

Nevertheless hear thou now this word that I speak in thine ears, and in the ears of all the people; The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophesied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence.  The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him.” (Jeremiah 28:5-9)

Upon hearing Hananiah’s prophecy, Jeremiah said he hoped it turned out to be true, and that everything would be returned as he said.  Unfortunately, in most cases in the past the prophets had warned about bad things such as pestilences or wars.  When a prophet prophesied about something good, they should hold him to the same standard as a prophet who prophesied about something bad , as described in Deuteronomy 18:20-22.  “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 thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?  When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” 

When a prophet claimed to be speaking for God, if the prophecy didn’t happen it proved the prophet was not from God and they were to execute him.  Wonderful as Hananiah’s prophecy sounded, they should check it out before believing it. 

“Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah's neck, and brake it.  And Hananiah spake in the presence of all the people, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years. And the prophet Jeremiah went his way.” (Jeremiah 28:10-11)

Hananiah took the yoke off Jeremiah’s neck and broke it, stating that God had said he would snap the power of Babylon in the same way, and that within two year’s time, all the nations would be free.  Jeremiah just walked away.    

“Then the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the prophet, after that Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron.  For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the beasts of the field also.” (Jeremiah 28:12-14)

God directed Jeremiah to tell Hananiah that while he had broken a wooden yoke, by his prophecy and encouraging the Jews to continue to rebel, he was forging an unbreakable yoke of iron for them like the yoke all the other nations had.  God had given Nebuchadnezzar his authority and they were not going to be released from it.    

“Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie.  Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the LORD.  So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.” (Jeremiah 28:15-17)

God had not sent Hananiah, and he was lying about what God had said.   By causing the people to believe a lie, that God would overlook their sin, he was encouraging them to rebel against God.  He would die that same year for having taught the people to disobey God.   Just two months later, Hananiah died, proving again that Jeremiah was a prophet of God and Hananiah was not.  

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