Jeremiah 23

Tuesday, November 28, 2016


We watch as the Lord continues to overturn the spirit of antichrist in our national leadership as well as internationally.  In The Day of the Lord, his overturning will also include the religious community with the judgment of the spirit of the false prophet.


The unresolved spiritual issues in our nation will continue to foster abnormal behavior.  Strong civil leadership will be useless without Godly spiritual repentance and renewal. 


Jeremiah 3: 2-3 defines why the Holy Spirit is being withheld and the harvest delayed:  Lift up your eyes to the desolate heights and ssee where have you no lain with men?  By the road you have sat for them like an Arabian in the wilderness; and you have polluted the land with your harlotries and your wickedness.  Therefore the showers (Holy Spirit) have been withheld, and there has been no latter rain (the Harvest).  You have a harlot’s forehead.  You refuse to be ashamed.”


The ministries of the church have not stood against the spirit of harlotry which has overtaken the generations of our nation.  Instead of confronting this spirit, they have conformed to it with no shame.


Rev. 16: 13:  “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon; and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.”


Frogs: Lying spirits

Dragon: Satan

Beast: World system in opposition to God – spirit of the antichrist.

False prophet:  Religious doctrines of men and devils.


“These demonic powers are an incursion of perversion of the minds of those in authority by demonic powers, operating on a world-wide scale to engulf humanity in ultimate catastrophe.  These demonic powers are here pictured as the three evil spirits…like frogs from the mouths of the unholy trinity.  The judgment is identified with the second plague of Egypt.” (Paraphrased from F.F. Bruce Bible Commentary)


Jeremiah 22 is the Lord’s judgment of the Kings of Israel as spoken by the prophet Jeremiah.  First the civil authority is judged then the spiritual. 


Jeremiah 22:29: “O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD!”


True prophetic words given by God are never lost and remain on deposit in the earth until their day arrives.


In Jeremiah 23 and 28, the prophet speaks judgment on the religious leaders.  His judgment is based on a right conception both of God’s holiness and the false prophets’ failure.


  The false prophet is explained as a corruption of life with its consequent anarchy affecting the law and the land.

Verses 16-40 are a crucial passage for understanding the nature of true and false prophecy.  Outwardly little distinguishes them.  But the false prophet (1) bends his message to what the people want to hear and makes no moral demands; with unfounded optimism, he promises peace to those who despise God’s Word.  He/she promises deliverance from divine wrath to those who insist on their own path and resist His revelation. 


Their reluctance to speak truth, their reticence in speaking to authorities as well as the public makes them more responsible than the Kings. 


Jeremiah was sent to expose the causes for national captivity.  Increases in crime, debauchery and moral degradation are not casual; they are symptoms of a deep spiritual decline.


The false shepherds were the civil authorities, particularly the Kings of the house of David who were primarily responsible for the state of the nation because of their failure to heed the Word of the Lord.


Jeremiah 23: 9-10: “My heart within me is broken, because of the prophets.  All my bones shake.  I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the LORD, and because of His holy words.  For the land is full of adulterers; for because of a curse the land mourns.  The pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up.  Their course of life is evil, and their might is not right.”


Where are the contrite hearts and the broken spirits?  The land is full of adulterers and no one weeps.  The land mourns and the high places continue to die of dehydration (no spiritual water) for the “course of life is evil” and the land and the high places have no hope without that awesome word, “REPENT!”


There were two groups of prophets: (Jeremiah 23: 12-15)

  1. The prophets to Israel’s ten tribes (to the north) that prophesied by Baal, not the Lord, and caused the people to be led astray.
  2. The prophets in Judah, who were corrupt and gave excuse to the wicked.


For I will bring disaster on them, the year of their punishment, says the LORD.  And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria, they prophesied by Baal and caused My people Israel to err.  Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem:  They commit adultery and walk in lies; they also strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns back from his wickedness.  All of them are like Sodom to Me, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah.  For from the prophets of Jerusalem profaneness has gone out into all the land.”


Profaneness abounds in our nation.  Pastors and prophets do not make a stand against profaning the name of God and give in to the temptation to partake of the profaneness in our media.


Why are the pulpits silent on almost every issue of personal and national concupiscence? Political correctness is now the model.  Pastors will not permit preaching that confronts the sins of the people for fear of offending someone in the congregation.  Peace at all costs!  Keep the numbers and nickels in the coffers.


Jeremiah 23: 16-17: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you.  They make you worthless:  They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the LORD.  They continually say unto they that despise me, The Lord has said, you shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walks after the imagination of his own heart, no evil shall come upon you.”


 These prophets have no first-hand commission from the LORD or experience of that commission.  Their lives do not produce the fruit of repentance and sanctification which match the message and the source of his inspiration was their self and not God. 


If this is an on time Word, then we will begin to see the LORD overturn and bring in to order the prophets just as he did the evangelists in the 1980’s.  We have been watching as he overturned the media, Republican Party and Democratic Party this year.


Present company excluded, congregations today will not tolerate a sermon the likes of which were preached 50 or 100 years ago.  The clergy has fostered a people that now consume them.  Laodicean platitudes set on sentimental placemats are all one may expect from even the “strongest” pulpiteers.


The burning issue with God is about hearing Him and obeying his direction.


True prophets will confront ungodly speech and actions as sin.  However, if they have the same sin in their life, they do not carry the authority or conviction to confront sin.


Jeremiah confronts the prophets and pastors that there is a corruption of the word and message; when compared with the Lord’s word.  This leads to inevitable judgment (16-22) for claiming falsely to be the hearer of God’s word. (23-40)


23: 18-20: “For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD, and has perceived and hears His word?  Who has marked His word and heard it?  Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD has gone forth in fury---a violent whirlwind!  It will fall violently on the head of the wicked.  The anger of the LORD will not turn back, until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart.  In the latter days, you will understand it perfectly.”


As all of us have done the best we could to usher in the restoration of the prophetic to the world, many of us have made well intentioned mistakes.  I don’t know any prophets out there who have totally perfected their gifts and callings.  We all see through a glass darkly.  The measuring stick is upholding the Holiness of the Lord, in agreement with the Word of God, being commissioned by the Lord and sitting in His counsel.


The intercessor will cry out from the earth to the Lord.  The prophet sits in the counsel of the Lord and says, “Thus saith the Lord.”  (18) “For who has stood in the counsel of the Lord, and has perceived and heard his word? Who has marked his word and heard it?


When there is a corruption of the word and message; when compared with the Lord’s word this leads to inevitable judgment for claiming falsely to be the bearer of God’s word.


(v.26)  How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? Yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbor, their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.  The prophet that has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that has my word, let him speak my word faithfully.  What is the chaff to the wheat? Says the Lord.


The Lord is not condemning dreams as one of the ways He communicates with prophets.  He is condemning the heart of deception, manipulation and control. 

Self-originated ideas are condemned.  The false prophet is absent from God’s council.  1 Kings 22:19 describes this consultative assembly:


Such prophets can be tested by results.  Lies make men forget God’s name (27) (character and fame).  Such men/women are un-commissioned and must not be listened to.  They are godless.


These false prophets ran without being sent.

Spoke without having heard.

Prophesied by deceit.

Claimed divine authority

Prophesied words that were of no profit at all.

These false prophets could have spoken in the Name of the Lord if they had given themselves unto God. 


God is Omnipresent and heard whatever these prophets spoke in His Name without His authorization; therefore, they were unable to escape personal responsibility and divine retribution. 


Jeremiah’s complaint is endorsed by God who speaks to Jeremiah and all the people.  The self-righteous prophets of Judah condemned Israel’s prophets for their pagan Baal orgies which had been punished.  These prophets appeared to be unaware that even in Jerusalem’s temple (1) pagan rites were practiced.  Idolatry (adultery 14) was condoned and illegal practices followed that rendered them already judged and prepared for the forthcoming sudden destruction such as had fallen on Sodom and Gomorrah.


By contrast the true prophet is described: Here are four distinguishable marks of the Word that comes from God:

  1. He learns direct from God’s intimate council.
  2. His message is faithfully delivered.
  3. He doesn’t avoid the truth of the wrath of God.
  4. God’s word is always effective, being nourishing like wheat, purifying like the fire and powerful like a heavy sledge hammer.


The omnipotent and omnipresent God (23-24) heeds the misuse and misrepresentation of His name and makes a threefold declaration with reasons why he is against the false prophets. (30-32)This rests on the double meaning of oracle (Massa) which is both a solemn utterance and a literal burden, something lifted up, carried.  The special solemn utterance is reserved for the men to whom God trusts his message.  Otherwise it will make nonsense of the words of the living God.  The misuse of the term oracle has lowered its value.


Verses 3-6 are the contrast between the True Shepherd who will gather and tend God’s sheep.  The calamities of the people (9-20) are attributed to the false prophets who led the people astray by their bad example and false messages of hope when judgment was pending.


“Nations suffer greatly when leaders refuse to heed God.”


In chapter 28, Jeremiah has warned about the false prophets.  One of them Hananiah, broke the yoke of Jeremiah with brazen impudence and haughty stubbornness. (28:10) as a punishment, he died by the Word of the Lord through Jeremiah in two months!


Jeremiah said “Amen” sarcastically to Hananiah’s false prophecy because he would have been glad if Hananiah’s prediction of an early end of the captivity were to come to pass.  Hananiah utters a pleasing prophecy by promising a speedy deliverance from Babylon.  He speaks with great positiveness, boldly claiming the authority of God.  Under contradiction, he can only defend himself by reaffirmation with loud words and passionate actions.  We learn from this:


  1. Those who make the loudest claims to speak for God may have the least right to do so.
  2. The truth of a statement must be measured, not by the vehemence with which it is uttered, but by the strength of the ground on which it rests.
  3. Insolence and abuse may be used as a last defense for indefensible statements as well as incontrovertible facts.


God vindicates Jeremiah and his message.


28: 12-17:  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  Then shall you call upon me, and you shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.  And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.  And I will be found of you, says the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from among all the nations and from the places where I have driven you, says the Lord.


The true prophet may find himself in a minority of one (but with God on his side) (1 Kg. 22)


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

Scripture from K.J.V. and N.K.J.V.

I do not have a record of whose labors I entered into for this message.  I used excerpts from a sermon I preached out of Jeremiah 23 in 11/11/2008.  I do not have an appendix for any quotes.  May the Lord receive the Glory!

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