JEREMIAH - CHAPTERS 28-29 - THE YOKE OF IRON and FALSE PROPHETS
JEREMIAH – CHAPTERS 28-29
Tuesday Morning Bible Study
June 29, 2021
Pastor Carolyn Sissom
THE YOKE OF IRON:
Jeremiah has warned Judah about the false prophets. One of them Hananiah, breaks the yoke the LORD required Jeremiah to wear as a sign to the kings of the nations. They were to come into servitude to Nebuchadnezzar. Hananiah broke the yoke with brazen impudence and haughty stubbornness. As a punishment, he died by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah in two months.
Jeremiah summarized the false prophet’s words into concise sentence structures. They prophesied this situation would be “short” lived and even the religious items taken would be returned in two years. Jeremiah said, “this is not so,” but “build houses, raise children, plant crops, pray for the peace of the cities of your captivity.”
Jer. 28: 1-4 (NKJV): Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, who was from Gibeon, spoke to me in the house of the LORD in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying, “Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel saying: I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two full years I will bring back to this place all the vessels of the LORD’s house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon. I will bring back to this place Jeconiah, the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah who went to Babylon,” says the LORD, “for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.”
Jeremiah pulled back and said sarcastically to Hananiah’s false prophecy, “Amen.” I wish this prophecy to come to pass, but it won’t.
Jer. 28: 7-11 (NKJV): Nevertheless, hear now this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people The prophets who have been before me and before you of old prophesied against many countries and great kingdoms---of war, disaster and pestilence. As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the LORD has truly sent. Then Hananiah the prophet took the y0ke off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck and broke it. Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people saying, Thus, says the LORD: Even so, I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years. The prophet Jeremiah went his way.
Those who make the loudest claims to speak for God may have the least right to do so. 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. All truth must be grounded in the Word of God.
God vindicates Jeremiah and his message. The word of the LORD came quickly:
28: 13-17: Go tell Hananiah, saying, Thus, says the LORD: You have broken the yokes of wood, but you have made in their place yokes of iron. For thus says the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel: I have put a yoke of iron on the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and they shall serve him. I have given him the beasts of the field also. Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, hear now, Hananiah, the LORD has not sent you, but you make the people trust in a lie. Therefore, thus says the Lord; Behold, I will cast you from off the face of the earth; this year you shall die, because you have taught rebellion against the Lord. So, Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the same month.
Iron is the true word of the Lord and His covenant which is unyielding, and which will not bend.
Jeremiah was publicly rebuked, so he publicly rebuked the false prophet. Then and there! He did not wait six months and hope for a better forum. He did not hesitate to defy the crowd. We can compare this with Paul’s conflict with Bar Jesus and Elijah and the prophets of Baal.
Hananiah promised prosperity without true repentance.
TWO CONFLICTING LETTERS:
Jeremiah writes a letter to the captives in Babylon:
He instructed them to be peaceful and obedient captives in the land of their captivity and then they would return in 70 years to their homeland. The Lord had good plans for those whose heart was right toward him. They were to pray for the “welfare” of Babylon. He promises His benevolent purpose for their future welfare, and assures them of a ready response when they return, not only to their land, but also to their God. Their finding of God is contingent upon their seeking Him with all of their heart; that is, when they have no heart left for anything else, and God takes priority over all other interests.
29:1-7: These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the remainder of the elders who were carried away captive---to the priests, the prophets, and all the people whom nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon. (This happened after Jeconiah the king, the queen mother, the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem.) The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah, the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah, king of Judah, sent to Babylon, to nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, saying. (Vs.4) Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon. Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters---that you may be
Increased there, and not diminished. Seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it, for in its peace, you will have peace.
Leonard Ravenhill: “The prophet comes to set up that which is upset. His work is to call into line those who are out of line! He is unpopular because he opposes the popular in morality and spirituality. In a day of faceless politicians and voiceless preachers, there is no more urgent national need than that we cry to God for a prophet! The function of the prophet, as Austin-Sparks once said, “has almost always been that of recovery.”
29:8-14: Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel. Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely to you in My name. I have not sent them, says the LORD. For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform my good word toward you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 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 all the nations, and from all the places, where I have driven you, says the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place where I caused you to be carried away captive.
It is noteworthy that the Priest Ezekiel was also deported in 397 B.C. and was called to the prophetic office in 592 B.C. He confirmed the word of Jeremiah to the exiles, and was a second witness to the truth! The words of the returning of God’s people occurs eleven more times in the rest of this book.
Leonard Ravenhill: “The prophet is God’s detective seeking for a lost treasure…He/she has no price tags. They are totally “other-worldly.” …They march to another drummer. They breathe the rarefied air of inspiration. They are seers who come to lead the blind. They live in the heights of God and come into the valley with a “thus says the LORD.” He/she shares some of the foreknowledge of God and so are aware of impending judgment”
The LORD now addresses the false prophets:
29: 15-20: Because you have said, “The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon, thus says the Lord concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, concerning all the people who dwell in this city, and concerning your brethren who have not gone out with you into captivity. Behold, I will send on them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence. I will make them like rotten figs that cannot be eaten. They are so bad. I will pursue them with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence. I will deliver them to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth---to be a curse, an astonishment, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, because they have not heeded My words, says the LORD, which I sent to them by My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; neither would you heed, says the LORD. Therefore, hear the word of the LORD, all you of the captivity, whom I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon.
Judah, don’t look to Zedekiah, he’s a dead man. The reference to the “rotten figs” refers to the sign given by Jeremiah. The LORD is verifying his former words by the true prophet. God identifies with His servants. If we honor Him publicly, He will honor us publicly.
29: 21: Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, who prophesy a lie to you in My name: behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and he shall slay them before your eyes.
It is the LORD who is killing a lot of people. He singles out two false prophets by name. It is not a light thing to lie or manipulate in the LORD’s name.
Leonard Ravenhill: “The prophet eats daily the bread of affliction while he ministers, but he feeds the Bread of Life to those who listen. He walks before men for days, but has walked before God for years.”
The false prophets kept up their fight against Jeremiah even in Babylon (29: 21-32). The people’s prophets and diviners were encouraging false hopes among the people by promise of an early deliverance from the captivity.
29:22-23: Because of them a curse shall be taken up by all the captivity of Judah who are in Babylon saying, the LORD make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire; because they have done disgraceful things in Israel, have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and have spoken lying words in My name, which I have not commanded them. Indeed, I know, and am a witness, say the LORD.
Because of them, a new curse was released. The LORD does not miss anything. He forgives our ignorance and mistakes once we repent; but when we willfully lie in His name or move out in his name without Him having spoken, it is serious business. Lord help us all.
Leonard Ravenhill: “A prophet carries the lamp of truth among heretics. He faces God before he faces men, but he is self-effacing. He hides with God in the secret place, but he has nothing to hide in the marketplace. He is naturally sensitive, but supernaturally spiritual. He has passion, purpose and pugnacity. He is ordained of God. Our national need at this hour is we need God-sent prophets!” (To confront civil and spiritual leaders).
LETTER FROM THE FALSE PROPHET:
29: 24-29: You shall also speak to Shemaiah, the Nehelamite, saying: Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: You have sent letters in your name to all the people who are at Jerusalem; to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying, “The LORD has made you priest instead of Jehoiada the priest, so that there should be officers in the house of the LORD over every man who is demented and considers himself a prophet, that you should put him in prison and in the stocks. Now therefore, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth who makes himself a prophet to you? For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, “This captivity is long; build houses, and dwell in them, and plant gardens and eat their fruit. Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the hearing of Jeremiah the prophet.
Shemaiah, one of the leading false prophets in Babylon, intended that Jeremiah be put “in stocks and in the collar.” But God regarded Shemaiah’s teaching as being rebellion against the LORD by his opposition to truth and influencing others to turn aside from the truth.
Because he “taught rebellion against the Lord”. His life was brought to an end. This is serious business for those who lead others in rebellion. When one is a leader of men or women, are they leading them in rebellion or in Godliness? Here and in 29:32b and 28:16: two prophets died the same year that Jeremiah prophesied to them.
This promise of restoration is to all of us in the New Covenant. Romans 8: 14-23: For as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God. for you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The spirit Itself bears witness with our Spirit, that we are the children of God. And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and join heirs with Christ; If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together…”
29: Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying: Send to all those in captivity, saying, thus says the LORD concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite: because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, and I have not sent him, and he has caused you to trust in a lie---therefore, thus say the LORD: Behold I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his family: he shall not have anyone to dwell among this people, nor shall he see the good that I will do for My people says the LORD, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD.
The judgment of Shemaiah is so severe that it affects his children.
Carolyn Sissom, Pastor
Eastgate Ministries Church
Scripture from NKJV; I entered into the labors of The Road to Captivity by Dr. C. R. Oliver and Principles of Present Truth by Kelly Varner. Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those who I entered into their labors.