Just as there were good kings and bad kings, there were good prophets and bad prophets. Likewise, today, just as there are good leaders and bad leaders, there are good bible teachers and bad teachers and preachers who don’t teach the true Word of God. Here, God has messages for the bad kings of Judah. Yet, He promises that Messiah will come from King David’s lineage. Even through bad kings? Then, He has a judgment for the false prophets who led the people away from Him. How can you tell a false teacher from one who teaches the truth? Let’s dig in…
Jeremiah 22 – A Message for Judah’s Kings
This is what the Lord said to me: “Go over and speak directly to the king of Judah. Say to him, 2 ‘Listen to this message from the Lord, you king of Judah, sitting on David’s throne. Let your attendants and your people listen, too. 3 This is what the Lord says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors. Quit your evil deeds! Do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows. Stop murdering the innocent! 4 If you obey me, there will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. The king will ride through the palace gates in chariots and on horses, with his parade of attendants and subjects. 5 But if you refuse to pay attention to this warning, I swear by my own name, says the Lord, that this palace will become a pile of rubble.’”
A Message about the Palace
6 Now this is what the Lord says concerning Judah’s royal palace:
“I love you as much as fruitful Gilead
and the green forests of Lebanon.
But I will turn you into a desert,
with no one living within your walls.
7 I will call for wreckers,
who will bring out their tools to dismantle you.
They will tear out all your fine cedar beams
and throw them on the fire.
8 “People from many nations will pass by the ruins of this city and say to one another, ‘Why did the Lord destroy such a great city?’ 9 And the answer will be, ‘Because they violated their covenant with the Lord their God by worshiping other gods.’”
A Message about Jehoahaz
10 Do not weep for the dead king or mourn his loss.
Instead, weep for the captive king being led away!
For he will never return to see his native land again.
11 For this is what the Lord says about Jehoahaz, who succeeded his father, King Josiah, and was taken away as a captive: “He will never return. 12 He will die in a distant land and will never again see his own country.”
A Message about Jehoiakim
13 And the Lord says, “What sorrow awaits Jehoiakim,
who builds his palace with forced labor.
He builds injustice into its walls,
for he makes his neighbors work for nothing.
He does not pay them for their labor.
14 He says, ‘I will build a magnificent palace
with huge rooms and many windows.
I will panel it throughout with fragrant cedar
and paint it a lovely red.’
15 But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king!
Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink.
But he was just and right in all his dealings.
That is why God blessed him.
16 He gave justice and help to the poor and needy,
and everything went well for him.
Isn’t that what it means to know me?”
says the Lord.
17 “But you! You have eyes only for greed and dishonesty!
You murder the innocent,
oppress the poor, and reign ruthlessly.”
18 Therefore, this is what the Lord says about Jehoiakim, son of King Josiah:
“The people will not mourn for him, crying to one another,
‘Alas, my brother! Alas, my sister!’
His subjects will not mourn for him, crying,
‘Alas, our master is dead! Alas, his splendor is gone!’
19 He will be buried like a dead donkey—
dragged out of Jerusalem and dumped outside the gates!
20 Weep for your allies in Lebanon.
Shout for them in Bashan.
Search for them in the regions east of the river.
See, they are all destroyed.
Not one is left to help you.
21 I warned you when you were prosperous,
but you replied, ‘Don’t bother me.’
You have been that way since childhood—
you simply will not obey me!
22 And now the wind will blow away your allies.
All your friends will be taken away as captives.
Surely then you will see your wickedness and be ashamed.
23 It may be nice to live in a beautiful palace
paneled with wood from the cedars of Lebanon,
but soon you will groan with pangs of anguish—
anguish like that of a woman in labor.
A Message for Jehoiachin
24 “As surely as I live,” says the Lord, “I will abandon you, Jehoiachin (Coniah) son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah. Even if you were the signet ring on my right hand, I would pull you off. 25 I will hand you over to those who seek to kill you, those you so desperately fear—to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the mighty Babylonian army. 26 I will expel you and your mother from this land, and you will die in a foreign country, not in your native land. 27 You will never again return to the land you yearn for.
28 “Why is this man Jehoiachin like a discarded, broken jar?Jeremiah 22 NLT
Why are he and his children to be exiled to a foreign land?
29 O earth, earth, earth!
Listen to this message from the Lord!
30 This is what the Lord says:
‘Let the record show that this man Jehoiachin was childless.
He is a failure,
for none of his children will succeed him on the throne of David
to rule over Judah.’
- A great palace doesn’t make a great king, just like living in the White House doesn’t make a good president!
- Over and over again God relayed the law, the truth and the promise. Unfortunately, for not just the kings, but the people of Israel, the leadership had hard hearts. They were so stubborn, they didn’t want to listen. We have the same problem today!
- God promised David in 2 Samuel 7, that He would preserve his royal lineage to the future Messiah.
- Josiah was great because he was a good king and followed God.
- However, Zedekiah, the last king, didn’t have time for God while things were good. He only called on God when the situation got bad and he was scared. Too little, too late.
- God called bad king Jehoiachin “Coniah”. Pastor Sandy Adams explains…
This man the Lord calls “Coniah” was Jehoiakim’s son. His proper name was “Jehoiachin” – which means “Jehovah will establish.” But in addressing him, here God drops the prefix, “Jehoi” – an abbreviation of God’s name, “Jehovah.” This is telling – this is revealing… God is deliberately saying He doesn’t want to be associated with this man.Sandy Adams
Only Jesus Christ Could Fulfill the Position of Messiah
What happens to the royal lineage if there are these bad kings who are cursed?
Pastor Sandy continues…
Jehoiachin had sons, but it would be as if he didn’t… as if he was childless. None of Jehoiachin’s sons sat on the throne. He was succeeded by Zedekiah – an uncle, not a son. Jehoiachin did have a famous and godly grandson, Zerubbabel, who led the first group of Jews home from Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem. But Zerubbabel was the Persian governor. He never attempted to be their king. God had promised David that he and his son, Solomon, would never lack a heir to sit on the throne.
He promised that their kingdom would be eternal. This meant Messiah was to be born of David’s lineage, and come through the royal line succeeding Solomon. Yet here in Jeremiah 22, God curses the bloodline of Jehoiachin, and thus the blood lineage of Solomon. And for centuries this has baffled the Jewish rabbis. Why did God sabotage His own promise of salvation?
But God knew what He was doing… He was identifying the Messiah with undeniable certainty. God was setting the stage so that Jesus would be the only man qualified for the job! In the NT Gospels you’ll find two genealogies…
First, in Matthew 1:1-17. Matthew a Jew and Levite, wanted to prove Jesus’ Messiahship – so he traced His lineage from Abraham to David, through Solomon, to Jehoiachin – all the way to Joseph, Jesus’ stepdad. He established that Jesus was the royal heir.
The second genealogy is in Luke 3:23-38. Luke was a Gentile. His concern was Messiah’s humanity. So he traced Jesus’ lineage from the first man, Adam, to Abraham, to David… but rather than through Solomon, he detours the cursed line of Jehoiachin, and goes from David, to another son Nathan, to Jesus’ mother Mary.
And when you put these two genealogies together the genius of our great God
becomes evident… As Joseph’s stepson, Jesus was firstborn in His family, and entitled to His father’s legal rights, which included royal succession. But because Jesus was virgin born, so He didn’t have Joseph’s blood, which avoided the blood curse God placed on Jehoiachin.
This means, Jesus is David and Solomon’s legal heir through Joseph, but He is
David’s natural heir through Mary, who descended from another of David’s sons,
Nathan, not Solomon. This avoided the blood curse.
When God cursed the house of Jehoiachin, Satan and his demons laughed – the rabbis gasped. But what appeared to be a divine gaffe, was God’s means of pinpointing exactly the identity of His Messiah. The only person who could possibly be the Messiah of Israel is Jesus Christ.Sandy Adams
Jeremiah 23 – The Righteous Descendant
“What sorrow awaits the leaders of my people—the shepherds of my sheep—for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for,” says the Lord.
2 Therefore, this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to these shepherds: “Instead of caring for my flock and leading them to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction. Now I will pour out judgment on you for the evil you have done to them. 3 But I will gather together the remnant of my flock from the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their own sheepfold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4 Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the Lord, have spoken!
5 “For the time is coming,”
says the Lord,
“when I will raise up a righteous descendant
from King David’s line.
He will be a King who rules with wisdom.
He will do what is just and right throughout the land.
6 And this will be his name:
‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness.’
In that day Judah will be saved,
and Israel will live in safety.
7 “In that day,” says the Lord, “when people are taking an oath, they will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ 8 Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ Then they will live in their own land.”
Judgment on False Prophets
9 My heart is broken because of the false prophets,
and my bones tremble.
I stagger like a drunkard,
like someone overcome by wine,
because of the holy words
the Lord has spoken against them.
10 For the land is full of adultery,
and it lies under a curse.
The land itself is in mourning—
its wilderness pastures are dried up.
For they all do evil
and abuse what power they have.
11 “Even the priests and prophets
are ungodly, wicked men.
I have seen their despicable acts
right here in my own Temple,”
says the Lord.
12 “Therefore, the paths they take
will become slippery.
They will be chased through the dark,
and there they will fall.
For I will bring disaster upon them
at the time fixed for their punishment.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
13 “I saw that the prophets of Samaria were terribly evil,
for they prophesied in the name of Baal
and led my people of Israel into sin.
14 But now I see that the prophets of Jerusalem are even worse!
They commit adultery and love dishonesty.
They encourage those who are doing evil
so that no one turns away from their sins.
These prophets are as wicked
as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah once were.”
15 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says concerning the prophets:
“I will feed them with bitterness
and give them poison to drink.
For it is because of Jerusalem’s prophets
that wickedness has filled this land.”
16 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to his people:
“Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you,
filling you with futile hopes.
They are making up everything they say.
They do not speak for the Lord!
17 They keep saying to those who despise my word,
‘Don’t worry! The Lord says you will have peace!’
And to those who stubbornly follow their own desires,
they say, ‘No harm will come your way!’
18 “Have any of these prophets been in the Lord’s presence
to hear what he is really saying?
Has even one of them cared enough to listen?
19 Look! The Lord’s anger bursts out like a storm,
a whirlwind that swirls down on the heads of the wicked.
20 The anger of the Lord will not diminish
until it has finished all he has planned.
In the days to come
you will understand all this very clearly.
21 “I have not sent these prophets,
yet they run around claiming to speak for me.
I have given them no message,
yet they go on prophesying.
22 If they had stood before me and listened to me,
they would have spoken my words,
and they would have turned my people
from their evil ways and deeds.
23 Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the Lord.
“No, I am far away at the same time.
24 Can anyone hide from me in a secret place?
Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?”
says the Lord.
25 “I have heard these prophets say, ‘Listen to the dream I had from God last night.’ And then they proceed to tell lies in my name. 26 How long will this go on? If they are prophets, they are prophets of deceit, inventing everything they say. 27 By telling these false dreams, they are trying to get my people to forget me, just as their ancestors did by worshiping the idols of Baal.
28 “Let these false prophets tell their dreams,
but let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word.
There is a difference between straw and grain!
29 Does not my word burn like fire?”
says the Lord.
“Is it not like a mighty hammer
that smashes a rock to pieces?
30 “Therefore,” says the Lord, “I am against these prophets who steal messages from each other and claim they are from me. 31 I am against these smooth-tongued prophets who say, ‘This prophecy is from the Lord!’ 32 I am against these false prophets. Their imaginary dreams are flagrant lies that lead my people into sin. I did not send or appoint them, and they have no message at all for my people. I, the Lord, have spoken!
False Prophecies and False Prophets
33 “Suppose one of the people or one of the prophets or priests asks you, ‘What prophecy has the Lord burdened you with now?’ You must reply, ‘You are the burden! The Lord says he will abandon you!’
34 “If any prophet, priest, or anyone else says, ‘I have a prophecy from the Lord,’ I will punish that person along with his entire family. 35 You should keep asking each other, ‘What is the Lord’s answer?’ or ‘What is the Lord saying?’ 36 But stop using this phrase, ‘prophecy from the Lord.’ For people are using it to give authority to their own ideas, turning upside down the words of our God, the living God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
37 “This is what you should say to the prophets: ‘What is the Lord’s answer?’ or ‘What is the Lord saying?’ 38 But suppose they respond, ‘This is a prophecy from the Lord!’ Then you should say, ‘This is what the Lord says: Because you have used this phrase, “prophecy from the Lord,” even though I warned you not to use it, 39 I will forget you completely. I will expel you from my presence, along with this city that I gave to you and your ancestors. 40 And I will make you an object of ridicule, and your name will be infamous throughout the ages.’”Jeremiah 23 NLT
Here we have one of those prophecies that apply to the Old Testament times and to our time. There are 2 re-gatherings of the Jews. The first one was when they returned from Babylon. We’ll get into that story with the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Then there’s the one that’s happening right now. There are more Jews returning to Israel from all over the world today than ever before.
How to Determine if a Prophet, Teacher or Preacher is False
God here compares false prophets to the sexually immoral practices of Sodom and Gomorrah — spiritual infidelity.
How do you tell a fake from the truth?
When a bank teller is in training to recognize counterfeit money, he or she is told to study the real thing. Knowing the intricacies of real currency will help them recognize when a fake one comes along.
- Know the Bible. Don’t just read a little devotion daily. That’s like getting a snack when you could have a full, meaty banquet. It’s the Word of God. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what He needs and wants you to know. Believe me, He won’t give you more than you can chew.
- Once you are familiar with the truth, when you hear a lie, or a twisting of the Gospel, your red flag radar should go off. Make a note, research it. Call the pastor out on it. False prophets, teachers and preachers fail to deliver the truth.
- God will never contradict Himself. I remember when I first heard a false teaching in the very Progressive United Church of Christ. Something in me told me that’s not right. It was the Holy Spirit pulling me away from that church and to a church that taught the Bible. Check out my story at the bottom.
The Holy Spirit will help you discern what is the truth and what isn’t. Having the Holy Spirit in your heart is one of the many benefits of the salvation of Jesus Christ (besides Heaven!)
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, feel His Shalom — a peace that surpasses all understanding, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…
Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace, Joy, Peace, and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…
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