What happens when you know something is true from God by the authority of the Holy Spirit and someone comes and contradicts the fact? An argument starts. You know you’re right. The other person is wrong. Yet, there’s no way you’re going to convince them of that. In the case of Bible Prophecy, when it comes true, you know that God was right. Here we have a prophet who has the gall to confront Jeremiah. Let’s dig in…
Jeremiah 27 – Jeremiah Wears an Ox Yoke
This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord early in the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah.
2 This is what the Lord said to me: “Make a yoke, and fasten it on your neck with leather straps. 3 Then send messages to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon through their ambassadors who have come to see King Zedekiah in Jerusalem. 4 Give them this message for their masters: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: 5 With my great strength and powerful arm I made the earth and all its people and every animal. I can give these things of mine to anyone I choose. 6 Now I will give your countries to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who is my servant. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control. 7 All the nations will serve him, his son, and his grandson until his time is up. Then many nations and great kings will conquer and rule over Babylon. 8 So you must submit to Babylon’s king and serve him; put your neck under Babylon’s yoke! I will punish any nation that refuses to be his slave, says the Lord. I will send war, famine, and disease upon that nation until Babylon has conquered it.
9 “‘Do not listen to your false prophets, fortune-tellers, interpreters of dreams, mediums, and sorcerers who say, “The king of Babylon will not conquer you.” 10 They are all liars, and their lies will lead to your being driven out of your land. I will drive you out and send you far away to die. 11 But the people of any nation that submits to the king of Babylon will be allowed to stay in their own country to farm the land as usual. I, the Lord, have spoken!’”
12 Then I repeated this same message to King Zedekiah of Judah. “If you want to live, submit to the yoke of the king of Babylon and his people. 13 Why do you insist on dying—you and your people? Why should you choose war, famine, and disease, which the Lord will bring against every nation that refuses to submit to Babylon’s king? 14 Do not listen to the false prophets who keep telling you, ‘The king of Babylon will not conquer you.’ They are liars. 15 This is what the Lord says: ‘I have not sent these prophets! They are telling you lies in my name, so I will drive you from this land. You will all die—you and all these prophets, too.’”
16 Then I spoke to the priests and the people and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not listen to your prophets who claim that soon the gold articles taken from my Temple will be returned from Babylon. It is all a lie! 17 Do not listen to them. Surrender to the king of Babylon, and you will live. Why should this whole city be destroyed? 18 If they really are prophets and speak the Lord’s messages, let them pray to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Let them pray that the articles remaining in the Lord’s Temple and in the king’s palace and in the palaces of Jerusalem will not be carried away to Babylon!’
19 “For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has spoken about the pillars in front of the Temple, the great bronze basin called the Sea, the water carts, and all the other ceremonial articles. 20 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon left them here when he exiled Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon, along with all the other nobles of Judah and Jerusalem. 21 Yes, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says about the precious things still in the Temple, in the palace of Judah’s king, and in Jerusalem: 22 ‘They will all be carried away to Babylon and will stay there until I send for them,’ says the Lord. ‘Then I will bring them back to Jerusalem again.’”Jeremiah 27 NLT
Imagine Jeremiah walking around wearing this heavy yoke around his neck. God is using him to demonstrate that the Jews would be under the heavy yoke of Nebuchadnezzar for 70 years. They will stay there until God says so. History proved it as we’ll see in the Book of Daniel when we get there. Better yet, all the treasures of the temple are returned. That’s recorded in the Book of Ezra.
This example of a heavy yoke is the opposite of what Jesus told us in Matthew 11, where He says His “yoke is easy”.
All this sets up the story as it continues in the next chapter.
Jeremiah 28 – Dueling Prophets
One day in late summer of that same year—the fourth year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah—Hananiah son of Azzur, a prophet from Gibeon, addressed me publicly in the Temple while all the priests and people listened. He said, 2 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will remove the yoke of the king of Babylon from your necks. 3 Within two years I will bring back all the Temple treasures that King Nebuchadnezzar carried off to Babylon. 4 And I will bring back Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the other captives that were taken to Babylon. I will surely break the yoke that the king of Babylon has put on your necks. I, the Lord, have spoken!’”
5 Jeremiah responded to Hananiah as they stood in front of all the priests and people at the Temple. 6 He said, “Amen! May your prophecies come true! I hope the Lord does everything you say. I hope he does bring back from Babylon the treasures of this Temple and all the captives. 7 But listen now to the solemn words I speak to you in the presence of all these people. 8 The ancient prophets who preceded you and me spoke against many nations, always warning of war, disaster, and disease. 9 So a prophet who predicts peace must show he is right. Only when his predictions come true can we know that he is really from the Lord.”
10 Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke off Jeremiah’s neck and broke it in pieces. 11 And Hananiah said again to the crowd that had gathered, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Just as this yoke has been broken, within two years I will break the yoke of oppression from all the nations now subject to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.’” With that, Jeremiah left the Temple area.
12 Soon after this confrontation with Hananiah, the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: 13 “Go and tell Hananiah, ‘This is what the Lord says: You have broken a wooden yoke, but you have replaced it with a yoke of iron. 14 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I have put a yoke of iron on the necks of all these nations, forcing them into slavery under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control.’”
15 Then Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, but the people believe your lies. 16 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘You must die. Your life will end this very year because you have rebelled against the Lord.’”
17 Two months later the prophet Hananiah died.Jeremiah 28 NLT
Beware of False Prophets!
Unfortunately, false prophets, teachers and pastors are everywhere. Today, they’re even on social media, YouTube, Vimeo and streaming everywhere.
Not everyone who claims to speak for God really does.
When I was in high school and college, every New Years Eve, I used to like to read what the famous psychics predicted for the coming year. Once in a while they were right and most times they were wrong.
When I look for a Bible Prophecy teacher, I watch to see if he or she quotes the Bible consistently. If all they say is that they had a vision, a dream or a “word” from God, I take it with a grain of salt, then change the channel.
Pastor Sandy Adams comments on false prophets…
Let me make a couple of observations…
First, the false prophet is usually a good showman. He has to be. He lacks authority in what he says, so he has to make up for it by how he says it. This is why he’s so loud, or bombastic, or demonstrative. His great showmanship makes
up for his lack of substance. And second, notice Jeremiah’s response… If it was me I would’ve fought him over the yoke, or clobbered him over the head with one of its pieces. Nobody is going to turn me into a laughingstock!… Yet this duel has an anticlimactic ending. Jeremiah just walks off.
Yet here the Prophet is teaching us a vital lesson. God doesn’t need us to defend Him. He hasn’t called us to win His arguments. He simply calls us to speak His truth. Give a defense for the faith that is in us. The pressure to persuade is not on me. Once, I declare what God gives me to say, then it’s up to God’s Spirit to win
the hearts of the people I addressed.
I can walk away confident of what I’ve said, and of God’s ability to verify His truth… Here, we might be tempted to accuse Jeremiah of cowardice. Why didn’t he stay and fight? But Jeremiah showed more faith by walking away. He knew that truth was on his side, and that God’s truth would prevail. He waited in faith!
Jeremiah realized that God’s goal is not to win the argument, as much as it is to win the hearts of people.
I’ve found you can win an argument – ram the truth down someone’s throat – and end up losing the person. Jeremiah didn’t want this encounter to turn ugly and end up a brawl. Had he argued with Hananiah it might’ve legitimized his lies. Whereas, just walking off confidently was probably the most convicting tact Jeremiah could’ve taken. Truth was on his side!Sandy Adams
3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths.2 Timothy 4:3-4 NLT
I said this 2 days ago, you cannot possibly distinguish what is a lie and what is the truth if you don’t…
- Study the Bible Daily! And that doesn’t mean short devotionals. That’s like eating a snack when you could have a big nutritious banquet.
- Have the Holy Spirit living in your heart! He is the Spirit of Truth. He will tell you what is a lie and what is truth. Trust Him! He’s not some faraway spirit. He’s the Gift that Jesus sent us when He went to Heaven.
- Know Jesus personally as your Lord and Savior.
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, 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…