“Therefore thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I am about to remove you from the face of the earth.  This year you are going to die, because you have counseled rebellion against the LORD.’”  Jeremiah 28:16

Rebellion – I woke up today with Jeremiah 28 on my mind.  That seemed very odd, so I determined to investigate this story.  It is the story of the false prophet Hananiah.  He foretells the defeat of Babylon and the release of Israel.  But God had other plans.  Jeremiah is instructed to return to Hananiah and deliver this message:  you will die because you have counseled rebellion against God.

Don’t you find this message strange?  Did Hananiah really suggest rebellion?  It seems as if all he did was deliver a false message.  We might accuse him of lying, but would we assert that he proposed mutiny against God?  Perhaps we need to explore the Hebrew word here in order to appreciate the gravity of Hananiah’s prophecy.

The word is sarah.  The consonants are Samech-Resh-Hey.  The picture is revealing: “behold, the person slowly twisted or turned.”  Sarah means defection, revolt or apostasy.  The noun is derived from a verb that means to turn aside.  In Deuteronomy it is used to describe turning to pagan gods.  Obviously, this is a very strong accusation.  How is Hananiah’s prophecy the equivalent of apostasy, of worshipping false gods?  We must draw the conclusion that Hananiah’s attempt to predict good news is apostasy because it puts words into God’s mouth.  Hananiah isn’t simply teaching false doctrine.  He is declaring that God will bring peace when God intends captivity.  Hananiah’s prophecy makes God a liar.

The result of Hananiah’s prophecy is both personal and corporate catastrophe.  Hananiah is sentenced to death.  Israel’s yoke of wood is replaced by a yoke of iron, a strengthening of God’s resolve to take the people into captivity.  Things couldn’t be worse.  An attempt to make God say what was not God’s intention destroyed Hananiah and further damaged the people.

In what sense is Hananiah’s prophecy rebellion?  God intended the captivity to finally drive idolatry out of Israel.  After a thousand years of warnings, God determines that Nebuchadnezzar will become His vehicle for restoration.  But, of course, the specter of being crushed under Babylon is very unpleasant.  So “prophets” arise who deliver a different message, a message not of repentance and renewal but of peace and prosperity.  These prophets suggest that no substantial change needs to be made.  All that is required is to wait for God to rescue.  If you and I listen to these men, we will believe that God endorses our current condition.  We will believe that today’s circumstances are merely a test of our faith, not a call to radical renewal.  We will circumvent God’s objective by ignoring the coming chastisement.  We will continue to live as if nothing terrible is going to happen.  And that is idolatry.

I wonder if the people of God aren’t listening to Hananiah today.  I wonder if we aren’t susceptible to the declarations of peace and prosperity.  I wonder if we don’t secretly want God to just let us continue as we are.  I wonder if we really believe God is capable and willing to send all of His people into calamity in order to purify them.  It would be so much nicer to have an easier way.  But then Yeshua wrestled with the same temptation, didn’t He?

Most of all I wonder why I woke up with this story on my mind.

Topical Index:  sarah, rebellion, apostasy, Jeremiah 28:16, Hananiah, prophet

Comments
  • Luzette March 10, 2012 at 2:51 am

    ” I wonder if we don’t secretly want God to just let us continue as we are. I wonder if we really believe God is capable and willing to send all of His people into calamity in order to purify them”

    I wonder if we aren’t already experiencing the calamity without realizing it. Take a serious look around!
    I attended the teaching by Paul Nison, Palm Beach,FL on ‘Health according to Scripture”. He said that mostly 2 things keep us from spiritual, mental, and physical health: lack of Torah knowledge and laziness! Even if we have the knowledge we are too lazy to do it! And doing it is not following the easy way. We are too lazy to read the bible, too lazy to pray enough and too lazy to make a salad(sorry, no cheese burgers). Purity does not come the easy way – the olive has to be crushed!

    I also wonder how many times have I been a Hananiah, putting my own words in the YHVH”s mouth?

    • Gabe March 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      I keep thinking:

      How many times have I prayed for God to work a divine miracle, WHILE I’ve continued to ignore God’s direct instructions in his Torah which might have fixed the problem?

      I’ve refused the medicine, while I ask for a cure.

      Unfortunately, it’s far easier for most protestant Christians to imagine themselves burning at the stake, than it is to imagine themselves keeping something that is ‘too Jewish’ in the Torah.

  • Ian Hodge March 10, 2012 at 5:05 am

    An interesting situation concerning leadership, prophesying, and who to listen to. Hananiah the son of a prophet versus Jeremiah the son of a priest. It reminds me of a later challenge: the leading Rabbis of the day, sons of Rabbis joined by the High Priest, the son of a priest in a long, long line, all trained in the Torah versus Yeshua the son of a carpenter.

    In one instance YHVH took the life of the wrong prophet to indicate whether the people should listen to Hananiah or Jeremiah. In the other, he raised the true Prophet and the true High Priest from the dead. Over time, all other prophets, teachers, and self-proclaimed leaders die. Only one is raised from the dead and now lives, situated between the throne and the four living creatures.

    Who should the people listen to now? The answer seems rather obvious.

    Revelation 5:
    13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
    14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

  • carl roberts March 10, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I (also) choose Him! ~ Today, if you will His voice..~ (We serve a living Savior!)

  • Gayle Johnson March 10, 2012 at 9:09 am

    This entire book of the Prophet has spoken to me for many years. I relate what it says to my own nation, because it is clearly describing a nation that has ignored the precepts of the LORD, and is led by false prophets. This verse (8:11) just about says it all, “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” How that must grieve our Father.

    And yet, I also find hope in its words in Chap. 18:6-10.
    “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.
    “At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it.
    “Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it.

    I think of these passages often.

    • robert lafoy March 10, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.”

      Hi Gayle, this verse has a special significance for me today. A number of months ago, I had a small skin lesion on the area around my eye that I treated with a cream and it apparently got rid of the lesion. After 2 months, it came back, but this time with a vengence. Although it never “surfaced” it has returned as a nodule and is “creeping” around my eye into the upper lid. Now, They want to do a biopsy and all that to see what it “really is”. I say all that to say this, wounds healed lightly aren’t really healed and they can cause larger problems. I’m doing some soul searching, perhaps the outward manifestation is only a display of a greater, inward condition, or maybe not. Either way, I need Strength to trust the One who redeemed me, and to learn to speak only His words.

      • Gayle March 10, 2012 at 11:28 pm

        Robert,

        I pray that true healing is accomplished on your face. I can identify with a lightly healed wound, but when one is truly and thoroughly healed, it is never forgotten. So, I hope for true and complete healing for you.

        • robert lafoy March 11, 2012 at 6:56 am

          For His people.

  • Rodney March 10, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Skip, this is the very reason for what is known as the “Great Tribulation” – the last 3 1/2 years before Yeshua’s return. Many Christians believe in the relatively recent doctrine of the “pre-trib rapture” which, in my book, comes directly from the same spirit as Hananiah’s prophecy. The idea of the pre-trib rapture basically says that the “church” will be given a free ticket out of here while God deals with the rest of the world (especially those “nasty Jews” who “killed Christ”).

    That view is completely unscriptural. The whole reason for the Great Tribulation is foreshadowed in Jeremiah’s prophecy (and amplified elsewhere) – judgement begins with the House of God. God will bring calamity on those who claim to be His, for two reasons; a) to cause them to repent and return to Him and His ways, and b) to sort out the sheep from the goats. Once all that is accomplished (and, yes, the rest of the world will be suffering as well, but that is not the judgement), then God will judge (and kosher) the earth, ready for Messiah’s return. That occurs at the end of the last 3 1/2 years. It isn’t going to be pretty. We had better be ready (like the wise virgins) with oil in our lamps and awaiting the bridegroom who comes under cover of darkness to collect His bride.

  • Ron March 10, 2012 at 11:16 am

    “Most of all I wonder why I woke up with this story on my mind”. Because it needs to be said over and over, we have been deceived into thinking we are going to be vacuumed out of here before the chastisement comes because it will be for “those” people, not us we’re OK.
    Ron

  • Mary March 10, 2012 at 11:37 am

    This appears to have been the condition for many years now and it appears that although many ears have heard the word of warning and turned to YHWH, others’ ears enjoy the tickling and turn a deaf ear to the Voice crying in the wilderness to return to Him. We are living in a wasteland and many of us are waiting for our salvation to be completed, longing for the restoration of all things.

    The world system promotes easy street and the life of kingly prosperity. Serve yourself and get what you deserve! As a Hardees billboard proudly boasts “eat what you crave”!! The facade of this prosperity is so deceptive and truly battles in our minds. It affects the haves and have nots. It seeps into every aspect of life…family, diet, religious, thoughts, financial.

    America is suffering as a result of its years of boom and prosperity, drunken stupor politically, and spiritually. She sacrificed Scriptural purity for compromised affluence. She has tried to pull herself up by her bootstraps and continues to refuse the Hand of Help by submitting to her Husband’s authority. Her Shelter longs to cover her with His Wings but she is left naked, confused and and increasingly defiant. Refusing to cooperate, although He is yet near, the delusions of grandeur, created by the coldness of her hardened heart, is causing an intensifying hypothermia and a deepening sleep which is overtaking her. If only she had taken the Hand of her Beloved before attempting to cross the chilly Rubicon with a stranger!

  • carl roberts March 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    ~ nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, ADONAI knows them that are His. And, Let every one that names the Name of Christ depart from iniquity ~ (2 Timothy 2.19)

    Please, please remember.. – there is a world of difference between ‘chastisement’ and ‘punishment!’ G-d never ‘punishes’ His children and neither should we! ‘Punishment’ is not for children but rather- criminals. ‘Chastisement’ is always, always with a view toward correction and instruction in right behavior (or righteousness!).

    As for the rapture (no such word in scripture is there?) of the church- I am either pre-trib or pan-trib. (It will all pan out somehow!) However, the mainest(?) main thing is: – are we ready? – Ready as in “today!” – right now, and right in this here (unsuspecting) moment!

    And yes, there is a ton of scripture to confirm the pre-trib people.. – One loud (and long) blast of the shofar of the Savior and we are so outa’ here! This, my dear friends is one gloriously Blessed Hope! (as in ‘glad certainty!’) We need to stop looking for the signs and start listening for the shout!- There is nothing yet to be fulfilled, nothing to prevent His appearing, His second Advent- today..

    Coming to claim His chosen bride
    all the redeemed and purified
    over the whole earth scattered wide..
    -what if it were today?

  • Gabe March 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    The prosperity gospel has a spiritual side, and it sometimes involves trying to get people be “assured of their salvation”. I know the verses that come to mind in support of this, but there is a version promoted out there which is equivalent to Hananiah. I think it’s tied into the Laodicean mindset.

    I love the idea of the church as a “hospital for sinners” – but it usually seems to always work out as, “a camp for sick people”. Where is the change from ill, to well? Where is the change from unclean to clean? I’m not talking about expectations of superhero spiritual perfection. Where is the maturation?

    I’m too much of a rebellious barbarian not to get the truth of my condition at church, I don’t go to church to stay the same man I am. I wish my church would realize that sometimes.

  • Michael March 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Jer 28:15 The prophet Jeremiah said to the prophet Hananiah: “Listen carefully, Hananiah, Yahweh has not sent you, and thanks to you these people are relying on what is false.

    Jer 28:16 Hence Yahweh says this: I am going to throw you off the face of the earth. You are going to die this year, because you have preached apostacy (rebellion) against Yahweh.'”

    Jer 28:17 The prophet Hananiah died the same year, in the seventh month.

    SKIP: “I wonder if we really believe God is capable and willing to send all of His people into calamity in order to purify them.”

    Hmmm

    On a personal level, I had an experience yesterday with my daughter; a sort of culmination of a series of extremely stressful events that makes very upset, but ties into this theme with a calming effect.

    But on a very different note, when I read Jer 28:15 – 17 it makes laugh out out loud and puts me in a very different mood :-)

  • John Offutt March 11, 2012 at 7:03 am

    As I pray for our country every night at 9PM (join me), God increasingly impresses me with the sin and depravity of our country. We have a form of religion like the Israelites in the days of the prophets, but we snjoy our sin and we continue in it. God will not be mocked, and from what I observe, He will not be chastising anyone amiss including me. I feel that I can already see His hand of judgment in motion. I try to pray that God will extend His hand of mercy, but I am overcome with a sinking feeling that it is too late. Someday it will be too late to pray for mercy, because judgment is coming to those who claim to be followers of God. Our judgment will be a blessing when you know that all the rest of humanity will stand in the judgment at the great white throne.

  • Jan Carver March 11, 2012 at 11:02 am

    OKAY – PRE-TRIB, MID-TRIB, POST-TRIB – WHATEVER – WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WANTS TO STAY IN 3 1/2 YEARS OF TRIBULATION – ARE YOU GLUTTONS FOR PUNISHMENT???

    I DON’T CARE WHICH IT IS BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT THE TIME BUT I SURE FOR THE SAKE OF EVERY BELIEVER ON THE EARTH/GLOBE PRAY & BELIEVE FOR PRE-TRIB WEATHER YOU THINK IT IS RIGHT OR NOT – WHAT KIND OF SELF-GLORIFYING MARTYR WANTS TO GO THROUGH ANY TRIBULATION AS HARD AS IT IS GOING TO GET – ARE YOU STILL SO DULL – IS IT WORTH GIVING UP YOU RIDICULOUS THEOLOGY OF SUFFERING TO GET OUT OF HERE BEFORE IT STARTS – I HAVE NEVER SEEN SUCH PRIDE & ARROGANCE OVER SOMETHING SO TRIBULATING AS SOME THEORIES WORK SO HARD TO ESTABLISH.

    IF SOME OF YOU WANT TO STAY HERE WHILE OTHERS GO OUT – I’M SURE GOD JUST MAY LET YOU…

    AND RODNEY – THIS STATEMENT, “The idea of the pre-trib rapture basically says that the “church” will be given a free ticket out of here while God deals with the rest of the world (especially those “nasty Jews” who “killed Christ”).” IS SO VERY OFFENSIVE TO ME & CHILDISH – WHERE IS YOUR MATURITY IN CHRIST – WHY WOULD YOU EVEN THINK SUCH???

    ALL YOUR/OUR THEOLOGIES OVER THE TRIBULATION IS NOT GONG TO AMOUNT TO ONE-HILL-OF-BEANS SO WHY FIGHT OR WRESTLE WITH IT AS YOU MAY BE ABLE TO CHANGE IT TO YOUR LIKING. ALL I SAY IF WE ARE NOT PRE-TRIB THEN GOD HELP US ALL…

  • Whitney April 27, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    (For what it is worth, here is what I stumbled across while on the surprising net.]

    PRETRIB RAPTURE SECRETS

    How can the “rapture” be “imminent”? Acts 3:21 says that Jesus “must” stay in heaven (He’s now there with the Father) “until the times of restitution of all things” which includes, says Scofield, “the restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” which obviously can’t begin before or during Antichrist’s reign. (“The Rapture Question,” by the long time No. 1 pretrib authority John Walvoord, didn’t dare to even list, in its scripture index, the too-hot-to-handle Acts 3:21!) Since Jesus can’t even leave heaven before the tribulation ends (Acts 2:34,35 echo this), the rapture therefore can’t take place before the end of the trib! (The same Acts verses were also too hot for John Darby – the so-called “father of dispensationalism” – to list in the scripture index in his “Letters”!)
    Paul explains the “times and the seasons” (I Thess. 5:1) of the catching up (I Thess. 4:17) as the “day of the Lord” (5:2) which FOLLOWS the posttrib sun/moon darkening (Matt. 24:29; Acts 2:20) WHEN “sudden destruction” (5:3) of the wicked occurs! The “rest” for “all them that believe” is tied to such destruction in II Thess. 1:6-10! (If the wicked are destroyed before or during the trib, who’d be left alive to serve the Antichrist?) Paul also ties the change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the posttrib end of “death” (15:54). (Will death be ended before or during the trib? Of course not! And vs. 54 is also tied to Isa. 25:8 which is Israel’s posttrib resurrection!)
    Many are unaware that before 1830 all Christians had always viewed I Thess. 4’s “catching up” as an integral part of the final second coming to earth. In 1830 this “rapture” was stretched forward and turned into a separate coming of Christ. To further strengthen their novel view, which the mass of evangelical scholars rejected throughout the 1800s, pretrib teachers in the early 1900s began to stretch forward the “day of the Lord” (what Darby and Scofield never dared to do) and hook it up with their already-stretched-forward “rapture.” Many leading evangelical scholars still weren’t convinced of pretrib, so pretrib teachers then began teaching that the “falling away” of II Thess. 2:3 is really a pretrib rapture (the same as saying that the “rapture” in 2:3 must happen before the “rapture” ["gathering"] in 2:1 can happen – the height of desperation!).
    Other Google articles on the 182-year-old pretrib rapture view include “Pretrib Rapture Politics,” “Pretrib Rapture Scholar Wannabes,” “Famous Rapture Watchers,” “Pretrib Rapture Diehards,” “X-Raying Margaret,” “Edward Irving is Unnerving,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Walvoord Melts Ice,” “Wily Jeffrey,” “The Rapture Index (Mad Theology),” “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers,” “Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism,” “Scholars Weigh My Research,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “Appendix F: Thou Shalt Not Steal,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrecy,” “Deceiving and Being Deceived,” and “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty” – all by the author of the bestselling book “The Rapture Plot” (see Armageddon Books).

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