JEREMIAH 28:1 – 30:24 and 2 PETER 2:1–22
This is a chapter that needs to be highly emphasized for the day we live in. Here we have two distinct prophetic streams that will be brought forth. One of the truths we need to appreciate is that the church is going to divide in the last days. This division will be accentuated by different prophetic voices such as what is seen here. Jeremiah has been faithfully speaking forth the Word of the Lord and he is on record as saying the length of captivity will cover 70 years (Jer 25:11-12). We have already cited how Jeremiah was being opposed by many of the religious leaders of his day because of the weightiness and certainties of His prophesy.
A recognized prophet by the name of Hananiah comes forth during the early reign of Zedekiah and makes the following declaration before a gathering of priests and people. Essentially, he speaks a word that is contrary to what God has been saying. He mentions that the yoke of the king of Babylon has been broken and that all of the vessels that had been taken from the Lord’s house would be returned within a period of two years. One can imagine the popularity of this prophet and his message. Finally, a word from the Lord that is reasonable and more in line with how the people felt. This is a message they could accept which alleviates the dire warnings that Jeremiah was giving. The only problem was that the Word of the Lord was not with Hananiah.
Jeremiah was quick to counter his prophesy in verses 5-9. He makes the point that he wished it were true that his prophesy would be true but then declared to now hear the true Word of the Lord (vs 7). Remember, Jeremiah was pleading with God on various occasions to have their sentence lightened much along the lines of what Hananiah was sharing. Still, he had the boldness to hold true to what God had established. He goes in to say that a prophet will eventually be known as to whether they are true or not by whether their message comes to pass. They will find out soon enough who is actually speaking for God. Personally, I do not have any problem seeing parallel cases playing out in our day. There are churches who are ordained to cater to the uncircumcised of heart. Woe unto such churches and prophets because the damage they do is so great. Hananiah is now having his moment in the sun and in his church context seems to be having the ascendancy over Jeremiah. By all natural accounts, Jeremiah looked weak and irrelevant to the cultural and church elites of his day.
Hananiah responds to Jeremiah’s rebuke by taking the yoke that was upon his neck, which symbolized their coming activity and broke it before the people. He (Hananiah) then went on to declare again that within two years all the vessels would be returned to the house of the Lord. One can imagine how demonstrative he must have been in breaking that yoke. We call this demonstration in today’s parlance a “Prophetic Act”. This does not mean that all prophetic acts are not of God but I would question many of them. We absolutely must know what God is saying and if we are involved in the prophetic ministry it would be even more so.
God is not pleased and instructs Jeremiah to confront Hananiah with the following words. He tells him that though he may have made a show of breaking yokes of wood as a sign know that in actuality he has forged yokes of iron upon the people. He caused the people to believe in a lie and to be in rebellion. The judgement upon Hananiah was severe as he died two months later. The man who prophesied the lie of the yoke of Babylon being broken and restored in two years ended up dead in two months. This chapter has two very clear and distinct streams flowing through it. Which of the two are we more in line with? It is chapters like this that makes one cry out for the fear of the Lord.
Jeremiah will be sending forth some letters to those who were already in the Babylonian captivity. There were some who were in captivity with King Jehoiachin while others still remained in Jerusalem. There were three primary excursions into captivity. It is to this first group that he writes. The Lord speaks for them to marry, build houses and bear children so that they might be increased in the land. There was an earlier precedent in Israel’s history. It is the period when Israel increased while in the land of Egypt. Jeremiah will reiterate that the captivity will last for a period of 70 years (Jer 25:12, 29:10). The Lord through Jeremiah then exhorts the people to pray for the peace of the land in which they will be brought to. This is something we can do wherever the Lord may place us. It can be a place of employment, church or other location. It recognizes God as being sovereign and over all things. Let us not minimize this truth because we can make a difference in any environment that the Lord may lead us into. Can we pray for the peace of God in places that may not be suitable or convenient? Babylon was certainly not a suitable place for them but there were those who learned to flow with God and His Word who came into a position of blessing. The Lord has a wonderful ability to prosper us in any environment provided we have a heart that is fully surrendered to Him.
The warning is again given concerning the messages of several false prophets who spoke dreams that came from a multitude of business. God clearly speaks through dreams but not all dreams are from the Lord. If we think on something or engage in something long enough we can actually induce a desired result through dreams. We can then declare that dream as if it is God who spoke. We need to weigh carefully dreams and visions that God gives. In this case the dreams and impressions that were being shared were directly contradicting what God was speaking. Remember, the captive ones in Babylon dreamed of their release and it would be easy to have dreams which could be interpreted as God speaking. Once again God does give dreams and speaks through dreams but depending on our spiritual disposition we can induce dreams that bring a desired result. The question we need to always ask is if it’s God’s desired result.
We need to take very careful note of verses 10-14. I have used the term “selective Christianity” on occasion which speaks of taking a verse and quoting it out of context. One of the best examples of this is seen here. I am sure we all know the verse shown below:
Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
How often these verses have proved to be a blessing in the lives of believers. The Lord can surely quicken the verse as an isolated promise to those who need encouragement however we should see it in its context as it applies to Israel. The preceding verse speaks of a period of 70 years that they would be in Babylon. The above verse was meant to encourage the captives that this 70 year captivity was for their ultimate good. The Lord’s thoughts are with them in their captivity and He can work for optimum blessing if they take the position to yield to God’s plan. How do we view our respective captivity’s? Do we allow God to present a potential bigger picture or do we complain and seek to get out of our situation any way we can? Do we use verse 11 as a license in every situation at the expense of any trial or captivity? The majority of the church world can embrace verse 11 but only a handful would be willing to see and accept it through the lens of verse 10. This exhortation was intended for those already in captivity to take strength and encouragement.
In verses 15-19 we have a repeat of what was seen earlier in chapter 24 where the Lord contrasted two baskets of figs; one noted as being evil and vile with another being very good. The evil figs are those that refuse to submit to the Word of the Lord; these are ones who seek to flee the sword. The vile figs are mentioned here as a reminder to not disobey God’s Word. There will always be added suffering if we choose to not listen to and obey God’s voice. The Lord then speaks once again to those who are in captivity and gives the reasons why they are there. He makes clear that He is the one who allowed it so it would be of no use to try and escape. There is an awesome and most sobering warning concerning the prophets who are speaking contrary to God. Their judgement will consist of being roasted in the fire (vs 22).
The Word of the Lord now comes to another false prophet who was responsible for putting Jeremiah in stocks. He, like many prophets before and after him ministered out of presumption. This is a major concern and we need to be most careful. Regarding faith and the prophetic there is considerable presumption that is oftentimes seen. It is presuming what God wants to do which is based on what is in our heart. May the instruction that is seen in Proverbs be our approach in relating to God. It will help keep us out of much trouble while staying on track in His purposes.
Pro 23:26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
Jeremiah now begins to look ahead as he prophesies concerning the future restoration of Israel. There is a period of restoration that will take place after 70 years. The primary characters that will emerge will be Joshua the priest and Zerubbabel who will be involved in the first return (Ezr 1-5). Later we will see Ezra and Nehemiah who will help bring to fulfilment the Restorative plan of God. This period is but a taste of the future Restoration of Israel that will take place in the last days. There are already several events underway leading up to this momentous occasion. This prophesy speaks of breaking the yoke off the neck of a certain person and it is linked with Jacob’s trouble. This implies that Jeremiah is already looking to the day of the antichrist. There has been underway for many years the return of the Jews to the homeland for the purpose of participating in the great tribulation. The catalyst will be the abomination of desolation that will take place in the midst of the last 7-year period. The Lord Himself speaks to this future event in Math 24:15-21. The majority of this chapter refers to the last days of Restoration as opposed to the Restoration after the 70-year period in Babylon.
In verses 10-11, we see clear millennial promises that are given. It speaks of when Jacob (Israel) shall be at Rest as well as a full end of trouble from the nations that have plagued Israel throughout the years. The lamentable condition of Israel is described in verses 14-15. This is something that is seen today as the world gathers against Israel. It will only get worse and will culminate up to the time of the Lord’s return.
In verses 16-17, the nations that have plagued Israel, like many who do today, will be devoured and dealt with by God. What they have done to Israel they will now come to experience. There are examples of this throughout history. One of the more notable cases would be Haman. He was hung on the very same gallows that he determined for Mordecai and the Jews. The Book of Esther is in fact a mini Bible that helps to accentuate God’s plan in condensed form. There is no shortage of examples through God’s Word as to what He seeks to do. The problem is that most do not have a heart to seek out what is there. The 6th kingdom parable reflects the manner of person and church that God is looking for. A person who SEEKS out goodly pearls obtains the prize. The hidden gems are laced throughout the Word of God to those who are inclined to seek after them.
Pro 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
In the final verses of chapter 30, the Lord speaks to the rebuilding of Zion. It will be a time when the Lord will cause His people to draw near. It is an intimate call where the Lord will declare that these are His people and that He is their God. Zion is in the heart of God and it needs to be in ours. Let us not forget that Zion is the desired dwelling place of the Lord and it will be out of Zion where the Lord will rule and reign during the millennium. It never hurts to revisit the qualifications that enable’s one to ascend the hill of Zion (Psa 15, 24). Why pay the price? It is for the very reasons cited here in this chapter along with many others. It is the place the Lord has chosen for His habitation (Psa 132:13).
2 Pet 2
Peter is now going to address the subject of false prophets and teachers. It is here where we see many similarities to what the prophet Jeremiah had to face. Let us contrast the first verse with the following verse from Jeremiah.
Jer 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?
Peter makes the point that many of these false teachers and prophets will come from the ranks of the church. We can say that many such ministries are birthed from theological institutions as well. What is it that allows for divisions to take place in prophetic messages amongst the body of Christ? It is due to the unwillingness to wholly surrender to God. The light of God’s Word seeks to probe and get at the rooted motives in our heart. The deeper the Word penetrates the more inner issues are exposed (Heb 4:12). It then brings a person to the decision as to whether they will yield these areas to the Lord. Those who do have a heart that is tender is able to receive even more from God. Those who refuse, have a heart that becomes hardened and indifferent. Such a people will begin to take issue with those who are pressing on in the things of God. This is when the two groups become more defined. It is here where new doctrines are spawned to accommodate their areas of uncircumcision. A good example of this is when Korah and his friends challenged Moses on the message of holiness (Num 16:3).
As in the days of Jeremiah there will be many who will follow along with these false teachers. The spirit of antichrist and the antichrist himself will seek to rationalize away all moral standards. The Apostle Paul was very clear on this point as seen in the following verses:
2Co 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
2Co 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
2Co 11:15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
These workers of deceit will not be easy to detect; they will not be openly opposed to the Gospel but in fact will be in the church pedalling another gospel. This is Peter’s primary burden in his 2nd epistle. He saw the coming apostasy, which is primarily fuelled by elements from within the church.
Peter goes on to say that, God did not spare the angels that sinned in the light and He did not spare the world at the time of Noah and the city of Sodom in the height of their sin. If this is true then what about our day? The angels in heaven sinned in light and now have nothing but eternal damnation as their portion. Lucifer and the fallen angels were once friends with God. The point is clear that past righteousness will not save us if we continue to turn a deaf ear to the Word of the Lord. It cannot be emphasized enough; once saved always saved is a damnable doctrine that is sending many people to hell. We are living in a day when doctrine is coming to the fore. It does matter the doctrine by which we live. Any alteration, deviation or moving away for the Absolutes of God’s Laws will result in doctrines that in the end will deceive many.
Peter spends the remainder of this chapter (vs 10-22) revealing the traits of those who lead in the ways of apostasy. They are people who despise government and are filled with self-will (vs 10). This was seen as primary traits at the time of Lucifer’s rebellion in heaven. These are people who are so full of themselves. In verse 14, Peter speaks of their insatiable appetite for lust and adultery. This verse also puts a highlight on covetousness. In verses 15-16, the spotlight is placed upon Balaam who was a prophet who sought to have it both ways in his ministry. He had a heart for the things of the world and for God. This prophetic ministry is alive and well today and sadly, the majority of the church does not see or discern it. In verses 20-22 Peter speaks concerning those who once knew the ways of God only to turn back to the ways of the world. They become entangled again with sin and are now in a place where it would have been better if they never heard the truth. Why is this? They have sinned in the light and have refused to respond to the overtures of God to return to Him. Remember, what Peter stated earlier; the angels, the people of Noah and Sodom all sinned in light and were judged without recourse. The unconditional love teaching allows for the license to live as we want without the fear of eternal consequences.
The following is a list that Dr. Paul Caram has put together that refutes the notion of once saved always saved. It is taken from His Book titled “Established, Strengthened and Settled which is an overview on the writings of Peter. It is italicized below:
A believer cannot turn from the paths of righteousness and live for Satan and expect to have everlasting life. In doing so, he has insulted the Spirit of grace and resisted grace (Heb.10:26-31) v29 (Heb.12:15).
– That divine light that is in him will become darkness, and great is that darkness (Mt. 6:23).
– His well is without water; the Spirit will leave him if he continues to live for Satan (2 Pet. 2:17).
– He is twice dead (Jude 1:12, 2 Pet. 2:20-22), dead in sins, alive in Christ, then dead in sins again.
– He is a withered branch cut off from the Vine to be thrown into the fire (Jn.15:2,6, Rom.11:22).
– He has departed from the faith (1 Tim. 4:1). This means he was once in the faith.
– He will abort the life of Christ within, that holy seed, the Word of God (1 Pet.1:23).
– His name will be blotted out of the book of life unless he is restored (Rev. 3:5).
(To have a name blotted out of a book means it must have first been written there).
– He has not made his calling and election sure. He was elected but not inaugurated (2 Pet.1:10).
– He will be judged with the “children of disobedience” unless he repents (Eph. 5:3-8, 1 Cor. 6:9-10).
– He has proved he does not the love the Lord. Those who love Him keep His Word (Jn.14:21-24).
– He is not doing the will of the Father, but practicing lawlessness instead (Mt. 7:21-23).
– He is not enduring to the end, but has given up, been deflected, deceived, or offended (Mt. 24:24).
– He has chosen the wide gate that leads to destruction, and shunned the narrow gate (Mt. 7:13-14).
– He has tried to serve two masters and ended up serving the wrong one (Mt. 6:24).
– He has turned from righteousness unto iniquity, and none of his former righteousnesses shall be
– remembered (Ezek. 3:20-21; 18:24-27; 33:12-20). Today is what matters, not the past.
– He is like a dog that returns to his own vomit, or a sow to her wallowing in the mire (2 Pet. 2:22).