The Woke Bloke Who Broke the Yoke

October 15, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Posted in Jeremiah | 4 Comments
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Jeremiah Chapter 28 features a false prophet named Hananiah who stepped up to face Jeremiah and to challenge his message and authority. Even more dangerous than disregarding the Word of God is claiming that you yourself have a “word” from God when you do not. AND, even more dangerous still, is doubling down and claiming that God’s actual Word is false because it contradicts your own word. If you are partial to the Charismatic school of prophecy claims that God is giving extrabiblical revelation privately to “anointed” individuals today, then please take heed of this: Not all violations of God’s Old Testament law were considered to be capital offenses, but false prophecy certainly was.

Despite the risk involved with contradicting God and challenging His true prophecies, Satan has never had any difficulty in finding people willing to do it. Here, it would appear that his servant was the false prophet Hananiah.

And it came to pass the same year, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, and in the fifth month, that Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, which was of Gibeon, spake unto me in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon.

Jeremiah 28:1-2

This is a reference to, and refutation of, Jeremiah’s use of the ox-yoke as a symbol of how the people’s only hope now lay in submitting themselves to the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar.

Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the vessels of the Lord’s house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon:

Jeremiah 28:3

Hananiah claimed that God told him the captives would be returned in two years, along with the accessories and implements used in Temple worship. This was another contradiction against Jeremiah, who, back in Chapter 25, had already revealed that God intended for the Babylonian captivity to last seventy years, not two years!

No doubt this emboldened the conspirators/ambassadors who had met together to form a secret alliance against Nebuchadnezzar. Here was a brash prophet claiming to speak in Yahweh’s name just like Jeremiah did, but saying that God would help them in their scheme. You can be sure that you will always find someone to support your unbiblical ideas if you look hard enough.

The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophesied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence. The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord hath truly sent him.

Jeremiah 28:8-9

Jeremiah, realizing that competing claims to speak for Yahweh were giving excuses for the leaders to put their faith in the false Hananiah, reminded them of the prophetic tradition of which he was clearly a part. It’s not that God NEVER sent prophets to encourage people with messages of hope; it’s just that He did not lie and proclaim “peace” through His prophets to people who were in clear breach of the Deuteronomic Covenant. And, more importantly, Jeremiah’s previous prophecies had already been confirmed. Many of them had already come to pass. Beware of counselors in your life who coddle you in your sin, or who never tell you hard truth.

Hananiah’s pride would not let him accept a wait-and-see proposition to determine who was really speaking God’s truth here. He became either very angry or very dramatic.

Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck, and brake it.

Jeremiah 28:10

He snatched Jeremiah’s yoke from his neck and broke it. (Apparently Hananiah was a pretty strong dude.)

And Hananiah spake in the presence of all the people, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years. And the prophet Jeremiah went his way.

Jeremiah 28:11

He acknowledged Jeremiah’s interpretation of the yoke as a symbol of Nebuchadnezzar’s dominance/protection, but, by breaking it, he was saying that God would break Nebuchadnezzar’s hold over the nations in two years. We can imagine everybody in the crowd looking at Jeremiah, who was not known for being violent, but WAS certainly known for being passionate and something of a loose cannon in their view… but he just meekly walked away.

He was not gone for long, however.

Then the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the prophet, after that Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron.

Jeremiah 28:12-13

He came back wearing a yoke of iron, as if to say, “Let’s see you break this one, Hananiah.” This symbol reminds us that in Revelation it is prophesied that Christ will rule the nations with a rod of iron.

Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The Lord hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie. Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the Lord. So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.

Jeremiah 28:15-17

Jeremiah showed that he did not leave the previous confrontation because he lacked courage or doubted his own prophecies. He returned to get right in Hananiah’s face, called him a liar, and basically pronounced his death sentence for false prophecy.

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