The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  AMEN.

Jeremiah 28:5 “Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and in the presence of all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord, 6 and the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord confirm your words which you have prophesied to bring back the vessels of the Lord’s house and all the exiles, from Babylon to this place. 7 Yet hear now this word which I am about to speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people! 8 The prophets who were before me and before you from ancient times prophesied against many lands and against great kingdoms, of war and of calamity and of pestilence. 9 The prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, then that prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent.”


          The prophet Jeremiah lived during the time of the king Josiah (640-609 BC) and his two sons, Jehoiakim and Zedekiah.  This was the time of the fall of Judah and the start of the Babylonian captivity. Think of the years 640 – 587 BC. 

          Josiah was a godly king, one of the rare ones in the Old Testament. He was a faithful man who had rebuilt Jerusalem, restored the temple, instituted religious reforms, and brought back orthodox worship to the temple. In the process he also gained some political independence for Judah.

          After he was killed by one of the Pharaohs of Egypt in 609 BC. everything went downhill for Judah.  Josiah’s sons were everything Josiah wasn’t.  He was faithful and honorable. They were not. As a result the priests and people became more and more unfaithful and ultimately fell under God’s judgment and ended up as slaves in Babylonian.

          God sent the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah to call His people back to repent, though the prospects for such a thing were slim. Jeremiah 7:26). “They did not listen to Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck; they did more evil than their fathers. 27 “You shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you; and you shall call to them, but they will not answer you.”

          As is usually the case with such a call, Jeremiah and his message were unwelcome. King Jehudi banned Jeremiah from speaking in public. Remember, in the ancient world, a man who was regarded as a prophet was believed to have power in his words, so if he declared something to be so, it was going to be so. Stop the prophet from speaking and perhaps you can stop the prophesied events from taking place.

          But a ban on preaching in public did not stop Jeremiah. He dictated a letter to his secretary Baruch, who passed it on to Jehudi, one of the king’s advisors. While Jehudi read Jeremiah’s words from the scroll, king Jehoiakim sliced them off, a few lines at a time, and tossed them into the fire (Jeremiah 36).

          On another occasion Jeremiah delivered a scathing woe-speech to Jehoiakim contrasting his evil policies with the righteous policies and practices of his father Josiah.  In Jeremiah 22:-13-19, Jeremiah told King Jehoiakim that he would be buried with all the honor due a “donkey.”

          The events recorded in chapter 28 took place in the fourth year of the second son’s reign as king, King Zedekiah.  He would also turn out to be the last king that Judah would ever have.

          As for the message,  Jeremiah was calling the Israelites to repent, to trust in the Lord God, and to return to the pure worship of the Lord God. Failure to do so would result in decades of captivity as slaves. To drive the point home, Jeremiah went around wearing a wooden ox yoke around his own neck to symbolize the slavery of God’s children.

          Chapter 28 introduces the prophet Hananiah who comes to Jeremiah to deliver a message, prophet-to-prophet, preacher-to-preacher. This can be likened to one pastor coming to another and telling him to tone down his criticisms of the synod or diocese and to show more kindness and flexibility toward variant practices.

          Hananiah claims that his message is also from the same Lord and God that Jeremiah represents, but Hananiah promises the king and exiles that they there time in captivity will be short. Just two years (28:1-4).

          What was Jeremiah’s reaction to this “good news?” At first he says, “Amen! May the LORD do so; may the LORD CONFIRM YOUR WORDS WHICH YOU HAVE PROPHESIED TO BRING BACK THE VESSELS OF THE Lord’s HOUSE AND ALL THE EXILES, FROM BABYLON TO THIS PLACE.”

          Sarcasm or wishful thinking; one or the other or both. Jeremiah knows better. So he followed up his initial statement saying, 8 “The prophets who were before me and before you from ancient times prophesied against many lands and against great kingdoms, of war and of calamity and of pestilence.  9 The prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, then that prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent.”

          When it comes to history and the Lord God, Jeremiah understands that history is a teacher.  It teaches and shows how it is that the Lord God works in the life of His chosen people. Jeremiah notes that real prophets typically prophesied doom, war, famine, and destruction as they go about seeking repentance and faithfulness from God’s chosen people. As for Hananiah’s prophecy of shalom (peace), Jeremiah says: “I’ll believe it when I see it!”

          Now what follows verse nine is one of the most dramatic scenes in the Old Testament. The false prophet Hananiah steps up to the Jeremiah, tears the wooden yoke from his neck and smashes it in front of the crowd. Then, using the same formula that the authentic prophets used he said,  “Thus says the LORD: I’ll smash the Babylonians and bring all the exiles back within two years!”

          While some false prophets, prophesied in the name of the Hebrew God, we are n Jeremiah 23:13 that others prophesied by other gods such as Baal, the god of sex and success.  In 23:17 these prophets kept telling the people “Not to worry about the Lord God, Yahweh Elohim! Everything was going to be fine.”

          These prophets preached a gospel of success, pleasure, and prosperity. They told the people not to worry about the difficult requirements of the Commandments, right worship, true service to God, and faithfulness to the covenant.

          The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah stood in sharp contrast to the spirit and preaching of the day, as confessional and orthodox preachers stand in opposition to al the fads and trends today. Jeremiah said of the preachers of his day that they their words were smooth, sweet, comforting, but in contrast he said of his message, “my word is like fire, like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces!” (Jer. 23:29)

          But what did Jeremiah do when Hananiah rebuffed him and broke the yoke from around Jeremiah’s neck?  He walked away from the fight. He makes no counter argument. He does not defend himself or God.  He knows that in time, the Lord God and history will show which one of the two of them was the real prophet.

          Hananiah’s message, his title, and his personal background was far more impressive than Jeremiah. Hananiah was a prophet of Gibeon.  Gibeon was a city known for producing impressive priest, prophets, and preachers. Hananiah himself was an important religious figure from an important religious town. And he told the king and the people what it was they wanted to hear. Nothing more contemporary that this. Gospels of principles, success, pleasure, and easy street. Nothing of sin and repentance.

          In contrast all Jeremiah had to offer was a call to repentance, to faithfulness, and to decades of slavery.  Yet, both claim to speak for Yahweh Elohim, the Lord God.  Two Old Testament pastors preach messages that are mutually exclusive and contradictory one to the other. One preaches a theology of glory, victory over enemies, wealth, and circumstances. The other preaches repentance, faithfulness,  kindness, and forbearance.

          Jeremiah too wanted the burden lifted. He didn’t want to suffer either. He didn’t take joy in preaching the Law and God’s judgment to unrepentant sinners. Remember last week’s Old Testament lesson.  Jeremiah wanted to simply be quiet. He wanted to retire from the prophet business. “I proclaim violence and destruction, Because for me the word of the Lord has resulted In reproach and derision all day long. 9 But if I say, ‘I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,’ Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it.” (Jer. 20:7-8)

          The true preacher of God’s Word has a two fold message.  He is to preach the Law. There is no peace in the law.  But he is also to preach Gospel, which proclaims the peace established between God and a reconciled sinner. Isaiah and Jeremiah did both.

          Time would vindicate Jeremiah as the true prophet of God and God dealth with Hananiah. A while later He send Jeremiah back to Hananiah to say, 15 . . . “Listen now, Hananiah, the LORD has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie. 16 Therefore thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I am about to [b]remove you from the face of the earth. This year you are going to die, because you have [c]counseled rebellion against the Lord.’”  Within two years Hananiah was dead.

          The Christian Church in the west has forsaken the faith.  The last few generations have corrupted the right worship and many of us who have not bowed our knees to the philosophies and marketing madness of the day, have grown complacent. We have not contended for the faith. We afraid of calling sin by its proper name. Church is a convenience, and when it becomes inconvenient our people do something else on Sunday mornings.

          Jesus was rather clear about the cost of discipleship in last week’s Gospel lesson.  “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. . . 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul.”

          This week, Jesus tells reinforces that message, 38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it.”

          The true practice of the Christian faith is not an easy one. It is not easy hearing the truth about ourselves.  Whether that truth is preached in general or spoken to us directly.  It is offensive to our pride. It goes against what we think we need. We want to be left alone in our own self made peace.  We don’t want to be harassed by God’s word, especially when it is spoken by a fellow sinner.

          But for the Christian the law does not have the last word. Romans 7:5 “For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”

          As He sent out His disciples Jesus taught them that 40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.”

          Not everyone complains and grumbles against Christ’s faithful preachers.  Nor does everyone will reject the righteousness that God the Father gives in Jesus Christ. Not everyone rejects right doctrine, worship in spirit and truth, or pious living. Those who speak the Law and Gospel will be rejected by many, but Christ has promised His word will be received by others.  Some are called to plant. Others get to harvest.

          And those who know a true prophet when they hear one, also know that they are hearing Christ Jesus and in hearing and trusting and they and you shall receive a righteous reward–a heavenly and true peace.


May the peace that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Amen.







Prophet to Prophet
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