Truth or Falsehood

Photo by Magda Ehlers

Jeremiah 28 details Jeremiah being confronted by a false prophet Hananiah. Hananiah stands in the temple of the Lord, before the priests and all the people and prophesises a very different future to what Jeremiah had been saying.

 In verse 2-3, we read Hananiah say “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two years I will bring back to this place all the articles of the Lord’s house that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon removed from here and took to Babylon.”

Observations on how and what Hananiah spoke:

  • Hananiah begins with a time period – the yoke of Babylon will be broken in two years which is in sharp contrast to what Jeremiah had said (Jeremiah 25:11 “This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”).

The drastic reduction in the duration of their difficulty would have surely perked up ears and compelled people to reason with the want to believe Hananiah against prior contrary prophecies.

  • Hananiah claimed to speak in the name of the Lord, the wording is exact to what Jeremiah would say; “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says”

For us: Although Hananiah begins his prophecy in a manner similar to how Jeremiah would speak, his words were not from God. When we read Hananiah’s words it is easy for us to see them as false because we read them through the lens of prior knowledge that Hananiah was a false prophet. 

But like the people listening to him then, when we listen to teaching/preaching now, we are yet to know if the words spoken are in alignment with scripture or not. There is a saying that false teaching is more often not between right and wrong teaching but rather between right and almost right teaching. And that small shift in the truth is often what can dull the natural tendency to be wary of what someone says as most of it would sound accurate. When something sounds almost right there is a greater chance for that false theology/teaching to be believed unless one is well versed with scripture or takes the time to test and see if what was said is in accordance with scripture.

  • There was also a boldness with which Hananiah spoke, a confidence, which probably worked in his favour, convincing people that he was actually speaking a true prophecy. He confidently proclaimed these words in the temple of the Lord, in the presence of Jeremiah, the priests and all the people and claimed them to be from God.

That perceived boldness did not stem from the knowledge that he was doing the work of God but rather from a lack of fear of the Lord. For if Hananiah truly did believe what he said, that the Lord is almighty and is the God of Israel, he would not dare to speak out of his own accord and claim it to be from God.

For us: Often inaccurate teachings cloaked with boldness and confidence can be perceived subconsciously with a notion of correctness. The tone of the voice, the stance on the pulpit or the sheer number of people listening can be a snare, but it does not make one a truthful mouthpiece of God.

  • What Hananiah did not speak within this prophecy also reveals a lot to the truth of its origin.

When we read through the earlier chapters of Jeremiah, there is no missing the clarity with which God mentions the reason why He intended to bring doom upon the nation. They were rebellious, had turned away from Him and were worshipping other gods (Jeremiah 2:13). And God sends word through Jeremiah again and again the need for repentance that is sincere and nor perfunctory (Jeremiah 4:1-2).

Hananiah prophesises a quick restoration to peace but there is no acknowledgement of the sins of the people and the need for genuine repentance and a change of their ways. Hananiah’s words catered to what the people probably found more appealing and easier to accept.

For us: Often when God convicts us to change a sinful habit or our wrong approach to something, it is not always easy. Our tendency can lean towards seeking help from God with minimal to no effort on self reflection and change from our end. But as I heard a speaker once say, “God seeks our conformation more than our comfort.”                            

God would never make compromises on our spiritual state, it is us who tend to look for compromises. We might not enjoy the pruning and refining process from God, but we have confidence in HIM that all He brings about, will always be good for us because He is a God who is perfect, good and holy.

Let’s finish with observing how Jeremiah responded to Hananiah:

Jeremiah was not motivated to dispel Hananiah’s wrong prophecy by

  • His pride – as Hananiah makes him appear as a liar.
  • By his anger – how dare Hananiah challenge his words which were indeed from God.
  • By fear – of the consequences of what the people might do to him if they believed him to be prophesying incorrectly and always of doom.

Jeremiah responds by reminding people of previous prophecies and says that if what Hananiah said is truly from God, it will come to pass (Jeremiah 28:8-9).

For us: When our faith or differing theological views are challenged, let not our responses be driven by our own emotions or desire to be proved right. We do not reflect Christ when we do that. But with kindness, compassion and respect, point to the word and encourage to pore over scripture along with prayer for wisdom and discernment as 1 john 4:1 says “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.”

Lord, thank you for your word that we can rely on, for the promise of wisdom and discernment to know what is from you and what is not. May we acquaint ourselves with scripture and know that if we turn to you, you will shield us from taking steps that lead away from you.

God Bless.

22 thoughts on “Truth or Falsehood

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  1. Great points! We have to be careful not to fall prey to the many false teachings around us. Like you said, it is easy to be deceived because they are sometimes presented in a away that makes them seem legitimate.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Such a great reminder to make sure we’re studying God’s Word. That way we can tell false teachings from the truth. Although it can still be hard to tell, especially when you have a lot of trust for the teacher.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Absolutely Michelle, the best way is to read and know scripture for ourselves. You make a good point about trusting certain teachers, we all do it but I guess if there is anything that doesn’t sit right or does spark some doubt we should double check rather than blindly believe just because we hold someone in high regard.

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  3. The same trouble is facing many churches. They are changing to fit people’s wants rather than following the scripture. Our feet need to be planted firmly on God’s Word and truth. Have a wonderful weekend, Manu! 💗🌼🌺

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Unfortunately that is so true. The want to draw people into the church is coming at a cost of compromising the gospel.
      Our feet indeed need to be planted firmly in God’s word and truth so that we are not swayed to step out of God’s path.
      Have a wonderful weekend too 💙🌺

      Liked by 2 people

  4. First I want to apologize for taking so long to get to this! I always feel bad for being behind since I am often in bed when you post, but now I am extra behind! My Friday was non-stop. So now it’s Saturday morning for me and evening for you!

    This story about Hananiah is a little scary because even today we may face the same problem. I especially think there are many out there who have the confidence that you mentioned, who could be speaking lies. If a person has charisma, people are naturally drawn to them. It is so important for us to walk with the Holy Spirit and read God’s word, in order to have discernment.

    I really appreciate what you pointed out about this false prophets words being what the people wanted to hear and no mention of sin. I think that is something that can get us today too. We are often pulled by the appealing appearance of something. But God’s ways are not our ways. He wants to mold us and shape us to be more like His Son. So our path might not always be the easy route.

    And I love the way Jeremiah handled this. We each will encounter people who will speak against the Lord. May we too reply with a calmness and assurance that is based on who our God is.

    Thank you for this encouraging word! Blessings, dear friend! 🌸💕

    Liked by 3 people

    1. No need to apologise my friend, I know you will get to it when possible. That’s life isn’t it, some days are just like that.
      I agree that this is so relevant for today. Charismatic speakers can really lure someone in.
      In those times and today only those who are close to God, spending time in His word and prayer can stand firm against these sort of things.
      Thank you dear friend and I hope you have a wonderful weekend and a blessed time at church on Sunday 🤗🌺💙

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Right before reading this I responded to another blogger saying how in my free time I research what is be promulgated by the NAR and charismatics as these folks along with progressive Christianity are distorting and twisting Scripture leading people into hell. It is even more vital that we read the Word for ourselves because as you wisely stated it’s not right and wrong but knowing between right and almost right. (Hope it’s ok to jump in the convo?!)

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It is absolutely ok to jump into the convo. I learn from it and if I am not willing to hear what someone else has to say then I don’t think I should always expect others to hear or read what I share.
        The danger lies in a lot of false teaching sounding almost right. I do believe that God will gently point out things to us if they are not according to His word and it is up to us to follow it up.
        Thank you Mandy.
        Blessings to you my dear friend. You are so encouraging to me and it means a lot 🤗🌺💙

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Amen, Manu!!! I am SO sorry for my delay in reading and responding, forgive me I will do better next week dear friend!!! There is so much false teaching out there today and we need to APPLY the wisdom and discernment God gives to us. I really appreciate your mentioning “how Jeremiah’s responds.” In a world ready to pounce on Christians for their every move, how we respond to situations, circumstances, people matters. Either we can honor God with allowing Him to help us with our emotions and responses or we can go it alone and respond out of anger, pride etc. God bless you Manu for your gift of writing that makes Scripture clear, practical and applicable. Love, hugs and blessings!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Absolutely no worries Mandy. Read whenever time permits. You reading and sharing your thoughts is what matters to me not the time frame of the reply.
      There is plenty of false teaching which we have to be aware of and the only way to know it is to be grounded in scripture ourselves.
      I think we as a people can really do better in our response to when someone challenges our faith. I do want to get better at that.
      Thank you so much my friend 🤗🌺

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I am thankful my husband is more versed in the Word then me. For when I hear something that doesn’t seem right, a red flag goes up in my Spirit I can always trust him to give me counsel. I teach a bible class and I so depend on the women who come to keep me straight on doctrine. i don’t want to get it wrong but I can get as lazy as anyone and not study things out or go off on a personal rabbit trail that usually brings confusion. Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That feeling of the red flag going up in your spirit is something I can relate to, it is the Lord’s way of guiding us and helping us. I lead a women’s Bible study too and I am always saying correct me if I am wrong because as you say we all can be prone to being lazy and can sometimes genuinely not know stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Let not our responses be driven by our own emotions or desire to be proved right. We do not reflect Christ when we do that.


    Thank you for this post. It is a timely reminder.

    Amen and Amen to the prayer.🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Angel. We can often be motivated by our own emotions and pride and have to be careful to not let that take centre stage to why and when we respond to something.
      Blessings to you 🤗🌺

      Liked by 1 person

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