Today: [Jeremiah 26] Consequences of Rejecting the Prophets. In chapter 26 of Jeremiah the prophet is told to enter the temple, and stand to prophesy in the outer court. The word given was one of God’s rejection of the nation because they scorned his words and scorned the prophets. Does the church you attend embrace the ministry of the prophet? Or do they at best tolerate the prophets with a thinly veiled skepticism. Jeremiah speaks to this and to the consequences of marginalizing the vessels of God sent into our midst in the form of the office of the prophet.
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[Jer 26:1-24 KJV] 1 In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the LORD, saying, 2 Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: 3 If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings. 4 And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, 5 To hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending [them], but ye have not hearkened; 6 Then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth. 7 So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD. 8 Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded [him] to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die. 9 Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the LORD. 10 When the princes of Judah heard these things, then they came up from the king’s house unto the house of the LORD, and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the LORD’S [house]. 11 Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man [is] worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears.
In this chapter, Jeremiah continues to prophesy during the reign of king Jehoiakim. It is important to understand the timeline of what is ahead for Judah during the reign of Johoiakim. Johoiakim’s son will reign after him and then the last and final king named Zedekiah will be on the throne when the king of Babylon comes to destroy the city, demolish the temple and take the people into captivity. The shadow of impending doom then looms over the nation. Given these dreadful and fearful circumstances, what is the word of the Lord? Surely the only thing we might expect is a word of comfort and consolation. This is the instinctive response we have when others are threatened. We seek to give aid, to encourage and help people find a way out. Jeremiah’s words however have a different character.
God tells the prophet to go and stand in the court of the Lord’s house. This would have been the outer court of the temple. Thus far, Jeremiah has prophesied standing in the door of the temple, he has prophesied standing at the gate of the city and now is instructed to go to the inner court. Why was this the instruction? Remember that there are alongside the articles of worship for Jehovah, pagan altars to Baal, and Ashteroth found. When Jeremiah prophesied, it was in the shadow of the leering image of Baal and other false gods who sacrifices had polluted the worship of the one, true God. In giving this word to Jeremiah we are very pensive because before it ever comes from the throne of God to the lips of the prophet, he is warned not to diminish a single word but to give it exactly as given.
We can see from verse three as Jehovah prepares Jeremiah to speak, that it is plain the Father’s heart is that even at this late hour the people will repent. Even though the word is a heavy word, filled with dark threatenings, the heart of the Father behind it is that they will turn and finally repent of their idolatries that the judgments written might be annulled and blessing and peace be restored to the nation.
The word begins with a reminder to the people that they have not listened to God’s voice through His word, nor through his prophets. Now today many people adhere, or claim to adhere to the bible and would not openly deride it, or hold it in contempt (although only a minority of any people group in the church actually read it on a regular basis). However God doesn’t just consider the rejection of scripture as a primary offense, there is also the rejection of the words of the prophets? What of today? Does your pastor embrace the prophets? Who is the prophet to the church that you are attending? On the whole even so-called “full gospel” denominations and groups largely reject the prophetic. Even Kenneth Hagin, Sr. in his lifetime panned the office of the prophet, which is largely seen in “word of faith” churches who acknowledge the teaching of the word and pastoral authority but for the most part have no place in their ideology, or their religious infrastructure for the ministry of the prophet.
It is an amazing thing that the prophetic and the office of the prophet is so universally despised by the people who claim to believe in the inerrancy of the scriptures and the necessity of biblical mandate upon the daily lives of those called by the name of Christ. Consider the simple statistics of God’s word as far as references to the 5 ministries Jesus handed down to the church in Eph. 4:11-12:
- The word “apostle” appears 83 times in the scripture.
- The word “evangelist” appears 3 times.
- The word “pastor” appears 9 times.
- The word “teacher” appears 20 times.
- The word “prophet” appears:
a. 941 times in the entire bible.
b. 163 times in the New Testament alone.
Now if the volume of references in the scripture counts for anything, why is it that the modern church denigrates and marginalizes the office of the prophet? As the words of the Father to Jeremiah declare – when we reject the prophets, we reject the whole counsel of God. If the bible were enough we would never have needed prophets even in Jeremiah’s time, for they had scriptures as venerated as any we now hold dear. If you are a part of a church or a group that marginalized the prophetic we are no different than the religious system of king Jeohoiakim’s day that the Father handed over to the invading Babylonians. We must begin to rethink these things lest we suffer the same fate.
12 Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard. 13 Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you. 14 As for me, behold, I [am] in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you. 15 But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the LORD hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears. 16 Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests and to the prophets; This man [is] not worthy to die: for he hath spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God. 17 Then rose up certain of the elders of the land, and spake to all the assembly of the people, saying, 18 Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spake to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Zion shall be plowed [like] a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest. 19 Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to death? did he not fear the LORD, and besought the LORD, and the LORD repented him of the evil which he had pronounced against them? Thus might we procure great evil against our souls. 20 And there was also a man that prophesied in the name of the LORD, Urijah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjathjearim, who prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah: 21 And when Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men, and all the princes, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death: but when Urijah heard it, he was afraid, and fled, and went into Egypt; 22 And Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, [namely], Elnathan the son of Achbor, and [certain] men with him into Egypt. 23 And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt, and brought him unto Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people. 24 Nevertheless the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah, that they should not give him into the hand of the people to put him to death.
Because the people, the priests and the nation have not hearkened to the voice of the Lord God the word of the Father is that they will become like Shiloh. What happened at Shiloh? Remember that David, when he fled from king Saul went to Shiloh where the high priest was to retrieve the sword of Goliath. The high priest at that time was the last of the line of Eli over whom Ichabod had been declared in Samuel’s time. Because of Eli’s corruption and that of his sons, the judgment of God was that his family line would be extinguished and another high priestly line established. This is what God is saying to Judah. He is saying that their line will be extinguished and another line would be established? When did this happen? This was fulfilled in Jesus’ day when He declined to restrict salvation only to the Jews, but declared WHOSOEVER WILL! Therefore the pronouncement of judgment upon Judah in Jeremiah’s day held the portent of salvation to the Gentile nations and was a harbinger of the redemption offer to all mankind that was to come! This was the message of Paul in Romans 9 even where he alludes to Jeremiah’s message of the potter’s house:
[Rom 9:22-25 KJV] 22 [What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? 25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
So we see that the rejection of the Jewish nation (although it was not permanent nor complete) brought about the overture of Calvary upon all nations, including you and I in the dispensation of grace. We should however take heed that if Judaism was broken off because of unbelief that we do not fall after the same example.
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