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Posts Tagged ‘temple’

So a prophet who predicts peace must show he is right. Only when his predictions come true can we know that he is really from the Lord. (V. 9, NLT)

False Prophets Seek to Fool the People with Lies Again and Again

False prophets talk what they talk up until what they say is proven wrong, and then they either disappear in shame or they find a ready excuse as to why what they said did not transpire just yet. Jeremiah’s response to the prophet Hananiah is a clear example of subtle rebuke. He points out that many prophets existed long before both he and Hananiah became prophets. He explains in plain words that a prophet is proven from God when what he predicts comes true.

One of the best online discussions on false prophecy via Allen Parr

Read this week’s Bible study discussion guide and discover more about the false prophecy of Hananiah. See how Hananiah the Gibeonite proclaimed that God would break the yoke placed on the people of Judah by the king of Babylon within 2 years.

2 years?

But Jeremiah had prophesied that their enslavement would last 70 years. How in the world could Hananiah explain this conflict with his contemporary? Other prophets proclaimed the Lord’s message in other regions and these same prophets were further confirmation of what each other said. That wasn’t the case with Hananiah.

Just Who was Hananiah?

Dig deeper into the character of Hananiah and discover just who he was and what type of prophet he was during his times. See how he went to extreme antics such as breaking the wooden yoke from upon Jeremiah, so that the priests and the people looking on could see what he predicted God would do with the yoke of bondage and captivity said to come under Babylonian rule. He even spoke again after destroying Jeremiah’s yoke, speaking boldly before his audience.

However, God spoke to Jeremiah and directed him to go to Hananiah with this message: The Lord has not sent you, but the people believe your lies. (v. 15, NLT). He goes on to warn the false prophet that he shall die that same year due to his “uttered rebellion against the Lord” (v. 16, ESV).

In that same year, in the seventh month, the prophet Hananiah died. (V. 17, ESV)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Why We Won’t Get Fooled Again (or So We Think)

Jeremiah explained how to know that a prophet is genuinely sent by God in verse 9. The formula is fairly simple. In order to know if the prophet is truly sent by God, what he predicts has to come true. The truth cannot help but get revealed as part of God’s will and His large scale plan. If what a prophet has to say does not come true, then he is viewed as a false prophet.

So, what about the people who believe the lies of false prophets? Paul tried to explain it to his son in the ministry, Timothy, with these words: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but having itching ears, they shall heap to themselves teachers in accordance with their own lusts. Jude says this about them in verse 19: “It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit” (ESV). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned His audience: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

People will fall prey to the misleading messages of false prophets because it sounds good and the sermons make them feel good about themselves. Despite the messages lacking the spiritual and biblical substance to withstand any form of testing, people will accept the lies over the truth. People will follow the false prophet rather than the simple, faithful preacher who comes straight out and simply says: “Thus saith the Lord.”

Join us Wednesday at 11 AM PST for Live @ Lunch Bible Study and the Jeremiah Journey Week #28.

The spiritual warfare that we engage in forces us to fight attacks from all sides, especially those who Jude says have crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness. Our warfare will require us to defend the Good News and “contend for the faith” despite the people being swayed by the trickery of those with golden tongues of eloquence and painting pictures of celestial pipe dreams pouring out from heaven.

Will we ever rid ourselves of those who preach out of selfishness and gain? Will we ever get rid of those who proclaim a new gospel due to their egotistical exhortations that claim that God has bestowed a special message for you but only through them?

I cannot say whether we will or not see a day when this comes to the end, but I can say that we can continually build up our discernment. We can keep ourselves rooted and steeped in the Scriptures. We can test everything by the Scriptures and the Spirit. We can stay cautious in following any particular doctrine just like the Bereans when they heard Paul speak. We can gird ourselves with the full armor of God and trust in Him to handle the wayward wordsmiths who weave tales of false hope and empty promises.

I like what I am reading on WordPress from many bloggers out there, especially when we see help for those seeking to become a Christian. From topics like spiritual warfare to others like spiritual renewal, there is a world of writers and bloggers seeking to contend for the faith and help each us make more sense out of all that we face day by day.

But the Gospel is Preached

I believe that Paul had the right attitude in Philippians and its opening chapter of this letter from prison. In verses 15-18, Paul breaks down that there all sorts of folks preaching the Good News due to his own imprisonment. He spoke openly of how he accepted and rejoiced that the Gospel was preached despite some doing it for the wrong reasons. That was the cause for him to rejoice, even while he sat behind bars.

 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. – Philippians 1:18 (NIV)

Can we have a similar perspective?

Can we see things in a similar light?

Paul did not fight earnestly to stop folks from preaching the Good News for profit or selfish ambition. He pointed out that he was fine and okay with it all since Christ is preached.

We may know that the doctrine is faulty and based on some man-made additions to the sacred text that explains salvation as simple as believe in your heart and confess with your mouth (Romans 10:8-9). But we also know that God hasn’t called us all to play the role of Jeremiah. God hasn’t told us each to confront false prophets. If that is your ministry, may God be with you as you carry out from confrontation to confrontation. For all others, place your focus on where the Lord has led you by His Spirit and in His service, and make your work provide a lasting impact on the lives of others, especially those who have yet to come to know the Lord.

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15On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.- Mark 11:15-19 (NIV)

 Get the right perspective on what Jesus did in this passage.  He cleared some things out of the temple in order to clear some things up in the temple.  The church is to be a place where people come and offer praises and tribute to God.  People should be able to find the church to be a special place to them.

The church can be special to people because it is a:

  • Sanctified Place: It is a place set apart and designated for God’s people and God’s purpose.  Let us never forget that the place is sanctified to be occupied by set apart people doing the work that leads to the accomplishment of God’s purpose.
  • Safe Place: People should be able to escape from the worries and woes, the pressures and problems, and the hustle and bustle of this world in such a special place as the church.  They should feel free to become vulnerable because they are surrounded by people who love them and offer safety as they gather together as one local congregation.
  • Structured Place: You can dress it up with art and artifacts, even the stained glass.  However, people expect some things to remain consistent at the church.  Whether its pews or chairs in rows or otherwise, people expect there to be a place to gather and be seated.  They expect the place to be in some sort of order whether there is a posted order of worship or a handout like a bulletin, because God is about order.  People want the place to offer something that they can depend on when the world in which we live in has chaos as its order of the day.  There needs to be structure.

Think about this when you prepare for next Sunday’s worship service.  Consider what people need out of the worship and the message as well as what they need out of the place that they are coming to.

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And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;  Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.  And he taught daily in the temple. . . Luke 19:45-48 (KJV)

I am a royal mess.  I mean it.  I literally keep my desk, car and “area” of the house a real mess.  I’m just messy and unorganized.

I keep things in an uproar.  Chaos is essentially where I thrive.  I keep mounds of paperwork (who said automation is modern) and I am not thrown off when things are not altogether “in order.” Yet, I live and work with orderly people who care enough to share with me how bad I can be while exercising my lived-in practices.  I decided during this long weekend to do something about me and my mess.

(What does that have to do with Jesus and casting folks out of the temple?)

Just like Jesus, I had to go into where the mess existed.  Jesus had to go to where it was and do something about it right in the midst of it.  Jesus spoke out against all that He saw going on there. (In fact, the disciple whom He loved adds some details about Him making a whip for driving folks out of the temple.[John 2:15]) I won’t dare repeat the things that came to mind, but the closest I can get is mea culpa.  (Oh, Lord, help me and have mercy today.)

Jesus got up close and personally involved in cleansing the temple.  He spoke out against the “swap meet” for God’s people in God’s house, referencing two major prophets – Isaiah and Jeremiah. (Uh Oh, those are some powerful prophets!) Needless to say, as I got deeper into clean-up time, I wasn’t quoting the Scriptures as much as I could hear my grandmother’s voice in the back of my mind saying: “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” (Really? Is that so? I could argue against her theology but I respect the deceased and I think she probably would have a better perspective on it than I would.  You think?)

Okay. Where was I ? (You know I said I am unorganized.) Anyhow, it’s like Jesus when I get to moving and ordering things around.  I changed the entire environment.  I can’t say that I did everything that I need to do, but I definitely made some real, genuine progress. 

Jesus taught in the temple.  That goes along with His proclamation as a “house of prayer.”  Here’s the real deep part for you.  I didn’t teach as much as I learned.  You see, I learned that my mess was interfering with the “pursuit of happiness”  [Not the Will Smith flick with his son; that was the Pursuit of Happyness, I believe] for my family and people who I work with (when I “work”).  It also let me know that if my daughter didn’t have to ride in my car, she would gladly ride in something else.  I learned how being me and letting things go and get out hand can lead to me hurting others.  That is not good.  That is not a Christ-like existence.  I had to make a change to make my relationships better off.  I will definitely keep you posted. (Keep me in prayer.)

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