Hananiah’s False Prophecy

Text: Jeremiah 28:1-4

Hananiah was a false prophet who opposed Jeremiah and prophesied that God was going to break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar and restore the exiles. Hananiah was like many false teachers today. This lesson will examine the example of Hananiah and seek to answer two questions: #1 – What makes a message true? #2 – What if a message is not true?

What Makes a Message True?

  • It is true if it is from the Lord (Psalm 119:160) – people could determine if a prophet spoke the truth by testing their message (Jeremiah 28:9; Deuteronomy 18:22), just as we can today (Acts 17:11)
  • It is not true simply because it has been spoken – one who testifies alone without evidence is not true (John 5:31-32)
  • It is not true simply because it provides hope – it may be a false hope (Jeremiah 6:14); though a message may be desirable (Jeremiah 28:6), we cannot accept it if it is false
  • It is not true simply because it is visually impressive – Jeremiah had a visual aid to illustrate his message (Jeremiah 27:2, 6-11); Hananiah sought to be more visually impressive (Jeremiah 28:10-11), but he was still wrong; denominations are guilty of the same today; we must worship in spirit & truth (John 4:24), not strive to be the most exciting
  • It is not true simply because it is repeated – multiple occurrences of a wrong do not eventually make it right (Ecclesiastes 8:12-13; Matthew 18:21-22); people may begin to accept an error that is repeated often enough, but it is still error
  • Again, what makes a message true? … it is from the Lord

What If a Message is Not True?

  • If a message is not true, it is a lie (Jeremiah 28:15) – these are the only two options (1 John 4:6); many choose to believe a lie (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11)
  • If a message is not true, it is rebellion against the Lord (Jeremiah 28:16) – rebellion is as the sin of divination (1 Samuel 15:23); this is looking elsewhere than God for revelation (cf. 2 John 9; Galatians 1:8-9)

Conclusion

  • False teaching is common – it seeks to give hope to those in sin; it will be exciting; it will often be repeated; but it is still false
  • We must accept the truth; not just to believe it, but to obey it

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