Hananiah - A False Prophet

The Bible has much to say on the subject of false prophets, yet only occasionally is an entire chapter devoted to this subject. One such chapter which is devoted to the activity of a false prophet is Jeremiah 28. The name of the prophet is Hananiah who confronts a true prophet of God in the person of Jeremiah. It is a story which has great relevance today, especially since the Body of Christ is faced with many who claim to be prophets in the form of the New Apostolic Reformation. They even have something called a "round table of prophets"! Where is that mentioned in scripture? Let us consider Jeremiah chapter 28.

1. And it happened in the same year, at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year and in the fifth month, that Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, who was from Gibeon, spoke to me in the house of the LORD in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying, "Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: "I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the vessels of the Lord's house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon: And I will bring back to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah who went to Babylon," says the LORD, 'for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.'" On the surface here Hananiah's prophecy appears to be very good. It meant that life could go forward and no change was necessary to their comfortable lives and their future would be secure. So, Hananiah has said exactly what the people wanted to hear. There would be no need for any repentance or change of living as Jeremiah had been prophesying.

What basis did Hananiah have for making his prophecy? He might have thought it was a good idea. He might have thought that it was something he must say. Or he had a warm feeling that he should say it. Perhaps a dream? Was he chasing a handsome reward, which could have been say: riches; status; admiration from others? or simply all of them? There may have been many other reasons or he may just have uttered his words because his confidence enabled him to do so. This is the dilemma of all modern prophets: what is their basis for doing so?

Unlike Hananiah, Jeremiah prophesied because God had told him to do so. He was walking in faith and in the Word of God. Jeremiah had prophesied previously that Israel would go into captivity for 70 years (see Jeremiah 25:11). What was the basis for that? He got it straight from the Old Testament. For every sabbath year Israel missed the people would go into captivity for one year. They missed it for 490 years hence 70 years of exile. See Leviticus 26.

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 stood in the house of the LORD, 6. and the prophet Jeremiah said, "Amen! The LORD do so; the LORD perform your words which you have prophesied, to bring back the vessels of the LORD's house and all who were carried away captive, from Babylon to this place."

Jeremiah's reaction to Hananiah's words is to point out that these were words of wishful thinking. They had no substance, did not accord with scripture and were totally devoid of love. Of course, Jeremiah would have loved Hananiah's prophecy to come to pass. We all want to hear a prophet give a powerful word and see it come to pass. But do the prophecies of modern-day prophets come to pass? Are they truly speaking God's word?

7. Nevertheless hear now this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people:
This is a word not just for the prophets but for all people and that includes Christians even today, prophets or not.

8. The prophets who have been before me and before you of old prophesied against many countries and great kingdoms - of war and disaster and pestilence.
9. The prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him.
When a true prophecy comes to pass, the prophet is recognized as a true prophet of the Lord. This also means that a prophecy which does not come to pass has been uttered by a false prophet. Accuracy has to be 100%. It cannot be 10% or 25% or 50% it has to be 100% accurate every time. This is the dilemma for Hananiah and it is the dilemma for every modern prophet.

10. Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke off the prophet Jeremiah's neck and broke it. 11. And Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, "Thus says the LORD: 'Even so I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years.'" And the prophet Jeremiah went his way.
Hananiah now makes a desperate attempt, in a very theatrical manner, to convince the people that he is the true prophet. Firstly, he removes the emblem of a prophet from Jeremiah in an attempt to discredit him and secondly reiterates what he previously had prophecied. Obviously, the people believed him.

12. Now the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying, "Go and tell Hananiah", saying, Thus says the LORD: "You have broken the yokes of wood, but you have made in their place yokes of iron."
13. For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "I have put a yoke of iron on the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him. I have given him the beasts of the field also."
14. Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, "Hear now, Hananiah, the LORD has not sent you, but you make this people trust in a lie.
15. Therefore thus says the LORD: "Behold, I will cast you from the face of the earth.
16. This year you shall die, because you have taught rebellion against the LORD."

This message was bad news for Hananiah, but he has made a bad situation in Israel even worse and given the people reason to refuse to accept Jeremiah's message. The message finishes with the fact that Hananiah would die that year. His triumph would be short-lived.
17. So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.

In Hananiah's death we have the evidence that Jeremiah was the true prophet of the LORD. Unfortunately, the consequences of Hananiah's intervention brought the inevitable destruction of Jerusalem, with the people begin taken into captivity. In the Old Testament an unnatural death is a picture of spiritual death in the New Testament. Hananiah's master was Satan and Satan will be thrown into the Lake of Fire (see Revelation 20:10) along with all false prophets). This is the dire warning to every person who utters false words in God's name. Even the Calvinist idea of once-saved-always-saved will not save them. Yet, there are many who would prophecy in God's name without his warrant. They need to consider the damage they are doing – firstly to the cause of Jesus Christ and secondly, to themselves.

America abounds with false prophets yet none foresaw the arrival of Coronavirus or any of its effects – some prophets they turned out to be!. Others made false prophecies, claiming that it would quickly disappear. Kenneth Copeland (a non-NAR prophet) said: Wind - Almighty - Strong - South wind - Heat - Burn this thing - In the name of Jesus. Satan you bow your knee. You fall on your face. COVID 19. Poof [blows at camera] I blow the wind of God - On you. You are destroyed forever - and you will never be back. Thank you father. Let it happen. Cause it to happen. COVID 19 poof.. Well, it is still here nine months later - so much for that prophecy being true.

Of course, many would say that Hananiah was in the Old Covenant whilst we are under the New Covenant. Every prophet and every would-be prophet should consider the following: But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2Peter 2:1. Both false prophets and those who follow after false prophets will be destroyed. This is the loud and clear message which the Bible presents.

Many would probably say "Ah but Jeremiah was an Old Testament prophet and claim that things have changed in the New Testament. Where does the New Testament encourage the appearance of Prophets? A favourite verse, which NAR prophets love to quote is And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, Ephesians 4 v11. This sounds like they are right, but they are actually wrong! They are wrong because they ignore the true meaning of the next verse: for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; Ephesians 4 v12. This does not give them license to add to the Word of God. It only gives them license to go and evangelise. This is something the NAR has dumped because they preach another gospel. Jesus said: "Except a man be born again, he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven" John 3:3. What passes in the NAR for being born again is simply that the supposed "Holy Spirit" falls on a person. This may result in that person laughing, crying, barking, lying on the floor (seemingly unable to move), and many more such profanities. This is not the true Gospel and therefore they are not spreading the true Gospel but a lie.

If we examine the world in its current plight with coronavirus and the ugly head of Marxism appearing, it is easy to see that the vast majority of so-called Christians are not hearing God's Word. Hananiah didn't preach it and consequently paid for it with his life. The majority of people today have not heard the true Gospel of salvation. Why? Because all they have heard are the words of false NAR prophets. They don't hear the convicting words of sin judgement and hell, and on the other hand a Saviour, who loves them so much that he went to the cross to pay the penalty for their sins. They hear words designed to make them happy, healthy and prosperous - exactly what Hananiah was offering. Jesus spoke of false prophets when he spoke of the scribes and Pharisees saying: "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in." Matthew 23:13.

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