|Jeremiah 23 |
1 "Woe be to the pastors who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!" says the Lord.
2 "Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the pastors who feed my people; You have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them. Behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings," says the Lord.
3 "And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
4 And I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall no longer fear, nor be dismayed; neither shall they be lacking," says the Lord.
5 "Behold, the days come," says the Lord, "that I will raise up for them a righteous Branch from David, and a King shall reign with wisdom and understanding, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the earth.
6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name by which he shall be called: THE LORD, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
7 Therefore, behold, the days come," says the Lord, "that they shall no more say, 'The LORD lives, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;'
8 But, 'The LORD lives, who brought up and who led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries where I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.'"
9 My heart within me is broken because of the false prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness.
10 "For the land is full of adulterers; and because of swearing, the land mourns. The pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, their way is evil, and their might is not right.
11 For both the prophet and priest are profane; yes, I have I found their wickedness in my house," says the Lord.
12 "Therefore their way shall be to them as slippery ways in the darkness. They shall be driven on, and fall in it; for I will bring evil upon them in the year of their judgment," says the Lord.
13 "And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err.
14 I have also seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem. They commit adultery and walk in lies. They also strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that none repents from his wickedness. All of them are like Sodom to me, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah."1
15 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets; "Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall because profaneness has gone forth into all the land from the prophets of Jerusalem."
16 Thus says the Lord of hosts, "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you; they make you vain; they speak a vision of their own heart, and not from the mouth of the LORD.
18 For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD, and has perceived and heard his word? Who has marked his word, and heard it?
19 Behold, the storm of the LORD has gone forth in wrath, even a raging storm; it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.
20 The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he has executed it, and until he has performed the thoughts of his heart; in the latter days you shall understand it perfectly.
21 I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran [ahead of me]. I have not spoken to them, yet they have prophesied. [Only follow; do not run ahead of the Lord's leading you exactly where to go and what to do and say. From the Word of the Lord within: " I was surely sent; as I was sent, so too must you be. Master following. You do as God has directed and only that; we do as He tells us. Everyone hear what the Spirit says; this you do." George Fox described those who run ahead : "Those who run before their guide are vagabonds and wanderers."]
22 But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.
23 Am I not a God at hand," says the Lord, "and not a God far away?
24 Can anyone hide himself in secret places so that I will not see him?" says the Lord. "Do I not fill the heavens and earth?" says the Lord.
25 I have heard what the prophets said, who prophesy lies in my name, saying, 'I have dreamed, I have dreamed.'
26 How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? Yes, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;
27 Who think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams that they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.
28 The prophet who has a dream, let him tell it as a dream; and he that has my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?" says the Lord. [Notice! The Lord has likened dreams to be chaff, but his word to be wheat. Do not depend on dreams in the least.]
29 "Is not my word like a fire?" says the Lord; "and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?3 [His Word is Christ, the Word of God, the power of God. Hearing him speaking to you in your heart and then obeying the word of the Lord, results in the burning of the sin within you and a hammering down of that sinful nature.]
30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, says the Lord, who steal my words everyone from his neighbor that they claim are from me.
31 Behold, I am against the prophets," says the Lord, "who use their tongues, and say, 'He said.'
32 Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams," says the Lord, "and tell them, causing my people to err by their lies and by their lightness; yet I did not send them or command them. Therefore they will be of no benefit at all to this people," says the Lord.
33 And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask you, saying, 'What is the burden of the LORD? You shall then say to them, 'What burden? I will unburden myself of you, says the Lord.'
35 Thus each of you shall say everyone to his neighbor, and everyone to his brother, 'What has the LORD answered?' and, 'What has the LORD spoken?'
36 And the burden of the LORD you shall mention no more because every man's word shall be his burden, and because you have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.
37 Thus shall you say to the prophet, 'What answer has the Lord given you?' and, 'What has the LORD spoken [to you]?'
38 But since you say, 'The burden of the LORD;'" therefore thus says the Lord; "Because you say these words, 'The burden of the LORD,' when I have sent to you, saying: You shall not say, 'The burden of the LORD;'
39 Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence.
40 And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.4"
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1 They commit adultery, and walk in lies. They also strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that none repents from his wickedness. This describes the preachers of Christianity today. They are full of sin themselves, and they strengthen the hand of evil doers by telling them they are saved while still sinning. They say to everyone who walks after the imagination of his own heart, 'No evil shall come upon you.' I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran [to you]. I have not spoken to them, yet they have prophesied. Woe be to the preachers of Christianity today, for I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.
2 Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you; they make you vain; they speak a vision of their own heart, and not from the mouth of the LORD. They still say to those who despise me, 'The LORD has said that you shall have peace;' and they say to everyone who walks after the imagination of his own heart, 'No evil shall come upon you.' People, this is an exact description of the preachers in Christianity. They speak from the imagination of their own hearts; they do not speak words supplied to them from the Holy Spirit, the mouth of God. They make you vain; they leave you in your sins, telling you that you are going to escape the wrath of God. Here God is telling you: "do not listen to them."
3 The word like a fire and a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces. Hearing him speaking to you in your heart and then obeying the word of the Lord, results in the burning of the sin within you and a hammering down of that sinful nature.
4 All you preachers and teachers in Christianity: Because you have not been sent by the Lord, because you have taken it upon yourself to assume the role of a preacher without his having purified your heart and perfected you, restored you, trained you, and authorized you; he will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.
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