Some of you may or may not follow people who are prophetic online. If you do, you may find yourself consistently confused over all the conflicting “words” out there about the spiritual state of our nation. Half of the prophets say things like, “We are on the verge of a breakthrough! The Lord is going to bring such a huge revival. Good times are coming!” Keep scrolling on the feed and another prophet says, “America is coming under judgement for sin. Prepare!” What does this discrepancy mean? Does it mean prophecy is fake? Does it mean Christianity is fake? Let’s take a look at some insights from the book of Jeremiah.
In Jeremiah 27 and 28 there is a dual of two prophets. One is prophesying judgement. The second is prophesying deliverance. Jeremiah, the first prophet, says some unthinkable and difficult things from the Lord- he says that God has raised up the king of Babylon to subdue the nations. Jeremiah tells the king of Judah that if he submits to Nebeccenexzzer that the Jews will be able to stay in their land. However, if they fight and rebel, God will allow them to be destroyed and exiled. The second prophet Hananiah tells the Jews they will soon break free from Babylon’s yoke. The second prophet’s message sounded good- really great compared to Jeremiah’s. But, it wasn’t from the Lord. Read the account here:
“In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, “Thus says the LORD to me: ‘Make for yourselves bonds and yokes, and put them on your neck, and send them to the king of Edom, the king of Moab, the king of the Ammonites, the king of Tyre, and the king of Sidon, by the hand of the messengers who come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah. And command them to say to their masters, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel—thus you shall say to your masters: ‘I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are on the ground, by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and have given it to whom it seemed proper to Me. And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant; and the beasts of the field I have also given him to serve him. So all nations shall serve him and his son and his son’s son, until the time of his land comes; and then many nations and great kings shall make him serve them. And it shall be, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and which will not put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation I will punish,’ says the LORD, ‘with the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. Therefore do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers, or your sorcerers, who speak to you, saying, “You shall not serve the king of Babylon.” For they prophesy a lie to you, to remove you far from your land; and I will drive you out, and you will perish. But the nations that bring their necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will let them remain in their own land,’ says the LORD, ‘and they shall till it and dwell in it.’ ” ’ ” I also spoke to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these words, saying, “Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live! Why will you die, you and your people, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, as the LORD has spoken against the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon? Therefore do not listen to the words of the prophets who speak to you, saying, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon,’ for they prophesy a lie to you; for I have not sent them,” says the LORD, “yet they prophesy a lie in My name, that I may drive you out, and that you may perish, you and the prophets who prophesy to you.” Also I spoke to the priests and to all this people, saying, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Do not listen to the words of your prophets who prophesy to you, saying, “Behold, the vessels of the LORD’s house will now shortly be brought back from Babylon”; for they prophesy a lie to you. Do not listen to them; serve the king of Babylon, and live! Why should this city be laid waste? But if they are prophets, and if the word of the LORD is with them, let them now make intercession to the LORD of hosts, that the vessels which are left in the house of the LORD, in the house of the king of Judah, and at Jerusalem, do not go to Babylon.’ “For thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the pillars, concerning the Sea, concerning the carts, and concerning the remainder of the vessels that remain in this city, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon did not take, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem— yes, thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that remain in the house of the LORD, and in the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem: ‘They shall be carried to Babylon, and there they shall be until the day that I visit them,’ says the LORD. ‘Then I will bring them up and restore them to this place.’ ””
Jeremiah 27:1-22 NKJV
“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 I will bring back to this place all the vessels of the LORD’s house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried 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.’ ” 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, 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. Nevertheless hear now this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people: 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. As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the LORD has truly sent.” Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck and broke it. 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. 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.” 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.” ’ ” 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. Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will cast you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have taught rebellion against the LORD.’ ” So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.”
Jeremiah 28:1-17 NKJV
Notice that Jeremiah knows what God told him. He didn’t call Hananiah a false prophet to his face. He told him that if peace were to come to pass that it would and everyone would know that he was a true prophet. Only later, when God gave him a word for Hananiah did he speak against him.
What were the criticisms of Hananiah? God was concerned that he was prophesying lies in his name. People were under the impression that good times were just around the corner. They didn’t have an urgency to repent and turn to the Lord. They thought God was ready to crush the king of Babylon, when he was ready to crush the king’s enemies. God gives prophets a word so that his people can be prepared, not caught off guard.
What is the take-away? It’s normal to have conflicting prophecies. While God can have a prophet prophesy judgement and revival- because truly they aren’t incompatible- he also will not contradict himself.
Don’t be confused or easily led astray by someone who claims to have a word from the Lord. Time will tell who is actually hearing from the Lord and who is not. Take everything that you hear like this to the Lord in prayer. Ask him to keep you from deception and to lead you into all truth.
One thing to consider is that God always brings judgement on nations when they refuse to repent. He is merciful and slow to anger. He is abounding in love. However, when his people turn from him in rebellion and when the measure of their sin is running over, God must bring judgement. He can pour out his Spirit in the middle of trials and suffering. He can bring breakthroughs in pain. But don’t forget that the pattern of scripture is consistent. As Ruth Bell Graham said, “If God does judge America, he will need to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”