Pastors and Prophets of Lightness, vanity, dreams, ignore burdens, and give visions of their own hearts of Jeremiah 23.

 

INTRO: The Dangerous, Bad Pastors and Prophets of Jeremiah 23.
“Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:1,2)

(1). How do you tell the bad pastors and prophets in America today. It was easy in the time of Jeremiah, for all the prophets, priests, and pastors were judged as unworthy and worthless by God Himself. It can hardly be said that all the pastors and prophets in America today are as bad and misguided as in the days of Jeremiah, it is only to say that those bad things can happen in American and are given to us for examples, so that we need to test the spirits by seeking out any pastors and prophets today that match up in characteristics with those of Jeremiah. Take for example the most popular, prosperous, and sought after Pastor of our time, Joel Osteen, how do you tell if he falls into the category of the dangerous and bad pastors of Israel before the destruction of Jerusalem. He is a good example because his church is one of the biggest and fastest growing churches in the nation, and other pastors seek his help for church growth. In short, is Joel in the bad category of pastors in Jeremiah?

(2). God in His word as He does always has given us the sign of a dangerous Pastor, in that they do not visit the people. Early in the ministry of Joel at Lakewood, he made the statement to his people and in public not to expect visitation because with the demands of speaking to large crowds, there was not time.

“Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them…” (Jeremiah 3:1,2)

NOTE: The no visitation is obvious in the own words of Joel, but right now without all of Jeremiah 23 it is difficult to see how he scattered the flock since Lakewood is growing by leaps and bounds, and each Sunday instead of being driven away by the messages, they are coming back for more. Later we will show how Osteen, like the pastors and prophets in Jeremiah: (1) scatters the flock away from God and Christ; and (2) drives them away from God and Christ.
For now, don’t get it wrong, the pastors and prophets of Jeremiah were popular with the people, they listened to them and their comforting words, and indeed Jeremiah was the only Prophet they tried to kill.

1. Pastors and Prophets of “Lightness” in Jeremiah 23.
“Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:32)

(1). Ellicott’s commentary on “lightness”–

By their lightness.—The Hebrew word is the same in meaning as the “unstable as water” of Genesis 49:4, the “light persons” of Judges 9:4; Zephaniah 3:4, and points primarily to the gushing or spurting forth of water. Here it points to what we may call the “babbling” of the false prophets. We are almost reminded of the words in which an English poet describes a hollow and pretentious eloquence as poured out—
In one weak, washy, everlasting flood.”

(2) The Pulpit Commentary on ‘lightness”–

By their lightness. The word is an uncommon one, and implies arrogance or boastfulness (comp. Zephaniah 3:4); the root means “to bubble over.” Therefore they shall not profit; rather, and they cannot profit.

(3). Barnes Notes–

Lightness – Vain, empty, talk’

(4) Matthew Poole’s Commentary–

By lightness here some understand volubility and smoothness of tongue and speech; others, lasciviousness; others, levity and inconstancy: the last seemeth most probably the sense.

(5). Cambridge Bible–

32. vain boasting] The Hebrew root, which is rather rare, denotes in the cognate languages impudent boldness.

2. Pastors and Prophets that “do not visit” in Jeremiah 23. This introduced the subject of bad pastors and prophets, the very subject of Jeremiah 23–
“Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:1,2)

NOTE: Lest these words seem intolerant and undemocratic to you, not nice in keeping with the Gospel of Niceness, just remember that these are necessary words from God Himself on how to identify bad and dangerous pastors and prophets. In short as the admonition of the Bible is from Jesus, we can not judge righteouness judgement, rather than appearance judgment, unless we use the very words and standards of the Bible. What was true in Jeremiah can be true of Osteen and others today, you judge for yourselves!

3. Pastors and Prophets that speak dreams rather than the Word of God in Jeremiah 23.
Nowhere in the Bible does God promise you, “wait two years and there will be an oil well or a gold mine in your backyard” as we hear Joel say and similar dreams and false promises of false comfort. What does God Himself say about this in Jeremiah?
“Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:32)

4. Pastors and Prophets that preach only peace when there is no peace. Temporarily we must step outside of Jeremiah 23, to get some background of what was happening in Judah during Jeremiah’s time, say in Jeremiah 6 near the beginning.
“For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:13,14)

Even as the Christian fables of the falling away is a grassroots movement among the people of Israel, false prophets of today and in Jeremiah were created out of the wants and desires of the people. Notice in II Timothy 4:3,4 how that the itching ears teachers come from itching ears congregations and “out of their own desires” they heap up itching ears teachers.

NOTE: Granted today America is not threatened by God with imminent destruction as with Israel in the time of Jeremiah; however peace in this nation and in the world is not something that we can reasonable expect. What we can expect is the imminent Second Coming of Christ with the destruction of the whole world by fire. And any prophet, priest, or pastor that omits those Bible facts from his messages is a dreamer.

5. Pastors and Prophets that only comfort the people slightly. Once again we step outside of Jeremiah 23 to get the total context of Jeremiah and in the words of God Himself–
“They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.”
(Jeremiah 6:14)

(1). Sure every preacher, pastor, evangelist, and prophet provides some kind of comfort to the people, he would not be there if it were not so. Yet as compared to the admonished “preach the word” it often falls short of real comfort, it is only “slightly”. Only the complete intended message and messages from God Himself can provide comfort that is real, comfort that is complete.

(2). A good example from the many quotes from Osteen on facebook is the following:

Joel Osteen Quotes
April 17, 2016 ·
God has already done everything He’s going to do. The ball is now in your court. If you want success, if you want wisdom, if you want to be prosperous and healthy, you’re going to have to do more than meditate and believe; you must boldly declare words of faith and victory over yourself and your family.

It bears the incompleteness characteristic, a certain lightness and vanity, like all his Satan inspired and subtle quotes. (1) First of all God has not done everything He can do for you and will do for you; (2) it is not up to you, a superficial counting of self and not on Christ and the power of the Spirit within you if you have indeed been born again; (2) Oh there it is again, the Gospel of wealth and corrolary of success carrot, the appeal to the wants and desires of listners, and of course the wisdom you want, which is assumed is to be prosperous and healthy which is simply the Gospel again of Prosperity; (3) and the solution of salvation from Joel is to “boldly declare words of faith and victory over yourself and your family”–well in the first place what does that even mean some chant with holy water, and of course as always his advice turns into self help rather than depending on help from God.

6. Pastors and Prophets that teach the people to walk in vanity of Jeremiah 23. And the above vain and light quote, sort of like a false dream or vision that comes with chanting, brings us naturally to see what the teaching of vanity in the Bible and like in Joel means.
(1). The “walk in vanity” of Jeremiah 23:16.
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.”

a. First of all you will note that Joel seldom quotes as other preachers do from the Bible, does not justify his unfounded visions and dreams on the proof of the scripture; and in fact most preachers sadly miss any of the language and thoughts of the Bible. We naturally wonder what is the source of these bold statements except in dreams and statements. Every preacher has a library, it would be interesting to see what is the library of Joel and what are the major books which he notes, say for example Alice in Wonderland or How to win friends and influence people. How does he known so well what people want, or how to tell them what the people want to hear? If we knew the books Joel reads and on which he does research, we could know the secret of his success except for the fact that Satan is backing him. It certainly is not the Bible, and the Bible gets only some lip service like for example from Satan when he was tempting Jesus.
(2). And for more background on “vain” and “vanity” we must go back to Jeremiah 2.
“Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?” (Jeremiah 2:5)

(3). What does the phrase “make you vain” of Jeremiah 23:16; and furthermore since we are free Americans how could anybody MAKE us vain, or how did the bad and destructive pastors and prophets of Jeremiah make the people vain. We turn to some good commentaries again–
NOTE: Already we suspect that: (1) Osteens advice is superficial and makes one live in vanity with focus on themselves rather than Christ; and (2) it would have to be already what they want or desire, or they coud not yield themselves to the make over; or (3) most likely it is already the world way they live and think, just liking reinforcement from somebody famous. Sort of like real Christians appreciate encourgement from their respected conservative and Christian authors and authorities. After all, how could anyone be full of wind and bull that has grown one of the largest churche in the world, that writes best-selling books, and preaches to millions.
a. Make you vain from Ellicott’s commentary–
(16) They make you vain.—i.e., they befool, deceive you. As the next verse shows, they filled the people with vain hopes of peace. This was then, as always, the crucial test between the true prophet and the false. The one roused the conscience, caused pain and anger by his reproofs; the other soothed and quieted men with a false assurance (Jeremiah 6:14; Jeremiah 14:13). They invented a vision which did not come to them from the mouth of Jehovah. (Comp. Deuteronomy 13:1-5.)
b. Make you vain from the Cambridge Bible–
16. teach you vanity] deceive you with vain hopes, speak peace to those who are going on still in wicked courses. Cp. next v. This is a test whereby the false may be distinguished from the true prophet.
c. And lastly from the Pulpit Commentary–
Verses 16-22. – A warning addressed to the people against the false prophecies (comp. Ezekiel 13.). Verse 16. – They make you vain; i.e. fill you with vain imaginations. A similar phrase occurs in Jeremiah 2:5, on which see note. A vision of their own heart; the heart being the center of the intellectual as well as of the moral life, according to the Hebrew conception.
(4). “walked after vanity and are become vain” in Jeremiah 2:5.
“Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?” (Jeremiah 2:5)

a. From the Cambride Bible–

“…and are become vain] have their characters assimilated to the objects which they serve. Cp. Romans 1:21 f., they “became vain in their reasonings … they became fools.”

b. From Ellicott’s–

(5) Vanity.—In the special sense, as a synonym for idol-worship (Deuteronomy 32:21; 1Kings 16:13). As in the character of a husband wronged by his wife’s desertion Jehovah pleads with His people, and asks whether He has failed in anything.

c. In the bigger context of Matthew Henry–

2:1-8 Those who begin well, but do not persevere, will justly be upbraided with their hopeful and promising beginnings. Those who desert religion, commonly oppose it more than those who never knew it. For this they could have no excuse. God’s spiritual Israel must own their obligations to him for safe conduct through the wilderness of this world, so dangerous to the soul. Alas, that many, who once appeared devoted to the Lord, so live that their professions aggravate their crimes! Let us be careful that we do not lose in zeal and fervency, as we gain knowledge.

NOTE: If we could only know how many church members we suspect in Lakewood of which that is true as we have known some in Houston. By their fruits you shall know them, and if only we could see some fruits of Lakewood besides size, as Dobbins wrote “You can fill a church with empty people.”

7. Pastors and Prophets that ignore the burdens of God and the Word in Jeremiah 23.
This matter of burden of the Lord, burden of the Lord which most of the pastors and prophets were using to scoff in derision at Jeremiah is a little more complicated: God’s message to Jeremiah in exact words to give at the Temple every day, that of Jeremiah 7, was definitely a message of doom and God had forsaken Israel, would no longer listen to their prayers, and had set up for the nation of Babylon and Persia to conquer them, destroying Jerusalem. It was not a pleasant thing to hear, so when “burden of the LORD” was heard in Israel it was scoffing at realism, pessimism, and speaking in favor of peace and optimism, much like we hear often today in America. Somehow if any speaker if not nice and optimistic, they are immediately a BURDEN.

burden-of-the-lord_001

NOTE: We are not hearing “the burden of the LORD” from Israel today, they remember, nor do we hear it from bad and destructive pastors and prophets today even when they speak of Israel they tend to forget the “everlasting reproach”; however you do hear the same kind of peace and optimism without any “reproof, reproach, and correction” in their messages, just like Joel. Of course, it is impossible to reprove and reproach in preacher with a record setting marathon of smiles.
8. Pastors and Prophets that give visions out of their own heart in Jeremiah 23.
(1). Jeremiah 23:16–
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.

(2) What is the message God wanted the people to hear, that He gave word for word for Jeremiah to preach daily at the temple which they failed to heed; and the same message America needs to hear today. {the famous temple message of Jeremiah 7}

temple-message-1_001-neon-g

NOTE: Please go to the following links for the Temple Message America should be hearing today from good and healing Pastors and Prophets. Are you hearing any of it, the words are straight from God Himself.

1. The Temple Message of Jeremiah 7 at
http://sungrist.org/TempleMessageJeremiah7.html

2. Peace, Pastors, Prophets, Priests, and People
http://sungrist.org/NewJeremiah.html

3. Arkansas Flood and Gulf Oil Spill: Types of Calamities
http://sungrist.org/ArkansasFloodAndGulfOilSpill.html

4. Truth in the Bible and the Bible on Truth – sungrist.org
http://sungrist.org/Truth.html

5. 7 year Index – sungrist.org {For perspective this is now the 11th year of SunGrist on line with an emphasis on Jeremiah}
http://sungrist.org/7yearIndex.html

6. A free outline of the book of Jeremiah.
http://www.biblecombibleman.com/JeremiahOutline2.pdf

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