In Jeremiah 28 we see how Jeremiah is confronted by a false prophet Hananiah who rashly predicts that “in the name of the LORD of hosts … within two years I will bring back to this place all the vessels of the LORD’s house, which Nebuchadnezzar took away from this place and carried to Babylon” (verses 2,3).

There is a confrontation between him and Jeremiah who says to him “in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house (temple) of the LORD” (verse 5): “… hear now this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the LORD has truly sent the prophet” (verses 8,9).

The climax of the confrontation is when Jeremiah says, “Listen Hananiah, the LORD has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie. Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘Behold I will remove you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have uttered rebellion against the LORD’” (verses 15,16). There are those today who utter rebellion against the Lord by saying there is no God, no Creator.

Let us be careful not to twist God’s word to make it mean something different so as to suit our own ideas. In Jeremiah 30 we will see how he makes a fascinating long-term prophecy, but it is one the Lord revealed to him.

“Behold the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel and Judah, says the LORD, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it … behold I will save you from far away … Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid” (verse 10). This process is happening and note the final sentence in this chapter, “In the latter days you will understand this”. We are challenged to understand – let us not ignore the challenge.