Recorded by Jeremiah in his book at Jeremiah 27:12-15, we read that he is instructed by Jehovah to tell the people to willingly go into captivity into Babylon. At the same time, other prophets, also claiming to speak in the name of Jehovah, are contradicting Jeremiah. Why would God tell his own nation to willingly submit to captivity and, if Jeremiah truly was representing God, how would the nation of Israel know that?
Why go? God’s people had for some time (again) been disloyal to their God. (Look at this outline highlighting the nation’s idolatry, apostasy, shedding of innocent blood, and more.) His approval and protection were no longer with them. They deserved to be punished and God was going to allow Babylon to come in and destroy. Still, as big-hearted as Jehovah is, he made a concession of sorts, that those who truly did love him would submit to the “spanking” (if you will) and go to Babylon in demonstration of the acknowledgement of their failings and acceptance of the punishment. Those submitting to the punishment, would be spared their lives as opposed to those that continued in a rebellious course who would die when Babylon invades and destroys.
Identifying the Truth: Hananiah was one of the prophets mentioned by name that opposed Jeremiah and his message, predicting a completely different outcome for the nation. Jehovah told Jeremiah to predict Hananiah’s death. Adding insult to injury, not only did Hananiah lose his life, but his prophecies failed miserably as indeed Babylon did destroy the nation, killing those who obstinately remained behind, believing the fallacious words of the false prophets that God would protect them.
Lesson: It is hard for some to believe that their long-cherished beliefs may be wrong. How can a person know what the truth is when there are so many religions out there making contradictory claims? Today, we have the complete word of God in the Holy Bible. It is capable of helping us discern matters of importance. It has the ability to teach. It can help us determine whose “fruits” demonstrate goodness.