In Jeremiah 28, the prophet Jeremiah had a showdown with the prophet Hananiah who was referred to as “a prophet from Gibeon” (v.1). Jeremiah was a preaching prophet and he had declared the word of the Lord concerning Judah and Jerusalem’s punishment because of their rebellion against the Lord. When Hananiah withstood Jeremiah publicly in the temple he proclaimed the following:
“This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will remove the yoke of the king of Babylon from your necks. Within two years I will bring back all the Temple treasures that King Nebuchadnezzar carried off to Babylon. And I will bring back Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the other captives that were taken to Babylon. I will surely break the yoke that the king of Babylon has put on your necks. I, the LORD, have spoken!’”
When Jeremiah heard these words he sarcastically applauded Hananiah’s prophecy, and then gave a stern warning challenging Hananiah’s prediction. Jeremiah challenged Hananiah based on the history of the ancient prophets who were sent by God before Jeremiah and Hananiah’s time.
Jeremiah said, “Listen now to the solemn words I speak to you in the presence of all these people. The ancient prophets who preceded you and me spoke against many nations, always warning of war, disaster, and disease. So a prophet who predicts peace must show he is right. Only when his predictions come true can we know that he is really from the LORD.”
At this point Hananiah became defiant and persistently forged ahead in an effort to show-up or embarrass Jeremiah by claiming “This is what the Lord says.” Hananiah’s words proved to be false and two months later he died because God judged him. It is a serious thing to claim that God has spoken when God hasn’t.
Jeremiah, being a true prophet of God, appealed to the words of the ancient prophets because his ministry was in line with the ancient prophets that had preceded him. Hananiah‘s wasn’t. Throughout the Bible we have Biblical models that we can learn from to understand the true calling, ministry, and characteristics one truly called to be a prophet.
Many of today’s so-called prophets are claiming to have new revelation – revelation that does not square with the truth of scripture, and like Hananiah, their ministries do not exemplify the model of God’s true prophets who came before them.