Jeremiah 23 Breakdown
23:1 The Lord says, “The leaders of my people are sure to be judged. They were supposed to watch over my people like shepherds watch over their sheep. But they are causing my people to be destroyed and scattered.
Jehovah spoke to Jeremiah again. God would judge the leaders of Judah. They would have to become shepherds who were not watching over the sheep. Instead, they were causing the sheep to be destroyed and scattered.
23:2 So the Lord God of Israel has this to say about the leaders who are ruling over his people: “You have caused my people to be dispersed and driven into exile. You have not taken care of them. So I will punish you for the evil that you have done. I, the Lord, affirm it!
The leaders of Judah had caused the people of Judah to be driven into the Babylonian captivity.
23:3 Then I myself will regather those of my people who are still alive from all the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their homeland. They will greatly increase in number.
Not only had the leaders caused the Babylonian Captivity, but future leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees) would cause the dispersion from the land in 70 A.D. At the end of the Great Tribulation, Jehovah would regather the dispersed Jews from all of the nations of the world and bring them into the land of Israel. During the Millennial Kingdom, there would be no more Jewish genocides. Therefore, the population of Israel would increase rapidly.
23:4 I will install rulers over them who will care for them. Then they will no longer need to fear or be terrified. None of them will turn up missing. I, the Lord, promise it!
During the Millennial Kingdom, Israel would no longer receive terrible rulers (like Zedekiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, etc). Instead, they will receive righteous rulers who will feed them with knowledge and understanding. Knowledge and understanding is sound Bible doctrine.
23:5 “I, the Lord, promise that a new time will certainly come when I will raise up for them a righteous branch, a descendant of David. He will rule over them with wisdom and understanding and will do what is just and right in the land.
During the Millennial Kingdom, Israel will no longer be ruled by evil Davidic kings who lack godly wisdom (such as Zedekiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, etc). Instead, Israel will be ruled by the Righteous Branch. This Righteous Branch will be a descendant of David, meaning that he will be human. He will rule with godly wisdom and understanding. He will keep and enforce the Millennial Kingdom Law. He will rule righteously. All of the other Davidic kings were raised up to rule in this way, but they all failed. This Righteous Branch will not fail.
Until modern times, all Rabbinic literature has always interpreted this verse as a prophecy of the Messiah. When Jesus fulfilled this prophecy, the post-Christian rabbis changed their interpretation because of blindness and biasness.
23:6 Under his rule Judah will enjoy safety and Israel will live in security. This is the name he will go by: ‘The Lord has provided us with justice.’
This verse informs the reader that the Messiah will not only be human, but he will be deity as well. Under the Messianic King’s rule, Israel will enjoy eternal safety and security by receiving a national regeneration.
The name of this Messianic King is “Jehovah our Righteousness.” Since all four letters of Jehovah are used, then this identifies the Messianic King as Jehovah Himself. When a human takes on the name of Jehovah, he only uses the first two letters (such as “Eli-JAH” or “JAH-el”).
23:7 “So I, the Lord, say: ‘A new time will certainly come. People now affirm their oaths with “I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the people of Israel out of Egypt.”
During the Millennial Kingdom, the Jews will never look at the Exodus from Egypt as their greatest deliverance. Instead, their greatest deliverance will be considered the deliverance from the Antichrist from all of the nations of the world.
23:8 But at that time they will affirm them with “I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the descendants of the former nation of Israel from the land of the north and from all the other lands where he had banished them.” At that time they will live in their own land.’ ”
During the Millennial Kingdom, all of the Jews who survive the Great Tribulation will be regenerated and returned to the physical land of Israel. Amilleniallists like to spiritualize this passage to mean the church. This is nothing but biased interpretation to make the Scripture fit their own personal amillennial theology.
23:9 Here is what the Lord says concerning the false prophets: My heart and my mind are deeply disturbed. I tremble all over. I am like a drunk person, like a person who has had too much wine, because of the way the Lord and his holy word are being mistreated.
In verses 9-40, Jeremiah leaves the subject of the final restoration and returns to the current issues of the false prophets. Jeremiah is deeply disturbed. He trembles all over like a drunken person who has drank too much wine. The contempt for the word of God has placed Jeremiah in this stuporous condition.
23:10 For the land is full of people unfaithful to him. They live wicked lives and they misuse their power. So the land is dried up because it is under his curse. The pastures in the wilderness are withered.
The land of Judah is full of spiritual adulterers. They use their power for evil. This type of behavior causes Jehovah to keep His promises about delivering the curses of the Mosaic Covenant.
23:11 Moreover, the Lord says,“Both the prophets and priests are godless. I have even found them doing evil in my temple!
The prophets and priests of Jehovah are godless. They were even worshiping pagan gods in the Temple.
23:12 So the paths they follow will be dark and slippery. They will stumble and fall headlong. For I will bring disaster on them. A day of reckoning is coming for them.” The Lord affirms it!
Jehovah announced His judgment against these false prophets and teachers. They would attempt to look into the future, but they would walk down a dark and slippery path. They would slip and fall down continually because of the continuous unfullfillment of all of their false prophecies. The day of reckoning that was coming upon them would be the Babylonian Captivity.
23:13 The Lord says, “I saw the prophets of Samaria doing something that was disgusting. They prophesied in the name of the god Baal and led my people Israel astray.
Samaria was the fallen capital city of Israel. Their prophets were disgusting, but at least they prophesied in the name of Baal. They led Israel into the Assyrian Captivity.
23:14 But I see the prophets of Jerusalem doing something just as shocking. They are unfaithful to me and continually prophesy lies. So they give encouragement to people who are doing evil, with the result that they do not stop their evildoing. I consider all of them as bad as the people of Sodom, and the citizens of Jerusalem as bad as the people of Gomorrah.
The prophets of the northern kingdom were making false prophecies and leading Judah astray, but they were claiming that their prophecies were actually coming from Jehovah. The people of Judah had become just as bad as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God and never rebuilt. Every one of their citizens were exterminated off of this earth. Jerusalem deserved this same type of punishment, especially since they were given more light. However, Jehovah cannot exterminate Judah, because of the unconditional covenants (Abrahamic, Davidic, New) which He had made with them. Therefore, He would have to punish Judah in a different way.
23:15 So then I, the Lord who rules over all, have something to say concerning the prophets of Jerusalem: ‘I will make these prophets eat the bitter food of suffering and drink the poison water of judgment. For the prophets of Jerusalem are the reason that ungodliness has spread throughout the land.’ ”
Jehovah announced His judgment upon the false prophets and teachers of Jerusalem. They will be forced to eat wormwood and drink gall. Wormwood was a bad tasting food with a strong odor and bitter taste. Gall was a poisonous drink.
23:16 The Lord who rules over all says to the people of Jerusalem: “Do not listen to what those prophets are saying to you. They are filling you with false hopes. They are reporting visions of their own imaginations, not something the Lord has given them to say.
Jehovah warned Judah not to listen to these false prophets and teachers. They were filling the people with false hopes. They were reporting that they had a vision from Jehovah, but it was actually just an invention of their own imaginations. Jehovah was not speaking through these prophets. Many charismatic “prophets” imagine that they have a dream or vision and then speak it as gospel truth. They are adding to the written Word of God. They are just as guilty as these false prophets of Jerusalem.
23:17 They continually say to those who reject what the Lord has said, ‘Things will go well for you!’ They say to all those who follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts, ‘Nothing bad will happen to you!’
The claim of these false prophets was that Jerusalem would not be judged as Jeremiah had told them. Instead, Jerusalem would receive peace. People believed the positive untruthful message of the false prophets, but rejected the negative true message of Jeremiah. People prefer prophets and teachers who tickle their ears. This is why charismatic, prosperity, emergent, and seeker churches are so large, but expository teaching churches are so small.
Most modern Christians have never studied the Book of Jeremiah, so they miss out on this important spiritual concept. This fragmentation of Bible doctrine causes them to spend their lives in the wrong church. They study the wrong books. They live in fragmentation.
23:18 Yet which of them has ever stood in the Lord’s inner circle so they could see and hear what he has to say? Which of them have ever paid attention or listened to what he has said?
God asked some questions to these false prophets. Who has ever heard a true message from Jehovah? The answer was that none of these false prophets had ever received revelation from Jehovah.
23:19 But just watch! The wrath of the Lord will come like a storm! Like a raging storm it will rage down on the heads of those who are wicked.
The wrath of God would come down upon the heads of these false prophets like a massive hurricane.
23:20 The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he has fully carried out his intended purposes. In days to come you people will come to understand this clearly.
Anger is not a sin if it is a righteous anger. The anger of Jehovah would not turn back until it reached its intended purposes. When the Babylonian invasion of 586 B.C. takes place, then the people would know that Jeremiah was a true prophet and all of these other men were false prophets. The spiritual truth of Israel’s restoration would not be clearly understood until the last days of the Great Tribulation. This understanding will nationally regenerate Israel and motivate them to call for their Messiah to return
23:21 I did not send those prophets. Yet they were in a hurry to give their message. I did not tell them anything. Yet they prophesied anyway.
The prophets claimed to be sent by Jehovah, but He did not send them.
23:22 But if they had stood in my inner circle, they would have proclaimed my message to my people. They would have caused my people to turn from their wicked ways and stop doing the evil things they are doing.
If these were true prophets of God, then they would have been predicting judgment and not prosperity.
23:23 Do you people think that I am some local deity and not the transcendent God?” the Lord asks.
Jehovah was not just a local god or goddess. He is omnipotent over all of creation.
23:24 “Do you really think anyone can hide himself where I cannot see him?” the Lord asks. “Do you not know that I am everywhere?” the Lord asks.
God is omniscient. He knows and can see the past, present, and future all at one time. He is omnipresent. He is everywhere at once. He is near and He is far. The Lord Jesus Christ is sitting at the right hand of the Father, but He is still everywhere at once. There is no place for anyone to hide from God.
23:25 The Lord says, “I have heard what those prophets who are prophesying lies in my name are saying. They are saying, ‘I have had a dream! I have had a dream!’
The false prophets were claiming that they were receiving dreams from God. These false claims were repeated twice, making it emphatic.
There are many modern charismatics who make this same claim today. They claim that they have a dream or that they die and go to heaven. Then, they write a book and make a lot of money. People with poor Bible doctrine treat these dreams as another final authority which is equal to Scripture. If people would study the entire counsel of the Word of God, then they would be able to recognize that these “dreams from the Holy Spirit” are just inventions of the minds of sinful men. Another possibility is that these dreams are a satanic deception to fool those who are not grounded in Bible doctrine. The dreams of charismatics are not equal to Scripture. It is the written Bible, not the dreams of human beings, which is man's final authority.
23:26 Those prophets are just prophesying lies. They are prophesying the delusions of their own minds.
These dreamers are false prophets. They are making up these dreams in their own mind and giving them out as the Word of God. The people were not grounded in the Bible, so they believe these dreamers.
23:27 How long will they go on plotting to make my people forget who I am through the dreams they tell one another? That is just as bad as what their ancestors did when they forgot who I am by worshiping the god Baal.
What are these false prophets trying to accomplish? They were worse than the false prophets of Baal, because they were making the people forget about God’s name. Modern charismatics will often listen to the false prophecies, false tongues, and false words of knowledge of their charismatic prophets, but they will not study the entire counsel of the written Word of God.
23:28 Let the prophet who has had a dream go ahead and tell his dream. Let the person who has received my message report that message faithfully. What is like straw cannot compare to what is like grain! I, the Lord, affirm it!
The false prophets who tell these dreams should tell it as a dream only, and not as the Word of God. Otherwise, their dreams would be like straw which is easily burned. Straw is fit for animals. Grain is food for men. Instead of feeding on these false dreams (straw), the people should feed on the written Word of God (grain).