Denunciation of False Teachers and Teachings.

AGAINST THE FALSE PROPHETS. — V. 1. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, v. 2. Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, self-styled teachers and leaders as they were, that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, without a call from the Lord, speaking of a speedy return to Jerusalem without any warrant on His part, Hear ye the word of the Lord, whose proclamation of truth was opposed to all such deception, v. 3. Thus saith the Lord God, the sovereign Ruler of the universe, Woe unto the foolish prophets, vaunting themselves with a wisdom which was nothing but foolishness in the sight of God, that follow their own spirit, the imagination of their own hearts, and have seen nothing! have bad no vision given them by God, teaching only what they themselves have thought out. V. 4. O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts, in the ruins, for the self-appointed leaders and teachers of the people were wily destroyers, who worked stealthily, but none the less surely, at the ruin of the nation. The Lord now once more turns to the false Prophets themselves. V. 5. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, by placing themselves in the breaches to resist the attacks of the enemies directed against such weak spots, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel, literally, “neither built a wall about Israel,” to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord, in the war which all believers must wage for the honor of Jehovah. The false prophets did not try to repair the evil with which the nation was suffering; they made no attempt to bring back the people to the Law of Cod with good counsels, nor by withstanding the efforts of the wicked with proper rebukes. V. 6. They have seen vanity, nothingness, empty imaginations, and lying divination, so that they even believed their own lies, saying, The Lord saith, insisting that their message was the inspired Word of God, and the Lord hath not sent them; and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word, literally, “and hope for confirmation of a word,” that is, they foolishly trusted that their false prophecy, in spite of all evidences to the contrary, would yet be fulfilled. V. 7. Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The Lord saith it, albeit I have not spoken? They should deceive neither themselves nor others, for there was not the slightest foundation for their claim. V. 8. Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, Jehovah, the sovereign Ruler of the universe, Because ye have spoken vanity and seen lies, publishing them as the truth of the Lord, therefore, behold, I am against you, coming against them with a severe punishment, saith the Lord God. V. 9. And Mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity and that divine lies, namely, for the purpose of severely punishing them; they shall not be in the assembly of My people, in the roll of the citizens belonging to the Lord, to the people of God, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, excluded from those whom the Lord had chosen as His own, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel, namely, as members entitled to possess the Lord’s heritage; and ye shall know that I am the Lord God. The false prophets should lose all the rights and privileges which the members of God’s nation had, being denied all the special blessings which are the portion of his children. V. 10. Because, even because they have seduced My people, the introduction to His sentence being made in a most solemn and formal manner in order to heighten the effect of its condemnation, saying, Peace, and there was no peace, speaking of deliverance and salvation in spite of God’s threats to the contrary; and one built up a wall, by proclaiming false hopes, and, lo, others, members of the same class of false teachers, daubed it with untempered mortar, with worthless building material, with a cheap grade of whitewash. Thus the unsoundness of the wall from the absence of true binding cement is brought out. V. 11. Say unto them which daub it with untempered mortar that it shall fall, this being the consequence of building so unsafely, even if it was not the intention. There shall be an overflowing shower, a very severe shower of rain, a rainstorm; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall, and a stormy wind shall rend it, so that the weak wall with its many breaches would not be able to stand up under the impact of the forces of nature summoned against it by God. Thus the deceitful, hypocritical covering over of the inner corruption would become evident. V. 12. Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it? The hypocrisy and falsehood of the false prophets’ ministry would become evident in the course of time, so that they would be exposed before all men. V. 13. Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, I will even rend it with a stormy wind in My fury, or, “I cause a windstorm to break forth in My fury”; and there shall be an overflowing shower in Mine anger and great hailstones in My fury to consume it, unto utter destruction. V. 14. So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered mortar and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, laid bare, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof, perishing in the midst of Jerusalem, as the center of the theocracy; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. V. 15. Thus will I accomplish My wrath upon the wall and upon them that have daubed it with untempered mortar, with the coating of hypocritical whitewash which lacked all the qualities of a binding cement, and will say unto you, The wail is no more, neither they that daubed it, v. 16. to wit, the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, setting forth their own false predictions, and which see visions of peace for her, of salvation and deliverance in spite of her idolatrous ways, and there is no piece, says the Lord God. It is true of all false prophets that their hypocrisy and deceit will eventually be uncovered, if not before, then on the day of the Lord’s great reckoning with the whole world.

AGAINST THE FALSE PROPHETESSES. — V. 17. Likewise, thou son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people, the very expression signifying that these false prophetesses had cut themselves off from any true fellowship with the true God, which prophesy out of their own heart, pretending an inspiration which had not been vouchsafed them; and prophesy thou against them, v. 18. and say, Thus saith the Lord God, Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls, literally, “who sew together for themselves coverings for all joints of My hands and make caps for the head of every size to catch souls!” that is, their false prophecies served to cover the joints of the Lord, so that He was hindered in carrying out His intentions against them; and they provide veils, or caps, thick coverings, for the heads of all men, no matter what their status and stature, so that they fit each individual ease and keep the persons concerned from hearing and seeing the truth and the effect of the truth upon others. Will ye hunt the souls of My people, coaxing them to their destruction, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you? or, “ye will hunt the souls among My people, and ye will save souls alive among you!” that is, they would cause the souls of others to perish, while making every attempt to save their own. V. 19. And will ye pollute Me among My people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, the reward of unrighteousness, the price which they demanded for their false messages proclaimed by them, to slay the souls that should not die, to barter away immortal souls for paltry gain, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by promising safety to those on the broad way to ruin, by your lying to My people that hear your lies, accepting their false statements as divine truth. V. 20. Wherefore, thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I am against your pillows wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, that is, Jehovah, the God of the covenant, intended to take away the covers which the false prophetesses used, and to liberate the souls which they had enmeshed by their fine speeches; and I will tear them from your arms and will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly, so that they might escape like birds from the net of a fowler. V. 21. Your kerchiefs also, the caps which they used for such evil purposes, will I tear and deliver My people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunted, to be the prey of their wicked designs; and ye shall know that I am the Lord, His righteous judgments, carried out in this manner, being a proof of His true godhead. V. 22. Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, since flair false messages threw suspicions upon the true believers among the exiles, whom I have not made sad, and strengthened the hands of the wicked, who relied upon their false representations, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life, v. 23. therefore ye shall see no more vanity, have visions of things which were without foundation, which were invented by them for their own evil purposes, nor divine divinations, in false predictions of the future; for I will deliver My people out of your hand, namely, those who are Israelites in truth; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. As false teachers, imitating the ways of the Lord’s true servants, deceive souls and cause them to perish, so, on the other hand, the true ministers of God plainly tell the unrighteous that they are doomed to destruction, while they promise safety and deliverance to those who place their trust in the grace of Jehovah.