An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end? Jeremiah 5:30-31

I’ve thought about those two verses for decades. How in the world could the population of a country love to have their government lie to them? Doesn’t make sense — except it does.

[Podcast version available at the end of this post.]

The Big Lie

Governments have been lying to their people for thousands of years. The government of Judah in Jeremiah’s time included a king and priests along with false prophets who said what the king and priests wanted to hear. That would be similar to today’s president or prime minister and their cabinet along with congress or parliament along with judges, governors, mayors, councils, etc.

Governments at every level (e.g. city, county, state, nation) lie to their people. I base that on history and my own experience in covering governments as a journalist. Not all government leaders lie, but many do. Some leaders are caught in their lies and voted out of office or convicted of crimes. Some resign in disgrace. However, in the case of Judah during the time of the prophet Jeremiah, leaders were not voted out of office or charged with a crime. They did not resign in disgrace. Why? Because the “people love to have it so.”

Jeremiah’s Lie

We know from history that Jeremiah told the truth. However, the prophet was accused of being the liar even though he was really the truth-teller. Jeremiah, along with many other of God’s prophets (e.g. Isaiah, Micah, Zephaniah) had warned Judah of impending judgment because of their many sins against God. How did the government’s leaders respond to their warnings?

They have lied about the Lord, And said, It is not He. Neither will evil come upon us, Nor shall we see sword or famine. Jeremiah 5:12

They accused Jeremiah of being the liar and the people liked hearing that. Why? Because people want to hear what they want to hear. The people of Judah loved their idol worship and sexual immorality. They loved living life the way they wanted to live their life and they didn’t like anyone telling them they were wrong. They chose believing a lie over believing the truth because it suited them better.

The problem for the people of Judah was that their king and priests and most prophets were wrong — dead wrong.

And the prophets become wind, For the word is not in them. Thus shall it be done to them. Jeremiah 5:13

Jeremiah lived to see the judgment of God fall on the leaders and citizens of Judah. It was a terrible thing to see. You can read about the awful details in a recent post about Warning and Lament: The Collapse of Civilizations.

Thousands of people were taken into Babylonian captivity, thousands more died or escaped to Egypt, Judah’s cities and towns were destroyed, including Jerusalem, and King Solomon’s Temple was in ruins. God used King Nebuchadnezzar and his evil empire to deliver judgment to the wicked and disobedient people of Judah (Israel’s Southern Kingdom), even as He had used the evil empire of Assyria to destroy Israel’s Northern Kingdom more than a century earlier.

So, who was the liar? Jeremiah or the false prophets of Judah? The people of Judah viewed Jeremiah as a conspiracy theorist. What he said couldn’t possibly be true. Why? Because their government leaders said Jeremiah was a liar. “Neither will evil come upon us, Nor shall we see sword or famine.” However, as we see from historical documents, the people of Judah died by sword and famine, exactly as Jeremiah and other prophets of God had said.

In Today’s World

Today’s world population is no different than the people who lived during ancient times. We want to hear only good news about ourselves, our ideas and way of life. Government leaders continue to lie to their people and call truth-tellers liars. That’s what we see in what the Bible calls the last days, end times and end of the age.

But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Matthew 24:37-39

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come … so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. 2 Timothy 3:1, 8-9

… scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’ For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water,  by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 2 Peter 3:3-7

While government leaders lie and the people love to have it that way, prophets of God cry out His truth for all to hear. Though people like to hear their governments tell them they have everything under control and things are going to be fine, they deal falsely with the people They claim peace when there is no peace.

Therefore I am full of the fury of the Lord. I am weary of holding it in. ‘I will pour it out on the children outside, And on the assembly of young men together; For even the husband shall be taken with the wife, The aged with him who is full of days. And their houses shall be turned over to others, Fields and wives together; For I will stretch out My hand Against the inhabitants of the land, says the Lord. ‘Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is given to covetousness; And from the prophet even to the priest, Everyone deals falsely. They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; Nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time I punish them, They shall be cast down,’ says the Lord. Jeremiah 6:11-15

Ready for Christ’s Return?

Jesus Christ will return to earth soon. How soon we don’t know for sure, but by all signs it appears to be close. There is no stopping what is going to happen at the end of this age. God has spoken through His prophets and His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). It will be done. The question is are you ready for Christ’s return?

By ready, I simply mean this. Are you personally ready to meet Jesus Christ face to face? Everyone who is alive today, has ever been alive or will be alive in the future has a personal appointment with Jesus. Jesus is the King of kings, Lord of Lords and the Alpha and Omega. He is both the Creator and the Judge of all humanity. You may think of that as an empty threat, but I mean it as an offer of tremendous mercy. God sent His Son into this world so that we might be saved through Him.

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Romans 5:6-11

We need to be ready, prepared for Christ’s return. God’s offer has a time limit, so it’s best to respond earlier rather than later. If you have questions or comments, please let us know how we can help.

But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”(that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:8-13

Free eBook

Click here to download a free eBook of this study.



Teaching Notes: On Christian Apologetics (Part 1) GraceLife Blog

  1. Teaching Notes: On Christian Apologetics (Part 1)
  2. The Great Mandate
  3. Teaching Notes: On Submission
  4. Teaching Notes: On Suffering
  5. The GraceLife Library Challenge

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

GraceLife © 1990-2021