EXPOSING THE WORKS OF DARKNESS
Ephesians 5:11-14 "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. When anything
is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light."
Jeremiah 23:30-32. Behold, I am against the prophets that steal my words, &c. —
“That imitate the true prophets, speaking in my name, as they do, and saying, Thus saith the Lord, (see Jeremiah 23:31,) and using their words, but applying them to their own purpose: or, it may be, adding their own inventions to them.” So Lowth. Others paraphrase the verse thus, “That conspire together what to
say to deceive the people, and to steal what they say one from another.” Or, perhaps the meaning rather is, That utter, as revelations made to themselves, things which they have learned, and, as it were, stolen from others. That use
their tongues, &c. — That take their own tongues, as Blaney renders it, and say, He (the Lord) hath said. “The phrase of taking their own
tongue,” he observes: “is, I think, very easily to be understood of those who, without any inspiration, took upon them to deliver messages to the people, and pretended that they came from God.” I am against them
that prophesy false dreams — False things, under the notion of revelations made to them in their sleep. And cause my people to err — To wander from the right way; by their lies, and by their lightness
— By their groundless assertions, their folly, their rashness and inconsistency with themselves: or, by the flatteries of their preaching, soothing men up in their sins, and by the looseness and lewdness of their conversation encouraging them to persist
in them. Yet I sent them not, &c. — They are not my messengers, nor is what they say my message. Therefore they shall not profit this people at all — All the profit they aim at communicating
is to make the people easy, but they shall not be able to do even that; for my providences will be such as will fill them with painful apprehensions and distressing fears. Some read the clause, They do not profit this people, considering
the words as implying more than they express, namely, that these false prophets not only did the people no good, but did them a great deal of hurt. Observe, reader, none can expect God’s blessing upon their ministry who are not called and sent of God.
And those that corrupt the word of God, while they pretend to preach it, are so far from edifying the church, that they do it the greatest mischief imaginable.
23:23-32 Men cannot be hidden from God's all-seeing eye. Will they never see what judgments they prepare for themselves? Let them consider what a vast difference there is between
these prophecies and those delivered by the true prophets of the Lord. Let them not call their foolish dreams Divine oracles. The promises of peace these prophets make are no more to be compared to God's promises than chaff to wheat. The unhumbled heart of
man is like a rock; if not melted by the word of God as a fire, it will be broken to pieces by it as a hammer. How can they be long safe, or at all easy, who have a God of almighty power against them? The word of God is no smooth, lulling, deceitful message.
And by its faithfulness it may certainly be distinguished from false doctrines.
Jeremiah gives in succession the main characteristics of the teaching of the false prophets. The first is that they steal God's words from one another. Having no message from God, they try to imitate the true prophets.
30. steal my words—a twofold plagiarism; one steals from the other, and all steal
words from Jehovah's true prophets, but misapply them (see Jer 28:2; Joh 10:1; Re 22:19).
There are various opinions as to what the prophet meaneth here by those prophets that stole the Lord’s words from their neighbours. Some, by their
the true prophets, from whom they stole those forms of speech, Thus saith the Lord, or, The word of the Lord, or, The burden of the Lord. Or some of the matter which they prophesied,
though they mixed it with their own lies and deceits. Others by neighbours understanding their associates, think that these false prophets conspired together what to say to deceive the people, and so stole what they said one from another: or, the generality
of the people, from whom they are said to steal the Lord’s word because they withheld it from them injuriously; or by their arts and flatteries brought men out of love with or fear of the words of the Lord, which had by the true prophets been delivered