On false peace

A few weeks ago I was in a conversation, where a friend was speculating about afterlife, and what it entails. I wasn't sure what to say. It wasn't an appropriate time to articulate my views on the topic, yet I couldn't simply agree with what was said either.

How tempting it is, to only speak of God's great love, omitting an aspect of his character which is just as important - his holiness. Yet, by doing so, are we not leaving out an essential piece of the gospel, the good news? For what is so amazing about grace if there was no judgment.

Reading Jeremiah, I have been struck by how Jeremiah repeatedly speaks of judgment and then a time of peace and restoration, in contrast to the many false prophets of his time who declared peace, without acknowledging the judgment of Judah which was to come first.

So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your interpreters of dreams, your mediums or your sorcerers who tell you, 'You will not serve the king of Babylon.' They prophesy lies to you that will only serve to remove you far from your lands... - Jeremiah 27:9-10

For example, in Jeremiah 28 there is a prophet called Hananiah who takes a yoke off Jeremiah and breaks it, falsely declaring that the Lord had revealed to him that the rule of the Babylonian kingdom will be broken within two years.

Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, "Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, yet you have persuaded this nation to trust in lies. Therefore this is what the Lord says: 'I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. This very year you are going to die, because you have preached rebellion against the Lord.' " In the seventh month of the same year, Hananiah the prophet died. - Jeremiah 28:15-17

The false prophets were harshly rebuked for proclaiming a message of peace without judgment, and for opposing God's message of judgment through Jeremiah. In agreeing that there is no judgment, but that afterlife is a beautiful place of rest, am I not giving a message of false peace that is not from the Lord? But what else can I possibly say, without being insensitive?

It is also unsettling just how unpopular Jeremiah's message was, resulting in hatred from the general populace to officials and religious leaders, resulting in his imprisonment and various murder plots directed against him. I suppose it's not just our generation which tolerates a message of love, but finds the message of judgment offensive.



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