It is DANGEROUS to DECEIVE people and DEFY GOD: Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, "Hear now, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, but you make this people trust in a lie. Therefore thus says the Lord: 'Behold, I will cast you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have taught rebellion against the Lord.'" So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month. (Jer. 28:15-17)
In this particular incident, Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet made a false prediction that the Babylonian captivity will end in two years! This was a brazen act of this false prophet who displayed lack of fear both of Jehovah God and His true prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah then denounced Hananiah as a lying prophet and told him that he will die that year itself. This short-term prediction by Jeremiah would attest the fact that he was the true prophet of God (see v. 9; Deut. 18:21, 22). God’s judgment fell on Hananiah soon and he died just two months later (compare v. 1, the fifth month with v. 17, the seventh month). This confirmed to everyone the validity of Jeremiah’s message as well.
Rebellion against God’s servant is also a rebellion against God, and is a capital offense (vv. 16, 17) that is punishable by death (see Deut. 13:5; 18:20). Even greater is the punishment for one who, in addition to rebelling personally, teaches rebellion to others (v. 16; 29:32). Since Hananiah had taught rebellion against God, he would die as a punishment from God. This was what exactly happened and his rapid death was a demonstration of God’s judgment upon apostasy and rebellion!
Hananiah had misled the people of Judah by denouncing Jeremiah’s prophecy and then giving a prophecy of his own preceded by the words, “Thus says the Lord.” But in fact, God had not spoken to him (Jer. 28:10–11). That kind of false prophecy was a grievous sin, punishable by death (see Deut. 13:1-5; Ezekiel 11:13). Not surprisingly, the Lord called Hananiah to pay for his deception with his life (Jer. 28:15–17).
The Bible gives other examples to show that “he who speaks lies shall perish” (Prov. 19:9), and that the Lord hates dishonesty (Prov. 6:16–17). In the Garden of Eden, sin and death were introduced into the world because a lie was told and believed (Gen. 3:1–7; 1 Tim. 2:14). In the New Testament, Ananias and Sapphira lied to the early church and the Holy Spirit about the sale of their property, which brought about their untimely death as well (Acts 5:1–11).
Jesus spoke clearly about the nature of lying when he declared that lies are of the devil (John 8:44). Let us always remember that it is dangerous to deceive people in defiance of God. "For our God is a consuming fire." (Heb 12:29) By contrast, Jesus is the source of all truth, and those who speak and practice the truth show that they belong to Him (John 14:6). Let us always practice truth and integrity in our words and actions every day!