Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are saying to you, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon,’ for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you. I have not sent them, declares the Lord, but they are prophesying falsely in my name.Jeremiah 27:15
King Nebuchadnezzar had already plundered Israel’s treasures and sent many of the Jews into exile. Now they were threatening to conquer Jerusalem. Jeremiah urged the people to accept the yoke of Babylon:
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets & diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord.Jeremiah 29:7
However the people refused to listen and Nebuchadnezzar laid a brutal siege on Jerusalem. The false prophets advised continued resistance:
Hananiah the prophet spoke to me in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests and all the people, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two years I will bring back to this place all the vessels of the Lord house, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon. I will also bring back to this place … the king of Judah and all the exiles from Judah who went to Babylon, declares the Lord, for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.”Jeremiah 28:1
So the people resisted and were starved and massacred. Jeremiah is known as the ‘Weeping Prophet’ for his doomed pleas.
Zionists today are making the same mistake. They say it is time for the Jews to return to Israel and take the land to fulfill the covenant. However Jeremiah’s warnings show this is false prophecy. It is not yet time, and when it is, we must buy the land, not conquer it. Jeremiah explains:
For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.Jeremiah 29:10
He’s saying that we must return to God and Torah while in exile. The fact that the Jews are deeply divided on the issues of ‘peace’ and ‘evil’ shows we still have a long way to go before we are ready to return. We haven’t yet found God, and He hasn’t found us. But we are making progress!
Furthermore, Zionists are still operating under the original covenant, by which we could conquer the land by war. However that covenant had long since been fulfilled in the time of King Solomon, and then broken. We had turned away from God and provoked him to fury against us with our disobedience.
Jeremiah explains that when we return we are to purchase the land, not steal it:
Fields shall be bought in this land of which you are saying, ‘It is a desolation, without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans [Babylonians].’ Fields shall be bought for money, and deeds shall be signed and sealed and witnessed, in the land of Benjamin, in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country…; for I will restore their fortunes, declares the Lord.Jeremiah 32:43
Zionists justify land theft not just by relying on the original covenant, but also with the claim that since the land was stolen from us, we can steal it back. However that is false for numerous reasons. If your car is totaled, you can’t go back and demand a new one, or steal one. You have to pay for it. Furthermore, the land changed hands many times since the Romans kicked us out two thousand years ago. Who is the rightful owner? God is clearly telling us that while it was acceptable in the past to conquer land by war, this is no longer acceptable today. We must behave as a civilized people. And finally, the Lord will restore our fortunes. We have money – there is no need to steal the land! However the appeal of Israel to many Zionists is their lack of success in the USA. Thus they have little to offer other than might and intimidation.
Zionists sometimes claim that the land had no owner, and thus there is no one to buy it from. But Jeremiah clearly anticipated that specious argument: “Fields shall be bought in this land of which you are saying, ‘It is a desolation, without man or beast.'”
Jeremiah was very specific about the process to buy the land, to ensure that ownership would not later be disputed. In fact during the siege he practiced buying a field just as a demonstration to show how it will be done:
And I wrote a bill of sale and signed it and took witnesses, and weighed the silver on a scale.Jeremiah 32:10
Yet you, O Lord God, have said to me, “Buy the field for money and get witnesses”—though the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.Jeremiah 32:25
For so says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be purchased again in this land.Jeremiah 32:15
Yet today the land in Israel is hotly contested, because we failed to heed Jeremiah’s instructions. There are no deeds or witnesses to prove that the settlers own the land they live on.
Ezekiel too warned against the reassurance of false prophets:
Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you… My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations…. Precisely because they have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace….”Ezekiel 13:8
Zionism is the latest incarnation of the ancient Jewish ethic of provocation – whether of God or the nations around us. The only solution is to enact equality throughout Israel and Palestine.
Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, the father of the Reform Movement in the USA, anticipated the menace of Zionism 150 years ago. He understood that the original covenant no longer prevailed:
The idea of the Jews returning to Palestine is no part of our creed. We rather believe it is God’s will that the habitable world become one holy land and the human family one chosen people.Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, 1880
Like Jeremiah, he exhorted us to our higher purpose yet he could not compete with the deceptive appeal of the false prophets.