Scripture and the Church

'Do Not Diminish A Word'

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Unlike the prophets of old, today's church is gripped by fear of the consequences of preaching the whole counsel of God.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part one of a series

Unlike the prophets of old, much of today's church is gripped by fear of the consequences of preaching the whole counsel of God.

In the 26th chapter of Jeremiah we find Jehovah sending His servant to speak a prophecy concerning the impending captivity of Judah under Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. Even at this late hour in the pre-captivity history of Judah, God through Jeremiah was declaring an offer of mercy, accompanied by a warning, to Joachim the king, the princes of Judah, the priests and prophets, and all the people. God through the prophet said that even at this late hour, if Judah would repent of her spiritual adultery and lawlessness He would relent concerning the doom He had pronounced upon them because of their evil doings. But if you will not repent, God declared through Jeremiah, I will make this city, Jerusalem, a curse to all the nations of the earth. Death, and destruction, and captivity will come.

The response of the priests and the prophets and all the people to this word from God was to say to Jeremiah, "You shall surely die!" How dare you prophesy against Jerusalem? How dare you say such things to us? Judah persisted in ungodliness.

But Jeremiah persisted in declaring the Word of the Lord, even at the risk of his life. It seemed that Jeremiah would die at the next moment at the hands of the unbelieving - and the unbelieving included, most notably, the so-called spiritual leaders of the day. This was not the first time Jeremiah would speak the true Word of God at the risk of his life, and it would not be the last.

"All the Words"

The words that I would especially call to our attention are the command that drove Jeremiah continually to do what he did as the spokesman of Jehovah. We find them in Jeremiah 26, verse 2:

Thus says the Lord: "Stand in the court of the Lord's house, and speak to all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord's house, all the words that I command you to speak to them. Do not diminish a word."

Also notice verse 12:

Then Jeremiah spoke to all the princes and all the people, saying: "The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city with all the words that you have heard."

Also notice verse 15:

But know for certain that if you put me to death, you will surely bring innocent blood on yourselves, on this city, and on its inhabitants; for truly the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.

We find the phrases "all the words" or "all these words" twenty-six times in the book of Jeremiah. And as a flaming banner over all of those statements we have the command of chapter 26 verse 2: "Do not diminish a word." The fuller sense of Jehovah's command in the original language is this: "Do not omit a single word" - "Do not restrain a single word" - "Do not withdraw a single word". Say it all, Jeremiah! Declare all that I have commanded you to declare!

Today's Church: Widespread Fear to Speak "All The Words"

We live in a time when most of the visible church ignores God's command to Jeremiah. Many men who stand in today's pulpits pretend that these words do not appear in Scripture - or do not apply to them. We live in an age of "political correctness" when many pastors refuse to speak the whole counsel of God for fear of offending certain people or constituencies. The Word of God has been diminished not only in the church, but as a result also in society at large.

How has this come about? Who does this affect? What must be done? We shall see the answers to these crucial questions as we continue.

Next: Satan's Tools to Diminish the Word


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