I think it was the year 2000 when I first heard someone quote Jeremiah 8:8 in order to say that something in Scripture had been corrupted by a lying scribe. I soon found out that anytime I’d go to a different Scripture, to try and show them their error, they’d just repeat the same about that text too: “Well that’s the lying pen of the scribes.”
What this abuse of Jeremiah amounts to is NOT trusting YHWH with all your heart, but instead leaning to YOUR OWN understanding. Any text this person liked, they’d quote authoritatively. Any text they didn’t like (that didn’t align with what they wanted) they’d again holler, “Lying pen of the scribes!” It was exhausting trying to reason with them, because they’d only accept texts that went along with their beliefs.
What this position on Jeremiah 8:8 leads to - consistently - is a denial of the authority of the entire Bible. I’ve seen people who went down this road eventually lose their faith entirely - you know why? Because that’s the consistent thing to do when you start peeling away texts with no manuscript authority to back you. There are certainly interpolations in Scripture, but we have to be able to show such through textual criticism. We can’t just make stuff up.
I’ve recently heard a couple fellows completely throw out the entire Torah available to us today, from Genesis to Deuteronomy. They claim that Moshe wrote a real Torah, but we don’t have that one anymore. They do this predominantly because they don’t like animal sacrifices, and the Torah we have speaks so much in favor of them, they end up throwing it all out.
They then quote texts in Jeremiah, 2 Esdras, and some from the gospel of Matthew; texts which they believe are in their favor. But guess what? They don’t even consider it a possibility that these texts are the lying pen of the scribes. Why? Because that’s the texts they want to use. If they want a text, good scribe. If they don’t want a text, bad scribe. It’s so awful.
If we slow down and exegete Jeremiah 8 properly, it’s not even saying that the scribes changed the Torah. It’s actually a condemnation of *people* who try to get around the Torah by *claiming* scribal lies.
If you back up just a bit, 8:5 speaks of back-slidden Jerusalem, 8:6 says no man repented of his wickedness, and 8:7 says the people don’t know the judgment of YHWH.
With this context, the key to 8:8 is right at the beginning of the verse. The prophet asks the people “How do *YE* say,” and then he goes on to quote what the backsliders are saying. It’s not YHWH saying the scribes are lying. It’s not the prophet saying the scribes are lying. It’s the unrepentant back-sliders that speak of the lying pen of the scribes.
The unrepentant are claiming, “The law of YHWH is with us! The pen of the scribes is in vain!” They are trying to circumvent what is written by the scribes by claiming they have the truth and they are the authority. They say they have the law of YHWH, because they don’t want to go by what’s been written.
So the present-day people that are trying to use this text in Jeremiah to get around the Torah (that we have today) are actually condemned by this very text. They are saying the same thing the back-sliders said way back then.
I’ve seen this so much in my walk over the years. Some people get just enough information to hurt themselves, but they don’t know how to handle the Scriptures properly. They have something in their own mind or heart that they want to believe, so they twist the Scriptures to go along with what they want. They don’t love YHWH enough to trust His instructions and let His Torah change their heart and mind. It’s very sad.
I’ve watched many of these same people veer off into believing pretty much nothing. They eventually stop serving YHWH, and just live their own life and do what they want to do. They have no stability and they wander from doctrine to doctrine like a spiritual vagabond.
If you ever hear someone try to quote Jeremiah 8:8 in an attempt to discredit a Scripture, you are listening to a person why doesn’t want to submit to YHWH. They may say they do, but they’re no different than the people who say “Lord, Lord,” but at the same time practice lawlessness (Matthew 7:21-23). You do not love YHWH by trashing His word. That’s how you hate YHWH.
I grew up in a singing church. Sometimes we would sing for like 2 hours solid. I remember playing the bass guitar for the church as a teenager and my fingers getting so tired that they wouldn't work anymore. Those bass runs were killer.
As a child I just sang along with everything. I didn't pay much attention to what I was singing. The older I get, and the more I study Scripture, theology, christology, and all the other "ologies," I realize that some of the songs I have sang over the years are just bad. Real, real bad.
Not too long ago I heard a brother belt out this line, "I know Yahweh will make a way for me. If I live a holy life, shun the wrong and do the right." Man I used to love singing that song. But I'm gonna just be honest. I can't sing it anymore.
Yahweh makes ways for us we we live holy and do right? Um... if that song is accurate then none of us would be saved. We've all lived unholy lives. We've all shunned the right and did the wrong. The whole gospel message is that Yahweh has made a way for us WHO HAVE NOT DONE WHAT IS RIGHT. Of course I know there are people out there who actually believe they don't do wrong. They sing that tune with great gusto. I used to be one of them. Now, I've gotten to the point where I don't even know how else better to start a prayer than, "Father, have mercy upon me, a sinner."
Let me tell you about another song that I think is just a big, fat lie. It's an old one, and I'm sure this will upset some old saints in the faith, but I'm just keeping things real. It's called "I Surrender All." It starts out like this:
All to Jesus I surrender
The last time I sang that song I just thought in my mind, "No I don't. I should. I know I need to. I know that's what is demanded of me. But I don't." I put myself above my Savior all the time. I put my job above my Savior, my wife, my kids, my money; it often all comes before my Savior. There may be times when I do a bit better, but to sing "I Surrender All" at the top of my lungs acting like I mean what I am singing? Nope, not gonna lie.
The way I suggest we sing the song is "Christ surrendered all, Christ surrendered all." This way the song is absolutely true. Yeshua did surrender all to the Father. He humbled himself even to the point of death on the cross. I've failed the Father often. Yeshua never did. My faith rests in him and only him for my righteousness.
I wonder what other songs I'm still singing that aren't theologically accurate. I guess it's back to the drawing board.
References: Romans 5:6-11; Philippians 2:1-11
My Dad told me years ago something that has always stuck with me. He said this, "Son, whenever you hear someone tell you that God spoke to them be very cautious." I am so thankful that he told me this at a young age because I've heard "everybody and their uncle" say that the Lord speaks to them since then.
What is so disheartening is that you can show some of these people Scripture and it doesn't matter because "the Lord spoke to them" and told them what to believe. I often tell these people that claim to hear the voice of the Creator that I've heard other people claim the same but tell me that the Lord spoke to them something quite different.
For instance I know of two ministers who claim that the Creator told them individually what His name is. One minister told me that God said His name is Jesus; the other minister told me that God said His name is the Lord God. Which one is right? Well, if you go by what people are telling you there is no way of knowing. However, if you judge what they claim by Scripture you can know the truth.
Scripture ALWAYS trumps what people claim to hear from heaven. The Apostle Paul even said that if an angel from heaven came teaching another gospel let him be accursed (Galatians 1:9). The people of Berea were praised for checking Paul's doctrine out by examining the Scriptures daily (OT Scriptures) to see if what he was telling them was the truth (Acts 17:10-11).
There was a time when Yahweh's revelation was orally transmitted; that time has come and gone. Once His revelation was written down it cannot be improved upon, added to, or taken away from. Do not listen to people that claim that the Lord spoke to them; be very cautious. Instead go with what Scripture says. That is how you will hear Yahweh speaking to you today.
If there was ever a passage that is extremely relevant to this day and age it is 2 Timothy 4:1-4. Here Paul (the apostle) encourages young Timothy to proclaim the truth message - preach the word - as some translations put it. He tells him to do so whether it's convenient or not. The KJV says whether it is in season or out of season. I take him to mean most likely when it is popular or when it is not popular. Whatever the case, it is the word that must be preached. This is an oddity today, because most men who call themselves (or whom others call) pastors do not preach the word, they preach a "get rich quick" or "self esteem" message that is about as shallow as possible. In such, people are becoming less and less capable of listening to a genuine sermon/bible study becaue they think a sermon is a 20 minute lesson that exalts mans "goodness" and contains a hint of Scripture here or there.
Paul knew that such times would come, therefore he writes to Timothy that the time will come when people will not be able to tolerate sound doctrine. Does this sound familiar? It surely should because there are thousands of people in the church-world today who do not tolerate sound doctrine. They pick their "home church" based upon programs, music ministry, number of people, how good they feel, etc. They should rather ask themselves if the true message of Scripture is being taught from the pulpit and if God is being glorified rather than man. If a preacher never preaches expositorily or exegetically; if a preacher never teaches deep bible study; if a preacher's messages are always titled "You Can Make It" or "Living to Your Fullest Potential," the chances are you are going to one of the visible "Christian" churches in the world rather than to a true Christian assembly.
Paul tells Timothy that people will heap to themselves teachers having itching ears. The HCSB says that these people have an itch to hear something new. This translation then gives a footnote that says "or, to hear what they want to hear." People run to find a multitude of professing teachers so that they might be able to find a few that will lie to them and make them feel better about their sin. How often this is the case today. Paul concludes by saying they will turn away from hearing the truth and turn aside to myths/fables. It is sad, but such happens so very often with people today.
Paul tells Timothy in verse 5 to basically persist in teaching properly. He says that Timothy must keep a clear head, endure hardship (persecution for teaching Scripture), and continue in the work of the ministry. If you are a teacher out there, Pauls words are calling out to you today, and if you are a listener out there who wants there ears tickled, repent and turn to Yahweh's truths before you are cast into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.