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What is the oracle of the Lord?



An oracle is a message from God. In Jeremiah 23, the NKJV and NASB 1995 both use the phrase "the oracle of the LORD" more than once. Some leaders of Israel were destroying and scattering God's sheep (Jeremiah 23:1), so they were told they would be judged. They were also told that the Messiah would come and save the people and lead the nation to safety and security (Jeremiah 23:5–6).


In the same chapter, God also says that false prophets get the Word of God wrong. They weren't sent by God, but by Baal, and they told Israel the wrong things (Jeremiah 23:13). They were making the whole land dirty (Jeremiah 23:15), so God would punish them. God is always there. People were fooled by these false prophets, but they couldn't fool God (Jeremiah 23:23–25). God hadn't sent them, and they didn't help Israel in any way (Jeremiah 23:32).


God says six times that the oracles of the Lord show that false prophets are guilty and that they will be judged soon. The word "oracle" comes from the Hebrew word "massa," which means "load" or "burden"—a heavy, important message. In this case, the Lord had to carry the load or burden (Yahweh). The term refers to a very important message from God that was given through a prophet.


In Jeremiah 23:33, when some people asked what the Lord's message was, they were told that He would leave them. So, anyone who claimed to be a prophet of the Lord was telling a lie and would be judged (Jeremiah 23:34). People would forget the real words of the Lord because they had changed His Word and messed up His message (Jeremiah 23:36). In Jeremiah 23:34–38, God says three times that they shouldn't say they have "the oracle of the LORD" (NKJV).


These six references to the oracle of the Lord in Jeremiah 23 make it clear that God takes His Word seriously and won't let it be used wrongly or misrepresented. Paul reminds his readers that all of the Scriptures, which are the books that God asked people to write, were actually inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16–17). Peter says that men who spoke for God were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). Peter adds that no prophecy in the Bible can be interpreted in any way a person wants (2 Peter 1:20).


Since God wrote the Bible, people should try to figure out what He was trying to say and not misunderstand what He wrote. In Jeremiah's time, the oracle of the Lord was very important, and God's Word is just as important today. Paul tells Timothy to work hard to study the Bible and handle it correctly so he won't be embarrassed (2 Timothy 2:15). There are no other words as important. God's Word is unique. It does exactly what God wants it to do (Isaiah 55:11), and it will always be there (Isaiah 40:8). God gives a blessing to those who hear and follow the words in the book of Revelation. This shows how important God's Word is. Paul tells Christians that they will change when their minds are renewed (Romans 12:2) and urges them to be ready with the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).