The Minor ProphetsIntroduction • Overview of the background of the period • Minor prophets cover a significant period of time (possibly as much as 845 B.C. through 432 B.C) • A wide variety of conditions existed during the recording of their messages • Idolatry first introduced late in Solomon’s reign • Gained wider acceptance, first in Israel and then in Judah. Beginning with Jeroboam setting up calf worship, things deteriorated until Baal worship became the state religion in the North.
The Minor ProphetsIntroduction • Overview of the background of the period • Idolatry gained a slower foothold in the South, but with the cross-contamination resulting from Ahab’s family intermarrying with Jehoshaphat’s family, things grew worse quickly. • This was likely about the time that God sent Obadiah and Joel. As time progressed, political and moral corruption became more and more common (Hab. 1:2-4, Hosea 7:1-3, Micah 2:1-2, 3:1-3, Zeph. 3:1-5).
The Minor ProphetsIntroduction • Overview of the background of the period • The message of God through the prophets was largely intended to draw His people back to Him and to demonstrate His omnipotence to the heathen nations. • By the time we reach Malachi, both Israel and Judah had been carried away into captivity - Judah had returned to the land, but was experiencing very little success in serving Jehovah faithfully. It would be little more than four-hundred years before the Messiah would come.
The Minor ProphetsIntroduction • Important Themes Developed by the Prophets • Holiness of God • Jehovah is not like man’s invented gods. They are simply an extension of man’s evil behavior, while God is completely different. Not only is He holy, He expects those who are His to be holy. (Zeph. 3:5, Hab. 2:20) • God’s concern and expectations for the nations • God is concerned about the behavior of Israel and He will not simply tolerate the wickedness of the other nations. (Amos 1:3 – 2:8, Rom. 2:14-15)
The Minor ProphetsIntroduction • Important Themes Developed by the Prophets • Repentance and righteousness • Since both Israel and the heathen nations are generally ignoring God’s way, the prophets are constantly calling them to repent and come back to God. (Joel 2:12-28) • Judgment - The Day of Jehovah • There are many references to the “Day of the LORD” throughout the prophets. These are referring to the judgment to come either in the lives of individuals or for the nation as a whole. (Joel 2:1-11)
The Minor ProphetsIntroduction • Important Themes Developed by the Prophets • The Coming Messiah • The most sublime and hopeful message in the prophets. The Christ (Messiah) is coming. Although he will bring salvation to both Jews and Gentiles, His coming will also bring judgment. (Micah 5:2; Malachi 3:1-3) • The New Spiritual Order in the Messiah’s Kingdom • When the Messiah comes, He will establish a kingdom that will overshadow all other kingdoms. In the prophets, this kingdom is described in many ways such as “The Mountain of the Lord’s House.” In this way the prophets were foretelling the establishment of the Church. (Joel 2:28-32; 3:17)