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Old Testament Survey : Introduction to the Books of Prophecy. “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4). The Prophetic Books.

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Old testament survey introduction to the books of prophecy

Old Testament Survey:Introduction to the Books of Prophecy

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)


The prophetic books
The Prophetic Books

  • Period of prophets covers about 400 years (800-400 BC)

  • Central event—destruction of Jerusalem (about middle of the period)

  • There are 17 books—Isaiahthru Malachi

  • Only 16 prophets wrote (Jeremiah wrote two)

  • Five Major Prophets; Twelve Minor Prophets


Relationship to other books
Relationship to Other Books

  • 17 books of prophecy complement the 17 historic books.

  • The emphasis in the prophetic books not so much on history as on proclaiming and interpreting God’s word to a backsliding nation!

  • Belong to the nation’s decline and fall, leading to captivity

  • Five poetical books (Job to Song of Solomon) pertain chiefly to the golden age of the monarchy—the united kingdom


Main theme
Main Theme

  • God’s justice, sovereignty, and mercy

    • God’s justice and sovereignty

    • His matchless mercy and love for Israel

    • Overruling providence in the nation’s affairs

    • Weave in contemporary and future events

    • Dark background of righteous judgment

    • Bright cord of divine love, even in punishment

    • Promise and realization of restoration of a remnant of Israel

    • Shining hope of the coming Redeemer!


Main theme1
Main Theme

  • Relevant Message

    • Messages of the prophets were relevant to the moral and religious conditions of their day

    • Time to root out and build up (Jeremiah 1:9,10)

    • God was sending hope and solutions for their problems.

    • This message of hope is still relevant in our own day (Romans 15:4)


Main theme2
Main Theme

  • Main Message

    • Most important message of the prophets was their good news of the coming Christ, His redemptive work, and the establishment of His kingdom—the church!

    • This told the audience (then and now) that God had a plan, and He would bring that plan to fruition—in His time!


The office of a prophet
The Office of a Prophet

  • Primary work of prophets

    • God’s spokesman, called by Him to warn the people in times of great national crisis and distress.

    • Rebuked Israel for her past sins, warned of present dangers, and foretold future events.

    • Called on an individual basis, for special service. Godused different terms: seers, watchmen, shepherds.

    • Called to announce and interpret His word to the people.


The office of a prophet1
The Office of a Prophet

  • Primarily preachers

    • God’s messengers; primarily preachers of righteousness and teachers of the Law.

    • Called and sent by God during critical times of widespread moral and spiritual decay.

    • Often stood alone(Jeremiah 5:30,31)

    • Champions of righteousness—combination of teacher, statesman, and seer.


The office of a prophet2
The Office of a Prophet

  • Inspired by God

    • 2 Peter 1:20,21

    • The prophets were aware of the gift of inspiration.

    • Most common expression—”Thus saith the Lord.”

    • Earliest work was oral—Elijah and Elisha.

    • Later, they worked to preserve records of their preaching and the nation’s history.

    • God’s mouthpiece(Exodus 4:10-16)


The office of a prophet3
The Office of a Prophet

  • Prophets were reformers

    • Normally, priests and Levites were the teachers in Israel.

    • God called the prophets when the people and their leaders neglected the Law (Ezekiel 22:26).

    • They warned the people of the certainty of God’s judgment and wrath if they did not change their ways.

    • As scribes, recorded the events.

    • They wrote and compiled large portions of the Old Testament.

    • Many prophecies concerning the Messiah.


The office of a prophet4
The Office of a Prophet

  • Proof of their word

    • Reveal the future without error or exception

    • Deuteronomy 18:20-22

    • Similar test in the new—1 Corinthians 14:37

    • God expects us to search out and know the differences between His prophets and the false prophets!

    • Luke 24:44; Hebrews 2:3,4; 1 John 4:1


God s purpose for calling the prophets
God’s Purpose forCalling the Prophets

Spokesmen for God to instruct and exhort the people about the Law.

“Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me: ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.’” (Jeremiah 1:9,10)


God s purpose for calling the prophets1
God’s Purpose forCalling the Prophets

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets.” (Hebrews 1:1)

To reveal His will during the Old Testament period.


God s purpose for calling the prophets2
God’s Purpose forCalling the Prophets

“Because My people have forgotten Me, they have burned incense to worthless idols. And they have caused themselves to stumble in their ways, from the ancient paths, to walk in pathways and not on a highway.” (Jeremiah 18:15)

Prophets had messages that were, first of all, relevant to the moral and religious condition of the day.


God s purpose for calling the prophets3
God’s Purpose forCalling the Prophets

“Then Zedekiah the king commanded that they should commit Jeremiah to the court of the prison, and that they should give him daily a piece of bread from the bakers' street, until all the bread in the city was gone. Thus, Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.” (Jeremiah 37:21)

They forewarned and admonished rulers, often face to face.


God s purpose for calling the prophets4
God’s Purpose forCalling the Prophets

“Take a scroll of a book and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel, against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah even to this day.” (Jeremiah 36:2)

They preserved, in written form, the messages they received directly from God.


God s purpose for calling the prophets5
God’s Purpose forCalling the Prophets

“That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws.” (Daniel 4:33)

They recorded the history of their times.


God s purpose for calling the prophets6
God’s Purpose forCalling the Prophets

“I will stretch out My hand against Judah, and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I will cut off every trace of Baal from this place, the names of the idolatrous priests with the pagan priests.” (Zephaniah 1:4)

The prophets counteracted the people’s idolatrous tendencies.


God s purpose for calling the prophets7
God’s Purpose forCalling the Prophets

“For then the king of Babylon's army besieged Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, which was in the king of Judah's house.” (Jeremiah 32:2)

Examples of great faith and courage. Most suffered persecution and death because of their work.


To whom did the prophets address their writings
To Whom Did the Prophets’ Address Their Writings

  • As follows:

    • To Israel—AmosandHosea

    • To Nineveh—JonahandNahum

    • To Babylon—Daniel

    • To captives in Babylon—Ezekiel

    • To Edom—Obadiah

    • To Judah— Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, ZechariahandMalachi


Brief theme of each book
Brief Theme of Each Book

  • Isaiah

    • The Evangelical, or Messianic, Prophet wrote of God’s glory, judgment against evil, and mankind’s salvation through Christ.

  • Jeremiah

    • The Weeping Prophet foretold and witnessed the fall of Jerusalem; warned of God’s judgment on backsliding people, as well as His eternal love that provided salvation from sin through the gift of His Son.


Brief theme of each book1
Brief Theme of Each Book

  • Lamentations

    • Sequel to Jeremiah, speaks of the sorrow, misery, and judgment that sin brings; assures that God shows compassion on those who repent.

  • Ezekiel

    • Uses symbols--like Revelation. He described God’s goodness and severity as seen in His dealing with sin. Sin must be punished, but God shows great mercy in His forgiveness of those who do His will.


Brief theme of each book2
Brief Theme of Each Book

  • Daniel

    • God’s sovereignty, in all ages, over the affairs of men and nations. Foretold of four great world empires and God’s everlasting kingdom.

  • Hosea

    • Pictured Israel as an adulterous bride and denounced her terrible idolatry. Contrasted God’s persistent love for His people with their unfaithfulness to Him!


Brief theme of each book3
Brief Theme of Each Book

  • Joel

    • Spoke of the “day of the Lord” and foretold the out pouring of the Holy Spirit(2:28-32). Fulfilled on Day of Pentecost(2:1-21). God’schastening love for His people.

  • Amos

    • A great, fervent preacher (4:12); pronounced“woe to them that are at ease in Zion” (6:1). God’s righteous and holy love for His people.


Brief theme of each book4
Brief Theme of Each Book

  • Obadiah

    • Foretold of the overthrow of Edom, Esau’s descendants, because of their violence to Israel. God’s delivery of vengeful love for His people.

  • Jonah

    • The story of God sparing Nineveh, Assyria’s capital. God’s universal, forgiving love; for Gentiles, as well as Jews. Cannot run away from God!


Brief theme of each book5
Brief Theme of Each Book

  • Micah

    • God’s controversy with His people. Shows His hatred for evil and delight in pardoning the penitent. Foretold of Christ’s birthplace(5:2). God’s desire for them(6:8). His pleading, punishing, and pardoning love for His people.

  • Nahum

    • 130 years after Jonah, Nahum tells of God’s vengeance and goodness as he predicts, in detail, the destruction of Nineveh, “that bloody city.” God’s avenging love.


Brief theme of each book6
Brief Theme of Each Book

  • Habakkuk

    • Promised that God would punish the Chaldeans for their wickedness in overthrowing Judah. God’s providential, delivering love for His people.

  • Zephaniah

    • Divine judgment will fall on Judah, as well as the enemy nations. Israel is warned, but unconcerned. A remnant will be saved. God’s jealous love for His people.


Brief theme of each book7
Brief Theme of Each Book

  • Haggai

    • This and the following two books belong to the post-exile period. Haggai returned with Zerubbabel and appealed to the people to “consider your ways,” and complete the rebuilding of the temple.

  • Zechariah

    • Finding the people still complacent, he joined Haggai in charging them to complete the temple. Spoke of the “Lord of hosts,” prince of peace, and foretold of the coming priest/king--the Christ.


Brief theme of each book8
Brief Theme of Each Book

  • Malachi

    • The last of the Old Testament’s inspired prophets, Malachi lived 100 years after Haggai and Zechariah. He was connected with the reform movement of Ezra and Nehemiah. He reproved his brethren for heathen marriages, divorce, polluted sacrifices, corruption of the Sabbath, withholding tithes, and other sins. The only prophet who discussed the forerunner of Christ—John the Baptist. God’s continued love despite their lack of steadfastness.