Major Lessonsfrom the Minor Prophets Amos Hosea Zephaniah Zechariah
What was the work of a prophet? Summarizing a prophet’s work: • A prophet is a spokesman for another, a mouthpiece (Exodus 7:1-2) • Originally the word meant to “boil up like a fountain.” • Bible prophets spoke for God to men (Jeremiah 1:7, 9; Hebrews 1:1; 2 Peter 1:21) • They communicated instruction, promises, warning, judgment, and hope. • More “forth-tellers” than “foretellers.” • When prophets foretold the future, the emphasis was on the accomplishment of God’s will and counsel. • To contend with/counteract false prophets (Deuteronomy 18:20-22; Jeremiah 27:9-10)
Other Designations of Prophets • Seer (1 Sam. 9:9) • Man of God (1 Sam. 9:6) • Servant of God. • The prophets are specifically called “My servants” or “His servants” 19 times in Scripture. • Messenger (Isa. 42:19) • Watchman (Ezek. 3:17; 33:7)
Why “Minor” Prophets? • Not because their messages or personages were inferior • “Minor” is a man-made classification. • The Jews called these books the “lesser” prophets, or collectively the “Book of the Twelve.” • Termed “minor” because these 12 books are shorter in length than the 5 we label “Major.” • Even Daniel, the smallest of the Major Prophets is roughly twice the size of Hosea and Zechariah, the largest of the Minor Prophets.
Why Study The Minor Prophets? • They are inspired Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17) • They present important truths about Christ (Luke 24:47; Acts 3:24; 10:43) • They contain lasting lessons for us (Romans 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 1 Peter 1:10-12) • They teach us about the nature of God and His dealings with man. • They warn of sins and its consequences, particularly the sin of idolatry (2 Chronicles 36:14-16) • The sins that destroyed Israel & Judah are the same transgressions that separate people from God today.
The Prophets and the Problem of Idolatry • Idolatry was the besetting problem of Israel from the nations’ inception. • “From very ancient times the ancestors of Israel were Idolaters (Josh. 24:14-15).” • “Even during the forty years of wandering in the wilderness the Israelites practiced their idolatry” (Amos 5:25-27). (Waldron, pgs. 13-14). • Solomon became an idol worshiper (1 Kings 11:1-10) • In the time of the Divided Kingdom, idolatry was the foundation of Israel and the infestation of Judah; the prophets voiced God’s constant plea to repent or face doom! (Jeremiah 35:15)
The Prophets and the Problem of Idolatry • Yet the problem of idolatry is only mentioned by 7 of the 12 minor prophets, and notably by the four prophets whose messages we will study the quarter: • Each prophet indicts Israel for its idolatry • Amos 5:26 • Hosea 4:12, 17, 8:4; 10:6; 12:11; 13:2 • Zephaniah 1:4 • Zechariah 10:2
Idolatry Besets us Yet Today! Ephesians 5:5-6 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Colossians 3:5-6 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. 1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. 1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
Great Themes of the Prophets • The Holiness of God • The Sovereignty of God. • The Immutability of God’s Word • Sin • Repentance • Righteousness • Worship -- Robert Harkrider, (Minor Prophets “Spokesmen of God” p. 3)
Keys to Understanding the Prophets • Consider the political, moral, social, and religious conditions of the time in which the prophet lived. • Consider God’s relation to heathen nations, especially as they interacted with Israel. • Observe the prophecies concerning the coming King and His everlasting Kingdom – the true hope for the future of God’s people. -- Robert Harkrider, (Minor Prophets “Spokesmen of God” p. 3)