Introduction to the Prophetic Books

The Poetical books belong to the golden age of the Hebrew nation. The Prophetical books belong to the dark ages of God’s chosen people. The prophets were men whom God raised up during the dark days of Israel’s history. They were the evangelists of the day. They were God’s voice to the nation (Heb. ! " #uke !$%&. ' (ings $! ) indicated they were God’s servants to warn the nations and call them to repentance. The prophet was seldom sent to the nation when they were walking in obedience to God * when a prophet appeared+ it usually indicated that a spiritual deterioration had occurred in the nation (,udges -! %&. Their message and rebukes were very plain and pointed+ and as a result+ they were hated and despised by the sinful people (' .hron. )-! -&. /tephen said+ 01hich of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted2 They have slain them which shewed before the coming of the 3,ust 4ne’. (5cts $!6'&.7 .hrist laid the same charge * 8att. ')!) . It was been said+ 0The prophets were the most unpopular men in their day+ for they dealt with the moral and religious conditions of the hour7. The words which the prophets used to rebuke or e9hort the people were very pointed. They rebuked kings and commoners alike. Truth is very unpopular with sinners. THE MESSAGE OF THE PROPHETS . The :ispersion and captivity of God’s chosen people. '. The coming of the 8essiah * The prophets prophesied both comings. His first coming * to suffer and die+ and his (second& coming to reign. The ,ews overlooked the fact that He must first suffer before He reigns. ;ven the disciples attention was wrapped up in the earthly kingdom (5cts !-&. 5ll through the <ew Testament+ we read the words+ 0that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet...7 ). The restoration of the people to their land. =. The reign of the 8essiah over the whole earth. ;ven though we see in the prophets+ the final collapse of God’s people+ at first Israel+ then ,udah being led into captivity+ nevertheless God revealed that the ending of His nation did not end His plans. There is yet to be a glorious future when the Prince of Peace shall reign over His people and sway his sceptre+ 0from sea to sea+ and from the river unto the ends of the earth7 (Ps. $'!>&. The period of the prophets covered about 6%% years (from ?%% @... to =%% @...& 5ll of the prophets were Hebrew. 8alachi was the last of the prophets. Aollowing him+ there were =%% silent years. This was broken by the dramatic appearance of ,ohn the @aptist. There were four maBor+ and twelve minor prophets. This difference is made+ not because of their importance+ but because of the amount of material that was written. The messages of the prophets are very relevant to this day. They talk about the very sins that are rampant in our land today. The captivities of the <orthern kingdom of Israel (into 5ssyria&+ and the @abylonian captivity of ,udah+ is the most predominant theme of the prophets. The historical account of these is found in ' (ings $! *')+ and ' (ings '=! " '6!' . /ome of the prophets served before the e9ile+ some during the e9ile+ and some following the e9ile. Pre-exile Prophets: (In order of their writings& * 4badiah+ ,oel+ ,onah+ 5mos+ Hosea+ Isaiah+ 8icah+ <ahum+ Habakkuk+ Cephaniah+ and ,eremiah. (,onah+ 5mos and Hosea were prophets to Israel. The remainder were prophets to ,udah.& Exilic Prophets: ;Dekiel and :aniel were the maBor prophets to those in e9ile. :aniel was prophet in @abylon under both the @abylonian and the Persian ;mpires. ;Dekiel prophesied 0among the captives7 (;Dk. ! &. The latter part of ,eremiah’s ministry e9tended into the captivity.

Post-Exile Prophets: Haggai+ Cechariah+ and 8alachi prophesied to the returned remnant (. The ministry of the prophets was two*fold! They were 0foretellers7+ and they were 0forth*tellers7 (they 0said it like it was7&.Dk. . They not only had insight into the future+ but they also had insight into the current events+ and could interpret their meaning. 6! &.