The Prophetic books Are divided between the major and minor prophets. The terms"greater"and"minor"are meant to describe the importance of each prophet's message. God chose to reveal more through the greater prophets than through the lesser prophets.
Books that begin with Isaiah and end with Malachi belong to a section of the Christian Bible called the Prophetic Books. These books record God's messages to the people of Israel and Judah in the form of sermons, sermons, visions, and life experiences of prophets who preached between 750 and 450 BC.
Some of the messages are of judgment and warning, while others focus on forgiveness and renewal.
The books of the"Ancient Prophets"(Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings) are part of the Old Testament Historical Books. The"Minor Prophets"are sometimes referred to as minor prophets because their speeches and sermons are much shorter than those of the older prophets.
The role of the Prophet. In the Bible
A"prophet"is a person called to speak for God and to deliver the messages of God to the people. The prophets not only predicted the future, but watched what was happening around them and delivered the messages of God for those situations.
Prophets often had to face difficult political, social or religious situations, so they sometimes spoke and acted in unusual ways to attract attention and make their messages clear.
For example, Jeremiah put a wooden yoke around his neck to represent the feeble power of a foreign nation (Jer 27: 1-11). Ezekiel sketched a picture of Jerusalem on a brick to warn the people of a coming attack in the city (Ezekiel 4: 1-8).
Hosea uses the image of the prophet's marriage to a prostitute to compare Israel's relationship with God, which continually forgives an unfaithful wife (Israel).
The prophets often present their speeches with the words"The Lord says". These words show that the prophets did not promote their own messages, but considered themselves the messengers of God with the authority to speak for God to the people.
Prophets often referred to their words as the messages God had given them to the people (see, for example, Isa 6: 1-13, Ezekiel 2: 1-10, Amos 1: 1-2, Hab 1: 1, Zechariah 1: 1). See also the article entitled"Prophets and Prophecy".
The Message of the Prophet
The message of each Prophet is often differentiated by what they emphasize. For example, Amos, Micah, and Zephaniah preached about the need for the people to change their way of acting toward God and with each other, to avoid being punished like the foreign nations around them.
Others, like Jeremiah and Ezekiel, warned the people about the coming of the defeat of Jerusalem and the exile of their people to Babylon and promised a future time in which the people of God will be released and will return to Jerusalem.
Others, such as Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, preached to those who had returned from exile and were working to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and begin again to worship God.
Isaiah's messages seem to address all these periods of Israel's history and encompass the events leading up to the return from exile in Babylon.
Some of the Prophetic Books, however, reflect a later historical configuration than when the prophets actually lived. After preaching and writing, his messages seem to have been adapted and corrected by people facing different social and religious situations.
An example of this type of book is Daniel, which may have been written in a way in the fourth century BC, but was not put into its present form until the time when the Seleucid dynasty ruled Palestine (circa 165 BC).
This shows that the messages of the Prophetic Books deal with issues that are of continuing importance to God's people: proper worship of God, justice and equality, and caring for oppressed and abused people.
Prophetic Books of the Bible
- Lamentations - It is believed that Jeremiah was the author of Lamentations. The book, a poetic work, is placed here with the Major Prophets in English Bibles because of its authorship.
- Daniel - In the translations of the Bible in English and Greek, Daniel is considered one of the Major Prophets; However, in the Hebrew canon it is part of"The Writings".
There have been prophets in all ages of God's relationship to mankind, but the books of the prophets refer to the"classical"period of prophecy during the last years of the divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel.
The Prophetic Books were written from the days of Elijah (874-853 BC) until the time of Malachi (400 BC).
Isaiah (sometimes spelled as: Esaias)
Isaiah, son of Amoz, was married and had two children. It was called in the year that King Uzziah died (740 BC). His ministry was long, during the reign of four kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Isaiah means"God is salvation."
Isaiah was sent chiefly to Judah, although his message also refers to the northern kingdom of Israel. He lived the terrible days of the civil war between Israel and Judah in 734-732 BC.
Isaiah is considered by some as the greatest of all Old Testament prophets, his disciples continued to transmit his teachings long after his death.
Isaiah also looked beyond his own time to the exile of Judah and the deliverance that God would provide.
Jesus often quotes from the book of Isaiah, which is not surprising, considering that salvation is a central theme in the book of Isaiah. The book of Isaiah is the first of the Older Prophets, and the longest of all books.
Jeremiah lived about 2600 years ago. He was the son of Hilkiah and lived in the city of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin in Judah. Jeremiah, according to the book of the Bible that bears his name, preached from about 628 BC to 586 BC in Jerusalem.
During that time, the Babylonian Empire had taken control of Jerusalem. The Babylonians took Jews as captives to Babylon as early as 605 BC and 597 BC.
Babylon destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC. Jeremiah warned the people of Jerusalem that they would be punished harshly for their sins. He begged the people to turn away from sin and turn to God, but with little profit.
In return, Jeremiah was attacked with contempt and persecution. When the people of Jerusalem were deported, Jeremiah was given the choice of staying in Judah or going to Babylon.
He chose to stay in Judah, but was later forced to flee to Egypt after a group of fanatics killed the Babylonian who had been appointed governor of Judah.
It is believed that Jeremiah died in Egypt. The book of Jeremiah is the second of the four Major Prophets.
Ezekiel lived about 2600 years ago, during the time when the Babylonian Empire had subdued the nation of Judah and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.
He was the son of Buzi, a Zadokite priest. He received his call as a prophet during the fifth year of King Jehoiachin's exile. Ezekiel's ministry lasted about 22 years.
Ezekiel's prophecies about the destruction of Jerusalem caused friction among the Jews who were with him in Babylon. But when his prophecies came true, people began to listen to him more closely.
Ezekiel's wife died during the day when the Babylonians began to besiege Jerusalem. This siege began approximately in AD 586, after Ezekiel and others had been taken captive in Babylon.
The siege ended with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in Jerusalem. Ezekiel was very watchful of the nation of Israel.
As a pastor, he protected the people. And as a watcher, he warned of the dangers that lay ahead. The name of Ezekiel means"God strengthens." The book of the Bible of Ezekiel is the third of the four Major Prophets.
The book of Daniel of the Bible deals with many historical events of that time. His book also contains prophecies about the future. Daniel saw and described the great world empires that were to come.
He also saw the power of God and the Messiah (Jesus Christ) who was to come and undo the evil of this world. The book of Daniel is divided into two parts. The first part is a compilation of narratives about Daniel and his friends (chapters 1-6).
The second part is a collection of apocalyptic visions that predict the course of world history (chapters 7-12).
After a three-year training period in Babylon, Daniel was trained to be smarter than all wise wizards and wise astrologers in Babylon, and was appointed counselor to King Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel remained faithful to God and prayed three times a day. He refused to bow to the idols, and did not eat the food or drink the wine supplied by the King.
I only ate vegetables and drank water. Through his faithfulness, God gave him the power to interpret dreams, see into the future, and God gave him a long life. The name Daniel means"God is my judge." His book is the fourth book of the four Major Prophets.
The Lesser Prophets
The"Twelve Lesser Prophets"are the eighth and final"book"in the second section of the Hebrew Bible, the Nevi'im, or Prophets. It is, as its name indicates, not a unified whole, but a collection of 12 independent books, by (at least) 12 different prophets.
"Minor"does not refer to its importance, but to its length: All were considered important enough to enter the Hebrew Bible, but none were long enough to form an independent book.
One of them, Obadiah, is only a long chapter, and the longest (Hosea and Zechariah) each contain 14 chapters.
They extend in the time of Hosea and Amos, dating from the middle of the eighth century BC, apart from the books of Zechariah and Malachi, which are probably from the beginning of the fourth century BC. OR
The theme unifying the 12 prophets is Israel's relationship with God. What does God demand of humans? How are historical events and the word of God interpreted? These are questions that appear throughout Bible prophecy.
But nowhere in the Bible does a single book present a wide variety of viewpoints on these issues as does the collection of the Twelve Lesser Prophets.
Even within a single period of time, there is a remarkable diversity of points of view.
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- Fairchild, M. (2016). Prophetic Books of the Bible. 11-3-2017, retrieved from thoughtco.com
- Ryrie, P. (2009). The Prophetic Book of the New Testament. 11-3-2017, retrieved from bible.org.
- Beale, G. (2017). Prophetic Books. 11-3-2017, retrieved from biblicaltraining.org.1.
- Ashter, S. (2015). The 12 Minor Prophets. 11-3-2017, retrieved from myjewishlearning.com.