I wasn’t planning on doing a Prophets Overview, just an overview of each Prophet book, but as I started researching I found it so interesting so I thought I would share. A few years ago I really don’t know much about the Prophet books so I assumed they were about “predicting the future”. Well, that is not true.
Prophecy is a message from God, and a Prophet is a person who delivers the message. There are 17 Prophecy books. That does not mean there were only 17 Prophets. Actually, there have been hundreds. Originally the term prophet was used for military and judicial leadership, for example, Moses and Deborah. Then it was used by people who heard directly from the Lord, like Samuel. During the Monarchy they became advisers to the Kings (like Nathan to David), and now we begin this week with prophets like Elijah and Obadiah.
So there are 2 Categories of Prophets
- Major Prophets
- Minor Prophets.
What is the difference? One is major and the other is minor! (Just Kidding). It has NOTHING to do with importance (which I thought) it has to do with SIZE of the book. The Minor books may be short but POWERFUL! SO don’t get up into Heaven and try to meet the Major Prophets first and snub the Minors. They are equal in the importance of the message. God’s word is Sovereign, Supreme, and Ultimate regardless of the length of the message.
The period of the Prophets in the recorded books (17 in the Bible) cover about 500 years which were the Dark Ages of God’s Chosen people. The Prophets were men whom God raised up during the dark days of Israel’s history. The Prophet’s job was to deal with moral and religious problems and disobedience. Sometimes a Prophet would speak of the judgment of current sin and sometimes he would speak of the future if that was the message God gave him to speak. The message of the Bible is timeless and just as applicable today as it was the day it was written. (God knew what He was writing) So are these books relevant today??
- They are the message of God
- Written through real-life experience
- Speaks of human nature
- Addresses sin
Uhhhh I would say Yes! The Prophecy books take up the same amount of “space” in the Bible as the New Testament. I would say God thinks of them as pretty important.
So in conclusion, we know the Babylonian Exile (captivity) is coming up, so the Prophets can be divided into 3 categories:
- during captivity,
- and after captivity
We would also divide them as to who the Prophet is addressing.
So the Prophets BEFORE the exile in Chronological order are Obadiah (so guess what we will be reading next), Joel, Jonah (cannot wait for the Big fish Big God story) Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and Jeremiah (not the bullfrog).
The Prophets DURING the exile (or captivity in Babylon) are Ezekiel and Daniel.
The Prophets AFTER the return are Haggai, Zachariah, and Malachi.
The Prophets were fearless men who denounced the sins of their day. We are judged individually and collectively as a Nation. That’s a scary thought isn’t it.