The 12 Minor Prophets (part 1)
I need to apologize to all of you for missing my article on the Minor Prophets in October. I was in the process of reorganizing my home after moving. This ‘fall chick’ moves even slower now, than in my younger years. The Lord has me back on track, I think. Please accept my apology.
The Book of the Twelve also known as the Minor Prophets were considered a unit at one time and written on one scroll. Later they became known as the Minor Prophets referring to the small size of the Book and not of its importance.
The Books come around the time of Assyria’s power and into their decline. The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple had taken place and the rebuilding was in progress. Most of the Book’s authors are unknown except for what is disclosed in the Book’s scriptures. The Prophets have been called by God to deliver His message of judgment, repentance, and restoration. God’s people had turned to traditions and pagan ways of foreign countries. God wanted them to return to Him!
Thus, the 12 Minor Prophets and their messages. We are covering only the first 6 of the 12 this month.
Hosea: (the meaning is salvation)
The author of the Book of Hosea is believed to be Hosea, the son of Beeri. A prophet during the 8th century B.C. for 38 years from the Northern Kingdom – Israel.
God instructed Hosea to marry a prostitute. He did. Her unfaithfulness to their marriage relationship and the torment it caused Hosea, was symbolic of the relationship of God and of His covenant people.
The prophet delivered God’s message of condemnation and judgment for His people. But, His compassion and love couldn’t let Israel go.
Joel: (‘Jehovah is God’)
The author is Joel, the son of Pethuel, probably from the area of Judah. The Lord’s word through Joel predicts and declares: >the outpouring of the Spirit of God; >the coming Day of the Lord; >the day of judgment (God vents His wrath); >many ways for God to speak to His people. There are promises and encouragement at the end…for those who trust in God.
Amos: (‘the Lord carries’)
Amos, a prophet from Judah, was author of the Book of Amos. He was knowledgeable in history and world affairs. Being skilled in language, he was a vigorous spokesperson for God.
God’s message via Amos, was punishment and judgment on God’s people by God because of their pagan nation. If His chosen people would repent, God would not abandon them.
The God Amos speaks about, is the God of the universe, the God who is in control of all things. It is the God who uses all nations, Christian or pagan, to accomplish His purpose.
Obadiah: (‘servant of the Lord’)
This Book was written by Obadiah, a prophet of Judah. That he lived during the times of turmoil in Jerusalem is all that is known of him. The Book of Obadiah only has 21 verses.
This vision is a revelation from God to Edom. God’s wrath will bring judgment to them because of their hostility versus Israel. He will reject and destroy them.
Esau (Edom nation) and Jacob (Israel nation) were twin brothers. Their battle started in the womb (Genesis 25). They became 2 nations and held bitter feelings against each other. Israel prospers because God is with them.
Note: God changed Jacob’s name to Israel
Jonah: (‘a dove’)
Traditionally the author is identified as Jonah, the main person in the Book. He is the son of Amittal from Gath Hepher in Zebulun.
God gave Jonah instructions to go to Nineveh and preach against their evil ways. Jonah knew if they repented God would forgive them, so he ran away in a ship going the opposite direction. A storm came up and Jonah was thrown overboard. God provided a great fish to save Jonah. So Jonah obeyed God and took His message to Nineveh. Nineveh repented. God forgave them. Jonah was angry at God and pouted in a shelter. God provided a vine for shade that lived a day. Jonah wanted to die.
Jonah’s concern was for a vine not the salvation of the many people in Nineveh, enemies of Israel. God’s concern is for all people of the world, not just one nation.
Micah: (‘Who is like the Lord?’)
The prophet, Micah, from the town of Moresheth Gath from Southern part of Judah, is the author. He courageously takes God’s message to Samaria, capital of Israel and to Jerusalem, capital of Judah.
The message of judgment, condemnation and destruction is because of their greed, cheating, and meaningless rituals. God gives judgment with a promise of hope. During His wrath, He remembers mercy. His love shadows the whole process.
Micah predicts the Messiah’s birth 700 years before it happened.
NOTE: Watch for the purpose of each message and the use of each messenger. Next will be the rest of the 12 prophets.