The Books of the Prophets
2 Timothy 3:16-17
There are 17 Books of the Prophets. But that grouping has been divided into 2 groups. They are identified as the Major Prophets and the Minor Prophets.
The Major Prophets are; Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Some very interesting facts and prophecies are contained in them.
Isaiah: ( the Lord saves.)
The author of this Book of Isaiah is Isaiah, son of Amoz. Isaiah was of an upper-class family and had been an official of King Uzziah. He was well educated, an exceptional writer with literary skills. Isaiah was a person of strong emotions and feelings. He was deeply devoted to “the Holy One of Israel”.
God’s message for Isaiah to deliver was a choice: 1. Repent and come to faith in an all-powerful God. 2. Prepare for judgment.
Isaiah prophesized many woes and judgments to come, restoration, and the Messiah.
The author is Jeremiah, a priest of the Judah nation. God set him apart before his birth, to be a prophet. His prophetic ministry began 626 bc. He was appointed over nations and kingdoms, including Judah, to tear down and to rebuild. God frequently affirmed Jeremiah’s calling.
Jeremiah, known as the “weeping prophet”, was sensitive, timid with self-criticism, but courageous in delivering God’s message. He endured persecution and threats of death.
God’s messages were of judgment, destruction and consequences of rebellion. Jeremiah’s laments and crying were because of Judah’s sins and coming judgment, his love of the people and of God, and the doom and gloom of the messages he had to deliver.
Jeremiah’s writings seem to follow no particular pattern. The various topics are intermingled. When Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon (586 bc), Jeremiah and his closest companion and secretary, Baruch, fled to Egypt.
Jeremiah was aware of the broken old covenant; the need of a new covenant; and the Branch sprout from David’s line who will bring it.
(In the King James Version, NT, Jeremiah was referred to as Jeremy in Matthew 2:17 and 27:9. Also as Jeremias in Matthew 16:14.)
Lamentations: (Hebrew title is ‘ekah, meaning How…!)
Chapter 1,2, and 4 begin with the word ‘how’. In the Greek, Latin, and Jewish traditions it is called Lamentations. The author is unknown, but most contribute the Book to Jeremiah.
It was a custom of the Orthodox Jews to read Lamentations aloud in its entirety on the anniversary of the destruction of Solomon’s temple. It was read the last 3 days of Holy Week in the traditional Roman Catholic liturgy. Some read it at the Wailing Wall. This was a reminder to God’s people of their terrible conspicuous sins and covenant-breaking rebellion.
Lamentations begins with laments of the destruction. Then it focuses on God’s goodness, hope, love, faithfulness, and salvation. It ends in repentance.
>>Chapter 3 gives us some instruction: Wait! Hope! Trust!
Ezekiel, a priest-prophet was the author of this Book of Ezekiel. Being a member of a priestly family, he was eligible to serve as a priest. He was among the Jews in the 2nd exile by the Babylonians (597 bc). It was during Ezekiel’s captivity that he received God’s call to the Prophetic ministry. He had a vast education.
God delivered His messages to Ezekiel by visions. The messages were directed to the Jewish exiles in Babylon and to the Gentile nations surrounding Judah.
The nature of the messages were: >judgment on the nation of Judah; >judgment on the 7 surrounding nations; >future blessings on God’s Covenant People.
Ezekiel emphasized the responsibility of each individual to bear their own sin. Also, it is each individual’s responsibility to make their personal decision to accept God’s way.
>>In the future, God’s rule will come through a descendant of David.
Daniel: (God is my Judge.)
The Book of Daniel refers to Daniel as the author. In 605 bc, the Babylon nation took Jews from Jerusalem as captives. As teenagers, Daniel and 3 friends were among them. These fellows were firm in their faith and obedience to God, so they refused the Babylon customs and gods.
Daniel interpreted dreams and visions for kings, by God’s revelation. Although Daniel friends were captives in an pagan country, God was in control.
His faith grew deeper and stronger. In his older years, Daniel received visions of 70 Weeks Prophesy; a time of restoration; the Messiah; and end times.
The visions of the final judgment confused Daniel, so he asked for an explanation. He was told the words were closed and sealed, for Daniel to go his way.
The Book of Daniel is an example of a man who lived for God, by God’s laws, and with God’s direction. Is that called obedience?
FYI: Babylon Captivity)
1st exile of Jews was 605 bc. It included Daniel and 3 friends.
2nd exile of Jews was 597 bc. It included Ezekiel.
3rd exile of Jews was 586 bc. It took place when Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.
God has the end times all planned out. And only He knows. Our concern is not how it will come or when it will come. Our concern is will we be ready.