Major Prophets

I thought I might use my devotion this week for a little old testament bible study.  Why the old testament?  Well it is important because the Old Testament records the true creation of man, the Flood, God calling Abraham, the selection of the people of Israel through Isaac and Jacob and God’s dealings with them on the basis of the covenant He made with them on Mount Sinai.  

Following the Mosaic covenant, God’s relationship with His chosen people is recorded.  Their wanderings in the wilderness of the Sinai Peninsula, their partial conquest of the land of Canaan, their life under the judges and kings, and the division of the Israel into Northern and Southern kingdoms after Solomon’s death are all documented. 

After the division of Israel come many prophetic warnings of captivity, several captivities and the return of Judah to the land.  Most importantly, the Old Testament records a procession of prophecies announcing the coming of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.  The Old Testament instructs us and gives a  riches prophetic perspective of Jesus Christ. 

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

The Major Prophets of the Bible. The prophets played an important role in declaring the Future kingdom blessings regarding the promise given to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3.  The prophetic office was started in Deuteronomy 18:15-18.  The job of the prophets was to call Israel back to the Mosaic Law to which the Israelites were bound to the Lord.  The Mosaic Law was a conditional covenant with God. He promised to bless the Israelites if they obeyed Him, He would punish them if they disobeyed Him. 

The term “major: and “minor” prophets are a classification of the books based solely upon the length the writings. There are five Major Prophets: Isaiah,Jeremiah,Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel. 

ISAIAH: The book of Isaiah was written about 700 B.C. was born into an influential family. He attacked the social ills of the day and was ridiculed frequently. He warned against foreign alliances and urged Judah to trust the Lord. During Isaiah’s ministry the Northern Kingdom of Israel had already been destroyed by the Assyrians. Isaiah is often called the Messianic Prophet because he predicts the most about the coming Messiah and Messianic Kingdom. Tradition holds that he was martyred by being sawed in two inside a hollow log by King Manasseh.  When Assyria came against Jerusalem in 701, Isaiah’s prayers, advice to King Hezekiah and God’s miraculous intervention sent the invading army home.

JEREMIAH: The book of Jeremiah was written about 627 B.C. Jeremiah is often called the “weeping prophet” or the lonely prophet because he was commanded not to marry (16:2). He proclaimed God’s word faithfully for 40 years enduring beatings, imprisonment and ridicule. He was imprisoned by King Zedekiah and had his writings destroyed by King Jehoiakim (Jeremiah rewrote them).  Jeremiah tried to save Jerusalem from Babylon but failed.  When Jerusalem fell in 586 B.C. he was released by the Babylonians and prophesied a few more years.

For reference: The Babylonian exile of Judah took place in three stages.

605 B.C. - Some captives taken to Babylon including Daniel.

507 B.C. - More captives taken to Babylon, including Ezekiel.

586 B.C. - Jerusalem burned

LAMENTATIONS: The book of Lamentations was written by Jeremiah in 586 B.C.  Lamentations comes from the Greek verb meaning to “cry out loud.” Jeremiah composed the book after witnessing the siege and destruction of Jerusalem.  The Jews read the book publicly on the ninth day of the month of Ab (mid-July) in commemoration of the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and it’s destruction by the Romans in 70 A.D.

EZEKIEL: The book of Ezekiel was written about 592-570 B.C.   Ezekiel means “God strengthens.” Ezekiel was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon in 597 B.C. Eleven years later Jerusalem was finally destroyed. He lived in a house in the village of Nippur along the river Chebar.  Ezekiel was told to remind the people of the sins that had brought God’s judgment upon them and to assure them of His future blessings in keeping His covenant.  

DANIEL:  The book of Daniel was written about 537 B.C. Daniel means “God is my Judge.” He was taken captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 B.C. He spent the rest of his life there and became a high ranking official as well as a prophet of God. He was made one of three secretaries under Darius and lived until the 3rd year of Cyrus. His ministry was to testify through personal living as well as prophesy that there was one true God. He reminds the people that they are not deserted by God in exile and reveals much about God’s plan for their future. Daniel accurately describes the future of Babylonia, Persia, Greece and Rome. He talks about the public ministry of Christ, the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and the future end times.

Happy Bible Study,

 Matt Schneider

*Join us in praying the Daily Texts.

 

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