The major prophets, according to some schools of thought, are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
These adjectives ‘Major’ and ‘Minor‘ do not indicate the importance of the prophets; rather they indicate the relative lengths of the writings of the prophets. In the time Biblical sense, a prophet is one who speaks for God. These men were raised up in periods of sin and declension to accuse the people of their sin and predict the judgment of God if they did not repent.
In the Old Testament, the prophetic period began ill the lime of Samuel when the priesthood had failed. The prophets continued their ministry through the end of Old Testament history, including the return from captivity and the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple.
However, the writing prophets of the Old Testament did not come upon the scene until the time of the divided kingdom. Thus, they fit into the events recorded in 1 and J 1 Kings and 1 and 11 Chronicles and also extend through Ezra and Nehemiah.
It has often been pointed but that the prophets’ messages consisted of forth-telling and foretelling. By forth-telling, we mean that these men told forth the word of God. They were conscious that they were doing this. They used such expressions as “thus saith the Lord” or “The word of the Lord came unto me” See Jere. I9, Ezekiel 2:7.
As foretelling, they peered into the future and told the people what the consequences would be if they obeyed or disobeyed. The prophets did not always understand the messages themselves (Dan. 7:28; 8:15-27; 10:7-15; Rev. 7:13, 14; 17:6). They had particular difficulty when they made prophecies concerning the coming messiah. When they prophesied of the sufferings of Christ and the glories that should follow (1 Pt. 1:10-13) they could not understand how the Messiah could come as the suffering servants of Jehovah and at the same time reign as the king over all the earth. They did not realize that there were two distinct coining –
His coming to Bethlehem and His coining back again to the mount of olives. They did not realize that an interval of time would come between these two comings. The subjects taken up by the OT prophets may be summarized as follows. The holiness of God; The sin and failure of God’s chosen people. A call to repentance; God’s judgment upon them if they would not repent’ God’s judgment on the surrounding nations; The return of a portion of the nation from captivity; The coming of the Messiah and His rejection; The Messiah’s coming in power and great the restoration of God’s chosen people. Christ’s universal reign.
It should be noted at this point that the church is not the subject of Old Testament prophecy. We would not expect the church to be found here since we are distinctly told in the NT that it is a mystery that was hidden in God from the foundation of the world (Eph. 3:4-6).
The law of double reference is a helpful key to the student in understanding certain of the passages of the OT. The law of double reference simply means that some of the prophecies of the OT had an immediate and partial fulfilment on the Day of Pentecost Acts 2:7-21, but it will have a complete fulfilment when the Lord Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom upon the earth at the close of the Great tribulation period.
Some further keys to the understanding of the prophets are i. The name “Israel” ordinarily refers to the Northern kingdom, the ten tribes.
But it sometimes refers to the entire nation – all who are descendants of Abraham.
2. Judah, on other hand, usually refers to the southern kingdom of the two tribes.
3. Ephraim is used, especially in Hosea, to describe the ten tribes or the Northern kingdom. The house of Joseph also refers to the Northern kingdom.
4. Samaritan was the capital of the Northern kingdom and is mentioned frequently.
5. Jerusalem on the other hand, was the capital of the southern kingdom.
6. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria
7. The city of Babylon, was the capital of the nation of Babylon.
8. Damascus was the capital of Syria.
The books of the prophets may be classified in several ways. We have already seen that they are divided into major and minor prophets. They can also be classified according to the time in which they lived. PRE-EXILIC – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zechariah.
EXILIC Ezekiel and Daniel
POST – EXILIC;
Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi Then the prophets may also further be classified according to the people to whom their messages were primarily directed. ISRAEL – Hosea, Amos, Jonah.
JUDAH – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Micah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. THE NATIONS – Nahum and Obadiah.
NB: Some of these prophets ministered to more than one of these groups. For, instance, Jonah might also be listed as a prophet to the nations. Micah prophesied
to Israel as well as to Judah. Nahum spoke of Judah (1:15) as well as of Nineveh.
Habakkuk had much to say about the nations.
ISAIAH: Isaiah, the son of Amos was generally known and addressed as the evangelical prophet. He was born about 770 BC into a noble family. His name means “Salvation is of Jehovah” Isaiah lived during the reigns of Uzziah, (792 -740BC) and Jotham (750 -738 as regent, 738 – 732 as a sole ruler), in which he called for repentance without success, and consequently had to announce judgment and banishment. The second period extended from the commencement of the reign of Ahaz (735 – 715) to that of the reign of Hezekiah, the third from the accession of Hezekiah (71 5) to the 15th year of his reign. After this Isaiah took no further part in public affairs, but he lived till the commencement of Manasseh’s reign when, according to a credible tradition, he suffered martyrdom.
Isaiah was the author of a biography of King Uzziah (2 Chronicle 26:22) and of Hezekiah (32:32), as well as the sublime prophecies that bear his name. Both
‘biographies have been lost, together with the annals of Judah and Israel into which they had been inserted. He is by general consent the greatest of all Hebrew writers, and so fully does he describe the person and offices of the Messiah, that from the time of Jerome he has been known as the evangelical prophet.
Sequel to this, Isaiah appears to have held a high rank in Jerusalem, for Hezekiah, when sending a deputation to him, chose his highest officers and the elders of dead priests (2 Kings 19:2) it is exceedingly probable that he was the head of the prophetic order, holding in Jerusalem the rank that Elisha had held in the prophetic schools in Israel. His authority greatly increased after the fulfilment of his prophecies by the Babylonian Exile, the victories of Cyrus, and the deliverance of the covenant people. Even Cyrus was induced (Josephus Ant. 40:1:1,2) to set the Jews at liberty by the prophecies of Isaiah concerning himself.
Opinions differ about the authorship of Isaiah. The first school of thought contends that Isaiah was written by two authors. In confirming this argument they said that chapters. 1-39 belongs to the first whereas Chapters 40-66 to the second. Secondly, another school of thought disproved the first against and vehemently contended that the book of Isaiah has three authors they assign Chapters. 1 – 39 as the first Chapters. 40-55, as the second, while Chapters. 65 – 66 as the third.
The NT does not support these humanistic theories hence they lack biblical backings. All these sections are quoted in the NT and attributed to the prophet Isaiah. Matt. 13:14 quotes Isa. 6:9; Matt. 15:7-9 quotes Isa, 29:13; Matt. 12:17-18 quotes Isa. 42:1; Matt. 33:3 quotes Isa. 40:3, Luke 3:4 quotes Isa. 40-3-5; Acts 8:26-34 quotes Isa. 53:7-8; Rom. 10:16 quotes Isa. 53:1, Rom, 10:20. quotes Isa. 65:1, John 12:38-41 quotes both Isa. 65:1, John 12:38-41 quotes both Isa. 53:1 and Isa. 6:9-10 respectively.
Many Bible scholars affirm that the book naturally falls into two sections -the-first 39 Chapters, corresponding to the book of the OT, while the remaining 27 Chapters corresponding to the books of the New Testament. In fact, Isaiah was a mighty prophet to Judah and also predicted the future restoration of all Israel. Isaiah as a matter of fact has his residence in Jerusalem where he ministered from C. 740BC in the year of King Uzziah’s death until (C. 700 BC.) or somewhat – later. His ministry extended to the four aforementioned kings. He had a wife, unlike Jeremiah, a prophetess (8:3), and was blessed with two symbolic sons namely SMEAR – JASHUB (7:3) – “a remnant will return” and MAHER- SHALL -HASH – (83) ‘Swift is the body. Thus, the name of the first represented a promise of mercy while the second represented judgment.
THE SYRO – ISRAELITE ALLIANCE
A few years after Isaiah’s call, his wife the “prophets” referred to in 8:3 gave birth to a son whose name is mentioned above. Just as Hosea gave symbolic names to his children. Isaiah’s own was.-a living sign from Jehovah, a visible confirmation of the message of the prophet. Literally, the name means “A remnant shall return” (that is “turn to God” “repent” as in 6:10. Although in one sense, this phrase carried a negative meaning (only a remnant shall return” as in (10:22-’23), in another sense it concealed a promise (“A remnant shall return”), just as doom and hope, seem to be blended together in the concluding verses of Ch. 6. This sign child figures prominently in a scene in the prophetic memoir found in Ch 7. The material in Chs. 7 & 8 deals with the Syro – Israelite crisis the crisis had been in the making for some time. Jotham Uzziah’s regent who had become king in his own right after his father’s death had been succeeded on the throne of Judah by Ahaz (735 – 715BC). This youthful king was no match for the political troubles he inherited. A plot was afoot among the small western states to throw off the Assyrian yoke and the one-time enemies -Israel and Syria-had become bedfellows. Initially, the Assyrian king, Tiglath-pileser, was recognized by the western nations, Therefore, in 738BC, Menahem, king of Israel joined with
Rezin of Damascus to pay tribute to the Assyrian victor 2 King. 13:19-20. This capitulation to Assyrians enabled Menahem and his son Pekahiah to stay in the frower but it was highly unpopular especially since the tribute was raised by heavy taxes on the rich. The time was ripe for revolution. An army captain, Pekah, the son of Remaliah, murdered Pekahiah in 737BC, and shortly thereafter while Tiglathpileser was occupied in (the north, conspired with Rezin of Damascus to form m – an anti-Assyrian coalition. The two kingdoms joined in an attack on Judah in an attempt to replace Ahaz with a Persian king on the Judean throne (7:6).
In view of this, Ahaz was in a tight spot, for tie had come to die throne of Judah hi one of the gravest crises of Judean history. From a purely political standpoint, he deserves our sympathy even though as a leader he was weak and facilitating. The presence of the invading armies on his son filled him with panic “his heart and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind Terror-stricken be burned his son as an offering in the valley of Hinnom just outside the city 2 Kings 16:3, hoping by this pagan rite to assuage the divine wrath that had come upon the city. The situation was desperate. As a responsible political leader, Ahaz had to choose between accepting defeat at the hands of the: invader or appealing for outside help. The situation was horrible and he actually ‘f found himself in a state of shilly-shally it was at this traumatic, claustrophobia ‘ and- acrophobia period that Isaiah confronted him (Ahaz) accompanied by tin’s little lad “A remnant shall return” harassed as he was, Ahaz must have regard Isaiah’s counsel as irrelevant, inconsequential and idiotic. But-his message was simple, “Trust in Jehovah be quiet, and keep calm” The appropriate response (o the crisis he said, was faith not feverish anxiety or “war phobia” over the defences of Jerusalem: Isaiah prognosticated the weakness of the syroIsraelite alliance, -whose kings were “two smouldering stumps of firebrands” almost burned out, and lie probably realized that for Judah to become involved in the international rivalries of the lime would be suicidal as subsequent events were to show in the case of the Northern kingdom. But he viewed the crisis in a wider and deeper perspective than that of mere diplomacy and fortifications for beyond the political schemes of men was the sovereign activity of God whose purpose shapes the course of events, the head of Ephraim is “PEKAH”, and the head of Damascus is “REZIN”, “but. these men are not God” their plan to place a puppet king on Judah’s throne will fail unless God wills it. So Isaiah affirms that the greatest resource in time of trouble is “FAITH” – absolute trust and dependence upon God He underscores the message of faith with a characteristic play on words (7:9b) which may be paraphrased” If your faith is not sure, your throne will not be secure” Abandon human alliance exclaims Isaiah and place your reliance in God whose sovereign ill control human affairs. Such faith demands a complete and firm commitment ‘of one’s whole being to God, in the confidence that he is the true king Isaiah. 16; 30:15.
Specifically, Isaiah’s advice in that political situation called for Ahaz to cancel his plan to ask for Assyrian intervention on behalf of besieged Judah.
Isaiah in his ministry emphasized the spiritual and social lives of the people Secretly he indicted them as being greedy among the landed class-grabbing the fed.
Corruption among the judges – injustice, oppression of the poor, and bribery was in vogue Dishonesty among their leaders the character of their, leaders was nothing to write about. The weakness of the central government is because of its alliance with nations.
Judah was more or less an appendage of Israel.
Judah had no real contact outside the world.
Selfishness, pride, egoistic and ethnocentrism coupled with the ostentatious lives of their women and other vices were on the increase. Religiously they forsook and forgot their true God. Instead of doing the will of God, they did their own will and later came to offer sacrifice to God Instead of obeying him myriad kinds of immoral behaviours were carried out
and practised. They mixed the worship of God with the true God. There was a lack of real deep spiritual religion
OUTLINE OF BOOK
Prophecies concerning Judah and Jerusalem Chs 1-12
Oracles against foreign nations 13-23
Messages of Salvation 23-27
Warnings Against Alliance with Egypt 28-35
History, of Hezekiah’s time 36-39
The message of comfort 40-66
Jeremiah is best known as the weeping prophet. This is the key to his writing, for if we remember this and the reason for his weeping “we shall be able to understand his message. His name means Jehovah found or exalts.
THE LIFE OF JEREMIAH:
Jeremiah was one of the greatest Hebrew prophets. He was born into a priestly family of Anathoth, a Benjamite town two and a half miles NE of Jerusalem. His father was HILKIAH (1:1) not to be confused with the high priest Hilkiah mentioned in 2 Kings 22, 23. Because of the autobiographical nature of his book, it is possible to understand his life, character, and times better than those of any other Hebrew prophet.
Jeremiah was called to prophesy in the 13th year of king Josiah (626BC) five years after the great revival of religion described in 2 Kings 23.
This was among them) were deported to Babylon. Jehoiakim later rebelled against- Babylon Jeremiah opposed his strong-willed despot all his reign and predicted a violent death for him (22:13-19) it has been supposed that he fell in a palace coup.
Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, succeeded him to the throne Jeremiah called this king CON1AH and JECHON1AH (24:1, 27:20; 29:2) after he had reigned only three months, the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem and carried off Jehoiachin to Babylon in (597BC) as Jeremiah had predicted (22:24-30), together with many artisans and other important Jeros.
in Jehoiachin’s place, Nebuchadnezzar appointed Zedekiah, who maintained a precarious position on the throne for 11 years. Although a weak character, he protected Jeremiah and asked for his advice, which he was never able to carry out Jeremiah advised submission to Babylon, but goaded by the nobles, Zedekiah rebelled and made an alliance with Egypt. Finally, the Babylonians came again, determined to stamp out the rebellious Judean state. Along siege reselected, in which Jeremiah si fibred greatly. He was accused of treason and thrown into a vile prison from which the king transferred him to the more pleasant court of the guard (37:11-21) Now that the judgment had come, the prophet spoke of a hopeful future for the nation (32,33) As the siege wore on, he was; cast into a slimy cistern, where lie would have perished had not Ehimelech; courtier, rescued him (36:6-13) again to the court of the guard he was taken until the city fell (38:28).
.After a siege of a year and a half, Jerusalem was destroyed Zedekiah was blinded and carried in chains to Babylon. For the events in Judah after the destruction of Jerusalem, we are dependent almost exclusively on Jeremiah (40-45)
the captors treated Jeremiah with kindness giving him the choice of going to Babylon or remaining in Judah. He chose to stay behind with some of the common people who had been left in Judah when most of the Jews were deported.
Gedaliah was made puppet governor over this little group. After civil unrest, Gedaliah was assassinated, the Jews fled to Egypt, forcing Jeremiah to accompany them He died in Egypt as an old man.
THE MAN AND HIS MESSAGE
Jeremiah was called to be a prophet at a most unhappy time. With the failure of Josiah’s revival, the final decline of the nation was underway. When he was called, it was intimated to Jeremiah that his message would be one of condemnation rather than salvation (1:10, 18, 19) though he was given a message of hope (30:1 -3, 18-22; 31:1-14,40) throughout his long ministry of more than 40 years his preaching reflected this theme of judgment. God had risen early and sent His servants the prophets, but Israel would not hear (7:25, 44:4) now the fate predicted for an apostate nation in Deuteronomy 28-30 was inevitable. Babylon would capture Judah, and it would be better for the people to surrender and so to save their lives.
This message, coming to men whose desperate nationalism was all they had to cling to, was completely rejected, and the bearer was rejected with his message. Jeremiah was regarded as a meddler and a traitor and people, nobles and kings alternately tried to kill him. Although he needed the love, sympathy, and encouragement of a wife, he was not permitted to marry and in this prohibition, he became a sign that life, as usual, was soon to cease for Jerusalem (16:1 -4). Because his book is full of autobiographical sections Jeremiah’s confessions and personality can be understood more clearly than that of the human spirit are some of the most poignant and pathetic statements of the tension of a man under the divine imperative to be found anywhere in scripture the most important are listed below.
They show us a Jeremiah who was retiring, sensitive, and afraid of people’s faces”, one we should consider singularly unfit for the work which was placed upon him. That he tenaciously clung to his assigned task through the succeeding years of rejection and prosecution is both a tribute to the mettle of the man and to the
the grace of God, without which his personality would surely, have gone to pieces.
10:23,24, 11:18-12:6; 15:10-21; 17:9-11,41-18 18:18-23; 20 7-18.
Jeremiah’s penetrating understanding of the religious condition of his people is seen in his emphasis on the inner spiritual character of true religion. The external theocratic state will go, as will the temple and its ritual even Josiah’s reform appears to have been a thing of the outward upsurge of nationalism more than a religious revival (3:10) the old covenant had failed, a new and better one will take its place and (lien God’s law will be written on men’s hearts (31.31 -34) God will give His renewed people a heart to know Him (24:7) in tin’s doctrine of the “new hear!”, Jeremiah unfolds the depth of human sin and predicts the intervention of divine grace (Heb. 8:1-9:28).
THE FOE FROM THE NORTH
Throughout Jeremiah’s sermons are references to a foe from the north who would devastate Judah and take her captive. Chapter 4 is typical of these” oracles. Tie foe will destroy like a lion or whirlwind and leave the land in desolation’ like the primaeval chaos. Who is this destroying enemy? The fulfilment indicates that the northern foe was Babylon. Although Babylon is on the same latitude as Samaria, her invasions of Palestine always came from the north as the
the desert which separates the two was impassable.
Sometimes (50:3, 9, 41; 51:48) north is used as the origin of the conquerors of Babylon. There are six other Jeremiahs mentioned in the OT.
1. A Bamjamite and two Gadites joined David at 21 Klag (1 Chron.12:4, 10,13).
2. The head of the family in Manasseh 1 chron. 5:24)
3. A native of Libnah and the father of Hamutal, wife of king Josiah and mother of Jehoahaz (2 kings 23:30, 31) and the son Habaziniah, a Rechabite (jer.35:3)
THE COMPOSITION OF THE BOOK.
Jeremiah is a book of prophetic oracles, or sermons, together with much autobiographical and historical material which gives the background of these oracles. Many modern scholars believe that the book contains substantial pails by later writers whose point of view differed markedly from the prophets. Believing that the critics have failed to prove their case for later editors, this article takes the traditional position that the oracles are essentially Jeremiah’s and that the narratives if not dictated by the prophet were probably composed by Baruch, While accepting the Jeremiah origin of the contents of the book, it is impossible to say how or when these materials were assembled in their present form. The story of the production of the first and second editions is told in chapter (36). Baruch the amanuensis of the prophet wrote down certain judgments .oracles of the prophet at his dictation. This scroll was contemptuously burned by king Jehoiakim, whereupon the prophet dictated again to Baruch “all the words of the book which King Jehoiakim of Judah had binned in the fire and there were added besides many like words” (36′ 32) ie, a new and enlarged edition was produced. That Jeremiah should dictate to a secretary is normal for the times. Writing was a specialized skill, often restricted to a professional class. Learned men might be able to read but (like executives today) scorned to write. The document was probably written on a blank papyrus scroll imported from Egypt.
It has long been noted that the book of Jeremiah in the Greece translation of the OT called the Septuagint (made in Egypt before 132BC) is about one-eighth shorter than the Hebrew book, from which our English translations have been made. Further, the Septuagint omits many of the repetitions which are contained
v in the Hebrew copy and rearranges the material somewhat. The material con trained in Jeremiah’s book is not arranged in chronological order. The outline
given below, indicates what seems to have been the purpose of the present arrangement to set forth a group of oracles against the Jewish nation, then record selected events in the prophet’s /ministry then give certain preachments of Jeremiah against foreign nations. The record of Jerusalem’s fall had been given in Chapter 39, (the somewhat different account at the end of the book Chapter 52 is practically identical to 11 Kings 24, 25 and may have been added from the source to give a climactic conclusion to Jeremiah’s oracles.
- 1. JEREMIAH’S ORACLES AGAINST THE THEOCRACY 1:1-25:38
a. The prophet’s call 1:1-19
b. Reproofs and admonition, mostly from the time of Josiah 2:1 -20:18
c. Later- prophecies 21:1 -25:38
II. EVENTS IN THE LIFE OF JEREMIAH 26:1-45:5,
a. The temple sermon and Jeremiah’s arrest 26:1-24
b. The yoke of Babylon 27:1-29:32
c. The book of consolation 30: 1-33:26
d Some of Jeremiah’s experiences before Jerusalem fell 34:1-36:32
e. Jeremiah during the siege and destruction of Jerusalem 37:1-39:18
f. The last years of Jeremiah 40:1-45:5
11. JEREMIAH’S ORACLES AGAINST FOREIGN NATIONS; 46:1-51:60
a. Against Egypt 46:1-28
b. Against Moab 48:1-47
,d. Against the Ammonites 49:1-6
. e. Against the Edom 49:7-22
f.’ Against Damascus 49:23-27 •
g.. Against Kedar and Hazor 49:27-33
h. Against Elam 49:34-39
i. Against Babylon 50:1-51:60
IV APPENDIX: THE FALL OF JERUSALEM AND RELATED EVENTS 52:1-34
This book entitled in most English versions, the lamentations of Jeremiah is placed between Jeremiah and Ezekiel in the LXX vulgate and the English Bible.
The Fall of Jerusalem was a time of terrible suffering anguish. It was this fearful catastrophe that brought forth the book of lamentations a series of tearful
.laments o.vsr the desolation of the city wrung from the heart of the prophet Jeremiah.
This book forms an appendix to the prophecies of Jeremiah. It describes the deep mourning of the prophet at the destruction of Jerusalem and -of the Temple. Instead of being elated over the fact that these prophecies had been fulfilled, he wept bitterly over the miseries of his people.
In addition to being the words of Jeremiah, the book may also be thought
of as expressing:
1. The sorrow of the Jewish remnant for whom Jeremiah was a spokesman as they witnessed the Babylonian invasion.
2. The anguish of the messiah when He came to suffer, bleed and die on the cross of calvary (See 1:12).
The sorrow of the Jewish remnant in a future day when (they will be called upon to go through I lie create tribulation, the time of Jacobs trouble. Chapters 1, 2, and 4 are acrostics. Each chapter has twenty verses, ‘arranged according to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet Chapter 3 is also an acrostic.
OUTLINE OF LAMENTATIONS
- i. The awful desolation of Jerusalem 1:1-11
ii. The sad cry, confession, and prayer of the people 1:12-22
- a. Cry v 12-17
- b. Confession v18. 19
c. Prayer v 20-22
iii. The Lord is seen as the one who punished Jerusalem 2:1 -22
a. The -effects of God’s wrath v 1-13
b. The cause of God’s wrath – the false prophet’s failure to warn the people V. 14
c. The ridicule of onlookers v. 15, 16
d. The fulfilment of God’s threats v. 17
e. The call to repentance v. 18, 19
f.The prophet voices the sorrow and confession of the remnant Chapter 3
a. The judgments of God v. 1-18
b. The mercies of the Lord v. 19-39
c. The confession of the people v. 40-47
d. The sorrow of Jeremiah over Jerusalem v. 48-51
e. The prophet’s prayer for deliverance from his foes v. 52:66
v. The past and present of Judah contrasted 4:1-20
vi. The future prospect – Edom to be destroyed and Judah restored 4:21-22
vii. The remnant appeals to God of mercy and restoration Chapter 5.
Authorship – many scholars such as Chaney, Ewald, Eissfeldt, Pfeiffer, and others dismiss authorship by Jeremiah. The main reason given in support of this is that the tradition is unreliable, being removed by three centuries from the age of the prophet. Internal evidence in compassion with Jeremiah’s other writings and several historical allusions are used as alleged evidence. In reply it may be said that if Jeremiah is not the author, no other contemporaneous writer fits the qualifications of authorship, critics are cast into complete confusion concerning pie- the question of who the author was. The long-sustained tradition ©f Jeremiah’s ^authorship could hardly have arisen without a solid basis. Arguments from differences in vocabulary are extremely precarious and dicey. Supporting Jeremiah’s authorship is a strong and persistent tradition dating from the time of the Greek version. The Vulgate and the Targum of Jonathan, as well as many of the Church: fathers and numerous later commentators, follow this tradition. Internal evidence is also suggestive. The seems are life-like in their portrayal and suggest an | eyewitness A comparison of the lamentations with Jeremiah’s other writings also show points of similarity, and the sensitive temperament of the great prophet is reflected in the elegiac poems.
Lamentations portray the reaction of a devout Israelite toward the destruction of the theocracy. The tragic scene presents God’s people as so corrupt that Jehovah has forsaken His sanctuary and abandoned it to enemies. The poet celebrates the Lord’s righteousness but bewails the iniquity of the nation and calls upon the inhabitants to repent. The whole note is one of deep tragedy. The I-Lord’s people from whom have become so vile as to be fit only for destruction.
AUTHOR-Ezekiel; PLACE – Babylon
TIME COVERED: 613-591, completed 591 BCE Ezekiel was a Hebrew W prophet of the Exile likewise Daniel. He grew up in Judea during the last years of JT Hebrew independence and was deported to Babylon with Jehoiachin in 597 BC, f„’ probably early life. (Jehovah established) He was thus a younger contemporary of | the prophet Jeremiah and of Daniel, who also was taken to Babylon in 605 BCE. Throughout he is addressed over 90 times to Babylon in 605 BCE. Throughout he is addressed over 90 times as “Son of Man”, a point of significance when studying his prophecy because, in the Christian Greek scriptures, Jesus is similarly
referred to as “Son of Man” nearly 90 times (Ezekiel 2:1; Matt. 8:20) His name Ezekiel (Heb. – Yecheq-qe’I) meaning “God strengthens:
It was in the fifth year of Jehoiachin exile, 613 BC that Ezekiel was commissioned by Jehovah as a prophet, He was married, but his wife died on the day that
Nebuchadnezzar began his final siege of Jerusalem 24:2,18. The fact is that he wrote his book is not something to be disputed. Ezekiel was a powerful preacher possessing a deeply introspective and religious nature; he used allegory, vivid figures, and symbolic actions to cloth his message. His favourite expression to denote the divine inspiration “the hand of the Lord was upon me” (I”3; 3:14,22) shows how strongly he felt impelled to communicate the message given to him. The prophet’s ministry was divided, into two periods. The first ends with the siege • of Jerusalem in 587 BC (24:1, 27). It was a message of approaching destruction for Jerusalem and of condemnation of her sin. The second period begins with the reception of the news of Jerusalem’s fall some two years later 33:21, 22 son of man as he was called means mortal man as in Psalm. 8:4 and is used here to
emphasize the prophet’s weakness and need of dependence upon God for his success.
JEHOIACHIN – Next to the last king of your reigning at Jerusalem three months I and days (1 Chron. 36:9) in the year 597BC – Jerenthanice calls him Jeconiah’ i seven times and in Matthew 1:11, 12 the name is Hellenized to Jehoiachin was born to Jehoiakim and his wife Nehushta, during the sign of the godly Josiah his grandfather. According to 2 Kings 24:8, he was 18 when he came to the throne, but (2 Chron. 36:9 gives his age as 8 probably an early scribe who made a mistake of
ten years in copying one of these two books. The evidence favours the record in W2 Kings for 24:5 speaks for his wives and he would hardly have been married at 8years of age. Jehoiakim displayed contempt for the word of God by cutting up and burning the prophecies of Jeremiah (Jer. 36:23,32) thereby adding to the causes which the Lord pronounced upon Jerusalem.
In Ezekiel 19:5-9, Jehoiachin is characterized as a young lion and he learned If to catch the prey and devoured men. The prophet announced that the “young
the lion would be taken to Babylon which was literally fulfilled later.
The children of Israel (2:3,3:1) especially those already in captivity (3:11.11:25). Also messages for the Gentiles 25:3,27:3.
DATE OF WRITING
Ezekiel began to prophesy in the fifth year of Jehoiachin’s captivity (1:2) The last m dale in his book is the twenty-seventh year 29:12 thus he prophesied at least 22 years (593-571) BC.
The opening part of the book (1-24) was written before the final fall of Jerusalem. His fellow captives stubbornly persisted in believing Jerusalem would never be taken nor the temple destroyed.
Ezekiel had the unpleasant task of showing them that this judgment would take place and also why. He was in addition appointed to show the surrounding Gentile nations their own inevitable judgment. But after Jerusalem had fallen, Ezekiel’s ministry is climaxed with the task of revealing the future restoration of Israel and the coming glory of Jerusalem.
OUTLINE OF EZEKIEL
1 Judgment on Judah and Jerusalem (Chs. 1:24)- before the fall of Jerusalem.
Ch. I Ezekiel’s vision of the glory of God. “The keyword to the vision is likeness It was a likeness, a similitude, a parable, a picture. He did not see what no man saw, but lie saw visions of Jehovah in the form of likeness” (G. Campbell Morgan) “No human mind can visualize the description in its intricate (Ironside) Ch. 2 Ezekiel is commissioned.
Ch. 3 Ezekiel eats the roll and is made a watchman
Ch.4 Three Signs: tile, posture, and defiled bread.
Ch. 5 Signs of the shaving of the head and beard of Ezekiel
Ch. 6 Prophecy against the mountains of Israel
Ch. 8-11 Contain visions of Jerusalem showing the necessity for Judgment.
Ch. 8 Vision of abominations in the temple.
Ch, ‘9 Vision of the man with the inkhorn
Ch. 10 Vision of fire scattered over Jerusalem
Ch. 11 Vision of the wicked princes and the departed glory-but also a promise of restoration after judgment
Ch. 12 Sign of the prophet’s removal
Ch. 13 Prophecy against the false
Ch. 14 Prophecy against the Idolatrous elders
Ch. 15 Parable of the fruitless vine
Ch. 16 Parable of the adulterous woman (Jerusalem)
Ch. 17 Parable of the eagles.
Ch. 1-8; The Lord repudiates the proverb of “Sour grapes” and teaches personal responsibility.
Ch. 19 Lamentation for the princes and the nation
Ch, 20 The Lord’s goodness and Israel’s failure versus I – 9 Israel’s sin while still in Egypt verses 10-178 Israel’s sins after entering Canaan,verses27 – 32 Israel’s repeated offences in the land verses 33 – 44 future judgment and restoration of Israel. Verses’45 – 49 fire to sweep over the forest of the south field (Judah).
Ch. 21. The sword of the Lord
Ch.22 The record of Jerusalem’s sins
Ch. 23 The parable of Aholah (“my rent is in her” – Jerusalem)
Ch. 24 The last signs – The boiling pot, Ezekiel’s wife dies
11. Judgment on the Nation Chs. 25-32
Ch. 25 Judgment on Amnion, Moab, Edom, and Philistia ch. 26 Judgment on Tyre
Ch. 27 Lamentation for Tyre because of her .glory and fall.
Ch. 28 The prince of Tyre rebuked lament for the king of Tyre (that is Satan, the evil power behind this prince).
Ch. 29 Judgment on Egypt
|Cii. 30 The desolation of Egypt in “the Day of the Lord”
Ch. 31 Judgment on Pharaoh and his multitudes.
Ch. 32 Lamentation for Pharaoh and Egypt.
111. The Restoration of Israel and the future Glory of Jerusalem (Chs. 33-48)
Ch. 33 The fall of Jerusalem
Ch. 34 The regathering and restoration of Israel by their shepherd.
Ch. 35 Judgment on Idumea (Edom)
Ch. 36 Restoration and conversion of Israel.
Ch. 37 The valley of dry bones and the two sticks
Ch. 38 Gog, agog, attacks Israel in the latter days.
Ch. 39 Cog is utterly defeated by divine agency.
The closing visions (Chs 40 – 48) were given 13 years after the destruction of the
temple and speak of a new temple unlike any that has ever yet been built.
Ch. 40 Visions of the Millennial temple
Ch. 41, 42 Specifications of the temple
Ch. 43 The glory of the Lord returns to fill the temple
Ch. 44 Regulations of the priestly service in the temple
Ch. 45 The portion of the land for the priests and prince
Ch. 46 The worship and offerings of the prince and people
Ch. 47 The healing river from the sanctuary, boundaries of the land.
Ch. 48 Land is divided among the 12 tribes (7 to the north of Jerusalem 5 to the south) the Lord is present in Jerusalem.
AUTHOR – DANIEL, PLACE – BABYLONS TIME COVERED 618 -536bc
Daniel means (God is my judge) This prophet was born into an unidentified family of Judean nobility at the lime of Josiah’s reformation (G2HSC) for he was •among Ihc select, youthful hostages of the first Jewish deportations taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 005 BC. In the third year of king Jehoiakiiv(Dan. 1:1,3) for three years, Daniel was trained in all the wisdom of the Chaldeans (1:4-5) and was assigned the Babylonian name Dclteshazzar, to protect his life thereby invoking a pagan deity (4:8) Daniel and his companions remained true to their ancestral faith, courteously refusing “the king dainties” (t .8) (rained with idolatry and contrary to the Levitical purity laws) God rewarded them with unsurpassed learning 1:20, qualifying them as official “Wisemen” To Daniel God bestowed the gill of visions and of interpreting dreams.
Near the close of his second year C()2 BC Nebuchadnezzar required his fellow -Chaldeans who as the ruling strata in society had assumed the position of priestly diviners 2:2 to identify and interpret an undisclosed dream that had troubled him the proceeding evening (2:5,8). The hoax of spiritism and astrology was duly exposed, but when the judgment was pronounced upon the enchanters, Daniel and his companions were included in heaven that revealeth secrets” (2:28) answered Daniel’s prayer for illumination (2:18-19). Daniel revealed both the dream deput¬ing a fourfold image, and its import of four images, and its imports of four world empires namely (Babylon) – Persia – Greece, and Rome) that should introduce God’s messianic kingdom 2:44. Nebuchadnezzar forthwith elevated him to be Chief over the wise men 2:48. He further offered him the governorship of the province of Babylon (though Daniel committed (his latter appointment to his three friends.
In the latter years of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, 604 – 562BC, Daniel’s courage
was demonstrated by the king’s dream of the fallen tree. Faithfully informing his des¬
poetic master of fact, severed -seven successive kings due to his strong faith in God.
RECElPlENTS – Not specifically slated Daniel 2:4-7:28 is written Aramaic .” (the language used by the Babylonians at this time, so was evidently intended to be read by them as well as the Jews). The rest is in Hebrew, is intended,„, especially for the consolation of Israel.
THE PURPOSE OF THE BOOK OF DANIEL.
The book is not intended to give an account of the life of Daniel. it gives neither his lineage nor his age and recounts but a few of the .events of his long carrier. Nor is it meant to give a record of the history of Israel during the exile nor, even If “the captivity in Babylon.
The purpose of Daniel is to show that only the Kingdom of God is eternal. Other kingdoms have arisen that seemed unstoppable in their power and might but inevitably they have fallen. Likewise, other kingdoms have since popped up that are forces to be reckoned with. However, every kingdom except the Kingdom of God shall be toppled, and every king will cast his crown before the throne of God (Rev 4:10). The book of Daniel was written to illuminate this reality and to record stunning examples of apparently irresistible empires crumbling while God’s Kingdom endures.
In the book of Daniel, we see that it is God alone who brings up kingdoms and who tears them down. In Daniel 1:2 we read it was the Lord who gave Jehoiakim into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar himself is later referred to as the golden head in comparison to other kingdoms of lesser glory (which shows his kingdom is the most impressive of the four kingdoms mentioned). Yet even he is called God’s servant (Jeremiah 27:6). There is no realm that exists outside of God’s domain.
In light of this, it becomes clear that the book of Daniel was compiled in order to teach the Jews living in Daniel’s day, as well as us today, what it means to live life knowing that only God’s Kingdom will ultimately prevail. The concept of kingdom is the foundational theme of Daniel and the kingdom motif ties the book together. The book of Daniel carefully and powerfully reveals the relationship between God’s Kingdom and earthly kingdoms from the human perspective (chapters 1-6) as well as from the divine perspective (chapters 7-12).
The purpose of Daniel is to reveal to all that only God’s Kingdom is forever. Daniel wants his readers to grasp this truth and to live in line with it. He wants us to be inspired, humbled and obedient in light of the unchallenged and everlasting reign of God. Only God’s kingdom will last eternally because only it shall never be destroyed. Daniel’s desire is for us to remain faithful to the LORD God and to endure even when the kings of this world are wearing out the saints of the Highest. In chapter 7 we glimpse the glory of the Ancient of Days as he sits on his throne in judgment and we are introduced to the otherworldly Son of Man. He is given a kingdom that shall never be destroyed and, amazingly, the saints of the Highest will enjoy a share in his kingdom. Such is God’s grace.
From this part of the world, It is all thanks and be rupturable, from pastor Godstrong.
4 thoughts on “THE MAJOR PROPHETS”
This is a superb article on the major prophets. It really puts them into context.
I never knew that the major referred to the amount of writings, rather than I thought, their importance.
I love that God just didn’t use these men to deal with the issues of the time, but used them to foretell the coming of Jesus as well. Even though they didn’t understand it themselves. But they faithfully said what God laid on their hesrts.
I love how you have put the prophets into context in relation to the time period and the environment at the time.
Thank you for this deep and well researched believe of work.
HAPPY YOU DROPPED BY TO GIVE A CONSTRUCTIVE COMMENT. IT REALLY TOOK MUCH STRENGTH IN ALL OUR RESEARCH TO DIG OUT THE MIND OF GOD FROM HIS WORD. SO LONG THERE IS LIFE, AND THERE ARE PEOPLE READY TO HERE GOD THROUGH HIS WORD, WE SHALL KEEP ON WITH RESEARCH AND INTERPRETING SO THAT MEN CAN UNDERSTAND GOD. THANKS, A LOT GEOFF.
Even though I read all the Old Testament cover to cover not so many years ago I don’t think I really understood the progression of the visions and contributions of the prophets in the way that you have explained them here. Clearly, there is a significant distinction between reading and studying the bible. I did get the flavor of some of what was written. I think you can see reading this where much of the image of suffering associated with the Jewish faith comes from. I think something I gained from reading this is a clearer sense of how the contributions of the Old Testament prophets complemented each other and in some respects built on each other. Thanks, Andy
THANKS FOR DROPPING BY TO GIVE A TRUTHFUL COMMENT. ALL WE DO HERE IS STUDY, UNDERSTAND, INTERPRETE AND THEN POST FOR OTHERS TO READ AND ALSO UNDERSTAND. THANKS SO MUCH. HAPPY YOU COMMENTED.