Major and Minor Prophets
It our O.T. series, we have reached what is known as the Major Prophets and the Minor Prophets. They are called Major and Minor Prophets based on the length of each book. With some exceptions, the 12 minor prophet books are smaller in length than the four Major Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
For a quick review I want to briefly show what we have covered so far. We have examined the first 5 book which are known as the Pentateuch.†
Genesis Ė teaches us
about the origin of the universe and records
Exodus Ė teaches about
the enslavement and deliverance of the
Leviticus Ė contains over
600 laws that
Numbers Ė records the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.
Deuteronomy Ė contains a
repetition of the laws given shortly before
Then we covered the 12 Books of History:
Joshua Ė is the book of
the conquest of
Judges Ė records the 12
Ruth Ė is the story of the life of Ruth and how she became an ancestor of David and of Jesus.
1 & 2 Samuel Ė is the
history of Samuel and the beginning of
1 & 2 Kings Ė records
the early history of the
1 & 2 Chronicles Ė
mainly covers the history of David, Solomon, and the kings of
Ezra Ė is a record of the return of the Jews from captivity and the rebuilding of the temple.
Nehemiah Ė gives us an
account of the rebuilding of the walls of
Esther Ėthe story of Esther and how she made it possible for the Jews to be saved from the plot of Haman.
Then we covered the 5 books of poetry:
Job Ė teaches us what Job had to endure by the testing of Satan, how he had great patience, and in the end he was found faithful and God blessed him with more that he had before.
Psalms Ė is a collection of 150 spiritual songs, prayers, poems, by different authors some of which are unnamed, and they cover a variety of topics.
Proverbs Ė is a collection of moral and religious maxims on such topics as wisdom, temperance, and justice.
Ecclesiastes Ė shows us how all life is vanity without God in the picture.
Song of Solomon Ė a love song that shows the deep love between a couple that gets married.
Over the next couple of years, we will be looking at these 16 Major and Minor Prophets that are contained in 17 books. The time of these writings are from 800 Ė 400 B.C.
The main theme of these prophetic books is the justice, sovereignty, and mercy of God.
The prophets were called by God to warn His people about their rebellious nature toward God. They rebuked them and told them what was going to happen to them because of their sins. These prophets also spoke of the coming of Christ and His kingdom the redemption of mankind. These were true prophets because the things they said would happen, happened: As:
Deuteronomy 18:20 'But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.'† 21 "And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?' --† 22 "when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
These prophets were great examples to us because they show us what true courage is about, and they show us that Godís truth must continue to be preached no matter what.
The main message of the following prophets were given to the following people:
The mission of these
prophets was to try and save Godís people from their wickedness and idolatry by
trying to restore them back to the Law of Moses. When the people failed to take
heed, the prophets had to announce their destruction. However, they did get to
encourage their people even during their captivity because God let them know
that a remnant of their people would get to return to
Next week we will begin to look at the Book of Isaiah, but for the rest of our time this evening I want to give you an overview of what these Major and Minor prophets are about: †
The Book of Isaiah is one of the longest and most important books in the Old Testament. It covers the life of Isaiah and what he said and did as prophet of God. It is sometimes called a miniature Bible because it has 66 chapters and two major division. The first division is the first 39 chapters, just like the OT has 39 books. The first 39 chapters emphasize Godís judgment on immoral and idolatrous men. The second division is the last 27 chapters, just like there are 27 books in the NT. These last chapters teach us about the return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity, and it teaches about the grace of God through the promised Messiah concluding with the final judgment. These last chapters are similar to the N.T. in that they offer a message of hope through our redeemer Jesus.
began prophesying around 759 B.C. and while his main message was to
book of Jeremiah records how God made this young man into a prophet though he
was reluctant at first. He lived about 100 years after Isaiah and he prophesied
for about 60 years from 626 B.C. Ė 566 B.C. He is known as the weeping prophet.
He foretold and witnessed the fall of
Jeremiah 31:33 "But this is the covenant that I will
make with the house of
book of Lamentations is a collection of 5 poems that express grief over the
Book of Ezekiel covers the prophecies made by Ezekiel. Ezekiel had been carried
into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar around 597 B.C. and he started prophesying 5
years later. He preached among the exiles the same message as Jeremiah did in
book of Daniel is about the life of Daniel and the dreams he interpreted.
Daniel was part of the first group of Jews taken into captivity around 606 B.C.
He was a young man that was chosen to serve the king and determined in his
heart that he would abide by Godís laws so he would not eat the king
delicacies. He and three companions were blessed by God and in Daniel 2, he
interpreted the kingís dream which showed the rise and fall of 4 kingdom, which
Now letís examine the 12 Minor Prophets. The 12 minor prophets are not any less important that the 5 major prophets. As I said earlier, they are called Minor Prophets because their books are smaller.
book of Hosea is about the prophet Hosea. He preached his message to
book of Joel is about the prophet Joel. We do not know for sure, but some think
he may have been the first prophet to preach to
book of Amos tells of how Amos, who was shepherd, preached about how
book of Obadiah is about the prophecies of the prophet Obadiah. It is believed
that he preached around the time the
book of Jonah is unique in that is not full of visions, but records a small
portion of the life of Jonah who was known as the reluctant missionary. We
learn from 2 Kings14:25 that Jonah preached during the time of Jeroboam II
around 749 B.C. Ė 790 B.C. The story line is simple. Jonah is called to preach
book of Micah is about the prophet Micah who preached around the time of Isaiah
and Hosea around 740 B.C. Ė 700 B.C. He was a simple countryman that preached
Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
book of Nahum is about the prophet Nahum and his message to
book of Habakkuk is about the prophet Habakkuk who preached to
Habakkuk 2:4 Ö But the just shall live by his faith. (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38).
The book of Zephaniah is about the prophet Zephaniah who was a descendant
of King Hezekiah. He prophesied during the reign of Josiah in
The book of Haggai has two chapters in which the prophet Haggai delivers a
message from God to the Jews after their return to
The book of Zechariah is about the prophet Zechariah who also came back with Zerubbabel, and he worked with Haggai. Zerubbabel had eight visions that assured the Jews of Godís love and care, and he encouraged them to overcome their complacency and to complete the temple. Haggai only prophesied for 4 months and Zechariah began prophesying 2 months after Haggai began, but he prophesied for two years. Zechariah made several prophecies about the coming Messiah:
His atoning death for the removal of sin (3:8-9; 13:1)
As builder of the house of God (6:12)
His universal reign as King and Priest (6:13; 9:10)
His triumphal entry into
His betrayal for 30 pieces of silver (11:12)
His Deity (12:8)
His pierced hands (12:10; 13:6)
A smitten shepherd (13:7)
The book ends with Godís promise that He would establish His rule over all the earth (14:7).
The last book of the O.T. is Malachi. It talks about the prophet Malachi and his message. He was the last of the O.T. prophets who prophesied about 100 years after Haggai and Zechariah around 450 B.C. Ė 425 B.C. He was connected with the reform movement of Ezra and Nehemiah. After the Jews rebuilt the temple they had engaged in many different sins. Malachi rebuked them for their heathen marriages, divorce, polluted sacrifices, corruption of the Sabbath, withholding tithes, and many other sins. He also foretold the coming of the forerunner of Christ (4:1) who was John the Baptist. The message is that if they will repent and turn to God, God will bless them.
By the time we make it through these Major and Minor prophets in these 17 Books, we will have a much better understanding of the history of the Jews and how God wants His people to be obedient to Him. While the law they were under does not apply to us, there is much for us to learn from them and how God dealt with them. As Paul said:
Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.†
Also, in reference to the people of the O.T. and things they did, Paul wrote:
1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.† 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
So, let us do our best to learn from the past and make sure we do not repeat the mistakes they made in the O.T. that led to their destruction.