Thursday, May 31, 2018

Minor Prophets, Major Power: Lesson 1 Background and Survey OT Prophecy

Minor Prophets, Major Power

Lesson 1 Background and Survey OT Prophecy

Habakkuk 3:16 When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. 17  Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18  Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19  The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.

The Old Testament Books of Prophecy

The OT concludes with 17 books of prophecy, beginning with Isaiah. These represent the ministries of 16 men of God who warned, exhorted, and encouraged a divided Israel and Judah in the troubled 400-year period of their decline, downfall, exile, and restoration:

Event or Person(s)
Historical Record
Israel and Judah divide
931 b.c.
Elijah and Elisha (major "nonwriting" prophets)
The 16 "writing" prophets (Isaiah-Malachi)
2 Kings 8-Nehemiah

The OT canon divides the prophetic books into the four longer or "major" prophets (including Lamentations), which are in chronological order, followed by the 12 "minor" prophets, whose chronology is less exact.

Following are the approximate dates of each prophet's ministry:

Obadiah (850-840 b.c.)
Joel (835-796)
Jonah (790-760)
Amos (760-750)
Hosea (760-720)
Isaiah (740-690)
Micah (740-690)

Fall of northern kingdom (Israel) (722)

Nahum (630-612)
Zephaniah (632-621)
Habakkuk (612-605)
Jeremiah (627-580)

Fall of southern kingdom (Judah), exile (586)

Lamentations (586)
Ezekiel (592-570)
Daniel (580-536)

First return of exiles from Babylon (538)

Haggai (520)
Zechariah (520-480)

Second and third returns from Babylon (457 and 445)

Malachi (430) - Willmington's Bible Handbook.

The Twelve Minor Prophets

The Books - List the 12 minor prophets.
Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

Why are they called “minor?”
Title originated in Augustine’s time (late 14th century) and refers to their size in comparison to the larger books of prophesy.

How does the Hebrew Bible title these books?
They are considered as one book and entitled “The Twelve.” Originally, they were contained in one scroll.

Reason for Prophets

God uses prophets in four ways.
Instruction of the great truths about God and man.
Warning and appeal to those living in sin.
Comfort and exhortation to those trusting and obeying God.
Predictions of events to comes.

Three Groups of Minor Prophets

Prophets of Israel from 931 to 722 BC
Jonah, Amos, Hosea

Prophets of Judah from 931 to 586 BC
Obadiah, Joel, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Habakkuk

Post-Exilic Prophets (after the restoration of Judah)
Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

Main Subjects of Prophets

Instruction and Exhortation (forthtelling)
Prediction and Exhortation (foretelling)

The Four Prophetic Points


Two Messianic Themes

The suffering Messiah (Zech 13:7)
The Reigning Messiah (Zech 14:9,16)

Why were the prophets not aware that there were two comings separated by thousands of years?
God did not grant them that knowledge. They saw the events but not the amount of time in which those events would transpire.

The Minor Prophets are more frequently quoted in the New Testament than the Major Prophets.
Story of Jonah – Mat 16:4; Luke 11:30; Mat 12:39-41
Amos 9:11-12 – Act 15:16-17
Hosea 1:9-10 – Rom 9:25; 1Pet 2:10
10:8 – Luke 23:30 11:1 – Mat 2:15 6:2 – 1 Cor 15:4
13:14 – 1Cor 15:55; 6:6 – Mat 9:13; 12:7


The “Minor Prophets” are minor only in the amount of writing they did in comparison to Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel. The themes they expound and the sins they condemn are powerful and just as relevant today as they were when Israel and Judah were turning from God.
In our nation today we need to hear the words of men like the minor prophets. Men who are not afraid to say, Thus sayeth the Lord and without apology speak the truth of God’s judgment against sin and His mercy to forgive if those who hear will but repent.

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