INTRODUCTIONS TO THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE (PROPHECY)

The last 17 books of the Old Testament are books on prophecy. Except for Lamentations, each book is named for its author. God sent these prophets at different times in Israel’s and Judah’s history. They called the people back to God and warned them that God would punish their disobedience.

ISIAH

ISIAH–prophesied in Judah during the reigns of King Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. He repeatedly warned the people that Jerusalem and Judah would be judged because of their wickedness. In Chapter 39 he predicted the Babylonian exile. But he also held out hope that the kingdom would be restored. Beginning in chapter 40 Isiah offered comfort with these promises from God: 1) the Babylonian exiles would be allowed to return to Jerusalem; 2) a righteous, suffering servant would bring salvation; 3) God would set up a new, righteous kingdom.

JEREMIAH

JEREMIAH–like Isaiah, was a young man called by God to warn Judah about its wickedness. Jeremiah spent the first 20 years of his ministry under Josiah, a good king who tried to bring the people of Judah back to God. But after this, Jeremiah was often in danger from political and religious leaders who were angry about his messages. God protected Jeremiah so he could continue to warn the wicked and to comfort those who trusted in God. After Jerusalem was destroyed, Jeremiah chose to remain with the people, and he went with them to Egypt.

LAMENTATIONS

LAMENTATIONS– The title of this book means “funeral songs.” The author was probably Jeremiah, and he was grieving about the destruction of Jerusalem. He confessed the people’s sin and prayed to God for mercy.

EZEKIEL

EZEKIEL– is named after the prophet, Ezekiel, who was a priest in Jerusalem. He was taken to Babylon with other Jewish exiles in 598 B.C. Chapters 1-24 are prophecies about Jerusalem’s destruction. Then, after Jerusalem was destroyed, Ezekiel preached a new message of hope that the people of Israel would return to Palestine.

DANIEL

DANIEL– tells the well-known story of Daniel and his three friends who were taken to captivity, These four men continued to obey and worship God, even though it sometimes put their lives in danger. In the last six chapters of this book, Daniel described his visions of the rise and fall of earthly kingdoms and finally the rise of an everlasting kingdom.

HOSEA

HOSEA–was a prophet in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of King Jeroboam II. Chapters 1-3 tell about Hosea’s love for his unfaithful wife. In the rest of the book Hosea used his marriage as a picture of God’s love for unfaithful Israel.

JOEL

JOEL–prophesied at the time of King Joash. He described a terrible plague of locusts that invaded Palestine. Then Joel warned the people to turn to God in repentance. He announced that “the day of the LORD” would come and bring even greater judgement.

AMOS

AMOS–was a shepherd called by God called to be a prophet in the northern cities of Israel. He announced God’s judgement on the people for turning away from God, for being cruel to the poor, and living selfishly.

OBADIAH

OBADIAH– the shortest book in the Bible, is a book of prophecy against the nation of Edom. Obadiah announced God’s judgement against them and prophesied that their kingdom would be destroyed.

JONAH

JONAH–was a prophet whom God called to preach in the foreign city of Nineveh Jonah tried to run away from God and was swallowed by a great fish. When the fish returned him to land. Jonah went to Nineveh and warned the people about God’s judgement. Jonah learned that God would forgive even a heathen city if the people were sorry for their sins.

MICAH

MICAH–contains the writings of a prophet who lived in the countryside of Judah during the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah. Micah warned about God’s judgement against Jerusalem and Samaria because of a sinfulness of their leaders. But he promised the restoration of Zion and a kingdom of peace for those who trust in God. He prophesied that a ruler born in Bethlehem would set up a kingdom that will last forever.

NAHUM

NAHUM–is a book of prophecy against Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. The prophet describes the cruelty of the Assyrians as they conquered nation after nation. He predicted the destruction of Nineveh and the end of the kingdom of Assyria.

HABAKKUK

HABAKKUK–was written as a dialogue or conversation between God and the prophet. Habakkuk first asked why God let wickedness and violence continue. When God told him he would send the Babylonians to punish Judah, Habakkuk became more concerned. He did not understand how God could use the Babylonians, who were even more wicked than the Jews. God answered that “the righteous will live by his faith” and that the Babylonians would also be judged. Habakkuk ended his book with a psalm of praise.

ZEPHANIAH

ZEPHANIAH–prophesied during the reign of King Josiah. He warned that the day of the Lord would bring judgement on Judah and Jerusalem, and he called the Jews to turn back to God. Zephaniah then predicted that Judah’s neighboring nations would be destroyed and he promised that God would bring his people home.

HAGGAI

HAGGAI– eighteen years had passed since Cyrus’s decree had allowed the Jews to return from exile. But they still had not finished building God’s temple. Haggai message was that the time had come to build the house of the Lord. He promised that God would fill this house with his glory.

ZECHARIAH

ZECHARIAH–Zechariah’s prophecies began two months after Haggai’s first message. God sent Zechariah eight visions to encourage the builders of the temple. In chapters 7 and 8 Zechariah called the people to obey God by acting fairly and mercifully to one another. Chapter 9-14 predict the coming of Zion’s King, “the Lord Almighty.”

MALACHI

MALACHI–prophesied to the Jews who had returned from exile. He warned them that they were neglecting and disobeying God and that God would judge them for their wickedness. He also promised that God would save the righteous.

and this is the introduction to the OLD TESTAMENT

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