Bible Overview – Part 7

Bible Overview – Part 7

Bible Overview – Part 7

A special thanks to Bible.org for this Old Testament Survey. It can be found in its entirety here:
https://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-old-testament-survey

Also, content from Through the Bible Book by Book Volumes I and II by Myer Pearlman was used in this study.

Introduction

THE TITLE

The common title for these twelve books of the English Bible is “minor prophets.” This title originated in Augustine’s time (late fourth century A.D.), but they are minor only in that they are each much shorter than the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel (called “major prophets”).

THE ORIGIN OF THE PROPHETIC OFFICE

Ultimately, the prophetic office found its origin in God’s purpose for Israel as a nation through whom all the nations could be blessed. So how, then, was God’s will to be known? The true and legitimate means by which God’s will would be delivered to His people is given in the very next verses in Deuteronomy 18:15-22.

Deuteronomy 18:15-22 NKJV (15) “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, (16) according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’ (17) “And the LORD said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. (18) I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. (19) And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him. (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.

This revelation forms the biblical origin and reason for the prophetic office. Freeman rightly contends: “… the origin of the prophetic institution in Israel is not to be found in Canaan nor in other Near Eastern cultures as negative criticism contends, but was itself established for the specific purpose of guarding Israel against Canaan’s superstitious practices, as well as those of her neighbors.”71

Furthermore, so that the nation might fulfill God’s purposes as stated in the Abrahamic Covenant (see Gen. 12:1-3), He gave them specific promises and warnings. The prophets’ messages of sin and judgment must be seen in the light of this background and understanding of the Old Testament.

However, the prophets did not just proclaim doom and gloom. They also proclaimed a message of salvation and coming glory. Modern scholars sometimes claim that these positive messages are later additions by some scribe, but God, remember, is the immutable and eternal God of all comfort and grace, so the prophets would usually give a message of doom and gloom, but coupled with this they would also tell the people about the light at the end of the tunnel to give them hope (cf. Isa. 12:1-2; 40:1-2).

LITERARY FEATURES OF THE MINOR PROPHETS

When we study the prophets we find they all pretty much have the same basic ingredients:

1. warning of impending judgment because of the nations’ sinfulness;
2. a description of the sin;
3. a description of the coming judgment;
4. a call for repentance;
5. a promise of future deliverance.

CHRONOLOGY OVERVIEW 
THEIR ORDER IN THE ENGLISH BIBLE
1. Hosea

2. Joel

3. Amos

4. Obadiah

5. Jonah

6. Micah

7. Nahum

8. Habakkuk

9. Zephaniah

10. Haggai

11. Zechariah

12. Malachi

 THEIR GROUPING ACCORDING TO THE EXILE AND THE KINGDOMS OF ISRAEL AND JUDAH

Group

Book Approximate Dates
Pre-Exilic

Prophets of Israel

Jonah (preached to Nineveh)
Amos
Hosea

780-850
765-750
755-715

Prophets of Judah Obadiah
Joel
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
840
835-796
740-690
630-612
606-604
625
Post-Exilic Prophets

Prophets of the Returned Remnant

Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi

520
515
430

HOSEA (Persevering Love)

AUTHOR:

As declared in verse 1, the author is Hosea, the son of Beeri and the husband of Gomer (1:3), who was apparently a citizen of northern Israel since his concern was for the Northern Kingdom of Israel and called the king of Samaria “our king” (7:5). All we know about Hosea we learn from the book itself in its autobiographical sections.

DATE: 755 – 715 BC

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

The book is named after its author, Hosea and is identical to the last king of the Northern Kingdom, Hoshea. For purposes of distinction, the English Bible always gives the name of the minor prophet as Hosea. Interestingly, the names Hosea, Joshua, and Jesus are all derived from the same Hebrew word, hoshea, which means “salvation.” However, both Joshua and Jesus include the additional truth, “Yahweh is salvation.” As God’s messenger, Hosea offers salvation to the nation if they will turn from their idolatry and return to the Lord.

THEME AND PURPOSE:

Hosea was written to demonstrate the steadfast or unfailing love of God for Israel in spite of her continued unfaithfulness. Through Hosea’s marital experience, the book shows us the heart of a loving and compassionate God who longs to bless His people with the knowledge of Himself and all that knowing God intimately can mean to man. In keeping with this purpose, the theme of Hosea is a strong testimony against the Northern Kingdom because it had been unfaithful to its covenant relationship with the Lord, as demonstrated in its widespread corruption in moral life both publicly and privately. Thus, the prophet seeks to get his countrymen to repent and return with contrite hearts to their patient and ever-loving God. This is presented from the standpoint of Yahweh’s love to Israel as His own dear children and as His covenant wife.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN HOSEA:

In Hosea, Messiah is presented as:

1. the Son of God (cf. 11:1 with Matt. 2:15),
2. the only Savior of His people (cf. 13:4 with John 14:6),
3. the One who will ransom us from the dead (cf. 13:14 with 1 Cor. 15:55)
4. the One who loves us with great compassion (11:4)
5. the One who heals those who will return to Him (6:1)

JOEL (The Coming of the Day of Yahweh)

AUTHOR:

As indicated by 1:1, the author is “Joel,” which means “Yahweh is God.” We know nothing else about him other than the name of his father who is Pethuel (1:1).

DATE: 835 – 796 BC

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

The Hebrew for Joel is Yoáel, which, as stated above, means Yahweh is God. This name is extremely appropriate in view of the message of Joel, which lays stress on God as the Sovereign One who has all creation and the nations under His power and control as the God of History.

THEME AND PURPOSE:

Joel uses a recent drought and locust plague that strikes Judah without warning as an object lesson to warn of a future invasion of Israel in the Day of Yahweh. In just a very short time, a matter of hours, every piece of vegetation is stripped bare. If the nation will repent and return to the Lord, God will restore His relationship with her and bless her. This was true in the historical situation in which Joel was writing and will be true any time in the future.

For the ultimate blessings and restoration promised by Joel to occur, Israel will have to experience the judgments of the Tribulation and the outpouring of the Spirit of God. It is this combination that will cause them to return to the Lord.

KEY WORD:

The key word or words, in keeping with the warnings of the book, is the Day of Yahweh.

KEY VERSES:

Joel 2:1 NKJV Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the LORD is coming, For it is at hand:

Joel 2:25 NKJV “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you.

Joel 2:28-32 NKJV “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. (29) And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. (30) “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. (31) The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. (32) And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the LORD has said, Among the remnant whom the LORD calls.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN JOEL:

In Joel, Christ is presented as the one who will give the Holy Spirit (cf. 2:28 with John 16:7-15; Acts 1:8), who judges the nations (3:2, 12), and who is the refuge and stronghold of Israel (3:16).

AMOS

AUTHOR:

Unlike Isaiah (who was a man of the court) and Jeremiah (who was a priest) this book was written by Amos, a herdsman and a tender of sycamore fruit (1:1; 7:14). He was from Tekoa, which was located near Bethlehem about ten miles south of Jerusalem. That Amos is the author is supported not only from the claim of the book (1:1; 7:14), but from the pastoral language (7:10f), and the contents which demonstrated his knowledge of an out-of-doors way of life (see 3:4-5, 12; 5:8, 9; 9:9). Though he was a farmer and rancher he was very familiar with the Word of God.

DATE: About 760 B.C.

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

The name Amos comes from the Hebrew áa„mas, “to lift a burden, carry.” His name means “burden” or “Burden-bearer,” which is entirely fitting for the burden given to him. Though from Judah rather than the Northern Kingdom of Israel, he was given the burden of carrying a message of warning against the greed, injustice, externalism, and self-righteousness of the Northern Kingdom. Amos should not be confused with Amoz, the father of Isaiah (Isa. 1:1).

THEME AND PURPOSE:

The divine message given to Amos was primarily one of judgment, though it ends with words of hope. Amos warned that the Lord God, the sovereign Ruler of the universe, would come as a Warrior to judge the nations that had rebelled against His authority. Israel in particular would be punished for her violations against God’s covenant. Amos sought to bring the prosperous and materialistic northern tribes under Jeroboam to repentance as the only escape from imminent judgment. In the process, the book demonstrates God’s hatred of evil because of His holiness and that His justice must act against Israel’s sin for He cannot allow it to go unpunished.

However, even though the nation would be destroyed, God would still preserve a repentant remnant and one day this remnant would be restored to their covenant blessing and political prominence when the Lord would then also draw all nations to His Himself.

KEY WORDS:

The words “transgress” and “transgression” occur 12 times. This highlights one of the key elements of the book, the judgment of God on Israel for her sinful ways. A key phrase of the book is “I will not revoke its punishment because . . .” (see 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13; 2:1, 4, 6).

KEY VERSES:

Amos 9:11-13 NKJV “On that day I will raise up The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old; (12) That they may possess the remnant of Edom, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,” Says the LORD who does this thing. (13) “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; The mountains shall drip with sweet wine, And all the hills shall flow with it.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN AMOS:

Amos presents Christ as the One who will rebuild David’s dynasty (9:11) and as the one who will restore His people (9:11-15).

OBADIAH

AUTHOR:

The author is an unknown prophet of Judah by the name of Obadiah (1:1). A number of Old Testament men were named Obadiah. These include an officer in David’s army (1 Chron. 12:9), Ahab’s servant who hid God’s prophets (1 Kings 18:3), a Levite in the days of Josiah (2 Chron. 34:12), and a leader who returned from the Exile with Ezra (Ezra 8:9). Nothing is known of Obadiah’s home town or family. The fact that his father is not named suggests that he was not out of a kingly or priestly line.

DATE: 840 BC

The shortest book of the Bible, containing only 21 verses, bears the distinction of being the most difficult of the minor prophets to date.

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

The Hebrew name of Obadiah means “servant or worshipper of Yahweh.”

THEME AND PURPOSE:

The theme of Obadiah is a reiteration of the truth that pride goes before a fall. Obadiah declares that Edom stands judged and under certain doom because of her pride in rejoicing over the misfortunes that befell Jerusalem. The Edomites rejoiced greatly when Nebuchadnezzar captured and destroyed Jerusalem.

Genesis 12:3 NKJV I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

KEY VERSES:

Obadiah 1:10 NKJV “For violence against your brother Jacob, Shame shall cover you, And you shall be cut off forever.

Obadiah 1:15 NKJV “For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; As you have done, it shall be done to you; Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN OBADIAH:

Christ is seen in Obadiah as the judge of the nations (15-16), the Savior of Israel (17-20), and the Possessor of the kingdom (21).77

JONAH (Fleeing From God’s Will)

AUTHOR:

The author of the book is Jonah, the son of Amittai, a prophet from Galilee in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. This is evidenced by the book itself (1:1), the historical character of the book which names real places and persons, and by corroboration from other sources (2 Kings 14:25) including the testimony of Jesus in the New Testament (Matt. 12:40).

DATE: 780-750 BC

In 2 Kings 14:27 Jonah is connected with the reign of Jeroboam II of Israel (793-753). Jonah ministered after the time of Elisha and just before the time of Amos and Hosea. While no Assyrian inscription mentions a religious awakening such as that described in Jonah, during the reign of Ashurdan III there was a swing toward monotheism which could have been related to the preaching of Jonah.

The repentance of Nineveh probably occurred in the reign of Ashurdan III (773-755). Two plagues (765 and 759) and a solar eclipse (763) may have prepared the people for Jonah’s message.78

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

Jonah is from the Hebrew Yo‚na‚h, which means “dove.” The Septuagint Hellenized this word into Ionas, and the Latin Vulgate used the title Jonas.

THEME AND PURPOSE:

Jonah clearly demonstrates that the God of the Hebrews (1) has concern for the whole world, (2) is sovereign over nature and all human affairs. Jonah demonstrates that “salvation is of the Lord” (2:9), and that God’s gracious offer of salvation extends to all who repent and turn to Him. The book also demonstrates how our prejudices like Jonah’s warped sense of Jewish nationalism can hinder us from following the will of God.

KEY WORD:

A word that is repeated several times emphasizing God’s sovereignty is the word “prepared.” God prepared the wind, tempest, fish, gourd, worm, and an east wind. A key idea is revival.

KEY VERSES:

Jonah 2:1-10 NIV From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. (2) He said: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. (3) You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. (4) I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ (5) The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. (6) To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, LORD my God, brought my life up from the pit. (7) “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. (8) “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. (9) But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.'” (10) And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Jonah 3:10 NIV When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN JONAH:

Through Jonah, Christ is portrayed in His resurrection (Matt. 12:40), seen as a prophet to the nations (though obviously not reluctantly like Jonah), and as the Savior of the nations. In Jonah’s life, He is seen as the Savior and Lord (2:9).

Matthew 12:39-40 NKJV But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. (40) For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

MICAH (Who Is Like God?)

AUTHOR:

Little is known about the author of this book other than what can be learned from the book itself and from Jeremiah 26:18. Micah suggests this truth in 7:18 when he said, “Who is a God like You?” In Jeremiah’s day the elders referred to Micah and quoted Micah 3:12 in defense of Jeremiah’s message of judgment on the nation (Jer. 26:18).

Micah was from Moresheth (Micah 1:1; cf. 1:14), a town in Judea about 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem near the Philistine city of Gath. Moresheth was located in Judah’s fertile foothills near Lachish, an international trading town.

DATE: 740 – 690 BC

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

The name Micah is a shortened form of Micaiah, which means “Who is like Yahweh?”

THEME AND PURPOSE:

Micah shows how the people had failed to live up to the covenant stipulations God had made with Israel in which there would be blessing for obedience (Deut. 28:1-14) and cursing for disobedience and eventually cast from the land of promise (Deut. 28:15-68). He indicts Israel and Judah for sins like oppression, bribery among the judges, prophets, and priests, and for covetousness, cheating, pride, and violence. Of course, this discipline on the nation demonstrated His love for them and that He would restore them.

The theme of judgment is prominent in each of Micah’s three messages, but he also stressed the truth of restoration. Further, Micah referred to the principle of the remnant in each of his three messages (Micah 2:12; 4:7; 5:7-8; 7:18). He declared that in the future Yahweh would restore the people of Israel to a place of prominence in the world under the coming Messiah.

KEY VERSES:

Micah 7:18-20 NKJV Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy. (19) He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea. (20) You will give truth to Jacob And mercy to Abraham, Which You have sworn to our fathers From days of old.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN MICAH:

Micah presents Christ as the God of Jacob (4:2), the Judge of the nations (4:3), and the Ruler who would be born in the city of Bethlehem (cf. 5:2 with Matt. 2:1-6). The priests and scribes quoted Micah 5:2 in answer to Herod’s question about the birthplace of Messiah.

NAHUM (The Doom of Nineveh)

AUTHOR:

Other than what Nahum tells us in 1:1, that the book is of the vision of Nahum, the Elkoshite and that it is an oracle about Nineveh, we know nothing about this prophet. Nahum means “consolation,” but his message was certainly not one of comfort to the wicked Assyrians who occupied Nineveh.

DATE: 630 – 612 BC

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

As with all the minor prophets, the book gets it name from the prophet who spoke the prophecy. The title used in the Greek and Latin Bible is Naoum and Nahum.

THEME AND PURPOSE:

The theme of this book is the coming destruction of Nineveh because after the repented following the message from the Prophet Jonah, they repented again of the repentance.

KEY WORD:

The key word or idea is simply the judgment of Nineveh, but the words that stand out in this connection are “avenging” and “vengeance” occurring three times in the opening chapter (1:2).

HABAKKUK (Solution to Perplexity)

AUTHOR:

The author is identified as Habakkuk in 1:1 and 3:1. He clearly identifies himself as a prophet and the fact that his prayer and praise is concluded with the statement, “For the choir director, on my stringed instruments” suggests he had a priestly background.

DATE: 606 – 604 BC

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

The book gets its title from the name of the author. Habakkuk comes from a Hebrew word, which means “embrace.”

THEME AND PURPOSE:

The theme of this prophecy flows out of Habakkuk’s perplexity over the coming invasion of the wicked Babylonians. It concerns the problems of his faith in the face of two apparent difficulties: (1) Why did God permit the increasing evil in Judah to go unpunished (1:2-4)? And how could a Holy God (1:13) use sinful nations like Babylon as His source of judgment (1:12-2:1)? Habakkuk grapples with these difficulties which are solved in the light of God’s continuing revelation, and the prophet closes in a psalm of joyous trust. The book is thus a theodicy, a defense of God’s goodness and power in view of the problem of evil.

KEY WORD:

Two words are key not because of their repetition but because of the content of the book. One is “why” as Habakkuk struggled with the issues here and the other is “faith” as declared in 2:4, “the just shall live by faith.”

KEY VERSES:

Habakkuk 3:17-19 NKJV Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there 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; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN HABAKKUK:

Habakkuk 2:14 NKJV For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.

ZEPHANIAH (Blessing Through Judgment)

AUTHOR:

As seen in 1:1, the book was written by Zephaniah, the son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah. In tracing the prophet’s ancestry through four generations, this heading is unique. Usually only the prophet’s father is identified (cf. Isa. 1:1; Jer. 1:1; Ezek. 1:3; Hos. 1:1; Joel 1:1) when the author provides genealogical information. Such a long genealogy suggests the noble birth of the prophet, his great-great-grandfather being the good King Hezekiah.

DATE: 630-625 B.C.

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

The book takes its name from the prophet Zephaniah It means “hidden of Yahweh.” See 2:3. The Greek and Latin title is Sophonias.

THEME AND PURPOSE:

Zephaniah clearly divides into three sections: retribution or judgment for sin, a call for repentance, and a promise of future redemption or blessing.

KEY WORD:

The key words are “day of the Lord,” “that day,” the day,” which combined occur some twenty times. The key idea is that of judgment and restoration in the day of the Lord.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN ZEPHANIAH:

Though not specifically mentioned in this book, Messiah is presented as the Righteous One within the nation of Israel (3:5) who is also their King (3:15).

HAGGAI (Encouragement)

With Haggai, we come to the only three post-exilic prophets, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, all of whom spoke to the returned remnant. Their objective was to encourage their spiritual and moral life of this remnant, now back in their home land, as they sought to rebuild the temple and the nation. Haggai and Zechariah dealt mostly with the spiritual needs as they related to the rebuilding of the temple and Malachi dealt primarily with the moral and social needs involved with the reconstruction of the nation itself.

AUTHOR:

Haggai is known only from this book (mentioned 9 times) and the mention of him in Ezra 5:1-2 and 6:14. Little is known about him. He refers to himself as “the prophet Haggai” (1:1), but nothing is known about his parents or genealogy. He was a contemporary of Zechariah the prophet and Zerubbabel the governor. His authorship is uncontested.

DATE: 520 B.C.

As stated by Haggai in 1:1, his first message was given on the first day of Elul (Aug.-Sept.) in the second year of Darius. This was in 520 B.C.

THEME AND PURPOSE:

Haggai wrote to encourage and exhort the returned remnant to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. In the process of this he taught (1) God blesses His people when they put Him first, (2) that we should not grow weary in the service of the Lord, and that (3) God’s promises for tomorrow become the foundation for our confidence for today.

KEY WORDS:

The repetition of the term “house” as it is used in relation to the Temple focuses the readers attention on the reconstruction of the Temple as the key focus of the book.

KEY VERSES:

Haggai 1:7-8 NKJV Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways! (8) Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the LORD.

Haggai 2:6-9 NKJV “For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; (7) and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the LORD of hosts. (8) ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts. (9) ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the LORD of hosts.”

CHRIST AS SEEN IN HAGGAI:

Here Messiah is portrayed as the Restorer of the Temple’s glory (2:7-9) and the Overthrower of the kingdoms of the world (2:22).

ZECHARIAH (the Jealousy of Yahweh)

AUTHOR AND TITLE:

Zechariah the prophet was the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the priest who led the Levites (Neh. 12:4), and a contemporary of the previous prophet (Ezra 6:14). His name (Zekarya‚h) means “Yahweh remembers” or “Yahweh has remembered.” This is a theme that runs like a thread through the whole book. In the Greek and Latin version Zechariah is Zacharias. Also a contemporary of Haggai.

DATE: 520-515 B.C.

THEME AND PURPOSE:

Zechariah was written to encourage the returned remnant to complete their work in rebuilding the temple. The prophet also showed that God was at work in the world restoring Israel to their spiritual inheritance in preparation for the coming Messiah. Doctrinally, Zechariah demonstrates the prominence of the temple in God’s spiritual restoration of Israel; shows the providence of God in bringing back His people to their land, and it highlights the preeminence of the Messiah in the future spiritual restoration of the Nation.

KEY VERSES:

Zechariah 8:3 NKJV “Thus says the LORD: ‘I will return to Zion, And dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, The Mountain of the LORD of hosts, The Holy Mountain.’

Zechariah 9:9-10 NKJV Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, And the horse from Jerusalem; And the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; And His dominion will be from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN ZECHARIAH:

Zechariah presents Messiah or Christ in both of his advents and as both Servant and King, as Man and God, as the Angel of the Lord (3:1), the Righteous Branch (3:8), the Stone with the seven eyes (3:9), the Crucified Savior or the pierced One (12:10), the coming and humble King (9:9-10), the smitten Shepherd who will be abandoned (13:7), and the coming Judge and righteous King (14).

MALACHI (Repent and Return)

AUTHOR AND TITLE:

Malachi is only mentioned in Malachi 1:1 as the author of this prophecy. The Septuagint has Malachias and the Latin uses Maleachi for the title.

DATE: 450-400 B.C.

THEME AND PURPOSE:

Malachi wrote to answer the questions of the priests and people, to reveal and rebuke them for their sins, their backsliding, and poor attitudes, but to also encourage them by ending on a note of encouragement through the coming of the Lord’s messenger who would clear the way for Messiah. Thus, Malachi rebuked the people for their neglect of the true worship of the Lord and called them to repentance (1:6; 3:7).

KEY WORD:

Twelve times in Malachi we read either “you say” (11 times) or “you also say” (once). Also, the word curse or cursed occurs seven times in four verses. In answer to their questions and their failure to understand God’s judgment, Malachi answers and shows them why. The key idea that prevails is Malachi’s answer and appeal to the wayward remnant that had returned.

KEY VERSES:

Malachi 3:6-7 NKJV “For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. (7) Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the LORD of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’

The Book of Malachi is the prelude to four hundred years of prophetic silence, broken finally by the words of the next prophet, John the Baptist: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

Malachi 3:1 NKJV “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the LORD of hosts.