Journey Through the Bible – 9

Journey Through the Bible – 9

(From the Series: CONCISE OLD TESTAMENT SURVEY found at Bible.org)

JEREMIAH (Warnings Against Sin and Judgment)

AUTHOR:

As with Isaiah, this book clearly identifies the human author who is Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah from the priest city of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin (1:1). Jeremiah dictated his prophecies to Baruch, his secretary. Only chapter 52 was not written by the prophet. Jeremiah is often called the “weeping prophet” (9:1; 13:17) or the “prophet of loneliness” perhaps because he was commanded not to marry (16:2). He is also known as the reluctant prophet (1:6), but he faithfully proclaimed God’s judgments on an apostate Judah even though he experienced opposition, beatings, and imprisonment (11:18-23; 12:6; 18:18; 20:1-3; 26:1-24; 37:11-38:28).

DATE: 627-585 B.C.

Jeremiah was a contemporary of Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Daniel, and Ezekiel. His prophetic ministry began in 626 B.C. and ended sometime after 586. His ministry was immediately preceded by that of Zephaniah. Since Ezekiel began his ministry in Babylon in 593 he too was a late contemporary of this great prophet in Jerusalem. How and when Jeremiah died is unknown though Jewish tradition asserts that Jeremiah was put to death while living in Egypt (cf. Heb 11:37).

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

The meaning of his name is uncertain. Suggestions include “The LORD exalts” and “The LORD establishes,” but a more likely proposal is “The LORD throws,” either in the sense of “hurling” the prophet into a hostile world or of “throwing down” the nations in divine judgment for their sins.62

THEME AND PURPOSE:

Two themes are prominent: warnings of God’s judgment against sin are prominent throughout the book, but with that there was also the message of hope and restoration if the nation would genuinely repent.

As hinted earlier, an aura of conflict surrounded Jeremiah almost from the beginning. He lashed out against the sins of his countrymen (44:23), scoring them severely for their idolatry (16:10-13, 20; 22:9; 32:29; 44:2-3, 8, 17-19, 25)—which sometimes even involved sacrificing their children to foreign gods (7:30-34). But Jeremiah loved the people of Judah in spite of their sins, and he prayed for them (14:7, 20) even when the Lord told him not to (7:16; 11:14; 14:11).63

KEY WORDS OR IDEAS:

Judah’s last hour in view of backsliding and unfaithfulness. There are more references to Babylon in Jeremiah (164) than in all the rest of the Bible together.

KEY VERSES:

Jeremiah 1:4-10 NKJV Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: (5) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” (6) Then said I: “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” (7) But the LORD said to me: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak. (8) Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you,” says the LORD. (9) Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me: “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. (10) See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, To root out and to pull down, To destroy and to throw down, To build and to plant.”

Jeremiah 7:23-24 NKJV But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ (24) Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.

KEY PEOPLE:

The key person throughout is of course Jeremiah, his preaching, resistance, and persecution.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN JEREMIAH:

Many pictures of Christ are seen in Jeremiah: He is portrayed as the fountain of living waters (2:13; cf. John 4:14), the balm of Gilead (8:22), the Good Shepherd (23:4), a Righteous Branch (23:5), and the Lord our Righteousness (23:6). He is seen as the one who will bring in the New Covenant (31:31-34).


LAMENTATIONS (A River of Tears)

AUTHOR:

The author of Lamentations is unnamed in the book, but two lines of evidence favor Jeremiah as the author.

DATE: 586 or 585 B.C.

Since the book was written soon after Jerusalem’s destruction which was completed in 586, the earliest possible date for the book is 586 B.C. The graphic immediacy of Lamentations argues for a date shortly after this like 586 or 585 B.C.

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

Because of its subject matter, the book is also referred to in Jewish tradition as qinot,“Lamentations,” which is the title given to it in the Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate.

THEME AND PURPOSE:

The primary theme of the book is a lament or mourning over the woes that had fallen on sinful Judah and the pitiable destruction of the holy city and the temple.

KEY WORD:

In view of the theme and nature of the book, the key word is mourning or lamentations.

KEY VERSES:

Lamentations 3:21-25 NKJV (21) This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. (22) Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. (23) They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. (24) “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” (25) The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.

KEY CHAPTERS:

Surely chapter 3 stands as a pinnacle in the midst of the other chapters of ruin and destruction for here the author expresses his faith and hope in God’s mercy who will not reject His people forever.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN LAMENTATIONS:

Lamentations includes two elements that portray the Savior: (1) It portrays Him as the Man of Sorrows who was acquainted with grief, who was afflicted, despised, and scorned by His enemies (cf. 1:12; 3:19: 2:15-16; 3:14, 30). (2) Jeremiah’s weeping over the destruction of Jerusalem is perhaps also a picture of Christ who wept over Jerusalem (see Matt. 23:37-38).


EZEKIEL (They Shall Know That I Am Yahweh)

AUTHOR:

The author is Ezekiel the priest, son of Buzi, who received his call as a prophet while in exile in Babylon (1:1-3). His ministry as a prophet demonstrates a priestly focus with his concern for the temple, priesthood, sacrifices, and the shekinah glory of God. What is known of Ezekiel is derived entirely from the book of Ezekiel itself. He was married (see 24:15-18), lived in a house of his own (cf. 3:24; 8:1) and, along with his fellow exiles, had a relatively free existence.

DATE: 593-571 B.C.

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

As with Isaiah and Jeremiah, the book of Ezekiel gets its name from its author, Ezekiel, which is the Hebrew “Yehezkeál” and means “God strengthens” or “strengthened by God.”

THEME AND PURPOSE:

Ezekiel’s focus is on condemnation (1-32) for Israel’s sin and consolation (33-48) in view of what God will do in the future.

KEY WORD:

While the key concept may be found in the word “restoration,” the words “shall know that I am the Lord” occurs some 63 times. Other distinctive phrases that are repeated are “the word of the Lord came” (50 times), and “glory of the Lord” (10 times).

KEY VERSES:

Ezekiel 36:24-30 NKJV For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. (25) Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. (26) I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (27) I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. (28) Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. (29) I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. (30) And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations.

KEY CHAPTERS:

Chapters 36-37 speak of the blessings that will come to the mountains of Israel followed by the hope of restoration of Israel in the vision of the valley of dry bones, which outlines the clear process of restoration of Israel’s future.

Chapters 38-39 anticipate the great global conflict that will occur on the mountains of Israel but with Israel’s enemies defeated by God.

KEY PEOPLE:

Ezekiel, son of Busi, a priest called to be prophet to Israel before and after the Babylonian captivity.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN EZEKIEL:

Christ, the Messiah, is pictured as a tender sprig that will be planted on a high and lofty mountain (17:23-24), a picture similar to that of the Branch in Isaiah (11:1), in Jeremiah (23:5; 33:15), and in Zechariah (3:8: 6:12). Ezekiel also speaks of Messiah as the King who has the right to rule (21:26-27) and who will minister as the true Shepherd (34:11-31).


DANIEL (Israel’s Ultimate Destiny)

AUTHOR:

While a youth, Daniel was taken as a captive to Babylon in 605 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar. There he became a statesman in the court of Nebuchadnezzar and Darius. Though he did not occupy the office of a prophet, Christ identified him as a prophet (Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14). As one who did not occupy the prophetic office, the book of Daniel is found in “the Writings,” the third division of the Hebrew Bible rather than in “the Prophets.”

DATE: 537 B.C.

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

The book is named after its author. The Hebrew word for Daniel is “Daniyel” or “Daniáel”, which means either “God is Judge” or “God is my Judge.” The Greek form Daniel in the Septuagint is the basis for the Latin and English titles.

THEME AND PURPOSE:

The theme of Daniel is God’s sovereign power as the one true God, who judges and destroys the rebellious world powers and will faithfully deliver His covenant people according to their steadfast faith in Him.

KEY WORD:

Though the words “king” and “kingdom” occur over and over again, the key idea is the plan of God for Israel which will end in the establishment of God’s Messiah King as ruler on the earth.

KEY VERSES:

Daniel 2:20-21 NKJV Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. (21) And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.

Daniel 2:44 NKJV And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

Daniel 7:13-14 NKJV “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. (14) Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.

KEY CHAPTERS:

One of the greatest prophetic chapters in the Bible is Daniel 9, the prophecy of the ‘seventy weeks’ determined for Israel (9:24-27). These verses give us the chronological frame for the nation of Israel and her Messiah from the time Daniel to the establishment of Messiah’s kingdom on earth.

KEY PEOPLE:

The key people are Daniel who was taken to Babylon as a youth, served in government and became God’s special mouthpiece to Gentile and Jewish nations; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, three more youths who were chosen for special training along with Daniel (their former and Jewish names were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah). Other important persons are Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon in 605 B.C., Darius who succeeded Belshazzar as king, Cyrus, the Persian monarch, and Michael, the archangel who ministered to Daniel in chapter 10.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN DANIEL:

One of the key portraits of Christ in Daniel is that of the coming Messiah who will be cut off (a reference to the cross) (9:25-26). However, Christ is also portrayed as the great stone who will crush the kingdoms of this world (2:34, 45), the son of man (7:13), and the Ancient of days (7:22). The vision in 10:5-9) is most likely a Christophany, an appearance of Christ (cf. Rev. 1:12- 16).

The last twelve books of the Old Testament (Minor Prophets):

Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi

Group:Book:Approximate Dates:
Pre-Exilic
Prophets of Israel
Jonah (preached to Nineveh)
Amos
Hosea
780-850
765-750
755-715
Prophets of JudahObadiah
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
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; and
5. A promise of future deliverance.

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:

According to 1:1, Hosea ministered during the days of Uzziah (767-739), Jotham (739-731), Ahaz (731-715), and Hezekiah (715-686), kings of Judah and during the days of Jeroboam II (782-752), king of Israel.

Hosea’s ministry spanned several decades, beginning near the end of the reigns of Uzziah of Judah (ca. 790-739 b.c.) and Jeroboam II of Israel (ca. 793-753 b.c.) and concluding in the early years of Hezekiah’s reign. The latter’s rule began around 715 b.c. after a period of vice-regency with his father Ahaz. Since Israel was Hosea’s primary audience, it seems strange that four Judean kings, but only one Israelite king, are mentioned in 1:1. The reason for the omission of the six Israelite kings who followed Jeroboam II is uncertain. Perhaps it suggests the legitimacy of the Davidic dynasty (cf. 3:5) in contrast with the instability and disintegration of the kingship in the North (cf. 7:3-7).73

Perhaps also, the six other kings in Israel who followed Jeroboam II were omitted because of their relative insignificance, yet each of these continued in the sin of the Jeroboam I, son of Nebat. In essence, there were no good kings in the Northern Kingdom of Israel who instituted reforms as there were in the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

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.

KEY WORD:

In view of the analogy of Israel as the wife of Yahweh and the command given to Hosea to take a wife of harlotry which would illustrates Israel’s behavior, the words “harlot” (10 times) and “harlotry” (9 times) are key words. In addition, God’s loyal love for Israel in spite of Israel’s unfaithfulness is a key concept of the book.

KEY VERSES:

3:1. Then the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.”

4:1. Listen to the word of the LORD, O sons of Israel, For the LORD has a case against the inhabitants of the land, Because there is no faithfulness or kindness Or knowledge of God in the land.

4:6. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

11:7-9. So My people are bent on turning from Me. Though they call them to the One on high, None at all exalts Him. How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, All My compassions are kindled. I will not execute My fierce anger; I will not destroy Ephraim again. For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, And I will not come in wrath.

KEY CHAPTERS:

Chapter 4 is key in that in this chapter we see how in following the ways of idolatry, Israel left the knowledge of God’s truth and became rejected as priest.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN HOSEA:

In Hosea, Messiah is presented as the Son of God (cf. 11:1 with Matt. 2:15), as the only Savior of His people (cf. 13:4 with John 14:6), as the one who will ransom us from the dead (cf. 13:14 with 1 Cor. 15:55), as the one who loves us with great compassion (11:4), and as the one who heals those who will return to Him (6:1).

OUTLINE: 

  1. Superscription (1:1)
  2. Hosea’s Marriage: A Portrait of God’s Dealings with Israel (1:2-3:5)
    1. The prophetic nature of Hosea’s family (1:2-2:1)
      1. Hosea’s marriage: Israel’s unfaithfulness (1:2-3a)
      2. Hosea’s children: Israel’s judgment (1:3b-9)
      3. Israel’s future: restoration (1:10-2:1)
    2. Restoration through punishment (2:2-23)
      1. The Lord’s punishment of Israel (2:2-13)
      2. The Lord’s restoration of Israel (2:14-23)
    3. Restoration of Hosea’s marriage (3:1-5)
      1. The divine command (3:1)
      2. Hosea’s obedient response (3:2-3)
      3. The illustration explained (3:4-5)
  3. Hosea’s Message: The Judgment and Restoration of Israel (4:1-14:9)
    1. The Lord’s case against Israel (4:1-6:3)
      1. Israel’s guilt exposed (4:1-19)
      2. Israel’s judgment announced (5:1-14)
      3. Israel’s restoration prophesied (5:15-6:3)
    2. The Lord’s case against Israel enlarged (6:4-11:11)
      1. Israel’s guilt and punishment (6:4-8:14)
      2. Israel’s guilt and punishment restated (9:1-11:7)
      3. The Lord’s compassion renewed (11:8-11)
    3. The Lord’s case against Israel concluded (11:12-14:9)
      1. A concluding indictment (11:12-13:16)
      2. A concluding exhortation (14:1-9)
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:

Since the date is not specified within the book by any time references, we have to determine the date as much as possible from the internal evidences we find in the book, such as references to various nations, events, etc. People have suggested dates from 835-400 B.C., but determining the date is difficult.

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:

2:11. And the LORD utters His voice before His army; Surely His camp is very great, For strong is he who carries out His word. The day of the LORD is indeed great and very awesome, And who can endure it?

2:28-32. “And it will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. “And even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. “And I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire, and columns of smoke. “The sun will be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

KEY CHAPTERS:

Chapter 2 is the key chapter in that it promises that God will relent of the judgment to be poured out on Israel if she will only return to the Lord (vs. 13-14). This is then followed by the promise of the future deliverance of the nation through the outpouring of the Spirit of God, the display of wonders in the sky and on the earth, the coming of the day of the Lord, and the calling on the name of the Lord (vss. 28-32).

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).

OUTLINE:

  1. The Historic Day of the Lord (1:1-20)
    1. The Historic Occurrence of Locust (1:1-12)
    2. The Historic Occurrence of Drought (1:13-20)
  2. The Prophetic Day of the Lord (2:1-3:21)
    1. The Imminency of the Day of the Lord (2:1-27)
      1. The Prophecy of an Invasion of Judah (2:1-11)
      2. The Condition Needed for the Salvation of Judah (2:12-27)
    2. The Ultimate Day of the Lord (2:28-3:21)
      1. The Final Events Before the Day of the Lord (2:28-32)
      2. The Events of the Day of the Lord (3:1-21)
        1. Judgment on the Gentiles (3:1-16)
        2. Judgment on Judah (3:17-21)
AMOS (Judgment for Abused Privilege)

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.

According to verse 1, Amos tells us that he was a contemporary of Uzziah and Jeroboam II and prophesied “in the days of Uzziah, King of Judah (790-739 b.c), and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, King of Israel (793-753 b.c), two years before the earthquake” (1:1). Amos probably prophesied in the period from 767-753. We are also told that he prophesied “two years before the earthquake,” but the precise date of this event is not known.

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:

3:1-2. Hear this word which the LORD has spoken against you, sons of Israel, against the entire family which He brought up from the land of Egypt, “You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; Therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities.”

4:11-12. “I overthrew you as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze; Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD. “Therefore, thus I will do to you, O Israel; Because I shall do this to you, Prepare to meet your God, O Israel.”

8:11-12. 11 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD. “And people will stagger from sea to sea, And from the north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, But they will not find it.

KEY CHAPTER:

Chapter 9 is a key chapter because of its focus on the restoration of Israel. Set in the midst of the harsh judgments of Amos are some of the greatest prophecies of restoration of Israel anywhere in Scripture. Within the scope of just five verses the future of Israel becomes clear, as the Abrahamic, Davidic, and Palestinian covenants are focused on their climactic fulfillment in the return of the Messiah.75

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).

OUTLINE:

  1. The Introduction: the Author and Theme (1:1-2)
  2. The Eight Judgments of Amos (1:3-2:16)
    1. Concerning Damascus (1:3-5)
    2. Concerning Philistia (1:6-8)
    3. Concerning Tyre (1:9-10)
    4. Concerning Edom (1:11-12)
    5. Concerning Ammon (1:13-15)
    6. Concerning Moab (2:1-3)
    7. Concerning Judah (2:4-5)
    8. Concerning Israel (2:6-16)
  3. The Sermons of Amos (3:1-6:14)
    1. The Doom of Israel (3:1-15)
    2. The Depravity of Israel (4:1-13 )
    3. A Dirge over Israel (5:1-6:14)
    4. The ruin of Israel in coming judgment (5:1-17)
    5. The rebuke of religious people (5:18-27)
    6. The reprimand of the entire nation (6:1-14)
  4. The Five Visions of Amos (7:1-9:15)
    1. A Vision of Devouring Locusts (7:1-3)
    2. A Vision of Fire (7:4-6)
    3. A Vision of a Plumb Line (7:7-9)
    4. An Historical Interlude: Opposition from the Priest of Bethel (7:10-17)
    5. A Vision of a Basket of Summer Fruit (8:1-14)
    6. A Vision of the Lord Judging (9:1-10)
  5. The Five Promise of Restoration for Israel (9:11-15)
OBADIAH (Poetic Justice)

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:

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

The question of date relates to which battle against Jerusalem the Edomites were associated with (vv. 11-14). There were four significant invasions of Jerusalem in Old Testament times: (1) by Shishak, king of Egypt, during Rehoboam’s reign, in 926 B.C. (1 Kings 14:25-26); (2) by the Philistines and Arabians during the reign of Jehoram, from 848-841 (2 Chron. 21:16-17); (3) by King Jehoash of Israel during the reign of Amaziah, in 790 (2 Kings 14:13-14); (4) by Babylon during the years 605-586 (2 Kings 24-25). Obadiah prophesied against Edom either in connection with invasion #2 or #4. If the first, this book is the earliest of the writing prophets (see 2 Kings 8:20 and 2 Chron. 21:16-17; then see Joel 3:3-6 compared with Obad. 11-12 and the use of Obad. 1-9 in the extended passage in Jer. 49:7-22 as support for the earlier date).

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

The Hebrew name 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.

KEY WORD:

Judgment on Edom. Combined, Edom and Esau occur nine times.

KEY VERSES:

1:10. “Because of violence to your brother Jacob, You will be covered with shame, And you will be cut off forever.

1:15. “For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.

1:21. The deliverers will ascend Mount Zion To judge the mountain of Esau, And the kingdom will be the LORD’S.

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

OUTLINE:

  1. The Prophecies of Judgment on Edom (1-9)
    1. The Certainty of Judgment (1-4)
    2. The Completeness of the Judgment (5-9)
  2. The Basis for the Judgment on Edom (10-14)
    1. For an Absence of Brotherly Love (vs. 10)
    2. For Aloofness (11-12)
    3. For Aggressiveness (13-14)
  3. The Time of the Judgment (vs. 15)
  4. The Results of the Judgment (16-18)
  5. The Deliverance of Israel (19-21)

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:

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.

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:

2:8-9. “Those who regard vain idols Forsake their faithfulness, But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD.”

3:10. When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.

4:2. And he prayed to the LORD and said, “Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore, in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that Thou art a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.

KEY CHAPTERS:

The third chapter stands out in that it records one of the greatest revivals of history.

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).

OUTLINE:

  1. The Fleeing of Jonah (1:1-17)
    1. The Reason for His Flight (1:1-2)
    2. The Route of His Flight (1:3)
    3. The Results of His Flight (1:4-17)
  2. The Praying of Jonah (2:1-10)
    1. The Characteristics of His Prayer (2:1-9)
    2. The Answer to His Prayer (2:10)
  3. The Preaching of Jonah (3:1-10)
    1. God’s Command to Preach (3:1-3)
    2. The Content of Jonah’s Preaching (3:4)
    3. The Consequences of Jonah’s Preaching (3:5-10)
  4. The Learning of Jonah (4:1-11)
    1. Jonah’s Complaint to God (4:1-3)
    2. God’s Curriculum for Jonah (4:4-11)