and Minor Prophets”
The next area we will cover in the Bible is the Old Testament Prophets. Many Old Testament prophets have books named after them while others do not. However, it doesn't make their message any less prominent or any weaker than any other prophets. Some of them are referred to as “Major prophets” and some as “Minor prophets” but again the message is still consistent in the early Hebrews believed that these men spoke for God.
According to the John MacArthur study Bible there are 4 major prophets and 12 minor prophets with a total of 17 books written to various groups in the Old Testament. The major prophets Isaiah, Daniel, Jeremiah
(he wrote two books) and Ezekiel. There are 12 minor prophets that are listed as Hosea through Malachi. There are also books considered history, which are the books of Joshua through Ester (12). The books of wisdom or poetry which include Job, Psalms, Proverbs,
Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon (5).
The Old and New Testaments encompass approximately 4000 years
of world history that God has chronicled for us to read. He used imperfect people as vessels to write His word through their unique personality and perspective while still
holding true to His mission, message and truth.
Without the true life testimonies chronicled for us in the Bible and the real-life experiences that are documented,
it will be difficult for humankind to understand the grace, compassion and salvation message that God offers through Jesus Christ.
The prophet Isaiah has a distinct plan of salvation for the Messiah and is quoted frequently in the New Testament.
Isaiah's name means “The salvation of Jehovah." This book is prophetic in nature and has a foretelling plan of redemption. In Chapter 7 of Isaiah we are told of the virgin birth. In Isaiah chapter 53, we are told
of the sacrifice of the coming Messiah. The book of Isaiah is quoted 95 times in the New Testament.
The next major profit is Jeremiah, his name means, “Yahweh establishes, appoints
or sends.” Jeremiah was also a priest as well as a prophet. Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet as his compassion for the people is overwhelming. We are told in
Jeremiah's book that he was called to be a prophet of God before he was in his mother's womb. Jeremiah calls the Messiah “The branch.” This being a title or it says the branch will spring up out of the lineage of King David in Jer. 23:5. Jeremiah is also credited with writing the book of Lamentations.
The prophet Ezekiel,
whose name means “God strengthens”, was a descendent of the priestly line of Aaron. Ezekiel addressed the rebelliousness of the people and he often used symbols to demonstrate godly principles. Ezekiel prophesied also against Judah and God’s
departing glory due to disobedience and the captivity of the Jews in Babylon.
Daniel the prophet is very well known for being a man of faith in the Old Testament. This is also a very strong prophetic book about not only what happened
to the Jews after they are released from their captivity in Babylon, but what would happen in the last days of human history. The book of Daniel is quoted 11 times in the
New Testament. Daniel has visions of the end times in Chapters 7-9. In Daniel Chapter 12:4, he is told to “seal the book” until the end times, we are in those times! In
chapter 7 Daniel has a vision of four beasts which represents different nations that will assemble in a “One world governmental” system that will be headed by the Anti-Christ. Daniel's name means “God is judge.”
The book of Hosea is a story about redemption. God parallels
Hosea’s marriage to a harlot, Gomer and as a type of relationship in that God is the husband and the harlot in the bride which is representative of Israel. The book of Hosea is quoted nine times in the New Testament
The book of Joel is also a prophetic book which talks about
the judgment and restoration of Israel. Once again, God performs an historical invasion and also gives us insight into prophetic events. The book of Joel is quoted six times
in the New Testament.
The next minor prophet is Amos. His name literally means “A burden bearer.”
Amos along with Joel speaks of judgments against the people.
In his book Amos warns about the great transgressions Israel has committed. Israel is guilty of not taking responsibility for their sin, idolatry and the overall moral decay
of the nation. Unfortunately, that sounds a lot like our nation today. Amos warns against social injustices and the impending judgment to come. This would be categorized by famine, which in turn caused plague, death and destruction.
I have noticed
that in all of these books so far; God always warns the people through a prophet, He reveals truth and He gives them an opportunity to repent and restore their relationship with Him. Every book is a beautiful portrait of our restoration to the Father through
Obadiah is the smallest book in the New Testament;
a mere 21 versus but because it is God's Word, it is powerful. The name Obadiah means, “A worshiper of Jehovah”
We do not know much about this prophet but he warns against impending judgment that is caused by un-brotherly conduct toward Judah by Edom. Perhaps this is a foreshadowing of what can happen when we exhibit un-brotherly conduct to others in the church.
The next book is Jonah. Ironically Jonah’s name means “A Dove”. A dove is a symbol of peace and of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. We're all very familiar with the story of Jonah and the great fish. Jonah runs from God
because he does not want to preach repentance for the inhabitants of Nineveh. Upon further study and investigation I have found the Ninevites to be a murderous people that committed vile and detestable acts against the Jews.
Jonah struggles with how God could allow his countrymen to be slaughtered and yet be a God of forgiveness and mercy. The Ninevites are people full of idolatry, murder and are also Gentiles.
I cannot see of a better portrait of redemption. We were all once evil in our heart and worshiped idols yet, God forgives us if we repent.
Micah’s name means “Like Jehovah” Micah warns the people of God’s judgment in response to their sin. Micah is also best known as giving a prophetic reference
as to where the Messiah would be born; 700 years before it happened.(Micah 5:2) We behold Jesus in every book of the Old Testament so far as He is portrayed as Lord God,
King and Messiah.
The prophet Nahum’s name means “Compassion”. Approximately a century after they repented at the preaching of Jonah, Nineveh quickly returned to its sin. Nahum is sent to them once again to confront the nation for their idolatry, violence
and arrogance. The nation was full of drunkenness, witchcraft and all types of immorality. Nahum prophesied that Nineveh would not arise the second time from judgment for failure to turn from sin. This would be their final end and destruction.
The next prophet is Habakkuk and
his name means, “Embrace”. This book is quoted three times in the New Testament. Habakkuk asks God why there is so much injustice on the earth.
Habakkuk tries to understand how God can continue to allow so much sin. However, in God's grace and mercy He allows sin that grace may abound. God explains to Habakkuk that His salvation is for everyone no matter how vile their sin is, God will receive those who genuinely repent and turn to Him
The next prophet we will look at is Zephaniah. Zephaniah's name means “The
day of the Lord.” I did not find Zephaniah quoted in the New Testament. Zephaniah's
book bears a strong resemblance to Joel's book and explains the day of God's wrath. God corrects the people for idolatry and their refusal to adhere to the book of the Law. We know that Zephaniah was a descendent of King Hezekiah. Toward the end of his book he records
the Lord's blessings when the people come out of the rebellion and sin.
The next Minor Prophet is Haggai. Haggai’s name means “Festival.” This prophet gives a major rebuke to the
people and tells them why they have not been prospering. The people respond and repent quickly. He then calls the people to be strong and courageous. He tells the priests to sanctify themselves unto obedience (or set themselves apart). The final chapter of this book
addresses God's blessing; once the nation repented, they are encouraged by God's favor. This book is quoted twice in the New Testament
book is Zachariah. He was a counterpart to
Haggai and joined Haggai in confronting the people for the indifference. Zachariah's name means “Jehovah remembers.” This book is quoted nine times in New Testament. There are 10 references to Jesus the Messiah and the book of Zachariah. Zachariah's purpose for
writing this book is to encourage the Jews to rebuild the Temple to prepare the way for the Messiah.
The last of our minor Prophets as Malachi. His name means “My messenger”. Malachi,
Nehemiah and Ezra were all contemporaries and lived during the same time. Malachi is the last Prophetic book of the Old Testament that was recorded before what is known as the
“Inter-testamental period” or the 400 “Silent years”, before John the Baptist appears to prepare the way for the long awaited Messiah.
”Books of History”
The books of history in the Old Testament consists of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, I and II Chronicles, Nehemiah, Ezra and the book of Esther.
These 12 books cover a time a little over 1000 years in the history of the Jewish people. Joshua
was the successor to Moses. Under Joshua's leadership, the children of Israel enter the Promised land, they see miracles, as the walls of Jericho fall and they take the city. This is a continuing story of redemption as Rahab the harlot is spared for helping
the Hebrew spies. Later, in the New Testament Rahab is mentioned as one in the lineage of the Messiah.
Joshua is the Hebrew name of Jesus which means “God
is salvation.” The book of Joshua records historical battles, divisions of land and the final instructions of Joshua to the tribes of Israel. Surprisingly this book is not quoted in the New Testament.
The book of Judges picks up after the death of Joshua and this book emphasizes military deliverers and rulers. Not long
after Joshua's death we find the Hebrews abandoning a central place of worship, failing to sustain the Hebrew priesthood and falling short of meditating on God's Word. There are seven periods of Judges that are placed in rulership over Israel and towards the
end of this book Israel is indicted for their dereliction of duty to train their children in the ways of the Lord.
The book of Ruth is a story of
the kinsman redeemer and how God used a Gentile Moabite in the lineage for the Messiah. Ruth's name means “friend or companion.”
Ruth is a woman whose husband dies and she is barren. She chooses to remain with her mother
in-law and she ends up marrying Boaz, which is a kinsman to Naomi, Ruth's mother in law. The kinsman redeemer requirements are, he must be a blood relative to those who he redeems, be able to pay the redemption, be willing to redeem and be free himself. The
kinsman redeemer is known as a type of Christ and redeemer. In Jesus’ grace, mercy and love for humanity; He fulfills all of these requirements to redeem us in a sin filled world. In this act of redemption Boaz and Ruth bare a son named Obed; in turn
Obed is the father of Jesse; and Jesse is the father of King David who God promised the Messiah would come from his lineage.
The book of Ruth is not quoted in
the New Testament.
The books I and II Samuel
cover about 130 years; between the two books there are five quotes in the New Testament. Samuel is called to be a prophet, priest and judge over the people and he speaks to the people for God. In their desire to have an earthly king God gives the people what
they want and Saul is anointed king over Israel. Saul’s kingly reign is plagued with disobedience, rebellion and rejection of God.
Saul and his son Jonathan die in battle. David who represents a shepherd and king to the people is subsequently anointed by Samuel some 17 years before he takes the throne. After David takes the throne he commits adultery
with Bathsheba and has her husband Uriah killed to hide his sin; David’s household has no rest. It is plagued with strife, division, murder and discord. David is not permitted to build the temple of God, because of Uriah’s blood on his hands. David’s son, Solomon
completes the temple.
First and II Kings
cover the reign of subsequent kings of Israel for the span of about 170 years. Under King Solomon's reign the kingdom is one. After Solomon dies the kingdom is divided into two parts. King Solomon is known as one of the wisest men in the world because he asked
for wisdom, God gave it however; he didn't always use it. Solomon has said to have written the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and many Psalms in the Old Testament writings.
First and second Chronicles is said to be just that, a chronicle of the 70 years of judicial role starting with King David. This
book also chronicles the building of the temple in Jerusalem during King Solomon's reign. For 70 years Israel is continually plagued with disobedience.
The books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles are filled with many stories of God's prophets, miracles and the restoration of the Hebrew people.
The book of Ezra documents the re-establishment of God's people from Babylonia to Jerusalem and spans approximately 79 years.
The book of Ezra is not quoted in the New Testament. Ezra was a Scribe that documented the two groups of Israelites that returned
to Jerusalem after their captivity as they restored the temple. Ezra is credited in Nehemiah chapter 8 for reading the law and when the people heard the word of the Lord they wept because of their sin. The people were convicted; they repented and re-established
worship in the temple as instructed by Ezra the Scribe and priest. Ezra is thought to be a descendent of Aaron through Eleazar. He is also thought to have written I and II Chronicles.
The book of Nehemiah is said to be a book of restoration and renewal. Nehemiah was a cup Bearer
or butler to the king of Persia. Nehemiah’s name means “comforter.” The book of Nehemiah is quoted once in the New Testament. He requested and received permission to leave Persia and he returned to Jerusalem to oversee the wall building project. The walls of the city in Biblical times symbolized strength. Without walls for protection there
would be no respect for the city or its inhabitants. During this time the city of Jerusalem would have been vulnerable to attack and Nehemiah knew that. Nehemiah was subjected
to harassment by the enemy through Tobiah and Sanballot. These were two individuals who did not want to see the wall completed.
Nehemiah was a man of his word; after the wall was completed there was a ceremony of dedication, restoration of temple worship, and a commitment against sin. He then returned to Persia.
The last book of history is Esther. This book chronicles the story of the miraculous deliverance
of the Jewish people. Esther is chosen in a beauty contest as the new Queen of Persia. Her adversary Haman, not knowing she is Jewish devises a plan to exterminate all the
Jews starting with Mordecai. Haman’s plot to exterminate the Jews is exposed, all the while Haman is not aware that the Queen herself is a Jew. Haman is executed, Mordecai is elevated to the position of honor and prominence in the land and once again
God’s chosen people are spared.
“Books of Wisdom”
This is the final section
I will cover in the Old Testament are the books of wisdom. These books include Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. Job is thought to be the oldest book in the entire Bible and is estimated to be written about 2000 B.C. before Israel's exodus from Egypt. Job is quoted twice in the New Testament.
Job is considered a man of faith. He was chastised and harassed by Satan his enemy. Job was also harassed and chastised by his
friends. (All of the testing was allowed by God.)
Job is vindicated in the end and he was restored after he suffered loss of health, wealth, and all of his children died. As part of the restoration Job was given double for his trouble according to what he lost. One of the things
we learned from Job is that suffering is sometimes a part of life.
The next book of wisdom is Psalms. This is God's songbook and is written over a period of 1000 years.
The Psalms are written
primarily by David, Moses, Solomon, the sons of Korah and other anonymous authors during that time. There are messianic Psalms that were written by King David and the prophets. In turn these Psalms point to the coming Messiah especially Psalm 22.
The book of Psalms is divided into five smaller books. Psalms 1-41 focus on
the sovereignty of God, Psalms 42 -72, focus on the redemption of God,Psalms 73 -89 focus on the sanctuary of God, Psalms 90-106 focus on the history of God, and Psalms 107 - 150 focus on the word of God.
Most of the Psalms focus on doctrine and put basic Bible principles in the form of songs that are easy to remember, understand and be readily accessed in times of need.
The book of Psalms is quoted in 105 times in the New Testament.
The book of Proverbs is primarily accredited to being
written by King Solomon. There's one proverb for each day of the month so that wisdom can be digested in smaller parts and be easily recalled. Proverbs is designed to impart Godly wisdom to our children and future generations.
The book of Proverbs is full of comparisons and contrasting scenarios that enable us to attain Godly wisdom. The book of Proverbs is quoted eight times in the New Testament
The book of Ecclesiastes is also credited to King Solomon. This book is a chronicle of King Solomon’s searching for the meaning of life. He searches in vain and finds that he is empty. Although King Solomon was the richest, wisest and most powerful man in the world at that time; without God he concluded that life is meaningless. Solomon was documented as having over 1000 wives and concubines. During his lifetime his desire was to attain all riches and power. In the end,
Solomon’s lust for money, power and sexual sin left him empty spiritually.
It is not until
almost at the end of Solomon’s life does he figure out he needs to remember his Creator and give God glory in all things. Ecclesiastes is not quoted in the New Testament.
Originally the Song of Solomon was just that, a song. It
was noted to have been written by Solomon to one of his wives. However, this is also an analogy of the love relationship between God and his beloved; Jesus Christ and His
Church. As noted in the book of Revelation Jesus is the bridegroom and the church is the bride. (Rev 18:23)
“New Testament Overview”
New Testament is composed of 27 books. It is divided into four sections. The first section is the four Gospels. The second section is the Acts of the church. The third section is comprised of epistles written to the churches by various church fathers for instructional
purposes. The final and fourth section is the prophetic book of Revelation.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the names for the Greek translation of the Hebrew writers.
Matthew is also known as Levi. This book has 28 chapters and is written to a primarily Jewish
audience. The book of Matthew cites 82 references from the Old Testament identifying prophecies that confirm Jesus to be the Messiah. Matthew’s name means “Gift
of Jehovah.” Matthew is considered one of the synoptic Gospels along with Mark and Luke. The word synoptic simply means that there are similar stories in three Gospels which would not be unusual because they spend most of their time together. Matthew
is also one of the two Gospels that contain the genealogy of Jesus through the line of Joseph.
The book of Matthew chronicles Jesus’ birth, public ministry, death, burial
The book of Mark identifies Jesus as the servant and sacrifice for the sin of the world. Mark is written to primarily a Gentile Roman audience. Mark has 16 chapters and 39 versus reference from the Old Testament identifying Jesus as
the long-awaited Messiah.
The Gospel of Mark chronicles many miracles that Jesus performed. Mark's name means “a hammer.” The Gospel of Mark also documents healing of the leper, the woman with the issue of blood, healing the blind, paralyzed and feeding of the multitudes.
The Gospel of Luke identifies Jesus’ humanity. Luke is a book with 24 chapters and Luke's name means “Light giver”. Luke is documented as being a physician and he provides great detail with some of the healings
and miracles that Jesus performed and the physical trials that Jesus endured. Luke also provides the genealogy of Jesus’ birth through Mary’s lineage rather than
Joseph’s as in the book of Matthew. Both parents were descendents of King David. The Gospel of Luke references Old Testament verses 45 times to identify Jesus as our long-awaited Messiah.
The Gospel of John has 21 chapters and 20 references to Old Testament passages emphasizing that Jesus is the “Word made flesh.” John
often refers to himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved”; his name means “Jehovah is gracious.”
The Gospel of John chronicles the discipleship, apostleship,
miracles, wonders and signs performed by Jesus. The Gospel of John also documents the seven “I AM” of Jesus.
Matthew identifies Jesus as the Messiah, Mark identifies
Jesus as the servant, Luke identifies Jesus as coming in human form and John emphasizes Jesus as the Word made flesh.
The book of Acts documents the beginning and history of the
New Testament church spanning almost 30 years from 33 to 62 A.D. The book of Acts has 28 chapters and 51 Old Testament references. Luke is believed to be the writer of this book.
documents the empowering of the Church by the Holy Spirit, the Great commission while emphasizing a ministry to the outermost parts of the earth.
The Apostle Paul's
conversion is noted in the book of Acts with the establishment of the early churches across Asia Minor and chronicles the Apostle Paul's missionary journeys.
The book of Romans was written by the apostle Paul from Corinth in Greece. This book was to have been written towards the end of Paul’s missionary journeys. There are
approximately 67 scripture references to the Old Testament. The book of Romans covers major Christian doctrine as humanities sinfulness, justification by faith, sanctification
and the transformation of our mind. The book of Romans is described as a book of instruction to the church at Rome and Paul commends the church leadership for their humility and service to the Saints.
First and second Corinthians was also written by the Apostle Paul; he sends these letters to instruct and correct the church which he founded in Acts chapter 18:1-16, during his second missionary journey. The books
written to the church at Corinth have 33 verses from the Old Testament quoted. Paul gives the church a foundation with instruction and correction regarding everyday issues, spiritual gifts and overall doctrine in the Christian faith. Paul corrected and encouraged them in their growth as believers
The book of Galatians was written to the church with 12 Old Testament scripture passages that Paul referenced. Galatians is written with instructions about liberty
in the church. Paul discusses the law, legalism, victory over sin and how the Holy Spirit exhorts and encourages the body of Christ. Paul also instructs the church at Galatia
that the law is necessary to show us that we need a Savior because we cannot keep the law.
The book of Ephesians was written by the apostle Paul as he was a
Roman prisoner. In this book he talks about unity in the body, and believers are instructed in their conduct while in the world and our inability to withstand the Enemies
tactics. Paul emphasizes salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
The book of Philippians was also written as Paul was under house arrest at Rome and
is a relatively small book with only one Old Testament scripture quoted. However, this book is typically called the “epistle of joy.” As Paul writes from the
confines of house arrest he emphasizes that joy is not something that comes from outward circumstances but from our faith, hope and examples by walking with Christ.
book of Colossians emphasizes that Jesus is the head of the church. Paul also penned this book from prison during his house arrest. The primary theme of this book focuses
on redemption, creation, and the worldly philosophies doctrine. There are no noted Old Testament scripture references quoted in this book
First and second Thessalonians is
written by the apostle Paul while he is in Corinth.
Paul discusses how the church was established and how they are to walk in holiness, while he offers practical instruction
on the doctrine of future events and the second coming of Christ.
In the second letter to the Thessalonians Paul
reminds them of their sin and that they should follow a disciplined lifestyle, while practicing considerations for fellow members of the body of Christ. He also enhances
his teaching regarding current times and future events. There are no known Old Testament quotes in these two books
First and second Timothy are written by the apostle Paul while he is in Macedonia and Timothy is now the pastor of the church at Ephesus. These are what are called “The Pastoral Epistles.” and also includes the book of Titus.
These three letters are foundational with practical wisdom and
knowledge in instructing not only the pastors of the first century Church but to those who are called to pastor today. Paul's premise in all three of these letters was to encourage and help Timothy understand the Ministry of local the church, to instruct the
Saints, and to not second guess his calling that God had placed on his life.
Paul instructs Timothy to be a diligent worker, servant, and faithful steward of what he has received
in the ministry. Paul also instructs Timothy not to be afraid to correct those who are in doctrinal error by using God's Word.
The book of Titus is also instruction
written by Paul. Paul gives specific instructions to Titus to preach the word, on the conduct of elders and instruction on how to silence false teachers. Paul also reminds
Titus that the goal in mind is to see the day of our glorious God and Savior Jesus Christ. (Titus 3:6.)
The book of Philemon is a one chapter book written by
Paul from a Roman prison. The theme of this book is forgiveness and paying someone else's debt. Paul addresses the doctrine of imputation, which is the paying of debt for one, by another. This is a beautiful parallel of how Paul asks Philemon to take the debt of his runaway slave Onesimus and put the debt to Paul's account; while Paul asks Philemon to forgive the debt.
The book of Hebrews is rich with Christian doctrine. The author of this book is unknown. It is widely thought that the Apostle Paul also wrote
Hebrews but in all of his other letters he usually starts the salutation with his name. The book of Hebrews quotes Old Testament passages
35 times. The major themes of this book are the priesthood of Christ, the superiority of Christ, and that Christianity gives hope.
The book of James is named for its writer and was written from the church in Jerusalem to all the Jews abroad.
is considered a book of wisdom and addresses everyday trials, temptations, controlling our tongue and how to handle material possessions.
The basic premise of the book
of James is spiritual maturity and how to help believers grow up. James contains six Old Testament quotes throughout. James is thought to have been the half brother of Jesus.
First and second Peter were letters written by the apostle Peter from prison to encourage all believers and readers that they can be good witnesses in the midst of persecution.
Peter encourages all believers; for Christ is to be our example in all things. He addresses holiness, spiritual maturity, relationships, submission and suffering.
The apostle John writes three epistles to the church along with the final book, Revelation; which is being read as a blueprint during these end times world events. This book prophesies the second coming of Christ, the Great
tribulation, the great day of the Lord and the Millennial reign of Jesus.
These three epistles written by John (that bear his name) while he was in Ephesus are small, but are full
of practical wisdom and teaching to all believers as well as to the first century Church.
John addresses issues as fellowship, love, testing the spirits, addressing false doctrine,
hospitality, putting away our sinful nature and how to contend for the truth.
The last epistle written by Jude from Jerusalem addresses the character of apostasy or
the “great falling away.” Jude points out simple truths that an apostate is ungodly, lives for himself and denies the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There are no Old
Testament quotes in Jude.
The final book in the New Testament is the book of Revelation. This book is dictated to the apostle John while he is imprisoned on the Island of
Patmos for preaching the gospel.
This is the unfolding of the church in human history as we know it. Jesus writes seven letters to seven actual churches that existed during the first century. Each church is unique in its characteristics and personality. Each church can also be representative of a specific church age.
We know from historical documents that these churches did not heed the warnings or exhortation given by Christ. He warned them that He would remove their lampstands, which is symbolic of His protection over them. All that remains of these churches are their ruins. If we do not heed the warnings of the Spirit of God we to will be left in ruins.
This book is full of symbolism and has been studied for centuries and as we covered the book of Daniel and noted it has been sealed until the times of the end, so too this book has been
opened for our instruction during these end times. Jesus begins this book with a blessing to all who read it. I believe that God wants us to know what will happen in future events because Jesus keeps His word and He is the word.
The overall theme of the book
of Revelation is to meet the glorified Christ, accept the forgiveness that He offers us to be saved from the wrath to come. God must punish sin and if we receive the gift of eternal life we spend all eternity with our God and Savior, Jesus the Messiah.