Wednesday, 28 August 2019

The Minor Prophets (Part 1)

The last twelve books of the Old Testament are labeled “The Minor Prophets” because of their respective lengths, not significance. These documents span a period of about four centuries, although the canonical listing is not strictly chronological: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. 

1. Hosea
      Name means “deliverance” or “salvation” (a form of the name Yeshua or “Joshua”; in the NT equivalent to the name “Jesus”).
      Hosea prophesied to the Northern Kingdom of Israel c. 750-725 BC.
      Outwardly Israel was prosperous; inwardly morally corrupt.
      Hosea’s wife’s infidelity paralleled Israel’s spiritual adultery; Hosea’s loyalty paralleled God’s continued love and faithfulness. 
Message of Hosea
      God hates sin.
      God’s love is steadfast.
      Call for repentance.
      Warning of certain judgment.
      Hosea 14:9, “Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right; The righteous walk in them. But transgressors stumble in them.”

2. Joel
      Name means “Yahweh is God.”
      This particular Joel is not mentioned anywhere else in the OT; named once in the NT (Acts 2:16).
      Prophesied to the Southern Kingdom of Judah during the reign of Joash (c. 835-796 BC).
      A locust plague has devastated the land, which serves to illustrate the coming day of the LORD’s judgment.
Message of Joel
      As bad as the locust plague has been, the day of the LORD’s judgment will be even worse!
      A call for heart-felt repentance. 
      The day of the LORD’s judgment will be preceded by a great outpouring of God’s Spirit (2:28-32).
      Fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost followed by Jerusalem’s destruction four decades later (Acts 2:16-21).
      Joel 2:32a, “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved ” (see Acts 2:21, 37-41; 22:16).

3. Amos
      Name means “Burden-Bearer.”
      Amos was a shepherd and a fig farmer in Judah (not a religious professional!).
      A message of divine judgment against Israel, Judah, and surrounding nations (Syrians, Philistines, Phoenicians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites).
      God holds all people accountable for their actions.
Message of Amos
      Despite the appearance of prosperity and achievement, there is impending judgment against Israel because of religious hypocrisy, greed, and injustice.
      Surrounding nations will not escape judgment. 
      A call for repentance.
      Fulfilled in 722 BC when the Assyrians conquered Israel.
      Amos 5:14, “Seek good and not evil, that you may live; So the LORD God of hosts will be with you, as you have spoken.”

--Kevin L. Moore

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