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Topic 5 The Prophets A.Nature of OT Prophecy 1.Prophet a. a.Primarily a “spokesperson for God”: prophet delivers a message from God in and for a particular.

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Presentation on theme: "Topic 5 The Prophets A.Nature of OT Prophecy 1.Prophet a. a.Primarily a “spokesperson for God”: prophet delivers a message from God in and for a particular."— Presentation transcript:

1 Topic 5 The Prophets A.Nature of OT Prophecy 1.Prophet a. a.Primarily a “spokesperson for God”: prophet delivers a message from God in and for a particular situation. b. b.Messenger formula: “Thus says the Lord,...” – often precedes prophetic speech; claims to speak in God’s name Prophets and the future a. a.Prediction is not essence of prophecy – many prophetic speeches have nothing to do with predicting future. b. b.Prophets’ predictions are related to past and present.   Prophets do not typically make long-range predictions for benefit of future generations.   Usually make near-term predictions for benefit of immediate audience:   Warn of impending disaster as judgment for sins of nation.   Promise God’s deliverance to give hope in time of oppression. 3.Prophetic literature a. a.Prophets were not primarily writers but preachers. b. b.Messages were preserved, recorded later; prophetic books are sometimes a bit disorganized.

2 4.Perennial themes in the prophets a.Denounce false worship – worship of foreign gods like Baal; idolatry; etc. b.Call for social justice – champion the cause of the powerless who have no voice (poor, orphans, widows, aliens, etc.) 5.Classification of prophets a.Pre-classical prophets (“Former prophets”: Joshua-Kings) 1)No separate books; their stories are told in historical books. 2)Nathan – David’s court prophet (2 Sam. 7, 12) 3)Elijah – opposed Ahab and Jezebel a)Contest on Mt. Carmel (1 Kgs. 18) – challenges prophets of Baal to see whose god will answer with fire. b)Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kgs. 21) – confronts king Ahab’s crime of executing Naboth and taking his vineyard. b.Classical prophets (“Latter prophets”: Isaiah-Malachi) 1)Major: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel – long books 2)Minor: Book of 12 (Hosea-Malachi) – short books

3 B.Classical prophets of the 8 th -century 1.Amos ( BC) – earliest of classical prophets a.Shepherd from Judah – preached to Israel. b.Time of prosperity – social injustice. c.Impending threat of Assyria – gathering strength and will soon threaten security of whole region. d.Passion for social/economic justice; Amos rails against:  Oppression of poor (Amos 2:6-7)  Greed/extravagant luxury (6:4-6)  Bribery in courts (5:10, 11)  Deceitful business practices (8:4-6)  Empty religious ceremonies (5:21-24) e.What God really wants is not sacrifice and ceremony but justice and righteousness (5:24; cf. Hos. 6:6; Isa. 1:11-17; Mic. 6:6-8). 5:24; cf. Hos. 6:6; Isa. 1:11-17; Mic. 6:6-85:24; cf. Hos. 6:6; Isa. 1:11-17; Mic. 6:6-8 f.Warns of devastating destruction – Assyrian threat is God’s judgment against Israel’s injustice.

4 B.Classical prophets of the 8 th -century (cont.) 2.Hosea ( BC) a.Northern prophet during Assyrian crisis. b.Married a prostitute named Gomer (Hos. 1:2-3) – she was unfaithful, broke his heart; he continued to love, won her back. c.Parable of God’s relationship with Israel (2:2-5; 3:1-2) – Israel’s unfaithfulness breaks God’s heart; his discipline seeks to win her back. 3.Micah – another minor prophet who appeared in 8 th century 4.Isaiah ( BC) a.Advisor to Judean kings during Assyrian crisis. b.Call: vision of God in holiness (Isa. 6). c.Denounces sins; warns of judgment. d.Warns kings to trust God (not armies/alliances) for security. e.“Immanuel” sign (7:10-17) – impending royal birth is assurance for King Ahaz during military crisis; reinterpreted in Mt. 1:23 as fulfilled in virgin birth of Jesus (doubtful this is what Isaiah had in mind). f.Poems promising “ideal king” (9:2-7; 11:1-9) – his reign of peace will be based on justice/righteousness.

5 What God Really Wants In the Words of the 8 th -Century Prophets 1. 1.“I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever- flowing stream.” (Amos 5:21-24) 2. 2.“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6) 3. 3.“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.... When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1:11-17) 4. 4."With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

6 g.Book of Isaiah – longest prophetic book; not all of it goes back to 8 th -century prophet Isaiah; 3 mains sections: (1) ch – Isaiah of Jerusalem – pre-Exilic (742-01) (2) ch – Deutero-Isaiah – Exile (587-39) (3) ch –Trito-Isaiah – post-Exilic (539- ) C.Jeremiah ( BC) 1.Prophet to Judah during fall to Babylonia. 2.Called for repentance – warned of judgment. 3.“Temple Sermon” (Jer. 7) – warns against “temple superstition;” people thought temple would keep them safe regardless of how they lived; Jeremiah warns that apart from repentance even the temple would be destroyed; authorities took offense, nearly executed Jeremiah. 4.Saw Babylonia as instrument of God’s judgment – advised surrender. 5.Was viewed as traitor and persecuted. 6.Hope for “New Covenant” (31:31-34).

7 D.Prophets of the Exile 1.Ezekiel ( BC) a.Preached judgment until 587 – afterwards, hope for restoration. b.Vision of throne-chariot of God (Ezek. 1). c.Vision of valley of dry bones (Ezek. 37). 2.Deutero-Isaiah ( BC) a.Announces end of Exile – new Exodus (Isa. 40). b.King Cyrus of Persia will be liberator (Isa. 45) – Cyrus is even called “messiah” (God’s “anointed”). c.Depicts universal God – strong monotheism. d.Servant Songs – poems about a mysterious “Suffering Servant,” ( d.Servant Songs – poems about a mysterious “Suffering Servant,” (42:1–4; 49:1–6; 50:4–9; 52:13–53:12). 1)Charged with bringing light, redemption to the nations. 2)Suffers innocently for the healing of others. 3)Is the Servant Israel, a remnant of Israel, or an individual?

8 E.Hope for a Messiah Hope for an “ideal king” to restore Israel and rule over Golden Age of peace and justice. (Overall, this is only a minor theme in prophets; becomes more important for Christian readers.) 1.“Messiah” a.Hebrew for “anointed one” – olive oil ceremony designated one chosen by God. b.Grew out of royal ideology – each king was a “messiah,” charged with assuring justice, righteousness, and peace. 2.Prophets a.Denounced failures of kings – pursued injustice, unrighteousness. b.Depicted future “ideal king” (Isaiah 9, 11, etc.). 3.“Second Temple” period a.Hope for Messiah intensified; promise to David would be fulfilled. b.Variety of conceptions developed: political, military, spiritual. c.No one expected a suffering and dying Messiah. 4.New Testament a.Jesus is the “Christ” = Greek for “anointed one.” b.Jesus fulfills hope for Messiah in unexpected ways; transforms concept.


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