St. Edmund's Church,
Introducing the Book -
Old Testament Prophecy
Prophets are often thought of as people who foretold the future. They did but this was not there exclusive activity because they were often outspoken about the problems of their day.
How much time do you spend:
- Thinking about "the good old days" or feeling embarrassed about the past?
- Enjoying the present or coping with it?
- Looking forward to the future or worrying about it?
- Minor Prophets
Although prophets are referred to throughout the Old Testament those whose writings are included in the Old Testament were active in a period streching from the Divided Kingdoms (Amos wrote just after 800BC) to the return from exile (Malachi wrote around 450BC)
- Who were the prophets?
The word "prophet" means "called by God". The alternative OT word is "seer".
Read 2 Peter 1:20-21.
- Do you have the impression that the prophets went into a trance to deliver their message? Not! Read Jeremiah 38:1-12 to see what the life of a prophet could be like.
What was their message? Although there were many prophets speaking in different circumstances there are some common themes.
- God as ruler of all history. Read Isaiah 10: 5 -16.
- Does it seem strange that God uses nations as instruments of punishment?
- Does it appear to you from our recent history that God is in control?
- The need for a right relationship with God. Read Ezekiel 18:26-32
- What do these verses tell us about the character of God?
- What is the essential first step in getting into a right relationship with God?
- Has any of this been changed by the life and work of Jesus?
- The moral foundation of religion and society. Read Hosea 6:4-11.
(Note: Ephraim & Judah represent the North & South kingdoms)
- Why was God dissatisfied with the Israelites?
- Does verse 6 have any special message for us today?
- A blend of judgement and hope.Read Amos 9:8-15
- This prophecy was at least in part fulfilled - the people of Judah went into exile but returned. Does the fulfillment of this and other prophecies give you any encouragment?
- The coming of the Messiah. There are prophecies about every aspect of Jesus' life:
- His birth: Isaiah 7:14 and Micah 5:2
- His death: Psalm 22: 1 & 18, Zechariah 12:10
- His resurrection: Psalm 16:10
These links between the Old and New Testaments were very important for the original Jewish readers of the New Testament. How important are they for us?
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. [Isaiah 53:5&6]
Give thanks for what Isaiah foretold, Jesus fulfilled, and we benefit from.