“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us!” 1 Corinthians 13:12 (MSG)
What’s Going On? / When and Where Are We? / Who’s Who?
This week we will finish up with the Major (longer) Prophets and begin reading the Minor (shorter) Prophets. The Major Prophets of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel have basically fallen in chronological order although they have spanned a time period of about two hundred years, from the time right before the Fall of Israel (722 BC) until after the Fall of Jerusalem (586 BC). Unfortunately when we get to the Minor Prophets, we’ll have to jump back in time and cover these same time periods all over again. Therefore, as a guideline to the time frame of each of the Minor Prophets, I am going to group them into three groups, each lining up with a Major Prophet. We must realize that not all of the Minor Prophets tell us exactly where they fall so some assumption is made as to where they might fit in. There is no universally accepted time frame so this is just one possibility. Notice that the Minor Prophets actually do fall in book-by-book order.
Group 1 – Isaiah: These prophets will speak right before and during the Fall of Israel to Assyria. They will either be located in or speak to Israel approx. 785-681 BC
Hosea, Joel (?), Amos, Obadiah (?), Jonah, Micah
Group 2 – Jeremiah: These prophets will speak right before and during the Fall of Jerusalem to Babylon. They will either be in or speak to Judah approx. 650-585 BC
Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah
Group 3 – Ezekiel and Daniel: These prophets will speak during and after the Fall of Jerusalem, during the Exile and Return. They will speak to the returned exiles in Jerusalem. 600-430 BC
Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
Daniel (605-530) The book of Daniel takes place in Babylon and will include several visions and prophecies involving not only the near future for the Hebrew people but also apocalyptic prophecies of end times. Daniel will see the transition from the Babylonian kingdom (Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar) to the Medo-Persian Kingdom (Darius and Cyrus). The first seven chapters are written in Aramaic (common language) and foretell the downfall of the gentile empires that have ruled or will rule over Israel: Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. Daniel interprets the dreams of both King Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar showing that these nations will only rule for a time. Chapters 8-12 are written in Hebrew and concern the prophecy for the nation of Israel, explained by heavenly beings. Both Gabriel and Michael are archangels that are seen to speak with Daniel and explain his own visions. Throughout the book there is symbolic language that will remind you of the book of Revelation, but throughout the symbols, visions, interpretations, and events there is one overlying message of hope: God is in control and nothing happens in all the world that is not first planned and ultimately fulfilled to show His power, glory, authority, sovereignty, strength and grace.
Hosea (760-720) The book of Hosea is the first in the section we call the Minor Prophets and we need to jump backwards to the time before Israel fell to the Assyrians. God ordered Hosea to marry an adulterous wife, just as Israel was adulterous to the Lord, worshipping other gods and following after foreign leaders. Just as Hosea was to stay with her, God stayed with Israel, and just as they were to go through a time of separation, Hosea was to stay loyal to her until they are reunited. God’s love is like that of a loyal husband and disloyalty to Him is like adultery.
Weekly Reading Assignment:
- Monday: Daniel 1-4
- Tuesday: Daniel 5-8
- Wednesday: Daniel 9-12
- Thursday: Hosea 1-5
- Friday: Hosea 6-10
- Saturday: Hosea 11-14