BIBLE STUDY The Minor
Prophets This study notes provide the core content of a group of bible studies on the twelve Minor Prophets. These twelve studies look at each of the Books and summarize the main message of the prophet, so that each study will take about an hour to do, whether alone or in a small group. For this reason, some of the studies do not cover all of the text in each book, but just the main points. We encourage you to pray before you begin reading that the Lord would open your heart and mind to be receptive and responsive to God’s message contained within this study. There may be times when you find it difficult to reconcile God’s truth to your own opinion or worldview, God’s truth is eternal, it does not change, our understanding of the truth does change as we allow God to work in our hearts and minds. 1
THE MINOR PROPHETS There are twelve Minor Prophets. These twelve studies look at each of the Books and summarize the main message of the prophet, so that each study will take about an hour to do, whether alone or in a small group. For this reason, some of the studies do not cover all of the text in each book, but just the main points. I have put them in chronological order, rather than the order that you find them in the Bible. Most of them can be dated by the events mentioned in the text. However, the dates of Obadiah and Jonah are uncertain, so I have arbitrarily placed them at the beginning. Most of the Books, with the exception of Obadiah pick up the theme of the rebellion, repentance and restoration of Israel ; but of course they apply just as much to the reader today; and whilst much of the text reveals the sin in man and God’s pronounced judgment, the mercy and grace of God shines through. Israel were God’s chosen people and He loved them with an everlasting love. But we, also, are God’s people of the New Covenant, so that these prophecies are applicable and appropriate for us too in these Last Days. For a better understanding of how the prophets relate to the historical context please see Appendix 1.
JONAH It is thought that Jonah was one of the earlier minor prophets in around the 7th- 8th century BC. He is also mentioned in 2 Kings 14v25, and his story is referred to by Jesus which gives proof to the fact that it actually happened. Jonah chapter 1 Read verses 1-3: Jonah’s commission was to go to Nineveh and preach against their wickedness – not a very attractive proposition! Nineveh was 700 miles east of Israel and it was not a very nice place. In fact it was Israel’s enemy. Jonah must have been very certain of God’s call because you do not act on an imaginary thought. But Jonah chose to take himself out of God’s will, he ran away – 2000 miles in the opposite direction! Q. Can we ever really escape from God’s presence? Was it the physical or spiritual barrier that kept Jonah from God? Read Psalm 139 Read verses 4-7: The Lord sent a storm – not out of anger but in order to bring Jonah to the place where he wanted him. Q. Can you think of any times when God has used a storm to shape your life? Everyone’s life was in danger, and hiding didn’t work for Jonah! The pagan captain, who seemed to have more faith in God than Jonah at that moment, drew lots and Jonah drew the short straw – he was to be thrown overboard. Read verses 8-12: The sailors recognized that a greater power was responsible for the storm, and in response to their questions Jonah replied that he was a Hebrew worshipper of creator God and that he was running away from God – he took the blame. Jonah had become a curse and the sailors were terrified. Q. Would God have answered Jonah while he was unrepentant? Read verses 13-16: Jonah’s sacrifice in leaving the ship brought them deliverance. The actions of the sailors (v15) resulted in a calm sea, and they acknowledged God’s sovereignty. God still used Jonah, even when he was rebellious and in the storm. God’s covenant was with Israel, but part of the purpose of that covenant was that they might bring God’s blessing to others. God loves the whole world. Jonah learnt this lesson and he also learnt (v17) that he was not in control of the events in his life, God was. Jonah chapter 2 Read verses 1-6: Jonah find that his actions led, not to escape but, to distress. And finally when he was at “rock bottom” he talked to God. Q. Why did God have to use such drastic measures? Jonah had had a near-death experience, but eventually he acknowledged God’s sovereignty. This was a real experience but the description is also a metaphor for the way people feel when they cannot go on – when life feels too hard for them. 2
Read verses 6-10: When Jonah acknowledged that God was the One in control and threw himself on God’s mercy he found he was able to praise God – and God delivered him. Praise brings the victory. Q. Why does praise make a difference to our situation?
Jonah chapter 3 Read verses 1-3: Jonah’s experience brought him from rebellion to obedience. This time God said “Go” and Jonah obeyed. God calls us all to different ministries but the principle of obedience is the same. Obedience always brings blessing. Read verses 4-10: The people of Nineveh had hearts that were ready to hear the Word of God through Jonah. Although wicked, they repented and believed (even the King!). This miracle (which nearly didn’t happen because of Jonah’s disobedience) probably held back the Assyrians from attacking Israel for a generation or two. Q. Is there someone who God has prepared to hear his message through you, maybe? Jonah chapter 4 Read verses 1-4: Who has the right to judge? It seemed wrong to Jonah that wicked people (despite their repentance) escaped God’s judgment. It was ironic that God had turned away his anger, but Jonah’s was building up inside him. Q. How does anger stop us from seeing things as God sees them? Jonah knew that God was gracious, loving and compassionate. He had received mercy from God – and yet he did not want the Ninevites to have it! He was stuck in the mindset that evildoers must be punished, he didn’t want to acknowledge God’s grace. Rather like a petulant child (for the second time in his story!) he wanted to die. Q. What does the Bible say? Should we be judged according to what we have done or according to our repentance and faith in God? What does “grace” mean? Read verses 5-9: Once again Jonah runs away to sulk – this time to the east of Nineveh. God could have punished Jonah but he showed him kindness and grace by providing shelter from the heat. In a wqay, God turned the tables on Jonah. If Jonah didn’t think grace was right for the Ninevites then God would take away the grace he had shown him, so he caused the shady plant to die. And yet again Jonah wants to die! – even though he had put himself in that hot place. Q. We can see that Jonah was being irrational – but can we be the same? Read verses 10&11: The phrase “those who don’t know their right hand from their left” is telling us that the Ninevites were ignorant of the things of God and shouldn’t be judged without being given the chance to repent. It’s the same message today. We are not to judge those who have never heard, but rather to show them the gospel of God’s grace and mercy.
OBADIAH On reading the one and only chapter of Obadiah the first thing you might think is “Why?”. Why was it included in the canon of Scripture? Why is it all about the destruction of Edom? Why doesn’t Israel get much of a mention? Why judgment? We need to understand Bible history to get the answers to these questions. There had been a long history between Edom and Israel over hundreds of years: 1. Isaac’s sons – Esau and Jacob – Genesis 27v41/Obadiah v10 Esau held a grudge against Jacob. Esau went south to the area of Seir which became known as Edom 2. Edom/Esau’s sin was pride in their land – but it was God who created it thus. (v3&4) 3. When Moses was leading the Israelites out of the wilderness he asked for permission to cross the land of Edom, but was denied. In fact they came against Moses with a mighty army. Numbers 20v17 4. Centuries later, Israel had been guilty of making alliances with other countries and ultimately God allowed them to be attacked by their enemies and taken away as exiles. But, rather than helping, Edom gloated over their downfall. Psalm 137v7 and Obadiah v11 Summary:
Edom set themselves against God’s people and against God. They declared themselves enemies. They gloated over Israel’s destruction. They were arrogant and proud of their fortresses, which were natural rock formations. This location is now known as Petra in Jordan.
Consequently: Verses 21 of Obadiah says “There will be no survivors from the house of Esau. The Lord has spoken.” Has the prophecy come true? The area, now controlled by Jordan, is the district situated to the south of Palestine between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. The fortress, a natural rock formation now known as Petra, was once a major city. It was located just off the Kings Highway (the main route between North Africa and Europe) and the only way into it was (and still is) through a mile long narrow canyon. Invaders could only approach in single file and could be easily “picked off”. Many hundreds of people used to live in hundreds of dwellings built into the rock face. But by 400BC, after Obadiah’s prophecy, the Edomites were overrun by their so called friends the Nabatean Arabs. Read Obadiah v7 For hundreds of years Edom lay deserted until archaeologists discovered it in the late 1800s. The only people who go there now are tourists. Did the prophecy come true? The answer is most definitely “Yes!”
Why was God’s judgement so final? The Minor Prophets all show us that God is a righteous judge, bringing judgement when necessary on all nations, including Israel. But in all cases except Edom, the judgement was not a final one. So, why? Because Edom represents the Spirit of the Antichrist. Back to Esau and more history: 1. The Amalakites were descended from Esau, in fact Amalek was Esau’s grandson. The Amalakites tried to stop the Israelites from settling in the Promised Land (but Joshua overcame them) and it displeased God. Exodus 17v14 The Amalakites are representative of God’s enemy. 2. King Agag was King of the Amalakites in Saul’s day. Saul did not kill the king as God asked and Saul lost his kingship because of this. But the prophet Samuel killed King Agag in accordance with God’s will because he understood the significance of, and reason for, God’s command. (1 Samuel 15) 3. In the story of Esther we read that Haman (who tried to bring about the destruction of all the Jews) was a descendant of King Agag, of the Amalakites. But Haman could not get his own way because God had promised that Israel would have the victory over the Amalakites way back in history. The struggle between good and evil, God and Satan, God’s people and those who set themselves in opposition goes on and on throughout history. What do all these people have in common: Esau, Amalekites, Agag, Haman, and even twentieth century examples such as Hitler? The answer is that they are all types of Antichrist. They are unrepentant and consequently have placed themselves under God’s judgement. The specific prophecy in Obadiah stands true, but it is also relevant to us today. Jacob, Esau’s brother, was renamed Israel. The Israelites were God’s people. We also are God’s people. Read Obadiah, verses 17-21 For Israel specifically, there is the promise that they will ultimately possess all the land God has given them. For us, there is also a spiritual analogy. God wants us to enter in to all that he has for us. He wants us to possess his promises and he has promised us his protection. Obadiah teaches us that: Prophecy comes true God is Sovereign in all things God is faithful God’s judgement is perfect It answers the question, “Why doesn’t God do something about the wrong in the world?” Because in Obadiah, we see that he does. 5
JOEL Theme: It is never too late to repent. God can restore. Key verses: Joel 2v12&13 Locusts: In chapter 1 Joel wrote about a locust swarm, about great locusts, young locusts and other locusts. And he used many different descriptive names for them including shearer, swarmer, leaper and destroyer. They conjure up a picture of frightening destruction. Billions of locusts can sweep through a dry country eating all the vegetation as they go. This is an eye witness account: We beat and burned to death heaps upon heaps, but the effort was utterly useless. Wave after wave of locusts rolled up the mountains, and poured down upon us, over rocks, walls, ditches and hedges: those behind covering up and bridging over the masses already killed. Such a plague results in starvation and death and destitution. Israel had suffered a locust plague. God said it was a visual aid – a warning to the people of Israel, describing his judgment if they did not repent of their wicked ways. Read: Joel 2v1-11 (Notice the locust imagery.) In fact, we know from the Bible that because of their unrepentance God ultimately allowed armies from Assyria and Babylon to enter Israel with their invading armies and take the majority of people away as captives. But it was not a final judgment. Q.
How can we apply this to our own busy .. hurting .. unfulfilled ..confused lives where sometimes we feel swarmed and swamped by events beyond our control? What do we need to do to find peace and restoration?
Often, God allows the locusts (literally and metaphorically) – not as a punishment – but as a way of bringing his people into a place of repentance and restoration; to bring them back into that right relationship with him.
Read Joel 2v12-17. God says (v12), “Return to me for I am gracious and compassionate”. When he says, “Rend your heart and not your garments” it means that repentance shouldn’t just be an outward gesture, it has to be real. Joel doesn’t spell out just what the people should repent of, although generally it was because they put other people and other things before God and they took God for granted. And it resulted in them going under (swarmed by locusts).
What is the result when we (God’s people) truly repent by changing our lifestyle and our attitudes and desires?
Read Joel 2v18-27 Especially look at verses 25&26. This is the result of repenting and putting God first: RESTORATION including absence of enemies, new grain, new wine, green fruitful trees, abundant showers (imagery for showers of blessing/the Holy Spirit) and vats overflowing with oil. The word restoration in Joel has a legal connotation meaning recompense. There was to be abundant blessing making up for lost years. In our lives the years the locusts have taken from us will not be lost or wasted or negative. God doesn’t want us to be resigned to the tough times. He wants us to stay close and he wants to bless us and restore us. He promised abundant showers and to fill us to overflowing with the Holy Spirit (v23,24). Read Joel 2v28-32 Joel now prophesies about the End Days (the time between Jesus’ First and Second Coming). There is the promise of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all his people. As the Jews believe in Jesus they will also experience this promise (v32). WE know this prophecy came true in Acts 2, and we still see it coming true today. We see the Holy Spirit as guide and comforter, as the giver of power and here as the way that God will speak through his people. Chapter 3 is about the final reckoning on the Day of Judgment.
AMOS Theme: Amos was called to highlight social injustice in Israel and to tell them that God expected them to act differently to the way the ungodly nations around them were acting. Amos – Who was he? Amos was from Jerusalem but God called him to go north to Israel to prophesy. This was around the year 750BC. Amos was an ordinary person (Read chapter 7v14) who looked after sheep and fig trees, but was obedient to God’s calling; he had to declare that God was angry with the people. Read Amos 1v2. Israel at that time: Jeroboam 11 was king. The country was rich and traded with many nations. Traditional Jewish religion was observed but the cult of Baal still persisted. The people only paid God lipservice, but their hearts were cold because they had taken Him and everything he had done for them for granted. And worse than that, they were exploiting those worse off. Amos chapter 1: Amos begins his prophecy with words of judgment for the surrounding countries whose sins had rubbed off on the Israelites: Verse 3: Damascus; Verse 6: Gaza; Verse 9: Tyre; Verse 11: Edom; Verse 13: Ammon; Chapter 2v1: Moab These countries had all been given more than one chance by God to repent. What were their sins? Read the verses again: they had stolen Israel’s crops; sold some Israelites into slavery; destroyed others with the sword; killed pregnant women and gone against treaties that they had made in the past. Amos should encourage us because it shows us that God is aware of what is happening in the world. He sees the injustices and he hears the cries. And ultimately his patience will wear out and judgment will come.
A modern-day parable: Now, I want you to imagine you are a teenager ... and part of a group of football fans going to a match. You are on a coach trip to a match somewhere, and this group of fans is made up of all sorts of people. Now, your dad is the leader of the group – so maybe, in some ways you are privileged – you occasionally get perks and discounts, but actually you take it all for granted, as teenagers often do. Now the thing is – on nearly every occasion when the group is away, there is trouble. Most of the fans don’t respect the leader, your father, and they don’t treat others very well either. They drink too much, they steal, they fight, they don’t turn up on time, and so on. And you’ve actually gone along with them sometimes – you are not as bad as them of course – but on the other hand you’ve never spoken out against them. You think you are an o.k person; you don’t generally break the law, after all. Then - one day ... your father decides enough is enough. He has given everyone of the problem fans three, if not four, chances to redeem themselves, but they haven’t listened. And this time when they get on the coach your dad shows them his anger. Right you lot! I’ve done this voluntarily for years and you’ve not shown me any respect. Steve, you can get off my coach – you’re always getting into fights. Bob – you can go too. I’ve seen you stealing tickets and selling them on. Andy – you can get off. You are always drunk - before we start off sometimes. Bill – you can get off. You keep us waiting half an hour every trip. And so on – until everyone is off the coach, apart from you and your brother, who are both sitting there feeling quite smug and pleased with yourself. Until ... you realise your father hasn’t finished – and he now starts talking to you and your brother! He says. “You can both get off too. You’ve spent too much time with that lot and you’ve become like them. You and your brother have never given me respect as the coach driver, but more importantly you don’t show me love or respect as your father either. You’ve always gone along with the boys and never stuck up for me, you’ve just taken everything I’ve done for you for granted.” Well! This has come as a shock. The feeling of smugness disappears. You no longer feel selfrighteous. Although in your mind your father has punished the good with the bad. The thing is, if you are honest you had become complacent. You had taken for granted the comfort and privileges of your position as sons of the driver. And you actually needed to be jolted into the awareness that everything you had – and everyone had – was down to the kindness and goodwill of your father. But you had taken it all for granted and abused your privilege – that special relationship - and in the end, became the same as everyone else. In effect, pleasing your friends became more important than pleasing your father... But, now you have heard the truth. You are ashamed and ask your father to forgive you, which – because of your special relationship – he does. 9
To Consider: In this parable ... Who is the father? Who are the sons? Who are the other fans? What is the message? Why are the sons different? The answers might help you understand why God acts as he does. Amos chapters 3-6: God’s judgment is not just for the other countries - He summons witnesses against Israel, too. God’s aim was to make them see themselves as they really were so that they could be brought to repentance and back into right relationship with Him. The words “to get you to return to me” are repeated and show us God’s love. Read chapter 4v6; 7; 9; and 10. Chapters 5 and 6 show us Israel’s sins:
Read chapter 5v11; v12; v21; 6v1; 6v2; 6v6. The rich were drinking wine by the bowlful and yet many of the ordinary Israelites were going without food and drink and being used as slaves. Many countries around the world are experiencing this even as we study today – nothing changes! But, God sees. Such was the luxury of the rich that Amos talks about their houses adorned with ivory. They loved their ivory palaces more than they cared about their own people. Read Amos 4v3 Consequently God rejected their worship – Read chapter 5v21 Chapters 7-8 Amos had four visions: 1. Locusts (7v1): similar to Joel’s prophecy 2. Fire (7v4): the land would be burnt 3. A plumb line (7v7-9): Used to measure against God’s standard 4. A basket of ripe fruit (8v1-7): Israel was like beautiful ripe fruit that was actually rotting & displeasing and ripe for judgment. Chapter 9: BUT ... By God’s grace that was not the end. He promises restoration to the repentant. Read 9 v 13&14 Q. The challenge is: Are we different; are we kind to others? And how can we make a difference to the injustices in the world today? How can we help those in slavery, those who work for a pittance, those who are persecuted? God doesn’t just want lip-service; he wants action too.
HOSEA Key Verse: I desire mercy/love, not sacrifices. Hosea 6v6 Israel had become a country that had substituted the 10 Commandments for 2 new ones which were: “Every man for himself.” and “You can do what you like as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.” Does that sound familiar? Idols, blasphemy, murder, adultery, theft, covetousness – this was the way of life in Israel when Hosea was called by God to prophesy. When they got rid of the rules, they also got rid of their God. This was all happening 7-800 years BC. God’s charges against Israel: (There are so many, so I’ve just picked out one from nearly every chapter): Chapter 2v8: They were taking God’s blessings for granted. Chapter 4v1 and 2v12: Replacing God with an inanimate idol and the lies – could that be the TV in the corner of our living room? Chapter 5v4: The “spirit of prostitution” is placing your dependence onto people or things other than God. God told the Israelites that making alliances with other nations was adultery against Him. Chapter 6v4: Israel was fickle, not faithful. Chapter 7v2: They had abandoned God, & abandoned their morals. Chapter 8v1: Israel’s blessing was always dependent on them keeping the covenant of Law that they had made with God through Moses – but they had broken this. Chapter 9v1: Israel was called God’s Bride, but she had been unfaithful, like an adulterous prostitute. Chapter 10v4: Litigation is not a new thing! When a nation’s relationship with God is not right it is reflected in their relationship with one another. Chapter 11v12: They were guilty of lies and deceit. Chapter 12v1: Israel were making unholy alliances. Chapter 13v6: Here is the sadness of God’s heart. Like a loving husband he had provided for Israel, but they had left Him. Such was Israel’s sin. But the parable that follows shows us just how much God loves his people and what he will do to get them back into right relationship with him. Hosea’s story was a living parable: Read chapter 1v2-9 Hosea was a spiritual man and God’s prophet and yet God asked him to marry a prostitute, to rescue her from the gutter. His life was to become the parable, in which: 11
Hosea represents God, Gomer represents God’s people and their children represent the message from God. The message was that friendship had been broken, love had gone and they were being disowned. Why was the relationship broken? Well, you would think Gomer would be eternally indebted to Hosea and be a faithful wife but ... Read chapter 2v5-8 Gomer went back to prostitution, abandoning Hosea and her own children. She thought she would profit materially by selling her favours. She went with other men for what she could get out of them. What she hadn’t appreciated was that all that she was and had for a time was in fact all down to Hosea in the first place. She suffered the results of her lifestyle, but would not go back to Hosea who was devastated because of what had happened. Remember this is really portraying the relationship between God and the people he loves. Read chapter 3v1-3: God said “Go again. Give her another chance”. Hosea went out and bought his wife back (redeemed her) – for a price! What an incredible story of love and grace and forgiveness. Gomer deserved punishment, but Hosea showed her unconditional love and her children too. Read chapter 2v23 & 3v5. They would be loved and belong again. Israel’s story and Hosea’s story is our story too. Read Romans 5v8 and Romans chapter 9v22-25. Discuss. What a faithful God!!
MICAH Key verses: Chapter 6v6-8 The book of Micah can be likened to a prism. In the same way that a prism allows us to see white light as many different colours, so the Book of Micah is one prophecy, but with many different facets. As we read Micah, the Holy Spirit reveals to us truths for today just as truth was revealed regarding the Messiah and Israel’s future. Past, present and future are intertwined in Micah’s prophecy, but we will study them in order. THE PAST Read Micah 6v1-5 The Lord has a case against his people (v2). Read to see why: Micah 1v7: idols, temple bribes, icons and political prostitution Micah 2v2: covet and steal houses and land (inheritance). This was very serious because God had given each tribe their inheritance, but the land still belonged to God. In stealing from each other they were stealing from God. Micah 2v6: False prophets were disagreeing with Micah and Isaiah. Micah 3v1-3 and v11: Even the leaders, priests and prophets were exploiting people Micah 6v6-8: God did not want their sacrifices (including child sacrifices – v7?). He wanted them to show love and mercy. Read Micah 6v5: Micah asks the people to remember two things. Balaam: (Numbers chapter 22-24) Balaam was a prophet who cursed military enemies for money. Using a donkey and an angel God spoke to him so that he could only say the words God gave him, which were, that he (Balaam) could not curse Israel because God had promised to bless them.The apostle Peter uses Balaam as an example of a false teacher. So Micah says: Remember not to listen to false prophets. God has determined blessing for Israel if they keep covenant with him. The journey to Gilgal: As the Israelites entered the Promised Land God told Joshua: I will give you every place where you set your foot. God has determined Israel’s inheritance if they keep covenant with him. The people had taken the blessing away from themselves. Q. How often do we take time out to remember what God has done for us and the promises he has given us?
THE PRESENT Read Micah 6v10-16 and 7v2: Judgment was imminent because the people would not repent. Judgment ultimately came on Israel (within 20 years of Micahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s prophecy) when the Assyrian army took Samaria and carried the people of Israel away as exiles. Read Micah 7v7: But Israel was not without hope. Micah, Isaiah and those who were upright were the remnant who knew God would hear them and bring them through. Q. When things around are bad, is our response the same as Micahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s? Verse 7 is a good verse to learn! THE FUTURE Read Read Read Read
Micah Micah Micah Micah
4v10: The Judean exiles to Babylon will return 7v11: There would be rebuilding and restoration 5v2: A Saviour is promised, will be born in Bethlehem 4v1-5: In the Last Days God will establish his reign
Read Micah 7v18-20: Although God in his infinite justice would bring judgment, he would also forgive and restore the remnant that trust in him. God is faithful throughout the ages to those who are in covenant relationship with him (Abraham, Jacob, US!). We can learn and remember from the past, we can trust God in the present, and we can know we have a secure future in God.
NAHUM Key verse: Nahum 1v3 Whereas the last six books were written before the capture of Israel by the Assyrians, this prophecy by Nahum was written a couple of generations (approx. 70 years) after that event, when all the previous prophecies had come true. He prophesies to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. Assyria was the first of the world empires referred to by the prophet Daniel, and Nahum’s prophecy foretells the fall of Nineveh to the Babylonians (the second world empire) which history tells us occurred in 612BC.
THE PROPHECIES OF DANIEL foretold 5 world empires which were: Assyria, Babylon, Persian, Greek and Roman. They have never been replaced by another world power. Daniel’s prophecies came true over the centuries. “Kingdoms may rise, kingdoms may fall, but the Word of the Lord endures forever”. Nahum is a book for the Israelites about Assyria. It’s about 2 things: Bad news – Judgment on Nineveh Good news – Blessing for Israel Read Genesis 10v6-11: One of the oldest cities in the world, built to show what man could do, was a kingdom set against God’s kingdom. The present-day city of Mosul (a strategic place in the Iraq War) is now built on the same site. When Assyria had control of Nineveh they invented door locks, time keeping, navigational charts, paved roads, a postal system, iron weapons, glass for magnification, writing on clay tablets and they had universities and libraries. They had done some seemingly good things, so what was the problem with Nineveh? Read Nahum 3v19: Their leaders were unbearably cruel. Example: Asshur-banipal: put a dog chain through the jaw of a defeated king and made him live in a dog kennel like an animal, and he had his defeated foes hanging from the city walls. Chapter 3 is full of Assyria’s crimes: lies, theft, piles of dead, enslaver of nations, exploitation and leaders who didn’t care. Added to this the northern tribes of Israel were already subject to Assyria’s power since the capture of Samaria, and they were being abused. God had already shown compassion to Nineveh during Jonah’s time. They had had their chance, and they no longer had the excuse of ignorance! Read Nahum 1v2&3: In mercy and compassion God is slow to show anger, but when the time is right he is swift to bring his powerful and righteous judgments. Just as Israel was scattered throughout the Assyrian kingdom and suffered greatly, so today many Christians scattered around the world are being persecuted and suffer because they proclaim that Jesus is King. 15
Discuss Romans 11v22 – the kindness and severity of God (Isaiah 10v5-18: Isaiah tells how Assyria was God’s tool to chasten the Israelites.)
Read Nahum 1v7: The secret of knowing God’s care is trusting in him. We have those things which cause us to stumble, which pull us down; those things which make us feel bound in different ways. Father God wants us to be free. He will come to our rescue, but it will always be in his timing and so that he can work out his purpose in us. Meanwhile “we have a refuge in him”. Read Nahum 1v8: Nahum predicted a flood would be the end of Nineveh. The Bad news for Nineveh was that God defeated Assyria, Israel’s enemy – once and for all The Good news was and still is (!!) that God always defeats sin and brings freedom to enjoy the blessings of salvation to those who put their trust in him. Read Nahum 1v15: This promise has yet to be fulfilled at the second coming of Christ.
ZEPHANIAH The name Zephaniah means “The Lord hides – or protects”. Zephaniah prophesied after the Fall of Samaria (Israel) and before the Fall of Judah in the south. But although Zephaniah’s message is for Judah and the surrounding nations, like most prophecy it also speaks to us. Key verse: Chapter 2v3 – Seek the Lord ... Who would be the channel of God’s judgment? The Babylonians were expanding their empire. God would use them to bring judgment, both on Judah and also on the surrounding countries who had helped in Judah’s downfall. Why Judgment? What was Judah guilty of? Read chapter 1 verses 4-6: There is quite a list:Baal worship, idolatrous priests, astrology, worship of Molek (the Philistine god), superstitious (v9), rejection of God, no communion with God. Read chapter 1v12: They were complacent. Like most people in our country today they thought the Lord would do nothing, either good or bad. They didn’t believe that judgment would come. Q. Why is it easy to become complacent? Who would be judged? JUDAH - Read chapter 2v3: “The humble” would be the only ones to avoid judgment – in other words they were those who believed in God and were repentant of heart. If they were righteous before God they would be spared, but there was no such hope for the unrepentant in Judah and Jerusalem. PHILISTIA – Read chapter 2v5: The Philistines owned the land to the south-west bordering the sea (now Palestine). They had always been Israel’s enemies, and judgment would come because of that. MOAB and AMMON – Read chapter 2v8&9: They had taunted and insulted God’s people. They were enemies since Moses’ time. CUSH (Egypt, Upper Nile) – Read chapter 2v12: They would not escape God’s judgment. ASSYRIA – Read chapter 2v13: Even mighty Assyria, the world’s first great empire, would be taken by the Babylonians and its great city of Nineveh would be left desolate. JERUSALEM – Read chapter 3v1-5: Even in the place where God’s presence filled the Holy of Holies in the Temple the people were guilty and the unrighteous “knew no shame”. Q. Do these verses make us feel uncomfortable? Do foreign gods infiltrate today’s church? 17
Where was there hope for Judah, and ultimately for us? Our hope is in being humble and not proud. (Zephaniah 2v3) Even when we question God we are challenging his authority and therefore not giving him the rightful place in our thoughts. Our hope is in God’s covenant-based promises. For Judah these were based in the covenant that God made with Abraham to bless his seed. God would always save a remnant so that he would keep his promise. Read chapter 2v7 and chapter 3v12. God’s desire is to bless, because he delights in those who trust in him. Read chapter 3v17-20 Q. Which covenant is the basis of our hope, and why? Q. Do we view today’s world judgments in the light of the Bible? Does God have a guiding hand, or are they just things that “happen”? Q. How would we react, and would we be surprised, if God’s judgment fell on our country tomorrow? Is there anything we can do about it today?
HABAKKUK God showed Habakkuk that He was about to raise up the Babylonians - so that they would be his instrument of judgment on the people of Judah. God’s people had not heeded the many prophetic warnings - that if they did not repent, then God would allow them to be punished by becoming exiles in Babylon. And so, prior to the judgment Habakkuk has some big questions for God. He voices them in the form of two complaints. First Complaint – Read chapter 1v2-4 Here Habakkuk is crying out to God for his people, who have allowed their society to become violent and unjust; and his question/complaint is, “How long before you do something, Lord?” Q. Is it wrong to complain to God? And, is there a difference between complaining about God or to God? Does the nature of the complaint make any difference? Habakkuk wasn’t complaining because the people weren’t listening to him, but because they weren’t listening to God. He was concerned for God’s kingdom. It is not wrong to complain to God if our motive is to see others blessed. It can be wrong if it is because of our own rebellion or lack of trust. But when we complain we must be ready to accept God’s answer. When Habakkuk said, “Why aren’t you doing something Lord?” God’s answer was that he was sending in an army to defeat them! Read chapter 1v5&6 Second Complaint – Read chapter 1v12-13 Why would God allow the wicked Babylonians (whose wickedness far exceeds that of the Jews) to “swallow up” His people? In other words – How can God use something bad to bring about something good? As Christians we know the verse which says, “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord”. So it begs the question – Why do some Christians have to suffer terrible things for their faith, even, sometimes to the point of death? The fact is we cannot explain how God can take all sorts of things and put them together in our life and make something good – but it is possible; and I believe we would know if we could only see the bigger picture.
The parable of the lovely cake Imagine a child asking its mother for a snack in the kitchen. “Here you are”, she says, and gives him some raw eggs. “Yuk, I can’t eat raw eggs”, he says. “Well have some butter then and some flour”. “I can’t eat those”. “Have some sugar to sweeten it”. Individually none of those appealed to the boy. He might have enjoyed the sugar, although too much of that would probably make him feel ill. And the other raw ingredients certainly would have made him feel ill. . . But half an hour later after the butter and sugar had been beaten and the eggs had been whipped and the flour had been stirred in, and it had been subjected to a lot of heat, the mum gave the boy a lovely cake. “There you are,” she said,” all those things were just what I needed to give you just what you wanted”. It’s only now that you can see that! The boy just had to wait and trust that his mum knew best . . . Now I don’t understand how the cake ingredients all work together to produce a lovely cake, but the laws of chemistry can explain it. We don’t understand why God does things in the way that he does them, but only He knows the good result they will achieve ultimately. God used the Babylonians to discipline his people and he used the next great empire, the Persians, to eventually allow them to return from exile (read the Book of Esther). Read Chapter 2v14 God’s Answer – Read chapter 2v3&4 God has the answer to our prayer already determined for a set time. So we are to wait for it with a sense of trust and assurance, by faith. For it will surely come. Read chapter 3v2 Habakkuk’s Response – And Ours? Habakkuk determined to trust God. It is an effort of our will. Read chapter 3v17-19 When we truly meet with God he gives us the confidence to trust that he knows best, whatever our circumstances are telling us. This book reminds us that God is not distant, but that he wants to engage with us and hear us and for us to hear him, too.
HAGGAI The prophecies of Habakkuk and Zephaniah had come true. Just as they had predicted; the Babylonians had taken Judah and exiled its people – and it was a time of great sorrow. Read Psalm 137v1-4 o They no longer had a king (The signet ring was God’s seal of authority on the king’s leadership) Read Jeremiah 22v24-27 o They no longer had their land and o They no longer had the Temple where they could offer worship and sacrifice (it had been sacked by the Babylonians). They had been in exile for 70 years when, once again, God used another world power to work out his purpose. King Cyrus, the King of Persia (for the Persian Empire had now superseded the Babylonian Empire) gave them permission to return to their homeland. Read Ezra 1v1 (The Bible is factual - You can still see the actual clay cylinder today; it is on display in the British Museum) And so the Jews returned to their homeland. But Jerusalem was now under a Persian governor. The Jews would no longer have their own king. The amazing thing was that, under the Persians, they not only had permission to return but King Cyrus gave them all the Temple goods that had been confiscated 70 years before. Ezra 1v7-11 And King Cyrus encouraged them to rebuild their Temple ... which is where Haggai’s prophecy comes into their story. Haggai is the most precisely dated book in the Bible. He gives 4 sermon prophecies in the space of a year and each is precisely dated. Darius was the Persian King 10 years after Cyrus and began his reign in 522B.C. Therefore, Haggai wrote his prophecy in 520B.C. It is 10 years after the Jews had returned to Jerusalem and little had been done to rebuild the Temple. Read Haggai 1v1&2 When reading Haggai we must remember that the same prophecy can be for the immediate future (historically); it can be about the coming of Jesus as Messiah; and it can be about the End Days, in which we find ourselves. Haggai’s first sermon Read verses 3-6 The people lived in “paneled houses” (i.e. luxury homes) while God’s House was still unbuilt. They had done the foundations and built a temporary altar, but that was all. Their priorities were wrong – they were putting themselves first. Yet, they were never satisfied (v6). Read verses 7-11 God said that the drought was a result of their failure to put God first. Read verses 12-15 The people heard God (really listened to what he had to say); they determined to obey God; and then God stirred them up spiritually; so that, within 3 weeks they were rebuilding the Temple. 21
Q. If this is a parable where the Temple is God’s church today, how can we apply this to ourselves? Haggai’s second sermon Read chapter 2v1-9 One month later Haggai encourages the people to compare the Temple, not with their own houses but with the former Temple that was built by Solomon. Yes, the past was good, but God wanted to do a new thing. To the older people it didn’t seem as good – but it was different. This Temple would see the dedication of Jesus the Messiah when he was 8 days old. Verse 5 suggests that this Temple was connected to the Old Covenant which cannot be in isolation from the New Covenant. Verse 7 specifically refers to Jesus. The Old Temple was the House of God The New Temple encapsulates the concept that through Jesus God’s presence could be in our hearts and not just in one place. Read Hebrews 3v6 Haggai’s Third Sermon Read chapter 2v10-19 What Haggai is saying in verses 10-14 is that it is easy enough to contaminate something or somebody with something bad – but the reverse just doesn’t happen. Even though the priests had cleaned and consecrated their garments that didn’t make the people pure or righteous in God’s sight. Q. Do you agree with this statement: True consecration to God must come before commitment to do something for him. Until this point, even though God had used different ways to get Israel to return to him (verse 17), they just hadn’t bothered. But when they truly loved him he promised to bless them abundantly (v19) Q. Does being blessed by God mean being problem free? What do you think it means? Haggai’s Fourth Sermon Read verses 20-23 To Zerubbabel. In this case Zerubbabel is representative of the kingly line: he was the grandson of the last King of Israel – from the line of David, the line of promise, the Messiah’s line (Matthew 1v13). Haggai is talking about the End Days now.One day earthly nations would be overthrown, and Israel’s king would be restored, their land would be restored and their Temple would be restored (refer back to introduction). And the signet ring that had been taken from Jehoiachin (Jer. 22v24) would be restored to Zerubbabel, signifying the descendant from David’s line, i.e. Jesus. Are we the like the people who started building and gave up – or are we those who commit ourselves to God’s work because we understand the bigger picture? 22
ZECHARIAH The book of Zechariah is the longest of the Minor Prophets and is worth looking at over two studies. It centres mainly around 8 visions which came to the prophet in the space of one night and which speak to the newly returned exiles from Babylon; but as with much of prophecy, the message is also directed at the first and second coming of Jesus, the Messiah. THE FIRST VISION Read chapter 1v8-16 What did Zechariah see? A man on a red horse, with other horses too; in a steep valley with myrtle trees; an angel was the mediator. What did it mean? The Jews had returned home but were not free (trapped as in a ravine) because they were under Persian governors. God was promising to be with them symbolized by the myrtle tree (with its aromatic aroma it is representative of the presence of God in the Bible). The horsemen probably symbolize God’s angelic messengers – God’s eyes on the earth. God wanted to reassure the people that he would be with them at the rebuilding of the Temple (see verse 16). They were not out of the valley yet, but God would be with them. What does it mean for us? We can remember that when we are in difficult situations God is with us, his angels are watching over us. We can know the fragrance of his presence and be assured that he will bring us through. THE SECOND VISION Read chapter 1v18-21 What did Zechariah see? He saw four horns and four craftsmen. What did it mean? In the Bible the number four usually signifies north, east, south and west and horns are world powers (horn signifies strength). So the four horns are Israel’s enemies. God was angry with Israel’s enemies (1v15). These horns were to be cut off and reshaped by the four craftsmen. God is the one who is powerful above all others. He is in control. What does it mean for us? Jesus was the ultimate “craftsman”; he alone can take a sinful, damaged life and reshape it into something beautiful for God. And today God is still the one who is in control of world powers. THIRD VISION Read chapter 2v1-5 What did Zechariah see? He saw a man with a tape measure and a city without walls. What did it mean? 23
The people had built their own homes but had not rebuilt the Temple. The measure was a symbol of building. They were to rebuild both the Temple and the city, and the people would grow and prosper. The city with “no walls” was symbolic because God had told Nehemiah to build walls. God was telling his people to put their trust in him and not in the stone walls. This was an indication of the day when God’s kingdom would have no boundaries. What does it mean for us? We are also asked to build God’s kingdom – without walls, all must be invited in. We don’t need tangible walls to protect us. God said (verse 5), “I will be a wall of fire around it” (represents the Holy Spirit). The Lord is our security and we are part of his city without walls. FOURTH VISION Read chapter 3v1-7 What did Zechariah see? It was a kind of courtroom scene. Joshua, the High Priest, was clothed in filthy rags. Satan was the prosecutor; and the Angel of the Lord was the defence. What did it mean? Joshua, as High Priest, represented all Israel and the filthy rags were symbolic of their sin. Satan was accusing him but God rescued him from being burned by the fire. And then he reclothed Joshua in clean garments. Israel hadn’t been able to atone for their sin for over 70 years in exile. Now, they were being given a new chance, a fresh start, restoration and renewal. What does it mean for us? Joshua was a “type” of Jesus – both names mean Saviour. Jesus, our great High Priest, put on our dirty garments when he was made sin for us on the cross. He made himself unclean so that he deserved the punishment of hell. But God rescued him and raised him up and exalted him to the highest place, so that he is above all things. Just as the work of Joshua brought atonement for Israel, so the work of Jesus brings atonement for us. FIFTH VISION Read chapter 4v2-4 What did Zechariah see? He saw a seven-branched lampstand – the kind used in the Tabernacle – a reservoir of oil and two olive trees. What did it mean? Light always characterizes the Godhead. When God is present there is Light. The reservoir of oil speaks of the Holy Spirit perpetually sustaining the light. Zerubbabel and Joshua were symbolized by the two olive trees, assisting in the work. The promise was that they would succeed in their rebuilding because the Spirit of the Lord was with them. What does it mean for us? God will help us build his church BY HIS SPIRIT. We as Christians, like the Israelites, are few. But the promises in verses 6 and 10 are true for us as well.
SIXTH VISION Read chapter 5v1-4 What did Zechariah see? He saw a flying scroll, 30’x 15’ – the exact dimensions of the Holy Place in the Tabernacle. On one side was written “theft” and on the other side was “lies”. What did it mean? The measure of the Holy Place is the standard (of absolute purity) against which God measures sin. The sin of the people was represented by the two words theft and lies. These two words can summarise the Ten Commandments. What does it mean for us? God’s Word must be our standard – not the world’s view. How do we measure up to God’s purity? SEVENTH VISION Read chapter 5v5-11 What did Zechariah see? He saw a woman (under a heavy lead cover) in a measuring basket, which was carried in the sky by two women with stork’s wings (therefore not to be confused with angels!). What did it mean? The measuring basket implied that the people had been weighed and found wanting. The woman in the basket was the personification of sin which was so bad it had to be kept down by a heavy lead weight. The destination of the basket was Babylon (Babel – a place synonymous with rebellion against God). Israel’s sin would be taken away (as in sixth vision), and removed to where sin belonged. What does it mean for us? When we ask God to forgive us he will literally take away our sin. Jesus Christ will ultimately deal with sin and the wickedness of Babylon (covered in Rev. chapters 17 and 18). Note: Babylon is mentioned over 350 times in the Bible and it nearly always represents opposition to God, beginning with Babel in Genesis, and ending with the woman Babylon in Revelation. EIGHTH VISION Read chapter 6v1-5 What did Zechariah see? He saw 4 chariots drawn by different coloured horses coming between two mountains of bronze. What does it mean? This may be apocalyptic. The valley could be Armageddon. In the Bible bronze symbolizes judgment and the four horsemen could represent angelic instruments of judgment. Seen as a sequel to the previous visions, it implies that all men and women will ultimately face God’s judgment (between two bronze mountains/ no way out of it) – because he alone is Sovereign over all; on that final day of judgment every knee will bow and confess that He is Lord. He will have the last word and He will make the final judgments.
The messages that God gives Zechariah from chapter 7 onwards are spoken after the rebuilding of the Temple. Chapter 7 In this chapter the people ask about mourning and fasting (v3) but God replies that he is not looking for outward show but for love and justice which come from the heart. Read verses 8-10 Chapter 8 This chapter deals with the restoration of Jerusalem. God would again be with his people. Read verse 3. Those who were scattered by their enemies would return (and be known as the remnant). Read verse 8.And the land and its crops would also know revival. Read verse 12. Chapter 9 This chapter looks to the future for Israel. Read verses 9 and 10. This is a prophecy of how Jesus did in fact enter Jerusalem on a foal of a donkey and Matthew made a point of recording it in his gospel – as if to say, “Look, this is the prophecy coming true.” Read Matthew 21v5. So that when Jesus rode into the city in that way some of the Jews recognized him as the promised Messiah. And by doing the impossible (riding on an unbroken colt) Jesus was also demonstrating his Lordship over all creation. Zechariah foresaw this wonder and recorded it so that we could know Jesus was all that he claimed to be. Q. In v.9 what 3 words stand out that show the qualities of Jesus? Chapter 10 The Messianic prophecy continues. Read verse 4, 6&7. Jesus is The Cornerstone, from Judah, from David’s line. The cornerstone speaks of three things. 1) A foundation stone that provides a standard for the building 2) A stone which joins walls going off at two different angles 3) It is a large solid rock which holds the building together. 4) Discuss how these apply to Jesus. Chapter 11 Read verses 7-14 The prophet speaks of the Good Shepherd who got rid of three bad shepherds, which may represent errant prophets, priests and kings (although that is only a suggestion). This Good shepherd had two staffs, called “Favour” and “Union”. The breaking of these staves became symbolic. 1) The staff called favour was broken because Israel’s favoured position was to come to an end when the Messiah came. The veil in the Temple was split/broken in two when Jesus died. The act of Judas (verse 12) was representative of the value that the Jews put on Jesus’ life and therefore it is not surprising that they lost favour with God.
2) The staff called Union was broken signifying that when Jesus came the Jews would no longer automatically be in union with God. They, along with everyone else, must come to him for salvation through Jesus Christ. Chapter 12 In this chapter Zechariah’s prophecy begins to talk about The Last Days when all the nations will gather against Jerusalem, ultimately in the Battle of Armageddon. We can already see the possibility of this. And God will make Jerusalem “an immovable rock” (v3). But God’s ultimate purpose is to restore Israel to himself. They had rejected him, he broke favour with them, but his desire is to renew relationship with him. Read verses 10&11. The Jews will realize the responsibility they bear for “the one they pierced” and they will devastated and grieve bitterly ... But ... Chapter 13 Read verse 1. They will not find judgment, but forgiveness and cleansing. They will understand the full meaning of the blood sacrifices. Read verse 9. They will also be sanctified. Chapter 14 Read verses 4,8,9,11,20&21. The true temple will be complete, made up of living stones from restored Jews and believing gentiles. Christ will reign on earth where his kingdom will be established. Jews and gentiles will worship together. And all things will be holy; not just the people and things in the Temple, but all things and all people in this new Living Temple. Every aspect of life will be holy and consecrated to the Lord.
MALACHI This prophecy was God’s final revelation to the Jews, some 400 years before the coming of Christ. This was a time when knowledge and learning were growing at a tremendous rate. The Greeks were beginning to rise in power and men like Socrates and Pythagoras and Hippocrates were soon to lay down the philosophy of scientific reasoning. The world was changing – but the people were the same. Malachi’s book reveals that, sadly, 100 years after the fresh start for the Jews and the rebuilding of the Temple, the people had once again lost their love and commitment to the Lord. In this book God makes 5 accusations, the people respond with questions and then God answers. FIRST ACCUSATION – God said, “You do not appreciate my love”. Read chapter 1v2&3 The answer of the people was unkind, “How have you loved us?” But we all know people today who might say that. God's answer to them seems a little strange at first, until you realize what it signifies. Jacob represented the Covenant that God made with Israel (God renamed him Israel. Read Genesis 35v9-12). Esau had rejected his birthright (his inheritance as the eldest) but Jacob had fought for it by ‘fair means and foul’. God’s love for them was a part of his covenant with them and an essential attribute of his character. The New Testament Covenant is the same for us, when we enter into it by accepting Jesus and what he accomplished on the Cross. In his love he has given everything to us. May we never be guilty of saying, “God doesn’t love me”. SECOND ACCUSATION – God said, “You do not respect my name”. Read chapter 1v6-9 The people were contemptuous in the very way they questioned to God (v6), showing their disrespect! “How have we shown contempt for your name?” God’s answer to them was to challenge their attitude to sacrifice and worship. Was their worship pure? Was it a sacrifice or were they only giving what they didn’t need for themselves? Was it a duty or a pleasure? Were they just taking God for granted? How is our church worship defined today? Do we give God the respect due to him? Do we “rob God” of part of ourselves? Read Romans 12v1&2 God held the priests responsible in Malachi’s day. Are the leaders of our churches to take responsibility for the quality of worship in our churches – or are we, as individuals? THIRD ACCUSATION – God said, “You are unfaithful in your relationships”. Read chapter 2v10-16 Basically – as is also true today in many cases – the people couldn’t see what their attitude to sex and marriage had to do with their relationship with God. “Why do we profane the 28
covenant by being unfaithful?” The people were still living under Persian rule and they had inherited many of their ways and things that were legal in Persian society. Today, in our country, deviant sexual relationships have become lawful, but they remain un-Biblical; things like homosexuality, one-night stands, divorce, voluntary single parenting etc. But God created us to be in a threefold relationship with him – man, wife and the Lord. And so it follows that marital and extramarital relationships have a direct influence on our relationship with God. God calls the breaking of marriage vows a ‘violent’ act. This is because it is breaking asunder that which God has put together, and is damaging to the threefold unity. Realistically, in this 21st century all this seems very out of date and many people, including a large proportion of Christians, will have made wrong choices in this area – or will have been wronged themselves. But it is still God’s ideal. Is it possible to make things right with God again? Read 1 John 1v9&10 FOURTH ACCUSATION – God said, “You weary me with your complaining”. Read chapter 2v17 – 3v4 This passage looks forward to the time when 1 John 1v9&10 would become possible. The people said, “How have we wearied him?” We shouldn’t complain about our lot. We should be examining ourselves, being honest about our shortcomings and we should repent and ask for God’s forgiveness and a fresh new start. If we have made a drastically wrong choice (e.g abortion or immoral lifestyle or drugs or violence etc) we often suffer for years afterwards. But we needn’t, because if we are honest and repentant, God will forgive us and wipe the slate clean. The same goes for less obvious “sins” of the heart (wrong attitude, jealousy, hatred, vindictiveness, pride etc). If we are not honest and repentant we must be prepared to take the consequences. Read 3v5. FIFTH ACCUSATION – God said, “You rob me of offerings and time”. Read Malachi 3v6-10 “How do we rob you?” they asked – and perhaps we might ask the same question. God is saying “when you repent and return to me I don’t want you to come with penance and selfpunishment, but by bringing me all that is rightfully mine”. The tithe (meaning a tenth of their produce or income) was a worship offering given to God in fellowship with one another and for the work of the Temple (church). Tithing is significant of obedience, sacrifice and communion. By neglecting to tithe, the people were not only robbing God, but themselves too. Is tithing only for Old Testament times or is it also for today? Read 2 Corinthians 8v7-12 and Philippians 4v16-19 God’s promise to us regarding tithing is in Malachi 3v10 When we honour God he always honours us.
Place of the Prophets in Israel’s History King David (Wars fought and won) s King Solomon (40 years of peace) s Civil War (Division of the Land) s 10 Northern Tribes Israel (Capital Samaria) s Bad Kings s Prophets (Isaiah, Amos, Joel Hosea, Micah, Nahum) s Assyria (Captures Samaria and Disperses the people) Date: 722BC
s 2 Southern Tribes Judah (Capital Jerusalem) s Good and bad Kings s Prophets (Habakkuk, Zephaniah Haggai, Zechariah etc) s Babylon (Judah destroyed and the people exiled to Babylon) Date: 587BC s Prophets to the exiles (Daniel, Ezekiel, Haggai Zechariah, Malachi)
The Remnant (from those exiled) return to Jerusalem after 70 years. There followed a period of 400 years where there was no further prophecy until John the Baptist came. 30