Introducing: The Prophets of the Hebrew (Old) Testament. Discover How We Ought to Understand some of the Toughest Books in the Bible.

As Moses approached the end of his life, he wrote the Book of Deuteronomy. He includes in that Book a wondrous promise from God; that promise, God would send another like Moses to teach them. God did, God sent His Prophets of Old.

Deuteronomy 18:15-18 Amplified

15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a [a]prophet like me [Moses] from among you, from your countrymen (brothers, brethren). You shall listen to him. 16 This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb (Mount Sinai) on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear the voice of the Lord my God again, nor see this great fire anymore, so that I will not die.’ 17 The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. 18 I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.

The Word of God for the Children of God. In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

The prophetic books are amongst the toughest books in the Bible to understand and to contextualize and make up about one quarter of the Hebrew Testament. What makes interpretation even more complicated is that not all the prophets in the Hebrew (Old) Testament are easily found in these prophetic books.

So first let us start from the top, what is a prophet?

Prophets were particular people who were chosen by God and given authority to speak on his behalf. God the Holy Spirit spoke in and through them. It was through the prophets that God chose to reveal himself, his promises and his plan. Before a prophet spoke to the people, they always made it clear, where the message was coming from. ‘This is what the LORD says…’ (Isaiah 48:17).

The prophets had a unique role as intercessors, as they spoke not only on God’s behalf to the people, but also on behalf of the people to God (Exodus 32:30-32/ 1 Samuel 7:5-9; 12:19-23/ 2 Kings 19:14 / Jeremiah 7:16; 11:14; 14:11). 

The prophets’ predictions were sometimes given in order to deliver warnings and admonishments to God’s wayward people. People were spoken to, given a chance to turn away from their own ways and back to Gods. The prophets were reformers, who enforced God’s law and called God’s people unto faithfulness.

Who were the prophets?

Abraham was the first person to be designated as a prophet (Genesis 20:6-7). After Abraham the prophets came from a whole range of backgrounds. To just mention a few, Moses was raised as an Egyptian prince, Amos was a herdsman, Elisha was a plowman, Ezekiel and Jeremiah were priests and Daniel was a government administrator. It is clear that their authority did not come from their own merit but from being chosen by God.

Where and when did they prophesy?

It’s easy to understand what Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Nathan, Elijah and Elisha were saying to their audience because their prophecy is placed within a clear narrative. However, the prophetic books don’t always provide a clear narrative. Since context is everything to interpretation and application, here is a quick overview of the context of just some of the prophetic books.

  • Amos and Hosea were in the northern kingdom, in the lead up to its destruction in 722 BC by the Assyrians.
  • Prophets such as Isaiah, Micah and Jeremiah were in Judah (southern kingdom) and prophesied in the lead up to the exile in 597/586 BC.
  • Ezekiel and Daniel prophesied during the exile.
  • Prophets like Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi prophesied after the return from exile.

What was their message?

Their message was either of hope or judgment. Their proclamation to God’s people was centered upon the Mosaic covenant (Exodus 19-24). Through Moses, God revealed his law to his people, and it was this covenant that all future generations were to live by.

The prophets who followed Moses enforced the covenant, continually exhorting the people to obey God’s law, whilst reminding them of the consequences of their obedience (blessings) and their disobedience (curses).

The prophets communicated both orally and through symbolic action. For three years Isaiah went naked and barefoot to demonstrate to the people their future (Isaiah 20:1-6). God’s Prophet Hosea married the unfaithful woman Gomer, to demonstrate God’s relationship with His unfaithful nation of Israel (Hosea 1-3).

Who were they speaking to?

  • God’s chosen people. The promises made to Abraham revealed God’s plan for a people who would declare and reveal him to all the nations. In Exodus through to Deuteronomy, Moses revealed how they are to live in relationship with God and live as a kingdom of priests. The prophets who came after them therefore addressed Israel as God’s chosen people who have responsibilities to uphold (Jeremiah 2-6).
  • Unfaithful Israel. Israel continually broke the Ten Commandments (Jeremiah 7:1-15/Hosea 4:2), committed idolatry (Ezekial 8:1-18), mistreated others (Isaiah 1:21-31) and refused to repent (Amos 4:6-11).
  • Those who were to face judgment. Judgment was frequently called the “day of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:12-22/Joel 2:1-11/Zephaniah 1:7-18).
  • Those who have hope. After the Day of Judgment, where Israel suffers destruction and punishment, God will bring peace to the world (Isaiah 9:2-7; 11:1-16). A Savior must suffer and die and then rise from the dead (Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12). He will bring in a new covenant and he will cleanse the world of sin and make a new earth that will not pass away (Isaiah 65:17-25/Zephaniah 3:8-20). This Savior was first revealed as the king who could come from the line of David (2 Samuel 7).

Why Know Hebrew Testament Prophecy?

Throughout history humanity pretty much stays the same. As Christians, we now enjoy the blessings and hope of the new covenant through Jesus. To be out and about in the Kingdom of God offering the Good News of Salvation through Jesus Christ, we generally begin teaching with New Testament tracts and Bibles.

However, we cannot so easily disregard the absolute significance of Hebrew Testament prophecy. We still struggle to trust God and live his way. So, we are called by Yahweh the Holy Spirit into a time of sacred remembrance to solemnly re-listen to the prophets warning against idolatry, ignoring God’s law, giving into greed or being indifferent towards the poor and those who are suffering.

The ancient words of prophets remind us that we cannot get lost in our sin and presume that we are still members of the new covenant community. For we too will face judgment and failing to repent from our ways and continue to reject Jesus as Lord of our life will mean we too will face eternal separation from God.

Numbers 11:24-30 NRSV

24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord; and he gathered seventy elders of the people and placed them all around the tent. 25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again.

26 Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. 27 And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 28 And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, “My lord Moses, stop them!” 29 But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!” 30 And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

In the Hebrew Testament it was clear that Moses spoke for God. God would meet with Moses in the tent of meeting and give him words to say to the people.

So, when Joshua heard about two men who had prophesied in the camp, it made sense that he (Joshua) would want to protect Moses’ singularly unique role as God’s prophet to the people of Israel. But Moses responded, rebuked, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” Moses was not threatened; instead, he saw what a blessing it would be if all God’s people would speak for and from God.

Moses’ desire was fulfilled centuries later when the Spirit of God came to God’s people on Pentecost (Acts 2). The prophet Joel had proclaimed that a day was coming when God’s Spirit would be poured out on all people. (Joel 2:23-32)

And on that very first Pentecost, the crowds of visitors from all nations heard the followers of Jesus declaring the wonders of God in their own languages. The age of the Holy Spirit had come because our chief prophet, Jesus, had provided us salvation and given his followers new life in the Spirit. (Acts 2:1-13)

If you are a Christian, Yahweh, the Spirit of God is very much living in you. You have been anointed and appointed by the Spirit to declare the praises of God. The contemporary world we call home needs bold prophets who speak God’s truth, hope, love, and grace. With whom will you share the truth of Jesus today?

In the name of Yahweh, the Father, Yahweh the Son and Yahweh the Holy Spirit, let us enter into the Tabernacle of God with thanksgiving, and let us each humbly pray.

Lord God, from those most ancient of days, you called men to speak to your people, to call them back into Your Presence. Lord, as your prophets today, may we share your message of grace and truth with the people around us. May others hear and see Christ in us. In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

One thought on “Introducing: The Prophets of the Hebrew (Old) Testament. Discover How We Ought to Understand some of the Toughest Books in the Bible.”

  1. Michael A sheeplywolves@wordpress.com — Holiness, by J C Ryle, SIN, Part 2. There he attempts to limit avoda zarah restricted to idolatry. He relies upon Isaiah 44:6 -28. My response:
    Oral Torah logic, as opposed by ancient Greek logic format like Plato and Aristotle, hinges upon making דיוקים\inferences. In his introduction to the Chumash commentary, the Ramban refers to this logic by the kabbalah of ‘black fire on white fire’.

    Jewish refugee populations spoke in a cryptic language to conceal Oral Torah logic from the Goyim barbarians of Europe. These barbarians had an addiction to oppression theft slander and murder. Almost every year around their Easter festival, they would make blood libel and host desecration slanders which resulted in entire Jewish communities, destroyed because some Goy did not want to pay his debts which he owed to Jewish money lenders. For some 2000 yrs Jewish refugee populations had to endure these criminal war crimes against humanity. Never did any European Court try the Church Popes and priests for War Crimes committed against humanity. Then in the middle of the 20th Century Xtian Europe committed the Shoah.

    The tumah of avodah zarah carries the trademarks of theft oppression sexual perversion and judicial injustice. Just as all kosher animals, fit for consumption by the chosen Cohen nation have signs which distinguish tohor animals from tumah animals … so too human behavior develops signs, like fins and scales on a kosher fish, of tohor or tumah mental development.

    The worship of avodah zarah, the 2nd Commandment of the revelation of the Torah at Sinai, this commandment: the Av\father/ of tumah, learns from Cain who brutally murdered his brother. Bloodshed, senseless violence, oppression, theft, sexual perversion, courtroom injustice — all “signs” of tumah human beings. Similar to all animal predators, who walk upon their paws.

    The negative commandment which prohibits the worship of other Gods. דיוק … if no other Gods lived, then this commandment – a commandment in vain. Mohammad of Koran fame, failed to understand this key concept of the revelation of the Torah. So much for him being a prophet.

    [[[“””Isaiah 44 and the surrounding chapters. “””]]] The Xtian bible, those alien translators of the bible, they created it in their own image. Meaning the natural ORDER which the Framers of the Hebrew T’NaCH established, the Xtian translators totally uprooted and expunged. The T’NaCH has no chapters and verses only sugiot. The biblical translations have no Name of HaShem (1st Commandment) nor have they any sugiot\sub-chapters.

    Attempts to interpret and understand T’NaCH sources totally divorced from the Jewish culture customs and traditions which prevailed at the time of the writing of these Primary Sources of Faith… this basic and fundamental error places all biblical translations of the T’NaCH on par with how paleontologists study dinosaur bones. The Jewish people, despite the attempts made by the Nazis otherwise, do not compare to extinct dinosaurs. Jewish customs, culture, and ways have endured since HaShem swore an oath that the seed of Avraham would compare to the stars of the heavens. DESPITE the fact that at the time of that oath brit alliance Avram had no children what so ever!

    Faith in HaShem qualifies as דיני נפשות. This term refers to a Sanhedrin Court which has the mandate to hear and try Capital Crimes cases wherein human life hangs in the balance; determined by the judicial decree reached by the justices of the Sanhedrin Court.

    The Talmud mirrors the Torah. The ratio of Aggaditah to Halachah in both Primary sources – very similar, about 4:1. Torah teaches, it commands mussar. Torah does NOT teach history, an important distinction. This subtle but fundamental separation compares to the mitzvah of הבדלה which discerns between the holiness of Shabbat from Chol\6 days of the week. The Talmud defines “understanding” as the ability to discern between like and like. An artist, for example, his eye can distinguish different shades of the same color; comparable to a wine taster can discern wines from other wines. This ability to discern like from like defines Torah wisdom.

    The Talmud exists as a Common law legal system. Common law learns by means of bringing close precedents to the case currently heard before the Court. The Oral Torah logic system which HaShem revealed, this revelation of logic ‘orally’ communicated to Moshe the prophet directly from HaShem, (after he fasted for the 2nd time 40 days and nights), on Yom Kippur. This unique logic format compares Cases with other Cases. Ancient Greek logic stood upon a mathematical foundation. At least that’s how an ancient Greek logic course at Texas A&M understood the logic system which Aristotle developed.

    The lights of Hanukkah dedicate the dedication of holiness that Jews sanctify their Will to only interpret the Written Torah by and through the lights of Oral Torah logic. Hannakah lights serve as a metaphor משל. The נמשל, the דיוק learned from this משל, only the Oral Torah logic system does HaShem permit the generations to interpret the intent of the Framers of the Written Torah.

    What does this mean in practice? The Torah issues a clear command, in all matters of Capital Crimes cases\דיני נפשות/ – specifically in issues touching the tumah of avodah zarah, no less than 2 witnesses, perhaps 3 witnesses, but never only 1 witness. Xtianity throughout the ages never accepted this Torah commandment. Their best and brightest scholars cherry picked this or that verse, taken totally out of its surrounding context, and created their own religion in the process.

    This new religion worships other Gods. The Name of HaShem, never once brought in any Xtian biblical translation. This fundamental error duplicates the error made by Aaron, the elder brother of Moshe the prophet, when at the golden calf, he translated the Spirit Name of HaShem unto a word אלהים\Gods (plural).

    The “revelation” of tumah avodah zarah, sandwiched between Sinai & Horev. Sinai the revelation of the Written Torah & Horev the revelation of the Oral Torah. The Church placed their trust in Creeds, Theologies, and Dogmatism above the revelation of the Oral Torah logic format — which to this day the Church denies.

    Idols, only a small, tiny specific of the general term avodah zarah\strange worship. Avodah zarah most fundamentally defined by the Torah negative commandment: do not follow the ways practiced in Egypt or Canaan. Meaning: this commandment forbids assimilation; it forbid Jews to embrace other cultures and customs practiced by any people who do not accept the Torah revelation at Sinai. The Xtian church never accepted the revelation of the Torah at Sinai. Jesus, their false messiah God, has no portion in the revelation of the Torah at Sinai.

    611 Commandments, Moshe the Prophet commanded Israel; they serve as the primary commentary made by: the greatest of all prophets — to explain the meaning and intent of the first 2 Commandments which all Israel heard at the Sinai revelation of the Written Torah.

    What about the 10 Commandments! The Torah, like the Talmud, both highly edited texts. All T’NaCH prophets command mussar. Mussar: the Torah definition for prophesy. The “prophet” Mohammad did not know this basic fundamental of Torah faith. The 10 plagues of Egypt serve as a mussar precedent to understand the 10 Commandment editorial of the revelation of the Torah at Sinai.

    3 sugiot contain all the verses you quoted in your bible translation. מד:ו-כ, מד:כא-כג, מד:כד- כח. You brought these p’sukim\verses as one witness. Therefore I shall likewise do the same. English literature (minored in English at Texas A&M) refers to the study of literature by means of “Comparison and Contrast”. Jewish Common Law learns by means of bringing precedents.

    Avodah zarah does not limit itself only to physical idols. Jesus did not take Israel out of Egypt. Yet the Church requires a physical historical Jesus, just as and comparable to a Catholic who bows down to a physical image of man hanging on a stock of wood.

    First precedent: ישעיה ט:ז- י:כג. Translated as 9:7-10:23. By the rebuke which the prophet Natan rebuked king David … HaShem never commanded to any leader of the chosen Cohen nation to build for Him a House of wood and stone. Rather — Justice Justice pursue. The last mitzvah Moshe the prophet did before he passed from this world, he built 3 of the 6 Cities of Refuge. Can a man build 3 cities in one day? No. Moshe established the small Sanhedrin Federal Courts in those designated cities of refuge! Just as the young king Shlomo ignored the advice and council by which Natan the prophet advised the young king. So too did the young king Rehovoam ignore the advise which the elders of Shlomo counciled – to reduce the burden of taxation upon the people. Justice does not depend upon any House constructed of wood and stone; just as HaShem does not require the worship of idols made of wood and stone.

    2nd witness\precedent. ישעיה כב:טו-כג:יד. Translated – 22:15- 23:14. The mussar instruction clear: A warning to all nations, [[Eliakim, in charge of the king’s house in the days of Hezekiah – king of Yechudah.]], All kingdoms which rule through slavery, similar to that which Par’o unjustly imposed upon Israel, shall suffer destruction and exile. Herein defines how the prophet ישעיה understood the 2nd Commandment of the revelation of the Written Torah at Sinai.

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