The Books of the Five Major Prophets

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The five books of the Major Prophets were the subject of this study paper. The people's transgressions and separation from their true God are a recurring theme in the novels. The prophets were chosen by God to speak on his behalf and exhort people to turn back to the path of righteousness. According to the five books, sins have numerous negative effects, including famine, captivity, exile, poor leadership, and even death. The idea that God is almighty and that people should only worship and submit to him is a recurring subject in these writings. God’s sovereignty is revealed in Prophet Daniel’s vision of a Messiah who would rescue people from their iniquities. God is also a merciful God since he sent his only Son Jesus Christ to suffer and die for the sake of humanity. For example, the work of prophet Jeremiah indicates that God is a merciful God, forgiving and one that gives second chances. There is also a judgment for people who turn back from their God. Prophet Isaiah describes the birth of Jesus Christ, the announcement of his coming and his death. Prophet Isaiah reveals that God still has hope for his nations and was hence willing to save them from their sinful ways. Prophet Ezekiel wanted to admit to the people that they were suffering following their iniquities. God’s people had lived in sin, pride and arrogance believing that they were strong on their own but God wanted to reveal that he is still the supreme God by taking them to exile in Babylon and allowing them to live in harsh conditions. Jeremiah later laments and cried for the nation that had turned against God and as a result was going through punishment. God allowed the Israelites to be exile to make them realise that he is the supreme god and that he still has powers even while they were in a foreign land. The five books of the prophets hence give an insight to today’s Christians lives and the need to reunite with their God and live righteously to escape judgement and God’s wrath

The Five Books of Major Prophets

THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH

AUTHORSHIP

Jeremiah’s secretary, Baruch and prophet Jeremiah

TIME

Jeremiah’s ministry started in 627 BC and ended in 582BC.

TO WHOM IT WAS WRITTEN

Jeremiah’s message was intended for the Jews that had fled Egypt. As a young prophet who began his work before he reached twenty years, Jeremiah was appointed to speak to the Judeans against the sins they had committed against God.

OCCASION FOR

The Israelites had notably forgotten why God rescued them from the Egyptians and instead chose to turn against him and engage in idol worship. God’s anger against the Israelites led him to appoint prophet Jeremiah as his spokesman who would warn people against the implications of their sinful ways.

SETTING

The book was written in ancient Judah when Judah was facing suffering, warfare and destruction.

PURPOSE

Warn against Judah’s impending judgment

Urge people to repent and obey the word of God

To accelerate God’s judgment against Judah and cause people to repent

Foretell, want and record the fall of Jerusalem and its neighbors due to their disobedience to God’s words.

MAIN THEMES:

JUDGMENT

Jeremiah spoke of the judgment that would befall God’ people of they failed to turn against their sinful ways . Jeremiah’s first forty-five chapters focus on the judgment to the Judeans since they had no faith in their God and had consequently disobeyed him. Although Jeremiah felt compassion for God’s people, he would not compel them to turn from their sinful ways. The prophet knew that Israel was facing and impending destruction and was hence pleading with them to transform from their evil ways.

RENEWING THE COVENANT

Jeremiah prophesied about making of the new covenant. The new covenant would serve as a new relationship between God and his people. In this new covenant, the laws would not be written on stone but God’s people’s hearts, and it would establish a new relationship with God. Jesus Christ would facilitate this new covenant. Jeremiah hence prophesied that God would send his son who would renew the relationship that the Judeans had with God. Jesus would serve as a sacrificial lamb for their sins with the sole of uniting the people to God.

GOD’S PATIENCE

Even through the prophet Jeremiah spoke against the predicament that would befall the Judeans, the punishment occurred about nine hundred years later. God is indeed patience as is revealed in this book and he is also a God of second chances. God would have indeed punished the Judeans immediately, but he chose to withhold hiss wrath and give them an opportunity to repent and turn back from their sinful ways.

DISTINCTIVE

The book of Jeremiah is the longest in the Bible.

THE BOOK OF ISAIAH

Author

Prophet Isaiah wrote the entire book of Isaiah

DATE

739 to 681 BC

TO WHOM WAS IT WRITTEN?

To the people living in Jerusalem.

OCCASION

The Israelites would likely face God’s wrath because they were worshipping idols and were also offering wrong sacrifices to God at the temple. God’s people had alienated themselves from God, and they consistently committed injustices against others hence the prophet sought to reunite God’s people to him.

SETTING

Prophet Isaiah prophesied in Judah during the reign of King Uzziah, Hezekiah, Ahaz and Jotham. The book of Isaiah was written a time when the Judeans were struggling to hold onto their identities and remain faithful to their God, and Isaiah would always urge people to stay to their actual identity.

PURPOSE

Prophet Isaiah was appointed to speak against the punishment that would befall the Israelites for their sinful ways. The Israelites had been rescued from their enemies because Isaiah and King Hezekiah had prayed for the nation, but the Nationals failed to appreciate that.

Prophet Isaiah wrote to prophesy about the birth of Jesus Christ. The prophet noted that Jesus would serve as a sacrificial lamb and would hence save people from their iniquities. Prophet Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would come from the descendants of David and would be sent to earth to reconnect individuals with the God and help them turn from their sinful ways.

MAIN THEMES

JUDGEMENT

On the occasion that the Israelites refused to turn from their wicked ways, God promised them impending disasters. God would deny the Israelites Godly leaders, and they would then be ruled by kings who are after their selfish needs. The Israelites would also suffer from hunger and starvation, and the city would be unproductive. Prophet Isaiah also prophesied that the town would be ruled by children who would lack the wisdom of a king and which would probably lead to its destruction. The Judeans had also encouraged the sacrifice of children to appease their gods, and God would hence punish them for their iniquities.

SALVATION

Prophet Isaiah, however, spoke of the great plans of salvation that God had for his people. Although the Israelites had turned against God, he would later send his son Jesus who would be humiliated and killed so that he would save humanity from their sins. Through the blood of Jesus, humankind would be cleansed and also receive healing and restoration.

DISTINCTIVE

The book has 66 chapters while the Bible has 66books. This book reveals a prophet who not only prophesies punishment against god’s people but also gives them hope.

THE BOOK OF DANIEL

AUTHORSHIP

The Book of Daniel was written by prophet Daniel himself.

DATE OF WRITING

Between 540 and 530 B.C

THE PURPOSE OF WRITING

The book of Daniel aimed at founding the hope that the Israelites would be restored in the future even though they had committed evil with the Gentiles.

During the reign of King Nebukadnezer, the Israelites had begun worshipping the idols made by the king, and there was hence crisis in the worship. Prophet Daniel hence would instruct and rebuke God’s people with the desire of transforming them.

Prophet Daniel also sought to interpret the dreams that God had revealed to him and prophecies concerning Judah.

To preach against the impending judgment of God against the Babylonians which is evident from the revelation that Daniel has of the wall scribbling directed to Belshazzar.

TO WHOM WAS THE BOOK WRITTEN

Babylonians and the Israelites

OCCASION FOR THEIR WRITING

Daniel wrote the book while serving in the royal court of King Nebukadnezer and the rulers that followed. The book of Daniel hence notes all the prophecies and visions of the prophet. Prophet Daniel also recorded the coming of the Messiah whose mission on earth would e to save humanity from their sin by becoming the sacrificial lamb.

SETTING

The book is set in exile, and it seeks to communicate to people who had given up because they were taken to a foreign land under new rulers and their identity changed and God wanted to reveal through Daniel that he still had plans for their future. The book of Daniel was written at a time when the Babylonians had resulted to worshipping the gods in Nebukadnezer’s palace, and he was then warning them of the consequences that would follow.

THEME

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY

God's sovereignty is clear in this book. For instance, when the king had a dream, he could not get anyone in Babylon to interpret it, and this led to the execution of many men. Prophet Daniel revealed to the king that only God would disclose what magicians and the witchdoctors in Babylon failed to do . When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to bow unto the king and his gods, they were thrown into a furnace where God protected them further revealing his powers. When Daniel was later thrown into the den of lions, God closed their mouth, and they did not, therefore, attach him which also reveals how humankind would be saved from their sins by the coming of the Messiah.

DISTINCTIVE

What is unique about Daniel is that the book focuses on studying the history and culture of the Babylonians and not merely foretelling the future.

THE BOOK OF EZEKIEL

AUTHORSHIP

Prophet Ezekiel

WHEN WAS IT WRITTEN?

591-571 B.C.E when the Jews had been held captive by the Babylonians

TO WHOM

The Israelites and the Judeans

OCCASION FOR THE WRITING

The book of Ezekiel was written to foretell the future of Jerusalem and the need to repent their sins. The prophet also wrote to predict the return of god’s presence unto his nation thus restoring Israel, the land and the temple. Ezekiel hence sought to reveal to the people that God is merciful and although the Jews had turned evil and rejected him, he would also send his son who would rule over the earth for 1000years in fairness and also save humanity from their sins.

SETTING

The book was written while prophet Ezekiel was in exile with fellow Israelites and the Judeans in Babylon.

PURPOSE

The book of Ezekiel was written to give hope to the Israelites that had been held captive in a foreign land and provide them with a need to worship God. Even though they lived in despair, they were to recognise God is supreme still and still worship him.

The book of Ezekiel was written to foretell god’s judgement against Judah and Jerusalem and give them a chance to repent.

To foretell the deliverance of God’s nations from their captivity in Babylon and assure them blessings if they were to worship him.

MAJOR THEME

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY

Even in their bitter situation in captivity, the prophet sought to acknowledge that God still reigns. Prophet Ezekiel hence knew that God would also in control nation, and he even shaved his beard and is hair to reveal what God would go to the Babylonians. Israelites were hence urged to worship God even in their misery and not conform to the Babylonians form of religion as God was still supreme.

DISTINCTIVE

The book is full of symbols and allegories which may be difficult for a person who lacks the history of Jerusalem to understand. The book has prophecies, symbolic acts and visions off Ezekiel while in exile, regarding Judah, Jerusalem and other states.

THE BOOK OF LAMENTATION

AUTHORSHIP

Prophet Jeremiah

DATE

586BC

SETTING

Jeremiah wrote the book while in Babylon as among the people who had been held in captivity by the Babylonians. Prophet Jeremiah was crying out to God on behalf of the Israelites since they had faced his wrath because they had failed to turn back from their sinful ways.

FOR WHOM WAS IT WRITTEN

The nation of Jerusalem and Judea

THEME

KNOWING GOD

As prophet Jeremiah wept over Jerusalem, it was clear that the people had turned against their God thus being held captive by the Babylonians. It is evident that the Israelites had turned into idol worship and they were hence so bitter that they were not attempting to reconcile with their true God. It is evident that although humankind may turn against God, his mercies endure forever and he was then willing to turn the Israelites life around and renew their lives.

PURPOSE

To inform the nations held captive in Babylon that the reasons for their untold suffering were their disobedience to God. The people had failed to listen to the men of God and had then stuck to their evil ways thus provoking God’s Wrath.

To offer hope unto the Israelites that if they turned back from their sinful ways, God was ready to restore Jerusalem from the wars and the devastation they were experiencing in Babylon.

To express despair over the predicament that had faced the city of Jerusalem such as famine and calamities.

OCCASION FOR THE WRITING

The book was written when the Jerusalem and Judea nation was held in captive by the Babylonians, and Jeremiah was crying over the city because they had received punishment from God since they had failed to turn from their sinful ways.

DISTINCTION

The book is written in sorrowful poems and songs

Bibliograpghy

Ackroyd, Peter R., and Charles M. Laymon. The Major Prophets: A Commentary on Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1983.

Cundall, Arthur E., and J. Stafford Wright. The Major Prophets: Isaiah to Daniel. Cork: BookBaby, 2014.

Eusebius, Jonathan J. Armstrong, and Joel C. Elowsky. Commentary on Isaiah. 2013.

Gaebelein, Frank E. (Isaiah - Ezekiel). Grand Rapids, Mich: Regency Reference Libr, 1990.

Greenstein, Edward L. "The Book of Lamentations: Response to Destruction or Ritual or Rebuilding?”." Religious Responses to Political Crisis (2008): 52-71.

Guest, John. Jeremiah And Lamentations: Jeremiah / Lamentations. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2004. .

Longman III, Tremper, John N. Oswalt, J. Andrew Dearman, and Iain M. Duguid. NIVAC Bundle 4: Major Prophets. 2015. .

Russell, David Syme. Daniel. Edinburgh: St Andrew Press, 1981.

Rydelnik, Michael, and Michael G. Vanlaningham. The Moody Bible Commentary. 2014. .

Stefanovic, Zdravko. Daniel: Wisdom to the Wise : Commentary on the Book of Daniel. Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Pub. Association, 2007.

Taylor, John B. Ezekiel: An Introduction and Commentary. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1981. .

Thomas, Heath A. "A Survey of Research on Lamentations (2002–2012)." Currents in Biblical Research 12, no. 1 (2013): 8-38.

Thompson, J. A. The Book of Jeremiah. Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans, 2000.

NavPress (Firm). A Life-Changing Encounter with God's Word from the Books of Jeremiah & Lamentations. 2013. .

April 13, 2023
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