Old Testament Prophets

A list of prophets in the Bible would be a long one that included both men who spoke for God and those who were false. The Old Testament prophets who wrote books are listed in the table of contents beginning with Isaiah and ending with Malachi. Only one book in the New Testament is classified as prophecy, the book of Revelation written by the apostle John during his exile on the island of Patmos in 96 A.D. The Prophecy section of the Old Testament is divided into two subsections: the major and minor prophets. These designations refers to the size of the texts, not to their importance or validity. The books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations (which was written by Jeremiah), Ezekiel, and Daniel are considered the major prophets. The remaining ones are the minor prophets, namely: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. These were not the only ones, though. Many others spoke the Word of God, as directed by God, and their accounts are in the Scriptures.

How did the people know which prophets came from God and which ones were false? "When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD; if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him" (Deuteronomy 18:22). A notable false prophet is Balaam who was rebuked by a donkey. As recounted in the book of Numbers, Balaam angered God by going with messengers from the Moabite king. This ruler feared the multitude of Israelites camping along the Moabite borders and wanted Balaam to curse the Israelites. Balaam didn't see the angel of the Lord blocking the path, but the donkey did. When she tried to get away, Balaam beat her. "And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?" (Numbers 22:28). Balaam confessed the sin he committed and "he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments" (Numbers 23:1b). Instead he blessed Israel -- much to the Moabite king's horror. It's worth noting that Balaam's habit was to seek "enchantments" rather than God's will.

The list of prophets in the Bible, that is, in the table of contents, begins with Isaiah. In about 931 B.C., Solomon's sons, Jereboam and Rehoboam, fought over the throne. The northern kingdom of Israel separated from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. These two became the southern kingdom. Jereboam I was the first king of the northern kingdom and Rehoboam was the first king of the southern kingdom. Like several of the other Old Testament prophets, Isaiah foretold the coming of the Messiah. He prophesied from about 740 B.C. until around 686 B.C., during the reigns of the kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. These men ruled over the southern kingdom of Judah for about one hundred years, from about 786 B.C. to 686 B.C.

Known as the "weeping prophet," Jeremiah ministered from approximately 627 B.C. to 580 B.C. His ministry began during the reign of the boy-king, Josiah, who rid the kingdom of the false gods polluting the land. Known for godly devotion, Josiah is remembered as a great king. After Josiah's death, the southern kingdom was conquered by Egypt. One of Josiah's sons became a puppet king and the brief time of spiritual well-being came to an end. The book of Lamentations, which scholars believe Jeremiah wrote, is a collection of poems that lament the conquest of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. At this time, almost all the people of Judah were taken to Babylon and the period of exile began.

Among the minor Old Testament prophets, Jonah is perhaps the best-known. Told by God to preach to the people of Ninevah, Jonah ran in the other direction. His ship was threatened by a horrific storm and Jonah insisted that the sailors throw him overboard to save themselves. The storm ended and Jonah spent the next three days in the belly of a big fish prepared by God. When Jonah was spit up on land, he went to Ninevah and the people repented of their sins. Instead of being happy about the results of God's message, Jonah pouted and had to learn a lesson in mercy. These events most likely took place during King Jereboam II's reign over the northern kingdom (793-753 B.C.).

The table of content's list of prophets in the Bible ends with Malachi, who prophesied during the postexilic period. At this time (circa 444 B.C.), Ezra and Nehemiah returned to rebuild Jerusalem. Malachi encouraged the people who were intent on restoring their spiritual commitment to God and to obeying His laws. The order of the minor prophets in the table of contents is not a chronological list, though it is close. The chronological list of the minor prophets follows: Obadiah, Joel, Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. After Malachi, God is silent for about four hundred years, but Malachi is not the last of the Old Testament prophets. In His perfect timing, God sent the last prophet of the old covenant, John the Baptist, to pave the way for the coming of the Messiah. The gospel writers tell about John the Baptist's ministry in the beginning of the first century A.D. and how King Herod imprisoned and beheaded him.

A comprehensive list of prophets in the Bible includes not only those listed above, but also Moses, the revered Samuel who anointed both Saul and David as kings, the brave Nathan who confronted David when he sinned with Bathsheba, and Elijah and Elisha whose lives were often endangered by the evil King Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel. The Old Testament prophets include women such as Moses' sister Miriam and the judge Deborah who fought with Barak against Israel's enemies.

Moses Of The Bible

The Moses of the Bible is, perhaps, one of the most important and most studied characters in the Word of God. The Lord used this man, born into slavery, as a guide who would point the nation of Israel to the freedom of the Promised Land. God also used Moses to write the first five books of the Old Testament, the books that are known to the Jews as the Torah. These writings include the Ten Commandments, the central elements of the larger structure of God's law also known as the Mosaic Law. For the one hundred and twenty-years of this man's life, God orchestrated supernatural events that revealed plans for the Israelites as they left Egypt and plans of redemption for all mankind. To understand these plans, a study of the Moses of the Bible will be key. Anyone who questions who is Moses will find that this fascinating man was one of Israels greatest leaders and one who had a very personal and exciting relationship with the Maker of heaven and earth.

From infancy, the man destined to write the beginnings of God's Word was set apart. Moses' life began at a time when the Pharaoh in Egypt had ordered the death all Jewish baby boys because the Israelite slaves increasing numbers were a threat. The Moses of the Bible was spared, however. In faith, the mother of this faithful man placed him into a prepared basket and then put her three-month old son into the Nile River. The Sovereignty of God is amazing and according to the supernatural plan, the daughter of the very Pharaoh that ordered the death of the sons of Israel found a Jewish boy floating helplessly in the river when she came to the river to bathe. And she saved his life. The search for who is Moses reveals that he was born as an Israelite slave, yet raised within the Egyptian royal family. The Lord used this privileged upbringing to train and provide him with the education needed to become one of the greatest leaders in history. According to Acts, "And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds." (Acts 7:22) The Moses of the Bible eventually recognized his own nationality and killed an Egyptian official who mistreated a Hebrew slave. Though he did other things that indicated he understood the future role as a chosen leader to the Hebrews, the people were not yet ready to recognize his authority. The timing was not right. God had more training in store for this great man.

This grandson of the Pharaoh fled Egypt and dwelled in the land of Midian before returning to stand before the high courts, representing the Lord Almighty. It was essential that he leave the palace and the Hebrews so that his life might be spared and also for the reason of preparing to lead Israel out of bondage. It was in the desert that Moses, now a shepherd, saw the burning bush which burned with fire but was not consumed. It was in the bush that the Lord told this shepherd that it was time to return to Egypt and confront the Pharaoh. It was also during this encounter that the Lord revealed His name. "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." (Exodus 3:14) The Lord then showed His shepherd that He would be with him and promised signs and wonders that would convince the Pharaoh to let God's people go. Then this man returned to Egypt to lead his people into the Promised Land. Some of the most fascinating passages of the Old Testament are the Scriptures where Moses and Aaron repeatedly ask the reigning Egyptian Monarch to let God's people go and worship. And the Pharaoh, time and again, refuses. The results were a series of plagues on the land of Egypt and this eventually led to the release of Israel. When we ask, who is Moses, we see that it's a man who led an extraordinary life. And there is more.

One of the most famous miracles recorded in the Bible took place as the Hebrews departed the land they'd live in for close to 400 years. As the Egyptian army pursued, our Moses of the Bible prayed, and God parted the Red Sea. But even after witnessing this miracle and many others, the newly freed people grumbled and complained about their journey and eventually lost faith in God's plan. While their leader was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments, Aaron made a golden calf idol and the Israelites worshipped it. In anger, Moses threw the stones on which the commands where written to the ground, breaking the tables. He also ground up the golden calf and made the people drink it.

As a result of the lack of faith among the Israelites, the Lord sentenced them to wander in the desert for forty years. And during those years a generation of faithless people died. But their leaders, the faithful servant of God, continued to serve and judge. There are many stories about this great man throughout the pages of Exodus and Leviticus and all tell of a God of forgiveness and redemption, pointing to the coming Messiah. Studying the leadership and hardships of the writer of the first five books of the Bible are well worth the time invested.





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