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Through the Bible: Prophetic Literature

Through the Bible (Prayer Meeting)  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A brief overview of prophetic lit.

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Prophetic Books: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the 12 Minor Prophets.

The term Minor is a misnomer for modern English. It originally meant shorter, not less important. Likewise, Major in Latin means “larger”.

So when we read the word “minor” we should not consider it less important.

Likewise, Major in Latin means “larger”.

These terms say nothing about the importance of the content of these books.

Understanding Biblical Prophecy: Contains both forth-telling and foretelling.

Forth-telling is when a prophet is forthright with God’s people.

Foretelling is when a prophet speaks about future events.

Forth-telling is typically where the prophets start.

Prophets do this by:
Calling Israel out on their sins.
Prophets function to:
Shine a light on Israel’s disobedience
Highlight how their sins are against God’s law
In some cases tell how their sins were predicted by previous prophecies
They are the prosecutors of God’s covenant.

They do have messages regarding the future. Although almost always a more immediate future.

Meaning the majority of these are regarding events that are in the past for us.
Less that 2 percent of Old Testament prophecy is messianic. Less that 5 percent specifically describes the new covenant age. Less than 1 percent concerns events yet to come in our time.

Their messages about the future are about salvation or judgement.

Some future messages have double fulfillment.

ands Mary.

The prophet’s message was not their own. It was God’s message.

Things to know about the prophetic books:

These are collections of spoken oracles.

They are not always in chronological sequence.

They often do not contain clear breaks between oracles.

They often give little hints as to their historical setting.

Prophetic Literature has different literary forms and writing styles.

Literary Forms - Allegories (), Proverbs (Ez. 18:2), Lamentations (), Prayers (Habakuk 3), Narratives ()
Proverbs (Ez. 18:2)
Lamentations (
Prayers (Habakuk 3)
Narratives ()
Writing Styles - Jeremiah’s lamentations (8:18-9:1), Ezekiel’s shocking statements (20:21-26), Habakuk’s questioning (1:12-17), Amos’ sarcasm and irony (3:12)
Jeremiah’s lamentations (8:18-9:1)
Ezekiel’s shocking statements (20:21-26)
Habakuk’s questioning (1:12-17)
Amos’ sarcasm and irony (3:12)

Important Things To Interpreting the Prophets.

Starting with the individual oracle:
We always start with the individual oracle.
1. Discern the immediate context – the structure and flow of the book.
2. Discern the kind of oracle employed (judgment, salvation, or something else).
3. Study the balance between the forth-telling (truth-telling) and the predictive (foretelling).
4. Determine what kind of language is being used (Poetic? Disputation? Narrative?) Literary forms are often crucial in determining the author’s meaning and intent.
5. Place these texts in their overall place in redemptive-history. In doing this, be careful not to make wrong associations between Israel and your nation or church.
6. Try not to impose your theological system on the text (whether dispensational, covenantal, etc.).
7. Be alert for certain reoccurring and sweeping themes, especially those that bear on the relationships between the testaments (e.g. eschatology, temple, marriage and spiritual adultery, new birth).
8. Consider how the New Testament authors employ your passage, or at least your book.
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