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The Prophets

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There are many prophets in the old testament that had a significant impact in spreading the word of God. I will discuss them and the message they provided to the people of their time. The first prophet I will talk about is Elijah. Elijah was an significant prophet who lived during the ninth century B. C. during the reigns of Ahab in the northern kingdom of Israel. Elijah shaped the history of his day and dominated Hebrew thinking for centuries afterward. Elijah's prophetic activities emphasized the unconditional loyalty to God required of the nation of Israel. Elijah had conflicting views and did not accept standards of his day, when belief in many gods was normal. He appears in the role of God's instrument of judgment upon a wayward Israel because of the nation's widespread idolatry.
Elisha, whose name in Hebrew means “God is Salvation,” was an Israelite prophet and disciple of Elijah. Elisha is described as a miracle worker, he is known for healing the sick and reviving the dead. Elisha was also involved in politics. Elisha’s message was to those in charge that they should turn back to traditional religious practices and acknowledge God’s absolute power over every aspect of life, personal as well as political. When he healed the sick, it was to demonstrate God’s power over life and death. When he helped in battle, it was to demonstrate God’s power over nations and kingdoms. Elijah had a much friendlier relationship then his mentor when it involved political authorities. Amos was a resident of the southern kingdom, his message was directed to Israel, particularly to its leading cities of Bethel and Samaria. The message of Amos is one of disapproval and judgment. The whole area of Israel is to suffer punishment for its evil. The immorality of these nations is seen in the sins with which they are charged. The Ammonites are condemned "because they have ripped up women with child in Gilead that they might enlarge their border (1:13); doom is promised to the Moabites because their taste for revenge was so strong that they burned to lime the bones of the king of Edom (2:1).” The Israelites were warned that the only course which they can follow to avert the imminent disaster is to seek the Lord and to "let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream" (5:24). Throughout Amos prophecy one can recognize his persistent conviction that sin will not go unpunished and that the righteousness of God will ultimately triumph.
Hosea message to his followers is that God is a loving God whose loyalty to his covenant people is solid. Even though many people of Israel continue turning to false gods, God’s dedicated love is represented in the suffering faithful husband to his unfaithful wife. Hosea’s message is also one of warning to those who would turn their backs on God’s love. Through the symbolic presentation of the marriage of Hosea and Gomer, God’s love for the nation of Israel is displayed in a metaphor in the themes of sin, judgment, and forgiving love.
Isaiah's calling as a prophet was mainly to the nation of Judah and to Jerusalem, Isaiah urged the people to repent their sins and return to God. God warned them through Isaiah, but they ignored his message. Isaiah predicted the demise and captivity of Judah. He also predicted the coming of the Messiah and the salvation of the Lord. Many of his prophesies predicted events that occurred in Isaiah's near future, yet at the same time they foretold the events of the distant future, such as the coming of the Messiah along with some events still to come in the last days such as the second coming of Christ. The message of the prophet Micah is a complex blend of judgment and hope. On the one hand, the prophecies announce judgment upon Israel for social evils, corrupt leadership and idolatry. This judgment was expected to conclude in the destruction of Samaria and Jerusalem. However, the book proclaims that not merely the renewal of the nation, but the conversion and acclamation of Israel and Jerusalem. The messages of hope and doom are not necessarily conflicting, however, since restoration and transformation take place only after judgment.
Zephaniah's message of judgment and inspiration contains three major principles. God is sovereign over all nations. Zephaniah also says the sinner and evil in the world will be punished while the moral and good people will be vindicated on the day of judgment. His third principle said God blesses those who repent and trust in Him.
Judgment is one of the main message in Jeremiah's writings, though he was careful to point out that remorse, if sincere, would postpone the otherwise inevitable. His advice not to rebel against Babylon marked him as a true patriot, a man who loved his own people too much to stand by silently and watch them destroy themselves. By warning them to submit and not rebel, Jeremiah was revealing God's will to them. Jeremiah records the final prophecies to Judah, he warns that if the nation does not repent that destruction will come. Jeremiah call for the nation to turn back to God. Jeremiah recognizes the certainty of Judah’s destruction due to its immorality. Jeremiah loved Judah, but he loved God much more. As painful as it was for Jeremiah to deliver a consistent message of judgment to his own people, Jeremiah was obedient to what God told him to do and say. Jeremiah hoped and prayed for mercy from God for Judah, but also trusted that God was good, just, and righteous.
Ezekiel message to his follower through his prophetic ministry, he attempted to bring them to immediate repentance and to confidence in the distant future. He taught that God works through human messengers and even in defeat and despair God's people need to affirm God's sovereignty. He spread the message the people must obey God if they expect to receive his blessings and that the Kingdom of God will come for them.
Second Isaiah develops the theme of holiness into a theoretical assertion of monotheism. Second Isaiah announces that the Lord in the only deity. This differs from earlier prophets that had been practical monotheists who never spoke of the Lord as “God”. However Second Isaiah did agree with the first prophets that the lords blessing extended to all nations.
Third Isaiah does not exhibit the same consist style and theme as the first and second Isaiah did. Instead Third Isaiah was probably an anthology within anthology. Which would have been an collection of prophecies of the Isaiah school that was produced after 515 B.C.E. It envisioned a “new heaven and earth”.

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