CHARLESTON SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY
THE MESSAGE OF THE PROPHETS
AN ESSAY SUBMITTED TO
DR. PETER LINK, JR.
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF
CHST 111: SURVEY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
NOVEMBER 1, 2017
The section of the Old Testament referred to as the Prophets is a very large, detailed collection of narratives and prophetic poetry. At first glance, the Prophets can be perceived as 21 different stories that are difficult to interpret; however, with further studying, the many different books are identified as one book with a beginning, middle, end and one message. The message of the Prophets is that God exiled Israel for their sin, and God will bring forth punishment and judgement in the end of the days; God does this because the coming judgement will lead to salvation for all peoples who receive the promise of forgiveness by the son of David.
The Former Prophets begin with God’s people making their way back into the land of Israel, and shows the next steps the Lord has planned for them. In the first book of the Prophets, God commands Joshua, a prophet, priest and king, to meditate upon the Torah (Joshua 1:8). Learning the Torah as law and as book allowed Joshua to please the Lord and have success against the enemies that God called him to conquer (Joshua 8:1). When Joshua died, Israel was left without a leader and they began to sin and disobey the Lord. This sin calls for judgement. But God’s plan was not to judge them immediately, His judgement is seen to be patient and perfect. In Joshua, Samuel and Kings, The Lord raises up temporary adversaries to deliver the Israelites. However, these judges and kings were sinners themselves and were unable to solve the long-term issue of sin. The shortcoming of these leaders points to the permanent solution that will come from a greater Judge and a greater King. Jesus, the ultimate deliverer, will come from David as directly promised in 2 Samuel 7. This great promise supports the claim that judgement will lead to salvation, and gives foretelling details of who the redeemer will be that comes to the world as the response to sin.
The Former Prophets close with narratives of exile and desperation for a return, especially in 2 Kings 17, where God uses Assyria to drive Israel back out of their land due to their idolatry. The transition point from the Former to Latter Prophets is a crucial section of the Prophets as a whole. It is meant to grab the reader’s attention when the text shifts from narrative to poetry. Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets to follow after this turning point. Starting with Isaiah, every book of the Latter Prophets begins with a superscription that frames the ideas of its respective book, and shows the reader how to read and understand the text. Isaiah’s superscription tells the reader that the book is based on Isaiah’s vision of Judah and Jerusalem. Following the contextual information, Isaiah quickly begins to explain judgement and salvation for Israel and the nations....