Reference: Prophets, The
The books so designated form a distinct and most important part of scripture. Prophecy usually implied a ruined state of things among God's people, calling for His intervention. Some of the prophecies are appeals, reminding the people of what God had done for them, and declaring how willing and ready He was to bless them if they would be faithful to Him; though interwoven with this are constant predictions of that which will be for the blessing of Israel in the future, after they have for the time been set aside. Others strictly allude to events which were then or are still future. As a whole the prophets refer to Israel as an inner circle, or chief platform, on which the dealings of Jehovah were and will be developed, and with which the Messiah is in immediate relation. The nations formed an outer circle, and were regarded more or less according to their relations with the twelve tribes. These nations are sometimes spoken of as being God's instruments by whom He punished His own people, they themselves having afterwards to bear the punishments of God. Beyond and above all, there is God's universal government; in which everything is in result to be made subject to the Messiah, while God's promises are made good to Israel, for all Israel will again be brought into blessing, with Jehovah in their midst surrounded with glory, and the nations will be blessed with them.
The Prophetic scriptures naturally fall into three divisions.
1. Those that were given to Israel while still a nation, though divided into two parts, extending to the complete break up of Judah.
2. Those referring to the times of the Gentiles, which began with Nebuchadnezzar, and, continuing beyond the days of the Messiah on earth, are still running on: these are almost entirely given in Daniel.
3. Those given after a portion of Judah had returned from exile, when they were helped by the prophecies of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, which present the time of the Messiah on earth, and go even beyond to future blessing.
To these may be added the prophecies in the Gospels, the Epistles, and the Revelation, embracing the judgements of God upon apostate Christendom and the nations generally; the final overthrow of Satan, and universal blessing, ending with the judgement of the dead and a glorious outlook into the eternal state.
It will not be inappropriate here to add a few words as to the relative position, in point of time, of the various O.T. prophetic scriptures. It may be premised that the burden of the prophets Obadiah, Jonah, and Nahum has special reference to Edom and to Nineveh, that is, to peoples that were always hostile to Israel. There is but little whereby to fix precisely the dates of Joel and Habakkuk. Of the remainder, Hosea, Amos, and Isaiah are anterior to the captivity of the ten tribes. The visions of Isaiah, however, have reference to Judah and Jerusalem. It appears probable, whatever may be the reason, that the testimony commonly known as "the prophets" began in the time of Jeroboam 2 king of Israel, Uzziah being his contemporary in Judah. The introduction of prophetic scripture indicated that the ordinary relations of the people with God had broken down, Lo-ammi being prophetically written upon them.
Others follow closely, as Micah, who prophesies concerning Samaria and Jerusalem, though no personal reference is made to a king of Israel; and, either before or contemporary with the captivity of Judah, Jeremiah and Zephaniah. The prophets Ezekiel and Daniel speak from the land of Chaldea, when all present hope was over for both Israel and Judah, and the times of the Gentiles had set in. After the return from the captivity we have Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. The testimony of the prophets extended thus over a period of from three to four hundred years.
The approximate dates of each of the prophets may be seen in the tables of chronology under KINGS.
The Books of Isaiah and Jeremiah are remarkable, the former as being the most comprehensive of the prophecies, taking up almost in order the various moral questions involved in God's dealings with Israel, and giving what may be described as a general prophetic framework; and the latter as bringing out, in a peculiarly touching way, the feelings induced by the Spirit of Christ in regard of God's people when, there being no remedy, the end was come.
Two remarks of great importance as regards prophecy may be made: first, that no prophecy carries its own interpretation: each has to be understood in its place and relation to the whole system of prophecy. Secondly, that the scope of all prophecy takes us on to the day of the Lord; the judgement of the nations and of the wicked in Israel; the establishment of the kingdom; and the reunion of Israel and Judah under the Lord their righteousness. This is the great end of God's ways on earth. This recovery and blessing by God of His ancient people, in their Messiah, may be said to be a golden thread running through all the prophets. It was ever before God, and shines out everywhere.
It is of the greatest importance, both for the right understanding of these scriptures, and for a true appreciation of what Christianity is, to see that the church has no place in the prophets. In the church there is neither Jew nor Gentile, and the prophets recognise both, while carefully maintaining the distinction between them. Prophecy treats of the earth and of the government of God and its issue: the Christian belongs to heaven, and he will reign with Christ in the kingdom. In the A.V. of the O.T. the headings of many of the chapters are misleading: the church often spoken of in them is never found in the text; Christ is there, and the manifestation of God; and the scriptures which develop His ways, and speak of the sufferings and the glories of the One to whom the Christian is united, are of deep interest to him, though he himself may not be immediately spoken of.
Some Christians, though they know and enjoy certain portions of prophecy., without seeing its reference strictly to the remnant of Israel, fail to study the prophets. Not a few deem the study to be unprofitable
May he rule from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth!
May his fame endure! May his dynasty last as long as the sun remains in the sky! May they use his name when they formulate their blessings! May all nations consider him to be favored by God!
He will judge disputes between nations; he will settle cases for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations will not take up the sword against other nations, and they will no longer train for war.
A wolf will reside with a lamb, and a leopard will lie down with a young goat; an ox and a young lion will graze together, as a small child leads them along. A cow and a bear will graze together, their young will lie down together. A lion, like an ox, will eat straw. read more. A baby will play over the hole of a snake; over the nest of a serpent an infant will put his hand. They will no longer injure or destroy on my entire royal mountain. For there will be universal submission to the Lord's sovereignty, just as the waters completely cover the sea.
At that time the sovereign master will again lift his hand to reclaim the remnant of his people from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and the seacoasts. He will lift a signal flag for the nations; he will gather Israel's dispersed people and assemble Judah's scattered people from the four corners of the earth. read more. Ephraim's jealousy will end, and Judah's hostility will be eliminated. Ephraim will no longer be jealous of Judah, and Judah will no longer be hostile toward Ephraim. They will swoop down on the Philistine hills to the west; together they will loot the people of the east. They will take over Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be their subjects.
For you ignore the God who rescues you; you pay no attention to your strong protector. So this is what happens: You cultivate beautiful plants and plant exotic vines. The day you begin cultivating, you do what you can to make it grow; the morning you begin planting, you do what you can to make it sprout. Yet the harvest will disappear in the day of disease and incurable pain.
The Lord who commands armies will hold a banquet for all the nations on this mountain. At this banquet there will be plenty of meat and aged wine -- tender meat and choicest wine. On this mountain he will swallow up the shroud that is over all the peoples, the woven covering that is over all the nations; read more. he will swallow up death permanently. The sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from every face, and remove his people's disgrace from all the earth. Indeed, the Lord has announced it!
Therefore, listen to the Lord's word, you who mock, you rulers of these people who reside in Jerusalem! For you say, "We have made a treaty with death, with Sheol we have made an agreement. When the overwhelming judgment sweeps by it will not reach us. For we have made a lie our refuge, we have hidden ourselves in a deceitful word." read more. Therefore, this is what the sovereign master, the Lord, says: "Look, I am laying a stone in Zion, an approved stone, set in place as a precious cornerstone for the foundation. The one who maintains his faith will not panic. I will make justice the measuring line, fairness the plumb line; hail will sweep away the unreliable refuge, the floodwaters will overwhelm the hiding place. Your treaty with death will be dissolved; your agreement with Sheol will not last. When the overwhelming judgment sweeps by, you will be overrun by it.
This is what the Lord says: "The heavens are my throne and the earth is my footstool. Where then is the house you will build for me? Where is the place where I will rest? My hand made them; that is how they came to be," says the Lord. I show special favor to the humble and contrite, who respect what I have to say. read more. The one who slaughters a bull also strikes down a man; the one who sacrifices a lamb also breaks a dog's neck; the one who presents an offering includes pig's blood with it; the one who offers incense also praises an idol. They have decided to behave this way; they enjoy these disgusting practices.
You were watching as a stone was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its iron and clay feet, breaking them in pieces. Then the iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold were broken in pieces without distinction and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors that the wind carries away. Not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a large mountain that filled the entire earth.
Then there will be a fourth kingdom, one strong like iron. Just like iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything, and as iron breaks in pieces all of these metals, so it will break in pieces and crush the others. In that you were seeing feet and toes partly of wet clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom. Some of the strength of iron will be in it, for you saw iron mixed with wet clay. read more. In that the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, the latter stages of this kingdom will be partly strong and partly fragile. And in that you saw iron mixed with wet clay, so people will be mixed with one another without adhering to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. In the days of those kings the God of heaven will raise up an everlasting kingdom that will not be destroyed and a kingdom that will not be left to another people. It will break in pieces and bring about the demise of all these kingdoms. But it will stand forever. You saw that a stone was cut from a mountain, but not by human hands; it smashed the iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold into pieces. The great God has made known to the king what will occur in the future. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is reliable."
"After these things, as I was watching in the night visions a fourth beast appeared -- one dreadful, terrible, and very strong. It had two large rows of iron teeth. It devoured and crushed, and anything that was left it trampled with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that came before it, and it had ten horns. "As I was contemplating the horns, another horn -- a small one -- came up between them, and three of the former horns were torn out by the roots to make room for it. This horn had eyes resembling human eyes and a mouth speaking arrogant things.
"Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others. It was very dreadful, with two rows of iron teeth and bronze claws, and it devoured, crushed, and trampled anything that was left with its feet. I also wanted to know the meaning of the ten horns on its head, and of that other horn which came up and before which three others fell. This was the horn that had eyes and a mouth speaking arrogant things, whose appearance was more formidable than the others. read more. While I was watching, that horn began to wage war against the holy ones and was defeating them, until the Ancient of Days arrived and judgment was rendered in favor of the holy ones of the Most High. Then the time came for the holy ones to take possession of the kingdom. "This is what he told me: 'The fourth beast means that there will be a fourth kingdom on earth that will differ from all the other kingdoms. It will devour all the earth and will trample and crush it. The ten horns mean that ten kings will arise from that kingdom. Another king will arise after them, but he will be different from the earlier ones. He will humiliate three kings. He will speak words against the Most High. He will harass the holy ones of the Most High continually. His intention will be to change times established by law. They will be delivered into his hand For a time, times, and half a time.
He will confirm a covenant with many for one week. But in the middle of that week he will bring sacrifices and offerings to a halt. On the wing of abominations will come one who destroys, until the decreed end is poured out on the one who destroys."
He will confirm a covenant with many for one week. But in the middle of that week he will bring sacrifices and offerings to a halt. On the wing of abominations will come one who destroys, until the decreed end is poured out on the one who destroys."
"Then the king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every deity and he will utter presumptuous things against the God of gods. He will succeed until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been decreed must occur. He will not respect the gods of his fathers -- not even the god loved by women. He will not respect any god; he will elevate himself above them all. read more. What he will honor is a god of fortresses -- a god his fathers did not acknowledge he will honor with gold, silver, valuable stones, and treasured commodities. He will attack mighty fortresses, aided by a foreign deity. To those who recognize him he will grant considerable honor. He will place them in authority over many people, and he will parcel out land for a price.
Many of those who sleep in the dusty ground will awake -- some to everlasting life, and others to shame and everlasting abhorrence. But the wise will shine like the brightness of the heavenly expanse. And those bringing many to righteousness will be like the stars forever and ever.
For recognition of the Lord's sovereign majesty will fill the earth just as the waters fill up the sea.
The Lord will then be king over all the earth. In that day the Lord will be seen as one with a single name.
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man arriving on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God's children. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now.
And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion; he will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins."
Listen, I will tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed -- in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God's temple, displaying himself as God. read more. Surely you recall that I used to tell you these things while I was still with you. And so you know what holds him back, so that he will be revealed in his own time. For the hidden power of lawlessness is already at work. However, the one who holds him back will do so until he is taken out of the way, and then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will destroy by the breath of his mouth and wipe out by the manifestation of his arrival. The arrival of the lawless one will be by Satan's working with all kinds of miracles and signs and false wonders, and with every kind of evil deception directed against those who are perishing, because they found no place in their hearts for the truth so as to be saved. Consequently God sends on them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false. And so all of them who have not believed the truth but have delighted in evil will be condemned.
But understand this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, read more. unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, savage, opposed to what is good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God. They will maintain the outward appearance of religion but will have repudiated its power. So avoid people like these. For some of these insinuate themselves into households and captivate weak women who are overwhelmed with sins and led along by various passions. Such women are always seeking instruction, yet never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these people -- who have warped minds and are disqualified in the faith -- also oppose the truth. But they will not go much further, for their foolishness will be obvious to everyone, just like it was with Jannes and Jambres.
For there will be a time when people will not tolerate sound teaching. Instead, following their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves, because they have an insatiable curiosity to hear new things. And they will turn away from hearing the truth, but on the other hand they will turn aside to myths.
Dear friends, although I have been eager to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel compelled instead to write to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men have secretly slipped in among you -- men who long ago were marked out for the condemnation I am about to describe -- ungodly men who have turned the grace of our God into a license for evil and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Woe to them! For they have traveled down Cain's path, and because of greed have abandoned themselves to Balaam's error; hence, they will certainly perish in Korah's rebellion.
Then a measuring rod like a staff was given to me, and I was told, "Get up and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and the ones who worship there. But do not measure the outer courtyard of the temple; leave it out, because it has been given to the Gentiles, and they will trample on the holy city for forty-two months.
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke to me. "Come," he said, "I will show you the condemnation and punishment of the great prostitute who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality and the earth's inhabitants got drunk with the wine of her immorality." read more. So he carried me away in the Spirit to a wilderness, and there I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. Now the woman was dressed in purple and scarlet clothing, and adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She held in her hand a golden cup filled with detestable things and unclean things from her sexual immorality. On her forehead was written a name, a mystery: "Babylon the Great, the Mother of prostitutes and of the detestable things of the earth." I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of those who testified to Jesus. I was greatly astounded when I saw her. But the angel said to me, "Why are you astounded? I will interpret for you the mystery of the woman and of the beast with the seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast you saw was, and is not, but is about to come up from the abyss and then go to destruction. The inhabitants of the earth -- all those whose names have not been written in the book of life since the foundation of the world -- will be astounded when they see that the beast was, and is not, but is to come.
five have fallen; one is, and the other has not yet come, but whenever he does come, he must remain for only a brief time. The beast that was, and is not, is himself an eighth king and yet is one of the seven, and is going to destruction. read more. The ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but will receive ruling authority as kings with the beast for one hour. These kings have a single intent, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.
The ten horns that you saw, and the beast -- these will hate the prostitute and make her desolate and naked. They will consume her flesh and burn her up with fire.
Then I saw heaven opened and here came a white horse! The one riding it was called "Faithful" and "True," and with justice he judges and goes to war. His eyes are like a fiery flame and there are many diadem crowns on his head. He has a name written that no one knows except himself. read more. He is dressed in clothing dipped in blood, and he is called the Word of God. The armies that are in heaven, dressed in white, clean, fine linen, were following him on white horses. From his mouth extends a sharp sword, so that with it he can strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod, and he stomps the winepress of the furious wrath of God, the All-Powerful. He has a name written on his clothing and on his thigh: "King of kings and Lord of lords." Then I saw one angel standing in the sun, and he shouted in a loud voice to all the birds flying high in the sky: "Come, gather around for the great banquet of God, to eat your fill of the flesh of kings, the flesh of generals, the flesh of powerful people, the flesh of horses and those who ride them, and the flesh of all people, both free and slave, and small and great!" Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to do battle with the one who rode the horse and with his army. Now the beast was seized, and along with him the false prophet who had performed the signs on his behalf -- signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. Both of them were thrown alive into the lake of fire burning with sulfur. The others were killed by the sword that extended from the mouth of the one who rode the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves with their flesh.
Then I saw an angel descending from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a huge chain. He seized the dragon -- the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan -- and tied him up for a thousand years. read more. The angel then threw him into the abyss and locked and sealed it so that he could not deceive the nations until the one thousand years were finished. (After these things he must be released for a brief period of time.) Then I saw thrones and seated on them were those who had been given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. These had not worshiped the beast or his image and had refused to receive his mark on their forehead or hand. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were finished.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who takes part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. Now when the thousand years are finished, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to bring them together for the battle. They are as numerous as the grains of sand in the sea. They went up on the broad plain of the earth and encircled the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and devoured them completely. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are too, and they will be tormented there day and night forever and ever.