Outline of the Old Testament (8): The Prophets

Isaiah tells us about the great truth of reconciliation – Isaiah is a prophet of peace. In order to be at peace with God we need to be reconciled. The Lord is the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6); He will ordain peace for us (26:12); by taking hold upon Him there is peace (27:5); the work of righteousness brings peace (32:17); the chastisement of our peace was upon Him (53:5) – see also Isaiah 26:3; 52:7; 55:12; 57:19; 60:17, and 66:12.

Jeremiah tells us of the great truth of justification – that the Lord liveth in righteousness (Jer 4:2); that He exercises righteousness because He delights in it (9:24); of the Lord being their righteousness (23:6); of the Lord being the Branch of righteousness (33:15-16); and in chapter 51:10 of the Lord bringing forth their righteousness. Thus Jeremiah is the prophet of justification telling of the Lord Jesus Who justifies sinners.

Lamentations tells us of the need of repentance, the need for contrition for all that grieves the Lord. Lamentations would teach us of the need of repentance to enjoy the blessings of God – the need to rectify in our lives all that is contrary to the will and Word of God in order to enjoy fellowship with Him.

Ezekiel is the prophet of the new birth. He tells us that God will put a new spirit within (Ezek 11:19); he speaks of a new heart and a new spirit (18:31); he tells us that God declares “I will take away their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh (36:26); and he tells us of life being given to the dead, dry bones (37). Ezekiel then tells us that although we are dead in our sins God can make us a new creation – a new creation in Christ.

Daniel is the prophet of sanctification. He speaks of a holy people (Dan 8:24; 12:7); a holy mountain (9:16, 20; 11:45), a holy city (9:24) and a holy covenant (11:28-30). He tells of those who will be purified and made white (11:35; 12:10). Daniel tells of how God will sanctify His people and bring them again into fellowship with Himself in the sanctuary. Thus we have the great truths of Reconciliation, Justification, Regeneration, and Sanctification brought before us, as well as the need for Repentance.

Hosea is the book of fruitfulness. He speaks of Israel being barren because of her sins and exhorts them to repent. He says in chapter 2:14-23, “I will draw them into the wilderness … give her the valley of Achor.” In Joshua’s day the valley of Achor was where they purged away the sin of Achan and became triumphant again. So Israel will have her sins purged away and become fruitful. They shall turn from idols and become fruitful (14:8; 9:16; 10:1; 13:13-15). As Hosea speaks of Israel repenting in a coming day and becoming fruitful we learn that if we, as His people today, repent of our sin and are contrite for all that grieves the Lord, we will become fruitful and be in the enjoyment of the Spirit’s anointing.

Joel is the book of the Holy Spirit. In Joel 2:28-29 we read of God saying “I will pour out My Spirit” which will take place in the Day of the Lord. While this awaits its final fulfillment it has had a measured or partial fulfillment as shown in Acts 2. God has poured out His Spirit on all who believe; they have received the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13). We are indwelt by the Spirit and we have within us the power of the Spirit of God to enable us to live a spiritual life for the glory of God. So Joel would remind us that we should know the fullness of the Spirit day by day and that by the Spirit we should bring forth the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23).

Amos is the book of harmony with God. In Amos 3:3 he asks, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” So, all through Amos, God is seeking to bring the people into harmony with Him. He wants us to walk in fellowship with Him, our lives conforming to the likeness of Christ. Amos tells us of the necessity of harmony with God. Amos tells us of the deliverance of Israel from their enemies but speaks in figure of only a part (3:12) of the nation, only a remnant was delivered. However, God wants us to be delivered fully from our enemies (the world, the flesh, and the devil) that we might live wholly for Him that we might be entirely for Him, walking in harmony with Him.

Obadiah is the book of brotherly love. It is addressed to Edom the brother of Israel, for Edom is identified with Esau and Israel with Jacob. Obadiah tells Edom that they exercised unbrotherly conduct when they saw their brother Israel in distress and did not help. When they saw Israel afflicted by enemies, they cut off the route of escape and laughed at Israel’s calamity. God said He would punish Edom for this. Thus Obadiah would teach us the lesson of brotherly love: never rejoice in our brother’s calamity; never be glad at our brother’s sorrow; ever seek to help our brother in distress; and always be a comfort and an encouragement to fellow believers (Rom 12:10, 15).