In This Section
Book of Hosea | Book of Joel | Book of Amos | Book of Obadiah
Book of Jonah | Book of Micah | Book of Nahum | Book of Habakkuk
Book of Zephaniah | Book of Haggai | Book of Zechariah | Book of Malachi
As noted in the previous lesson and in the "Introduction to the Bible", the "minor" prophetic books are no less important than those of the "major" prophets. They are all equally God's prophetic messages to His people about future events. Many of the prophecies have already been fulfilled, but many remain to be fulfilled in the future.
The "minor" prophetic books are:
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The theme of this book is Israel's unfaithfulness, punishment, and restoration.
Tells of the plagues that foreshadowed future judgment.
During a period of material prosperity but moral poverty, Amos warns Israel and surrounding nations of God's future judgment on their sin.
Foretells God's judgment against Edom, an evil nation located south of the Dead Sea.
The story of the prophet Jonah who preached repentance in Ninevah, capitol of the Assyrian empire. The book reveals God's love and plan of repentance for the Gentiles.
Another prophecy against Israel's sin. Foretells the birthplace of Jesus 700 years before the event happened.
Tells of the impending destruction of Ninevah that was spared some 150 years earlier through Jonah's preaching.
Reveals God's plan to punish a sinful nation by an even more sinful one. Teaches that "the just shall live by faith."
Tells of the judgment and restoration of Judah.
Urges the Jews to rebuild the temple after a l5-year delay due to enemy resistance.
Further urging to complete the temple and continue spiritual development. Foretells Christ's first and second comings.
Warns against spiritual shallowness and foretells the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus.
Survey of the Book of Hosea
TO WHOM: Northern kingdom of Israel
PURPOSE: To alert Israel to her sinful condition and bring her back to God.
KEY VERSE: 4:1 "Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel, for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land;"
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: Experience brings understanding and compassion.
MAIN CHARACTERS: Hosea, Gomer, Jezreel, Lo-Ruhamah, Lo-Ammi
- Introduction: 1:1
The symbolic example: 1:1-2:23
- Israel rejected: Hosea's marriage and birth of children.
- Charged to take a wife of whoredom: 1:2-3
- Jezreel symbolizes the overthrow of Jehu's dynasty: 1:4-5
- Lo-ruhamah: God will no more have mercy on Israel: 1:6-7
- Lo-ammi: Utter rejection of Israel: 1:8-9
- Israel comforted: 1:10-11
- Israel chastised: 2:1-13
- Condemnation of sinful conduct: 2:1-7
- Punishment more fully explained: 2:8-13
- Israel restored: 2:14-23
- Promise of conversion: 2:14-17
- Renewal of covenant: 2:18-23
Redemption of an adulterous wife: 3:1-5
- Hosea's experience: 3:1-3
- Israel's parallel experience: 3:4-5
The triumph of divine love in the restoration of a repentant nation: 4:1-14:9
- Israel's guilt: 4:1-19
- The general charge: 4:1-5
- Willful ignorance: 4:6-11
- Idolatry: 4:12-19
- The divine displeasure: 5:1-15
- Guilt of priests, people, princes: 5:1-7
- Judgment will follow: 5:8-15
- The repentant remnant: 6:1-3
- The response of God: 6:4-13:8
- National government corrupt: 7:1-7
- Foreign policy corrupt: 7:8-16
- Consequences of national corruption: 8:1-14
- The apostasy and its punishment: 9:1-9
- As God found Israel and as they became: 9:10-17
- Puppet kings and gods: 10:1-3
- Righteousness becomes poison: 10:4-5
- Assyria used in judgment: 10:6-7
- The terror of judgment: 10:8
- Persistence in rebellion: 10:9-15
- Ingratitude for God's love: 11:1-7
- Israel's Canaanitish ways: 11:12-12:14
- Idolatry the basis of destruction: 13:1-8
The final restoration: 13:9-14:9
- Distrust in God: 13:9-1.
- Call to repentance: 14:1-3
- Promise of healing and Epilogue Israel repents, God hears: 14:4-9
Read 2 Kings 14:23-17:41, which describes the time during which Hosea prophesied.
Write the examples of sin God uses in the book of Hosea:
Why would God tell a man to marry a prostitute?
- First, by marrying an unfaithful wife, Hosea was able to understand, through his own pain, the anguish of God's heart. God's people were committing spiritual adultery.
- Next, Hosea's own marriage was a living visual illustration of God's message to Israel.
- And finally, God commanded Hosea to name his children by titles that described the future punishment and eventual restoration of Israel.
Write Israel's list of sins recorded in Hosea:
- Chapter 11
Hosea used hard language to get the people to understand the message God gave him. He used the word "whoredom(s)" 14 times, "lovers" six times, "harlot(s)" four times, various forms of the word "adultery" six times, "whoring" two times, "lewdness" two times, and the word "whores" once.
Write the examples of three figures God used to emphasize the relation of God to His people:
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Survey of the Book of JoelBack to Top
TO WHOM: Judah
PURPOSE: To warn Judah of their sin and need for repentance and inform of God's future plans for the nation. A lesser first judgment (1:2-2:17) precedes a greater judgment to follow (2:18-3:21).
KEY VERSES: 2:28-29 "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: Even in the midst of corrective judgment, God plans future blessings for His people.
strong>MAIN CHARACTER: Joel
- The prophet presented: 1:1
A type of the "day of the Lord": 1:2-20
- The locust plague: 1:2-7
- The people exhorted to repent: 1:8-20
- The elders (leaders): 1:2
- Old and young: 1:2-3
- Drunkards: 1:5-7
- Whole nation: 1:8-12
- Priests (ministers): 1:9
- Husbandmen: Laborers: 1:10-12
- Exhortation to repent: 1:13-14
- "Day of Jehovah": Prayer for mercy: 1:15-20 Note that we are to . . .
- Hear: 1:1
- Awake: 1:5
- Lament: 1:8
- Be ashamed: 1:11
- Gird in sackcloth: 1:13
- Sanctify a fast: 1:14
- Call a solemn assembly of repentance: 1:15
- 8. Cry unto the Lord: 1:14,19
The "day of the Lord": 2:1-32
- The invading northern army: 2:1-10
- God's army at Armageddon: 2:11
- The repentant remnant: 2:12-17
- Rend the heart, not the garments: 2:12-14
- Sincerely repent and fervently pray: 2:15-17
- God's response to the remnant: 2:18-29
- Repentance: 2:18
- Restoration: 2:19-27
- Outpouring of Spirit: 2:28-29
- Judgment on the wicked: 2:20,30-31
- Escape of the remnant in Zion: 2:32
- Signs preceding the "day of the Lord": 2:30-32
The judgment of the nations: 3:1-16
- Israel restored: 3:1
- The nations judged: 3:2-3
- The Phoenicians and Philistines especially condemned: 3:4-8
- The nations challenged to war and judgment: 3:9-16
The prophecy of the kingdom blessing: 3:17-21
- The exaltation of Jerusalem: 3:17
- Judah's prosperity: 3:18
- Egypt and Edom's desolation: 3:19
- Jerusalem's exaltation explained: 3:20-21
Joel was the first prophet to use the phrase "the day of the Lord" (cf. Joel 1:15; 2:1,11,31; 3:14). This phrase describes the seven-year tribulation period that will come upon the earth at the time of God's final judgment.
Here is a summary of the condition of Judah as described by Joel:
- Destroyed by enemy: 1:4,6-7
- New wine cut off: 1:6,10 (Jesus is the vine; the people were cut off from the vine, the source of life)
- Harvest perishing: 1:11-12
- Left first love: 1:8
- Offerings cut off: 1:9
- Ministers mourning: 1:9
- Joy gone: 1:12,16
- Spiritually hungry: 1:17-20
Here is the remedy God gives via Joel:
- Repentance: 2:12-13
- Recognition of God: 2:26
- Relation (come to know God): 2:27
- Reverence for God: 2:27 ("I am the Lord; none beside me")
If Judah had repented, here is what would have happened:
- Restoration: 2:25
- Revival and refreshing: 2:23
- Revelation: 2:28-31
- Redemption (salvation) and release (deliverance): 2:32
- Readiness (prepared, not ashamed): 3:13-14
Survey of the Book of Amos
TO WHOM: Israel
PURPOSE: To call Israel back to God.
KEY VERSE: 4:12 "Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!"
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: The call to the nations is still "Prepare to meet thy God."
MAIN CHARACTER: Amos
- Introduction: 1:1-2
Judgment upon nations neighboring Israel: 1:3-2:3
- Damascus 1:3-5
- Philistia: 1:6-8
- Phoenicia: 1:9-10
- Edom: 1:11-12
- Ammon: 1:13-15
- Moab: 2:1-3
Judgment on Judah and Israel: 2:4-16
- On Judah: 2:4-5
- On Israel: 2:6-16
God's indictment of the family of Jacob: 3:1-9:10
- Three addresses of condemnation: 3:1-6:15
- Judgment is deserved: 3:1-10
- Judgment is deserved: 4:1-11
- Judgment is deserved: 5:1-15
- Five symbolic visions of punishments: 7:1-9:10
- The locust: 7:1-3
- The drought: 7:4-6
- The plumb line with a historical reference: 7:7-17
- The fruit basket: 8:1-14
- The Lord standing on the altar: 9:1-10
Hope for a brighter future: 9:11-15
- Christ's return and establishment of the Messianic reign: 9:11-12
- Millennial prosperity: 9:13
- Israel restored: 9:14-15
The watchful eye of God sees:
- Past sin: 1:3
- Individual acts: 1:6
- Broken promises: 1:9
- Hidden enmity of the heart: 1:11
- Emotions and ambition: 1:13
- Memory and its treasured sins: 2:1
Amos deals with five features of the "day of the Lord". They are:
The first part of the book of Amos is bracketed between two references to the roaring lion in 1:2 and 3:8. The lion first denounces the sins of the Gentile world (1:3-2:3), then the Israelite world (southern kingdom of Judah 2:4-5 and northern kingdom of Israel 2:6, 16), and ends by combining them in a final prophecy (3:1-2).
List all the nations mentioned in the book of Amos, the reason for their punishment, and the judgment which was to come:
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Survey of the Book of Obadiah
TO WHOM: The nation of Edom [nation descended from Esau].
PURPOSE: To warn of God's punishment for sin.
KEY VERSE: "Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the LORD."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: God brings down that which has been sinfully exalted.
MAIN CHARACTER: Obadiah
- Edom's destiny prophesied: 1:1-9
- The message is from the Lord to Obadiah regarding Edom: 1:1
- Unconquerable Edom will be conquered: 1:2-4
- Edom will be small and despised among the nations: 1:2
- Deceived by pride: 1:3
- Brought down by God: 1:4
- Edom will be completely plundered and deserted: 1:5-9
- Thieves and robbers: 1:5
- Hidden treasure sought: 1:6
- Edom deceived and trapped: 1:7.
- Wise men destroyed: 1:8
- Mighty men dismayed and Edom cut off: 1:9
The cause: 1:10-14
- Violence: 1:10
- Hostile attitude: 1:11
- Joy at the calamity of others: 1:12
- Boasting in times of other's distress: 1:12
- Spoiling God's people: 1:13
- Preventing escape of fugitives: 1:14
- Betrayal: 1:14
"The day of the Lord" when judgment will come on all heathen nations, not only Edom: 1:15-21
- Judgment on Edom and all nations: 1:15-16
- As you have done, you will receive: 1:15
- As they have done, they will receive: 1:16
- Salvation of the house of Jacob: 1:17-20
- Deliverance and holiness in Mt. Zion: 1:17
- Houses of Jacob, Joseph, Esau: 1:18
- Possessions: 1:19-20
- The millennial kingdom of Jesus: 1:21
For other prophecies against Edom, read the following passages:
- Isaiah 34:5-15
- Jeremiah 49:7-22
- Ezekiel 25:12-14; 35:1-5
- Amos 1:11-12
"Edom" means "red". The Edomites descended from Esau. To read about their history, see Genesis 36, Exodus 15:15, Numbers 20:14, 20-21, and Deuteronomy 23:7-8.
List the specific sins mentioned in Obadiah in the chapters indicated:
Key phrases in Obadiah pertaining to God's utterances to Obadiah:
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- Thus saith the Lord
- I will
- Hear this word
- Thus the Lord showed me
Survey of the Book of Jonah
TO WHOM: The nation of Ninevah to warn of the consequences of disobedience to God.
PURPOSE: The purpose was not only to evangelize Ninevah, but also to document for Israel that salvation was not for the Jews only.
KEY VERSES: 3:1-2 "Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 'Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.'"
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: Salvation is not restricted by race, culture, or other barriers: "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)
MAIN CHARACTER: Jonah
- The first commission: 1:1-2:10
- Divine call: Arise, go, cry: 1:1-2
- Disobedience of Jonah: He arose and fled: 1:3
- Results of disobedience: 1:4-17
- Caught in a storm: 1:4-6
- Found guilty: 1:7
- Thrown overboard: 1:8-16
- Swallowed by a great fish: 1:17
- Jonah's prayer: 2:1-9
- Remembers the distress of life: 2:3,5-6
- Realizes the direction of God's hand: 2:3
- Recognizes it is the desire of the Lord to answer prayer: 2:2,7
- Requires rededication and repentance: 2:9
- Results in deliverance: 2:10
- Jonah's deliverance: 2:10
The second commission: Arise, go, proclaim: 3:1-10
- Obedience: He arose, went, declared: 3:1-4
- Results of obedience: 3:5-10
- The people believed: 3:5
- They repented: Fasting for man and beast, sackcloth and ashes: 3:5-9
- The city was preserved: 3:10
- The prophet's problem: 4:1-11
- The prophet's wrath: 4:1-5
- God's reproof: 4:6-11
When God "repented" (3:10), it did not mean the same as repentance from wrongdoing. God, in mercy, decided not to send the previously-planned judgment because the people of Ninevah believed and acted upon Jonah's message. (See also Amos 7:3; Luke 11:30; Matthew 12:39.)
Jonah is a type of the nation of Israel:
- Chosen to witness: Deuteronomy 14:2; Ezekiel 20:5
- Commissioned of God: Isaiah 43:10-12 and 44:8
- Disobedient to the will of the Lord: Exodus 32:1-4; Judges 2:11-19; Ezekiel 6:1-5; Mark 7:6-9
- Among people of different nationalities: Deuteronomy 4:27; Ezekiel 12:15
- While among the heathen, they came to know God: Romans 11:11
- Miraculously preserved: Hosea 3:3; Jeremiah 30:11; 31:35-37
Note the reasons Jonah was displeased with God. It was because He was gracious, merciful, slow to anger, great in kindness, and repents of judgment. Jonah was controlled by his emotions. For example, in chapter 4 he was first angry, then glad, then angry again. He was self-willed (chapter 1) and characterized by pride (4:2). He was more concerned with his own happiness and comfort (chapter 4) than with lost souls.
When running from God, there is...
- Indifference to His commands: 1:2-3
- Inability to hide from Him: 1:4,17
- Insecurity in the future: 1:15
- Incapable of helping self: 1:4-6
Jonah is also a type of Christ. Both had a special message Jonah of judgment and Jesus of salvation. Both were in a storm. Jonah was thrown into the water and Jesus calmed the storm. Jonah cried out from the fish and Jesus cried out from the cross. Both rose the third day (Jonah from the fish and Jesus from the tomb), and both preached after their resurrection/deliverance.
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Survey of the Book of Micah
TO WHOM: Israel and Judah
PURPOSE: A call to repentance to avoid judgment.
KEY VERSE: 6:8 "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: God judges the oppressors of His people.
MAIN CHARACTER: Micah
- Introduction: 1:1
General prophecy of judgment: 1:2-2:13
- Judgment against Samaria: 1:2-8
- Announcement of judgment: 1:2-4
- Destruction of Samaria: 1:2-8
- Judgment against Judah: 1:9-16
- Judgment upon oppressors: 2:1-11
- Arrogance and violence of the nobles: 2:1-5
- False prophets who would silence the true prophets: 2:6-11
- Mercy upon a remnant: 2:12-13
The establishment of the Messianic Kingdom: 3:1-5:15
- Judgment on wicked rulers, false prophets, and the nations: 3:1-12
- Sins of the civil rulers: 3:1-4
- Sins of the false prophets: 3:5-8
- Rulers, prophets, and priests: 3:9-11
- Character of the Kingdom: 4:1-5
- Setting up the Kingdom: 4:6-13
- Restoration of the former dominion: 4:6-8
- Into Babylon before restoration: 4:9-10
- Deliverance of Zion and destruction of the enemy: 4:11-5:1
- The first advent and rejection of the King: 5:1-2
- The interval between the King's rejection and return: 5:3
- Events upon His return: 5:4-15
- He will provide food for the flock: 5:4
- He will be the peace of His people: 5:5-6
- He will provide power to His people: 5:7-9
The Lord's problem with His people and His final mercy: 6:1-7:20
- The people's ingratitude and wickedness: 6:1-7:6
- Ingratitude for blessings: 6:1-5
- Righteous conduct is God's requirement, not outward sacrifice: 6:6-8
- God's threat of judgment: 6:9-14
- The prophet's intercession: 7:7-20
- Confession of the nation's guilt: 7:1-6
- Confession of faith: 7:7-13
- Prayer for renewal of grace: 7:14
- The Lord's answer: 7:15-17
- Doxology: 7:18-20
A quotation from the book of Micah may have saved the life of Jeremiah the prophet many years later. Read Jeremiah 26:16-18 and compare it to Micah 3:12.
Micah 4:1-5 gives one of the most beautiful descriptions of the Millennium in the entire Bible.
Three words can help you remember the book of Micah:
- OUTWARD: His public sermons compose chapters 1-6.
- INWARD: He records his personal thoughts in 7:1-6.
- UPWARD: He lifts his prayer to God in 7:7-20.
For the historical background of the kings of Judah mentioned in Micah 1:1, read 2 Kings 15:32-20:21 and 2 Chronicles 27:1-33:20.
Micah's prophecy concerns the northern kingdom of Samaria and the southern kingdom of Judah. Each time Samaria is mentioned, put "NK" (for northern kingdom) in the margin of your Bible. Each time Jerusalem is mentioned, put "SK" (for southern kingdom) in the margin.
In Micah 6:6-8 God tells you how to approach Him and what He requires. Study this passage carefully.
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Survey of the Book of Nahum
TO WHOM: The city of Ninevah.
PURPOSE: To warn of judgment on Ninevah, capitol of the Assyrian empire which took God's people into captivity. This was about 100-120 years after Jonah preached against Ninevah.
KEY VERSE: 1:2 "The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: Beware, God avenges evil.
MAIN CHARACTER: Nahum
- Prophecy of destruction, part one: 1:1-14
- Introduction: 1:1
- Source of destruction: God Himself: 1:2-9
- Vengeance and God's mercy: 1:2-3
- His terrible anger against sin: 1:4-6
- The greatness of His mercy: 1:7
- The pursuer of His enemies: 1:8
- Reason for destruction: Sin: 1:9-14
- God's faithfulness in the present crisis: 1:9-11
- Destruction of Assyria: 1:12-14
- Rejoicing in Zion: 1:15
Promise to Judah: They no longer need fear this cruel nation: 1:15
Prophecy of destruction, part two: 2:1-3:19
- The siege and destruction of the city: 2:3-13
- Assault upon Ninevah: Doom of the city: 2:1-7
- Flight of the people and spoiling of the city: 2:8-13
- Reasons for Ninevah's fall: 3:1-9
- Description of the battle: 3:1-3
- The cause: Her sins: 3:1-6,16,19
- The uncovering of her shame is of God: 3:5-7
- The fate of No-amon is to be the fate of Ninevah: 3:8-11 (See Jeremiah 46:25; Ezekiel 30:14.)
- Inability of Ninevah to save the city: 3:12-19
- Fall of outlying strongholds: 3:12-13
- Siege and destructions of the city: 3:14-19a
- Universal joy over the fall of Ninevah: 3:19b
List the reasons for God's judgment of Ninevah.
Do you remember the other prophet you previously studied, who also prophesied to Ninevah? How did the city respond to this earlier prophecy? (See the book of Jonah.)
Compare these verses:
- Isaiah 8:8; 10:23 / Nahum 1:8-9 _________________________________________________
- Isaiah 24:1 / Nahum 2:10 _________________________________________________
- Isaiah 21:3 / Nahum 2:10 _________________________________________________
- Isaiah 52:7 / Nahum 1:15 _________________________________________________
Here are some of the reasons for Ninevah's fall:
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- Bloodshed: 3:1
- Lies: 3:1
- Robbery: 3:1
- Killing of the innocent: 3:3-4
- Whoredom: 3:4
- Witchcraft: 3:4
- Immorality: 3:5
- Hidden violence: 3:6
- Merchants (hired soldiers) who destroy: 3:16
- A wound so bad it could not be healed: 3:19
- Continual wickedness: 3:19
Survey of the Book Habakkuk
TO WHOM: Judah
PURPOSE: Awaken Judah to their spiritual needs and warn of impending judgment from God.
KEY VERSE: 3:2 "O LORD, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O LORD, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: The just shall live by faith.
MAIN CHARACTER: Habakkuk
This book divides easily into three sections according to chapters. Habakkuk records a spiritual burden (chapter 1), a vision (chapter 2), and a prayer (chapter 3), all of which relate to the judgment of Judah by God through the Chaldean nation.
- Topic sentence: 1:1
Habakkuk's first complaint: 1:2-4
- The prophet's questions: 1:2-3a
- The moral and civil conditions of Judah: 1:3b
- The prophet's conclusions: 1:4
The Lord's reply: 1:5-11
- The marvelous work announced: 1:5
- The Chaldeans and their might: 1:6-11
Habakkuk's confidence in the Lord: 1:12
Habakkuk's second complaint: 1:13-17
The waiting prophet: 2:1
The Lord's answer: 2:2-4
- The vision to be written plainly: 2:2
- The vision surely to come: 2:3
- The vision: 2:4
The five woes: 23:5-19
- Introduction: 2:5-6a
- The five woes upon the Chaldeans: 2:6b-19
- The first woe: 2:6b-8
- The second woe: 2:9-11
- The third woe: 2:12-13 (Earth filled with the knowledge of the Lord: 2:14)
- The fourth woe: 2:15-18
- The fifth woe: 2:19
Habakkuk's psalm: 3:1-19
- The title: 2:1
- The plea: 3:2
- The Lord's answer: 3:3-15
- Habakkuk's response: 3:16-19a
- The musical ascription: 3:19b
Habakkuk's statement, "the just shall live by faith", is quoted three times in the New Testament: Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38. (See also Acts 13:40-41 and Philippians 4:4, 10-19.)
An "oracle" can be translated "a burden". What is Habakkuk's burden? What is bothering him?
Mark each reference to "God", the "Holy One", "Lord", and every personal pronoun that refers to God.
Summarize what you learn about God from this book.
Mark the references to the "proud" or "haughty" man. Summarize what he is like and with whom he is contrasted. James 4 indicates that God resists the proud.
Mark each use of the word "woe" and then observe to whom the woe is going to come, why it will come, and what will happen when it comes. Would any of these be applicable to you because of some hidden or unconfessed sin in your life? If so, repent!
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Survey of the Book of Zephaniah
TO WHOM: Israel
PURPOSE: To warn Israel and all nations of the judgment of God.
KEY VERSE: 3:17 "The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: God is mighty to save.
MAIN CHARACTER: Zephaniah
- Introduction: 1:1-3
- The messenger: 1:1
- Summary of the message: 1:2-3
A look within: 1:4-2:3
- The fact of judgment: 1:4-14
- Judgment on four kinds of worshipers: 1:4-7
- Judgment on sinners of every rank: 1:8-13
- The nature and results of judgment: 1:14-18
- It is at hand: 1:14
- Even the mighty are brought low: 1:14
- Dark day of distress, waste, desolation: 1:15-16
- Distress, blood, flesh as dung: 1:17
- No deliverance: 1:18
- Day of the Lord's anger: 1:2-3
- The name of judgment: Day of the Lord: 2:1-3
- Hope in judgment: 2:3
A look around: Judgment coming on all nations: 2:4-3:7
- Philistine cities: 2:4-7
- Moab and Ammon: 2:8-11
- Ethiopia: 2:12
- Assyria and its capitol, Ninevah: 2:13-15
- Judgment on Jerusalem: 3:1-7
- Note the condition of Jerusalem:
- Note the mercies of God: 3:5-7
A look beyond: After judgment, healing will come: 3:8-20
- God's purpose accomplished: 3:8
- From among the heathen, God's remnant will come: 3:9-10, 12-13
- Judgment on those who were once enemies of God: 3:9-13
- Israel's Messiah manifested as King: 3:14-20
The title "the King of Israel" is used for God only twice in the Bible. Zephaniah uses it in the Old Testament (3:15); and Nathaniel, a disciple of Jesus, uses it in the New Testament (John 1:49).
Zephaniah calls the judgment he describes "the day of the Lord". He uses this phrase seven times (cf. 1:7, 8, 14, 18; 2:2-3).
This is what we learn about the "day of the Lord":
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- It is at hand: 1:4,7,14
- Even the mighty will be brought low: 1:14
- It is a time of darkness, terror, wrath, desolation: 1:15
- It is a time of alarm: 1:16
- Judgment will come upon sin: 1:17
- It will be accompanied by great signs in nature: 1:15
- It is the day of the Lord's anger: 1:2-3
- It falls upon all creation: 2:1-15; 3:8
Survey of the Book Haggai
TO WHOM: Israel after the exile; particularly the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem.
PURPOSE: To inspire Israel to a new zeal for God and make the leaders aware of their responsibility to rebuild the temple of worship.
KEY VERSE: 1:5 "Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Consider your ways.'"
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: Building God's Kingdom should be a priority of the true believer.
MAIN CHARACTER: Haggai
- First message: A summons to rebuild the temple: 1:1-15
- The date: 1:1
- The message: 1:2-11
- The people's procrastination: 1:2-4
- It's consequences: 1:5-11
- The people's response: 1:12-15
- Obedience and fear of the Lord: 1:12
- The work of encouragement: 1:13
- The work begun: 1:14
- 4. The date: 1:15
Second message: Prophecy of the Millennial Temple (which would be greater than the temple they would now build): 2:1-9
- The date: 2:1
- The message: 2:2-9
- The temples compared: 2:2-3
- The answer to discouragement: 2:4-5
- The universal shaking and later glory of the temple: 2:6-9
Third message: Promise of present blessing on the rebuilding of the temple: 2:10-19
- The date: 2:10
- The message: Sin is contagious: 2:11-19
- The priests questioned: 2:11-13
- The application: 2:14-19
Fourth message: Prophecy of future destruction of Gentile world powers: 2:20-23
- The date: 2:20
- The message: 2:21-23
- Overthrow of earthly power: 2:21-22
- Zerubbabel the signet: 2:23
Read Haggai 1:9 to find the reasons God was not blessing Israel.
Spiritual truths in Haggai:
- The Lord's work takes priority over all.
- The Lord's work demands clean instruments.
- The Lord's work is linked to God's plan for all nations.
- Good is not contagious, but evil is.
You are the temple of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:19). Apply the truths of Haggai to yourself personally. Have you given too much attention and time to your personal affairs and neglected the things of God that are important for spreading the Gospel and the furtherance of His work?
Mark every reference to "the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai" and "the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet". Each occurrence of these phrases begins a message. It will help you see the structure of Haggai.
For the historical setting of Haggai, read Ezra 4:24-6:22.
God told Israel, "I will make thee as a signet" (Haggai 2:23 KJV). A signet ring was often a seal of a pledge. It was also used as a mark of honor and a badge of royal authority. Christ was God's "signet" with which He imprinted upon all believers His image and delegated to us His authority.
Apply the teachings of Haggai about work to the unfinished task of the Church in reaching the world with the Gospel. Think about these things:
- This work should take priority over other obligations.
- This mission demands clean instruments.
- The task is linked to God's plan for men and nations.
If Haggai were writing to you personally, in terms of how you are fulfilling the 'Great Commission', what do you think he would say?
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Survey of the Book of Zechariah
TO WHOM: Israel
PURPOSE: To inspire Israel to finish the temple.
KEY VERSE: 13:1 "On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: God controls the affairs of men and nations.
MAIN CHARACTER: Zechariah
- Introductory call to repentance: 1:1-6
Prophecies by vision: 1:7-6:8
- The man among the myrtle trees: 1:7-17 [Israel outcast, but not forgotten by God]
- The four horns: 1:18-21 (The overthrow of Israel by her enemies.)
- The man with the measuring rod: 2:1-13 [The coming prosperity of Jerusalem]
- Joshua the high priest: 3:1-10 [Israel's sin removed by Jesus, the Branch]
- The candlestick and the two trees: 4:1-14 [Israel is God's future light-bearer]
- The first question and explanation: 4:1-10
- The second question and explanation: 4:11-14
- The flying roll: 5:1-4 (Wicked governments cursed by God)
- The woman in the ephah: 5:5-11 (Wickedness removed on divine wings)
- The four chariots: 6:1-8 (God's judgments.)
Illustrative prophecies: 6:9-8:23
- The returning Jews: 6:9-15
- Vanities of the people: 7:1-8:23
- Fast days of Israel and obedience to the Word: 7:1-17
- First half of the Lord's answer to the question of fasting: 7:8-14
- The second half of the Lord's answer: 8:1-23
Direct prophecies: 9:1-14:21
- The first prophecy: The first coming and rejection of Jesus: 9:1-11:17
- Fall of the heathen world and deliverance of Zion: 9-10
- Good and foolish shepherds: 11:1-17
- The second prophecy: The second coming and acceptance of Jesus: 12:1-14:21
- Future deliverance and conversion of Israel: 12:1-13:9
- The return of Jesus: 14:1-21
The book of Zechariah provides much information on the ministry of angels (cf. chapters 1 and 2).
Like the book of Job, Zechariah offers a glimpse into heaven to view the confrontations between God and Satan (cf. Job 1 and 2 and Zechariah 3:1-5).
Several facts about Jesus are presented in Zechariah:
- His commission: 2:8-11
- His present work: 3:1-2
- His concern over Jerusalem: 1:12
- His title: 6:12
- His temple: 6:13
- His triumphal entry to Jerusalem: 9:9
- His betrayal: 11:12
- His crucifixion: 12:10; 13:7
- His final recognition by Israel: 12:1
- His appearance on Mt Zion: 14:4
- His worship by all nations: 14:16
- His victory at Armageddon: 14:3
Several facts about the city of God are presented in Zechariah:
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- A city of truth: 8:3
- Surrounded by God's glory: 2:5
- Filled with children: 8:5
- Visited by all nations: 8:20-23
- Once again besieged by enemies: 12:2; 14:2
- Its enemies are destroyed: 12:9; 14:12-14
- Its citizens recognize the Messiah: 12:10
- Filled with God's holiness: 14:21
Survey of the Book of Malachi
TO WHOM: Israel
PURPOSE: To call the nation to repentance and return to righteousness.
KEY VERSE: 2:2 "If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the LORD of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: Repentance [attitude] + Returning [action] = Restoration
Both attitude [repentance from sin] and action [returning to God] are necessary for forgiveness [restoration to righteousness before God].
MAIN CHARACTER: Malachi
- Introduction: 1:1-5
- The messenger: 1:1
- The message: 1:1
- The recipient of the message: Israel: 1:1
- God's love for Israel: 1:2-5
- Esau and Jacob: 1:2-3
- God and Edom: 1:4-5
A message to the priests: 1:6-2:9
- Their neglect in religious duties: 1:6-2:4
- Worthlessness of sacrifices: 1:6-14
- Better to shut the temple than engage in worthless worship: 1:9-10
- Superior service among the Gentiles: 1:11
- Weariness in worship: 1:12-13 contrasted with wonderful worship in 1:11.
- The curse of God: 1:14-2:4
- Their faulty teaching of the law: 2:5-9
- Covenant with Levi and the ideal priest: 2:5-7
- The apostate priests and their disgrace: 2:8-9
A message to the Jewish laymen: 2:10-4:3
- A charge of treachery: 2:10-16
- Warning of judgment: 2:17-3:6
- Their questions: 2:17
- God's refining fire: 3:1-3
- Purification of the priest and people: 3:3-5
- God does not change: 3:6
- A call to repentance: 3:7-12
- The people's unfaithfulness and God's curse: 3:7-9
- God's reward for their respect and faithfulness: 3:10-12
- Divine indictment for sin: 3:13-4:3
- Complaint: 3:13-15
- Separation of the righteous from the wicked: 3:16-18
- Utter destruction of the wicked: 4:1
- Exaltation and glorification of the righteous: 4:2-3
Concluding warning: 4:4-6
- Keep the law of Moses: 4:4
- Look for the second coming of Jesus: 4:5-6
Malachi contains several key passages:
- The most famous Old Testament passage on giving back to the Lord: 3:8-10
- The most wonderful diary of all time: 3:16
- The only passage in which believers are called "jewels" (KJV): 3:17
- The only Old Testament book predicting Elijah's return to minister during the Tribulation: 4:5
It is difficult for man to accept the fact that he has sinned and in fact, is a sinner. Note how the people argued with God's judgment in the book of Malachi. "Wherein" is the key word which precedes each argument of the people (1:2,6,7; 2:17; 3:7-8,13).
Note the minister's chief areas of temptation: 1:6-2:9
There are several "beholds" to note in this book:
- Behold I will corrupt and reject worship: 2:3
- Behold I will send my messenger (John the Baptist): 3:1
- Behold the earth will burn: 4:1
- Behold Elijah will warn: 4:5
The "book of remembrance" (3:16) is also referenced in Exodus 32:32; Psalms 56:8, 69:28, 139:16; Ezekiel 13:9; Daniel 7:10, 11:1; Philippians 4:3; and Revelation 20:12.
Although most of the prophets lived and prophesied in days of change and political upheaval, Malachi lived in an uneventful waiting period when God seemed to have forgotten His people who were enduring poverty and foreign domination in Judah.
The day of miracles seemed to have passed with Elijah and Elisha. The temple was not completed and nothing profound had occurred to indicate God's presence had returned to fill it with glory as Ezekiel had prophesied (Ezekiel 43:4). The people continued their religious duties without enthusiasm.
In reality, the promises that had been given were conditional, and the people were not meeting the requirements of God to enable them to receive them. Malachi's prophecy permits us to see the strains and temptations of the waiting periods of life. More importantly, he also shows the way back to genuine faith in the God who does not change (3:6), who invites men to return to Him (3:7), and who never forgets those who respond (3:16).
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