I possess two purposes firmly in my head as I write tonight: First to relate to you the story of the prophets of the divided kingdom. For in understanding how God worked in their time we can better understand how God is working in our time; Second to relate to you the foretellings of these men so that you might understand what predictions they made about our days and the ones to come.
In order to begin I want to tell you first who these men were. In knowing them perhaps you will understand better why they said the things they did.
First a prophet is a man or a woman to whom a spiritual being reveals a plan. In this case the Spiritual Being we are speaking about is the One True God.
Now the prophets of the divided kingdom rose to their work during the time of Israel’s decline as a world power. After Solomon’s death the Kingdom of Israel was divided into northern and southern states. The North was called Israel and the South was called Judah. Each of the prophets was sent to one or the other states of this divided nation or to one of the surrounding nations.
Here are the characters of our play in sort of synchronous order:
Amos- Lived sometime between 800 and 750 B.C./ Was a prophet to northern kingdom Israel/ Was born in Southern kingdom of Judah/ By trade a shepherd and fig farmer.
Jonah-Lived sometime between 800 and 750 B.C./ Was a prophet to Assyria/ Was born in southern kingdom of Judah/ Seems to be a professional prophet by trade
Hosea- Lived sometime between 800 and 725 B.C./ Was a prophet to northern kingdom of Israel/Was born in Israel/ Occupation unknown but possibly a professional prophet
Note the ministries of Amos Jonah and Hosea all overlap.
Isaiah- Lived sometime between 750 and 650 B.C./ Was a prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah/ Was probably born in Jerusalem/ Was a member of the royal family
Micah- Lived in the same time frame as Isaiah/ Prophet to both Israel and Judah/Was born in Moresheth in southern kingdom of Judah/ Occupation unknown but may have been a professional prophet
Note that the ministries of Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah overlapped
Nahum- Lived sometime between 650 and 600 B.C./ Was a prophet in southern kingdom of Judah prophesying against Assyria/ Occupation unknown but a very graphic writer
Zephaniah- Lived sometime between 650 and 600 B.C./ Was a prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah/ Birthplace unknown/ Was a member of the royal family of Judah
Habakkuk-Lived sometime between 650 and 600 B.C./ Was a prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah/ Birthplace unknown/ Occupation unknown may have been a professional prophet
Jeremiah-Lived sometime between 650 and 550 B.C./ Was a prophet to southern kingdom of Judah/ Born in Anathoth in Judah/ Was a member of the priestly sect
Ezekiel- Lived sometime between 650 and 550 B.C./ Prophesies to Israelites in exile in Babylon/Born in Judah/ Was a professional prophet
Daniel- Lived sometime between 600 B.C. and 500 B.C./ Prophesied to Israelites in exile in Babylon/ Born in Jerusalem/ Professional magi in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar
Obadiah- Lived sometime between 600 and 500 B.C./ Prophet to Edom Judah and Israel’s neighboring country/ Not known where he came from/ Profession unknown may have been a professional prophet
Note that the ministries Nahum and Zephaniah overlapped.
Note that the ministries of Habakkuk, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Obadiah overlap.
Haggai- Lived between 550 and 500 B.C./ Prophet to Israel after they were released from captivity/ Most likely born in Babylon/ Professional prophet
Zechariah- Lived sometime between 550 and 500 B.C./ Prophet to Israel after they were released from captivity/ Most likely born in Babylon/ Professional prophet
Joel- It is unknown when he lived/ He was a prophet to Judah/Place of birth is unknown/ Professional prophet
Malachi- Lived sometime between 500 and 400 B.C./A prophet to Israel after they were released from Judah/ A professional prophet
Something to note about these men is that they did not live their lives in prophetic bubbles. Many of them probably knew each other at least by reputation and may have actually spoken to one another about the things they were receiving from God.
They also all had the common bonds of loving God and country. They prophesied with the hope of getting some of their loved ones to turn back to God.
Tomorrow We will discuss the culture in which these men lived.
Tell me what kind of personality did these prophets need to do their jobs?