The Prophet, part 4!
1st of December
I am in the process of going through the prophets of The old Testament and we have come to the prophet Habakkuk. The name means to embrace or to cling to. It is probably the last meaning which suits Habakkuk the best. He had to cling to God in spite of what happened to his people. He didn’t always understand why God did what He did, but he clung to God anyway.
Habakkuk is a prophet in a time that is called Judah’s struggle for death. The people were called to repent, but the people did not want to leave their sinful ways, and God said that the Babylonians would be used to correct them. Habakkuk chooses to trust God and His wisdom and I choose to quote the last two verses of Habakkuk: “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will joy in the God of my salvation. The lord God is my strength; He will make me walk on my high hills. To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.”
The prophet Zephaniah is the next one to go. He was the prophet during the reign of Josiah. Zephaniah was an important instrument for the changes that took place in Judah, both politically and religiously. A revival was taking place on the surface, but it didn’t go deep enough in the people. Zephaniah writes about the Day of the Lord, about judgment and he called them to repent. He describes the evil of Jerusalem, but also salvation for a remnant of Israel and joy over God’s deliverance. I quote Zephaniah 3:14+15 “Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken your judgment, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; You shall see disaster no more.”
Now we have come to the prophet Haggai. The Babylonian captivity is over and a group of the Jews have returned to the land of Judah. The people have started to build the temple, but they did not manage to complete the work. The truth is that they were more involved in building their own houses than the house of God. The prophet Haggai should encourage and make the people finish what they had started. The Lord explained why things did not go so well for the people. “It is because My temple lies in ruins.” The Lord said that He would be with them in the building process and give them strength. He told them to sanctify themselves and a blessing was promised to come. This book is mainly about building the temple, a command from the Lord. We can at the end read a prophesy given to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah. This prophesy points to the coming of Messiah.
The next prophet in The old Testament is Zechariah. He says that God had been very angry with the fathers of the previous generation and he is given the task to persuade the people to complete the building of God’s house. The Lord gives Zechariah many visions and they are meant to open the eyes of the people for the importance of the temple in a historical sense of salvation. These visions are well worth reading. Zechariah prophesies about Messiah, about His coming and about His glory. We can read Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice, greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation. Lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.
The 14th chapter describes the Day of the Lord and how the nations shall worship the King. We can read in the 16th verse: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” It goes on to say what will happen to those who do not do this. This verse became very meaningful to me last year when I went up to Jerusalem to worship the King together with people from 100 other nations. This was during the Feast of Tabernacles. By doing so, we are promised a blessing for the family.
The name Zechariah means the Lord remembers or remembered by the Lord.
Malachi is the last prophet of The old Testament. He was a prophet at the time of Nehemiah. He was called by God to announce judgment as well as a message of salvation. The people had left the Covenant and God calls the prophet to reveal the sins of the people, their unfaithfulness, the mixed marriages, their false worship and pride. The people neglect the Word of God. The people have left their true ministry and the priests are corrupt. The situation is quite gloomy, but in the middle of this darkness, we find prophesies about John the Baptist and Messiah. Both judgment and salvation will come. The name Malachi means My messenger or the messenger of the Lord. A word that is often quoted is Malachi 3:10 “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there might be food in My house, And try Me now on this, Says the Lord of hosts. If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.” We are once again seeing that God is a God of blessings, but it doesn’t happen without certain premises. In this case it was the tithe of your income or harvest. It should be brought into the house of God. After Malachi, God did not speak through any other prophet for 400 years. What God had spoken before was still to be remembered. Yes, even to-day. The Covenant is eternal. In The new Covenant(New Testament) God again speaks to His people.
I do not know how exiting it has been for you to go through the different prophets in The old Testament, but since I have dug a little deeper into the material, I think it has been exiting and I have understood more than before. They had a lot of things in common and one of them were their dreams and visions. God spoke about the conditions of the nation and the people and He spoke about the future. He also “painted” a picture of His glory and His omnipotence by giving dreams. He often asked them: “What do you see?”
The prophets talked about the sins of the people and God’s judgment over them. They came with warnings and encouragements and they called them to repent. Many prophesied for their present time, but others prophesied for the end times and some prophesies are for all times. Most of them had some prophesies about Messiah and it is amazing how accurate they were, even many hundred years before His coming. Therefore, we can trust the unfilled prophesies to come to pass. Everything that God has spoken, will come to pass. Some prophesies are spoken with an if in front and then the people themselves can decide what will happen by their response to the prophesies. When Jonah prophesied judgment over Nineveh, the people repented and God showed them mercy instead of judgment.
There are lots of prophets in the old days, but some of them were false. That is the same to-day. I will come back to that. I have not mentioned every great prophet in the Old Testament.
To-day, God can speak to those of us who are saved through the Holy Spirit, from depth to depth. We will enter the new area and the prophesies after Christ next time, but do not consider the old ones as of no present interest.
READ THE PROPHETS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IN A SPIRIT OF THANKFULNESS. SHOW THEM DUE RESPECT AND LEARN FROM THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!