How to Read the Old Testament Prophets

ZA Blog on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

J. Daniel Hays recently sat down with us to talk about why the prophets are difficult to interpret, about Jesus’ use of the prophets, and about the prophets’ importance for understanding the whole Bible. His Message of the Prophets online course is now available for everyone. Learn more >

When people first read them, they think, wow, I just don’t have any idea what exactly what these guys are talking about.

The prophets are using poetry and figures of speech. They have this scathing critique and criticism against the kings and the people of their day.

The other critical thing about the prophets that makes them difficult is they are very much embedded in a specific historical timeframe, and the geo-political events around them are influencing what they’re saying and what’s taking place. It’s important to place…

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Old Testament Prophecy is Not About the Future (Mostly)

ZA Blog on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

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This post is adapted from The Message of the Prophets online course, taught by J. Daniel Hays.

When many people think about prophecy, they think about predictions about the future. For modern Christians, this usually means predictions about how the world will end.

But this wasn’t what the prophets in the Old Testament thought—or how they were heard.

Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart write:

“Less than 2 percent of Old Testament prophecy is messianic. Less than 5 percent specifically describes the new-covenant age. Less than 1 percent concerns events yet to come in our time.” 1

So if the prophets aren’t talking about the future, what are they talking about?

Most of the material in the prophetic books relates to the indictment of Israel and Judah for breaking the Mosaic…

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