Understanding the Old Testament - Lesson 20

Book of the Twelve

The Book of the Twelve, known as the minor prophets, emphasizes the concept of the day of Yahweh, occurring at significant junctures in redemptive history. Joel, focusing on the day of the Lord, delineates three key periods: the end of the old covenant, the inception of the new covenant, and its consummation in Christ's second coming. Other prophets like Hosea depict Israel's covenant infidelity, while Amos highlights social justice issues. The prophets also foretell divine judgment followed by restoration. Noteworthy is Jonah, whose narrative stands out amidst the oracles, emphasizing Nineveh's repentance and Yahweh's compassion. Micah and Nahum emphasize justice and Yahweh's power, respectively. Prophets like Habakkuk and Zephaniah reassure God's justice and restoration amid turmoil. Haggai and Zechariah call for temple restoration and point to a future recognition of Yahweh as king. Malachi, concluding the prophetic section, calls for Israel's return to Yahweh, rejecting divorce as a metaphor for the ruptured relationship. Lastly, Jesus, fulfilling prophecy, speaks directly as the source of divine authority, contrasting with the prophetic mediation formula.

Miles Van Pelt
Understanding the Old Testament
Lesson 20
Watching Now
Book of the Twelve

I. Introduction to the Book of the Twelve

A. Overview of the Twelve Prophets

B. Genre and Structure

C. Major Theme: The Day of Yahweh

II. Hosea: Covenant Infidelity and Restoration

A. Historical Context and Superscription

B. Structure of the Book

C. Key Themes and Messages

III. Joel: The Day of the Lord and Covenant Renewal

A. Overview of Joel's Message

B. Three Days of the Lord

IV. Amos: Social Justice and Covenant Obligations

A. Background and Context of Amos

B. Message of Judgment and Restoration

V. Obadiah: Judgment against Edom

A. Historical Context and Purpose

B. Prophecy of Doom for Edom

VI. Jonah: Divine Mercy and Human Reluctance

A. Narrative Structure and Setting

B. Jonah's Mission to Nineveh

VII. Micah: Judgment, Mercy, and Justice

A. Background and Context

B. Micah's Call to Repentance

VIII. Nahum: Yahweh's Justice against Nineveh

A. Purpose and Historical Context

B. Oracle of Destruction for Nineveh

IX. Habakkuk: Trust in Yahweh's Justice

A. Superscription and Background

B. Dialogue with Yahweh and Assurance

X. Zephaniah: Judgment and Restoration of Jerusalem

A. Historical Setting and Purpose

B. Oracle of Judgment and Hope for Jerusalem

XI. Haggai: Restoration of the Temple

A. Context and Significance

B. Haggai's Call to Rebuild the Temple

XII. Zechariah: Restoration and Yahweh's Kingship

A. Setting and Structure

B. Visions and Messages of Restoration

XIII. Malachi: Restoration and Divine Faithfulness

A. Overview of Malachi's Message

B. Call to Return to Yahweh and Rejection of Divorce

XIV. Conclusion: The Book of the Twelve in Canonical Context

A. Relationship to the Torah and the Prophets

B. Typological Significance in Light of Christ

  • Engage with the Old Testament to grasp its Gospel-centered nature. From Genesis to Ecclesiastes and Psalms, discover foundational truths, wisdom, and insights on suffering. Strengthen your faith and find enduring hope in God's Word.
  • Gain insight into the Old Testament's theological core, centering on Jesus Christ. Explore its diverse genres, languages, and authors, unified by Jesus as its focal point. Understand how biblical evidence supports Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, shaping interpretation.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles Van Pelt provides the thematic framework for the Old Testament. The Old Testament's thematic core is the Kingdom of God. Through this lesson, you'll understand its covenantal nature, from pre-temporal arrangements to various administrations like redemption, works, and grace, unveiling God's salvation plan in Christ.
  • Discover the intricate covenantal structure of the Bible, revealing its theological depth and unity, from the division of the Hebrew Bible to its mirroring in the New Testament, all centered around Jesus Christ.
  • Gain insight into the Pentateuch's covenantal structure, Moses' authorship debate, and evidence supporting it. Understand its significance as the foundation of Israel's relationship with God and its relevance for biblical theology.
  • Through this lesson, you will understand the theological, structural, and thematic intricacies of the book of Genesis. You'll grasp its role as a foundational text in both the Old and New Testaments, exploring themes of covenant, creation, fall, redemption, and the fulfillment of promises. You'll gain insights into the genealogical structure of Genesis, its portrayal of key biblical figures like Adam, Noah, and Abraham, and its connection to the overarching narrative of the gospel.
  • Exodus reveals Yahweh's promise—"I will be with you"—unfolding divine presence and covenant. It anticipates Jesus as fulfillment—a better Moses and Tabernacle—ushering in God's eternal presence among humanity.
  • Studying Leviticus unveils the intricate system of laws and rituals at Mount Sinai. It explains sacrificial atonement, priestly consecration, purity laws, and the theme of holiness, prefiguring Jesus as the ultimate priest, sacrifice, and source of holiness.
  • Discover the Book of Numbers' insights on Israel's journey, God's faithfulness, consequences of disobedience, and parallels to Christ, cautioning against questioning God's holiness and emphasizing His desire to dwell among His people through the Holy Spirit.
  • Gain insight into Deuteronomy's covenant renewal for Israel entering Canaan, emphasizing obedience, typology, and its relevance for Christian living.
  • Gain deep insight into the former prophets, exploring themes of Yahweh's faithfulness, Israel's unfaithfulness, and the typological significance of the Mosaic covenant. Understand its relation to the Abrahamic covenant and its fulfillment in the New Covenant under Jesus, revealing God's plan for restoration.
  • Joshua unveils Joshua's leadership, divine promise fulfillment in Canaan, obedience's significance, and Jesus as the ultimate fulfiller of God's promises.
  • Discover the Book of Judges, detailing Israel's history and faith journey. Learn about judges as deliverers from oppression and idolatry, portraying parallels with Christ's ministry. Uncover a pattern of uncreation due to idolatry, emphasizing the need for an eternal judge—Jesus Christ—to save from corruption.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles Van Pelt provides insights into the book of Samuel, exploring its characters, themes, and the transition from judgeship to kingship in Israel. Learn of the significance of the Davidic covenant, culminating in Jesus as the ultimate King of Kings.
  • Gain insights into the Book of Kings, revealing its historical and theological significance. Discover the fulfillment of Davidic covenant, reasons for Israel's exile, and anticipation of the new covenant. Recognize Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of its promises.
  • This lesson reviews latter prophets' insights into Israel's exile for breaking the Mosaic Covenant, the prophetic office's nature, diverse prophecy genres, and the execution of covenant lawsuits, all pointing to God's judgment and hope for restoration.
  • Explore Isaiah's profound prophetic themes, from redemption to impending judgment. Unravel his life and ministry's context, review the debate around authorship, and learn essential tools for study.
  • Enjoy this lesson on Jeremiah, a second Moses figure, and his prophetic message of repentance, redemption, and a new covenant. Explore the book's chiastic structure, historical context, and theological significance, offering hope amidst Judah's fall.
  • Studying Ezekiel reveals its focus on the glory of the Lord and the temple. You learn of Ezekiel's exile, his visions, and themes like covenant theology, creation, and apocalyptic elements, offering profound insights into hope amidst crisis.
  • Discover insights into the minor prophets' diverse genres and themes, from covenant infidelity to divine restoration. Witness Jonah's repentance narrative and prophetic visions culminating in Christ's fulfillment. Embrace Yahweh's justice and compassion, urging Israel's return, leading to Jesus as the ultimate authority.
  • Understand the structure and themes of the Hebrew Bible's writings section. Explore diverse literary forms, intentional divisions mirroring prophets, and the overarching theme of exile and return, illuminating Israel's covenant journey.
  • Discover the depth of the Book of Psalms: 150 songs divided into 5 books, expressing diverse emotions and worship forms. Explore themes, structure, and practical applications for personal devotion and prayer.
  • Gain insights into human suffering and theodicy through Job's trials. Explore themes of faith, resilience, and God's sovereignty amidst adversity. Discover hope in God's incomprehensible sovereignty amid life's trials.
  • Proverbs is a book of timeless wisdom from Solomon, who was gifted by God. By studying this book, you can learn to navigate life with righteousness and discernment, rooted in the fear of the Lord.
  • Journey through Ruth, where redemption, loyalty, and divine providence intertwine. Ruth, a symbol of strength, aligns with Boaz, embodying ancient customs. Their union shapes history, reflecting the enduring legacy of faith amidst life's complexities.
  • Explore the Song of Songs for insights into marriage and intimacy. It navigates the tension between true love and temptation, advocating for unwavering commitment and passionate intimacy, reflecting God's desired relationship. Discover timeless wisdom for modern-day love and marriage.
  • Ecclesiastes reveals life's futility without God, emphasizing the necessity of fearing Him. Through Solomon's wisdom, it prompts reflection on divine purpose amid existential questions.
  • In Lamentations, mourn the fall of Jerusalem and exile, finding hope in God's sovereignty.
  • The book of Esthers contains themes of providence, hiddenness of God, and faithfulness in exile. You will uncover the intricacies of Esther and Mordecai's roles in the deliverance of the Jewish people, as well as the establishment of the festival of Purim. This study will equip you with insights into how God's providence operates amidst human events, even when His presence may seem concealed, and how faithfulness in exile can lead to unexpected outcomes of deliverance and restoration.
  • Through this lesson on the book of Daniel, you'll gain insights into its structure, themes of faithfulness in exile, comparisons with Joseph, and its significance for understanding apocalyptic literature, providing a comprehensive understanding of God's sovereignty and care for His people.
  • Explore Ezra and Nehemiah for insights into post-exilic restoration, intertwining faith, governance, and cultural renewal. These books point towards a deeper longing for true and lasting restoration and echo themes found in apocalyptic literature such as the book of Revelation.
  • The Book of Chronicles traces Israel's history, emphasizing kingship, priesthood, and divine selection. It anticipates restoration, pointing to Jesus as the ultimate priest-king who fulfills God's promises.

Understanding the Old Testament 
Dr. Miles Van Pelt
Book of the Twelve 
Lesson Transcript

We now come to the last of the latter prophets known to us as the Book of the Twelve, but perhaps also more familiar to most of us as the minor prophets beginning with Hosea, Joel, Amos, etc. These twelve prophets constitute one single book in the Hebrew Bible. They're referred to simply as the twelve, all right? The twelve begins with Hosea, which in the first three chapters portrays Yahweh as a husband who divorces his bride Israel, and then concludes with Malachi, which states that Yahweh hates divorce and calls upon his people to hold firm to the covenant. 

In terms of its genre, the Book of the Twelve includes all the varieties of literature found in the so-called major prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Oracles against Israel, oracles against foreign nations, visions, biographical material, apocalyptic literature, everything that we see in each of the major prophets comes to fruition also in the Book of the Twelve as a collection of the minor prophets. The great theme of the Book of the Twelve is the day of Yahweh. This particular expression occurs only 20 times in the Hebrew Bible, but it appears 13 times in the Book of the Twelve, and specifically five times in the book of Joel, where we have the highest concentration in any other book.

Joel is the prophet of the day of the Lord. Now, what is the day of the Lord? The day of the Lord is the day of the Lord's victory, either in judgment or blessing, and usually the judgment of one person or thing results in the blessing of another person or thing. That's what the day of the Lord is, and there are three major days of the Lord in the grand redemptive-historical scheme of things. There is the end of the old covenant order, there is the beginning of the new covenant order, and then there is the consummation or fulfillment of the new covenant order in the second coming of Christ, and the book of Joel will talk about each of those. 

There are also other days of the Lord in the Bible. For example, at the Red Sea in Exodus 14 and 15, the psalmist says, this is the day that the Lord has made. Right? Or you can have the concept without the exact expression, with something like this day. For example, in the book of Malachi at the very end, Malachi 3 is a continuous prophecy about the day of the Lord, and he says something like, this is Malachi 3:16, "Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard, and a scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name. On the day when I act, says the Lord God Almighty, they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as the Father has compassion and spares his Son who serves him." So you don't need the Day of the Lord language per se. You could just have "on that day." So there is that official title, the Day of Yahweh, but there's also the more generic, just this is the day, or on that day. So watch out for that particular term as you're reading the Book of the 12. 

When you're reading the Book of the 12 and you come across the prophecies of the day, you're going to get three different time periods being talked about. Again, the Old Covenant order, the beginning of the New Covenant order, and the consummation of the New Covenant order. So you can think of, you can think of in some sense, it would be like 2 Kings 25 when Jerusalem is destroyed and the temple is destroyed and people go into exile. That's a day of the Lord. You can also think about when Jesus dies and the cross is raised again. That's the day of the Lord and his victory. And then when he comes again in his second coming, that will be the ultimate day of the Lord, where final judgment and final blessings are obtained.

I think the best way to go through the Book of the 12 is to simply go prophet by prophet and summarize its basic message and content as we have time during this lecture. So first, we'll begin with Hosea. He is the first of the minor prophets or the first of the Book of the 12.

The book of Hosea focuses on Israel's violation of the covenant with Yahweh by whoring after other gods. Okay, this reality is vividly portrayed in Hosea 1 to 3, where Hosea is commanded to marry a woman of whoredom and to have children of whoredom. So just like Yahweh joined himself in covenant to Israel and they whored after other gods, Hosea is commanded to marry a woman who also will whore after other men. The superscription in Hosea 1 places Hosea in the reigns of the Israelite monarch Jeroboam ben Joash and other Judean monarchs, but basically around 786 to 715 BC. He prophesied in the north but probably lived in the south due to the nature of his message to the north.

The structure of the book is fairly simple.In chapters 1 through 3, we see Hosea's marriage to Gomer, where Hosea marries Gomer, they have children of whoredom, and she's sent away, and then Hosea is commanded to go back and get her and bring her back into his house to return her to his wife. Then we have in Hosea 4 to 14, oracles of judgment and restoration, and you know the story now. First, Yahweh will judge, just like Hosea had to kick Gomer out, and then he'll bring back his people, just like Hosea brought back Gomer. He has three children, and those three children recall certain important theological features of the text, just like Isaiah's children did. The name Jezreel, the first son, recalls the site where Jehu overthrew the house of Omri and established his monarchy. So that kind of illicit activity in 2 Kings 9 to 10. The name of his first daughter or the name of his daughter is Lo-Ruhamah, which means no mercy, signifying that God will no longer have mercy on his whoring bride. The name of his next child, his second son, is Lo-Ami, which means not my people, signifying Yahweh's willingness to terminate his covenant relationship by divorce. So Jezreel, Lo-Ruhamah, Lo-Ami. Jezreel is the place of the destruction of a dynasty. Lo-Ruhamah means God is done with his mercy, and Lo-Ami means he's done with his people, Israel as his bride. 

The next prophet in the Book of the Twelve is Joel. Hosea, the prophet before him, indicts Israel for their whoring idolatry, and Amos, the prophet who comes after, will indict Israel for their lack of social justice. They have failed to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength, and they have failed to love their neighbors as themselves. Joel is sandwiched in the middle and he announces the end of the old covenant order and the advent of the new covenant order in a series of three days of the Lord.

The book of Joel has three main sections, each describing a different day of the Lord. Joel 1:1 to 2:17 is the day of the Lord and the end of the old covenant order, 1 Kings 25. Joel 2:18 to 32 is the day of the Lord and the beginning of the new covenant order, and at the very end of this section, that's the place where Peter quotes in Pentecost that in those days I'll part my spirit on all flesh. That's Joel in the day of the Lord. Section two, the final section of the book of Joel talks about, which is all of Joel 3, the day of the Lord and the climax of the new covenant, the full restoration of God's people. So the book of Joel is sandwiched between Hosea and Amos.

Hosea is a lack of covenant fidelity, Amos is a lack of love for neighbor, and because of that, the day of the Lord is coming. This era is ending. So that brings us to the third prophet, Amos, and he's going to call for judgment against northern Israel and its reunification with Judah under the rule of David's monarchy. It focuses on Israel's sin of social justice, and failure to love your neighbor. Amos was a sheep herder, right, and a sycamore tree farmer who lived in the Judean kind of backwoods town of Tekoa, right, located south of Jerusalem. So here we have the kind of a blue-collar prophet. Amos points repeatedly to the poverty of his people who have suffered disasters and you still have to pay tribute to the northern tribes because of their oppression by him. If you would like a key verse for the book of Amos, consider Amos 1:2, where it says "The Lord roars from Zion and utters his voice from Jerusalem. The pastures of the shepherds mourn and the top of Carmel withers because the voice of the Lord is coming in judgment to execute his lawsuit on them." So again, Hosea, lack of covenant fidelity, Joel, day of the Lord, Amos, lack of social justice, so the Lord is coming to defend his people.

Obadiah, the fourth of the Book of the Twelve, calls for the punishment of Edom, that is the descendants of Esau, and its submission to Israel at Zion on the day of Yahweh. It's got only one chapter with 21 verses. So it's a 21-verse book. And the key verse here, we can see this, is Obadiah 1, the vision of Obadiah. "Thus says the Lord concerning Edom, We have heard a report from Yahweh and a messenger has been sent among the nations. Rise up. Let us rise up against her for battle." The reason? Obadiah 10, "because of the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you and you shall be cut off forever. On that day, (this is the next verse,) He stood aloof on the day that the strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem. You were like one of them." So Esau is considered Israel's brother. Isaac had Jacob and Esau, and Esau did not come to his brother's aid during that time and therefore will be cut off. 

The next prophet, Jonah, is perhaps one of the most well-known of the 12. The prophet Jonah is commissioned by Yahweh to go to Nineveh and deliver a warning of impending doom. After trying to flee from Yahweh and his commission, he is swallowed by a fish and vomited up three days later. Then he delivers the message to Nineveh and the people of Nineveh repent and the Lord relents from destruction. He's mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25, that he is a historical figure, and the book of Jonah is a narrative with one Thanksgiving song and one prophetic oracle consisting of five Hebrew words. That is, all of the other Book of the 12 prophets, the minor prophets, are mostly prophetic speech and oracles, right? Jonah is distinctive of the group because he's just narrative. He's just a narrative with five words of prophecy. Those five words of prophecy are this, and in English, it's more than five, but in Hebrew, yet 40 days, and Nineveh will be overthrown, right? Not kind of a happy, purpose-driven, let's say, health and wealth gospel kind of thing. He's just coming to bring the heat. Yet 40 days, and Nineveh will be overthrown. And the remarkable thing is that Nineveh repents and the Lord relents. And what's interesting about that is because of that, Nineveh comes to serve and to be the instrument of Yahweh's judgment against the North.

So, Yahweh has Jonah go to Nineveh to spare them so that he can eventually judge his people in the north with them. It's daunting. That's why Jonah did not want to go. He wanted nothing to do with that kind of evil people who would assault God's people. And so the book of Jonah may serve as an indictment against Israel who has failed to be a light to the nations as Yahweh had intended to be. Jonah's reluctance shows, in some sense, Israel's reluctance to be that light to the nations that would bring hope.

The sixth prophet of the twelve is Micah. The superscription attributes the book of Micah to the Moreshite who lived in the days of the Judean kings Jotham and Hezekiah. Okay, so 742 to kind of 715. Micah's hometown is identified as Moresheth Gath, a town on the southwestern border of Judah and Philistia near the Philistine city of Gath. So it's like trouble town. Micah presupposes that Assyria and later Babylon will be Yahweh's agents of punishment against Israel and Judah before the restoration under the rule of a new Davidic monarch.

There are seven chapters. The key verse or the verse that you might know well is Micah 6:8 which says, "He has told you, oh 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. And again, that gets back to the key summary of the law to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself." And that's exactly what Hosea and Amos are indicting God's people for. They have not done that. And so Micah is that part of the prophetic lawsuit that says repent, repent, and live in this way and maybe you will avert disaster.

The seventh minor prophet is Nahum and Nahum celebrates the downfall of the oppressive Nineveh as an example of Yahweh's justice. Finally, Jonah got what he wanted all along. Three quick chapters. It shows that Yahweh is the true power of the world in this particular prophet. Jonah would have much rather delivered Nahum's prophecy than his own. Nahum 1:1 through 3 reads this way, "An oracle concerning Nineveh, the book of the vision of Nahum of Elkanosh. 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. But the Lord is slow to anger and great in power and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm and the clouds are the dust of his feet."

Now you'll recall the language here. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty comes from Exodus 34 when Moses intercedes for Israel and the Lord hides Moses in a rock, covers his hand, and shows him the back of his glory and then proclaims that sermon on his name that the Lord is a God of compassion and grace. And what's interesting in that comes in the context of his destruction of Nineveh. He will restore these people as well somehow in the gospel. 

The eighth prophet of the twelve is Habakkuk. Habakkuk reassures readers of Yahweh's justice by pointing to Yahweh's plan to punish the Babylonians for their oppression of Judah. Now, you know that it was Assyria who oppressed the north and exiled them and the Babylonians who oppressed the south and exiled them. And here Habakkuk is saying don't worry. God has seen what's happened and he will punish them as well in the sense of giving God's people hope that there might be restoration.

It consists of a series of oracles in the first two chapters followed by Habakkuk's prayer in chapter three. All right, so Habakkuk 1:1 reads, "The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw, (so it's a vision), Oh Lord, how long shall I cry for help and you will not hear or cry to your violence and you will not save seeing what's happening to his people." Then in Habakkuk 3:1, the prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. "Oh Lord, I have heard a report of you and your work. Lord, do I fear amid the years revive it, amid the years make it known, in wrath remember mercy." Reflecting on Deuteronomy 32, the broken lawsuit, where yes judgment will come but there will be restoration. 

Zephaniah is the 9th of the 12 and Zephaniah calls for a purge of Jerusalem on the day of the Lord. The superscription of the book of Zephaniah places it in the reign of King Josiah of Judah, that really good king, 640 to 609, who promoted a program of religious reform and national restoration as the Assyrian Empire declined. Again, it's three chapters. The key verse here, for judgment, Zephaniah 1:1, "The word of the Lord came to Zephaniah, the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah, the son of Ammon, king of Judah. I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth, declares the Lord." We're talking about a flood-like experience, a complete desolation of the cosmos. But, chapter 3 verse 14, Sing aloud, O daughter Zion, shout, O Israel, rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem. The Lord has taken away the judgments against you. He has cleared away your enemies. The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst. You shall never again fear evil.

So do you see the pattern over and over and over and over again? Judgment, but restoration, right? Judgment, but restoration. Here's the thing, judgment is always going to come first, and God's people are always saved, not from judgment, but through judgment. And the question is, where will you be at the end of that judgment? Will you be the one who experienced the judgment and perished, or will you be the one who made it through the judgment because of the work of Christ on your behalf, or the work of God on your behalf? 

Number 10, Haggai. Haggai calls for the restoration of the temple and the house of David under Zerubbabel. Okay, so he's one of those post-exilic prophets who's looking for the restoration of the temple and the reinstitution of the monarchy. The book of Haggai is set in the second year of the reign of Darius, the king of Persia, so 520 BC. So this is 18 years after the decree that Israel can go home. It records the prophet's call to the people of Jerusalem to support efforts to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem. Haggai is mentioned together with Zechariah in Ezra 5 and 6 as prophets who called for the building of the temple at the time of Zerubbabel who returned to Jerusalem to commence the reconstruction efforts.

So Haggai is one of those prophets along with Zechariah who were back in Israel at the restoration where they would encourage God's people to participate in this program, not because it was the ultimate restoration of the temple, but because God wanted to restore the temple in such a way that you would realize this wasn't the ultimate return. Okay, we've talked about that. And we'll see here.

Haggai 1:1. In the second year of Darius the king in the sixth month on the first day of the month the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai, the prophet to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua, the son of Jehozahach, the high priest. Verse 2, thus says the Lord of hosts, the people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord. That's the people have said it's not yet time and he's going to encourage them to do it. The programmatic verse is chapter 2, verse 9. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts, and in this place, I'll give peace, declares the Lord of hosts. And we know from the account in Ezra Nehemiah that the glory of this second temple did not come anywhere near to the glory of the Solomonic temple. Therefore, it's a type of restoration, but not the ultimate restoration. Again, remember that the old covenant economy is providing you with pictures and shadows of what is to come, not the ultimate thing of what is to come itself. 

Zechariah, the 11th prophet of the 12. Zechariah outlines the significance of the restoration of the temple as Israel, Judah, and the nations will ultimately all recognize Yahweh as king in Jerusalem. The book is set in the second and fourth years of the reign of the Persian monarch Darius, so 520 and 518 BC. The narrative setting of the book coincides roughly with the years of the building of the temple from 520 to 515, so right in that context, Haggai and Zechariah.

Chapters 1 through 6 contain seven oracular visions, so visions of the future that are coming. Chapters 7 through 8 contain two prophetic messages, and then chapters 9 through 14 contain two lengthy prophetic oracles. Zechariah 1:1 and 2 read this way, so you can kind of get the historical stamp and the message. "In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah, the son of Barakai, the son of Edo, saying, the Lord was very angry with your fathers, therefore say to them, thus declares the Lord of hosts, return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I'll return to you, says the Lord of hosts." So again, remember in the lawsuit, there's always that call to repentance and the hope of restoration, and Zechariah is functioning that way here. Zechariah also contains some of the kind of apocalyptic visions that we see in Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation.

Finally, the last prophet of the twelve is Malachi, he's well known. In our English Bible, he brings the Old Testament to the end. In the Hebrew Bible, he brings the second section, the prophets, to an end. Malachi calls for the return of the people to Yahweh and rejects the notion of divorce, which had been employed metaphorically to represent the nature of the rupture of the relationship between Yahweh and Israel at the beginning of the Book of the Twelve. So again, the Book of the Twelve in Hosea begins with a scene of divorce between Hosea and Gomer, and then it comes to a conclusion saying, the Lord hates what's going on here, and he's experiencing himself, right? The one thing we know is that in all divorces that go on, the Lord himself has experienced that same tragic reality. Malachi 1:1-2 reads this way, "An oracle, the word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi. 'I have loved you,' says the Lord. but you ask, 'How have you loved us?' Was not Esau, Jacob's brother? declares the Lord. Yet have I loved Jacob."

Finally, it's worth mentioning, and we've talked about this in one of our introductory letters, that at the end of the book of Malachi, in chapter four, verses four to six, there's this little postscript that may or may not have been written by Malachi, but it's one of those canonical scenes that glues the prophets to the writings and the prophets to the Torah, where it says this at the end of Malachi 4:4, Now what's happening here is at the end of Malachi, we're looking at two of the greatest covenant officials in the past, right? Moses and Elijah, especially in terms of their miracle-working experiences, meaning that we're still looking for that person, and it's not insignificant then that at Jesus' transfiguration, these are the two guys that show up, the two witnesses that show up to say that he is the true and better prophet. So this canonical scene kind of roots itself or anchors itself back in the law and the prophets, but it also functions in a way that we look forward to, and when Jesus shows up in the transfiguration, we can say, Aha! He is the man. He is the man. So the Book of the Twelve is a single book. It functions just like Isaiah, Jeremiah, or Ezekiel. Prosecution of the lawsuit, judgment, hope of restoration, eschatological glory, those things. That's the end of this particular lecture.

Would you talk about the formula of just saith the Lord? Oh sure, yeah. And how that looks ahead or how Jesus looks back? Right. So it's appropriate here because that question is appropriate here because of this particular set where you have Moses and Elijah who were two people who delivered this message, thus saith the Lord to Pharaoh and then to God's people.

And we talked about the fact that thus saith the Lord or thus saith the Lord God appears almost 500 times in the Old Testament, but 350 of those times are in the prophets, right? They are delivering the message. Now the fact that Jesus shows up with Moses and Elijah, we realize that he is the true and better prophet, but he never says thus saith the Lord when he speaks. He always says truly, truly I say unto you, right? He does not need a prophetic mediator for himself. He is the source. When Isaiah or Jeremiah, Ezekiel, or the 12 were saying thus saith the Lord, they were saying the word of Yahweh, right? And that word is the second person of the Trinity, right? So when Jesus comes, he no longer needs a prophetic mediator formula. He just says it's me who's talking to you here face to face.

Yeah. It reminds me back when it talks about Moses as a man whom God spoke to face to face. That same reality obtains in the New Testament again, not just with Moses, but with all of the people there. And is that one of the reasons that the Pharisees knew that he was saying he was God? It's one of the reasons I think that they thought he considered himself the Messiah. The times when they thought he was God is before Abraham was, I am, or when he forgave sins on the Sabbath, that kind of stuff.

Finally, could you go back to Habakkuk just real quickly and comment on the call to faith and how Habakkuk responds? So we're talking about a theme that prevails in wisdom literature. Why do the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper? And why do God's people who suffer and are afflicted and those around them are prospering and stuff like that. And the Lord says, have faith, right? And I think part of the answer to that comes in these apocalyptic visions that we get, where we see that even though what we see with our human eyes seems like we're losing the game, right? God kind of pulls back the curtain and says, but look, what's going on in the heavens is controlling what's going on down here.

The game's over already. Remember when Elisha is in Tel Dothan, and they're surrounded by the army and his servant is freaking out. And he says, let me show you the real deal here. And he prays to the Lord to show Gehazi what's going on. And he pulls back the curtain. He sees all the chariots of Yahweh and all the army. And so he says, have faith because our physical eyes only see one reality. And he's saying, you've got to see with the eyes of your heart, the total reality. I think that's what's going on there. And that's what can give you faith. The fact that you know that he's enthroned in the invisible realm, advocating on our behalf amid our suffering, right? Amid our suffering.

So we can have faith because his faithfulness is recorded in the Old Testament and the New Testament for us.