Survey of the Old Testament - Lesson 25

The Twelve

In the Hebrew Bible, these 12 minor prophets are treated as one book. Each one is a covenant lawyer that is prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the unfaithful nation of Israel and also preaching a message of hope for restoration. The Day of the Lord is the day of the king’s victory over his enemy, either to crush an enemy or to save a people.

Miles Van Pelt
Survey of the Old Testament
Lesson 25
Watching Now
The Twelve

1. Hosea

2. Joel

3. Amos

4. Obadiah

5. Jonah

6. Micah

7. Nahum

8. Habakkuk

9. Zephaniah

10. Haggai

11. Zechariah

12. Malachi

  • Dr. Miles Van Pelt is offering an opportunity to study the Old Testament and understand its overall message in more detail. The Old Testament consists of 2/3 of the Bible, and serves as a foundation for many teachings found in the New Testament. Its main purpose is to point towards Jesus who makes possible a new covenant with God's people. The structure of both Testaments follows a covenantal pattern that compels humans to make choices regarding their relationship with God, while demonstrating His patience and perseverance in doing so.
  • Knowing the purpose, structure and theological center of the Old Testament, will help you understand more accurately the character of God, and his purpose in the world and in your life. The Old Testament teaches you about Christ and describes his ministry. Colossians 3:15-16 reads, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."

  • What you decide is the theological center of the Bible will determine how you understand the Bible and apply it to your life. You can see unity in biblical authorship by the number of times the phrase, “thus says Yahweh” is used in the Old Testament.  The person and work of Jesus is the theological center of the Old Testament. The living force of the canonical word must be the incarnate word. The proper nouns used in the Bible indicate the important characters and themes.

  • Jesus claims that the Old Testament finds its ultimate meaning in him. After his resurrection, Jesus meets two disciples on the road to Emmaus and gives them a lesson in biblical interpretation. The Father and the Scriptures testify about who Jesus is. In Romans 1:3, Paul refers to the Gospel being revealed through his prophets, in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son. Every book in the Bible teaches about Christ so every sermon should teach about Christ. Hebrews 11 refers to the great cloud of witnesses.

  • The Kingdom of God is the over-arching theme of the whole Bible. God governs his kingdom by his covenants. The covenant of grace is in effect throughout the Bible and has different administrations.

  • The form that our Bibles come to us in is meaningful for interpretation. The Hebrew Bible has a different order of the books than the English Bible.  

  • The order of books in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible is different because the criteria for determining the order is different. The order of the books in the Hebrew Bible reflect an emphasis on covenant, and also teaching important concepts then giving a practical example to illustrate how to put it into practice.

  • The three divisions in the Old Testament are the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. Genesis and Revelation are the introduction and conclusion to the Bible and have parallel themes. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are the four covenant books that record the birth and death of the covenant mediator and contain his life and teachings. The former prophets record the history of Israel. The latter prophets call people to repent and return to God.

  • Your presuppositions about whether or not the authors who wrote the books of the Bible were inspired by God will influence your position the authorship of the Pentateuch. The traditional view is that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament at about 1200 to 1400 B.C. The documentary hypothesis claims that there were four or more separate authors that wrote beginning in about 900 B.C.

  • Genesis is the covenant prologue and is both protological and eschatological. It is the most covenantal book in the Bible. One way to outline the book is into twelve parts, each beginning with the phrase, “these are the generations.” Creation is described using a theological order.

  • Chapter 2 is a detailed description of the sixth day of creation, culminating in the creation of woman. Chapter 3 describes the Fall and the consequences. Hebrew homonyms link the passages and intensify the descriptions.

  • Noah functions as a prophetic covenant mediator. God promises a remnant in his covenant with Noah and also renews the covenant of common grace. God continues his redemptive covenant with Abraham and his descendants. The book of Genesis ends with the narrative of Joseph.

  • This is the beginning of the formal documents of the covenant of God with the people of Israel. It begins with the birth of Moses and ends with the people of Israel coming out of Egypt.

  • Leviticus is primarily instructions to promote the holiness of God’s people. It provides a system that allows for a holy God to live among an unholy people. In the sacrificial system, there are 5 kinds of offerings. Jesus is the fulfillment of the observance of the Day of Atonement.

  • The book of Numbers is a record of the events of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The purpose is to contrast the faithfulness of God with the faithlessness of the Israelites. The time in the wilderness was a period of testing for the people of Israel.

  • This is a renewal of the Mosaic covenant in preparation for entering the Promised Land. It’s an encouragement to keep the Law and a reminder of blessings for obedience and cursings for disobedience. Deuteronomy points us to Jesus who ultimately fulfills the Law.

  • Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings describe the nature and purpose of the Sinai Covenant and the historical events of the occupation of the land. God know that the people of Israel would fail to obey the Mosaic Covenant, so he had planned from the beginning to establish the New Covenant when the time was right.

  • Joshua was the successor to Moses. The book of Joshua focuses on the Promised Land. The people of Israel enter the land, conquer the land, divide the land between the tribes and then renew their covenant with God. Holy war and covenant obedience are important themes.

  • Judges has two introductions, two conclusions, six major judges, six minor judges and one anti-judge. It can be described as the, “uncreation” of Israel. Their purpose was to judge the nations and to deliver the people of Israel from their oppressors.

  • The book of Samuel provides the answer to the crisis of kingship. Samuel, as the last judge and first prophet, anoints Saul as king. The people of Israel reject Yahweh as king. Saul is anointed by Samuel and serves as king but is later rejected because of disobedience. David is anointed king because God acts according to his own will. Solomon begins well and ends badly.

  • The book of Kings is the story of the monarchy in the nation of Israel. It begins with the united monarchy under Solomon, then after his death, is divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. We can learn about God’s character and the importance of living in a covenant relationship with God.  

  • The Latter Prophets are covenant lawyers. They are executing the lawsuit of God against Israel for unfaithfulness to the covenant. Prophets use both oracular prophecies and sign acts to communicate their message.

  • Isaiah is sometimes described as the, “fifth gospel” because it is quoted so much in the New Testament. The themes in Isaiah are both timely for his generation and also point to their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and the end of time.

  • Jeremiah’s call was to tell the people of Judah why they were going into exile and also to give them hope for future restoration. The book contains oracles, accounts of visions and symbolic actions, prophetic laments and historical narratives.

  • One key to understanding Ezekiel is the glory of God in the temple. The book begins with God appearing to Ezekiel, then God leaves the temple and, in the end, God returns. Ezekiel’s oracles and signs illustrate each of these.

  • In the Hebrew Bible, these 12 minor prophets are treated as one book. Each one is a covenant lawyer that is prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the unfaithful nation of Israel and also preaching a message of hope for restoration. The Day of the Lord is the day of the king’s victory over his enemy, either to crush an enemy or to save a people.

  • These books are about how you think and live in light of the covenant. The genres include narrative, poetry and prophecy. The Hebrew Bible order emphasizes teaching then example.

  • Covenant life is a life of worship. The book divisions in the manuscripts were purposefully arranged so the book as a whole has a meaningful narrative. It emphasized the kingship of Yahweh, the Davidic line and the temple. You can use specific patterns of construction for understanding lament, thanksgiving and hymns of praise psalms. You can also use the same patterns to help you respond to God and worship him.

  • Job deals with the issue of human tragedy and suffering. Job never knows what happened in heaven that resulted in his suffering. His three friends made correct theological arguments but they were misapplied. Job speaks about suffering and hope. God challenges Job at the end of the book, and also restores his possessions and children.

  • Solomon created a collection of practical wisdom sayings. Some were for instructing children, some for instructing kings, but they all are applicable to help everyone live in the light of the covenant of grace in the context of common grace.

  • Ruth follows Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible. Even though she is from Moab, she lives in Israel with her widowed Israelite mother-in-law to take care of her. She marries Boaz and is included in the genealogy of David and Jesus.

  • Marriage should be both rock solid in terms of covenant commitment and white hot in terms of sexual intimacy. If it is both, you can better resist temptation, endure hardship and promote wholeness.   

  • The message of Ecclesiastes is that true knowledge, wisdom and meaning in life begins with the fear of the Lord. The author of Ecclesiastes, likely Solomon, tests this conclusion and is unsuccessful in finding ultimate meaning in activities, “under the sun,” like wealth, relationships, power, projects, etc.

  • Lamentations is a collection of funeral dirges lamenting the fall and exile of Jerusalem. The elegant structure of the book is a contrast to the chaos and destruction of the events that are taking place. Each poem gives you a different perspective on God’s character and his covenant faithfulness.

  • Esther is a story of living a life of faith in exile. It Bringing “shalom” into a hostile environment sometimes even requires risking your life. The festival of Purim commemorates God saving his people and is still celebrated today.

  • Daniel and Esther are examples of living a life of faith while in exile. Daniel was different than the writing prophets because he is not primarily a covenant lawyer prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the people of Israel. The first six chapters are biographical stories highlighting God’s power to save and his sovereignty over the nations. The second six chapters are visions of the future.

  • The book of Ezra-Nehemiah records the last events, chronologically, in the Old Testament. Ezra returned from exile with authorization to teach the Law of the Jews and institute the sacrificial system. Nehemiah returned to rebuild Jerusalem. They fail in their human attempt to rebuild heaven on earth, which encourages you to look forward to the city built by God.

  • The return from exile is not the greater one prophesied by the prophets. We still look forward to the return from exile with them in the resurrection. Chronicles traces the seed that was promised and gives an account of the return from exile.

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give you an overall view of the Old Testament then discuss specifics about each of the books. 

For instance, you might ask, "What kind of book is the Old Testament?" The OT is a single story told three times over: once in Genesis, once in Exodus through Nehemiah, and once again in Chronicles (just like day 6 in Genesis 1–2). The OT loves to repeat itself, repeat itself, repeat itself. This is how it teaches us. The Old Testament is about 2/3 of the Bible and is the basis for everything you read in the New Testament. The better you understand the Old Testament, the clearer you will understand the message of the Bible. 

What is the Message of the Old Testament? The Old Testament points to the New Covenant. The teachings, prophecies and examples of covenant life point to Jesus who makes the New Covenant possible and inaugurates it. There are also examples in the Old Testament of how human efforts to create heaven on earth fall short, so that we will anticipate and yearn for our ultimate deliverance from exile.

What is the Structure of the Old Testament? The structure of the Old Testament, and the Bible as a whole, is covenantal. God offers to live in the covenant of grace with him and compels them to make that choice. The administrations of the covenant with Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus demonstrate God's patience and perseverance to include as many as are willing.


Recommended Books

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give...

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Dr. Miles Van Pelt

Survey of the Old Testament


The Twelve

We're going to have a lecture now on the so-called Book of the 12. I have good news for you, we're not going to have a 30-minute lecture on each of the minor prophets. The reason for that is the minor prophets in Hebrew, in the Hebrew Testament are considered one book and we know that for a couple of reasons. There's three reasons we know that. Number one, they're always on the same scroll.

Number two, when the scribes copy books back in the day, at the end of each book, they would put down something called the Masorah finalis. Let's say at the end of Genesis, they're going to tell you how many words are in Genesis and what's the middle word. How many letters are in Genesis and what's the middle letter. They mark those with the big font. They write the font bigger, so you can go back and see it.

That's how you note the book. Then even in the end of the Pentateuch, there'll be how many words are in the whole Pentateuch. They even have sections of things, how many verses and letters. For the 12 minor prophets, it's always on one scroll and there's only one of those things at the end. This is the middle verse of the minor prophets. This is the middle word of the minor prophets, this is the middle letter.

Also, when they copied manuscripts between books, they would always put four lines. Like when you double space or triple space. So between books, they would always quadruple space. But in the manuscripts for the prophets there are only three lines between each of the prophets. They're always considered one book. But we like to take them apart a little bit. What's nice about that is when you roll up the minor prophets together, they function very much like chapters in the major prophets.

Some are shorter, some are longer. We're going to treat them together, but I'm going to give you just a basic rundown of each prophet, what it's doing, keywords, and then we'll be done. You can see what I put up here is the prophets. They're roughly in chronological order, but not necessarily chronological order. Again in the Old Testament they're not necessarily interested in chronology, but theology. We can talk about it.

Some of these prophets are what are called pre-exilic prophets. So the earlier ones like Hosea, Amos, and Nahum are pre-exilic prophets. Any of the prophets after 722, 586 for the north or south, would be exilic prophets. Then there are prophets who are down here after the exile. So Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi are post exilic prophets. It's oftentimes one of the ways which you'll hear these referred to as pre-exilic, exilic,  and post exilic prophets.

But that's just with reference to their timing in chronology. They're mostly concerned about executing the covenant lawsuit, the return, the restoration, and the remnant. When you get down here with Haggai, Zachariah, and Malachi, the lawsuit's already been executed. It's over and now they're back and they're trying to figure out how do we live in this place where we don't have a king. We don't have a new temple, all that kind of business. It's important to know where they are for that reason.

I. Hosea (03:14):

It will impact their emphasis. These earlier guys are going to be saying, repent, repent, repent, because judgment is coming. These guys are going to be more like, how do we reveal this thing? That's what it is. That's what we're looking at. We're going to begin with Hosea. Here's what the book of Hosea does. The book of Hosea focuses on Israel's violation of the covenant with the Lord by whoring after other gods.

This reality is vividly portrayed in Hosea one to three, where Hosea is commanded to marry a woman of whoredom and to have children of whoredom. Again, it's rough to be a prophet. The super subscription in Hosea 1:1 places Hosea in the reins of the Israelite Monarch known as Jeroboam son of Jehoash and the Judean monarchs, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. He prophesied in the north, but he perhaps fled to the south later because he was getting so much persecution.

A. Structure of Hosea (04:00):

So he was a Northern prophet. He was almost one of the earlier prophets. See, he, Hosea, and Amos were really early. Some of the first two. Ready for the structure of Hosea? One to three, Hosea's marriage to Gomer, which pictures the relationship between Israel and Yahweh as one whoredom. Then chapters four to 14, Oracles of judgment and restoration. Just like you'd expect. Then we're entered into judgment, but don't worry we're going to restore you. He has three children.

B. Children (04:28):

The name of the first son is Jezreel. It recalls the site where Jehu overthrew the house of Omri and establishes his own dynasty. So the Lord's coming back to get him. The next name of his daughter is Lo-ruhamah and it means no mercy. It is signifying Yahweh's lack of mercy for His whoring bride. The name of his second son is Lo-ammi. You want to know what that means? Not my people. Lo is no. Am is people, mi. Lo-ammi, not my people, meaning.

C. Covenant Formula (05:00):

The covenant formula is, I'll be your God. You'll be my people. I'll dwell in your midst. Now your name is, not my people. So it's reversing that. All right, that's all I'm going to say about Hosea. If you read the first three chapters, you'll know the rest of the message of Hosea. Hosea has to marry this woman, have kids. She goes and whores after her lovers. Then Hosea has to go get her and bring her back. It's a picture of judgment, exile, return. It is right there in living color.

II. Joel (05:32):

What do we know about the book of Joel? Hosea indicts Israel for their whoring and adultery after the Lord. Amos indicts Israel for their lack of social justice. We're going to get to that in a second, Amos. So this is, you have failed to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is, you failed to love your neighbor as yourself. That's how the 10 commandments are set up.

A. Theme  (05:54):

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, first ones. Last ones, love your neighbor as yourself. Joel then, is coming and bringing the heat for the violation of those two parts of the law. His big theme is, the day of the Lord. We don't know when Joel prophesied, the day of the Lord. The book of Joel has three main sections. They're all surrounding the whole theme of the day of the Lord. Let me give you the first section.

B. Sections of Joel  (06:19):

Joel 1:1 to 2:17.  Joel 1:1 to 2:17 covers this, the day of the Lord and the end of the old covenant order. The next section is Joel 2:18 to 32. Joel 2:18 to 32. This is the day of the Lord and the beginning of the new covenant. Now it doesn't say new covenant in there, but I'm going to prove it to you. Watch this. Here's the prophecy at the end, this is 28.

“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughter shall prophesy. Your old men shall see dreams and your young men shall see visions. Even upon the male and female servants in those days, I'll pour out My Spirit”. Does anyone know where that's quoted in the New Testament? Acts chapter two. Peters opening line. He's quoting all 2:28 to 32.

He's quoting that whole thing saying, and it's here. That's the beginning of his Pentecostal sermon. That's the beginning of the new covenant order after Jesus' death, resurrection, and ascension. He says, "I'm going to send my spirit and the new covenant order's going to begin." Wham, it happens right here. Then the last one, Joel, chapter three, 3:1-21. This is the day of the Lord and the climax of the new covenant. That is the second coming. So that's really cool in the book of Joel.

III. Amos (07:46):

That you get the rest of redemptive history played out. The old order's going to end and the new order's going to come in two phases. One where the spirit’s poured out and then one where the Lord returns and marches triumphly in victory. We're onto Amos. Amos calls for judgment against Northern Israel and its reunification with Judah under the restored Davidic monarchy. It focuses on Israel's sin of social injustice, failure to love your neighbor. So Amos, he's in the north.

A. No Good Kings  (08:18):

No good Kings there. He's saying, "You're treating everyone like crud. There's extortion, harm, hurt, and we need to reunify with Judah." Of course, that does not go over very well. That's why they're trying to kill him all the time. Amos was a shepherd or a sheep herder and he tended Sycamore trees. He was a farmer. He lived in the Judean town of Tekoa, south of Jerusalem in the Judean wilderness, looking over the Red Sea.

B. Poverty (08:47):

Amos points to the poverty of his people who have suffered disasters and yet still have to pay tribute to the north. But Israel was an Assyrian ally during this period and would have been forced to pay tribute to Assyria. So there's all these kind of problems going on. The key verse here is Amos 1:2. Where it says, “the Lord roars from Zion and enters His voice from Jerusalem and the pastors of the shepherds mourn and the top of Carmel withers”.

IV. Obadiah (09:14):

Meaning, it's not Amos who's coming to judgment, but it's the Lord who is coming in judgment and therefore they need to listen, because of this social injustice. Obadiah, it's a nice little book. It's 21 verses long. When you do Obadiah, it's not like Obadiah 1:1, it's just Obadiah three. Obadiah four. It's like Jude. It's the Old Testament, Jude. Obadiah calls for the punishment of Edom, the descendants of Esau, and its submission to Israel at Zion on the day of Yahweh.

A. Obadiah as an Oracle (09:48):

Meaning this, Obadiah is an Oracle against Edom. Edom are the descendants of Esau. Of course, the Edomites mistreated them, when they came across the land. That's what they're looking back at. They did not help their brothers in their getting out of the land, so that's what it is. Obadiah calls for the punishment of Edom and submission to Israel at Zion on the day of the Lord. Here's the message. Here's Obadiah one. Ready? The vision of Obadiah, thus says the Lord God concerning Edom.

“We have heard a report from the Lord and a messenger has been sent among the nations. Rise up, let us rise up against her for battle”. So it's a battle. That's a battle Oracle. Here's the reason, verse 10, “Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you and you shall be cut off forever. On that day when you stood aloof, on that day that strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them.

V. Jonah (10:47):

So you plundered them”. So again, here we have look, in terms of how all these minor prophets are working judgment against Israel, judgment and restoration of Israel. Now we get to the Oracles against foreign nations. Edom, Nineveh, see how that's working? They make sense. Jonah is the next one. Jonah, probably among us in this room, it's probably the best known of the minor prophets because it's not prophetic Oracle's that are hard to memorize.

A. Narrative (11:18):

It's a narrative, an account story. We all know in chapter one, God calls Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach to them, to repent. Jonah decides it's time to go fishing, which is the opposite way of Nineveh, the ocean. The Lord causes him to get swallowed by a great fish. He barfs him up on the ground. Jonah says, "I guess I have to do it." Then he goes to Nineveh, preaches to Nineveh four words in Hebrew. They repent and Jonah's very mad. So here we go. What it is.

B. The Thanksgiving Psalm (11:51):

The book of Jonah is a narrative with one thanksgiving psalm in it. Chapter two, verses one to nine is a thanksgiving psalm. It's a song you sing once you get out of trouble and the trouble was, I was in a whale or a fish. It doesn't say whale by the way, just says a big fish. The Hebrew word for fish is this, dog. So that's it. So he was in a big dog. There's that thanksgiving psalm in there. Then at the end of that thanksgiving psalm, in verse nine, is the theme of the book.

C. Theme (12:22):

Salvation belongs to Yahweh. Salvation belongs to Yahweh. Yeshu’ati in Hebrew. Nineveh, why was he so upset about this? Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria. Look when he's preaching right here. Jonah, it says 700. Jonah's in 700 and Nineveh is the capital city. They're going to be defeated by Babylon. Nineveh is the one who destroyed the north, so they don't like him. What Jonah has to do is go preach to the people who killed his brothers, to repent.

D. Yahweh’s Sovereignty (13:00):

That's what's going on here. That's the tragedy of it all. They do repent, so that the Babylonians can come and wipe them out and then destroy the south. In some sense, Yahweh is playing with the nations to accomplish His will. He knows that Nineveh is not ready to be sacked yet, until the Babylonians are ready to defeat them so that they can defeat the south for Him. One of the things we see in here is Yahweh's sovereignty over the nations.

His idea to preserve Nineveh for a little while is only temporary until their judgment should be fulfilled and then the Babylonians come and do their job as well. It's a very great thing. The book of Jonah also though, serves as an indictment against Israel who failed to be a light to the nations. Jonah should have loved going to them and saying Yahweh is the God. Yahweh is king. Repent and follow Him. But he didn't want them to experience that.

VI. Micah (13:50):

Jonah is, the evidence in Yahweh's literary documents, that Israel had failed to be a light to the nations that they were supposed to be. They'd rather see the nation's perish. Micah, the superscription attributes the book of Micah to Micah, the Moreshite, who lived in the days of the Judean kings, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. You can see the date up there. Micah's hometown is Moresheth-Gath, a town on the Southwestern border of Judah and Philistia, near the city of Gath. Who's from Gath? Goliath. Yeah. Micah proclaims that Assyria and later Babylon will be Yahweh's agents of punishments against Israel and Judah prior to the restoration, under the rule of the Davidic monarch. It's seven chapters. It's key verse is, “He has told you, oh man, what is good and what does the Lord require of you. But to do-


And to love-


And to walk-


See you guys already know the key verse of Micah. You should teach this course. That's Micah. Micah prophesied during the day of Isaiah and some of them share prophecies. It could be, they were sharing notes, but it also could be, they were both standing in the council of Yahweh together and they were both probably given similar messages to deliver. Isaiah just had a bigger job to do. Micah didn't have as much to do there.

VII. Nahum (15:12):

Now we're at Nahum down here. Look, here's Nineveh again, Nahum right here. This is going to be less positive for Jonah. Jonah was preaching repentance to them, but Nahum is going to be an Oracle of a foreign nation against Nineveh. Nahum celebrates the downfall of the oppressive Nineveh as an example of Yahweh's justice, because they had been the instrument of God's wrath to destroy the north. Then the Lord destroys them and so Nahum is saying, "God was just in that destruction."

A. Nations Roles in the Prophets (15:44):

Remember the nations have three roles in the prophets. They are the instruments of God's wrath, the objects of His justice or judgment, and then also the recipients of His grace at the end. I don't know if I mentioned it here, but if you want a great picture of that, you need to go to Isaiah 19. Isaiah 19, where the Lord adopts Babylon and Egypt and makes them first and second born and Israel's the third born.

B. The Vision (16:08):

So don't always think that it's doom and gloom for the nations. Otherwise, most of us would not be here right now. So Nahum celebrates the downfall of Nineveh as an example of Yahweh's justice. Finally, Jonah got what he wanted all along. I think Jonah wanted to be Nahum and he wanted Nahum to be Jonah. So I think that he's jealous of that. Here is the opening line here. An Oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh. The Lord is a jealous and avenging God.

“The Lord is avenging and wrathful. The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries and He keeps wrath for His enemies. 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 storm and the clouds are the dust of His feet”. That's a great image. Now, a lot of that language right there, comes from the revelation of the divine name back in Exodus 33, where the Lord appears on the rock with Moses and says, "Yahweh, Yahweh.

VIII. Habakkuk (17:09):

God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. But by no means acquitting the guilty." He's preaching a little sermon on the name of Yahweh and saying, "Yahweh is acting exactly in accordance with His nature that He's revealed from the beginning." Next is Habakkuk. Habakkuk reassures his readers of Yahweh's justice by pointing to Yahweh's plans to punish the Babylonians for their oppression of Judah.

Here we've got Nineveh, the first destroyer of the north, and here Babylon the second destroyer of the south. Again, it says in Amos, the Lord does not do anything before telling it to His prophets. Then His prophets proclaim it and He does it and His prophets explain it. That's how the Lord works. It's how we know there's no other God like Him. None of the idols can do that. None of the idols can say, I'm going to do this. Then do it. Then tell you he did it.

A. Oracles (18:00):

It consists of a series of Oracles in the first two chapters followed by Habakkuk's prayer in chapter three, that Yahweh would take action. Oracle of judgment, Oracle of judgment, please help and take action. Here's Habakkuk 1:1. The Oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw, “oh Lord, how long shall I cry for help? You will not hear or cry you violence and you will not save”. In 3:3, that's the Oracle of one.

B. Judgement, Wrath, Mercy (18:23):

Then in 3:1, you hear a prayer of Habakkuk the prophet according to the shigionoth, which some kind of musical thing. “Oh Lord, I have heard the report of you and your work, oh Lord. Do I not fear? In the midst of the years, revive it. In the midst of the years, make it known. In wrath, remember mercy”. See, that's the key right there. That whole thing about judgment and wrath and mercy. That one has to happen first and then the second one happens. We're tracking on.

IX. Zephaniah (18:49):

Zephaniah, minor prophet number nine. Zephaniah calls for a purge of Jerusalem on the day of the Lord. Zephaniah is also calling for the day of the Lord. What is the day of the Lord? I guess I should mention that. We sing it. “This is the day. This is the day the Lord has made”. Usually people don't sing it because that means judgment's coming. We don't think of it that way. We think of it more like, day of the Lord, party time. But nations didn't want that.

A. Day of the Lord (19:11):

So the day of the Lord, let's put it this way. When Yahweh defeated Egypt at the Red Sea, it was the day of the Lord. When Yahweh entered into judgment at the flood, it was the day of the Lord. The day of the Lord is the day of the King's victory over his enemy. That can be either to crush an enemy or to save a people. So this is both positive and negative thing. That's what the day of the Lord's language is like. I probably should have backed up on that since it's so much in here.

B. Purge of Jerusalem (19:37):

There are a lot of things in here, but we can talk about that since it's prevalent. So Zephaniah, he's calling for a purge of Jerusalem on the day of the Lord. It's three chapters long. It's interesting, a lot of these minor prophets are just three chapters long. The superscription for the book of Zephaniah places it in the reign of Josiah king of Judah, who was the very good king. He found the book of the law of the Lord and repented, and tried to institute reforms.

C. Judgement (20:03):

He promoted a program of religious reform and national restoration of Judah as the Assyrian empire declined. Zephaniah is about judgment. Zephaniah 1:1, we can hear it here. “The word of the Lord that 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 Amon, King of Judah”. It says this, "I will surely or utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth", declares the Lord.

D. Restoration (20:29):

So it's not just Israelite, it's pan global. But then there's also restoration in chapters four. What you can always think of, is when you get to the prophets and you're reading the prophets and you finally get to total decimation, then just get ready to turn the page. Don't stop. You got to have one more devotional minute and get to the next page to at least finish with some hope. Where it says this in chapter three, this is 3:14, “sing aloud oh daughter Zion”.

What? I thought she was wiped out. “Shout oh, Israel”. What? They're wiped out. “Rejoice and exalt with all your heart oh daughter Jerusalem. The Lord has taken away the judgements against you. He has cleared away your enemies. The king of Israel, Yahweh is in your midst. You shall never again fear evil”. It is tough. I guess you are all interns at a church? Staff? Okay, staff at a church. Great. So you're probably teaching, leading.

You always got to be careful when you're working through this material. If you are in the early judgment sections, that you always end with, there's hope at the end. You can't just be the doom and gloom person to say, America's going to hell in a hand basket. Amen. You got to say, there's hope. There's hope and there's more to it. It's very much like if you're working through Paul's epistles and you're in the end and there's all these commands.

I felt like, no, I thought we were in the new covenant. You guys have got to say, remember, we're doing this because Christ is in us and we've got the hope of glory. So you always have to work backwards in the epistles, because otherwise you can miss it. So they used to read those letters all at once and we take two years to preach through Romans. You can get lost in the sauce back there.

X. Haggai (22:08):

So it's important to have that balance when you're working through these, to be wise as you instruct with these. That if you're in the heavy sections, you bring all that heaviness, but then you just don't leave it there. You can go to the end and say, but don't worry. Hope is coming. Haggai, minor profit number 10. Haggai calls for the restoration of the temple and the house of David under Zerubbabel, two chapters. So Haggai, now we're into the post exilic prophets.

A. Restoration of the Temple and the House of David (22:35):

Cyrus makes a decree in 538 BC that Israel can go home and they all start going home. Not all of them, some of them stayed. But a lot of them start going home and they're going to be trying to rebuild the temple and Jerusalem, the walls, the gates, and the foundations. That's what they're working on down here is that. Haggai is calling for the restoration of the temple and the house of David. They've been slacking in their duties to rebuild the temple.

The book of Haggai is set in the second year of the reign of Darius of Persia. It records the prophet's call for the people Jerusalem to support efforts for building the temple. We're going to see it in Ezra, and Nehemiah later. Haggai is mentioned together with Zachariah in Ezra 5:1 and 6:14 as a prophet who called for the building of the temple at that time. This is opening verse and I'll give you a key verse.

“In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of Lord came by the hand of Haggai, the prophet to Zerubbabel”. That was the king. “The son of Shealtiel, the governor of Judah and to Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Thus says Lord of hosts, these people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord”. That's what they're saying. But then he goes on to say it. Here's Haggai 2:9. This is the programmatic verse.

"The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former glory", says the Lord of hosts. "In this place, I'll give peace", declares the Lord of hosts. So Haggai's prophesying here that he wants these people to start building the house because the latter glory's going to supersede the former glory. Now what's the former glory? That's the Solomonic temple where Israel had rest from their enemies. They had an amazing temple.

It would cost probably hundreds of millions of dollars to build it today with the workforce they had. Maybe billions of dollars. Prosperity in the land. The question is, that he's getting at in here is, did that second temple outstrip Solomon's temple? No. Was Jerusalem more big and prosperous in the second templary area than the first templary? No. He's going to say, look on this temple later in Haggai and say, is this not a shame? These foundations.

XI. Zechariah  (24:41):

So the whole point there is that the return from exile that they're experiencing is not the true return from exile. That there's a greater one they should expect. That's what Haggai's role is. In Zechariah, he outlines the significance of the restoration of the temple as Israel, Judah, and the nations will ultimately recognize Yahweh at the Jerusalem temple. Zechariah is setting up the scene. The temple that comes, is going to be the temple that Israel, Judah, and all the nations stream to, to recognize Yahweh as King.

A. Narrative Setting (25:10):

The narrative setting of the book coincides roughly with the years of the building of the temple. Here's the scene right here. In chapters one through six, it contains seven visions. The vision of Zechariah. The visions are really tough. They're like apocalyptic visions. Zechariah is seeing visions of a restored heaven and earth. A restored temple, in the midst of them rebuilding the temple.

What he's about to see is that, well, what I'm seeing in my head does not match what I see with my eyes out here. Then in seven and eight, there are two prophetic messages. Then in nine through 14, two lengthy Oracles. One of the key verses is the second verse in it. Zechariah 1:2, where it says, “the Lord was very angry with your fathers”. Now verse three, therefore say to them, "Thus declares the Lord of host, return to me", says the Lord of host "and I'll return to you", says the Lord of hosts.

XII. Malachi (26:06):

So the necessity of repentance for experiencing the benefits of that temple complex. Finally, we have Malachi. Malachi calls for the return of the people to Yahweh and he rejects the notion of divorce. It  had been employed metaphorically to represent the rupture of the relationship between Yahweh and Israel at the beginning of the book. Here's what that means. Hosea begins with this whole concept of adultery and divorce and Malachi ends with this whole thing of adultery and divorce.

A. Divorce (26:41):

It's framing the corpus of the Book of the 12. The reason divorce is so important, is because marriage is a one flesh covenant between a man and a woman. What Israel had with the Lord is also a covenant. That's why the Lord says those things like, “you're whoring after”, or “you're an adulterous”. It's because Israel's acting like an unfaithful wife while the Lord acts as a faithful husband.

B. Oracles (27:06):

If you've ever experienced divorce and you don't think the Lord understands, He does. He's a divorced man. This book contains six Oracles that consists of 10 questions. Each Oracle begins with a new question. That's a really easy way to think of it. It's four chapters long. Here's the first verse. The Oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi, verse two. "I have loved you", says the Lord. "But you say, how have you loved us?" Get the question?

"Is not Esau's brother, Jacob?" Declares the Lord. "Yet, I have loved Jacob, but hated Esau." That's the question. Here's the one where divorce comes in and this is going to be important for our discussion of Song of Songs. Malachi 2:13, “and this second thing you do, you cover the Lord's alter with tears, with weeping and groaning because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand.

But you say, why does he not?” The Lord says, "Because the Lord was witnessed between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless. Though she is your companion, the wife of your covenant, has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit, they are his." So notice that one flesh of Genesis chapter two is not just a one flesh thing, but one spirit thing is as well. Why one? It is because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit.

Do not break faith with a wife of your youth. "For the man who does not love his wife, but divorces her", says the Lord God of Israel, "covers his garment with violence", says the Lord God of Hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit and do not be faithless. The Lord has a very high view of marriage, perhaps higher than we do today in our culture. Also, just by way of note, Malachi ends with a postscript.

That is not original to Malachi's prophecy, but it's a canonical seam, that we talked about. Where it says, "Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, unless I come and strike you with a decree of utter destruction."

So that causes you to look for Moses and to look for Elijah in the future. Of course, we've talked about this before. But at Jesus' transfiguration, Moses and Elijah, the two that show up. Referring right back to this text, that Jesus is the true prophet that these guys were looking for. That is the 12 minor prophets in 32 minutes. It's got to be a world record. I'd like us to check with Guinness on that. Very good. Any questions?

XIV. Questions and Conclusion (29:42):

Today, if some Christian were to name their kid, “God has forgotten me”, or something similar they would be publicly shunned, thrown up on Twitter and Instagram and condemned. But when we look at it back here, I'm trying to think of what's the context? What was God doing? You know He is working with grace and mercy.

He was bringing judgment.

This is judgment and that is okay. This girl or this nation's a picture of that.

There are times in which God suspends, common grace. He says, “I'm done entering into judgment”. That's why someone like Rahab can be commended for her lie. It is because God has suspended common grace for the people of Jericho and they no longer deserve to be spoken the truth to. Does that make sense? The ethic was off. Yeah, I'm not going to name my kid butt head or something like that.

That would be mean. But he was commanded. They were also commanded to walk around naked. They were commanded to have his wife drop dead. Those were signs of judgment and they were extreme signs of judgment in order to provoke repentance. This is no joke. To have a kid named “not my people”, especially in the middle Eastern culture, is rough. He probably got a nickname early on. Think about Isaiah's son, Maher-shalal-hash-baz. Quick as the booty, swift is the prey. That's a rough one too. His name was judgment's coming. Hard stuff in the Bible. Not everything is butterflies and rainbows in the Bible.

No, thank you for addressing this.

Yeah. We've messed it up and so God's serious about fixing it. But I don't know if I've said this today, but I've said it before this week, it just all runs together. Salvation never comes by escaping judgment, it always comes through judgment. When we're united with Christ, we come through that judgment safely. If we're not, we're in Adam, we bite the dust. Judgment is necessary for salvation.

That's why you can see in the prophets, judgment is necessary in order to get the new stuff. You got to wipe out the old to get the new. You just can't say, we'll just let it slide. God is both just and merciful. In order to be merciful first, He's got to be just. What you need then, is resurrection. Then our baptism is the symbol of that. We're buried with Christ and we're raised from the dead. So we have that resurrection experience. Then we have the approbation. The only way you're going to get into heaven is when you get to the door and says, well done, this is my beloved son or daughter in whom I'm well pleased. The only way we're going to get that, Christ got that as baptism. The only way we're going to get that is, if we're united to Him, we pass through that judgment with Him, then we get His designation as well.