OT Prophetic Books
1. Why do we have the prophets?
So that we can know God, and know how to respond to God. (David Jackman)
‘Whether he is discussing the past, present or future, the prophet is seeking to
make God the most genuine reality that men can know and experience.’ (A.B.
Interpreting the Bible, p. 287)
a. Not fore-telling, but forth-telling
Their function was to declare (speak forth) God’s word, not to predict the future.
‘Prophecy is essentially a ministry of disclosure, a stripping bare. Israel’s great
prophets do not merely lift the veil of the future in order to destroy false expect-
ations; at the same time, they expose the conduct of their contemporaries. . . .
Prophets tear the masks away and show the true face of the people behind
them.’ (Hans Walter Wolff, Confrontations)
Many prophecies about the future were conditional – the outcome depended on how
the prophet’s hearers responded to his message.
b. ‘Covenant-enforcement mediators’ / covenant guard dogs
i. Warning of judgment, having identiﬁed the sin of God’s people
ii. Promising blessing, having declared God’s love for his people
2. Key themes in the prophets
a. God is the ruler of all of history and every nation
b. Humanity’s most fundamental need is to be right with God
c. Religion, politics and society must all be on a ﬁrm moral base
d. God offers us the choice of judgment or hope
e. The future kingdom of God
The prophets often had two horizons in view: their context and the future.
f. The glory of God
This is the prophets’ ultimate concern, because it is God’s ultimate concern.