Courtney Jacob

The Minor Prophets: God's Judgment and Hope

As Christians who believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, most of us would much prefer to talk about God’s love and grace over God’s wrath and judgment. It makes God feel warm and inviting rather than harsh and exacting. But the truth is God’s judgment is real and the Bible doesn’t avoid it, and neither should we. The prophets of the Old Testament frequently called God’s people to account and delivered his messages of judgment. Their prophetic messages continue to help the believers of today see God’s character, call us to repentance, and offer promises of hope and restoration. 

Join Groundwork for our series, “The Minor Prophets: God’s Judgment and Hope,” as we study nine prophetic books of the Bible from the Old Testament to uncover what they communicated to God’s people back then and to understand how they continue to shape our faith as followers of Jesus Christ today. 

Who are the “Minor Prophets”? 

Many Christians are less familiar with the prophetic books at the end of the Old Testament. Even dedicated Bible readers don’t spend a lot of time on the twelve books known as the Minor Prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. The term minor refers not to their importance but to the length of each of these books as compared to the major prophetic books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel.

Each book is named after the prophet tasked with communicating the particular message from God recorded in its pages. All of them prophesied between the 8th century BCE and the 5th century BCE. By this time, Israel had already split into two kingdoms, the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Each kingdom committed its own sins and was conquered by foreign nations, Assyria and Babylon. Many of the people were then taken to other lands to live in exile until allowed to return from exile by still later conquerors.  

Through these twelve prophets, God communicated pointed accusations against his people and harsh words of judgment. The prophets call out their sins by name and urge God’s people to repent, warning them of the consequences of God’s necessary judgment. But God never leaves his people without hope. And in each of these prophetic books, we witness glimmers of hope and promises of restoration. 

Are Old Testament prophecies relevant today?

Many biblical scholars agree that the prophecies contained in these books are fulfilled twice: first in their original context—for example, we see the early promises of restoration coming true when the Israelites are released from exile, return to their homes, and rebuild the temple—often foreshadowing their second and ultimate fulfillment through Jesus Christ. 

The Old Testament prophecies remain relevant to us today because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Studying these minor prophets reminds us of the seriousness of our sin, helps us see why God must deal with it, reveals what God means by repentance, and offers us hope of restoration. They provide evidence that we can trust God’s Word because he keeps his word. What he says he will do, he will do. And as followers of Jesus Christ who know the Gospel message, we know the ultimate hope of which these prophets spoke, of Christ Jesus. Understanding the recurring themes of judgment and hope in these prophetic messages through the lens of Jesus Christ lets these messages continue to teach and guide us as God’s people, today. 

Why doesn’t this series study all twelve Minor Prophets?

There are two main reasons we’ve limited our study to only nine of the twelve Minor Prophets in this series. First, these nine prophets share the common themes of God’s judgment and hope for restoration. Second, we’ve already produced a series studying Habbakuk and Jonah, and we’re planning a future series on Hosea (so stay tuned). 

Discover God’s Heart

Studying the Minor Prophets reveals the heart of God to us once again. We are reminded who he is, who we are, how broken our relationship with him is, and how he always provides hope and promise for restoration. I invite you to grow in your understanding of God’s character and be encouraged in your faith through our six-part Groundwork series, “The Minor Prophets: God’s Judgment and Hope”:

Together we’ll allow God to grow and deepen our relationship with him through the study of his Word. 

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