The Prophetic Books are based on the preaching of prophetic figures whose primary role was to deliver the word of the LORD to the covenant people during the rise and fall of the kings (from the 9th century to the 5th century B.C.), proclaiming warnings and judgments for unfaithfulness, and promises of blessing for faithfulness—not only for God’s covenant people, but in regard to the nations as well.
We call this preaching ‘prophecy’ (the noun is spelled with a ‘c’; the verb with an ‘s’). But there is much more to prophesying than predicting the future. In its essence, a prophecy is a message from the invisible God spoken by a visible message-bearer, which may or may not have anything to do with the future. Especially in cases where prophets are sent to bring God’s words to God’s people, the message frequently has more to do with correcting misunderstandings and wayward behavior in the present—often because God’s people have misremembered something from the past—than with predicting the future.
As such, the Prophets represent a section in our Bibles fundamentally preoccupied with the formation—and re-formation—of God’s people. And that’s something all of us need ongoingly, so let’s read and study the Prophets together!
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