September 16, 2018


BEFORE we begin, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, take a moment to name your sins to God The Father. This will allow you to be filled with the power of The Holy Spirit as you read this booklet (EPH 5:18 & 1JO 1:9). IF YOU HAVE never believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have that opportunity right now. Simply tell God The Father that you are believing on His Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you make that decision, you are now a believer and will always be a child of God! When you die, you will spend eternity with Him forever in heaven! (JOH 3:16 & ACT 16:31).


As we learned last week, the fourth classification of books in the Old Testament contains The Books of Prophecy. A prophecy is a prediction or warning of future events. These prophetic books begin at Isaiah and end with Malachi. Some of the writers or prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel) are known as the “Major Prophets” and the rest are sometimes called the “Minor Prophets.” The words major and minor distinguish the length of the books between the longer and shorter ones.


The prophets communicated messages from God to mankind. What the prophecies are about varies. Almost without exception, they have to do with the Jewish people. Sometimes, they specifically refer to Judah and sometimes to Israel, but most often to the nation as a whole and her relationships with the Gentile nations. Knowing the context of The Bible, along with Bible history, are the keys to understanding the prophecies. An important thing to note is that some of the prophetic writings were going to take place in the future when they were written. These prophecies are now history, while others have not happened yet, but will. Count on it!


Let’s look at an example of a prophecy by the prophet Isaiah. This one is from ISA 53:7-9 (The Message Bible). Now remember, this is God speaking:


“He [Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ] was beaten, he was tortured,

   but he didn’t say a word.

Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered

   and like a sheep being sheared,

   he took it all in silence.

Justice miscarried [gone wrong], and he was led off—

   and did anyone really know what was happening?

He died without a thought for his own welfare,

   beaten bloody for the sins of my [God’s] people.

They buried him with the wicked,

   threw him in a grave with a rich man,

Even though he’d never hurt a soul

   or said one word that wasn’t true.”


So, Isaiah prophesized that Jesus Christ would voluntarily accept our guilt and punishment for sin without opening His mouth – like a lamb led to slaughter. The prophecy, OF COURSE, came true!!! Jesus silently took on our sins which we learn in (2COR 5:21): He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.


As for the prophets themselves, some lived and wrote before the Babylonian Captivity; some wrote during it; and others wrote, after The Remnant returned. Babylonian Captivity is the name generally given to the deportation and exile of the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar II. The Remnant refers to the descendants of those left in Judea after the rest had been taken captive.


The prophets are classified as follows:

  1. Pre-exilic (previous to the exile of the Jews to Babylon in about 600 BC): Isaiah,

Jeremiah, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and


  1. Exilic (during the exile of the Jews to Babylon in about 600 BC): Jeremiah,

(whose prophecies extended from pre-exilic days to exilic days), Ezekiel, and Daniel.

  1. Post-exilic (after the exile of the Jews to Babylon in about 600 BC): Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.


The Old Testament concludes with the words of the prophet Malachi, looking forward to the coming of Our Messiah and Deliverer. And He – Our Lord And Savior Jesus Christ – is not only Israel’s Messiah but also the entire world’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Look at MAL 3:1 (The Message Bible): “Look! I’m sending my messenger on ahead to clear the way for me. Suddenly, out of the blue, the Leader you’ve been looking for will enter his Temple—yes, the Messenger of the Covenant, the one you’ve been waiting for. Look! He’s on his way!” A Message from the mouth of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.”


Now we are going to look at the Basic Divisions of the Old Testament:


  1. The Law — 5 books: Genesis; Exodus; Leviticus; Numbers; Deuteronomy;
  2. Poetry — 6 books: Job; Psalms; Proverbs; Ecclesiastes; Song of Solomon;


  1. History —12 books: Joshua; Judges; Ruth; 1Samuel; 2 Samuel; 1Kings; 2Kings;

1Chronicles; 2 Chronicles; Ezra; Nehemiah; Esther;

  1. Prophets — 16 Books: (Major) Isaiah; Jeremiah; Ezekiel; and Daniel; (Minor)

Hosea; Joel; Amos; Obadiah; Jonah; Micah; Nahum; Habakkuk; Zephaniah;

Haggai; Zechariah; and Malachi.


Before The Bible included the New Testament, the Israelites typically divided the Old Testament into three categories:


  1. The Law (Torah) contained: Genesis; Exodus; Leviticus; Numbers; Deuteronomy.
  2. The Prophets included: Former Prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings) and Latter Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, The Twelve (or the Minor Prophets)       see first paragraph above and last week’s tree).
  3. The Writings contained: Poetical Books – Psalms, Job, and Proverbs; The Five

Rolls – Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and Esther; Historical

Books – Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles.


If you have gotten this far in our study – STAND UP AND TAKE A BOW!!! This may have been the toughest study to follow. But you stuck with it and God is looking down at you and He knows you did it!


Let’s end with some interesting historical stuff! An ancient book was in the form of a roll. The Jews made them of out animal skin, finished smooth on one side. This was the part to be written on. Now the length of these scrolls had to be pretty long! In the synagogue, Jesus was handed “the roll of the prophet Isaiah” and He “found the place where it was written.” Here’s the Bible verse in which Jesus took the roll:


And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. 15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.


16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,


18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,

Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.

He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,

And recovery of sight to the blind,

To set free those who are oppressed,

19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”


20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” 23 And He said to them, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’” 24 And He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. 25 But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; 26 and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; 29 and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, He went His way.


Stop for a minute and look up the Book of Isaiah in your own Bible. (We took a photo and put it at the top of the page for you). If you look closely at it, you can see the long series of columns. There are 66 chapters and 1292 verses in this book!! The one Jesus was handed had no chapter-numbers, capitals, or column numbers. But He was able to find the exact verse: And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written.” Draw your own conclusion.

{to be continued}

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