Introduction to the Major and Minor Prophets
Non-Writing Prophets are prophets that are mentioned but have not written a book in the Bible – versus a Writing Prophet who has written a book in the Bible. There are major and minor ones of each, however, the more prominent Major and Minor Prophets are the ones who are Writing Prophets. A Major Prophet is described as one who contains a large amount of material. A Minor Prophet, though they are not less than the Major Prophets, they usually contain less or are shorter in length for information. All prophets, Writing and Non-Writing; Major and Minor, mattered in the development of God’s Will for His People and other lands.
Elijah was an especially prominent and important Non-Writing Prophet. He was brought into the text suddenly as Melchizedek was, and there is no mention of a father, mother, or any beginning of his days. Little is known of Elijah, and some think he was dropped out of the clouds as if a messiah would be. He grew quickly into a witness of God as a prophet, and would change a good part of history within a fraction of time, and then bestow a royal blessing before being whisked off into Heaven by a chariot of fire.
An outline of Elijah's prophecy:
- In 1 Kings 17:1-4, we see his first prophecy – to which, he foretells of a great drought to Ahab, so Ahab is sent to Cherith, where the ravens would feed him.
- This would be fulfilled shortly after with a terrible famine, which revealed Elijah to be a true prophet of God
- Another prophecy is recorded in 17:14, which relates to God’s provision during the famine for both Elijah and the poor widow who fed him. God would provide food, and then it was fulfilled (As Elijah blessed the woman’s oil and flour) by the continual provision of food out of the same container for many days.
- Elijah helped deal with idolatrous activity, especially in 1 Kings 18-22. Elijah’s final act before his ascension to Heaven by chariot of fire was handing the mantle over to Elisha. He desired that Elisha prepare himself, being modest and humble and to hold peace. Honor would be placed on Elisha so suddenly, and Elijah sought to comfort him and bestow the magnificent blessing from God upon him.
Miriam, from the Old Testament, was a prophetess and sister of Aaron; an instructor of praise and service of God to other women. She had the Spirit of prophecy upon her, and showed it through song and dance.
- In Exodus 15:20-21, we see her with a timbrel in hand leading other women in the same with dances, and she said to sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously – the horse and his rider are thrown into the sea.
- She was speaking here things that she saw, and declared the glory of the Lord as a result of victory.
Elisabeth, from the New Testament, was barren, until God had chosen her to bear a child of prophecy (John the Baptist). Not much is known about her, except that she was friends with Mary, who would bear The Child of Prophecy (Jesus). One time is recorded when she met with Mary that the child (John) leapt in her womb – to which, Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. Outline of her prophecy in Luke 1:42-43: She spoke out with a loud voice to Mary saying that she was blessed among women and blessed is the fruit of her womb. In this altogether, she acknowledges the incarnation of Christ, and for Mary to be His mother.
satan is a false prophet who seeks to mislead people away from the truth. He began in Genesis in the Garden of Eden, as we see in Chapter 3. We also see much of “satan” in Job, as he is used as an accuser of Job. The object of satan is a tool of accusation to speak into people’s lives lies about them, to attempt to mislead and challenge them. That is the role of satan in everyday culture is false but prophetic devices used to lead people astray. If people are reluctant, however, to be led astray, they overcome the satan and such devices.
Moses is definitely one prophet to note. He was raised in the court of the Pharaoh of Egypt, and then led the Hebrews out of Egypt. God spoke to him in a burning bush instructing him to persuade the Pharaoh in releasing the Hebrew people. (More about Moses to come soon!)
Outline of a prophecy, found mainly in Deuteronomy 28:49-52:
- This prophecy is given after conditions of the Covenant were listed (blessings and curses). The curses involved diseases and plagues upon the Israelites’ families, flocks, herds, and crops. If problems continued, the whole nation would go into humiliating captivity.
- The foreign invaders would be so cruel as to make people desperate for food so much as to eat their own children. Eventually, as prophesied, the nation would be destroyed and the people would be taken captive into foreign countries.
- When in foreign countries, they would be treated worse than animals, and would die horribly. Many would be shipped as slaves to Egypt.
John the Baptist was a good Non-Writing Prophet from the New Testament, who was a messenger and a prophet. Prophets foretold the Messiah, and John was a herald to announce Him. John was miraculously born and was the subject of prophecy – to which, he was humble and pointed people to Christ. Jesus spoke of him as well, “For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28).
Peter’s admonitions on identifying the attributes of Prophets are in 2 Peter 1:20-21 and 2 Peter 3:2: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.”
Biblical Prophets should be uncompromising, which means they are not bound by the opinions of others. For they are conscious of a divine call and realize that they must speak only the Prophetic Word of God – to which, the divine compulsion must be obeyed. They stay on task no matter what and know that they have the privilege to speak, which is by access to the inner counsel of Yahweh. They have immediate contact with God, and He is the bearer of such precious secrets. They have an intense passion for truth, especially in proclaiming it. They know that God is the authority and they trust in Him to provide sound wisdom through them, in hopes that people would be admonished. They are individuals of prayer and communion, to which they must be clean and lead consecrated lives (especially good character). They are outspoken critics of evil and act as God’s agent to correct, reprove, exhort, and reveal the future to the people of God.
We see Peter talking about the presence of the Spirit in the Old Testament Prophets in 1 Peter 1:10-12, “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.”
Peter speaks that they were filled with the Holy Ghost to speak such things, and then points that into our direction, as we now preach the gospel. We have the Spirit of Prophecy available to us, as he says, and this ensures that God can continue to communicate to His People overall.