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Bible Term: Prophet

A prophet can mean the same thing as a preacher. It can also refer to someone who has insight into the future or predicts future events, which are called prophecies.

Many books in the Old Testament were written by or about prophets and contain their messages for repentance or of predictions for future events. Many of these prophetic predictions anticipated Jesus, though some had a more current focus, while a few looked at the end times.

See the list of prophetic books in the Bible.

Bible Term: Major Prophets

A prophet can mean the same thing as a preacher. It can also refer to someone who has insight into the future or predicts future events, which is called a prophecy. Many books in the Old Testament were written by or about prophets and contained their messages for repentance or predictions for future events. Many of these prophetic predictions anticipated Jesus, though some had a more current focus, while a few looked at the end times.

Major Prophets are not those that are more important, but merely those who wrote longer books. (Compare to Minor Prophets.)

The Major Prophets are: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.

Their books are: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel.

Four of these books are named after their respective prophet. The fifth, Lamentations, was also written by Jeremiah.

Bible Term: Prophetic Books

Several books in the Old Testament were written by or about prophets and contain messages for repentance or of predictions for future events. Many of these prophetic predictions anticipated Jesus, though some had a more current focus, while a few looked at the end times.

The prophetic books of the Old Testament are:

Daniel

The Book of Daniel in the BibleThe book of Daniel begins with six stories about Daniel and his three friends; these are found in the first six chapters of the book. Included in this section is the familiar story of Daniel in the lion’s den.

The last half of the book (chapters 7 to 12) contains four visions from God about the future. Because of this, the book of Daniel, along with the book of Revelation, is sometimes called an apocalyptic book, or book about the end times. These visions are easy to understand on a basic level, but their deeper meaning can be challenging to fully grasp.

In some versions of the Bible (the Apocrypha) there are two additional chapters included in the book of Daniel, giving more accounts of his life and actions.

Ezekiel

The Book of Ezekiel in the BibleThe book of Ezekiel is so named because it contains the prophecies of Ezekiel. Many people regard this book and its prophet with curiosity and confusion, as the book contains perplexing visions and strange imagery.

Ezekiel was a multifaceted individual, part priest, pastor, apocalypticist, theologian, civic planner, and poet or artist; these are all reflected in his book.

A general theme in Ezekiel is his denouncement of legalism and call for right living.

Isaiah

The book of Isaiah in the BibleThe book of Isaiah is so named because it contains the prophecies of Isaiah.

It is a beloved book due to its many glowing promises about the future and frequent allusions to the future ministry and work of Jesus. As such, it is not surprising that Isaiah is one of the four most quoted books in the New Testament (the others are Deuteronomy, Psalms, and Genesis).

Isaiah lived in the 700s BCE, his life and ministry spanning the reigns of several kings of Judah. His message was one of repentance, which he faithfully continued even though he was convinced that the people wouldn’t respond to his warnings.

A basic outline of the book is:

The first 35 chapters (1-35) contain Isaiah’s prophecies.

Chapters 36 through 39 are historical references.

In chapters 40 though 55 the exile of Judah is covered.

The concluding chapters (56-66) address the time after the exile, when the people return home.

Jeremiah

The Book of Jeremiah in the BibleThe book of Jeremiah is so named because it contains the prophecies of Jeremiah. The book also provides a great deal of information about Jeremiah’s life and person. As a result, we know more about Jeremiah than any other prophet.

Jeremiah’s messages were not well received, and as a result he was shamefully mistreated by his countrymen who viewed his words as traitorous. They imprisoned him and forcibly carried him off to Egypt where he may have died a martyr.

A basic outline of the book of Jeremiah is:

Prophecies about Judah and Jerusalem (chapters 1-25)

Biographical narratives about Jeremiah (chapters 26-45)

Prophecies about other nations (chapters 46-51)

Historical reference (chapter 52)

When reading Jeremiah be aware that the book is not in chronological order.

The book of Lamentations, which follows Jeremiah, is often attributed to Jeremiah and viewed as a companion piece.