The Minor Prophets
Last week we briefly discussed the five Books assigned to the section known as the Major Prophets. This week we will consider the final section of Old Testament known as the Minor Prophets. These twelve Books are: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
Now last week I mentioned that Prophets are not so much predictors of the future as they are mouthpieces, or spokesmen, for the Lord. Indeed, sometimes the message of the Lord involves disclosing some future event, but consistently, the prophetic message is a call to repentance and faithfulness to the Lord and the covenant He made with His people. In Israel, prophecy was much like preaching today. It had to do with proclaiming and applying God’s Word.
Also last week I mentioned the difference between the Major and the Minor Prophets has to do with the length of the Books assigned to them. The twelve Minor Prophets are not less important than the Major Prophets! And you should know there are Prophets mentioned in the Old Testament that do not have a Book assigned to them. Elijah is often seen as a prototype of all the Prophets, and yet neither he nor his successor Elisha has a Book named or assigned to him.
It is also interesting that both Moses and Samuel are regarded as Prophets in addition to the leadership roles they otherwise played.
You will find similar language and pronouncements among the Prophets. At the same time, each Prophet brings something colorful and unique with their style. For instance Hosea marries a prostitute and has children with symbolic names. Amos retains his rural and farming background with his expressions. Jonah tries unsuccessfully to flee from his calling. Habakkuk struggles with the problem of evil. And Malachi prophesies that the Messiah would come out of Bethlehem, and with this prophecy it is perhaps a fitting way to finish out the Old Testament in anticipation of the New…
Since You Asked…
Why do we stand during the reading of the Gospel Lesson?
By standing we are giving expression of special respect and adoration. In the Gospel Accounts we meet our Lord Jesus Christ in a special way. In these writings we are presented with Jesus’ Judean and Galilean ministry. We also have a record of the very words of our Lord (his teachings, parables, dialog, etc.). We hear the accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the work of our salvation.
Although the entire Bible is the Word of God, it is in the Gospels that our Lord is most directly presented to us. So you might say that Christ himself is being presented before us in the Gospel Lesson. It is therefore most appropriate that we stand at attention.