DISCOVERY & COMPARATIVE OLD TESTAMENT STUDIES:


THE MAJOR PROPHETS


Written by Ruth Grigg

Kingdom Ministries UK (c) 2017


Introduction to the studies

Jeremiah
Laminations
Ezekiel
Daniel
References and Bibliography

INDEX




INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDIES


Bible Study Approaches


There are many different ways we may approach the study of the Bible: one way is Synthetic, which is an overview of the Bible as a whole, to provide a grasp and broad picture of the overall message.


Another approach is Analytical, which is the process of viewing the Bible verse by verse, to get an in- depth understanding of the subject-material. With the Analytical approach you may select one passage of Scripture and examine it in fine detail. You may write out a personal paraphrase of the passage, list questions and observations, find cross-references, record any insights, and write down a brief personal application for each verse.


The Thematic Method: With this method you may select a Bible theme to study, and then ask three to five questions you'd like to have answered about that theme. Next, you could study all the references you can find on your theme and record the answers to your questions.

There is also the Typical approach — which is a study of the many pictures or 'prophetic-types' and symbols found in the Bible, (particularly in the Old Testament), that foreshadow the Messiah or a coming event.


There is the Chapter summary method: With this method you would write down a summary of the central thoughts, as well as the major points in the chapter. You may also make a list of the most important people and look at why they are included? You may choose a verse which summarizes the whole chapter or one which speaks to you personally. You may also list any difficulties you have with the chapter (such as statements you don't understand), questions, and key words of the chapter.


There is the book survey method: With this method you survey an entire book of the Bible by reading it through several times to get a general overview of its contents. You would study the background of the book and make notes on its contents; its history, geography, culture, science, people, events, and the topics covered. You may make an outline and chart the key events and themes in the book and use Bible reference books to increase your understanding of the Word.


*Please note that some of the charts in the printed manuals or E books cannot be shown here.*


Book Studies Method:


This type of Bible study method focuses either on a complete book in the Bible, or on specific parts of the book, such as a specific chapter, a range of verses, or a single verse itself. With both the chapter and verse-by-verse methods and with the study of an overall book, the principles and goals are the same: for example, to do a thorough book study, we must also study the context of individual chapters and verses. Likewise, in order to correctly study a particular verse, we need to also study the overall message of the chapter and book that verse is found in. Whether your study is on the individual verse level, or a complete book study, we must always consider the overall context of the whole Bible as well.


The Word Study Method: In this type of study, you would focus on the important words of the Bible, e.g. You might find out how many times a word occurs in Scripture and how it is used in it's different contexts. You may also find out the original meaning of the word and compare translations. You may check the word's occurrences, and find the root meaning of the word. You may also write an application of the word.


The Character Analysis Method: With this method, you might select a Bible character and research all the verses about that person in order to study his or her life and characteristics. You may make notes on his or her attitudes, strengths, and weaknesses, and show how Bible truths are illustrated in his or her life. You would aim to live with that person during your study, walk and walk in his or her shoes. You would aim to see how he or she thinks, feels, and responds to circumstances. You may choose a character quality you would like to work on yourself, and study what the Bible says about iit or select a situation in your own life to work on and memorize a verse that speaks to you.


The Devotional Method: In this method, you might select a short passage of Scripture and meditate on it. You might visualize the scene or the narrative and put yourself into the biblical situation as an active participant, e.g. What would I say? How do I feel? You may read through the passage several times, emphasizing a different word each time and then rephrase the passage in your own words to personalize it, and then you would need to apply what you have learned.


There is the Topical or Doctrinal (or Deductive Method) approach to study of the Bible, according to its many topics and doctrines. With this method you take various topics and search the Bible for what it has to say on these subjects. The topical method of Bible study the is simplest and most fascinating type of study, which yields the greatest immediate results. Sometimes it will be necessary to look up other subjects that are closely related to the one in question as they may be inter-related. Deductive reasoning starts with a general or universal statement and then goes looking for details to support it in order to make a specific application.


Another form of Bible study, is the Inductive (or Discovery Method). Using an inductive method, you may take a verse or a passage, break it down and examine its details to draw out the meaning. The inductive Bible Study method, includes 3 steps: 1. observation - what does the text actually say? (in context); 2. interpretation – what does the text mean? You may need to dig a bit deeper, for an in depth examination, perhaps by cross referencing and 3. application – what does this mean for my life?


There are many varieties of topical studies that we can do. Some examples include biographical studies, where we study all the Bible says about particular person; there are word studies, where we study all the Bible says about a particular word or subject; there are geographical studies, where we learn all we can about a particular town, country, or nation mentioned in the Bible. 


Topical studies are important for understanding all the Bible teaches on a particular subject or topic. We must be careful, though, that the conclusions drawn from a topical study do not come from taking verses out of their original context in order to imply a meaning that could not be supported by doing a verse study or book study. Topical studies are helpful in systematically organizing and understanding what the Bible teaches on specific subjects.


In studying the Bible, it is beneficial to use different Bible study methods at different times. No matter what method of Bible study we do, we must be careful to rightly divide the Word of God so that we are workmen that need not be ashamed, as mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:15.


The studies in this manual are not about giving you, the student, all answers or giving you an in depth discourse; these studies are about you (the student), discovering the answers yourselves from scripture, by making comparisons with the other New Testament Gospels, by looking at subjects holistically by discussions and by learning from each other. You may call this approach deductive or discovery, but you will also find a mixture of the other types of bible study alongside them (as mentioned above), alongside this we will dip into topics and doctrines. You will be comparing the scriptures to Old and New Testament scriptures and you will be looking at the central themes and purposes of the Book and you will spend some time meditating on some of the scriptures and thinking and discussing how these scriptures and principles apply to your life. For your homework you may be looking at different characters and delving into subjects more deeply. You will find a mixture of approaches in these studies which will benefit your understanding and approach to Biblical studies.


Understanding the Covenants & Cannons in the Old & New Testament


The first five books of the Bible are called the Pentateuch which means “five books.” They are also known as the books of the Law because they contain the laws and instruction given by God, through Moses to the people of Israel. These five books were written by Moses, except for the last part of Deuteronomy which tells about the death of Moses. These five books lay the foundation for the coming of Christ, showing how God choose and brought into being the nation of Israel. As God’s chosen people, Israel became the guardians of the Old Testament, the recipients of the covenants of promise, and the root from which the Messiah came (Rom. 3:2; 9:1-5).


In the whole of the Bible there are 5 major covenants and around them, sits 5 cannons. A Cannon is the recorded history based around the Covenants. The Cannon tells us the story of what happened before the Covenant was made, the Covenant itself, and what happened after the Covenant was made: it is the story and history of the wars and battles, genealogies and Psalms of the Israelites, and it is a record of how the relationship between God and Israel had progressed and worked itself out.


1. Throughout the Old Testament we also have 3 different types of Covenant: ...

a. A Grant Covenant – this kind of Covenant was entered into when a greater king wanted to bless a lesser king or people. The Covenant and blessings are given with 'no strings attached', e.g. no rules and stipulations and not dependent on what people did or did not do. We see this kind of Covenant between God and Noah, Abraham, David, and Jesus.


b. A Kinship Covenant – this Covenant was based on their being two equal parties who come together in agreement with a small list of rules and stipulations. We see this kind of Covenant in the marriage ceremony – both promise to love and honour and stay faithful to each other; if one partner breaks the Covenant agreements however, the relationship is broken and may be ended (or healed).


c. A Vassal Covenant – this kind of Covenant is made between a king or ruler in a greater position of power and authority and his subjects. The subjects may have been 'won' and left- over through war, e.g. the women, children, elderly, disabled etc, and have been allowed to 'live' but under tight control, rules and restrictions e.g. they would need to serve their new ruler and often had to pay heavy taxes. Many became slaves. If the rules were violated, the people or person could be punished and some would be executed; however the king or ruler would protect from the King's enemies.


In the case of God and his people, God became the one who was in the greater position of authority and power and he required that his people, the Israelites obey his commands and laws and worship Him only; he would be their Father, protector and provider: He would fight for them and with them against their enemies. If however, they did not obey and worship him, they would be punished for breaking the Covenant. In Deuteronomy chapter 31-32, God forewarns Israel that because of their continued sin (breaking the laws and Covenant, their life-style, worshipping other gods etc), they would be encounter disaster. God however, longs for relationship with his people: He loves them and restores them.


2. The five major Covenants made between God and Israel were:


a. The Covenant between God and Noah (found in Genesis 9): This was a Covenant that God made with Noah to never flood the world again. It is was Grant Covenant (unconditional). The Cannon (the whole story, before and after the Covenant) of Noah begins in Genesis 1 up to Genesis finishes at Genesis chapter 10.


b. The Covenant between God and Abraham (found in Genesis 17): This was a Covenant where God promised that Abraham would become the father of many nations. This was also a Grant Covenant. The Cannon of Abraham begins in Genesis 11 and ends at Genesis chapter 50.


c. The Covenant between God and Moses / Israel (found in Exodus 20): God offered a Grant Covenant – he wanted the whole of Israel to enter into a relationship with him, for them to all be Priest and he would be their God (Ex. 20:5-6), but the people of Israel rejected this and made a counter-offer. They didn't want a face to face, personal relationship with God because they were fearful of God - fearful that they would die if God spoke to them directly (see Genesis 20:18-21).


The people of Israel nominated Moses to be in-between person, or the Priest – so the people were distanced from God, of their own choosing. But because God loved Israel and wanted a relationship with them, he accepted their counter-offer and they entered into a


d. Kinship Covenant, which was meant to be an equal partnership with some agreed conditions on both sides; therefore the 10 commandments and laws were given for the people of Israel to follow - and God would be their Father, their protector and provider; He would back them up and punish any of their enemies who warred against them. This Covenant is referred to as the Old Covenant throughout the Old Testament and New Testament (although God's Covenant with Noah's was the oldest!)


However, under the new leadership of Joshua after Moses passed away, the Covenant changed (see Joshua 24). The Covenant between God and Israel was renewed (because God loved Israel), but the terms were changed because the people of Israel broke the previous Kinship Covenant (under Moses) continually: they did not follow and obey God and the 10 commandments given but worshipped idols and went their own way. The relationship and between God and Israel was painful and difficult, therefore the Covenant changed to a Vassal Covenant.


Under Joshua, new decrees and laws were established and recorded in the Book of the Law of God (Joshua 24:25-27). We find the Book of Deuteronomy introduces many more rules and laws for the Israelites to follow, in order to serve God. (Deuteronomy and Joshua were written in approximately the same time/era with some overlap: Joshua was written approximately 1400-1370 and Deuteronomy approximately 1406/7).


The Cannon of the story of Moses and Joshua begins in Exodus 1 and ends at the end of the book of Joshua, but the Old Covenant remained in place with Israel throughout their history, ( throughout the Old Testament), and up until the time that Jesus made the New Covenant with his blood at the Cross, found in the New Testament.


3. Between Covenant between God and David (found in 2 Samuel 7). This Covenant overlaps and co-exists with Moses Covenant. David had built a palace for himself, but he wanted to build a house/Temple for the Lord (this was passed onto his son Solomon because of the bloodshed in David's life), however, God was blessed by David's heart and his desire to build Him a house, so God made a Grant Covenant with David: God would build a house for David instead – a house that would last for eternity; the seed of David on the throne for in an everlasting Kingdom (foreshadowing the Messiah coming and ruling through David's genealogy). The covenant was unconditional and was fulfilled in Christ and is to be completely fulfilled in the end time.


4. Between God and Jesus (found in the New Testament, The Gospels): this was the New Covenant that was made on the cross, via Jesus blood. The new covenant made the Old Covenant obsolete. It opened up the way, through Jesus' death and fulfilment of God's justice for mankind's sin; the veil was torn, opening up the way for all (including Gentiles) to come into relationship with God. The Old Covenant was replaced with the New Covenant, bought by Jesus' blood.




Introduction to the Major & Latter Prophets


The former prophets are found in the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings. The are called prophets because they saw God as the Lord of history. They spoke first of all, to and in their own time-scale and situations, addressing the people in exile around 550 B.C. Who had no home, no temple and no king. The prophets answered the question, “why did it happen and what can we do?” They look back at history and the nation's sins, ending with the conclusion that God had destroyed them and drove them to exile. The nation was to repent and they would be restored. These prophets looked backwards so the nations could go forwards.


The Latter Prophets look forwards. Firstly, the spoke to their own time and events around them, and then they spoke about the future. The Latter Prophets declare that the Old Covenant is finished, and God is doing a new thing. Their salvation did not depend upon the past (exodus) but on future salvation. Isaiah said, “behold, I am doing a new thing, do you see it?” He was talking of a second restoration.

The Latter Prophets proclaimed the death of the Old Covenant and the birth of a new, restored Israel. They called the people to repentance and announced judgment if they did not, but their was a promise of hope and restoration as well.


The authors of these books were described in different terms due to the nature of their ministry and calling. They were often called prophets, seers, watchmen, men of God, messengers, and servants of the Lord. I Samuel 9:9 states that prophets were called ro'eh – one who sees and perceives things that do not lie in the natural realm of sight or hearing, but is able to see and hear supernaturally. Another term was hozeh (II Sam 24:1). Later on the Hebrew seer was commonly called a nabhi (I Sam 9:9), meaning one who calls or announces.


The Prophets Directive or Message


The prophets primary task was to be a mouthpiece or spokesman for God. He would speak God's message to God's people in the context of what was happening at that time. This was called forth-telling or foretelling. Sometimes the prophet would reveal something that would happen in the future, but this only a small part of the prophet's message.


Forth-telling involved insight into the will of God for the nation. Forth-telling was exhortative, challenging men to obey. On the other hand, foretelling entailed foresight into the plan of God; it was predictive, either encouraging righteousness in view of God’s promises, or warning in view of coming judgment. The prophet was a divinely chosen spokesman who, having received God’s message, proclaimed it in oral, visual, or written form to the people. For this reason, a common formula used by the prophets was, “Thus says the Lord.” As God’s spokesman, their message can be seen in a three-fold function they had among the people of God in the Old Testament:


Firstly, the prophets functioned as preachers who expounded and interpreted the Mosaic law to the nation. It was their duty to admonish, reprove, denounce sin, pronounce judgment, call to repentance and bring consolation and pardon. Their activity of rebuking sin and calling for repentance consumed more of the prophets’ time than any other aspect of their work. The rebuke was driven home with predictions about the punishment that God intended to send on those failed to heed the prophet’s warning (cf. Jonah 3:4).


Secondly, they functioned as predictors who announced coming judgment, deliverance, and events relating to the Messiah and His kingdom. Predicting the future was never intended to satisfy man’s curiosity, but was designed to demonstrate that God knows the future and to give purposeful revelation. The prediction given by a true prophet would be visibly fulfilled. His failure would indicate that the prophet had not spoken the true word of Yahweh (cf. Deut. 18:20-22). In 1 Samuel 3:19 it is said of Samuel, that the Lord was with him, and let none of his prophetic words fail (lit., “fall to the ground”).


Finally, Prophets functioned as watchmen over the people of Israel (Ezek. 3:17). Ezekiel stood as a watchman on the walls of Zion, ready to trumpet a warning against religious apostasy. He warned the people against political and military alliances with foreign powers, the temptation to become involved in idolatry and Canaanite cultic worship, and the danger of placing excessive confidence in religious formalism and sacrificial ritual.



A Comparison of the Four Major Prophets


The following chart comparing the four major prophets is taken from The Ryrie Study Bible, Expanded Edition, 19

Moody Press, 1995, p. 1151.


(Chart not available)


ISAIAH


Dates of Isaiah's Ministry: Isaiah's ministry began near the end of the reign of Uzziah (790- 739 B.C.) and continued through the reigns of Jotham (739-731 B.C.), Ahaz (731-715 B.C.), and Hezekiah (715-686 B.C.). Isaiah's ministry continued during the rule of the Gentiles ranged from the time of Tiglath-pileser (745-727 B.C.) to the time of Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.) of Assyria. Isaiah outdated Hezekiah by a few years, as Isaiah chapters 37, verse 38, records the death of Sennacherib in 681 B.C. Hezekiah was succeeded by his wicked son Manasseh who overthrew the worship of Yahweh and no doubt opposed the work of Isaiah.2


Date of writing & authors: Isaiah divides into 3 parts:Chapters 1 – 39: A prophecy beginning 746-701 (8th Century) written by Isaiah, son of Amoz. (called the I Isaiah).


Chapters 40 – 55: The writer is called the II Isaiah as there are many differences to the first Isaiah. This part was written in 6th Century, who lived around 550 B.C. (after the Babylonian captivity).


Chapters 56 – 66: The writer is called the III Isaiah and was written in the 5th Century, when the Israelites had returned back to Jerusalem.

However, many believe the whole book was written by I Isaiah, son of Amoz. The discovery of the Qumran Isaiah scroll seems to support there being one author.


Setting & audience: Isaiah is speaking and writing mainly in Jerusalem to the Israelites.


Purpose & Message: To call the nation of Judah back to God and tell of God's salvation through the Messiah. The teaching of Isaiah was the same as the prophets: Israel has sinned and God will judge and punish them, but beyond this, there is salvation.


Isaiah's message was to tell Israel that destruction was near and could not be avoided, but there is hope of life. Isaiah was chosen to bring about destruction to his people, because Israel's heart had become hardened, but ultimately salvation will come to Israel. It is the “U” pattern of theory – called, destroyed, raised up, or birth, death and resurrection. Chapters 8 and 9 should be read together as it shows the upturn of the “U” pattern and also chapters 10 and 11. Wilkinson and Boa, p. 191.


Main Characters: I Isaiah and his two sons, Shear-Jashub and Maher-Shalah-Hash-Baz.

Isaiah the prophet is the key human personage, but Yahweh is clearly the chief focus of Isaiah’s book, as he focuses on the Mighty One of Israel, as the Holy One of Israel, and as the Lord God of Hosts.


Key Events: The destruction of Jerusalem and the surrounding nations. The return of the exiles to their homeland.


Themes: Holiness, punishment/destruction, salvation and restoration, The Messiah, hope.


The main themes are eschatological – a future which begins with God leading his people out of exile. Isaiah looks back at exodus, the first and second, but then goes forward to future salvation.


Isaiah stresses God as creator and the Redeemer, beginning with the release from exile and returns to Jerusalem and looks forward to the restoration of Zion and Jerusalem.



Type of Literature: A series of Hebrew Poems. Some say there are 70 poems and some say 21. 


Four types of sayings in the poems:


Words of encouragement to despairing people:


Isa. 40: 12-31, 43:22-28, 45:18-19, 40:8-13, 43:1-4, 45: 14-16, 54:7-10.


God in controversial with the nations:


A court-room scene 41:1-5, 43:8-15


Hymns of deliverance:


Isa. 42:10-13, 44:23, 48:20-21, 52:7-12


Servant Songs:


Isa. 42: 1- 4, 49: 1-6, 50:4-9, 52: 13-53:12



Typology of Christ: 


Isaiah portrays Messiah in His sovereignty (6:1 ), 

in his birth and humanity (7:14; 9:6; 11: 1), 

in His ministry by the Spirit (11:2f), 

in His divine nature (7:14; 9:6);

in His Davidic descent (11:1); 

in His work of redemption as our substitute (53), 

and His ministry as the Servant Saviour (49ff).



Outline of the Book:


1.  Words of Judgment (Chapters 1-39:8) 1. The sins of Israel and Judah
2. Judgment against pagan nations
3. God's purpose in judgment

4. Jerusalem's true and false hopes

5. Events during the reign of Hezekiah B. Words of Comfort (Chapters40:1–66)

6.  Israel's release from captivity 2. The future Redeemer
7. The future kingdom


Questions for Group Studies:

(Note to teacher/class: Divide up the questions between the groups, allow time to for these activities and then get feedback from each group).


1.  Find and read your favourite chapters from Isaiah. Share what this means to you within your group.


2.  Look at “the call” of Isaiah as a Prophet in chapters 6 and 40. What are the features of these calls? Can you identify with any of these features yourself? If so, how, and what does this mean to you. (Discuss in your group).


3.  What was the problem with the nations of Israel and Judah? (found in chapters 1-39) Why was Isaiah foretelling their destruction? What was God's purpose in judgment? Was there any hope for Israel and Judah?


4.  What was the problem with the surrounding nations? (found in chapters 1 – 39). Why was Isaiah pronouncing judgment on these nations also?


5.  Look up and compare judgment and the promise of salvation found in Isaiah and the New Testament. What does it say and mean?


(Tables not available)


6.  What about a future final judgment and the future of believers (Matthew 25:31-46,


7.  1 Thes. 4:3-8, 16-17, 5:5-11, Rev.3;20, Rev. 20:11- 15). How should we interpret these scriptures and what should we do?


8.  Compare Isaiah's role and message to his nation with other prophets. What are the similarities and differences in the message of the prophets? (see introduction)


9.  Do current-day prophets have any similarities in revelations, or do they play a similar role to old-testament prophets or not? If so, what do you think they are?  Compare them.


(see introduction & Acts 2:17-18, Acts 11;27-30, 1 Cor.12:7-11, 1 Cor. 14:1-4, 27-33, Eph 4:11-13).


What promises of hope did Isaiah give Israel? Where can you see the “U” pattern? (found in chapters 40 – 66). Record and discuss.


10.Choose one of the four types of sayings in the poems below. What are they saying? What does this mean to you?


a. Words of encouragement to despairing people:


Isa. 40: 12-31, 43:22-28, 45:18-19, 40:8-13, 43:1-4, 45: 14-16, 54:7-10.


b. God in controversial with the nations: A court-room scene 41:1-5, 43:8-15 


c. Hymns of deliverance: Isa. 42:10-13, 44:23, 48:20-21, 52:7-12

d. Servant Songs: Isa. 42: 1- 9, 49: 1-13, 50:4-9, 52:13-53:12, 61:1-2



11. Look up the messianic messages (foretelling of the Messiah) below: What are these verses prophesying? e.g. birth, death, future kingdom etc. Fill in the event.


12. Look up the scriptures and fill in the Event (see above).


(Tables not available) 


Hunt M, 2000, Agape Bible study



13.  How do the PROMISES God made to Israel, relate to us today? Can they be personal? If so, how? Explain and relate your experiences - look at some of these scriptures and discuss them, OR any others that are personal to you..


Isaiah 1:18, Isaiah 30:21, Isaiah 35:5-8, Isaiah 40:28-31, Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 42:16, Isaiah 43:1-2 & 18-19, Isaiah 45:1-5, Isaiah 46:4, Isaiah 53:4-6, Isaiah 54:1, 2-3, 5, 10

Isaiah 55, Isaiah 58:6-9, Isaiah 60:1-2, Isaiah 61:1-3, Isaiah 65:17.


Further study points in Isaiah/Homework (optional):


1.  Look at the themes of holiness, judgment, salvation, the coming Messiah and hope or other themes in the book of Isaiah. Choose one of those themes, and record where you can see the theme and thread-line throughout the book. What is Isaiah saying and are there any links to this theme in the New Testament? Record the links and how the theme you have chosen is relevant today.


2.  Study the life of the Prophet Isaiah. What did he do accomplish? What were his strengths and weaknesses? Who did he minister too? What kind of ministry did he have? Can you compare Isaiah to anyone, past or present?





JEREMIAH


Date: Approx. 627 – 586 B.C


Author: Jeremiah. This book clearly identifies the author as Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah from the priest city of Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin (1:1). Jeremiah dictated all his prophecies to Baruch, his secretary, only chapter 52 was not written by the prophet. Jeremiah is often called the “weeping prophet” (9:1; 13:17) or the “prophet of loneliness” (perhaps because he was commanded not to marry, 16:2). Jeremiah is also known as the reluctant prophet (1:6), but he faithfully proclaimed God’s judgments to an apostate Judah, even though he experienced opposition, beatings, and imprisonment.


Jeremiah was a contemporary of Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Daniel, and Ezekiel. His prophetic ministry began in 626 B.C. and ended sometime after 586. His ministry was preceded by Zephaniah. Since Ezekiel began his ministry in Babylon in 593, he was a late contemporary of Jeremiah. How and when Jeremiah died is unknown, although Jewish tradition asserts that Jeremiah was put to death while living in Egypt (cf. Heb 11:37).


Setting: Jeremiah was a prophet living and ministering under Judah's last 5 kings. The nation was sliding into destruction and eventually got conquered in 586 B.C. by Babylon. The prophet Habakkuk was Jeremiah's contemporary.


Audience: The Kings of Judah


Purpose: To urge God's people to turn from their sins back to God.


Main Characters: Judah's kings: Baruch, Edbed-Melech, King Nebuchadnezzar, the Recabites.


Key Events: Prophecy and the destruction of Judah and the surrounding nation(s) and the destruction of Jerusalem. The life of Jeremiah.


Themes: sin, punishment/judgment, God is Lord of all, new hearts, faithful service.


Typology of Christ: In Jeremiah Christ is portrayed as the fountain of living waters (2:13; cf. John 4:14), the balm of Gilead (8:22), the Good Shepherd (23:4), a Righteous Branch (23:5), and the Lord our Righteousness (23:6). He is seen as the one who will bring in the New Covenant (31:31-34).



Outline of the Book:
1. The call of Jeremiah (chapter 1)
2. Jeremiah condemns Judah for its sins (chapters 2 - 4)
3. Jeremiah prophesies destruction (chapters 5 - 22)
4. Jeremiah accuses Judah's leaders (chapters 23 - 29)
5. Restoration is promised (chapters 30 - 36)
6. Part - biography of Jeremiah (chapters 37- 38)
7. God's promised judgment arrives (chapters 39 – 44)
8. Prophecies & judgments on foreign nations (chapters 46 – 52) 9. The fall of Jerusalem (chapter 52)

Special Features: This book is a combination of history, poetry and part biography. Jeremiah uses imagery and symbolism to communicate his message.



Questions for Group Studies:


(Note to teacher/class: Divide up the questions between the groups, allow time to for these activities and then get feedback from each group).


1.  Look at the call of Jeremiah in chapter 1:4-10. Is this similar to any other prophets? What happened? Can you relate to this in any way?


2.  What imagery does Jeremiah use to describe Israel's unfaithfulness? (chapters 2-4) and how and where else is this imagery used? (see Hosea, Matthew & Revelation) What does this imagery portray?


3.  In chapters 5:31, 6:13-14, Chapter 23 and 28:1-17, Jeremiah addresses the false prophets and corrupt priests. What were the issues Jeremiah was dealing with? What is the solution?


4.  In chapter 7:4 -11, and 7:17-19, Jeremiah describes the state of men's hearts who were going in the temple to worship. What is he describing? Is this description still relevant today, and if so, in what way? What was the answer? See Jeremiah 6:16.


5.  In chapters 9:23-24 Jeremiah speaks about boasting. Compare this to 1 Corinthians 1:26- 31. What are these verses saying and why?


6.  In Chapter 9:25-26 Jeremiah describes the heart of man. Compare this to Romans 2:25- 29. What are these verses saying and what do they mean?


7.  In chapter 18:1-11, Jeremiah visits the potter, as instructed by the Lord. Compare this to Romas 9:19-24. What are these verses saying and what do they mean?


8.  In chapter 23:1-8, Jeremiah speaks about good and bad shepherds. Who and what does Jeremiah define as “good” or “bad” shepherds? Compare this to Psalm 23 and John 10:1- 18.


9.  Read chapters 31 & 33: What promises of restoration does God make to his people? Look carefully at Jeremiah 31:34. and compare with Mat 26:27-28.


10.  Look carefully at Jeremiah 33:17-22 and compare with God's Kingdom as in the New Testament.


11.  Read chapters 37 – 38 concerning the experiences of Jeremiah as a prophet. What did Jeremiah experience and how did he handle it? Reflect on how we might handle situations like this.


12.  God's promised judgment arrived to his people (chapters 39-44 and 52). Why do you think this happened? Could this have been averted, and if so, and how?


13.  God also judged the foreign nations in chapters 46-52. Which nations did God judge? Revisit the subject of judgment. Why and how did this happen? Could the nations have been saved? What does this tell us about God and his nature?



Further study points in Jeremiah/Homework (optional):


Study the character and nature of the Prophet Jeremiah. What were his strengths and weaknesses? What was his calling and mission? How did he carry this out? What did you learn from the Prophet Jeremiah's life?




LAMENTATIONS 


Date: Approx. 586 B.C. After the fall of Jerusalem


Author: The author of Lamentations is unnamed in the book, but two lines of evidence favour Jeremiah as the author.


1. External Evidence:The consensus of Jewish tradition attribute the book to Jeremiah.  The Septuagint points to Jeremiah as the one weeping over the captivity and the desolation of Jerusalem, otherwise known as “the weeping prophet.”


2. Internal Evidence: The author is an eyewitness of Jerusalem’s siege and fall, and this is clear from the graphic scenes portrayed in the book (cf. 1:13-15; 2:6, 9; 4:1-12). Also, there are a number of similarities between the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations (e.g., the phrase “daughter of” occurs about 20 times in each book). Jeremiah is also connected with this type of literature found in 2 Chronicles 35:25).


Setting: Jerusalem had been destroyed by Babylon and people killed,tortured or taken captive. 


Audience: The people of Jerusalem


Purpose: To teach people that to disobey God leads to disaster but also that when God's people suffer, God feels their pain and suffers with them.


Main Characters: Jeremiah and the people of Jerusalem


Key Events: The previous destruction of Judah, Jerusalem and the Temple.


Themes: Jeremiah's lament over the destruction of Jerusalem, God's mercy, the consequences of sin, hope.


Typology of Christ: LamentationsincludestwoelementsthatportraytheSaviour:


(1) The Man of Sorrows who was acquainted with grief, who was afflicted, despised, and

scorned by His enemies (cf. 1:12; 3:19: 2:15-16; 3:14, 30).


(2) Jeremiah’s weeping over the destruction of Jerusalem is also a picture of Christ who wept over Jerusalem (see Matt. 23:37-38).



Outline of the Book:
1. Jeremiah mourns for Jerusalem (chapter 1) 2. God's anger at sin (chapters 2)
3. Hope in the middle of affliction (chapters 3) 4. God's anger is satisfied (chapters 4)
5. Jeremiah pleads for restoration (chapters 5)


Type of Literature: Poemsandsongsoflamentandthereisacombinationofprophecy,ritual and wisdom. The book is written in the rhythm and style of ancient Jewish funeral songs. The book contains five poems which correspond with the five chapters in the book.




Questions for Group Studies:


(Note to teacher/class: Divide up the questions between the groups, allow time to for these activities and then get feedback from each group).


1.  In chapter 1, Jeremiah laments over Jerusalem in a poem-song style. Try to summarise the feelings Jeremiah is expressing in this chapter? Who also 'lamented' over Jerusalem in the New Testament and why? (Matt 23:37-39).


2.  In chapter 2, Jeremiah expresses God's anger at the sin of his people. Why was God angry? How does Jeremiah feel about this?


3.  Chapter 3 & 4 offers hope to God's people. What was God saying? What could His people look forward too? What does this tell us about God?


4.  In chapter 5, Jeremiah pleads for the restoration of his people and nation. He becomes an intercessor for his nation, like previous prophets. Can you name other prophets who interceded for their people? What was the result?


5.  Spend some time together, interceding for your churches and your community. Listen to what God says and put into action anything he tells you (including anything internal, to do with your own hearts). See 2 Chronicles 7:14.



Further study points in Lamentations/Homework (optional):


Spend some time listening to God and interceding for your nation, city, village, or church. Record what God shows you during intercession and record any changes you see as a result. Also see 2 Chronicles 7:14.





EZEKIEL


Date: Approximately 571B.C.


The book of Ezekiel contains many different dates, so the prophecies contained in the book can

be dated with some precision. Twelve of the 13 dates in the book specify the times when Ezekiel received his message from the Lord and the other date is of the arrival of the messenger who reported the fall of Jerusalem (33:21). Ezekiel received his call as a prophet in July, 593 B.C. His last dated oracle was received about 571.


Author:  The author is Ezekiel the priest, son of Buzi. His ministry as a Prophet demonstrated his priestly focus, with his concern for the temple, priesthood, sacrifices, and the shekinah glory of God. What is known of Ezekiel is found in the book of Ezekiel itself. He was married (see 24:15-18), lived in a house of his own (cf. 3:24; 8:1), and along with his fellow exiles, had a relatively free existence.


Setting: Ezekiel prophesied to the Jews who were exiled to Babylon. Ezekiel was a younger contemporary of Jeremiah (who ministered to the people still residing in Judah).


Audience: The Jews in captivity in Babylon and God's people everywhere


Purpose: ToannounceGod'sjudgmentonIsraelandonothernationsandtoforetellthecoming

salvation of God's people.


Main Characters: Ezekiel, Israel's leaders, Ezekiel's wife, Nebuchadnezzar, the prince. Key Events: The previous fall of Jerusalem and the Temple. The exile of God's people. Themes: God's holiness, sin, restoration, leaders, worship.


Typology of Christ: In the book of Ezekiel, the Messiah is pictured as a tender sprig that will be planted on a high and lofty mountain (17:23-24), similar to that of the Branch in Isaiah (11:1), in Jeremiah (23:5; 33:15), and in Zechariah (3:8: 6:120. Ezekiel also speaks of the Messiah as the King who has the right to rule (21:26-27) and who will minister as the true Shepherd (34:11- 31).



Outline of the Book of Ezekiel:


A. Messages of Doom (chapters 1 – 24)


Ezekiel's call and commission


Visions of sin and judgment


Punishment is certain -

B. Messages against foreign nations (chapters 25 – 32). 


1. Restoring the people of God 2. Restoring the worship of God


C. Messages of hope (chapters 3 – 48)


Questions for Group Studies:


(Note to teacher/class: Divide up the questions between the groups, allow time to for these activities and then get feedback from each group).


1.  Compare the vision in Ezekiel 1, of the four living creators, to the four living creators mentioned Revelation 4:7-8. Discuss why Ezekiel was given this vision – what did it mean for him? Have you ever been given a vision? What did this mean to you and what was God saying? Share with your group.   Who are the four living creators? What do they represent and what do they do?


2.  In chapter 2, Ezekiel is called to be a prophet. What happened in this encounter? What did God ask Ezekiel to do? Has God ever asked you to do something that is difficult? How did you feel about that? Did you complete the task God asked of you? Share your thoughts and experiences in your group.


3.  In chapter 2:2, 3:12, 14 and 24 the Holy Spirit is connected to the prophet. Where do we see the Holy Spirit connected to the prophetic in the New Testament? (See Acts 2, 1 Corinthians 12 and others). What does it say?


4.  Have you ever had an experience of God speaking through you by the Holy Spirit /spiritual gifts such as prophecy or other gifts? If so, share what happened with your group.


5.  In chapter 2:8, and 3:3, we see that Ezekiel eats the scroll. We also see this in Revelation 10:8-11. What is the significance of eating the scroll?


6.  Has God ever asked you to do something unusual? What was it? And what was the result of your obedience to Him? If so, share your experience within your small group.


7.  In chapter 3:27, it says, “He who will hear, let him hear.” What does this mean? Compare this to Mathew. 13:9 and Revelation 2:7. How can we clearly hear what God is saying to us now, and respond? Discuss.


8.  In chapter 3:16-21 and 33:1-9 Ezekiel is appointed as a watchman for the House of Israel. What did this mean and involve? Are there any watchman today? If so, what does this involve and what would the role entail?


9.  In chapter 9:3-4, Ezekiel speaks of a mark on the forehead of the righteous. Compare this to Exodus 12:12-13 and Revelation 7:3 and 9:4. Do you think this is a literal mark? What does the mark represent?


10.   In chapter 11:19-20 and 36:25-27 Ezekiel speaks of a new heart of flesh that God would give to his people. What does this mean? Compare this to 2 Corinthians 3:3.


11.  In chapter 18, Ezekiel emphasised that every body, as an individual, is responsible for his own sin. There would be no blame-shifting or avoidance of their own responsibility. Compare this to Galatians 5:16-26.


12.  Quietly reflect and pray: have three been times when we have had tried to cover up or hide our guilt and shame? Have there ever been times when we have shifted the blame onto others to escape being caught-out? Or have we avoided our own sin and responsibility because we feel guilt and shame? Reflect on God's forgiveness, because “when we confess our sins, he is able and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” (1 Jn 1:9)


11. In chapter 34:1-10, Ezekiel speaks of the evil shepherds of Israel. What does he mean? What were the evil shepherds doing? Compare this to Jeremiah 23. Were both Jeremiah and Ezekiel speaking about or to the same people? Compare the evil shepherds with religious leadership of the Jews, found in Matthew 23. Are there any similarities?


12. In chapter 34:11-24 and 37:24, Ezekiel speaks of a good shepherd who is protector and judge. Compare this to Mat 18:10-14, Mat. 25:32-22, Luke 15:3-7, and John 10:1-18.


Record the qualities of a good shepherd, and the qualities of the 'sheep' as opposed to 'goats?'


13. In chapter 37:1-14 Ezekiel has a vision of the valley of dry bones. What did this vision mean to the people of Israel? How could this vision be interpreted today? What is God saying to us today?



14. In chapter 38 - 39 we have the account of Gog and Magog. Compare this to Revelation 20:8. What did they represent? How can this be interpreted?


15. In chapter 40 - 48, Ezekiel has a vision of the new temple and Jerusalem. Compare this to 2 Chronicles 3: and Revelation 21 – a vision John had of the Temple coming out of heaven. What are the similarities and differences?


Further study points in Ezekiel (optional):


Study the life and ministry of Ezekiel. Look at his call, his strengths and weaknesses, his ministry and accomplishments. What have your learned about the characteristics of leadership and the ministry of a prophet?



DANIEL

Date: Approx. 535 B.C. with recorded events that occurred from about 605 – 535 B.C.


Author: Daniel


Setting: Daniel had been taken captive to Babylon, in 605 B.C. Daniel served under Babylonian government for approx. 60 years. He served during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius and Cyrus.


Audience: The captives residing in Babylon and God's people.


Purpose: TogiveanhistoricalrecordofthefaithfulJewswholivedincaptivityandshowhow

God is in control, directing nations and the destiny of his people.


Main Characters: Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Belshazzar, Darius


Key Events: Daniel's exile and training in Babylon. Daniel's dreams, visions & interpretations for the Kings of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar's fall and restoration. Daniel and companions in the fiery furnace. Daniel in the lion's den. Daniel's dreams & visions for the future era.


Themes: God is in control, the purpose of life, perseverance, God's faithfulness


Typology of Christ: One of the key portraits of Christ in the book of Daniel is of the coming Messiah who will be cut off (a reference to the cross), (9:25-26). Christ is also portrayed as the great stone who will crush the kingdoms of this world (2:34, 45), the Son of man (7:13), and the Ancient of days (7:22). The vision in 10:5-9 is most likely a Christophany, an appearance of Christ (cf. Rev. 1:12-16).



Outline of the Book:


Daniel's life (chapters 1 – 6)


Daniel's visions (chapters 7 – 12)


(Chart by Dr. D.R. Regan, Lamb & Lion Ministries, 2018)

*Chart not available


Questions for Group Studies:


(Note to teacher/class: Divide up the questions between the groups, allow time to for these activities and then get feedback from each group).


1.  Discuss Nebuchadnezzar's dream and the interpretation that Daniel gave in chapters 2; also note chapter 1:17. What was God saying in this dream? Do you receive dreams and visions, as in Acts 2:17? If so, can you share any relevant dreams and visions God has given you, what they meant and the effect of them, or any actions you took as a result of them?


2.  Read chapter 3 and discuss the attributes of Daniel and his companions when faced with the threat of the death in the fiery furnace. Discuss what happened in the furnace? Compare this to the events in chapter 6, when Daniel was thrown into the lion's den.


3.  Discuss any time when God has saved you, or your family, or someone you know from a dangerous or life-threatening situation.


4.  Read and discuss the dreams, visions and interpretations in chapters 4 and 5, and the consequences of not adhering to the warnings within them. God sent a warning dream to Joseph also, see Matt 2:13. Both were warning dreams, but they had a different message. Firstly, we need to understand and interpret the dreams correctly, then we need to act wisely on the warning given for the best outcome. Warning dreams do not produce fear in us, they guide us. Dreams that produce fear in us are not from God. We need to discern the difference. Discuss if you have ever had a warning dream or a dream that gave you some kind of guidance? What was the outcome?


5.  Read and discuss the characteristics we see in Daniel, in chapter 6 (note verses 4 & 11) and think about the characteristics needed for good leadership today, in all sections of society from government to church. How do they compare? How can we have and show more integrity and devotion in our own lives?


6.  In chapter 7, Daniel has a dream and vision about four beasts, referring to four different kingdoms that would rise up in the future and their eventual fate. Look at the interpretation. See chapter 7:11-14. Daniel speaks about the everlasting dominion of the Son of Man. Compare this to Matthew 25:31, Matt. 26:63-64, Rev. 1:12-16 and Rev. 5:6- 14. Discuss what Daniel's passage meant and what this means for us, now and in the future?


7.  In chapter 8, Daniel has a vision and interpretation. God often often uses ordinary images we know to communicate meaning to us. What imagery does God use in these visions and why? What did they represent? How was the vision interpreted? What was it's meaning? Is this similar or different to Daniel's previous dream in chapter 7?


8.  In chapter 8, Daniel speaks about a vision of Gabriel, who gave Daniel of several different time-spans of events to come (found in chapter 


9. What do you understand this to mean? Is God speaking of a the near future of Israel's Kingdom or the far future, or both? The prophecy begins by stating that six things will be accomplished regarding the Jewish people during a period of 490 years:


“Finish the transgression”


“Make an end of sin” .   


“Make atonement for iniquity” •


“Bring in everlasting righteousness” 


“Seal up vision and prophecy” 


“Anoint the most holy place”


a. Study the chart (Daniel's 70 weeks of years) and the scriptures together to understand the events above and the time spans found in Dan 7:13-14 and 9:24-27.


b. What events, and when do these events and time-spans take place, according to Daniel 9:26-27 and to this chart?


10.  In chapter 8:4 ff, Daniel speaks about a vision he had of the Lord. Compare this to Rev. 1:12-15. What similarities can you see?


11.  In chapter 10:12 – 13, 20-21 we see angels engaged in spiritual warfare with the princes of darkness. Compare this to Eph 6:10-17. What is our role in spiritual warfare?


12. The angel Gabriel speaks to Daniel about the Kings of the North and South. Who or what do you think these two represent? In what time/era do you think this was for?


13. In chapter 11, Daniel speaks about the desolating sacrilege. Compare this to Matthew 24:15. Discuss - what do you think these passages mean? How can they be interpreted?


14. In chapter 12:1-4, Daniel speaks about a time of tribulation and the resurrection of the dead in a future era. Compare this to Matt. 24:21, Rev. 7:14, John 5:25-29 and Rev. 20:11-15. Discuss what these passages mean.



Further study points in Daniel/Homework (optional):


1. Look into the dreams and visions of Daniel and other Old Testament or New Testament characters. What happened, why and how, and what have you learned about the importance of dreams and visions?


2. Compare Daniels dreams and visions from chapter 7 onwards to the book of Revelation, and the Daniel's 70 weeks chart. Draw comparisons where you can and explain what you think these visions may mean, and what might happen.


(Remember, no theologian, end time theories or views has all the right answers, revelations or perspectives regarding future events, time-spans etc; at this stage, they are all theories that cannot be proved until the events come to pass!)



REFERENCES & BIBLIOGRAPHY


1. Grigg R, 2018, Kingdom Ministries UK

(Compilation of Old Testament Study, questions and charts for Group Study, throughout).

2. Hunt M, 2000, Agape Bible Studies

3. Kingsway Publishers, (N.I.V.) 2009, Life Application Bible, Study Guide

(Biblical Facts, history, maps & outlines of books of the Bible, throughout).

4. Hampton Keathley J. III, 1998, Biblical Studies Press, www.bible.org.

(Introductions, Typology, Charts, throughout).

5. Merrit, H. 1984, Hosea & The Latter Prophets, Springdale College, UK

(Biblical facts)

6. Regan, Dr. D.R. Lamb & Lion Ministries, 2018,

http://christinprophecy.org/articles/daniels-70-weeks-of-years/

(Daniel's 70 weeks, chart)