Christianity always has taught that Jesus Christ was prophesied thereby guaranteeing a literal figure must have appeared in a much later century – up to 8 centuries after the first so called prophetic utterings. But these “prophetic” claims by Christianity, whether it be in the book of Daniel or the so called “prophetic books”, all referenced known past events of the Jewish nation – of the two temple eras of the Jewish nation. – pre-exilic (pre-Babylonian captivity) and post-exilic (down to the victorious Maccabean victory over Grecian imperialism).
And Christianity’s literal Christ is reliant on all the old symbols of the OT of Mary from Mara meaning bitterness, Joseph meaning increaser, Immanuel meaning strength is within mankind, the book of Joshua (Jesus in Greek) and so on like taking the message to the Gentiles (which happened in Isaiah’s time). Many other types were borrowed from OT in the gospels written well after Paul’s writings that refer to the gospel but not to the later written ones – Mark, Mathew, Luke and John. Christianity has no explanation as why the book of Revelation starts off with the words the revelation of Jesus Christ and then calls his name the Written Word, “The Word of God” towards the end of Revelation – Rev.19 after exposing the scarlet woman on the beast.
So what were the “prophetic books” and why were they written?
The message of the “prophetic” books is strictly a record and criticism of whorish governmental ways of Israel and Judah. “Ye are not my people” and “I will break the bow of Israel”. These books concern only the first (pre-Babylonian) and second (post-Babylonian) temple eras. The word prophecy is from massa, meaning “what is lifted up,” and in Greek prophēteia, meaning “public exposition,” and no more. The principle purpose of the narrative was a reminder of their jurisdictional errors. The intent was never a prophecy or a prediction of the coming of a western Messiah at a particular point and place in linear time. The language is of many diverse colors from many writers. They have one objective in common — the rejection of the practices instituted by the leadership between about 800 BC and 400 BC. There is no point in trying to make Jewish writings into a prophetic Christian pronouncement. They were written to document the state of the nation during these centuries in these words:
• “Israel slideth back as a back-sliding heifer” (Hosea 4:16)
• “Ephraim is joined to idols” (Hosea 4:17); “Their drink is sour” (Eph. 4:18)
• “howl, ye ministers of the altar” (Joel 1:13)
• “The sun shall be turned into darkness” (Joel 2:31)
• “For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought” (Amos 4:13)
• “I will set the plumbline in the midst of my people Israel” (Amos 7:8)
• “Who shall bring me down to the ground?” (Obad. 1:3)
• “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy” (Jon. 2:8)
• “They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity” (Mic. 3:10)
• “For I have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (Mic. 6:4)
• “She is empty, and void, and waste” (Nah. 2:10)
• “And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as creeping things, that have no ruler over them?” (Hab. 1:14)
• “for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off” (Zeph. 1:11)
• “she drew not near to her God” (Zeph. 3:2)
• “Who is left among you that saw the house in her first glory” (Hag. 2:3)
• “before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple” (Hag. 2:15)
• “I will clothe thee with a change of raiment” (Zech. 3:4)
• “The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and shall build the temple of the Lord” (Zech. 6:12)
• “build the temple” (Zech. 6:15); Zechariah certainly sets up form, with “King cometh,” “riding upon an ass,” “weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver” (Zech. 11:12); “mount of Olives” (Zech. 14:4); and “wounds in thine hands” (Zech. 13:6). All these analogies were made in the days of Darius and had nothing to do with the NT times, similarly to the counterpoise of Immanuel for Emmanuel.
• “ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi” (Mal. 2:8)
You would think all is lost in reading these prophetic books. The writers possessed total conviction that by recording their woes, improvement would come about and they could look on the brighter side. There was always hope — creativity is ever resilient — the best is yet to come. It cannot be otherwise. And of course, the written word became a lesson from their hand of action.
The prophetic books are ground zero of the OT. Taken together, they all confirm that the writings were for the Jews only. Jewish scribes were never so vain as to predict any future specifics. Their coming to be known to us as the prophet books has been quite deceptive. There was no bluffing; life was a daily task, and each writer sought to reach that higher plateau. Each book concerns the BC date indicated below. Most of these prophetic books, naturally, were written centuries later from oral recollections of their narrated times of upheaval. They were establishing their eternal memorials on parchment even in those days:
• Hosea: “In the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah … Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel” (Hos. 1:1)
• Joel: “came to Joel the son of Pethuel …” — according to Young’s lexicon, the period was 800 BC — “Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness” (Joel 3:19)
• Amos: “in the days of Uzziah king of Judah” (Amos 1); about 808 BC
• Obadiah: “concerning Edom” (Oba. 1:1)
• Jonah: “unto Jonah the son of Amittai” (Jon. 1:1); about 890 BC
• Micah: “to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz,
Hezekiah, kings of Judah” (Mic. 1:1); period from about 750 BC
• Nahum: “Nahum the Elkoshite”; considered to be about 713 BC
• Habakkuk: A prophet in Judah whose parentage, birthplace, and era are unrecorded, about 626 BC
• Zephaniah: “in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of
Judah” (Zeph. 1:1); about 642 BC–611 BC
• Haggai: “in the second year of Darius the king … prophet came
unto Zerubbabel” (Hag. 1:1) after 536 BC
• Zechariah: “in the second year of Darius” (Zech. 1:1); a prophet of Judah, from 520 BC to Greek times
• Malachi: messenger of Jah, the last of OT prophets, 400 BC–300 BC
All these end OT books help induce evoked history. Coming generations would have knowledge of the past, wearing a breastplate of these types into battle of the written word as necessary. The works just need to be used carefully in the right way. But the book, although open at times during the times of Hezekiah and Daniel, has been closed and selectively translated by paganized Christianity, especially after the synoptic books played into the hands of fundamentalist, devious strains in the third and fourth centuries down to the present day.
The writers of these OT books, including Daniel, strove to document the two temple eras in an inscribed majestic language amid an abyss of woefulness. Writing words was just springing forth from phonetic sounds. Cyclops and Nimrods were triumphant in these early ages. Mighty nations had arisen; failing states had been witnessed time over time. But the power of the written word could never be erased. It would be truly indelible. The chosen saw themselves as rainmakers, cropping fruition, and sculpturing an everlasting memorial. They sought to be contemporaneous. They sought to rectify aberration, advancing mankind in an age of “my” and “mine” – possessiveness dominating all activity – for survival.
David had issued instructions to build the temple following his hierarchical over-lordship. Solomon transgressed using slavery. Both Israel and Judah slid back. Fifty years of Babylonian slavery engulfed their nation. Many Jews betrayed their nation and joined the Grecian imperial. Many saviors and messianic figures strove to right the wrongs — Hezekiah, Josiah, Cyrus, Judas Maccabees, and individual writers of these final OT books.
Nations had come, built massive fortifications, and been obliterated: Hittites, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Medes, and Grecians. Warring tribes bespoke destruction on a whim. But intrinsically purposeful scribes — call them saints — elevated and grounded their civilized philosophy well before the gross lite philosophy of the Grecians and modernity. The temple was the beacon of the inner temple. The world became a theater. The Greeks knew it well but resorted to mystification. They never humanized the glorification within governance. The Hebrews placed man on the stage, asking, “What is man?” On the other and the Greeks perfected Platonic idealism and great poetic masterpieces in writing and stage. In contrast, Jewish writers sought a covenant, with man holding the baton of governance, the driver accepting duty, laying the foundation to harmonize the union of heaven and earth, light and dark, sacred and civil, sea and dry land. The Christos resided within; in community resided the spirit of the anointed man. They longed for that real-life Messiah, the chance to perfect governance. The written word became a master, crafting from phonetics and oral history a superlative parlance for Jewish life — lessons of preserved history.