Kings & Prophets

Few Christians have a deep understanding of the Old Testament kings of Israel, or the prophets and their messages. The purpose of this series is to allow anybody to quickly gain a better understanding of those things, as well as an appreciation of how that information is relevant today. The Old Testament prophets were real people who proclaimed important messages from God that have stayed true for thousands of years. Jesus and the apostles thought the kings and prophets were important, so we should, too.

It is no wonder that few Christians have deep familiarity of the kings and prophets. Christians tend to read the New Testament, while the kings and prophets are in the Old Testament. The books of the kings and prophets  are not arranged in chronological order, the history of ancient Israel and its neighbors is complex, and the geography of the region is an ever-shifting jigsaw puzzle. The language of the prophets is often symbolic or metaphorical, and the intended messages seem to be shrouded in mystery. Lastly, many people assume that Old Testament prophecies have mostly been fulfilled, so they must not still be very important.

Perhaps our attitudes would change if we thought of prophets as truth tellers, not fortune tellers. Their truths stand important today. Besides, it may be that a number of their prophecies of the future have not yet been fulfilled.

Save Vs. Don’t Save

As shown in previous episodes, the Northern Kingdom did not turn away from its idolatry and disobedience to God. In 722 BC, God finally had enough. He allowed the Assyrians to completely destroy the Northern Kingdom and scatter its survivors among the other nations it dominated. That final end of the Northern Kingdom resulted in its ten tribes losing their identity and becoming known as the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel.

The demise of the Northern Kingdom could have been averted if its kings and people had listened to the prophets God sent them. The last of those prophets were Jonah, Amos and Hosea. They prophesied during the times of the last five kings of the Northern Kingdom, from Joash to Hoshea. Except for a brief respite under King Jeroboam II, the Northern Kingdom suffered economically and politically during these times.

Jonah was a unique Jewish prophet, because God sent him to preach to the Assyrians, not the Jews. Although he took a three-day detour in the belly of a big fish, Jonah eventually reached Ninevah, the capital of Assyria and the biggest, most powerful city in the known world. When Jonah preached his simple message, the people of Assyria responded so well that God chose not to destroy them.

Jonah and Gomer
Primary Scriptures:
Jonah, 2 Kings 17, Amos, Hosea
Story Summary:
Jonah and Ninevah; end of the Northern Kingdom
Ninevah, Northern Kingdom
780-722 BC