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.

A Mystery

The Old Testament books from Ruth to Malachi comprise about half the pages of the Bible, yet they cover only the six-century period of the kings of Israel to the return from exile in Babylon, about 1050 BC to 430 BC.

The overall history of this period is fairly easy to understand. The Israelites choose to be ruled by an earthly king instead of by God. The kings lead the Israelites to regional political power under King David, and then into a decline so severe that the nation is subjugated and taken into exile. The kings lead the people from worshiping only God to worshiping idols and the gods of the area people. Their unfaithfulness to God causes him to punish them in hopes they will decide to fulfill their covenant with him.

At the beginning of this period, the Israelites occupy and control a portion of land where we find modern-day Israel and Palestine. Under King David, the Israelites conquer and control the entire region. By the end of the period, a small number of Israelites, under the rule of the Babylonians, occupy only Jerusalem and the surrounding area.

Apostle Paul and Ezra
Primary Scriptures:
Isaiah 7, 53; Colossians 1: 25-27
Story Summary:
Overview of the last seven chapters of Hebrews.
Kingdom of Israel
Circa 1050 BC - 430 BC