Prophet Jonah's Message
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Prophet Jonah's Message
Page 49

Jewish High Priest

Thoughtful JonahA good example of an Old Testament prophet might be Jonah who prophesied in the Northern kingdom of Israel in the eighth century BC, a few miles north of Nazareth where Jesus in later years worked as a carpenter. The prophet Jonah's message of impending doom upon the city of Nineveh was given him by God in Jonah 1.1-2, "The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai 'Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.'" God instructed Jonah to go and tell this message to all. He was given a message and told to go. Jonah was a typical prophet. Jonah's story was included in the "Prophets" section of the Old Testament by its Hebrew compilers because they recognized this. Sometimes, in some prophetic messages, there is hardly any story, but all announcement. The prophet Zephaniah prophesied in the sixth century BC, and whose name meant "God has concealed." The scene is set in the first verse, but the rest is a message from God. "The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, during the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah, 'I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,' declares the Lord." Normally, the prophets are working lay people who are plucked out of their walk of life to fulfill their task and often disappear as quickly when their task is done. We find prophets who were court servants, potters, shepherds and a pruner of fig trees coming from nowhere to speak God's message. One oddity was Ezekiel, which meant "God will strengthen," who was actually taken from his priestly function to be a prophet. We read in Ezekiel 1.2, "On the fifth of the month, it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin, the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. There the hand of the Lord was on him." Another unusual instance is the formation of a school of prophets as in Elisha's day.

Priest and Prophet

Jewish High PriestIn the Old Testament, a priestly family, the Levites, was given the responsibility of maintaining and ordering worship in the religious sanctuary, whether it was the Tabernacle in the wilderness, the Temple or later after 70 AD in the Synagogues. Levites were set aside for the sacrificial tasks, and were often a full-time, professional group. They were the priestly class. They represented human beings to God. Then, there were those who represented God to human beings. They had a special message from God such as the prophet Jonah's message and were instructed to "Go - Tell!" They were called prophets and a great many of their names were preserved in the second half of the Old Testament as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea and so on.

"Prophet Jonah's Message"
by Ron Meacock © 1982-2018

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