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Prophesies of the “Lesser” Prophets


Besides the books of thegreat” Prophets to which belong the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, there are among the Old Testament Holy Books some other 12 books, i.e. of the lesser Prophets. They are calledlesser” due to the fact that their books are significantly smaller in proportion and consisting of only several chapters. Somelesser” prophets who wrote about the Messiah were Osee, Joel, Amos and Micheas, — contemporaries of the prophets Isaiah who lived some 700 years B.C., as well as the prophets Aggeus, Zacharias and Malachias who lived following the Babylonian captivity during the 6th and 5th century B.C. During the time of the last three prophets there was a second Temple of the Old Testament being built in Jerusalem on the site of the demolished Temple of Solomon. The Old Testament Scripture ends with the book of Malachias.

     The prophet Micheas wrote the well known prophecy regarding Bethlehem which was quoted by the Judaic scribes when king Herod asked them where Christ was supposed to be born. “And Thou, Bethlehem Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Juda: out of thee shall He come forth to Me that is to be ruler in Israel: and His going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity” (Micheas 5:2) Here the prophet Micheas discusses the fact that although Bethlehem was considered to be one of the most inconsequential cities of Juda, it would become worthy to be the place of the Messiah’s birth, and the reality of this event shall extend into eternity. Genesis, as we know, shows the distinctive nature of God’s essentiality. Therefore this prophecy witnesses the eternal and consequently the oneness of the Messiah with God the Father (remember that Isaiah called the Messiah “Everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6).

     The Following prophecy of Zacharia and Amos are directed toward the last days of the earthly life of the Messiah. The prophecy of Zachariah details the triumphant entry of the Messiah astride an ass’s foal.

 

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, Shout O daughter of Jerusalem: Behold your King is coming to you;…He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth” (Zach.9:9-10).

 

The she-ass is a symbol of peace, whereas the horse is a symbol of war. In accordance with this prophecy the Messiah was to proclaim peace to mankind — reconciliation with God and the cessation of enmity among people. The second part of the prophecy, regarding the release of the captives from the pit, foretold the release from hell of the souls of the dead as a result of the redeeming sufferings of the Messiah.

     In the following prophecy, Zachariah foretold that the Messiah would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver. In the prophecy the discourse emanates from the name of God, Who offers the Judean commanders to designate to Him a payment for all that He did for their people: “If it is agreeable to you, give Me My wages; and if not, refrain” so they weighed out for My wages thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me “throw it to the potter — that princely price they set on Me.” So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter” (Zach. 11:12-13). As we know from the Gospel that for thirty pieces of silver Judas Iscariot betrayed his Teacher. However Judas did not expect that Christ would be condemned to death. Having heard of this, he regretted his deed and threw away in the temple the coins that were given to him. For those thirty pieces of silver, the high ranked priests bought from the potter a piece of land for the burial of strangers, just as Zachariah had predicted. (Mat. 27:9-10).

     The prophet Amos foretold of the eclipse of the sun, which happened during Christ’s crucifixion. “And it shall come to pass in that day” says the Lord God, That I will make the sun go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in broad daylight” (Am. 8:9). We find a similar prophecy in Zachariah: “It shall come to pass in that day that there will be no light…It shall be one day which is known to the Lord: Neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen that it will be light” (Zach. 14:6-9).

     The oldest prophecies regarding the Messiah by the Prophets Aggeus, Zachariah and Malachias have a close bearing to the erection of the second Temple of Jerusalem. Having returned from captivity, the Jews began with little enthusiasm to erect a new Temple on the site of the ruined Temple of Solomon. The whole nation was devastated and many Jews preferred to rebuild their own homes first. It became necessary for the prophets after that time of captivity to urge the Jews toward the building of the House of God. In order to encourage the builders, the prophets said that although its outer facade ceded to that of Solomon, its spiritual meaning would by far excel it. The reason for the glory of the Temple being built will be, that it will be frequented by the Messiah. We bring here as an example to that fact the prophesy of Aggeus, Zachariah and Malachias since they supplement each other. God speaks through the mouths of prophets:

 

“Yet one little while, and I will move the heaven and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land, And I will move all nations, — And the Desired of all Nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts… Great shall be the glory of this last house, more than the first…” (Aggeus 2:6-7).

    “Behold the Man whose name is the BRANCH, From His place He shall branch out, and He shall build the Temple of the Lord… He shall be a priest on His throne” (Zach. 6:12-13).

    “Behold I send My Angel (the prophet John) and he shall prepare the way before My face and presently the Lord whom you seek shall unexpectedly come into His temple, and the Angel of the Testament whom you desire. Behold He comes, saith the Lord of Hosts” (Mal. 3:1).

 

God the Father calls the MessiahThe desired of all Nations,”Branch,”Lord” andAngel of the Testament.” These names of the Messiah which were known to the Jews from previous prophecies bound all the numerous preceding prophecies regarding Christ into a whole. Malachias was the last Old Testament prophet. His prophecy regarding the sending of theAngel” to prepare the path for the Lord Who was to follow shortly, ends the mission of the Old Testament prophets and begins the period of awaiting the coming of Christ.

     We can only agree to the prophecy brought forth by Zacharias that the Messiah was to found the Lord’s Temple. Here the discourse is not about the founding of a stone Temple (which could not possibly hold all peoples) but of a spiritual one — Churches of the Faithful. Since God inhabits the souls of the faithful as in a Temple. (Lev. 26:12).

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