POST EXILE PROPHETS
6TH CENTURY B.C. (AFTER 535 B.C. )
In the previous lesson we have studied that the Jews were in exile in Babylonia for 70 years between 605 -535 B.C. Cyrus, King of Persia gave them freedom in 535 B.C. Accordingly, the first batch of Jews under the leadership of Zerubbabel reached Jerusalem in 535 B.C. Though the people had returned from exile with much wealth such as gold, silver, flocks and servents, they were not interested in building the Temple which was in ruin.They also didn’t show interest in worhsips. Prohets Haggai and Zechariah gave their prphecies at this period. Zechariah started his prphecy two months after Haggai started his prphecy in BC 522.The Lord through Haggai (522 B.C.) and then through Zechariah motivated the people to rebuild the Temple.
Background of the Prophecy
We do not know much about Haggai. He was one of the jews who returned from Babylon under the leadership of Zerubbabel. Zecheriah was a priest. The jews were jubilant on their return to thier home land They showed more interest to built their own homes and to cultivate in their farms. King Cyrus allowed the people to return to Jerusalem in order to built the Temple, but they ignored it and showed more interest in their own personal affairs.
Even though the people who returned from exile cultivated farms with hard work , they could harvest only a little. The weather itself was not favourable. The Lord spoke through Haggai to Zerubbabel and the High Priest, Joshua; ” Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.Then the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai, saying: Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your panelled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider how you have fared.You have sown much, and harvested little; you eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and you that earn wages earn wages to put them into a bag with holes.”(1:3-6) “Consider how you have fared. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honoured”. (1:7-8)
Vision about Christ
There is no direct reference to Christ in the prophecy of Haggai. But he portraits mesiah in Zerubbabel who was chosen for the rebuilding of the Temple.. The Lord has chosen Zreubbabel as the signet ring. “On that day, says the Lord of hosts, I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, son of Shealtiel, says the Lord, and make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts.” (2: 23) Thus Zerubbabel has become the central point in the genealogy of Messiah connecting Joseph and Mary (St.Mathew 1:12; St.Luke 3:27)
The word ‘Zehariah’ means ‘God has remembered’. He is a contemporary and co-worker of Haggai. He started prophesying two months after Haggai stared prophesying.
Background of Prophecy
Like Haggai Zechariah also motivated the people to rebuild the Temple of God.The book of Zechariah containing 14 chapters can be divided into two parts: Chapters One to Eight are prophecies of Zechariah who was the contemporary of Haggai. Rebuilding of the Temple is the main theme. Some theologians believe that chapters 9 to14 are written by another Zechariah. redemption of Israel is the main theme of this part. Zaechariah give hopes that a King will come and his dominion shall be from sea to sea,and from the River to the ends of the earth. .(9:9-10).
Vision about Chirst
The book of Zachariah contains many clear prophecies about Messiah.Angel of the Lord (3:1,3:8, 6:12) A single stone with seven facets (3:9); Priest by his throne(6:13) ; Humble king (9:9) Corner stone (10:4); The good shepherd who was betrayed for 30 silver coins (11:4-13); One who was pierced (12 :10) Fountain which cleans sin and impurity(13:1); Struck shepherd (13 :7); King over all the earth (14: 9). All these prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
The book of Joel was written in the 5 thcentury B.C. Accurate date it is not available.
He is prophesying to console the people who were depressed with the attack of locusts and devastating drought.Accroding to the prophet all these events are the signs of the coming day of the Lord. Hence the prophet call the people to repent and return to the God. Joel says that God will save and shower his blessing on those people who repent and return to the God. Prophet clarifies that there will be destruction on those who do not return to God. The note worthy of his prophesy is that in the end God will send his Spirit
upon all the people alike.
Vision about Christ
Joel’s vision about Messiah is as the judge who judges all the nations (3:2-12) “Then afterwards I will pour out my spirit on all flesh.”(2:28). It was fulfilled on the day of pentecost. At the time of His Ascension Jesus promised to send the the Holy Spirit . This promise was fulfilled on the day of pentecost. What apostle Peter said about the experience on pentecost was that it was the fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel (Acts 2:16-21).
It is the last book in the Old Testament. Malachi prophised between 516- 444 B.C., after the Temple in Jerusalem was re-constructed by the Jews who returned from exile and started worshipping God.
Background of Prophecy
After building the Temple, the people began to worship God. Still there was continuous drought, famine and loss of crops.At that time their faith dwindled and they began to doubt the love of God. They even questioned the love of God. This was the background when Malachi started his prophecy.
Contents of Prophecy
It is written in a form of questions and answers. The answers to six questions which doubt the love of God is the content of the prophesy.
1. Do not doubt the love of God
2. Holy sacrifices must be done without polluting the name of the Lord.
3. Do not show unfaithfulness to God.
4. Retun to God.
5. Those who love God will be rewarded aboundantly .
6. God will send Prophet Elijah before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
Malachi says these things as an answer to the doubts of the people.
Vision about Christ
After Malachi, the voice of prophets were not heard for a long time.We hear again a prophet,after 400 years, when John the Baptist: declared ”Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!.”(John 1 :29). Malachi prophesied about a messenger who will come to prepare the way for the Lord.( Malachi 3:1), He also said, ” I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.”(4:5)
There are many references in the Bible that John the Baptist is the expected messenger, Elijah. (Mathew 3:3 Mark 1:3 ; Luke 1: 17; John 1:23) , Elijah will agian appear at the time of the Second coming of Jesus.