I have spent a few posts explaining the overarching views of the ancient Hebrew prophets; in this lecture I want to explain how a very different “apocalyptic” view — one embraced by Jesus, John the Baptist before him, and the earliest Christians after him — emerged within ancient Israel. It has to do with how historical circumstances forced thinkers in Israel to re-evaluate what the prophets had said. Here is the simple version of the story, as I lay it out in my textbook on the Bible, edited a bit.
The Prophetic Perspective
We have seen that the classical prophets of the Hebrew Bible differed from one another in a number of ways, in the historical contexts that they addressed, in their manner of addressing them, and in the specifics of their messages. But there are certain common features that tie all the prophets together, especially with respect to their understanding of God, his reaction to Israel’s failure to do his will, and the coming disasters that will occur as a result. If you were to ask a prophet like Amos, Isaiah, or Jeremiah why it is the people of God suffer, they would have a clear and ready answer. They suffer because
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