A Listing of Major and Minor Prophets of the Bible
Most prophets of the Bible prophesied in what is commonly known the Chaotic Kingdom Stage in Israel’s history. Each prophet had a specific message for the people of Israel from God. Generally, the messages were warnings pertaining to Israel’s punishment if they did not turn away from their sins.
There were also messages regarding God’s efforts of reconciling himself to Israel after a period of punishment, as well as prophecies about those nations that Israel interacted with.
Isaiah (740 – 680 B.C.)
Isaiah is generally thought of as the greatest of the Old Testament prophets of the Bible. His writings, which often surpass literary eloquence of Shakespeare, are quoted more times in the bible than any other prophet. Isaiah prophesied about Israel’s judgement and subsequent reconciliation to God, the coming Christ, judgement of nations, end times, and the new millennium.
One of the interesting Bible facts is that Isaiah’s book is laid out similarly to the Bible itself in regards to content and prophecy. His book was found among the Dead Sea scroll discovery in 1947. The book consisted of seventeen sheets which were each twenty-four feet in length and ten inches high.
Believed to have royal blood in his line, Isaiah married and had two sons. He was responsible for writing other books (as indicated in the Bible), which have not been preserved as well as his contribution to the Bible.
Jeremiah (630 – 585 B.C.)
Jeremiah’s ministry was directed mainly at the Kingdom of Judah. He prophecies of the exile to Babylon and witnesses the event, writing about it in his book. As another of the major prophets of the Bible, we see Jeremiah’s suffering and mistreatment documented in the book that carries his name, as well as God’s patience, understanding, and provision while he ministered.
After Judah’s exile to Babylon, Jereimiah prophesied the fall of Jerusalem, and also prophesied against the nations of Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Damascus, Kedar and Hazor, Elam, and Babylon.
The book of Lamentations is thought to have been written by Jeremiah.
Ezekiel (around 590 – 571 B.C.)
Ezekiel was the son of a Zadokite priest. As an example to his countrymen, God took his wife on the day the siege began. He was eventually deported to Babylon in 597. At the age of thirty, living on a canal that flowed into the Euphrates, he began writing. God led him to write / speak on two subjects: 1) remind the exiles of their sins, and 2) to encourage them concerning God’s future blessings.
His writings compare in content to other Old Testament books such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel.
Obadiah (Around 850 B.C.)
Obadiah is one of the minor prophets of the Bible. His writings contain one theme: the destruction of Edom because of the way the nation treated Judah.
Edom had become proud and arrogant because they lived in high, inaccessible, mountainous cliffs. The ruins, cut out of the solid cliffs of rose-colored rock and long hidden in the arid regions of the Dead Sea, were discovered in A.D. 1812. Esau, son of Isaac, fathered this prideful nation.
Joel (835-796 B.C.)
Almost nothing is known of Joel, other than he was the son of Pethuel. He is known as the prophet of Pentecost, because his words about the Holy Spirit were quoted by Simon Peter on the day of Pentecost.
The land of Judah had been struck by locusts, more intense than any plague experienced before. God guided Joel to compare the locust attack to the coming tribulation period. Scholars still debate the references to nations in his prophecies as events that have yet to take place or have been fulfilled in history already.
Jonah (780-750 B.C.)
Jonah is probably the most well-known prophets of the Bible. His adventure in the belly of the whale (big fish) is even quoted by Jesus as a sign of what would happen to him.
Jonah’s ministry was to the city of Ninevah. The city was steeped in evil, and God sent Jonah to bring them a message of repentance.
Scholars debate as to whether the story is mythology, allegory, or literal. The Old and New Testaments testify as to its literal form. 2 Kings 14:25 refers to Jonah as a real person, giving his hometown a father’s name. Jesus testifies as to the authenticity in Matthew 12, 16 and Luke 11.
Amos (765-750 B.C.)
The name Amos means “burden”. Amos came from the town of Tekoa, about five miles from Bethlehem in Judea. He was a herdsman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit.
Amos had not graduated from the school of the prophets, but was called by God to become a layman evangelist. His ministry was for the whole house of Jacob, but concentrated his message in the northern kingdom on the subjects of sin, separation, and sanctification.
Hosea (755-715 B.C.)
Hosea was another prophet aimed at the northern kingdom, whose name means “salvation”.
God had often compared his relationship to Israel to that of a marriage, so He instructed Hosea to take a prostitute as his wife. Hosea experienced all the events one would expect from this situation.
There were, however, reasons why God did this:
- So Hosea could, better than other prophets of the Bible, understand the anguish in God’s own heart over the northern kingdom, whose people were constantly committing spiritual fornication and adultery against Jehovah, making him more effective prophet.
- His own marriage would become a walking and visible example of his message to Israel
- God would command him to name his children by those titles which would describe the future punishment and eventual restoration of all Israel.
Interesting facts about Hosea: he may have ministered longer than any other prophet, he predicted the Assyrian invasion and later lived to see these prophecies fulfilled, his book is quoted more times for its size in the New Testament than any other Old Testament book.
Micah (740-690 B.C.)
Micah lived on the Philistine border at a town called Moresheth, about twenty-five miles southwest of Jerusalem. He was the only prophet sent to both the southern and northern kingdoms, ministering primarily to the capitals of these kingdoms, Jerusalem and Samaria.
Micah was given an in-ordinary number of prophecies, given the size of his book, including the fall of Samaria, the invasion of Judah by the Assyrians, the fall of Jerusalem and its Temple, the exile in Babylon, the return from captivity, the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, the future reign of Christ.
He is quoted on three occasions in the Old and New Testaments: by the elders of Judah (Jer. 26:18), by the Magi coming to Jerusalem (Mt. 2:5, 6, and by Jesus, when sending out the twelve (Mt. 10:35).
Nahum (630-612 B.C.)
Nahum was the second of the minor prophets of the Bible sent to Ninevah, about 150 years after Jonah had successfully preached the message of repentance to the city. Once again, Ninevah fell into a life characterized by sin, becoming proud of her strong protective walls.
Not only did Nahum predict the fall of Ninevah, but also the manner in which it would fall. Some eighteen years after the prophecy of “an overrunning flood” (See 1:8) would destroy the city, the Tigris River overflowed and wore a hole in the wall where Babylonians rushed in and utterly destroyed the city.
Zephaniah (625-610 B.C.)
As the great-great-grandson of King Hezekiah, Zephaniah is another one of the prophets of the Bible with royal blood. He ministered in the days of Josiah, possibly crucial to the preparation of the great revival when the laws of Moses were found while repairing the temple.
Zephaniah’s message was one of judgment and justice. Judgment pronounced upon the land of God (man, birds, and fish) because of Baal worship, enemies of God (Philistine, Moab, Ammon, Ethiopia, and Assyria), and the city of God (Jerusalem). Justice was proclaimed on the enemies of God in the form of returning his people with a pure language, heal the people of God, and the city of God once again streets filled with music and singing.
Habakkuk (620-610 B.C.)
Habakkuk was the last of the minor prophets of the Bible writing to the southern kingdom before the Babylonian captivity in 606 B.C. His visions were in response to questions he asked of God, which shows the personal nature of God and how he interacts with his children.
Although known as the Doubting Thomas of the Old Testament, Habakkuk’s great theological declaration, “the just shall live by faith” (2:4) is quoted three times in the New Testament.
Other Prophets of the Bible
Daniel (605-530 B.C.)
Daniel’s life may be characterized by purpose, prayer, and prophecy. Daniel faithfully served God and God rewarded him with earthly favor, and spiritual insight of dreams and given visions of the future. Out of all the prophets of the Bible, he prophesied the most about the antichrist.
On two occasions, God used Daniel to bring glory to His own name. Through saving him from the mouths of lions and also from the scorching heat of the furnace. Both times, the King of Babylon was brought to worshiping the God of Daniel.
Elijah (875-850 B.C.)
Elijah is introduced to the readers of the Bible in 1 Kings 17. He is considered one of the greatest men of character Israel ever produced. About the man, we know only that he came from the land of Gilead, east of Jordan.
While still a messenger of God, his life was characterized more of interactions with humanity rather than prophecies of the future. God accomplished a great many miracles through Elijah.
Elisha (850-800 B.C.)
Elisha’s call comes in 1 Kings 19. His request for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit to rest upon him was granted as he watched Elijah ascend into the heavens in a chariot of fire. He desired that through miracles of God the hearts of the people of Israel, who had forsaken Him, would return. Again, God used Elisha to accomplish many miracles including purifying water for a nation and dividing the waters of the Jordan.
Samuel (1105 B.C.)
Samuel served God as a prophet of the Bible from a young boy in much the same way as Elijah and Elisha. He grew up in a time when the words from God were rare. God used Samuel as a messenger by way of choosing leadership over Israel, anointing both Saul and David as kings to rule His chosen people.