Voices for Revival – Study of Minor Prophets (Post-Exilic Period) – Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi
– Presented on 26 Oct 08 by the Adult ‘C’ Class (Teacher: Peter Koh and Lee Wee Kiat)
Our aim is to provide a ‘helicopter view’ of the 3 post-exilic prophets. For that reason, we have to leave out many interesting details so that you get the ‘BIG Picture’.
We hope that you can leave this presentation with a clear ‘helicopter view’ as a backdrop as you study in your Sun Sch class. We have attached details in the Appendix I for those who want to dig into details for your Sunday School Study.
How to Study the Prophetic Passages?
Haggai, Zech and Malachi are minor prophets. As such, there are many prophecies. So, how do we understand prophetic passages? Bro Chee Eng’s class has covered this. Please refer to his notes for details.
However, let me just highlight 2 points:
1) There are two main types of interpretation: Literal and Allegorical
In Literal interpretation, we believe that when the prophecy says the Millennium period is 1000 yrs, it means there is a Millennium and it is 1000 yrs. For Zech, it can only be fully understood literally. A famous theologian, Martin Luther, tried to interpret Zech in other ways, he had such great difficulty, and ended up in great despair saying, “I am finished”.
In Allegorical interpretations, they don’t believe there is an actual 1000 yrs of Millennium and so on. It just represents something in the future, it may be symbolic.
2) Our church believes that Literal Interpretation is the correct view. This will land itself to a certain view about the future. We will discuss about this later.
Difficulties in Literal Interpretations
Even within the Literal Interpretation, there are difficulties. I will only mention 2 here: the When and How of Prophecies.
When are they fulfilled?
Prophecies are made about the future. Question of when always arises: Are they fulfilled immediately, in a few decades, in a few centuries or thousands of years?
How are they fulfilled?
Is it Partial or Complete fulfillment? Which part is fulfilled and which part is not?
For example, in Ezek 37:21-22, God prophesized that the nation of Israel will be restored in the future. That they would come back from “the nations, wherever they have gone; and I will make them one nation in the land……one king………no longer 2 nations, nor shall they ever be divided into 2 kingdoms again” (Amazing prophecy). People want to know ‘When’ and ‘How’. Is this the ‘Return Fr Exile’ or ‘1948 when the nation of Israel was formed’ or ‘during the Millennium in End-Times’ ? The answer is the last. Even within Literal Interpretation, there is problem. But an in-depth study of the Bible will give you a better answer. Anyway…..
Our main job today is to present the 3 Post-Exilic Prophets of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. (As you probably know, their books are named after them). You will need to refer to at least 2 post-exilic historical books of Ezra & Nehemiah for better understanding. These 3 Prophets are called Post-exilic prophets because they ministered to the Israelites when they came back from their exiles. They share a common background, so we present it once instead of repeating it 3 times. The total duration of the 3 minor prophets is 120 yrs (520-400 BC).
Timeline at a Glance: