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He Gave Us Prophets: Essential Hermeneutical PerspectivesSample

He Gave Us Prophets: Essential Hermeneutical Perspectives

DAY 1 OF 6

Our Confusion Concerning OT Prophecy: Haggai

Have you ever noticed how most Christians know some parts of the Bible better than they know others? In the Old Testament, the stories of the Pentateuch are very familiar. Motivated Bible readers know Joshua and Judges, and a few believers even understand a lot about books like Samuel and Kings and Chronicles. But as soon as someone asks, “What is Isaiah about?” or “How about that Zephaniah?” “Isn't Haggai a thrilling book?” well, we're left dumbfounded because we know so little about these books. Even pastors and other Christian teachers tend to avoid careful explanations about Old Testament prophets because they're so confused about this part of the Bible.

There are at least two things that cause many Christians to have problems with this part of Scripture. First, the prophetic books themselves, and second, disharmony in the church. 

Let's face it, the books of prophecy contained in Scripture are probably the most difficult parts of the Bible to grasp. Most Christians have a hard time even pronouncing the names of some prophets, much less understanding what they said. We're frequently perplexed by the contents of their books. They seem disjointed; one verse doesn't seem to lead to the next. And prophets seem to talk in riddles and in puzzles, and sometimes their words just don't make sense to us at all.

And if this weren’t enough, we don't know much about the historical events of this period of the Bible. The kings, the nations, the wars and other events are so complex that we have a hard time keeping our bearings. When most Christians read Old Testament prophets, they feel as if they've entered into a very strange, foreign land. The street signs don't make sense. The customs are bizarre. And we walk around bewildered because of the difficulties that the prophetic books themselves present.

There's a second major source of our confusion: the Church. The Christian Church has wonderful harmony of teaching in so many areas. But, when it comes to interpreting Old Testament prophecy, there is hardly any harmony at all, only disagreement. You've heard the debates—what are you? A premillennial dispensationalist? Do you believe in pre-tribulation rapture or mid-tribulation rapture or post-tribulation rapture? How about becoming a postmillennialist or a historical premillennialist? Or are you a pessimistic or optimistic amillennialist? We go to one denomination and hear that everyone else is wrong. Then we go to another group and hear just the opposite. Although evangelicals agree on the essentials of the faith, there is hardly any agreement among us when it comes to prophecy. The Church has been so divided about the interpretation of the prophets that it is difficult for us to come to these texts with much confidence at all. 

Click here to watch He Gave Us Prophets: Essential Hermeneutical Perspectives, lesson one in the series He Gave Us  

About this Plan

He Gave Us Prophets: Essential Hermeneutical Perspectives

This plan explores the confusion about prophecy, a prophet's experience, original meaning and New Testament perspectives on Old Testament prophecy.

We would like to thank Third Millennium Ministries for providing this plan. For more information, please visit:

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