The Latter, or Major, Prophets

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But the story for us to consider does not stop there. Each man told of his own fascinating contribution to the Bible.

Yet in the final analysis it is Jesus Christ Himself who joins the two sections of the Bible, the Old and New Testaments, together. He welds the Hebrew Prophets to the New Testament. So it is primarily to Christ that we must first look for guidance in evaluating the Latter, or Major, Prophets.

Did Jesus directly ascribe any portions of the Bible to the prophet Isaiah?

“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you . . .” (Matthew 15:7 Matthew 15:7You hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
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).
In Matthew 15:8-9 Matthew 15:8-9 8 This people draws near to me with their mouth, and honors me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
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Christ quotes from Isaiah 29:13 Isaiah 29:13Why the Lord said, For as much as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
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in the Hebrew Bible.

Did all four Gospel writers attribute portions of the Hebrew Scriptures to Isaiah?

“For this is he [John the Baptist] who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah . . .” (Matthew 3:3 Matthew 3:3For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
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; compare Mark 7:6 Mark 7:6He answered and said to them, Well has Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
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; Luke 3:4 Luke 3:4As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
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; John 12:39-41 John 12:39-41 39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, 40 He has blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. 41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spoke of him.
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).

Clearly, the prophet Isaiah spoke these words. Like Paul in composing some of his New Testament letters, he may well have dictated portions of his book to an assistant. Remember that the official system of recorders and scribes (established by King David) was still in operation in Judah during Isaiah’s lifetime. His prophetic ministry continued during the reigns of several Judean kings (Isaiah 1:1 Isaiah 1:1The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
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).

Did the apostle Paul also quote from Isaiah?

“. . . They departed after Paul had said one word: ‘The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers’ ” (Acts 28:25 Acts 28:25And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spoke the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet to our fathers,
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; compare Romans 9:27 Romans 9:27Esaias also cries concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
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).

What was unusual about Jeremiah’s calling?

“Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:4-5 Jeremiah 1:4-5 4 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 5 Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet to the nations.
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This expression, “the word of the LORD came to me” (in slightly varied forms), is repeated often in the book of Jeremiah. The message of the prophet is directly from God; Jeremiah is merely His human instrument.

What was one of Jeremiah’s prophetic gifts?

“So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that would come upon Babylon, all these words that are written against Babylon” (Jeremiah 51:60 Jeremiah 51:60So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come on Babylon, even all these words that are written against Babylon.
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But did Jeremiah do all the writing himself?

“. . . This word came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying: ‘Take a scroll of a book and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel, against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah even to this day’ ” (Jeremiah 36:1-2 Jeremiah 36:1-2 1 And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 Take you a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah, even to this day.
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“Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah; and Baruch wrote on a scroll of a book, at the instruction of Jeremiah, all the words of the LORD which He had spoken to him” (Jeremiah 36:4 Jeremiah 36:4Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken to him, on a roll of a book.
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).

Jeremiah had his own personal scribe, who apparently was also an accomplished reader (Jeremiah 36:10 Jeremiah 36:10Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the higher court, at the entry of the new gate of the LORD’s house, in the ears of all the people.
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). Baruch read the words of Jeremiah in “the house of the LORD,” the temple in Jerusalem.

When God’s message through Jeremiah (but written down by Baruch the scribe) reached King Jehoiakim, what did he immediately do?

“And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire . . . until all the scroll was consumed in the fire . . .” (Jeremiah 36:23 Jeremiah 36:23And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.
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Many attempts have been made throughout history to destroy parts or all of God’s Word. This particular instance is recorded in the Bible itself. Sometimes biblical writers and translators have been imprisoned or killed. Men literally gave their lives to bring you this Book. In this scriptural example, however, the attempt to “seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet” failed because “the LORD hid them” (Jeremiah 36:26 Jeremiah 36:26But the king commanded Jerahmeel the son of Hammelech, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet: but the LORD hid them.
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What was God’s reaction to the king’s destruction of Jeremiah’s scroll in the fire?

“Now after the king had burned the scroll with the words which Baruch had written at the instruction of Jeremiah, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah saying: ‘Take yet another scroll, and write on it all the former words that were in the first scroll which Jehoiakim the king of Judah has burned’ ” (Jeremiah 36:27-28 Jeremiah 36:27-28 27 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying, 28 Take you again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah has burned.
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“Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch the scribe . . ., who wrote on it at the instruction of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And besides, there were added to them many similar words” (Jeremiah 36:32 Jeremiah 36:32Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides to them many like words.
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).

Not even kings have any authority or permission to alter or destroy God’s Word. He has preserved the Bible throughout the ages in spite of determined attempts to extinguish all traces of it. Faithful men and women have risked their lives to preserve, spread and publish the Scriptures.

What were Ezekiel’s prophetic credentials?

“The word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the River Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was upon him there” (Ezekiel 1:3 Ezekiel 1:3The word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there on him.
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)
.

Ezekiel is mentioned only twice in the Bible—both times in the book bearing his name. In addition to obvious allusions to the temple chapters of Ezekiel (40-48) in Revelation 21, the book itself is quoted several times in the New Testament. Also, Jesus’ portrait of Himself as the Good Shepherd is an apparent allusion to passages from Ezekiel (compare Ezekiel 34:5-8 Ezekiel 34:5-8 5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill: yes, my flock was scattered on all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. 7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 8 As I live, said the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock;
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Ezekiel 34:12-23 Ezekiel 34:12-23 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them on the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and on the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, said the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment. 17 And as for you, O my flock, thus said the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats. 18 Seems it a small thing to you to have eaten up the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but you must foul the residue with your feet? 19 And as for my flock, they eat that which you have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which you have fouled with your feet. 20 Therefore thus said the Lord GOD to them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. 21 Because you have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad; 22 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. 23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.
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; Ezekiel 37:24 Ezekiel 37:24And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
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). God addresses Ezekiel as “the son of man” 90 times, and Jesus Christ refers to Himself as “the Son of Man” about 80 times in the Gospel accounts.

Ezekiel’s prophecies were born in the heat of captivity. Says The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion (1997): “He [Ezekiel] was deported along with King Jehoiachin of Judah . . . in 597 BCE [before the Christian era] to Babylon by the invading forces of Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:8-16 2 Kings 24:8-16 8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother’s name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. 9 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done. 10 At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. 11 And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it. 12 And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign. 13 And he carried out there all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said. 14 And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valor, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land. 15 And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king’s mother, and the king’s wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. 16 And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.
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; Ezekiel 1:1-3 Ezekiel 1:1-3 1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. 2 In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, 3 The word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there on him.
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). The exiles were settled at Tela-bib on the river Chebar . . . Ezekiel’s call to prophesy came in July 593, and all of his preaching took place among the deported Jerusalemites . . .” (pp. 246-247).