Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Sunday Sermon, January 24th -- Jonah, Foreshadowing Prophet of Jesus Christ (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

 An overview of the book of Jonah in the historical context of the history of salvation.  Also, the many ways in which Jonah foreshadows our Lord both in his resurrection and also in the preaching of the Gospel of Salvation to the Gentiles.

Listen online [here]!


Outline of the Prophetic Books of the Old Testament

Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ. –St Jerome


I. Key Historical Notes

A. Divided Kingdom from after Solomon (around 930 BC)

1. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was commonly tempted with idolatry

2. The Southern Kingdom of Judah worshipped at the Temple, but still immoral


B. The Fall of the Northern Kingdom to the Assyrians (about 722 BC)

1. The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel

2. The Assyrians rose up to become a great nation for just a small period of history

3. Assyrian capital was Nineveh


C. The Fall of the Southern Kingdom to the Babylonians (about 587 BC)

1. The destruction of the Temple

2. The near destruction of all the people (as found in the book of Esther)


D. The Return of the Jews to Judea (about 539 BC)

1. The Fall of the Babylonian Empire to the great King Cyrus of Persia.

2. The Jews were permitted to return to Judea

3. The Temple rebuilding was completed in 515 BC



II. Four Major Prophets

A. Isaiah

Isaiah was among the earlier of the prophetic books, written around 730 BC. However, the prophet foresees the exile and even the return of the Jewish people which will not occur for over 150 years!  [modern scholars do not think Isaiah could have written the whole book of Isaiah, but we hold to the traditional view that the prophet could have foreseen all these things and written in varying styles in order to relate to the Jews at different points of their history]

Isaiah is a prophet of the Southern Kingdom, before the time of the Assyrian invasion of the North.

The Fathers of the Church say that Isaiah is like an Evangelist, because his book so clearly speaks of the mysteries of our Lord’s life.


B. Jeremiah (Lamentations, Baruch)

Jeremiah preached and wrote around the time of the 600 BC, but had the longest ministry of any of the prophets (called in his young years [maybe as young as 14] and ministering into old age)! He preached against the sins of the southern kingdom and warned against the Babylonian invasion. He told the people to accept God’s punishment and not fight the Babylonians – but they people refused. Thus the Temple was destroyed. Tradition tells us that Jeremiah was taken captive by his own people and brought to Egypt where he was killed.

Jeremiah represents to us the Lord Jesus in his sufferings.

The book of Jeremiah is the longest book in the Bible.


C. Ezekiel

Ezekiel was called as a prophet while the people were in exile in Babylon. He is a prophet of hope, to encourage the people in their great suffering – to tell them that God will redeem them.

Ezekiel also explains that the Temple wasn’t destroyed by the power of false gods, but only because the True God allowed it as a chastisement to call the Chosen People to conversion.

Ezekiel is most famous for speaking of the resurrection, and also of the Temple of God.


D. Daniel

Daniel is a prophet of the time of Exile and also encourages the people to be faithful in the midst of trials.  Daniel is apocalyptic – pointing to the end of time.

In some ways, Daniel also foretells the future sufferings of the Jewish people during the time of the Maccabees when Antiochus Epiphanies will attack Judea and defile the Temple and kill many of the people (about 160 BC).



III. The 12 Minor Prophets: “Minor” only because their books are much shorter.

A. Northern Kingdom (all before Assyrian Invasion):  Amos, Jonah, Hosea.


B. Southern Kingdom

1. Before the fall of the Northern Kingdom: Joel, Micah

2. After the fall of the Northern but before the fall of the Southern Kingdom: Obadiah

3. After the fall of the Southern Kingdom: Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk

4. After the return from Exile: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi


C. The prophets who preach before an invasion generally call the people to repentance and give warning of destruction for the sins of the people. The prophets who preach during a time of exile generally speak words of encouragement so that the people will not lose hope.  The prophets after the return from exile preach most explicitly the New Covenant which will be established and how all the gentile nations will find salvation through the Jews, since the Messiah will come through the Jewish people.






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