5 Characteristic Elements of the Biblical Prophet: Jonah, Hosea & Amos

the biblical prophets.jpg

               The five characteristic elements of a biblical prophet include; the commission by God, the confrontation of Israel’s sin; the call to repent, the caution for Israel’s impending judgment, and to comfort them with the hope of a better future.

Jonah is commissioned by God in chapter 1:1-3 to go to Nineveh and confront Nineveh concerning their wickedness and once again in 3:1-4 after he is done running from God and warns them that Nineveh would be overturned in forty days. It does not appear, however, that Jonah ever calls the people to repentance or even tries to comfort them with hope for the future possibly due to his belief that Nineveh wasn’t worthy of saving. His anger towards God for his compassion towards the people of Nineveh shows this.

Hosea’s commission comes in chapter two of the text where it is said that Israel is to be punished due to their idol worship (2:5-12) which resulted in their unfaithfulness to God. The book of Hosea focuses mainly on the judgment/punishment of Israel. However, towards the end of the book there is a focus briefly on the call for Israel to repent for the Lord to bring blessing.

Amos begins with the announcement of Israel’s impending judgment and by chapter three a reasoning for this judgment is given (their oppression of the poor (4:1) and their religious rituals (4-5)). Similar to Hosea; chapter four of Amos depicts the calamity that was brought upon Israel to warn them of judgment and their lack of repentance despite this. Chapters five and six are dedicated to Israel’s call to repentance where Amos grieves for Israel as though their destruction had already happened, implying that  Israel would not return to God. This leads us into chapter eight; the visions of judgment and then a message of hope and restoration towards the end of chapter nine with a promise to restore their kingdom, fortune and their land.

While reading about the prophets Amos, Hosea and Jonah and their message, I find that there are definite parallels between them and believers today specifically with the themes of rebellion, redemption and repentance. Much like in Amos, where the people of Israel would not repent or return to the Lord, I find that, the same is becoming more consistent today. Many believers have accepted the things of the world becoming idolatrous in addition to becoming ritually religious. Many are prone to idolizing the things we see on television, money and even people but fail to acknowledge the creator of all things. One may also go to church on a regular basis not realizing that they have started to equate going to church with being a Christian and it has merely become a tradition. In this way the believers of today have rebelled and several have refused to repent, denying their sins, therefore resulting in catastrophe because they lack the redemption that would have been given if they had just returned to the Lord

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