There have been prophets throughout every era of God's relationship with mankind, but the books of the prophets address the "classical" period of prophecy—during the later years of the divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel, throughout the time of exile, and into the years of Israel's return from exile. The Prophetic Books were written from the days of Elijah (874-853 B.C.) until the time of Malachi (400 B.C.).
A true prophet was called and equipped by God, empowered by the Holy Spirit to perform his job—to speak God's message, confront people with sin, warn of coming judgment and the consequences if God's people refused to repent and obey. As "seers," prophets also brought a message of hope and future blessing for those who walked in obedience.
Biblical prophets pointed the way to Jesus, the Messiah, and showed humans their need of his salvation.
The Prophetic Books are divided between the Major and Minor Prophets. The terms "major" and "minor" are meant to describe their length and the importance of their message. To put it simply, God chose to disclose more through the Major Prophets than through the Minor Prophets.
Prophetic Books of the Bible
- Lamentations - Scholarship favors Jeremiah as the author of Lamentations. The book, a poetic work, is placed here with the Major Prophets in English Bibles because of its authorship.
- Daniel - In English and Greek Bible translations, Daniel is considered one of the Major Prophets; however, in the Hebrew canon it is part of "The Writings."