Prophets are appointed by Jehovah to deliver messages regarding judgment, pure worship, and the Messianic hope
DURING the period of the kings of Israel and Judah, a special group of men came to the fore—the prophets. These were men of extraordinary faith and courage who delivered God’s pronouncements. Consider four important themes developed by God’s prophets.
1. The destruction of Jerusalem. Long in advance, God’s prophets—Isaiah and Jeremiah in particular—began warning that Jerusalem would be destroyed and abandoned. In vivid terms, they revealed why the city had incurred God’s anger. Her claim to represent Jehovah was belied by false religious practices, corruption, and violence.—2 Kings 21:10-15; Isaiah 3:1-8, 16-26; Jeremiah 2:1–3:13.
2. The restoration of pure worship. After 70 years in exile, God’s people would be freed from Babylon. They would return to their desolate homeland and rebuild the temple of Jehovah in Jerusalem. (Jeremiah 46:27; Amos 9:13-15) About 200 years in advance, Isaiah foretold the name of the conqueror—Cyrus—who would defeat Babylon and allow God’s people to restore pure worship. Isaiah even detailed Cyrus’ unique battle strategy.—Isaiah 44:24–45:3.
3. The Messiah’s arrival and his experiences. The Messiah would be born in the town of Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2) He would be humble, presenting himself in Jerusalem, riding upon an ass. (Zechariah 9:9) Though gentle and kind, he would be unpopular, and many would reject him. (Isaiah 42:1-3; 53:1, 3) He would experience a cruel death. Would his life then be over for all time? No, for his sacrifice was to make possible the forgiveness of sins for many. (Isaiah 53:4, 5, 9-12) Only his resurrection could accomplish that.
4. The reign of the Messiah over the earth. Imperfect humans are really unable to govern themselves peacefully, but the Messianic King would be called Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6, 7; Jeremiah 10:23) Under his rule, all humans would be at peace with one another and even with all the animal creation. (Isaiah 11:3-7) Sickness would vanish. (Isaiah 33:24) Even death would be swallowed up forever. (Isaiah 25:8) During the Messiah’s reign, people who had died would be resurrected to life on earth.—Daniel 12:13.
—Based on the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Amos, Micah, and Zechariah.