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personal character of the Messiah, and the blessings of his kingdom upon earth.

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Nahum was a native of Elkosh, in Galilee; and he is supposed to have been contemporary with Isaiali. The prophecy of Nahum is one continued poem, now divided into three chapters: the design of this book was,

First. To minister consolation to the servants of God, by delivering to them various evangelical promises, ch. i. Second. To denounce the final and inevitable destruction of the magnificent city of Nineveh, on account of its people returning to their former wickedness, after the mission of Jonah, ch. ii. iii.

The approaching ruin of the great city Nineveh, and the measures preparatory for the accomplishment of that awful calamity, are described by the prophet Nahum with awful grandeur and majesty. So perfectly have these predictions been fulfilled, that even the vestiges of the ruins of Nineveh are scarcely to be discerned by the most inquisitive traveller. From the ruin of this country, after the ministry of Jonah, we learn how dangerous it is to trifle with the admonitions of God.

References in Nahum.

Ch. i. 15. Rom. x. 15.

Ch. iii. 4. Rom. xviii. 2, 3.


Habakkuk prophesied in the time of Jeremiah, a short period before the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. The book of Habakkuk is divided into three chapters which form two sections.

Section I. Records a kind of dialogue prophecy between God and the prophet, concerning the wickedness of the Jews, and their certain punishment by the ferocious army of the Chaldeans, ch. i. ii.

Sec. II. A meditation or hymn of the prophet; in which, with the most beautiful elegance of language, he encourages the pious amongst the Jews still to trust in the God of their salvation.

In Habakkuk we behold a beautiful illustration of a christian, living by faith on Jehovah as his covenant God and Saviour.

References in Habakkuk.

Ch. i. 5. Acts xiii. 41. | Ch. ii. 4. Rom. i. 17. Heb. x. 37, 38.


Zephaniah prophesied in the former period of Jeremiah's ministry. The design of Zephaniah in writing his prophecy was,

1. To denounce the terrible judgments of God, on account of sin, upon the Jews and the surrounding


2. To excite them to repentance.

3. To comfort the pious with evangelical promises. The book of Zephaniah has three chapters, which include four sections.

Section I. A denunciation against the Jews on account of their idolatry and wickedness, ch. i.

Sec. II. Invitations to immediate repentance, ch. ii. 1-3.

Sec. III. Denunciations against the Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, and Ethiopians, ch. ii. 4—15.

Sec. IV. Predictions of the deliverances and ultimate prosperity of the people of God under the reign of the Messiah, ch. iii.

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Haggai prophesied after the return of the Jews from Babylon. In their work of erecting the second temple at Jerusalem, the Jews were seriously interrupted by the Persian governors of the neighbouring provinces, so as to cause them to cease from their labour for a period of about fourteen years, supposing the time to complete the building was not yet come. But God disposing Darius the emperor, to renew the decree of Cyrus, raised up Haggai to encourage them in the work, which was then finished in a few years. The book of Haggai is divided into two chapters or sections.

Section I. Contains a complaint of the Jews' negligence, and an exhortation to them to proceed in building the temple, under the assurance of the divine assistance, ch. i.

Sec. II. Records consolatory predictions that the second temple should be more eminently glorious than the first; being distinguished with the presence and ministry of the Messiah, whom the prophet designates, "The Desire of all nations."

Ch. i. 13.
Ch. ii. 6, 7.

References in Haggai.

Matt. xxviii. 20. Rom. viii. 31.
Heb. xii. 26.


Zechariah was contemporary and a fellow-labourer with Haggai in the prophetic ministry; and the design of his writings was the same as that of his inspired colleague. But the discourses of Zechariah are much more extended and particular, for the purpose of encouraging the Jews in re-establishing their national institutions.

The book of Zechariah is divided into fourteen chapters, including two principal sections.

Section I. Contains several discourses and visions, admirably adapted to inspire the Jews with courage in rebuilding the temple, and renewing its public religious ordinances, ch. i.—vi.

Sec. II. A record of various discourses and predictions of things future, particularly concerning the coming of

Christ, and the spiritual blessings of his kingdom upon earth, ch. vii.—xiv.

In the book of Zechariah there are three things which deserve particular attention.

1. The prediction concerning the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem riding upon a colt the foal of an ass. Compare ch. ix. 9, 10. with Matt. xxi. 5.

2. The prophecy of the exact sum of money which Judas would receive for betraying Christ; and the particular appropriation of that money, when brought by the traitor. Compare ch. xi. 13. with Matt. xxvi. 14, 15. xxvii. 3-10.

3. The sublime exhibition which Zechariah gives of the spiritual blessings to be enjoyed by the church from the mediation of the incarnate Son of God. Almost every paragraph in this prophecy refers to the glory of the gospel church.

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Malachi was the last of the inspired prophets under the Old Testament dispensation.

He exercised his

ministry about a hundred and twenty years after the return of the Jews from captivity in Babylon; and about four hundred and twenty years from the birth of Christ. The temple having been built, and the city being in a prosperous condition at the death of Nehemiah, the Jews, though retaining the forms of religion, became grossly hypocritical, profane, and wicked. Malachi was therefore raised up to call them once more to repentance, and to promote a revival of true religion among them.

The book of Malachi is divided into four chapters, including two sections.

Section I. Contains complaints against the Jews, both priests and people, on account of their profaneness and wickedness, ch. i. ii.

Sec. II. Records several prophecies relating to the coming of Christ, and of his herald prophet, John the Baptist; who, being endowed with the spirit and courage which distinguished the prophet Elijah, should, by his preaching and ministry, prepare the way of his glorious Lord, ch. iii, iv. See Luke i. 76. Matt. xi. 12—14.

The most remarkable thing in the prophecy of Malachi is, the inviting representation of Messiah's advent, as the Sun of Righteousness, communicating abundant spiritual blessings.

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After a period of nearly 4000 years,


"the testimony

of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy," in the divine oracles of the Old Testament, ceased in the predictions of Malachi. He terminated the illustrious succession of those holy men of God, who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.' He sealed up the roll of Old Testament prophecy, by proclaiming the sudden appearance of the Lord, whom the pious cought in his temple, preceded by his herald messenger, who should prepare His way before Him. The fulfilment of these predictions, by the preaching of John the Baptist, the ministry and miracles of Jesus, during the existence of the temple, as recorded in the New Testament, proving Him to be the true Messiah, cannot be read by the pious without gratitude and joy. May every reader attend to these truths with faith and prayer, lest, like the unbelieving Jews, he perish neglecting so great salvation!

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