Daniel was the bravest of the Apocalyptic Prophets. He was loyal to the faith of his fathers; but he also spoke to the kings who held him captive as no other human ever dared. And what was beyond comprehension was that he was tolerated, accepted and even honored by these pagan kings against whom he prophesied. Even more incomprehensible were his visions and interpretations of these visions. Strangely absent from Daniel's dreams were a place for Israel and a Davidic king. His basic petition was: "For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your name" (Dan. 9:17-18).
"I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord" (Jer. 24:7). “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams; your young men will se visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days,” (Joel 2:28-29). Christians linked Joel with Pentecost. Jews go back to Abraham, Jacob, Samuel, David and many others that did have dreams and visions. The dreams and visions of men like Abraham and Joseph had significant impacts on the outcome of Jewish history. It was when the leadership failed that God turned to the common people with apocalyptic perception to point God’s people in the right direction. They put meaning into aimless earthly schemes with new hope and a kingdom run by heaven. Jesus held a similar view, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children,” (Mt. 11:25). In other words, God was bypassing the theologians and the religious leaders and disclosed messages directly to the simple people. The Greeks called it “apocalypsis” meaning disclosures or revelations. Jesus called them parables – examples that paralleled events and persons not to be direct or personal about them. Those that were close to the Apocalyptists were able to grasp their meaning. The disciples asked Jesus, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them,” (Mt. 13:10-11). Mark added this comment: “To those on the outside everything is said in parables so that ‘they may see but not grasp, they may hear but not understand; that would cause them to repent and be forgiven,’”(Mk. 4:11-12).
Israel became the unfaithful wife, literally the harlot. Hosea the prophet was ordered to relive God's feelings toward Israel in his marriage with an adulterous wife. She gave birth to two children that symbolized Israel's and Judah's sins and punishments. In spite of Hosea's attempt to love, reconcile and restore his wife, she like Israel remained adulterous. The verdict was: "What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears. Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets, I killed you with the words of my mouth; my judgments flashed like lightning upon you. For I desire mercy, and not sacrifices, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. Like Adam, they have broken the covenant - they were unfaithful to me there" (Ho. 6:4-7).
Jesus gave us the reason why the prophet Jonah was important to all of us, both Jews and Gentiles. God sent many prophets to Samaria and Jerusalem but only one to Nineveh. When man meets His condition and repents, God withholds judgment as He promised. Jesus made two crucial statements regarding God’s promises and He did not exactly use kind words, almost unbecoming to his gentle nature. “A wicket and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign; but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a whale, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here” (Mt. 12:339-42; Lk. 11:29-32).
"When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams" (Num. 12:6). “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe” (Heb. 1:1-2). “For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John” (Mt. 11:13). Prophets were and are messengers of the law of cause and effect set in place by the Creator to determine the destiny of everyone. “And the Lord God commanded man, ‘you are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die’” (Gen. 2:16-17). That message resonates into our time and days to come. “For in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (I Cor. 15:22). The Promise of all Promises is life eternal.
Rehoboam, the successor of Solomon had an impossible task. His father Solomon was a great spender and what he built required an enormous amount of income just to keep things working. Yet the people had already given to the limit. Government and its holdings had far exceeded the tax base. The new king left no room for negotiation. Rehoboam rejected the advice of the elders and listened to his friends who counseled him to say, "My little finger is thicker than my father's waist. My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions." To this the Israelites replied, "What share do we have in David, what part in Jesse's son? To your tents, O Israel! Look after your own house, o David!"
Jeroboam, son of deceased Nebat and the widow Zeruah Ephraimites (descendants of Joseph) was leaving Jerusalem to escape Solomon and ran into the prophet Ahijah form Shiloh. Jeroboam had a new overcoat and without saying anything, the prophet took a hold of the coat and tore it into twelve pieces then said, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand ad give you ten tribes. But for the sake of David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe. I will do this because they have forsaken me and worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Molech the god of the Ammonites, and have not walked in my ways, nor done what is right in my eyes, nor kept my statutes and laws as David, Solomon’s father did.’”