"The Twelve"

We have endeavored to survey "The Twelve" maintaining the following proposition as our aim:

That we may gain a deeper appreciation of God’s holiness and severity against all sin, so that we may grow in our esteem of Christ and treasure Him more.

You will find content and media that was presented in this series below.

Meaning of Name Prophet Book
Hosea "Salvation" Illustrator of Enduring Love Restoring Grace: God’s Loyal Love
Joel "Yahweh is God" Preacher of Repentance The Coming of the Day of the Lord
Amos "Burden-bearer" Covenant Reformer Injustices Demanding Justice
Obadiah "Servant of Yahweh" Preacher of Poetic Justice Prophet of Poetic Justice
Jonah "Dove" Messenger of Grace God is Gracious and Merciful
Micah "Who Is Like Yahweh" Attorney of Social Injustice and Spiritual Infection Crisis and the Christ
Nahum "Comfort" Prophet of Justice and Mercy Justice and Mercy
Habakkuk "One who Embraces" Theologian of Faith Trust in God who is Holy
Zephaniah "Yahweh Hides" Royal Prophet of Revival The Judgment That Purifies
Haggai "Festal One" Prophet of Priorities A Message of Misplaced Priorities
Zechariah "Yahweh Remembers" Major of the Minors & Herald of Christ God Remembers: Messiah Will Come
Malachi "My Messenger" Messenger of the Covenant and Messiah Messenger of the Covenant and Messiah

This is a short article that offers a synopsis of The Twelve with special attention to the theological themes most clearly shared by each of the prophets.

"The Twelve" is the original title given to the last twelve books of the Old Testament in the canon familiar to English translations. The Twelve prophets contain a rich deposit of theology, history, admonition, and prophetic promises. This introductory overview underscores a few of the essentials of this most neglected portion of all Scripture.

Hosea means "Salvation," and his message is one of grace. The title given to this book is Restoring Grace: God’s Loyal Love. "Hosea heads the list as it is the longest of the twelve and was considered in Jewish tradition as the earliest: 'The Lord first spoke through Hosea'" (Baba Bathra 14b, 15a). [1]

Joel means "Yahweh is God," and his message urges an understanding of the holiness of God. The title given to this book is The Coming of the Day of the Lord. "This prophetic book is brief, but powerful; controversial, but important. Although it has only three short chapters, it provides a glimpse of an important set of future events encompassed by the 'Day of the Lord'.” [1]

Amos means "Burden-bearer," which is precisely the characteristic of his prophecy. The title given to this book is Injustices Demanding Justice. Amos prophesied during a period of unprecedented political expansion and economic prosperity (cf. 2 Kings 14:23–29). He was sent by the Lord to call Israel to spiritual reformation and practical preacher who stands out among the Twelve as the chief covenant reformer.

Obadiah means "Servant of Yahweh." This prophecy constitutes the shortest book in the Old Testament. The title given to this book is Prophet of Poetic Justice. In this short document, Obadiah addresses pride, injustice, lack of compassion, two-wrongs do not make a right, the need for brotherly harmony, denouncing jealousy and envy, proclaiming sovereign judgment of God against all unholiness.

Jonah means "Dove." This is the only prophetic book of the Old Testament that revolves around a Gentile nation. The title given to this book is God is Gracious and Merciful. Jonah was the only directly disobedient prophet in the latter prophets. The book contrasts the disobedience of God's covenant servant to the obedience of the legendary Ninevites, who are plainly outside of the covenant of the Lord. In sum, the book masterfully teaches a lesson concerning God's forgiveness and plans for the nations.

Micah means "Who Is Like Yahweh" but carries the implication of "one dedicated to Jehovah the incomparable God" (K&D). The title given to this book is Crisis and the Christ since the burden of the book deals with the spiritual crisis of Israel, while foretelling of the Messiah and thereby offering hope in the divine promise. The bulk of the prophecy addresses social injustice and the spiritual infection of Israel. Micah serves as an attorney testifying and leveling evidences against Israel for her crimes against God.

Nahum means "Comfort" and is a prophet who speaks of God's justice and mercy. This theme is the title given to the book: Justice and Mercy. Nahum is situated in a theological conundrum. Both God’s severity and mercy are under scrutiny. Is God's severity against sin applied only selectively to His own people? How can God justly show mercy? How can God be both holy and merciful? Will He be able and still desire to bring about salvation according to His faithful loving-kindness?


Habakkuk means "One who embraces," a fitting name for the prophet who markedly calls for trust in the Lord who is holy. This theme is the title given to the book: Trust in God who is Holy. Habakkuk is the theologian of faith among the Twelve who asks the hard questions and addresses the perplexing matters of life. The question that characterizes the book, "How long, O Lord, shall I cry for help?" Habakkuk looks around and sees violence and injustice on every side. It seems that Nahum anticipates what Habakkuk precipitates. And all this just before the invasion of Babylon.


Zephaniah means "Yahweh hides," and may incorporate a word play on his name in 2:3. If Zephaniah is the great-great-grandson of King Hezekiah of Judah, then he is the only prophet of royal descent, which is why we may refer to him as the Royal Prophet of Revival. The title given to the book: The Judgment That Purifies. With Nineveh still in the future, Zephaniah presents an unmistakable prophecy that sin will be dealt with on a large scale.


Haggai means "Festal One," possibly relating to his time of birth. Haggai is a contemporary of Zechariah, though is elder. Haggai preaches a message of misplaced priorities and affections, which is why we may refer to him as the Prophet of Priorities. Consistent with this theme, the title given to the book: A Message of Misplaced Priorities. This prophecy directs attention to the reconstruction of the temple of the Lord, since it was central to Israel's whole covenantal life. It was center to sacrifice, the priestly office, and worship. Beyond these essentials, it served as a symbol of Israel's spiritual identity and as a reminder of the person, power, and presence of God.


Zechariah means "Yahweh Remembers," which is the theme that dominates the book. Zechariah is a contemporary of Haggai, and like his predecessors, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, he is of priestly lineage. Zechariah stands out as a great prophet, whom we may consider the major of the minors. More than any other of the Twelve, Zechariah publishes the clearest, most explicit, and greatest quantity of prophecies concerning Christ. For this reason, he takes on the likeness of Isaiah among the Twelve. Combining these features of the prophet and his prophecy, the title given to the book is God Remembers: Messiah Will Come. The prophecy has two aims: (1) to attest to Yahweh's covenant faithfulness and (2) to promote spiritual revival. The summary exhortation of the prophecy is to call upon the Lord with a humble heart.


Malachi means "My Messenger" and may be short for "Yahweh's Messenger." Malachi is the last book not only among the Twelve, but the last voice of the entire disclosure of inspired holy Scripture before the revelation of Christ. Malachi is the only prophet to end his prophecy with judgment. This is a striking situation since Malachi serves as the prelude to the gripping silence of 400 years; this prophecy is the cloud that will linger over the house of Israel, as the last note of her need in anticipation of her Messiah. The title given to the book is Messenger of the Covenant and Messiah.

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