POSTED 23 OCTOBER, 2017
Approximate date: 600s-500s B.C.E. (Right, some conservative-moderate); 500s B.C.E. (some conservative-moderate); 500s-300s B.C.E. (Left)
Time period: the Southern Kingdom before and immediately after the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem
Author: Jeremiah and/or Baruch (Right; some conservative-moderate); Baruch (some conservative-moderate); anonymous writers and editors (Left)
Location of author: Land of Israel or Jerusalem (Right, conservative-moderate); Land of Israel, Jerusalem, and/or Babylon (Left)
Target audience and their location: Southern Kingdom Israelites before the Babylonian exile (Right, some conservative-moderate, some Left); Southern Kingdom Israelites during the Babylonian exile (some conservative-moderate, some Left); Southern Kingdom Israelites after the Babylonian exile (some Left)
Theological Summary: The Book of Jeremiah (Heb. Yirmayahu) covers the prophetic ministry of Jeremiah, with most of his prophecies being delivered immediately before the conquering of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Jeremiah is unique in that it covers more biographical and personal data than any of the other Tanach Prophets, and truly gives us an insight into who Jeremiah was as a man who served God. Jeremiah’s immediate prophetic predecessor was Zephaniah, with Habakkuk and Obadiah probably being prophetic contemporaries. The sources we have to reconstruct the period of Jeremiah’s ministry are largely found in the narratives of 2 Kings 21-25 and 2 Chronicles 33-36, and some of the Prophets who succeeded him such as Nahum and Ezekiel.
The Book of Jeremiah has come under some substantial criticism over the past several hundred years, particularly in liberal theological circles. It is imperative for anyone who examines the text to disregard “modern notions regarding coherent structure, logical development, and chronological sequence…Jeremiah is not a modern book and must not be judged by those standards” (ISBE), as Jeremiah simply does not operate from a modern or postmodern framework of “accuracy.” Notably, Jeremiah is the longest book of the Hebrew Bible by a word count, with significant sections composed in poetry and prose, as well as personal pleadings. The Talmud indicates that Jeremiah was once placed as the first of the Prophets (b.Bava Batra 14b-15a), a place now held by Isaiah.Book_of_Jeremiah
One of the major reasons that today’s Messianic movement has grown in the past decade is a significant interest by Believers in the Torah and the Tanach. In too many cases, the Tanach Scriptures were not probed in that great a detail in a Jewish Believer’s traditional Synagogue upbringing—and perhaps more serious, a non-Jewish Believer’s Christian experience often witnessed the Old Testament taking a back seat to the New Testament in the Church. With many of the ethical and moral controversies the greater Judeo-Christian religious community is experiencing in our age, a need for God’s people to return to a foundational grounding in the Tanach Scriptures is absolutely imperative. The Old Testament cannot simply be disregarded any more.
Many have stayed away from consulting the Tanach not because of a lack of interest, but because few want to have to deal with the controversies it addresses. Unlike the Apostolic Scriptures, constrained to the First Century C.E., the period of the Tanach stretches back all the way to the beginning of the universe itself. Questions like: Who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus? Did God actually condone the genocide of the Canaanites? and Am I the only one who thinks the Prophets are mentally disturbed? are debates that many people do not want to enter into. Even more significant is the effect of critical scholarship which has attempted to divide the Torah into non-Mosaic sources, question the inspiration and historical reliability of the text, and even regard much of the Tanach as Ancient Israel’s mythology. For a Messianic movement that claims to place a high value on the Tanach, it is time that we join in to these conversations.
A Survey of the Tanach for the Practical Messianic takes you through the Old Testament from a distinct Messianic point of view. It presents a theologically conservative perspective of the books of the Tanach, but one that does not avoid some of the controversies that have existed in Biblical scholarship for over one hundred and fifty years. The student, in company with his or her study Bible, is asked to read through each text of the Tanach, jotting down characters, place names, key ideas, and reflective questions. Each book of the Old Testament is then summarized for its compositional data and asks you questions to get a good Messianic feel for the text. This workbook can be used for both personal and group study, and will be a valuable aid for any Messianic Believer wanting to study the whole Bible on a consistent basis.