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Note on the Use of the Minor Prophets
in the New Testament
The Book of the Twelve Prophets' (Ecclus. xlix. 10) or 'Book of the Prophets' (Acts vii. 42) is quoted in the New Testament to give precepts of living, to express Gospel mysteries, to illustrate incidents in Christ's work, to substantiate the rejection of the Jews and the calling of the Gentiles. Our Lord and His Saints are familiar with it and use it frequently. It has largely moulded the visions of the Apocalypse. The following table embraces the chief passages that are directly referred to.
The citations are generally from the Septuagint; but in a few passages marked * the sense of the Hebrew has been adopted in preference.
i. 10. “It shall come to pass that in the place where it was
said unto them, Ye are not my people, then it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God'; and ii. 23, ‘I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy : and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people,' Quoted with reference to the calling of the
Gentiles in Rom. ix. 25, 26, and i S. Peter ii. 10. vi. 3. After two days will He revive us : on the third day
He will raise us up.' Referred to in i Cor. xv. 3 (“rose again the third day according to the
Scriptures'). vi. 7. 'I desired mercy and not sacrifice.' Quoted twice by
our Lord as containing the substance of religion, S, Matt. ix. 13 and xii. 7.
Practical Reflections on the Minor Prophets
8. “They shall say to the mountains, Fall on us, and
to the hills, Cover us.' Quoted by our Lord on the way to His Passion, S. Luke xxiii. 30; also
in Rev. vi. 16. xi. 1. 'I called my son out of Egypt.' Used in S. Matt.
i. 15* of Christ's sojourn in Egypt as an infant. xiii. 14. 'O death, I will be thy plagues : 0 grave, I will be
thy destruction.' Quoted (according to Lxx.) in
I Cor. xv. 55. xiv. 2. “So will we render the calves of our lips.' Quoted
according to LXX. ('the fruit of our lips ') in
Hebrews xiii. 15. ii. 10, and iii. 15. “The sun and the moon shall be dark,
and the stars shall withdraw their shining’; also ii. 31, “The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood.' Referred to in our Lord's words about the Last Day, S. Matt. xxiv. 19 and
S. Mark xiii. 24; also in Rev. vi. 12. ii. 28-32. “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will
pour out My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions : and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.' Quoted by S. Peter of the Holy Spirit's coming at Pentecost, Acts ii. 17-21 ; and the last verse by S. Paul, of the calling of the
Gentiles, Rom. x. 13. iii. 13. 'Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe . . the
press is full, the fats overflow.' Quoted (sub
stantially) in Rev. xv. 15 and 18. v. 15. 'Hate the evil and love the good.' Used by S. Paul,*
Rom. xiii. 9. v. 25, 27. ‘Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offer
ings in the wilderness forty years, O house of
Note on Use of Minor Prophets in New Testament xxiii
Israel? But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your God, which ye made to yourselves. Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus.' Quoted by S. Stephen, Acts vii. 42, 43 (according to Lxx. but substituting 'Babylon' for • Damascus '), to express the perpetual opposi.
tion of the Jews to Divine truth. Amos ix. II, 12. 'In that day will I raise the tabernacle of David
that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen which are called by My name, saith the Lord that doeth this.' Quoted by S. James in the Council, Acts xv. 16, 17, to show that the calling of the
Gentiles was part of God's plan. Jonah ii. 1. 'Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and
three nights.' Quoted by our Lord in S. Matt. xii. 40. He also refers to other points in the history of Jonah, as his being a sign to the Ninevites,' and 'the men of Nineveh repenting'at
his preaching. Micah iv. 7. 'The Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion from
henceforth even for ever.' Referred to in S. Luke
i. 33 (the Angel's message to S. Mary). 2. “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be
little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel.' Quoted (substantially) by the chief priests and scribes S. Matt. ii. 6, in answer to Herod's query where the Christ should
be born ; also referred to in S. John vii. 42. vii. 6. 'The son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth
up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house. This passage, which in the Prophet expresses the untrustworthiness of the society of his day, is used by our Lord in S. Matt. x. 35, 36, to express the severance which Divine Truth will make where it comes.
Practical Reflections on the Minor Prophets
Micah vii. 18, 20. “Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth
iniquity, and passeth by the transgressors of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger
because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us: He will subdue our iniquities, and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea No doubt this (with other passages) is referred to by S. Peter, Acts x. 43, ‘To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever
believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.' Nahum i. 15. (But there is a similar passage in Isaiah lii. 7.)
‘Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace.' Referred to by S. Paul, Rom. x. 15, speaking of
the evangelisation of the Gentiles. iii. 4. “The well-favoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts'
appears in Rev. xvii. Hab. i. 5. 'Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and
wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.' Quoted by S. Paul (according to the LXX.) in Acts xiii. 40, 41, to express the danger
Jews were in of rejecting the Gospel. ii. 3, 4. “Though it tarry, wait for it : because it will
surely come, it will not tarry. Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him ; but the just shall live by his faith.' Quoted (but with the order of the clauses varied) in Heb. xi. 38. The single clause, 'The just shall live by his faith,' is used twice by S. Paul, Rom. i. 17, Gal. iii. II,
as the Christian watchword. Zeph. i. 18; iii. 8. “The fire of my jealousy 'is quoted (according
to Lxx.) in Heb. x. 27 ('fiery indignation'). . Neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their
mouth' is quoted (according to Lxx.) in the
description of the Blessed in Rev. xiv. 5. Hag. ii. 7. “Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the
heavens and the earth. Quoted in Heb. xii. 27, when treating of those things which cannot be shaken,'
Note on Use of Minor Prophets in New Testament xxv
i. 8. The visions of the different coloured horses ; ii. 1, of
the angel with the measuring line ; iii. I, of the High Priest with Satan as his accuser before God, and of his filthy garments replaced by clean ones; iii. 9, of the stone mystically engraved ; iv. of the seven lamps of the golden candlestick and the two olive-trees that fed it; vi. Il, of the High Priest enthroned and crowned with many crowns; xiv. 7, of the Living Water that goes out from Jerusalem, are all evidently familiar
to the writer of the Apocalypse. iii. 8. “My servant the Branch'; and vi. 12, “The man
whose name is the Branch.' Here is the identical word (in Lxx.) used by Zacharias, S. Luke i. 78
('dayspring 'in A. V.). viii. 8. “They shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem : they
shall be My people, and I will be their God.' This is (in Lxx. 'I shall dwell') the passage referred to by S. Paul, 2 Cor. v. 16 (though there is also a reminiscence of Lev. xxvi. 12 and Exodus
xxix. 45). viii. 16. “Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour.'
Exactly reproduced by S. Paul, Eph. iv. 25. ix. 9. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion . . . behold,
thy King cometh unto thee lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.'
This is applied in S. Matt. xxi. 5 and S. John xii. 15 to the triumphal entry of the Lord
on Palm Sunday: ix. II. 'By the blood of Thy covenant I have sent forth the
prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.'
Alluded to in Heb. xiii. 20. xi. 13. “They weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.
And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter : a goodly price that I was prized at of them.' ferred to in S. Matt. xxvii. 9,* but under the title of 'Jeremy the Prophet' (perhaps as blended with a reminiscence of Jeremiah's visit
to the Potter, Jer. xviii.). xii. 10. “They shall look on me whom they have pierced.'
Quoted in S. John xix. 37* ('Him whom they pierced ').