Scriptures

Between The Testaments

Introduction

The Old Testament Period Comes To An End

When we come to the book of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, the pen of inspiration and the voice of prophets cease to exist for a period of around 400 years (430 BC – AD 27). Not until the coming of Christ will they reappear again. The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem in 605 B.C. Daniel and others of the royal family were taken captive to Babylon. Daniel had only been in Babylon for three years when the king had a dream which none of his wise men could interpret.

He is given the opportunity to interpret a dream of Nebuchadnezzar which none of his wise men were able to do. The king in his dream had seen an image of a man made up of five different parts. The head was gold, and it represented Babylon. The breast and arms were of silver. This represented the Persian Empire, which would conquer the Babylonian Empire. The belly and thighs were of brass, representing the Greek Empire, which in a very short space of time (about 10 years), would conquer the world. The feet and toes were partly of iron and clay and represented the Roman Empire.

It is during these last two Empires that the period between the Testaments falls. These two empires would have a great impact on the Jews and their homeland of Palestine.

A remnant of the Jews returned to Jerusalem in 538 B.C. by an order from Cyrus king of Persia under the leadership of Zerubbabel. The first thing they did was to reconstruct the altar to sacrifice burnt offerings on. The rebuilding of the temple was delayed for a short time but work began the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia. Two prophets Zechariah and Haggai both ministered to the Jews during the rebuilding of the temple which took four years to construct (520–516).

Sixty years later (458 B.C.) Ezra, a priest, came with a second contingent of Jews from Persia to Jerusalem. It took them four months to make the journey. Things had not been going well. Many had already turned to marrying people who lived around them. Ezra calls upon the people to repent and turn from their unfaithfulness to God.

Fourteen years later (444 B.C.) Nehemiah came. He found large breaches in the wall that surrounded Jerusalem. He set out to rebuild and repair the walls, which was accomplished in only 52 days. This was an amazing feat.

The Samaritans were constantly opposing the Jews in everything they attempted to do. When the walls were completed Ezra then stood before the people and read the Law to them calling on them to remain loyal to the Lord.

During Malachi’s time the remnant of Jews had been home from Babylon for about 100 years. They were cured by the Babylonian exile of their past idolatry. Never again would they worship idols as they had done in the past. But they were prone to neglect the house of God. The priest had become lax and degenerate. Their sacrifices were inferior and tithes were neglected.

They offered diseased and blemished animals. It was the priest who had been ordained by God to lead the people in righteousness who were responsible for their deplorable situation. The people had reverted to their practice of intermarrying with idolatrous neighbours.

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Between The Testaments  

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed."

Isaiah 53:5

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