Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi are the last three books of the Old Testament and they were all prophets after the 70 years of captivity. They take place during the time of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther.
Some of the Jews had returned to Jerusalem and started the foundation of the temple, but they quit building the temple. Haggai told them that they did not have enough food and drink, or warm clothes because they did not work on the temple. “Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.” (Haggai 1:6-8) God promised to bless them when they built God’s house.
Zechariah begins his message by reminding the Jews that they had been in captivity because the Lord was displeased with their fathers, but he has a message of comfort to the remnant in Jerusalem. “Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 1:3) Zechariah saw many visions about the future of the Jews. God told him that Jerusalem would one day be filled with old men and women and also children playing in the streets. Some of the prophecies were fulfilled when Christ came. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (Zechariah 9:9) This was fulfilled when Jesus rode into Jerusalem in Matthew 21:1-11. Zechariah 13:6 also prophesied of the death of Jesus. “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” The book ends with prophesies of wars in the end of time and the new kingdom. “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” (Zechariah 14:9)
Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament. Malachi asks questions and gives God’s answers. “I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? Saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,” (Malachi 1:2) The people had built the temple and walls of Jerusalem, but they did not obey God in their laws and sacrifices, or in giving to the Lord. “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:8-10) Malachi also prophesied of the coming of John the Baptist. “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1)
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We have come to the end of the Old Testament. 400 years passed while the Jews waited for the promised Messiah and King. Jesus, the Son of God, came as a lowly servant. While the Old Testament gave us the law, the New Testament gives us mercy and grace. Jesus came to give Himself to be our one and only sacrifice. The Old Testament was for the Jews, God’s chosen people. The New Testament is for “whosoever” as we see in the most familiar verse in the Bible. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
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Matthew is the first book of the New Testament. Matthew was a tax collector who Jesus called to be one of His 12 Disciples. Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus. “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1:1) Matthew wanted to show Jesus as the promised King of Israel through King David. He also showed that Jesus was the Sacrifice as the Son of Abraham. Matthew is the only gospel to show the visit of the wise men that followed the star. If your Bible has the words of Jesus in red, you will notice that most of the book of Matthew is in red. He records many of the sermons of Jesus, such as the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. He tells of the crucifixion and ends his book with words of Jesus after the resurrection. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
If we think of Matthew as the words of Jesus, we can think of Mark as the works of Jesus. He begins with John the Baptist and the ministry of Jesus. He tells of the miracles of Jesus showing His power. He uses words like “immediately” and “straightway” as he goes from one action to another. He also tells of the death and resurrection of Christ and ends with the great ascension of Christ back to heaven. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature… So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” (Mark 16:15 & 19-20)
The Apostle Paul called Luke, “the beloved physician” in Colossians 4:14. Luke wrote two books, The Gospel According To Luke and the book of The Acts Of The Apostles, both to Theophilus. (Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1) Luke shows that Jesus is both man and God. He tells about the birth of Jesus in a lowly stable and includes the songs of the angels and the visit by the shepherds. One of the most important verses in the book of Luke is “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) He records the parables of The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and The Prodigal Son in chapter 15. He also gives the words of Jesus about the rich man and Lazarus in chapter 16. Jesus would like for everyone to be saved from a burning hell. He shows Jesus’ compassion even as He hung on the cross. “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” (Luke 23:34) Again in verse 43 Jesus forgave the thief hanging on a cross beside Him. Luke ends his gospel with the ascension of Christ. “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.” (Luke 24:49-53)
Week 7 -- Do You Know???
1. What are the last three books of the Old Testament? ____________________
2. What are the first three books of the New Testament? ____________________
____ Haggai A) The last book of the Old Testament
____ Zechariah B) Prophesied of Jesus riding on a colt of a donkey
____ Malachi C) Told the people to build the temple and God would bless them
____ Matthew D) Gospel message of the works of Jesus
____ Mark E) First book of the New Testament with many words of Jesus
____ Luke F) A Gospel book that shows Jesus, God’s Son, as a man with saving love and compassion