Coy D. Roper guides the reader through the final books in the Old Testament, which tell what transpired among God’s people after their return from Babylonian captivity. While Zechariah and Haggai had the challenge of encouraging the Jews to rebuild the temple, Malachi faced the responsibility of admonishing them regarding their sins of indifference and also warning them of a coming day of judgment. These post-exilic prophets looked forward to a new era in history, when God’s prophecies would be fulfilled in the advent of the Messiah.
However, after these days of Malachi, the world would have to wait four hundred years for Christ’s arrival. This period is absent from the Scriptures (except in Daniel’s prophecies), but secular sources are quite revealing regarding the leaders, wars, and political intrigue of that time. The rule of Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies, the Seleucids, the Maccabees, and the Romans reflects the providence of God as He made final preparations for the world to receive His message of salvation.