by Henry T. Vriesen
Nehemiah and Ezra were men of firm conviction and their efforts were not in vain. The Jews began to pay more attention to the teachings of God’s law. They refused to worship idols any longer. In the course of time Jerusalem grew large and strong. Jews from other countries chose to live in the land that was promised and cities, and the hills all over the country were covered with vineyards, olive and fig trees, and on the plains were rich fields of golden grain.
About the time of Nehemiah—perhaps a little later—the prophet Malachi arose as the last of the prophets of the Old Testament. It was about 400 years before the birth of Christ when the message of this man of God was proclaimed through the Holy Land. “Behold,” so prophesied Malachi, “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. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years. And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the … adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts. For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” “Return unto me, and I will return unto you … 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 … For behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name, shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings … Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.”For further information on this resource, click here.