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"Old Testament Survey"

Haggai through Malachi and Old Testament Summary


Steve Bader in this session concluded his Old Testament Scriptures survey in adult Sunday School class with the books of Haggai through Malachi. This article provides a brief summary of the content. I recommend you either download the audio in it's entirety from sermons page or order the CD's.


Haggai is first of the postexilic prophetic books, the period following the 70 years of captivity. Haggai gave a specific date for receiving a message from God to be delivered to the governor, Zerubbabel and Joshua, the high priest. God's rebuke was concerned with priorities. Unlike Israel before the exile (mixed races), these people were the pure people of God. The exile cleansed Israel from this particular sin.

The sin Haggai denounced was that of complacency. The people were idle. They were to rebuild the temple, but focused their attention on their own living conditions rather than the place where the Lord would reside among His people.Unlike the pre-exilic people of God, Zerubbabel, Joshua and the returned exiles heeded the prophet and began working on the temple. Later Haggai received a second word from God. The elder citizens who saw the old temple groaned that the temple being rebuilt could not compare with the majesty of the former. But the prophet promised that the true glory, God's presence, would return. He also prophesies of a future time when the glory of this temple would surpass that of Solomon's (the temple built by Herod).

The Lord also asked the priests two questions: "Is holiness transferable?" and "Can uncleanness be transferred?" Of course holiness is not, but uncleanness is. The upshot is that, just because the people were currently obeying God, it did not make them holy in of themselves. But God declares from this day on He would bless them.


Zechariah's visions started a couple of months after Haggai and also stressed the apathy of Israel. Although the restoration had already begun, it was certainly not finished. He warned them that their fathers had made the Lord angry. Learn from the past.

His first vision declared the fact that there was peace among other nations while Israel suffered. However, one day God would turn the tables and bring judgment on those nations and peace to His people.

The second vision was concerned with the nations who scattered Israel. God would raise up other nations to destroy them.

The third vision indicated that Israel would grow, looking forward to the day when all nations would be a part of the people of God.

The fourth vision proclaimed that even though Israel was unworthy, the Lord would remove their sin from them, silencing the accuser, Satan. The sins of God's people would be remedied with through Christ, the branch.

The fifth vision was an encouragement to Zerubbabel. He would rebuild the temple by God's strength.

The sixth vision proclaimed that the curse of the covenant was both avoidable and inexcusable. God's Word was clear and they knew when they were wrong. Still, God is faithful despite their unfaithfulness.

The seventh vision portrayed the removal of national Israel's sin and rebellion against God.

The eighth and final vision represented divine judgment on Gentile nations, but many from those nations will be saved. The Lord then declared that Israel would fall under the leadership of false shepherds (the Pharisees and Sadducees). Zechariah was paid 30 pieces of silver by shepherds, the amount Judas would later receive to betray Christ. The prophet was told to cast the silver down in the House of the Lord, Judas as did when he overtaken by remorse. The Lord declares that He will strike down His shepherd (Christ). Yet, through this death He would purify people, the Church.


This book is the last Word of God until the birth of Christ. Malachi speaks to a people in lethargy. After the temple was rebuilt, they ceased work. The city still remained in ruins. Why? They had become disillusioned by God's promises. Worship was poor, tithes were not paid and they began to marry outside the covenant. They were the people with whom "the Lord is angry forever." Malachi condemned the priests for lazy worship and accepting the people's worst offerings instead of the first fruits. The sacrifice was supposed to be unblemished. Malachi said it would be better to shut the temple doors than to continue.

Malachi condemned the "faithless" people for marrying outside the covenant. Their children were considered the offspring of idolatry, representing their infidelity to God.

The people, cynical of God's promises, were told of a coming one (John the Baptist) who would be the forerunner of the Messiah.

God also referred to their failure to give the tithe to the Lord as "stealing. God had withheld promises because they had not given to the Lord what was required.

The Lord also declared that, one day, the wicked would be wiped out. Only those who "fear His name" will be spared. He warned them to heed His words lest they be utterly destroyed.

This prophetic message closed the Old Testament canon as God's people entered the 400 years of silence. Awaiting the Messiah.

Old Testament Summary

Since the purpose of the Old Testament was to point to Christ, the appropriate way to read it is in light of Him. In the beginning, Eden was typified as the "Promise Land" from which man was evicted because of sin. The first Adam would fail, but the second Adam (Christ) would bring restoration. Two peoples were established in the fall, the seed of the woman (God's people) and the seed of the serpent (the world). This seed would eventually narrow to one in Abraham. Through faith all of his descendants would be blessed. Melchizedek (a type of Christ) would bless him.

God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. He dutifully began to obey but was stopped by an angel who told him to sacrifice a ram (a picture of Christ's substitutionary death.) Isaac's sons, Jacob and Esau, would once again typify the two races of man. Jacob was promised one, Esau the one rejected by God. Joseph typified Christ, eventually being exalted despite the intentions of evil men.

In the Exodus, Jesus is represented in the burning bush, the Passover lamb, the cloud, and the waters that drowned the Egyptians. In the desert, He was typified by the bronze serpent that brought healing, the manna that sustained Israel, and the rock that provided living water.

As Israel entered the "Promise Land," the prescribed sacrifices (which pointed to Christ) covered their sins. The Judges raised up by God were faulty vessels given to judge the people for their continued apostasy.

When the people complained that they had no leadership, God sent them Saul. This was an act of judgment. However God would bring them a righteous king, David, through which the promised one (Jesus) would come. Solomon would bring an immediate fulfillment of the promise in the building of the temple. Yet, he would fail because of his own sin. The practices of Baal worship were progressively included in their worship, corrupting the nation. However, still being God's people, they would not be left alone. There was a succession of godly and ungodly kings.

Prophets were raised up to admonish and warn. Their words were often messages of judgment. But they were interlaced with hope and, more importantly, promised the coming of Christ. Elijah first announced the coming judgment. Despite these warnings, Israel continued in their infidelity. God raised up nations that would bring Israel under subjugation. In Isaiah, God would prophesy in detail how the coming Messiah would restore His people. By the time of Jeremiah, their fate had been sealed. Yet, the horrific nature of the exile brought about a cleansing of sorts. God remained to His people and brought them back to the land they had been promised. However, they were a mere shadow of their former glory. Only the coming of the Messiah would bring the people of God to their full restoration. And in the fullness of time, God finally brought forth the promised Christ.

- Jordan McGehee

You can listen to this series here.