The title for this sermon is Redemption has come.
Judah went from being under Babylonian rule to Persian rule.
At the time, Malachi writes his book, Judah is still under Persian rule.
There is a 400 year gap between Malachi and Matthew.
Persian rule gives way to Greek rule – Alexander the Great
In his march on Jerusalem, he not only spared the city, but also offered sacrifice to Jehovah and had the prophecies of Daniel read to him concerning the overthrow of the Persian empire by a king of Grecia, (Daniel 8:21.) Thereafter he treated the Jews with respect and gave them full rights of citizenship with the Greeks in his new city, Alexandria,and in other cities. This in return, created decidedly pro-Greek sympathies among the Jews, and, along with Alexander’s spreading of the Greek language and civilization, a Hellenisstic spirit developed among the Jews which greatly affected their mental outlook afterward.
Greek rule led to Egyptian occupation.
Egyptian rule led to Syrian rule.
Syrian rule led to Maccabean rule.
After Judas Maccabeus died in 143 B.C. This led to a period of independent Jewish government for about sixty years.
Enter the Romans.
In 63 B.C. Herod Antipater along with the Roman general Pompey led a three month long siege against Jerusalem. Pompey with total disregard for the Temple and God, walked into the Holy of Holies. Pompey’s rule of Jerusalem ended the period of independence. The high priest was removed from all royal and governmental rule and was only allowed to retain priestly status.
In 40 B.C. at the age of 15, Herod the Great was appointed king of the Jews.
In the whole period of the 400 years, the people grow spiritually farther and farther from God. The majority has become disinclined from listening to Scripture and the people that teach it.
The gospels do not reveal much about Jesus’ childhood and teenage years. When Jesus is 30 years old, he leaves his carpentry work and his family to do the work that God has called him to do.
As John is baptizing in the Jordan river, he sees Jesus walking towards him and he calls out,
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
The baby born in a manger will become the ultimate sacrifice to save people from their sins through the shedding of his blood on the cross.
That is the greatest gift given in the history of the world.