My scripture studies article “Between the Testaments: An Invitation to Explore the Intertestamental Time Period.” Quote from the opening paragraph:
“Have you ever turned the page from the last words of Malachi to the first utterances of Matthew? Go ahead. Turn that one page. What do you see? Exactly. Nothing.
“Was the world silent between Malachi and Matthew? Indeed it was not. But just how much time had passed between the two Testaments? What happened in the eastern Mediterranean world during that time? Did anything happen at all? Could ideas, beliefs and practices significantly change between the Testaments?
“Consider the following: Would we feel historically, ideologically and politically disoriented if our knowledge of Western history stopped in the year 1492 , skipped five hundred years, and then resumed again in the year 1992 ? Such a thought is absurd. No one could have a complete understanding of the modern world that we live in by skipping such a vast stretch of time which has seen enormous changes in so many aspects of life.
Yet, that is exactly what happens when we turn from the last page of Malachi to the first page of Matthew. Some five hundred years span the distance between these two Biblical writers, but we seem not to worry that the political, religious and ideological worlds that these two writers came from were in many ways radically different from each other. Indeed, when we comprehend the flux of change in the eastern Mediterranean world over the course of five hundred years, our understanding of the New Testament will be enlarged as wide as the chasm that now marks the apparent emptiness between the Testaments.”