In Chapter 1 the author wants to encourage Christians to read the Old Testament as part of their heritage. To facilitate the reading and understanding of the Elijah and Elisha narratives, he encourage his readers to take note of at least three different historical horizons that intersect in these narratives. The first horizon is the historical background of the incidents. The next horizon is the historical background of the author. A third horizon is later biblical interpretation (e.g., Matthew 11:14.
Was John the Baptist the fulfillment of the promise of Malachi 3 and Malachi 4 concerning the prophet who was to come on the day of the Lord? Kaiser offers a hermeneutical solution to this question as a generic fulfillment, meaning that Elijah has come "in the spirit and power" witnessed in John the Baptist, and will yet come in the future.