THE PROPHECY OF MALACHI
Malachi was the last of the prophets who ministered to the resorted remnant. He probably labored in the time of spiritual declension when Nehemiah was temporarily absent from the country. Malachi also tells of the two-fold coming of Christ, but very much more briefly than Zechariah. Thus the Old Testament closes with predictions of the coming of the Messiah, and the New Testament opens with the record of their fulfillment.
The book has four natural divisions as follows:
1. Ch. 1:1-5. God’s love for His people.
2. Chs. 1:6 to 2:9. Divine displeasure with the priests.
3. Chs. 2:10 to 3:18. The sins of the people.
4. Chapter 4. The Day of the Lord.
GOD’S LOVE FOR HIS PEOPLE.
The love of God has definite expression. Many people feel that if He indeed loves then there should be no suffering in this world, since He has power enough to avert it. To refute this God explains in John 3:16 that His love is manifested in the gift of Christ, and all who believe in Him shall not perish. The marvel of the love of God is that He offers salvation to the “whosoever” regardless of how sinful a person has been. So in Mal. 1:3, the love of God is explained as being clearly seen in His acceptance of Jacob and rejection of his brother Esau.
DIVINE DISPLEASURE WITH THE PRIESTS.
In contrast with the loving kindness of God we find how ungrateful the priesthood was toward Him. None of them served the Lord out of love but only for the temporal profit his job might bring him, v.10. Also they were so indifferent as to what kind of an offering was brought, lame or otherwise, when God was most explicit in His commands that there should be nothing with blemish placed on His altar. Because of their sin God must reject them. Their father Levi had feared the Lord, Ch.2:4-5, and a covenant of peace was made with him. Now, however, God was greatly displeased with them and threatened to debase them before all the people, v.9.
THE SINS OF THE PEOPLE.
The people were guilty of various kinds of sins. Since there were all chosen under one covenant it was as though they were one family, but some were guilty of dealing treacherously with other, Ch.2:10. Idolatry was also very rife among them, which was a great sin against God their spiritual Father, v.11.
Others were unfaithful to their marriage vow, vs. 14-15, and many were just idle professors of religion, v.17, whereas God looked for pure worship from the heart. There were those among them who robbed God by holding back their tithes, which He expects of all His children or any and every dispensation, Ch.3:8.
The Lord is not an overbearing and exacting taskmaster, but will greatly reward all those who honor Him in this way, vs. 10-11. To the faithful few of which there are always some, God promised that a book of remembrance should be written of them, vs.16-17.
It is just as is said in Gal. 6:9, “let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faith not.” In the first six verses of Ch.3, we have a parenthesis.
The mission of John the Baptist, and the first and second coming of the Lord are briefly foretold. John as the messenger would introduce Christ, v.1. As a final result of that first coming the Jew will be purified, and this will culminate in the restoration at the second coming of Christ, vs. 2-4.
THE DAY OF THE LORD.
The day of the Lord is described as one that will burn as an oven. In other words, it will be full of fiery judgment for the wicked. To those, however, that fear His name, He shall rise as the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings, Ch.4:1-2.
Some believe the Elijah is to come to earth just before Christ returns, vs. 5-6, but since Jesus said that Elias is come already, it would seem that as John who came in the spirit and power of Elias ushered in the Christ of the Gospels, the curse was then lifted, and man now can accept the call of God’s grace and be saved.
Thus ends the Old
Testament with a most fitting introduction to the New Testament.