ESV - 1 Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.
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In Hebrew the phrase “my messenger” is מַלְאָכִי (mal’akhi)—[always you have to read Hebrew from right to left, unlike English and other languages which are read from left to right], the same form as the prophet’s name. However, here the messenger appears to be an eschatological figure [--a yet future figure] who is about to appear, as the following context suggests. According to Malachi 4:5, this messenger is “Elijah the prophet,” whom the NT identifies as John the Baptist (Matt 11:10; Mark 1:2) because he came in the “spirit and power” of Elijah (Matt 11:14; 17:11-12; Lk 1:17). See this hymn based on Malachi 3:1, “The Great Forerunner Of The Morn” (Author: The Venerable Bede): The great forerunner of the morn, The herald of the Word, is born: And faithful hearts shall never fail With thanks and praise his light to hail. With heavenly message Gabriel came, That John should be that herald’s name, And with prophetic utterance told His actions great and manifold. John, still unborn, yet gave aright His witness to the coming Light; And Christ, the Sun of all the earth, Fulfilled that witness at His birth. Of woman born shall never be A greater prophet than was he, Whose mighty deeds exalt his fame To greater than a prophet’s name. But why should mortal accents raise The hymn of John the Baptist’s praise? Of whom, or e’er his course was run, Thus spake the Father to the Son? “Behold, My herald, who shall go Before Thy face Thy way to show, And shine, as with the day-star’s gleam, Before Thine own eternal beam.” All praise to God the Father be, All praise, eternal Son, to Thee, Whom with the Spirit we adore Forever and forevermore.
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