ESV - 1 The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.
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Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. Not much is known of the writer, but his name means “my messenger.” It is the same word for an “angel” which is God’s messenger. As the prophet and messenger, Malachi was entrusted with writing the burden or oracle of God to Israel, Malachi 1:1. In this book, God raised issues, often met with protests in the form of questions, proving the people were a stubborn, cold-hearted people. “In what way have You loved us?” Malachi 1:2-5. Because of their circumstances due to their sinful deeds, they doubted God’s love. But God affirmed He chose Jacob not Esau. “In what way have we despised Your name?” Malachi 1:6. By not honoring or reverencing God, and showing hatred and hostility, they despised His name. “In what way have we defiled You?” Malachi 1:7-14. By offering blemished and defective animals, which they would not ever offer to the governor, they defiled God’s sacrifices. “In what way have we wearied Him?” Malachi 2:1-17. By perverting justice and allowing the men to divorce their wives so that they could marry foreign wives, the priests detested God’s law. “In what way shall we return?” Malachi 3:1-7. They defied God’s call to be ready when He comes in judgment. God would send the messenger to prepare the way before Him. God does not change, Malachi 3:6. “In what way have we robbed You?” Malachi 3:8-12. They were derelict in bringing all the tithes and offerings. If they did bring all, they would be blessed. “What have we spoken against You?” Malachi 3:13-18. They despised serving the Lord, seeing it as worthless to do. Malachi 4 is the final warning to the people. There is either the terror of judgment on the wicked or the triumph of restoration and recovery on those of faith and obedience. In the book are mentioned three messengers: The priests, Malachi 2:7. The prophet, Malachi 3:1 (the first sentence). The Person of Jesus Christ, Malachi 3:1 (the second sentence). The name of the first messenger of Malachi 3:1 is not given, but two individuals come to mind. Elijah is one, Malachi 4:5. The other is John the Baptist, Matthew 11:10, Mark 1:2, Luke 7:27, all quoting Malachi 3:1. John the Baptist is not the Elijah of Malachi 4:5. John emphatically denied he was Elijah, John 1:21-24. Instead, he went “in the spirit and power of Elijah,” Luke 1:13-17, 76-78. He was an Elijah-like prophet. He dressed like him, Matthew 3:4, II Kings 1:8, and preached like him, even reproaching rulers of their sins, I Kings 21:17-24, Matthew 14:1-12. Jesus said that if the people had accepted Him as the Messiah, John would have fulfilled the prophecy of Elijah, Matthew 11:7-14. However, they did not and missed the opportunity, Matthew 17:11-13. Instead, Elijah will fulfill this at the future coming of Christ, Malachi 4:5. Malachi was the last messenger until the New Testament, when the Messenger of the Covenant came, Malachi 3:1b, John 12:49-50.
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