The Book of Malachi
Malachi 3:1 - Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
Malachi 4:5-6 -
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and
dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the
children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite
the earth with a curse.
The Old Testament - A Brief OverviewSummary of The Book of Malachi
The time in which Malachi wrote cannot be definitely determined. From references to the temple and the priests, it may be assumed that it was after the return from captivity. The conditions described are similar to those which prompted the reforms of Ezra and Nehemiah, and the book may date from that period. Nothing is known of Malachi, but that he considered his words to have the full approval of God is seen throughout the book.
The Jews had returned from captivity a zealous and hopeful people. After a short period of indifference, Haggai and Zechariah had been able to stir them to rebuild the temple and the wall of Jerusalem had also been restored. The people, however, had become disillusioned; things simply were not as good as they had hoped. Drought and its accompanying crop failure, together with opposition from various enemies, had made life difficult. Skepticism, doubt, and general neglect of spiritual matters had crept in. They were offering imperfect sacrifices and failing to give their tithes. The priests were lax and did little to encourage them. Mixed marriages with the heathen and divorce had become common.
The heart of Malachi's message was to point out to the people that they could never expect prosperity as long as they continued in the sins described above. After assuring them of God's blessings if they would repent, he shifts to the subject of the approaching Day of the Lord. This day will be ushered in by Elijah, who will act as a forerunner of Messiah, after which Messiah will come. In the New Testament (Matt. 3:1-12; 11:14), this Elijah is identified with John the Baptist.
The writing of Malachi closes the period of prophetic activity. After this time, the scribes and priests came to the fore of religious leadership in the activity of expounding that which had already been written.
The Story of the Bible
The Old Testament
Summary of the Old Testament Books