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 Overview
Bible Survey - Malachi
Hebrew Name - Malakiy "My Messenger"
Greek Name - Malakoi (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Malachi (According to Tradition)
Date - 400 BC Approximately
Theme - Final Message to Rebellious Israel
Types and Shadows - In Malachi Jesus will come to His Temple
Malachi prophesied sometime near the end of the fifth century BC during the time with the Persian Empire ruled the world. The Temple in Jerusalem was rebuilt and many Jews had returned to the land of Israel but they had neglected the things of God. They were skimping on their sacrifices and failing to give their tithes, and the priests of God did nothing to encourage them. There were mixed marriages and divorce had become a common practice, and Malachi came to stir the people up. He told them not to neglect the things of God if they ever expect to prosper, and they need to repent right now in order for God to bless them. Malachi also speaks of the coming day of the Lord, but the prophet Elijah would come first, he will be a forerunner to the Messiah and then the Messiah would come. In the New Testament Elijah is identified as John the Baptist who was the forerunner for Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:1-12 and Matthew 11:14). The Book of Malachi closes the Old Testament and there was not another prophet in the land of Israel for nearly 400 years until John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness.
The exact time in which the prophet Malachi began his ministry's uncertain, but from his references to the Temple and the priests it it is safe to say that it was after the return of the Jews from captivity and after the Temple had been rebuilt. There is nothing else known Malachi other than the words that he wrote in this book. The Jews have returned from captivity, they became lazy in the things of God and the Prophets Haggai and Zechariah stirred them up and they rebuilt the Temple and the wall of Jerusalem was restored. But the people were still forgetful of God and his promises, they lost the enthusiasm about all the glorious things that God had promised he was going to do and then they became skeptical and they neglected their spiritual duties. they were offering him perfect sacrifices and failed to give tithes to God. The priests were unconcerned and did nothing to encourage the people. there were mixed marriages with foreigners and divorce had become common. Soon there were more problems in the land, there was drought, and crop failure, there was opposition from various enemies and life had become exceedingly more difficult.
The heart of Malachi's prophecy was to drive home the point that God loves them, but they need to remember his commandments if they were ever going to prosper. If they would repent God will bless them. Then Malachi reminds them of the coming Day of the Lord, which will be introduced by a forerunner and afterward the Messiah, the Lord will suddenly come to his Temple.
"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, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming," says the LORD of hosts. Malachi 3:1
The book of Malachi closes the ministry of the prophets. The religious leaders, priests and scribes, became more zealous for expounding on the word of God, so much so that by the time of Christ their commentaries and traditions had prevented them from seeing the promises of God happening before their very eyes. John the Baptist came as the fulfillment of the prophecy about Elijah preparing the way for the Messiah. Then the Messiah, God himself came to His Temple veiled in human flesh and only a select few were there to worship Him. He entered the Eastern Gate of the Temple on a donkey, as prophesied by Zechariah, and the Jewish leaders were jealous of Him and put Him to death, but death could not hold Him and He rose again and is Savior to all who receive Him.
"Behold He is Coming"
Malachi's famous words "behold He is coming" is the prophetic cry that began in the first book of the Bible, and the message continued all the way to the end. God is faithful to his promises and this is what the prophets declared.
Outline of the Book of Malachi
Malachi 1:1-2 God's declaration of His love for Israel
Malachi 1:3-5 God's hatred for Esau and the Edomites
Malachi 1:6-14 The unrepentant priests
Malachi 2:1-9 God's punishment on the unrepentant priests
Malachi 2:10-16 First oracle against the people
Malachi 2:17 Second oracle against the people
Malachi 3:1-6 The prophecy of the Messiah and His forerunner
Malachi 3:7-12 Third Oracle: The people's sin of robbing God
Malachi 3:13-4:3 Fourth Oracle: The people's sin of speaking against the Lord
Malachi 4:4-6 The priests and people are warned
The Book of Malachi