The Book of Malachi Survey

The Book of Malachi Survey

The Book of Malachi Survey

Pr Edi Giudetti

31-12-2017

 

 

Malachi = “Messenger”. Nothing else is known of him personally.

 

Time of writing = Well after the temple was completed (see 1:6-7 & 3:10). Unlike Haggai and Zachariah Malachi does not tell us in who’s reign the word of the Lord came to him.

 

But there is confidence it was written during or just after the time of Nehemiah’s writing who came to address the poor condition, of the walls, the temple already completed.

 

Malachi seems to address the same sinful state of the people that Nehemiah did;

 

  • Divorce of Jews and the marriage with heathen women (Mal 2:11 / Neh 13:23)
  • Failure of the people to give to the work of the Lord (Mal 3:8-10 / Neh 13:10-14)

 

Malachi is likely to have ministered in support of Nehemiah.

Haggai ministered in the time of Ezra

Zechariah ministered during the time of Zerubbabel.

 

Malachi was both the last historical prophet in time, and his writing is the last book of the Old Testament.

 

It would something like four hundred years before God would again utter his voice to his people.

 

Daniel mentioned that “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks and three score and two weeks”, or a total of 69 weeks of years, or 483 years for Christ to make his appearance.

 

Clearly the Prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, as well as the historical writings of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther were written during that 483 year period. The greater part of that period after Malachi was silent.

 

 

Elijah = John the Baptist

 

It is of interest to know that the last chapter, with only 6 verses has as its final prophecy the coming of an individual before the great and terrible day of the Lord.

 

Turn there.

 

Malachi 4:5

 

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 four hundred years of silence from God was broken byThe voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Known to us as John the Baptist, but an interesting note is given to us by Christ in Matthew 11:13-14.

 

 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. 15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

 

And when the disciples asked him of the time of the end and whether Elijah must first come, knowing the book of Malachi; Jesus responded:

Matt 17:12

 

 12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed.

 

Why so long without the Vision of God given to any other prophet? Why such a long silence?

 

Perhaps the Lord wanted to ensure that through this silence there would be a preparation in the hearts of men to receive the word of God when he came.

 

Perhaps the light is immeasurably brighter when the darkness is darkest.

Malachi was known as “The Socrates of the prophets”. A Hebrew version of the Greek philosopher who lived in the same historical period, the fifth century BC.

 

His manner of speech and writing is known as Dialectic and Didactic, in other words, a form of questioning in order to impart teaching.

 

Dialectic conversation draws the hearer to take a part in the dialogue. Malachi uses rhetorical questions to achieve this just as did Socrates.

It assumes the questions and answers them to teach the lesson through it, that’s the Didactic part.

 

Paul does a similar thing in his writings, we see that in the book of Romans and Hebrews particularly.

 

Malachi is severe and argumentative, he addresses directly the state of unbelief and particularly that of the Priesthood.

 

Note that the Sin of Judah that Malachi addresses is AFTER they have returned from their captivity for their earlier sinful state, they are now in prosperity, blessed by the Lord YET STILL SINFULL AND IN UNBELIEF.

 

Key Verse: Malachi 3:7

Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.

Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.

 

 

THE STORY

 

In short Malachi is a story, it is a story of purpose, a story of power, a story of betrayal, a story of long suffering patience, a story of redeeming love and a story of triumph.

 

Malachi is the perfect end to where the Bible began.

 

Last time I said that it is a bookend to Zechariah, well in review I have found it to be the true book end of the Old Testament.

 

It is the blurb that we find on the back of a novel, it is the summary of the purpose, power, betrayal, long suffering and redeeming love of God to those chosen for himself.

And it is also the final word of ultimate vengeance upon evil. If you would like to know what the Old testament is about, read the back of the book, read Malachi.

 

Malachi, in four short chapters, provides the ultimate answer to the questions of sovereignty and accountability, truth and hypocrisy, of faith and fear and finally of love and vengeance.

 

Those themes are found throughout the book, but stand out a little concentrated in its respective Chapters

 

OF SOVEREIGNTY AND ACCOUNTABILITY

 Malachi 1

1 The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.

I have loved you, saith the Lord.

Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us?

Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord:

Yet I loved Jacob,

And I hated Esau,

And laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.

Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished,

But we will return and build the desolate places;

Thus saith the Lord of hosts,

They shall build, but I will throw down;…..

 

Both Esau and Jacob where the children of the Promise.

 

Both came out of the loins of Abraham as both came from the son of Abraham, Issac.

 

But one only was chosen.

 

One only was loved, and the other hated.

 

Immediately we see that which many of us find uncomfortable regarding God, his right to choose. HIS SOVEREIGNTY, His right to do what he will with his own. We question his motives, we immediately attribute blame and say, “but that is not fair”.

 

It’s interesting to consider, that God WHO IS GOOD, can be charged by us, WHO ARE….well….LESS THAN GOOD, with evil concerning his sovereign right to work the work of the potter.

 

Not knowing God, we attribute his character to our own, we KNOW that if we had that power to sovereignly do what we will and when we will, we may not act with integrity.

 

But that is not God.

 

The Lord has both a right and a purpose, his will is for himself and what he desires most is the very reason he created the entire universe and that is for a loving relationship with man.

 

If and only if, we have this fact firmly implanted in our minds;

  1. That God is good
  2. That his purpose for creation was relationship with man

 

Then and only then can we think soberly considering THE SOVEREIGNTY of God.

 

He demonstrates His Sovereignty further

Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished,

But we will return and build the desolate places;

Thus saith the Lord of hosts,

They shall build, but I will throw down

 

And he goes on and says

 

And they shall call them, The border of wickedness,

And, The people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever.

 

There will go forth a reputation concerning Esau and his relationship with the God of his fathers.

 

Jeremiah reminds us that the Lord has a controversy with Edom and though he builds his nest upon the rock as high as the Eagle, yet will God bring him down and he will never again be a people.

 

Scripture reminds us here that it will be a witness to all;

 

And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say,

The Lord will be magnified from the border of Israel

 

 

APPLICATION

 

There is nothing that God cannot do and nothing of his word that will fail to come.

 

If God says he will bless a heart that fears and trusts him then he will certainly bless them, even if that man seems impoverished as he lives his life, know that he is certainly blessed and lacks nothing.

 

If God says he will curse the heart that has no fear of him nor trust in his words, then that man is cursed and will remain cursed even if he seems to prosper in the way, know that he is certainly cursed and has gained nothing.

 

God magnifies his name by his actions, And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say,

The Lord will be magnified from the border of Israel

 

PRT 2

 

WITNESS ACCOUNTABILITY

 

Even though all this is true, yet Jacob would not honour his father, nor the servants their master.

The opposite in fact, they have despised his name.

 

6 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master:

If then I be a father, where is mine honour?

And if I be a master, where is my fear?

Saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name.

 

Notice that God demonstrated his sovereign power and control in the first few verses but NOW holds his people accountable to GIVE HIM THE HONOUR DUE.

 

Now they ask HOW they might have done so?

 

And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?

Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar

 

The priests offered to the Lord that basest of offerings when he required the finest.

 

They brought to the Lord only that which was torn and lame, sick and blind.

These things to represent to God the salvation that he offers that is pure and without spot, why have they done this?

 

The middle of verse 7 says;

 

In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible.

 

This is the state of their heart.

 

Verses 12-13 says

 

But ye have profaned it in that ye say, The table of the Lord is polluted;

And the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible.

13 Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it!

 

O such a trouble it is to offer that which God has commanded, so difficult to do the things of the Lord, things he promises to bring us joy and hope when we do what we do with all our hearts in faith, love and devotion to a father that even purchased us with the blood of his son, a sacrifice without a single blemish.

 

what a weariness is it! To trust and do the will of the Lord.

 

Ever done that?

 

I certainly did.

 

It did not matter how short the task was, anything from ten minutes directing the cars to park, to vacuuming the floors, and even taking Sunday school.

 

My heart was one felt by a burden of servitude rather than gratitude, my mind was thinking more of enslavement and not enjoyment “I have to do this” rather than “I want to do this”.

 

To offer a glass of cold water even in the name of a disciple I would not have done.

Of my time I gave the meager amount as many do today.

 

They would be encouraged and challenged by a message than might span an hour, a message that is purposed to change their life even for an eternity, sitting on cushioned seats; if they were prevented from spending two and a half hours at the footy, that would do nothing more than change the colour of their clothing sitting on wood or hard plastic chairs.

 

The hypocrisy of so many today disgust me.

 

It’s amazing how much we accept being inconvenienced doing our pleasure with no benefit, rather than doing the Lords pleasure with eternal benefit.

 

So what does Judah offer the Lord to make up for the “Weariness” of serving him?

 

They offer that which is polluted rather than perfect, they give of their abundance and not of their want. Their hearts are far from the Lord.

 

But would they do so to a leader among them?

 

And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil?

And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil?

Offer it now unto thy governor;

Will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts.

 

A Governor would see their offering and be rightly insulted.

 

Not only did the priests do so with their own offerings, but they did not chastise any of the people who gave the maimed of their own flock to the Lord.

 

Rather than kill their torn, blind, sick and maimed, they said “No, let us preserve it and give the worst to the Lord and claim it as our offering for him”.

 

Imagine taking your garbage out of your kitchen and instead of throwing it in the bin to be taken away, you bring it to the king as a gift and offering.

 

Offer it now unto thy governor;

Will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person?

 

Hey, when you got nothing else to do, pray.

When you have done everything you want to do or need to do, and there is nothing else left that you can think of to do, read your Bible.

 

How often do we give our leftovers to the Lord?

 

Often the only time it becomes a primary purpose is when there is need, then prayer happens three times a day, Bibles are read, church services attended.

Out of want, we seek the Lord.

 

How wonderful to do the opposite, when we are full and have need of nothing physically and our hearts are lifted up, then seek the Lord with all diligence, giving him thanks, not once a year, but every moment of every day.

 

Brethren it is certain that God is Sovereign, but we are also accountable.

 

We can pray the Lord to help us avoid sin and increase faithfulness, but we can also decide to BE faithful.

 

OF TRUTH AND HYPOCRISY

 

In chapter two the Lord begins to directly address his complaint to the priests who he charges with hypocrisy and compares them to the original purpose of living in truth.

 

2And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you.

 

And if they will not hear, the Lord will curse their blessings.

 

 2If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart,

To give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts,

I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings:…

 

All their good with which others may enjoy, the Lord will make them a snare and a trouble.

 

The Lord tells the priests, the descendants of Levi, why he chose Levi, it was because of the fear with which he feared the Lord,

 

And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you,

That my covenant might be with Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.

My covenant was with him of life and peace;

And I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me,

And was afraid before my name.

 

He spoke the truth and walked in peace and his life had that same effect upon those who observed him;

 

The law of truth was in his mouth,

And iniquity was not found in his lips:

He walked with me in peace and equity,

And did turn many away from iniquity.

 

This gives us an understanding of the state of the heart, for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh (Mt 12:34)

 

Our manner of life affects others.

We are not an island

We ALL influence others.

 

Hypocrisy is searched for in us.

 

BUT CONSISTENCY IN truth should stand out.

 

This was the heart of all priests.

But they departed from this and their departure caused the fall of many.

 

But ye are departed out of the way;

Ye have caused many to stumble at the law;…..

 

 

They picked and chose which law they would follow and trust and which they would excuse, they “…have been partial in the law” (v9)

 

The leaders and the heads, the “master and the scholars” (v12) turned from the right ways of God and caused the corruption of the people, who put away the wives of their youth and chose wives of the heathen who worshipped other gods.

 

So when they excused their sin, they effectively taught other how to excuse their own sin, their evil they called good even before God;

 

17 Ye have wearied the Lord with your words.

Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him?

When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord,

And he delighteth in them;

Or, Where is the God of judgment?

 

They did evil and took pleasure in those that do wrong even when “knowing the judgments of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but take pleasure in them that do them” (Rom 1:32)

 

This is how they all “got along” as each excused the others sin.

 

OF FAITH AND FEAR

 

3Behold, 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.

But who may abide the day of his coming?

And who shall stand when he appeareth?

For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:

 

 

But now the messenger will come and will prepare the way, and the God whom the priests say they seek will indeed come, the one whom  they asked in their hearts “Where is the God of Judgment” will come to his Temple and who will stand and answer him?

 

The Gospel accounts tell us that people spoke of this man when he came saying “never man spake like this man” (Jn 7:46)

Matthew reminds us that no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions. (Mt 22:46)

 

Why not?

 

Midway through 3:2

 

For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver:

And he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver,

That they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

 

Not only this but verse 5 tells us he will be dealing with Sorceres and Adulterers and False swearers and all oppressors. He will rid the nation of these and that is the only way that Jacob remains a people.

 

For I am the Lord, I change not;

Therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

 

Certain that if this was not the case, they would have become like Sodom and Gomorrah and like all the nations God charged to destroy utterly.

 

In just manner did God make provision for mankind through his Son, should we have had no saviour there truly would never have been any hope for mankind.

 

I cant even begin to think of it. How can we comprehend in our minds a state of absolute hopelessness?

 

Today man has been lulled into a false sense of security that they have become wilfully ignorant of eternity, blissfully unaware they are a breath away from utter hopelessness.

 

Sin has condemned all mankind to the condemnation of the devil, none are safe from the city of Destruction, all who remain there will find a home in hell.

 

Who will be that person that will question God in the day their conscience is waked from its deluded sleep?

 

Sin has caused man to sleep to his guilt, but eternity will awaken him.

 

Yet again God made a way, God provided a cure for the malady of man.

 

A child was born, a son was given and he was without spot. God did not give the torn, the blind, the lame or the sick, God did not give of that which was already to perish, but he gave his only begotten Son to take away sin, and the penalty of sin, to all who believe.

 

 

OF LOVE AND VENGENCE

 

Though Judah suffered affliction in life through their sin against God, they did not learn. Like a dog returning to his vomit so to did Judah return to her sin.

 

Malachi is the Last Word to them. It is Gods last Will under the Old Testament, it was his final public decree that both condemned them for their sin but also gave a hope to look to.

 

This last chapter is a short six verses, but it is the clearest decree that can be given separating the wicked from the just at the end of history.

 

4For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;

And all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble:

And the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts,

That it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

 

 

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise

With healing in his wings;

And ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

And ye shall tread down the wicked;

For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet

In the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.

Remember ye the law of Moses my servant,

Which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel,

With the statutes and judgments.

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.

 

 

 

 

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