MALACHI AND HIS BOOK
Malachi’s name means “my messenger.” If he was not the very last messenger of God to write an Old Testament book, he was at least one of God’s last Old Testament messengers. (Several of the Historical Books may have been written later than Malachi, for example, Nehemiah. We do not know for sure.) It seems certain that he was the last prophet of the Old Testament era to point forward to the coming Messiah. After Malachi’s time, 400 years of divine silence would begin until the Messiah had established his Kingdom. We are told nothing about the man Malachi himself in his book. We do not know exactly when he lived. But because the temple had already been rebuilt and a Persian governor was ruling in Jerusalem when Malachi wrote, he must have lived after the time of Haggai and Zechariah. Perhaps he wrote about 450-430 B.C. From Malachi’s book we can learn much about the conditions at his time. They were hard times with prosperity lacking. The people thought that God had let them down. Both priests and people had developed a very careless attitude in their spiritual lives. The priests were offering blind, crippled, and diseased animals to God at the temple. This was something they would not dare to do to the Persian governor, but they dared to do this to the Lord Almighty. The lay people were robbing God by cheating him out of the tithes and offerings they were to offer. Men were divorcing their older wives to marry younger heathen women. The people were generally saying that it was a waste of their time to serve God (3:14). It was to these priests and people that Malachi prophesied. He uncovered their sins before their eyes; then he held before them the promise of the Messiah.
GENERAL OUTLINE OF THE BOOK OF MALACHI:
- Malachi Admonishes the Priests and People for Their Sins (1-2)
- Malachi Offers Messages of Hope and Warning (3-4)
Since Malachi’s book is short, you will have time to read the whole book. Notice especially the prophecies in 3:1 where the Messiah is called “the messenger of the covenant.” Notice that the work of John the Baptist of preparing the way for the Messiah is prophesied twice: 3:1a and 4:5. The last three verses of Malachi’s book are a fitting closing for the Old Testament. 4:5 directs our attention back to what has been written so far in God’s inspired Book; 4:5 directs our attention forward to what is soon to take place and be recorded in the New Testament when the long-promised Messiah comes.
A SUMMARY ON THE MINOR PROPHETS
1.HOSEA “the prophet with the adulterous wife;” prophesied to Israel during time of Jeroboam II of Israel and later prophesied against Israel’s spiritual adultery (idolatry and accompanying sins).
2.JOEL “the Day of the Lord prophet;” probably prophesied to Judah; time unknown; encouraged repentance before “Day of the Lord;” prophesied Day of Pentecost.
3.AMOS “the farmer prophet;” prophesied to Israel, during time of Jeroboam II; prophesied against Israel’s general immorality.
4.OBADIAH”the prophet against Edom;” prophesied for Judah; time unknown; prophesied that God would judge Edom; shortest Old Testament book.
5.JONAH “the unwilling prophet;” prophesied to Nineveh; during time of Jeroboam II; called Nineveh to repentance.
6.MICAH “the prophet to Samaria and Jerusalem;” prophesied to both kingdoms; during time of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah of Judah; prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.
7.NAHUM “the doom to Nineveh prophet;” prophesied to comfort Judah; before time of Nineveh’s destruction; wrote in order to comfort Judah by prophesying Nineveh’s destruction.
8.HABAKKUK “the prophet who questions God;” prophesies concerning Judah; perhaps late in Josiah’s reign most famous verse is 2:4. “The righteous will live by his faith.”
9.ZEPHANIAH “the prophet with royal blood;” prophesied to Judah; during reign of Josiah; prophesied against idolatry and accompanying sins.
10.HAGGAI”the temple-building prophet;” prophesied to Judah starting in 520 B.C.; encouraged the completing of the temple.
11.ZECHARIAH “the most messianic minor prophet;” prophesied to Judah; starting in 520 B.C.; encouraged the completing of the temple with Haggai; prophesied Palm Sunday event.
12.MALACHI”the last Old Testament prophet;” prophesied to Judah late in 400’s B.C.; twice prophesied John the Baptist.
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