Book of Malachi
The Book Of Malachi
Introduction The Book of Malachi
MALACHI – “The Last Prophet”
NAME: Malachi means "my messenger."
DATE: Around 435‑415 BC.
THEME: Calls to repentance of the remnant which, although it returned to Palestine to reestablish proper worship and service of Jehovah, had already gone far astray and was well on the road to the apostasy which our Lord Jesus found among the Pharisees and Sadducees when He came to earth.
Malachi was the last of the Prophets (a minor prophet), and the writer of the last book of the Old Testament canon. Nothing is known of him beyond what is contained in his book of prophecies.
CONTEMPORARIES: He wrote sometime after Nehemiah. No allusion is made to him by Ezra, and he does not mention the restoration of the temple, and hence it is inferred that he prophesied after Haggai and Zechariah, and when the temple services were still in existence.
We can only estimate the date of Malachi’s ministry. We know the time was postexilic (after 536 B.C., largely the Persians had let Israel return to Jerusalem). The Temple had been rebuilt. Evidently Malachi was a contemporary of Nehemiah. Their books show kinship. The same social and religious conditions prevail in both, and Nehemiah’s reforms were probably intended to correct some of the social and religious abuses outlined by Malachi.
The people of Israel who returned to Jerusalem from Persia in 536 B.C. came with high hopes. In Isaiah 40‑55 the prophet painted a future for those repatriated people in such glowing terms that they expected the messianic age to come immediately. The prophets Haggai and Zechariah added to these hopes by assuring the people that unprecedented blessings would come when the Temple was complete. They finished the Temple in 516 B.C. [Ezra 6:14‑15) and waited and waited, but no blessings came. Instead of blessings they faced drought, famine, poverty, oppression, and unfaithfulness to spouses and to God. Moral and spiritual laxity, pride, indifference, permissiveness, and skepticism.
The purpose of Malachi was to assure his people that God still loved them, but He demanded honor, respect, and faithfulness from them. Malachi pointed out religious and social abuses and warned that judgment would come to purge the people of sin unless they repented.
This book is frequently referred to in the New Testament (Matt. 11:10; 17:12; Mark 1:2; 9:11, 12; Luke 1:17; Rom. 9:13).
I. The Old Testament Hebrew Canon (straight edge or ruler) and Prophets
The Hebrew bible places the books into a different order, so the order of the books here may be a little confusing.
The first five books of the Old Testament Canon are called the Pentateuch or sometime just referred to as “The Law”. (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)
The second sub-division of the OT Canon is called, “The Prophets.” (The Theological emphasis of the prophets ‑ that God, as the Lord of history and providence, was controlling the issues an movements of history for a purpose. With one voice the prophets declare that this purpose, toward which all history is being directed, is the establishment of the kingdom of God ‑ the sovereign reign and rule of God upon Earth).
First there are the “Former” prophets (They spoke of “Former” things). (Joshua, Judges, 1‑2Samuel, 1‑2Kings)
Then there are the “Latter” prophets (They spoke of “Current and/or Future” things). Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and… “The Twelve” minor prophets, who wrote in three distinct ages.
The Assyrian Period: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum.
The Babylonian Period: Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and
The Persian Period: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
The Third sub-division of the OT Canon is called, “The Writings (The Kethubim).” This division is also broken down into three sub-divisions.
A. The Poetic Books
The Book of Truth (The first Hebrew letter of each of these books taken together spells emeth or truth in English), Job, Proverbs, Psalms, The five books of the Megilloth (Scrolls or Rolls) (Each book was read at an important Jewish festival, a practice that continues to this day). Song of Songs (Passover), Ruth (Pentecost), Lamentations (Fast of the Ninth of Ab, commemorating the destruction of both Temples), Ecclesiastes (Feast of Tabernacles), and Esther (Purim).
B. The Historical Books
Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1‑2 Chronicles
Hebrew prophets never predict the future simply to satisfy idle curiosity, nor merely to draw attention to themselves. Prophecy of the future is never an isolated utterance, but is to find meaning in its bearing upon the future kingdom of God and the Messiah. On the other hand, it is not the biblical view to suppose that prophecy is to be limited to the disclosure of the future. "That which is given by the Spirit to the prophet can refer to the past and to the present as well as to the future."
It is absolutely imperative for a proper understanding of the nature of Old Testament prophecy to realize that the source of the prophetic message, while it often was related to the historical circumstances in which the prophet lived, was nevertheless supernatural in its origin. It was derived from neither observation, reason, speculation, innate “gut feeling,” or the imagination, but was the result of divine revelation.
The divine origin of the prophetic institution is set forth by Moses himself in Deuteronomy 18:9‑22. Moses, who never came into direct contact with the religious institutions of Canaan, declared in this passage that there was to be an institution of prophets raised up who would declare the messages of God, and that this office would one day culminate in one great prophet like unto himself.
I. PRE‑CANONICAL (before Moses) PROPHETS
The Pre‑Moses period (oral or nonliterary prophets)
Garden of Eden, Abel to Moses, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and others.
The Mosaic period
Moses (largely preaching and teaching), Miriam and her brother Aaron, Deborah, and anonymous prophet in Judges 6:8
Moses to Samuel
Samuel period (institution of prophets organized through Samuel, but existed "from the beginning," Luke 11:49‑51) (The time period ends with the inauguration of Saul as the “age of the Kings” begins).
Two classes of prophets developed
The Rechabites ‑ involved with the annihilation of the house of Ahab to eliminate Baal worship from Israel ‑ they abstained from intoxicating wine and continued to live in tents as nomads after Israel had settled in houses and cities in Canaan as a protest against the corrupting influences of urban civilization.
The Nazirites ‑ an individual who had taken special religious vows. He drank no wine; he scrupulously avoided unnatural defilement and touched no dead body. He was clean, undefiled, and devoted to Yahweh's service (Samuel was a Nazirite).
Early monarchy period (Nathan, Solomon, Gad the prophet)
Divided monarchy period (Ahijah, Shemaiah, Two unnamed prophets, "a young prophet", "an older prophet of Ethel", Jehu, Hanani, Micaiah ben Imlah, Elijah, Elisha)
II. THE CANONICAL PROPHETS
16 books ‑ Isaiah to Malachi
4 Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah [Lamentations], Ezekiel, Daniel)
12 Minor Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi)
III. THE PROPHETESS IN ISRAEL
Miriam, sister of Moses
Hannah, mother of the Prophet Samuel
Huldah, wife of Sahllum
Anna, daughter of Phanuel (New Testament)
the Four daughters of Philip of Caesarea
some of the women in the Corinthian church
Nabhi ‑ Hebrew "announcer," "spokesman," "speaker."
Roeh and Hozeh ‑ Hebrew "seer"
Malak ‑ "Messenger of the Lord" used of prophets and Angels
Man of God ‑ common and general term for the prophet of Israel
Servant of the Lord
My servants the prophets
The office of prophet was separate from the priesthood
The Law itself provided for the prophetic institution (Deut. 18)
The Prophets expounded and interpreted the Mosaic revelation to the nation
The Prophets were "divinely appointed moral and ethical preachers and teachers of true religion as revealed to Israel."
Predictive prophecy was concerned with Judgment, Salvation, the Messiah, and His Kingdom. The prophets were watchmen standing upon the walls of Zion to sound the trumpet against dangers of religious apostasy.
Outstanding individuals (Samuel, Elijah, Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah)
Prophetic work undertaken by bands or companies of prophets
Sons of the prophets (schools of the prophets)
Outline of Malachi
Rebuke of Restored Remnant with Announcement of Future Purging and Blessing.
I. Jehovah's love for His people: "Wherein hast Thou loved us?" 1:1‑15
1. His Compassion Declared, 1:1‑2a
2. His Compassion Doubted, 1:2b
3. His Compassion Demonstrated, 1:3‑5
II. God’s Complaint Against Israel: "Wherein have we despised Thy Name and polluted Thee?" 1:6 – 2:9
1. A rebuke of the priests particularly: 1:6
2. Cheating, 1:6‑14
3. Unfaithfulness, 2:1‑9
III. A rebuke of divorce: "Wherein have we wearied Him?" 2:10‑17
1. Spiritually Mixed Marriages, 2:10‑12
2. Divorce, 2:13‑16
3. Impiety and Impertinence, 2:17
IV. The Angel of the Covenant shall purge Israel 3:1‑6
Parenthesis: The Coming of John the Baptist, 3:1‑6
V. A rebuke for defrauding Jehovah: "Wherein have we robbed Thee?" 3:7‑15
1. Robbery, 3:7‑12
2 Arrogance, 3:13‑15
VI. God’s Condemnation of the People, 3:16 ‑ 4:6
A contrast between apostate and the godly remnant in Malachi's day: "Wherein have we spoken against Thee?" (RV) 3:13‑18
The Ungodly People, 3:16‑18
VII. The Sun of Righteousness will utterly judge the apostate in Israel and deliver the godly remnant at His glorious coming 4:1‑6
The Nature of God’s Judgment, 4:1‑6