The Messenger in Malachi

The word Malachi is a transliteration of the Hebrew word meaning “my Messenger” as alluded to in the opening lines of the New Testament book of the same name. The subject matter of the text likely takes place after the reconstructed temple in Jerusalem. The author may have been Ezra (the last high priest of the First Temple) or another similar contemporary, although tradition holds that a man named Malachi was the author. In other words there is some discrepancy as to whether the book was actually written by man called Malachi or if it merely represents the idea of “my messenger.”

At any rate, the prophecy in Malachi is translated as a “burden” in the King James version. In the KJV the book is divided into four short chapters. In the text, the Lord speaks in a series of dialogues – posing questions to Israel. First, He demonstrates his love for Israel. Second, He criticizes the priests as preaching iniquity, and He vows punishment for the priests. Third, He blames Judah for its treacherous dealings in ‘marrying the daughter of a strange god’ (2:11).

Chapter 3 of Malachi is the most consequential section of the book. God says He will send a “messenger” who will “prepare the way” so the Lord can come to His “temple.” The messenger will purify the sons of Levi, and the offerings will finally be pleasing again to the Lord as in the days of old. At the conclusion of the book in Chapter 4, He beckons Israel to remember the law of Moses, and that He will send “Elijah” for the dreadful “day of the Lord.” Recall, Elijah was a prophet in the book of Kings under the reign of King Ahab. He performed a variety of miracles and ascended to heaven in a cloud of fire. Judaism interprets these passages as prophesying a forthcoming of Elijah to reclaim and fulfill the laws of Moses, while Christian theology interprets these passages as metaphors for the coming of Jesus Christ. Malachi is the final book of the minor prophets in the Tanakh and the last book of the Old Testament.

For this reading I used the King James Version.

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