Malachi is a transliteration of the Hebrew meaning “my Messenger” as alluded to in the opening lines, implying that Malachi may not have been a singular person, but rather a transliteration of “my messenger.” The text likely takes place after the reconstructed temple in Jerusalem. The author may have been Ezra or another contemporary.
Malachi’s prophecy 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, 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.