“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (4:5-6)
The conclusion of the old.
At Malachi’s final pronouncement “the four hundred silent years” begin. Although God still directed the course of events during this time, He zipped-a-lip. He said nothing to Israel. Meanwhile Daniel’s prophecies continued to play out as the land of Israel went from the hands of the Medes and Persians to the Greeks and then to the Romans. All the while – silence from the heavens.
Then over 400 years later, “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.” (Luke 1:5) The couple was childless and advanced in years. But an angel appeared to Zacharias and told him their prayers had been heard. They would have a son and were to name him, John. This son would be filled with the Holy Spirit even from the womb, “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:16-17)
The beginning of the new.
“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) No more silence.
And almost twenty five hundred years since Malachi laid down his pen, we on this side of the new, have hopefully learned or been reminded of some very important things in observing the old. We have made these observations from the Book of Malachi and then pondered:
[Love] – Are we in a perpetual backslide that deadens our love for Him or are we living for Him, deepening our love every step of the way?
[Offering] – God does not require of us our best sheep, no, He wants us, body, mind and will. He wants all of who we are and every bit of our time, treasure and talent. Is He receiving those things from you, from me? In love He gives, in love do we then return? What are we laying on the altar? Anything less than our very lives is not enough.
[Priest] -Are we like the faithful Levites or are we like the priests of Malachi’s day? You, me, all believers, are priests. But what kind of priests?
[Fidelity] -You, me, is our cross on our shoulder or just lying around? Are our hands on the plow, yet still looking back? Do we have complete fidelity to God or are we entangled and unevenly yoked with foreign things?
[Refiner] -Jesus Christ, the Refiner, tells us that “He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:38-39) In light of this which side of the line have we chosen? Standing before the Refiner what have we done with our life – keep it and lose it or lose it and find it?
[Robbers] -What of us, today? If we are not wrapped up in a relationship with Him, if we are not in fellowship with Him, if we are not cooperating with Him in reaching out to a world He loves, then we too, are robbers.
[Remnant] -Until that Day, you, me, we must determine whether we are one who serves God or one who does not serve Him. Do our names appear in the Lamb’s Book of Life?
The late preacher/teacher Ron Hembree, in his book entitled “Know & Grow” says, “The Old Testament opened with man in the garden, free from sin and happy in his Creator. It closes with fallen man, miserable, unhappy, under a curse. Had the Bible closed on that scene, we would be living in a dark and despairing world. However, thank God, there is a New Testament that tells of a Savior who redeems mankind unto Himself. The miserable failures of man are erased by a loving Christ. Thank God our Bible does not end at Malachi!”
Yes, yes indeed, thank God our Bible does not end at Malachi! But instead it ends with a new heaven and a new earth and all things made new. “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (Revelation 22:20-21)