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Minor Prophets - Malachi

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An Overview of Malachi

Introduction:

(1)    Malachi’s name means “my messenger.”

(2)    Date of the book:

(a)    Some date is as early as 470 B.C. and others date it as late as 200 B.C.

(b)    Nevertheless, the contents of the book well fit the time period of 445-432 B.C., during the time of Nehemiah.

i.                    Nehemiah had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of the city.

ii.                  At this time, the people are discouraged; therefore, “the prophet writes to encourage the people by affirming that God still loves Israel and at the same time he expounds doctrines of the Lord’s holiness and righteousness” (Lewis 83).

(3)    The book utilizes a style known as didactic-dialectic on seven occasions. 

This style goes as follows:

(a)    An assertion is made

(b)    A question that the assertion provoked is raised – “Yet you say”

(c)    An elaboration of the original assertion with additional facts and illustrations is given

Discussion:

I.                    Israel’s Situation (Mal. 1-2; 3.5-15):

A.     God had given Israel a special position (1.1-5).

B.     Israel had responded with ingratitude (1.6-2.17).

1.      The priests had engaged in sin (1.6-2.9).

a.       They had despised God’s name (1.6).

b.      They had offered polluted sacrifices (1.7-10).

c.       They had perverted God’s Word (2.7-9).

2.      The people had likewise engaged in sin (2.10-17; 3.5-15).

a.       They had been untrue to each other (2.10).

b.      They had divorced their wives (2.13-16).

c.       They had married pagan wives (2.11-12).

d.      They were claiming that evil was good (2.17).

e.       They were immoral people (3.5).

f.       They slandered God (3.13-15).

g.       They robbed God (3.8-12).

C.     Therefore, they needed to repent (3.6-7).

II.                 Israel’s Salvation (Mal. 3.1-4, 16-18; 4.1-6):

A.     First, God would send a prophet to prepare the way (3.1-4).

1.      This prophet is the same one who is called “Elijah” in Malachi 4.5.

2.      This builds upon the prophecy of Isaiah 40.3-5.

3.      This “Elijah” was John the Baptist (cf. Matt. 3.3; Mark 1.3; Luke 3.4; John 1.23).

4.      His job was to prepare the people to be purified by the Lord.

B.     Second, God would send a Savior to make the way (4.1-4).

Conclusion:

            “Who can endure the day of His coming?” (3.2) 

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