Old Testament Survey: The Book of Malachi

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Old Testament Survey:
The Book of Malachi
God’s Final
Message to His
Ancient People
“For I am the LORD, I do not
change; therefore you are not
consumed, O sons of Jacob” (3:6)
Background
• Malachi means “my messenger.”
• Date is 445—432 B.C.
• God spoke His final word to His ancient
people.
• Malachi introduced a new teaching
method—question-and-answer.
• Malachi puts out a question in the
mouths of the people and then supplies
God’s answer.
Background
• It had been 100 years since the people
returned from captivity.
• They had completed the temple, and
Nehemiah came from Persia to serve as
governor.
• Nehemiah and Malachi were contemporary
in seeking the rebuilding of the “walls.”
• Malachi sought to restore the spiritual
walls of their character.
• Persian Empire was reaching the height of
its glory.
Background
• Rulers were more cruel and ironhanded
than Cyrus and Darius had been.
• Trying times for the Jews.
• Jews were not following God as faithfully
as they should have been.
• The worship ritual was in a state of
decay.
• People who were indifferent to the law
were offering blind and lame animals!
Background
• They weren’t bringing tithes as God had
commanded.
• The men were putting away their Jewish
wives and marrying heathen women.
• Malachi rebuked the people for these
sins and pointed them back to God.
• They had set up idols and gone into
idolatry.
• The people were indifferent to God and
the righteousness He demanded!
Keys to Malachi
• Key words
– Love and rebuke
• Key phrase
– “Ye say…” (12)
• Key chapter
– Chapter 3
• Key verses
– 1:2
“I have loved you," says
the LORD. Yet you say, 'In
what way have You loved
us?' Was not Esau Jacob's
brother? Says the LORD.
Yet Jacob I have loved.”
Keys to Malachi
• Key words
– Love and rebuke
• Key phrase
– “Ye say…” (12)
• Key chapter
– Chapter 3
• Key verses
– 2:17
“You have wearied the
LORD with your words; yet
you say, ‘In what way have
we wearied Him?’ In that
you say, ‘Everyone who
does evil Is good in the
sight of the LORD, and He
delights in them,’ or,
‘Where is the God of
justice?’”
Keys to Malachi
• Key words
– Love and rebuke
• Key phrase
– “Ye say…” (12)
• Key chapter
– Chapter 3
• Key verses
– 3:1
“Behold, I send My
messenger, and he will
prepare the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you
seek, will suddenly come
to His temple, even the
Messenger of the
covenant, in whom you
delight. Behold, He is
coming, says the LORD of
hosts.”
Keys to Malachi
• Key words
– Love and rebuke
• Key phrase
– “Ye say…” (12)
• Key chapter
– Chapter 3
• Key verses
– 4:5-6
“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.”
Three Divine Messages
• A message about God’s love.
– 1:1-5
• A message of rebuke for their
sins.
– 1:6 — 2:17
• A message of hope in the
renewed promise of Christ’s
second coming.
– 3:1 — 4:6
Seven Debates in Israel’s
Controversy with God
• “Wherein hast thou loved us?” (1:2,3)
• “Wherein have we despised your name?”
(1:6)
• “Wherein have we polluted thee?” (1:7;
2:10-16)
• “Wherein have we wearied the Lord with
our words?” (2:17)
Seven Debates in Israel’s
Controversy with God
• “Wherein shall we return to the Lord?” (3:7)
• “Wherein have we robbed thee?” (3:8)
• “What have we spoken against thee?” (3:13)
• “For I am the LORD, I do not change;
therefore you are not consumed, O sons of
Jacob. Yet from the days of your fathers you
have gone away from My ordinances and
have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will
return to you," says the LORD of hosts…”
(4:6,7)
The Book’s Message
• Condemnation of the priests’ faithfulness
(1:2-2:9).
– Declares God’s love for Israel.
– Loved them ahead of Edom (1:2-5).
– Should have inspired faithfulness on the
part of the people.
– Rather, they grew indifferent toward Him.
– God held the priests largely
responsible—they failed to teach the
people.
The Book’s Message
• Condemnation of the priests’ faithfulness
(1:2-2:9).
– Each person responsible for himself.
– Allowed them to offer unworthy
sacrifices.
– God demands the best (1:6-8).
– Curse on those who would seek to
deceive God with such sacrifices.
– Curse on the priests (2:1-5).
– Showing respect for people in their work
(2:6-9).
The Book’s Message
• Against divorce and remarriage (2:10-16)
– Men were putting away their Jewish wives
and marrying heathen women.
– God called them “the daughters of a
foreign god” (2:11).
– If continued unchecked, would lead them
back into idolatry.
– God lays down the principle--wife is the
companion of His covenant (2:14).
The Book’s Message
• Against divorce and remarriage (2:1016).
– God seeking to keep the Hebrew lineage
pure.
– God intended to bring His Son through
Abraham (2:15).
– God hates divorce (2:16).
– God designed marriage to be a lifetime
covenant.
– Man and woman must take their marriage
vows seriously!
The Book’s Message
• The principle of tithing (3:7-12)
– They had been robbing God.
– Lack of tithes and offerings (3:8).
– By law, one-tenth of everything belonged to
the Lord.
– He could open heaven’s windows and pour
out more blessings than they would have
room to receive (3:10).
– They could, due to God’s blessings, be the
envy of other nations (3:11,12).
The Book’s Message
• The final promise (4:5,6)
– God’s book closes with the promise of
the coming of Elijah—John the Baptist.
– He would introduce and prepare the way
for the Lord!
– “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.”
Lessons for Us Today
• Worship must be deeply spiritual and from
the heart.
• Must harmonize with God’s will and wishes
• A closed meeting house is better than one
filled with insincere and indifferent
worshippers.
• We must observe all of God’s laws—those
pertaining to marriage and the home, as
well as those that relate to worship.
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