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Bible Prophets
BIPR403 3 Credits
Lesson 16

Malachi

God assures Israel of his love. The priests have shown contempt for God, offering blind animals in sacrifice etc. The people have intermarried with foreigners, and committed other sins.

Malachi means "messenger" and may not have been a proper name. Like Nehemiah, the author condemns the sins of Israel which arose while Nehemiah had returned to serve the Persian king. The people of the restored community had begun to lose hope. The author wrote c. 430 and may be the last Old Testament prophet.

The Lord says, " `See, I will send my messenger who will prepare the way before me [John the Baptist?]. Then, suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple.... But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap.... He will purify the Levites 3:3.... But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Then you will trample down the wicked 4:3.... I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers...' “4:6


Malachi writes to the Jews in Jerusalem and God’s people everywhere

About 430 B.C.


Malachi, Haggai, and Zechariah were post-exilic prophets to Judah (the southern kingdom). Haggai and Zechariah rebuked the people for their failure to rebuild the temple. Malachi confronted them with their neglect of the temple and their false and profane worship.
He declares, “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. . . . But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.” (Malachi 4:1-2).
Malachi’s literary style employs a dramatic use of questions asked by God and his people (for example, see Malachi 3:7-8).
God loves perfectly and completely. His love is a love of action: giving, guiding, and guarding. He is altogether faithful, true to his promises to his chosen people. Consistently they spurn their loving God, breaking the covenant, following other gods, and living for themselves causing the relationship to shatter.
But the breach is not irreparable; all hope is not lost. God can heal and mend and reweave the fabric. Forgiveness is available, and that is grace.
Malachi gives his message to the members of the nation of Judah. Malachi is God’s prophet in Jerusalem. His words reminded the Jews, God’s chosen nation, of their willful disobedience, beginning with the priests (Malachi 1:1-2:9), and then including every person (Malachi 2:10-3:15). They had shown contempt for God’s name (Malachi 1:6), offered false worship (Malachi 1:7-14), led others into sin (Malachi 2:7-9), broken God’s laws (Malachi 2:11-16), called evil “good” (Malachi 2:17), kept God’s tithes and offerings for themselves (Malachi 3:8-12), and became arrogant (Malachi 3:13-15).
The relationship was broken, and judgment and punishment would be theirs. In the midst of this wickedness, however, there were a faithful few—the remnant—who loved and honored God. God would shower his blessings upon these men and women (Malachi 3:16-18).
In this stunning picture of Israel’s unfaithfulness, Malachi clearly shows them to be worthy of punishment, but woven throughout this message is hope—the possibility of forgiveness. This is beautifully expressed in Malachi 4:2—“But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.”
The book of Malachi forms a bridge between the Old Testament and the New Testament. As you read Malachi, see yourself as the recipient of this word of God to his people. Evaluate the depth of your commitment, the sincerity of your worship, and the direction of your life. Then allow God to restore your relationship with him through his love and forgiveness.
God loves his people even when they ignore or disobey him. He has great blessings to bestow on those who are faithful to him. His love never ends.
Malachi singled out the priests for condemnation. They knew what God required, yet their sacrifices were unworthy and their service was insincere; they were lazy, arrogant, and insensitive. They had a casual attitude toward the worship of God and observance of God’s standards.
If religious leaders go wrong, how will the people be led? We are all leaders in some capacity. Don’t neglect your responsibilities or be ruled by what is convenient. Neglect and insensitivity are acts of disobedience. God wants leaders who are faithful and sincere.
The people had not learned the lesson of the exile, nor had they listened to the prophets. Men were callously divorcing their faithful wives to marry younger pagan women. This was against God’s law because it disobeyed his commands about marriage and threatened the religious training of the children. But pride had hardened the hearts of the people.
God deserves our very best honor, respect, and faithfulness. Sin hardens our hearts to our true condition. Pride is unwarranted self-esteem. It is setting your own judgment above God’s, and looking down on others. Don’t let pride keep you from giving God your devotion, money, marriage, and family.
One of the theme's of Malachi’s message is “The Lord’s coming”.
God’s love for his faithful people is demonstrated by the Messiah’s coming. The Messiah will lead the people to the realization of all their fondest hopes. The day of the Lord’s coming will be a day of comfort and healing for a faithful few, and a day of judgment for those who reject him.
Christ’s first coming refined and purified all those who believe in him. His return will expose and condemn those who are proud, insensitive, or unprepared. Yet, God can heal and mend. Forgiveness is available to all who come to him.


Questions:

1. Of what does God assure Israel?

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2. What contemptable thing had the priests done?

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3. What does the word Malachi mean?

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4. What does Malachi condemn?

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5. The peopkle of the restored community had begun to lose what?

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6. Whom does Malachia write to and when?

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7. What will happen to those who revere the name of the Lord?

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8. How does God love?

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9. God's love is a love of action giving what?

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10. What happenss to the relationship between man and God when people start living for themselves?

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11. When men fall away from God is the breach irreparable?

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12. In this stunning picture of Israel's unfaithfulness, Malachi shows them to be what?

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13. The book of Malachi forms a bridge betweeen what?

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14. When does God's love end?

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15. What hardened the hearts of the people?

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16. What does God deserve from his people?

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17. Another theme of Malachi's message is?

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18. How will God's love be demonstrated to his faithful people?

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19. The day of the Lord's coming will be a day of what?

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20. What did Christ's first coming do?

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21. What will his return do?

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22. What is available to all who come to Christ?

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23. How can the people of today relate to the prophecies of Malachi?

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