May 25, 2011

Minor Prophets CII: Make Way For The King

We have arrived at the last post for the series on the Minor Prophets.

Malachi 4:1-3 shows a glimpse of the future that will have a bearing on every believer's life after it happens.

Malachi elaborates on the Day of the Lord. The fact that it will burn like a furnace gives some idea of the intensity and force of judgment coming. The judgment will be so complete that when it comes to the arrogant and every evildoer, they are compared to stubble and will not have root or a branch remaining. It will be like a purging fire to the wicked. It will be like the sun of righteousness. Although this seems to refer to Christ it probably a reference to the Day of the Lord itself. It will be like healing in its rays (the sun). The people of God will frolic like well-fed calves and will have power to trample on the wicked. This also seems to give a finality to the Day of the Lord just as we have read in other allusions to it. It will happen...and the wicked will be no more. They will be like “ashes under the soles of their feet."

In Malachi 4:5 we see a command.

The command is then given to “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.” This a encouragement/warning for those that truly believe to be prepared for the coming of God. As much as Malachi has harped an beat on the Mosaic covenant, the heart of his message is faithfulness and obedience. It is an exhortation to remember. Remember is a term used (14) times in Deuteronomy as an exhortation for God’s people to remember things concerning the covenant or the Law. This can refer to a mental act or paying attention to something or it could also mean mental acts combined with appropriate physical actions that you would expect from someone thinking a certain way (James 2). This is what James alludes to when he talks about faith without works is dead. I man that truly has the heart of God will want to do the things of God for God’s glory.

When there is a direct mention of Moses here it is because he is the example of human faithfulness. Horeb is an obvious head nod to the events that occurred at Sinai since Horeb was the ancient name of Mt Sinai. Horeb is also a blatant reference to the Law.

In Malachi 4:5-6 we see a promise...we reach the promise of Malachi at the very end of the Old Testament.

“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”

We are dealing with future preparation. God promises through His prophet Malachi that the Prophet Elijah would come and minister before the Day of the Lord. The only reference of Elijah having a future ministry. If we cross the bridge into the New Testament we can find our answer. Matthew, in Matthew 11:7-10 (also: Mark 1:2 and Luke 7:27) clearly tells us who this “Elijah” is.

“As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’

This passage is an allusion to Malachi 3:1:

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.”

We understand this to be John the Baptist. It is he that fulfills this promise. Quick on the heels of the Baptist is Jesus , the King following behind John who was calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord!’” (allusion to Isaiah 40:3)

Behold! He comes. All hail the arrival of the King! Hosanna!

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