Malachi’s Context: The last of the post-exilic prophets is commissioned to preach to people who had taken for granted God’s amazing power and grace. Although they had physically returned from foreign captivity, their minds were still spiritually darkened and their hearts remained cold toward worship. Over time, the people and the priests had become complacent and indifferent about theology and worship. Instead of approaching God in humility and out of gratefulness for their physical redemption, they worshiped God with rebellious and skeptical attitudes. When confronted about their hypocrisy, they lashed out in anger at God for not accepting their polluted worship.
Malachi’s Message – Theological Theme(s): Malachi’s central message is God’s unfailing love for an undeserving people. This love is based on God’s covenantal faithfulness and election of a people for Himself. Furthermore, His immutability and sovereign power guarantee that this remnant will be preserved and restored.
Malachi fittingly closes the Old Testament by declaring the faithfulness of God in contrast to a faithless and rebellious people. Furthermore, as the last of The Twelve, Malachi reminds the reader that God always keeps His promises.
Significance of Malachi’s Message for Christians:
1. God has chosen and preserved unlikely and unworthy people to demonstrate His immeasurable mercy and unimaginable grace.
2. God never changes.
3. God always keeps His promises!
Malachi in the New Testament:
Malachi New Testament
1:2-3 Romans 9:13
3:1 Matthew 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:27
3:7 Luke 3:10
4:5-6 Matthew 17:10-11; Luke 1:17
Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name.17 “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. 18 Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him. Malachi 3:16-18
4:1 For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. 3And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 4:1-3