Christ in All the Scriptures
by A.M. Hodgkin
- V. Christ in the Prophets
19. Malachi --
- Malachi -- [meaning: ''My Messenger'', or] ''the Messenger of the Lord''-- wished to be known by his name only. Like the Forerunner, of whom he prophesies, he was but a voice. Speaking of Levi, as an example of the true priesthood, he says ''He is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts'' (2:7). He speaks of John the Baptist as God's ''messenger,''' and of our Lord Himself as ''the Messenger of the Covenant'' (3:1).
And what is the ''burden'' of the Lord's message by Malachi? ''I have loved you, saith the Lord.'' What a message to a people who were disappointing God's love!
Malachi bears the same relation to Nehemiah that Haggai and Zechariah bear to Zerubbabel. He lived either at the time of Nehemiah or directly after, for he rebukes the very same sins among the people that Nehemiah dealt with on his second visit to Jereusalem:
- The corruption of the priesthood (Neh 13:29; Mal 2:7,8).
- The alliance with idolatrous wives (Neh 13:23-27; Mal 2:10-16).
- The neglect of the tithe (Neh 13:10-12; Mal 3:10).
[For example,] Eliashib, the priest, was allied with Tobiah the Ammonite, and had allowed him the use of a great chamber [which had been a storeroom for tithes] in the courts of the House of God. Eliashib's grandson also had married a daughter of Sanballat, the Horonite (Neh 13:1-9,28).
- Malachi's message is to the priests who ought to have been the leaders in righteousness, and also to the people who followed their lead in neglecting and dishonoring God. His book is marked by its straightforward, plain words of rebuke, by which he brings home their sins to a self-satisfied people, who had a form of godliness, but were denying the power thereof [Studies in Malachi. Rev.G. Campbell Morgan. cp. 2Tim 3:5]. Every rebuke of the prophet was disputed by the people with the question ''Wherein?'' or ''What?'' [Author's note: In questions 1 to 6, it is the Hebrew word bemah, ''in what,'' or ''wherein.'' In questions 7 and 8, it is the Hebrew word mah, ''what.'' In question 9, it is the Hebrew word atmah, ''for what,'' or ''wherefore.'']
- 1:2-- ''Wherein hast Thou loved us?''
- 1:6-- ''Wherein have we despised Thy name?''
- 1:7-- ''Wherein have we polluted Thee?''
- 2:17-- ''Wherein have we wearied Him?''
- 3:7-- ''Wherein shall we return?''
- 3:8-- ''Wherein have we robbed Thee?''
- 3:13-- ''What have we spoken so much against Thee?''
- 3:14-- ''What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance?''
- 2:14-- ''For what?'' or ''Wherefore?'' (referring to what Malachi had said in verse 13).
- Malachi describes the coming of Christ to His Temple [3:1-6]. He came as a little babe to the expectant gaze of Simeon and Anna [Luke 2:25-38]. He came to overturn the tables of the money-changers [John 2:13-17]. He comes to the temple of our hearts. His coming is as a purifying fire. With the patience of the Refiner of silver, He sits till He sees His own image reflected in the molten metal. And when He takes up His abode in our hearts, He is a ''swift Witness there against sin.'' Our Lord calls Himself ''the faithful and true Witness'' [Rev 3:14].
- ''The Whole Tithe.''
- This book contains the secret of spiritual blessing. ''Bring ye the whole tithe into My storehouse'' [3:10]. The tithe was the outward recognition that everything belonged to God. We are to bring Him our whole selves, body, soul and spirit, all that we have and all that we are, all that we know about in our lives, and all that we do not know about yet. If we thus honestly keep nothing back from Him, we may be certain that He will accept us and will open the windows of heaven, and pour us out such a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it, but it shall flow out to all around. ''All nations shall call you blessed, for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of Hosts.'' [Note that this promise is directed primarily to Israel.]
Amidst all the hypocrisy and formalism there was a little remnant who feared the Lord. His ear was bent down to hear them as they spoke together of Him. He promised that they should be His own special treasure in the coming Day of the Lord [3:16-18]. That Day should be as an oven and consume the wicked as stubble, but it should arise upon this faithful remnant as ''The Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings'' [4:1,2].
The Old Testament closes with the word ''curse.'' But it is expressive of the great desire of God's love to avert it, for He says ''Lest I come and smite the earth with a curse'' [4:6].
The New Testament closes with blessing. ''The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.'' [Rev 22:21]
A silence of 400 years lay between the voice of Malachi and the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ''Prepare ye the way of the Lord'' [Isa 40:3; Mal 3:1a]. ''But there is a remarkable link between the two testaments: the last figures on the inspired page of Malachi, and the first on the inspired page of Matthew, are the Angel [ie., 'the Divine Messenger'] of the Covenant [ie., Christ] and His Forerunner [ie., John the Baptist]'' ( [text outside of brackets quoted from] Dr. Pierson). [cp. Mal 3:1,2; Mat 3:1-17; John 1:6-8,19-28]
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For another brief look at this book of the Bible,
see the related chapter in OT Reflections of Christ, by Paul Van Gorder.
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