Survey of the Bible - Malachi

Text: Malachi 4


I.         We’ve reached the last book of the Old Testament

            A.        Malachi was the last of the Old Testament prophets. He spoke during the days of Nehemiah.

                        1.         Malachi 1:8 uses the Persian name for a governor, pechah (Nehemiah 5:14; Haggai 1:1, 14; 2:21). This indicates it was written during the reigns of the Persian empire.

                        2.         Sacrifices were being offered and tithes collected (Malachi 1:7-10; 3:8), so it was probably after the temple was rebuilt.

                        3.         The problems mentioned are similar to what Nehemiah faced

                                    a.         Corrupt priests - Nehemiah 13:1-9

                                    b.         Neglect of tithes - Nehemiah 13:10-13

                                    c.         Intermarriage to pagans - Nehemiah 13:23-28

                        4.         It was about 425 BC when Nehemiah returned to Israel to deal with the problems listed in Nehemiah 13.

                                    a.         Most date Malachi to the period while Nehemiah was absent. Between 432 and 425 BC.

                                    b.         Thus, Malachi is written about 90 years after Haggai and Zechariah

            B.        Malachi means “My messenger.”

                        1.         Like the names of the other prophets, his name is buried in his book - Malachi 2:7; 3:1

                        2.         Malachi 1:1 is the only place Malachi is mentioned.

II.        The initial enthusiasm has disappeared.

            A.        Complacency has settled in as events promised by God are taking longer than men are expecting.

            B.        Yet, despite all their faults, God is still going to send the promised Messiah.

            C.        Malachi begins 450 years of silence, ending with a promise that a messenger would come to prepare the way for the Lord. 450 years later that silence is broken with the declaration that the Lord has arrived.

            D.        The other prophets end their books on a note of hope, looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, but only Malachi talks about the coming Messiah and ends with a warning of judgment to come.

III.       Malachi is done in a pattern of statement, a denial in the form of a question, and evidence that the statement is just

            A.        In a sense, the denials are trying to say things aren’t as bad as God is making them out to be. But God shows that it is that bad.

            B.        How has God loved us? - Malachi 1:2-5

                        1.         God’s answer is that you are still here and Edom is gone.

            C.        How have we despised God’s name? - Malachi 1:6-2:9

                        1.         How have we defiled God? - Malachi 1:7-9

                                    a.         They have presented less than their best to God

                        2.         The table of the Lord is defiled - Malachi 1:10-12

                                    a.         God won’t accept the offerings they are giving

                                    b.         Yet they look at their own offerings and blame God

                        3.         My how tiresome it is - Malachi 1:13-14

                                    a.         They don’t care and then turn around and blame God for their boredom.

                                    b.         God will curse those who do not offer what is required

                        4.         God’s curse on the priest - Malachi 2:1-9

                                    a.         They are not sincere

                                    b.         They no longer held God in awe

                                    c.         The were no longer teaching the truth

            D.        Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother? - Malachi 2:10

                        1.         Marrying heathen women - Malachi 2:10-12

                                    a.         Malachi 2:10 appears to be the justification.

                                                (1)       Everyone is alike, so it doesn’t matter who I marry.

                                    b.         Those doing so will be cut off

                        2.         Why does God not listen? - Malachi 2:13-16

                                    a.         They were not honoring their marriage covenants

                        3.         Where is the God of Justice? - Malachi 2:17-3:5

                                    a.         They weary God by claiming the evil are accepted by God

                                    b.         In other words saying that God is fickle

                                    c.         God’s going to show them His judgments by refining them and bringing judgment against sinners

                        4.         How shall we return? - Malachi 3:6-8

                                    a.         Claiming they don’t know how to repent

            E.        How have we robbed God? - Malachi 3:8-12

                        1.         Not giving as required is stealing

                        2.         Give as required and see the blessings of God

            F.        How have we spoken against God? - Malachi 3:13-15

                        1.         In their arrogance they claimed it wasn’t worth serving God

                                    a.         They mourn and God doesn’t listen (that it was their fault is ignored)

                                    b.         The wicked appear to get away with evil (that God promised judgment is ignored)

                        2.         God remembers who serves and does not serve - Malachi 3:16-18

                        3.         The next prophet will make a distinction - Malachi 4:1-6; Luke 1:16-17

IV.      We can fall into the same trap

            A.        We can get careless in our service, bored with what we do, think that God doesn’t care or doesn’t really mean what He says, and think that it really doesn’t make a difference any way

            B.        But judgment is coming - II Corinthians 5:10

                        1.         Will you be in God’s book of remembrance?

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