Last Days Prophecy
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Gospel Briefs on Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi
We know nothing of Haggai's parents. He was probably born in Babylon during the captivity, and seems to have been the first prophet sent to the Jews after their return to their own land. The name "Haggai" means "my feast." Evidently, the name was given to him, anticipating the Jews joyous return from exile. He probably was one of the Jewish exiles, from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi, who returned under Zerubbabel, the civil head of the people, and Joshua, the high priest, 536 B.C., when Cyrus, put into motion the striking prophecies of himself (Isa.44:28; 45:1), granted them their liberty, and furnished them with the necessaries for restoring the Temple (2 Chron.36:23; Ezra 1:1-2; 2:2). For more on Cyrus, see: . . . http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/4828-cyrus
Haggai was sent specifically to encourage the Jews to proceed with the building of the Temple, which had been interrupted for about fourteen years. Cyrus, who had published a law empowering the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their city and Temple, revoked this law in the second year of his reign, because of evil advice from his court (perhaps his son, Cambyses) and other enemies of the Jews. After Cyrus' death, his son Cambyses kept the ban on building, but after the death of Cambyses, Darius, the son of Hystaspes, renewed the permission of the building; and Haggai was sent to encourage his countrymen to proceed with the work. Darius came to the throne about the year B.C. 521, and published his law of permission for the Jews to rebuild the city and Temple in the second year of his reign (Ezra 4:24), which was the sixteenth year of their return from Babylon.
Haggai was commissioned by the LORD God (Hag.1:1) in the second year of Darius (Hystaspes), 520 B.C., sixteen years after the return under Zerubbabel, to wake them up from their selfishness to resume the work which for fourteen years had been suspended. Haggai preceded Zechariah in the work by two months.
Five Distinct Messages of Haggai accurately given:
1. The 1st day of the 6th month of the 2nd year of Darius I (Hag. 1:1-11)
2. The 24th day of the 6th month of the 2nd year of Darius I (Hag. 1:12-15)
3. The 21st day of the 7th month of the 6th year of Darius I (Hag. 2:1-9)
4. The 24th day of the 9th month of the 2nd year of Darius I (Hag. 2:10-19)
5. The 24th day of the 9th month of the 2nd year of Darius I (Hag. 2:20-23)
#1. The first (Hag. 1:1-11), on the first day of the sixth month of the second year of Darius, 520 B.C., reproved the people for their apathy in allowing the Temple to lie in ruins and reminded them of their hostile success in everything because of their NOT honoring GOD and His house.
#2. The result was that twenty-four days afterwards they started building under Zerubbabel (Hag.1:12-15).
#3. On the twenty-first day of the seventh month (Hag.2:1-9), predicts that the glory of the new Temple would be greater than that of Solomon's. Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel had implied the same prediction, whence some had doubted whether they ought to proceed with a building so inferior to the former one; but Haggai shows wherein the superior glory was to consist, mainly in the Presence of Him who is the "desire of all nations" (Hag.2:7).
#4. On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month (Hag.2:10-19), refers to a period when building materials had been collected, and the workmen had begun to put them together. From which time forward, the LORD God promises His blessing; beginning with removing their past sin as to the value of mere outward observances to cleanse from the taint of disobedience as to the Temple building.
#5. The fifth (Hag.2:20-23), on the same day as the preceding, was addressed to Zerubbabel, as the representative of the theocratic (government under GOD) people, and as having asked as to the national revolutions spoken of in the second prophecy (Hag.2:7).
Since the prophecies are all so brief, it is supposed that they are just a summary of the original communications.
Haggai's challenge to the people included: a charge of conflict of interest; a call to consider their ways; a command to construct the Temple; and the obedience of the people.
Haggai was a prophet to the restored remnant who returned to Jerusalem after the seventy-year captivity in Babylon. As you study, it is important to consider the historical Books along with the prophetic Books. There is a small group of books that belong together: Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther for the historical record; and Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi for the prophetic section. The Book of Daniel is also important.
Challenge to the People
Haggai and Zechariah prophesied during the same time period, but their approach was completely different, even though they both confronted and encouraged the returned remnant to rebuild the Temple and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Ezra 5:1-2 Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them. 2 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them. (KJV) . . . Both Haggai and Zechariah are mentioned in this historical Book of Ezra, because the two prophets who encouraged the people to rebuild the Temple . . . also helped them do it.
Ezra 6:14 And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. (KJV)
Haggai is the first prophet that appears in the Name of the LORD of hosts, to awaken, reprove, direct, warn and encourage the governor, the high priest and the people, returning from captivity, to restore the worship of GOD and to the rebuild the Temple. The foundation and the altar of burnt-offering, had been laid seventeen or eighteen years before; but the finishing of the Temple was stopped by Cambyses and neglected two years in Darius Hystaspes's time, because of the greed of many, the coldness of some, and the cowardice of others among the Jews. They were concerned only with their private affairs, NOT with the building of GOD’S Temple.
The LORD sent His servant Haggai to wake them up! It was their duty to build the Temple, and to restore the pure worship of GOD. Haggai reproves them for neglecting their duty, stating that their sin was what caused the poverty and scarcity which afflicted them the past fifteen or sixteen. He assured them, that as soon as they begin the work, their ground, their cattle, their vines and olives, would bountifully increase. He promised GOD’S Presence with them, and with it a supply of gold and silver, which belong to the LORD, and the LORD did so by the bounty of Darius and the contributions of others.
And even though the external glory of this Temple was less than that of the First Temple, he promised that this Second Temple would exceed the first in glory, because their expected, longed-for and the blessed Messiah would appear in it. All were good arguments in themselves, so through the co-operation of the Spirit of GOD, all that was promised came about to His hearers, who set about to do the work.
When opposed by their enemies, who went to Darius to try to get him to renew the ban, Darius instead confirms and enlarged their charter granted by Cyrus, and added severe penalties on all who would dare to hinder this work. See the sixth and seventh chapters of Ezra. And so in four years' time the Temple is finished, and the feast of dedication is celebrated.
Brief Summary: The people returned to Jerusalem after 70 years in captivity to begin rebuilding the Temple, but they had not finished. Haggai's message encouraged the people to finish rebuilding GOD’S Temple.
The Temple lay half-finished while the people lived in beautiful homes. Haggai warned them against putting their possessions and jobs ahead of the LORD God. We must put God first in our lives, or His wrath will come down on us in some way.
Contemporary prophet Zechariah (520-480)
Haggai served as a prophet to Judah about 520 B.C., after the return from exile.
Haggai closes with a prediction of many, long wars and seditions to come among the Gentiles, to the overthrow of the enemies of the Jews.
Prophesy: As with most of the Books of the minor prophets, Haggai ends with promises of restoration and blessing. In the last verse (Hag.2:23), GOD uses a distinct Messianic Title in reference to Zerubbabel, “My Servant” (2 Sam.3:18; 1 Ki.11:34; Isa.42:1-9; Eze.37:24 -25). Through Haggai, the LORD God promises to make him like a signet ring, which was a symbol of honor, authority and power, sort of like a king’s scepter used to seal letters and decrees. Zerubbabel, as GOD’S signet ring, represents the house of David and the resumption of the Messianic line interrupted by the Exile. Zerubbabel re-established the Davidic line of kings that would end in the Millennial Reign of Christ (Rev.20). Zerubbabel appears in the line of Christ in both (Mat.1:12 and Luke 3:27).
How can we apply the Book of Haggai to our life today? The Book of Haggai draws attention to common problems most people face even today. Haggai tells us to (1). check out our priorities to see if we are more interested in our own pleasures than doing the work of GOD; (2). reject a negative attitude when we run into opposition or discouragement; (3). confess our failures and do our best to live pure lives before GOD; (4). act boldly and courageously for the LORD God because we have the assurance that He is with us always (Heb.13:5) and is always in full control of our circumstances; and (5). rest securely in peace in GOD’S Hands knowing that He will abundantly bless us as we faithfully serve Him. Thank YOU! Thank YOU!
Author: Zechariah 1:1 identifies the author of the Book of Zechariah as the Prophet Zechariah.
Date of Writing: The Book of Zechariah was most likely written in two main parts, between 520 and 470 B.C.
Reason for Writing: Zechariah emphasized that GOD has used His prophets to teach, warn, and correct His people. Sad to say, they refused to listen. Their sin brought GOD’S wrath and punishment. This Book also reveals that even prophecy can be corrupted. History tells us that in this time period, prophecy was not favored among the Jews, leading to the period between the Testaments when there was NO prophetic voice spoke to GOD’S people.
Outline of the Book of Zechariah:
A. Zec.1:1-1:6 Return to the LORD and turn from evil
B. Zec.1:7-6:8 Eight visions of the future
#1. Four horsemen among the myrtles Zec.1:7-17
#2. Four horns and four craftsmen. Zec.1:18-21
#3. The man with the measuring line. Zec.2
#4. Clean clothes for the high priest. Zec.3
#5. The golden lampstand and two olive trees. Zec.4
#6. The flying scroll. Zec.5:1-4
#7. The woman in the basket in Babylon. Zec.5:5-11
#8. The four chariots. Zec.6:1-8
C. Zec.6:9-15 Crowning Joshua the high priest
D. Zec.7-8 Fasting
1. Justice and compassion, not just fasting
2. The promise of a jealous GOD
E. Zec.9-11 The First Prophecy: The King is rejected
Nations north and west vs. Israel. Zec. 9:1-13
The Promise of spring rain Zec.9:14-10:12
The foolish shepherds and the good shepherd. Zec.11
F. Zec.12-14 The Second Prophecy: the king is enthroned
#1. Israel will return to GOD, though two-thirds will perish. Zec.12-13
#2. The LORD’s future fighting for Jerusalem. Zec.14
Zechariah is often mentioned in other Books of the Bible.
Compared to its size, Zechariah is mentioned more often than any other Book in the Old Testament. Part of the reason is that Zechariah is much smaller than the major prophets. It is said that the New Testament quotes from this Book about 40 times.
Some likenesses with the Book of Revelation:
Even though Revelation has many things that are not in Zechariah, much of the prophecy in Zechariah is repeated in Revelation.
Consider the following:
- Sevenfold Spirit Rev.1:4 . . . Zec.3:9; Isa. 11:2
- The wicked pierced Jesus and will mourn Rev.1:7. . . Zec.12:10-14
- Four destructive angels Rev.7:1 . . . Zec.6:1-8; Jer.49:36
- The great silence Rev.8:1 . . . Zec.2:13; Hab.2:20
- Two olive trees and two lampstands Rev.11:4 . . . Zec.4:3,11-14
- The future evil of Babylon Rev.17 . . . Zec.5:5-11; 1 Pet.5:13
- Gog and Magog battle Rev.20:7-9 . . . Zec.12:7-11; 14:2,8,12; Eze.38 & 39
- River flowing out of Jerusalem Rev.22:1-2 . . . Zec.14:8
Some similarities with the Book of Haggai:
Both prophets were contemporaries with Ezra, and they no doubt knew each other, so one might expect some similarities. Scholars have counted many similarities between Zechariah and Haggai.
#1. The phrase "LORD of hosts" is outstanding, used 90 times, in Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. It is used 13 times in Haggai: Hag.1:2,5,7,9,14; 2:4,6,7,8,9,11,23,23.
#2. Both Books date some of their prophecies. This was usually NOT done in literature before this time, but became common during the neo-Babylonian and Persian Empire.
#3. Both focus on Zerubbabel the governor, Joshua the high priest and the people.
The Book of Zechariah is the prophecy of the Prophet Zechariah. His name means "the memory of the LORD" or "the LORD remembers". . . and this is SO true. The LORD God does remember us, and He remembers His covenant and His Promises of grace. Zechariah’s prophecy concerns the Messiah, of which there are many occurrences in this Book.
The writer of this prophecy simply could NOT be, as some think, Zacharias the father of John the Baptist (Lk.1:1-24); nor the Zacharias (Mat.23:35), the son of Barachias, slain between the Temple and the Altar, since there were hundreds of years difference between them.
Zechariah was a son of Berechiah and a grandson of Iddo (Zec.1:1), and was also called "the son of Iddo" (Ezra 5:1; 6:14); the latter was possibly identical with the Iddo mentioned as high priest in (Neh.12:4), which would make the prophet himself the high priest (Neh.12:16).
Zechariah was probably born during the Captivity, but was brought back early to Palestine. He began his prophetic ministry in the second year of King Darius Hystaspes, a little later than Haggai (Zec.1:1; Hag.1:1). His concern was the rebuilding of the Temple, as was Haggai.
As the mediator of his visions, the prophet names an "Angel of the LORD, called sometimes "the" angel (Zec.1:9), and it is He who also introduces Satan in the role of a mischief-maker (Job 1:6-7,12), behind the people's hesitation to work and discouraged mood (Zec.3:1-2). Zechariah's way of doing things borders on the apocalyptic. His style is very direct in some Passages, while in others, his words are very hard to understand.
Zechariah is an uncompromising opponent of the ritual substitutes for true piety, such as fasting and mourning (Zec.7:5); and he repeats the warnings for mercy and righteousness, which according to the prophet make up the heart of service to the LORD (Zec.7:9). Because Israel neglected this service, the judgments of the LORD came down hard on them (Zec.7:13-14). Jerusalem is to be called "a city of truth" (Zec.8:3), and shall dwell in peace, so that old men and old women shall be found in its streets (Zec.8:4), together with boys and girls playing in the streets (Zec.8:5).
Zechariah received the LORD'S messages mainly through visions (Zec.1:8; 2:2,5). They were answers to his questions and were interpreted to him as important warnings because of the condition of the Jewish people and their hesitation in proceeding with the building of the Temple (Zec.1:16; 4:14). He pleads for loyalty from Joshua the high priest toward the Messianic Prince, the "Branch" (Zec.3:8), and from Zerubbabel (Zec.4:9).
The Visions of Zechariah:
Vision 1 . . . The man on a red horse . . . Zec.1:7-17
Vision 2 . . . The 4 horns and the 4 workmen . . . Zec.1:18-21
Vision 3 . . . The man who is measuring Jerusalem . . . Zec.2:1-5
Vision 4 . . . The chief priest . . . Zec.3:1-10
Vision 5 . . . The lampstand and the 2 olive trees . . . Zec.4:1-14
Vision 6 . . . The flying scroll . . . Zec.5:1-4
Vision 7 . . . The woman in the basket . . . Zec.5:5-11
Vision 8 . . . The 4 chariots . . . Zec.6:1-8
Not all agree as to how they connect together!
Visions 1, 2 and 3 are about the return from exile.
Visions 4 and 5 are about the leaders.
Visions 6, 7 and 8 are about the removal of sin.
Visions 1, 2 and 8 are about the relationship of Judah with other countries;
Visions 3-7 are about the future of Judah/Israel as a nation.
Both ideas could be useful to Bible students.
Four visions (1, 3, 4 and 5) have messages from the LORD. They are:
Vision 1 . . . Zechariah 1:13-17;
Vision 3 . . . Zechariah 2:6-13;
Vision 4 . . . Zechariah 3:6-10;
Vision 5 . . . Zechariah 4:5-10.
Zechariah's Prophetical Book is composed of fourteen chapters. It is the eleventh in the order of the Minor Prophets, following Haggai and before Malachi. Chapters 1-8 contain three prophecies: #1. an introduction (Zec.1:1-6); #2. a complex of visions (Zec.1:7-6:15); and #3. the Seed of Peace (ch.7-8).
Chapters 9-14 contain:
- #1. A prophecy concerning the judgment about to fall upon Damascus, Hamath, Tyre, Zidon, and the cities of the Philistines (ch.9).
- #2. A warning to the people NOT to seek help from Teraphim and diviners but from the LORD.
- #3. An announcement of war upon unworthy tyrants, followed by a parable in which the faithless people is censured and the brotherhood between Israel and Judah is declared to be at an end; fate of the unworthy shepherd (ch.11). To this chapter, Zec.13:7-9 seems to belong, for it describes a process of purification by the sword and fire, two-thirds of the people being consumed.
- #4. Judah versus Jerusalem (12:1-7).
- #5. Four results of Jerusalem's deliverance (Zec.3:4; 9:11; 12:8; 13:6).
- #6. The judgment of the heathen and the sanctification of Jerusalem (ch.14).
Zechariah is the longest and the most vague of all the twelve minor prophets. His style is interrupted and without connection. His prophecies concerning the Messiah are more particular and more precise than the other prophets. Some critics think that chapters 9,10 and 11 Zechariah were written by Jeremiah; because in Matthew 27:9-10, under the name of "Jeremy", we find quoted Zechariah 11:12-13. I cannot agree with this because the words "thirty pieces of silver" do NOT occur ant where in Jeremiah's writing. These words are found only in Zechariah 11:12-13 and Matthew 26:15, 27:9. By some clumsy, human mistake, the name of "Jeremy" was slipped into that Passage of Matthew instead of Zechariah.
The prophet Zechariah foretold exactly, the siege of Babylon by Darius, son of Hystaspes. This prince laid siege to that rebellious city at the beginning of the fifth year of his reign, and reduced it at the end of twenty months. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah had foretold of the Babylon calamity (Isa.13:19; 14:22; 21:9; 43:14; 47:1; 48:14; Jer.21:2; 25:12; 50:1,13,39; 51:1,29,37,55,60,64).
Zechariah, a little before the time of Babylon's fall, writes to the Jews that were still in this city: Zechariah 2:6-9 Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD. 7 Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. 8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. 9 For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me. (KJV)
It is most likely that the Jews took advantage of these warnings, and returned from Babylon into their country; or at least, withdrew into a place more secure until the city was taken.
- #1. Warns to instant repentance and reformation, chapters 1, 2, 7-8.
- #2. (a) Promises present blessings, chapters 1, 2, 8:9-15. (b) Future mercy, under Persian government, Zec. 8:3-7. (c) Under Alexander and the Grecians, Zec. 9:8. (d) In the Maccabees' times, Zec. 9:12-15; 12:6.
- #3. Encourages Joshua, Zec.3 and Zerubbabel, Zec.4.
- #4. Threaten the enemies of the Jews, Zec.1:21; 2:9; 9:1-8, 12:1-4, 9, and the sinful and defiant, impenitent Jews, Zec.4; 11:1; 14:1-2.
- #5. Foretells the Messiah's Coming, Zec.3:8-10; 8:19-21; 9:9-10; 13:7, and the Jews' rejecting Him, Zec. 11:10-12, and GOD’S avenging the sin on the Jews, Zec 14:1-2, the calling of the Gentiles, Zec.8:20-23; 12:10, 3:8, 9; 6:12-13, and continued protection of the Christian church among the Gentiles, Zec.14:3-4, to the end.
Zechariah prophecy is represented to us by this prophet, either in dark, but important symbols or else in plain, easy to read words.
Thirty-five Commands, from the LORD, in Zechariah:
#1. Turn unto Me (Zec.1:3).
#2. Be not as your fathers (Zec.1:4).
#3. Cry yet saying (Zec.1:17).
#4. Run, speak to this young man (Zec.2:4).
#5. Deliver yourself, O Zion (Zec.2:7).
#6. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion (Zec.2:10).
#7. Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD (Zec.2:13).
#8. Take away the filthy garments from him (Zec.3:4).
#9. Let them set a fair mitre upon his head (Zec.3:5).
#10. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your fellows (Zec.3:8).
#11. Lift up your eyes now, and see what is this that goes forth (Zec.5:5).
#12. Get hence, walk to and fro through the earth (Zec.6:7).
#13. Take of them of the captivity, which are come from Babylon, and come the same day, and go into the house of Josiah (Zec.6:10).
#14. Take silver and gold and make crowns, and set them on the head of Joshua the high priest (Zec.6:11).
#15. Speak unto him saying (Zec.6:12).
#16. Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests (Zec.7:5).
#17. Execute true judgment (Zec.7:9).
#18. Show mercy and compassions every man to his brother (Zec.7:9).
#19. Oppress not the widow, the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor (Zec.7:10).
#20. Let none of you imagine evil against his brother in his heart (Zec.7:10).
#21. Let your hands be strong, you that hear My prophets these days (Zec.8:9).
#22. Speak every man truth to his neighbor (Zec.8:16).
#23. Execute judgment of truth and peace in your gates (Zec.8:16).
#24. Let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbor (Zec.8:17).
#25. Love no false oath ((Zec.8:17).
#26. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion (Zec.9:9).
#27. Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem (Zec.9:9).
#28. Turn to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope (Zec.9:12).
#29. Ask rain of the LORD in the time of the latter rain (Zec.10:1).
#30. Open your doors, O Lebanon (Zec.11:1).
#31. Howl, fir tree (Zec.11:2).
#32. Feed the flock of the slaughter (Zec.11:4).
#33. Cast it unto the potter (Zec.11:13).
#34. Take yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd (Zec.11:15).
#35. Awake, sword, against My shepherd, and against the man that is My fellow (Zec.13:7).
27 Questions asked in Zechariah: Zec.1:5 (3); 1:9; 1:12; 1:19; 1:21; 2:2; 3:2; 4:2 (3); 4:7; 4:10 (5); 5:6; 5:10; 6:4; 7:3; 7:5 (3); 8:6; 13:6.
Brief Summary: The Book of Zechariah teaches that eternal life in Heaven can be obtained by all. The last Chapter shows people from all over the world coming to worship GOD, who desires that ALL people follow Him. This is NOT the doctrine of Universalism, that all people would be saved because it is GOD’S nature to save. Rather, the Book teaches that GOD desires that all people worship Him and that He accepts all those who do, no matter their national or political expressions. . . . HELL IS REAL!!
Last, but not least, Zechariah preached that GOD is sovereign over this world. His visions of the future indicate that the LORD God sees all that will happen. The description of GOD’S intervention in the world tell us that eventually He will bring human events to the end He chooses. He does not eliminate the individual’s freedom to follow GOD or rebel, but He does hold people responsible for the choices they make. In the last Chapter, even the forces of nature respond to GOD’S control.
Prophesy: Prophecies about Jesus Christ and the Messianic era abound in Zechariah. From the Promise that Messiah would come and dwell in our midst (Zec.2:10-12; Mat.1:23) to the symbolism of the Branch and the Stone (Zec.3:8-9, 6:12-13; Isa.11:1; Luke 20:17-18) to the Promise of His Second Coming where they who pierced Him will look upon Him and mourn (Zec.12:10; John 19:33-37), Christ is the theme of the Book of Zechariah. Jesus is the Saviour of Israel, a Fountain whose precious Blood covers the sins of all who come to Him for salvation (Zec.13:1; 1 John 1:7).
How to apply Zechariah to our live today: GOD expects true and sincere worship and right living of us today. Zechariah’s example of breaking through national prejudice reminds us to reach out into all areas of our society. We must extend GOD’S invitation of salvation to people of ALL national origins, ALL languages, ALL races and ALL cultures. We must tell that salvation is available ONLY through the shed Blood of Christ Jesus on the cross, who died in OUR place to atone for OUR sin. IF anyone rejects that Sacrifice, there is NO other sacrifice through which we can be reconciled to GOD. There is NO other name under Heaven by which men are saved (Acts 4:12).
2 Cor. 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) (KJV)
Malachi 1:1 identifies the author of the Book of Malachi as the Prophet Malachi.
Date of Writing: The Book of Malachi was written between 440 and 400 B.C.
Reason for Writing: The Book of Malachi is a Prophecy: The Word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi (1:1). This was GOD’S warning through Malachi to tell the people to turn back to GOD. As the final Book of the Old Testament closes, the declaration of GOD’S justice and the Promise of His restoration through the Coming Messiah is ringing in the ears of the Israelites. Four hundred years of silence follows, ending with a similar message from GOD’S next prophet, John the Baptist, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Mat.3:2).
Brief Summary: Malachi wrote the Words of the LORD to GOD’S chosen people who had gone astray, especially the priests who had turned away from the LORD. Priests were not treating the sacrifices they were to make to God seriously. Animals with blemishes were being sacrificed even though the Law demanded animals without defect (Deut.15:21). The men of Judah were dealing with the wives of their youth treacherously and wondering why GOD would not accept their sacrifices. And, the people were not tithing as they should have been (Lev. 27:30, 32). But in spite of the people’s sin and turning away from GOD, Malachi restates GOD’S love for His people (Mal.1:1-5) and His Promises of a Coming Messenger (Mal.2:17–3:5).
Prophesy: Malachi 3:1-6 is a Prophecy about John the Baptist. He was the Messenger of the LORD sent to prepare the way (Mat.11:10) for the Messiah, Christ Jesus. John preached repentance and baptized in the Name of the LORD, thus preparing the way for Jesus’ First Coming. But the Messenger who comes “suddenly to the Temple” is Christ Himself in His Second Coming when He comes in power and might (Mat.24). At that time, He will “purify the sons of Levi” (v. 3), meaning that those who represented the Mosaic Law would themselves need purification from sin through the Blood of the Saviour. Only then will they be able to offer “an offering in righteousness” because it will be the righteousness of Christ imputed to them through faith (2 Cor.5:21).
We know very little about Malachi. The name Malachi means “my messenger.” Malachi was in a very definite way, a messenger from GOD. Who he was or where he came from really does not matter. What is important, is the message that he brings. Malachi was just a messenger. It’s what is in his message that we should be concerned about. It is the message, NOT the messenger, that is important in the Prophecy of Malachi.
Malachi was the prophet at the time of Nehemiah. He probably prophesied during the time of Nehemiah’s governorship or immediately afterwards.
Malachi uses the term messenger three times, and he makes three tremendous and significant references to other messengers.
- (1) In Malachi 2:7 he refers to Levi as the messenger of the LORD.
- (2) Malachi also announced the coming of John the Baptist as “my messenger” (Mal. 3:1). John the Baptist was the Malachi of the New Testament and began where Malachi of the Old Testament left off.
- (3) Malachi also refers to Christ as “the messenger of the covenant.” (Mal.3:1).
Malachi uses a question-and-answer method in his Book. First, he would quote a declaration or a questioning which GOD had made to Israel. “You say” is contrasted with “thus says the LORD of hosts” through the first three chapters. He was arrogant and presumptuous, even insulting with scornful sarcasm. Malachi has some good answers from the LORD!
Malachi does not mention the restoration of the Temple, so it is thought that he prophesied after Haggai and Zechariah, when the Temple services were still in existence (Mal.1:10; 3:1,10). Some think that he delivered his prophecies about BC 420, after the second return of Nehemiah from Persia (Neh. 13:6), or possibly before his return. Others say his Book was written about 397 BC. No reference is made to Malachi by Ezra.
Malachi’s purpose in his Book, was to boldly confront GOD’S people in Judah and their leaders with their sins, and plead with them to return to holiness, for GOD will someday judge the righteous and the wicked. The main theme of Malachi’s Book was to show that great changes were needed to prepare the way for the Coming Messiah.
BRIEF SUMMARY of MALACHI
I. Dark Side of the Picture: The sins of a dishonest, ungrateful people and an unfaithful priesthood.
- (1) Robbing GOD (a) By failing to respond to GOD’S divine love, Mal.1:2. (b) By dishonoring GOD’S Name, Mal.1:6. (c) By presenting blemished offerings, Mal.1:7-8,13-14. (d) By becoming stumbling blocks instead of spiritual leaders, Mal.2:1-8. (e) By honoring sinners, Mal.2:17; 3:15. (f) By selfishly withholding tithes, Mal.3:8. (g) By justifying impiety, Mal.3:14.
- (2) Social Sins (a) Treacherous dealing with brethren, Mal.2:10. (b) Inter-marriage with foreigners, Mal.2:11. (c) Divorcing wives, Mal.2:14-16. (d) Sorcery, impurity, oppression, Mal.3:5. Does any of this sound familiar?
II. Bright Side of the Picture: Glorious Promises.
- (1) The Coming of the Messenger of the Covenant, Mal.3:1-4.
- (2) The outpouring of a great blessing, Mal.3:10-12.
- (3) The righteous becoming the LORD’S peculiar treasure, Mal.3:16-18.
- (4) The dawning of a new day in which righteousness shall triumph, Mal.4:2-3.
- (5) The appearance of a spiritual reformer before the Day the Lord is ushered in, Mal.4:5-6.
Elijah was one of the greatest Prophets who ever lived (his story is recorded in 1 Kings 17-2 Kings 2). After Malachi’s death, the voice of GOD’S prophets would be silent for 400 years. Then a Prophet would come, like Elijah, to bring the news of Christ’s Coming (Mat.17:10-13; Luke 1:17). This prophet was John the Baptist. Our LORD Jesus called him the greatest of all the prophets (Luke 7:28). John prepared people’s hearts for Jesus by telling them they must repent of their sins. Christ’s Coming would bring unity and peace, yes, but it would also bring judgment on those who refused to turn from their sins. Malachi gives us great practical guidelines about our commitment to God. God truly deserves the best we have to offer (Mal.1:7-10), BUT . . . just how many of us really give Him our best? We must be willing to change our wrong ways of living (Mal.2:1-2). We should make marriage a lifelong priority (Mal.2:13-16). We should welcome GOD’S refining process in our lives (Mal.3:3), NOT despise His correction and rebuke. We must be humble before GOD, for there is no room for pride with Him (Mal.3:13-15).
Malachi closes his Book by pointing to that great and final day of judgment. For all those who are committed to GOD, and have a personal relationship with Him; Judgment Day will be a day of great joy and victory, because it will usher in eternity in Heaven for us, where we will be in GOD’S Holy and glorious Presence forever! Thank You Jesus!
All those who have ignored or rejected GOD will be as “stubble,” to be burned up (Mal.4:1). Not what people want to hear, but fact! Truth!
The New Testament begins with John the Baptist telling the people to turn away from their sins and to GOD. This kind of a personal commitment to GOD demands great sacrifice on our part, but rest assured, it will all be worth it all in the end.
How do we apply the Book of Malachi to our life today?
The LORD God is not pleased when we do NOT obey His commands. He will repay those who disregard Him. As for GOD hating divorce (2:16), GOD takes the covenant of marriage very seriously and He does NOT want it broken. We are to stay true to the spouse of our youth for our lifetime. GOD sees our hearts, and He knows what we think . . . nothing can be hidden from Him. Christ will return and He will be the Judge. But . . . IF we return to Him, He will return to us (Mal.3:6).
Is the Gospel in the Old Testament?
YES! It certainly is!
The GOSPEL is in the Old Testament
The Bible Helps us Better Understand GOD
Gospel Briefs in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers
Gospel Briefs in Deuteronomy and Joshua
Gospel Briefs in Judges and Ruth
Gospel Briefs in 1&2 Samuel and 1&2 Kings
Gospel Briefs in 1&2 Chronicles and Ezra
Gospel Briefs in Nehemiah and Esther
Gospel Briefs in Job and Psalms
Gospel Briefs in Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song
Gospel Briefs in Isaiah Chapters 1-33
Gospel Briefs in Isaiah Chapters 34-66
Gospel Briefs in Jeremiah and Lamantations
Gospel Briefs in Ezekiel and Daniel
Gospel Briefs in Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah and Jonah
Gospel Briefs in Micah, Nahum, Habbakkuk and Zephaniah
Gospel Briefs in Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi
The GOSPEL IS in the OLD Testament
The Gospel IS in Exodus Chapter 12
The Gospel IS in Isaiah Chapter 53
The Gospel IS in Psalm 90
The Gospel For the Jews IS in the Old Testament
The Gospel IS in Many Places in OT, Many rolls of JESUS!
The Gospel, Special Comments to OT Books
The Gospel, WHAT Does GOD want From YOU?
The Gospel, Which Is the Truth of the Gospel?