End of the Beginning



The end of the Old Testament of the Holy Bible.  Or – the end of the old “witness” to Jesus Christ.  After Malachi, there was a 400 year period when there was no prophet of God among his people.  There was history, life went on, but no words from God.   The prophet Malachi here warns of the judgement of Jerusalem – 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.  But as the prophets always did, he offers hope – But for you who fear my name, the sun of  righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.   A promise of coming salvation.   A promise of light rising out of the darkness.   I’m always struck by the words “sun” and “son”.  Obviously the human hands who put the Bible to papyrus weren’t writing in English, so clearly it was not their intent.  But the rhyming of those two words, the irony of the son being the sun, the light of the world, had to come from the spirit of God writing through these men.

Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.   So, here we see Malachi giving the people of God the warning to remember the law.  How important this would be, since it leads into a four hundred year break in the revelation of God.   It is very likely the people would forget it and move away from God over that time.   While they were waiting for their savior, that is exactly what happened.  The people, while not forgetting God completely, had certainly forgotten the grace and mercy shown throughout the Old Testament, and had forgotten the commands to love God and love your neighbor.

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.   The Jews read this and say their messiah must be anointed by Elijah.   Here Elijah represents all the prophets of Israel.   Elijah is regarded by the Jews as the greatest of the prophets.  John the Baptist was not Elijah himself, but he was fully aware of his purpose to turn the people of God back to the law, to get them ready to repent and turn to the Lord – And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.  Luke‬ ‭1:16-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬ –  as was revealed to his father Zechariah.  So, we see the bookends of the 400 year absence of God.  On one end, the prophecy that Elijah the prophet would announce the coming  of the Lord.  On the other end, John the Baptist, as the one before the son, preparing the way, filled with the spirit and power of the prophets represented by Elijah, breaking the 400 year silence bringing the word if God.  Announcing to the the world the Son who is the Sun.  Preparing the way for the One, the One the law and the prophets, Moses and Elijah, would anoint in person in Mt Tabor at the Transfiguration.

 



““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. 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. And 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. “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.””

‭‭Malachi‬ ‭4:1-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

 

http://bible.com/59/mal.4.1-6.esv

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