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An Introduction To Malachi

Majoring In The Minor Prophets  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

Greetings...

Historical Background Information

The author

Malachi 1:1 ESV
1 The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.
Malachi 1:2 ESV
2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob
Malachi 1:6–7 ESV
6 “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ 7 By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised.
Mal
There is really nothing we know concerning Malachi the person.
We know nothing of his hometown, family, or occupation, in fact, the name Malachi is only found in .
Malachi 1:1 ESV
1 The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.
This has led many to suggest that Malachi, which means “my messenger” isn’t the prophets real name.
The Hebrew “my messenger” is only found three times in the Bible.
; ; and .
This, however, is without significant proof or really any proper verification.
First, a proper name always follows the statement “the word of the Lord came to.”
Extensive MSS and translation tradition supports “my messenger” being translated Malachi in .

Date

There is universal agreement that Malachi was written after the remnant returned from captivity because of the internal evidence, however we must look at other books of the Bible to narrow it down.
The use of the specific word “governor” in Malachi let us know it was written during Persian rule which is why everyone agrees this was written after the remnants return, keeping in mind Nehemiah did two different stints as governor of Judah (; ).
Malachi 1:8 ESV
8 When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.
Internal evidence indicates that God was upset with the Israelites marrying of heathens which corresponds with what Nehemiah dealt with under his second term as governor (Nehemiah 13:32-31).
Malachi 2:11 ESV
11 Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god.
Mal
Another clue to the dating of the book resides in the fact that Malachi never mentions the rebuilding of the city walls, which took 52 days in 445 BC ().
All this seems to point to the book of Malachi being written around 432-425 BC.

Context

At the time of Malachi the Persians are still rulers of Israel and the world to some degree, which means the Jews had religious freedom.
This seems to be the problem because by the time God calls Malachi it has been over 100 years since Zerubbabel brought the first wave of Israelites back from captivity.
It has been almost 80 years since Haggai and Zechariah prophesied and about 13 years since Ezra brought the second wave of Jews.
Instead of getting better, spiritually, they seem to have gotten worse.
Maybe it was because the prophecies of Zechariah about the Messiah hadn’t come to fruition yet the people became apathetic to God and His Word.
The temple sacrifices were treated with contempt.
Malachi 1:13 ESV
13 But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord.
The people were not tithing diligently like they should have and were robbing God.
Malachi 3:8 ESV
8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.
Mal
The priest were corrupt () which naturally led to a moral decay in the Israelites.
They were oppressing the poor () and divorce was rampant ().
Mal 2:13-16
Malachi 2:14 ESV
14 But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.
Mal 2:
Malachi 2:13–16 ESV
And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

Summery

The people were struggling with apathy towards God and He uses Malachi to deliver a legal case against the people of Israel.
In fact the book is written as if a “legal case is being presented in a courtroom.”

Outline To The Book Of Malachi

Outline To The Book Of Malachi

First Dispute: God Loves Israel (1:2-5)

Second Dispute: God Rebukes the Unfaithful Priests (1:6-2:9)

Third Dispute: God Rebukes His Unfaithful People (2:10-16)

Fourth Dispute: God Is Just (2:17-3:5)

Fifth Dispute: God Calls the People to Repentance (3:6-12)

Sixth Dispute: God Rebukes the People for their Harsh Words (3:13-4:3)

Closing Exhortation (4:4-6)

Conclusion

God has never been satisfied with “just going through them motions” in our worship of Him.
God expects and deserves our all in our worship of Him.
Invitation
Isaiah 59:1–2 ESV
1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
Philippians 2:6–7 ESV
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
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