The Prophet Malachi

The prophet who predicted the coming of the Angel of the Covenant and the return of Elijah to herald His coming when the Messiah appears.

"You weary Yahweh with your talk. You ask, 'How do we weary him?' When you say, 'Any evil-doer is good as far as Yahweh is concerned; indeed he likes them best'; or when you say, 'Where is the God of justice now?'" (Malachi 2:17).

"For behold, the day comes, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble, the day that comes shall burn them up, 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 rays." (Malachi 4:1-2).

"Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me. And the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple; and the angel of the covenant whom you are longing for, yes, he is coming, says Yahweh Sabaoth. Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For his is like the refiner's fire and the fullers' alkali.

He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and then they will make the offering to Yahweh as it should be made. the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be welcomed by Yahweh as in former days, as in the years of old.

I mean to visit you for the judgment and I am going to be a ready witness against sorcerer, adulterer and perjurer, against those who oppress the wage-earner, the widow and the orphan, and who rob the settler of his rights ­ no need for you to be afraid of me, says Yahweh Sabaoth." (Malachi 3:1-5).

As they waited expectantly for the Messiah promised by Moses to be born among them, the prophet Malachi initiated a tradition among the Jews that He would be preceded by the prophet Elijah. Issuing an oracle in the name of God, Malachi proclaimed,

"Know that I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before my day comes, that great and terrible day. He shall turn the hearts of fathers towards their children and the hearts of children towards their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a curse." (Malachi 3:23-24).

The expectation of Elijah changed the Jewish focus. Instead of keying on the Intercessor himself, they began to re-focus on the one who would precede Him and herald His coming. As the tradition grew, it became a major element in Jewish theology. Liturgically it was incorporated into the celebration of the Passover dinner where, on every Jewish table, an empty cup was always set aside for the prophet Elijah -- in expectation of his impending visit.

Despite the fact that Elijah has already come and gone, this empty cup still stands and waits whenever the Passover Seder is celebrated. Refusing to believe that Elijah made his return in the first century, the Jews still honor the tradition and continue to await his arrival.

That wait will be rewarded. But not by the one they expect. Jesus said that Elijah made his appearance in the form of John the Baptist, so that prophecy is done with. (Mt.17:9-13).

But there is another incarnation prophecy in scripture ­ one announced by the prophet Daniel ­ and it concerns a heavenly figure even greater than Elijah -- Michael the Archangel.

"At that time Michael will stand up, the great prince who mounts guard over your people." (Dan.12:1).

This prophecy in the Book of Daniel indicates that God intends to raise up on earth, just as He did at the Messiah's first appearance, a divine figure to make all things ready for the Second Coming.


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