malachi’s ministry- Part I ‘the history’

Malachi’s Ministry Part 1- ‘the history’

Nearly 2500 years ago God sent His prophet  to rebuke His people for their corrupt worship of the Lord. Even though it was a message for the nation Israel then, it has strong spiritual parallels for His people today… THE CHURCH. It is a message that would fit in most pulpits and pews across our nation. It’s not a message that is denominational in tone but applicable in every facet of the Church across America, today! The purpose of the Malachi Ministry Page is to show the uncanny parallel between the church in America today and the nation Israel in the day of Malachi’s Ministry. 

Before you begin reading this page, please prayerfully petition God’s Messenger, His Holy Spirit, for Spiritual clarity and understanding of the writing. It is written with much concern for pastors and patrons in the Body of Christ. May God bless the reading of this word.  

Malachi- (Hebrew) “my messenger”

Date: most date the writing between 450-400BC

Purpose/Theme: God’s messenger rebukes a nation (Israel) for their disobedience, not only to God’s Word but also for vows they had made to Jehovah God but had not fulfilled. The purpose of the message was to bring their error front and center and call them to repentance.

History

In order for us too fully understand God’s sending Malachi, we must understand what had transpired prior to the time of the writing. Approximately 100 years had had passed since the Jews had returned to Palestine. They had experienced seventy-years of captivity under the strong arm of Babylon. Their Babylonian captivity was judgment for turning their back on their God.  

In the book of Ezra we read that through God’s prophetic (Jeremiah 25:11) word, Cyrus King of Persia decreed that God’s people could return to Jerusalem to re-build a house (temple) for the Lord, The God of Israel. Approximately 50,000 Jews returned 535 BC under the leadership of Zerubbabel and the foundation was laid. The temple was completed 2o years later in 515 BC. The fact that it took 20-years to complete the rebuilding of the temple is a strong indication of the opposition that God’s people encountered. Cf. Nehemiah Chpt. 1 – 6).

After the city (Jerusalem) and the temple was restored, God’s people relished in a time of celebration, and a time of rejoicing. God’s people praised Him in psalm and worship because in His mercy, He had kept His word. All the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spoke unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until mid-day, before the men and women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. Nehemiah 8:1;3

This was not only a time of celebration but more importantly, a time of repentance. Israel had been a nation that had been separated from their God for seventy-years because of their sin but were now back and enjoying an intimate relationship with their God. During this time of revival and festivities, the people made four promises to God. Reference Nehemiah 10:28-39

  • The people agreed not to marry the sons and daughters of the heathens
  • They promised to keep the Sabbath and holy days free of commercial activity.
  • They promised to observe the sabbatical year.
  • The promised to support the Temple.

Before we get in to the details of Malachi’s message we need to understand how God looks at the promises that we vow to Him. In Ecclesiastes 5:1-5 Solomon says (1) “keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools; for they consider not that they do evil. (2) Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth: therefore let thy words be few. (3) For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words. (4) When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools, pay that which thou hast vowed. (5) Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay”.

In essence, when we make a promise to God, it is in the common vernacular, “serious business”. If we don’t intend to keep the promise, we would be better not to vow it, because God is not as man. He does not count our words a light thing; He demands we keep it, if we vow it.

malachi

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