Tuesday, March 16, 2010

An Introduction to the Old Testament - Malachi

Dillard, Raymond B. & Longman, Tremper III. "Malachi."  An Introduction to the Old Testament.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 1994. 437-442.

Malachi, the last of the writing minor prophets, looks forward directly to the New Testament, proclaiming the coming of Elijah who will usher in the Messiah.  The introduction may identify a prophet by name or may simply use the name, meaning "my messenger" as a pseudonym.  The texts seems clearly to refer to a time period after the rebuilding of the temple and long enoughafter that for discouragement to set in.  Most scholars suggest the book was written between 475 and 450 B.C.  Judah did not seem to be seeing the restoration and success people had expected in the enthusiasm of the return from the exile.  Malachi serves to point the people to their failings and proclaim that there is hope in God.

Malachi's striking style is that of a disputation between the people and God.  God issues an accusation against the people.  The people question how they are guilty.  God explains why they are guilty.  At the end of the text the people are called to believe the Lord and to look to the coming of the prophet Elijah.

The heart and center of Malachi's message is that God has made covenants with his people, covenants which they have broken.  While God loves his people, they do not love him.  Yet he will continue to bring them hope.  As we look to the New Testament we see that God has indeed brought hope to his people in the person of Jesus, the one who was heralded by John the Baptizer, the second Elijah.

Dave Spotts
blogging at http://capnsaltyslongvoyage.blogspot.com and http://alex-kirk.blogspot.com

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