Malachi [Măl'achī]—messenger of jehovah or my messenger.
1. The last of the Old Testament prophets, and author of the last book of The Minor Prophets.
Nothing is known of Malachi save what his prophecy tells us. Ancient writers looked upon him as an angel incarnate, while a great number of Jews believed him to be Ezra the Scribe. It would seem as if he was connected with Nehemiah’s work. Perhaps he prepared the way for it, helped in it and followed it up. Compare Malachi 1:8 with Nehemiah 5:15, 18, where it seems clear that he prophesied either during Nehemiah’s absence in Persia (Neh. 13:6) or after Nehemiah assumed governorship. As the last of the prophets, he was the seal of all the goodly fellowship of prophets.
While Malachi’s prominent message was the rebuke of the remnant and the announcement of future purging and blessing, the keynote of his book appears to be the unchangeableness of God, and His unceasing love (Mal. 1:2; 3:6). The tone of his message is expostulation blended with judgment. Yet gracious promises and assurances are interspersed like pearls gleaming against a dark background.
Features to note are the whereins repeated by Malachi’s hearers. Against such the prophet amplifies and enforces his original charge (Mal. 1:2, 6, 7; 2:17; 3:7-9). We have:
I. The charge made against God involving an utter disregard of Him (Mal. 1:1, 2).
II. The rejection of the worship of God (Mal. 1:6-14).
III. The intense oration of His law (Mal. 2:1-9).
IV. Social wrongs and disorder in the home (Mal. 2:10, 16).
V. The blatant perversion of judgment (Mal. 2:17).
VI. Gross immorality and degradation (Mal. 3:5).
VII. Robbery in the service of the Temple (Mal. 3:7-9).
Other features to develop are:
Priestly qualifications—holiness, communion with God, usefulness and knowledge (Mal. 2:6, 7).
An ideal picture of the true gospel ministry (Mal. 2:5, 6).
The Lord’s care for and interest in His people (Mal. 3:16, 18).