The life of the Jewish prophet Malachi is shrouded in mystery and silence. Malachi prophesied sometime between 445 BC and 425 B.C to the people of Jerusalem which is where he appears on the Bible Timeline Poster. There isn’t any known reliable source outside Tanakh or the Bible that explains his background or details from the life of the prophet Malachi. To the Christians, he is considered the last prophet before the arrival of John the Baptist and the Messiah Jesus Christ. The Jews consider him the last prophet of the Tanakh. Historians and scholars could not figure out with certainty if Malachi were a priest or just a common man that God had chosen to warn the new Jewish community about their sins.
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He spoke to the Jewish community that had returned to the land of Judah to rebuild the temple under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah. There are some scholars who believe that he had to have been a part of the prophets, priests or scribes that were led by Ezra. Malachi is considered a minor prophet simply because there wasn’t a lot of information about his life printed in the Tanakh or the Bible.
After the Israelites had been finally able to return home, they managed to rebuild the temple and to resettle Jerusalem. At first there was great joy and enthusiasm when they first arrived home but they soon became discouraged. The people were glad to be back in their homeland once again, but they wanted to be free from Persian rule and to have a great kingdom like they did in the days of kings David and Solomon. When this didn’t happen many of the people began to believe that God no longer cared about them. As a result, they started to sin again.
In the past, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah went into exile because of idolatry. This time around they had fallen into the sin of not honoring and respecting God. Idolatry wasn’t a big issue, but the people of Judah were now intermarrying with foreign women, robbing God of his tithes and not faithfully teaching the law.
Malachi rebukes the people in the opening chapter of the book for not realizing that God loved them even if he doesn’t show it by blessing the nation with independence and great power. Malachi then goes on to reveal to the people of Judah that God will judge his people before he deals with other nations. Malachi also explains to the people of Judah that they rob God when they don’t give him the proper tithes and offerings. Malachi uses a series of questions and answers at the beginning of some the chapters within the book so that they could understand how they were sinning toward God.
Malachi closes out his prophetic messages in chapter 4 of the book by revealing to the people of Judah that God will ultimately deal harshly with the wicked, and the righteous will be spared judgment. He then says that the prophet Elijah will come back and preach before the coming Day of Judgment from the Lord.
In the Torah and the Bible Malachi is considered the last prophet that God used to warn the people about their sins. Christians believe that the period between Malachi and Jesus Christ was used to prepare the world for his arrival. Jewish people believe that God no longer would use any more prophets to warn the people of their sins, and they still wait for the Messiah’s return.
- Malachi 2: 1 – 9 Malachi reveals how the people do not faithfully teach the law.
- Malachi 2: 10 – 16 Malachi expresses how God is against their intermarriages to foreign women and how he hates them divorcing their wives.
- Malachi 3: 6 – 12 Malachi exposes how some of the Jewish people were trying to rob God by not paying tithing correctly.