Malachi's 'Elijah' Prophecy
The first three chapters
of Malachi are set in the context of the restoration from Babylon.
We have earlier shown that this period typifies the experience of the
Jewish " remnant" of the last days. This section concludes
with a description of the Bible-based revival of enthusiasm for the Law
which occurred amongst some of this group: " They that feared the
Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened" (Malachi
3:16). The prophecy then goes on to speak directly of the
last days: " They shall be mine...in that day when I make up
my jewels" (Malachi 3:17). The rest of the prophecy then
speaks of the final day of the Lord, at which time there would be a similar
spiritual revival due to the work of 'Elijah', as there had been due to
that of Malachi (the 'messenger' of Malachi 3:1) and his contemporary
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The writing of "
a book of remembrance" of those who allowed this revival to affect
them (Malachi 3:16) has a latter-day application through its connection
with Dan. 12:2, which speaks of the salvation of the Jewish remnant of
the last days due to their names being written in a book.
" They...spake often one to another" is the language of Deut.
6:6 concerning how Israel were to avidly discuss the Law among themselves.
It will be Elijah's mission to redirect Israel's attention to " the
law of Moses...the statutes and judgments" (Malachi 4:4,5).
Malachi 3:18 comments upon the remnant's repentance: " Then
shall ye return..." . This is in the context of Malachi
3:7, which pleads with them to return to the ordinances of Moses, again
showing that the end result of Elijah's work in the last days is to bring
them back to a meaningful understanding of the Mosaic Law.
This will be necessary in view of the fact that there are good reasons
to believe that Israel will keep large parts of the Law during the Millennium.
Seeing that the Law
is a schoolmaster which leads to Christ (Gal. 3:24), it is understandable
that the Elijah ministry will direct Israel's attention to it, so that
they will thereby come to accept the Messiahship of Jesus.
Paul's technique, as recorded in the Acts and epistles of the New Testament,
was similar. The latter-day curses which will come upon Israel,
as outlined in Lev. 26 and Deut. 28, are a result of Israel's disobedience
to repeated appeals to return to the Law; this fact slips into place
nicely once it is appreciated that 'Elijah' will be asking Israel to return
to the true spirit of the Mosaic Law. He will be leading Israel into a
new covenant with God, as did John. The prophet Azariah likewise; at a
time when Israel " for a long season...hath been without the true
God, and without a teaching priest, and without law" (2 Cron.15:3,
cp. Hos.3:4,5, also about the last days), Azariah persuaded Israel to
enter " into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers"
(2 Chron.15:12). Note that there are other connections between this record
and latter day prophecies elsewhere (e.g. 2 Chron.15:5= Dt.28:19,20; 2
As a man spares his
The remnant who respond
will be spared by God, 'as a man spares his only son who is his servant'
(Malachi 3:17 Heb.). This is evidently applicable to God sparing
His only son/servant, Jesus, through the resurrection. The
fact is therefore underlined that the remnant will come to fellowship
the sufferings of Christ, and thus will also share in the deliverance
which God gave Him.
Having been given this
deliverance, the remnant will then be able to " discern between the
righteous and the wicked...for (because) the day cometh that shall
burn as an oven...and all that do wickedly shall be stubble"
(Malachi 3:18: 4:1). The final time (" day" ) of
suffering during the Arab holocaust will result in the destruction of
the unspiritual element of the remnant. There is ample reason
to think that this fire will have a literal aspect to it.
This 'day' of final destruction is that spoken of in Joel 2:31, after
which the righteous remnant within Jerusalem are saved completely (Joel
2:32). The " oven" in which " the wicked"
amongst the remnant are destroyed is therefore Jerusalem.
Isa. 31:8,9 now comes into play: " Then shall the Assyrian
(cp. the future Arab desolator) fall with the sword...his princes shall
be afraid of the ensign ('the pole' - i.e. Christ), saith the Lord, whose
fire is in Zion, and his furnace (s.w. " oven" ) in Jerusalem"
. Three things are connected here:-
- The destruction of Israel's
- The presence of Christ
- Jerusalem being as an
oven, which Malachi 4:1 says
is for the purpose of destroying
the unspiritual Jews
among the " remnant" .
This is in line with
our previous conclusions that the destruction of the remaining wicked
Jews will be at the same time and in the same place as that of the participants
in the final Arab onslaught. The 'fire' will burn up the faithless
Jews as " stubble" (Malachi 4:1). Jer. 13:24
speaks of Israel being as stubble due to the Babylonian campaign, typifying
the future Arab invasion. Joel 2:5 speaks of the latter-day
invaders burning up Israel as " stubble" , indicating that they
are the 'fire' which heats the 'oven'. Significantly, Israel's
latter-day Arab enemies are repeatedly classified as " stubble"
(Oba. v. 18; Nah. 1:10; Ps. 83:13; Isa. 47:14), showing how
faithless Israel and their Arab invaders will receive a like judgment.
Indeed, that punishment will also be shared by the rejected responsible.
Thus the judgment of Babylon is likened to a heavy stone being cast into
the waters (Jer.51:63; Rev.18:21); the same figure which is used to describe
the condemnation of those who refuse to develop the spirit of Christ (Mt.18:6).
The truly righteous
among the remnant " shall tread down the wicked...(as) ashes under
the soles of your feet" (Malachi 4:3). " The wicked"
are those of Malachi 3:18 and 4:1 - the unspiritual element amongst the
latter-day Jewish 'remnant' in Jerusalem. This implies that
in some way the spiritual Jews acceptable to Jesus will mete out judgment
on the rejected ones. Perhaps in similar fashion the men of
Nineveh will condemn the first century Jews at the judgment (Luke 11:32),
and we will judge Angels (1 Cor. 6:3). In this way the righteous
remnant shall " discern (judge) between the righteous and the wicked"
" But unto you
that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing"
rather than destruction (Malachi 4:2). This confirms that
the day that burns the wicked as an oven will be associated with Christ's
return - the implication is '...but the return of Jesus will bring blessing
for you who are truly righteous, as opposed to the fire of destruction
for the faithless amongst Israel'. The 'healing' may well
have a literal aspect, seeing that the remnant still hanging on within
Jerusalem will have been the victims of all manner of Arab efforts to
destroy them. However, the full healing of Israel is
through the cross of Christ (Isa. 53:5), showing that, due to this
final phase of the holocaust, Israel truly come to accept Christ and Him
By contrast, the faithless
amongst the remnant will be burnt up so that they will be left "
neither root nor branch" (Malachi 4:1), both of which are clear symbols
of Christ; for them the opportunity of Christ will be taken away eternally.
We are now in a position
to present an approximate chronology of the events related to Israel's
- Period of Arab
domination during which the Elijah ministry
calls for repentance and a return
to the true spirit of the
- Natural Israel
persecute 'Elijah' and his school of
prophets, blaming Israel's plight
- Jews, both from
the land and the present diaspora, go into
captivity in 'Babylon' and the
neighbouring Arab lands.
are killed there.
- A remnant of
these captives are taken to Egypt.
- All the Jews
in the land are killed except for a remnant in
- The unspiritual
Jews in Egypt are destroyed at the same time
as the faithless among the 'remnant'
- This will be
at the hands of the Arab armies, who will destroy
themselves at the same time. This will occur after
- Only truly righteous
Jews will then be left alive.