Malachi

These are all of the chapters of the book of Malachi. Clicking on a chapter will show you the text of that chapter of Malachi in the Bible (New International Version).

Bible open to Book of Malachi, Malachi summary

Who Wrote the Book of Malachi?

Malachi, the last prophet of the Old Testament, wrote this post-exile book to the Israelites as stated in the opening verse. The name Malachi means my messenger and may be more of a title than a person’s name. His name only appears this once but his words are quoted 15 times in the New Testament including once by Jesus (Matthew 11:7-15).

Context and Background of Malachi

Malachi prophesied to the Jews who had resettled in Judea after the Babylonian exile. The use of the Persian word for governor in the first chapter plus the fact that priests were offering sacrifices of Malachi helps place the time period to around 450 B.C. making it the last words of the Old Testament. God clearly shared how He chose these Jews, the descendants of Jacob, over Esau’s lineage, to reassure them that He would keep His promise to preserve them. God does not change. The current circumstances and strong words reminded the people that the current famine, drought, poverty, and oppression resulted from their disobedience.

God tries to shake up the Israelites and motivate them to act obediently according to the law. Questions stated and then answered by God repeat the same pattern to help people examine their actions and relationship with God. These start with a declaration such as ‘you rob me’ followed by the question in the people’s minds, ‘how are we robbing you?’ They conclude with God providing specific examples such as, ‘in tithes and offerings.’ Then God explains what is desired and adds promises, including ‘bring the whole tithe into the storehouse,” followed by a promise to test Him and then watch him pour out blessings upon them.

This is God’s final discourse to change the hearts of the Israelites. After Malachi, there is silence from God for four hundred years. For the Jewish people, the Talmud teaches that the Divine Spirit of prophetic revelation departed from the Jewish people after Malachi’s death. Four hundred years of silence followed before the Messiah came and the start of the New Testament timeline.

Main Theme and Purpose of Malachi

God’s love for His people and His desire for renewing the relationship with Him is stressed throughout the book. The words of love beckon all readers to accept God’s love. Malachi voices the need for the people to turn their hearts back to God and restore purity. They lived with the consequences of their sins of divorce, neglecting to tithe, marriage to unbelievers, and improper sacrifices of the priests.

Warnings from Malachi to the people reflect Nehemiah’s concerns of the people’s need to return their hearts to God (Nehemiah 5:1-13, 13:10-14, 23-27). After1000 years of history since Abraham, the people could see how God responded to their obedience and disobedience. However, they ignored history and turned away from God again. They needed God’s intervention and God’s words spoken through Malachi. The prophecies included details about the Day of the Lord and final judgment. God always wants to give people hope. Other prophetic messages included details about the coming birth of the Messiah and future blessings for God’s people.

What Can We Learn from Malachi Today?

We learn that God is patient with His followers and gives us the opportunity to turn to Him and renew our relationship. No matter what we do, God is there and ready to respond when we are willing to repent. He wants us to give back to Him with tithes, live with purity, and be obedient to His Word. In response to our trust and faith in God, He will bless us in the ways that are best for each of us.

However, God’s Word is unchangeable, and God grows weary from people wanting to change His laws and justify their actions. There will be consequences when we choose to live according to man’s choices over God’s call for holiness or take advantage of other people. Hope is endless with God. Jews cycled through from disobedience to turning back and being blessed again and restore the covenant with God. God continues to forgive us and show mercy on us too. He wants us to learn from the past and make wiser choices. Prophecies still to be fulfilled in the Day of the Lord remind us that our choices have eternal consequences.

Our Favorite Verses from Malachi

Mal. 1:11, “‘My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

Mal. 2:17, “You have wearied the Lord with your words. “How have we wearied him?” you ask. By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?”

Mal. 3:1, “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.”

Mal. 3:6-8, “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”

Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty. ‘But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. ‘But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ ‘In tithes and offerings.’”

Mal. 3:10, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

Mal. 4:2, “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.”

Mal. 4:5-6, “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”

Sources

Chabad.org, Who Was the Prophet Malachi?

Lifehopeandtruth.com, Malachi the Prophet

Artdavison.com, The Book of Malachi

Insight.org, Malachi

Biblehub.com, Malachi

Christianity.com, Who Was Malachi in the Bible

Photo credit: ©Sparrowstock

Karen Whiting is an author of 26 books including a Bible study and many devotionals. She has written more than 700 articles for more than sixty publications. She has served in Officer Christian Fellowship for decades including working with the ministries at the Coast Guard and Naval Academies (16 years total). Currently, she facilitates an adult Bible study group at her local church.