Malachi is the last of the great succession of prophets who for over one hundred years foretold the coming of Messiah. Malachi ministered in the time of the governorship of Nehemiah. It is clear that he ministered after the captivity. He prophesied about a century after Haggai and Zephaniah. Malachi’s ministry dates from about 460 B.C. during the period of Israel’s Persian subjugation. In that time, the temple had been rebuilt for some forty years, but is a rather mean dwelling compared to its former glory.
Malachi’s message is, for the most part, rebuke and condemnation. The sins of Israel that provoked Nehemiah were the same that stirred up Malachi. Their failure was defilement of the priesthood, divorce of Israelites wives for marriage with foreign women and neglecting tithe and offerings. According to Malachi they have despised Lord’s name (Mal. 1:6), they have been indifferent towards the worship (Mal. 1:6), they were wrongly instructed by the priests (Mal. 2:7-8), they became faithless to the covenant (Mal. 2:10), followed foreign gods and divorced their wives to marry foreign women (Mal. 2:13-16), did evil (Mal. 2:17) robbed God (Mal. 3:8-9), and spoke against the Lord (Mal. 3:13-14).
“Behold I will send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming, says the Lord of hosts.” (Mal 3:1 – NKJV)
Malachi has used the question and answer method to probe deeply into Israel’s problems of hypocrisy, infidelity, mixed marriages, divorce, false worship and arrogance. Is this list of problems not familiar to the church in modern times?
But the people are not ready to accept their wrongdoings and would rather justify themselves.
They question God and He answers:
How has God loved us?
Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? Says the Lord Yet Jacob have I loved
How have we (priests) despised God’s name?
By sacrificing what is blemished and even their human governor wouldn’t have accepted
How have we (people) profaned the covenant?
By saying that the table of the Lord is defiled and its fruit, its food is contemptible and by saying, Oh what a weariness!
How have we wearied God?
By saying that everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord and He delights in them
How have we robbed God?
By not giving tithes and offerings
How have we spoken against God?
By saying It is vain to serve God
Do all these words sound vaguely familiar? Are they not similar to what we say about Jesus and His church today? We are tired of all these seemingly meaningless rituals and say, “It is vain to serve God”. It is time to get over with the rituals and get close to God with a genuine and repentant heart.
“For behold, the Day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes all who do wickedly will be stubble; and the Day which is coming shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, that will leave them neither root nor branch.
But to you who fear my name, The Sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings…” (Mal 4:1-2 – NKJV)
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew (spit or vomit) you out of my mouth.” (Rev 3:15-16 – NKJV)
The Day of Judgment is coming and it is as true for the church today as it was for Israel in the days of Malachi. The hypocrites and the wicked will be burnt in the fierce wrath of God while for those who fear God there will be an everlasting healing. The words of Jesus in Revelation are filled with the same kind of warning. He wants us to be piping hot for Him or frozen cold and forget Him altogether and go your way. The lukewarm hypocrites will face the most fearful judgment. May we not be in the “Vomit List”.