Exploring Messianic prophecies:
Great Expectations: Malachi 3:1

After their 70 year captivity in Babylon, the Jews were permitted to return to their homeland. They rebuilt the temple and the city. According to the record we have in the prophets, the great expectation was that the long awaited Messiah would come to that temple.

The last prophetic book in the Old Testament was given by God through Malachi. Malachi’s prophecy was written approximately around the time that the temple was being completed. He was a contemporary of Ezra and Nehemiah. He was the last prophetic voice to be heard before a four hundred year “period of silence.” There was no other prophetic voice given during that season.

Malachi’s prophecy confirms the expectation that the Messiah would come to this second temple. –

Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, whom you seek, (the Messiah) shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the LORD of hosts (Malachi 3:1).

The first messenger in this prophecy that is mentioned is the “Elijah” of verse five of Malachi’s chapter four. – Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD (Malachi 4:5).

This messenger prepares the way for the “Messenger of the Covenant,” the Messiah, who will come to His temple suddenly.

Malachi states that the Messiah would come to “His” temple, reiterating the prophetic fact that the people were building the temple in expectation of the Messiah’s arrival.

The temple waited for four hundred years during the period of silence. Again, there was no other prophetic word given, for it was not necessary. Everything had all been said from the first prophet Jonah, to Malachi’s final period on God’s instructions to His people concerning their coming Messiah.

Then the silence was finally broken with the arrival of the “Elijah,” the first messenger, John the Baptist, who labored to prepare the way for the “Messenger of the Covenant.” This covenant would be the new “everlasting covenant” promised to God’s people that would be given to them after the captivity (Jeremiah 32:40, Ezekiel 16:60).

As Elijah prepared the way for the Messiah’s arrival, an obscure, humble carpenter from Nazareth, stepped into the waters of baptism and emerged as the only figure in history to fulfill the prophecies concerning the One that is God’s chosen Messenger of the new everlasting covenant. The four hundred year period of silence was triumphantly broken by the arrival of Yeshua/Jesus, the Messiah.

The prophet Daniel also prophesied that the Messiah would come before the destruction of the second temple (Daniel 9:26). And just as Daniel said, the temple was destroyed in 70AD forty years after Jesus also prophesied of this event (Luke 19:43,44). There is no other messiah prophesied in scripture after this event. None.

Daniel’s prophecy of the destruction of the second temple is also found in chapter nine verse twenty-six, the same verse that records the Messiah's death. The prophet then proceeds to give an accurate, historical picture of events leading up to the judgment seat of God in chapter twelve. During this time there is no peace, no perfect world as the Jews today expect, only war and desolation. “And the end shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war, desolations are determined.”

We can look out the window, behold the world today and recognize that Daniel’s prophecy is currently being accurately fulfilled.

While the Jews believe that the Messiah will usher in a world peace, we can see that the scriptures do not provide any space for that event until the very end. The prophetic picture is completed for us when we return to Zechariah’s prophecy in chapter fourteen. We are shown that a Being that is identified as God (verses 3,5,9), descends upon the Mount of Olives, splitting it in two. The people of Israel are subsequently rescued from a second captivity (verse 2). It is only after these events that those prophecies of peace can be fulfilled.

So for those who choose to look out their windows, see an imperfect world, and relate what they are seeing as evidence that Jesus is not the Messiah, they need to look again to the prophecies that they think they know so well. They need to allow the prophet’s words to enable them to adjust their vision so they may see through the glass clearly, and use this current period of silence to contemplate the great expectation of the Messiah Jesus’ sudden return.

Copyright 2021 by H.D. Shively

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