The Holy Prophet Malachi, whose name means “messenger” in Hebrew, was the last of the Old Testament prophets. As such, he is called the “Seal of Prophets.” He exercised the gift of prophecy 475 years before the Advent of Christ.
From the Book of Malachi it is apparent that in the prophet’s lifetime the Temple had already been restored and divine services were held, though often without due reverence. The prophet denounced the negligence of priests, telling them on behalf of God, “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear?” (Mal 1:6). He also predicted that, in the New Testament era, the Jewish priests would be replaced by people that fear God, “For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering” (Mal 1:6-11).
The prophet further denounced the Jews for mixed marriages, irregular tithing, offering animals with blemish for sacrifices, superficial callous rites, murmuring against God for supposed delay in the fulfillment of the promise of the coming of Messiah. Malachi does not rebuke the Jews for the sin of idol worship, because after the disasters, related to the Babylonian captivity, they were totally cured of this superstition.
Malachi said prophecies about John the Baptist, the prophet and forerunner, who would come to get the people ready to receive Christ: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap” (Malachi 3:1-2, see Mark 1:1 and Matthew 11:14, 17:12). Malachi’s following prophecy, similar to the previous one, is also about Christ’s forerunner, but is obviously related to His Second Coming: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5, Cf. Revelation 11:3-6).
The content of the Book of Malachi is as follows: lack of pious reverence in people (1:6-14) and priests (2:1-9), cruelty and turning away from God (2:10-16), disregard of God’s promises and commandments (2:17-3:6), non-tithing of tithes (3:7-12), God’s Judgment (3:13-4:3), the last call for repentance (4:4-6).
Adapted from Toward an Understanding of the Bible by Bishop Alexander Mileant