WHO WAS MALACHI?
Nobody knows for sure. However since the Scripture tells us so little about him, it is clear we are meant to give our attention to his message rather than his personal life and circumstances. He may have been a Priest – that is where the focus of his message lies. Why did he write? Malachi was a man with a burden. This is made clear in the opening verse of the book (1v1).
Malachi (whose name means ‘My messenger’) is a prophet from God with a message (burden) about the spiritual state of God’s people.
WHAT WAS HIS BURDEN?
Malachi was concerned about the spiritual life of the nation of Israel, the covenant people of God. There was hypocrisy amongst Israel’s spiritual leaders (the Priests) but also among the ordinary folks too. Spiritual life had reached a plateau of complacency and people were not following the Lord as they should have been.
WHERE AND WHEN?
He wrote in Jerusalem the centre of the Jewish nation and the time is about 400 years before the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. The historical background is that the Jewish people had miraculously returned from captivity in Babylon, rebuilt their Temple, recommenced sacrifices and offerings, and repaired the breaches in the city walls. Outwardly things seemed to be going well BUT there were problems within and at the highest level.
HOW DOES HE WRITE?
His style is remarkable. Throughout the book there is a repeated pattern: the Lord speaks and makes a statement challenging the spiritual life of the people. Malachi then gives people’s response: ‘How have we done this?’ and then Malachi gives the Lord’s response again to their supposed question. Malachi’s book is a challenge to genuine love and obedience to the Lord. It is a ‘wake up call’ to God’s people and is as much needed today as when it was first given.