quinta-feira, 11 de agosto de 2011

The Prophet Malachi

study by Davi Malick

I. Title of the Book:

A. Hebrew: In Hebrew the book is titled ykalm meaning messenger of Yahweh or my messenger

B. Greek: In the Greek Septuagint the book is titled Malacias, a transliteration of the Hebrew title which actually has the sense of His messenger1

I I. Author and Unity of the Book:

A. The traditional understanding

The traditional understanding has been that the name of the author was Malachi 1:1, and nothing is known of Malachi apart from this book

B. Some have understood Malachi to be a title

Some have understood Malachi to be a title for the work and not the name of the prophet; these identify Malachi as anonymous (along with Zechariah 9:14) because of the similar headings in Zechariah 9:14 and 12:1; but the similarities between the headings is not substantial.

On the other hand, the title of Malachi is similar to all of the other minor prophets which would support the notion that Malachi is a name, not a title.

C. The unity of the book

Although some have questioned the unity of the book, (especially with reference to the last three verses (4:4-6) which some think are an appendix to the book or the minor prophets as a whole), there is a close relationship between 4:4-6 and the rest of Malachi.

D. Three other messengers

Three other messengers besides the author are mentioned in the book: the priest (2:7); the forerunner of Messiah (3:1); and the Messenger of the Covenant (3:1).

I I I. Dates: it is not possible to be sure but any time from 568-433 B.C.
A. Some references

The reference to a governor points to the postexilic, Persian period (1:8 Ha 1:1, 14, 22; 2:2, 21) See also Nehemiah 5:14.

Malachi must be after 515 B.C. because that was when the temple was finished; the degeneration of worship may imply that some time has passed since its completion

B. Similarities between Malachi and Ezra-Nehemiah

Similarities between Malachi and Ezra-Nehemiah suggest dates around the end of the fifth century B.C.

Both refer to intermarriages with foreign wives (Ezfra 9-10; Neh 13:23-27; Mal 2:11)

Both refer to failure to pay tithes (Neh 13:10-14; Mal 3:8-10)

Both refer to social injustice (Neh 5:1-13;Mal 3:15)

C. A precise date is not possible to identify

Malachi could have preceded Ezra and Nehemiah (468 B.C.?)

Malachi could have followed Ezra and preceded Nehemiah (before 445 B.C.)

Malachi could belong to the unspecific interim of Nehemiah's two visits to Jerusalem (after 443 B.C.)

I V. Historical settings:

A. First Return:

The first return from Babylonian exile was under Zerubbabel in 538 B.C. when Cyrus was King (539-530) (Erza 1-6)

Return of Haggai and Zechariah:

This was probably when Haggai and Zechariah returned to Jerusalem

Temple Rebuilt: Haggai and Zechariah prophesied and the Temple was completed under Darius I (521-486)

Levitical sacrifices were reinstituted on an altar built for burnt offerings:

The foundation for the temple was laid in the second year of the return (536 B.C.; cf.Erza 3:8-13;5:16)

Samaritan and Persian resistance ended the rebuilding of the temple for 16 years (until 520 B.C.; Erza 3:1-6)

Haggai and Zechariah prophesy from 520-518 B.C. encouraging the nation to rebuild the temple:

The Temple was completed in 516 B.C. (Erza 5-6)

B. Second Return: 

The second return from Babylonian exile was under Ezra in 458/57 B.C. while Artaxexes I Longimanus was King ((Erza 3:7-10)

Erza 3:7:1 affirms that Ezra arrived in Jerusalem during the reign of Artaxerxes the king of Persia

Erza 3:7:1 affirms Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king (Artaxerxes)
a. The is some question as to whether this was in the reign of Artaxerxes I Longimanus (464-423 B.C.) or

Content and Purpose for the Book study by Biblecentre.org

V. Content and Purposes for the Book:

A. Purpose of Writing

Upon the last message of the Old Testament by Malachi follow the 400 silent years during which God did not speak to His people until John the Baptist arose to prepare the way of the Lord (compare Mal. 3:1 and Mark 1:2). 
God’s last message to His earthly people Israel is directed to the remnant that returned from the Babylonian captivity. This remnant had totally failed during the decades after the return in their testimony for God. It is true that the Jews did no longer serve the idols as they did before the exile but their moral condition was marked by indifference, despising of God and unbelief.

Into this situation Jehovah manifests His unchanging love for the people and severely points out their sins and their departure from His commandments (Mal. 1 – 2). But God also announces to the Jews that severe judgments will come upon them before the day of Jehovah will arise with full blessing for the repent ones (Mal. 3 – 4). – It is as if God wanted to underline His last message and we find 25 times “thus says Jehovah” in the whole book.  

1. To remind the people that Yahweh:

Will do all that he can to help his people

Will hold them accountable for their evil when He comes as judge

Will honor them for their faithfulness when He comes as judge

2. To urge the people to repent:

To urge the people to repent of their evil for covenant blessings to be fulfilled.

B. Peculiarities

The Eight Questions of the People

The evil condition of the people of Israel is clearly expressed in their eight questions, which Malachi mentions and upon which he gives God’s answer. The questions are:

1. “Wherein have you loved us?” chapter 1:2

2. “Wherein have we despised your name?” chapter 1:6

3. “Wherein have we polluted you?” chapter 1:7

4. “Wherefore?” chapter 2:14

5. “Wherein have we wearied him?” chapter 2:17

6. “Wherein shall we return?” chapter 3:7

7. “Wherein have we robbed you?” chapter 3:8

8. “What have we spoken so much against thee?” chapter 3:13

Each of these questions starts with “you say”. These words appear four more times in chapter 1:7.12.13; 3:14. All these utterances show the entire malice and impudence of the people towards their God.

C. Jehovah’s Messenger

Jehovah announces His messenger in chap. 3:1 who shall prepare the way before him. Matt. 11:10 and Mark 1:2 relate this announcement  to John the Baptist who was the forerunner of the Messiah. He announces the first coming of Christ in grace.

But in chapter 4:5 God says that Elijah also will be sent before the coming of Christ. The Lord Himself relates this prophecy to John the Baptist too (Matt. 11:14; compare Luke 1:17) while John says that he is not Elijah (John 1:21). This seeming contradiction is solved by the fact that His second appearing in glory for judgment will follow Christ’s rejection. So before this “great and dreadful day of Jehovah” will come Elijah will appear and announce the second coming of Christ for judgment (Rev. 11:3-6).

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