Malachi – An Appeal to Backsliders


Last Updated on May 7, 2023 by David H Mercer

Malachi rebuked the people and the priests for neglecting the worship of God and failing to live according to God’s will. If the priests were unfaithful, how could they lead the people? They had become stumbling blocks instead of spiritual leaders. If the people were divorcing their wives and marrying pagan women, how could they lead their children? Their relationship with God had become inconsequential. When our relationship with God becomes less important than it should be, we can strengthen it by setting aside our sinful habits, thinking often of our Lord, and giving God our best each day.

The divine dialogue in Malachi’s prophecy is designed as an appeal to break through the barrier of Israel’s disbelief, disappointment, and discouragement. God reveals His continuing love in spite of Israel’s lethargy. His appeal in this oracle is for the people and priests to stop and realize that their lack of blessing is not caused by God’s lack of concern, but by their disobedience of the covenant law.

The last book of the Old Testament concludes with a dramatic prophecy of the coming of the Messiah and John the Baptist: “I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me.” (3:1).

Writer of Malachi

Although nothing is known about this person, the weight of tradition has assumed the book was written by a prophet named Malachi, about 1,000 years after the time of Moses, the first prophet and Bible writer. The prophecy can be specifically dated to about 450 B. C.

Historical Setting of Malachi

Malachi was addressed to the nation of Israel about 100 years after its return from captivity in Babylon. At first, the people have been enthusiastic about rebuilding Jerusalem and the Temple and restoring their system of worship, but their zeal soon began to wane. They began to question God’s providence as their faith degenerated into cynicism.

Theological Contribution

The prophecy of Malachi is noted for its vivid portrayal of the love of God as well as His night and power. Israel needed to be reminded of these truths at a time when widespread doubt had dashed expectations of the Messiah.

Special Consideration of Malachi

Malachi leaves us with the feeling that the story is not yet finished, and that God still has promises to fulfill on behalf of His people. After Malachi came 400 long years of silence. But when the time was right, heaven would burst forth in song at the arrival of the Messiah.

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