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Malachi Four

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Malachi 4:1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

burn as an oven. During the future day of the Lord, among other judgments of God, there will be great heat (Joel 1:19; Isaiah 24:6; Revelation 8:7; 16:8-9).

Malachi 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

Sun of righteousness. The Sun of righteousness is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ returning to His world in its darkest night. He is “the light of the world” (John 8:12), both physically (“upholding all things by the word of His power”—Hebrews 1:3) and spiritually (“the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”—2 Corinthians 4:6).

healing in his wings. This is the normal Hebrew word for “wings,” but it could possibly be understood as “rays,” since it is translated various ways and seems to have the basic meaning of “projecting.”

Malachi 4:3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

Elijah the prophet. Elijah was taken into heaven without dying (2 Kings 2:11), and is apparently one of “the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth” (Zechariah 4:14), who will return to the earth as one of God's two witnesses in the first half of the seven-year tribulation period of the end-times (Revelation 11:3-4). Although many have assumed this prophecy was fulfilled by John the Baptist, John himself said he was not Elijah, and had not come for that purpose (John 1:21). The Lord Jesus said that “Elias [same as Elijah] truly shall first come, and restore all things” (Matthew 17:11). John did, indeed, come “in the spirit and power of Elias,” (Luke 1:17), but he was only that—not Elijah himself. Elijah must yet return to complete his unfinished prophetic ministry just “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord,” which is still future. See also Zechariah 4:14; notes on Matthew 17:10-13; and notes on Revelation 11:3-4.

Malachi 4:6 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.

children to their fathers. This type of ministry was attempted by John, in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17), and he did gain some converts, including some who would later be among the twelve apostles. But he, like Christ, was rejected by the nation as a whole, and eventually put to death. When Elijah returns for his three and one-half year ministry in the last days, especially to Israel, it is likely the Lord will use his testimony and influence to call out the 144,000 Israeli evangelists and teachers who will minister during that period (Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-5).

a curse. This word, which is not the usual Hebrew word for “curse,” conveys the idea of utter destruction. Thus the return of Elijah, with all the warnings and plagues he calls forth on the earth, will be ill received by the world as a whole (the people will rejoice over his death—Revelation 11:10), and so it will be followed by “the great and dreadful day of the Lord” and, finally, by utter destruction of the whole world system, replacing it by the Messianic kingdom of Christ Himself.