The Old Testament | The Books of Minor Prophets


Things to know
Where does the book begin?

Malachi spoke to the people who had returned to Jerusalem from exile*.

Where does the book end?

The book is the last word from God through the prophets*. It ends about 400 years before the time of Jesus.

People to know


Places to go

God loved Israel*
Malachi 1:1-5

God warned cursed priests
Malachi 2:1-9

The Lord's* messenger was coming
Malachi 2:17-3:5

God warned against robbing him
Malachi 3:6-15

The day was coming
Malachi 4:1-6

The Story of Malachi

The book of Malachi begins after the people had returned to Jerusalem from exile. Malachi lived and spoke during the time that Ezra and Nehemiah lived in Jerusalem. He spoke about God in his book and called him, “the Lord of Hosts.” Lord of Hosts means the Lord of Armies. Malachi uses that name for God more than any other book in the Bible.

The name of Malachi means ‘the one that speaks for me’. That is a good name for any prophet*. And it is a very good name for this book. The book of Malachi talks about another prophet* who would bring God’s ‘message’. He would speak for God like Malachi did. But he would have a special message. This prophet* would be like Elijah. He would prepare the nation for the coming of God’s kingdom*. This prophet* would help people be ready for the day God came to save his people.[1]

The book is the last in the Old Testament*. It was the last word from God for a very long time. It was many years before another prophet* spoke. Four hundred years later, Jesus was born. But before Jesus began his work, another prophet* spoke. He stood near the river Jordan. He told people to confess* their evil* ways to God. He told them to prepare themselves for the coming of the Messiah*. That prophet* was John the Baptist. This book speaks of John’s coming.

Malachi spoke to the people who returned to the land after the exile*. He called out to them and asked them to return to God. But he did this by using questions. His book is filled with them. He spoke most about the Messiah*. He told the people that the Messiah* would come. But he told them that they were not ready for him. He said this six times in six different ways.

ONE: God had cared for Israel* in all the past, but the people did not appreciate God’s care.[2]

TWO: The people were careless with their offerings*. They offered animals to God that were blind and sick. This did not honour God.[3]

THREE: Israel* was breaking the covenant* by marrying foreign women.[4]

FOUR: Israel* thought that God would never carry out his plan to judge the wicked. But he would soon send his prophet* to do so.[5]

FIVE: Israel* was not giving God what belonged to him. But if they learned to give to God, he would more richly bless* their land.[6]

SIX: Israel* was tired of waiting for God’s blessing*. But those who waited on the Lord and feared him would have a share in the coming divine* blessing*.[7]

The people who waited on the Lord* are the people who obeyed God. They trusted God to keep his promises. They waited for God to send his future prophet* to prepare the people for the coming of God’s kingdom*.

In the Hebrew* Bible, the last book of Moses is Deuteronomy. In the last chapter, that book speaks of a coming prophet. This book (Malachi) is the last book of the prophets*. The last chapter of this book also talks about such a prophet*. Both say that this prophet* would announce the age of the Messiah*[8]. Some Bible students see this as a way that the books of Moses and the books of the prophets* are linked together.

The books of the ‘writings’ (wisdom books) and the books of history can be linked as well[9]. The first chapter of the Psalms talks about how important it is to listen to the written word of God. The first chapter of Joshua speaks of the same thing.

We have this promise – the Messiah* is coming. We have the scripture* to guide us until he comes. The shape of the Hebrew* Bible points us in those directions. Remember this. The Bible is made up of many different kinds of books. The writers lived many years apart. But again and again we see that they share so much in common. There is a reason for this. Many different people wrote the Bible. But the Bible has only one author. The Bible is a word from God.

Malachi spoke of a day when God himself would come to his temple*[10]. But before this, God would send his special servant. This servant would teach the correct way to serve God. Then, the people would be ready for God’s arrival. God was coming. This was good news for the people who had been loyal to God. But this was not such good news for the people who refused to obey him.[11]

  • [1] Zechariah 12:8
  • [2] Malachi 1:2-5
  • [3] Malachi 1:6-2:9
  • [4] Malachi 2:10-16
  • [5] Malachi 2:17-3:5
  • [6] Malachi 3:6-12
  • [7] Malachi 3:13-18
  • [8] Deuteronomy 34 and Joshua 1
  • [9] Joshua 1 and Psalm 1
  • [10] Malachi 3:1-5
  • [11] Malachi 4:1-6

The Old Testament | The Books of Minor Prophets