Malachi’s prophecy concludes the Old Testament. Chapter 3 opens with God promising to send a messenger who will prepare the way for God Himself to come (v1). This echoes Isaiah’s words about ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight’’ (Isaiah 40:3). Malachi finishes his prophecy by describing the messenger as Elijah (4:5,6).
The gospel writers explicitly identify John the Baptiser as this messenger (Matthew 3:1-6, Mark 1:1-8, Luke 3:1-6, John 1:19-23). He styled himself as ‘The Voice’ and brought a message of repentance which called people to get ready for the One who was coming. He went even further and identified Jesus as, ‘The Lamb who takes away the sin of the world’ and the One on whom the Spirit descends and remains (John 1:29-34). His message was not about himself but pointed as a very clear signpost to the long-awaited Messiah.
As we read on in Malachi’s prophecy we see the promise that the Lord Himself would come suddenly to His temple (v1) and usher in a day when there will be purification and refining of people so that they will be able to present offerings in righteousness (vv2-4). The priesthood is to be restored back to being able to please God with their offerings. Sin is to be burned up, smelted and cleansed. The twin features of holiness and righteousness are to once more characterise the worship of God’s people. And God is once again to be in residence amongst His people as He returns to His temple.
But He is not going to come to His Temple simply to be present. He is going to arrive on a mission. A mission to deal with sin. A mission to usher in God’s kingdom. A mission to redeem for God’s own possession a pure people who are zealous for good deeds. A mission that will lead to the extension of God’s family across the earth through adoption of many sons.
So this final Old Testament glimpse of Jesus in fact points us to the next glimpse of Jesus. But this next glimpse would be more than a glimpse. The next glimpse would be a call, a signpost, a pointer, an identifier, a voice crying out to people to get ready for a full view of the Promised One.
Everything was now set up. Everything was ready to go. The signs had been given. The prophets had spoken. The patterns had been laid out. The men and women of faith had looked and seen. Century after century of hints, glimmers, shadows, clues and promises were over.
Next would come the unveiling.
And so history paused….waiting for the moment….
‘But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons’ (Galatians 4:5,6).
Further reading: John 1:1-34 Galatians 4:1-7 Titus 2:11-14
To think about:
John the Baptiser pointed to Jesus. How does your life point to Jesus? Does the atmosphere change when you walk into a room?
|Artwork by Crystal Stine|
Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.
Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.