The Message of Malachi

Malachi 1.1

Sermon by Dr Peter Masters

The last prophet of the OT challenges Jerusalem’s severe spiritual decline, around 425 BC. The trouble lay with insincere ministers, shocking compromise, and sheer lack of commitment. Yet here also are detailed predictions of Christ, of the age of the Gospel, and of the eternal destiny of the faithful.

Here we have portraits of the prophets, with an overview of the ministry, the characteristics and the tasks assigned to the prophets of old. It’s easy to misunderstand the significance of the prophets. It’s particularly likely that we misunderstand just how much, particularly the early prophets, they knew about the things of God.

When we study the ministries of Elijah and Elisha, we find that what they were called to (at least what is recorded of them) is chiefly not their preaching, but their works, their miracles. There may well be a tendency for people to think they did not teach very much about doctrine, about the coming Christ, the Messiah, about personal salvation, which of course was not the case. So it’s a great encouragement and help to us to get real perspective on them and their ministry.

Interestingly, there are many who would argue that the first prophet was Adam. He’s not generally listed as a prophet, but he did speak with God face to face. One of the characteristics of prophets is that God spoke to them, or revealed himself to them, and as the result they taught that infallible message to others.

And even before being evicted from the Garden of Eden, there were those disclosures that God made to Adam – the most important one of all, being made to the serpent. But Adam heard it, he was there, and he would have taught it to his children, to his descendants. And the information about a coming Redeemer and a way of redemption and the possibility of communion with God would have come right out of what Adam heard in the Garden of Eden. So you could argue that he was the first prophet, the first to have direct revelation and to teach it to others.

So we go right back to the Garden of Eden for prophecy and to the first man. Adam. And then through to Noah (a prophet, though he’s not so described) who had direct communication from God and to Abraham, of course, through whom all the nations of the world would be blessed, and onwards.