MALACHI

(430 B.C.)

18

 

 

Malachi 2:8            You have made the many stumble at your rulings…
                              You disregard My ways…
                              You have wearied the Lord, with your talk.
                              But you ask, "By what have we wearied Him?"
                              By saying, "All who do evil are good in the sight of the Lord,"
                              And in them He delights, or else,
                              "Where is the God of Justice?"

 

     God explains through His prophet exactly what it is that "His people" do that He finds so displeasing: The lack of justice makes "many stumble at your rulings" God says to man. "The disregard of His Ways" means the lack of compassion and love as well as of justice. On top of it all, the people show no understanding of what they are doing wrong and "weary" God with incredible statements such as "all who do evil are good in the sight of the Lord" and "where is the God of Justice?" In the first instance, this means that the people mistake evil for good, as evidenced by the false shepherds, they follow and support. In the second instance, the people project their own failings onto God Himself blaming for their own failures, thus washing their hands clean of all responsibility. And so it is, we so easily deceive ourselves, preferring fantasy to reality. Living honestly and sincerely requires effort, courage, and self-sacrifice. Rather than an escape from reality, the opiate of the masses, true religion requires the full engagement of reality with body, mind and spirit. Malachi continues:

 

Malachi 3:1           Behold, I send forth my messenger, and he will prepare the way
Septuagint             before me: and the Lord you seek, shall suddenly come into his
                             temple, even the angel (messenger) of the covenant; whom you
                             take pleasure in: Behold, He is coming, saith the Lord Almighty. 
                             (Parenthesis from Amplified Bible)
 

     God is speaking through Malachi: "Behold, I send my messenger…" The messenger of the first sentence is either John the Baptist or the "greater" John the Baptist to come, both of whom are sent to announce the coming of a Son of God. First Jesus, and then later Melchizedek in the Messianic period forthcoming. Just as John the Baptist "prepared the way before" the Lord, Jesus; the "greater John the Baptist" to come (final prophet) will "prepare the way before" the Lord, Melchizedek. This verse, "Behold I send My messenger," can apply equally to both messengers (prophets). This similarity between the two prophets is why The Urantia Book refers to the final prophet as "another and greater John the Baptist" to come.
     The next key phrase is "the angel (messenger) of the covenant" which appears to be an alternate designation for the "Lord" who comes "suddenly to the temple" in the previous sentence. The messenger of the covenant is a divine being as indicated by the alternate translation "angel" for "messenger," given in the Amplified Bible translation. The covenant is the agreement between man and God that Melchizedek brings to Abraham. The divine, messenger (angel) of the covenant is then Melchizedek and once again, we independently identify Melchizedek with "the Lord/Messiah." Remember, Melchizedek was referred to as "the angel of the Lord" by the writers/editors of Genesis according to The Urantia Book. The angel (messenger) of the covenant is Melchizedek and the author of the covenant is God. Now lets rewrite the passage:

 

Malachi 3:1           Behold I (God) send forth my messenger (final prophet) and he will
                             prepare the way before me: and the Lord you seek, shall suddenly
                             come into his temple, even the angel of the covenant (Melchizedek);
                             who you take pleasure in. Behold, he (Melchizedek) is coming,
                             saith the Lord Almighty (God). (Parentheses mine)

 

Next we have:

 

Malachi 3:5           But first I will step forward to contend against those who have no
                             fear of me: who practice sorcery, who commit adultery, who swear
                             falsely, who cheat laborers of their hire, and who subvert the cause
                             of the widow, orphan, and stranger – said the Lord of Hosts…

 

     The immediate and direct confrontation with the enemies of God describes Melchizedek’s rather than Jesus’ mission. Who are these enemies? None other than the present power elite of our world; our political, financial and intellectual controllers in positions of power; often behind the scene and out of view.

 

Malachi 3:7            From the very days of your fathers you have turned away from
                              My laws and have not observed them. Turn back to Me and I will
                              turn back to you…

 

Malachi 3:11         I will surely open the floodgates of the sky for you and pour down
                             boundless blessings.

 

Malachi 3:13         You have spoken hard words against Me – said the Lord.
                             You have said, "It is useless to serve God…" "And so we account
                             the arrogant happy because they have done evil and endured; they
                             have dared God and escaped…" But for you who revere My name, a sun
                             of victory shall rise to bring healing.

 

     God tells us that our rebellion from his laws/ways has been from the ancient times of Israel to present. He does not want to see anybody suffer or "be punished." He simply wants us to turn back to Him for our own good. All who respect and revere God’s name are invited to be healed, made whole, and welcomed into the kingdom of God. Malachi ends with the well known:

 

Malachi 3:23          Lo, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before the coming of
                              the awesome, fearful day of the Lord. He shall reconcile fathers
                              and sons and sons with their fathers, so that, when I come, I do
                              not strike the whole land with destruction.

 

"Elijah" to Come

 

     God tells us in the final stanza that He will raise up and send a final prophet "Elijah" before the coming of the Lord (Melchizedek). Who is this "Elijah" and why is he called by this prophet’s name? John the Baptist came before the Lord (Jesus) but he was not "the Elijah" to come. John the Baptist:

 

UB 1499         was especially impressed by Isaiah and by Malachi…He read and
                        re-read the last five chapters of Isaiah…Then he would read in Malachi
                        "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of…the
                        Lord."…John’s expectation of the coming of Elijah held him back (from
                        proclaiming the kingdom) for more than two years. He knew he was not
                        Elijah…He finally dared to think that the first of the prophets was called
                        Elijah that the last of the prophets (himself) would be known by the same
                        name. Nevertheless, he had doubts, doubts sufficient to prevent him from
                        ever calling himself Elijah.                  …Also consider:

 

UB 1754          …the three apostles perceived that He (Jesus) referred to John the Baptist
                        as Elijah. Jesus knew that if they (the apostles) insisted on regarding him
                        as the Messiah, then must John be the Elijah of the prophecy.
                        (My parentheses)

 

     In other words Jesus knew he himself was not the Messiah and that John was not the "Elijah" to come prophesied in Malachi. Jesus agreed to the use of the reference to Elijah only because he knew the apostles insisted on viewing himself as the Messiah. Elijah comes before the Messiah, identified previously as Melchizedek. Therefore, "Elijah" comes before Melchizedek and is the messianic final prophet. Also, ends of ages are very similar. John the Baptist was certainly the Elijah-type prophet for his end of the age, completed in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. In fact, The Urantia Book tells us that:

 

UB 1866         Sooner or later another and greater John the Baptist is due to arise
                        proclaiming the ‘Kingdom of God is at hand,’…Just as John did.

 

     And so we can see that the Messianic final prophet will in some ways be like John the Baptist and also like Elijah in other ways as well.

     The Urantia Book calls the final prophet to come "another and greater John the Baptist" because this prophet, like John the Baptist, will also "prepare the way of the Lord," this time the way of the Lord Melchizedek instead of the Lord Jesus. But why is this final prophet called "Elijah" in Malachi?  First we need to know more about Elijah himself. The Urantia Book tells us:

 

UB 1064         In the tenth century before Christ, the Hebrew nation became
                        divided into two kingdoms (north and south)…many truth teachers
                        endeavored to stem the reactionary tide of spiritual decadence that
                        had set in…but these efforts did not prosper until that fearless
                        warrior for righteousness, Elijah, began his teaching…he was
                        kept busy…overthrowing the altars of Baal and demolishing the
                        idols of false gods. He carried forward his reforms in the face of
                        the opposition of an idolatrous monarch; his task was even more
                        gigantic and difficult than that which Samuel had faced.
                        (See same page for more information on Baal).

 

UB 1074         Thus Elijah, one of the greatest prophets, began his teaching as
                        a defender of the old land mores… and against the attempt of the
                        cities to dominate the country… But by this time there ruled in Samaria a
                        gangster nobility…State and church went along hand in hand. The
                        attempt to suppress freedom of speech led Elijah, Amos, and Hosea
                        to begin their secret writing, and this was the real beginning of The

                        Jewish and Christian Bibles.

 

UB 514           Elijah was a translated soul of brilliant spiritual achievement
                        during the post-material Son (Adam) age.

 

From scripture we have the following about Elijah:

 

1Kings17:2-24      he restores a widow’s dead son to life.

 

1Kings17:1           he declares a drought of approximately two years and ends it with
                             his  prayer.

 

1Kings 17:1-7      he is miraculously fed by ravens in the wilderness.

 

1Kings                  he is persecuted by the corrupt King Ahab.

 

1Kings 18            He arranges, on Mount Carmel, a contest between the priests of Baal                                

                            (450 priests) and the true God. Priests of Baal ask Baal to send down
                             fire on their sacrifice. After hours of trying, no response is obtained.
                             Elijah is successful and the sacrifice is burned in a large flame of fire
                             immediately after Elijah asks the true God to do this. Elijah and the
                             people who witness the result, seize the prophets of Baal and slaughter
                             them.

 

1Kings 17:14       he multiplies food of a widow (flour and oil) miraculously.

 

1Kings 17:9         he converses with "the Lord" in a cave on Mount Horeb.

 

     In summary, the main characteristics of Elijah are courage in the face of overwhelming odds, miraculous activities, being taken up in a "chariot of fire," and persecution by the highest leader in the land, King Ahab. He also stands up against the entire ancient world single-handedly. Perhaps these will give us clues about the characteristics of the "Elijah" to come.
     The final prophet is referred to by many different names. The Urantia Book calls him "another and greater John the Baptist." Isaiah refers to him as "God’s servant." Malachi calls him "Elijah." The Dead Sea Scrolls refer to him as "the interpreter of the law" and "the Priest." 1Enoch calls him "the dabela" which is a mountain goat with a large single horn. The names are different but the activities and the messianic time of his appearance are all the same. We will return to this topic elsewhere.

 

Joel

 

The-Kingdom-of-Heaven-is-at-Hand