The Holy Scriptures

Zechariah 1‑14; Malachi 1‑4  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
The Minor Prophets: Zechariah and Malachi
Zechariah
God is jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy, and He is sore displeased with the heathen (Zech. 1:14-1514So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. 15And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. (Zechariah 1:14‑15)). He has executed His government upon Israel through the Gentiles, but each nation has offended and must be judged (vss. 18-21). The rebuilding of the temple and ultimately the city walls were but a forerunner of a better deliverance, the glorious restoration of Jerusalem in a future day. Zechariah lifts the eyes of the feeble remnant, setting their hope on Jehovah. What an encouragement for us as we look “for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:1313Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; (Titus 2:13)).
In chapters 2-6 (each a distinct vision) we have the reestablishment of Jerusalem (ch. 2), the cleansing of the people (ch. 3), the perfection of that future administration (ch. 4), the judgment of the wicked (ch. 5), and God’s providential government, bringing us to Christ the Branch who will build the temple and rule in righteousness (ch. 6).
Chapter 7 begins with the fourth year of king Darius’ reign. In the remainder we have the Messiah and the consequences of His rejection. Judah is scattered (ch. 7), but Jehovah will return (ch. 8) and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, “and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness” (ch. 8:8).
In chapters 9-10, God’s vengeance is poured out upon the nations. Messiah is introduced as the lowly One: “Behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” (ch. 9:9). But He was rejected. “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isa. 53:22For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. (Isaiah 53:2)). He will yet make good His claims through judgment. He will bring peace to Israel—both Judah and Joseph (Zech. 10:66And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the Lord their God, and will hear them. (Zechariah 10:6))—the basis of which is the covenant of blood (ch. 9:11).
The subject of the Antichrist introduces the times of the end. Nations will besiege Jerusalem for a final time, only to be destroyed (ch. 12). Judah will look upon Him whom they have pierced and will be filled with great sorrow (vs. 10). All will be cleansed and the false prophet and idol purged (ch. 13:14).
Christ was the Prophet (Deut. 18:1515The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; (Deuteronomy 18:15))—in contrast to the false prophets—but was rejected. He became a servant of man (Zech. 13:55But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth. (Zechariah 13:5) JND) and He was wounded in the house of His friends (beloved; vs. 6). But this humble Man, smitten of God, is perfect in atonement, perfect in sympathy (vs. 7). Judah’s judgment will be severe (vs. 9).
Plagues will smite the nations that fight against Jerusalem now gathered for a second time (vs. 12). They will slay one another, with Judah joining the fight (vss. 13-14). “And the Lord shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one” (vs. 9). Those that remain of the nations will go up to Jerusalem “from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles” (vs. 16).
Malachi
Malachi, the last of the Minor Prophets, closes the Old Testament. It also closes the testimony of Jehovah to the Jews until the coming of John the Baptist. Malachi prophesied after the rebuilding of the temple. The people were indifferent and insensible to the Lord—their moral condition had never been worse. Though professing to carry on, they lacked all spiritual discernment, and Malachi’s message is directly addressed to this condition.
The book opens with an expression of Jehovah’s love for Israel, “I have loved you, saith the Lord” (Mal. 1:22I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob, (Malachi 1:2))—but where was His honor? They offered that which the law prohibited, completely insensible to and weary of Jehovah’s rightful claims (vs. 13).
Chapter 3 begins with the promise of the Lord’s return, heralded by His messenger, John the Baptist. “Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple” (Mal. 3:11Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:1); Matt. 11:1010For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. (Matthew 11:10)). Before that great and dreadful day of the Lord, Elijah would come and complete his mission to call back an apostate Israel (Mal. 4:5-65Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: 6And 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. (Malachi 4:5‑6)). John came in the spirit and power of Elias (Luke 1:1717And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:17)) but was rejected (Matt. 11:14; 17:1214And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. (Matthew 11:14)
12But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. (Matthew 17:12)
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Even in the midst of all this evil, there is a remnant. “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name” (Mal. 3:1616Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. (Malachi 3:16)).
The lukewarm state of Christendom today is not unlike Malachi’s time, morally. Philadelphia is likewise commended for having thought upon His name: “Thou  .  .  .  hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name” (Rev. 3:88I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. (Revelation 3:8)). This is a very needful exhortation as we await the coming of, not the Sun of Righteousness (Mal. 4:22But 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. (Malachi 4:2)), but the bright and morning star, our blessed Lord Jesus (Rev. 22:1616I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (Revelation 22:16)).
N. Simon