Devotional Commentary on Maleachi 4


The Hebrew Bible did not have a break for the fourth chapter but just fast-forwarded to the end. It does not make a difference in the content though.

Maleachi started to describe the Third going out of the Lord. This time to battle as Warrior Messiah at the Hell-event. Revelation 19:7-10 described this battle with perceptive detail. It is not new detail or deformed or developed ideas based on here and there text in the Old Testament. It was a well-known concept widely familiar with past generations and Qumran Pesher Habakkuk reveals this high developed view as early as 150 BCE.

Also in John 1:21 is evidence that they had two views of someone to come: Are you Elijah [Elijah coming expectation] or in the alternative “That prophet” [prophet coming expectation]. Maleachi’s promise did say: “Elijah the prophet” in verse 5.

In verse 1 it reads: “For look the Day is coming burning like a furnace and all the transgressors and all the doers of wickedness will be stubble. And the Day that comes shall burn them up so that it will leave them neither root nor branch, says the Lord of Hosts.

The meaning is ad nihilo not ad infinitum. Burn until nothing remains not burning forever. There are denominations who invented an everlasting hell-fire. It is common among Catholic doctrine to hold this view but it is not biblical. The nothingness verses outnumber the everlasting verses and thus the “everlasting” has a nuance subordinate to this nothingness concept in biblical Theology.

That is for the evil people.

Then Maleachi reverse to before the millennium or 1000 years mentioned in Revelation to the righteous Day when Christ will come as Sun of Rigtheousness. At that day all pain will be removed and the bodies will be transformed to take on everlasting form and the dead shall be resurrected as Daniel 12:1-2 explains Michael = Christ is doing that day at the Second Coming. From the Third going out (verse 1) to the Second Coming (verse 2). Maleachi described that when healing is brought all will be like fattened calves, very healthy. Lame? Leaping and running. Headaches or backpains? No more. Blind? Vision. Deaf? Hearing at last. All illnesses even the most terrible ones on earth. No more.

“You will go forth” (verse 3). Go forth? Yes. Out of the graves resurrected with new bodies.

Go forth lifting from the earth with the help and wings of the angels to meet each other in the air and approach the Coming down Messiah Christ the Lord as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Is this the time for the song: “Who is the King of Glory? The Lord mighty in Battle” of Psalm 24? Answer: No. This song is sung at the return of Christ after the Hell-event to the New Jerusalem or Zion Gates. It is at the Third Coming of Christ back to the city where the saints are observing and waiting for their Hero to return.

But the coming of the Sun of Righteousness is not the day that Christ prepare. The day that the saints will proverbially crush the wicked as ash under their soles of your feet (verse 3) is after they will be burnt at the Third going-out of the Lord to fight the enemy as Revelation 19:7-10 explained. The ashes and burning is over and thus the interpretation of this verse is at that time, after the millennium not at the Second Coming. Maleachi thus moved from the Second Coming to the Third Coming of Christ to evil to burn them and that action done, is considered the righteous step on the ashes of all evil.

What is the qualifying marker for this successful experience? “Keep in remembrance the teaching of Moses, My servant – the laws and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel” (verse 4).

Teaching of Moses? Teaching of Jesus? Did Jesus teaching replaced Moses teaching? Was Jesus teaching grace without works and Moses grace earned by works? No. Both the teaching of Moses and the teaching of Jesus are the same according to John 17. Moses and Elijah was with Christ together on the mount of glorification. There is no dichotomy here. It is unison in content and outlook and application and expectancy for the saints before and after the cross.

Careful analysis of the prophets and books of both testaments will convince you soon that all are interpreting, building, emphasizing the teachings of Moses and he was a source for all after him even in Revelation the last book.

Then comes the promise of the sending of Elijah. A. Köhler thought that it is John the Baptist who is the second Elijah (A. Köhler, 1865 page 178). C. Keil in 1872 thought it is John the Baptist as the second Elijah and the Transfiguration on the Mount was to establish the role of Christ before He came to His temple (Keil 1872: 470-471).

But, no. Even the rabbis cannot go along with this idea of an early prophet to come. It had to be eschatological.

Before the eschatological and awesome day of the Lord comes, He will send them Elijah the prophet (Malachi 4:5).

This verse got Judaism speculating that Elijah's soul in heaven will be returned to take on a newly created body again prior to the coming of the Lord (so Rabbi Redak). However, Rabbi Abarbanel said that Elijah's soul never left his body and that he stayed in the Garden of Eden and will return before the coming of the Lord.

When he comes he will turn the hearts of people towards each other. If this did not happen, the Lord would have come and execute extinguishing judgment on people. He is coming to smite the earth with utter destruction later, but due to the Latter Rain and the wake-up call or Alarm cry or Midnight Cry, the ten virgins will wake up to meet the Groom.

In Adventist eschatology John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ. He came in the Spirit of Elijah. A third Elijah was in 1844 when the Adventist movement woke people up about the great task the Lord will do coming to the Most Holy for that Highpriestly role of His which is investigative judgment.

In Judaism in Tosefta Yom Tov it says that Elijah will come to make peace for Israel with the nations and to bring them the tidings of the coming of the Messiah. This will take place one day prior to the coming of the Messiah. For Adventist eschatology some in the remnant will act in the spirit of Elijah preparing people for the soon coming of the Lord. So in Adventist eschatology, one should probably think of four Elijah's functioning, each time at a pivotal point in the function and ministry of Christ: 1) Theophany against Baalism 2) First Advent of Christ coming for the inauguration of His ministry in 27 CE 3) Standing up to enter the Most Holy as High Priest in an Investigative Judgment scene as seen in Daniel 7 in combination with the time period in Daniel 8:14 counting days as years with the year-day principle for Bible prophecy time-periods 4) Second Advent.

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Ellen White wrote about this Elijah in Maleachi 4:5 as follows:

“In this time of well-nigh universal apostacy, God calls upon His messengers to proclaim His law in the spirit and power of Elias. As John the Baptist, in preparing the people for Christ’s first advent, called their attention to the Ten Commandments, so we are to give, with no uncertain sound, the message: ‘Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come’. With the earnestness that characterized Elijah the prophet and John the Baptist, we are to strive to prepare the way for Christ’s second advent” (Ellen White in Selected Works March 21, 1905).

Listen to C. F. Keil in 1872: “The prophetic calling, on the other hand, was not hereditary in the prophet’s house, but rested solely upon divine choice and endowment with the Spirit of God; and consequently by Elijah we are not to understand a lineal descendant of the Tishbite, but simply a prophet in whom the spirit and power of Elijah are revived, as Ephr. Syr., Luther, Calvin, and most of the Protestant commentators have maintained”.

Ellen White talked about apostacy. C. F. Keil in 1872: 472 speaking about this future Elijah and apostacy: “The greater the apostacy, the greater must be the power which is to stem it, so as to rescue those who suffer themselves to be rescued, before the judgment bursts over such as are hardened”.

Keil said that Catholic and Protestant scholars felt that this prophecy was fulfilled in John the Baptist but such Reformistic Theology is not Adventism.

Says Ellen White: “The message preceding the public ministry of Christ was, Repent, publicans and sinners; repent, Pharisees and Sadducess; ‘for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” Our message is not to be one of peace and safety. As the people who believe in Christ’s soon appearing, we have a definite message to bear, - ‘Prepare to meet thy God’” (Ellen White in Selected Works March 21, 1905).


Dear God

Thank you for sending the Spirit to ask us to change your lives to come in harmony with the teachings of Moses and Jesus, thus the Bible before Your terrible Day come. Find us please worthy for Your course. In Jesus Name, Amen.



William Miller was not the first person to predict the coming of the Messiah at the end of the 2300 years. Moses Maimonides did it in the 12th century CE and in the work De Semine it was predicted that just after the Reformation in 1565 the 2300 years would end. The Luther scholar by fame, Hengstenberg in 1833 also suggested that the 2300 years would end in the 1890’s.

Miller had a headache after the disappointment of 1844 and consulted with professor dr. George Bush of New York University Hebrew department, whether he made a fool out of himself?

Despite the ‘progressive Adventists’ parodies of Miller and his field, Bush said that how could you do otherwise with such a wealth of dignified scholars in the past [and he listed Mede etc. etc.] also calculating a day.

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