And suddenly there will come to the temple
the LORD whom you seek,
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
But who will endure the day of his coming?
And who can stand when he appears?
For he is like the refiner’s fire,
or like the fuller’s lye.
He will sit refining and purifying silver,
and he will purify the sons of Levi,
Refining them like gold or like silver
that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD.
Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem
will please the LORD,
as in the days of old, as in years gone by.
Lo, I will send you
Elijah, the prophet,
Before the day of the LORD comes,
the great and terrible day,
To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children,
and the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike
the land with doom.
Not much is known about the prophet Malachi, he communicates repeatedly about the covenant and displays reverence for the priestly teaching of the Torah. The book of Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament, and it is believed Malachi lived during the time of 500-450 BC. In laying the groundwork for the Lord’s coming, Malachi emphasizes transgressions, judgment, and contrition. He imagines Elijah would return to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. In fact, in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus noted that this Elijah, this unique prophet would be John the Baptizer. This scripture passage, appearing just two days before Christmas, casts an ominous spirit as Malachi cautions the people that God will cleanse them just as gold and silver are perfected in fire. The intent of Malachi’s foretelling was the pending arrival of the Lord would be excruciating and agonizing for only those who were not ready. John’s message and his preaching was an invitation to atonement, turning from sin, and orienting your life towards God. As we move closer to Christmas Day, it is critical to examine your life, make note of the sinful areas of your life, and ask the Lord to forgive and heal you so that you may experience the fullness and joy of Christmas.