Zechariah 1-14; Malachi 1-4 - The Bible from 30,000 Feet - Skip Heitzig - Flight ZMA01
The Bible from 30,000 feet, soaring through the scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
We're in the book of Zechariah tonight. And Lord willing, I want to finish the Old Testament tonight. That's just Lord willing.
So we want to jump right into it. This is the Bible from 30,000 feet. We are looking at a general overview. And we want to look at the last two books of the 39 books that comprise your Old Testament, the book of Zechariah and the Italian author Malachi after that-- I mean, Malachi-- and hopefully finish this out.
In the New Testament, there are many quotes from books like Genesis, Psalms, and Isaiah. Those are the three big OT, Old Testament, books that are quoted the most in the New Testament and for good reasons. The subject matter and the length of the book merit them being quoted a lot by New Testament authors. But what you may not know is the book of Zechariah is quoted about 40 times in the New Testament-- 4-0 times in the New Testament.
Why? Because it is so obviously messianic. And the New Testament authors knew that. And so much of the quotations that deal with the coming of the Messiah, the second coming are from the book of Zechariah.
If you were to read the Old Testament from cover to cover, and I assume some of you have done that, you would discover that there is not just one person named Zechariah. There are guess how many? 30 different Zechariahs.
This is one of them. And this is the most notable one of them. He was a priest, that is he was born in a priestly family. He was not born in the land of Israel. He was born in the captivity of Babylon, but then came back to Jerusalem. It's like the opposite of Daniel, who was born outside of the captivity and born in Jerusalem and then went into captivity and served in Babylon. This guy, Zechariah, was born in captivity and then went back to Jerusalem to serve. So it's just like the polar opposite.
He was a contemporary of another prophet we've already looked at by the name of Haggai. And they were sort of like two peas in a pod. They both had the same ministry, though very different styles. God used them to stir up the apathy of the people, who had come back from the captivity, started to build the temple, and after a year shut it down, got very busy with their own affairs, their own lives, didn't want to do anything for the work of the Lord in Jerusalem. So that the temple lay in ruins.
God raised up Haggai, who is like a kick in the pants, and Zechariah, who is like a pat on the back, very, very different ministries, very different styles, but effecting the same result. And I have to find my place, because I just accidentally closed my Bible. So I'm just sort of talking to you until I do that. And we're back in Zacharias, Chapter 1, OK.
If you want a time frame, and I know you do-- if you want a frame as to when he prophesied, he fits perfectly into the books of Nehemiah and Ezra. In fact, Nehemiah, Chapter 12 writes about Zechariah coming to Jerusalem. Ezra Chapter 5 and 6 talk about the ministry that he and Haggai had in inspiring the people to build. So he has already been mentioned. If you have read those books, that's not unfamiliar to you.
OK, what is his subject matter? Well, he is a prophet that has a sweeping scope. He is looking at the rebuilding of the temple that has been left and laid in ruins. And he'll go all the way to the future to the second coming of Christ, so something that is very local and immediate, the building of the temple, all the way to the first coming and even the second coming and even the millennial kingdom, all is mentioned and written about in this book.
His style is different. I've noted that. How was it different? Haggai, as I said, was in your face, pointed the finger, was very, very frank. This guy is more of a mystic, head in the clouds. And he sees visions, a series of visions about the future.
So when you read this book, it's not unlike reading the visions of Daniel or reading the visions of John in the Book of Revelation, these apocalyptic very symbolic visions. He's longer. He's more poetic. He's more prophetic than Haggai was.
Again, two different styles, but God uses them both to work in tandem. I like that. I like the fact that you and I may have different styles, but the Lord uses us all very uniquely. So they just form a good example of that.
By the way, the reason I believe the Lord used visions like in Daniel, like in Revelation, and like here in Zechariah, is because there's something about the poetry of a vision described that paints a picture in your mind that makes an impact, A, and transcends time and culture. So that when you read it years later, and even years and centuries later, the impact can still be felt because of the style in which it is written. That's why I think Revelation is written in that style.
Revelation opens by saying the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him, which He gave or sent to His servants and signified-- that's the word that is used-- signified, that is expressed in signs. So likewise Zechariah signified or expressed these things in signs.
The reason he wrote is to bring hope to the refugees, the captives, who had come back to Jerusalem. They were very small. Remember, out of about a million Jews in Babylonian captivity, only 50,000 of them return. They're a very small, vulnerable group. There's a lot of enemies all round them up. In Sumeria, there's Sandballat, Tobiah, and the whole crew wanting to shut them down. There's pressure in Persia from a subsequent king.
And so they're wondering about their future. Persia was so large, a world dominant nation. They were a small group. And they were there in fear, as well as now apathy.
Somebody once said every tomorrow has to handles, the handle of faith or the handle of fear and anxiety. It's essential that you grab a hold of the right handle. And that's where this prophet comes in. He wants the people of Judah to grab the handle of faith. God has good things in store for y'all. And so trust him.
So we begin the book. "In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, the son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet saying, 'The Lord has been very angry with your fathers. Therefore, say to them, thus, says the Lord of hosts, return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. Do not be like your fathers to whom the former prophets preach, saying thus says, the Lord of hosts, turn now from your evil way and from your evil deeds. But they did not hear nor heed me, says the Lord."
The people had returned to the city. But according to this, they have yet to fully turn to the Lord, return back to Him, return back to Him with a full commitment and devotion to finish building that temple, that center of worship for the nation to continue.
They had come back to Jerusalem. It was very different coming back from when they left it. And you know, you perhaps some of you have discovered-- I know I have-- whenever you go back to the place of your birth, the land of your birth, it's not the same. It's not what you expect. Things do change.
And they came back and saw not a temple standing, but a bunch of ruins. And every time they saw that pile of stones, it was a reminder that their forefathers had failed. And thus, the judgment had fallen. And they're there to rebuild those stones. And as I said, after a while they became apathetic. And both Zechariah and Malachi address that.
I'm going to take you over to verse 7 of that first chapter. "On the 24th day of the 11th month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, the son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet."
I'm not going to read all these visions. But there is a series of eight visions about building the temple, all relating to rebuilding the temple. Chapters 1 through 8 are all about rebuilding the temple. Chapters 9 through 14 are all about the Messiah who is coming, coming again, and will rule and reign forever.
The first vision beginning in the verses we just read are about a man standing among the myrtle trees seated on a horse. Behind him are other horses. It is a short, but sweet vision about how God intends to prosper the nation of Judah back in the land.
Verse 8 says, "I saw by night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse. It stood among the myrtle trees in the hollow. And behind him were horses red sorrel." Which is sort of like a reddish brown and white.
Laurel trees are not big trees. They top out at about 8 feet or so. But they're hardy. They're evergreen and they're hardy. Hard to kill them.
And this is a picture of the nation of Israel. They had been attacked so many times. They had recently been decimated by the Babylonians, before that the Assyrians. But they're still there. They're back. And so it's a vision of hope that they're going to be able to withstand even this, what they have gone through.
Down in verse 16. "Therefore, thus says the Lord"-- you'll see how He flushes this out-- "I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy. My house shall be built in it, says the Lord of hosts. And a surveyor's line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem." There is going to be some expansion going on. There is going to be building going on.
In Chapter 1:18 takes us to this second of those eight visions. And this is a vision of four horns. Now, if you know your Bible, you know that horns are symbols of authority, symbols of power, usually symbols of powerful nations. And these are nations that at one time had Israel under their thumb. They were in control. They were dominated over, Israel and Judah.
And as the vision continues, there are four stonemasons or craftsmen that break these horns or lose the horns. They get rid of them. So they overpower them.
Let's read, verse 18, "I raised my eyes and I looked, and there were four horns. And I said to the angel who talked with me, what are these?" It's always a good question if you don't know what you're looking at, especially when it comes to biblical things. You know, sometimes we like to not our heads like, yeah, that's really deep. It's so deep I have no idea what you're saying.
So it's better to just say, hey, what's up? What am I looking at? What do these things mean? So he does.
"And so he answered me, these are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. And then the Lord showed me four craftsmen." We don't exactly know who these nations are. My guess is they represent the same four nations as seen in the prophecy of the book of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar saw an image of gold and silver and bronze and iron and iron and clay. Gold was Babylon, followed by Medo-Persia, followed by Greece, followed by Rome, all of which subjugated and persecuted the Jewish people.
Daniel had his own vision of the same kingdoms. But in his vision in Daniel 7, it was wild beasts. It seems that these four horns fit those four nations as once dominating Israel, but all being pushed aside and Israel surviving through the midst of it.
Chapter 2 brings us to the third vision. And that is a vision of a measuring line. Remember, we just read about that, a surveyor's line over Jerusalem because it's going to expand.
So Verse 1, "I raised my eyes and I looked and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. So I said, where are you going? He said, to measure Jerusalem to see what is its width and what is its length."
The vision goes on to basically explain that Jerusalem however big it was at that time would expand and grow. Interesting side note, 3,000 years ago-- and you can still see the early settlements of Jerusalem-- 3,000 years ago, the population of Jerusalem was about 2,000 people at its peak. And it covered-- the whole city enclosed in walls covered only 10 to 12 acres. That was the city of Jerusalem, 10 to 12 acres enclosed by a wall, 2,000 people. That was Jerusalem.
Today, the population of Jerusalem is not 2,000 people. It's 875,000 people, close to a million people in one city. The square mileage of the city of Jerusalem, far from 10 to 12 acres, is 49 square miles. It has expanded. That measuring line has gone way out. There's gridlock in the Holy City.
Over in Chapter 3, we get vision number four. It's a vision of Joshua, not Joshua in the Old Testament after Moses, but Joshua the high priest who served alongside Zerubbabel. Remember Zerubbabel? We've already noted his name. Zerubbabel was the civic leader, like the mayor or the governor of the city. Joshua was the religious leader, the high priest. And this is a vision of the cleansing of the high priest emblematic of the cleansing of the nation itself.
Verse 1, "Then he showed me Joshua the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him." Now, we can relate to that, can't we? We, who serve the Lord, we, who follow Jesus, we have an adversary. That's what Satan means, an adversary, an enemy, who opposes everything you want to do or activate in serving the Lord. He wants to oppose you.
And this is interesting, Verse 2, "The Lord said to Satan, the Lord rebuke you Satan." Now, that's interesting. He didn't say, I rebuke you Satan, which He could. He can. He is the Lord who created the devil. He created Lucifer, who became the devil.
But the Lord said the Lord rebuke you. He used the third person. The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you. Is this not a brand plucked from the fire? Speaking of Joshua. "Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and was standing before the angel. And he answered and spoke to those who stood before saying, take away the filthy garments from him. And to him he said, see, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes."
I see here something that I've always felt strongly about. When it comes to spiritual warfare, we should never deal directly with the devil. I've heard believers become very emboldened. And they'll be praying and in their prayers sort of pivot from praying to God to talking to the devil, which I think it's just never good. Why pray to him? And say something like, Satan I rebuke you in Jesus' name. Or Satan we rebuke you.
Even the Lord didn't use the first person. Even the Lord said, the Lord rebuke you. So you say, well, why is that a model? Because we see it again in the New Testament Book of Jude, Verse 9, where we are told that even Michael the Archangel when disputing with Satan over the body of Moses dared not bring a reviling accusation against him. This is Michael the Archangel fighting another demonic archangel, the devil.
And it said, he didn't even bring a reviling accusation, but rather said the Lord rebuke you. So I don't even like to talk to the devil. I don't think it's good form for a Christian to have conversations with them. The Bible says resist the devil, not carry on a negotiation with the devil.
Don't even talk to him. When the devil knocks at your door, ask Jesus Christ to answer it. You don't have to even engage him. And let's just say you don't have to worry about him.
Oh, it's the devil. So? What's new? Oh, it's the devil.
Sometime go study one of the great hymns of the church written by Martin Luther called, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God." There's great lyrics in that hymn. And one of the stanzas goes something like, and though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us, we shall not fear for God has willed his truth to triumph through us. The Prince of Darkness grim we tremble not for him. One little word shall fell him. God will speak one word and he'll be incarcerated, and he'll eventually be destroyed.
The song goes on to say, his rage we can endure for lo for his strength is sure and his doom, Satan's doom, is sure. So good to study the scripture and into study those who use the scripture to write their worship songs like that.
Now that's the fourth vision. The fifth vision is in Chapter 4. It's a vision of a menorah. Do you know what a menorah is? A seven-branched candelabrum that was in the Tabernacle, later on in the Temple. It is a fire that burned before the Altar of Incense and the Table of Showbread. It was representative of the presence of God among his people.
But in Chapter 4, it's a vision of a menorah that I would best describe as an automated menorah. Before the days of modern technology, it's a seven-branched candlestick. Above it is a collecting bowl that had olive oil into it. Pipes went out from this bowl to the heads of the lamps to keep them lit. And on either side of the menorah and this receptacle were two olive trees.
So the oil was olive oil. So the olive oil was being produced by the olive trees, fed into the receptacle and by gravity taken to the lamp stand. So you know usually the price would have to fill it every day. This thing's automated.
Check this out. Verse 1, "Now the angel who talked with me came back and waken me as a man who was wakened out of his sleep"-- oh, by the way, all of these eight visions happened in one night. You think you have weird dreams after your pizza with onions at 11 o'clock at night. Eight of these crazy visions inspired by God, not pizza, not falafel, not hummus, not onions, but the spirit of God in one night.
So he gets woken up. "And he said to me, what do you see? So I said, I'm looking. And there's a lamp stand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it. And on the stands seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. Two olive trees are by it. One at the right of the bowl. The other at the left. So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me saying, what are these, my Lord. And the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, do you not know what these are?" And I like it. I love his honesty. "I answered, no."
"So he answered me, this is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit says the Lord of hosts." You recognize that verse. Very famous, very familiar to you, often quoted. "Who are you, oh, great mountain before Zerubbabel? You shall become a plane. He will bring forth the capstone with shouts of grace, grace to it."
In other words, whatever obstacles you face in rebuilding this temple, it's going to happen. You tell Zerubbabel this vision. God's going to do it. It's not going to be by human strength. It's not going to be by human wealth. But by the power of the Spirit it'll get done. Rely on that, Zerubbabel.
Don't say we don't have enough money. We don't have enough resources. Just get it done. God will give you what you need. "Not by might, not by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord." I love this, because that's how I explain the existence of this fellowship in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
I didn't come here with a demographic study of the area or being financed by a group with a vision and a plan and we're going to do this and do that. I had no experience and I had no idea what I was doing. And those who know me say, and you still don't. And if that's so, I'd rather keep it just like that. It's a good arrangement, because I may not, but He does.
And so, well, how do you explain the success of the church? Not by might, not by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.
There are three more visions, which we will not look at, all about the same theme. Jerusalem is going to be built. The obstacles are going to be removed.
Chapters 9 through 14 take us to that messianic portion of the book, all the way to the millennial reign of Christ, the kingdom on Earth, the first coming of Jesus, as well as and most principally the second coming of the Messiah. Keep in mind these prophets did not see the gap that you and I know to be the church age between the first coming of Jesus and the second coming has been an age of grace, 2,000 years of grace, where people from all over the world and different generations different tongues, largely Gentiles have come to believe in the God of Israel through the Messiah, the Jewish messiah, Jesus.
Prophets didn't see that gap. They saw these processes as all sort of a screenshot. I often use the illustration, it's like looking at a mountain range from 40 miles away. It looks postcard flat. But as you get closer, you see that the peaks are separated by valleys. And if you go over it, like if you take the tram over our own mountain, which looks just like a big flat mountain from this town, when you go on the tram, you see the different peaks and the little valleys between them. And so the prophets just saw the mountain range. They didn't see the distance between the events that happened.
Now, I have a good example. Take you over to Chapter 9. Chapter 9:9, we have in two verses, two comings of Jesus, the first coming and the second coming with a gap between the verses of now about 2,000 years. So again, both comings seen sort of as one event.
This is sort of like Isaiah 61. Remember that text? Jesus quoted that in the synagogue in Nazareth in Luke, Chapter 4. And the text of Isaiah is "the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, to open the prison doors to those who are captains, to proclaim the year of liberty, the acceptable year of our Lord." Then Jesus closed the book and said, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
However, he closed the book and stopped the text in the middle of a verse. There is a comma in that verse of Isaiah 61. Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. Prison doors to those who were captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to proclaim to acceptable year of the Lord-- comma-- and the day of vengeance of our God.
That comma between the first and second phrase is a 2,000 year-long comma. I preached a whole message once on that comma. You say, well, I've heard you do a verse. No, I just did the comma.
So you have a verse that includes the first coming and the second coming, the tribulation and the second coming of Christ. But Jesus wisely and correctly closed the book before the verse ended, the day of vengeance of our God, because that would be the tribulation period. So he closed it and said, today, this scripture is fulfilled in your ears. Now, we're waiting for that rest to be fulfilled. So you see it here.
Verse 9, Chapter 9, "Rejoice greatly, o, daughter of Zion. Shout o, daughter of Jerusalem. Behold your King is coming to you. He is just and having salvation lowly riding on a donkey, a colt, the foul of a donkey." Does that sound familiar? That prediction was fulfilled in the New Testament by Jesus on April 6, 32 AD, according to Sir Robert Anderson who tabulated the dates.
It was precisely 173,880 days after March 14, 445 BC when the declaration was given by the Persian monarch to go back and rebuild Jerusalem. And Daniel said from the going forth of the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah, the prince, will be 173,880 days to the very day Jesus showed up from the eastern side of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives walking with his men, his disciples. And he'd been there before on several feast. Normally, they would walk all the way into the city.
But something was different on this day. He asked for something he never asked for before. He said go into the village next to you and get me a donkey. It's tied up. There's a couple of donkeys there, a mom and her colt. Bring them to me. Don't ask a-- if somebody stops you and says, what are you doing? Just say the Lord needs it, and they'll let him go.
So they were over there. They go, what are you doing? They go, let's try this. He said try it. Lord need it. OK, take it.
So they took the donkey. Jesus sits on the donkey, comes into Jerusalem. For the very first time, he allows himself to be welcomed publicly as the Messiah. And then he stops midway. And he begins looking at Jerusalem and weeping over it.
And in Luke 19, he says something very significant. He said, If only you had known, especially you, in this your day, the things that make for your peace, but they are blinded hidden from your eyes. Therefore, your enemies will surround you, cast an embankment around you. Your city will be leveled with your children in it. Not one stone will be left upon another because you did not know the time, the day of your visitation." He held them accountable to know when he was coming because he gave them the timetable.
And the tip-off, the clue should have been, he's riding a donkey. Hello, Zechariah 9:9. He's coming on a donkey. Kings rode donkeys in times of peace. They rode steeds, horses, stallions in times of war. That's why when Jesus comes back, Revelation 19, he's not on a donkey anymore. He's on a horse to rule and reign, to conquer the world, to put an end to what has been going on. But here, as the prophecy predicted, he's riding a donkey.
Now, between Verse 9 and 10, the period at the end of Verse 9 is a 2,000-year period, the age of grace, the church age. Now, Verse 10, we're into the second coming. "I will cut off the chariot for Ephraim"-- that's a euphemism for the nation of Israel. It's one of the large tribes-- "and the horse from Jerusalem, the battle both shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations. His dominion shall be from sea to sea and from the river"-- that is the Euphrates-- "to the ends of the Earth."
This is Messiah's peaceful reign after His second coming. You may want to write in the margin, Isaiah, Chapter 2, because in Isaiah, Chapter 2, and the book of Micah, I think, Chapter 4-- they quote each other-- "and they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation. Neither shall they learn to make war anymore." That's Messiah's reign from Jerusalem. And that is the same, shade of meaning here in this verse.
Chapter 10 speaks about the blessings of the future kingdom, Chapter 11 the rejection of the King. In Chapter 11, can we just do this very quickly? Verse 10, "I took my staff, beauty, and I cut it in two that it might break the covenant, which I had made with all the people. So it was broken on that day."
Verse 11 of Chapter 11, "Thus, the poor of the flock, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the Lord. And I said to them, if it is agreeable to you, give me my wages. If not, refrain. So they weighed out for my wages"-- how much? 30 pieces of silver. "And the Lord said to me, throw it to the potter, that princely price they set on me. So I took the 30 pieces of silver, threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter. Then I cut in two my other staff, bonds that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel."
The Prophet here speaking of Jesus paints the picture of Christ as a shepherd asking his flock, what am I worth to you? Expecting them to say, oh, you're worth everything to us. You have immeasurable worth. But they say, you are worth less than a slave gored by an ox. Now let me explain that.
In Numbers, Chapter 21, 30 pieces of silver was the price you would pay for a slave gored by an ox. So that's very low. So basically, they're saying, you are worth to us less than a slave. Your value to us is only 30 pieces of silver.
Now, Matthew 27 goes on to say that this is the fulfillment-- Judas Iscariot fulfills this prophecy because he took 30 piece of silver for betraying Christ. That's all Jesus was worth in fulfilling that prophecy. Threw it into the house of the Lord. They bought a potter's field. Judas hung himself in that potter's field. So that prophecy was fulfilled here.
Chapters 12, 13, and 14 are about the second coming of Christ. And interspersed in that-- the kingdom age is there as well-- but interspersed in that is the last battle of the nations of the world that gather against Jerusalem in the end of days. So I take you now to Chapter 14 where we will bring Zechariah to a close.
And noticed something in Verse 3 of Chapter 14. "Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations." You really have to read all of 12 and 13 to really get the flow of that, but we just don't have the time. I trust you've done it before. And this is 30,000 feet, so "The Lord will go forth and fight those nations"-- judgment it is already decreed about these nations before these versus-- "he'll fight against those nations as he fights in the day of battle. And in that day, his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east."
It's always fun to pull this out while we're standing on the Mount of Olives and just to realize what has happened, what will happen from that place. And the Mount of Olives will be split in two, making a very large valley. Half of the mountain shall be moved toward the north and half toward the south.
When Jesus ascended up into heaven, he didn't ascend up into heaven from Jerusalem, but from the Mount of Olives outside of Jerusalem. Right? It says he took his disciples out to the Mount of Olives and then a cloud lifted him up, and they watched him go into heaven. And so the disciples are looking up, because, you know, he was here. Now, it's-- [WHIRRING SOUND] they kind of saw him rising, checking it out.
And so as they're looking up, an angel appears and says, you men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus who is taken from you will so come again in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven. How did Jesus go into heaven? In a cloud, visibly, physically visibly from the Mount of Olives. How will Jesus return? In a cloud, physically, visibly to the Mount of Olives. And this time it'll be split in two.
I've been told on a number of occasions by tour guides that there is a fault line that runs from the Syro-African Rift, that great tectonic plate formation that formed the nation of Israel, that fault line rides runs directly under the Mount of Olives. So that fault line is waiting for a very specific footprint. And when his foot touches down, I think that fault will be active and that valley will be formed when Jesus returns to the Earth.
Verse 8, "And in that day there shall be living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half toward the eastern sea, half toward the western sea. In both summer and winter it shall occur. The Lord shall be King over all the Earth. In that day, it shall be the Lord is one and His name one."
I have interesting little tidbit about that. But I don't have the time, because we have Malachi to finish. So sorry about that. That's very cruel probably to say that.
But go down to Verse 16. It shall come to pass-- now, we're looking future now. We're looking past the second coming. We're looking into the kingdom age now. Messiah is reigning on Earth. It says he'll be King over all the Earth. We read that.
Now, watch this. "It'll come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King of the Lord of hosts and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles." So if you're not able to join us on a tour of Israel, you'll get there. In fact, it seems that there'll be a delegation from every nation. You might be part of that delegation to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. So you'll get to see it in the Kingdom Age.
But it is worth a trip before the Kingdom Age, because it's nice to see a before and after view, because if I read is Ezekiel right, it's not going to look anything like it does today. And if you want to see the places that represent the biblical places where things took place, it's kind of good to see it before that point.
OK, now, we're in the last book of the Bible. We can do this. Short book, four short chapters. The book of Malachi-- I mean, Malachi. It is the bridge between the Old Testament and the New Testament. It takes us all the way to John the Baptist. He's mentioned in this book. He fulfills prophecies mentioned in this book.
Now, you usually think that Malachi is the last Old Testament prophet. No, the last Old Testament prophet was John the Baptist. You say, how do you figure? Well, Jesus said all the prophets prophesied until John. So Jesus designated John the Baptist as the last of the OT, Old Testament, prophets.
And we should move on. I have to catch myself sometimes, because my mind goes to these places. And I've got a real it back in.
So there's a style in this book called a dialectic style. Dialectic style meaning it's a question and answer. Or better yet, a proposition followed by an objection followed by a reaction. And so that's the style that is seen throughout the book. Because of that, Malachi has been called the Socrates of the Old Testament, because of this very unique style of his prophecy.
OK, so it is post-exile. The people are back in the land. I already mentioned they're apathetic. They're divorcing their wives. They're not good with finances. They're withholding their tithes. All of these things are addressed in this book.
But notice the first few verses. "The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. I have loved you, says the Lord. Yet you say"-- here is that dialectic style. "Yet you say in what way have you loved us?" Imagine saying that to God. God says, I love you. We say, prove it."
"Was not Esau Jacob's brother, says the Lord. Yet Jacob I have loved." So there is this resistance that we see in this book. Go down to Verse 6, "A son honors his father. A servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is my honor? And if I am the master, where is my reverence? Says the Lord of hosts. To you priests who despise my name, yet you say in what way have we despised your name?" And He answers that question.
Go down to Chapter 2. This continues as he uncovers several of the issues they have I mentioned. They're dealing with money. They're dealing with their spouses, et cetera.
Verse 13 of Chapter 2 says, "This is the second thing you do, to cover the altar of the Lord with tears with weeping and crying. So he does not regard the offering anymore, nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. Yet you say, for what reason? Because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth with whom you have dealt treacherously, yet she is your companion"-- or your covenant companion for life and the wife by covenant.
Verse 16, "For thus says the Lord of Israel, he hates divorce for it covers one's garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. Therefore, take heed to your spirit that you do not deal treacherously."
Now Chapter 3 and 4, which brings us to the close, these are the most famous two chapters in the book of Malachi. This is where most quotes come from and most of our attention is known on these last two chapter. You'll see why.
Verse 1, Chapter 3, "Behold I send my messenger and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger"-- so that's the second messenger in this section. The first messenger mentioned right up front. This is now the second messenger. "Even the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold he is coming, says the Lord of hosts."
So there's two messengers. One is called the Lord. One is somebody announcing the Lord.
This is predicted at the time the temple wasn't even finished or they had slowed down on it. For this prophecy to be fulfilled, there has to be a temple standing, because he's the Lord of the covenant. He's going to come to that temple suddenly. "Even the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight." So this is why this book provides the bridge between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Now, when Malachi is done, which will be soon-- well we're almost done with it-- there's going to be 400 years of silence before God speaks again to the Father of John the Baptist, Zacharias, that Elizabeth is going to have a child, who's going to be the messenger that fulfills this. So God breaks his radio silence after 400 years.
Now, go over to Chapter 4:5. Look at that. We're already at the end. "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the heart of the fathers to the children, the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and strike"-- or smite-- "the Earth with a curse."
When Jesus was transfigured up in the Galilee region in front of his disciples, Peter, James, and John were with him. Two people appeared with Jesus on that mount of transfiguration. One was Moses. One was Elijah. They were talking about the cross. They were talking about the coming kingdom.
Here is the prediction, God says, "I will send Elijah the prophet before the coming, the great and dreadful day of the Lord." Now, notice the description of what he will do. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, the hearts of the children to the fathers.
An angel, as I mentioned, appears to Zacharias 400 years later, father of John the Baptist, said you're going to have a boy, going to call his name John. He's going to be God's messenger. He is going to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers, which troubles us a little bit or makes us wonder, well, wait a minute, that's Elijah the prophet who's coming. So in the previous chapter, I'm going to send my messenger who's going to make the way for the Lord, the messenger. Now, he says Elijah the prophet is going to come.
Now, as I turn to Luke, Chapter 1, I'll read to, as we're closing this out. Verse 15 of that first chapter, "The angel says to Zacharias. He will be great in the sight of the Lord. He won't drink wine or strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb. He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also"-- watch this-- "go before him in the spirit and in the power of Elijah"-- quoting now the prophet that we just read-- "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."
OK, John the Baptist is born. He comes on the scene. He starts preaching, starts baptizing. They come to him and they ask him, right in his face, are you Elijah? And he says, what? No. Are you that prophet, the Messiah? He said no.
So he denies being the Messiah. He denies being the prophet Elijah. Although the angel said to his dad, he's going to be Elijah-like, right. OK, it gets even more fun than that. In Matthew, Chapter 1, Jesus speaking, quoting Malachi in Verse 10 of Chapter 11 of Matthew, Matthew 11:10, "Behold, I send my messenger before you. Prepare your face. Prepare your way before you. Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women, there is not risen one greater than John the Baptist, but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violence take it by force for all the prophets and the law prophesied until John."
Now watch this. "And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come." Now we're complicating it a little bit, right? Because Zachariah hears from the angel he's going to be like Elijah. Yet John the Baptist said no, I'm not Elijah. Now, Jesus says, if you can receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.
OK, now I'm going to resolve it. Matthew, Chapter 17-- don't worry, we're closing this book very shortly. I know my time's up. Chapter 17 of Matthew, "His disciples asked him," Verse 10, "saying, why then do some of the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" Well, the scribes are right, because the prophet said that, right? "Then Jesus answered and said, Elijah truly is coming first and will restore all things."
So he's speaking future. John the Baptist has come and gone, right. He says Elijah will be coming in the future.
But Verse 12, "but I say to you that Elijah has come already and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands." Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of whom? John the Baptist.
OK, so put it all together for you. John the Baptist was a forerunner of the messenger. He came having an Elijah-like ministry. In a sense, he was Elijah fulfilling the ushering in of the Messiah. But the real prophet Elijah, who died, whom Jesus met on the mount of transfiguration, will come again before Jesus shows up the second time.
When does he come? I think Revelation 11. There are two prophets. And if you look at their description, they smack almost identical of what they're able to do and their description of Moses and Elijah. That happens before the-- so I hope that solved the puzzle for you. John the Baptist was in a sense Elijah, but not the real prophet Elijah. Was Elijah-oid, Elijah-like. But the real prophet Elijah will be resurrected, will come to the Earth, and will have a ministry before Jesus.
OK, the Old Testament ends. And what is the last word in the Old Testament? What's the last word? Every Bible opens to-- curse. Mark that. Because the last verse of the Bible in the New Testament revelation says the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, amen. The Old Testament ends with a curse. The New Testament ends with a blessing.
Jesus came to remove the curse introduced in Genesis, maintained here all the way through the book of Malachi. But as it says in the Gospel of John, Chapter 1, "The law came by Moses," which brought a curse, "the law came by Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."
We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. For more resources, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from the Bible from 30,000 feet.