“For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. [2] But 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. [3] And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts. [4] Remember ye the Law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. [5] Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: [6] and 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”.

Verse 5, has been one of the most controversial verses in the bible. A number of ministers over the many years of the church have claimed to be the Elijah spoken of by Malachi and it has also been the cause of many opinions about the end of the world. Has this scripture been fulfilled or is to be fulfilled? Malachi 4:1-6. 

Let us use the scriptures to answer itself.

There is no controversy about Malachi 3:1 everyone accepts it is a reference to John the Baptist for he, like Isaiah, describes the messenger ‘preparing the way of the Lord’. “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3. 

Matthew 3:1-3:  “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, [2] And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. [3] For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight”. Also, Mark 1:1-3: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; [2] As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. [3] The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight”.  

And again, Luke 1:76-80: “And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; [77] To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, [78] Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, [79] To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. [80] And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel”.  

Malachi 4 speaks about Elijah coming before the great day of The Lord.

Who is this Elijah? Not the first Elijah nor Elisha his successor.

To identify this Elijah let us see what he would do. Malachi 4:6: “And 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”. 

John the Baptist is born to an elderly couple by the name of Zacharias and Elisabeth. He is a priest and one day whilst inside the temple he is visited by an angel.

Luke 1:3, 11-17: “It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, [11] and there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. [12] And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. [13] But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. [14] And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. [15] For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. [16] And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. [17] And 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”. 

One day, Peter, James and John descending from the mount where Jesus was transfigured asked Jesus: “Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come”? Matthew 17:10-13.  

Note: the scribes were correct in their belief that Elijah must come before Messiah came. This was a result of Malachi 4:5. It was one of the reasons they would not believe Jesus was the Messiah for John did not claim to be the Elijah of Malachi 4.

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. [12] But 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. [13] Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

Malachi chapter 4 describes Messiah as “the Sun of Righteousness”. This is crucial in identifying Elijah.

The Sun of Righteousness would arise with healing in his wings.

1) Malachi is the last Old Testament prophet. 400 years elapsed from Malachi to John.

2) During those 400 years faith was corrupted and became ritualistic and lifeless.

3) The dispensation of the law was coming to an end. John was the voice of God to the people. He called for repentance, he spoke about the soon to come kingdom of God, he baptised the people unto repentance. “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). 

The single most important message of John was to identify Messiah. Others had done so in the past incorrectly. False messiahs had come but turned out to be indeed false.

“Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; [35] And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. [36] For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. [37] After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. [38] and now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: [39] But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God”. Acts 5:34-39. 

The witness that Jesus was the Messiah: – The scriptures (the law, psalms and prophets), but in particular: – The witness of John: “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. [30] This is he of whom I said, after me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. [31] And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. [32] And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. [33] And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. [34] And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God”. (John 1:29-34).

The witness of heaven: “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. [14] But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? [15] And Jesus answering said unto him, suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. [16] And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: [17] And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”.  (Matthew 3:13-17). 

Matthew 17:3-5: “And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. [4] Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. [5] While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him”. 

The Sun to rule the day. Psalm 136:7-9: “ To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever: [8] The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever: [9] The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever”. 

Revelation 12:1: “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars”:

This woman was clothed with the sun and she stood upon the moon (lesser light) and she had a crown of 12 stars upon her head.

1) The woman is the church.

2) The moon is the law and the prophets.

3) The Sun is Christ.

4) The 12 stars are the ministry of the 12 apostles.

Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness with healing in his wings (rays). Malachi is describing the Day of Judgment when the wrath of God shall be poured out. Before this day came Elijah the prophet which was fulfilled by John the Baptist. Then would come Messiah who “came to seek and to save the lost”. 

Today, all can be saved. His light shines brightly. It shines upon us and even into our consciences. “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; [7] To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house”. (Isaiah 42:6-7).  

Matthew 4:15-16: “The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; [16] The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up”. John 1:4-5: “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. [5] And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not”. 

The Sun of Righteousness shone upon Saul of Tarsus whilst travelling on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9). It shone in Samaria and took many out of darkness (including Simon the sorcerer). (Acts 8).

The light is still shining but one day it shall cease. It is then the following shall be fulfilled:

“For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch”. (Malachi 4: 1). 

In conclusion, John the Baptist is the Elijah of prophecy, according to the scriptures and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our platform is the world and our congregation the people.  

The Lord’s servant  

Lloyd Denny

Source: The Bible and an extract from an unknown internet article.