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The delay of the Day of the Lord in Malachi: A missional reading



In this article, the missional significance of the delay of the Day of the Lord in the postexilic book of Malachi will be studied, employing a missional hermeneutic. First, the canon-historical meaning of the relevant eschatological texts in Malachi 3 will be established. Attention will be paid to the historical and literary context of Malachi in which his precursor, Joel, is pivotal. Second, the New Testament appropriation of Malachi 3 in Matthew’s Gospel is assessed. To conclude, a proposal how Malachi’s motif of the delay of the Day of the Lord can best be missionally re-employed in the present time, will be presented. Hence, apart from a brief note on missional hermeneutics, the missional origin of the text of Malachi, the missional motivation for the delay and the role of the Day of the Lord in modern missiology will be studied.
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In die Skriig / In Luce Verbi
ISSN: (Online) 2305-0853, (Print) 1018-6441
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Bob Wielenga1,2
Missionary and Bible College,
South Africa
2Faculty of Theology,
North-West University,
South Africa
Corresponding author:
Bob Wielenga,
Received: 22 Feb. 2018
Accepted: 08 May 2018
Published: 23 Aug. 2018
How to cite this arcle:
Wielenga, B., 2018,
‘The delay of the Day of the
Lord in Malachi: A missional
reading’, In die Skriig 52(1),
a2362. hps://
© 2018. The Authors.
Licensee: AOSIS. This work
is licensed under the
Creave Commons
Aribuon License.
Bible and mission is not the first topic that comes to mind when reading the book of Malachi.
Apart from Malachi 1:11, 14,1 where it is said that God is a mighty King over the nations, not much
is found in this mid-5th century BCE text that looks useful in a narrative about Bible and mission.
It gives the impression of a more inward-looking book, concerned with the internal affairs of the
postexilic Second Temple community in the Persian province of Yehud. It is much about a pure
temple cult, priests properly observing their temple duties, marriage and divorce within the
temple community, and several social malpractices found in the economically depressed and
politically oppressed population, struggling with their ethnic identity. Whatever their relevance
for the present-day Christian community of faith, missionally relevant they do not seem to be.
This article wants to investigate the issue of the missional significance of Malachi, focusing on his
use of the motif of the Day of the Lord, introduced by the prophet, Joel, in the postexilic prophetic
First, the Malachi text is hermeneutically studied in its own historical and canonical
context. Canon-historical hermeneutics are applied here (McConville 2001:134–157; Wielenga
1994:226–232). The final texts, as they appear in the Old Testament, are read historically (with
the grammatical-historical method), that is, moving forward from the Old Testament towards
the New Testament, before reading backwards from the New Testament towards the Old
Testament. The meaning of Malachi should be established first in his own historical context
before its appropriation in the New Testament can be considered (Scholtz 2016:8). Second, this
backwards reading is applied in studying the delay of the Day of the Lord in the Gospel
tradition of Matthew. Third, the missional application of this motif in the present ecclesiastical
context asks for a missional hermeneutic which will be introduced in the relevant section. This
investigation aims particularly at elucidating the missional significance of the delay in the coming
of the Day of the Lord.
The Day of the Lord in Malachi
As the last part of The Book of the Twelve,2 Malachi’s handling of the Day of the Lord motif
(Ml 2:17–3:7a, 13–21) stands in the tradition of his predecessors among whom the postexilic
prophet, Joel, plays literary and thematic a pivotal role (Nogalski 2017; Sweeney 2000).3 Mention
should also be made here of the influence of the scribal prophecy of 3 Isaiah on Malachi, composed
1.See Hill (1998), Snyman (2015), Viberg (1994) and Weyde (2000) for the discussion about the hyperbolical or (non-)eschatological
interpretaon of these verses.
2.The volume of literature on the Book of the Twelve (the Twelve onwards) is sll expanding (see e.g. Boda 2017; Fabry 2016; Leuchter
2014; Nogalski 2007; 2017; Schart 2017; Sweeney 2000). For crical treatments of the concept, see Ben Zwi (1996), Childs (2003) and
Troxel (2015). See Hwang (2014) for a discussion of the Missio Dei concept in the Twelve.
3.For the dang of the book of Joel, see apart from Nogalski (2017) also Assis (2011a), Cook (1995:167–170; 2003:106–108), Dillard
(1992), Myers (1962), Peus (1992). For the dang of Malachi’s book, see Snyman (2015:1–3) and Wielenga (2016).
In this article, the missional significance of the delay of the Day of the Lord in the postexilic
book of Malachi will be studied, employing a missional hermeneutic. First, the canon-historical
meaning of the relevant eschatological texts in Malachi 3 will be established. Attention will be
paid to the historical and literary context of Malachi in which his precursor, Joel, is pivotal.
Second, the New Testament appropriation of Malachi 3 in Matthew’s Gospel is assessed. To
conclude, a proposal how Malachi’s motif of the delay of the Day of the Lord can best be
missionally re-employed in the present time, will be presented. Hence, apart from a brief note
on missional hermeneutics, the missional origin of the text of Malachi, the missional motivation
for the delay and the role of the Day of the Lord in modern missiology will be studied.
The delay of the Day of the Lord in Malachi:
A missional reading
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as it is in the same cultural milieu in the Persian province of
Yehud as Malachi in the mid-5th century BCE. One could
also point to thematic links with Zechariah, but space
constraints prevents them from being taken into consideration
(see, however, Wielenga 2016). The pre-exilic Day of the Lord
traditions, as in Amos 5:18–20 or in Zephaniah 1:7–18, are
also not included in this investigation.
In this section, Malachi’s own perspective on the Day of the
Lord in 2:17–3:7a and 3:13–21, will be studied against the
background of Joel’s prophecy. This will lay the foundation
for its appropriation in the New Testament and for its re-
employment in the missional ministry of the current Christian
community of faith. First, a short overview will be given of
the social and spiritual condition of the postexilic Jewish
people in their sparsely populated and geographically
diminished homeland which gave rise to the judgement
preaching of Malachi. Second, a summary of Joel’s treatment
of the Day of the Lord motif will follow next: it will provide
the literary context for the discussion of the two images of
divine judgement, refiner’s fire and burning furnace, used in
Malachi 3. This section ends with a theological assessment of
Malachi’s message of the Day of the Lord, focusing especially
on the motif of its delay.
Malachi’s me
The socio-economic situation in Yehud was dire. Natural
calamities such as locust plagues and droughts ravaged the
agrarian subsistence economy (Jl 1:4–7; Ha 1:6, 9–11; 2:15–17;
Ml 3:10–11). The population numbered at most 20 000 to
30 000 people and was vulnerable to the threat of external
and internal enemies. Heavily taxed by their Persian
overlords, they had also to cope with the costs of the
upkeep of the occupation troops (Lipschitz 2003:323–376;
Vandenhooft 2003:235–262).
The temple in Jerusalem had been rebuilt and the cult
restored since 515 BCE. However, Malachi’s critique of the
cult and its officials was fierce (Ml 1:10). The problems
addressed by him rose from the decline of the cult in the
temple where God was supposed to dwell (Ha 1:2–9; Boda
2017:107–126). Spiritually, the remnant population of Israel
was in a crisis, disillusioned and disappointed by their
circumstances which they ascribed to a God not interested in
what was happening to his own people (Ml 2:17). The temple-
centred eschatological fervour, ignited by Haggai and
Zechariah, and confirmed by 3 Isaiah, had long died down
(Wielenga 2016:2).
As can be expected from a book that was included in the
Twelve (Nogalski 2015:213–221; Pettus 1992:102–175), the
prevalent faith tradition, found in Malachi, was of a
covenantal nature (O’Brien 1990:85–107; Weyde 2000:37–47).
Two breaches of the covenant are addressed in Malachi
(Snyman 2015:122–123): the vertical one undermining the
relationship with the God who had sovereignly established
the covenant with his people (Ml 1:2–5; 2:6–9), and the
horizontal one breaking up the covenant people by marrying
outside the temple community (Ml 2:10–16). The coherence
of God’s people was under threat by this twofold breach of
the covenant that had its origin in a deep-seated spiritual
apathy (Ml 3:14), born out of the presumed delay of the
fulfilment of the eschatological promises made in 520 BCE by
Malachi’s precursor Joel
The introduction of divine judgement in Malachi, to be
effectuated on the Day of the Lord, followed the postexilic
prophetic tradition that found its most powerful
representative in Joel. His book is structured around the Day
of the Lord as the day of judgement against Israel (Jl 2:11), but
also against the nations (Jl 3:2), with a promise of a glorious
Zion-centred future beyond judgement, already starting in
the present for those among God’s people who feared his
name (Jl 2:32; 4:18–21), but with a promise of ultimate
destruction for God’s enemies (Jl 4:14–15), including those of
his own people who would not repent and turn back to him
in compliance with the obligations of the covenant as
stipulated in Deuteronomy 28–30.4 A detailed investigation
in Joel’s Day of the Lord theology falls outside the scope of
this article. It will rather limit itself to some summarised
remarks to sketch the background of its appropriation by
The concept of divine judgement to be effectuated on the Day
of the Lord (Jl 1:15; 2:11, 30–32; 3:1–21) came to prominence in
the prophetic tradition (Nogalski 2007) and is coloured in
Joel by a proto-apocalyptic imagination (Cook 1995:171).
It refers to the imminent and to the ultimate intervention of
God into this world on behalf of his people who have
returned to him (Jl 2:18–19; 3:5) with, as reverse side, the
destruction of those who have opposed him as well as the
hostile nations and the unrepentant among his own people.
One can distinguish between two perspectives on the Day of
the Lord in Joel.5
The first perspective is historical in nature. It refers to a
theophanic intervention in the space-time history of postexilic
Yehud (Jl 1:15) that soon will occur, as could be read from the
‘sign of the time’ – the harbinger of the imminent Day of the
Lord: the extraordinary locust plague and subsequent
drought (Jl 1:2–12), eventually followed by invading enemies
from the North (Jl 2:1–11), that ravaged the countryside and
threatened the basic necessities of life (Dt 28:38–40, 45; Dillard
1992:266).6 On that Day, God as judge would target his people
for their covenantal faithlessness to the obligations, set by
him for their own benefit (Dt 28:1–15; 31:16–19; cf. Lv 26:1–13).
In the early postexilic era, the threat of an invading enemy,
4.The literature on Joel and the Day of the Lord theology is extensive (see e.g. Peus
1992; Sweeney 2003; Toelmire 2014; Nogalski 2007; 2017).
5.What is intended here is not two temporally separated days. Proto-apocalypc
images should not be misconceived as literal descripons of historical realies.
Cook (2003:45, 63) emphasises the an-historicist, symbolic language employed in
(proto-) apocalypc literature. This literature employs a temporal and spaal
historical framework to describe the eschatological revelaon of God (Block
6.Peus (1992:150), among others, understands Joel 2:1–11 as a reference to a real
enemy, an intensicaon of the covenant curses as spelled out in Deuteronomy
28:49–52 in case repentance did not happen.
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as part of the promised punishment (Jl 2:1–11; Dt 28:45–50,
63–68), could be easily envisaged by Joel’s audience and
reapplied to their own historical context (Childs 1959:187–
198; Pettus 1992:142–145).
But because of God’s ‘zeal’ for his land and its people, (Jl
2:18; Pettus 1992:154), alluding to Exodus 34, there was a
way to avert this Day, consistent with the deuteronomic
tradition (Dt 30:9): their wholehearted return to God
expressed in a revitalised fidelity to their covenant
obligations (Jl 1:13; 2:13–14). The blessing of the fields’
fertility had already materialised (Jl 2:19–26) as a sign of
hope beyond judgement. The Day of the Lord could be
turned around from a Day of judgement into a Day of
restoration of the fortunes of the faithful ones – a remnant of
the people that came through judgement, acknowledging
God for whom he truly is (Jl 2:27). The differentiation among
the people between seekers and forsakers of God’s name (Is
65:8–16), can also traced back in Joel.7
The second perspective on the Day of the Lord is proto-
apocalyptic by nature (Cook 1995:167–210). One could say
that, in the second part of Joel (Jl 3–4), the historical Day
of the Lord is intentionally reconfigured into the ultimate
Day that would definitely occur at an unknown moment in
the eschatological future, concluding space-time history.8
This rise of the apocalyptic imagination in prophetic
eschatology, as can be observed in Joel 3–4, originated from
the centre of the postexilic Second Temple community9 where
a scribal circle around a prophet such as Joel was at work to
unify his audience around the sacred teachings transmitted
through Pentateuchal and prophetic oral and written sources.
The natural calamities of the day blinded the people to the
divine presence at work in their physical world and made
them despair of the temple-centred eschatological promises
made by someone like Haggai (Ha 2:6–9, 20–23) in 520 BCE
(Wielenga 2015). At the same time, though, they were also
blind to the spiritual background of the crisis, located by Joel
in their covenantal unfaithfulness (Jl 2:12–14).10
Joel’s response was to point them to what had already
happened as fruit of their repentance (Jl 2:18–19),11 while,
simultaneously, focusing their hearts and minds on the
ultimate restoration of their fortunes on the coming Day of
the Lord when all possible threats against them would be
7.Theologically, one could point here to the inuence of the deuteronomic covenant
concept: the covenant, unilaterally established by God, is bilaterally funconing,
that is, it assumes human co-operaon (Wielenga 1998). It is all about divine-
human correlaons that determine the course of history (Koch 1990:5).
8.One can disnguish between prophec and apocalypc eschatology, but not
separate each from another (see Grabbe & Haak 2003; Wielenga 2015:6; Allen
9.In this arcle, Cook (1995; 2003; cf Sweeney 2003:167–178) is followed and not
Hanson (1975) who advocated a socially peripheral locaon for apocalypc
literature (Reddi 1992:225) wrien by priestly groups opposing the central,
hierocrac Zadokite priesthood embedded in the temple cult on Mount Zion (Allen
10.Sins are not menoned in Joel (Talstra 2014:324–325), but it is very unlikely that
the sin of covenant unfaithfulness was not assumed in a text versed in the
deuteronomic tradions.
11.The verbal tenses in Joel 2:18–19 should be understood as imperfecta, indicang
that God had already started to show mercy to his people who repented and
returned to covenantal delity in line with Deuteronomy 28–30 (Troxel 2013:78–83).
eliminated (Jl 4:1–3, 9–17) and they would live in God-given
peace in an abundantly affluent environment (3:5; 4:18). The
ultimate Day would be one of destruction for God’s enemies,
but also one of restoration for God’s people; only, it would be
a remnant of the people that would pull through divine
judgement on the ultimate Day of the Lord: those who had
received God’s Spirit and called upon his name (Jl 3:1–5).12
The prophet offered as encouragement that they would be
heirs of the eschatological restoration of creation (Allen
1990:22) of which the already returned fertility of their fields
was a first fruit of the harvest to come.13
Summarising Joel’s Day of the Lord teaching, Allen
(1990:24) calls it an expression of pastoral theology. The
announcement of imminent and ultimate judgement on the
Day of the Lord is used as a wake-up call to lament and
repent in the Lord’s presence, and so to avert the looming
judgement that was already afflicting them through
the natural calamities occurring among them. Divine
judgement is, for Allen, not an inevitable fate that just
happens, but it is a state of affairs that can be averted if the
right response to the crisis is given. Nevertheless, as
expressed in Joel 4:18–21, the ultimate future – free of evil
and full of God’s glory – cannot be jeopardised by human
response and will not be revoked by God.
The distinction, made in Joel, between the imminent and the
ultimate Day of the Lord should be noted (see footnote 5
above). It is not about two different days, temporally
separated from each other. It is an apocalyptic image,
symbolically referring to one and the same day located
somewhere in space-time history, looked at from two
different perspectives: the imminent, historical one and the
apocalyptic, ultimate one. The first perspective shows that
divine judgement can be averted; the second one that it is
irrevocable. Eschatological restoration and destruction are
reverse sides of each other, held together in covenantal
tension14 by an eminently righteous God for whom mercy
and justice are not in contradiction with each other, but
strengthening each other (Peels 1992:250).
The rener’s re in Malachi 2:17–3:7a
The people’s complaint that God is not faithful to his covenant
promises (Ml 2:17) is dispelled in Malachi 3:615 with the
assurance that God’s attitude towards them did not change.
Apart from blessings, curses had also been promised in case
of covenantal unfaithfulness (Ml 3:6; Dt 28–30; Lv 26). The
announcement of the sudden arrival of the Lord at his
dwelling place on Mount Zion (Ml 3:1b) is intended to create
12.For a comprehensive, accessible introducon to a biblical theology of repentance,
see Boda (2015); for the concept of divine enablement for repentance, see Boda
(2015:158–159, 189).
13.Also, in Haggai 2:3–7, a small beginning (temple foundaons) received an
apocalypc-eschatological ending, centred on God dwelling in the fully
reconstructed temple on Mount Zion (Wielenga 2015:6–7).
14.The tension between eschatological restoraon and destrucon is an integral part
of the two-sided covenantal relaonship between God and his people with its
promises both of blessing and curse (Dt 28–30). Drs C.J. (Kees) Haak, Theological
University Kampen, Netherland, suggested the term covenantal tension to me.
15.Snyman’s demarcaon (2015:125–129) of this secon is followed here.
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fear; first among the temple staff, the sons of Levi (Ml 3:3)
with whom God had concluded a covenant (Ml 2:4).
The judgement is not yet definite as Malachi 2:2 indicates: If
you do not listen …, if you do not take it to heart …, addressing
the priests (Ml 2:1; Boda 2017:110). The image of divine
judgement as refiner’s fire (Ml 3:2–4; Zch 13:9), underscores
this observation. The goal of a silversmith was to produce an
unblemished product. God’s purpose with his judgement
was to restore the covenant with Levi (Ml 2:4; 3:3–4) and so a
pure temple cult, up to Mosaic standards, as starting point
for the spiritual turnaround of the people (Dt 33:8–10).
Despite their perpetual condition of covenantal unfaithfulness
(Ml 3:7a), they were not yet consumed (Snyman 2015:142),16
but still able to return to the God of their fathers (Ml 3:6),
confessing their sins (Ml 3:5). Judgement on the Day of the
Lord could be averted. This is consistent with the message of
Joel with its allusion to Exodus 34 in Joel 2:18. The same
theological concept, supporting the argument in this passage,
can be found in Malachi 1:2–3 and 3:17 – that of God’s
covenantal love for ‘the sons of Jacob’, a reference to their
election of old.
This concurs with the announcement that God had already
sent ahead his messenger (Ml 3:1a) who would prepare his
forthcoming arrival as judge (Snyman 2015:130–132;
Wielenga 2016:6). The time of judgement has been announced,
but a timetable is not given in typical proto-apocalyptic
fashion (‘sudden’) (Ml 3:1b). The time of grace was ushered
in synchronous with the proclamation of the time of
judgement. Alluding to Isaiah 40:3 and 57:14–21, the
preparation work of the messenger can be understood as a
warning and wake-up call, first for the temple staff, but
subsequently for the whole remnant people in Yehud.
Heeding the message of the messenger would open a path
through judgement towards restoration beyond.
There is no scholarly consensus around the identity of the
messenger. In this article, the option of a non-messianic,
prophetic figure is followed (Wielenga 2016:6–7).17 Malachi
himself could have been a model of such a messenger
and his ministry (considering that his name means ‘my
messenger’), causing a delay in the arrival of the Day of the
Lord with its judgement, creating space for divine grace
and covenantal penitence and return. In the redactional
attachment to the book (Ml 3:23–24; Assis 2011b), the editors
have equated the messenger of Malachi 3:1a with the coming
Elijah (Chapman 2000:139–145; also see Snyman 2015:190–
191 for a different view),18 a decision that, subsequently,
has been confirmed in the New Testament in its identification
of John the Baptist as the eschatological Elijah (Lk 1:76;
Mt 11:14; Jn 1:19–27).
16.See Jeremiah 5:18, 30:11 and 46:28 for a pre-exilic reference to this type of
statement of faith (‘not yet consumed’).
17.For the non-messianic opon, see Snyman (2015:122, 130–135), and Bauckham
(2008:330–335). De Haan and Hlela (2016:60–63), following Van der Woude
(1982:131–134), opt for one angel-messenger in Malachi 3:1, referring to three
dierent aspects of his work.
18.The task the eschatological Elijah must perform according to Malachi 3:24 (Van der
Woude 1982:159) and that of the messenger in Malachi 3:1a, are presupposing
each other.
The burning furnace in Malachi 3:17–21
Fire in a burning furnace will leave nothing behind but ash
(Ml 3:21). It calls up the image of ultimate destruction. It is
used in the context of arrogant refusal by the majority of
the people to face the consequences of their negligence of the
covenant and of their subsequent accusation of God for the
deplorable conditions that are of their own making. Different
from Joel, Malachi’s Day of the Lord preaching did not target
the hostile nations; rather, only God’s own people were
marked out for judgement. God’s ultimate intervention would
bring separation between those who feared the Lord and
revered his name, and those who did not, beyond judgement,
care (Ml 3:14–15). The first ones would be remembered19 and
will enjoy eschatological peace beyond judgement, basking in
the sun of righteousness which will rise with healing in its
wings (Snyman 2015:172–175; Weyde 2000:373). For those
among his own people who persistently refused to repent in
penitence and return to a life compliant with the Law of Moses
(Ml 3:22), the Day would be like a burning furnace: no hope
for them beyond judgement (Snyman 2015:171–172). Joel’s
differentiation among God’s people between a minority and a
majority voice, can also be observed in Malachi.
The ultimate Day of the Lord is coming. In Malachi its
description is less apocalyptically coloured than in Joel, but
its expectation is not less realistic. In Malachi, just as in Joel,
the pastoral motivation for his eschatological preaching must
be noted. Irrevocable as the coming of the ultimate Day of the
Lord may be, it is not a fate that, come what may, will happen.
The historical imminent and the apocalyptic ultimate
perspectives are coalescing in their pastoral intention: to
activate a wholehearted return to God and a law-compliant
life in expectation of the definite restoration of justice beyond
final judgement (Ml 3:20).
This sole concentration on the restoration of God’s people
themselves, was not fruit of an exclusivist concern in Malachi’s
discourse. Consistent with other postexilic prophetic voices,
this pastoral initiative would have consequences in the world
of nations (Ml 1:5, 11, 14) beyond the people’s borders and
boundaries. The exclusion of the nations in Malachi is therefore
not an expression of early Jewish particularism (Wielenga
2016:8). It rather is a matter of priorities: in this particular
situation, the divine message addressed the serious threat of
the dissolution of the covenant people of God with possible
repercussions for God’s eschatological agenda with his world
as expounded in the meta-narrative of the canonical Old
Testament Scriptures (Green 2016:196–198; Wielenga 2016:8;
Wright 2016:107–123).20
Theological assessment
Malachi’s concentration on divine judgement for God’s own
people on the Day of the Lord, suggests a particular trend in
19.Nogalski’s equaon (2007:132) of the Book of remembrance, Malachi 3:16 with
the Twelve is unfounded (cf. Leuchter 2014:256–257). See Snyman (2015:167) for
a careful interpretaon of the expression.
20.The same charge of Jewish parcularism is incorrectly levelled against Ezra-
Nehemiah (Wielenga 2013).
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the postexilic eschatological discourse that distinguishes him
from Joel. From Joel 4:9–21 (cf. Hg 2:6–9; Zch 14:6–19; Is
65:17–25), one can conclude that the advent of the ultimate
Day of the Lord has been definitely decided upon by a God
sovereignly in control of history. Nevertheless, in Malachi,
the fulfilment of this eschatological promise looks to be
deferred by the spiritual crisis the people as temple
community found themselves in. This necessitated the time-
consuming ministry of the messenger of Malachi 3:1a,
preparing the people for divine judgement, and thus opening
up the opportunity of penitential return to God. The deferral
of the effectuation of divine judgement should therefore be
seen in a positive light: it gives the afflicted people, the
remnant of Israel, but also, by implication, the nations, the
opportunity to avert judgement. Simultaneously, the delay of
the promised restoration of eschatological justice, symbolised
by the image of a rising sun with healing in its wings, will be
perceived as a negative effect of the messenger’s ministry.
Fulfilment of the eschatological prophecy is going to take
much longer than could possibly be apprehended, but it is
given with the conditional character of those promises.
Divine mercy, on the one hand, and divine justice, on the
other, should be kept together in covenantal tension (Hays
2016b:102–106). The imminence of the Day of the Lord and its
delay are not mutually exclusive.
Therefore, another aspect of Old Testament eschatology must
be considered. As Hays (2016a:23–38) has stressed, the
eschatological prophecies in the Old Testament are not
futuristic predictions that are discharged without fail (cf.
Kashow 2013:393–402; Tiemeyer 2005:340, 349). These
prophecies are, first, conditional, and second, meant to
activate the audience into a desired course of action. In the
case of Malachi, the judgement discourse intended to
motivate the people to repent of their sins and to return to a
law-compliant life before God, waiting for the eschatological
prophecies to be fulfilled. It is less about prognostication than
about motivation (Strine 2016:39–58). The conditionality of
the eschatological prophecies, rooted in the deuteronomic
covenant traditions, implies that their fulfilment hardly ever
happened in a straightforward, one-on-one way. A positive
response to judgement prophecies meant that their intended
purpose was realised. The reason for the judgement prophecy
was, then, taken away; its intention was realised. In the
fulfilment process, the responsibility of the covenant partner
was included. Non-fulfilment could be, in this case, called
(partial) fulfilment (Strine 2016:55–56).21
In conclusion, the possibility of a delay of the Day of the
Lord is not mentioned in Malachi’s dialogues with the people,
but it is, nevertheless, a reality rooted in the covenantal
relationship between God and his people. The delay of the
ultimate restoration on the Day of the Lord and the
consummation of history has, as its reverse side, the deferral
of the destruction of all that opposes the God of Israel, the
21.The condional fullment of eschatological prophecies touches on the doctrine of
divine providence in, among others, Reformed theology (König 2002; 2003; Van
Wyk 2002), and in Eastern-Orthodoxy (Callaher & Konstannovsky 2016:147–174).
This arcle assumes König’s posion.
Creator and Lord of history. In this light, the partial fulfilments
of the eschatological promises, as in Joel 2:18–19 or Malachi
2:2 and 3:3–4,22 should be understood as encouraging
stepping stones in the direction of total fulfilment which is
assured by the faithfulness of a sovereign God (Hays &
Ounsworth 2016:62–68).
Malachi 3:23–24 in the New
Testament: John the Bapst
Because of space constraints, only the ministry of John the
Baptist, the eschatological Elijah (Ml 3:23–24), will be studied
within the gospel tradition, focusing on Matthew with his
many apocalyptic motifs and symbols (Gurtner 2012:531,
544; Hagner 1985:53, 60), paying special attention to the delay
of the Day of the Lord.
In 1st century CE Judaism, the coming of the eschatological
prophet, in accordance with Deuteronomy 18:18 or Malachi
3:23, was urgently awaited. Elijah who, at his death, bodily
ascended straight into heaven (2 Kngs 2), was the designated
candidate for a new eschatological ministry on earth
(Ml 3:24).23 Even though John himself denied being Elijah
redivivus (Jn 1:21),24 he was, beyond doubt, associated by
Jesus and the Early Church with the Elijah of Malachi 3:23
whose ministry formed the model for John’s own (Lk 1:17;
Mt 11:14). Conformance25 with Malachi’s prophecy justified
John’s ministry in all its scope and depth. He was the end-
time prophet, inaugurating divine judgement on Israel on the
ultimate Day of the Lord. Not even descending from
Abraham would avert God’s wrath from them (Is 63:16).
Only repentance and penitential return to the God of their
fathers, with a corresponding life style to prove it, could
achieve that. In accordance with Malachi 3:1b, the Lord as
judge had come in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. For John,
the eschatological future had begun.
John’s image of an axe already at the root of the tree, about to
be burnt, refers to the ultimate judgement that he himself
expected to happen in the near future. This is underscored
by John’s description of Jesus’ work as baptising with fire
(Mt 3:11–12; Lk 3:16–17; 12:49) that in this context is a clear
indication of Jesus bringing divine judgement (Miller
2007:14–15). This concurs with the burning furnace image in
Malachi 3:19. John refers to the other perspective on the Day
of the Lord in Malachi 3:2–4, visualised in the image of a
refiner’s fire, by his announcement that Jesus would baptise
with the Holy Spirit (Mt 3:11; Öhler 1997:59–61). The looming
judgement could be averted by receiving the Lord who had
come in the person of Jesus (Ml 3:1b). But John’s exchange
with Jesus, while in prison (Mt 11:2–19; Lk 7:18–30), makes
22.See Wielenga (2015:7) for this concept of paral fullment in Haggai.
23.For Elijah as prophet, ranked at the same level as Moses, see Chapman (2000:118–
123) and Wielenga (2016:8).
24.In Mahew 17:3, Elijah was present on the Mount of Transguraon together with
Moses. He and John were clearly not idencal in the esmaon of the Early
25.See Philips, Janse van Rensburg and Van Rooy (2012:7) for the concept of
conformity in the use of the Old Testament by the New Testament.
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clear that he did expect a speedy execution of God’s
judgement without any delay with, as reverse side, the
immediate advent of the final restoration of the repenting
minority in a renewed world. He did not observe any
acceleration in the fulfilment of the judgement prophecy
since Jesus’ arrival on the scene; just the opposite.
Consequently, he doubted the veracity of Jesus’ claims (Mt
4:23; 5–7). That John’s own ministry had already had a
delaying effect, is not explicated in the text, but should be
noted. It is given with the conditional character of the
eschatological prophecy of Malachi 3:1a. John’s ministry
caused the prolongation of time needed for a response to his
message – positively or negatively.
In his response (Mt 11:4–6; Lk 7:21–23), Jesus did not refute
John’s expectation of a final judgement on the ultimate Day
of the Lord (Mt 11:20–24, cf. 13:49–50). But in conformance
with the prophecy of Malachi, the ultimate Day of the Lord
is deliberately deferred to an unspecified time in the future
to create space for Jesus’ own ministry of preaching and
healing, erecting the signs of the messianic age to come
(Is 35:1–10; 61:1; Mt 11:4–5)26 among which the mission to
the nations is pre-eminent (Mk 13:10; Mt 24:14; Beasley-
Murray 1990:46). The end will come beyond any doubt, but
not yet. Time is, on the contrary, prolonged for the sake of
the people – first the Jews and then the Gentiles – to receive
the Lord (Ml 3:1b) who is, in the in-between times, not the
divine judge, but, in the Early Church’s reconfiguration, the
divine Advocate (1 Jn 2:1).
Subsequently, this delay of final judgement also causes the
ongoing suffering of those who were baptised by Jesus with
the Holy Spirit (Mt 11:6, 28–30). The emphasis in Matthew is
on the suffering for the sake of Jesus and his ministry (Mt
5:10–12; 10:24–28). Besides, the delay of the Day of the Lord,
breaking in at the time that the Lord returns as divine judge,
also presumes the protraction of evil and suffering in all
spheres of life. The interim time is the time of grace and the
time of suffering simultaneously, both a fruit of the gracious
prolongation of the in-between time until a future date,
known only to God (Mt 24:36, 42, 44; Ac 1:7).
In conclusion, the principle of conditional fulfilment of
eschatological promises is at work in Matthew regarding the
ministry of John the Baptist in conformance with Malachi 3.
The time, allocated to the response of the audience to the
preaching of John, Jesus, and later the disciples (Mt 28:16–20),
should be taken seriously in the assessment of the
eschatological delay. This whole process of delay does not
jeopardise the divine consummation of history, portrayed
with apocalyptic images in Joel, Haggai, Zechariah or 3
Isaiah, or Revelation. Rather, in this process, the interim time
is urgently moving forward to its destined, imminent end,
even though no sensible word can be said about its speed and
its date. The perspective of imminence should encourage
26.These signs signied that with Jesus’ advent, the age to come had already been
inaugurated, encouraging the readers to await with paent impaence the
consummaon of that age (cf. the famous eschatological already or not yet
within a covenantal framework that stresses the faithfulness
of a sovereign God, but that of delay should activate his
people, appealing to their covenantal responsibility.
Malachi read missionally
In this section, missional conclusions will be drawn from the
preceding canon-historical investigation into Malachi’s
eschatological discourse and its appropriation in Matthew.
First, a brief outline will be given of the missional
hermeneutics employed in this article; second, the missional
origins of Malachi will be pointed out; and third, the
missional significance of the delay of the Day of the Lord
in Malachi, as mediated by Matthew, will be elucidated.
Missional hermeneucs
The attempt to read Malachi missionally, flows from the
premise that the Old Testament, just like the New Testament,
is an inalienable part of the canon of the Scriptures of the
Christian community of faith – the proper locus for a
theological reading of the Bible with a missional hermeneutic
(Bartholomew 2016:77–78; Goheen 2016:10; Wielenga
2010:709–711). Reading the Bible missionally, means to read it
through a missional lens, that is, with mission as its central
interest and goal (Bauckham 2016:28).27 In this article, mission
is understood as missio dei (Van Rooy 2017) which must be
distinguished from the missiones ecclesiae (Hwang 2014:167).28
One should not concentrate on what God’s people are
supposed to do, but on what God himself has decided to do.29
The missio dei concept refers to God as the One who moves
through history from creation towards recreation – a history
that should be qualified as redemptive since the human
countermovement as described in Genesis 3. He works out
his plan sovereignly in this history with, as its centre, the
redemptive work of his incarnated Son Jesus Christ (missio
dei). In the realisation of his goal for history, Revelation 21, he
involves his chosen and covenanted people (missiones
ecclesiae) (see Wielenga 1998:246–273). Three aspects of this
movement through history can be distinguished (Bauckham
2016:31–36): the temporal, spatial and social of which, in this
article, only the temporal aspect will be discussed, having a
bearing on the missional understanding of Malachi’s Day of
the Lord theology as mediated by Matthew.
Missional origin of Malachi
Reading Malachi missionally as part of this canonical meta-
narrative, one is faced with the question why the Malachi text
has been transmitted, even written down and included in the
Twelve to become part of the Old Testament canon at all. It is
27.For an interesng example of missional reading of the Old Testament (Ex 15:1–18),
see Russell (2017:151–158).
28.This is not to say that this lens is the only legimate one through which to read the
Bible (Bartholomew 2016:69–71). Missional hermeneucs is comprehensive, but
not all-inclusive, just like mission is (Wielenga (1998:241–281). Haak (2017:159,
164–166, 171) calls his approach a missional-ecumenic hermeneucs, stressing
intercultural reading at its core with the gospel as interpretave matrix.
29.Here the dierence between Old Testament and New Testament, concerning
mission, should be menoned. It oen referred to with the terms centripetal and
centrifugal (see also Bauckham 2016:34–36).
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the contention of this article that Malachi, as part of the Bible,
is a product of the missio dei (cf. Wright 2016:109–110). The
text has been conserved and transmitted to motivate and
activate God’s people to live out and articulate their
understanding of God’s revelation and redemptive actions in
the world, strengthening them in times of crisis and calling
them back to their original calling as his chosen and
covenanted people (Gn 12:3; Ex 19:5–6; Dt 4:6–8). In this
sense, Malachi shares in the missional character of the Bible;
it is fruit of the same missional Source. The sorting out of the
spiritual and corporate crises, addressed in Malachi, did not
simply serve internal considerations of survival of the
postexilic remnant population in Yehud. It was about their
position as God’s chosen and covenanted people in the bigger
scheme of redemptive history. The spiritual revitalisation of
God’s people served the missional goal of God, dwelling
among his people on Mount Zion in the reconstructed temple
for the sake of the nations of the world (Boda 2015:154) which
should be attracted to pilgrimage to Zion (Ha 2:6–9; Zch
14:16–18). This missional goal gave rise to Malachi. Without
Israel’s return to God, it could not have attracted the nations
to worship God in Zion together with Israel. This insight is
missionally significant in the present history of the Christian
community of faith (Bosch 1991:137–138).
Missional signicance of Malachi
Focusing now on the question of the missional significance of
the delay of the Day of the Lord in Malachi, as confirmed by
Matthew, first, the relationship between the messenger’s
ministry in Malachi 3:1a (with its parallel in Mt 3:1–2) and the
mission mandate to the apostles as formulated in Matthew
28:16–20 will be considered (Fernando 2007:55; Wielenga
2002:111–119; 2009:15–19). Second, in conclusion, attention will
be paid to the concept of the Day of the Lord with its divine
judgement in the context of modern missiology (Bosch 1991).
The missional movaon of the delay
Mission, as defined in Matthew 28, focuses on making
disciples out of all the nations, incorporating them in the
new community through baptism and teaching them all
that Jesus had commanded in Matthew 5–7, for instance. In
conformance with Malachi 3:1a and Matthew 3:1–2, and
Jesus’ own earthly ministry, this ministry30 implicitly
assumes the prolongation of time (Hagner 1994:60–61),
prompted by the conditional character of eschatological
prophecies as discussed above. Therefore, no crisis is hinted
at in the New Testament around the delay of the Parousia,
the suspension of final judgement and the stay of the arrival
of the glorious age to come (Hagner 1994:62–69). The delay
serves a missional goal, beneficial for humankind. In short,
mission means the prolongation of the messenger’s ministry
of Malachi 3:1a post-Pentecost (Jn 16:5–11).
The deepest motivation for this delay has already been
formulated by Joel and Malachi (Jl 2:18–19; Ml 1:2–5), and is
30.The same can be said about the intra-Jewish ministry in Mahew 10 (Hagner
1985:64–65; Wielenga 2002).
confirmed by Jesus’ words in John 3:16 or Paul’s in 2
Corinthians 5:14. Mission is fruit of God’s love for the world
in Jesus Christ which compels the church to get involved in
the missio dei (see also 2 Pt 3:9). However imminent the Day
of the Lord may be and urgently awaited amid the suffering
for the sake of Christ and the protraction of evil in the world,
no deadline is given for the work to be finished. The delay of
the Day of the Lord is an expression of God’s mercy which
the Christian community should rejoice about and make
missionally the most of.31
For that reason, in Matthew 24:14, mission is mentioned
among the signs of the time that matter (Beasley-Murray
1990:47–50). Among all the false alarms around the date of
the Parousia, raised by false prophets, one should focus on
the worldwide missional ministry as the pre-eminent portent
of the Parousia, affirming that calculations about the date
and time are futile (Mt 24:36, 42, 44). One should rather
rejoice about the in-between time of grace entrusted by a
merciful God, sustained amid suffering and evil by the living
Christ who is among his people through the Spirit (Mt 28:20).
Mission is the single most important agency causing the
delay of the Day of the Lord.32
Paradigm lost: divine judgement
In modern missiology, divine judgement is not an issue that
receives much attention. Towner (1995:99–113), discussing
David Bosch’s influential study (1991) of paradigm shifts in
the theology of mission, observes that Bosch does not include
in his biblical overview the Gospel of John with its dual
perspective on ‘the world’. The world is not only loved, but
also judged by God, depending on the response given to the
ministry of Jesus Christ, God’s beloved Son, through whom
the glorious age to come has been inaugurated, but whose
advent, simultaneously, initiated the reverse side of that
age – final judgement on the ultimate Day of the Lord (Jn
3:16–21; Rm 1:18–32; Thiselton 2016:81–91). Towner (1995:116)
speaks of a paradigm lost in Bosch’s discussion of the
missionally relevant biblical traditions. This concurs with
Bosch’s treatment of Luke 4:18–19 (1991:110–113) where he
stresses that the divine vengeance, in Isaiah 61:2 the reverse
side of the favourable year of the Lord (Peels 1992:133–137)
is intentionally ‘superseded’.33 One can agree with Bosch that
certain vengeful notions about divine wrath upon the
nations, abounding in 1st century CE Judaism, are repudiated
by Jesus. Nonetheless, the execution of divine judgement on
those who turn against God’s gift of love in Jesus Christ to a
world lost in darkness (Jn 1:5–12), is deferred and can be
averted, but is certainly not superseded. As Peels (1992:248–
250) argues, in a study about the vengeance (nqm) of God in
the Old Testament, God’s vengeance or judgement is not in
31.The prayer for an urgent return of Christ amid suering remains valid. Again, the
covenant is the framework within which both the needed advent and the granted
delay are kept together in tension.
32.One nds in Mahew, too, the dual perspecve on the imminent and ulmate
eschatological blessing and judgement. In Mahew 24, they are correlated (Hagner
33.See also Bosch’s treatment of ‘comprehensive salvaon’ (1991:393–400) in which
the classic noon of juscaon of the godless by faith has been side-lined as
Anselmian sasfacon theory (p. 399).
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contradiction to his love (Thiselton 2016:82). They are the
reverse sides of each other. In the end, God’s vengeance
serves his love. Final judgement serves the goal of the missio
dei, the restoration and renewal of a creation gone wrong, in
which all people, Jew and Gentile, together will bring honour
and glory to God (Phlp 2:10–11) in the new Jerusalem
without a temple (Rv 21:22). Final judgement signifies that
evil, death, pain and crying will not be found in the age to
come (Rv 21:4, 8). This will be achieved through judgement
on the ultimate Day of the Lord.
From the missional ministry of the Christian community of
faith, a careful and balanced approach is required towards this
theme of divine vengeance and judgement, but it should not
be deleted from its missional agenda. However, threatening
speculations with violent phantasies about eternal damnation
and hell (LeHaye and Jenkins) should not be part of this
agenda. Biblical images, referring to these realities, are
apocalyptic notions that are not intended to literally describe
what is beyond human comprehension. They are meant to
confront the world with the seriousness and consequences of
the choice for or against Jesus Christ as the eschatological
Lord of Malachi 3:1b.34 Without disparaging the reality of
divine judgement, the focus in missional ministry is, on its
reverse side, God’s will to restore creation and to renew all its
inhabitants to the glory of its Creator, King and Redeemer.
This article attempted to read the postexilic minor prophet,
Malachi, missionally, focusing on the delay of the Day of the
Lord. The conclusion that this motif is missionally relevant
also for the present-day Christian community of faith,
should convince Bible scholars that a missional hermeneutic
occupies a legitimate place among the Bible reading tools of
the profession.
Compeng interests
The author declares that he has no financial or personal
relationships which may have inappropriately influenced
him in writing this article.
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... This is not to deny that it also forms a canon-conscious conclusion to the Book of the Twelve Prophets or the Corpus Propheticum in its entirety and even to the canon of the OT as well (Chapman 2000:144). 2 However, only the function of Malachi 3:22 is studied in the context of prophetic eschatology 3 as reflected in the message of Malachi about the delay of the Day of the Lord (Wielenga 2018). It focuses upon the charge to 'remember the law of my servant Moses' and the question will be examined how this serves the purpose of awaiting the arrival of the prophet Elijah before the advent of the Day of the Lord (Ml 3:23-24). ...
... This article is a sequel to three previous ones (Wielenga 2015;2018) looking into the eschatology of the postexilic prophets from Haggai to Malachi. They offer information about the historical context and theological background of the early postexilic Persian era as reflected in the Book of the Twelve Prophets (Nogalski 2017;Sweeney 2000). ...
... Thirdly, the apparent delay in the fulfilment of the eschatological promises made by the prophet Haggai (2:6-9, 20-23) in 520 bce (Wielenga 2015;2018) had left them spiritually depressed and led them to question God's justice (Ml 2:17;(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11)(12)(13)(14) and to neglect to observe God's covenantal 5.See for the discussion Assis (2011:208-209), and Snyman (2012;2015:182-184). ...
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This study investigates the function of Malachi 3:22 in the context of prophetic eschatology as reflected in Malachi’s message about the delay of the expected Day of the Lord, which focuses on the charge to ‘remember the law of my servant Moses (…) I gave him at Horeb for all Israel’. This article examines the question how this charge serves the purpose of awaiting in the interim time the advent of the Day of the Lord. Firstly, a textual analysis is given of Malachi 3:22 in the context of the body of the book. Secondly, an eschatological application of the text is attempted with the help of selected texts from Deuteronomy 12:5, 11 (on worship) and 24:1–4 (on the treatment of women), addressing the problems in Malachi 1:6–2:9 and 2:10–16. Thirdly, the missional inferences of Malachi 3:22 for the present time are condensed in a postscript.
... The third component of Malachi's eschatological prophecy is its delay-intended focus (Wielenga 2018;2021:4). The execution of divine judgement was to happen suddenly (Ml 3:1) at an unspecified moment in the future. ...
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This research wants to clarify the significance of Esau/Edom in Malachi’s postexilic prophetic eschatology. Hence, its focus is on the declaration of divine hate for Esau/Edom in Malachi 1:3, applying the Deuteronomic covenant concept, predominant in Malachi, for a deeper understanding of its significance in the acrimonious dialogues between God and his people. As much as this declaration of divine hate is coordinated in Malachi 1:2–5 with the declaration of divine love for Jacob/Israel, nevertheless, it has a distinct communicative intent of its own in Malachi’s prophetic address. Postexilic Jacob/Israel is confronted with the possibility of a judgement such as Esau/Edom’s if return to God does not occur – ultimate judgement imagined as a burning furnace leaving nothing but ashes on the Day of the Lord. This article wants to contribute to a deeper understanding of the function of divine hate in the judgement prophecy of Malachi. Contribution: This article intends to contribute from a biblical-theological perspective to the systematic theological discussion about the doctrine of God within the Christian community of faith, focusing on the divine names and attributes in Malachi 1:2–5.
... Built as it is upon the eschatological tradition developed by Ezekiel, Joel, Haggai and Zechariah (Wielenga 2016;2018;2020), Malachi's theocentric eschatology should be understood as temple based. Central in his eschatology, is the temple as the place of worship chosen by God to establish his name there in his dwelling. ...
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In this article, the promises of judgement and restoration in Deuteronomy 4:25–31; 28:15–68; 30:1–10 are compared with the eschatological prophecies in Malachi 2:17–3:24 about the Day of the Lord. The conclusion is that Malachi’s eschatology can be understood against the background of the history of fulfilment of these promises as envisioned in the Torath Mosheh in Deuteronomy. The rhetorical nature of Moses’ speeches is taken into consideration, indicating their communicative intent to persuade the people to take the promise of judgement seriously and to return to God in compliance with Mosaic teachings in order to avert it. But even beyond judgement, restoration is promised as well, indicating the positive intent of judgement preaching. The purpose of the announcement of judgement is to delay its fulfilment; its irrevocability only shows when the response to the teachings of Moses is persistently negative. The promises of judgement are not meant to be understood as prognostications to be fulfilled within a predetermined time frame. They are delay-intended, and hence avertible. These features of Mosaic teaching in Deuteronomy can be identified in Malachi’s eschatology which is shaped by divine judgement but is delay-intended and in compliance with the Mosaic teachings in Deuteronomy, theocentric and temple-based. Contribution: The purpose of this article is to contribute towards a theological reading of Malachi in the context of the metanarrative of the Old Testament (OT) Scriptures.
... of the messenger of Malachi 3:1a to be completed, affecting the treatment of the immigrant as well. Secondly, in the context of Malachi 3:22-24, EV 4:4-6, the awaiting of the arrival of the Lord (Ml 3:1b; 3:20-21) during the in-between time should be done in compliance with the Law of Moses(Wielenga 2018(Wielenga , 2019, likewise affecting the treatment of the immigrant. ...
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In this article the relationship between Ezekiel 47:22–23 and Malachi 3:5, on the topic of the status of the immigrant in postexilic Judaism, is examined. The research has two focal points: the prophetic eschatological context of both prophetic pronouncements and the normative impact of the Law of Moses on both, although the first is guided by the ‘Holiness Code’ and the last by the ‘Deuteronomic Code’. This requires a discussion of the relationship between both ‘codes’ and an evaluation of their teaching on the status of the immigrant. This is followed by an examination of the literary and theological context in which the immigrant appears in both the texts examined. This article contends that Malachi 3:5, denoting the present time in prophetic eschatology, should be read against the background of Ezekiel 47:22–23, denoting the future time in prophetic eschatology. Compliance with the Law of Moses is in both cases a covenantal obligation anchored in the redemptive past.
Admittedly, as the last book in the Old Testament, and a minor prophet at that, Malachi is often overlooked by Bible readers. Yet, Malachi's passionate proclamations and the significance of what he had to say to his people capture the attention of even the casual reader. The message of Malachi came at a time of cultural and religious rethinking for Israel (roughly 500 B.C.E), when God's people were scattered throughout the Near East, with most living in Mesopotamia under Persian rule. They could easily have disappeared from history had it not been for the prophetic call to repentance. In his fresh new translation, notes, and comments on this brief prophetic book, Andrew E. Hill explains why we should pay attention to Malachi as God's spokesperson. Hill places the book in its historical context to interpret the original meaning, as well as offer the modern reader insights into what it has to say to us today. With a wonderful insert filled with photographs, line art, and maps, he provides all the necessary details for the reader to understand and appreciate Malachi.
Recent OT scholarship has increasingly recognised that the Minor Prophets were compiled by Hebrew scribes to be read as a cohesive anthology. While acknowledging that each book of the Minor Prophets exhibits a distinctive individuality, scholars continue to debate how to interpret the collection as a coherent whole. In this vein, I propose that the major themes of the Minor Prophets-land, kingship, the move from judgement to salvation, and the relationship of Israel to the nations-find a unifying link in the missio Dei. The plan of God to redeem his entire creation is progressively unfolded in the Minor Prophets, in that the apostasy of God's people in God's land (Hosea; Joel) is but the first step in a history of redemption which culminates with the recognition by all nations that YHWH alone is worthy: 'For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations' (Mal. 1:11). As such, the missio Dei in the Minor Prophets not only provides a reading strategy for interpreting the collection as a unified Book of the Twelve; it also shows how the Minor Prophets make a unique contribution to an OT theology of mission.