End- time Prophecy Crash Course on Malachi 4
by Steve Sterling 11/17/2011 / Prophecy
The theme of this end-time Prophecy Course will be focused on last-day events as they relate to the predictions in the book of Malachi. In this mini study course we will be taken beyond the Second Coming to the final destruction of the wicked and their all-time rebel leader, Satan. It will also touch a little on the ultimate triumph of the people of God whose eternal destiny will see them inheriting a restored earth.
The prophecy students who are familiar with the book of Malachi should know without seeing the title of this article that I must be talking about chapter 4. Yes, this is the main chapter in this four- chapter book that makes a prediction of end-of-the-world events, and that's where I will be going in this study. In the first half of this chapter the prophet Malachi declared:
"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. 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. 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." Mal. 4:1-3 (KJV)
In the opening verse you will notice that the prophet Malachi started off on a flyer in that he went beyond the Second Coming to the time when the wicked will face their final punishment in the lake of fire. This prophecy is clearly a parallel to Revelation 20, which also speaks to the exact same theme. In describing the completeness of the final consummation, Malachi prophesied that in the destruction of the wicked, "it shall leave them neither root nor branch."
In this turn of phrase, this minor prophet is clearly suggesting that among the wicked there will be the root and the branches. Satan is the root of wickedness because sin originated with him. His followers, the rest of the wicked, are the branches due to their inclination to pattern his rebellious ways. The same thing is predicted in Revelation 20. In the eighth and ninth verses, it is forecasted that a fire will devour the wicked that surrounded the city, while "the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone"
The final destruction of the wicked is not the only point of agreement between Malachi and John; they also followed through with what is to happen thereafter. Malachi 4 speaks of a time when the righteous will actually walk on the ashes of the wicked. This is pointing us to the resulting condition of the planet in the immediate aftermath of the conflagration where the ashes of the wicked will be scattered throughout the earth's surface area. In harmony with this prediction, John spoke of a new heaven and a new earth, the details of which are found in chapters 21 and 22.
Interestingly, in the prophecy of the final destruction both prophets convey the clear idea that what the Bible calls hell fire will actually take place on the earth. There is also the implication that there will be no such thing as an ever-burning hell, contrary to what you hear from popular pulpits. The fact that the sinners will be reduced to ashes, and that the righteous will return to earth to live, does not give an ounce of credence to the eternal-hell theory.
In the fourth verse of Malachi 4, the prophet continues, "Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments." (KJV)
It is interesting that in light of a prophecy pointing us to beyond the last days we have an admonition to keep the Law of Moses. This particular law is considered by the vast majority of Christendom to be obsolete because of its old covenant origin. By why do we need to keep such a law as a part of our preparation for eternity? The fact is, this is not referring to the Old Testament ceremonial laws of Moses but rather the Ten Commandments.
It is said that this law is commanded with (in addition to) statutes and judgments, plainly suggesting that it is a separate thing from the statutes and judgment. While the statutes and judgments are referring to those laws that were written in a book, the Ten Commandments were written on two tables of stone. The commandments of God, as it is written in stone, is the same instrument that is referred to in Revelation chapter 14 in the third angel's message.
After the warning against the worship the beast and his image, the message went on: "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Rev. 14:12 (KJV). Could it be that in those saints who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus we are now seeing an indication that many will respond to Malachi's appeal to keep the 'Law of Moses'?
With the prophecy of the final destruction of the wicked the Lord has issued a promise to send Elijah before "the great and dreadful day of the Lord". This is not to be taken to suggest that the prophet Elijah himself will return from heaven to which he was translated in a chariot of fire. You will recall the following remarks of Jesus in his reference to John the Baptist:
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias [Elijah] truly shall first come, and restore all things. 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." Matt. 17:11, 12 (KJV)
John the Baptist was the Elijah that was to come. His duty is to prepare Israel for the First Advent of Christ. But his message was rejected and as a result it led to the crucifixion of the very Messiah of which he spoke.
Just as it was necessary for God to send an Elijah to prepare the way of the First Advent, it is also necessary for a second Elijah to prepare the people for the Second Advent. Therefore, we need to anticipate an Elijah ministry in the last days that will involve a people who are empowered by the Spirit of prophecy (See Rev. 12:17; 19:10) to proclaim the message as fearlessly as that spirit-filled prophet when he rebuked the idolatry of king Ahab and his false prophets on Mount Carmel.