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.
A key word is in this chapter is found in verse 4: “Remember.” Malachi urged the Israelites to consider two significant individuals in their past—Moses and Elijah.
Malachi bids them remember the laws of Moses. In so doing, they would rediscover Creation, the Sabbath, the Sanctuary, and Passover. All these reveal God as the only One worthy of worship, honor, and obedience. The symbolism within each pointed forward to salvation that was planned, but yet to be realized.
Elijah represented the prophetic voice against idolatry. The Old Testament is replete with prophets calling Israel to return. Israel was to worship God only, forsaking all others. They were His chosen people, a people who would point others toward their Creator and Saviour.
Malachi prophesied Elijah would return to turn the hearts of the people toward God. We know this "Elijah" as the prophet John, the forerunner of the Messiah. But we, too, have a similar role. We are to prepare a people before Jesus comes again, turning people’s hearts toward Him.
Like Israel, we are reminded. Worship our Creator. Honor His seventh-day Sabbath. Accept His salvation. Hasten to obey His commands. Spread His word. Be ready when He comes again.
Operations Manager, Adventist Review Ministries, Silver Spring, Maryland USA