The Book of Malachi is three chapters long. The Name Malachi means “My Messenger”. It is believed to be written sometime before Nehemiah came to town around 455 BC. The people of God returned from exile, but their hearts were still not turned back to Him. The priests were still offering blemished sacrifices, but the prophecy in Chapter 1 verse 11 tells of the Sacrifice of the Mass. Chapter Three, verses two and three states, “But who will endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye. He will sit refining and purifying [silver], and he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or silver that they may offer the due sacrifice to the Lord.” This is in reference to Zechariah 13:9 and Isaiah 1:25. But, all the Old testament references are pointing to the coming of Jesus. Jesus will offer the true sacrifice; the source of our worship at Mass. He will purify us with the once and for all sacrifice that comes to us in the Mass and whose power comes to us in Baptism, confession and anointing of the sick. Malachi sets the stage for the coming Messiah.
This finishes the Old Testament of the Bible. There are many human writers that God uses in the Old Testament, but God is still the overall author. He inspired the writers, Moses to Malachi, to write down what was to be written without error. Each book is unique and adds to the message that God wants to convey to us. No one should take away what is already written in the Bible, nor should they add to it (Rev 22:18-19). The Old Testament reminds us of the Wisdom of God in the Ten Commandments. It illustrates to us how patient He is when David not only commits adultery, but practices polygamy with many “wives”. Solomon keeps this practice, and it promotes unfaithfulness to God among the people. This is in continuity when we see Jesus choose Peter as the leader of the new Church He establishes; the same Peter who denies Him three times. The Jewish nation and its kings’ lineage is tainted with many shady characters, yet God still blesses them. There is a continuity between the Old and New Testaments. God is merciful in the Old Testament, if we have eyes to see.
We can see both the Old and New Testament as one revelation. They affirm each other and each is incomplete without the other. One of the major roles the Old Testament plays in the full revelation of God is to point to Jesus. It sets the stage for Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of Man and the Son of God. It gives a much deeper meaning to the words of the Gospel. The movies like to use sequels that build up characters and a language for us to know and understand. These sequels build a familiarity with the characters that makes it seem like we know them as real people. The Bible is the greatest sequel ever written. But the people in the Bible are real. The events are true. The author of this book put His very self into the story and invites you to be part of it too. This invitation is fulfilled in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Himself. But how does that happen? I invite you to read the New testament with me.