“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction” (Malachi 4:5-6).
To better understand Malachi 4:5- 6, we must keep in mind that some of the Jews of later times expected a return to earth of Elijah himself (John 1:21). However, this is a prophecy of someone who was to come in “the spirit and power” of Elijah (Luke 1:17), that is, who would preach a message similar to that of Elijah.
Before the first advent of Christ this work was done by John the Baptist (Matt. 17:12, 13; Luke 1:16, 17; Mal. 3:1). Jesus himself said of John the Baptist, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come” (Matthew 11:13, 14).
And before the second advent of Christ, a similar work will also be done by those who preach the three angels’ messages to the world (Revelation 14:6-12). The message here foretold would be a message leading to true repentance, and many would “turn to the Lord their God” (Luke 1:16).
The OT closes with this solemn warning. Those who do not truly repent must be numbered with the wicked and suffer their fate (Malachi 4:1). Nevertheless, Malachi presents a message of hope, for the same God who destroys the guilty brings everlasting “healing” to the repentant. “But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves” (v. 2).
In His service,