Daily Devotions


Day 171

The Prophecy of Malachi Concerning Elijah

Text: Matthew 11 : 1 - 19

Jesus taught many astonishing truths! Some of them were truly riveting. What a startling statement Jesus made when He said,

“And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah
who is to come.”
Matthew 11:14

How should we understand this word? We will have to return once again to the Book of Malachi for the context before we attempt to understand what Jesus meant.

“‘For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do
wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall
burn them up.’
Says the Lord of hosts,
‘That will leave them neither root
nor branch.’

Behold, I will send you Elijah the
Before the coming of the great and
dreadful day of the Lord.
And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the
And the hearts of the children to
their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth
with a curse.'”
Malachi 4:1, 5-6

“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven…”

Malachi spoke in the most ominous of tones. There will come a day when the proud would be judged and brought low. In that day, the wicked would be routed and their judgment so severe that there would be “neither root nor branch” left!

“Says the Lord of Hosts…”

The day of reckoning would come to the wicked! This was personally guaranteed by the Lord of Hosts Himself. Did not these words cause the wicked to tremble? What was the reference to “the day is coming”?


The theme, “The Day of the Lord”, was preached upon by more than just the prophet Malachi. The prophet Joel also wrote many ominous statements about the Day of the Lord. So did the prophet Amos. All warned that God would judge Israel for its numerous sins against God.

Let us look at just one text from the book of Joel, and another from the book of Amos.

“Alas for the day!
For the day of the Lord is at han;.
It shall come as destruction from
the Almighty.”
Joel 1:15

“Woe to you who desire the day of
the Lord!
For what good is the day of the Lord to you?
It will be darkness, and not light.
It will be as though a man fled from a lion,
And a bear met him!
Or as though he went into the house,
Leaned his hand on the wall,
And a serpent bit him!
Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light?
Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?”
Amos 5:18-20

The “Day of the Lord” was an eschatological theme that some of the prophets wrote much about. This theme was marked by warning of severe judgment from the Lord.


Malachi offered a little glimmer of hope to the nation of Israel. God would give one final chance to the nation. He would send a special servant whose ministry could well be compared to that of the mighty Elijah.

Elijah lived in one of the darkest periods of the ancient history of Israel. King Ahab with Queen Jezebel provoked God terribly by their terrible sins. They promoted idolatry as few did. Baal worship was so popular that hundreds of these false prophets thrived in Israel! God raised up the mighty prophet Elijah to stand up against Ahab and Jezebel (Read 1 Kings 17 – 2 Kings 2).

The prophecy of Malachi captivated the imagination of many in Israel. Unfortunately, that prophecy was so fancifully interpreted that few fully understood what the Lord meant when He spoke about sending Elijah the prophet.

One popular version of this prophecy was that God would send the original Elijah back to Israel. He could just appear in the homes of “the worthy” and there bless the family with his presence. In many homes when meals were prepared, there was an extra plate set aside for Elijah. Who knows which home Elijah would choose to grace? All who desired God’s blessing dutifully (superstitiously) set another plate for Elijah.


Few understood that John the Baptiser carried the spirit of Elijah. His ministry in the wilderness, his style of preaching, his very spirit- they were reminiscent of the prophet Elijah. The fanciful story of God sending Elijah to visit Israel was more popularly believed and thus few were able to connect John the Baptiser with the prophecy concerning Elijah the prophet. John was the legendary Elijah the prophet in spirit!

What a great truth Jesus proclaimed that day! Would the people have the discernment to appreciate what He said and meant? If Elijah had come then the Day of the Lord would be at hand! If Elijah had come, then the Messenger of the Covenant would not be far behind. Could they understand and accept Jesus as the Messiah?