Open just about any Bible commentary and you’ll read that “Nothing is known of him beyond what is contained in his book of prophecies,” as Easton’s Bible Dictionary summarizes it.
But in this case, just his name, which can be translated “messenger of the Lord,” and his book are enough! Those who believe in the authority of the Bible will have no problem accepting this messenger of God—and the message he brought.
It is fitting that Malachi comes at the close of the Old Testament canon, the last word from God for 400 “silent” years before the birth of Christ. His prophecy is quoted seven times in the New Testament: six in the Gospel accounts and once in the book of Romans.
And what a range Malachi’s words cover! Not only do they contain a clear picture of the coming of Messiah, Jesus, but they also signal God’s displeasure with His people, not the least over the issue of tithing. The promise in Malachi 3:10 is perhaps one of the most famous among Christians, an exhortation to put God first in the most essential of things.
Perhaps Malachi’s most encouraging promise is that of spiritual renewal and reconciliation. As God promised to send Elijah before the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5), the purpose for this visitation is revealed: “And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (verse 6).
We may not know much about the earthly life of Malachi, but we can praise God for his having been available as a messenger of God’s love and rebuke.
Lord, may I always hear the sure word of prophecy You place before me.
For Further Study: Malachi 1–4; Mark 9:11, 12; Luke 1:17