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The Prophecy of Malachi – Part 1, The Prophet of Christian Zionism
The name Malachi [מלאכי] means my angel, or my messenger. The name is from the same exact form of the Hebrew words for the phrase my messenger [מלאכי] which we see in Malachi 3:1, where it says “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me”, and Malachi himself is certainly the prophet and messenger of the angel, or messenger, which would later precede the Christ, and that messenger was John the Baptist. But the prophet Malachi does not tell us who his father was, nor does he inform us of his whereabouts, and does not tell us the name of the high priest or governor or ruler of the time that he wrote. Therefore his prophecy can only be very loosely dated from the circumstances which it describes.
For example, in chapter 3 where the prophet addresses the men of Jerusalem in his own time, we read “7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.” Furthermore, in the opening chapter of the prophecy, in chapter 1 of Malachi, a reference is made to the laying waste of the heritage of Esau, from the viewpoint that it had already happened. During the greater portion of the time of the old kingdom of Judah, Edom was a vassal state, and therefore it was under the protection of Judah. It broke free for a time in the days of Jehoram, and was subjected anew by Amaziah (2 Chronicles 26). Then Edom revolted again in the time of Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28), just before Hezekiah became king. So the kingdom of Edom was fully intact until this time. In the Assyrian inscriptions, it is listed as a vassal state in the times of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal, which approaches the Babylonian period. The punishment of Edom is prophesied in Jeremiah chapters 25 and 49 and in Ezekiel chapters 25 and 32, which were written as the children of Judah were about to be taken into Babylonian captivity. It was in the period between the fall of Assyria and the time of Malachi that the mountains and heritage of Edom were laid waste, and the passage concerning “the days of your fathers” found in Malachi chapter 3 is a reference to the period before Jerusalem was destroyed.
While a number of the Edomites had been in the company of the Babylonians in their destruction of Jerusalem and the first temple (Psalm 137:7, 1 Esdras 4:45), these themselves had been subjected to Babylon, as the Edomite kingdom was also laid waste by the Babylonians. So we read in Ezekiel chapter 32: “29 There is Edom, her kings, and all her princes, which with their might are laid by them that were slain by the sword: they shall lie with the uncircumcised, and with them that go down to the pit.” While the Babylonian inscriptions are wanting, even modern Jewish archaeologists have confirmed this, for instance in the Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, edited by the Jews Avraham Negev and Shimon Gibson and published in 2001.
These same archaeologists and others also confirm the accounts of the migrations of Edom that begin with the times of the Assyrian deportations of most of Israel and Judah, after which only a weakened remnant of Judah remained in Jerusalem. From this time and throughout the Persian period, the Edomites gradually moved into southern Judah and Israel, and the Nabataean Arabs gradually replaced them in their ancient lands to the south. As we shall see, Strabo also corroborates this in his Geography. This movement of the Edomites into the lands of Israel and Judah is a subject of Ezekiel’s prophecy in chapter 35:
1 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir, and prophesy against it, 3 And say unto it, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O mount Seir, I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine hand against thee, and I will make thee most desolate. 4 I will lay thy cities waste, and thou shalt be desolate, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD. 5 Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end: 6 Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee. 7 Thus will I make mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it him that passeth out and him that returneth. 8 And I will fill his mountains with his slain men: in thy hills, and in thy valleys, and in all thy rivers, shall they fall that are slain with the sword. 9 I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 10 Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there 11 Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy which thou hast used out of thy hatred against them; and I will make myself known among them, when I have judged thee. 12 And thou shalt know that I am the LORD, and that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume.
From this time, the Edomites, who had expanded into southern Israel and Judah, were pushed out of the original land of Edom. Their original homeland, once having contained large and prosperous cities and stretching to the border of Egypt, did indeed fall into a state of desolation, and has been desolate ever since. But Ezekiel then chastises them “Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it”, referring to Israel and Judah, and possess it they did, “saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume.” While there are many other prophecies which promise the people of Edom an ultimate demise, the occupation of much of ancient Israel by the Edomites is very important to properly understanding both the subject and the eventual fulfillment of this prophecy of Malachi.
As Christians, we must understand that the prophet had written from a vantage point of understanding the accurate history of his people up to his own time, and being inspired by the Spirit of Yahweh God, he then wrote parables foretelling events which were to come in the future. Since people often change their national names and their geographical location over the course of time, if we do not understand the historic actions and identities of the people whom the Bible discusses, how can we imagine a correct interpretation of the prophecy?
The Edomites themselves did not disappear with the desolation of their ancient homeland. Instead, they moved into the ancient and mostly vacated lands of Israel and Judah, beginning from the time of the Assyrian deportations of most of the twelve tribes. And even worse, a few centuries after that they actually became Judaeans. Now that did not happen by the time that Malachi had written, but before we understand the prophecy of Malachi, we must understand the history which lays the basis for his prophecy. Like all of the other prophets of Yahweh, the prophecy of Malachi also had both a near and a long-term fulfillment.
Like Haggai and Zechariah before him, Malachi is a prophet of the second temple period. However while Haggai and Zechariah are concerned with the people of Judah in captivity who were returning to build a new temple, and watching the building progress, in the writings of Malachi the new temple and the reorganized functions of the priesthood are already an established fact. So ostensibly, Malachi functioned in his prophetic office at least a short time after Haggai and Zechariah, and his writing fittingly has a place as the last of the books of the Old Testament. While it cannot be told how much later Malachi was than Haggai or Zechariah, both of whom were writing as the building of the second temple commenced around 520 BC, in chapter 2 of his book the prophet chastises the priests for the same sins which we see described in the books of Nehemiah and Ezra – especially in Ezra chapter 10. Therefore we can imagine that he was a contemporary of either or both of those men. As we have often explained in our work on the period, Nehemiah was the governor of Jerusalem from 502 to 490 BC, and after the Persian wars with the Greeks Ezra returned to govern Jerusalem and oversee the final rebuilding of the city around 457 BC. We have these circumstances summarized in our Notes Concerning Daniel's 70 Weeks Prophecy, a short article found at Christogenea.
The people who returned to rebuild Jerusalem were not much more than 42,000 in number, which is recorded in both Ezra and Nehemiah, and for their survival in the face of resistance from their neighbors, which is also recorded, they had to rely on the magnanimity of the Persian government. Then, remaining subject to the Persians and the Greeks until the middle of the 2nd century BC, they grew strong enough to break free militarily and gain their independence. This happened at a time when a cruel Seleucid Greek emperor had sought to oppress them, which instigated the revolt of the Hasamonaeans, which was the family of Levitical high priests at the time who became known as the Maccabees.
But the Judaeans, as Hellenistic Greeks had called them, had as their enemies not only the Greek rulers of Syria, but many of the Edomites and Canaanites in the surrounding towns, all of which had at one time belonged to the children of Israel. So the subsequent accounts recorded in the books of the Maccabees in our Bibles relate how the rulers of the Hasamonaean dynasty had conquered many cities of their enemies and either ran them off or put them to the sword, and where they did not torch the cities themselves they replaced the populations with Judaeans. Cities that capitulated received garrisons. But often these situations were only temporary and their enemies would later take their cities back, once again renewing the struggle. The books of the Maccabees leave off at the time of John Hyrcanus, a Hasamonaean who became high priest and ruler around 129 BC.
From this point we must turn to Flavius Josephus for the rest of the story, which picks up again in our New Testament. But the New Testament is more easily understood once the history of Josephus is also understood. We wrote the following not long ago, in our presentation of the final chapter of Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews:
Speaking of that Hyrcanus who came to the high priesthood at Jerusalem about 129 BC, Flavius Josephus wrote in Antiquities book 13 that “Hyrcanus took also Dora and Marissa, cities of Idumea, and subdued all the Idumeans; and permitted them to stay in that country, if they would submit to circumcision, and make use of the laws of the Judaeans...” (13:257) But that is not all. A little later in that same book, speaking of the time of Alexander Janneus a few decades later, Josephus described the taking and conversion of 30 additional cities throughout Judaea, informing us that out of them all, only Pella was destroyed because its inhabitants refused to convert to Judaism (13:393-397). All of these Edomites and Canaanites and others of the mixed races became the so-called Jews of later history, and here in these closing chapters of this epistle Paul has thoroughly warned his Israelite Hebrew readers against race-mixing.
During this period of Judaean history, from about 129 BC, the substance of Judaea and the religion of the people of Jerusalem suffered drastic changes. No longer was it standing in the faith of Moses, Ezra and Nehemiah. From this time it was open to all who would undergo circumcision, and it became absolutely antithetical to the Israelite faith of history. Judaism sought to be a religiously distinct sect in the midst of the pagan Hellenistic world, while its true exclusivity based on race was lost forever.
Dora, the city of Dor on the coast of Manasseh, and Marissa, the ancient city of Judah, Mareshah, were only the first of a host of cities whose alien populations were forcibly converted to Judaism, and Josephus then said “… and they were so desirous of living in the country of their forefathers, that they submitted to the right of circumcision, and of the rest of the Judaean ways of living; at which time, therefore, this befell them, that they were hereafter considered to be Judaeans.” The conquest and conversion of the 30 or so other cities are described thusly, reading from that same book of Antiquities:
393 But Alexander marched again to the city of Dios, and took it; and then made an expedition against Essa, where was the best part of Zeno's treasures, and there he surrounded the place with three walls; and when he had taken the city by fighting, he marched to Golan and Seleucia; 394 and when he had taken these cities, he, besides them, took that city which is called The Valley of Antiochus, as also the fortress of Gamala. He also accused Demetrius, who was governor of those places, of many crimes, and turned him out; and after he had spent three years in this war, he returned to his own country, when the Judaeans joyfully received him upon his good success. 395 Now at this time the Judaeans were in possession of the following cities that had belonged to the Syrians, and Idumeans, and Phoenicians: at the seaside, Strato's Tower, Apollonia, Joppa, Jamnia, Ashdod, Gaza, Anthedon, Raphia, and Rhinocolura; 396 in the middle of the country, near to Idumea, Adorn, and Marisa; near the country of Samaria, Mount Carmel, and Mount Tabor, Scythopolis, and Gadara; of the country of Gaulonitis, Seleucia and Gabala; 397 in the country of Moab, Heshbon, and Medaba, Lemba, and Oronas, Gelithon, Zara, the Valley of the Cilices, and Pella; which last they utterly destroyed, because its inhabitants would not bear to change their religious rites for those peculiar to the Judaeans. The Judaeans also possessed others of the principal cities of Syria, which had been destroyed.
The ethnic boundaries in world of Flavius Josephus were already very confused by the time of Strabo of Cappadocia, or as he is also called, Strabo the Geographer, who died around 25 AD. In his time, for instance, a Phoenician was typically a Canaanite, as we see the perspective of Matthew in the Gospel, or a Phoenician could be a Syrian, or even an Israelite, as the original Phoenicians of history were of the tribe of Asher, and a woman of Asher, the prophetess Anna, is present in the temple of Yahweh just after the birth of Christ, which is recorded by Luke (2:36). Syria itself was inhabited by Israelites all throughout the Old Kingdom period, and many of them identified as Syrians after Israel was taken into captivity, which is evident in the Old Testament books of Kings and Chronicles. In fact, the Greek and Roman words for Syrian and Tyrian were both derived from the Hebrew word Tsor, the name of the famous Israelite city which we call Tyre. But in any event, Aramaeans, or Syrians, and Israelites were closely related tribes, having been cousins from the beginning.
So we read in Strabo, in Book 16 of his Geography:
2 We set down as parts of Syria, beginning at Cilicia and Mt. Amanus, both Commagenê and the Seleucis of Syria, as the latter is called; and then Coelê-Syria, and last, on the seaboard, Phoenicia, and in the interior, Judaea. Some writers divide Syria as a whole into Coelo-Syrians and Syrians and Phoenicians, and say that four other tribes are mixed up with these, namely, Judaeans, Idumaeans, Gazaeans, and Azotians, and that they are partly farmers, as the Syrians and Coelo-Syrians, and partly merchants, as the Phoenicians.
Later, the people of Gaza were among the first to receive a treaty of peace from the Maccabees. Azotus, the ancient Philistine Ashdod, they had put to the torch. As a digression, the Greek historian Herodotus referred to the people of Judah as the “Syrians of Palestine” on several occasions, even in his reference to the battle which had cost Josiah the king of Judah his life when he fought against the Pharaoh Necho at Megiddo circa 609 BC (Histories 2.159, 2 Kings 23). A little further on in the same book, Strabo writes:
34 As for Judaea, its western extremities towards Casius are occupied by the Idumaeans and by the lake. The Idumaeans are Nabataeans, but owing to a sedition they were banished from there, joined the Judaeans, and shared in the same customs with them. The greater part of the region near the sea is occupied by Lake Sirbonis and by the country continuous with the lake as far as Jerusalem; for this city is also near the sea; for, as I have already said, it is visible from the seaport of Iopê [Joppa is 30 miles NW of Jerusalem]. This region lies towards the north; and it is inhabited in general, as is each place in particular, by mixed stocks of people from Aegyptian and Arabian and Phoenician tribes; for such are those who occupy Galilee and Hiericus and Philadelphia and Samaria, which last Herod surnamed Sebastê. But though the inhabitants are mixed up thus, the most prevalent of the accredited reports in regard to the temple at Jerusalem represents the ancestors of the present Judaeans, as they are called, as Aegyptians.
Now, from his own limited perspective Strabo may be forgiven for thinking that “the Idumaeans are Nabataeans”, because as we have already explained, the Nabataeans had already moved into the lands formerly inhabited by the Edomites. The last of the Edomites were already ejecte3d from their ancient lanmds, as we have just seen Strabo corroborate. Furthermore, it is apparent that the Nabataeans are the only group of Arabs (although all Arabs are mixed, as the word itself describes them) who have an actual historical connection to Ishmael, whose son Nebajoth (Genesis 25:13) is apparently their eponymous ancestor. An examination of the histories of the Old Testament also show that the Edomites and Ishmaelites intermarried, and were always in close proximity to one another. Strabo may have thought of the true Judaeans as Egyptians owing to the account of the Exodus, which he had accepted as a historical event while not understanding the earlier chapters of Genesis and the earlier origin of the Hebrews in Egypt. This proves that his perspective is historical and not Biblical, since his viewpoint was secular and without a knowledge of Hebrew Scriptures, also quite incomplete.
Here in the writings of Strabo we see a full corroboration of the history provided by Flavius Josephus, where it is attested by him that the Edomites and others were living amongst the Judaeans in Judaea, and that they had “shared in the same customs with them.” There are several other witnesses to these facts, and they are found in the New Testament.
This is the world of Malachi, where the remnant in Jerusalem was very small, and surrounded by historically hostile tribes, the accursed peoples of the Old Testament, among which were Canaanites who remained in the land, since they were formerly slaves in ancient Israel, and the Edomites who had moved into the land, having wanted it for themselves. As we shall see here in Malachi chapter 2, the Levitical priests of his own time had begun to intermarry with people from these cursed tribes, and they were chastised by Nehemiah, and later by Ezra. While it is not evident to us how long it was before they started mixing again, the first mention of the word pharisee by Josephus is made around the same time that the Judaeans had gained their independence from the Greeks, in Antiquities Book 13 (13:171) where he said “171 At this time there were three sects among the Judaeans, who had different opinions concerning human actions: the one was called the sect of the Pharisees, another the sect of the Sadducees, and the other the sect of the Essenes.” The word pharisee in such a context means separatist, and it seems that they were originally opposed to mixing in with the other nations. But by the time of Christ the word seems to have lost much of its significance, and the pharisees themselves were making converts from people of other nations. Of course, there is a period of three hundred years between Ezra and the books of the Maccabees, and not even Josephus can fill in much of the missing details. But by the time of John Hyrcanus, when Judaeans were deluded by the idea of converting their enemies to Judaism, the discipline of Nehemiah, Ezra and Malachi was fully lost.
In Malachi chapter 2, we will see that the prophet understood that the priesthood was corrupted, and that he prophesied of the very divisions which would become manifest in the period of the New Testament and the time of the Messiah because of the corruption of the priesthood. According to Flavius Josephus, the first king Herod was an Edomite by race, and once he had gotten into office he appointed many of his Edomite cronies into the priesthood and all of the positions of power in Judaea. These are the opponents of Christ in the Gospel. So He tells them, in John chapter 10, “26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”, and it is evident that His opponents were not of the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” for whom He had come. They did not believe Him because they were not His sheep in the first place. In John chapter 8, they profess to be Abraham’s seed, and Christ agrees with them; but while the Edomites were Abraham’s seed, they were not of the chosen line of Jacob. Christ tells them: “44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” The Edomites were descended from Esau, the grandson of Abraham, but Esau took his wives of the children of Heth, who were themselves in part descendants of Cain, the first murderer, and the Rephaim, or giants descended from the fallen angels of Genesis chapter 6. They were not Israelites, they were the eternal enemies of God, and they could have no part with Christ.
So as we explained in our recent presentation of chapter 13 of Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews:
In Romans chapter 9, Paul made the following prayer, which we believe is far more accurate in our own translation:
1 I speak the truth among the Anointed, I lie not, my conscience bearing witness with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that grief for me is great, and distress incessant in my heart, 3 for I have prayed that I myself would be accursed from the Anointed for the brethren, my kinsmen in regards to the flesh; 4 those who are Israelites, whose is the position of sons, and the honor, and the covenants, and the legislation, and the service, and the promises; 5 whose are the fathers; and of whom are the Anointed in regards to the flesh, being over all blessed of Yahweh for the ages. Truly. 6 Not, however, that the word of Yahweh has failed; since not all those who are from Israel are those of Israel: 7 nor because they are offspring of Abraham all children: but, “In Isaac will your offspring be called.” 8 That is to say, the children of the flesh, these are not children of Yahweh, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.
Now there are many commentators who take verse 8 of this passage out of context and use it to promote universalism, or the idea that Abraham’s children could possibly come from some place other than his own loins. But comparing the children of the flesh to the children of the promise Paul’s intention is not to corrupt the promises of God, since in any event he is only talking about the children of Abraham. In Romans chapter 4 Paul wrote that Abraham’s seed became many nations, and not that many nations would somehow become Abraham’s seed, which is a ridiculous and anti-Scriptural proposition. Rather, to Paul the “children of the flesh” are all of the descendants of Abraham, where the children of the promise are only those born according to the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Rebekah which distinguish Jacob-Israel from the rest of Abraham’s children. Because, as Paul also said, only in Isaac shall the seed of Abraham be called, then in verse 9 Paul goes on to explain the promise to Sarah, and in verse 10 the promise to Rebekah, both of which narrow the field of Abraham’s descendants who are the “children of the promise” down to Isaac and then to Jacob.
Paul then went on to explain that God hated Esau, and that the progeny of Esau are “vessels of destruction” where the children of Jacob are “vessels of mercy”. So here in the opening verses of Romans chapter 9 Paul showed that out of all of his own countrymen, out of all of the people of Judaea, his concern was for his “kinsmen according to the flesh” since not all of those from Israel are actually of Israel. In this regard the apostle John in chapter 2 of his first epistle warned against antichrists and said that “they went out from us, but they were not of us”, ostensibly referring to those same Edomite Jews. Paul, being concerned with his “kinsmen according to the flesh”, shows that the distinctions of the flesh should indeed matter to Christians, and here in this epistle to the Hebrews he has thoroughly admonished his readers in reference to bastards, and warned them against race-mixing fornication. Those warnings were important to Paul, as they were the primary subject of chapter 12 of this epistle, from verses 7 through 25, which we discussed here for the past three weeks.
This is the end of our citation from our presentation of Hebrews chapter 13, and these words are just as pertinent to a presentation of these opening verses of Malachi.
As Paul explained in Romans chapter 10, Galatians chapter 3 or Colossians chapter 3, whether they were Israelites of the circumcision, or Israelites of the ancient dispersions, of which tribes such as the Romans, Dorian Greeks and Galatians were all a part, in Christ they were all one: Christians, and neither Roman nor Greek nor Scythian nor Judaean. So Judaeans who turned to Christ would lose their identity as Judaeans. Therefore, 60 years after the Resurrection, in the Revelation of Yahshua (Jesus) Christ we see two separate warnings regarding “them which say they are Judaeans, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” These are those who were not supposed to hear Christ, because they were not His sheep: they are Edomites, and they were never true Israelites. And it is they from whom the Jews of today are descended: the ancient children of Esau, the “vessels of destruction”, as Paul also called them in Romans chapter 9, who had rejected Christ.
It is fully evident in all of the words of the prophets and the epistles of the apostles of Christ, that the promise to Abraham and then to Jacob, that their seed would become many nations, was fulfilled by the time of Christ, and it is to those nations that the apostles had brought the Gospel of Christ. So it says in Isaiah, speaking of the children of Israel being taken into captivity, that Yahweh would send them to be scattered throughout the nations of Mesopotamia and Europe. This is found in Isaiah 66:19 where the Word of Yahweh says of the children of Israel “19 And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the [nations].” Tarshish was in modern Spain, Pul is evidently a reference to a part of Assyria, Lud is a reference to the Lydians of Anatolia, land which the Galatians later inhabited, and the Etruscans of northern Italy had also descended from them, and the Galatae called Kelts invaded them; Tubal was on the Black Sea where the Kimmerians were later found; Javan were the Ionian Greeks who also inhabited the coasts of modern France and had settlements around the Black Sea and along the Danube River.
In all of these places where Isaiah said that the children of Israel would be scattered, the Kimmerians and Galatae or Scythians, the so-called Germanic tribes, began to appear only a couple of hundred years after Isaiah wrote, and these spread out to inhabit the coasts, or isles, which were afar off. Of course, the Romans and Corinthians were also Israelites, which can be proven from Classical history as well as from the epistles of Paul, the First Book of Maccabees and other writings, but they were from much earlier migrations of the people. Thus Paul says to the Corinthians, in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, that the nations of Europe practicing paganism were “Israel according to the flesh”, and to the Romans in Romans chapter 4 that “the promise might be sure to all the seed” saying of Abraham that he had indeed become the father of many nations “according to that which was spoken, so shall thy seed be.”
This knowledge of Israelite identity, which can be proven from history, archaeology and Scripture in so many ways, was persecuted out of existence by the pagan Romans at the instigation of the Jews over the first three centuries of the Christian era. The Edomites and those who were deceived by them at that time simply did not want to give up the religious exclusivity that they had among the ancient pagan Romans, by competing with the sect of Christians coming out from among the nations of the seed of Abraham, which were the true heirs of the promises of Jacob. Apostolic Christianity was practically destroyed in these persecutions, as Christ Himself had foretold. Then while the writings were preserved, a universalist type of doctrine emerged in the fourth century as the early so-called Church Fathers could not agree with one another on so many points of history and doctrine. This was in fulfillment of many prophecies of the blindness of Israel, as we read, for example, in Isaiah chapter 42: “18 Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. 19 Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD'S servant? 20 Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not. 21 The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable. 22 But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore. 23 Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come? 24 Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law. 25 Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.” But as we shall see in Malachi chapter 2, denominational universalism isalso despised by God, and in chapter 4, the knowledge of Israel identity shall indeed come to permeate the society once again, before the great and terrible Day of the Lord.
Knowing that the apostles had brought the Gospel to the scattered children of Israel, and that the apostate Jews of today are mainly descended from the apostate children of Esau in ancient Judaea, we can only then begin to comprehend the opening verses of Malachi chapter 1:
Malachi 1:1 The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.
Malachi is a prophet of the remnant of Judah early in the period of the second temple, where a mere 42,000 or so of the Judahites from the Babylonian captivity had returned with Zerubbabel, and at most a few thousand more had returned with Ezra 60 years later. But here the scope of the prophecy is to Israel, who were already scattered from the regions of the Black and Caspian Seas and far into Europe and Central Asia, and not only to this small remnant of Judah.
What follows is a dialog, of which there are many in Scripture, but they are not always clearly expressed in the King James Version or in other translations. This dialog is between Yahweh and the children of Israel:
2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, 3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
And before we begin to comment on this passage, we must take another long digression. There are many Bible students who would protest that it says in the law in Deuteronomy 23:7 that “thou shalt not abhor an Edomite”, so here they usually mince or twist words where the Word of Yahweh says “I hated Esau”. In Romans chapter 9 Paul of Tarsus quoted this very passage to distinguish the Israelites from the Edomites of his own time, where Paul also professed care only for his “kinsmen according to the flesh”, and specifies them further by saying: “who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises”, none of which things were ever extended to the children of Esau.
The truth is, that in the oldest extant copies of Scripture, which are among the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hexapla of Origen, the entire passage is wanting. Furthermore, the Syrians, or Aramaeans, have a long history of kindred relations with the Israelites. In the Hebrew alphabet, the letters Daleth, ד or D and Resh, ר or R, were often confused. Such confusion is found in many places, where between the Hebrew and the Greek texts Riphath and Diphath or Dodanim and Rodanim, or Obededom and Abeddaram are all at times confused for one another (Genesis 10, 1 Chronicles 13). In other places, the D and R were confused in common words, such as at Jeremiah 2:20, where the King James version reads "I will not transgress", the verb being from the Hebrew word 'abar, Strong's # 5674, where newer translations such as the New American Standard Bible or the American Standard Version, as well as the Septuagint and other versions read "I will not serve", the verb being from the Hebrew word 'abad, Strong's # 5647. Reading a D instead of an R in Deuteronomy 23:7 may lead one to believe that “thou shalt not abhor an Edomite” rather than the much more Scripturally accurate “thou shalt not abhor an Aramaean”, or Syrian, since the words אדןם (Edomite) and ארןם (Aramaean) are very nearly indistinguishable in Hebrew letters.
The word hate used here of Esau, whether it be in Malachi chapter 1 or in Romans chapter 9, in Hebrews or in Greek, is the same word used in the Scriptures to describe Yahweh’s hatred for His enemies, His hatred for the wicked, and the hatred which the enemies of God have for both Christ and His Father (i.e. John 15:24). Ostensibly, Esau’s sin was that he was a profane man and a fornicator, as Paul described him in Hebrews chapter 12. So Esau was a race-mixer as Paul used the word, and as we see in Genesis chapters 26 through 28, the only thing that Esau did for which his parents were troubled was to marry outside of his race. In Genesis chapter 26 we read “34 And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: 35 Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.” Esau never properly remedied his parents’ grief, and therefore Isaac ultimately turned to Jacob, for whom his mother procured the blessing, where we read in Genesis chapter 28: “1 And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. 2 Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother. 3 And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; 4 And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.”
By his own parents was Esau disinherited from the promises of Yahweh God for no other reason than because he was a race-mixer. As we have said, for this Paul called him a fornicator. For that same reason his younger brother Jacob obtained those promises, and the children of Israel have been blessed. Likewise, Yahshua (Jesus) Christ has warned, in Revelation chapter 2 in the messages to the seven churches, that He would kill the children of those who commit fornication. Ostensibly, such a punishment is due to the fact that the children of fornicators are bastards. The children of Esau, who was a fornicator in like manner, are also bastards. God hates bastards, who shall not enter into the congregation of the children of Israel forever, according to Deuteronomy 23:2. Once again, we cannot force an interpretation of Deuteronomy 23:7 which conflicts with these other passages – Yahweh our God does not contradict Himself, and He does not change, as Malachi also attests. To assume that God can change or contradict Himself is the height of arrogance and blasphemy.
Repeating this passage here in Malachi, so that we may comment on its prophetic aspects:
2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, 3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
This is indeed a dialogue which represents a very spiritual analogy. Why would Yahweh speak to Israel, and then receive an answer concerning Esau? Jacob himself had purposely taken the inheritance from his brother, at the beckoning of his own mother, Rebekah, who knew that Esau his brother did not deserve it. After it was done and Jacob received the blessing of his father intended for the firstborn son, Isaac had acknowledged that it was fitting, and would not withdraw from his words.
Perhaps over 300 years after Malachi had written, at some point in the second century before Christ, some time around 130 BC, a wicked policy of appeasement and conciliation towards the Edomites and other Canaanites must have crept in among the ruling priestly class at Jerusalem. For that reason with the death of Simon the high priest and the beginning of the time of John Hyrcanus in 129 BC we see an entirely different policy which dictated the conversion of Edomites and Canaanites to Judaism, where before this time they were being run off and burned out of their cities. In the immediate fulfillment of the prophecy, Malachi must have been warning against this, and we see in the history which followed that his warnings were ignored. We shall see as we discuss Malachi chapter 2 that elements of his prophecy were indeed very clearly fulfilled by the time of the ministry of Christ. But as we shall see in the subsequent verses of this chapter, the expectations of a far-off fulfillment is also necessitated by the words of the prophet, a fulfillment which we are witnessing in history today.
In this aspect, this prophecy is a clear indication that the people of Israel at some point future from when this was written would be more concerned with the children of Esau than they would be with themselves – and once the true identity and nature of the Jews is clearly understood, it is realized that such is precisely the state which denominational Christianity is in today. All of the denominational Christians of today have more care for a patch of desert sand in the Middle East and for the fate of the antichrist Jews than they have for their own countries and their own nations!
This is a prophecy of what we must call Christian Zionism – the White Christian nations are the seed of Jacob who long ago had returned to Yahweh their God in Christ. The Jews are the descendants of Esau, “them which say they are Judaeans, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” Yahweh God cares for Jacob Israel, and the people of Israel respond and say “How have You loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother?” The people of Israel are depicted as if imagining that God should have a greater concern for Esau than He has for Jacob. But as the prophet said, and as Paul had quoted him, God hated Esau, and he has no heritage.
Today, the Gospel of Christ continues to cry out that God loves Jacob, but the true children of Israel, who are descended from the White Christian nations of Europe, unwittingly show all of their concern for the Jews and for the artificial Israeli state in Palestine, which does not stand by the grace of God, but with the proceeds of the world’s usury banking system. Ultimately, the prophecy of Malachi opens with Israel expressing concern for Esau, whom Yahweh hates. Then the prophecy of Malachi closes with the Israelites being warned to care for their own ancestors and for their own descendants, lest they be punished with a curse. So the end of this prophecy is directly related to the beginning.
The prophet continues with the Word of Yahweh concerning the progeny of Esau:
4 Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.
The Edomite Jews are indeed wicked, as wherever they are today they have recreated Sodom and Gomorrah. And it is just like the Jews, to cry poverty and beg for money and the labor of others under the pretense of religion. When a Christian needs a job, he works with his own hands, but when a Jew needs a job, he starts a charity and skims all of the proceeds. The artificial Israeli state in Palestine only survives with the funding of the Western Christian nations which have been deceived into supporting it in the name of denominational Christianity – which today is not Christian at all, rather it has become a way for the Devil to deceive the nations, as it warns in Revelation chapter 20.
But what are the desolate places, as Malachi was writing? The ancient cities of Israel and Judah were not desolate, as they had been taken and inhabited by the Edomites almost as soon as the Assyrian deportations of ancient Israel, so they cannot be the subject of this prophecy. Neither could Jerusalem or Galilee, or the surrounding lands of northern Israel, Judah and Benjamin be the subject of the prophecy, as the Israelites who were returning from Babylonian captivity had been rebuilding and inhabiting those places right up to Malachi’s own time. Later, when the Edomite usurpers came to rule Judaea in the time of Herod, they never sought to recover the ancient land of Edom which was then occupied by the Nabataeans, so that could not have been the subject of this prophecy. Mount Seir was never rebuilt by Herod, nor was Teman or Bozrah or the other ancient cities of the Edomites.
In fact, never in history have the Edomites sought to return and build any desolate places in Palestine. Never, that is, until the 20th century, because the people whom we call Jews are historically and genealogically the children of Esau who were converted to Judaism in the 2nd century BC. Of them Paul of Tarsus had said “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” To them Christ had said “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” Of them Christ had said “I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Judaeans, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” Of them the apostle John had written “18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
The apostle John defined antichrists, where he said in 1 John chapter 2: “22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” The Jews of today still deny that Yahshua is the Messiah, and they are liars, the Edomites who have now returned to Palestine in order to rebuild the desolate places. Yahshua had cursed Jerusalem where He said to His opponents, a mixed mob of Israelites and Edomites, as it is recorded in both Matthew 23 and Luke 13 that He said to them: “38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” So also the time of the end, as it is recorded in Mark 13 and Matthew 24, is “15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place...” And while we will not pretend to see the future, the children of Esau, having returned to rebuild the desolate places and pretending for it to be the kingdom of God, have indeed made its desolation abominable. As it says here in Malachi, they shall build, and He will throw down.
These things never having been fulfilled since the time that Malachi had written this prophecy, their fulfillment must be before us today. Therefore Malachi is indeed the prophet of what we may rather cynically call Christian Zionism, but in truth the Jews are the synagogue of Satan, so the term is actually an oxymoron, as ridiculous and as revolting as if Jacob set aside receiving the love of God for the benefit of Esau, which is exactly what White Christians are doing at the present time as they embrace the antichrist Jews, and which is exactly what Malachi describes here.
But in the end, Yahweh shall destroy them as it is promised in Obadiah, in another prophecy which is not yet fulfilled: “17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. 18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.”
This is true Christian Zionism. So it says here in Malachi:
5 And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.
Now that the children of Esau are rebuilding Palestine, we await the fulfillment of this verse of Malachi. But as we shall see, other prophecies must first be fulfilled.