360: Malachi 3:1a
365 Prophecies: Prophecy 360
The Messiah will send a messenger before His arrival, who will prepare the way for Him.
Old Testament Prediction:
Malachi 3:1a “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the LORD of hosts.
New Testament Fulfillment:
Matthew 11:10 For this is he of whom it is written: “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’
Jesus said that John the Baptist was the fulfillment of Malachi 3:1.
Matthew 11:14 And if you are willing to receive it, he (John) is Elijah who is to come.
John’s purpose was to prepare Israel for the coming of the Messiah. If Israel had received Jesus as the fulfillment of all the Old Testament scriptures when He rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, April 6, 32 A.D., Jesus would have immediately began the Kingdom of God on earth that God had promised. The fact that the leaders of Israel and the people of Jerusalem did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, prevented the fulfillment of this kingdom at that time.
For this reason, John the Baptist could not fulfill the prophecies of Elijah to bring the Messiah’s kingdom to earth. The rejection of Jesus caused a delay in the establishment of a righteous kingdom promised to David, by more than 2,000 years.
If Jesus had been received by Israel as the Messiah upon the preaching of John the Baptist, our world today would be a much different place. God, knowing that Jesus would not be received, set into motion a wonderful plan of salvation for the whole world—by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Had Jesus been received at that time, several puzzling questions would have to be answered. What would have happen to the world if Jesus had not been rejected by Israel and He had not gone to the cross to be crucified for our sins, rising from the dead three days later? If the Messiah had set up the kingdom of God on earth immediately and there had been no sacrifice for our sins, how would the whole world be redeemed?
We can only speculate, because we don’t really know.
My theory is that Jesus would have established a similar scenario that is described in the book of Revelation. Those who survive the seven year Tribulation as mortals and are yet to be redeemed, will enter the kingdom age of the Messiah that will begin at that time and have the opportunity for redemption. Revelation chapter 20 describes those who come out of the seven year Tribulation—being permitted to enter Jesus reign on earth for one thousand years, based on their obedience to His authority. They will enjoy a perfect life free of sickness, disease, and death.
At the conclusion of the one thousand year reign of Jesus, every person who continues in obedience to Jesus as their King, will enter into eternal life, while those who have given their allegiance to satan will be assigned to the Lake of fire, forever.
If Jesus had immediately established His kingdom at the preaching of John the Baptist, then John would have fulfilled his role as Elijah. In the event that Israel had received Jesus as their Messiah, all those on the earth at that time would have the opportunity to go into the kingdom age based on their obedience to Jesus.
Of course, the paradox of this entire theory is, what would have happened to all those who were born—from the time of Jesus in the New Testament—to the present day? It appears that the coming of the kingdom at that time, may have either prevented or eliminated everyone born on the earth after those days. It is also possible, that all of the same people would be born, but under drastically different circumstances—into a wonderful and perfect kingdom of God, with Jesus as the ruler of the world. The possibilities that would exist if Jesus had established His kingdom at the time John of the Baptist’s preaching, are staggering.
A further problem is how the sins of all those who came before Jesus arrival, would have been atoned for. Since those who came before Jesus, were held in “Abraham’s Bosom” (Luke 16:22), waiting for the arrival of the Messiah, had the kingdom been established at that time, all those who died before, trusting in the promise of God’s redemption in a Savior, may have been resurrected at that time, and allowed to enter the kingdom.
The fact is that all of these conclusions are based on speculation. Although astonishing to consider, they were not necessary. Israel did not receive Jesus as the Messiah (as predicted), therefore John the Baptist could not fulfill his role as Elijah. The Lord knew before John the Baptist arrived, that he would not be received, as Jesus was not received. It was because of God’s advanced knowledge of all these events, that every prophecy of the Old Testament was written in anticipation of the Messiah’s rejection.
When Jesus returns to earth the second time, Elijah will arrive before Him, during the seven year Tribulation as one of the “two witnesses”, and prepare the Jews for their Messiah. This appearance of Elijah during the seven year Tribulation will be successful, as all Israel will receive Jesus as the Messiah and enter into the kingdom promised to David, for one thousand years.
Revelation 11:3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”
Romans 11:25-26 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob…
This author believes that the identity of the two witnesses are Moses and Elijah. One of the reasons for this conviction, is that Elijah must return to complete the prophecy of Malachi 3:1. Second, Moses represents the Law, and Elijah, the Prophets. Third, by the powers that these two witnesses exhibit when they are in Jerusalem, making their witness to the Jews that Jesus is their Messiah. Moses has power to turn the water to blood, and Elijah possesses the power to stop the rain from falling.
Revelation 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.
1 Kings 17:1 And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.”
Exodus 7:20 And Moses and Aaron did so, just as the LORD commanded. So he lifted up the rod and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants. And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.
There is a great debate as to who was the greatest prophet in the Old Testament. Jesus settles this argument once and for all. He states that John the Baptist is the greatest prophet, and that John is actually the last of the Old Testament prophets.
Matthew 11:11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Matthew 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
The Old Testament ended with John’s arrival as Elijah to prepare the way for Jesus—the Messiah, who is the fulfillment of all the Hebrew prophecies.
 Isaiah 65:20
 See the Book of Revelation, chapter 20