364: Malachi 4:5
The Prophecies of the Messiah: Prophecy 364
The Lord will send Elijah the prophet, to prepare the way for Messiah.
Old Testament Prediction:
Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.
New Testament Fulfillment:
Matthew 3:1-3 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.’ ”
Matthew 11:7-14 As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ 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. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.”
Jesus said that John the Baptist was the fulfillment of Malachi 3:1.
Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me.”
John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament prophets. Jesus said, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” The Old Testament ended with the arrival of John the Baptist who was to fulfill the role of Elijah the prophet, foretold in the Book of Malachi—to prepare the hearts of the people for the arrival of the Messiah. Jesus said that “if you are willing to receive it, he (John) is Elijah who is to come.”
John mission was to fulfill the role of Elijah by boldly declaring that God was keeping His word in Jesus Christ. By these 365 prophecies declared throughout the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament, the word of God is proven true, reliable, and trustworthy.
When the repentant came to John at the Jordan river—in the spirit of Elijah, John called them immediately to repent—to change their minds about sin and agree with God that they are a sinner. Then as a sign of true repentance, the contrite were to cease from continuing in their sins and begin to perform righteous acts.
Some today mistakenly believe that they can continue in a lifestyle of sin while claiming to be “Born Again” and saved by Jesus Christ. This is not possible since repentance requires a turning from sin to live for Jesus Christ. If a person was a habitual liar, he needs to start telling the truth. People cannot continue to tell their lies while claiming that salvation has occurred, and they are a Christian. If a person was unfaithful to their spouse, they need to start being faithful, or their claim to be saved is not valid. If a person was living a homosexual or lesbian lifestyle, they must cease to act on those impulses that caused them to engage in their wrongful sexual behavior. It is impossible to live in a continuing lifestyle of sin while being “Born Again.”
John’s message was repent of your sins, and God will forgive you and grant you eternal life. If you do not repent and continue in those sins, you cannot be forgiven and have eternal life.
Are homosexuals or lesbians worse sinners than the liar? No. Sin is an equal opportunity employer. Once you join, you are simply a sinner who has missed the mark of perfection that God requires. All sin separates us from God. When Jesus was questioned regarding whether some sins are worse than others, here is what He said:
Luke 13:2-5 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?”
Are some sinners worse than others?
Luke records an event that is otherwise unknown to us from anywhere else in the Bible. Apparently Pontius Pilate had ordered the death of certain individuals who were attempting to offer sacrifices. In the process, the tower at Siloam fell and many innocent people were killed. Jesus asks the question: “Were these people who died as a result of the tower’s fall, worse sinners than any other people in Galilee?” Jesus’ answer is “No.” There was no connection between this accident that happened, which resulted in their death, and their own personal sins. This tower at Siloam may have been a part of the wall of Jerusalem, near the pool of Siloam. When it fell and killed many people, God was not personally targeting these individual persons for judgment. Their sins were no worse than any of the others in Israel, or any other person throughout the world.
Luke 13:1-5 There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
We have this idea that some sins are worse than others. In this example of those who were killed by the collapse of the Tower of Siloam, Jesus taught that all sins are equal before God. All sins separate us from our Holy God. Jesus said that unless we all repent, we will all perish (eternally).
Jesus described the tragic death of eighteen people, as an example that all of us are equally guilty before God for our sins. Every one of us needs a Savior, and none of us are worthy of heaven by our own efforts. Only the blood that Jesus has shed for us on the cross is sufficient to pay for the sins of the whole world.
Jesus is able to save us all because His life was perfect, without sin, and eternal—as the Son of God. Having an infinite life of eternal value, He could take our place at the judgment of God and bear the punishment we all deserve.
The liar, the fornicator, the adulterer, the homosexual, and the lesbian are all sinners—equally before God. This truth is declared throughout the Bible: All sins must be repented of, turned from, and ceased in the life of the person who will come to Jesus Christ for salvation. If there is no repentance, there is no salvation.
Unless we all repent of all our sins, we will all perish.
John the Baptist came first before Jesus began His ministry, to prepare the hearts of the people to repent and receive Jesus as their Messiah. John came, as Elijah had arrived during the days of King Ahab to declare that his sin was evil and he needed to repent.
John’s message to the leaders of Israel and everyone in the whole word—was the same—“repent” and believe in the Savior God has provided.
This is God’s plan, not man’s. This is the way that God saves people, not the way that man thinks he is saved by doing good works. There are no good works that anyone can perform that are acceptable to God, until they first repent and turn to Jesus Christ. There is no such thing as a good person apart from those who come to God through Jesus Christ. We only become acceptable to God when we first repent and then receive Jesus as our Savior. Jesus’ sacrifice makes us perfect and perfectly acceptable to God.
John began this message—Repent and believe! Jesus continued the same message and persists in this message to the present day:
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
 Luke 13:3