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The Three Witnesses to the Day of the LORD

This article will examine the last three of the nine Old Testament prophets who wrote concerning the day of the LORD (or the day of Yahweh/Jehovah). Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament, with only one Chapter. Very little is known about Obadiah, whose name means ‘servant (or worshiper) of the LORD.’

 

OBADIAH

 

The exact date this book was written is unknown. Two theories about its timeline exist. The first theory is that it was written around 843 BC during the reign of Jehoram in Judah. The second theory is that it was written about the time of Jeremiah’s ministry, 627-586 BC. I prefer the latter date, as we will examine in this article.

 

The LORD gave Obadiah a vision concerning the kingdom of Edom and its downfall. The Edomites were descendants of Esau, Jacob’s twin brother, who sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. Edom was a mountainous nation occupying the region southeast of the Dead Sea, including Petra (part of the area in what is now Jordan). Obadiah predicted that God would punish Edom for standing by when Babylon invaded Judah. The Edomites even gloated and cheered on the Babylonians during the siege. They also captured and delivered fugitives to Judah’s enemy and even looted Judah’s countryside (Obadiah 1:10-14).

 

Despite their seemingly invincible mountain home, God pronounced judgment on Edom (and the surrounding nations around Judah) and said they would be destroyed. For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as you have done, it shall be done unto you: your reward shall return upon your own head. For as you have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been” (Obadiah 1:15-16).


This prophecy is the same as that given to Jeremiah 25:9-28 regarding judgment on the nations around Judah by the Babylonians. “For thus saith the Lord God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it.  And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. Then took I the cup at the Lord's hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the Lord had sent me” (Jeremiah 25:15-17).


Obadiah 1:17-21 describes Israel’s final triumph over the surrounding nations during the start of the millennial kingdom. “But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness, and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. 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 has spoken it. And saviors shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau, and the kingdom shall be the Lord's” (Obadiah 1:17-18, 21).


ZECHARIAH


Zechariah is one of three post-exilic prophets, along with Haggai and Malachi. He was the son of Berakiah and the grandson of Iddo, a priest. Zechariah was born in Babylon during the Babylonian captivity. He was both a priest and a prophet. The name Zechariah means, ‘the LORD remembers.’ Haggai and Zechariah both began preaching and prophesying in 520 BC.


Some background information is needed to review the historical events occurring in Babylon and Jerusalem in the 6th century BC. Cyrus the Great, king of the Persians, conquered Babylon in the fall of 538 BC. In 537 BC, Sheshbazzar led more than 40,000 Jews back to their homeland in Judah and Jerusalem. Daniel had a vision of the future the same year, as recorded in Daniel 11-12. In 536 BC, construction work on building the second Temple in Jerusalem began.


However, the Jews stopped construction when opposition arose from neighboring nations. The work on the temple remained dormant for well over a decade until God used Haggai and Zechariah to convince the Jews to complete the project in 516 BC. Most Bible teachers think that the 70-year judgment prophesied by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:11-12) started in 586 BC and ended when the second temple was rebuilt and completed in 516 BC. Others believe the 70-year judgment was from 605 BC when the first group of Jews was deported to Babylon, to 535 BC. Daniel’s vision of the 70 weeks/sevens (Daniel 9:24-27) occurred in 539 BC, so the latter date is more likely. 


Zechariah's primary message was that the Jews should return to God so He would return to them. He exhorted the Jews to renew their covenant with God. Zechariah received eight visions on the night of February 14, 519 BC, as figured from Zechariah 1:7, “Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the Lord unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet.


The first vision concerned the ‘rider on the red horse,’ who is identified as the Angel of the Lord. This was a theophany or an appearance of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. The vision revealed that God would restore Israel in the immediate future, and the temple’s rebuilding would be part of the restoration after the Babylonian captivity.


Without going into great detail regarding all of the visions, the principle is established that God would ultimately judge those who judged Israel and, just as surely, restore Israel in the near future and the end times. Several passages describe the blessings of Israel in the millennial kingdom following the second advent of Christ.


The fourth vision shows Joshua, the high priest, standing before the Angel of the LORD (pre-incarnate Jesus) and Satan standing at his right side, accusing him before the LORD. Joshua and his filthy garments portray Israel's spiritual condition. The Angel of the LORD commanded those standing before Joshua to take off his filthy garments (representing God's act of taking away Israel's sin) and clothe him in God's righteousness. Israel’s ultimate cleansing and restoration will occur when God’s servant, the Branch, Jesus Christ establishes His future kingdom.


The LORD then tells Joshua, “Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you, and your fellows that sit before you: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall you call every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig tree” (Zechariah 3:10). That day is the day (time) of the LORD during Christ’s millennial kingdom. The vision reassured Joshua and the Jews that they should proceed in building the temple and of their ultimate restoration at (what we now know as) the second coming of Christ.


Isaiah mentions the Branch in Isaiah 4:2 and 11:1. “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:1-2). Of course, in hindsight, we know this is a prophecy about Jesus Christ. Jeremiah also mentions a Branch of Righteousness in Jeremiah 23:5 and 33:15. The seven-fold spirit of the LORD is called ‘seven eyes’ in Zechariah 3:9.


The seventh vision is called the ‘measuring basket and the women.’ The vision resembled a measuring basket (called an ephah in the KJV) with a lead cover, and a woman was sitting in the basket. The angel said, “This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah, and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof.” 


“Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven. Then I said to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? And he said unto me, To build it a house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base” (Zechariah 5:8-11).


The ephah was a standard measure of weight and became a symbol of economy. However, this ephah is corrupted, as seen with the addition of lead, giving a false measure. It was to be placed in the land of Shinar, which is Babylonia. During the second half of the seven-year Tribulation, the center of world economy and government will be in Babylon.


This ‘wickedness’ in a basket, representing a corrupted economy, will eventually be fulfilled by the 666 mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-18) where no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. This wickedness in a basket (ephah) that Zechariah refers to could be where we get the idiom “hell in a handbasket,” as whoever takes the mark of the beast will be a partaker of the second death and spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.


“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:10-11).


In Zechariah 8, God assured Israel of her ultimate restoration in fulfilling God’s purpose. This Chapter does not refer to Israel’s immediate restoration but projects far into the future to the millennial kingdom following the second coming of Christ. “Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain” (Zechariah 8:3). Given God’s ultimate purpose to bless Israel, they were encouraged to rebuild the temple (vv. 9-11).


Zechariah 9:9-17 is a dual fulfillment prophecy, with verse 9 being fulfilled during Christ’s first advent, and the rest of the chapter will be fulfilled during Christ’s second advent. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto you: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” (Zechariah 9:9). This event was fulfilled by Jesus (on Palm Sunday) as recorded in Matthew 21. Jesus comes as a Deliver having salvation. He provided personal salvation for those who believed in Him during His first advent. During His second advent (in the near future), Jesus will deliver Israel (and remnant believing  Gentiles) from their enemies.


The promise of future deliverance of Judah and Ephraim is described in Zechariah 10:1-8. The regathering of Israel at the time of the second coming of Christ for the Israelites to possess their Promised Land is mentioned in Zechariah 10:9-12. The prophecy of the shepherds is given in Chapter 11. Some of the prophetic details are not entirely clear. Still, they generally indicate the reason why Israel’s restoration did not take place sooner was because they rejected the Messiah at His first coming.


The thirty pieces of silver mentioned in verse 13 is a prophecy concerning Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus during the Passover in the year Jesus was crucified (Matthew 26:14-16; 27:3-10). Zechariah 11:15-17 speaks of a foolish shepherd. In hindsight (from reading other Books in the Bible), we know these verses refer to the future Antichrist. Verse 17 describes a grievous wound that will be inflicted on him. Judas and the Antichrist are both called the ‘son of perdition’ (John 17:12 & 2 Thessalonians 2:3).


Chapters 12-14 of Zechariah focus on events at the end of the age before the second advent of Christ. The LORD told Zechariah, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.


In that day, saith the Lord, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God” (Zechariah 12:2-5).


The battles described in Zechariah 12 & 14 occur after ‘modern’ Babylon is destroyed. There are many passages of scripture in several books of the Bible that describe Babylon’s destruction at the hands of Gentile believers. Isaiah 13:1-5 is one such passage, where the LORD calls them ‘my sanctified ones’ and ‘my mighty ones.’ Isaiah 14:1-2 describes Israel’s final redemption after Babylon’s destruction. Babylon shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah according to Isaiah 13:19-22. Perhaps a nuclear device or some weapon of mass destruction will be used for Babylon’s devastating destruction.


Chapters 50 & 51 in Jeremiah also describe the destruction of Babylon at the end of the age. The king of Babylon, the Antichrist, will not be in Babylon at the time of its destruction, according to Jeremiah 50:43; 51:31-32. He will be gathering his forces in the Valley of Jezreel in a final attempt to wipe out the Jewish people once and for all. Before the sudden destruction of Babylon, a warning will be given to the Jews who are still there to flee out of the city before it is too late, according to Jeremiah 50:6-8, 28; 51:5-6, 45, 50; and Revelation 18:4-5.


In Jeremiah 51:50 and Revelation 18:4-5, the Jews who escape Babylon’s destruction are instructed to flee to Jerusalem and inform the Jews there of Babylon’s soon-coming demise. As the Antichrist gathers his forces in the Valley of Jezreel, he hears news of his capital city being destroyed. In a rage, the A.C. will move his troops south, and all the nation’s armies will gather against Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:3; 14:1-2). According to Zechariah 14:1-2, Jerusalem will fall into the hands of Gentiles (once again). Half of the Jewish population will be taken into slavery while the other half will be confined to the city to await a later fate.


“The capture of Jerusalem by the forces of the Antichrist will not come easily. God will greatly energize the Jews to withstand the attack to a great degree, causing heavy losses to the armies of the Antichrist. Zechariah 12:3 states that all these nations that burden themselves with Jerusalem will be sorely wounded, and Jerusalem will become truly burdensome to them. The empowerment of the Jewish forces is described in Zechariah 12:4-9. These verses describe God’s providential dealings at this stage of the Campaign of Armageddon prior to the actual intervention by the personal return of Jesus the Messiah.” {1} The Footsteps of the Messiah, by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, pg. 329.


“In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:8-9). The military men in Jerusalem shall be as David’s mighty men as described in 2 Samuel 23. The Holy Spirit shall come upon them in a mighty way, similar to how He came upon Samson.


However, Zechariah 14:1-2 describes the outcome of this battle for Jerusalem. “Behold, the day of the Lord comes, and your spoil shall be divided in the midst of you. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.


The main concentration of Jews will not be in Jerusalem or Israel at this time. They will be in Bozrah, in the land of Edom (present-day Jordan), according to Micah 2:12. The armies of the Antichrist will move southward from Jerusalem to Bozrah in an attempt to wipe out the Jews there who fled Jerusalem at the mid-point of the Tribulation. This is when the A.C. will break the seven-year covenant with Israel (and the many), stop the sacrifices and oblations, and commit the abomination of desolation in the new temple in Jerusalem.


Bozrah will be where Jesus first returns to the earth to “save the tents of Judah first” (before the inhabitants of Jerusalem – Zechariah 12:7). He will save the remnant of Jews at Bozrah before he saves the remnant at Jerusalem (when he first steps foot on the Mount of Olives). Christ’s return to Bozrah is mentioned in Isaiah 63:1-6 (and Isaiah 34). It will be a blood bath. “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come” (Isaiah 63:3-4).


The ‘day of vengeance of our God’ is also found in Isaiah 61:2. Interestingly, Isaiah 61:1 and part of verse 2 were read by Jesus in the synagogue in Nazareth (after Jesus was baptized and then tempted by the Devil) mentioned in Luke 4:16-21. Jesus read (quoting Isaiah), “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).


Jesus stopped at this point and didn’t read the last part of Isaiah 61:2, “…and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.” “And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:20-21).


Isaiah 61:2 reads, “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.” Jesus didn’t finish this verse because he didn’t come to the earth during his first advent to fulfill ‘the day of vengeance.’ He only came the first time to fulfill the goals of Isaiah 61:1 and to proclaim the acceptable year (time) of the LORD. This one verse showcases the first advent, second advent, and the millennium kingdom of Christ.


Jesus will return to the earth at the end of the Great Tribulation, and it will be a ‘day of vengeance’ upon His and Israel’s enemies. After this ‘bad day’ for the bad guys, there will be a time of comfort for ‘all that mourn.’ The rest of Isaiah 61:3-11 describes Israel’s complete restoration during Jesus’ millennial kingdom. “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3).


Zechariah 12:10-14 describes God pouring His Holy Spirit upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ second advent, and the extreme mourning they will feel for their sins against Him. “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.


Zechariah 13:8-9 speaks of the mass casualties of the children of Israel that will occur during the Great Tribulation. “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.”

In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon” (Zechariah 12:10-11). Hadadrimmon could refer to King Josiah, who was killed in the valley of Megiddo. He was greatly mourned by his people (2 Chronicles 35:22-25). Many Bible scholars believe the Jew’s mourning for their Christ (whom they had helped kill) will occur on a future Day of Atonement.


Once the surviving remnant of Israel finally sees and accepts Jesus as their Messiah, the blood He shed on the cross will wash them clean and the life He gave will ransom them, just as it has us. In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness” (Zechariah 13:1). ‘That day’ is the day of the LORD.


‘In that day,’ apostate worship will no longer be tolerated. “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land” (Zechariah 14:2). The Angel Gabriel told Daniel that six things would be accomplished at the end of the 70th week/seven (Daniel 9:24), and one of them, sealing up vision and prophecy, is accomplished here. No longer will God use prophets to communicate with man. He’ll dwell among them Himself and will deliver His word personally. Anyone claiming to be a prophet will be executed by his friends and family, if necessary, to avoid offending the Lord.


Chapter 14 of Zechariah describes the day of the LORD when Jesus returns to Jerusalem after delivering the Jews from the Antichrist’s forces in Bozrah. By the time Christ reaches Israel, His garments are stained with blood from the slaughter of the enemy. “God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise” (Habakkuk 3:3). Teman and Mount Paran are located in the vicinity of Bozrah.


The slaughter of the Antichrist’s forces at Bozrah will continue all the way back to the eastern walls of Jerusalem, which overlooks a section of the Kidron Valley, also known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat. This battle is mentioned in Joel 3:12-13.  2 Thessalonians 2:8 describes the Lord Jesus slaying the Antichrist with the breath of His mouth. This is the A.C.’s second death. Zechariah 14:12-15 describes the manner in which the forces of the Antichrist will be destroyed.


Many commentators have speculated the plague that smites the enemy is a nuclear device, but I disagree. Verse 12 says the LORD will smite them. God doesn’t need man’s help to defeat His enemies. A nuclear device would contaminate Jerusalem and Israel for a very long time into the Millennium. The carnage and bloodshed around Jerusalem is described in Revelation 14:19-20.


After the fighting (slaughter) is finished, LORD Jesus will victoriously ascend the Mount of Olives. “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south” (Zechariah 14:3-4).


The Lord will descend to the Mount of Olives, where He ascended from nearly 2000 years ago (perhaps precisely 2000 years). As He does, an earthquake will cause the Mount of Olives to split in half, forming a deep valley that runs to the Mediterranean in the west and to the Dead Sea in the east. It will run straight through the current Temple Mount just west of the Mount Of Olives. This will cause the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock, the Al Aksa Mosque,  and much of the Old City to disappear into the bottom of this valley.


“On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost. It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime—a day known to the LORD. When evening comes, there will be light. On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name” (Zechariah 14:6-9).


According to Ezekiel 47:1-12, the water that will fill this newly formed valley to create a mighty river originates under the Coming Temple, located a few miles to the north. In his vision, Ezekiel saw the water flowing from beneath the Temple’s south side, and Zechariah showed it doing so on the day of the Lord’s return. Revelation 22:1 also mentions a pure river of water of life proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.


“All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited” (Zechariah 14:10-11).


The Arabah contains the Jordan River and the Dead Sea and continues to the Red Sea. It’s the lowest place on Earth, over 1300 feet below sea level at the Dead Sea. The area south of Jerusalem will be lowered to match it, while the city will be elevated to the top of the mountain. And finally, for the first time in thousands of years, Jerusalem will be secure, a city of peace.  During the days of Melchizedek, the city was known as Salem, which means ‘peace.’ Jerusalem will finally live up to that name.


MALACHI


The Book of Malachi bridges the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is a fitting climax to the Old Testament, in which the last prophetic utterance is recorded until John the Baptist appears in the New Testament. Malachi was a younger contemporary of Nehemiah. The name Malachi seems to mean ‘my messenger,’ and as such, was the last prophet of the Old Testament. He became a prophet in approximately 430 BC and probably wrote His book in the same year.


A little background information is required to understand the times Malachi was living in. The construction of the temple in Jerusalem was finished in 516 BC. The Persian king, Artaxerxes, sent Ezra to Jerusalem in 458 BC to be in charge of Jewish affairs on behalf of the Persian government (many believe this was the year of the start of Daniel’s 70th-week prophecy). In 444 BC, Artaxerxes sent Nehemiah to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall and the city (many others believe this was the start of Daniel’s 70th-week prophecy). Interestingly, there are 14 years between the events of Ezra and Nehemiah, and likewise, there are 14 years between Nehemiah and Malachi (430 BC).


The Book of Ezra was written around 440 BC, and the Book of Nehemiah was written the same year. Malachi encountered the same sins of Israel that had been met earlier by Ezra and Nehemiah. Corruption of the priesthood was a recurring problem. Divorce from previous wives and intermarriages with Gentiles were sins criticized by Malachi. Lack of support for the priests and Levites and oppression of the poor were other problems Malachi wrote about.


As the first verse of the book of Malachi illustrates, the contents were a message from God given through Malachi. The revelation related to six oracles that addressed the sins of the Jews, to which Malachi related the truth of God. 1) They should love God (Malachi 1:1-5). 2) They must honor God (Malachi 1:6-2:9). 3) They were to be thankful as God’s covenant people (Malachi 2:10-16). 4) Their hope should be in God (Malachi 2:17-3:6). 5) They should obey God (Malachi 3:7-12). 6) They should fear God (Malachi 3:13-4:3).


Chapter 4 of Malachi, the last chapter in the Old Testament, refers to the day of the LORD. Verse 1 speaks of the Great Tribulation and the judgment against the wicked unbelievers at the end of the age. “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.


The restoration for those who fear the name of the LORD is found in the following verses, “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and you shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 4:2-3).

The last two verses of Malachi (and the Old Testament) refer to the great and dreadful day of the LORD (Joel called it the great and terrible day of the LORD).  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6).


Many bible teachers believe Elijah and Moses will be the two witnesses of Revelation 11:3, as they were both present with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration according to Matthew 17:1-13. They believe Moses represents the Law and Elijah represents the Prophets.


The Old Testament mentions John the Baptist twice, although never by name. The first time is in Isaiah 40:3, “The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” The second mention is in Malachi 3:1, “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.


John fulfilled these prophecies during his ministry (that preceded Jesus’ ministry), as recorded in Matthew 3:1-3. “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.


In Luke 1, the angel Gabriel informs Zacharias (John’s father) that he and his wife, Elisabeth, would have a son and would name him John. Gabriel also told him, “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.


And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias (Elijah), to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:15-17). The first part of vs. 17 (in bold) is part of a quote from Malachi (Malachi 4:5-6) regarding God sending Elijah the prophet before the day of the LORD.


Jesus had this to say about John the Baptist. “But what went you out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare the way before you” (Matthew 11:9-10). Jesus confirmed that John the Baptist fulfilled Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1.


Jesus continued his remarks about John, “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that 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” Matthew 11:11-13).


I believe Jesus insinuated in Matthew 11-13 that John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament prophets. That means he is not part of the Church, and the New Testament effectively began when John’s ministry ended.


Another passage of scripture that verifies this is John 3:28-29, where John the Baptist tells his disciples, “You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that has the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.”


In Matthew 11:14, Jesus, still talking about John, said, “And if you will receive it, this is Elias (Elijah), which was for to come.” After the Mount of Transfiguration incident, Jesus told his three disciples not to tell anyone of the vision until after his resurrection. His disciples then asked him, “Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come?


“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spoke unto them of John the Baptist” (Matthew 17:11-13).


It appears that John would have fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi 4:5-6 if the people had accepted Jesus as their Messiah. If they had, the ‘great and dreadful day of the LORD’ of verse 5 would have been when Jesus was crucified, as his death still had to occur regardless. No matter how you look at it, Jesus’ crucifixion was a great and dreadful day.


Just as Jesus would not be accepted as the Messiah by the Jews , neither would John be accepted as Elijah. Both would have to come again. The proof of this is that the second possibility of verse 6 ended up being fulfilled. The land was cursed (70 AD destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and the subsequent Jewish diaspora), and the prophecies of a kingdom for Israel were put on hold.

The Hebrew Bible consists of the Torah (the Law), the Nevi’im (the Prophets), and the Ketuvim (the Writings). Moses represents the Law, Elijah represents the Prophets, and David represents the Writings. David wrote most of the Book of Psalm.


I believe Moses and Elijah are the two witnesses of Revelation 11:3. They are also called two olive trees and candlesticks in Revelation 11. “These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth” (Revelation 11:4). In Zechariah’s 5th vision (Chapter 4), he sees two olive trees (verse 3) and a golden candlestick. He asks the angel what the two olive trees (or branches) are. The angel replies, “These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth” (Zechariah 4:14).


According to Ezekiel 37:24 (and other scripture), David will be king (or prince) over Israel in the Millennium, and Jesus will be King of Earth. Moses, David, and Elijah all had a powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit during their ministry and service to the LORD while they were alive on Earth. On the day of the LORD (Rapture—Millennium), we will see them still serving their LORD and KING, Jesus Christ. They are the three witnesses  (representing the Old Testament) to the day of the LORD.


The next installment of our study on the day of the LORD will continue with Pete Garcia. He will discuss what the New Testament has to say on the subject.


Randy Nettles

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Đã xếp hạng 5/5 sao.

I thank you again, Randy, for being an instrument of the Lord to reveal truths of Scripture that most of us haven’t known before. I’ve been studying the OT prophets this year, so this series of articles is such a treasure. Thank you and may God continue to bless you with insight into His knowledge.

Thích

Reggie O
Reggie O
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Outstanding!


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Thank you very much. Once again very encouraging and keeps me strong in my spirit to see signs ahead .

Thích
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