You have made the many stumble at your rulings
You disregard My ways
You have wearied the Lord, with your talk.
But you ask, "By what have we wearied Him?"
By saying, "All who do evil are good in the sight of the Lord,"
And in them He delights, or else,
"Where is the God of Justice?"
God explains through His prophet exactly what it is that "His people" do that He finds so displeasing: The lack of justice makes "many stumble at your rulings" God says to man. "The disregard of His Ways" means the lack of compassion and love as well as of justice. On top of it all, the people show no understanding of what they are doing wrong and "weary" God with incredible statements such as "all who do evil are good in the sight of the Lord" and "where is the God of Justice?" In the first instance, this means that the people mistake evil for good, as evidenced by the false shepherds, they follow and support. In the second instance, the people project their own failings onto God Himself blaming for their own failures, thus washing their hands clean of all responsibility. And so it is, we so easily deceive ourselves, preferring fantasy to reality. Living honestly and sincerely requires effort, courage, and self-sacrifice. Rather than an escape from reality, the opiate of the masses, true religion requires the full engagement of reality with body, mind and spirit. Malachi continues with this confusing passage from another source, the Septuagint.
Malachi 3:1 Septuagint
Behold, I send forth my messenger, and he will prepare the way
before me: and the Lord you seek, shall suddenly come into his
temple, even the angel (messenger) of the covenant; whom you
take pleasure in: Behold, He is coming, saith the Lord Almighty.
(parenthesis from Amplified Bible)
God is speaking through Malachi: "Behold,
I send my messenger
" The messenger of the first sentence is either John the
Baptist or the "greater" John the Baptist to come, both of whom are sent to
announce the coming of a Son of God. First Jesus, and then later Melchizedek in the
Messianic period forthcoming. Just as John the Baptist "prepared the way before"
the Lord, Jesus; the "greater John the Baptist" to come (final prophet) will
"prepare the way before" the Lord, Melchizedek. This verse, "Behold I send
My messenger," can apply equally to both messengers (prophets). This similarity
between the two prophets is why The Urantia Book refers to the final prophet as
"another and greater John the Baptist" to come.
The next key phrase is "the angel (messenger) of the covenant" which appears to be an alternate designation for the "Lord" who comes "suddenly to the temple" in the previous sentence. The messenger of the covenant is a divine being as indicated by the alternate translation "angel" for "messenger," given in the Amplified Bible translation. The covenant is the agreement between man and God that Melchizedek brings to Abraham. The divine, messenger (angel) of the covenant is then Melchizedek and once again, we independently identify Melchizedek with "the Lord/Messiah." Remember, Melchizedek was referred to as "the angel of the Lord" by the writers/editors of Genesis according to The Urantia Book. The angel (messenger) of the covenant is Melchizedek and the author of the covenant is God. Now lets rewrite the passage:
Behold I (God) send forth my messenger (final prophet) and he will
prepare the way before me: and the Lord you seek, shall suddenly
come into his temple, even the angel of the covenant (Melchizedek);
who you take pleasure in. Behold, he (Melchizedek) is coming,
saith the Lord Almighty (God). (parentheses mine)
Next we have:
But first I will step forward to contend against those who have no
fear of me: who practice sorcery, who commit adultery, who swear
falsely, who cheat laborers of their hire, and who subvert the cause
of the widow, orphan, and stranger said the Lord of Hosts
The immediate and direct confrontation with the enemies of God describes Melchizedeks rather than Jesus mission. Who are these enemies? None other than the present power elite of our world; our political, financial and intellectual controllers in positions of power; often behind the scene and out of view.
From the very days of your fathers you have turned away from
My laws and have not observed them. Turn back to Me and I will
turn back to you
I will surely open the floodgates of the sky for you and pour down
You have spoken hard words against Me said the Lord.
You have said, "It is useless to serve God " "And so we account
the arrogant happy because they have done evil and endured; they
have dared God and escaped " But for you who revere My name, a sun of
victory shall rise to bring healing.
God tells us that our rebellion from his laws/ways has been from the ancient times of Israel to present. He does not want to see anybody suffer or "be punished." He simply wants us to turn back to Him for our own good. All who respect and revere Gods name are invited to be healed, made whole, and welcomed into the kingdom of God. Malachi ends with the well known:
Lo, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before the coming of
the awesome, fearful day of the Lord. He shall reconcile fathers
and sons and sons with their fathers, so that, when I come, I do
not strike the whole land with destruction.
"Elijah" to Come
God tells us in the final stanza that He will raise up and send a final prophet "Elijah" before the coming of the Lord (Melchizedek). Who is this "Elijah" and why is he called by this prophets name? John the Baptist came before the Lord (Jesus) but he was not "the Elijah" to come. John the Baptist:
was especially impressed by Isaiah and by Malachi He read and
re-read the last five chapters of Isaiah Then he would read in Malachi
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the
Lord." Johns expectation of the coming of Elijah held him back (from
proclaiming the kingdom) for more than two years. He knew he was not
Elijah He finally dared to think that the first of the prophets was called
Elijah that the last of the prophets (himself) would be known by the same
name. Nevertheless, he had doubts, doubts sufficient to prevent him from
ever calling himself Elijah. Also consider:
the three apostles perceived that He (Jesus) referred to John the Baptist
as Elijah. Jesus knew that if they (the apostles) insisted on regarding him
as the Messiah, then must John be the Elijah of the prophecy. (My parentheses)
In other words Jesus knew he was not the Messiah and that John was not the "Elijah" to come prophesied in Malachi. Jesus agreed to the use of the reference to Elijah only because he knew the apostles insisted on viewing himself as the Messiah. Elijah comes before the Messiah, identified previously as Melchizedek. Therefore,"Elijah" comes before Melchizedek and is the messianic final prophet. Also, ends of ages are very similar. John the Baptist was certainly the Elijah-type prophet for his end of the age, completed in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. In fact, The Urantia Book tells us that:
Sooner or later another and greater John the Baptist is due to arise proclaiming
the Kingdom of God is at hand, Just as John did.
And so we can see that the Messianic final prophet will in some ways be like John the Baptist and also like Elijah in other ways as well.
The Urantia Book calls the final prophet to come "another and greater John the Baptist" because this prophet, like John the Baptist, will also "prepare the way of the Lord," this time the way of the Lord Melchizedek instead of the Lord Jesus. But why is this final prophet called "Elijah" in Malachi? First we need to know more about Elijah himself. The Urantia Book tells us:
In the tenth century before Christ, the Hebrew nation became
divided into two kingdoms (north and south) many truth teachers
endeavored to stem the reactionary tide of spiritual decadence that
had set in but these efforts did not prosper until that fearless
warrior for righteousness, Elijah, began his teaching he was
kept busy overthrowing the altars of Baal and demolishing the
idols of false gods. He carried forward his reforms in the face of
the opposition of an idolatrous monarch; his task was even more
gigantic and difficult than that which Samuel had faced.
(See same page for more information on Baal).
Thus Elijah, one of the greatest prophets, began his teaching as
a defender of the old land mores and against the attempt of the
cities to dominate the country But by this time there ruled in Samaria a
gangster nobility State and church went along hand in hand. The
attempt to suppress freedom of speech led Elijah, Amos, and Hosea to
begin their secret writing, and this was the real beginning of The
Jewish and Christian Bibles.
Elijah was a translated soul of brilliant spiritual achievement
during the post-material Son (Adam) age.
From scripture we have the following about Elijah:
he restores a widows dead son to life.
he declares a drought of approximately two years and ends it with his prayer.
he is miraculously fed by ravens in the wilderness.
he is persecuted by the corrupt King Ahab.
He arranges, on Mount Carmel, a contest between the priests of Baal (450
priests) and the true God. Priests of Baal ask Baal to send down fire on
their sacrifice. After hours of trying, no response is obtained. Elijah is
successful and the sacrifice is burned in a large flame of fire immediately
after Elijah asks the true God to do this. Elijah and the people who
witness the result, seize the prophets of Baal and slaughter them.
he multiplies food of a widow (flour and oil) miraculously.
he converses with "the Lord" in a cave on Mount Horeb.
In summary, the main characteristics of Elijah
are courage in the face of overwhelming odds, miraculous activities, being taken up in a
"chariot of fire," and persecution by the highest leader in the land, King Ahab.
He also stands up against the entire ancient world singlehandedly. Perhaps these will give
us clues about the characteristics of the "Elijah" to come.
The final prophet is referred to by many different names. The Urantia Book calls him "another and greater John the Baptist." Isaiah refers to him as "Gods servant." Malachi calls him "Elijah." The Dead Sea Scrolls refer to him as "the interpreter of the law" and "the Priest." 1Enoch calls him "the dabela" which is a mountain goat with a large single horn. The names are different but the activities and the messianic time of his appearance are all the same. We will return to this topic elsewhere.