who the messenger is

This weekend, I did two things. {Two pertaining to this post, that is.}

One, I watched the comments on the previous post, “Who is the Messenger?” climb from 0 to 1 {the 2nd comment was mine, so it doesn’t count}. Good job, guys. I’ll assume that means all 70+ of you who viewed the previous post are just as puzzled as I am. {Or maybe you just think I’m crazy. That’s okay. I do, too.}

Two, I studied Malachi 3:1 like a madman and discovered that it was even more complicated than I thought. So that was fun.

Who is the messenger? I have no idea. But here are my thoughts so far.

who is the messenger

“Behold, I send my [1] messenger, and [2] he will prepare the way before me. And the [3] Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to [4] his temple; and the [5] messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold [6] he is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. Malachi 3:1

[1] & [2]: It seems that these two refer to the same person. Some options:

a) An angel
Angels are messengers. Actually, the Hebrew word [mal’ak] is most often translated “angel.” But this is one angel. And he prepares the way for God. {?}

b) Jesus
Jesus was a kind of messenger of sorts. He declared a message. But He was never referred to specifically as a “messenger.” And how is it that Jesus, by declaring a message, would prepare the way for God?

c) A priest

For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. Mal 2:7

d) Elijah

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. Mal 4:5

e) John the Baptist
John the Baptist is the “prepare the way of the Lord” guy, right?

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John.
“. . . This is he of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.'”
Matt 11:7,10 (also Luke 7:24,27)

Helpful, maybe. But notice Mark 1:2-4.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness . . .”
John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness . . .

Now, apparently some transcripts of Mark 1 say, “in Isaiah the prophet,” and some say, “in the prophets.” All mentions of a messenger or messengers in Isaiah seem to be inapplicable.

But, say the answer to our puzzle here is John the Baptist. Our passage at hand says, “. . . and he will prepare the way before me.” “Me” is the LORD of hosts, as you see there at the end of the verse. Jehovah. Not Jesus.

All this to say, my vote is that [1] & [2] are referring to John the Baptist. I reserve the right to study a lot more and likely change my mind, because I am nowhere close to convinced.

Now for [3], [4], [5], & [6]: No worries. This one’s a bit easier. It seems to me that these four all refer to the same person. And I say it’s Jesus.

Who else would they be seeking? Who else suddenly comes to his temple? A messenger of the covenant in whom they delight? All sounds like Jesus language to me. He is coming, after all. The following verses most definitely expound on that idea.

But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he like a refiner’s fire . . . Mal 3:2ff

So there you have it. I’m not a fan of paraphrases, but to clarify my “conclusions” {until further study}, perhaps Malachi 3:1 could be said like this:

“Behold, I send John the Baptist, and he will prepare the way. And the master whom you seek? He is Jesus. He will suddenly take his place in his temple. He is the messenger of the covenant whom you are anticipating. And he is coming,” says the LORD of hosts.

Side note. Funny He says, “I send.” He didn’t send for quite awhile . . .

[image credit: wikipedia commons, journeyoftheword.com]

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