Is Malachi 3 evidence that Jesus is a messenger?

“1 I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years."

A footnote on comparitive religion

"the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

The following verse refers to the Messenger of The Covenant in 3:81 [Surah Ali-Imran | Family of Imran verse 81].

And [recall, O People of the Scripture], when Allah took the covenant of the prophets, [saying], "Whatever I give you of the Scripture and wisdom and then there comes to you a messenger confirming what is with you, you [must] believe in him and support him." [ Allah ] said, "Have you acknowledged and taken upon that My commitment?" They said, "We have acknowledged it." He said, "Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses."

The following is the exegesis of the verse

Allah states that He took a pledge from every Prophet whom He sent from Adam until `Isa, that when Allah gives them the Book and the Hikmah, thus acquiring whatever high grades they deserve, then a Messenger came afterwards, they would believe in and support him. Even though Allah has given the Prophets the knowledge and the prophethood, this fact should not make them refrain from following and supporting the Prophet who comes after them. This is why Allah, the Most High, Most Honored, said

﴿وَإِذْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَـقَ النَّبِيِّيْنَ لَمَآ ءَاتَيْتُكُم مِّن كِتَـبٍ وَحِكْمَةٍ﴾

(And (remember) when Allah took the covenant of the Prophets, saying: "Take whatever I gave you from the Book and Hikmah.'') meaning, if I give you the Book and the Hikmah,

﴿ثُمَّ جَآءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مُّصَدِّقٌ لِّمَا مَعَكُمْ لَتُؤْمِنُنَّ بِهِ وَلَتَنصُرُنَّهُ قَالَ ءَأَقْرَرْتُمْ وَأَخَذْتُمْ عَلَى ذلِكُمْ إِصْرِى﴾

("and afterwards there will come to you a Messenger confirming what is with you; you must, then, believe in him and help him.'' Allah said, "Do you agree (to it) and will you take up Isri'')

Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ar-Rabi, Qatadah and As-Suddi said that `Isri' means, "My covenant.'' Muhammad bin Ishaq said that,


(Isri) means, "The responsibility of My covenant that you took,'' meaning, the ratified pledge that you gave Me.

﴿قَالُواْ أَقْرَرْنَا قَالَ فَاشْهَدُواْ وَأَنَاْ مَعَكُمْ مِّنَ الشَّـهِدِينَفَمَنْ تَوَلَّى بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ﴾

(They said: "We agree.'' He said: "Then bear witness; and I am with you among the witnesses.'' then whoever turns away after this,'') from fulfilling this pledge and covenant, c

﴿فَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْفَـسِقُونَ﴾

(they are the rebellious.) Ali bin Abi Talib and his cousinAbdullah bin Abbas said, "Allah never sent a Prophet but after taking his pledge that if Muhammad were sent in his lifetime, he would believe in and support him.'' Allah commanded each Prophet to take a pledge from his nation that if Muhammad were sent in their time, they would believe in and support him. Tawus, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and Qatadah said, "Allah took the pledge from the Prophets that they would believe in each other'', and this statement does not contradict whatAli and Ibn `Abbas stated.

Therefore, Muhammad is the Final Prophet until the Day of Resurrection. He is the greatest Imam, who if he existed in any time period, deserves to be obeyed, rather than all other Prophets. This is why Muhammad led the Prophets in prayer during the night of Isra' when they gathered in Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem). He is the intercessor on the Day of Gathering, when the Lord comes to judge between His servants. This is Al-Maqam Al-Mahmud (the praised station) ﴿refer to 17:79﴾ that only Muhammad deserves, a responsibility which the mighty Prophets and Messengers will decline to assume. However, Muhammad will carry the task of intercession, may Allah's peace and blessings be on him.

  • The first messenger in the verse, who will prepare the way, is literally "malachi" in Hebrew, so may refer to the writer of the book. A common Christian interpretation is to read it as a reference to John the Baptist – Henry Sep 6 '19 at 13:45
  • @Henry How about the Messenger of the Covenant? What passages indicate that this or is not Jesus The Messiah? – user45796 Sep 6 '19 at 14:17
  • 1
    This question falls on the wrong side of a verse identification question different Christian sects will have different answers to this question. You might want to rephrase it as, "which Christians believe Jesus was a messenger" and if you don't get a Biblical verse out of that you can ask "What is the Biblical Basis for X believing Jesus was a messenger" – Peter Turner Sep 8 '19 at 0:53
  • @Henry IIsaiah 42:6 "I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you, And I will appoint you as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations," ------- "And [recall, O People of the Scripture], when Allah took the covenant of the prophets," – user45796 Sep 10 '19 at 21:18

Is Malachi 3 evidence that Jesus is a messenger?

In Malachi 3:1 there are clearly two messengers. One is the messenger of preparation and the other is the messenger of the covenant, who is also the Lord himself.

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. [Malachi 3:1, KJV.]

Mark highlights this in his opening verses, showing that the messenger of preparation is John the Baptist.

As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. [Mark 1:1, KJV.]

And Mark's whole book indicates that Jesus is the messenger of the covenant prophesied of by Malachi four hundred years before his birth in Bethlehem.

Jesus Christ, himself, is also titled 'The Apostle', a similar title, in Hebrews :

... consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus ; [Hebrews 3:1, KJV]

Jesus Christ is also called the Testator of the everlasting covenant, also in Hebrews :

... there must also of necessity be the death of the Testator ... [Hebrews 9:16, KJV.]

So Jesus Christ is both the messenger of the new testament and also the Testator of the everlasting testament, which may be seen in the title Archegos (Hebrews 2:10 and Hebrews 12:2) which may be translated as 'Founder-Leader' or 'Initiator-Perpetrator' as there are elements of both 'author' and 'prince' in the Greek, see the twin AV translations.

And he is the perfector, also :

Looking unto Jesus the author (Archegos) and perfector of faith ... [Hebrews 12:2, KJV.]

So yes, indeed, being a 'messenger' was an aspect of Jesus Christ's ministry on earth and his ministry from heaven until now.

It was one aspect of the service which the Son of God ministered on earth and ministers from heaven.

  • In your version of the verse it seems there are 4 characters. 1st messenger ( The one who prepares the way of The Lord of hosts, the lord (whom you seek), the messenger of the covenant and Lord of hosts. I have found out in research that ascribing Jesus to be Lord himself (as in Lord of hosts) is a practice that was not during the time of Jesus life but by Paul and whoever was after the death of Jesus. I think it is unfit to call Jesus to be Lord himself in this regard. Surprisingly you quote 3 verses from Hebrews. A book which is thought to be written by Paul. – user45796 Sep 6 '19 at 14:13
  • Could you provide the passages from Mark where Jesus is referred to be the Messenger of the Covenant? – user45796 Sep 6 '19 at 14:15
  • @IdrisAtmani The entire book sets it forth, beginning with verse one and with the quoting of two prophets (Malachi and Isaiah) both of whom prophecy of a preparatory ministry prior to the coming of Messiah. – Nigel J Sep 6 '19 at 16:06
  • @IdrisAtmani Jesus is referred to as 'Lord' multiple times in the four accounts of his ministry on earth viz : Matthew 7:21, 7:22, 8:2, 8:6, 8:8, 8:21, 8:25, 9:28, 13:51, 14:28, 14:30, 15:22 etc etc etc. etc. (And there is no proof whatsoever that Paul wrote Hebrews. It could as well have been Mark, or Luke, but especially Mark as his gospel account bears great similarities.) – Nigel J Sep 6 '19 at 16:12
  • Nigel J Indeed Jesus is said to be lord (kurion) but not YHWH 'Lord of hosts'. – user45796 Sep 6 '19 at 20:59

What is important to notice here is that the first messenger will "prepare the way before me", the Messenger of the Covenant. This fits perfectly with John the Baptist and our Lord Jesus Christ, because the start of John the Baptist's ministry was not too long beofre the start of our Lord Jesus's ministry and in fact their ministries overlapped for a while.

And Malachi says "then suddenly the Lord ... shall come ...", the idea being that as soon as you see the first messenger appearing you should be expecting the Messenger of the Covenant to come.

Notice also that the one inspiring the book of Malachi, like all the books of the Bible, is God. And so God says

"I will send my messenger before me".

What can this mean except that Jesus is God?

The Temple that was in Jerusalem was God's Temple, of course it was. Yet notice that the Messenger of the Covenant will come to his temple. Once again the passage is unmistakeably saying that the Messenger of the Covenant will be God Himself, made man.

Finally, the one coming will be "the Messenger of the Covenant". The covenant being referred to here is the Covenant of Grace. So, this passage has nothing to do with Mohammed because Mohammed did not teach or understand this Covenant, he only knew the Covenant of Works. No one can understand it unless God work in their lives and open their understanding. And so the only Muslims since then to understand the Covenant of Grace are those who have turned to Christ and become Christians. As for the rest of Muslims, just like the rest of mankind their hearts and minds are darkened.

In the Covenant of Works we try (and fail) to get right with God by our own efforts, in the Covenant of Grace we succeed in getting right with God by the sinless, perfect, efforts of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

How do we know the covenant being referred to is the Covenant of Grace? Because that was the life ministry of Christ, to teach of God's grace to sinners, through the sacrifice of himself:

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spoke, 'He that comes after me is preferred before me, for he was before me.' And of his fulness have we all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man has seen God at any time: the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him. (John 1:14-18)

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Peter Turner Sep 8 '19 at 0:47
  • @PeterTurner I do believe 1 comment has a place in the comment section. Regarding the translation of 'Before Me' as in facing before me rather than preceding me. The person answering makes a conclusion based on an incorrect understanding of the translation. It should therefore be clarified for everyone in the comment section. – user45796 Sep 8 '19 at 13:21

The key to unlock the teaching lies in the Scripture text :

Matthew 11 (NIV)

17"'We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.'

In other words, John's message prophesied a curse, and the message of Christ promised a blessing.

Both messages came true, one in the destruction of the Temple, the other in the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham, that the world would be blessed through his descendants, in Christ. Both based on the response of its recipients to the message to leave selfish living, to serve God through selflessness, because wrath awaited the disobedient, and the Kingdom awaited those who obeyed.

The narrative finds its parallel in the Exodus event. God teaches Israel that leaving selfish living has brought the Kingdom, the intrusion of God in the lives of believers, within reach. Because of unbelief, in spite of feeding bread from heaven, nourishment encouraging faith, Israel failed, and God sent leanness into their lives, depicted by John living in poor conditions in the wilderness.

In contrast, those who let the teaching take root, who benefited from drinking from the Rock, who were edified through spiritual food, entered Rest, the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey, as depicted by the extra loaves and fishes Christ supplied.

Just as God encouraged seeking of His Kingdom, His eternal partnering with His People, through leaving self centred living, in the Exodus, by providing in abundance, Christ encouraged the same in His ministry, through similar abundance.

Mark 8

14And they had forgotten to take bread, and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them. 15And He was giving orders to them, saying, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16They began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? 18“HAVING EYES, DO YOU NOT SEE? AND HAVING EARS, DO YOU NOT HEAR? And do you not remember, 19when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” 20“When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?” And they said to Him, “Seven.” 21And He was saying to them, “Do you not yet understand?”