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The authorised KJV translates Malachi 3:1 as follows: "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."

Does the Hebrew grammar of the verse eliminate any of the following interpretations?

  1. The verse is in response to the last part of Malachi 2:17 "Where is the God of judgement?". There will be a messenger who will prepare the way and then God (who the people are wondering where he is in Malachi 2:17, and who the people delight in) who is also the messenger of the covenant (the covenant given to Moses), will suddenly come to his temple. "Behold he shall come" refers to the messenger who will prepare the way, otherwise it would be behold I shall come.

  2. The verse is in response to the last part of Malachi 2:17 "Where is the God of judgement?". There will be a messenger who will prepare the way and then God (who the people are wondering where he is in Malachi 2:17, and who the people delight in) who will also be the messenger of a new covenant, will suddenly come to his temple. "Behold he shall come" refers to the messenger who will prepare the way, otherwise it would be behold I shall come.

  3. The verse is in response to the last part of Malachi 2:17 "Where is the God of judgement?". There will be a messenger who will prepare the way, and then God (who the people are wondering where he is in Malachi 2:17) will suddenly come to his temple, as will the messenger who will prepare the way who is also the messenger of a new covenant, and is a messenger the people delight in (presumably the Messiah). Behold he shall come refers to the Messiah messenger, otherwise it would be behold I shall come.

  4. The verse relates to the last part of Malachi 2:17 "Where is the God of judgement?" but is not a response to it. There will be a messenger who will prepare the way, and then another messenger will come to the God of judgement's temple and this other person will be the messenger of a new covenant, and will be a Lord that the people seek and delight in (presumably the Messiah). "Behold he shall come" refers to the Messiah messenger.

  5. The verse relates to the last part of Malachi 2:17 "Where is the God of judgement?" but is not a response to it. There will be a messenger who will prepare the way, and will also be a messenger of a new covenant, and who will also be a Lord that the people seek and delight in (presumably the Messiah), and that this messenger will come to the God of judgement's temple.

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    Hi. We have a whole site devoted to Biblical Hermeneutics. This question might be better there. – DJClayworth Jun 24 at 21:15
  • Thank you, for both the advice and introducing me to a new word, I will look at putting it up there. – Glenn Jun 24 at 21:37
  • Which of these interpretations of Malachi 3:1 can be eliminated ? - None. – Lucian Jun 25 at 0:36
  • This has now been posed, and answered, on Biblical Hermeneutics. – Nigel J Jun 25 at 5:01
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Actually I don't see the need to try and eliminate various interpretations. How about using some "reasoning" skills/logic to figure out what the Bible says are the messengers.

Isaiah 40:3, "A voice is calling , Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God." Mark 1:1-4, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. vs2, As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold I send My messenger before your face, Who will prepare Your way;

Verse 3, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight." Vs 4, "John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." So we know for a fact the first messenger is John the Baptist. You can also read Luke 3:1-6.

Notice from Isaiah 40:3, "Make smooth a highway for our God." The messenger of the covenant is the preincarnate Jesus Christ known in the Old Testament as "the angel of the Lord." He appears "physically" to the OT saints.

He is also identified as God at various places, "Genesis 16:13, Genesis 22, where He swears to Abraham that He will bless his descendants. And most notably is at Exodus 3 when he appears in the burning bush.

So to sum up the first messenger is John the Baptist. The second messenger is the Lord Jesus Christ who is equated with God and the one who came to "HIS" temple and fulfilled this prophecy.

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  • Thank you for the welcome, and explaining why you would interpret the verse the way you do. You use the NT. I appreciate the feedback, but didn't understand your reasoning that an OT mention of "the angel of the LORD" means Jesus, or feel you tried to answer the question. Out of curiosity regarding John 1:21-23 do you think John was mistaken and that he was Elijah and a prophet but just didn't know it, given that Jesus seemed to indicate he was in Matthew 11:14 and that Luke 1:17 seems to refer to Malachi 4:5-6? – Glenn Jun 24 at 21:59
  • @Glenn John himself said he was not Elijah at John 1:21. The angel Gabriel confronted Zacharias and told him his wife Elizabeth will bear a son, John the Baptist. Luke 1:17 (which you mentioned) is pointing out that John will come in the spirit and power of Elijah. John is not the person of Elijah. The second messenger was Jesus Christ coming to His temple and was also the mediator of the new covenant. Hebrews 9:15, "And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant," In other words, His blood is superior to the blood of animals. Hebrews 10:16, "I will put My laws upon their hearts. – Mr. Bond Jun 24 at 22:53
  • Yes in John 1:21 denies being Elijah and denies being a prophet. But in Matthew 11:14 Jesus states "And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come." AKJV and Luke 1:17 states: "And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, 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.". Both seem to relate to the Malachi prophecy given in Malachi 4:5-6 – Glenn Jun 24 at 23:16
  • My point being is that both seem to refer to:"5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: 6 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." Do you dispute they refer to this text? – Glenn Jun 24 at 23:19
  • @Glen I think Albert Barnes explains Matthew 11:14 quite nicely. bibleapps.com/barnes/matthew/11.htm – Mr. Bond Jun 24 at 23:29

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