And I’m Tyler.
And I’m Scott.
This is the Book of Mormon Central’s Come Follow Me Insights .
Today, the book of Malachi.
And we are very excited to welcome our friend and colleague Scott Esplin to join us.
He is a scholar of church history and doctrine and has spent some time teaching over the BYU Jerusalem Center. And so he has some expertise also in the Old Testament. And this is an amazing book to be able to have him come and join us. So thanks for joining us, Malachi.
I’m glad to be here in spite of my church history and doctrine background. Hopefully we can have some insights in Malachi as well.
Malachi is kind of church history, isn’t he?
There is, and we’ll talk about that.
There’s a lot of connections to church history here.
Glad to be here for that.
So let’s begin. Taylor loves saying that the name is the lesson. So what’s the lesson?
So Malachi comes from the Hebrew word that means my messenger. So as you’re reading this text, you will look for the messenger and the message that God is trying to get across. And you wouldn’t be surprised to find that has deep connection to God’s covenants and the truths of the Gospel that he wants embedded in our hearts so we can be covenantly loyal to Him.
So let’s play off that. Scott, from your perspective, how many different messengers through church history and through the rest of the Bible hearken back and have roots in Malachi messengers all over the place?
Thanks, Tyler. And of course, Taylor, that phrase even appears in the text itself. Behold, I will send my messenger in chapter three. We’ll likely talk about that, but good work. Malachi, of course, is rooted in all the books of Scripture. It’s one of the unique passages of our scriptural text that way. And that’s in part why I’m grateful to be here. It appears, obviously, as the concluding chapter in our current Old Testament, but it appears portions of it appear in the New Testament quoted by the Savior. Portions of it appear in the Book of Mormon, again on the Savior’s visit to the Nephi’s in Third Nephi. And then it appears Moroni’s visit. The first time Moroni appears to the prophet Joseph Smith, malachi is quoted. It’s then repeated multiple times in the Doctrine of Covenants paraphrased or quoted a letter, an epistle of the prophet Joseph Smith refers to it from Navu. It sits in Joseph Smith history. The moroni visit? Of course. So it’s one of the few books of scripture with passages that permeate the entirety of our Scriptural canon. And that gives some weight to, I think, Malachi and his message. The messenger and his message.
Absolutely. And so let’s dive into chapter one. We’re going to spend a few minutes in chapters one and two, but we’re probably going to end up spending most of our time in chapters three and four for a very good reason. Because when Jesus comes to visit the Nephites and laminate it in three nephi, once he’s delivered kind of the main points of his lesson about the house of Israel and the Abrahamic covenant and these people’s place in that. He then quotes Isaiah 54, and then he gives them a couple of items of commentary. And then he says, oh, and I’ve got two chapters of the Bible that are not on your brass plates, that they weren’t written in 600 BC when Lehi left. And the Father has commanded me to give them to you, and he’s going to give them Malachi chapter three and four. That should tell us that Heavenly Father thinks there’s some pretty important things in those two chapters. So that’s probably where we’re going to spend most of our time.
And one more thing to look for is the book of Malachi. There’s a variety of ways of looking at it. One is to see how God is essentially bringing a lawsuit against the ancient Israelites and trying to get them to let go of their corruption, their injustice, their lack of righteousness, their lack of faithfulness to Him. And of course, he will lay out what he sees are issues and the people like, what are you talking about? We don’t see why there’s a problem. And they don’t give very strong evidence for where they have not been covenantly loyal to Him and to one another in his covenantal relationships. And then he invites them back into the covenant. It’s this recurring theme throughout the Old Testament. God’s got a covenant and when people stray, he will call people out, sometimes using very strong language to get people’s attention. And always the invitation is, you are welcome back in. So look for that series of God making a legal accusation to people, saying, we don’t see where the evidence is, and then God laying out the evidence and inviting them back into the covenant.
Through repentance with the promise that if they will come back into the covenant, he’ll come back to them. Return unto me and return it to me and I will return unto you. That promise that God will return is.
A beautiful message of that major theme. Also the Old Testament.
So let’s dive in. We’ve seen this wording before in previous Jesus or Old Testament prophets, where it begins by saying the burden of the word of the Lord, and in this case, it’s to Israel by Malachi. So God has given this task, this mission to Malachi. You need to take this and you’re going to speak to the people. You’ll notice the Lord doesn’t usually stand at the heavenly pulpit and get a megaphone and say, okay, everybody, and speak to them. What does he do? He selects chosen vessels, he picks people on the earth and he gives them his authority to speak in his name in first person as if they were the Lord. Oh, what a blessing it is to live on the earth with living prophets, seers and revelators who have been given that divine capacity, that commission. And we see it here. So you’ll see, I have loved you, saith the Lord. So here’s Malachi speaking as if he, I have loved you, saith the Lord. And we’ve talked in previous episodes about the wording when you see here the Lord using words like I’ve loved or in some cases hate, it’s not always the way you and I use these words like oh, I love pizza, or oh, I love you.
These are covenantal words. And Taylor has talked a lot about these in the past. In fact, if you look at it in this context, it says, I have loved you, saith the Lord, yet ye say, wherein hast thou loved us? It’s as if the people are saying, wait a minute, our life’s hard. This is miserable. You don’t really love us. And he goes on to answer, was not Esau Jacob’s brother, safe Lord, yet I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. And some of you read that and think, wow, that’s mean for God to say that.
It just it’s very symbolic language in the ancient world. Love means you’re in a relationship, you’re in a covenant relationship. Hate means you’re out of the covenant, covenantal relationship. And if you look at the Old Testament, jacob was in the covenantal relationship. You have Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It’s not Abraham, Isaac and Esau. So Esau was out of the covenant from this context.
So perhaps before we go any further into into the this text, it would be helpful to understand who is his audience, to whom is he actually speaking, when and where?
That’s great, Tyler. We’ve already mentioned some of those audiences are future audiences that reuse these passages. The Savior reuses them in third. Nefar moroni will reuse them. But Malika had an original audience and we ought to keep that audience in mind also. So Malachi is traditionally dated to around 434, 20, right in there BC. So he is post Babylonian captivity. They have returned, or a portion of the Israelites have returned to Jerusalem, rebuilt the temple. And this is kind of the era we’ve already read about with Ezra and Nehemiah. And that will make sense in some of the context here. When it talks about their lack of complete faithfulness, their lack of complete devotion to God, they’re questioning his presence in their lives. They’re not completely sacrificing, as I think God would intend that they sacrifice. These are people who have come back to the promised land but aren’t fully keeping the covenants associated with that land. Malachi and the Lord through Malachi has a message for them.
Absolutely. This court case, if you will, starts to unfold. So as you said, Scott, they’ve been blessed by the Lord to be brought out of that exile, that captivity. This group has come back. God has prospered them. They’ve rebuilt the city. Now they can perform these sacrifices, but they’re not performing them the way they were told to perform them.
And that’s where chapter one goes. And chapter one and two go into that discussion of sacrifice. Exactly.
Exactly. So let’s start maybe in verse six where he begins with this familial relationship. A son honors his father and a servant his master. If then I be a father, where is my honor? He’s basically saying, wait, in your culture, every son honors his father and his mother. That’s one of the basic ten Commandments. I’m a father, and where’s my honor? You’re not honoring me. And then the people are left scratching their heads, saying, wow, wherein have we despised?
What do we do? What do you mean, what do we don’t honor you. And then he gives, as you said, Taylor, his evidence. You offer polluted bread upon mine altar, back again the sacrifices that are being offered there. And you say, wherein who? We polluted thee. The table of the Lord is contemptible. Verse eight. You offer the blind for sacrifice. Is it not evil? They’re not offering the best of what they have. You see, that continued in the chapter down in verse 13. You complain, you said also, behold what a weariness is it, and you have snuffed at it, sayeth the Lord of hosts, you’ve brought that which is torn, the lame, the sick. Thus you brought an offering. Should I accept this at your hands? Say it. The Lord. You’re not offering your best, you’re offering the leftovers. We are supposed to give to God the first fruits, and they’re not offering the best and they’re complaining about it.
So some of you may be sitting here at this point thinking this is all fine and good, but honestly, that happened in 400 and something BC, and we don’t take animals and bread and put it on an altar and burn it today, so why should we care? You know, I wonder if we looked at the time that the Lord has given us, at the talents, at the resources, perhaps the money that God has granted to us. And if we consider, do we actually give the Lord our very best or do we take care of everything else and then give God the leftovers, the offerings that are polluted, if you will? I think there’s some beautiful points of application to consider in our own individual lives of, am I really giving the Lord his sufficient due of my time and attention every day? President Nelson’s invitation to us was to spend quality, serious time connecting with God every single day. And so maybe we could take this unrelatable example of sacrifices and say, wait a minute, it’s very relatable because I’m supposed to sacrifice things today for the Lord, and perhaps I could consider the degree of my consecration attached to those sacrifices.
Tyler, I like the idea of because sacrifice is such a significant theme in Malachi. The root word and sacrifice, the meaning of that word is to make sacred. And I think what the Lord’s accusation here, what the evidence he’s pointing out is, you’re not making the most important thing sacred, you’re making the leftover sacred. You’re giving me three week old leftover. You’re not giving me the best. I found an interesting one as I was reading it this time that had not stood out to me before, but I know there’s times when I seem guilty of not giving the Lord my best, my best time. You mentioned spending time in the Scriptures, giving time to the Lord in prayer. Are there times, am I giving the Lord my best in those efforts? Or do I give Him the time of day when I’m the most tired? When it’s the end of the day? I tend to give my employer or others my best times when I’m most alert, when I’m most attentive, when I’m most awake. And I’m not sure I’ve always given my Scripture study the times when I’m most alert, most awake, most attentive that I’ve given Him my best.
The other one that intrigued me is in verse 13 when they say, what awareness is it? That phrase hit me. I think there’s times where it’s such a weariness to read my Scriptures, or it’s such a weariness to do whatever it is Lord asks and then to go to church. And I found myself resonating in some ways with the people of Malachi, and.
I could do better, which, if you stop and think about that for a minute, does Heavenly Father need me to say my prayers in order for him to be saved or to be ultimately happy and filled with joy? No. Does he need me to read my Scriptures? Does that somehow bless Him in a direct way? Brothers and sisters, he hasn’t commanded us to pray and read the Scriptures and go to church and worship in the temple because he needs that. He gave us these invitations as connecting points because we need them. We need to find ways to better connect with God, and these are the means whereby he is established, which means we have to sacrifice something. I love this that you pointed out. It’s to make sacred. Look at the word sacrament ment on the end of any word when it’s in a suffix form. If you look up the dictionary, definition is the process or product of whatever it follows. So sacrament is a process whereby we become more holy, more sanctified, more like the Savior. And so it’s this line upon line, I need it every week, and he provides that force.
And so what a beautiful invitation from this first chapter to not have the Lord bring this same case against us and say, really?
Are you treating the invitations I have as a weariness?
Is it really that big of a burden for you? And a binding on your schedule and taxing on your energy to come and do these things to connect with me. So in chapter one, we’ve been talking about the people. Now in chapter two, Malachi shifts his case against a different group of people.
Here in chapter two, the case turns to the priests themselves, those who are offering the sacrifices in ancient Israel. And you’ll see that in verse one. And now, OE priests, this commandment is for you. And he draws them back to their ancestor Levi. In verse five, my covenant was with him of life and peace. But down in verse eight, you are departed out of the way. You have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of Hosts.
What impresses you about that?
Well, first of all, I wonder, did they really understand the covenantal offering that God had provided to them through their ancestor Levi? That would be the first question. And second of all, are they really taking the time in their lives? Were they doing this to study and understand what God expected of them? Now, I’ve tried to bring it to my own life. There are a series of covenantal obligations I have taken as a member of God’s kingdom beginning at baptism. And there are specific promises I make that I renew at the sacrament. And the opportunity of sacrament every week is to ask myself, am I remembering the covenant? Now, this word, corruption is an interesting word. It comes from the word rupture. And when you put the co in front of the word, it intensifies it. So corruption means an intense breaking or intensified rupture of something. So imagine this relationship with God. He’s built this relationship with the people, and they’ve broken it. And if we think in our lives, every week at the sacrament, we are given the opportunity to renew and reenter, to heal any broken rupture. God wants to be in relationship with us.
If there’s any great message we can walk away from the scriptures with, god wants to be in relationship with us. He does not want broken relationships. And sometimes he will call this out very, very specifically with strong language to get people’s attention that something is broken. It’s time for it to be healed.
No, thanks. Taylor I think it’s interesting. In this chapter in particular, one of the things they’ve done wrong is a relationship problem. He calls them out for how they’ve been treating their wives. They’re putting away their wives, they’re marrying strange, the daughters of strange gods. And so they’ve broken the relationship they have with God. In this case, some of them are also breaking relationships they have in a marriage relationship. And God calls them out for, as it says, dealing treacherously with the life of their youth.
In verse four, isn’t it interesting? We have these two summary commandments love God, love your neighbor. And if you are not loving your neighbor, you’re technically also not loving God. So if you are breaking covenant or relationships with people in your family, you are also putting at risk your relationship with God. And we see this in the Book of Mormon or Jacob. He says, General conference, I wanted to give an uplifting message and I have to call you guys out because you’re breaking people’s hearts, including gods.
Yeah. So as we finish chapter two, notice here towards the end of verse 16, he says for the Lord the God of Israel saith that he hate putting away for one coverth of violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts, therefore take heed your spirit that you deal not treacherously. It’s this idea of not just breaking the covenant with God, but breaking the covenant with your spouse. Like he’s saying here, god hates that it takes you out of the covenant with Him when you leave that covenant unrighteously with your spouse. In this context, verse 17, you have wearied the Lord with your words, yet you say, wherein have we worried him? When you say everyone that doth evil is good in the sight of the Lord and he delights in them. Or where is the God of judgment? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it, if these people are looking around saying, hey, look at that nation and look at that nation and look at those people. They’re all worshiping idols and look how much fun they’re having and how prosperous they are. They’re eating and drinking and being married and we want to be like them too.
And that even comes up in the next chapter. We may get there. But if you look over in chapter three, in verse 14, ye have said it is vain to serve God and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance and that we have walked warmthly before the Lord of hosts and now we call the proud happy. Yea, they that wickedness are set up there. It’s pointless to serve God, is what they’re saying. And the proud are happy, the wicked are succeeding. Those attempt God are delivered and they seem to be looking around the world and saying everyone else is succeeding. And they’re it’s not keeping the commandments. And they’re, they’re happy, they’re rich, they’re wealthy, they seem to be healthy and happy and successful and God has an answer for them. In verse 16, I’m keeping track. I have a book of remembrance. It’s written before the Lord and those who do honor me, I will make them into jewels.
They will be mine, he will own them. That’s beautiful.
Briefly on that verse, it makes me think about one of the purposes of the Book of Mormon is to record God’s acts of hessid or mercy or lovingkindness. And one of the ways of reading this verse is that God preserves the Scriptures and invites people to be in the Scriptures on a regular basis because they are the preserved moments. They are some of the preserved moments of God’s loving kindness. So if in your life you’re feeling like your relationship with God or others is strained, you might begin by looking at the scriptures and looking for God’s hand of mercy in the lives of others, and then look in your own life, where have you seen God’s mercy and hesitant and loving kind ofness in your life? And then go and do likewise?
Well, so we’ve spent a lot of time in chapter one and two setting up the problems, right? It’s very clear that they’ve got issues going on. Now, when you get to chapter three and four, we’re still going to see a couple of problems laid out. But the thrust of chapters three and four are on the solution, helping them not walk away feeling ashamed like, well, we’ve messed up and there’s nothing we can do. Chapters three and four are no, here are things that you can actually do to reestablish this connection with the Lord and reestablish the covenant.
That’s intriguing, Tyler, because those are the two chapters that are quoted in Restoration scripture. It’s not going back to the problems over and over again. Chapters one and two don’t get quoted by the Savior. In third ni five, they don’t get quoted by Moroni. Chapters three and four get quoted by both of them. I’m going to give you the solution. We all know what the problem is. Let’s spend some time on the solutions.
That’s a really cool insight that God is very actionoriented, problem solving oriented, more than dwelling on the fact that there’s a problem.
Which, by the way, if you think about that in chapters one and two, we’re standing here in the present looking to the past, the things that the people have done wrong. Or if you want to apply it to yourself, you’re standing here in the present looking to your past, noticing where maybe your sacrifices have been a little polluted or maybe you have been a little halfhearted in your worship and in your devotion to the Lord. But rather than holding yourself hostage to that past, I love this perspective because chapter three and four, if you could sum it up for me in one word, it’s to turn to the Lord. It’s to repent, to return to the Lord. The Hebrew word for repentance is this turning to the Lord, which means I turn away from my past. I acknowledge it. It’s part of repentance. I can’t ignore it, I acknowledge it, I confess it. But then I turn upward and onward on that covenant path. I look to God and I’m going to move forward into a glorious future because of what the Lord offers me. Which, by the way, think about that god who holds worlds without number in his hand.
He’s willing to not hold me hostage to my past wrongs. I just marvel at his mercy, his headset, his willingness to say, Tyler, you can do better and I’m going to help you and I’ll forgive you. I won’t hold you hostage or past, so don’t you hold yourself Hostager, past. So let’s jump in.
It’s interesting, Tyler, too, that when these chapters get quoted to the Nephites or to Moroni, chapters one and two aren’t their past the people that are being taught in certain nephi 24 and 25 when the Savior quotes them? I assume because they survived the destruction associated with the Savior’s death and the subsequent resurrection, I assume they aren’t the kind of people that we’re talking about in chapters one and two. So maybe the Lord is also saying that was their context. But there’s still a message for you in three and four, I presume from my reading of 35, those are good people. Those are people who love the Lord and we’re ready for his coming. And there’s a message for them in chapters three and four.
So can we actually begin in 35 24, verse one, before we jump into Malachi three, verse one, because there’s this little half of verse one that I love it whenever you can get prophetic commentary on when a prophet is quoting scripture, it’s nice to get their commentary. Can I just say, it’s even better when you can get the Savior’s commentary when he’s quoting scripture. So it begins, and it came to pass that he commanded them that they should write the words which the Father had given unto Malachi, which he should tell unto them. And it came to pass that after they were written, he expounded them. And these are the words which she did tell unto them, saying, did you notice this nice pattern? First we get the words as they were delivered, and once we’ve got those, then what does Jesus do? Then he expounded them. What happens every time we hear prophets here’s? The Revelators speak whenever they’re using scripture, they don’t just randomly get up and use scriptures as a QUOTEBOOK and say, just thought you’d like to know that verse. They give it context. They give you the words and then they expound on them.
They teach you what is the lesson for our day. And so as we go through here, you’re going to see how these words have been expounded, like we’ve already said by New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine of Covenants, Pearl, rate, price, Joseph’s, history, kinds of experiences.
You know what you mentioned that I hadn’t even noticed until you read it. Tyler, just again, I’m sure this isn’t the Savior’s primary message, but do you notice in chapter 24 for the Herd, if I how the Savior emphasizes these are the Father’s words to Malachi that he’s pointing as he always does to his Father? And that’s just a subtle thus say if the Father went to Malachi the words which the Father had given unto Malachi, he always gives glory there. And this is another one of those.
Subtle instances, love that so let’s jump in. Chapter one sorry. Chapter three, verse one. Behold, I will send my messenger. There is his name I will send, basically Malachi in this case. 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. Some of you are hearing in the back of your mind handles Messiah music playing because this is one of those famous songs from that incredible oratorio. So notice this pattern before Jesus comes, there always seems to be somebody to come before to prepare the way. The messenger who’s going to prepare that way. And there have been many messengers who have prepared the way before Jesus in his first coming. You could plug in John the Baptist here before his second Coming. We’re going to get all kinds of allusions here to Elijah, to John the Baptist again. You’re going to get Moses in the curtain temple. You get others who come to prepare the way for the coming of Christ. Now that’s all well and good for them and for us, but stop and think about that for a minute.
What an amazing thing it would be if you and I started to see ourselves as a mini messenger of the Lord to help prepare the way for the coming of the Lord, not just into the world for the second Coming, but into people’s lives who maybe are struggling with sitting in darkness in one degree or another. To actually start taking this personally and saying, what could I do to actually apply these scriptures and go and make a difference in preparing the way for the Lord to be welcomed into a home, into a life, into a marriage, into a workplace, into a ward, or into all kinds of other settings. Just something to consider as you move forward.
So, as Tyler mentioned one of those examples, there can be multiple fulfillment of who this messenger could be that will prepare the way before the coming of the Lord. The Savior himself interpreted one passage or gave us one possible interpretation. In Matthew eleven, he was discussing with his disciples the work and mission of John the Baptist. And in verse seven he asks them and as it departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitude concerning John, what went you out to see? And what went you out in the wilderness to see? And then he uses the Malachi passage in verse ten for this is he of whom it is written behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. So at least one of these fulfillment, according to the Savior Himself, is John the Baptist. But I think your point is well taken, Tyler. That’s not the only fulfillment. John the Baptist himself seems to have multiple fulfillment of this. He comes again in the Restoration, as does. Of course, Elijah and other messengers sent by the Lord.
Absolutely. So if we come down to verse two now, it says, but who may abide the day of his coming? So the messenger has come before that day of the Lord and now he’s asking this question. So who’s going to abide? Who’s going to be able to stand there in the presence of the Lord when he comes? Who shall stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fuller’s soap, can you see the Hebrew poetic symbolism coming through here? The repetition of this symbolism? Malachi is coming up with what are the two most intensely purifying things that he could possibly use that would connect with these people. And if you think through it, a refiner’s fire, they all get that OOH that burns so hot that it removes all the dross and iniquity out of this metal. And the fuller’s soap is that really strong acidic soap that’s going to wash clothes that have become soiled and stained. And so he shall sit as a refiner and purify of silver, and he shall purify the sons of Lehi and purge them as gold and silver that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
Which means it’s probably going to hurt if you’re going to purify silver and gold. It means you have to turn up the heat significantly. You have to melt it down in order to be able to get those impurities out of those precious metals. So that what started as precious with some flaws in it now becomes even more precious. I wonder it’s sometimes when you and I go through intense furnace of affliction and trials, if that isn’t the sign not of divine disfavor but perhaps of divine love. And has said again where God is saying, oh, yes, you’re precious, but I need to make you even more pure, more holy. Which means he has to turn up the heat in order to soften us and make us meek, to be able to actually let go of some of those impurities that have become so embedded within our soul.
I like that, Tyler, because in the Malachi context, it seems to be talking about the sons of Levi. And yet in the Restoration, this passage gets expanded to all of us. As you’re doing so, a couple of places you might consider turning. In section 84 of the Doctrine of Covenants, the Lord said through the prophet Joseph Smith. He references this passage in section 84, verse 31. Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses, for the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron of the tribe of Levi shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord. They will offer an offering again, but then it expands. Who can be part of the sons of Moses and sons of heaven? You don’t have to be just Levi. If you look in verse 33, for whoso was faithful unto the attaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, the ironic and Melchizedek and magnifying, their calling are sanctified by the Spirit onto the renewing of their bodies. They become the sons of Moses, and of Erin, and the seed of Abraham, and the Church and kingdom and the elective God, that it’s not just the sons of Levi who are going to be purged, it’s all of us who as we receive the priesthoods in our lives and magnify, our callings will be sanctified.
We’ll be purified and we can participate in the offering. And then the Doctor Covenants throughout makes multiple references to what that offering may be. Obviously there were some discussions in the early period of the Restoration that it could be offerings like Adam did when he left the Garden. There’s passages by Joseph Smith and others potentially talking about that possibility. I love in the Restoration the passage in the Doctrine of Covenants, section 128, which is an epistle. Joseph Smith wrote in NABU, where he gives a different interpretation to what the offering may be. You’ll notice he’s referring to Malachi again, section 128, verse 24. Behold, the great day of the Lord is at hand, who can abide the day of his coming? We just read that passage. And who can stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiners fire, and like fuller soap. And he shall sit as a refiner purifier of silver. He’s quoting Malachi. And he shall purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord and offering in righteousness. Then Joseph adds let us therefore as a church and a people, and as Latterday saints, offer unto the Lord and offering in righteousness.
And let us present in his holy temple when it is finished, a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation our work. For the dead is an offering in righteousness that we can offer to the Lord something we can make sacred, we can make holy, and in some ways fulfill the prophecy in Malachi that the sons of Levi, the sons of Moses and Aaron, those who have accepted his covenants, will offer offerings again in the latter days.
I love that because that’s something that every one of us can do. We can all try a little harder to be a little better in our temple and family history efforts where we can make that offering to the Lord. And it’s not a burden, it’s not this grievous, oh great, I have to go to the temple. It’s are you serious? God is actually opening the doors to his house on the earth and letting me come in to do work for kindred dead, to become a little bit more like the Savior, by becoming a Savior on Mount Zion, and to make this offering in righteousness. What a privilege, what an amazing tender mercy that God has granted us in these efforts.
And it’s not just you and I and those in our age group. You may remember a talk Elder Benard gave a few years ago in General Conference, where he spoke directly to the youth, to the children, and invited them to participate in the spirit of Elijah, as he titles, as he describes it. This work on behalf of our ancestors can bless our youth, can bless our homes, can bless our children. It’s not just those of I guess I’m the only one here who has gray hair, but those of us with gray hair.
Verse five back in Malachi three says and I will come near to you to judgment and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers, and against false swears and against those that oppress the hiring in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right. And fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts. Remember we’ve talked about this before. Every time that he uses this phrase Lord of hosts, he’s not just referring to Lord of a lot of people up in heaven. This is a military term. This is the captain of this huge army, which means he’s coming with judgment. And mercy and justice are both going to be extended by him and this host that he brings with him. What an amazing thing to be able to sign up for. I want to be a part of that host that comes rather than be the target of that host coming in judgment because I’ve refused to spend my time doing what he wants me to do.
I love his next verse, for I am the Lord, I change not. Therefore, the sons of Jacob are not consumed. Implicit in this verse is that God is a God of covenants. The covenant with Abraham was an eternal covenant that everybody who’s connected to Abraham has free access to. There’s nothing that anybody can do to wreck that covenant. Now, you can walk away from it. You can wreck your opportunities to experience the covenant, but you actually can’t destroy the covenant itself because it’s God’s covenant, and the sons of Jacob have full access to it if they’re willing to repent. And so he moves on to the next couple of verses, have this lawsuit where he raises these questions, saying, even from the days of your fathers, you have gone away from mine ordinances or my covenant and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you. Say it. The Lord of Hosts. But he said, Wherein shall we return?
What do we have to do to return? We haven’t moved. Who’s moved here? And it hasn’t been us.
And actually it was it wasn’t God. And God goes on and says, will a man rob God? You have robbed me. Where and have we robbed thee? And he says, in tithes and offerings.
Can I pause here and say how odd that is when you when you look at verse seven and eight together. Because normally when people refer to Malachi three, they instantly want to just jump to verse eight, nine and ten, because those are kind of the key scriptures that everybody loves.
We used to memorize them in seminary when we were in September.
Seminary scripture mastery, these great tithing and offering verses. But did you notice the context? The question that brought on the tithing verses is act there in verse seven where he’s answering the question, return unto me, and I will return unto you. Remember the Hebrew context of turn, or in this case, return unto me. He’s saying, You’ve broken mine ordinances. You’ve broken my covenants. And now you’re saying, okay, so how do I get back to you? How do I turn to you? And now he introduces tithing. He didn’t introduce any of the other laws in 613 laws in the law of Moses, and he didn’t go to any of those. He says, if you really want to return to me, let’s start with tithing. That’s interesting. What is it what is it about this that the Lord is saying, you’ve got to be able to sacrifice this if you want to return to me.
What I find fascinating here is that he then gives them a test. He says, listen, in fact, actually, he wants them to test him to prove Him. He says here in verse nine and ten your curse of a curse. For you have robbed me even this whole nation bringing all the ties into the storehouse that there may be meat in mine house. And prove me now here with Saith, the Lord of Hosts if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there should not be room enough to receive it. I remember the first time when I really captured what he promised here. I happened to be sitting in graduate school, and I talked to a professor about this, and he’s like, yes, good reading. I had noticed this phrase, the windows of heaven. I’m like, Wait, that sounds like the time of Noah where God opened the windows of heaven and flooded the earth. I’m like, Wait, so if I pay tithing, symbolically, god’s going to open the vaults of heaven and flood me with blessings? And the answer is yes. God is saying, I want to do this for you guys.
I’m waiting to open the gates. You guys have the key. And I’ll just tell a very brief story. Some years ago, when I was in grad school, it was actually about the same time I made this discovery. I was feeling pretty stressed out about my financial situation, and I was in an apartment situation. I could hardly afford praying to God for some help. And I was thinking about these verses like, I’m paying my tithing, trying to be righteous. Lord, will you please provide a blessing to me. This is back in Connecticut, and one night in the middle of the night, I woke up to this massive rainstorm and lightning is going off. And I get up and there’s water near my bed, like ankle deep. And I’m in this little basement studio apartment that powers out because of the storm. And I basically have three or four inches of water that is poured into my apartment in the night. I turned to some neighbor friends that were in my ward to help me bail out in the middle of the night. And later what happened is the landlord apologized. There had been a drain that got clogged that they should have unstopped that had flooded my apartment.
And because of that, the landlord, david, we’re going to give you four months of free rent. So I had asked for the Lord to rain down his blessings on me, and I’m like, really? I didn’t need a real flood, but okay, if that’s how you’re going to do things, I will take it. And I think if we all look in our lives at times that we have chosen to trust God, can we see his hand in our oliver? Sometimes in really remarkable ways, sometimes in really mundane ways, and sometimes in ways that probably made God smile. I bet he probably had a good time setting a literal flood, opening the heavens so he could help me financially.
Thanks, Taylor. It reminds me of Elder Bednor’s talk on the windows of heaven. He talks about sometimes there are dramatic forms wherein the Lord pours out his blessings for the obedience to tithing. But there are other times when the less dramatic forms, the ability to better manage existing finances or other means. He shares an example, I think, of his mother in law and lessons that she had taught, and I think there’s plenty of ways these verse could be fulfilled in our lives. So thank you.
And God does tell us not to tempt Him, but it’s interesting here. He says, I want you to prove me. Like, I want to demonstrate to you who I am. Run the test, run the experiment, trust me and see what happens. So the invitation is for all of us. Are we willing to act in faith and show that we trust God? And are we willing to open our eyes and our hearts more to see how he proves to us who he is? And when that happens, we should document for ourselves and we’re appropriate share with others evidence of God’s ongoing mercy.
In some ways, it hikers to the end of that later in that chapter, the reference to a book of remembrance being kept. Yeah, God’s keeping a book of remembrance. A book of remembrance was written before Him for those that fear of the Lord. But you’re wise counsel, we should probably keep our own books of remembrance for us and for our posterities.
Amen to that.
So as we finish this little section on Tithing, stop and think about the significance of the hold that money can have on our soul if we allow it, because, quite frankly, it’s pretty powerful. The more I have, the more I can do, right? And so what is God asking us? To place some of that money on an altar? To sacrifice it as a sign that we love Him more than we love this? And it’s also a test of our faith to say, can the God of the universe actually open up the windows of heaven and bless me in ways that I can’t bless myself by just buying what I need and taking care of my needs with money? And what I have found over and over and over again is that, wow, you can do so much more with 90% of your income and the Lord’s help than you can with 100% of your income with the windows of heaven being closed. And some of you are probably thinking, but I can’t afford to pay tiding. I think if Malachi were standing here, I think he might just say, you can’t afford not to pay tiding, spiritually speaking, because you need that covenantal connection with God.
And this is one of the ways that you return unto that covenant is by paying a full tithe and generous offerings.
Thank you, Tyler. That’s one of the chapters quoted by the angel Moroni, again quoted in 35 by the Savior. We don’t know in Julian’s in the history when Moroni appears the night of September 21, 1823, he quotes a number of Old Testament passages. It references the 11th chapter of Isaiah, the second chapter of Joel, a New Testament passage, the third chapter of Acts, and it gives specific verses by number. What he’s quoting? It doesn’t say. I’m intrigued in this one. I don’t know the answer to this. It does say in verse 36, Joseph History, he first quoted part of the third chapter of Malachi. I don’t know which part he’s quoting. The Savior quotes the entire chapter in 35. He’s only quoting part tomorrow. And I don’t know if it’s this part on Tithing, if it’s earlier part of the messenger, if it’s some other part, but a part of Map, chapter three gets quoted. And then the last chapter, the last verses of chapter four get quoted, but then in this case, it does something different than all the other passages. And maybe we could talk about that if you want to. Joseph Smith says in verse 36 of Joseph Smith History, he first quoted part of the third chapter of Malachi.
He quoted also the fourth or last chapter of the same prophecy, though with a little variation from the way it reads in our Bibles. Instead of quoting the first verse as it reads in our books, he quoted it thus. And then he gives a different quote for the first verse of chapter one, and then he does the same thing with verses five and six. In verse 38. Again, he quoted the fifth verse. Thus he also quoted the next verse differently. And so in the Restoration, these passages are quoted differently by Moroni, maybe for some very specific reasons. And then it’s repeated again in the Doctrine Covenants. In Doctrine Covenant section two, the Church has chosen to put three of these verses in Doctrine Covenant section two.
So, Scott, something that will probably be helpful for many people is to see what are those subtle differences? So perhaps we could we could do kind of a little back and forth here. So I will read, for instance, I’ll start with Malachi, chapter four, verse one, and you’re going to hear it in the context of the Old Testament version. And then let’s go in your mind’s eye into the upper room of the log cabin of the Smith home there and listen to the variation that the angel Moroni gives to Joseph in 1823. So here’s how it reads in the Old Testament context. For behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud yea, and all that do wickedly shall be as stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor brandt this.
Is the Moroni quoting. It’s very similar, but the difference is very subtle if you listen carefully. For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud yea, and all the do wickedly shall burn as stubble. For they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
Interesting. So in other words, Jesus isn’t going to be coming alone. There will be people coming with him.
And I think in this case, it was, the day that comes will burn. In this case, it’s they that come.
Yeah. Now stop and think about this for a minute. In the context of a tree, they shall leave them neither root nor branch. What’s the implication of not having any branches or any roots?
And that will be specific later on in the same chapter when he talks about Elijah coming, because it is Elijah and the priesthood keys that he restores that allows us to be connected to our roots, connected to our branches, connected to our past, connected to our future, our posterity, our ancestors. And so that’s, I think, what’s being hinted at in verse one, and it’ll be explained more clearly in the subsequent verses.
It’s beautiful. Isn’t that how often the Lord uses trees to symbolize not just the house of Israel, but us? Everybody understands a tree, and we can see that symbol, and we can see ourselves collectively and individually in that symbol. And I love how often he keeps referring to that. Now, if you want to skip down.
To verses five and six, that would be where the other changes occur.
So if you go with the Malachi four, verse five, he says, behold, I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord, which ties back to chapter three, verse one, that I will send my messenger and he will prepare the way before me. So here in this context, it could very clearly be Elijah in addition to John the Baptist and others who have filled that role.
One thing that the Doctrine of Covenant does here. Now, as we’ve talked, these passages from Jonesmith history get excerpted out and placed as their own section, the second section in the Doctrine of Covenants. So now I’ll quote from section two, verse one, it explains why Elijah is coming. In the verse you read from Malachi, it just indicates that he’s coming. But here it reveals, it explains what he’s coming for, the intent for which he’s coming. Behold, I will reveal unto you the priesthood by the hand of Elijah the Prophet. This isn’t just a social call. He’s coming back to reveal priesthood. I like the use of the word reveal here. It’s not restore, it’s reveal. Peter, James and John began the restoration of the monarchiestic priesthood. Elijah reveals additional keys that are embraced within the merchant priesthood, in this case, the ceiling power. I will reveal unto you the priesthood by the hand of Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. Now we know why Elijah is coming. It’s not just a social call. It’s not just to turn. And we’ll talk about the word turn in a second, I think too, but it’s not just to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, children, the fathers.
It’s associated with priesthood. What I find interesting here is, well, that’s the way it’s recorded in section two. That doesn’t necessarily make the Malachi went wrong. You’ll notice, and we could talk about this, but you’ll notice in third Nephi, when the Savior quotes Malachi, chapter four, he doesn’t insert reveal the priesthood. He uses the Malachi version of the passage. So Elder McConkey once commented that both are correct, both contain the mind and will the Lord. Both teach true doctrine. Taken together, they give us a full and complete picture of the mission of Elijah. And so I wouldn’t say one’s right and one’s wrong. They just directed to different audiences for different purposes. The Lord is clearly using the base that is Malachi, but in this case adjusting it, I think, because Joseph Smith is going to be a recipient of the visit of Elijah and the revealing of those priesthood keeps.
I love that because that gives us hope that the Lord really means it when he says that he speaks unto us according to our language and understanding that great phrase from second, if I that to the people in the Old Testament, he’s speaking to them, giving them these words and to Joseph Smith through the angel Marana. He’s giving a slightly modified version that’s going to apply directly to Joseph and to the Nephi and Lehmanites. He’s giving a slightly modified version of them. That’s beautiful. Which means then the Holy Ghost can now help you customize these words for your life so that you can liken them to yourself and move forward on the covenant path with greater faith in the Lord, greater trust in him. Now we come down to verse six. 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.
Now, here the changes are a little more dramatic. He shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers. This idea that it’s not just turning or something that Elijah will do without my own agency being involved, but Elijah and his return will plant something in my heart. But I think of the words of Alma, I still need to do something with that. Just because the seed is good doesn’t mean if I don’t act on it that it’s going to grow on its own. I have to water, nurture, care for. And I like the switch of the word from turn to plant. Here he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers. He’s also planting the promises. It’s not just turning the hearts of the fathers and children but planting in my heart the promises made to the fathers. And Taylor has talked beautifully about this idea of covenant. All throughout the Old Testament, there were promises made to the fathers and God will plant in my heart those promises. And then the hearts of the children will turn to their fathers. I like the subtle difference there as well.
You’ll notice the promise is made to the father singular. And then my heart will turn to my father’s. They’re plural. The covenants were the covenants to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the ancestral fathers, the fathers. But once I have that planted in my heart I can now do something for my great grandfather, for my great grandmother. I can do something for my immediate fathers. Once I have the promise planted in my heart I not only can I’m obligated to do something for my ancestors, for my fathers. So you’ll see prophetic statements on this passage teasing out the difference. Here. The father seems to refer to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Their father seems to refer to my own ancestors. Once I have the promises planted in my heart, I can do something for greatgreatgrandpa. You’ll notice there’s also a change in the last part of the verse. We didn’t get there.
Read it again, would you? The last sentence in Malika.
So the last part of verse six says turn the heart of the children to their fathers lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. He’s a little more direct here, isn’t he?
The Doctrine of the Marrone version quoted in the Doctor and Covenants if it were not so, the antecedent to it being worked for the dead, or the turning of my heart to the promises made to Her, Hamilton and Jacob if it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming. It was a waste to have an Earth if we didn’t link families. One of the purposes for sending God’s children here was to bind us in an eternal family relationship. And if I don’t do what is required there, the Earth has been a waste. My experience for coming here was not fully fulfilled. I have Covenant obligations to my ancestors, and I need to fulfill those Covenant obligations or it was a waste.
Billy upon that I heard recently, somebody mentioned this phrase being a good ancestor. It caught me off guard. I had to think about it for a bit, and I thought, wow, Abraham was a good ancestor, and Isaac and Jake were good ancestors, and so are others. And so what I love in this conversation is we’re thinking about how can we benefit our ancestors, but how can we also be good ancestors? To instead of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, all of us, whether we’re parents or not, have influence on those who are coming after us, who are younger than us. Now, it might be in a family, you might be a parent, but eventually, if you’re a parent, you’re likely to become a grandparent and then a great grandparent, and you’re going to pass on, and you’re going to have great grandchildren and beyond. Are you going to be a good ancestor to those descendants? Are we going to be good ancestors, those who will come after us on this Earth? And so there’s many ways we can see this, and there’s clear things that Jesus is trying to share. And I love these insights that you’ve shared from Moroni and the Doctrine of Covenants.
What I’ve been thinking recently, am I choosing now to be a good ancestor to those who will come after me?
You know, I think of President hickley. Don’t be the weak link in the chain of your posterity. Yeah, that’s good.
Thanks to it. That brings up a really fascinating idea of which group do you associate yourself with? In verse four when he says, turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. The hearts of the children to their fathers. If you say, well, we’re the children. And that’s why we do temple and family history work. Because we’re the children. And our hearts are now turned to our fathers, our ancestors, those who have come before us. But this is a great idea that it’s not just the keys that Elijah restores. They’re not just backward looking. It’s not just about family history work. It’s also about family present work and family. Future work. And we live in a world that isn’t exactly friendly to families and to children. Children aren’t exactly valued the way they’ve perhaps been in previous generations, where people aren’t maybe turning their heart as fathers and mothers to potential children and grandchildren, and they can end up living their life for well, what’s in it for me? I want selffulfillment for me, rather than I want to make sure that we as a couple get the children that God had appointed for us.
If that’s the way it works, we want to get all of them here. Turning our hearts forward to those children is a powerful concept attached to the ceiling.
He’s my kids have the advantage of being adopted. They don’t really have to claim me as dad.
I’m sure they’re happy to claim you. Taylor it depends on the moment. I don’t know how much where you want to go here, but I personally love that. As the final message of the Old Testament, it’s a perfect bookend to the text. The text began with a family. It began with Adam and he’s God creating a place. The creation wasn’t just to create a beautiful place. It was to create a place where a family could exist. The book begins with the first family, and it ends with a reference to family. Every book of scripture starts this way. The New Testament begins with the genealogies of Jesus. It’s family. The Book of Mormon begins ain’t having been born of goodly parents, it’s a family. Occasionally dysfunctional, but it’s a family. The Doctrine of Covenants. We’ve already mentioned it. The first section of the Doctrine of Covenants after the preface, which is section one, is section two a reference to family. I see Malachi not just as a fabulous message for his era and in ways that it’s been used across the Restoration by Moroni or the Savior in Third, Ni, Fi or other places, but as a fabulous book.
And to the entire study of the Old Testament. It wraps up some of the major themes. Look in verse four. Remember ye the law of Moses, my servant. Remember the law. Then verse five, I will send you Elijah the prophet. The Old Testament is the story of the Law and the prophets, and the Savior will quote that the law and the prophets, the law, the prophets and the covenant made within families. And those are fabulous themes in the Old Testament. Sometimes people are critical of the messages of the Old Testament, but I think Malachi summarizes incredibly relevant themes. I need to remember the law God has given to his prophets. I need to remember that God sends prophets. And I could do a better job with my family, be that my ancestors or my posterity.
So if we were doing a Cliff Notes version of the Old Testament, these three verses right here might give you a summary of what God’s about. I’m giving you covenantal instructions. We call that the Law, and I send that forth through prophets. And salvation happens in relationships and the families are a key vehicle of those relationships happening where we can practice the gospel.
Families are central to the Creator’s plan for eternal destiny of his children. And nowhere does that come through more clearly than in the Old Testament. The Old Testament is the story of the family and God working through that family to bless the entirety of the family of God. And Malachi finishes that beautifully. I’ve long loved the end of Malachi for how it ends, the Old Testament. The only thing I don’t like, frankly, is the last five words after that the end of the prophets. Because I think we all know this is not the end of the prophets. There are more prophets. I know that’s not what it’s message it’s intending to say, but we certainly believe in more prophets.
And for those out there wonder about that phrase, it simply means that in the Bible, the section of the prophetic writings, it just means, oh, we’ve concluded this part of the book. It also be like saying like, this is the end of the book of Moses, the end of Deuteronomy. So this does not mean this is not a prophecy, this is not a statement of intent. It is simply a description that this particular portion of the Bible has come.
To a conclusion and the Church has even put a footnote there. I e. The end of the books and the prophets of the Old Testament. This is not a message, a theological message about the end of the prophet.
And unfortunately, it’s been interpreted that way, way too often.
But overall, you were right. This is a beautiful way to end the Old Testament. Remember the Law, the covenant made with Moses. I send prophets and salvation occurs in relationship settings like families.
So let’s jump back to where we began into the Book of Mormon now, where Jesus has finished quoting chapter four. So both three and four to the Nephi and Lehmannites. And so if you jump into third Nephi, chapter 26. So he just finished all chapter 25 is the equivalent of Malachi four. And then he opens with this. Now, it came to pass that when Jesus had told these things, he expounded them unto the multitude and he did expound all things unto them, both great and small. Wouldn’t that have been amazing lesson to be a part of, to hear all things expanded, both great and small? And he saith, these scriptures which ye had not with you, seem to imply Malachi three and four. The Father commanded that I should give unto you, for it was wisdom in him that they should be given unto future generations. Can I just pause here and say, jesus is fully resurrected, perfected, glorified, Deified, he’s a God. He’s arrived. His progression seems to be complete at this point. And what is he doing? He’s still keeping commandments from the Father. Oh, if only you and I could get over ourselves when we feel like God is binding us down with commandments and see them as wonderful gifts.
Jesus isn’t complaining. He’s not murmuring about, yeah, my Father commanded and I have to do it. I really rather not. He’s taking delight in doing what the Father commands Him. So I just had to point that out as we pass down through here.
To use Malachi’s words, it’s not a weariness. It’s not a weariness. As an aside, I’m pretty confident, I’m absolutely confident that what we’ve just done with Malachi three and four was nowhere near what Savior did. Expounding them great and small, that would have been a fabulous learning opportunity.
But now here to me is one of the critical points. Verse three. And he did expound all things, even from the beginning until the time that he should come in his glory. Even all things which should come upon the face of the earth, even until the elements should melt with fervent heat and the earth should be wrapped together as a scroll and the heavens and the earth should pass away. Which is alluded to in the way it’s worded in the Doctrine of Covenants, this last verse. If he comes to the earth and everything’s finished up and we don’t have those ceiling keys binding families, then everything was for not it was a waste. The whole earth will be wasted. It is coming now. Let’s get into Church history for a minute, because this is where it comes to Pass. So here’s this prophecy that for generations of Jewish faithful, they are looking at this passage, this promise of Elijah coming before the coming of the Lord. And there are some traditions that are built, some rabbinical traditions, that this prophecy would be fulfilled on Passover, that Elijah would come on Passover. That’s why if you go to a seder service, a seder meal offered by a Jewish family or a Jewish congregation, they will leave a place setting at the table, ready to go.
And at a certain point in their seder service, somebody will get up from the table, go to the door, and open the door to look out to see if Elijah is there. Because that’s the tradition, and it’s a beautiful tradition. So in this particular Section 110, it’s fascinating to me that it’s Easter Sunday and it’s the second day of that Passover season in 1836.
That tradition that you’re looking at. So, as you mentioned, section 110 of the Doctrine Covenants is the revelation that records the visit on April 3, 1836, a Sunday, a Sabbath Day meeting, as it says in section heading, happens to be Easter Sunday. They’re gathered in the column temple. The Colonel temple is about a week old at this point, had been dedicated the week previously on March 27, 1836. Joseph and Oliver, as it says in the section heading in the afternoon, I assisted the other presidents in distributing the Lord’s Supper in the church to the church, receiving it from the Twelve, whose privilege it was to officiate the sacred desk. This day, after having performed this service to my brethren, I retired to the pulpit, the veils being dropped and bowed myself with all the recwary and solemn and silent prayer. After rising from prayer, the following vision was open to both of us. And that vision is more than just oblige, of course. In fact, maybe most importantly, the Savior appears and accepts the house and announces that they are clean. You are forgiven of your sins. You are clean before me prophesies this house and it’s renowned its importance.
It’s fame will spread to all foreign lands and then others start to appear with stowing priesthood keys. Back to what the Doctor CoVents version said I reveal unto you the priesthood by the hand of Elijah the prophet. So Moses comes in verse eleven. We haven’t even talked about this, but it’s in some ways a repeat of the amount of transfiguration where these same individuals appear. And Elijah comes there too. But Moses appears with the keys to the gather Israel. Elias appears with committing the dispensation of the Gospel of Abraham. And then verse 13 and after this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us. For Elijah. The prophet who was taken to heaven without tasting death stood before us and said behold, the time has fully come which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi. My messenger testifying that he, Elijah, should be sent before the great and dreadful day of the Lord to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse. Therefore the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands. And by this you may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors that’s powerful.
And now here we live in this dispensation of the fullness of times where prophets through all the ages past have looked at the quarter of time when they’ve seen our day and they’ve seen this dispensation where the gospel is going to spread. And we have these keys that are given to Joseph and Oliver and then spread from there that are opening these doors to hearts and to nations and to families. And you’ll notice that keys don’t just unlock, but they also help to lock or seal or bind. And keep in mind that those keys were promised to Peter back in Matthew chapter 16 when Jesus tells him that whatsoever you will seal on the earth shall be sealed in heaven, whatsoever shall be loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven, those keys can both bind and seal. And now we live in this day where we have this capacity to seal the whole family of Adam and Eve together.
So Scott, this has been really insightful what would you say in conclusion here at the end of this lesson, the end of Malachi and really kind of the end of our lessons on the Old Testament for the year.
Thank you for your insights. Thank you for all of your work on the Old Testament this year. In some ways, the Book of Malachi summarizes a passage that I love across the entire of the Old Testament. In verse 17, the Lord says, if we will do all the things mentioned in Malachi, if we will keep his covenant, stay in the covenant, and return to Him, verse 17, and they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts. In that day when I make up my jewels, I want to be his. And if I will stay in a covenant relationship, he’ll put his name upon me, I will be his. He’s purchased me. He’s redeemed me. I can be his. It reminds me of a passage earlier in the text, and Malachi refers to remembering the law of Moses. It reminds me of the law of Moses in Deuteronomy, chapter seven, verse seven, seven, eight, and nine. It reads, the Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you because you were more in number than any people, for you were the fewest of all people. But because the Lord loved you and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you out of the house of bond?
Men from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations. I don’t know that we’ve passed a thousand generations yet since those words were spoken. And God keeps that covenant. He loves us. He has mercy upon us. If we will love Him and keep his commandments, he’ll be faithful for a thousand generations. And that’s a message of Malachi and frankly, a message of the entire Old Testament. God keeps covenants for a thousand generations.
That’s beautiful. And as we look at this being kind of a benediction to our study, the Old Testament, what a fitting way to conclude all of these incredible stories and teachings and commandments that we’ve covered this year. My favorite element of this year of study has been that Abrahamic covenant in a nutshell, where God repeatedly told us, I will be your God and you will be my people. That invitation that who am I? That God would be so interested to reach out and invite me into a covenant relationship with Him when I have nothing to give him or wait, do I have something to give him? I think Elder Neelie Maxwell would say, yeah, we have our heart. We have our will that we can place on the altar. And I hope that it’s our hope that as you’ve studied this year, your desire to enter into and stay steadfastly in that covenant connection with God has been fortified and strengthened and renewed from time to time as you move forward. And in closing, I think Malachi, chapter four, verse two, is another beautiful promise for us. But unto you that fear my name shall the Son of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.
I love that because we all need to be healed of various things.
I just feel full of gratitude, having spent time in God’s word and feeling his magnanimous, grace, love, mercy, lovingkindness, and hessed. That it just saturates the Old Testament record. I know that God loves you. I have felt it, and I can feel it through these pages, that he is still reaching out to us today, inviting us in with welcoming arms to his everlasting love.
I love what the Old Testament has taught me about God and his relationship with me as a person. Admittedly, as we mentioned in the introduction, I’m a church history person. But I love the Old Testament. I love its stories, I love its messages, I love its teachings. And I love what it teaches me about God and his love for me. Thank you.
Thank you for being here. So in closing, I also want to add my testimony to the thousands, millions of testimonies that have gone before. God is in his heavens. He holds worlds without number in his hand, but he holds you in his heart because you’re his daughter or his son, and he loves you. And we leave that with you. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen. Know that you’re loved.
Come, Follow Me Insights
Taylor and Tyler are joined by Scott Esplin to discuss the book of Malachi. The three of them explore what the final book of the Old Testamanet has to do with church history.
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