A lot of people understandably think the Bible and prophecy in particular is linear. In other words, they think once a prophecy is fulfilled, that scripture only has historical value after that and it is replaced by the events that fulfilled it. This is simply a misunderstanding, and is easily shown to be so. If you have a Bible that points out quotes (the NASB does a nice job of putting a lot of quotes in all caps) you’ll see scripture quoted all over the place in all kinds of ways, sometimes one verse is quoted several times concerning different events.
Several months ago, for the first time ever I had a dream about a book of the bible: “Malachi”. After reading it (only 4 short chapters), I decided to start memorizing it. That’s when the floodgates of understanding opened up. I’m convinced this book is a prophecy about current times, especially when you look at it through the lens of the New Testament. Let me point out some stuff I think is cool. All quotes are from a Septuagint version of Malachi.
Two Appointments With Desolation
There is so much here, I’ll try to hit the big things first, but I’m going to go through a lot of it. Right off the bat in verses 2-3 we have:
yet I loved Jacob,
and I hated Esau,
This is quoted in Romans 9:13 talking about the Israelites and the Gentiles, of children of physical descent versus children of the promise. Esau was the older of the twins, but missed out on the inheritance. In the same way, the apostle Paul is heartbreakingly stating that the Israelites missed out by refusing to accept Jesus. Considering the full ramifications of the Esau and Jacob story and what it meant for their legacies, this is a powerful, powerful statement. Not only that, but the prophecy in Malachi continues:
and appointed his borders for desolation,
and made his heritage as dwellings of the wilderness.
Ouch! Beginning in 70AD, approximately 40 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection, Jerusalem is sacked and God’s temple destroyed. Later Israel would cease to exist as a nation for about 1800 years. But this is when things get really intriguing, in verse 4:
Because he shall say,
Edom is overthrown,
but let us return
and rebuild the desolate places.
Thus saith the Lord Almighty,
They shall build,
but I will throw down;
and they shall be called
The borders of wickedness, and,
The people against whom
the Lord hath set Himself for ever.
If we continue in the same vein with Esau (“he”) representing unbelieving Jews–the Israelites, the physical descendents of Abraham and not those of the promise in Jesus–then this is especially interesting. They returned to rebuild Israel in 1948! And it even includes about half of the original kingdom of Edom. But the verse says while they will build, God will throw down, and they will be known as the people against whom the Lord has set himself forever! Wow! There’s still one more verse concerning this, verse 5:
And your eyes shall see,
and ye shall say,
The Lord is magnified
above the borders of Israel.
Powerful stuff. Nothing to add there. The whole book is like this to me. When viewed through the lens of the New Testament, it is full of very relevant prophecy concerning modern times.
Despising Holy Communion Means Despising His Name
Continuing in verse 6-7:
Ye the priests are they
that despise My name:
yet ye said,
Wherein have we
despised Thy name?
In that ye bring polluted bread
unto Mine altar;
and ye said,
Wherein have we polluted it?
in that ye say,
The table of the Lord is polluted,
and that which was set thereon
have ye despised.
A lot going on here in these verses. Let’s start at the top with who it was addressed to: the priests. There are two ways to look at this when using the New Testament as a lens. Either the priests are: 1) Those spoken of as being done away with in Hebrews 9-10 and replaced by Jesus as the high priest, or 2) It is referring to every believer as we are all in a sense priests as in 1 Peter 2:5. The tie-breaker for me is Romans 9:4 which says the Israelites were given “the temple service”.
Since most of the book of Malachi is addressed to the priests, this interpretation would mean that most of it is speaking about the old covenant people, the Israelites as called by the apostle Paul which today would be the Jews that still don’t believe Jesus is the Messiah. Finally, another reason I’m leaning away from using 1 Peter 2:5 as a basis for this is because that verse says believers offer spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus that are acceptable.
So, going back to Malachi 1:6-7, we’ve established that it is addressed to the unbelieving Jews. Now let’s skip down to the end and work our way back up since it is kind of a cascading deal. God is angry because they say the table of the Lord is polluted, and the stuff on the table is despised. While this originally was concerning a table in the temple, right now this reads a lot like the eucharist, or holy communion, when we eat as Jesus instructed at the Last Supper. And it would fit that the Jews today say this is polluted and despise the stuff on the table.
But because of it, God views it as polluting His altar, and ultimately despising His name. This certainly does follow if the table in question was the communion table being despised by unbelieving Jews because of the essence of deity that was dwelling in the Messiah.