Scripture Thought (What I Learned):
These last two chapters of Malachi and the ending to the Old Testament have a great deal of importance. First we learn that God does not change; He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He will never change, period. Secondly we learn that God has a marvelous plan for us all, he sent a messenger before the coming of His son Jesus Christ to die for all our sins, so that we could return to live with our Heavenly Father [God] again. God reminds us of the importance of paying a full and HONEST tithe and offering. This of course means 10% of our gain, whether we work for it or it be given to us, it is a gain.
In the last part of Malachi chapter 3 verses 16, we learn of the importance of RECORDS! It states that a book of remembrance was kept by the Lord. I can only imagine that this book contains a record of our deeds, good and bad in this life. The Doctrine and Covenants [A canonized LDS Book of Scripture] digs deeper into the meaning of Malachi 3:16
“…Let us therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an 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.” (Doctrine and Covenants 128:24)
What exactly are the records of our dead? It is GENEOLOGY! It is FAMILY TREES! But on a personal level it is a journal or journals. I think the Lord has made it clear that we need to keep a written journal of our life. When we come before the Lord in that Day of Judgment we can present him with our written journal of our life. However, while we are still here on the earth we can keep a record of our life to hand down to our family to keep as part of the genealogical records.
Finally in the last two verses of the Old Testament we learn of Elijah and how he will come in the “…great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers…” (Malachi 4:5-6) In a vision by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on April 3, 1836 in the Kirtland Temple, Elijah CAME! Elijah restored the sealing power and gave Joseph Smith the keys of the final dispensation. With these keys the hearts of the fathers and children can be sealed together. Families can now be brought together forever through the sealing powers of the Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is the Restored Church of Jesus Christ.
Chapter 3: Tithes and Offerings/ Book of Remembrance
“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) The messenger spoken of in this opening verse of chapter three is John the Baptist. “For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.” (Matthew 11:10)
The Lord will sit as a judge and a “…refiner and purifier of silver…” (Malachi 3:3) and with this the Lord will purify the sons of Levi. The Lord tells them “…Return unto me, and I will return unto you…” (Malachi 3:7)
We are commanded to pay tithes and offerings and the Lord rebukes his people by asking them; “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me, But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:8-10) God has been robbed by the withholding of tithes and offerings. He makes it very clear that we are to pay our tithes and offerings! In the LDS church we pay 10% of our gain to the church as tithes and then once a month we fast for 24 hours, and the money saved from not having those meals is donated to the church in the form of “offerings”. These offerings, which often times are more generous than just 3 meals are used to help members and non-members in everyday need of food, clothing and shelter.
The Lord tells us with surety; “…I am the Lord, I change not…” (Malachi 3:6) The simple fact is that the Lord is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He does not change. Therefore it is important to pay a full tithe and offerings. We learn that those who follow the Lord and fear him will be written into a book of remembrance. “…a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.” (Malachi 3:16)
Chapter 4: The Last Days… Elijah Shall Come (and HE DID)
“…the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and that day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” (Malachi 4:1)
Here the Lord is talking about the end of the world, the time right before the Second Coming of His Son, Jesus Christ. “…the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings… And ye shall tread down the wicked…” (Malachi 4:2-3) The world will be filled with wickedness, but God the Father will send his Son (Jesus Christ) to crush the wicked and save the righteous. God even gave us a sign of the times when He said; “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the Lord: 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.” (Malachi 4:5-6)
What did the Lord mean when He said that Elijah “…shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers…”? (Malachi 4:6)
On April 3, 1836 in Kirtland, Ohio the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery went into the Kirtland Temple to pray, upon finishing their prayer they arose to a vision. In this vision they described; “The veil was take from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened. We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit…” (Doctrine and Covenants 110:1-2) and the Lord said unto them “…I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here… Yea the hearts of thousand and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in the consequence of the blessing which shall be poured out…” (Doctrine and Covenants 110:7&9)
After that the vision closed, and another vision came forth, this time Moses appeared before them and committed unto them “…the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.” (Doctrine and Covenants 110:11)
Again this vision closed, and another vision came forth, this time is was Elijah. Elijah stood before Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and said: “Behold the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi – testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come – 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 ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.” (Doctrine and Covenants 110:14-16)
The KEYS of the FINAL DISPENSATION (A dispensation is a time when God has an authorized prophet on the earth) were given to Joseph Smith as a Prophet in these Last Days by the Prophet Elijah! The Old Testament told us that Elijah would come again, and he did! How glorious is that? The words of the prophet Malachi are fulfilled! With the keys of the final dispensation the hearts of the fathers and children can be sealed together through the temple. Families can be together forever with this sealing power that was given to Joseph Smith by Elijah and passed down all the way to the current Prophet of God’s Restored Church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.