OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 48
Zechariah 10-14; Malachi
- Zechariah and Malachi prophesy of many events of the last days.
- Malachi teaches about the blessings that come to those who pay tithes
- Malachi prophesies of Elijah's return to the earth to restore the keys
of the sealing power.
A study of this lesson should encourage to prepare for the Second Coming
of the Lord Jesus Christ, to pay an honest tithe and generous offerings,
and experience the blessings that come because of the sealing power of
Who Was Zechariah?
- Son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet.
Zechariah was called to minister to the Jews who King Cyrus had allowed
to return to Jerusalem from exile.
- Iddo returned from exile with Zerubbabel.
Date of his mission: about 520-518 B.C.
- They had started to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, but the work lagged
for several years because of difficulties with the Samaritans.
- Zechariah & Haggai came along about 520 BC and inspired them to
finish the temple.
- Judah = Zerubbabel. He was first governor appointed by the Persians
to lead the Jews in their return to their homeland. He had governed for
about 18 years by the time of Zechariah's mission.
- Persia = Darius. It was under his rule that the Persian Empire reached
its greatest extend.
- Judah was still a vassal state to Persia.
- The Jews were unable to claim more than about 1/4 of their original
territory. Other groups, such as the Samaritans, had occupied their territories.
- Those who had returned to Judah were primarily the devout men of Judah,
who had come back to establish religious life and rebuild the temple.
- Their failure to rebuild the temple had brought about a spirit of religious
indifference which was retarding the progress of the people.
Who Was Malachi?
- Nothing is known about this prophet. The name Malachi is not used elsewhere
in the Old Testament.
- Date of his mission: about 460 B.C.
- He ministered at a time when Judah was ruled by a governor.
- Political conditions:
- Judah was a vassal state to Persia.
- A spirit of discontent existed among the people. They had come to realize
that theirs was not the glorious return of which the prophets had spoken.
- A spirit of religious indifference and moral laxity existed.
- People had come to doubt the divine justice of the Lord.
- Priests and temple workers performed their rites in a disinterested,
ineffective manner. Improper sacrifices were being offered.
(Source for above historical data: Duane S. Crowther, Prophets &
Prophecies of the Old Testament)
Events Of The Last Days
Prophecies That Have Been Fulfilled In Preparation For The Second
- READ MALACHI 3:1. The Lord's messenger to prepare
the way for his coming.
READ MALACHI 4:5-6: Elijah to return before the
second coming of the Lord.
- HOW WAS THIS PROPHECY FULFILLED?
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "Malachi speaks of the Lord sending
his messenger to prepare the way before him, and while that does have reference
to the coming of John the Baptist, it is one of those prophecies in the
scriptures that has a double fulfilment. It has reference also to the coming
of the Prophet Joseph Smith, because that messenger which was to come and
prepare the way before him, was to come in this day." (Doctrines
of Salvation, 1:193)
- WHY DOES THE LORD NEED A MESSENGER TO PREPARE THE WAY FOR HIM?
- I think the key lies in the next verse where it asks, "But
who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth?"
If the Lord were not to prepare a people for his coming, who would "stand
when he appeareth?"
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "I can testify that when the Lord will
come, he will, find faith upon the earth. That faith, however, which he
will find, shall be limited to a very small portion of the inhabitants
of the earth, He will not find faith in the nations abroad to any noticeable
extent; he will not find faith among the peoples of the earth who have
not received the gospel as it has been restored. But there will be faith
among those of the house of Israel who have been gathered out from the
nations and who have repented of their sins and received the message that
came through the Prophet Joseph Smith." (Doctrines of Salvation,
- HOW WAS THIS PROPHECY FULFILLED?
- Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland
Temple on April 3, 1836.
- WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ELIJAH'S RETURN?
- Bruce R. McConkie: "No tradition was more firmly planted in
the hearts of Jewish Israel in Jesus' day than the firm belief that Elijah
the prophet would come again to prepare the way before the expected Messiah.
Both John and Jesus were assumed by some to be this ancient prophet come
again. To this day devout Jews set a vacant chair at their table for Elijah
when they celebrate the feast of the Passover. In part, at least, this
universal belief grew out of Jehovah's promise given by the mouth of Malachi"
(The Millennial Messiah, p265).
- Joseph Smith: "The spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is,
that ye have power to hold the key of the revelation, ordinances, oracles,
powers and endowments of the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and
of the kingdom of God on the earth; and to receive, obtain, and perform
all the ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God, even unto the turning
of the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the hearts of the children
unto the fathers, even those who are in heaven....
"Now comes the point. What is
this office and work of Elijah? It is one of the greatest and most important
subjects that God has revealed. He should send Elijah to seal the children
to the fathers, and the fathers to the children....
"I wish you to understand this
subject, for it is important; and if you will receive it, this is the spirit
of Elijah, that we redeem our dead, and connect ourselves with our fathers
which are in heaven, and seal up our dead to come forth in the first resurrection;
and here we want the power of Elijah to seal those who dwell on earth to
those who dwell in heaven. This is the power of Elijah and the keys of
the kingdom of Jehovah....
"We cannot be perfect without
the fathers, &c. We must have revelation from them, and we can see
that the doctrine of revelation far transcends the doctrine of no revelation;
for one truth revealed from heaven is worth all the sectarian notions in
existence." (HC 6:251-252)
- WHY IS IT HELPFUL TO KNOW THE SOME OF THE PROPHECIES THAT PRECEDE THE
SECOND COMING HAVE ALREADY BEEN FULFILLED?
- It enables to see that the Lord is in the process of carrying out his
plan. It encourages us to do our best in keeping the commandments and preparing
for his coming.
Most mornings, before heading off to work,
I like to watch the weather to see what the coming day will bring. Satellite
photos, doppler radar, and observation stations let me know if a storm
is coming. Based on what the weather forecast tells me, I make appropriate
preparations for the day. The fulfillment of prophecies tells me that the
Lord is continuing to move forward with his eternal plan. Knowledge of
their fulfillment motivates me to better live my life and spiritually prepare,
just as I might prepare for the weather events of a particular day.
Prophecies That Are Yet To Be Fulfilled Before The Savior Comes
- READ ZECHARIAH 10:6-8. Judah and Joseph to be
READ ZECHARIAH 12:2-3, 8-9. A great war in Jerusalem.
The Lord to intervene.
- The gathering of Judah and Joseph is being fulfilled in our day.
- B.H. Roberts: "Summarizing these prophetic blessings we may
say, that to the tribe of Ephraim is given the place and honor of the first
born in Israel; that to him pertains the 'pushing of the people together'--Ephraim's
part in the gathering of Israel in the last days; that the seed of Manasseh
is to become a great people, while Ephraim is to become a multitude of
nations--greater than Manasseh, as is becoming to the tribe of the first
born--'they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands
of Manasseh;' that the land possessed by Joseph's posterity is to be peculiarly
great and fruitful, blessed with the precious things of heaven, with the
precious fruits brought forth by the sun, for the chief things of the ancient
mountains, for the precious things of the lasting hills, and for the precious
things of the earth and the fullness thereof; that Joseph is as a fruitful
bough whose branches run over the wall (i. e. his possessions extend in
some way beyond the recognized boundaries of Israel's Palestine inheritance);
that Joseph's arms and hands shall be made strong by the hands of the mighty
God of Jacob; that the God of Israel shall help Joseph and bless him with
the blessings of heaven above, of the deep, of the breasts, and of the
womb (i.e., he shall be blessed in his posterity); that the blessings of
Jacob had prevailed above the blessings of his progenitors, 'unto the utmost
bounds of the everlasting hills,' (perhaps a greater territorial inheritance);
that these blessings of Jacob which had 'prevailed' above (i.e., exceeded)
the blessings of his progenitors, should be realized by Joseph."
(New Witnesses for God, 3:98)
READ ZECHARIAH 14:8. Living waters to go out from
- WHAT IS THIS WAR?
- The Battle of Armageddon. The events described in these verse precede
the Lord's return to earth in glory.
- Bruce R. McConkie: "All the desolation and waste which attended
the former destruction of Jerusalem is but prelude to the coming siege.
Titus and his legions slaughtered 1,100,000 Jews, destroyed the temple,
and ploughed the city. In the coming reenactment of this 'abomination of
desolation,' the whole world will be at war, Jerusalem will be the center
of the conflict, every modern weapon will be used, and in the midst of
the siege the Son of Man shall come, setting his foot upon the mount of
Olives and fighting the battle of his saints. (Zech. 12:1-9.)"
(Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:659)
Many of the prophecies of the last days include tragedies such as war,
natural disasters, and widespread wickedness.
- See the discussion Ezekiel's vision of a river flowing from the temple
in Lesson 44.
- HOW CAN WE MAINTAIN HOPE WHEN WE HEAR OF THESE PROPHECIES AND WITNESS
- If we have studied the scriptures and the words of the prophets, we
know that difficult times are ahead. Brothers Blaine and Brenton Yorgason
wrote a wonderful book entitled Spiritual Survival In The Last Days.
In the first section of the book the Yorgason brothers outline some of
the difficulties that will challenge us as we approach the time of the
Second Coming. They then list some practices that will enable us to spiritually
survive through these difficult times. These include:
- Gaining a personal testimony and what we need to do to accomplish that..
- Sincere and humble repentance.
- Following the Lord's living prophets, which includes:
- Food storage.
- President Wilford Woodruff: "Lay up your wheat and other provisions
against a day of need, for the day will come when they will be wanted and
no mistake about it. We shall want bread, and the Gentiles will want bread,
and if we are wise we shall have something to feed them and ourselves when
famine comes." (JD, 18:121)
- Avoiding debt.
- President Gordon B. Hinckley: "I am suggesting that the time
has come to get out houses in order....
"I urge you, brethren, to look
to the condition of your finances. I urge you to be modest in your expenditures;
discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt to the extent possible.
Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from bondage."
(Ensign, Nov. 1998, pp53-54)
- Living the Word of Wisdom.
- Sexual purity.
- Temple attendance.
- Receive personal revelation.
- Strive to rear spiritually unified families.
- D&C 38:28-30: "And again, I say unto you that the enemy
in the secret chambers seeketh your lives.
"Ye hear of wars in far countries,
and you say that there will soon be great wars in far countries, but ye
know not the hearts of men in your own land.
"I tell you these things because
of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the
wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in
a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which
shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear."
Prophecies That Will Be Fulfilled When The Savior Comes
- READ ZECHARIAH 14:3-4. The Savior will stand on
the Mount of Olives.
- READ ZECHARIAH 12:10 & 13:6. The Jews to recognize
Zechariah 13:2: "And it shall come to pass in that day, saith
the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the
land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets
and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land."
- D&C 45:51-53: "And then shall the Jews look upon me and
say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet?
"Then shall they know that I
am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with
which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted
up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God.
"And then shall they weep because
of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted their
- Bruce R. McConkie: "After his resurrection our Lord showed
his disciples in Jerusalem and the host of Nephite Saints on this continent
the nail marks in his hands and in his feet. (Luke 24:36-43; 3 Ne. 11:14-19.)
At the Second Coming these same wounds will stand as a witness to the Jews
that he is the Crucified One, their King whom they rejected in the meridian
of time. (D. & C. 45:51-52; Zech. 12: 10; 13:6.)" (Mormon
READ ZECHARIAH 14:5. The righteous to be caught
up to meet the Savior.
- False idols, unclean spirits and false prophets will be destroyed.
Zechariah 14:9: "And the LORD shall be king over all the earth:
in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one."
- WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS PROPHECY?
- D&C 88:96:98: "And the saints that are upon the earth,
who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him.
"And they who have slept in their
graves shall come forth, for their graves shall be opened; and they also
shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven--
"They are Christ's, the first
fruits, they who shall descend with him first, and they who are on the
earth and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him; and all
this by the voice of the sounding of the trump of the angel of God."
READ MALACHI 4:1-3. The wicked will be destroyed
and the righteous spared.
- The Lord will be king over all the earth and will rule during the Millennium.
- Bruce R. McConkie: "The keys of the kingdom -- the right and
power to govern the Lord's affairs for and on his behalf -- have been held
by prophets in all ages, but when the Lord comes to reign personally upon
the earth during the millennial era, he will take back the keys. Those
who have held them will make an accounting to him of their stewardships
at the place called Adam-ondi-Ahman at which gathering Christ will receive
'dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages,
should serve him.' (Dan. 7:13-14.) Eventually in the celestial day, 'the
keys of the kingdom shall be delivered up again unto the Father'."
(Mormon Doctrine, p413)
WHY DO YOU THINK THE LORD HAS REVEALED THESE PROPHECIES ABOUT THE LATTER
DAYS, THE SECOND COMING AND THE MILLENNIUM?
- See also Zechariah 14:12-13 and Malachi 3:13-18.
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "It will be impossible for the people
of this class to remain on the earth during the Millennium, for they would
be as much out of their element as a fish out of water. The changed condition
of the earth, which will be of a terrestrial order during this thousand
years, will be suited to the capacity of those of the terrestrial world
as well as those who have kept the celestial law, and they shall have part
in the first resurrection. 'And then shall the heathen nations be redeemed,
and they that knew no law shall have part in the first resurrection, And
it shall be tolerable for them.' (D.C. 45:54.) But with those of the telestial
order, this will not be so. These are they who are as stubble who shall
be consumed when Christ comes, according to the words of Malachi."
(Way to Perfection, pp302-303)
HOW CAN WE PREPARE FOR THE SECOND COMING OF THE SAVIOR?
- D&C 45:34: "Be not troubled, for, when all these things
shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made
unto you shall be fulfilled."
- D&C 45:57: "For they that are wise and have received the
truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been
deceived--verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into
the fire, but shall abide the day."
- President Ezra Taft Benson: "As we live the commandments of
God, we can look forward with joyful anticipation to the second coming
of the Lord Jesus Christ and know that through our efforts we are worthy,
with our loved ones, to dwell in His presence for all eternity. Surely
nothing is too hard to gain this great goal. We cannot let down for a moment.
We must prove, every day of our lives, that we are willing to do the will
of the Lord—to spread the restored gospel, to bear testimony to the world,
to share the gospel with others." (Teaching ETB, p341)
Malachi: Blessings That Come To Those Who Pay Tithes
- Malachi 3:8: "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But
ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings."
READ MALACHI 3:10-12. Bring your tithes into the
- HOW DO PEOPLE "ROB GOD" BY NOT PAYING TITHES AND OFFERINGS?
- Brigham Young: "There is any amount of property, and gold and
silver in the earth and on the earth, and the Lord gives to this one and
that one—the wicked as well as the righteous—to see what they will do with
it, but it all belongs to him. He has handed over a goodly portion to this
people, and, through our faith, patience and industry, we have made us
good, comfortable homes here, and there are many who are tolerably well
off, and if they were in many parts of the world they would be called wealthy.
But it is not ours, and all we have to do is to try and find out what the
Lord wants us to do with what we have in our possession, and then go and
do it. If we step beyond this, or to the right or to the left, we step
into an illegitimate train of business. Our legitimate business is to do
what the Lord wants us to do with that which he bestows upon us, and dispose
of it just as he dictates, whether it is to give all, one-tenth, or the
surplus." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p305)
- Since all that we have belongs to the Lord, for us to not return whatever
portion he requests is robbery. It belongs to the Lord.
- WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO PAY A FULL TITHE?
- First Presidency Letter: "The simplest statement we know of
is the statement of the Lord himself, namely, that the members of the Church
should pay 'one-tenth of all their interest annually,' which is understood
to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than
this." (Mar. 19, 1970)
- WHAT BLESSINGS HAS THE LORD PROMISED US IF WE PAY TITHING?
- The blessings will be so great that there will not be room enough for
- The Lord will "rebuke the devourer" and preserve the fruit
of the field.
- All nations will call us blessed.
- WHAT BLESSINGS HAVE YOU RECEIVED AS YOU HAVE PAID TITHES AND OFFERINGS?
- Often we focus on the blessings to us individually and as families.
We have all been blessed as tithing has enabled the Church to carry forth
its mission. Because millions pay their tithing, there are sufficient funds
to build temples and chapels, aid the missionary work, and pay for the
other temporal needs of the kingdom. Compare the current status of the
Church to that at the time President Snow reemphasized the law of tithing.
- WHAT SHOULD BE OUR MOTIVATION FOR PAYING TITHES AND OFFERINGS?
- President Gordon B. Hinckley: "Now, do not get me wrong. I
am not here to say that if you pay an honest tithing you will realize your
dream of a fine house, a Rolls Royce, and a condominium in Hawaii. The
Lord will open the windows of heaven according to our need, and not according
to our greed. If we are paying tithing to get rich, we are doing it for
the wrong reason. The basic purpose for tithing is to provide the Church
with the means needed to carry on His work." (Ensign, May 1982,
- Fulling living the law of tithing helps us to prepare for actively
living the greater law of consecration.
It is appropriate to end our study of the Old Testament with this lesson.
The events of the Old Testament led up to the time of the Savior's life
upon the earth. Like the people of Old Testament times, we also look forward
to the coming of the Savior, his return to earth. As we have seen, many
of the ancient prophets saw our time and prophesied in great detail about
the events the would precede the Second Coming. We are privileged to live
in a time when we can see prophecy fulfilled. If we live righteously, we
can aid in the fulfillment of these prophecies.
The study of the Old Testament has not been one of just looking at ancient
peoples in their ancient settings. The stories and principles that rang
true thousands of years ago, still ring true today. This makes an ongoing
study of this marvelous book important in our lives. All of the Standard
Works make frequent reference to the Old Testament. We should keep this
in mind as we continue in our gospel study.
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