The Prophet Malachi Prophesied St. John the Baptists's Work and the Advent of Christ.
During the season of Advent Concordia will mediae on Malachi 3. Malachi 3 is a Messianic prophecy that not only foretells the First Advent of the Messiah but also of St. John the Baptist who would prepare the way for Christ.
St. John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ through the Remission of sins (St. Luke 1:77
), namely, the Gospel. By the Gospel through faith men are justified and sanctified and readied perfectl to receive their Holy Lord. Consequently, one sees that St. John the Baptist was not a preacher of hellfire and brimstone, which would not prepare the people for the Lord's coming but drive them away, but rather was, as Luther notes, a preacher of Grace (Luther's Works
, Vol. Luther’s Works
, Vol. 22, p. 44).
The Prophet Malachi prophesied the Angel of the Lord would come immediately to His Temple. In other words, God Incarnate would appear amongst His people, which are His Temple. Jesus is the Angel of the Lord, the Angel of the Covenant, and the God of Israel who led Israel out of Egypt (I Corinthians 10:1-4
). Now He comes suddenly to His Temple because He is Incarnate. Christ comes to His people as the Incarnate Lord to save His people and all men from their sins on the Cross.
Finally, Christ prepares the delivery system of the Blessings of His Passion by purifying the sons of Levi. The Levitical Priests were in charge of the Public Ministry of the Gospel. Through His teaching in the Temple and throughout Jerusalem and Judea, He purified the Public Ministry of the Gospel from the errors that had crept in order to deliver purely the Blessings of His Passion. Martn Chemnitz writes:
We are sure, after all, that He wanted to reveal in the debate of His twelfth year the initial service of His coming office about cleansing the sons of Lev, Mal. 3:3. ... Therefore the Child Jesus is showing with this initial service that it would come to pass that, after He had refuted the corruptions of Pharisaic doctrine, abrogated Levitical worship and rejected the traditions of people, the sound doctrine and true worship of the New Testament was beginning with His ministry. (The Harmony of the Four Evangelists, Vol. I, Book I, tr. Richard J. Dinda, Malone, TX: The Center for the Study of Lutheran Orthodoxy, 2009, pp. 250, 251)
Because Christ Purified the Public Ministry of the Gospel in His First Advent, we know we have God's Pure Saving Word in the Bible.
Christ Redeemed men by the Cross and prepared the Delivery System for the Fruits of His Passion, the Gospel, His Word and Sacraments (Ephesians 5:25-26
Vespers I: “Malachi Prophesied St. John the Baptist and His Work to Prepare Jesus’ Way through the Gospel.”
Vespers II: “The Messenger of the Covenant is the Son of God Incarnate to Save Men from Sin through the Cross.”
Vespers III: “Christ Purified the Sons of Levi, i.e., Purified the Public Ministry of the Saving Gospel, by His Passion for the Salvation of Men.”
Christmas Eve: “Christ was Born to Give Men the Gift of the Gospel through which comes the Gift of Life Everlasting.”
Christmas: “Heavenly Preaching is the Gospel.”