A messenger would prepare the way for the Lord

Bible passage: Malachi 3:1
Prophet: Malachi
Written: About 2,400 years ago

In Malachi 3:1, the prophet, who lived about 2,400 years ago, foretold of a messenger who would prepare the way for the Lord:

"I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3:1, NIV)

About 400 years later, as described in Matthew 11:10, Jesus proclaimed that John the Baptist was the messenger who had been prophesied beforehand.

John the Baptist helped prepare people for the ministry of Jesus. In fact, he announced that Jesus is the Messiah, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world:

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel."

32 Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God's Chosen One."

The death of John the Baptist is recorded in Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29; and Luke 9:1-9. He was beheaded in about the year 30 AD, by Herod (Antipas), who was one of the sons of King Herod.

His death also was recorded by Josephus, a first-century Jewish historian, who wrote:

" Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist ; for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism ; . . . " - Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XVIII, Chapter 5, as translated by William Whiston.

There is a prophecy from Isaiah, in Isaiah 40:1-5, that also is viewed as being a prophecy about a forerunner, a messenger, who would prepare the way for the Messiah and announce the Messiah. For background, the prophet Isaiah lived about 2,700 years ago, about 300 years before the time of Malachi, and about about 700 years before the time of John the Baptist and Jesus.

- Research and commentary is based on the book 100 Prophecies. © Ray Konig and AboutBibleProphecy.com.