Let’s read Malachi 4:4-6, which are the last three verses of the Old Testament. That says, “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of 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.” This book, and the Old Testament, ends with an exhortation for the Lord’s people to remember the law of Moses. It also ends with a promise to send Elijah ‘before the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”

It is not coincidental that the Lord should lead Malachi to end this important book with a mention of both Moses and Elijah. Moses was the giver of the law, and Elijah was the restorer of the law. Christ, of course, is the fulfiller of the law as we read in Matthew 5:17, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” It was these two men who appeared with the Lord in the mount of transfiguration as we see in Luke 9:30, “And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias.”

Now let’s read Malachi 4:6 from the Amplified Bible, which will help to make its meaning a little clearer. That says, “And he shall turn and reconcile the hearts of the [estranged] fathers to the [ungodly] children, and the hearts of the [rebellious] children to [the piety of] their fathers [a reconciliation produced by repentance of the ungodly], lest I come and smite the land with a curse and a ban of utter destruction.” It was announced to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, in Luke 1:17, “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” I encourage you to read Matthew 17:10-13, where the disciples questioned the Lord concerning John the Baptist and Elijah. John had come in the spirit and power of Elijah, but the people rejected him, even as they rejected the Lord Jesus. Therefore, the fulfillment of the ministry described in Malachi 4:6 is yet to realized. The coming work of Elijah will be to reconcile, or restore, the hearts of the people into subjection of the will of God, so that He will not come and smite the earth. This will happen during the seven-year Tribulation period when the Jewish people are once again taken up as God’s earthly people and a remnant of them will be ushered into the millennial kingdom of the Lord.

And so, the Old Testament ends with the word ‘curse’. At every turn, the nation of Israel had broken God’s law and were left only in despair of the impending judgment of God. But there was One coming. One of whom the prophets had written. One who would bruise the serpent’s head. One who would be made a curse to redeem those who were under the law. One who would act in grace, not the law which could only condemn. God would send His only Son to be the savior of men. We read of Him in Acts 10:43, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” My friend, do you believe in Him for the remission, or forgiveness of your sins? (162.4)