“Then they will cry to the Lord, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at this time, because they have made their deeds evil. Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry ‘Peace” when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths. Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision, and darkness to you, without divination. The sun shall go down on the prophets, and the day shall be black over them; the seers shall be disgraced, and the diviners put to shame; they shall all cover their lips, for there is no answer from God. But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.”
There was no prophecy between that of Malachi and its fulfillment 400 years later, as prophesied by Amos and Micah centuries earlier. The Micah reference states the divine origin of prophecy, showing that anyone claiming to prophecy is claiming their speech carries the same divine inspiration as scripture therefore anyone claiming prophecy during the silent 400 years is a false prophet.
Malachi 4:5 reminds us, “Behold. I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes” and we are told in Luke 1:17 “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared”
The silent years ended when the above prophecy of Malachi was fulfilled, at the time that God had specified (Galatians 4:4) The events of the early chapters of Luke’s gospel shatter a silence which has lasted for 400 years. He commences his gospel with the angelic announcement of Gabriel to Zacharias, an elderly priest, that he and his wife will have a son, a son who will come in the spirit of Elijah the prophet, and who will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and will prepare the way of the Lord. The Lord will not remain silent. His final word is found in the preaching of John and in the word of His Son Jesus Christ.
Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning. Grant that we may so heart them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that, by patience and comfort of Your holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for private and congregational use
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved
Grace to receive the Word - Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis