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TitleMalachi, Prophecies of
Publication TypeEncyclopedia Entry
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsHorton, Jr., George A.
Secondary AuthorsLudlow, Daniel H.
Secondary TitleEncyclopedia of Mormonism
Place PublishedNew York
Keywords3 Nephi; Early Church History; Elijah (Prophet); Malachi (Prophet); Prophecy; Sacrifice; Spirit of Elijah; Tithing
Citation Key587

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Malachi, Prophecies of

Author: Horton, George A.

The importance of Malachi's prophecies is reflected in their prominence in nonbiblical LDS scriptures. For example, the resurrected Jesus instructed hearers in the Western Hemisphere (c. A.D. 34) to include Malachi 3 and 4 with their records (3 Ne. 24-25), and references to Malachi's prophecies appear in the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. Those prophecies pertaining to the latter days concern (1) the Lord's latter-day advent; (2) the messenger sent to prepare his way; (3) the sons of Levi and their offering; (4) tithing; (5) the lot of the wicked; and (6) Elijah's mission. Some of his timeless teachings pertain to such matters as the fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man (Mal. 2:10), the problems of divorce (2:14-16), and problems of immorality (3:5-6).

Malachi prophesied that the Lord would come suddenly to his temple (Mal. 3:1). Latter-day Saints believe that one such appearance occurred in the Kirtland Temple when Jesus appeared there in 1836. Other messengers also restored keys (D&C 110), making possible the "complete salvation and exaltation of all who are willing to obey the gospel" (Smith 2:47; see also Jesus Christ: Latter-Day Appearances of Jesus Christ).

The "messenger" sent to prepare the way (Mal. 3:1) can refer to all messengers whom God may send to restore blessings and authority lost through apostasy (see Elias). Most messengers who have assisted in establishing the latter-day kingdom of God have bestowed priesthood powers and keys vital to the authoritative performance of saving ordinances (D&C 1:17-18;128:20-21).

The Lord promised that he will "purge" the Levites so that they will become worthy to function again (Mal. 3:3). When he has done this, he will direct the restoration of sacrifices (cf. D&C 13). Joseph Smith wrote that the "offering of [animal] sacrifice has ever been connected and forms a part of the duties of the Priesthood. It began with the Priesthood, and will be continued until after the coming of Christ…when the [Aaronic] Priesthood is restored with all its authority, power and blessings" (HC 4:211).

Malachi emphasizes tithing. Indicting those who have "gone away" by failing to pay tithes and offerings, the Lord promises that if they will return, "I will return" (Mal. 3:7). The principle of tithing, which was practiced as early as Abraham (cf. Gen. 14:20;28:22), has been renewed in the latter days (D&C 119:4), and blessings are assured for those who give tithes and offerings. The "windows of heaven will be opened," including the pouring out of "revelations" as a reward for such sacrifice (Lee, p. 16).

In the last days, trouble awaits the wicked. "The day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; …and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble." They shall be burned, leaving neither "root [ancestors] nor branch [children]" (Mal. 4:1; cf. T. Burton, IE 70 [Dec. 1967]:80-82). This burning "is not a figure of speech" (Smith, Vol. 1, p. 238). "It may be…that nothing except the power of faith and the authority of the priesthood can save individuals" (McConkie, p. 93). But the "Sun of righteousness" (Mal. 4:2; cf. 3 Ne. 25:2) will bring the healing power of the resurrection and redemption (2 Ne. 25:13), and the righteous will be nourished "as calves of the stall" because of their obedience to the Lord (1 Ne. 22:24).

Malachi's prophecies climax with the mission of Elijah, which receives prominent attention in latter-day sacred writings. During the angel Moroni's visits to Joseph Smith in 1823, he quoted Malachi 4:5-6with modifications: "Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to their fathers…. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming" (JS-H 1:38-39). In fulfillment, Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836 (Passover time), and restored the sealing powers (D&C 110:13-16).

Speaking of Malachi 4:5-6,Joseph Smith asked, "How is [this prophecy] to be fulfilled? The keys are to be delivered, the spirit of Elijah is to come, the Gospel to be established, the Saints of God gathered, Zion built up, and the Saints to come up as saviors on Mount Zion. But how?…By building their temples…and receiving all the ordinances, baptisms, confirmations, washings, anointings, ordinations and sealing powers upon their heads, in behalf of all their progenitors who are dead, and redeem them; …and herein is the chain that binds the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, which fulfills the mission of Elijah" (HC 6:184). If this eternal goal could not be achieved, one of the major purposes of the plan of redemption would fail.

An integral part of this plan is to "further the work of turning the hearts of the children to the fathers by getting…sacred family records in order. These records, including especially the "book containing the records of our dead' (D&C 128:24), are a portion of the "offering in righteousness' referred to by Malachi (3:3), which we are to present in His holy temple, and without which we shall not abide the day of His coming" (Kimball, pp. 542-43; see also Genealogy, Family History).


Kimball, Spencer W. The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball. Salt Lake City, 1982.

Lee, Harold B. "The Way to Eternal Life." Ensign 1 (Nov. 1971):9-17.

McConkie, Bruce R. "Stand Independent Above All Other Creatures." Ensign 9 (May 1979):92-94.

Smith, Joseph Fielding. Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. Salt Lake City, 1953.