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The Messenger, the Lord, and the Coming Judgement in the Reception History of Malachi 3

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 January 2007

Briercrest College and Seminary, 510 College Drive, Caronport, SK S0H 0S0, Canada


This article clarifies Luke's portrayal of both John and Jesus as Elijah-like figures by considering how Malachi 3 was interpreted by Ben Sira, 4QMessianic Apocalypse (4Q521) and the LXX. These ancient readers shared with Luke a concern to interpret the prediction of Elijah's return in the context of Malachi 3 even though they reached diverse conclusions. Luke's solution to the puzzle of Malachi 3 involved distinguishing between the Elijah of 1–2 Kings, who is associated with Jesus, and the Elijah of Malachi 3, who is consistently identified with John, the forerunner of the messianic ‘Lord’.

Research Article
2007 Cambridge University Press

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Versions of this essay were presented at the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies Annual Meeting in London, ON, May 2005, and at the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA, November 2005. I am grateful to Drs Steven M. Bryan, Ken Penner and Ian W. Scott, as well as to Charles Grebe, Nick Meyer and Susan Wendel for their helpful comments on earlier drafts.