“The Lord Whom Ye Seek Shall Suddenly Come”

George Reynolds, Janne M. Sjodahl

The Risen Lord continued to instruct the eager Nephites, and in their sacred records He commanded them to write the words of the Prophet Malachi which He would tell unto them. He waited while they were written; He then expounded their meaning, which caused the assembled throng to rejoice in the eternal purposes of God.

Malachi was the last of the great Hebrew prophets of whom we have any record who ministered unto the Jews. He labored among them about 200 years after Lehi left Jerusalem, or B.C. 397. The Nephites, therefore, had no knowledge of his prophecies, but received them with joy from the mouth of the Savior, Himself.

Of Malachi's prophecies which the Risen Lord repeated to the astonished Nephites one remains with us the inspiriting and inspiring prelude to greater things which will usher in Christ's Reign on Earth.

For nearly 2000 years the people of the earth have been told that their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, would suddenly come to His Temple, and there reign in glory as King of kings and Lord of lords. The day by prophets long foretold would be a happy day. He would be their King, and they would be His loyal subjects. The coming of that day had been long deferred. Waiting for it had filled many hearts with despair. Hopelessness had taken the place of gladness.

When it was pointed out to them that there was no Temple on all the Earth to which the Lord could come, and when they heard the rant and rantings of those who awaited His coming, a sort of disappointed pride mocked their joyous expectations. They looked for what they saw not, and searched for that which they could not find.

Malachi's prophecy which the Savior quoted and therein testified of its divine origin, was repeated by Him, thus:

"Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me, and the Lord Whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His Temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant,, thus:

"For a little child is born unto us; and a son is given unto us, whose dominion is on his shoulder; and his name shall be called: Messenger of the Great Council, Wonderful Counselor, Strong Mighty One; Ruler of Peace, Father of the Coming Age."

The first mentioned Name is not given in the King James Authorized Version, but the Son mentioned was surely, if He was anything, the Messenger of the Great Council, or Covenant. (See, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Volume II, p. 165)1 whom ye delight in; behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts." (III Nephi 24:1)

That glorious promise is known unto all Christian believers; it is their hope and stay. But, alas, when the King, the Lord Jesus Christ, sent His messenger, the Prophet Joseph Smith, they would not hear his words. From him they turned away. Instead, they looked for a royal entourage, and there found that the Kings' emissaries were not princes and nobles but poor tillers of the soil. They found that the men whom they had so recently scourged and east out were, indeed, the ambassadors of that King, sent to prepare His way.

It was then that their hard hearts became like granite; their spite was keen and inexhaustible, and they let the angry passions that filled their hearts become the sole judge of their rising hate. And of all the passions that occupy the human heart, theirs was the most bitter and malignant.

They mocked, they ridiculed, they spat upon, all those who believed and who took upon themselves the hated name, Mormon. But, the faithful, like the Nephites in the days of Amos, neither reviled at the reviler, nor did they smite the smiter. They bore all these things with courage and fortitude, remembering the pains of their Redeemer.

As we have said, Malachi lived about 400 years B.C., less than 140 years after the Babylonian captivity. During that comparatively short period, the people had sunk very low, morally. Malachi censored those who, to all appearances, held the Priesthood, for profane and mercenary transactions in the performance of the ritualistic service in the Law of Moses. They offered unclean sacrifices on the Altar of Jehovah, because they could acquire the ceremonially proffered animals or birds at a lower price. (Malachi 1:7-10) He condemned the people for marrying idolaters and multiplying divorces. (Ibid., 2:11-16) Then Malachi predicted the coming of a day of reckoning with the advent of the Messiah, who is to be preceded by a messenger with the mission to prepare the way of the Lord's coming. (Ibid., 3 and 4)

Now the Nephites knew nothing of Malachi, so for their comfort and instruction, Jesus rehearsed to them the important things which God had revealed through Malachi. In fact, Mormon says, "He did expound all things, even from the beginning until the time that He should come in His glory." (III Nephi 26:3)

Chapters 3 and 4 of the writings of Malachi is the portion of Malachi's prophecy that Jesus recited to the assembled Nephites, and which is incorporated in the Book of Mormon. (III Nephi 24-25)

In this section, we learn:

a. That a messenger would be sent to prepare the way for the Messiah.

b. Some suppose that the Lord spoke of John the Baptist. That John was a messenger who as a fact was sent to prepare the way of our Lord when first He was born to Mary cannot be doubted. (See, Luke 1:17) Of that there can be no question.

But our Lord in His discourse to the Nephites was speaking particularly of the gathering of His people in the Last Days, and His Own Second Coming. The Prophecy of Malachi must therefore be one in regard to these times. And it is! It has reference to the Everlasting Covenant as established through the instrumentality of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his successors. There can be no doubt about that either. For the Lord says: "And even so I have sent Mine Everlasting Covenant into the world, to be a light to the world, and to be a standard for My people and for the Gentiles to seek to it, and to be a messenger before My face to prepare the way before Me." (Doctrine and Covenants 45:9. Italics are the Editor's.)

Previous to the time of the last quotation, He says: "Wherefore I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon My servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from Heaven, and gave him commandments;...that Mine Everlasting Covenants might be established; that the fulness of My Gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers." (Ibid., 1:17-23)

The Messenger of whom the Savior spoke, has come, and the Lord will again come to His Temple, suddenly.

c. We learn also that when He comes, He will separate the dross from the precious metal.

Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 7