“He Commanded Them That They Should Write the Words Which the Father Had Given Unto Malachi”

Ed J. Pinegar, Richard J. Allen

We have seen already that the Savior commands Nephi to add to the sacred record the confirmation of Samuel’s prophesy concerning the resurrection of the dead that has taken place at the time of the Savior’s Resurrection (see 3 Nephi 23:13). Now He quotes the prophet Malachi (chapters 3 and 4 of the Old Testament account), as commanded by the Father, so that these words can also be added to the record. Malachi’s prophesies were spoken long after the departure of Lehi from Jerusalem; therefore, the New World colony of Israelites does not have these vital passages concerning the law of tithing or the mission of Elijah and the sealing powers of the priesthood. With the addition of the Elijah prophesy to the Book of Mormon account, this significant key prophesy is preserved in all four standard works of the Church (see also D&C 2:2; 27:9; 98:16; 110:15; Joseph Smith—History 1:39).

“Malachi, Prophet of Transition”

Malachi delivered his prophetic message to the Jews around 430 BC—long after Lehi has left Jerusalem for the promised land. So important are the words of Malachi, including truths about the law of tithing and the sealing commission of Elijah, that the resurrected Savior quotes them to the ancient American Saints during His visit (see 3 Nephi 24 and 25, including Malachi 3 and 4) and commands that these words be written down. The Savior then declares: “These scriptures, which ye had not with you, the Father commanded that I should give unto you; for it was wisdom in him that they should be given unto future generations. And he did expound all things, even from the beginning until the time that he should come in his glory” (3 Nephi 26:2–3).

On the evening of September 21, 1823, Moroni, the last in a sequence of historians of the word of God, appears to Joseph Smith to lay the foundation of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in the context of the latter-day Restoration. Moroni cites the words of Malachi concerning the coming of the prophet Elijah: “And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers” (D&C 2:2; compare D&C 27:9). Six years after the publication of the Book of Mormon in this dispensation, the Savior appears to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836, accompanied by other heavenly beings, including Elijah, in fulfillment of the prophecy of Malachi:

Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:

Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—

To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—

Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors. (D&C 110:13–16; compare D&C 128:17)

Malachi is the grand prophet of transition: transition from the Old Testament to the New Testament, and from these to the Book of Mormon. With the fulfillment of the words of Malachi as given unto him by the Lord (see 3 Nephi 24:1), the grand sealing powers of the sacred temples were once again activated upon the earth. All those who have been gathered from the peoples of the earth through the confirming message of the Book of Mormon can now receive the sublime blessings of the holy temples of God and continue their journey toward eternal life and exaltation.

Commentaries and Insights on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2