The Lord and His Prophet
Advent reading for December 21: Malachi 3:1-4; 4:1-6
Prophets don’t have prophets who announce their coming. We read the calls of certain prophets such as Isaiah or Jeremiah, but nowhere do we read that the prophets had other prophets preparing the way for their coming.
In Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, the LORD speaks of two messengers who would come.
Malachi 3:1 (ESV) — Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
The previous verse (Malachi 2:17) indicates that the LORD is speaking, so the first messenger would prepare the way before the Lord, the messenger of the covenant.
Jesus quotes Malachi to indicate that John the Baptist was the first messenger who prepared the way for Christ, the messenger of the covenant:
Luke 7:26–28 (ESV) — What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, “‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John…
“By citing Malachi, Jesus… has shown in what way John the Baptist is greater than a prophet: he is greater in that he alone of all the prophets was the forerunner who prepared the way for Yahweh-Jesus and personally pointed him out.”1
The prophets did not have prophets preparing the way before them. Only the LORD has prophets. Yes, Jesus the LORD had a prophet, John the Baptist, the greatest of all the prophets. John prepared the way for the One who was infinitely greater than himself, the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 D. A. Carson, “Matthew,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition), ed. Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland, vol. 9 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 307.