Original Research

The Deuteronomic roots of postexilic prophetic eschatology in Malachi

Bob Wielenga
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 55, No 1 | a2759 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v55i1.2759 | © 2021 Bob Wielenga | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 April 2021 | Published: 01 September 2021

About the author(s)

Bob Wielenga, Unit for Reformed Theology, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


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Abstract

In this article, the promises of judgement and restoration in Deuteronomy 4:25–31; 28:15–68; 30:1–10 are compared with the eschatological prophecies in Malachi 2:17–3:24 about the Day of the Lord. The conclusion is that Malachi’s eschatology can be understood against the background of the history of fulfilment of these promises as envisioned in the Torath Mosheh in Deuteronomy. The rhetorical nature of Moses’ speeches is taken into consideration, indicating their communicative intent to persuade the people to take the promise of judgement seriously and to return to God in compliance with Mosaic teachings in order to avert it. But even beyond judgement, restoration is promised as well, indicating the positive intent of judgement preaching. The purpose of the announcement of judgement is to delay its fulfilment; its irrevocability only shows when the response to the teachings of Moses is persistently negative. The promises of judgement are not meant to be understood as prognostications to be fulfilled within a predetermined time frame. They are delay-intended, and hence avertible. These features of Mosaic teaching in Deuteronomy can be identified in Malachi’s eschatology which is shaped by divine judgement but is delay-intended and in compliance with the Mosaic teachings in Deuteronomy, theocentric and temple-based.

Contribution: The purpose of this article is to contribute towards a theological reading of Malachi in the context of the metanarrative of the Old Testament (OT) Scriptures.


Keywords

Malachi’s eschatology; Deuteronomy’s exilic warnings; exile as reversal of the exodus; anonymity of exilic locations in Deuteronomy; OT’s delay-intended eschatology.

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