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The Messiah as Messenger of the Lord
Episode 514th November 2021 • Our Hope Podcast • Chosen People Ministries
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Yeshua brought Israel God’s message about the kingdom and the forgiveness of sins. When Scripture refers to the Messiah as God’s messenger, this includes both His teaching and His role in the final judgment.

In this episode, we dive into Malachi 3:1 and 4:1–5, which speak of a messenger who will pave the way for the Lord. We discuss what they say about the Messiah with Dr. Daniel Nessim, who leads Chosen People Ministries in Washington State and Vancouver, Canada. He holds a PhD in theology and religion, his specialty being the earliest followers of Yeshua.

Transcripts

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(upbeat music)

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- Welcome to Our Hope.

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A production of Chosen People Ministries.

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On this podcast you will hear inspiring testimonies,

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learn about messianic apologetics

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and discover God's plan for Israel and you.

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Wherever you're listening,

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we hope you lean in, listen closely and be blessed.

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(upbeat music)

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(ambient music)

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One of the ways the Bible speaks about the Messiah

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is as the messenger of the Lord.

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Yeshua first came to Israel

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bringing God's message about the kingdom

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and the forgiveness of sins.

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When Jesus returns,

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God will judge those who have rejected him

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and save those who call on him.

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We read about this in the book of Malachi,

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the last book of the Old Testament.

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Amazingly, Malachi seems to suggest that this messenger,

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the Messiah, is more than a human being,

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but we'll get to that later.

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Our guest today is Dr. Daniel Nessim,

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who is the Chosen People Ministries

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branch leader in Washington State in Vancouver.

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Before that, he established our ministries branch

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in the United Kingdom.

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He holds a PhD in theology and religion

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with his specialty being the earliest followers of Yeshua.

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I now introduce the host of Our Hope Podcast, Abe Vasquez.

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(soft ambient music)

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- Shalom, everyone. Welcome to Our Hope.

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I am so excited again to be back.

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Another week, another episode on another messianic prophecy.

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It's really been an awesome season so far,

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and I'm really excited to dive into this particular one.

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Today we have our guest, Daniel Nessim.

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Daniel, thank you so much for joining us

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and being willing to talk to us

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about this special messianic prophecy.

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So I know in the last episode that we had you on,

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we asked you a pretty deep theological question.

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One that I think stumped you, stumps most people.

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It was the question of what's your favorite food.

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And so we're not gonna ask that again,

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but we will ask you what is your favorite dessert?

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- Yeah, well that one is easy because my wife makes

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the best New York cheesecake. - Wow.

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- Once I was in New York and I was being told how great

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Junior's was and I went to Junior's,

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and now my wife's cheesecake has it hands down.

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- Well, that's awesome, Daniel.

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And I know last time we had you on,

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you were sharing how you've been busy

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during this time of pandemic.

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So can you share any updates on your ministry?

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Any testimonies you can share?

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- Well, the big thing for me is that I'm finally able

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to cross the Canadian border.

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Since August I've been up and down every week.

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I have to get a COVID test to cross every single time,

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but that enables me to minister up in Canada,

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which is really important to me.

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We had a bar mitzvah just last Saturday,

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first bar mitzvah we've had in years.

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We had a lot of people, a lot of visitors,

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a couple Jewish people we haven't seen for years,

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partly because of the pandemic.

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So I'm really pleased about that.

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Things are really moving ahead now.

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- That's awesome. - Yeah.

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- Well, the book of Malachi,

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it's pretty famous for being that book right

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before the 400 years of, quote-unquote, "Silence of God."

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We can sometimes feel like we're in 400 years right now

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in the middle of COVID,

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but it feels like a very long season.

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So I can't even imagine what that's like

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to not even hear prophet,

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not to hear anything for 400 years.

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Daniel, why don't you give us a little bit of a background

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for this particular book?

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Who is Malachi? When did he live?

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Set us up a little bit.

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- Well, Malachi really is the last,

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because while a lot of prophets overlapped

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and they spoke at the same time,

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Malachi speaks almost a 100 years

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after the last prophet before him.

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And then there is silence from the prophets.

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I wouldn't say silence in terms of

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God's dealings with Israel,

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but in the biblical record

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nothing else is given to us after this point.

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And he's dealing with a situation where

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the people have returned under Ezra,

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they've returned to the law,

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they've become observant.

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They have never...

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They've rebuilt the temple

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and they've rebuilt the city walls.

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And so things now are going pretty well.

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I mean, not perfectly, but they are getting established.

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They've been there for over a 100 years

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back in the land.

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And yet at the same time,

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they're really not deeply invested

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in through worship of God.

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They're not really passionate about God

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and he calls them to account on this.

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He upgrades them and yet he also gives them

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a lot of hope and a lot of promise.

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He says, "You turn to me, and I will bless."

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And so it's really a great book in that regard.

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And one of the interesting things about the book that comes

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smacks you right in the face,

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if you know the Hebrew,

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Malachi is actually the Hebrew word Mal'akhi,

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which means my messenger.

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And that's really powerful that his name is Mal'akhi.

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It's a little bit like Hagi,

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the prophet Hagi whose name means festivals.

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And then you read throughout the book he's talking

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about and dating his prophecies by the festivals.

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And Malachi, just like him,

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has a name that relates to the content of the book.

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It's also the last of what we called,

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in the Christian world people call it the minor prophets.

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In the Hebrew, Jewish world it's called the Trei Asar.

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The 12 minor prophets,

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not 13 according to Christian counting.

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But the 12 minor prophets who are taken together

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as a book of their own, one scroll in a sense.

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And so it's really a concluding salvo

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from these minor prophets to Israel

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that kind of sums up everything that's come before,

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because they really do fit together in a unit,

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in a special way.

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- I think I speak for a lot of listeners

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when I say that I don't know much

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about the minor prophets, including Malachi.

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So thank you for sharing all that, Daniel.

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Can you just share a little bit more about

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the message of Malachi?

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How does the overall message of this book

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set us up for what this particular prophecy

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that we're talking about today says?

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- Wow, well, Malachi really begins

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as a burden of the Lord.

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And when this term, "burden of the Lord"

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is used in scripture,

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it's a term that really says this is something important.

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Like different terms that are used.

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Sometimes it's the word of the Lord or whatever,

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but this is something really important and really critical.

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And so people are really called

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to pay attention to what he's talking about.

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And one of the issues that comes right through it

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is there's kind of a societal breakdown going on in his day,

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maybe a little bit like ours,

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where things are being reinvented.

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And he says in chapter 1 verse 4,

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he's talking about the issue of sons honoring their fathers,

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and a servant his master.

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And yet that kind of thing is breaking down

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because they're not honoring the Lord.

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Then you get to the end of the book,

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and you realize that in the messianic age

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now all of a sudden people will honor each other,

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that these things will be restored.

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And so it's a call both to true worship,

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but also to living in a way that gives honor

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to each other and to God

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the way God intends us to do.

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- Daniel, how would you describe the tone

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of the book of Malachi?

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- Well, when I was studying,

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in my final years I ran across a new word, to me anyway,

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paraenetic, and it's kind of a long, difficult,

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obscure word, but it's exhortation, it's encouragement.

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It's telling people how they ought to live in light of

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something that is to come,

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in light of a promise and a hope.

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It's kind of a slap on the wrist,

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but at the same time it's encouragement.

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And this is the way in which you should walk

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and this is what's good for you.

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So this is what the book is like.

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Like so many of the other prophets,

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it's that call saying,

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"Come on, guys, God really wants to bless you.

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God really wants to pour out his blessing upon this nation.

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Simply turn back to God."

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- So that is quite the definition of that word,

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and quite the explanation of the tone.

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It's very interesting.

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And so I would actually love to hear some of the verses

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from what we're talking about.

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Nicole, would you mind reading Malachi chapter 3 verses 1

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and also chapter 4 verses 1-5.

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- So this is Malachi 3:1.

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"Behold, I am going to send my messenger,

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and he will clear the way before me.

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And the Lord, whom you seek,

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will suddenly come to his temple,

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and the messenger of the covenant,

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in whom you delight, behold, he is coming,"

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says the Lord of hosts.

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And then Malachi 4:1-5.

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"For behold, the day is coming,

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burning like a furnace and all the arrogant

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and every evildoer will be chaff.

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And the day that is coming will set them ablaze,"

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says the Lord of hosts,

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"So that it will leave them neither root nor branch.

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But for you who fear my name,

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the sun of righteousness will rise

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with healing in its wings.

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And you will go forth and skip about

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like calves from the stall.

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You will tread down the wicked,

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for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet

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on the day which I am preparing," says the Lord of hosts.

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"Remember the law of Moses, my servant,

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even the statutes and ordinances,

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which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.

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Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet

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before the coming of the great

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and terrible day of the Lord."

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- Let's talk about this word messenger.

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Chapter 3 verse 1 says that the Lord will send a messenger,

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the messenger of the covenant.

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Who exactly is it referring to?

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- This is the big question.

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And it's always been a fascinating topic of discussion

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because Malak is a messenger.

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It's actually the word for an angel

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because an angel is a messenger.

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And so throughout the Tanakh,

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throughout the Hebrew Bible, you have the word Malak,

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and it's often translated as angel,

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but it's a messenger.

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It's some entity, some person sent by God.

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And the book begins,

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it's written by Mal'akhi, my messenger,

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but then you got to chapter 2 and verse 7,

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and all of a sudden he says, "The priest is my messenger,"

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which is interesting because he's obviously really aware

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of his use of his name and this word.

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And then in chapter 3 in verse 1,

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he says God will send his messenger.

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"I will send my messenger," the Lord says.

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And then in chapter 4 and verse 5,

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and I should make it clear if you're using a Hebrew Bible

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or a Jewish Bible of some kind,

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this will be actually chapter 3 and verse 23,

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because there is no separate chapter 4

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in Hebrew Bibles.

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So in 3:23 or chapter 4 and verse 5,

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he identifies that messenger and says,

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"I will send you Elijah the prophet."

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And now the messenger is named,

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but that doesn't solve all of the problems.

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It's kind of mystifying.

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He says, "This is Elijah the prophet."

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That's clearly harking back to Isaiah chapter 40,

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where the Lord says he will send his messenger

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who would prepare the way,

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and prepare the way for the Lord.

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So while he refers back to it,

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there's still a problem

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because chapter 3 and verse 2

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where we see this messenger described,

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he's someone whose coming cannot be endeared.

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Nobody can stand when he appears.

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He's like a refiner's fire, like launderers' soap.

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So this is not just a normal messenger,

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like what is going on?

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And is this a Elijah?

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When we get to chapter 4 and verse 5,

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or in the Hebrew Bible, chapter 3:23,

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the two don't quite jive.

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And so of course that means people have discussed this.

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There's been an ongoing issue,

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and like so many other things, there's no clear answer.

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It's not going to be simple.

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And many things in the Bible are intended that way.

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God intends us to get in there and seek out the answer

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and see what he has to say,

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because there are different levels of biblical revelation.

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You know, there's the surface level,

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but there are deeper levels as well

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when you start really digging into it.

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So it's mystifying.

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Who is this messenger?

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- Right.

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- Well, when you say that he's like refiner's fire,

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that no one will be able to stand this person or endure him,

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it almost sounds like God himself

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is going to be the messenger, but how can that be?

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How can God be his own messenger?

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- Yeah, and this is really true

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because God clearly says he is the only judge.

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There is no other judge besides the almighty God.

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So who is this messenger

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who's doing things that are divine

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in their scope and how can it be?

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And when we look at it from a messianic Jewish perspective

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or from a New Testament perspective,

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maybe we could look at it from a different perspective

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because now we've got some more revelation

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that helps us to decode Malachi.

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But on the other hand,

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we wanna be faithful to the texts that we have.

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And also when we're sharing this with Jewish friends,

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we absolutely have to be faithful

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to the Hebrew text,

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otherwise we don't have an argument.

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So not that we're trying to argue,

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but there is definitely something here

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that speaks in a messianic way.

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There is something going on here

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and there is a bit of an enigma

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and there is something perplexing,

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and it should be no surprise.

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Jewish people, Jewish scholars over centuries,

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I should say millennia, over thousands of years,

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Jewish scholars have actually grappled with this very issue.

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(soft music)

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- We'll be right back.

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- Shalom, I'm Mitch Glaser,

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President of Chosen People Ministries.

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When God wants to use us,

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he does so in his perfect timing,

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regardless of where we are in life,

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in many ways, actually, that we had never planned.

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If you've been on a path toward higher education

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in ministry, communications and outreach,

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and you have a passion for making Jesus known

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to the Jewish people,

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then the Charles L. Feinberg Messianic Jewish Center

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is for you.

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This program is a partnership between

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Chosen People Ministries, Biola University,

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and the Talbot School of Theology.

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It is theologically and specifically designed to inspire,

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on a mission to reach Jewish people for Jesus.

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Learn more about the Feinberg Center when you visit

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chosenpeopleministries@chosenpeople.com/radio.

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(upbeat music)

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- Shalom, as the year draws to a close

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and the advent season approaches,

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many of us will reflect on the Messiah's first coming

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and celebrate his birth.

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This year, experience advent in a whole new way

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when you attend our free online conference,

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Advent Trough Jewish Eyes.

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We will hear from three Jewish believers in Jesus

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on what the Hebrew scripture say about the Messiah's coming.

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Our speakers are Moody Bible Institute professor,

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Dr. Michael Rydelnik,

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President of Chosen People Ministries, Dr. Mitch Glazer,

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and radio host, Dr. Michael Brown.

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This free event is on Thursday,

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December 9th, 2021, at 7:30 PM Eastern Standard Time.

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Register at chosenpeople.com/advent today.

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And now back to our program.

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(upbeat music)

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- So what do ancient Jewish sources

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other than the Bible itself say

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about the messenger of the Lord?

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- Yeah, this is where it really

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is fascinating because you can go back to...

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You can go back to the Dead Sea Scrolls,

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not much said there,

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but you can go back to books that are easily

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before Yeshua, before Jesus' time.

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Such as the Jewish book of Sirach,

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where in Sirach 48 there is this depiction

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of Elijah the prophet as the one who comes

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to restore Jacob,

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to restore the people of Israel

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as a man who raised a man from the dead.

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And in the Mishnah,

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which is hardly obscure literature

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in the Jewish world,

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in the Mishnah in Sotah 9 and 15,

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which actually holds some really early material

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even though this was written down a couple 100 years CE,

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the Mishnah says that the resurrection of the dead

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shall come through Elijah in the messianic age.

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And yet it's really clear.

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You look in Jewish writing

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and you look in the Hebrew Bible,

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and who does the resurrection of the dead?

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It is Hashem, it is God.

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He's the one who raised us from the dead.

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So in Jewish thinking,

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it's possible to hold contradictory opinions

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at the same time,

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and say I can't quite reconcile these two things.

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But you nevertheless get some clear statements like

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saying that this is Elijah

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but that this is one who will fulfill a messianic

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even divine role.

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- Now, Daniel, as you know,

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we're talking about messianic prophecies this season.

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This is yet another messianic prophecy that we've covered

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that doesn't have the word Messiah in it.

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So how do we know for sure that this passage

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is actually talking about the Messiah?

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- Well, I think from a Hebrew Bible perspective,

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from the perspective of Malachi itself,

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there are some indications that lead even some

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rabbis of the last 2,000 years, important rabbis,

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to clearly say it's the Messiah.

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So for example, there's a rabbi, Ibn Ezra,

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and Ibn Ezra says,

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"This is Messiah,

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son of Joseph, Mashiach ben Yossef.

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That's my messenger.

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That's who is being spoken about."

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And he just says it straight out.

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And then Kimhi,

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Kimhi says, "This is the Lord.

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He is the glory. He is the messenger of the covenant."

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Those are pretty strong statements

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from the Jewish commentators.

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Now you'll get others such as Rashi

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who just bypass it entirely.

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But nevertheless, it's within the world of Jewish thought

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from leading commentators to say,

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"You know, this is Messiah,"

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and another one saying,

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"You know, this is the Lord himself."

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And there's no attempt to reconcile those two statements,

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but we would look at it and say, yeah, both are right.

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This is the Messiah. This is Hashem.

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This is the Lord himself.

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- Daniel, before we wrap up the conversation

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around this book

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and move toward the New Testament,

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I'm really curious,

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what do Jewish scholars say about this 400 years?

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What do they say about this,

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as you said, is not really a silence of God,

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but really there's no prophets for 400 years.

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So what do they say about those 400 years?

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Is it significant to them?

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- Yeah, it is significant,

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but maybe not as significant as we might think,

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because there is a clear that understanding

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that while the prophets came to an end,

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Ezra came and Ezra brought about a new era

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whereby Israel lived in accordance to

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what eventually became rabbinic law after Yeshua's time.

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And in Yeshua's time was oral traditions

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and an orally developed law.

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Ezra brought a real focus on studying the scriptures

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and obeying the mitzvot.

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And those became the guiding principles in Jewish life.

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And so it's as if one era

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was replaced with another.

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And the rebuilding of the temple kind of was part

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of that because now there was a new temple once again.

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And I don't know too many statements

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off the top of my head,

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but there is that feeling and that understanding

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that the temple has been rebuilt

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and now enough has been revealed

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for Israel to be able to continue and serve the Lord.

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- So now jumping into the New Testament,

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we see Yeshua administering in Israel

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and speaking with this authority.

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What does the new Testament tell us about

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Jesus being God's messenger?

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- Yeah, that's a really great question,

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because Yeshua actually addressed

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it quite forcefully

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himself on numerous occasions.

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And I think this is most clear in the gospel of John,

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where again and again he says,

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"I spoke as the Father told me to speak."

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In fact, he says in John chapter 12 and verse 49,

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"I did not speak on my own,

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but the Father who sent me commanded me to say

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all that I have spoken."

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It kind of hearkens back to the book of Isaiah,

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where the servant hears the voice of Hashem,

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and he is the one who listens.

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And so now in John,

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you have Yeshua clearly speaking and saying,

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"I only speak what the Father has told me to speak."

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And that carries right through to the garden of Gethsemane

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where he says, "Not my will, but yours be done."

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It's not like he didn't have his own mind,

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but he clearly subjected himself to the Father

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in every respect, even to death.

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(soft music)

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- Even though he was subjected to the Father,

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we also know that he had divinity and authority,

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and we see some signs in the New Testament

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that kind of confirm Yeshua's day,

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such as the transfiguration where he appears on...

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I forgot which mountain,

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but he appears with Moses and Elijah.

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So speaking of Elijah,

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Malachi 4 verse 5 mentions Elijah.

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Is it referring to Yeshua?

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Could it be referring to John the Baptist?

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Is it referring to someone else altogether?

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Is Elijah literally going to reappear?

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How does this work?

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- Yeah, that's an issue that from the Jewish perspective

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there isn't complete unanimity.

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We all know two Jews, three opinions.

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But on the other hand,

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there is clearly a connection to Elijah.

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His name wouldn't be there

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if there wasn't a real connection.

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And I think Yeshua nailed this

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because if you read in Matthew 17,

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Yeshua was speaking to his disciples and said,

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"Elijah is coming first and will restore all things."

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And that is a sign Elijah is coming

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as prophesied at the end of the age.

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Elijah has that role.

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He says Elijah is coming and will restore,

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speaking in the future

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when John the Baptist's already in his past.

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So we know that the words of the Tanakh

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are still to be fulfilled,

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but then he continues and says,

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"But I say to you that Elijah has come already

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and they did not know him,

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but did to him whatever they wished.

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Likewise, the son of man is also about

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to suffer at their hands."

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And then the disciples understood that he spoke to them

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of John the immerser,

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John the Baptist, as people call him.

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He really includes both

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in the one statement.

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He's both saying Johanan or John the immerser is Elijah,

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but he's also saying Elijah is to come.

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And I think that's also the tension

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that we see in the book of Malachi,

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because you have the messenger who is clearly divine,

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clearly he's more than just a regular messenger,

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but you also have a very real

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Elijah the prophet that is being spoken off.

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And you've got that tension between

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the two passages we're looking at in Malachi,

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where one sounds like a divine figure

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and the other one who is a herald

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of what we are told is the great

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and terrible day of the Lord.

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- We know that Elijah didn't die. He was taken up.

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Will Elijah like literally physically

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come back to earth before the end?

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- I believe so.

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I mean, I think this is what Malachi's telling us.

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And I think also there's a hint about it

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in the Brit Chadasha without naming Elijah,

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but there's a hint that he will come.

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And it's really interesting,

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in the Jewish world at Havdalah,

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after the Shabbat, as the Shabbat is being closed off

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it is common to sing Eliyahu Hanavi,

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Elijah the prophet.

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There is still that hope for Elijah the prophet to come.

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And of course at passover we sing Elijah the prophet

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and we set out a cup for him.

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There is still that hope that he will come.

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And when he comes, as we started out by saying,

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"He will turn the hearts of the fathers,

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to the children and the children's hearts to their fathers."

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Then we see all of the societal issues also being revolved.

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This is a great, great day.

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- So speaking of the end,

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we know that Yeshua will come back someday.

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So when we look at these passages in Malachi,

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did Yeshua fulfill these prophecies at all

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during his first coming?

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And if not, what will it look like when Yeshua returns

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and completely fulfills this prophecy?

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- Yeah, this is really an important thing

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because everyone likes to look at God and say

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he is the God of love,

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as Johanan tells us in one of his epistles.

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And that Yeshua was simply there

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to love everybody and taught love, which is true,

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but not the whole picture,

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because throughout, even Yeshua's statements imply

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and state that there is a coming accounting,

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and these passages in Malachi very much appeal

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to both phases.

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But they're kind of looking forward.

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Now when you read Malachi,

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you read healing in its wings

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in chapter 4 verse 2

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or chapter 3 verse 20 in the Hebrew Bible.

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And that translation said healing in its wings,

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which is a good translation of the Hebrew,

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but other translations can just as well translate it

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accurately as healing in his wings.

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- Right, yeah.

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- And it's very clear that Messiah did come

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and he brought healing,

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and that, that day has had its day

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and is now unfolding

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and I don't think ever ends.

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But on the other hand,

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Messiah also comes as one who will go

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and trample the wicked as we see in the next verse

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and bring that great and dreadful day of the Lord.

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So many people are excited about the day of the Lord,

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but it's a dreadful day, we are told in scripture.

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- So, Daniel, as we wrap up, I'm curious,

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how has understanding these prophecies

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impacted you personally?

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- When we get into things like this,

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I'm really taken aback

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by the beautiful tapestry of scripture,

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and scripture really is a tapestry.

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And as people say, it's as if we are on the bottom side

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looking at it from underneath and trying to connect the dots

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and see the picture. - Right.

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- It's exciting and rewarding to me

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that the more you look into it, the more you can find,

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because there's so much there.

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So many things that some people would claim are

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contradictions or tensions in the scripture,

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are actually just our invitation to look deeper.

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And the deeper we look,

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the more we're actually gonna see

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and the more we're actually going to learn.

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Some of these things we may never resolve

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until the Olam ha-Ba, until the world to come.

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But God didn't dumb down

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his message to humanity.

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He spoke it simply,

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but he spoke it in such a way that

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we can always learn more from his words.

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And as we look at these passages in Malachi,

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we really see the glories of Messiah predicted,

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but also a real world timeframe

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and real world issues being addressed in the prophet's day,

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in Messiah Yeshua's day,

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because he's clearly indicated here,

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and we can see from the Brit Chadasha

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he is the one who comes and fulfills this

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and also in days to come.

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It's an exciting thing.

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(soft music)

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- Well, Daniel, thank you so much for joining us.

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Your expertise is always just wonderful.

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It's just a fresh perspective

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and we just love having you on.

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So thank you so much for being with us today.

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- Thanks, Daniel.

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- Yeah. So, so appreciate it. Thank you.

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(soft music)

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- Yeshua is the messenger of the Lord.

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By definition, a messenger is someone

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who is sent by another person.

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He does not come for himself,

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rather, he comes on behalf of someone else.

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That is exactly how Yeshua understood his mission.

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Again and again, he said that he came to do

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the Father's will and teach Israel his message.

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In his first coming,

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Yeshua brought the good news of eternal life.

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Now we look forward to his return

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when he will rescue those who hope in him as Malachi said.

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Thank you for listening to this week's episode

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of Our Hope featuring Dr. Daniel Nessim.

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This episode was produced by Nicole Vacca and Grace Swee,

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written by Rachel Larsen and edited by Grace Swee.

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This episode was also created

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thanks to Dr. Mitch Glaser, Kieran Bautista

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and Dr. Michael Rydelnik.

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I'm Abe Vasquez, until next time.

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(soft music)

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- Thanks for listening to Our Hope.

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If you like our show and want to know more,

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check out ourhopepodcasts.com or chosenpeople.com.

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You can also support our podcast by giving today

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at ourhopepodcast.com/support.

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See you next time.

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