August 25, 2019 – Malachi 3:1-6; 4:1-6

Lesson Date: August 25, 2019

Focal Scripture Passage: Malachi 3:1-6; 4:1-6

AIM: To lead students to discover and list predictions God made through the prophet Malachi along with the specific fulfillment of several of those predictions, and to give them the opportunity to express to God their belief that the other predictions will come true in the future.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Malachi 3:1-6 and 4:1-6 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Get enough copies of the worksheet titled “Predictions” for your anticipated attendance. Have some pens or pencils available for those who need them.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Tell the class that we are exposed to predictions virtually every day, such as weather forecasts and political and economic predictions. Those predictions are man’s best educated guesses, but they do not always come true. Some famous predictions have turned out to be embarrassingly untrue. Direct the students’ attention to the “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN” picture. Explain that on Election Day in 1948 the Chicago Tribune felt so certain challenger Thomas Dewey would defeat President Truman that they printed their papers and sent them out for delivery. When morning came and the votes had been counted, Truman was the winner. The newspaper’s prediction proved false.

Tell the class that forty years later a man wrote a book called 88 Reasons Why The Rapture Will Be In 1988. He printed thousands of copies and sent them to churches all over the country. The Rapture didn’t occur in 1988, so he revised his predictions and wrote another book explaining why it would come in 1989. That didn’t happen, either. Both predictions proved false.

Tell the students today we will discover several important predictions God inspired Malachi to write. We’ll also see if those predictions came true.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Tell the students that this is our last lesson from the Old Testament book of Malachi.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (robbing God).
    • Ask if any volunteer would be willing to recite last week’s memory verse (Mal. 3:10).
    • Tell the students that last week we studied chapter 3 of Malachi, but we began at verse 7. Today we will study verses 1-6 and all of chapter 4.
  2. Predictions of John the Baptist and Jesus.
    • Give everyone a copy of the “Predictions” worksheet and a pen or pencil (if needed).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Malachi 3:1.
    • Tell the class this verse contains two predictions.
    • Ask the students to identify those two predictions (1. God promised to send His messenger to prepare the way before Him, and 2. The Lord will come suddenly to His Temple).
    • Ask the students to write these two predictions on their worksheets.
    • Ask: “Have these predictions already been fulfilled?” (yes, through John the Baptist and Jesus Christ).
    • Explain the following:
      • John the Baptist was the fulfillment of the first prediction (Matt. 11:7-11).
      • Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the second prediction: He came suddenly and unexpectedly to the Temple as an infant (Luke 2:21-32), as well as years later when He drove the merchants and moneychangers from the Temple (John 2:14-16).
    • Ask them to write these facts in the fulfillment column of their worksheets.
    • Summarize: God promised to send His messenger and then to come suddenly to His Temple. Those prophecies were fulfilled in John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  3. Predictions of Purity and Judgment.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Malachi 3:2-4.
    • Ask the class to name the prediction found in those verses (when Jesus comes He will refine and purify the priests and Levites so they can make righteous offerings).
    • Ask the students to write this on their worksheets.
    • Ask: “Was this prediction fulfilled the first time Jesus came?” (no).
    • Tell the class that means the fulfillment of this promise is still in the future.
    • Ask the students to write “Future” in the fulfillment column.
    • Ask the class to listen for another promise as you read Malachi 3:5-6.
    • Ask: “What promise do you see in those verses?” (the Lord will come near to His people and judge evildoers).
    • Ask the students to write this on their worksheets.
    • Ask: “Has this prediction been fulfilled?” (not yet, but it will be after Jesus returns).
    • Ask them to write “Future” in the fulfillment column.
    • Summarize: God promised to come near to His people, purifying and refining the priests and Levites, but judging all evildoers. These promises have yet to be fulfilled.
  4. Predictions of Future Judgment and Healing.
    • Tell the class that chapter 4 contains more predictions. Ask them to listen for another one as a volunteer reads Malachi 4:1.
    • Ask: “What prediction did you hear?” (there is a day coming when the Lord will burn up all the proud and wicked people, leaving nothing behind).
    • Ask the students to write this on their worksheets.
    • Ask: “Has the Lord done this yet?” (no, there are still plenty of wicked and proud people on earth today).
    • Ask them to write “Future” in the fulfillment column.
    • Ask them to listen for another promise as you read Malachi 4:2-4.
    • Ask: “What prediction did you hear?” (the Sun of righteousness – Jesus Christ – will come to His people with healing).
    • Ask the students to write this on their worksheets.
    • Ask: “Has this happened yet?” (no).
    • Ask them to write “Future” in the fulfillment column.
    • Note that in the future the wicked will be like ashes under the feet of God’s people.
    • Remind the students that these were the last words God gave to His people for 400 years.
    • Ask: “What did He want the Jews to do during those 400 years?” (verse 4 says to remember the Law of Moses; in other words, obey it and keep it).
    • Summarize: God promised in the future He will destroy all the proud and wicked people, but He will come to His people with healing. These promises have not yet been fulfilled.
  5. Predictions of Elijah and Family Restoration.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Malachi 4:5-6.
    • Ask: “What predictions did God make in these verses?” (He promised to send Elijah to them before the coming of the Lord, and He promised to restore families).
    • Ask the students to write this on their worksheets.
    • Ask: “Has the Lord done these things yet?” (yes).
    • Explain the following:
      • John the Baptist came preaching in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:11-17). In fact, Jesus confirmed that he was the immediate fulfillment of this prophecy (Matt. 11:11-14).
      • Concerning verse 6, tell the class that the angel actually quoted this verse to the father of John the Baptist (Zacharias) when he announced the boy’s birth (Luke 1:17).
      • True salvation reunites and restores families.
    • Ask everyone to write “John the Baptist” in the fulfillment column for verse 5 and “True Salvation” in the fulfillment column for verse 6.
    • Summarize: God promised to send Elijah before the coming of the Lord and to restore families. These promises were fulfilled through John the Baptist and in true salvation.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Ask the students to silently read the things they have written on their worksheets. Tell them they have identified eight specific predictions in today’s scripture passages. Note that four of those eight predictions have been specifically and precisely fulfilled, even though they were written 400 years before their fulfillment. The other four predictions have not yet been fulfilled.

Ask: “Does the precise fulfillment of four of these predictions give you any reason to believe God will fulfill the other four in the future?” (it certainly should).

Tell the class that humans make predictions (educated guesses), but often those predictions don’t come true. God is the only one in the universe truly qualified to make predictions, because He is the only one completely able to make the things He predicted come to pass. In fact, He knows the future far better than we know the past. Ask the students to bow their head and close their eyes. Tell them to thank God that He knows the future better than we know the past. Ask them to tell God they believe His predictions will come true. Voice a closing prayer.

CONCLUSION: Tell the students when they face uncertainties in life they should thank the Lord that He knows what the future holds. Be sure everyone has a Sunday School Member Quarterly for the new quarter. Tell them next week we begin the New Testament book of Hebrews. Encourage everyone to begin the Daily Bible Reading Guide tomorrow.

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