Preparing the Hearts of the Fathers Malachi 4

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“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. 6“He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6
Two weeks ago we spoke about the spiritual state of the people of God during the time of Malachi before the 400 years of silence and the birth of Jesus. There were six things that we pointed out from Malachi 1 regarding the spiritual state of the people of God. We made the point clear that these 6 things pertain to us today and the fact that while they were in need of the first coming of Jesus, we also are in need of the second coming of Jesus.
The lacked honor and respect for God
They were using God as a means to an end
They were faithful, but disobedient
They were defaming God’s name amongst the nations
They had no joy in serving God
They were in need of divine intervention
Because these 6 things are never going to be dealt with or heeded by the people of God, we are going to see the rise of a religious system that was prevalent during the time of Jesus.
Family matters
This is going to play itself out in the families and lives of the people of God. Rebellion in our relationship with God will always touch our personal lives. When we as women and men of faith begin to compromise in our walk with the Lord, it will become evidenced in our everyday life.
Marital issues
The men of God during the time of Malachi were disrespecting and despising their wives.
Father and son issues
But today we are going to see that not only was there conflict between husbands and wives, but there is also conflicts between father and sons, and sons and fathers.
The Pharisees (Official start around 167 BC)
They observed the Torah (1st 5 books of the OT) and the oral law (tradition) and they held them both in high regard and as equal to one another.
The Pharisees were a group of devout Jews who were, above all else, intent on keeping the law in its entirety. Since the laws given to Moses were often vague, the Pharisees debated what was and was not allowed if one was to keep the laws (these decisions are known as the "oral law;" the written form of these oral traditions is known as the Mishnah, the heart of the Talmud). The Pharisees held very little political power until after the Jewish revolt that culminated in the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E.
The sadducees (around 130 BC)
were very much in favor of government Judaism. Since they didn’t believe in the afterlife, angels, demons etc, their idea was to get the Torah to every sphere of life and government because you better live a good life here because you don’t have anything else to look forward to when you die. The Sadducees were the political players in Jesus' lifetime. They were the priestly and aristocratic Jews whose main affiliation was with the Jerusalem Temple. They did not subscribe to the Pharisaic oral laws, they did not believe in an afterlife (as opposed to the Pharisees), and they deemed authoritative only the five books of Moses (the Pentateuch).
The Fourth Philosophy (Zealots) (around the 1st century BC) referred to a number of individual groups whose common goal was to overthrow the foreign powers that ruled the land of Israel. These groups favored armed rebellion against foreign authorities. Among the groups were the Sicarii (the "daggermen") and the Zealots. These people believed that they must act on behalf of God or God would punish the whole nation. They had a passion for liberty. Zealots would root out or kill all offenders. Josephus describes them as a bunch of bandits and robbers and couldn’t stand them (and they couldn't stand Josephus either and called him a traitor). One of the disciples was called Simon the Zealot which leads some to believe he was a part of this Jewish sect before he came to follow Jesus.
The Essenes (Began around 200 BC)
The Essenes were a separatist group that believed that the Pharisees were too lax in their religious observances, and the Sadducees were corrupt and had defiled the Temple (largely because a non-Zadokite high priest was appointed by the Hasmoneans). Some Essenes left Jerusalem and settled in the desert near the Dead Sea.
The Essenes were relatively unknown for centuries until the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls.
In 1947, a collection of their texts was discovered, known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. In addition to community rules and several other kinds of texts, these scrolls contain portions of all the books of the Hebrew Bible except Esther. This is the only one of the four philosophies not mentioned in the New Testament. It wasn’t until the 1990’s that a full history,  their theology, and community rules and stuff like that was compiled and given to the public.
Pharisees in the NT
What we see in the New Testament amongst the Pharisees is a man centric religion based upon oral and written traditions of men. By the time that Jesus is born, there is a whole system of religion set up that puts the focus on man’s ability to keep the law instead of God’s mercy in saving those who cannot keep the law. What we see today in modern Judaism is an extension of the rabbinic tradition we see in the NT.
Importance of the Essenes
The Dead Sea Scrolls are mostly attributed to the Essenes. The Essenes believed in the supernatural, life after death, prophecy, and they wrote about, and prophesied about a coming Messiah. The reason why I am speaking about the Essenes is because we have a New Testament figure that has been associated with the Essenes. Some people believe that John the Baptist was either an Essene or associated with them based upon his message. The Essenes believed in a baptismal ritual to become an Essene, John the Baptist came forth baptizing, the Essenes lived in the desert places, John the Baptist lived in the desert before he came forth. John’s dad was Zachariah, who is traced back to a lineage of priests that lead back to Zadok. Zadok is the priestly line that will “walk before the anointed of God always”.
11Q13 (11QMelchizedek) He will proclaim liberty for them, to free them from the debt of all their iniquities. And this will happen 7 in the first week of the jubilee which follows the nine jubilees. And the day of atonement is the end of the tenth jubilee 8 in which atonement will be made for all the sons of God and for the men of the lot of Melchizedek. And on the heights he will declare in their favor according to their lots; for 9 it is the time of the year of grace for Melchizedek
13 But, Melchizedek will carry out the vengeance of God’s judges on this day, and they shall be freed from the hands of Belial and from the hands of all the spirits of his lot.
15 This is the day of peace about which God spoke of old through the words of Isaiah the prophet, who said: Isa 52:7 How beautiful 16 upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, of the messenger of good who announces salvation, saying to Zion: ‘your God reigns. 17 Its interpretation: The mountains are the prophets 18 And the messenger is the anointed of the spirit about whom Daniel spoke and the messenger of 19 good who announces salvation is the one about whom it is written that he will send him Isa 61:2-3 to comfort the afflicted, to watch over the afflicted ones of Zion. 20 To comfort the afflicted, its interpretation to instruct them in all the ages of the world 21 in truth.
25 Melchizedek, who will free them from the hand of Belial. And as for what he said: Lev 23:9 You shall blow the horn in every land.
Messianic Apocalypse
1 for the heavens and the earth will listen to his Messiah, 2 and all that is in them will not turn away from the holy precepts. Be encouraged, 3 you who are seeking the Lord in his service! 4 Will you not, perhaps, encounter the Lord in it, all those who hope in their heart? 5 For the Lord will observe the devout, and call the just by name, 6 and upon the poor he will place his spirit,and faithful he will renew with his strength. For He Will Honour 7 the devout upon the throne of eternal royalty, 8 freeing prisoners, giving sight to the blind, straightening out the twisted. 9 Ever shall I cling to those who hope. In his mercy he will judge, 10 and from no-one shall the fruit of good deeds be delayed, 11 and the Lord will perform marvelous acts such as have not existed, just as he said 12 for he will heal the badly wounded and will make the dead live, he will proclaim good news to the meek 13 give lavishly to the needy, lead the exiled and enrich the hungry.
Melchizedek means King of righteousness. Melchizedek is an extremely unique OT figure in that Abram recognizes him as a priest of the Most High God and gives him a tithe. He is considered a priest but there is no record of a priestly line from Melchizedek to Jesus. Yet the writer of Hebrews calls Jesus a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizadek.
Restoring the hearts of the fathers to the children
“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. 6“He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6
This prophecy speaks about one that is coming before the great and terrible day of the Lord. One of the most fascinating things about this prophecy is the function or calling of this one that is coming. What will this one that is coming do? He will restore the hearts of the fathers to the children.
The uniqueness of this prophecy
This is a stunning prophecy here that revealed the heart of God. Why doesn’t it say that this one that is coming in the spirit of Elijah is going to raise up godly governments and destroy wicked governments. Or, this one that is coming is going to cleanse a wicked priesthood and raise up a faithful priesthood? Or, this one that is coming in the power and spirit of Elijah is going to detour every false god and idol? Those would make sense to us. But this prophecy of this one that is coming refers to family. Why does God value family so much?
God’s focus on families
Before there was a Jewish nation there as a family. Before there were prophets there was a family. Before there was Moses there was a family. Before there was a church there was a family. The command to go out and subdue the earth and to exercise dominion over it was not given to an organization but to a family. It is God’s idea to raise up families that walk in His paths and in His ways.
Why the heart of fathers and not the heart of mothers?
The heart of a mother is naturally bent towards her children. Story of Solomon and the two women claiming the baby was theirs. Saw the baby in half and divide it up amongst the two women, the real mother cries out.
Story of Bailey’s birth
At a poker game, making my bed, watching the monitor, seeing the baby, Erin longing to hold her.
Jesus Reveals the Father
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Jesus is called Everlasting Father, what a fascinating title! This means that at the core of the heart of Jesus is the heart of a Father.
Jesus says in John 14: 8-9
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
“I and the Father are one” John 10:30
Why we need this spirit of Elijah today
And His disciples asked Him, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 11And He answered and said, “Elijah is coming and will restore all things; 12but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished.  Matthew 17:10-12
What we see here is Jesus saying that Elijah is coming to restore all things before the great and terrible day of the Lord. But Elijah had already come in the person of John the Baptist. I am not going to spend time on this to talk about Revelation 11 and the two witnesses that we see there, and one of them being Elijah. But I bring this up to let you know that the people of the first century needed the spirit of Elijah, and we also need that same spirit today that will restore the hearts of fathers to their children, and children to their fathers.
Family conflict intensified in the last days
We are living in a time today that is similar to the time before Jesus came. A time when there is division in families, division amongst spouses, division amongst parents and children. Jesus tells us that in the last days: Matthew 10:21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 2 Timothy 3:1-5
The importance of a Godly heritage
All throughout the Old Testament you read time and time again about some king that would come along and either walk in the righteousness of their father, or walk in the wickedness of their father. Some would rebel from their father and some would return to the Lord even though their father did not walk in the ways of the Lord.
A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Proverbs 22:1
3Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. 5How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5
Children do not love their parents the way that their parents love their children.
I preach with passion not so I can build a name for myself, but so the next generation is filled with passion. So that my children are filled with passion. The Lord spoke to me years ago that I must put away the desire to build a name for myself. He spoke to me so clearly that building a name for yourself under the guise of ministry is for silly boys that are playing with the things of God, not for men of God.
What are you declaring over your children? It is time for moms and dads to start proclaiming, and prophesying over their children the will of God. It is time for our main ministry to take place in our homes. It is time for us as men and women of God to weep, fast, pray, worship with and in front of our kids. All of us are great when we are alone, it’s when we have to put those things into practice that it gets difficult.
Stop restricting your children (Fleas)
Did you know that fleas can jump over 2’? They don’t have wings but they are made to catapult themselves 40-100 times their body length. I watched this video the other day about an experiment where these scientists put fleas into a small container. Immediately the fleas start jumping out of the jar all over the place. They then take a glass lid and put it on top of the container and the fleas start jumping up and hitting the glass lid. After a while though they observed that the fleas were jumping right up to the glass lid but not hitting it anymore. They then took the glass lid off and the fleas continued to jump to that same spot where the glass lid was. They remained in the container even though they had the ability to leave.
With our children we must push them to be who God has called them to be instead of restricting them from it. We cannot put things in place around them to try and make them into good people when God wants them to burn for Him.
God will use this next generation
This generation of young people is one of the most criticized and written off generations. They are growing up in a culture where they have never not had the internet. They have never had to truly wait for something because everything is practically instantaneous. They are growing up during a time where what you feel matters more than what’s real.
I am declaring to you that the word of God tells us that when the darkness continues to grow the light will continue to increase, that when tares are being sown in this world, wheat will continue to grow. That while they will grow up in a culture that minimizes God and encourages complacency, they will be an on fire generation. The most arrogant, self-centered generation of young people will become a great last days church, and us as fathers and mothers must begin declaring that over them instead of what we see wrong with them.
We must be led by love
Children do not love their parents the way that their parents love their children.
I preach with passion not so I can build a name for myself, but so the next generation is filled with passion. So that my children are filled with passion. The Lord spoke to me years ago that I must put away the desire to build a name for myself. He spoke to me so clearly that building a name for yourself under the guise of ministry is for silly boys that are playing with the things of God, not for men of God.
Elijah as our example
During the time of Elijah the nation of Israel was not walking in the faith of their fathers. It was during a time when honoring the faith of their fathers was very rare. Elijah the prophet was raised up as one who was to restore Israel back to the faith of their fathers.
Rebuilding Jericho (Elijah comes forth during a time when fathers are willing to exchange their sins for profit, success and notoriety) for pleasure and comfort.
In his days Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho; he laid its foundations with the loss ofAbiram his firstborn, and set up its gates with the loss of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which He spoke by Joshua the son of Nun. 1 Kings 16:34
Not only was Elijah living in a time when fathers were exchanging their sons for their own gain, he himself was a father to the fatherless.
Elijah, a father to Elisha
Elijah was a father to Elisha. Elisha had left his father and mother to follow Elijah.
9When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”
12Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw Elijah no more. 2 Kings 2: 9-12
Widow and her son that died
21Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and called to the LORDand said, “O LORD my God, I pray You, let this child’s life return to him.” 22The LORD heard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned to him and he revived. 23Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house and gave him to his mother; and Elijah said, “See, your son is alive.” 24Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.” 1 Kings 17:21-24
The supernatural provision and multiplication of the oil and flour did not demonstrate that Elijah was a man of God, but his heart for a fatherless child. You know what makes us men of God? Humility, tenderness, and compassion for those who are hurting.
There is no calling fire from heaven if there is not a heart of compassion. God will not use men or women who have neglected the very ones that God’s heart is towards.
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27
Caring for the orphan and the widow- both the widow and the orphan have the same thing in common, there is no male figure in their lives.
For us to walk in this spirit of Elijah, it is going to require selflessness.
‘Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 2 Samuel 12:10
David, a man after God’s own heart
David lost 4 sons and a had a daughter that was raped by one of his sons.
David’s newborn son, 7 days old died - 1 Samuel 12
Tamar was raped by her brother Amnon -2 Samuel 13
Absolom the son of David kills Amnon his brother for raping Tamar
Adonijah was killed by Solomon the son of David - 1 kings 2
We need Nathan’s in our lives as men!
A prophetic church culture is not a culture where the gift of prophecy exists and manifests, that can exist anywhere when people believe. A prophetic church is a church where prophecy leads to holiness, not excitement.
1 died at birth and 3 others were killed by family members. This was because he sold his soul for lust and deception. And a sword was against his house 2 Samuel 12:10. All for a little bit of pleasure, a little bit of peeping, a little bit of sexual gratification. Was it worth it? To sell his heritage for a little bit of instant gratification. Yet God still called David a man after Gods own heart. Yet we see that David still had to deal with family issues because of his choices.
We must give our kids the gift of humility. We must normalize apologizing to our wife and kids. Whatever they don’t forgive us for they get to keep.. there are those here who have not forgiven someone and they are the ones carrying what they should have forgave.
We must get into the life of our children. We must face the Goliath’s of our day and not shy away from them. We can’t allow a mountain lion to run in our houses and then wonder why they are eating our families.
We can’t have a praying wife and a dull husband. The time is too dire for men to take a back seat like they have.
What we are doing right now has nothing to do with us, it has to do with the next generation. The church has spent decades and decades caring about only themselves to where you have old men who care less about their children or wives because they are still so concerned with making a name for themselves under the name of Jesus.
We must be fathers to the fatherless
Fathers and husbands are called to reveal the heart of the Father
The Lord is going to use men to reveal the heart of the Father. God used a man named John the Baptist to reveal the heart of the Father.
“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. 16“And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17“It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:15-17
73 million kids under the age of 18
18.3 million of them do not have fathers - that is 1 in 4 kids without fathers.
Why is there a curse if the Lord doesn’t send Elijah to restore the hearts of fathers to their children? Broken relationships between fathers and children brings about curses.
We must build altars in our life
Abraham built altars that were later used by his descendants as places where they encountered God. Genesis 12, Genesis 35 (Jacob)- the places where we build altars of worship to the Lord are the same places where our kids will encounter the living God. If our homes are filled with prayers and worship to the Lord, then our children will have a place to begin their spiritual journey. Our worship and prayer in the home is our true worship and prayer. Not what we do Sunday mornings.
We can’t sit on the couch and then condemn our children for not being on fire for the Lord. They need our altars or prayers, they need our prophetic words of what the Lord is calling them to be, they need our tears and weeping for them. The hour is too late for passive fathers.
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