Malachi’s Sixfold Wake-up Call to Renewed Covenant Obedience

Disputation Reference Summary Focus
Disputation 1 1:2–5 Malachi defends God’s love for Israel. The proper response to his love is covenantal obedience and sincere worship. Israel must remember the Law of Moses (4:4).
Disputation 2 1:6–2:9 Malachi exposes offenses related to worship and criticizes the priests for allowing them.
Disputation 3 2:10–16 Malachi condemns marriage to an unbeliever as unfaithfulness to Israel’s covenant with God. He also condemns unjust divorce as a violation of the marriage covenant between husband and wife, to which the Lord is witness.
Disputation 4 2:17–3:5 Malachi promises that God will demonstrate his justice. He will do so when “the messenger of the covenant” comes to judge the wicked and purify his people. Israel must remember the promise of Elijah and the coming day of the Lord (4:5–6).
Disputation 5 3:6–12 Malachi returns to the subject of Israel’s wicked offerings. The difficulties the people are experiencing are punishment for their sin.
Disputation 6 3:13–4:3 Malachi assures the people that evildoers, who seem to escape divine justice, will be judged. The Lord will deliver his people.
Summary 4:4–6 Malachi summarizes the main points of his prophecy: keep God’s law (the focus of disputes 1–3), and remember the promise of a coming prophet like Elijah and the coming day of the Lord (the focus of disputes 4–6).