The LDS Church teaches the prophesy made by Malachi in Mal 4 concerning the coming of Elijah was fulfilled in the days of Joseph Smith when Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple in 1836.
To examine the truthfulness of this claim, let’s first take a look at the prophesy in Mal 4:1-6:
For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
So what we know from this prophesy is that a day is coming that shall burn as an oven and before that day comes Elijah the prophet will come. We also know that this prophesy was given about 400 years before the coming of the Messiah. We also know that the Jews, who are still waiting on the coming of the promised Messiah are also still waiting on this coming of Elijah because the two were connected.
Yet, in the Book of Mormon, Third Nephi Chapters 24 and 25, we have Jesus quoting Malachi in about 34AD. And according to the chapter headings this is a prophesy to be fulfilled “at the Second Coming” of Jesus Christ.
On the LDS Church’s website, this article, titled “Old Testament Prophets: Malachi”, also makes the same claim concerning this prophesy, saying it was a prophesy that would be fulfilled before the second coming.
In a study guide on the Church’s website, titled “3 Nephi 24-25: The Prophecies of Malachi”, we read how and when this prophesy was fulfilled:
“In fulfillment of this promise of the Lord through Malachi, Elijah returned to the earth in 1836 in the Kirtland Temple and committed keys of the priesthood making it possible to perform saving ordinances for those who have died (see D&C 110:13–16). He restored what is sometimes referred to as the sealing power of the priesthood. It is this power whereby families are sealed together for eternity.”
Further, this General Conference speech given in 1971 on “Elijah the Prophet”, tells us that the true meaning of turning the hearts of the children to their fathers and the hearts of the fathers to their children is genealogy and temple work or the redemption of the dead. And Mr. Hunter seems to imply that Malachi’s prophesy was always about the second coming of Christ. I find that interesting given Jesus himself tells us that this prophesy was fulfilled by John the Baptist.
And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
Again we read in Mark’s account:
And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought. But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.
There is not a shred of ambiguity in either of these statements. Jesus clearly identified John as the fulfillment of the prophesy made by Malachi. But if you ask a Mormon about this they will point to the wording found in Matthew, with a bit of a twist, and claim that John would have been the fulfillment “if” they would have received him… but since they did not receive him, he was not the fulfillment.
They may quote Mat 11:14, which says: “And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come” and claim that Jesus is saying: “if they had received him” THEN John would have been the fulfillment. But that is not what Jesus is saying at all.
Let’s take a look:
For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
Jesus does not say that if they would have received John he would have been the fulfillment. He is clearly saying that “all the prophets and the law prophesied UNTIL JOHN” and “if ye will receive it” [THE TRUTH ABOUT JOHN], “this is Elias, which was for to come”.
John was the one sent to prepare the way for the Lord!! He was this ELIJAH which was to come!! So what does that say about “the great and dreadful day of the Lord”?
In Luke, we see Jesus in the synagogue reading from Isaiah:
And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
Sounds almost like what Jesus said when he said: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Doesn’t it?
Turning back to Isaiah, chapter 61 tells us that “the acceptable year of the Lord” is connected to “the day of vengeance of our God” and Jesus, reading from Isaiah 61 says: “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”
So not only does the LDS Church deny that John was the fulfillment of this prophesy, as so stated by Jesus himself, they also deny “all the prophets and the law prophesied until John”, who was sent to prepare the way for the Lord, who is the one through whom God now speaks to mankind.
They tell us that God has “restored” to us living prophets and apostles, just as in the days of old, and ignore the fact that God no longer speaks to us through imperfect and fallible men. He no longer speaks to us through the law and the prophets, but now speaks to us “by His Son”. This is the very first thing we read in the book of Hebrews, a letter sent to those who were under the law and the prophets, those to whom the oracles of God were committed until the fulness of time was come – for God to send forth His Son.
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
Paul speaks of Israel’s redemption from under the law in Galatians:
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Again, please note that the coming of Christ in the flesh also pertains to the coming of “the fulness of the time”, which is something else the LDS Church claims has to do with days of Joseph Smith and the “restoration” which, supposedly, took place less than 200 years ago through him – almost 2000 years after the coming of Elijah, the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the ushering in of the Kingdom of God.
They say we need modern-day prophets and apostles, for God does not speak to the church except through his prophets and apostles. They refuse to see the Truth! God is no longer sending SERVANTS. He has sent us HIS SON. Just as the parable of Jesus speaks in Mat 21. He is the stone that the builders rejected and “is become the head of the corner” and “whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”
There is but ONE GOD and ONE MEDIATOR between God and man, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time:
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
As I stated in my previous blog entry, though the LDS Church does embrace a more liberal understanding of the Father’s plan of salvation with regard to its scope, they still do not preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ because they do not preach that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of ALL MEN, in the fullest sense.
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach.
Not only do they not preach Jesus Christ as the Savior of all men, they do not even have a proper understanding of just exactly who the Messiah, their Redeemer, is.
These are just a few more ways in which the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fail.