The Prophecy of Malachi – Part 4, Preparing the Way of the Lord
When the magi journeyed to Judaea from Parthia to see the Christ child, the infant had already been presented at the temple, and was circumcised according to the law, and had already been moved by His parents out of the manger and into a house in Bethlehem. So by the time that they arrived in Judaea, the Christ child may have already been a year old, and possibly closer to two. And while they apparently acted on information which is now wanting in our sacred writings, the magi were not alone in their anticipation of the promised Messiah. We see the same expectation in many of other people in Judaea, such as the apostles themselves who exclaimed from the beginning that “We have found the Messias,” as it is recorded in John chapter 1, or the Samaritan woman at the well who said “I know that Messias cometh,” as it is recorded in John chapter 4. Additionally, there was the elderly Simeon, described in Luke chapter 2, who was told that he would “not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ”, and did see Him as he was presented in the temple eight days after His birth.
But in the courts of government in Jerusalem there was completely a different reaction, not of joy but of fear and enmity, as we may discern from Matthew chapter 2 where it says: “1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Judaeans? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”
Ostensibly, all Jerusalem was troubled upon the announcement of the birth of a savior for Israel because, as we read here in Malachi chapter 2, “11 Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.” And not only was Malachi characterizing the reason why there was apostasy in ancient Judah, as we saw in the corroborating testimony of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, but he was also making a prophesy of what was about to become of Judaea in his own near future, and we described the historical record of how that was fulfilled in the absorption of the Edomites and other Canaanites of Palestine in the 2nd century BC, when all of those alien peoples were converted, and brought into the polity of the people of Jerusalem. By the time of Christ, those Edomites and Canaanites had become predominant in Jerusalem, and many of the good people of the nation were pushed to the margins of the society. The result is the divisions among the people and their diverse reactions to Christ which are apparent in the Gospel. For this same reason, when the appropriate time had come, the voice of the godly cried out from the wilderness, and not from the temple of God.