From the previous post
Malachi’s prophecy refers to two kinds of connections, precisely, to connections going in two directions. One connecting direction is that of children to the fathers, which points the current generation back in time to their predecessors, both living and deceased. The other is that of the fathers to the children, meaning forward in time, suggesting a concern for our children and our children’s children.
He Will Turn the Hearts of the Fathers to the Children
In verse 6, we see one of the effects of that mercy—and an unexpected one at that. When Elijah preaches and cries out for people to get ready to meet on the great and terrible day of the Lord, what happens? Verse 6: “And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.”
The Relationships Between Fathers and Children
He aims to spare people from being cursed. That’s the mercy we saw in verse 5. But to spare people from being cursed, people must repent and change their ways. Specifically, they must allow the Holy Spirit to change their hearts. Even more specifically, it says that people must change the disposition of the heart toward fathers and children.
Some take this verse to refer to the fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob so that the meaning is simply this—that the people will return to the faith of the fathers. But the problem with this is that it says that Elijah will also turn the fathers’ hearts toward the children. It would be unlikely that God would speak of Elijah changing the hearts of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So, please take it in its more straightforward sense: ordinary living fathers and ordinary living children will have their hearts changed toward each other.
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