‘Says the LORD of hosts: “Behold, I will send you ‘Elijah the Prophet’ (as John the Baptizer)!… 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!”‘ Malachi 4:3-6.
Calvin comments: “The Prophet declares that prophetic teaching would again be renewed…. When God showed mercy to His people, He would open His mouth…. Christ Who is the Light of the world and the Sun of righteousness…, Himself…said that John the Baptizer was the Elijah who had been promised (Matthew 11:10)…. God intended to raise up John the Baptizer for the purpose of restoring His worship, as formerly He had raised up Elijah…. John, then, was a true successor of Elijah. Nor were any of the Prophets so much like John, as Elijah. Hence, justly might his name (Elijah’s) be transferred to him (John)….
“‘And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers’…. God reminds…for what purpose He would send John — even to turn the hearts of men, and to restore them to a holy unity of faith…. Not only the Redeemer would come, but…the doctrine of salvation would again have its own course and would be commenced by John….
“John then here seems to be…highly extolled…. When God thus speaks highly of His Ministers, the power of His Spirit is not excluded…. He shows how great is the power of truth, when He works through it by the secret influence of His Spirit….
“By saying that he (John) would ‘turn the hearts of fathers to sons and of sons to fathers’…, the Prophet here has in view the origins of the people — even Abraham and other holy Patriarchs…. It is no wonder that he mentions it as an instance of the ineffable kindness of God that they were all to be gathered and restored from discord to unity, so as to become united in one faith….
“Malachi takes it for granted, that there was formerly true religion…. He now recalls them to their first condition, so that sons might unite in sentiment with their fathers — and fathers also with their sons, and become one…. There have been some converted young men, who have show the right way to their fathers and have carried light before them…. If we wish to derive benefit from what the Prophet teaches us, we ought especially to welcome Christ…. We learn that the sin of not
embracing Christ when He offers Himself to us, shall not go unpunished!….
“Almighty God…, we hardly advance one step, though stimulated by You! O, grant that we may strive to profit more by the various helps which You have provided for us!… (Viz.) the Law, the Prophets, the voice of John the Baptizer, and especially the doctrine of Your Only-begotten Son!… May we not only hasten to Him, but also proceed constantly on our course and persevere in
it, until be shall at length obtain the victory…. You have promised — an eternal inheritance in Heaven to all who faint not, but wait for the coming of the great Redeemer! Amen!”
Fathers, sons and families — repent! Before God comes to punish!