The Holy Prophet Malachi lived 400 years before the Birth of Christ, at the time of the return of the Jews from the Babylonian Captivity. Malachi was the last of the Old Testament prophets, therefore the holy Fathers call him “the seal of the prophets.”
Manifesting himself an image of spiritual goodness and piety, he astounded the nation and was called Malachi, i.e., an angel. His prophetic book is included in the Canon of the Old Testament. In it he upbraids the Jews, foretelling the coming of Jesus Christ and His Forerunner, and also the Last Judgment (Mal 3:1-5; 4:1-6).
The Prophet Malachi (“messenger of God”) is the last of the twelve minor Prophets, and also of all the Prophets of the Old Testament. He prophesied in the days of Nehemias, a wise man among the Jews, who also held a high and powerful position in the court of Artaxerxes the Long-armed, King of the Persians, who reigned from 465 to 424 B.C. Malachis’ book of prophecy is divided into four chapters; he foretold the coming of Christ as the Sun of Righteousness (4:2)
Chronologically, Malachi was the last of the prophets. He was born after the return of the Hebrews from the Babylonian Captivity in 538 B.C. He was unusually handsome in countenance. According to tradition, the people called him an angel, perhaps because of his external beauty or because of his spiritual purity, or even perhaps because of his association with an angel of God. On many occasions he spoke face to face with an angel. When this occurred, others heard the angel’s voice, but they were not worthy to see the face of the angel.
The young Malachi prophesied that which the angel proclaimed. He cried out against ungrateful Israel and against the lawless priests. Five hundred years before Christ, Malachi clearly prophesied the coming and the mission of John the Baptist: Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me (Malachi 3:7). Mainly, he is chiefly the prophet of the day of the Dreadful Judgment. Before the day of the Lord comes, the great and terrible day (Malachi 3: 23-24). He reposed in the Lord while still young. Following him, there were no more prophets in Israel until John the Baptist.
Apolytikion of Prophet Malachi
As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Malachi, O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.
Source: goarch.org / oca.org / westserbdio.org