Malachi’s final message from God:
The end of the world is fast approaching, when I will burn all bad people and save all the righteous people who followed the laws that I told Moses several thousand years ago. So get ready! But don’t panic! You’ll know the day is nigh because I will send Elijah back to get you all ready!
And so ends (most Protestant versions of ) the Old Testaments. Some commentary and observations gleaned from this most careful read through. The most common denunciations that showed up again and again in most of the books (aside from cheating on god with other gods) were 1) Don’t oppress poor people, especially widows and fatherless children; 2) Don’t oppress “sojourners” (i.e. immigrants); and don’t lie, cheat, or bamboozle for your own gain. Sure there was lots of genocide, war, rape, rampant misogyny, insane family dramas, two long-ass books of obscure and often contradictory laws, and wacky prophets who we would totally medicate when/if they weren’t free-range homeless men, but Israel/Judah’s most common sin (aside from cheating) was allowing the powerful to unjustly oppress the powerless and poor.
I’m travelling next week, but when I get back, I guess I will start the New Testament (still using the ESV translation). I might as well see this thing through!
Malachi told everyone another message from God:
Listen to this dude, cuz he’s my messenger. One day, y’all are going to get a surprise visit from me, and you ain’t gonna like it. I mean, no one can really live up to my standards, and you think y’all will live through my visit? I’m gonna purify all those shitty priests and their shitty offerings! I’m sick of you guys skimping on the good stuff! Where my tithes at? If you want good harvests, then you better pay up! I make it rain, yo!
Also, quit bitching about if evildoers prosper, then I’m not real. You don’t know my ways, yo! And I’m, like, omniscient and omnipotent and stuff. So just believe that justice will prevail, on some dimensional plane or other!
But wait, there’s more! When I come to town, I’m will destroy sorcerers, of course. But I also hate cheaters and liars, so I will destroy anyone who’s ever cheated on their spouse and any one who ever swore falsely–don’t swear to god unless you mean it, yo! I also hate the fact that rich humans are dicks to poor humans, so I will destroy shitty bosses who treat their workers bad and don’t pay them enough and anyone who mistreats or oppresses poor single women and their children. Also, y’all have been immigrants! People who mistreat immigrants are the worst, and they will feel my wrath, too.
So everyone was like, well since this Malachi dude says he’s speaking from God and is preparing the way for all this punishment, we better take him seriously! So they wrote all that he said down in a book so they could remember it and promised that they would do their best to please God from then on.
Malachi went to the priests and was all, God has this message for you:
You guys are shitty priests who don’t really believe in what you’re doing and because you do such a shitty job, I’m going to smear shit all over your faces and make sure your kids have shitty lives. I made the Levites my priests because Levi was such an awesome priest. His little finger would make a better priest than any on of you. You shame your ancestor. Also, it’s really shitty that so many of you divorced your first wives when they got old. I’m down for polygamy, but you gotta take care of the first wife, yo.
The priests were pretty pissy about this guy coming in and criticizing them, but Malachi was all, Look, we’ve all messed up. Our entire country cheated on God and got punished. God’s sick of hearing you complain about there being evil in the world and the rain falling on the just and unjust alike, yadda yadda yadda. Suck it up and do better!
The people of Judah kept complaining that God didn’t love them enough–after all It had sent them into exile and life was fucking hard. Malachi had these words from God for the people of Judah:
You think I don’t love you?! Nah, man. Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated. You think you have it bad. Have y’all looked at what’s been going down in Edom lately? Yet you don’t hear those survivors complaining. No! They just go about trying to rebuild. But I don’t even like those fuckers! So I’ll just keep smiting them! But y’all in Judah, now. Your star could be ascending again, if only you’d stop fucking up so bad. Like with your shitty priests and their shitty food offerings. I mean, I have clearly stated in my various laws, that I will only accept the finest of first-fruits and the finest of animals for offerings. But is that what y’all are offering up? Sheol, no! You keep sacrificing bruised fruits and vegetables and sickly, scrawny goats and sheep. And you wonder why shit’s bad for you! If you want shit to get better, you better start offering up that good shit you keep for yourself! I am God, after all!
God says that one of these days, all the nations of the world will unite in battle against Jerusalem. The city will fall on the first attack. It will be plundered and all the women raped and half the people will be sent into exile. But then on the second attack, God will enter the battle and defeat the enemies by causing them to rot. Like their eyes and their tongues will rot like the Nazis who looked in the Ark of the Covenant in Indiana Jones! It will stand on the Mount of Olives and that mountain will split into and everyone will flee in terror! And then, it will always be spring and summer and always twilight! And two rivers will begin flowing from Jerusalem in different directions, like it’s the continental divide! And the only mountain will be the one Jerusalem is on! Everything else will be flat! And all the riches of the world will flow into Jerusalem! It will be the richest place on earth! And God will live there and be king of the world! And anyone who doesn’t worship It will suffer drought and starvation! And bells will all chime hymns! Everything will be great!
(So ends Zechariah. There is only one more Old Testament book left!)
When Judah becomes the center of the world, the untouchable bastion of God–after the 2/3 of people who God doesn’t like are finally smited by It–well, in that day, there will be no more idol worship. Everyone will worship God. And there will be no more prophets. Anyone who claims to be a prophet will be lying! And will deserve immediate and painful death. Stone them! In fact, at that time, if someone does have visions, they will lie about them and keep them secret. Because in that day, God will punish any religious leader that tries to lead people from the one true path, as dictated by It.
God had Zechariah do some role playing as a shepherd. It instructed Zechariah to buy some sheep destined for the butcher. So Zech did, and he had two crooks used to tend the sheep, one named Favor and one named Union–he didn’t have a lot of friends. Zechariah was a good shepherd and his flock prospered and this pissed the other shepherds off. So he was like, Fuck this noise, and broke the staff named Favor and demanded his wages. This freaked everybody out and they were all like, He must talk to God or something. Then Zechariah threw his wages to the potter, like God told him to do, and broke his other staff, Union, which he told everyone symbolized the broken union between Judah and Israel. Then he went around singing about Woe to bad shepherds and how God was going to burn all the trees, from the cedars to the oaks.
God is going to gather all Its chosen folk from exile and bless them and make them mighty and prosperous. However, It’s going to punish all the leaders who might have led Its people astray. Also, if you ask for rain in spring, you’ll probably get it.
When God decided it loved Judah and Israel again, It decided that it was also time to curse every neighboring country and kingdom, including Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and Philistia. Then the peace will reign in Mesopotamia and the Jews will prosper and be happy.
God told Zechariah, I’m taking Judah and Israel back. I love them both, like, so much that I’m jealous if any other god even looks at either of them. I’ve totally forgiven them for cheating on me with all those other gods and for not doing the things I told them to do. And I proved my point–I destroyed both of them like I said I would. So all my people will return from exile, and Jerusalem will again be a prosperous city, with old people sitting on stoops complaining about the weather and children playing in the streets. Be sure to tell everyone that if they want their nation to be my baby for now and forever–for ever ever–then all they got to do is not cheat on me and to follow my rules and be merciful and just and honest. That’s not so hard, right? And if they do these things, I’ll be their forever God and will protect them from any other nation that wants to hurt them.