Allah in the Book of Malachi
The Book of Malachi talks about Allah and it is important to understand how it describes Him. First, the pertinent Old Testament book asserts that Allah is Great (Mal 1: 5, 11 (2x), 14). It clarifies that there is one God, i.e. there is no God but Allah (Mal 2: 10). However, the great Allah is not only a creator but is also a father (Mal 2: 10). His greatness is not a barrier to approaching Him or to worshipping Him but an invitation to give Him the appropriate honor. Malachi reminds the worshipers that God must be honored as a father (Mal 1: 6). His fatherhood reflects his greatness.
The Old Testament understanding of the metaphor of fatherhood is so rich. It is not confined to genealogical definitions and when it describes the fatherhood of God it does not understand it within the framework of physical marriage or sexual activities. But is uses this metaphor to communicate divine truth. Socially, the father of a tribe is the most honored one and the most valued person. Legally, the father of the extended family is the one who can discipline the children; he is like a judge. Religiously, the father is the one who is responsible for the spiritual life of the family.
Malachi focuses on the Father’s electing love. Allah the Father elected His people not because they are good but because He is loving and merciful. His electing love includes protecting his beloved ones even though they dishonored Him more than once. This protection demonstrates not only his unflinching commitment to loving His people but also his power before all the oppressive nations. No wonder He is known as the Great One, great in his love as well as in his power.
Such greatness requires perfect worship. In other words, Arab Christians may fully agree with the continual Islamic call to prayer “Allahu Akbar” or God is Great. Indeed, He is great but what kind of greatness? This is an important question for true worship is rooted in a true and illumined understanding of the identity of God.
The Messenger of Allah
You might agree that Allah is great but is it possible to misconstrue the identity and words of Allah or even the concept of His greatness? What happens when we misunderstand God? The Old Testament demonstrates that when people misread the will of Allah, He sends a messenger to help them.
The word messenger in Malachi is repeated four times (Mal 1: 1; 2: 7; and twice in 3: 1). We can see three major characteristics of the messenger of Allah in the book of Malachi. First, the messenger is a prophet who communicates the word of God (Mal 1: 1). He is the one who is burdened with a divine message.
Second, the messenger is a priest (Mal 2: 7). He represents God before the people and the people before God. He is the ideal priest whose mouth is full of truth and whose lips have never known iniquity; he is the priest who causes many to repent and come back to Allah (Mal 2: 6). He is a man of peace and integrity (Mal 2: 6).
Third, the coming of the messenger is associated with the coming of God to his temple as well as with a covenant of justice (Mal 3: 1 – 6). His coming is God’s response to those who ask where is justice (Mal 2: 17). The justice of God appears when God appears to cleanse his people, protect the marginalized (widow, orphan, and stranger), and judge the evil doers. It appears even though people break the covenant of the fathers and betray the covenantal love of their wives (Mal 2: 10 16). The appearance of this messenger is like the appearance of the sun of righteousness and the healing that lead the ones who fear Allah to the good pasture (Mal 3: 20 in Heb; 4: 2 in English).
These characteristics of the messenger of Allah can be fully found only in Jesus Christ who is not only a prophet who shares the words of God but is also the Word of God. He is not only a priest but the high priest who offered himself. He is not only the messenger of the covenant of peace, life, and justice but also the sacrifice of the only covenant that makes our worship and offerings pleasing to our Great Allah. The Greatness of Allah is seen in the greatness of the messenger of Allah who lived a sinless life and yet died like a criminal! The greatness of Allah as a loving Father is seen in loving us so much to the extent of leading his best and perfect messenger to the cross. The messenger of Allah died on the cross to disclose the extent of the Father’s love (John 3: 16). The messenger of Allah was also raised from the dead to reveal the power of Allah. In conclusion, Arab Christians can testify that Allah is great in both his love and his power.
HOME | Israel | Palestine | Jordan | Egypt | Syria | Lebanon | North Africa | Persian Gulf | Other | Features | Opinion | Top Stories | Book Reviews | Archeology | Essays | Devotions© 2011 COME and SEE | RSS | Contact Us | Who Are We | Local Ministries
Developed By: Yafita | Design By: Tony Bathich
You asked a very good question. Imad Shehadeh provides a good answer in his article "Do Christians and Muslims Believe in the Same God?" It is in Biblia sacra 161 (2004): 14-26. He also raises the same issue in the journal of MEATE 3 (2007): 1-9. Although I disagree with him in few details, I think that he is right in pointing out that the nature of God (Allah) in Islam and Christianity is not the same. His discussion on the semantic issue might be helpful.
None the less I enjoyed the teaching. I know I will be reading this book in new light. Many blessings Brother- Renee & Gidon Shmuel
Of course Arab Christians don't use the word Allah in the exact same way that Muslims use it. For example, I have said in my essay that Arab Christians use the word Allah to refer to the triune God. Obviously, Muslims don't see Allah in the same way.
Last, there is a spectrum of words that are used in the worship of Arab Christians. These include but are not limited to "Yesu3 = Jesus"; "alaab=the Father"; Ruh Allah=Spirit of God; Alruh alquds=Holy Spirit. There are also many names for God. The Arabic language is very rich. However, it is worth noting that the word "Allah" is adominant word in the Arabic Bible.
themselves "martyrs." These "martyrs" find out the truth on the other side of the veil. The god
of this world uses "Allah" to blind the eyes of the people of this world and in his name millions
of innocents have been butchered, as it continues to this day. Y'shua is the Way the Truth
and the Life.
But who decides between the different interpretations of how people view the God of the Bible. Here we have to be patient and not jump to conclusions. If the Bible had the freedom to allow many names for God and describe Him in more than one language and culture (Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic), then we need to allow a plurality of theological perspectives without denying the unity of Truth. Here I add that our diverse cultural perspectives are not a curse that we need to dismiss but a dialogue partner that we need to bring to our worship as we meet God in the pages of the Bible. If Muslims and Arab Christians call God Allah then let them be part of the dialgoue and let the global church as well as the Bible point out their good contributions as well as their faults. If I call God by the name of Allah and then say that He is a triune God and subscribe to the council of Nicea (325 AD) and to the doctrines of the church that assert the true nature of God and of Christ the son of God, then what is your problem? Explain it to me so that we can further our discussion. But don't tell me that because I speak differently and talk differently then you will not talk to me!
What amazes me more is the fact that readers are not willing to discuss.
Your approach deals with issues that others are afrais of addressing.
Thanks for the freshness of thought.
God is love