Malachi 3-4

Thursday Evening Bible Study

September 7, 2006


The book was written between 450-400 BC.

It’s been about 100 years since the Jews returned to the land from Babylon. The second temple has been rebuilt. The walls of Jerusalem have been rebuilt.

A sense of apathy has set in among the people. Is it all worth it? Is it worth following the Lord?

Highlights from last week:

Malachi 1 – the challenge of acceptable worship, giving God the best and not our leftovers.

(Mal 1:8 NKJV) And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?" Says the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 2 – proper ministry – the priests need there hearts to be in the right place – marriage – God hates divorce

(Mal 2:16 NKJV) "For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one's garment with violence," Says the LORD of hosts. "Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously."

Malachi 3

:1-7 Coming Messenger

:1 "Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming," Says the LORD of hosts.

My messenger – could this be John the Baptist?

(Isa 40:3 NKJV) The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.

(Mat 11:10 NKJV) "For this is he of whom it is written: 'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.'

the Messenger of the covenant – it seems that this is “the Lord” (“the Lord, whom you seek …”), or, Jesus Christ. He is the messenger of the New Covenant.

(Jer 31:31-34 NKJV) "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; {32} "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. {33} "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. {34} "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

(Luke 22:20 NKJV) Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.

:2 "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire And like launderer's soap.

the day of His coming – ultimately this is talking about the Second Coming of Jesus. But it could also refer to the “time of visitation”, when a person dies and they find themselves in God’s presence to be judged.

(1 Pet 2:11-12 NKJV) Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, {12} having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

(Heb 9:27 NKJV) And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

:3 He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the LORD An offering in righteousness.

(1 Pet 1:6-7 NKJV) In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, {7} that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,

Our trials work to remove the impurities in our lives.

:4 "Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem Will be pleasant to the LORD, As in the days of old, As in former years.

Refining purifies our worship

I think that some of the most precious sounds in God’s ears are the sounds of His people as they learn to praise Him and trust Him even when they have gone through difficult times.

The difficulties are to help us realize just what is important, what will stand the test of the fire.

:5 And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers, Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien; Because they do not fear Me," Says the LORD of hosts.

sorcererskashaph to practice witchcraft or sorcery, use witchcraft

(Exo 22:18 NKJV) "You shall not permit a sorceress to live.

In the New Testament, the word witchcraft is pharmakeia in the Greek the use or the administering of drugs; poisoning; sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by it

Even though our society is seeing an increase in actual witchcraft, we see a huge influence of the drug culture.


(Exo 20:14 NKJV) "You shall not commit adultery.

(Mat 5:27-28 NKJV) "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' {28} "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.


(Exo 20:16 NKJV) "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

exploit wage earners

(Lev 19:13 NKJV) 'You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning.

A fellow the other day was sharing with me how his boss keeps shorting him on his check, not paying him for the hours he actually worked.

…widows and orphans – these were society’s most vulnerable, defenseless people.

(Exo 22:22-24 NKJV) "You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. {23} "If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry; {24} "and My wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.

turn away an alien

(Deu 24:17-18 NKJV) "You shall not pervert justice due the stranger or the fatherless, nor take a widow's garment as a pledge. {18} "But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this thing.

I know this may not be politically correct in Republican Orange County, but I’ve been praying that President Bush would get his immigration initiatives passed. I may be naïve, but I think God wants us to be compassionate on the “illegal alien”.

because they do not fear Me – All these things are done because people do not understand what it means to fear the Lord. If they realized the judgment they would be facing for doing these things, they would “fear” God … and stop what they’re doing.

:6 "For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.

God doesn’t change.

His rules don’t change.

His mercy doesn’t change.

:7 Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you," Says the LORD of hosts. "But you said, 'In what way shall we return?'

God is going to tell them how to return … it involves their pocketbook…

:8-12 Robbing God

:8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings.

tithesma‘aser tithe, tenth part


Debbie Goff, Elmhurst, IL, writes,
One Sunday morning, my 6-year-old son, Joshua, was busy getting dressed for Sunday school. When it was time for us to leave, he came out of his room carrying his entire stock of neckties. When I asked him why he was doing this, he eagerly replied, "'Cause, Mom, Reverend Wyser told us to put our ties in the offering!"
Wrong ties.

The concept of the “tithe” seems to have originated with Abraham, who gave a “tithe” to the this mysterious “priest/king” named Melchizedek:

(Gen 14:18-20 NKJV) Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. {19} And he blessed him and said: "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; {20} And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he gave him a tithe of all.

We see it again in the life of Abraham’s grandson, Jacob.  Jacob was fleeing from his brother, heading off to his grandfather’s hometown, when he had a vision of God.  He made a pledge to God:

(Gen 28:20-22 NKJV)  Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, {21} "so that I come back to my father's house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God. {22} "And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God's house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You."

Some have suggested that as New Testament Christians, we’re not obligated to “tithe” because we’re no longer under the Law. But as we can see, the example of tithing pre-dates the law.

As for the Mosaic Law, the tithe is described in:

(Lev 27:30-33 NKJV) 'And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's. It is holy to the LORD. {31} 'If a man wants at all to redeem any of his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it. {32} 'And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the LORD. {33} 'He shall not inquire whether it is good or bad, nor shall he exchange it; and if he exchanges it at all, then both it and the one exchanged for it shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.'"
Some have suggested that there were two “tithes” and will interpret a passage in Deut. 14 as a second “tithe”. I’m not convinced that they’re different, but just a reiteration of the same command.
The tithe went towards the support of the place of worship (the Tabernacle or the Temple) and the support of the priests and Levites.

offerings – this seems to be anything over and above the tithe.

The word is used to describe sacrifices made to the Lord, the “heave offerings”.

It’s used to describe offerings received for special projects, like the building of the Tabernacle:

(Exo 35:5 NKJV) 'Take from among you an offering to the LORD. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to the LORD: gold, silver, and bronze;
(Exo 36:3 NKJV) And they received from Moses all the offering which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of making the sanctuary. So they continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning.
(Exo 36:6-7 NKJV) So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, "Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary." And the people were restrained from bringing, {7} for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done; indeed too much.

I think it’s an amazing thing when one of us “penny-pinchers” learns to actually start tithing. But the “offerings” seem to be things done above and beyond even the tithes.

robbed – doesn’t this word mean to take something that doesn’t belong to you?


A woman was arrested for shoplifting. When she went before the judge, he asked her, “What did you steal?” She replied, “A can of peaches.” The judge asked how many peaches were in the can. Six, she replied. Said the judge, “I will give you six days in jail.” Suddenly, her husband leapt to his feet. “Judge, judge!” he yelled. “She stole a can of peas, too!”

I think it’s a healthy thing to realize that the “tithe” isn’t something you are so good and gracious about giving to God, it’s more accurate to think of it as something that belongs to God and you are returning it.  It doesn’t belong to you. 

:9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.

:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this," Says the LORD of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.

storehouse – When Hezekiah became king, religion was in a poor state.  The Temple was falling apart, the priests had quit because there wasn’t enough to support them.  Hezekiah brought a time of revival to the nation, and it included their finances.

(2 Chr 31:4-11 NKJV)  Moreover he commanded the people who dwelt in Jerusalem to contribute support for the priests and the Levites, that they might devote themselves to the Law of the LORD. {5} As soon as the commandment was circulated, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of grain and wine, oil and honey, and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything. {6} And the children of Israel and Judah, who dwelt in the cities of Judah, brought the tithe of oxen and sheep; also the tithe of holy things which were consecrated to the LORD their God they laid in heaps. {7} In the third month they began laying them in heaps, and they finished in the seventh month. {8} And when Hezekiah and the leaders came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD and His people Israel. {9} Then Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. {10} And Azariah the chief priest, from the house of Zadok, answered him and said, "Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, we have had enough to eat and have plenty left, for the LORD has blessed His people; and what is left is this great abundance." {11} Now Hezekiah commanded them to prepare rooms in the house of the LORD, and they prepared them.

These rooms Hezekiah prepared were the “storehouses” mentioned in Malachi.


The day the church treasurer resigned, the church asked the local grain elevator manager to take the position.  He agreed under two conditions.

That no treasurer's report would be given for the first year.
That no questions be asked about finances during that year.

The people were surprised but finally agreed since most of them did business with him and he was a trusted man. At the end of the year he gave his report:

* The church indebtedness of $228,000 has been paid.
* The minister's salary had been increased by 8%.
* The Cooperative Program gifts has been paid 200%.
* There were no outstanding bills.
* And there was a cash balance of $11,252!

Immediately the shocked congregation asked, "How did you do it? Where did the money come from?"

He quietly answered:  "Most of you bring your grain to my elevator. Throughout the year I simply withheld ten percent on your behalf and gave it to the church in your name.  You didn't even miss it!"

"Do you see what we could do for the Lord if we were all willing to give at least the tithe to God, who really owns it?"

And so the new treasurer had made his point.

Adapted from A Sourcebook for Stewardship Sermons, by James E. Carter


Dr. Hugh McKean of Chiengmai, Thailand, tells of a church of four hundred members where every member tithes. They receive a weekly wage of forty stangs (less than twenty cents] and their rice. Of this meager existence, each gives a tenth every week. Because of this, they have done more for Christ in Thailand than any other church. They pay their own preacher and have sent two missionary families to spread the gospel in a community cut off from the outside world. They are intensely interested in all forms of Christian work, especially work for unfortunates of every kind; and their gifts for this kind of work are large. They have not only accepted Christ, but, having found Him good, they are making Him known to others. Oh, by the way, this church of all tithers is also a church of all lepers--every person has leprosy.

windows of heaven – the picture is that of heaven being a big house full of treasures, and a window opens and spills out on the earth.

We see this phrase used during the days of Elisha when Samaria was under siege and there was absolutely no food to be found inside the city.  People had lost hope, they were waiting to die.

(2 Ki 7:1-2 NKJV) Then Elisha said, "Hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the LORD: 'Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.'" {2} So an officer on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God and said, "Look, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?" And he said, "In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it."

The next day, four leprous men decided to leave the city and try their luck with the enemy.  They found the enemy camp deserted.  When the people of the city found out, they stampeded out of the city, trampling this doubting official, and that day there was plenty of food for everyone.
The windows of heaven opened and there was an abundance.

:11 "And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field," Says the LORD of hosts;

A measure of the people’s poverty was linked to their lack of tithing.

The people of Haggai’s day, just a hundred years earlier, had faced a similar situation:

(Hag 1:6-9 NKJV)  "You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes." {7} Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways! {8} "Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified," says the LORD. {9} "You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?" says the LORD of hosts. "Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.

God promises to rebuke the devourer.  That doesn’t mean we won’t have any more financial difficulties ever again, but the devourer that comes from our stinginess won’t be adding to the problem.

:12 "And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land," Says the LORD of hosts.


Putting God to the test

:10 try Me nowbachan to examine, try, prove
God is inviting His people to put Him to the test.
This word is usually used to describe how God tests us:

Ps 11:4 The LORD [is] in His holy temple, The LORD’S throne [is] in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.

Ps 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;

Jer 17:10 I, the LORD, search the heart, [I] test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.

It is used a couple of times to describe how men foolishly “test” or “tempt” God by challenging Him in a proud, rebellious way.

Ps 95:9 When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work.

Mal 3:15 So now we call the proud blessed, For those who do wickedness are raised up; They even tempt God and go free.’"

But this is the only place where God actually invites us to put Him to the test.

There is one thing that God wants you to test Him on, whether or not He will bless you if you will trust Him enough by giving Him back your tithe.

The test doesn’t really seemed aimed at the church as a whole, but at the individual.
It’s not about getting the church to be financially sound, it’s about getting you financially sound.

The average charitable giving in the United States is 1.7 percent of adjusted gross income.  The average among Christians is 2.5 percent.

-- Ron Blue

Do you need to give God a test?  Are you holding on to something that belongs to God?

:13-15 Complainers

:13 "Your words have been harsh against Me," Says the LORD, "Yet you say, 'What have we spoken against You?'

:14 You have said, 'It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, And that we have walked as mourners Before the LORD of hosts?

serve ‘abad to work, serve; to serve (with Levitical service)

It could be referring to doing work for God, but it could also encompass what we call “worship”.

:15 So now we call the proud blessed, For those who do wickedness are raised up; They even tempt God and go free.'"

(Mal 3:14-15 NLT)  "You have said, 'What's the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the LORD Almighty that we are sorry for our sins? {15} From now on we will say, "Blessed are the arrogant." For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them go free of harm.'"

The people were complaining about how worthless it was to serve God.  They didn’t see any profit in serving God.

Is it worth it?

It’s not easy serving God.
You will find that when you take a step closer to God, the enemy will try everything he can to discourage you.
We see it over and over again when folks make a commitment to serving at church – we kind of hold our breath to see how they do when the attacks start coming.
We make a mistake by thinking that serving God in this life will make life better in this life.
We serve God because it’s right, not because it makes our life easier.
We serve God and expect to be rewarded, but our true rewards won’t come until we see Jesus.

Paul’s hope in the resurrection was the thing that kept him going in difficult times:

(1 Cor 15:30-34 NKJV)  And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? {31} I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. {32} If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!" {33} Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits." {34} Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

We look forward to our reward:
(Mat 25:19-21 NKJV)  "After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. {20} "So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.' {21} "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'

But the reward we look forward to is when we see Jesus.

:16-18 Book of Remembrance

:16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name.

:17 "They shall be Mine," says the LORD of hosts, "On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him."

:18 Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him.


God remembers

God keeps track of everything.  He knows all that you’ve done for Him.
You will be rewarded for everything that you’ve done for Him.


God’s treasures

Paul prayed for the Ephesians that …
(Eph 1:18 NKJV)  …the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

God sees great treasure in His saints – in you.

Jesus told a parable,
(Mat 13:45-46 NKJV)  "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, {46} "who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Some think that Jesus is the “pearl”, but I tend to agree with those who feel that you and I are the “pearl”.  Jesus sold all He had to buy us.

You, beloved, are God’s treasures, His “gems”, His “jewels”.

Malachi 4

:1-6 Judgment Day

:1 "For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up," Says the LORD of hosts, "That will leave them neither root nor branch.

the day – the “day of the Lord”, a day of judgment.

(Zep 1:14-18 NKJV)  The great day of the LORD is near; It is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the LORD is bitter; There the mighty men shall cry out. {15} That day is a day of wrath, A day of trouble and distress, A day of devastation and desolation, A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, {16} A day of trumpet and alarm Against the fortified cities And against the high towers. {17} "I will bring distress upon men, And they shall walk like blind men, Because they have sinned against the LORD; Their blood shall be poured out like dust, And their flesh like refuse." {18} Neither their silver nor their gold Shall be able to deliver them In the day of the Lord's wrath; But the whole land shall be devoured By the fire of His jealousy, For He will make speedy riddance Of all those who dwell in the land.

Even though we will not face the wrath of God, we will face a judgment of fire

(1 Cor 3:10-15 NKJV)  According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. {11} For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. {12} Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, {13} each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. {14} If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. {15} If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

All that we’ve done in our life will be put through the fire.  Whatever is not burned up, we get to keep as a treasure.

:2 But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves.

Sun of Righteousness – the sun rises and gives light to the whole earth.  Jesus will come back and His righteousness will cover the whole earth.

:3 You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this," Says the LORD of hosts.

:4 "Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments.

Horeb – the alternate name for Mount Sinai.  This was where the Ten Commandments were given.

:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.

send you Elijah

The Jews set an empty place setting at the table during Passover.  The place is for Elijah in case he shows up.

There was a sense in which this has been fulfilled through John the Baptist.

(Luke 1:17 NKJV)  "He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
(Mat 17:11-13 NKJV)  Jesus answered and said to them, "Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. {12} "But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands." {13} Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.

But there is a sense in which this has not yet been fulfilled.

(Rev 11:3-13 NKJV)  "And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." {4} These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. {5} And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. {6} These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire. {7} When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. {8} And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. {9} Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. {10} And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. {11} Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. {12} And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. {13} In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.
Who are these “two witnesses”?  I believe they could very likely be Moses and Elijah.
It’s interesting that Malachi mentions Moses (vs. 4) and then in the next breath mentions Elijah (vs. 5).
Elijah had the ability to command fire to fall from heaven or make the rain stop falling (Rev. 11:5,6)
Moses had the ability to bring miraculous plagues like turning water into blood (Rev. 11:6)

:6 And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."

This will be part of the ministry of Elijah when he comes back, a restoration of families.

I’m not sure we have to wait for Elijah to work on our families.  It’s something that God cares about.

How can a heart be turned?  What if I’m not all that excited about my kids?

I’d start with prayer.  I find that the people I pray for each day are people that I grow more and more in love with.
I find it interesting that the “turning” starts with the fathers.
Sometimes we can think that a father raising his children simply needs to be tough, to be a disciplinarian.  But God also desires the “heart”.
(Luke 15:20 NKJV)  "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.