Malachi’s prophecy is post-exile, the temple was rebuilt, the walls of the city rebuilt, yet the people still did not follow God’s ways. In response God promises a messenger who will refine the people and leave a faithful remnant. John echoes this message in his call to repent and atone, with a baptism of fire and a Messiah who comes wielding a winnowing fork. Messiah is bringing justice by taking care of the oppressed, something the people were unable to do on their own. Obedience to God’s justice had proved impossible for the people to accomplish on their own, for the king to do; so it was named as a messianic expectation.