December 31st Malachi 1 A. The Present The Love of God for Israel
1: The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. 2: I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, 3: And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. 4: Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever. 5: And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.
The Priests rebuked for profanity
6: A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? 7: Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. 8: And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts. 9: And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the LORD of hosts. 10: Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. 11: For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts. 12: But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the LORD is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible. 13: Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD. 14: But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the LORD a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the LORD of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.
1: And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. 2: If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. 3: Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it. 4: And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. 5: My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. 6: The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. 7: For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. 8: But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. 9: Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.
The People rebuked for social sin
10: Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers? 11: Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god. 12: The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts. 13: And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. 14: Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. 15: And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. 16: For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. 17: Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?
Malachi 3 B. The Future The Two Messengers
1: Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to this temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. 2: But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: 3: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. 4: Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years. 5: And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. 6: For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
The People rebuked - Religious sins
7: Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? 8: Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9: Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10: Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11: And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. 12: And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts. 13: Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? 14: Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts? 15: And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. 16: Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. 17: And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. 18: Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
Malachi 4 The Day of the LORD
1: For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. 2: But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. 3: And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. 4: Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. 5: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
The prophecy of Malachi has a very clear message, which is that the day of the LORD is coming. All of the OT prophets have had this theme in one way or another. This little book of only 4 chapters was written by the prophet Malachi in 430 BC. Malachi wrote to confront the people of Judah with their sins and to tell them of the love of God if they repented. It was written to the southern kingdom of Judah. This is last book in the Christian OT however it is not the last book in the Hebrew OT. 2 Chronicles is the last book in the Hebrew OT. Malachi announced the coming of John the Baptist (3v1) and the coming of Christ (3v1). Malachi prophesied to a people who were as hard as sin could make men. The prophecy of Malachi could be described as having two themes the present state of the Lords people, Israel and the future of Israel in the Messianic kingdom. Malachi begins by unburdening himself of the message of the Lord. He says the Lord says to Israel l have loved you yet you say has the Lord loved us? The Lord responds saying that Jacob had a brother Esau, yet the Lord only loved Jacob and hated Esau. The Lord made the inheritance of Esau waste land and a place for demons. Esau’s descendants will build in the desert but the Lord will destroy their palaces and the place will be uninhabited forever. Then the Lord brings another charge against Israel. He says a son honours his father and even a servant honours his master. Then he says If l am your father where is the honour that is my due? And if l am your master where is your respect? Then the Lord says you priests despise my name. (Notice that the Lords prayer begins Hallowed be thy name) The priests say how have we despised your name and the Lord answers you have polluted bread on the altar. The priests had made the table of the Lord an object of contempt. The priests were offering blind animals and lame animals for sacrifice. This was an evil thing before the Lord. The Lord says l will have no pleasure in your worship and l will not accept it from you. These are serious charges and they give a clue as to why the Lord is silent to Israel for 400 years from Malachi to John the Baptist. When John came he found a nation far from their God and full of sickness and impoverished and occupied by the Roman legions. Yet John was unable to bring about any real change. He called on the people to return to their God but it was not until Christ’s ministry that real restoration was possible. He only could forgive their sins and heal their backslidings. Malachi continues, There will come a day when from the rising of the sun to the going down of the sun the Lords name will be praised in all the earth and in every nation incense will be offered to the Lord’s name. It will be a pure offering and the name of the Lord will be great in the heathen nations. The Lord says that he will curse their blessings. The priests who should have kept the whole law have only kept part of it. Israel is in a sorry state they ask all innocently what have we done yet the Lord replies you have done evil in my sight. In chapter 3 Malachi begins to focus on the future he speaks of the ministry of John the Baptist. He will be sent by the Lord to prepare the way for the coming Messiah to Israel. Malachi describes Christ’s ministry as coming in judgment. Yet we know that when Christ came he came not to condemn or judge but to save, therefore Malachi has in mind a future day when Christ will come to his temple to execute judgment on the children of Israel. John said l baptise with water but he will baptise with fire. Christ will purify the sons of Judah that they might offer sacrifices of holiness to the Lord. Christ will bring judgment on evil doers and justice in Israel. The message of the Lord is, Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. This explains the wording of John and Christs and the Apostolic message, Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. It is not a general call to salvation as Christians experience it but it is a call specifically to Israel to return unto the Lord their God so that he would then return to them. Still Israel complains of their innocence and the Lord continues to explain their sin. They say when did we rob you? And the Lord replies in tithes and offerings. Then the Lord issues this wonderful challenge to Israel. He says bring all your tithes into the storehouse and prove me now. Test me O Israel to see if l will not open the windows of heaven and pour out on you a blessing that you will not have room enough to receive it. Then every nation will call you blessed. The Lord says, you have said strong words against me, you have said what is the point of keeping the law? Yet there were few that feared the Lord and l will keep a book of remembrance of those who fear me. They will be mine in the day when l take up my precious ones. Lastly Malachi speaks of the day of the Lord. He says a day will come which will burn like an oven. It will be a time of destruction of the proud and the wicked. But to those who fear the Lord the Sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his wings and he will tread down the wicked. He says remember the law of Moses my servant and do it! Then Malachi says The Lord will send Elijah my prophet (resurrected from the dead). Before the great and terrible day of the Lord and he will bring a restoration in the family because if not l will smite the earth with a curse. And so ends the Old Testament. And the Children of Israel waited for 400 years until a man appeared in the wilderness of Judea calling, ‘Repent for the kingdom of God is near’.