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Malachi Explained

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Book of Malachi Explained

Title: The title is derived from the prophecy's author, Malachi. With this last work in the Minor Prophets, God closes the Old Testament canon historically and prophetically.

Author - Date: The name Malachi means "My Messenger". Nothing is known of the personal life of the prophet. This has given rise to a number of theories concerning him. Because the Hebrew language, like Greek, has only one word that can mean either messenger or angel, some of the church fathers suggested that Malachi was really an angel incarnate. Other scholars have taken Malachi to be a pseudonym for Ezra, Nehemiah, or Zerubbabel. Still others have considered Malachi to be merely a general term for an anonymous prophet, and not a personal name at all. But there is no historical basis for any of these suggestions, nor are there any precedents for them in the rest of canonical literature. Some have supposed that since the priesthood occupies such a prominent place in the book, that Malachi must have been a priest. The simplest and best view is to consider Malachi as the name of the last prophet in Israel. The fact that nothing is known of his personal lineage or history is not uncommon among the prophets. Once again, the message to be conveyed is much more important that the messenger. The messenger is obviously adequate for the task committed to him.

The probable place from which the prophecy originated was Jerusalem at a location near the temple. This is even more likely if Malachi was a priest.

The purpose of Malachi is to deliver stern rebukes to the people and priests, to call them to repentance, and to promise future blessing. His theme is God's love for Israel, despite the sins of the priests and people.

Looking solely at internal evidence, the date of the prophecy points (to the late fifth century B.C.), most likely during Nehemiah's return to Persia (ca. 433 - 424 B.C.; compare Neh. 5:14; 13:6). Sacrifices were being made at the second temple (1:7-10; 3:8), which was finished (in 516 B.C.; compare Ezra 6:13-15). Many years had passed since then as the priests had increasingly become complacent and corrupt (1:6 to 2:9). Malachi's reference to "governor" (1:8), speaks of the time of Persian dominance in Judah when Nehemiah was revisiting Persia (Neh. 13:6), while his emphasis on the law (4:4), coincides with a similar focus by Ezra and Nehemiah (compare Ezra 7:14, 25-26; Neh. 8:18). They shared other concerns as well, such as marriages to foreign wives (2:11-15; compare Ezra chapters 9 and 10; Neh. 13:23-27), withholding of tithes (3:8-10; compare Neh. 13:10-14), and social injustice (3:5; compare Neh. 5:1-13). Nehemiah came to Jerusalem (in 445 B.C.), to rebuild the wall, and returned to Persia (in 433 B.C.). He later returned to Israel (ca. 424 B.C.), to deal with the sins Malachi described (Neh. 13:6). So it is likely that Malachi was written during the period of Nehemiah's absence, almost a century after Haggai and Zechariah began to prophesy. Similar to (Rev. chapters 2 and 3), in which Christ writes what He thinks about the conditions of the churches, here God writes through Malachi to impress upon Israel His thoughts about the nation.

Historical Setting: Malachi was almost an unknown, except for this book that he penned. He used the expression "Ye say" instead of "Thus saith the Lord". His book shows us a picture of the degradation in the land at the closing of the Old Testament. He also, gives hope for the future in Messiah. He speaks out against the priesthood, as well as against these ungrateful people of God. He prophesied about the time of Nehemiah.

Malachi is later than Haggai and Zechariah. In those books the rebuilding of the temple is the central concern. We know (from 1:7 and 3:10), that not only had the temple been finished in Malachi's day, but it had been in use for some time, and sin was corrupting the worship that took place in it. Further, the book of Malachi must have been written after Nehemiah's first arrival in Jerusalem in the thirty second year of Artaxerxes Longimanus (in 444 B.C.), probably after the walls had been rebuilt around the city, for Malachi addresses the same sins noted in Nehemiah: the divorcing of Jewish wives and marrying heathen women (compare 3:8-10 with Nehemiah 13:10-14).

Nehemiah was recalled to the Persian court (in 433 B.C.), and another governor, who seems to have been a Persian governor, was placed over Palestine (compare 13:6).

Most likely, Malachi was written just before Nehemiah's second return to Jerusalem or during his presence there. Malachi ministered in support of Nehemiah's ministry, just as Haggai and Zechariah had ministered in support of Ezra and Zerubbabel nearly a hundred years earlier. The prophecy was probably written sometime between (433 and 425. B.C.).

"After Malachi, the prophetic voice was silent for some four hundred years. This fact makes it necessary for even the most destructive critic to admit that the hundreds of prophecies concerning the coming of our Lord are what they claim to be, Prophecy, and not the deceitful writing of history in poetical form.

Malachi has been called the Socrates of the prophets because he uses that style specialists in rhetoric call dialectic, "investigation through discussion and reasoning." The dialectic form used in the prophecy became a popular teaching style in later Judaism. The prophecy is a testimony to the graciousness of God in condescending to answer man's foolish and childish statements.

Background - Setting: Only about 50,000 exiles had returned to Judah from Babylon (538-536 B.C.). The temple had been rebuilt under the leadership of Zerubbabel (516 B.C.) and the sacrificial system renewed. Ezra had returned (in 458 B.C.), after being back in the land of Palestine for only a century. The ritual of the Jews' religious routine led to hard heartedness toward God's great love for them and to widespread departure from His law by both people and priest.

As over two millennia of Old Testament history since Abraham concluded, none of the glorious promises of the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New Covenants had been fulfilled in their ultimate sense. Although there had been a few high points in Israel's history, e.g., Joshua, David, and Josiah, the Jews had seemingly lost all opportunity to receive God's favor since less that 100 years after returning from captivity, they had already sunk to a depth of sin that exceeded the former iniquities which brought on the Assyrian and Babylonian deportations. Beyond this, the long anticipated Messiah had not arrived and did not seem to be in sight.

So, Malachi wrote the capstone prophecy of the Old Testament in which he delivered God's message of judgment on Israel for their continuing sin and God's promise that one day in the future, when the Jews would repent, Messiah would be revealed and God's covenant promises would be fulfilled.

There were over 400 years of divine silence, with only Malachi's words ringing condemnation in their ears, before another prophet arrived with a message from God. That was John the Baptist preaching, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Matthew 3:2). Messiah had come.

Historical - Theological Themes: The Lord repeatedly referred to His covenant with Israel reminding them, for His opening words, of the unfaithfulness to His love/marriage relationship with them. God's love for His people pervades the book.

Apparently the promises by the former prophets of the coming Messiah who would bring final deliverance and age-long blessings, and the encouragement from the recent promises of Haggai and Zechariah, had only made the people and their leaders more resolute in their complacency.

They thought that this love relationship could be maintained by formal ritual alone, no matter how they lived. In a penetrating rebuke of both priests and people, the prophet reminds them that the Lord's coming, which they were seeking, would be in judgment to refine, purify and purge.

The Lord not only wanted outward compliance with the law, but an inward acceptance as well. The prophet assaults the corruption, wickedness and false security by directing his judgments at their hypocrisy, infidelity, compromise, divorce, false worship and arrogance.

Malachi set forth his prophecy in the form of a dispute, employing the question and answer method. The Lord's accusations against His people were frequently met by cynical questions from the people. At other times, the prophet presented himself as God's advocate in a lawsuit, posing rhetorical questions to the people based on their defiant criticisms.

Malachi indicted the false priests and the people on at least 6 counts of willful sin:

(1) Repudiating God's love (1:2-5);

(2) Refusing God His due honor (1:6 - 2:9);

(3) Rejecting God's faithfulness (2:10 - 16);

(4) Redefining God's righteousness (2:17 - 3:6);

(5) Robbing God's riches (3:7-12);

(6) Reviling God's grace (3:13-15).

There are three interludes in which Malachi rendered God's judgment:

(1) To the priests, (2:1-9);

(2) To the nation (3:1-6);

(3) To the remnant (3:16 - 4:6).


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Malachi 1
Malachi 2
Malachi 3
Malachi 4

Malachi 1

Malachi Chapter 1

Malachi 1:1 "The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi."

Malachi means my messenger.

"Burden" means oracle or prophecy. This term refers to the sentence pronounced by the prophet.

Malachi 1:2 "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,"

The great privilege of Israel as God's beloved people is forcefully presented by comparing the nation with Edom. In response to the affirmation of the Lord's love for them, the people, looking only at what they had lost since the captivity and how feeble their nation was, incredulously expressed doubt about God's love and insolently challenged it. Nevertheless, God reaffirmed His love to them, recalling His covenant choice of Jacob over Esau, father of the Edomites.

It is as if they are criticizing God for choosing Jacob over Esau. They forgot that Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of soup. God was angry with Esau, because he had no regard for his birthright. God does not have to explain why He chooses one over another. He is God.

Romans 9:10-13 "And not only [this]; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, [even] by our father Isaac;" "(For [the children] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)" "It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger." "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." God loved Israel by His own election.

In this closing book of the Old Testament, God's electing love toward Israel, sovereign, undeserved, and persistent, is boldly and explicitly reiterated by the lord Himself and illustrated by His choice of Jacob and his offspring. Unconditionally and completely apart from any consideration of human merit, God elected Jacob and his descendants to become His heirs of promise.

No one should conclude that God does not love His people because He afflicted them, but rather He loves them because He elected them.

Malachi 1:3 "And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness."

This is an explanation from God of why He did not destroy Judah and Jerusalem, as He had Edom. They both had sinned. They both fell into the hands of an angry God. They both deserved to be done completely away with. Edom was destroyed, and not remembered. God chose to forgive Jacob's family, and restore them.

While Genesis mentions no divine hatred toward Esau, Obadiah's prophecy over 1,000 years later, Oba. 1:21 indicated that the Lord's hatred was against Esau's idolatrous descendants. In the same way, the Lord's love for Jacob refers to his descendants who were His sovereignly elected people through whom the world's Redeemer would come.

Nor does the love/hate language signify a comparative love in which He loved Jacob more and Esau less. Rather, the context here speaks of love as "choosing for intimate fellowship" and hate as "not choosing for intimate fellowship" in the realm of redemption.

"Laid his mountains and his heritage ... wilderness": This is a reference to Edom's (later called Idumea), destruction. First by Nebuchadnezzar and later by neighboring people, e.g., Egypt, Ammon and Moab as well as at the hands of the Nabateans.

Malachi 1:4 "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."

Though the Edomites would attempt to rebuild their ruins, God would negate their efforts.

They will never be known as Edom again, they had done so many things against the wishes of God. One thing they did was refuse passage across their land to the Israelites. They were enemies of the Israelites from the very beginning. God would not bless them, because they were enemies of His chosen people.

Malachi 1:5 "And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel."

Israel on the other hand, is restored and though complete restoration has been delayed, it will come and the nations will bear witness to God's gracious ruler ship. Both within and as well as beyond her borders.

Jacob's family should have realized the special favor God had shown them. God gave His law to these sons of Jacob. They were to be the example for the whole world. God will be magnified in this land He has claimed for His own, even if He has to clean it up Himself. He will be magnified in Jerusalem.

Verses 1:6 - 2:9: Affirming the unconditional love of the Lord did not absolve guilt, thus Malachi delivered an opening indictment against the priests and the nation's spiritual leaders. Pointing out how they were showing contempt for God's sacrifices, His glory and His Law.

Malachi 1:6 "A son honoreth [his] father, and a servant his master: if then I [be] a father, where [is] mine honor? 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?"

These chosen people of God had shown no thankfulness for all of the blessings He had bestowed upon them. They had not honored Him as their Father. They had been unfaithful in worshipping false gods. They had not even thought of Him as the One to serve. They had no "fear" (reverence), of Him.

Malachi addressed the priests first because they should be leaders in righteous devotion to God. But was foremost in despising His name, though their question was tantamount to a denial of their wicked attitude toward God.

Even the priests, who were the spiritual leaders, did not show Him respect. The priests should have instructed the people in righteousness and holiness. Instead of instructing others, they fell into idolatry themselves.

Ezekiel 22:26 "Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed [difference] between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them."

We can take a lesson from this now. (In 2 Timothy chapter 3), it speaks of our generation loving pleasure more than we love God.

3:1-5 "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come." "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy," "Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good," "Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;" "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."

Malachi 1:7 "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."

The polluted bread could be many things.

That the reference here is to animal sacrifices is evident from (verse 8). The priests were offering ceremonially unclean or blemished sacrifices, strictly forbidden by the Lord, and again hypocritically questioning such an indictment.

They had only contempt for the Lord as indicated by the offerings brought to the Lord of "blind," "lame", and "sick" animals (verse 8).

The animals they used to sacrifice must not be blemished in any way. The sacrifices had fallen short of the Levitical requirements. They were using imperfect animals to sacrifice. They were not careful of the leaven of the bread either. "Leaven" symbolized sin. This is degrading to God.

Malachi 1:8 "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."

The priests had the audacity to offer God what their governor, as a form of taxation, would never have accepted from them. They were more fearful of the governor's rejection than of God's. This would have been during the time that Nehemiah was back in Persia when he would have relinquished the office for some time.

The animals for sacrifice were a type and shadow of the great sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. They were to be without spot of any kind. They were to be perfect in their body, as Jesus was perfect in His body. They offered these lame and blind, because they were cheaper than an animal without blemish.

God would not accept this type of offering. They would not dare offer something like this to an earthly ruler. How sad they would offer this to God.

Malachi 1:9 "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."

The invitation to repent is best taken as irony. How could they expect God to extend His grace when they were insulting Him with unacceptable sacrifices?

They must repent and seek God's face. The priests should have refused this type of offering. They were the guardian of spiritual things, and they had failed. God will not overlook so great a sin, just because they hold down a position in the church.

Malachi 1:10 "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."

God, speaking in the first person, desired for someone to shut the temple doors, thereby preventing the useless, insincere presentation of sacrifices. It would be better to stop all sacrifices than to offer insincere offerings.

God is not pleased with priests, who do not guard the sanctity of the offerings. The priests had gained financially from the sale of these injured animals. They were in the priesthood for the monetary gain. They were not willing to do anything, because it was the right thing to do. They wanted to gain financially for themselves.

God would not accept an offering from such unclean hands. Preachers, it is not wrong to take a salary from the church to live on. It is wrong to be a preacher for the money you can make. The reason is wrong.

Malachi 1:11 "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."

This is saying, that the Jews are God's people, but if they will not recognize Him for who He is, the Gentiles will. He will go to the Gentiles, and make believers out of them. The "incense" is symbolic of the prayers of the saints which rise to heaven. The name of Jesus is great among the Gentile believers.

The phrase "rising of the sun ... setting" is a way of referring to the whole earth as the subsequent phrase "in every place" indicates. Although no indication is given as to the time when such worship of God will fill the earth, this cannot be a reference to any historic Jewish worship outside the borders of Israel.

Malachi's zeal for Israel's sacrifices, coupled with his negative attitude toward foreigners and their gods, point to the millennial era when they will worship in the rebuilt temple, and incense plus offerings will be present. At that time, and not until that time, the Lord will receive pure worship throughout the world and his name will be honored everywhere.

In verses 12 and 13, the reproof of verses 7 and 8 are repeated. The exacting requirements of the sacrifices wearied the priest. They did not literally say the Lord's Table (the place of offerings) is contemptible, but they virtually said so by refusing to lead the people to reverence and to offer the Lord their best, thus their attitude and actions were profaning the altar and insulting to the lord, so He rejected their offerings.

Malachi 1:12 "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."

The priests have rejected the salvation God offered, now God will turn to the Gentiles. It is interesting, to me, that the Gentiles accepted Jesus more readily than the Jews did. The priesthood had fallen to the point, that the priests had polluted the altar and the offerings on the altar.

Malachi 1:13 "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."

They were not offering to God because of their faith in Him, or their love for Him. They were doing the offerings, because of obligation. They were just going through the motion of worshipping Him. They offered animals and bread that was not fit for human consumption. They gave Him the scraps.

God would not accept this type of offering. The answer to the question above, is no. The God of all glory should not have to accept such. This was very degrading.

Malachi 1:14 "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."

We see from this, that they did have animals that were not damaged, that they could have offered. They gave the cast-aways to God. These were some they would have thrown away anyway. They thought so little of God, they would do this. God spoke curses to those who did not keep His commandments. They have brought the curse upon themselves.

Instead of the unblemished male animal, which was considered more valuable and which he had vowed to voluntarily give, the offeror suddenly substituted a blemished female.

They have chosen not to obey God. They have chosen to sin greatly before God. They have become so casual about their worship, they have forgotten His ordinances. The heathen are in awe of such a God. They have more fear and respect for God, than His own people do. God will not allow His people to defame Him. He is Holy. He is Righteous. He is Almighty. He is our All in All.

Malachi 1 Questions

1. Malachi gives hope for the future in _________.

2. He prophesied about the time of _________.

3. What were they accusing God of?

4. Esau sold his birthright for a ________ of _________.

5. What is verse 3 an explanation of?

6. What happened to Edom?

7. What was one specific thing Edom had done against God's people?

8. What should Jacob's family have realized?

9. A son honoreth his _________.

10. A servant honoreth his ___________.

11. How had they been unfaithful to God?

12. What is "fear" speaking of?

13. What lesson can we take from this?

14. What does 2 Timothy say about our generation?

15. What were some of the things the polluted bread was speaking of?

16. "Leaven" symbolizes ______.

17. The animals sacrificed were a type and shadow of what?

18. Why did they offer lame and blind animals for sacrifice?

19. Who, on this earth, would they not offer these sick animals to?

20. They must repent and seek ______ ______.

21. What were the priests' guardians of?

22. Why were the priests willing to accept these lame and blind animals?

23. What warning is in this to preachers?

24. If the Jews will not accept God, who will?

25. What is the "burning of the incense" symbolic of?

26. The name of ________ is great among Gentile believers.

27. Why would God not accept their offerings?

28. Cursed be the _________.

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Malachi 2

Malachi Chapter 2

Malachi 2:1 "And now, O ye priests, this commandment [is] for you."

This message is addressed specifically to the priests. The priests were to represent God to the people, and the people to God. It appears they had failed to do the job God had for them to do.

Malachi 2:2 "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."

"I will even send a curse" Failing to render glory to God would result in a curse being sent upon them. This is a fundamental Old Testament theme: blessing for obedience, cursing for disobedience.

"Your blessings": These were not restricted to material blessings only but referred to all the benefits of God's gracious hand, including the blessings pronounced by the priests over the people (Num. 6:23-27).

They were supposed to be God's agents to carry out the spiritual things on this earth. God had given the priests the authority to bless the people, but now their blessing will be turned to a curse. They will be cursed themselves, because of their unfaithfulness to God.

We spoke in the last lesson, how the priesthood was no longer because of a call in their life, but a way of making a living. They did not have their heart in doing the will of God. They were just going through the motions to get what they could for themselves out of it.

Malachi 2:3 "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."

This very graphic language shows how God viewed unfaithful priests as worthy of the most unthinkable disgrace. As the internal waste of the sacrificial animal was normally carried outside the camp and burned, so the priests would be discarded and suffer humiliation and loss of office. The Lord's purpose in such a warning was to shake them out of their complacency.

God has lost all respect for the priests. He is speaking of them being treated like filth, which they deserve to be treated like.

Malachi 2:4 "And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts."

The priests will know the price of disobedience by bitter experience with the consequences.

God had called the tribe of Levi to work in the temple. The priests and High Priest were to come from this tribe. They were to eat of the offerings of the temple. Their job was to see that the offerings and sacrifices were continued, in the way God would have them done.

Now, the priesthood had become polluted with those who were not called, but seeking a way of making a living. They had broken covenant with God by the way they were performing their duties.

Malachi 2:5 "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."

The relationship of God to the priesthood was clearly set forth in the Levitical covenant (Num. 3:44-48; 18:8-24; Deut. 33:8-11). The covenant was one of mutual responsibility, in which God expected reverence for Himself in exchange for life and peace for the priests. Verbally similar to the covenant made with Phinehas relating to the lineage of the High Priest, this covenant was made with Aaron of Levi's line and his descendants.

The Jewish priests of Malachi's day had deceived themselves by claiming the privileges of the covenant, while neglecting the conditions of it, as if God was bound to bless them even while they rejected the obligation to serve Him.

God had promised them life and peace, if they obeyed Him and reverenced Him. They had broken the covenant. They no longer feared, or reverenced God.

Malachi 2:6 "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."

They were the guardian of God's law. They spoke truth. They lived holy before their Lord. The anointing of God was upon the Levite. God spoke to the people through the Urim and Thummim, which the High Priest wore. His job was to keep God's people in right standing with God.

Aaron, unlike the priests of Malachi's time, feared and reverenced God. Aaron also fulfilled this responsibility and lived the godliness he taught (Lev. 10:9-11).

Malachi 2:7 "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."

The priests were the messengers of God in Israel. Not only were they to represent the people to God, but they were also responsible to represent God to the people by teaching the Law of Moses to the nation.

This scripture is speaking of the Lord speaking through the priest's lips. He was an ambassador, or a messenger, to take the message of God to His people. The priests should have never spoken their own words, while they were ministering. The Words of the LORD should be the Words they ministered.

Malachi 2:8 "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."

The priests had not lived before the people the holy life that should have been an example for the others. They too, had been involved in idol worship. The poor example they set, had caused others to stumble and fall.

This again, should speak to our leaders in our churches today. They must set an example of holy living. There are some new Christians who need an example to follow.

Malachi 2:9 "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 had lost respect for them. Their partiality in their judgments had caused the people to actually hate them. They had one set of rules for the people and another for themselves. They were supposed to set a good example for the people, and instead, they were sinners themselves.

The priests of Malachi's day had made a radical departure from God's standard, originally given to Levi, causing others to stumble by their bad example and false interpretation of the law. Consequently, the worst shame and degradation fell upon them.

Verses 10-16): Israel's spiritual leaders committed grievous sins (1:6 - 2:9), leading the people to do the same. They too were violating the requirements of God's law by profaning the institution of the Levitical priesthood. Marrying foreign wives and divorcing the wives of their youth (in verses 13-16).

Malachi 2:10 "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?"

God created all men. Some men had chosen heathen gods. The Jews worshipped the One True God.

God did not want the Hebrews mixing in marriage with the heathen nations around them. The priests had married outside the Hebrews themselves.

Though God is Father of all through creation, the primary focus is directed to God as the Father of Israel as His covenant people (see "father" in 1:6), where this indictment began (also Jer. 2:27).

Malachi 2:11 "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."

This key phrase "dealt treacherously", refers to the violation of God's will by divorcing Jewish wives and marrying foreign women. God is the Father who gave life to Israel, yet they had, through intermarriage with idol worshipers, introduced division by violating the covenant He made with their fathers to insure the maintenance of a separated people.

It seems that the whole nation had become involved in this treachery. The women of the heathen nations introduced their husbands to the worship of these false gods. God had set His people aside to be a holy nation. They are now mixing with the heathen.

We are warned ourselves if we are Christians, not to be unequally yoked with those of unbelief. This was the very thing that destroyed Solomon's relationship with God. Solomon married women of the heathen nations around them, and they brought idols into God's holy land.

Malachi 2:12 "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."

"Cut off": This common term was generally used for death. Their adulterous actions of divorce and intermarriage disqualified them from participation in the rights and privileges of the community of Israel, so their offerings to God would be rejected.

Look at the seriousness of this in the following Scriptures.

Joshua 23:12-13 "Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, [even] these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you:" "Know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out [any of] these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you."

It really does not make any difference about their station in life. God will punish them all.

Malachi 2:13 "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."

They had not only married heathen women, but they divorced their Hebrew wives. It seems this sin had gone on over and over. Men who are mean to their legitimate wives cannot get their prayers heard. God will not receive anything at their hand, because they have broken His commandments.

Weeping and wailing would achieve nothing because sin had shut the door of access to God. They had violated their marriage vows and the separation from idols as God required. This double disloyalty made their offerings a hypocritical mockery. Since lay people had no access to the altars but the priests did, it was clearly their guilt which was foremost, and their hypocrisy so unacceptable to God.

Malachi 2:14 "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."

They are so caught up in this sin, that they do not repent, and ask God what He is displeased with them about. Sin has a way of causing us to have hardened hearts. The more sins we commit, the less guilty we feel.

The Lord is very displeased, that they have left the wives of their youth and married heathen women. God does not like divorce. He will not tolerate divorce for the reason these people got their divorces. Marriage is a covenant with the two partners, but it is also, a covenant with God.

"Wife of thy covenant". The prophet accentuated the iniquity by mentioning the legally binding nature of the marriage contract, a covenant made before God as witness. Wives were married young, sometimes before 15 years of age.

Malachi 2:15 "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."

God did not want them to marry heathens, because He wanted their children to be Hebrew, as well. Had they followed the leading of the Spirit, they would have remained with their Hebrew wives of their youth.

They listened to the call of their flesh to sin, instead. This is displeasing to God.

Noting God's original institution of marriage (Gen. 2:24), in which He made two into one, Malachi reminded them that God provided only one woman for one man. Though He had the life giving power of the Spirit, and could have made Adam a number of wives, He created only one, to raise up a "godly offspring."

Polygamy, divorce and marriage to idolatrous women are destructive to obtaining the godly remnant in the line of the promised Messiah. Only when both parents remain faithful to their marriage vows can the children be given the security which provides the basis for godly living. Because this foundational divine institution of marriage was being threatened, Malachi urged that no husband act in a treacherous way toward his wife.

Malachi 2:16 "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."

The Lord emphasized what He had been saying by this emphatic declaration. In fact, God sees this unwarranted divorce as a gross act of sin which, like blood splattered from a murder victim on the killer, leaves evidence of the evil deed.

The warfare for a man's soul is between the spirit, which wants to obey God, and the flesh which wants to sin.

Galatians 5:17 "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."

Romans 8:13 "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."

Verses 2:17 - 4:6: The denunciation of Israel's sins was followed by a declaration of the judgment on the unrepentant and subsequent blessing on the faithful remnant. (Verse 17), is the introduction to the rest of the book. These faithless, disobedient priests and people had worn out God's patience by their skepticism and self justification, so judgment is on the way.

Malachi 2:17 "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?"

"Ye have wearied the Lord". Disillusionment followed the rebuilding of the temple. The presence of God had not come to the new temple. They began to live in indifference to God. Calloused and lacking in spiritual discernment, the people persisted in cynical expressions of innocence.

They had rejected all intention of taking right and wrong seriously. So deeply gripped by complacent self righteousness, they had the gall to insolently question the Lord, implying that He seemed to favor the wicked and was unconcerned about the righteous. The prophet faced them with imminent judgment, telling them God was coming, but to refine and purify.

God has lost patience with this evil generation. They say one thing, and do another. This reminds me so much of those who will stand before Jesus on judgment day.

Matthew 7:21-23 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

You see, it is not what you say with your mouth, but what you believe in your heart that pleases God. They have gone so far into sin, they do not even believe God is coming to judge.

2 Peter 3:3-4 "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts," "And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation."

God is the all-seeing eye. Nothing escapes Him. He is coming, and He will judge each person on the earth.

Malachi Chapter 2 Questions

1. Who is this addressed to?

2. What was the purpose of the priests?

3. Why is God putting a curse upon them and their blessings?

4. What special privilege had God given the priests?

5. Instead of being a call, the priesthood had become what to them?

6. What does God say, He will do to them in verse 3?

7. God's covenant had been with ________.

8. My covenant was with him of _______ and _________.

9. _____________ was found in his mouth.

10. How had God spoken to the people?

11. The priest was an ________, or a _______, to take the message of God to His people.

12. Beside sinning themselves, what had they done?

13. Preachers should set an ________ for others.

14. Why had the people lost respect for them?

15. If God created all men, why did some not get saved?

16. Who had married heathen women?

17. The whole _________ had become involved in this treachery.

18. What hurt Solomon's relationship with God?

19. Who was covering the altar with tears?

20. Why will God not receive their offerings.

21. Why did God not want them to marry heathens?

22. What is the warfare we are in?

23. God has lost __________ with this evil generation.

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Malachi 3

Malachi Chapter 3

Malachi 3:1 "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts."

"My messenger" plays on the name of the prophet. It does not refer to a heavenly messenger. Neither does it refer to a spiritual being nor to the Angel of the Lord, but to an earthly messenger of the Lord, the same one called Elijah (in 4:5-6). This clause is quoted a number of times in the New Testament and is uniformly applied to John the Baptist, the only prophet besides Jesus who was the subject of prophecy.

Certainly, we know that John the Baptist was a messenger sent to proclaim the coming of the Lord.

It was a custom of the Near Eastern kings to send messengers before them to remove obstacles to their visit. Employing a wordplay on the name of Malachi, (the Lord's messenger), the Lord Himself announced He was sending one who would "clear the way before Me." This is the voice of one "calling" in the wilderness (Isaiah 40:3; and Elijah of 4:5), who comes before the Lord.

Luke 7:26-28 "But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet." "This is [he], of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee." "For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."

To come suddenly does not mean immediately, but instantaneously and unannounced. It usually refers to a calamitous event. When all the preparations are completed, the Lord will come, not to Zerubbabel's temple, nor in partial fulfillment to Herod's temple, but finally to that millennial temple which Ezekiel describes (in Ezekiel chapters 40 to 48). The unexpected coming of Christ, partially fulfilled at His first advent, will be accomplished in full at His second coming.

Jesus was brought to the temple on the 40th day to dedicate Him. Simeon and Anna, both old in years, recognized Jesus as the promised Messiah, when He was brought to the temple. Jesus was Emmanuel (God with us). He is the Mediator of the New Testament. John is the messenger to proclaim Jesus, and Jesus is the messenger to proclaim God.

"Messenger of the covenant": Probably not the messenger just mentioned. Rather, because this Messenger "will come to His temple," it is most likely a reference to the Lord Himself, the One who has the authority to reward or judge His people on the basis of their faithfulness to His covenant with them. The title may reflect earlier Old Testament references to His "angel," which is literally "messenger".

"In whom you delight": This is likely sarcastic. These sinful people were not delighting in God then, nor would they when He came in judgment on their hypocritical worship and cleansed the temple. All the ungodly will be destroyed at His return (Rev. 19:11).

Malachi 3:2 "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:"

The coming of Jesus (Messiah), at His physical birth did not bring peace. Families were separated, because some believed He was Messiah, and others did not believe. This will have a greater fulfillment, when He comes as King and Lord.

The sheep will be separated from the goats at that time. The refiner's fire and the fullers soap both get rid of the dross. The Christians are tried as by fire, to see what they are made of. They are washed and made white as snow, when they receive the righteousness of Christ.

Instead of bringing rewards, His coming is likened to two purifying agents, fire to burn off dross and alkali to whiten, an indication of the true condition of their hearts. The fire will burn off the dross of iniquity; the soap will wash out the stain of sin. His coming will be one in which He removes all impurities. No one will escape this cleansing. Importantly, He will come purifying and cleansing, but not necessarily destroying.

Malachi 3:3 "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."

This is the fire that burns up all the dross, and leaves the pure silver (redeemed).

1 Corinthians 3:13 "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is."

2 Timothy 2:20-21 "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor." "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, [and] prepared unto every good work."

The fire of God takes out all of the evil, so the vessel will be pure.

Since the Levitical priests were instrumental in leading the nation astray and a new group of pure priests was required for the work of the millennial temple, the cleansing of the nation would begin with them. Then they can "present to the Lord" what is righteous as called for in the millennial sacrifices.

"Offering in righteousness:" Given from cleansed hearts in a right condition before God, their offerings will be "in righteousness." These millennial sacrifices will be a memorial for the redeemed nation of Israel, commemorating Christ's sacrifice at Calvary.

Malachi 3:4 "Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years."

Only after the priesthood is purged and when the people are cleansed, will they be able to offer what pleases the Lord as in the days of Solomon (2 Chronicles 7:8-10); Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 30:26); Josiah (2 Chronicles 35:18); and Ezra (Neh. 8:7).

After the sin is purged away, then God will accept their offerings from a pure heart.

Malachi 3:5 "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."

What is a refining process for the remnant of repentant Jews who acknowledge their Messiah, preparing them to enter the kingdom and worship in the millennial temple, will be for others utter destruction. All the iniquitous behavior in the verse are evidence that these are people who "do not fear" God.

They had asked, "where is the judgment?" Now, He tells them, it will extend to all of the people, as well as to the priests. They had asked a question and here is the answer, "I will come near to you to judgment".

God judges His own family first. Then, He judges the sinful of this world. The sins, listed above, are those He really hates.

Notice, He starts with sorcerers. These were pertaining to magic and witchcraft. Many of these sins, they had learned from their heathen neighbors. The sins, listed here, are sins against God and their neighbors.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind," "Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

There is no need to explain each sin. It is enough to know, that these sins will keep us out of heaven.

Verses 6-12: These verses form a parenthesis between two messages concerning God's justice and judgment. What the Jews have labeled as God's injustice is not God's being unrighteous or unfair, but His being mercifully patient. A genuine call of repentance is then issued (verse 7), and the fruit of it described (verse 10).

Malachi 3:6 "For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."

Contrary to God's having become unjust and thus not acting on behalf of Israel, in light of their history of rebellion, Israel's existence was due only to the Lord's unchanging character and unswerving commitment to His covenant promise with the patriarchs.

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes. The things that were a sin in the sight of God 2000 years ago are a sin now. The sons of Jacob are not consumed, because of God's covenant.

God not only is the same in judgment, He stays the same in the calling we have on our lives. When God calls you, He never changes His mind about wanting you for that purpose.

Malachi 3:7 "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?"

If you study the wilderness wanderings, you will discover how unfaithful they really have been. God has forgiven them over and over. The Ten Commandments that God spoke from the mountain to the people before Moses went to the mountain to get them engraved on stone, was spoken aloud to them all.

They broke the very first commandment, when they built the golden calf. God forgave them, and started them out again. It was their lack of faith that caused them to wander 40 years. They were disobedient, and God let the faithless die off, before He allowed their descendants to go into the Promised Land.

They may experience God's goodness again, and be blessed, if they repent. In view of the Lord's coming to refine and purify, Malachi presents a powerful challenge to repent.

Yet, apparently unwilling to admit the sins on their part needing repentance, the invitation to return is met with another cynical query, asking how they can return when, from their perspective, they haven't left, God has. The truth was God hasn't changed and neither have they; He was as righteous as ever and they as unrighteous.

I could give many more examples. Even in this lesson, God wants them to repent, and turn to Him. They are so calloused with sin, they are not even aware they have sinned.

Verses 8-12: In answer to their query about how they have deviated from God's way and need to return, the prophet picked an illustration of their spiritual defection that is very visible and undeniable. The Lord pointed out that they had not brought the required tithes and offerings, those used to fund the theocracy by sustaining the Levites, the national religious festivals, and the poor.

But in not paying their taxes and so robbing God, they had robbed themselves, for God had withheld His blessing.

Malachi 3:8 "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings."

The tithe (one tenth), belongs to God. We have not given anything really, until we have paid our tithe. Offerings are over and above tithes. We see from this, that they had failed to pay their tithes. That is like robbing God.

Here was a glaring, widespread sin; they had stolen from God what was rightfully His by divine law.

Malachi 3:9 "Ye [are] cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, [even] this whole nation."

You cannot multiply something, until there is something to start with. It seems the whole nation had stopped giving to God.

Verses 10-12: God says prove or test me. Contrary to the normal biblical pattern, the people were invited to put God to the test. If they would honor Him by reversing their robbery and in a show of true repentance bring what He required, He would shower them with excessive abundance, protect them from locusts, and they would be the delight of the nations.

Malachi 3:10 "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]."

When tithes were unpaid, the priests were deprived and had to give up their ministry and to begin farming. The nation's religious life was hindered and the poor and strangers suffered. But, the real iniquity was that such disobedience was robbing God, who was the true King of Israel.

A "storehouse" was a room in the temple to store the tithes of crops and animals brought by the people. This was the temple treasury. One of Nehemiah's tasks was to ensure that the supplies needed for support of the temple ministry did not fall as it had during his absence.

God has challenged them. God will multiply all that they give Him so abundantly, that they will not have enough containers to hold it all. I have seen this work in my own life.

It is not just money that we should tithe. If we give God His tithe of our time, we will find we get much more done in the time left, than we could have with all the time. Christians believe in firstfruits giving. We give in anticipation, not one tenth of what we have already made.

Malachi 3:11 "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."

The devourer is the locusts God will protect them from to keep their land from becoming desolate.

Isaiah 62:4-5 "Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married." "For [as] a young man marrieth a virgin, [so] shall thy sons marry thee: and [as] the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, [so] shall thy God rejoice over thee."

The blessings God bestows on the one who gives abundantly to God's work are not just money. God blesses everything they put their hand to. God sends the rain at the proper time and the sun. Their crops grow abundantly.

Malachi 3:12 "And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts."

All nations will realize that they are blessed of God. They will be the delight of the nations.

Malachi 3:13 "Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken [so much] against thee?"

Again, they have committed so much sin, that they are not aware they have sinned against God.

Romans 9:20 "Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus?"

Jude 1:15 "To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard [speeches] which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."

These sinful priests and people had not just questioned God (2:17), violated God's covenant (2:11), disobeyed His laws (2:9), defiled His altar (1:7, 12), and despised His name (1:6), but had openly spoken against Him. In spite of what was promised (verses 10-12), the people complained that obedience to God's law brought no rewards (verse 14). Only the proud and wicked prospered, they said (verse 15).

Malachi 3:14 "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?"

Now we see the statement they have made against God. They are looking for a reward for the things they have done for God. This in itself is a bad attitude. They were doing good to get something in return, not to please God.

The people pretended to grieve for their sins, walking around in sackcloth or even with blackened faces to convey apparent sorrow, then complained that all that religious activity was useless. (see Isaiah 58:5; Joel 2:13; Matthew 6:16-18).

Malachi 3:15 "And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, [they that] tempt God are even delivered."

God had spoken over and over about His dislike for those who murmured. This is almost as if, they are jealous of the sinners. This reminds me of Jonah, who thought God should not save Nineveh.

"Tempt God": The proud and wicked, with apparent impurity, put God to the test by seeing how far they could go in doing evil. (In verse 10), God invited His people to see how far He would go in blessing.

Malachi 3:16 "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."

Malachi ended with an encouraging word for the faithful remnant.

There was a group who feared and reverenced God. This did not go unnoticed. Those who remembered God will be remembered on judgment day, when they stand before the Lord. When He opens the books, He will say, "Well done, thy good and faithful servant".

In the hearts of the true and righteous worshipers who loved and served God in Israel, all the talk of judgment produced fear that they too, might be swept away when God's wrath came. To encourage the godly remnant, Malachi noted how the Lord had not forgotten those "who fear the Lord and who esteem His name."

The book may be a reference to the "book of life" in which the names of God's children are recorded. The Persians had a custom of recording in a book all acts of a person that should be rewarded in the future. The psalmist knew of such a book as well (Psalm 56:8).

Malachi 3:17 "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."

"Mine" is emphatic in the Hebrew. The godly remnant will belong to Him and will be His special treasure, or "possession". In the midst of judgment, He will spare them.

We Christians, have been bought and paid for by the precious blood of Jesus. We belong to Jesus. We have taken on the name of Christ (Christian).

Matthew 25:34 " Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:"

John 10:27-29 "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:" "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand." "My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father's hand."

Malachi 3:18 "Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."

The distinction between the godly and ungodly will be evident for all when the righteous Lord is present, ruling from the throne of David in Jerusalem.

Romans 6:16 "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"

The following Scripture tells what happens to the righteous (wheat), and what happens to the chaff (wicked).

Matthew 3:12 "Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

Malachi Chapter 3 Questions

1. Who was the messenger in verse 1?

2. Jesus was brought to the temple on the ______ day to dedicate.

3. Who were the two, in the temple, that recognized Jesus as Messiah?

4. What does "Emmanuel" mean?

5. He is the ___________ of the New Testament.

6. Why were families separated over Jesus?

7. The Christians are tried as of by ________.

8. What are the vessels of honor in the house?

9. When shall Jerusalem's and Judah's offerings be pleasant unto the LORD?

10. What evil people are mentioned, in verse 5, that God will judge swiftly?

11. What question had they asked God?

12. Who does God judge first?

13. Where did they learn this evil?

14. God is the same yesterday, _________, and __________.

15. Why are the sons of Jacob not consumed?

16. What do you find about the sons of Jacob, if you study the wilderness wanderings?

17. What caused them to have to wander 40 years?

18. Who did God allow to go into the Promised Land?

19. Why do they not realize they have sinned?

20. How can you rob God?

21. Why are they cursed with a curse?

22. How does the Christian's giving differ from tithing?

23. What blessings do they receive, other than multiplying their gift from God?

24. All nations shall call you __________.

25. They had said it was _______ to serve God.

26. How did God feel about murmuring?

27. What will God say to those who work for Him?

28. What happens to the righteous at judgment?

29. What happens to the chaff?

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Malachi 4

Malachi Chapter 4

Malachi 4:1 "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."

The first three verses continued the thought of the closing verses of the previous chapter, elaborating on God's punishment of the wicked and his deliverance of the godly. This eschatological reference to the day of the Lord is injected four times into the prophet's final words. It anticipated the return of the Lord Jesus in judgment.

Burning like an oven: Adding to the imagery of a refining fire, Malachi spoke of God's judgment as a destructive fire that swiftly and totally consumes with excessive heat, with the proud of (3:15). The destruction of the roots, normally protected by their subsurface location, provides a vivid, proverbial picture of its totality. All who refuse to repent will be cast into the fire of hell (Rev. 20:11-15).

This is speaking of that Day of Judgment on all the earth. God is associated with fire many times.

Hebrews 12:29 "For our God [is] a consuming fire." God judges with His fire. Sometimes, the fire is speaking from a spiritual nature, and sometimes, it is literal.

Matthew 13:30 "Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."

God gives everyone ample time to turn from their sin. When they do not, He destroys them.

2 Peter 3:7 "But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."

Malachi 4:2 "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."

"Sun of righteousness": While the wicked will be devoured by the heat of his wrath, those who fear him will feel his warmth with healing in his "light". The reference is to the Messiah, "The Lord our righteousness. Healing: The reference should not be limited to the physical recovery from the harm done by the wicked. This sickness is inextricably linked with sin, with healing coming only through the suffering of the Servant.

"Like calves of the stall". Calves, when confined to a stall for extended periods of time, leap for sheer joy when turned loose into the sunlight. The picture is one of a joyful, vigorous, and carefree life.

This is that great day of separation. This speaks of those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus, receiving their rewards. This is when the Sun of righteousness brings healing and warmth to those of His own. There will be no more sorrow. We will be filled with the Light of God at this time.

Luke 17:24 "For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one [part] under heaven, shineth unto the other [part] under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day."

Revelation 11:18 "And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth."

Revelation 21:4 "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."

Malachi 4:3 "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."

Both the law and the prophets play a part in preparing for the arrival of the day of the Lord. First, the people were to remember what was given at Sinai (Horeb), the Law of Moses primarily focusing on the obligations to obedience at the time of entering into that covenant.

The wicked will be ruled over by the saints of God. Jesus will reign 1000 years upon the earth and the Christians, who had been oppressed, will reign with Him. The ashes are caused by the fire of judgment that has come upon them.

Malachi 4:4 "Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, [with] the statutes and judgments."

This reverts back to give them one more warning to keep the law of Moses, so they will not be cursed and burned by the fire of God. Those who truly knew the Old Testament the way they should have, would have known Jesus was the Messiah.

This is the very reason I stress Bible study so much. We will not be deceived by the antichrist, if we have hidden away the Words of the Bible in our hearts. Let me give the Law of Moses here.

Exodus 20:3 "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

Exodus 20:4 "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth:"

Exodus 20:5 "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me;"

Exodus 20:6 "And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."

Exodus 20:7 "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."

Exodus 20:8 "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy."

Exodus 20:9 "Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:"

Exodus 20:10 "But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates:"

Exodus 20:11 "For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."

Exodus 20:12 "Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."

Exodus 20:13 "Thou shalt not kill."

Exodus 20:14 "Thou shalt not commit adultery."

Exodus 20:15 "Thou shalt not steal."

Exodus 20:16 "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

Exodus 20:17 "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbor's."

Let us look at what Jesus said about this.

Matthew 5:17-20 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."

Malachi 4:5 "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:"

Elijah. The mention of Elijah was to announce the Messiah's arrival. John the Baptist was a type of Elijah at Christ's first advent. Moses and Elijah appeared together at the Mount of Transfiguration and may be the two witnesses in the great tribulation.

Most likely, this will be an Elijah like person, as John the Baptist was Elijah like. In that day, his task will be to preach reconciliation to God so that souls can believe and be spared God's curse. He will be effective.

Some of the Bibles say, one like unto Elijah.

Matthew 11:13-14 "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John." "And if ye will receive [it], this is Elias, which was for to come."

Matthew 17:3 "And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him."

Matthew 17:10-12 "And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come?" "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elijah truly shall first come, and restore all things." "But I say unto you, That Elijah is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them."

Malachi 4:6 "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."

Turn ... hearts. The very opposite of what occurred at Christ's first coming anticipates a general societal repentance, so that complete destruction might be averted. The earth will be restored to Edenic wonder, the curse reversed, the kingdom established with Messiah reigning, and the righteous Jews and Gentiles entering it.

This curse is a decree of utter destruction referring to the practice of devoting things or persons irrevocably to God, often by total destruction. Cities of Canaan were put under the decree of utter destruction, and thus the people were to be exterminated. Its use here suggests that God would make a whole burnt offering of the earth if there was not a repentant remnant.

There had been a terrible time, when there was no love between parents and children. This is speaking of Elijah, as John the Baptist, when he preached repentance. Repent for the Lord is coming, was his cry.

I would like to leave you with the following Scriptures, which are my way of saying, "The Lord is coming".

Matthew 24:27-30 "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." "For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together." "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:" "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

Malachi Chapter 4 Questions

1. Who does verse 1 say will be burned as stubble?

2. What day is this speaking of?

3. Who does 2 Peter chapter 3 verse 7 say, this terrible punishment is reserved for?

4. The Sun of righteousness rises with ___________ in his wings.

5. God shall wipe away all _________ from their eyes.

6. Who rule over the wicked?

7. Why are they as ashes?

8. What law does Malachi caution the Jews to remember?

9. Why does the author stress Bible study?

10. Read the Ten Commandments aloud.

11. Did Jesus come to destroy the law?

12. What did He come to do?

13. Who will God send before the coming of that great and dreadful day.

14. Who does Matthew chapter 11 say he was?

15. Verse 6 is speaking of whom?

16. What was the cry of John the Baptist?

17. What is the author's way of saying, "The Lord is coming"?

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