ORACLE OF THE WORD OF JEHOVAH
(Malachi means "My Messenger" or "Messenger of Jehovah")
Click for EXCELLENT TIMELINE - Go to Page 42
Blessing to All
Who Fear Jehovah
God's Wrath on
Remember the Law
Elijah, Restore Hearts
Day of the Lord
(See also Mal 3:1-6)
GOD'S CONDEMNATION of
Difficult to Date but...
Israel's priest and
people repeatedly failed to see their sin against God and their need to confess so that they might experience His mercy and forgiveness. As
Wiersbe wisely points out "It is a dangerous thing when people
argue with God and try to defend their sinful ways."
OF THEIR SIN
But you say, “How hast
Thou loved us?”
But you say, ‘How have
we despised Thy name?’
But you say, ‘How have
we defiled Thee?’
Yet you say, ‘For what
Yet you say, “How have
we wearied Him?”
But you say, ‘How shall
But you say, ‘How have
we robbed Thee?’
Yet you say, ‘What have
we spoken against Thee?’
Israel doesn't even reply to God's
accusations by "Yes, but" but only "But!" There is no
"Yes," no acknowledgement whatsoever of their guilt before a holy God. This
reflects their intractably stony hearts, their immutably stiff necks,
their unresponsive rebellious spirits! A sad state indeed, for a people
chosen by God to be lights unto the Gentiles!
"Behold, I am
going to send My
messenger, and he will clear the way before
And the Lord,
you seek, will suddenly come to
temple; and the Messenger
of the covenant, in
you delight, behold, He
is coming," says the LORD of hosts.:
(I am going: Mal 2:7, 4:5 Mt 11:10,11 Mk 1:2,3 Lk 1:76, 7:26-28 John
1:6,7) (he will clear: Isa 40:3-5 Mt 3:1-3 17:10-13 Lk 1:16,17 3:3-6
John 1:15-23,33,34 3:28-30 Ac 13:24,25 19:4) (and the Lord: Ps 110:1 Isa
7:14 9:6 Hag 2:7-9 Lk 2:11,21-32,38,46 Lk 7:19,20 19:47 John 2:14-16)
(The Messenger: Ge 48:15,16 Ex 23:20 Isa 63:9 Ho 12:3-5 Ac 7:38) (He is
coming: Hag 2:7)
"I AM COMING BACK"
Malachi 3:1 Behold, I send forth My messenger, and he shall survey the
way before Me: and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come into His
temple, even the Angel of the covenant, Whom ye take pleasure in:
behold, He is coming, saith the Lord Almighty.
In light of their serious
accusations, God Himself responds to their questions in Mal 2:17.
Listen up! Pay attention!
I the LORD am now going to speak! This interjection is found some 994
times in the OT (First use - Ge 1:29 spoken to Adam; Ge 6:12-13) and
always serves to call the reader's attention to something. In this
context Jehovah is going to address their blasphemous questions in
and His reply should get their attention! Behold is used twice in
this verse, first to alert them to Messiah's messenger and then to alert
them to the coming of Messiah Himself.
Phillips - Suddenly Malachi's
attention was drawn away from the drab sins of his day to a glorious
vision of a coming day. The same vision had thrilled many other Old
Testament prophets and now it enraptured Malachi. (Exploring the Minor
going to send
Who is speaking? Clearly it is the
LORD of hosts, and in context
this is Jesus (see discussion below). The Hebrew phrase for
messenger is "mal'akhi"
which is the same form as "Malachi" the writer of this book.
It should be noted that some think it is the Father speaking, but notice
the phrase "My messenger and he will clear the way before Me." While
"before Me" could be before the omniscient gaze of the Father, it makes
more sense to see this as Jesus.
McKay - The imagery (He
will clear the way) is drawn from the practice of ancient kings, who
would inform their subjects in a province of their empire that they were
about to come on a state visit, so that adequate arrangements might be
made. This would include ‘preparing the way’ for the royal procession,
by removing from it anything that would impede progress. It would thus
be straight, level and free of obstacles (Isa. 40:3–4; see also Isa.
57:14; 62:10). The preparations that had to be made before the coming of
the LORD were, of course, spiritual rather than physical. This was
achieved through John’s ministry, which called for repentance because
the kingdom of heaven was near (Mt. 3:2). He had a wide impact (Mk.
1:5), and provided the basis for Christ’s ministry (Jn. 1:35–37; Acts
19:4). That such a forerunner was necessary was also a warning to the
people of Malachi’s day that whatever they might think, they were not
ready for the arrival of their king.
Cole - The imagery of
preparing the way before the Lord came from the custom of
clearing the road and preparing a town for the visit of the king. Before
the king traveled, he sent out messengers who proclaimed his coming.
They didn’t have road crews back then to keep the highways in good
shape. So when the townspeople heard that the king was coming, they
would go out and fill in the ruts and potholes, and clear away rocks and
debris. They got everything ready for the coming of their king. God in
His grace does not come upon us unannounced. If He did, He would often
find our lives in shambles. We get sloppy about sin. There are potholes
and ruts, with rocks strewn all over the place. So He graciously sends
His messenger to proclaim, “The Lord is coming! Get ready! Fill in the
potholes of sin! Clear out the rocks of self-centeredness and pride.
Repent and bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance” (see Matt. 3:2,
8). Although I am a far, far lesser voice than John the Baptist or
Elijah, I hope that you will listen when I tell you, “Prepare yourself!
Get ready! The King is coming!” As 1 John 3:3 tells us, “Everyone who
has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (Malachi 2:17-3:6 What to Do
When Evil Prevails)
To whom does this refer?
Without doubt this refers to John the Baptist. Comparing Malachi 4:5
with Matthew 11:14, 17:11-12, Lk 1:17 supports this interpretation
(remember the best "commentary" on Scripture is to
compare Scripture with Scripture)
because John the Baptist came in the "spirit and power" of Elijah.
“Behold, I am going to send you
Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day
of the LORD. (Malachi 4:5)
"A voice is calling, “Clear the way
for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for
our God." (Isa 40:3)
For this is the one referred to by
Isaiah the prophet, saying, “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS,
‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!’” (Mt 3:3)
“And from the days of John the
Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and
violent men take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the Law
prophesied until John.14 “And if you care to accept it, he himself
(John the Baptist) is Elijah, who was to come. (Mt 11:12-14)
Comment: John the Baptist was
the fulfillment of Malachi 4:5-6 (see also Mt 17:10-13 below). John the
Baptist denied he was Elijah (Jn 1:21) in person. Instead, John the
Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah (see Lk 1:17 below). The
point is that if the Jews had believed, John would have been the
fulfillment of the Elijah prophecies. MacArthur (MacArthur
Study Bible)adds that "Because they
did reject both John the Baptist and Jesus, there will be another who
will come in the spirit and power of Elijah before the
Second Coming of
Christ (see Mt 11:14; see notes and chart on the identification of the two witnesses in Rev
And His disciples asked Him, saying,
“Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? (Ed:
Because it was prophesied in Mal 4:5-6)” And He answered and said, “Elijah is
coming and will restore all things;12 but I say to you, that Elijah
already came, and they did not recognize him (Ed:
Jewish leaders failed to recognize John the Baptist, but did to him
whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their
hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them
about John the Baptist (Ed:
A truth the religious leaders missed!). (Matt 17:10-13)
For he will be great in the sight of
the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled
with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother's womb. 16 "And he will
turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 "And it
is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power
of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN,
and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make
ready a people prepared for the Lord." (Lk 1:15-17)
Messenger of the covenant
(Angel of the Covenant)
- While His title "Adonai" points to
Messiah's role as King, "Messenger" points to His role as Prophet.
Indeed, Messiah presented the message, and at the same time was the
personification of the message (Jn 1:1, 14)! So here we seen that the Messiah would be the
One to present the message about the covenant and would Himself inaugurate the New Covenant in His blood (Lk 22:20, 1Cor 11:25),
the New Covenant promised in the Old Testament (Jer 31:31-38; see also
discussion of the
New Covenant in the Old Testament).
Angel of the LORD)
He ("The Messenger of the Covenant")
is the Mediator (mesites)
of a new (kainos)
in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption (apolutrosis)
of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant,
those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal
inheritance. (Heb 9:15-note,
cf Heb 7:22-note,
Now the God of peace, who brought up
from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of
the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in
every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in
His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever.
Amen. (Heb 13:20-21-note)
Walter Kaiser sees covenant
here as a more general reference - "The covenant referred to here is the
single plan of God contained in the succession of covenants beginning
with the covenants made with Eve (Ge 3:15), continuing with the
covenants with Shem (Ge 9:27), Abraham (Ge 12:1–3), Moses (Ex 6:2–8),
and David (2Sa7:12–19) and concluding with the renewal of that same, but
progressively enlarged, covenant for the age to come (Jer 31:31–34)."
Related Resources on covenant:
Lesson 10 Covenant: Why the New is
Lesson 11 Covenant: Abrahamic vs Old
is one who bears a message (a notice, word or communication, written or
verbal, sent from one person to another) or does an errand. Malak is
most often translated as angel.
1828 Webster - Messenger - 1.
One who bears a message or an errand; the bearer of a verbal or written
communication, notice or invitation from one person to another, or to a
public body; one who conveys dispatches from one prince or court to
another. 2. A harbinger; a forerunner (cf Mal 3:1, 4:5); he or that
which foreshows (shows beforehand, foretells).
Dictionary Articles on Angel -
Easton's, ISBE, Naves;
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary
About one half of the uses of
malak refer to human messengers used to carry messages between
individuals (Jacob, Esau Ge 32:3, 6, announced good news = 1Sa 6:21,
threats = 1Ki 19:2, 1Sa 11:3, 4, 9; cf. 2Sa 11:19; 2Ki 5:10) or
who function as the channels of diplomatic communication between
national leaders (Moses, king of Edom - announced requests = Nu 20:14,
cp Nu 22:5, Jdg 7:24, see also malak used for diplomatic representatives
= Jdg 11:12-14, 2Sa 5:11, 1Ki 20:2). Malak is used of God’s
prophets sent as His representatives to bring His word to His people
Israel (2Chr 36:15-16; Jer 25:4; Hag 1:13, Isa 44:26, Mal 3:1). Malak
applies to priest once (Mal 2:7, possibly Eccl 5:6).
The entire nation of Israel is referred to as God's messenger (Isa
42:19). A malak could be sent to spy (Josh 6:25), to kill (1Sa 19:11,
2Ki 6:32), to summon someone (Bathsheba in 2Sa 11:4).
About 1/3 of the ‘angelic’
occurrences refer to finite, created messengers whom the LORD employs
(Ge 19:1,15 to rescue Lot, Zech 1:9; 5:5, Ps 103:20). Angels were often
responsible for aiding, protecting, and fighting for those who trusted
in the Lord (Ge. 24:7; Ex. 23:20; 33:2; 1Ki. 19:5; Ps. 34:7; protection
= Ps 91:11, cf NT use in Heb 1:14). Angels also acted as instruments of
divine judgment, meting out punishment on the rebellious and the guilty
(2Sa 24:16, 17; Ps 35:5, 6; Ps 78:49; Isa 37:36). Finally angels
actively praised God (Ps 148:2, cf Isa 6:3).
The remaining uses of malak
rendered as angel refer to the
Angel of the LORD (see study),
a reference to the pre-incarnate Christ (see
Christophany), the first 3
uses of malak in Scripture used of the Angel of the LORD
(Ge 16:7, 9,10,11, cf Angel of God Ge 21:17, 31:11, Ex 14:19, Jdg 6:20,
13:6,9, 2Sa 14:17, 20, 19:27).
Malak - 196 verses in OT - Ge
16:7, 9,10,11; Ge 19:1, 15; 21:17; 22:11, 15; Ge 24:7, 40; Ge 28:12; Ge
31:11; Ge 32:1, 3, 6; 48:16; Ex 3:2; 14:19; 23:20, 23; 32:34; 33:2; Nu
20:14, 16; 21:21; 22:5, 22, 23, 24, 31, 32, 34, 35; 24:12; Dt 2:26; Josh
6:17, 25; 7:22; Jdg 2:1, 4; 5:23; 6:11,12, 20, 21, 22, 35; 7:24; 9:31;
Jdg 11:12, 13, 14, 17, 19; 13:3, 6, 9, 13, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21; 1Sa 6:21;
11:3f, 7, 9; 16:19; 19:11, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21; 23:27; 25:14, 42; 29:9;
2Sa 2:5; 3:12, 14, 26; 5:11; 11:4, 19, 22f, 25; 12:27; 14:17, 20; 19:27;
24:16f; 1Kgs 13:18; 19:2, 5, 7; 20:2, 5, 9; 22:13; 2Ki 1:2f, 5, 15, 16;
5:10; 6:32, 33; 7:15; 9:18; 10:8; 14:8; 16:7; 17:4; 19:9, 14, 23, 35;
1Chr 14:1; 19:2, 16; 21:12, 15f, 18, 20, 27, 30; 2Chr 18:12; 32:21;
35:21; 36:15, 16; Neh 6:3; Job 1:14; 4:18; 33:23; Ps 34:7; 35:5, 6;
78:49; 91:11; 103:20; 104:4; 148:2; Pr 13:17; 16:14; 17:11; Eccl 5:6;
Isa 14:32; 18:2; 30:4; 33:7; 37:9, 14, 36; 42:19; 44:26; 63:9; Jer 27:3;
Ezek 17:15; 23:16, 40; 30:9; Hos 12:4; Nah 2:13; Hag 1:13; Zech 1:9, 11,
12,13, 19; 2:3; 3:1, 3, 5f; 4:1, 4, 5; 5:5, 10; 6:4, 5; 12:8; Mal 2:7;
ambassadors(2), angel(101), angels(9), envoys(1), messenger(24),
messengers(76). The KJV renders malak - angel 111, messenger 98,
ambassadors 4, variant 1; 214
Jesus quotes Malachi's prophecy in
Matthew 11 as He confirms the unique nature and mission of John the
This is the one about whom it is
written, 'BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER BEFORE YOUR FACE, WHO WILL PREPARE
YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.' 11 "Truly, I say to you, among those born of women
there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is
least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (Mt 11:10-11,
Mk 1:2, Lk 1:76, 7:27-28)
Comment: The NAS helps
identify OT quotes by placing them in all caps (something ESV does not
do, but would be a nice feature). This quote is from the Septuagint of
Malachi 3:1 (except that the Lxx uses exapostello instead of apostello).
John the Baptist appeared (Mt 3:1-2)
with a prophetic word giving the message that God was about to act again
in history. The prophetic spirit was once more active, after a 400 year
period of silence during which much of Judaism had come to feel that God
had withdrawn His hand from them. John's ministry prepares the way (Mt
3:3), and Jesus is the Way (Jn 14:6). John is the forerunner of the
Messiah, and Jesus is the Messiah.
Criswell writes - The
preparation work of John was that of calling the people to repentance.
Repentance (metanoia, Gk.) means a "change of mind and heart which
alters the conduct" (cf. 2Cor. 7:10). In the phrase "for the remission
of sins," the preposition "for" (eis, Gk.) can be understood a number of
ways. It can refer to purpose ("leading to"); cause ("because of"); or
goal ("with the end result of"). It seems best understood as meaning
that remission (lit. a "sending away" or "cancellation") of sins is the
end result of repentance. The physical rite of baptism does not bring
about remission of sins, but is rather a visible, public testimony that
repentance has taken place. Cf. Matt. 3:6-11, especially v. 11, where
eis is translated "unto." John demanded a visible demonstration of
repentance (Ed: "Fruit" that was evidence that there was a
genuine soul saving "root" - cp Mt 3:8, Lk 3:8-14, cf Acts 26:20.
Remember the fruit is not the change of heart, but the acts which result
from it) before he would baptize.
He will clear the way before
- John the Baptist will clear the way for the Messiah.
Again let us read Isaiah's prophecy
fulfilled in John the Baptist...
A voice is calling, “Clear the way
for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for
our God. 4 “Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill
be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged
terrain a broad valley; 5 Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has
spoken.” (Isa 40:3-5)
Bostridge's incredible rendering of Handel's
valley shall be exalted."
He will clear the way before
the LORD of hosts
- Clearly Jesus is Jehovah (See
Jehovah = Jesus)
because here He is called
Jehovah Sabaoth, LORD of hosts (of
armies) - see study. (cf
Zechariah 14:17 refers to Jesus as "the King, the LORD of hosts" prophetic picture of Jesus
referred at His
at which time He rules and reigns in Jerusalem) In one of the great descriptions of
Messiah, the prophet Daniel writes...
I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a
Son of Man
was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days (God the Father) and
was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a
kingdom, That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language Might
serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass
away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed. (Da 7:13-14-note)
Wiersbe- Malachi was the
last prophet Judah heard until John the Baptist came and the prophecy of
Mal 3:1 was fulfilled. His messages against “the sins of the saints”
need to be heeded today.
Walter Kaiser - Leveling
the road and straightening out the path are metaphors for the necessary
prepatory spiritual work of repentance and faith. The Hebrew idiom for
“clearing up” the ground was also used in Psalm 80:9 and Genesis 24:31.
John Piper - This is
another Messenger, different from the first. Who is this person?
Three things point to the divine Son of God and Messiah. - He is called
"Lord" -- a term that Malachi would not apply to Elijah or John the
Baptist. This person is someone greater. The temple is said to belong to
him: He will suddenly come to "HIS temple." Of whom could you say that
he is the owner of the temple of God? This person seems to be almost
identical with Jehovah, not only because Jehovah's temple is his temple,
but also because he seems to take the place of the word "me" in the
first half of the verse. It says, "Behold, I send my messenger
John the Baptist) to prepare the way before ME . . ." But then he
switches without any difficulty and instead of saying, "And I will
suddenly come to my temple . . ." he says, "And the Lord whom you seek
will suddenly come to his temple." It looks as though "me" -- Jehovah --
is virtually interchangeable with this other person called the Lord, Who
owns the temple of God. (He
Is Like a Refiner's Fire)
THE LORD COMES
1 Cor 16:22
The Lord is adon
which when preceded the definite article (hä´ädôn, cf use in Mal
1:6) always signifies deity (cf Ex. 23:17; 34:23; Is. 1:24; 3:1; 10:16,
in Ps 110:1 (note) refers to the Messiah,
the rightful Owner of everything that exists (cf Zech 6:5 = Adonai)! Pious Jews refuse to
pronounce the name
when reading the OT - when they come to the Name Jehovah, they will read
it as "Adonai".
Septuagint (LXX) Adonai
(and Jehovah) are translated with the same Greek noun kurios
which signifies sovereign
power, supreme authority, absolute ownership. In the NT, Jesus is
referred to <20 times as Savior (soter)
and over 700 times as Lord (kurios)! When the two titles are mentioned
together, Lord always precedes Savior. Adonai depicts the Sovereign
Master and implies a submissive servant, because Adonai speaks of His
right to rule over us. Lordship conveys a sense of complete possession
of the servant by the master and complete submission of the servant to
the master. Nathan Stone writes that Adonai "signifies ownership or
mastership and indicates "the truth that God is the owner of each member
of the human family, and that He consequently claims the unrestricted
obedience of all."
means means happening or coming unexpectedly, not immediately. All at
once, in an instant or a flash. It is something marked by or manifesting
abruptness. It refers to that which occurs all at once, surprisingly,
all of a sudden! It describes something happening without previous
notice or without warning. Suddenly stresses unexpectedness and
sharpness or violence of action. In fact, if you review the following
passages (in context), it becomes obvious that every use except 2Chr
29:36 is associated with either disaster or judgment!
Pithorn - 25 verses - Nu
6:9 (= death); Nu 12:4 (= Word from God); Josh 10:9; 11:7; 2Chr 29:36; Job 5:3; 9:23; 22:10; Ps 64:4,
7; Pr 3:25 (= unexpected onset of fear, ~ a "panic attack" so to speak!
cf Job 22:10); Pr 6:15 (= calamity); Pr 7:22 ( = sudden falling for the
Femme fatale! Only one antidote
for this "suddenly" = Flee!); Pr 24:22; Eccl 9:12 (= a catastrophe,
calamity); Isa 29:5; 30:13; 47:11; 48:3;
Jer 4:20; 6:26; 15:8; 18:22; 51:8; Mal 3:1. Usage:
immediately(1), sudden(2), suddenly(22).
Will suddenly come to
temple - When the
forerunner has cleared the way, the King enters the stage of human
history! Malachi's prophecy has a double fulfillment -
Jesus came first as the God-Man (Jn 1:1, 14, Lk 2:46-47, cp Jn 2:13-19. He will come
again as the fully glorified God-Man, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
at which time He will take up His throne in the Temple in Jerusalem (Rev 1:7-note, Rev
19:16-note, Mt 25:31-46, Zech 14:5, 9).
The people of Malachi's day were
like those of Amos’ day, waiting for the day of the LORD, assuming His
intervention in power would be a blessing, to which Amos warned...
who are longing for the day of the LORD, for what purpose will the day
of the LORD be to you? It will be darkness and not light; (Amos 5:18)
Amos went on to give a
proper perspective of their heart in his day, a perspective those in
Malachi's day also needed...
“I hate, I
reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Even
though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I
will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of
your fatlings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not
even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like
waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:21-24)
Peter describes the Lord’s
“sudden” coming in graphic terms...
day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will
pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense
heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. (2Peter 3:10-note).
Suddenly! You are asking
for the God of justice and here is your answer - He will come suddenly!
Suddenly yes, but not without warning. This passage in Malachi is ample
evidence of ample warning! If you really seek Him, you had
better prepare yourself to meet Him!
Steven Cole illustrates "Suddenly"
- You may wonder, “How can the Lord’s coming be sudden when it has been
announced by His messenger?” Let me answer with an illustration. Some of
you recall when
Mount St. Helens blew its top in
1980. Geologists knew that something was brewing. They could see the
bulge on the side of the mountain and they could measure the
increasingly threatening tremors. They warned the local residents to get
out of there. But did they leave? Some did, but others didn’t. There was
one old man named
Harry Randall Truman who had lived
there for decades. When the newscasters interviewed him, he said that
the mountain had been there for centuries. He didn’t believe that it
would blow up, so he wasn’t going to move. But suddenly,
one morning the mountain exploded.
Harry R Truman and others like him who had ignored the warnings
perished. Destruction came on them suddenly.
He is coming -
The Lxx translates "come" with the Greek verb erchomai in the
present tense, indicating His coming is continual. In other words Malachi pictures
already in the process of coming. His coming is imminent in our day (see
it will be swift and sudden. Jesus Himself testifies repeatedly in
His final Revelation...
(Rev 3:11-note, Rev 22:7, 12,
Jesus' words beg the question
dear reader - Are you ready to meet the King "Christ Jesus, Who is
to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom?"
Haggai records Jehovah's
promise "And I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the
wealth of all nations; and I will fill this house (the Temple at
Jerusalem) with glory (ultimately the glory of the presence of Jesus!),’ says the
LORD of hosts (Jesus)." (Hag 2:7)
you delight, behold, He
is coming - The
description of their "delight" seems to introduce a touch of
divine irony (use of words to express something other than and
especially the opposite of the literal meaning), because, given their general state
of disobedience and their blasphemous questions (Mal 2:17), they would hardly
delight in the One Who was coming to Judge the living and the dead
(cf 2Ti 4:1-note)! Walter
Kaiser agrees that those who are not among the "righteous
Jehovah's description of this group beginning in Mal 3:16)
"would not enjoy the day of the Lord’s coming. To them the day would be
a nightmare rather than a day of restored prosperity." And in fact it
seems that "delight" is contrasts ("But who") in Mal 3:2 with "who can
endure." So it will not be a day of delight but a day of
destruction for all not "hidden with Christ in God!" (cf Col 3:3-note).
3:2 "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 fullers' soap.:
(who can endure: Mal 4:1 Am 5:18-20 Mt 3:7-12, 21:31-44,
23:13-35, 25:10 Luke 2:34 Luke 3:9,17, 7:23, 11:37-47,52-54, 21:36 John
6:42-44 8:41-48,55, 9:39-41, 15:22-24, Ac 7:52-54 Ro 9:31-33 Ro 11:5-10
Heb 10:28,29, 12:25 1Pe 2:7,8 Rev 1:6,7, 6:17)(for: Isa 4:4 Zec
13:9 Mt 3:10-12 1Co 3:13-15 Rev 2:23)(like fullers': Ps
2:7 Isa 1:18 Jer 2:22 Mk 9:3 Rev 1:5, 7:14, 19:8)
term of contrast)
- Draws a dramatic contrast! Introduces a question we all do well to
ponder, to make sure we are in Christ, for only one who is safe in the
"Ark," safe in Christ, will be enabled to endure the Day of God, that
time when He finally and fully pours out His righteous wrath against sin
and Christ rejecters.
Malachi offers two rhetorical
questions, to cause the readers to pause and ponder and search their own
hearts (cp Ps 139:23-24).
Is such "heart searching" not always one of the great benefits of the
reading of the inspired Word of God?
(cf Heb 4:12-note,
Who can endure (who can
stand) - This rhetorical question indicates that Messiah's coming is not
a matter with which one should trifle or remain nonchalant. The question
begs each reader (in Malachi's day and our day!) to do a serious
personal inquisition and inventory - Will I be able to endure? Will I be
able to stand?
Only those who have by grace through faith put on the "full armor of
God" (Eph 6:13-note) and who have "clean hands and a pure heart." (Ps 24:3-4-note)
will be able to endure His coming.
The prophet Joel asked a
LORD utters His voice before His army; Surely His camp is very great,
For strong is he who carries out His word. The day of the LORD is
indeed great and very awesome, and who can
endure it? (Joel 2:11)
(What is the
- see Jer 10:8-9) the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the
everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, and the nations
His indignation. (Jer
The prophet Nahum asked...
stand before His indignation? Who can
endure the burning of His
anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken
up by Him. (Nahum 1:6)
Then Nahum answered his own
question declaring that...
is good, a Stronghold in the day of trouble (Hebrew =
= distress, affliction; Lxx = tribulation = thlipsis),
and He knows those who take refuge in Him. (Nahum 1:7)
Jehovah knows those intimately and personally (cf the contrasting groups
in Ps 1:6-note)
who know Him (by grace through faith)!
Endure (stand) (03557)(kul)
means to hold, to supply (give sustenance necessary for physical
survival, 1Ki 20:27), to comprehend, to contain, to seize. To endure or
bear up (undergo especially without giving up) (Jer 10:10; Joel 2:11; Am
7:10, Pr 18:14; Jer 20:9; Mal 3:2).
translates kul in Mal
In Joel 2:11 kul translated as endure is
translated Lxx by
and in Amos 7:10 by
MacKay - ‘Stand’ (endure)
does not mean appear before the investigating magistrate (Deut. 19:17) —
in that sense all will stand before the Judge of all the earth — but is
rather a military analogy (2Ki 10:4; Amos 2:15). ‘Who will stand his
ground?’ Before the searching scrutiny of this judge none will be able
to maintain a successful defense. ‘If you, O LORD, kept a record of
sins, O Lord, who could stand?’ (Ps. 130:3-note;
see also Rev. 6:16–17-note).
John Oswalt - The primary
meaning of this root is “to contain as does a vessel. (as 1Ki 7:26, 38;
8:64; 2Chr 4:5; 7:7)...Jeremiah then uses the word in a figurative sense
when he expresses the impossibility of containing within himself the
Lord’s fury which is like a burning fire (Jer 6:11; 20:9). In a somewhat
similar vein. Solomon remarks in his prayer at the dedication of the
temple that it is silly to think of that house as containing God since
the heaven of heavens cannot contain him (1Ki 8:27; 2Chr 2:6; 6:18). As
a logical extension of the above meanings are those which express the
possibility or impossibility of enduring (or containing) something (Pr
18:14; Joel 2:11; Amos 7:10; Mal 3:2). Two of these (Joel 2:11 and Mal
3:2) express the impossibility of enduring God’s wrath when he comes and
are reminiscent of Rev (Rev 6:15, 16, etc.). (TWOT)
Kul - 36 verses - Gen
45:11; 47:12; 50:21; Ruth 4:15; 2 Sam 19:32f; 20:3; 1 Kgs 4:7, 27; 7:26,
38; 8:27, 64; 17:4, 9; 18:4, 13; 20:27; 2Chr 2:6; 4:5; 6:18; 7:7; Neh
9:21; Ps 55:22; 112:5; Prov 18:14; Isa 40:12; Jer 2:13; 6:11; 10:10;
20:9; Ezek 23:32; Joel 2:11; Amos 7:10; Zech 11:16; Mal 3:2 Usage:
calculated(1), contain(4), contains(1), endure(5), had to
provide(1), held(1), hold(4), holding(2), maintain(1), provide(4),
provided(6), provided them with sustenance(1), provisioned(1),
sustain(3), sustained(1), sustainer(1).
The day of His coming -
Whose coming? Not John the Baptist but Messiah's coming. And this refers primarily to Messiah's
Second Coming. Henry Morris
however sees "The sudden coming of the Lord Jesus to cleanse His temple
was a precursive type of His future coming to cleanse the world."
The Day of the LORD;
Three Divine Days).
I would not argue with that interpretation.
Steven Cole - God has a
plan to right every wrong and punish all evildoers. That plan centers in
His Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will suddenly come into His
temple. “But,” Malachi asks, “are you sure that you want Him to come?”
“Who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He
appears?” (Malachi 3:2). It’s easy to say, “Won’t it be great when Jesus
comes again?” But if our personal and family lives are not right with
God, we will be terrified at Jesus’ coming, because He is holy and He
will judge everyone.
Malachi 3:3 "He will sit as a smelter and purifier of
silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold
and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in
Ps 66:10 Pr 17:3 25:4 Isa 1:25 48:10 Jer 6:28-30 Eze 22:18-22 Da 12:10
Zec 13:9 Lk 3:16 Eph 5:26,27 Tit 2:14 Heb 12:10 1Pe 1:7 4:12,13 Rev
3:18)(the sons of Levi: Mal 1:6-10 2:1-8 Isa 61:6 66:19-21 Jer 33:18-22
Eze 44:15,16 Rev 1:6 5:10)(and: Mal 1:11 Ps 4:5 50:14,23 69:30,31
107:21,22 116:17 141:1,2 Ho 14:2 Jn 4:23,24 Ro 12:1 15:16 Php 2:17 4:18
2Ti 4:6 Heb 13:15,16 1Pe 2:5,9)
REFINER OF HIS PEOPLE
He will sit as (term
of comparison// simile) a
purifier of silver - Jesus here is characterized as like a smelter and purifier,
not to destroy but purify His people Israel (cf Zech 13:1 "that day"
referring to Messiah's Second Coming).
Has Messiah come as a smelter and
No. Most "sons of Levi" are still counting on their own righteousness,
not that of Christ. This is a future event, and in context is best
interpreted as taking place at Messiah's
Second Coming. Refining is
frequent metaphor in the prophets (Isa 1:25; 48:10; Jer 6:29–30; Ezek
22:17–22; Zec 13:9).
Zechariah 12:10 describes a future
(God) will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of
Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that (here is the
purpose of the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit) they will look
on Me (Messiah - see below for Rev 1:7) whom they have pierced
(dāqārû = “drive through, pierce, stab, run through, i.e., make
physical impact with a sharp implement”); and they will mourn for Him,
as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him,
like the bitter weeping over a first-born. (Zech 12:10 - see
John MacArthur's sermon -
Zechariah 12:1-14 Israel's Final Deliverance)
(Messiah) IS COMING (Dt. 18:15-18; Ps 2; 22; 118:26; Isa 9:6; 48:16; 53;
61:1; Jer. 23:5-8; Dan. 9:25; Mic 5:2; Zec. 2:8-11; 6:12-15; etc) WITH
THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced (Greek
verb in the NT only here and Jn 19:23) Him; and all the tribes of the
earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen. (Rev 1:7-note)
(Related resource -
Sit implies the refining
requires great care. MacKay explains that "The silversmiths of the time
sat looking into their small metal furnaces to determine from the colour
of the metal if it was pure (Ps. 12:6; Prov. 17:3; 1 Pet. 1:7). It was
more technically intricate than the process used for gold. When the
silver ore is molten, it gives off oxygen. It was treated with charcoal
to prevent it re–absorbing the oxygen from the air as it cooled. If it
did, it would lose its lustre. The process of purifying was complete and
the dross all burnt away when suddenly the silver became a liquid mirror
in which the refiner could see his own reflection."
The silversmith would would put
the crude silver ore in a crucible in the smelting furnace, subject it
to intense heat in order to liquefy the solid ore. In the liquid state,
the worthless impurities in the silver ore would rise to the surface and
be skimmed off as dross (the scum that forms on the surface of molten
metal). When the silversmith was able to see his face reflected in
silver remaining in the crucible, he would remove it from the fire, for
he knew that he had pure silver. So our Lord keeps us in the furnace of
suffering until we reflect the glory and beauty of Jesus Christ.
Christ-likeness is God’s ideal for His child. Christian suffering is one
of the tools He uses to bring about that result.
CLEANSING PICTURED BY
FIRE AND SOAP
means to refine, test, try, purge away. As a participle tsaraph was used for goldsmiths
and silversmiths. Tsaraph describes the process of refining metals before worked
into fine vessels (Pr 25:4). Tsaraph means to test, examine, refine, to
try to learn the information about the true nature or moral purity of an
object, as a figurative extension of refining metals (Jdg 7:4; Ps 17:3;
26:2; 66:10) Tsaraph means to purify, purge, figuratively to be
or become morally pure and without moral blemish through a process of
testing or trial (Isa 1:25; Isa 48:10; Jer 6:29, cf Da 11:35, 12:10,
Zech 13:9) A very significant use of tsaraph is to describe the
Word of God as flawless, perfect, pure, formally, tested and refined,
i.e., to be pure and without flaw, with a focus on moral purity (2Sa
22:31; Ps 18:31; Pr 30:5).
John Hartley comments that
"Various aspects of the refining process are vividly used for judgment
on and purification from sin; e.g. a blazing furnace, bellows, lead,
dross, refuse silver (e.g. Isa 1:25; Jer 6:27–30; Ezek 22:18–22). God
seeks to remove from his people all wickedness and sin so that they can
endure his holy presence. Man has the responsibility of purifying
himself so that he can be refined; i.e. he must respond obediently to
God’s word in order to experience cleansing (Dan 12:10). Further, when
his people are wayward and violate the covenant, God seeks to bring them
back by refining them (Jer 9:7). God tries them in the furnace of
affliction (Isa 48:10). Although they have to endure difficult
circumstances, as long as their faith in him remains firm, they will
eventually experience deliverance (Ps 66:6–12). Between the promise and
its fulfillment, the word itself tests and refines the one who has heard
it (Ps 105:19). However, sometimes the people become so obstinate that
no matter how intense the refining fire becomes, it is in vain (Jer
6:27–30). Then God must come against his people in judgment. But in the
midst of this judgment, God is still preparing a people for himself.
Those who undergo the judgment as a refining shall turn to God and enter
into covenant with him once again (Zech 13:9). According to Mal, God
shall refine the Levites as gold and silver; then they will offer the
sacrifices correctly and these sacrifices will be accepted (Mal 3:2ff.).
The climax of God’s refining process will result in the establishment of
a city over which he has complete rule; that city shall be called “the
city of righteousness, the faithful city” (Isa 1:25f.). (TWOT)
tsaraph is often translated with the verb
meaning to heat fiery hot (as in refining metals).
Refine - To purify, to
clarify, to free (as metal, sugar, or oil) from impurities, extraneous
or unwanted material; remove impurities in metal to make the precious
metal pure; to free from moral imperfection
Smelt - to melt as ore for
the purpose of separating the metal from extraneous substances. (Smelting)
Purge - to free from
guilt or moral or ceremonial defilement; to make free from something
unwanted; To cleanse or purify by separating and carrying off whatever
is impure, heterogeneous, foreign or superfluous; to remove by a
Tsaraph - 29x -
goldsmith(5), goldsmiths(2), pure(1), refine(3), refined(5),
refiner's(1), refining goes(1), silversmith(2), smelt(1), smelter(2),
smith(1), test(2), tested(4), tried(2).
Judges 7:4-note Then the LORD said to
Gideon, "The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and
I will test (Lxx = ekkathairo = clean out, cleanse, purge out) them for you there. Therefore it shall be that he of whom I
say to you, 'This one shall go with you,' he shall go with you; but
everyone of whom I say to you, 'This one shall not go with you,' he
shall not go."
So when he returned the silver to his mother, his mother
took two hundred pieces of silver and gave them to the silversmith who
made them into a graven image and a molten image, and they were in the
house of Micah.
2 Samuel 22:31 "As for God, His way is blameless; The Word of the LORD
is tested (puroo
- make fiery hot speaking of tested
and refined metals;
= permanence of the effect of this testing); He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
Nehemiah 3:8 Next to him Uzziel the son of Harhaiah of the goldsmiths
made repairs. And next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, made
repairs, and they restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall.
32 Between the upper room of the
corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and the merchants carried out
Psalm 12:6-note The words of the LORD are pure words; as silver tried
and dokimion = process or means of
determining the genuineness of something) in a
furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
Psalm 17:3-note You have tried (bachan; Lxx - dokimazo) my heart; You have visited me by night; You
have tested (tsaraph; Lxx = puroo
- make fiery hot speaking of tested
and refined metals) me and You find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will
Psalm 18:30-note As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is
tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
(bachan; Lxx =
dokimazo) me, O LORD, and
(tsaraph) my mind and my heart. (Red = imperatives!)
Comparison of nasah,
tsaraph, bachan - all conveying some aspect of "to test"...
1). Nasah = an attempt to prove the existence of a particular
quality in someone or something.
2). Tsaraph =“to refine,” usually indicating the purifying result
of divine judgment.
3). Bachan focuses attention on an examination to prove the
existence of some spiritual quality, such as integrity.
For You have tried us, O God; You have refined (tsaraph; Lxx = puroo) us as silver
is refined (tsaraph; Lxx =
Psalm 105:19-note Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the
LORD tested (puroo
- make fiery hot speaking of tested
and refined metals) him.
Psalm 119:140-note Your word is very
- make fiery hot speaking of tested
and refined metals;
= permanence of the effect of this testing), Therefore Your servant loves it.
Proverbs 25:4 Take away the dross (Heb = sug, Lxx = adokimos) from the silver, And there comes out a
vessel for the smith; (perfectly purified)
Proverbs 30:5 (Charles
Bridges' note) (Comment) Every word of God is tested
- burned with fire and thereby tested
and refined); He is a shield to those who
take refuge in Him.
Isaiah 1:25-note "I will also turn My hand against you, And will
- burn with fire) away your dross as with lye And will remove all your alloy.
Isaiah 40:19 (Description of making of an idol) As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, A
it with gold, And a silversmith fashions chains of silver.
Isaiah 41:7 So the craftsman encourages the smelter, And he who smooths
metal with the hammer encourages him who beats the anvil, Saying of the
soldering, "It is good"; And he fastens it with nails, So that it will
Isaiah 46:6 "Those who lavish gold from the purse And weigh silver on
the scale Hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; They bow down,
indeed they worship it.
Isaiah 48:10 "Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have
tested (bachar) you in the furnace of affliction.
Jeremiah 6:29 The bellows blow fiercely, The lead is consumed by the
fire ; In vain the refining goes on, But the wicked are not separated.
Jeremiah 9:7 Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, "Behold, I
will refine them (puroo
- burn with fire) and assay (bachan;
Lxx = dokimazo) them; For what else can I do, because of the
daughter of My people?
Jeremiah 10:9 Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish, And gold from Uphaz, The work of a craftsman and of the hands of a
and purple are their clothing; They are all the work of skilled men.
14 Every man is stupid, devoid of knowledge; Every
goldsmith is put to
shame by his idols; For his molten images are deceitful, And there is no
breath in them.
Jeremiah 51:17 All mankind is stupid, devoid of knowledge; Every
goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, For his molten images are
deceitful, And there is no breath in them.
"Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to
refine (tsaraph), purge and make them pure (laben - make white) until the end time; because it is still
to come at the appointed time.
Daniel 12:10-note "Many
(speaking of the Jews in the end times - Daniel is not speaking to the
church -- this does not mean that they will not be many non-Jews saved
at this time of the end because there will be - read Rev 7:9-note
then Rev 7:14-note) will be purged
(barar = purge; Lxx = peirazo), purified (laben - to be white) and refined
(tsaraph), but the wicked
will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who
have insight will understand (this is surely a description of the
of Israel - they will be
supernaturally enabled to understand the significance of the end time
Zechariah 13:9 "And I (God) will bring the third part (of he
nation of Israel alive at time of the Great Tribulation) through the fire,
Refine (tsaraph; Lxx = puroo
- burn with fire)
them as silver is refined (puroo
- burned with fire), And test
(bachan; Lxx - dokimazo - test to see if they are genuine - true
believers in Messiah) them as gold is tested. (Here is the "fruit" that
proves they are born again Jews) They will
call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My
people,' And they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'" (cf Jer
Comment: Zechariah is not
speaking of the church but of literal Israel, those Jews who are alive
just prior to the
Second Coming of the
Messiah. The "one-third" are the "Many (who) will be purged, purified
and refined." (Da 12:10)
MacArthur: From the midst of
their fiery refinement, the elect
of Israel will see Jesus Christ,
their Messiah and call on Him as their Savior and Lord. Israel will thus
be saved and restored to covenant relationship with the Lord. (Read
MacArthur's sermon on "The Cleansing of Israel")
Jamieson (one of the best,
literal older commentaries - much better than Matthew Henry on prophecy)
- It hence appears that the Jews’ conversion is not to precede, but to
follow, their external deliverance by the special interposition of
Jehovah; which latter shall be the main cause of their conversion,
combined with a preparatory inward shedding abroad in their hearts of
the Holy Spirit (Zec 12:10–14); and here, “they shall call on My name,”
in their trouble, which brings Jehovah to their help (Ps 50:15).
Malachi 3:2 "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 fullers'
soap.3 "He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will
purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that
they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.
Purifier (02891)(taher) commonly
refers to ritual purity or cleanness in the OT. In fact except for Job
37:21 and Mal 3:3, taher almost exclusively of ritual or moral
purity. To be clean, be pure, innocent, righteous. To make clean,
purify. To be cleansed Taher is the antonym of the Hebrew word
"tame" (unclean) Those who contracted impurity, TAME' (02931),
were not permitted to participate in the rituals until they were
purified (Lv 22:4-7). Disqualification might be due to afterbirth (Lv
12:7, 8) or other bodily discharges (Lv 15:13). Priests were to be
medical examiners to determine when lepers were 'cleansed" (Lv 14:8ff.).
often translates taher with
which describes cleansing from ritual contamination or impurity (Acts
10:15). Katharizo was used of cleansing lepers from ceremonial
uncleanness (Mt 8:2-3, et al)
Taher - 79x - Gen 35:2; Lev
11:32; 12:7f; 13:6, 13, 17, 23, 28, 34, 37, 58f; 14:4, 7ff, 11, 14,
17ff, 25, 28f, 31, 48, 53; 15:13, 28; 16:19, 30; 17:15; 22:4, 7; Num
8:6f, 15, 21; 19:12, 19; 31:23f; Josh 22:17; 2Kgs 5:10, 12ff; 2Chr
29:15f, 18; 30:18; 34:3, 5, 8; Ezra 6:20; Neh 12:30; 13:9, 22, 30; Job
4:17; 37:21; Ps 51:2, 7; Pr 20:9; Isa 66:17; Jer 13:27; 33:8; Ezek
22:24; 24:13; 36:25, 33; 37:23; 39:12, 14, 16; 43:26; Mal 3:3
Usage: become clean(2), becomes clean(2), becomes cleansed(1), clean(25),
cleanse(15), cleansed(19), cleansing(1), cleared(1), pronounce him
clean(6), pronounce the clean(1), pronounce clean(2), pronounces him
clean(1), pronouncing it clean(1), pure(2), purge(1), purged(2),
purified(5), purifier(1), purify(5), purifying(1), remain(1),
(Messiah) will purify the sons of Levi
- He specifies Sons of Levi rather than the priests (not
all Levites were priests, but all priests had to be Levites), the ones against whom the charge of Mal 1:6-2:9 had been rendered. While we
see a "partial fulfillment" of this prophecy in passages like Acts 6:7
("a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the
faith" where priests = tribe of Levi),
final and full fulfillment of this prophecy is at the end of this age and
the dawn of the New Age, the
Millennium! In fact, in our day, the Church
age, a Jewish man cannot even determine his tribal lineage (the
ancestral records were destroyed with destruction of the Temple by the
Romans in 70AD - cf John's description of the recognition of members of
the Tribe of Levi in the end times - Rev 7:4-6, 7-note)!
As a side note, it seems fair to
say that by way of application this purification of the sons of Levi
would also apply to the other Jews who are part of the righteous
gathered together at Messiah's
Second Coming. (Zech
cf Malachi's contextual use of the more all inclusive term "sons
of Jacob" in Mal 3:6)
Refine them like gold and
silver - Again Malachi uses a
term of comparison,
to paint the picture of what will transpire in the future. Even as a
fiery furnace and crucible are not used to destroy gold or silver, so
too, the "divine refining fire" is not meant to destroy the sons of
means strain, filter, refine (qal), refine (piel), filtered, refined
(pual) and is used predominantly in the context of the process of
refining a precious metal such as gold or silver to its purest form.
Zaqaq - 7x -Usage:
distill(1), refine(2), refined(4).
1 Chronicles 28:18 and for the altar
of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the model of the
chariot, even the cherubim that spread out their wings and covered the
ark of the covenant of the LORD
1 Chronicles 29:4 namely, 3,000 talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir,
and 7,000 talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the
Job 28:1 "Surely there is a mine for silver And a place where they
Job 36:27 "For He draws up the drops of water, They distill rain
from the mist,
Comment: Describing how God
vaporizes water and it becomes mist or rain.
Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words; As silver tried in a
furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
Isaiah 25:6 The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all
peoples on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with
marrow, And refined, aged wine.
Malachi 3:3 "He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He
will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and
silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.
Why does Jesus carry out
refining and purifying?
So that - This phrase
(occurs 580x in the NAS) always expresses purpose and should cause us to
pause and ponder what is the purpose and how is the purpose
accomplished. The purpose is that God might observe His image, "the
image of His Son" (cf Ro 8:29-note),
reflected in us, for then He knows our "trial by fire," our time of
suffering, has accomplished its work, that we might "be perfect and
complete, lacking in nothing." (cf James 1:2-4-note)
Walter Kaiser - What fire
did in separating slag from metal and soap did in separating dirt from
clothes, God’s cleansing action would do for His people. Only dirt and
slag had anything to fear; only the wicked should be frightened by the
prospect and experience of that day.
T V Moore - Afflictions are
God’s refinings. The purer the gold, the hotter the fire; the whiter the
garment, the harder the washing,
They may present to the LORD
offerings in righteousness - So in this verse God's purpose is to
make it possible for them to offer righteous offerings, something only
possible from those Jews ("sons of Levi" - speaking primarily of the
Jewish priesthood) whose
stony, hard, rebellious hearts have been spiritually, supernaturally
circumcised by the Spirit of Christ (See
excursus on Circumcision),
resulting in their justification, and declaration of righteousness by
grace through faith (Ro 3:24-25-note,
et al). The only way to offer righteous sacrifices is from a heart that
has been declared "right" (righteous) by grace through faith.
As noted above, the timing of this event is future, at the Second Coming
of Messiah (see Malachi 1:11-note
which also describes an "end times" pure offering).
David links faith
with offerings in righteousness exhorting his readers to...
Offer the sacrifices of
righteousness, and trust in the LORD. (Ps 4:5-note)
Spurgeon comments - When
the Jew offered sacrifice righteously, that is, in a spiritual manner,
he thereby set forth the Redeemer, the great sin-atoning Lamb; there is,
therefore, the full gospel in this exhortation of the Psalmist. O
sinners, flee ye to the sacrifice of Calvary, and there put your whole
confidence and trust, for he who died for men is the LORD JEHOVAH.
ILLUSTRATION: Why is silver
mentioned in the refining process? The process of refining silver is
more delicate and anxious than the process of refining Gold. “When the
silver becomes molten it gives off some twenty times its own volume of
oxygen with a noticeable hissing and bubbling. This phenomenon is known
as ‘spitting’. But the task is not yet finished. Unless the molten
silver is treated with carbon (charcoal was used by the ancients), the
silver re-absorbs oxygen from the air and loses its sheen and purity.”
The refiner knows that his metal is pure when he can see his own
reflection in the mirror-like surface of the metal. In the same way, God
will know that His work has been completed when He sees reflected in the
Christian soul HIS own image.
Warren Wiersbe aptly
describes the process of divine testing writing that "When God puts His
own people into the furnace, He keeps His eye on the clock and His hand
on the thermostat. He knows how long and how much. (If we rebel, He may
have to reset the clock; but if we submit, He will not permit us to
suffer one minute too long. The important thing is that we learn the
lesson He wants to teach us and that we bring glory to Him alone.) We
may question why He does it to begin with, or why He doesn’t turn down
the heat or even turn it off; but our questions are only evidences of
unbelief. (Job 23:10-note)
is the answer: “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me,
I shall come come forth as gold” (NKJV). Gold does not fear the fire.
The furnace can only make the gold purer and brighter." (Wiersbe, W. Be
Patient. An Old Testament study. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books)
Alan Robinson - There is a
dramatic moment when [the refiner] knows that all dross has gone from
[the silver]. Peering over it, the silver suddenly becomes a liquid
mirror in which the image of the refiner is reflected. Then he knows
that his task is done.
Malachi 3:4 "Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem
will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former
offering: Isa 1:26,27 56:7 Jer 30:18-20 31:23,24 Eze 20:40,41 43:26,27
Zec 8:3 14:20,21)(as: 1Ch 15:26, 16:1-3, 21:26 29:20-22 2Ch 1:6
7:1-3,10-12 2Ch 8:12-14 29:31-36 30:21-27 31:20,21 Jer 2:2,3)
Then - This
expression of time
is easy to overlook but should
for in many passages it helps clarify the sequence of events, especially
in eschatological (prophetic, future events) passages! Don't go over
"then" too quickly. Always pause and ponder "What time is it?" (so to
Judah and Jerusalem - This
would expand "sons of Levi" to non-Levitical Jews and presumably speaks
of the refining of the entire nation as occurs when the Lord returns -
see Ro 11:25-27-see
offerings from righteous offerers, offerings from a people now rightly
related to Jehovah-Jesus by grace through faith in His Gospel.
T V Moore - The prayer that
rises from the broken and contrite heart is often the sweetest offering
to God. The incense must be put on the burning coals before its fragrant
smoke will ascend; the sandal wood must be crushed and bruised before it
will give out its sweetest odor
Will be pleasing
describes that which is sweet (agreeable), pleasant (having the quality
of tending to give a sense of gratification or joy) or satisfying
(supplying to the full extent of one's desire). The idea is that which
is something is acceptable (received with pleasure) or desired by
someone. Things described as pleasing - meditation (Ps 104:34),
sleep (Pr 3:24, Jer 31:26), a desire realized (Pr 13:19), sacrifices
(Jer 6:20, Hos 9:4, Mal 3:4).
Arab - 8 verses - Usage:
pleasant(1), please(1), pleasing(3), sweet(2), took pleasure(1).
Let my meditation be pleasing (Lxx = eduno = to please, gladden,
be sweet) to Him; As for me, I shall be glad
in the LORD.
Proverbs 3:24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie
down, your sleep will be sweet. (Lxx = edeos = with pleasure,
Proverbs 13:19 Desire realized is sweet (Lxx = eduno = to please,
gladden, be sweet) to the soul, But it is an
abomination to fools to turn away from evil.
Jeremiah 6:20 "For what purpose does frankincense come to Me from Sheba
And the sweet cane from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not
acceptable And your sacrifices are not pleasing (Lxx = eduno = to
please, gladden, be sweet) to Me."
Jeremiah 31:26 At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant
(Lxx = edeos = with pleasure, pleasant) to
Ezekiel 16:37 therefore, behold, I will gather all your lovers with whom
you took pleasure, even all those whom you loved and all those whom you
hated. So I will gather them against you from every direction and expose
your nakedness to them that they may see all your nakedness.
Hosea 9:4 They will not pour out drink offerings of wine to the LORD,
Their sacrifices will not please (Lxx = eduno = to please,
gladden, be sweet) Him. Their bread will be like mourners'
bread; All who eat of it will be defiled, For their bread will be for
themselves alone; It will not enter the house of the LORD.
Malachi 3:4 "Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing
to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.
Be pleasing to the LORD -
Notice that this is future tense and is therefore a prophecy of a time
when Levites (and all Israel) would be enabled to offer pleasing
sacrifices to the Lord. This should be the goal of all our offerings! His glory,
and amazingly our gain! Yet never offered
with a desire to merit His favor.
This passage reminds us of the
charge to believers...
I urge you
therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a
living and holy sacrifice, acceptable (euarestos
= well pleasing) to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2
And (this connects the following closely with our "pleasing sacrifice"
to God) do not be conformed
imperative with a negative)
to this world, but be
transformed (command is
= calls for this to be our Spirit enabled lifestyle) by the renewing of
your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is
good and acceptable and perfect. (Ro 12:1-note,
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite
heart, O God, You will not despise. 18 By Your favor do good to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then You will delight in righteous
sacrifices, In burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then young
bulls will be offered on Your altar." (Psalm 51:17-19-note)
As in the days of old and as in
former years - Offerings had been pleasing when the offerer was
righteous (like Abraham - by faith - Ge 15:6) and presented his heart
and then his offering (cf 2Cor 8:1-4, 5 "they first gave themselves" - the
key to any offering that is pleasing to the Lord). Wholehearted (Spirit
enabled) obedience is the quality which God desires in sacrifices. He
makes the point many times in the Old Testament, notably, in 1 Samuel
15:22; Isaiah 1:11-14; and Amos 5:21-22.
D. Greg Ebie: The
people in Malachi’s day did not see their need for God. With prideful
would bring their offerings to God fulfilling their religious duty, but
they didn’t want God to change them. Instead they wrongly accused
God of not loving them of not being fair or just. . . Offerings
don’t make the worshiper acceptable to God; the worshiper makes the
offering acceptable through humility and brokenness. We need the power
of God to transform our lives! God has achieved His purpose when we
reflect His image. The beauty of Jesus is seen in all we do and say.
Occasionally reflecting the image of Jesus is not enough; God wants to
purify our lives so we reflect Him in everything.
"Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift
witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against
those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner
in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the
alien and do not fear Me," says the
LORD of hosts.: (I
will draw near: Mal 2:17 Ps 50:3-6 96:13 98:9 Eze 34:20-22 Heb 10:30,31
Jas 5:8,9 Jude 1:14,15) (swift: Mal 2:14 Ps 50:7 81:8 Jer 29:23 Mic 1:2
Mt 23:14-35) (the sorcerers: Lev 20:6,10,27 Dt 5:11,17-21 Jer 7:9,10 Eze
22:6-12 Zec 5:3,4 1Co 6:9,10 Gal 5:19-21 Heb 13:4 Rev 21:8 22:15)
(against those: Ex 22:21-24 Lev 19:13 Dt 24:14,15,17 27:19 Pr 22:22,23
23:10,11 Jer 22:13-17 Jas 5:4,12) (oppress: 1Th 4:6) (fear: Ge 20:11
42:18 Ex 1:17 18:21 Ne 5:15 Ps 36:1 Pr 8:13 16:6 Lk 23:40 Ro 3:8)
IS SWIFT AND SURE
Malachi turns from the previous
description of the blessing of future purification to the certainty of
the dispensation of His justice (cf Mal 2:17) Messiah's return for some
will bring refinement and righteousness, but for others retribution and
Then - Always take note of
(prayerfully pause to ponder the passage) expressions of time (See
expressions of time),
for example asking questions such as "To what time does this refer?"
As you develop this discipline of questioning (interrogating) the
Biblical text, you will find yourself growing in your ability to
understand and interpret the Scriptures (on your own, without consulting
commentaries first), as you learn to let the text answer your questions
(of course, in prayerful, humble submission to and under the tutelage of
your Teacher the Holy Spirit, cp 1Cor 2:12-16, 1Jn 2:20, 27). In this
case God says the "then" is when He will draw near to them
(Israel) for judgment. which takes us back to the description of
God as like a refiner's fire and like fuller's soap in Malachi
3:2. In short, the then refers to the
Second Coming of Israel's Messiah.
I will draw near to you for
Who is speaking?
Messiah is still speaking. Recall that in Malachi 2:17 they had asked "Where is the God of justice?"
and here He answers clearly.
Be careful what you ask God for!
Note that to in contrast to those who will be enabled to make righteous
offerings at the Second Coming, here His coming brings only His
righteous wrath against sin. While we may not always see the
dispensation of God's justice, we can be assured it will be meted out in
full, perfect measure (cp Ro 12:17-19-note)!
As someone once said...
The Mill of
God’s Justice Grinds Slowly,
But Exceedingly Fine!
When will Messiah draw near?
In context refers to
Second Coming of Christ (see comments above
comments on Malachi
will be a swift witness against
- The Righteous Judge Himself also serves as the perfect Witness, an all seeing
(Pr 15:3, cf His witness in Mal 2:14-note)
listing seven representative sins.
Malachi's description is reminiscent of Paul's charge to Timothy
to encourage him to always strive to
"Preach the Word" (2Ti 4:2-note)...
charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who is to
judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing (Which
will be "swift"!) and His kingdom (2Ti 4:1-note)
(1) The sorcerers - The
Hebrew word kashaph is translated in the Lxx with the noun
pharmakos (Ex 7:11; 9:11; 22:17; Dt 18:10; Mal 3:5; Da 2:2, 27;
5:7-8; Rev 21:8-note;
see study of cognate -
Pharmakos is "one who prepares and uses drugs for magical
purposes or ritual witchcraft sorcerer, poisoner, magician." (Friberg)
This word pharmakos (which gives us our word pharmacology) shows a clear
link between drugs (including so-called "recreational drugs" which are
epidemic in the United States and are ravaging countless individual
lives and entire families!) and the spirit world. As a physician, I have
no doubt that the use of recreational drugs opens the door for the user
to encounter the demonic world (not saying all users become "possessed"
but that illegal drug use is especially dangerous because it provides an
entree for the forces of darkness).
Tony Garland has an
interesting commentary on sorcery (pharmakon) as used by John in
Revelation 9:21 ("and they did not repent of their murders nor of their
sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.")
Sorcery was forbidden by the
Law of Moses (Ex. 22:18; Dt. 18:10-11) as were all practices which
involved communication with the dead such as conjuring spells (Dt.
18:11), consulting mediums (1Sa. 28:3-9), spiritism, or calling up the
dead (really the demonic realm). This included all forms of magic (Ex.
22:18; Lev. 19:31; Lev. 20:6, 27; 2Chr. 33:6; Mal. 3:5). God condemned
all of these practices and was indignant that men would “seek the dead
on behalf of the living” (Isa. 8:19). Instead, they were to seek the
One need only view modern cartoons on television or observe the recent
Harry Potter phenomenon to observe how the foundation continues to be
laid for subsequent generations who will have little reservation to
participate in these forbidden practices.
That people are today  being
prepared for an irruption of demons, however, seems very probable. The
plethora of movies, television programs, and books with demonic themes,
along with the latter-day mushroom growth of occult religions and
practices, are all surely conditioning men to a widespread belief in
Satan and his demons. Furthermore, none of this is driving men to refuge
in Christ, as one might at first suppose it would.
Drugs are used in association with
sorcery because they place the practitioner into an altered state of
consciousness whereby he or she becomes more open to contact with the
demonic realm. The following account of a shaman from the Yanomamo tribe
illustrates the connection between drug use and the demonic realm—a
connection well-known even among “primitive” peoples:
I recently interviewed a man who had spent most of his life communing
with spirit entities. There is no doubt as to his “authenticity.” He was
a shaman, a medicine man and chief of his Yanomamo tribe, which resides
deep in the Amazonian rain forest of Venezuela. At odds with the lie
promoted in anthropological circles that the lives of primitive
tribes-people are pure, natural and Eden-like and therefore best kept
from outside influence —Chief Shoefoot and his peoples violent,
fear-filled existence is documented in a book titled The Spirit of the
Rain Forest, written by Mark Ritchie . . .
As a young boy, Shoefoot was singled out as one sensitive to the spirit
realm and subsequently initiated into the sorcerers world. Again, a
shaman is one who, through knowledge and power obtained from the
spirits, heals and guides his people. Although the initial process of
enabling him to contact the spirits was brutal, involving days of food
and water deprivation and having someone force hallucinogenic drugs into
his system by blowing them up his nose, the spirits he met were at first
benign and curiously captivating. . . . Shoefoot increased his drug
intake in order to go deeper into the spirit world to find more
trustworthy and benevolent spirits. That led to even more wicked spirits
(Luke 11:26), greater frustration, and intense despair.127 [emphasis
Some, who deny the reality of the
spiritual realm, believe experiences such as those of this shaman are
brought on by natural causes, such as drug use:
I asked Shoefoot through interpreter
Mike Dawson, Joe’s son, who grew up among the Yanomamo, how he would
answer a skeptic who thought his experiences with the spirits were
nothing more than hallucinations brought on by the drugs he took.
Shoefoot’s 70-something-year-old eyes sparkled at the question; he
enjoys responding to challenges by skeptics, especially when he speaks
to university anthropology students. Its ironic that this “primitive”
man considers the highly educated anthropologists who study his people
naive at best, deceived at worst. He told me of knowing shamans who had
many of the same spirits he had had, yet, unlike him, they did not come
to know them as a result of taking drugs. Whether the contacts were made
with a clear mind or in a drug-induced state, descriptions and details
were nearly always identical they all communed with the same spirits.128
During the awful days of the tribulation, the breakdown of law and order
will mean that there will be no more restraints on drug use.
Furthermore, the fearful judgments on the earth will drive many to drugs
as a form of escapism. The merchants of the earth will gladly cooperate
because of the great profits involved [Rev. 18:13].
Interestingly, Jezebel of the church
of Thyatira apparently taught believers to experience “the depths of
Satan” (Rev. 2:24), much like her namesake in the OT practiced
witchcraft (2Ki 9:23). As we discussed previously, Jezebel at Thyatira
can be seen as a type for the church which enters the Great Tribulation
(Rev. 2:22) whereas those who overcome and reject her teaching will
receive “the morning star” (Rev. 2:28, which see). Those who practice
sorcery will also have their part in the second death (Rev. 21:8) and
will never enter through the gates of the eternal city (Rev. 22:15).
Testimony of Jesus Christ - 3.9 - Revelation 9)
(2) Adulterers - This sin was forbidden in
Ex 20:14, Dt 5:18 - Both parties were to be put to death (Lev 20:10; Dt.
22:22). The mention of adultery would seem to especially point out those
who had divorced their wives (Mal 2:16) and "replaced" them with pagan
idolaters ("married the daughter of a foreign god" Mal 2:11)!
(3) Swear falsely -
swore falsely in name of God, a sin repeatedly condemned in the OT (Ex 20:7, 16; Lev 19:12;
Dt 19:16-20, Pr 19:5, Jer 5:2; 7:9, 29:23; Zec
(4) Oppress the wage earner in his
wages - These and the orphan and widow are generally helpless before
the more powerful and are easily taken advantage of, but here God says
they have an excellent Lawyer, the Judge of all Creation who will rule
in their favor and execute judgment on their oppressors! (Lev. 19:13; Deut. 24:14–15).
means to exhort others (obtaining money, property, etc, from others by
force, intimidation or illegal power), to wrong them (malign them; treat
disrespectfully or dishonorably, inflicting injury either
unmerited or out of proportion to that deserved). Ashaq speaks of
the abuse of power and authority, ill–treating those of lower status.
Ashaq - 35 verses - Lev 6:2,
4; 19:13; Deut 24:14; 28:29, 33; 1 Sam 12:3f; 1 Chr 16:21; Job 10:3;
40:23; Ps 72:4; 103:6; 105:14; 119:121f; 146:7; Prov 14:31; 22:16; 28:3,
17; Eccl 4:1; Isa 23:12; 52:4; Jer 7:6; 21:12; 50:33; Ezek 18:18; 22:29;
Hos 5:11; 12:7; Amos 4:1; Mic 2:2; Zech 7:10; Mal 3:5 Usage:
crushed(1), defrauded(2), extorted(1), got(1), laden(1), oppress(11),
oppressed(9), oppresses(3), oppressor(2), oppressors(2), practiced(2),
T V Moore - The helpless, who
have no human protector, have a mightier and surer one in God. He may
allow them to be oppressed for a time, but in the end will visit swift
and terrible judgment on their oppressors.
(5) The widow and the orphan -
Two of most vulnerable groups in society. (Zech. 7:10 , Ex. 22:22–24;
Lev. 19:10; Dt. 24:19–22).
(6) Those who turn aside the alien
- deprive aliens of justice. (Dt 24:17, 27:19)
NO FEAR OF
(7) Do not fear Me - They had
professed fear of God in Malachi 1:6KJV-note.
All of the preceding sins reflected a lack of fear of the LORD, the
Master. As Paul
declared in Romans, the absence of fear of God sums up the basic "heart
defect" (so to speak) which underlies the litany of preceding sins
in Ro 3:10-17.
NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.” (Ro 3:18-note)
Israel's deeds are clear evidence
that they did not reverence Jehovah. Is that not true in our case when
we willfully, wantonly commit evil, even doing so before His very eyes
of God motivates one to hate evil and delight in God’s commands...
And he said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do
nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have
not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
Abraham's obedience did not save him, but it did demonstrate that his
faith was genuine and his righteousness was not his but Christ's (cp Ge
15:6, Gal 3:8, 16).
Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who
greatly delights in His commandments.
Pr 8:13 “The
fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil
way, And the perverted mouth, I hate.
MacKay sums up this passage
- What is needed is that reverential fear of God that shows a heart
submissive before Him, and trusting in Him (Ed: Messiah) and His
provision for all our needs. Then we can stand before Him at His coming,
not on the basis of our achievements but in what is ours in Christ (cf
1Cor 1:30, 2Cor 5:21-note
Calvin: We then see the
purpose of this passage, which is to show that the Jews were ungrateful
to God, because they mingled with heathen nations, and knowingly and
willfully cast aside that glory by which God had adorned them by
choosing them, as Moses says, to be to him a royal priesthood. . .
He therefore condemns them for this ingratitude, because they had not
only departed from the covenant which the Lord had made with their
fathers, but had also neglected and despised that gratuitous love, which
ought to have softened even their iron hearts. For if God had found
anything in them as a reason why he preferred them to other nations,
they might have been more excusable, at least they might have extenuated
their fault; but since God had adopted them as his peculiar people,
though they were unworthy and wholly undeserving, they must surely have
been extremely brutish, to have thus despised the gratuitous favor of
God. Their baseness then is increased, as I have said, by this
circumstance, -- that so great a kindness of God did not turn their
hearts to obedience.
Malachi 3:5 "Financial
Immorality" - A CHURCHGOING businessman and his attorney wife,
respectable and wealthy people, asked me to recommend a household
employee who could work from eight to five every day caring for two
children, cleaning the house, and preparing the evening meal.
They told me the amount they would be willing to pay—and it wasn't very
much. I said simply that I didn't know anyone who could fill that role.
Inwardly I seethed at their blatant desire to exploit a needy person.
They each earned more in thirty minutes than they were willing to pay
for a full day's work.
God is just as concerned about financial injustices as He is about
abortion, adultery, deceit, and dishonesty. He is grieved when He sees
the rich and powerful take advantage of the poor and helpless.
While relatively few of us are in positions to change the conditions of
society at large, all of us can change a small part of it—the part that
we encounter every day. We can treat fairly those with whom we
deal—babysitters, delivery people, clerks and cashiers, salespeople,
parking attendants, waiters and waitresses. In God's eyes, financial
immorality is just as despicable as sexual immorality.—H V Lugt (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
3:6 "For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore
you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.:
(I the LORD: Ge 15:7,18 Ge 22:16 Ex 3:14,15 Ne 9:7,8 Isa 41:13
Isa 42:5-8 Isa 43:11,12 Isa 44:6 Isa 45:5-8 Jer 32:27 Ho 11:9) (Do
not change: Nu 23:19 1Sa 15:29 Ps 102:26 Heb 6:18 Heb 13:8 Jas 1:17
Rev 1:8 Rev 22:13) (Therefore: Ps 78:38,57 Ps 103:17 Ps 105:7-10
Isa 40:28-31 La 3:22,23 Ro 11:28,29)
DIVINE JUSTICE & DIVINE MERCY
For (see additional note on
"for" below) - Always take note of
term of explanation
and use it as an opportunity to pause (Slow down! Stop speed reading! Cp
God is explaining why He must draw near to them for judgment -- He does
not change. He is forever the reliably righteous Judge. Those who do
not fear Him are destined to be judged (justly and without
partiality) and be condemned to a Christ-less eternity (Read 2Th 1:8,
9). But notice that even in this somewhat "depressing" context of
explaining His righteous wrath, He immediately moves to remind Israel of
His mercies, as so beautifully proclaimed by Jeremiah...
lovingkindnesses (Plural!) indeed never cease (Note this
expression of time),
= explaining why Jehovah's lovingkindnesses never cease!) His
compassions never fail (Note this second
expression of time).
23 They are new every morning (Note this third
expression of time!).
Great is Thy faithfulness. (Lam 3:22, 23, Be sure to read the
- Lam 3:18-21 - What was
Jeremiah's mental/emotional state? What did he choose to do?
Be sure to carefully track his going from "no hope" to possessing
OUR IMMUTABLE JESUS
There is another way to interpret this "for" - In view of the
truth that God does not change, He will remain faithful to His covenant
to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and thus they will not be utterly
destroyed, despite their recalcitrant rebellion. John Phillips agrees
commenting that "The only reason the brazen skeptics of Malachi's day
were not destroyed for their insolence was the integrity of God. "I
In his 1856 commentary T V
Moore explains for this way...
It must be
taken as a causal particle (expressing cause), introducing a reason for,
or an inference from what precedes. The connection is probably as
follows:—In view of this prevalent wickedness, there were two
conclusions that might be drawn. First, that of the skeptic—that
God had ceased to punish sin, since the sinning people still continued
to exist; and secondly, that of the timid believer—that with so
much sin, Israel must be destroyed. God replies that neither of these
conclusions is correct. “They are spared and not consumed, because I am
Jehovah, the covenant God of their fathers, and they, sons of Jacob, to
whom I am bound by covenant; and while I spare them, I will
also punish them, and while I punish them, I will also preserve
them from total extinction!” The stress of the verse, then, is found
in the meaning of the name
which was the covenant Name of God to the Jews, as is clearly proved by
the remarkable...passage, Ex 6:3; and is here used in antithesis (Ed:
A rhetorical contrast - Jehovah's faithfulness versus Jacob's
unfaithfulness) with Jacob, the covenanting head of the visible
theocracy....The immutability of God, then, is at once the guarantee
that His people shall be cast into the furnace, and also that they shall
not be consumed."
I, the LORD, do not change
- This divine attribute ought to evoke a heart felt "Hallelujah!, thank
You Jesus!" As Walter Kaiser remarks "Even when Israel had “violated”
and profaned the covenant of God (Mal. 2:10), God had refused to “violate”
His promise to Israel (Ps. 89:34; the same Hebrew word for “violate”
is used in both texts)."
The New English Bible
rendering is interesting - "I am the Lord, unchanging; and you, too,
have not ceased to be sons of Jacob." J. Baldwin adds that "He
who once loved Jacob (Mal 1:2) did not cease to love his sons, though
they continued to take after their father and were cheats and
supplanters (Ge 25:31–33; Ge 27:18–29, 36; cf. Mal. 3:5). The antithetic
parallelism accentuates God’s goodness." God's unchangeable goodness
contrasted with Israel's persistent deceitfulness (Ge 31:20, 26).
Immutability means that God
is not subject to change through time or circumstances. He is
invariable. In His nature and character, God is absolutely without
change. In God's essence, attributes, consciousness and will, He is
unchangeable. Ponder the significance of this truth, in light of other
truths about God such as "God is love." (1Jn 4:8, 16). What does the
truth of immutability add to the truth that God is love? Below is C H
Spurgeon's "answer" to this question...
Christian is to be a testifier. He is to be a witness with heart and
lips. All the other creatures speak not with words. They may sing as
they shine, but they cannot sing vocally. It is the believer’s part in
the great chorus to lift up voice and heart at once, and as an
intelligent, living, loving, learning witness, to testify to God. In the
first place we have known that God’s love to us is undeserved. Another
thing we can bear testimony to, is this — that the love of God is
unconquerable. We strove against God’s love, but it conquered us. We can
say concerning His love that it has never been diminished by all the
sins we have ever committed since we believed. We have often revolted,
but we have never found Him unwilling to forgive.
We have known and we have believed
the love of God to us to be perfectly immutable.
make but one other remark here, and that is, we can bear our willing
witness that the love of God to us has been an unfailing support in all
our trials. This great truth is the groundwork of Christian
The trustworthy 1915 edition of
the ISBE says Immutability "is the perfection of Yahweh that He
changes not in character, will, purpose, aim." (Orr, James. The
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
Warning! Beware of the radical
(and radically heretical) false teaching that is being propounded by
some so called "process theologians" who hold the belief that God’s own
nature is evolving. They are directly refuted with God's our Word of
Truth "I, the LORD, do not change." (Malachi 3:6).
Watch and listen to Charles Haddon Spurgeon's message on "The
Unchangeable Christ" (The
Unchangeable Christ, A Sermon No. 2358) (Here
is the text of his sermon -- Hebrews
The Unchangeable Christ)
Therefore - A
term of conclusion.
Whenever you encounter a "therefore", pause and ponder,
taking the opportunity to
interrogate the text! You can always ask "What's it there for?" Or you
can amplify your probing of the passage with questions like --
What is Malachi's conclusion?
What is the basis for his
conclusion? The basis is the immutability of God. Because God does not
change, Israel would not be destroyed, as explained in the next
In Malachi 2:10-note we see that Israel
profaned the covenant -- the word "profane" in Hebrew is
the same word translated violate in Psalm 89 where God declares..
"My covenant I will not
Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips."
God is a God Who "not
change" (Malachi 3:6-note),
so that even though Israel "violated"
which explains why the "sons of Jacob are not consumed!"
is used 200x in the OT and conveys such meanings as annihilate, destroy,
devour and perish. Had God been a mutable (fickle, changeable) God,
Israel would have been annihilated! The Lxx uses the verb apecho/apechomai
one meaning of which is to receive in full what is due! Israel deserved to be annihilated,
but because of Jehovah's covenant lovingkindness, they did not receive what
they fully deserved! And neither have we, beloved! We deserved Hell, but God graciously granted us
Heaven in Christ! Praise God that He does not change, but is forever faithful
to His covenant (Play
Forever by Chris Tomlin).
Warren Wiersbe adds that
"Twice Moses used this truth about God (His immutability) as his
argument when he interceded for the nation (Ex. 33:12–23; Num.
14:11–21). The same principle applies to believers today, for 1John 1:9
states that God is “faithful and just to forgive our sins.” God is
faithful to His promises and just toward His Son who died for our sins
that we might be forgiven. (See also Num. 23:19; Deut. 4:31; and James
1:17.) (Be amazed)
You O sons of Jacob are not
consumed: The implication is that because of their stubbornness and
rebelliousness against God and His covenant, Israel should have been
consumed, wiped out, annihilated as a distinct ethnic group! And yet
they were not consumed because God had cut an unconditional covenant with
their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel). As everyone
knows from personal experience (both good and bad!), a promise is only as good as the person who makes it.
The immutable God will
keep His promise to the nation of Israel. His promise will not change,
because His Word, like Himself, will not change. This truth is the basis
for Israel’s hope (not "hope so" but an absolute assurance that God will
do them good in the future! See discussion of
The Messianic Hope of Israel). And so we see that Moses records...
Deut 4:31 “For (Term
[Always pause to ponder the "for's" - your efforts will be rewarded by
your Teacher the Spirit!] - What is Moses explaining? See Dt 4:29, 30 predicting
Israel's future return to Jehovah in the last days. Why? That is what
the rest of this verse explains.) the LORD your God is a compassionate
God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with
your fathers which He swore to them (See
Abrahamic versus Mosaic Covenants).
(Deut 4:31, see parallel promise regarding Israel's sure future in
To reiterate, God is a covenant keeping God which is every believer's
assurance that He will keep the everlasting [Heb 13:20-note, Jer 32:40, Ezek 37:26-note] New
Abrahamic vs Old vs New Covenants] which we as believers have entered into! See Ro 11:29-note).
Paul George - The Lord
immutability asserted by Himself, no word that He has spoken shall fall
to the ground. He is a just revenger of those that rebel against him. He
is the rewarder of those that diligently seek him. In both these He is
unchangeable. Though the sentence passed against evil works (v. 5) is
not executed speedily, yet it will be executed, for He is “the Lord” and
He does not change. He is an enemy to sin and impenitent sinners will
find him so. His judgment is never antiquated, or out of date, but
against those that go on still in their trespasses the curse of his law
still remains in full force, power, and virtue. The Israel had reason to
say that the Lord is unchangeable because of His faithfulness. If the
Lord had not be faithful His covenant with them and their fathers they
would have been consumed long ago and cut off from being a people. They
had been unfaithful and the Lord would have been just if He abandoned
them, and then they would have been consumed and ruined, but because the
Lord remembered His covenant and would not violate His covenant or alter
it they were preserved from ruin. It was purely because he would be as
good as his word (Deuteronomy 7:8; Leviticus 26:46).
Malachi 3:6 C H Spurgeon
Morning and Evening
“I am the Lord, I change not” — Malachi 3:6
It is well for us that, amidst all the variableness of life, there is
One whom change cannot affect; One whose heart can never alter, and on
whose brow mutability can make no furrows. All things else have
changed—all things are changing. The sun itself grows dim with age; the
world is waxing old; the folding up of the worn-out vesture has
commenced; the heavens and earth must soon pass away; they shall perish,
they shall wax old as doth a garment; but there is One who only hath
immortality, of whose years there is no end, and in whose person there
is no change. The delight which the mariner feels, when, after having
been tossed about for many a day, he steps again upon the solid shore,
is the satisfaction of a Christian when, amidst all the changes of this
troublous life, he rests the foot of his faith upon this truth—“I am the
Lord, I change not.”
The stability which the anchor gives the ship when it has at last
obtained a hold-fast, is like that which the Christian’s hope affords
him when it fixes itself upon this glorious truth. With God “is no
variableness, neither shadow of turning.” What ever his attributes were
of old, they are now; his power, his wisdom, his justice, his truth, are
alike unchanged. He has ever been the refuge of his people, their
stronghold in the day of trouble, and he is their sure Helper still. He
is unchanged in his love. He has loved his people with “an everlasting
love”; he loves them now as much as ever he did, and when all earthly
things shall have melted in the last conflagration, his love will still
wear the dew of its youth. Precious is the assurance that he changes
not! The wheel of providence revolves, but its axle is eternal love.
“Death and change are busy ever,
Man decays, and ages move;
But his mercy waneth never;
God is wisdom, God is love.”
Malachi 3:6 A God Of
READ: Malachi 3:6-12
I am the Lord, I do not change. —Malachi 3:6
I am dubious about the accuracy of our bathroom scale. So I've learned
to manipulate it in a self-satisfying manner. The little adjustment knob
serves to vary the register, and if that becomes too much bother, I just
lean a certain way. The idea is to get a favorable reading—hopefully one
that is a few pounds less.
We live in an age when many people believe there are no absolutes.
Self-serving behavior is rampant and tramples the moral law given for
the protection of society. Our culture prides itself on "freedom" that
is actually slavery to sin (Romans 6:16-17).
But there is a God of absolutes whose scales never lose their
adjustment. With Him, a pound is a pound, right is right, and wrong is
wrong. He says, "I am the Lord, I do not change" (Malachi 3:6).
For us as believers, this puts steel into our spiritual backbone. We
gain confidence in the face of difficulty and are assured of the
fulfillment of every divine promise.
If God were easily moved by every whim or notion, our eternal destiny
would be in constant jeopardy. But because He is the Unchanging One, we
"are not consumed" (v.6). "His compassions fail not. They are new every
morning" (Lamentations 3:22-23).—Paul Van Gorder (Our Daily Bread,
Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All
Unchanging God who reigns above,
His truth remains forever;
And from this faithful God of love
No earthly trial can sever. —D. De Haan
Earth changes, but God and His Word stand sure! —Browning
Malachi 3:6. Octavius
Winslow. Daily Walking with God
It is no small attainment to be built up in the faithfulness of God.
This forms a stable foundation of comfort for the believing soul.
Mutability marks everything outside of God. Look into the Church, into
the world, into our families, ourselves, what innumerable changes do we
see on every hand! A week, one short day, what alterations does it
produce! Yet, in the midst of it all, to repose calmly on the
unchangeableness, the faithfulness of God. To know that no alterations
of time, no earthly changes, affect His faithfulness to His people. And
more than this- no changes in them- no unfaithfulness of theirs, causes
the slightest change in God. Once a Father, ever a Father; once a
Friend, ever a Friend. His providences may change, His heart cannot. He
is a God of unchangeable love. The promise He has given, He will fulfil;
the covenant He has made, He will observe; the word that has gone out of
His mouth, He will not alter. "He cannot deny Himself." Peace then,
tried believer! Are you passing now through the deep waters? Who kept
you from sinking when wading through the last? Who brought you through
the last fire? Who supported you under the last cross? Who delivered you
out of the last temptation? Was it not God, your covenant God- your
faithful, unchangeable God? This God, then, is your God now, and your
God forever and ever, and He will be your guide even unto death.
Malachi 3:6 Our Changing World
READ: Psalm 102:25-27
I am the Lord, I do not change. —Malachi 3:6
Change is one thing we can be sure of in this life. Our relationships
change as we move to new places, experience illness, and ultimately face
death. Even the cells in our bodies are always in the process of change.
When cells wear out, most are replaced by new ones. This is especially
noticeable with our skin—we shed and regrow outer skin cells about every
Yes, change is the one certainty in our world. Henry Lyte's melancholy
line in his hymn "Abide With Me" is true: "Change and decay in all
around I see." But the hymn immediately adds, "O Thou who changest not,
abide with me!"
By faith in Jesus Christ we can have a relationship with the unchanging
God, who says of Himself in Malachi 3:6, "I am the Lord, I do not
change." We can depend on God to be the same forever, as the psalmist
says (Psalm 102:27). Hebrews 13:8 adds this reassuring testimony: "Jesus
Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." He is our firm
foundation, who can give us confidence and security in this changing
We creatures, caught up in the swirling tide of time, can rest our souls
on the everlasting arms, which will never let us go.—Vernon C Grounds
(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted
by permission. All rights reserved)
Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day,
Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me! —Lyte
To face life's changes, look to the unchanging God.
"From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes
and have not kept them. Return
to Me, and I will return to you," says the
LORD of hosts. "But you say, 'How shall
we return?': (from
the: Dt 9:7-21 31:20,27-29 Ne 9:16,17,26,28-30 Ps 78:8-10 Eze
20:8,13,21,28 Lk 11:48-51 Ac 7:51,52)(Return to me: Lev 26:40-42 Dt
4:29-31 30:1-4 1Ki 8:47-49 Ne 1:8,9 Isa 55:6,7 Jer 3:12-14,22 Eze
18:30-32 Ho 14:1 Zec 1:3 Jas 4:8)(but you say: Mal 3:13 1:6 Isa 65:2 Mt
23:27 Lk 15:16 Ro 7:9 10:3,21)
RIGHTEOUS ONE REACHES
OUT TO THE UNRIGHTEOUS
T V Moore summarizes
general charge of disobedience and degeneracy, and a call to
reformation, (Mal 3:7.)
specific sin of neglecting tithes and offerings adduced in answer to the
challenge of the people, (Mal 3:8.)
call to reformation in this particular, and a promise of blessings in
that event, (Mal 3:9–12.)
From the days of your fathers
you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them - This
indictment sweeps back to the beginning, to the very birth of the nation
of Israel. They were repeatedly and persistently disobedient. Ezra
declares "Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been in
great guilt, and on account of our iniquities we, our kings and our
priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the
sword, to captivity, and to plunder and to open shame, as it is this
day." (Ezra 9:7)
Turned aside (cf Mal 2:8) (05493)
(sur) means to depart from the way, something Israel had been
clearly instructed not to do (cf depart = Dt 4:9, turn aside = Dt 5:32).
The verb sur is used to describe how Israel "quickly turned
aside quickly form the way which" the LORD had commanded them by
making a golden calf (Dt 9:12, 16). Israel had been clear warning
"Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn
away (sur) and serve other gods and worship them." (Dt 11:16, cf Dt
11:28) (Note the inevitable, unavoidable downward spiral from turning
away from the truth, to become a slave to a lie (idols) and to worship
them!" And again Moses instructed them "You shall not turn
aside from the word which they (Levitical priests) declare to you,
to the right or the left." (Dt 17:11)
In Mal 3:7 the Lxx uses
here from ek = out, out from + klíno = incline, bend, turn aside or
away) which means to lean in the wrong direction, to bend out of the
regular line, to bend away, to turn aside or deviate from the right way or course
(exemplified by the use in the Septuagint of Malachi 2:8, Deut 5:32)
In Malachi 2:6 this same Hebrew
verb (sub) is used with the opposite sense speaking of Levi who
"turned many back from iniquity." Here in Mal 3:7 they are turning aside
from God's statutes! Sur is used with a positive sense in Mal 3:18 ("will
again...") and Mal 4:6 ("restore the hearts of the fathers to
They had turned aside but
God had not changed (Mal 3:6) gracious call to sinners in need,
calling them to return. As Walter Kaiser says "The message of all
the previous prophets could be summarized in the single word “return”
(Zech. 1:3–4), the Old Testament word for
The word invites the listeners to turn 180 degrees, reversing their
direction. Instead of heading off toward sin, self, and contemporary
idols, Israel is urged to turn around and look in faith to the Man of
Promise." How tragic that she rebuffs such a gracious invitation from
"the LORD who rules over all" (NET), replying "How shall we return?"
The implication is that they sensed no need to return! Kaiser
adds that "Israel fails to acknowledge her problem; she gives instead a
whimper of innocence by saying, in effect, “Who? Us? We need to repent?
Why do we need to turn back to God? We never went away from Him, did
to Me - We see the same
divine accusation and offer echoed in another post-exilic book,
was very angry with your fathers. Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the
LORD of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the LORD of hosts, “that
I may return to you,” says the LORD of hosts. (Zech 1:2-3)
(sub) is a common OT verb (over 1000x) and means to turn back.
Some contexts mean to turn from God and so to apostatize. Others such as
this passage mean to turn back to God and thus to repent. In Isa 55:11
God says His Word "will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing
what I desire and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."
In Mal 3:7 the Lxx translates sub with
which means to revert, to turn about, to turn around, to turn
toward, to return and figuratively to convert. The idea is a definite
turn to God in conduct as well as in one's mind (cf "return" in Acts
In his discussion of sub,
Victor Hamilton notes that "The Bible is rich in idioms describing man’s
responsibility in the process of repentance. Such phrases would include
the following: “incline your heart unto the Lord your God” (Josh 24:23):
“circumcise yourselves to the Lord” (Jer 4:4); “wash your heart from
wickedness” (Jer 4:14); “break up your fallow ground” (Hos 10:12) and so
forth. All these expressions of man’s penitential activity, however, are
subsumed and summarized by this one verb sub. For better than any
other verb it combines in itself the two requisites of repentance: to
turn from evil and to turn to the good." (TWOT)
(a command) to Me, and I will return to you
- What a gracious invitation! But how do recalcitrant rebels return to
the Righteous One? God foresaw Israel's disobedience and provided a "way
of escape" even before they had disobeyed...
26:40-42 - If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their
forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me,
and also in their acting with hostility against Me–41 I also was acting
with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their
enemies–or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so
that they then make amends for their iniquity, 42 then I will remember
My covenant with Jacob (unconditional, albeit it did call for
exercise of personal faith in the promises of God - cf Ge 15:5-6), and I
will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with
Abraham as well, and I will remember the land.
Clearly their uncircumcised (prideful) heart was a figurative
description of an unrepentant, rebellious, faithless heart (See
excursus on Uncircumcised Heart versus Circumcised Heart).
don't miss the last part of this promise "I will remember the
land." - God will indeed remember the land, the land which
was promised to Jacob, Isaac and Abraham, not to the church. If
one reads the Scripture literally, Israel remains national "Israel" and
has not been "replaced" by the Church (See discussion of
Israel of God)!
In Leviticus Moses clearly documents that God promises to keep this
aspect of His unconditional covenant cut with their fathers. The
righteous remnant will be restored to the promised land when the Messiah
returns. GOD IS NOT FINISHED WITH ISRAEL or the prophetic promise in Lev
26:42b is "null and void," but God is not a man that He should lie!
4:29-31 - But (this
term of contrast
forces us to examine the preceding
- Dt 4:23-25, 26-28) from there you
will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him IF you search
for Him with all your heart and all your soul. 30 When (A very important
expression of time.
To what time does Moses
refer?) you are in
distress (so it is specifically a time of tribulation -
translates Hebrew word for
the same word in the phrase "Great Tribulation" in Mt 24:31, Rev
7:14) and all these things have come upon you (the "curses" in Dt
4:23-28), in the latter days (Another important
expression of time
- I believe this "distress" is
at the time of the
when Satan's wrath "channeled" through the Antichrist will be directed
with full force against the Jews, bringing about a veritable "global
holocaust"), you will return to the LORD your God and listen
(Hebrew verb conveys not just the hearing, but hearing with attention
and giving obedient assent) to His voice (Recall that this
answers to God's invitation in Mal 3:7 = "Return to Me and I will
return to you!"). 31 For (term
of explanation -
What is Moses explaining?)
the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor
destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers (Abraham, Isaac,
Jacob) which He swore to them.
The writer of Hebrews alludes to
Israel's lack of genuine faith "from the days of (their) fathers,"
we (first century Jews) have had good news (the Gospel) preached to us
(cp Gal 3:8), just as they (Israel in the OT) also; but the Word they
heard did not profit them (Why
not? What key ingredient was missing?),
because it was not united by faith (it is not enough to hear
the Gospel - it is necessary to believe it = John 5:24; Jas 1:22-note)
in those who heard. (Heb 4:2)
Morris - The "gospel" is not just a New Testament revelation, for it
was preached to the children of Israel in the wilderness, in types and
prophecies, at least. In fact, it is "the everlasting gospel"
(Revelation 14:6,7), and the first promise of redemption (Genesis 3:15)
is commonly known as the protevangel (first Gospel). In its essence, the
Gospel (good news) is the message that the Creator is also our Redeemer
and coming King, and that true faith in Him--faith which produces
salvation--will also produce loving obedience to His Word.
(cf God's declaration here in Mal 3:7 that Israel had persistently
turned aside and did not keep [obey] God's statues.)
Relationship of faith and
Obedience of faith - What does
"We must come back to God if we
would have God come back to us, for it is we who have changed, and not
God; He is the same." (Moore)
But you say, 'How shall we
return? (NAB = "Why should we return?", Young's Literal = "In what
do we turn back?") - The conjunction "but" signals a contrast
between what God desired of Israel and their rebellious response! The
Living Bible paraphrase has...
"Come and I will
But you say, 'We have never even gone away!"
Clearly, Israel is not seeking
clarification of what God meant by "Return." Indeed, their response was
not a reception but a rebuff of God's gracious call to repent! (cf
Israel in Jesus' day - Mt 11:20-24 and earth dwellers in the last days
outpouring of God's wrath - Rev 9:20-21-note,
In Malachi 3:8 the prophet does
not hesitate to tell the rebels how to return to God - return by
refraining from robbing God!
Matthew Henry has some
excellent points for personal pondering -
run away from their Master, and quitted the work he gave them to do (Mal
3:7): You have turned away from God's statutes and have not kept
them. The ordinances of God's worship were the business which as
servants they must mind, the talents which they must trade with, and the
trust which was committed to them to keep; but they went away from them,
grew weary of them, and withdrew their neck from that yoke; they
deviated from the rule that God had prescribed to them, and betrayed the
trust lodged with them. They had revolted from God, not only in worship,
but in conduct; they had not kept his ordinances. This disobedience they
were chargeable with, and had been guilty of, even from the days of
their fathers; either as in the days of their fathers of old, who
were sent into captivity for their disobedience, or, "Now, for some
generations past, you have fallen off from what you were, when first you
came back out of captivity.'' Ezra owns it in one particular instance:
"Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt,
and on account of our iniquities we, our kings and our priests have been
given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to
captivity, and to plunder and to open shame, as it is this day." (Ezra
observe, 1. What a gracious invitation God gives them to return and
repent: "Return unto me, and to your duty, return to your
service, return to your allegiance, return as a traveler that has missed
his way, as a soldier that has run his colors, as a treacherous wife
that has gone away from her husband; return, thou backsliding Israel,
return to Me; and then I will return unto you and be reconciled, will
remove the judgments you are under and prevent those you fear.'' This
had been of old the burden of the song (Zech 1:3 “Therefore say to
them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the
LORD of hosts, “that I may return to you,” says the LORD of hosts.),
and is still.
a peevish answer they return to this gracious invitation: "But you
said with disdain, said it to the prophets that called you, said it to
one another, said it to your own hearts, to stifle the convictions you
were under; you said, Wherein shall we return?'' Note, God takes
notice what returns our hearts make to the calls of His word, what we
say and what we think when we have heard a sermon, what answer we give
to the message sent us. When God calls us to return, we should
answer as those did Jer 3:22, "Behold, we come to Thee; For Thou art the
LORD our God." But not as these here, Wherein shall we return?
take it as an affront to be told of their faults, and called upon to
amend them; they are ready to say, "What ado (time-wasting bother over
trivial details) do these prophets make about returning and repenting;
why are we disgraced and disturbed thus, our own consciences and our
neighbours stirred up against us?'' It is ill with those who thus count
reproofs (expressions of disapproval) as reproaches (expressions of
displeasure), and kick against the goads (cf Acts 26:14).
are so ignorant of themselves (Ed: cf self-deception!), and of
the strictness, extent, and spiritual nature, of the divine law, that
they see nothing in themselves to be repented of, or reformed; they are
pure in their own eyes, and think they need no repentance.
are so firmly resolved to go on in sin that they will find a thousand
foolish frivolous excuses to shift off their repentance, and turn away
the calls that are given them to repent. They seem to speak only as
those that wanted something to say; it is a mere evasion, a banter upon
the prophet, and a challenge to him to descend to particulars. Note,
Many ruin their own souls by baffling the calls that are given them to
repent of their sins.
Malachi 3:8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing
Me! But you say, 'How have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings.:
(man: Ps 29:2 Pr 3:9,10 Mt 22:21 Mk 12:17 Lk 20:25 Ro 13:7)(In tithes:
Mal 1:8,13 Lev 5:15,16 27:2-34 Nu 18:21-32 Jos 7:11 Ne 13:4-14 Ro 2:22)
NEED TO RETURN
Malachi 3:8 Will a Man Rob God-Study of Tithing in
Old and New Testaments
Will a man rob God? Yet you are
robbing Me! - God first asks a rhetorical question, one that should
have served to get their attention and engage their minds! He follows
with the accusation. And so in light of Israel's refusal to return to Him, He now
points out a glaring example of their refusal. They were asking "How can
we return, when we have never departed." God says "Look at your check
means to rob, defraud, or to overreach (although in Talmudic literature
it means “to take forcibly”).
Other than Mal 3:8-9, the only use
22:23 For the LORD will plead their case And take the life of those who
But you say 'How have we robbed
You?' - Some sins are obvious, but we must remember that sin by its
very nature is deceitful, which means that there are times when we don't
even realize we are committing sins. Such seems to have been the case
with Malachi's readers. God is shining the light of His
Word on Israel's self-deception. And yet they still fail to see God's
point, questioning His accusation.
In tithes and offerings -
God's answer is like a sharp arrow, piercing and to the point. God
shines His light on their selfish hearts. Other than the Bible, no other book reveals the truth
about our heart like our check book!
means a tenth part or tithe. Maaser is related to the numerical
adjective eser (04643)
used in 157 passages in the OT most often with the meaning of the number
ten. A tithe is 10 percent of one’s grain, fruit, animals, or money
(Lev. 27:30–34; Neh. 13:5). The Lxx translates maaser with the adjective epidekatos
meaning one in ten (the tenth). In Dt 14:28, 29 we see that every three
years a feast was held at the time of offering the tithes, to which the
needy were invited as well as the Levites.
Wiersbe - The annual tithe
was given to the Levites (Nu 18:21–24), who in turn gave a tithe of that
income to the priests (Nu 18:25–32). When a worshiper brought his tithe
to the temple, he could use part of it to enjoy a special meal with his
family and the Levites (Dt. 12:6–7, 17–19). Every third year a tithe was
to be brought to the leaders locally to be used for the poor (Dt
Tithing in Baker's Evangelical
Tithing in Easton's, ISBE
Maaser - 27 verses - Ge
14:20; Lev 27:30, 31, 32; Num 18:21, 24, 26, 28; Dt 12:6, 11, 17; 14:23, 28;
26:12; 2Chr 31:5, 6, 12; Neh 10:37, 38; 12:44; 13:5, 12; Ezek 45:11, 14;
Amos 4:4; Mal 3:8, 10. Here are some representative uses of maaser...
declared) "And blessed be God Most High, Who has
delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tenth
of all." (Ge 14:20)
the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of
the tree, is the LORD’S; it is holy to the LORD. (Lev 27:30) -
The law decreed that a tenth of all produce (and flocks - see below) was
‘holy to the Lord’
And for every tenth part of herd
or flock, whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be
holy to the LORD." (Lev 27:32)
And to the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in
Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they
perform, the service of the tent of meeting. (Nu 18:21)
The Levites received the tithe from the people who themselves gave a
tenth to the priest (Nu 18:28).
tithe of the sons of Israel, which they offer as an offering to the
LORD, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance; therefore I have
said concerning them, ‘They shall have no inheritance among the sons of
Israel.’ (Nu 18:24)
shall also present an offering to the LORD from your tithes,
which you receive from the sons of Israel; and from it you shall give
the LORD’S offering to Aaron the priest. (Nu 18:28)
Offerings - Baldwin
explains "Offerings were the portions of sacrifices set apart for
the priests (Ex. 29:27, 28; Lev. 7:32; Nu 5:9) and the voluntary gifts
for a special purpose (Ex. 25:2–7). One of Nehemiah’s tasks was to
ensure that the supplies intended for support of the temple ministry did
not fail as they had done during his absence (Neh. 13:10–13). When no
gifts were brought the Levites had no option but to give up their
ministry and earn their own living by farming."
Walter Kaiser - Christians
are not governed by any law that commands us to give a tenth of
our earnings to God; however, it must be noted that the practice of
tithing antedates any provision of the Law of Moses (see Abram's
response in Ge 14:20, cf Jacob's vow at Bethel Ge 28:22). Another argument often made in favor of
Christians tithing is: “If it was appropriate under the law to give a
tenth, Christians will want to give no less than a tenth
insofar as we have received and known so much more!” How could it be put
any more succinctly? No one robs God without robbing himself at the same
Steven Cole on the
spiritual importance of giving -
one of the most fail-proof litmus tests of your relationship to God. On
more than one occasion, Jesus linked a person’s giving to eternal life.
When Zaccheus, the wealthy tax collector, got right with God, his first
recorded words were, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give
to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give
back four times as much” (Luke 19:8). His salvation immediately touched
his pocketbook. Jesus confirmed this formerly greedy man’s conversion by
saying, “Today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9). Contrast
that with the tragic account of the rich young ruler. He seemed like
such an eager potential convert. He came running (not walking) to Jesus
and asked, “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
What a witnessing opportunity! So Jesus said, “That’s easy. Just invite
Me into your heart by faith.” No, that’s not what Jesus said. He knew
that the man had an idol. So He said, “One thing you lack: go and sell
all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in
heaven; and come, follow Me.” But the man went away grieved, unwilling
to obey Jesus’ words. Jesus didn’t run after him and say, “How about ten
percent?” Rather, He said to the disciples, “How hard it will be for
those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:17-23).
16:10-11, Jesus states that our stewardship of money is a test of how we
will do with more important responsibilities: “He who is faithful in a
very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in
a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have
not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the
true riches to you?” In the context, the “very little thing” is the
money that God has entrusted to us! The “much” or “true riches” are the
souls of people. Our use of money is God’s test of whether He can
entrust souls to our care! You can impress other Christians by your
extensive Bible knowledge, your fervent prayers, or your many years of
service in the church. But God does not look at any of those things to
test your faithfulness. Rather, He looks at how you manage the money
that He has entrusted to you. Are you greedy or generous? (Malachi 3:7-12 Robbing God)
Cole goes on to address the
concept of tithing -
shock you to learn that ten percent is not the biblical standard for
giving (for a longer treatment, see John MacArthur, Whose Money Is It,
Anyway? [Word], pp. 97-113). Abraham once gave Melchizedek ten percent
of his spoils from a single battle, but there is no indication that he
regularly gave ten percent. Jacob promised to give God ten percent if
God would do what Jacob wanted Him to do, but that is hardly a biblical
model for giving! The Law of Moses actually prescribed several tithes
that would have amounted to somewhere between 20-25 percent (Lev.
27:30-33; Num. 18:20 21; Deut. 12:17-18; 14:22, 28, 29). But in Israel,
the tithe functioned more like an involuntary tax than as a freewill
preachers (especially Baptists!) use Malachi 3:10 to teach “storehouse
tithing.” One Baptist commentator says, “So-called storehouse tithing
does have a sound basis in this verse.” The idea is that the church is
the storehouse where you are supposed to give ten percent of your
income. Anything that you give to other Christian organizations should
be over and above that ten percent that goes to the local church.
that I could promote that idea, because I’m sure that our church income
would go up substantially if everyone did that! Frankly, we could use
the money, both for ongoing budget expenses and to meet our need for
more property and facilities. But that application stretches this text
beyond credulity. The storehouse refers to the storage rooms at the
temple, where the people brought the first fruits of their harvest. The
priests who served at the temple used this produce for their needs. I’m
sad to say that the storehouse was not the local church and the tithe is
not the New Testament standard for giving!
significant that tithing is never mentioned in any instructions to the
church, although much is said about giving. If the church is supposed to
give ten percent, it seems strange that Paul did not mention this when
he wrote to predominately Gentile churches, which would not be familiar
with the Law of Moses.
nervous when you take away that ten percent figure. Somehow, it’s
comfortable and simple to give ten percent. But the problem with tithing
is that people get the notion that once they’ve paid God ten percent,
they’re free to squander the rest on themselves. But I think that God
would charge such people, however sincere they may be, with robbing Him.
wonder, “If I don’t tithe, then how do I determine how much I’m supposed
to give?” The New Testament principle is that God owns it all. We just
manage it for Him. The New Testament standard is, give generously and
cheerfully “as God has prospered you,” out of gratitude for His
indescribable gift of salvation (1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 8 & 9; Acts 11:29).
For those who are very poor, ten percent may represent generous,
sacrificial giving. For those who have ample salaries, ten percent may
be robbing God.
that John Piper’s teaching is sound, that Christians ought to live with
a wartime mentality, gladly making personal sacrifices in order to
advance Christ’s cause. If we expect missionaries to live sacrificially
for the sake of the gospel, shouldn’t we hold ourselves to the same
standard? If we live in relative luxury while people perish because
there aren’t enough funds to get the gospel to them, are we not guilty
of robbing God? (Ibid)
Wiersbe - While 1
Corinthians 16:1–2 suggests proportionate giving (“as God has prospered
him”), there is no express command to tithe given to the church in the
New Testament. Paul teaches “grace giving” in 2 Corinthians 8–9, which
is certainly beyond 10 percent. Many Christians feel that if believers
under the Old Covenant brought their tithes, how could Christians under
the New Covenant begin with anything less?
T V Moore - We may try to
defraud God, but in the end will only defraud ourselves. The eagle who
robbed the altar set fire to her nest from the burning coal that adhered
to the stolen flesh. So men who retain God’s money in their treasuries
will find it a losing possession. No man ever yet lost anything by
serving God with a whole heart, or gained anything by serving him with
half a one. We may compromise with conscience for half the price, but
God will not endorse the compromise, and like Ananias and Sapphira, we
will lose not only what we thought we had purchased so cheaply, but also
the price we paid for it.
Malachi 3:9 "You are cursed with a curse, for you are
robbing Me, the whole nation of you!:
(Mal 2:2 Dt 28:15-19 Jos 7:12,13 22:20 Isa 43:28 Hag 1:6-11 2:14-17)
You are cursed with a curse
- Why? "For" introduces the explanation for the curse. Solomon
wrote "There is one who scatters, yet increases all the more, and there
is one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in want."
(Pr 11:24) The last part of this verse would in effect be the
"outworking" of this curse...
are destined to be
of explanation) - Always
pause to ponder this conjunction when it used as a term of explanation
(which is often the case when for is found at the beginning of a
verse). This simple discipline will force your to examine the context,
to re-read the text and in essence to meditate on the passage. In this
case God explains why Israel would be cursed. Answer - Not "highway
robbery" but "holy robbery!" In other words, to withhold
the tithe from God and in effect from His servants the Levites who were
totally dependent on this gift, was tantamount to withholding from God
Himself! And in Mal 3:11 we see they were reaping what they had sown,
for insects had invaded the land and the crops were being destroyed!
Wiersbe - Whenever we rob
God, we always rob ourselves. To begin with, we rob ourselves of the
spiritual blessings that always accompany obedience and faithful giving
(2 Cor. 9:6–15). But even more, the money that rightfully belongs to God
that we keep for ourselves never stays with us. It ends up going to the
doctor, the auto body shop, or the tax collector. “You have sown much,
and bring in little … and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a
bag with holes” (Hag. 1:6, nkjv). If we don’t trust God to care for us,
whatever we do trust will prove futile. People who lovingly give tithes
and offerings to God find that whatever is left over goes much farther
and brings much greater blessing.
the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My
house, and test 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 a blessing until it overflows.:
(whole: 2Ch 31:4-10 Ne 10:33-39 Pr 3:9,10)(storehouse: 1Ch
26:20 2Ch 31:11-19 Ne 10:38 12:44,47 13:5,10-13)(prove: 1Ki 17:13-16 Ps
37:3 Hag 2:19 Mt 6:33 2Co 9:6-8)(open: Ge 7:11 Dt 28:12 2Ki 7:2,19)(pour
out: Eccl 11:3)(for you: Lev 26:10 2Ch 31:10 Lk 5:6,7 12:16,17 Jn
Malachi 3:8 Will a Man Rob God-Study of Tithing in
Old and New Testaments
(command) the whole tithe into the
- Walter Kaiser explains that "The
emphasis on wholeness must have involved the firstfruits of the crop,
the earliest interest off the shekel, and, since God always inspects the
giver before He inspects the gift, the entirety of the person (cf. Gen.
4:3–4)—his time, talents, and self."
can mean a treasure, store, a treasury (a place in which stores of
wealth are kept). Otsar is a storage
vault which holds valuables, a building or part of a larger building
(Jos 6:19). Otsar is the place where treasure is kept or the treasure
itself (as in (1Ki 14:26; Pr 10:2; 15:16; 21:6; Jer 48:7; 49:4). Job
uses otsar twice in somewhat of a figurative sense to describe
God's storehouse of His elements such as snow and hail (Job 38:22). Otsar is used figuratively in Dt 28:12 to describe
blessing and prosperity the Lord will give Israel if they are obedient. "Various
items were stored up, such as supplies (Neh. 12:44) or treasures of a
palace or temple (1Ki. 7:51; Jer. 15:13). The Lord also has treasures
in the heavens (Deut. 28:12) and in the winds (Jer. 10:13). The word
refers to storehouses themselves (Neh. 13:12, 13)." In Isa 45:3 the
phrase "treasures of darkness" is a figurative description of the wealth
Lxx translates otsar here
(cf English "treasure,
treasury") which is a place for storing valuables (a treasury, treasure
chest, Mt 2:11, a storehouse)
Walter Kaiser explains "The “storehouse”
is either the “treasury of the temple of the LORD” (1Ki 7:51) or, in a
more figurative sense, the place from which all of God’s blessings
proceed. The word “treasury” appears eighty times in the Old Testament,
but only in a few does it clearly connote a divine storehouse (e.g., Ps
33:7; 135:7; Job 38:22). Dt 28:12 and, obliquely, Jer 50:25, do speak of
God’s treasury-house as in the heavens. Accordingly, we must be careful
not to use this verse to insist on the practice known as “storehouse
tithing,” by which all giving to God’s work is channeled through the
local church. We must “bring” the tithes to the storehouse, but, in
fairness to the text, the “storehouse” does not have to be the local
church—good as that practice is as a general principle."
Wiersbe - There were
special storage rooms in the temple for keeping the grain, produce, and
money that the people brought to the Lord in obedience to His Law. If
people didn’t want to carry heavy produce all the way to the temple,
they could convert it into cash, but they had to add 20 percent to it
just to make sure they weren’t making a profit and robbing God (Lev.
Otsar - 70 verses - Dt
28:12; 32:34; Josh 6:19, 24; 1Ki 7:51; 14:26; 15:18; 2Ki 12:18; 14:14;
16:8; 18:15; 20:13, 15; 24:13; 1Chr 9:26; 26:20, 22, 24, 26; 27:25, 27f;
28:12; 29:8; 2Chr 5:1; 8:15; 11:11; 12:9; 16:2; 25:24; 32:27; 36:18;
Ezra 2:69; Neh 7:70f; 10:38; 12:44; 13:12f; Job 38:22; Ps 33:7; 135:7;
Pr 8:21; 10:2; 15:16; 21:6, 20; Isa 2:7; 30:6; 33:6; 39:2, 4; 45:3; Jer
10:13; 15:13; 17:3; 20:5; 38:11; 48:7; 49:4; 50:25, 37; 51:13, 16; Ezek
28:4; Dan 1:2; Hos 13:15; Joel 1:17; Mic 6:10; Mal 3:10 Usage:
armory(1), cellars(1), gains(1), storehouse(3), storehouses(13),
storeroom(1), stores(3), treasure(3), treasures(26), treasuries(19),
So that - Expresses
purpose. The purpose is that there might be food in God's house. The
truth is that since God owns everything, He does not actually need
anything we can give Him (Acts 17:25). However what does please Him is
we first bring our hearts (in obedience), so to speak, doing so as an
act of worship.
means to examine, to try, to prove, to scrutinize. Bachan is a primary
(or root) word which depicts examination to determine (and bring out)
the essential qualities of something, and in the moral realm speaks
particularly of a person's integrity (think of integer = indivisible -
undivided ~ think undivided heart or single minded focus/purpose). In
Scripture bachan is used almost exclusively in this moral/spiritual
sense meaning to try, search out, examine or prove one's spiritual heart
or character. Bachan/bahan is used almost exclusively in a spiritual
sense (unlike the words above - smelt and refine).
To try gold, persons, the hearts
(1Chr 29:17, Ps 7:9, 17:3), sons of men (both righteous and wicked = Ps
11:4-5) or man of God.
often translates bachan with
which means to assay, to test, to
prove, to put to the test, to make a trial of, to verify, to discern to
approve. Dokimazo involves not only testing but determining the
genuineness or value of an event or object. That which has been tested
is demonstrated to be genuine and trustworthy.
Bachan - 27v - NASB
Usage: assay(2), examine(2), proved(1), test(7), tested(3), tests(3),
tried(5), tries(2), try(3). KJV translates bachan as try
19, prove 7, examine 1, tempt 1, trial 1
Genesis 42:15 by this you will be
tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go from this place unless
your youngest brother comes here!
16 "Send one of you that he may get your brother, while you remain
confined, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you.
But if not, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies."
1 Chronicles 29:17 "Since I know, O my God, that You
try the heart and
delight in uprightness, I, in the integrity of my heart, have willingly
offered all these things; so now with joy I have seen Your people, who
are present here, make their offerings willingly to You.
Job 7:18 That You examine him every morning And try him every moment?
Job 12:11 "Does not the ear test words, As the palate tastes its food?
Job 23:10-note "But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall
come forth as gold.
Job 34:3 "For the ear tests words As the palate tastes food.
36 'Job ought to be tried to the limit, Because he answers like wicked
Ps 7:9-note O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the
righteous; For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds.
Ps 11:4-note 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 11:5-note;The LORD
tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves
violence His soul hates.
Ps 17:3-note You have
tried (Lxx =
dokimazo) my heart; You have visited me by night; You
have tested (tsaraph) me and You find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will
dokimazo) me, O LORD, and
(tsaraph) my mind and my heart. (Red = imperatives!)
Ps 66:10-note For You have
tried (Lxx =
dokimazo) us, O God; You have refined us as silver
Ps 81:7-note "You called in trouble and I rescued you; I answered you in
the hiding place of thunder; I proved (Lxx =
dokimazo) you at the waters of Meribah.
Ps 95:9-note "When your fathers tested
(nasah) Me, They tried (Lxx = dokimazo) Me, though they had
seen My work.
me, O God, and know
(bachan; Lxx =
me and know
my anxious thoughts; (Red
= imperatives! Four bold requests of the all seeing God! Oh my!)
Proverbs 17:3 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
But the LORD tests hearts.
Jeremiah 6:27 "I have made you an assayer and a tester among My people,
That you may know and assay (Lxx =
dokimazo) their way."
Jeremiah 9:7 Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, "Behold, I will
refine (tsaraph) them and assay (Lxx =
dokimazo) them; For what else can I do, because of the
daughter of My people?
Jeremiah 11:20 But, O LORD of hosts, who judges righteously, Who
tries (Lxx =
the feelings and the heart, Let me see Your vengeance on them, For to
You have I committed my cause.
Jeremiah 12:3 But You know me, O LORD; You see me; And You examine
heart's attitude toward You. Drag them off like sheep for the slaughter
And set them apart for a day of carnage!
Jeremiah 17:10 "I, the LORD, search the heart, I test (Lxx
the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to
the results of his deeds.
Jeremiah 20:12 Yet, O LORD of hosts (this is Jesus), You who
test (Lxx =
the righteous, Who see the mind and the heart; Let me see Your vengeance
on them; For to You I have set forth my cause.
Zechariah 13:9 "And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine
them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested
dokimazo). They will
call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My
people,' And they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"
Malachi 3:10 "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there
may be food in My house, and test 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 a blessing until it overflows.
15 'So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of
wickedness built up but they also test God and escape.'"
Will...open for you the windows
of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows -
Obedience opens the windows of heaven to pour out God’s blessings. "If
men will take up the challenge, God will release “the windows “ or
“floodgates” of heaven and send an abundance of rains (cf. Dt. 28:12;
2Ki 7:2, 19)."
Wiersbe - Yes, giving is an
act of faith, but God rewards that faith in every way. That isn’t the
reason we give, because that kind of motivation would be selfish. “If
you give because it pays, it won’t pay!” said industrialist R. G.
LeTourneau, and he was right. We give because we love God and want to
obey Him, and because He’s very generous to us. When we lay up treasures
in heaven, they pay rich dividends for all eternity.
Stewardship - Maybe there
are more reasons than we know to bring rather than send our offering to
church. In Lake Mary, Florida the bomb squad detonated a suspicious
cardboard box found outside a church. They discovered it had $2,500
cash, apparently a donation to the church. The Lord wants more than our
money; he wants our lives along with it. When we bring it, we avoid it
being blown to bits. The article says that the local authorities said
they would replace the money. (The Week, May 21, 2010, p. 6.
Illustration by Jim L. Wilson and Rodger Russell)
Malachi 3:10 C H Spurgeon
- Faith's Checkbook - Condition of Blessing
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be
meat in mine house, and prove me nowhere with, 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.”—Malachi
MANY read and plead this promise without noticing the condition upon
which the blessing is promised. We cannot expect heaven to be opened or
blessing poured out unless we pay our dues unto the Lord our God and to
His cause. There would be no lack of funds for holy purposes if all
professing Christians paid their fair share.
Many are poor because they rob God. Many churches also miss the
visitations of the Spirit because they starve their ministers. If there
is no temporal meat for God’s servants, we need not wonder if their
ministry has but little food in it for our souls. When missions pine for
means, and the work of the Lord is hindered by an empty treasury, how
can we look for a large amount of soul prosperity?
Come, come! What have I given of late? Have I been mean to my God? Have
I stinted my Savior? This will never do. Let me give my Lord Jesus His
tithe by helping the poor and aiding His work, and then I shall prove
His power to bless me on a large scale.
Malachi 3:10 Robert Morgan -
Several years ago, a company asked me to prepare a series of studies
on the major stewardship campaigns in the Bible, and I discovered
something that I did not previously know. There are two ways of giving
to the Lord in the Bible. The first is by our weekly tithes and
offerings, and that is one of the most important disciplines in the
Christian life. I had a young couple that go to another church in our
area tell me something very interesting recently. They had not been
tithing because their finances had been so tight. In fact, never in
their marriage had they felt they could consistently tithe because of
their distressed finances. Some weeks they weren’t sure where the
groceries were coming from. Other weeks, they couldn’t put gasoline in
the car. Their family members had told them, “Don’t dare tithe. You
can’t afford to tithe. It takes every penny just to pay the bills.” But
things grew worse and worse, and this couple found themselves under
Then one Sunday, the pastor of their church was away, and the associate
pastor spoke on the subject of tithing. He said something to this
effect: “If you are having financial difficulties, you can not afford
not to tithe. God cannot bless you if you aren’t honoring Him by
returning to Him a small portion, a tithe, a ten percent, of what He is
giving to you. It is an act of faith on your part. It’s an act of love.
It’s an act of obedience.” The associate pastor quoted Malachi 3:
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” (NKJV).
This couple came under great conviction about this matter. They decided
that very week to begin tithing, but they said, “It was the hardest step
of faith we’ve ever taken.” As soon as they began tithing, they both
told me, their financial situation began reversing itself. Work
prospects improved dramatically. And two weeks later they wrote another
tithing check, and their second tithing check was 243 percent more than
their first check due to the increase in their income.
I’ve always believed this is the basic way in which the Lord sustains
His work on this earth—through the regular week-in, week-out tithes and
offerings of His people. That’s the first way in which we’re to give to
the Lord. But there is a second way. And we have it here in this
passage. Sometimes God puts an opportunity in our pathway.
Tent, a Tithe and a Jar Full of Pennies)
Malachi 3:10 Robert Morgan -
A $100 bill, a $20 bill, and a $1 bill met up with each other at the
shredder at the end of their natural lives. The $100 said, “Well, I’ve
had a good life. I’ve seen the whole world. I’ve been on cruises in
Caribbean, safaris in Africa, and vacations in Europe.”
The $20 said, “Well, I’ve not done quite as well, but I have been to
Atlantic City, Disneyland, and Starbucks.”
They both turned to $1 bill and asked, “How about you?” He said, “Oh,
I’ve seen the whole nation from coast to coast. I’ve been from church to
church to church...”
The $100 bill asked, “What’s a church?”
Malachi 3:11 "Then I will rebuke the devourer for
you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your
vine in the field cast its grapes," says the
LORD of hosts.:
(rebuke: Joel 2:20 Am 4:9 7:1-3 Hag 2:17)(nor will: Dt 11:14 Jer 8:13
Joel 1:7,12 2:22 Hab 3:17 Zec 8:12)
Then - Then means soon
after that or next in order of time. This
expression of time
is always a cause to pause and ponder "What time is it?" Or stated
another way "When is "then"?" Or what happened before "then"?"
This promise to rebuke the devourer is connected with their bringing of
the whole tithe into the storehouse and "testing" God's goodness and
ability to provide bountifully. As an aside given the devastation of
their crops, one could see how they might be tempted to withhold a
portion of their tithes. We
would never become stingy in our giving if the "crops" failed would we?
Tithes and offers ultimately are a test of one's faith. Will God respond
in times of crisis as His people continue to give God His share? Yes,
God will open the storehouses but God's people must first open their
storehouses in faith, trusting God for the provision.
The devourer - While the
identity is not stated, the effect on the fruit and grapes supports that
it was an insect plague (probably locusts), hail or drought, although Jim Wilson suggests
other types of "devourers." (see illustration below).
Devourer Illustration -
That's an interesting word. A word that makes me think immediately of
Tasmanian devil. Not Bugs
Bunny's nemesis, but the animal that haunts the dark nights of the
island. The devil is about the size of a cocker spaniel, but don't let
its size fool you, its bite packs the same power of an animal four times
its size. It has a unusually large head and a mouth that when it is
unhinged shows a set of teeth designed to mutilate its prey and frighten
its predators. It is an eating machine. In 30 minutes, it can eat up to
40% of its body weight, and when it eats, it devours the entire carcass,
bones and all. It is a devourer. When God promised to rebuke the
devourer for tithers, I don't think He had the Tasmanian Devil in mind.
He had things in mind like greed, selfishness, impulse consumerism and
waste—things that can destroy people's resources and squander their
opportunities. The very act of giving a tithe is an act of faith. It
affirms the belief that living on 90% with God's blessing is better than
living on 100% without it. But it also acknowledges our dependence on
God and welcomes His protection. (Illustration by Jim L. Wilson)
Walter Kaiser makes an
interesting observation - We see in this verse, as we saw in Amos 4:6–12
and Haggai 1:6, the impact human spiritual progress (or the lack of
spiritual renewal) has on nature. As we have discussed, the impact was
first seen after the fall, and will continue to be seen until the second
coming of our Lord, when all of nature will be healed (Rom. 8:18–20).
Nor will your vine in the field
cast its grapes - Cast is the Hebrew verb shakal (07921)
which refers to bereavement of children (Ge 27:45; 43:14; Lev. 26:22;
1Sa 15:33) as well as miscarriage (Ex 23:26, Job 21:10), so that in
reference to the grape vines it means they will not lose their fruit by
dropping off their grapes before they ripen.
Malachi 3:12 "All the nations will call you blessed,
for you shall be a delightful land," says the
LORD of hosts.:
(all: Dt 4:6,7 2Ch 32:23 Ps 72:17 Isa 61:9 Jer 33:9 Zep 3:19,20 Zec 8:23
Lk 1:48)(delightful: Dt 8:7-10 11:12 Da 8:9 11:41)
All the nations will call you
blessed - If Israel will give, Israel will be blessed and the
nations will recognize their blessing.
Steven Cole explains "When God’s people obey Him with their
giving, the nations will see how God blesses His people and they will be
drawn to the delightful land. The world isn’t drawn to disobedient
Christians who are under God’s discipline. They are drawn to obedient
believers who know the joy of God’s delightful blessings. Our generous
giving to the cause of world missions directly blesses those who hear
the gospel and come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I cannot say
whether or not you are robbing God. It is a matter for each of us,
myself included, to examine individually, prayerfully and continually. I
find that it’s easy to slip into a worldly mindset with regard to
For - Pause and ponder this
term of explanation.
Here for explains WHY all nations will call Israel blessed.
You shall be a delightful land
- The land of Israel appearing lush, verdant, fertile would be like
"postcard" to the world.
Walter Kaiser explains "The
promise that God had originally given to Abraham in Genesis 12:1–3 would
be fulfilled. Nations all over the world would rise up and say, “Thank
God for those people who have been faithful to Him so that He could be
faithful to them and to all of us who have also been blessed as a result
of their turning back to Him."
is a masculine noun which means to take pleasure or find enjoyment in
something. To feel great favor towards something. To experience
emotional delight (referring either to men as here in Ps 1:2 or to God -
1Sa 15:22, Ps 16:3, Isa 44:28, 46:10; 48:14; 53:10)
Septuagint (Lxx) translates
hepes/chepes/chephets with theletos which means wished for,
desired. Theletos is used only one other time in the Lxx in 1Sa 15:22
describing God's desire (obedience not sacrifice).
God says to Israel (speaking of
her future restoration)
no longer be said to you, "Forsaken," Nor to your land will it any
longer be said, "Desolate"; But you will be called, "My delight
is in her," And your land, "Married" ("delight" and "married" reflect a
full restored relationship with the Lord); For the LORD delights in you,
And to Him your land will be married." (Isaiah 62:4)
‘You will be called
Hephzibah’ that is, ‘my delight is in
her’ (Isa. 62:4; see Jer. 3:19; Ezek. 20:6, 15; Dan. 8:9; 11:16, 41;
Malachi 3:13 "Your words have been arrogant against
Me," says the LORD. "Yet you say, 'What have we spoken against You?':
(Your: Mal 2:17 Ex 5:2 2Chr 32:14-19 Job 34:7,8 Ps 10:11 Isa 5:19
28:14,15 Isa 37:23 2Th 2:4)(What: Mal 3:8 1:6-8 2:14,17 Job 40:8 Jer
8:12 Ro 9:20)
Your words have been arrogant
(harsh, hard, severe) against Me - We have already encountered an example
of their harsh, impudent, presumptuous approach to God in Malachi 2:17!
This was the genre of behavior one expected from a pagan (see Pharaoh's
response - Ex 5:2). In fact, the Hebrew word chazaq (see below) is used
to describe Pharaoh's heart as "hardened" (chazaq; Lxx - katischuo =
prevail, overpower, by extension to be stubborn).
Your words have been arrogant
- More literally this reads "your words are hard [or "strong"] against
me." NIV = "said harsh things against me"; TEV, NLT = "said terrible
things about me." The Lxx translates chazaq (see below) in Mal 3:13 with the verb
baruno meaning to make heavy, to weigh down, to burden, to grieve and by
extension to prevail against. Brenton translates the Lxx of Mal 3:13 "Ye
have spoken grievous words against Me."
O my, have we have done this? I fear
so (at least I'll speak for myself!)
(cf Eph 4:29-note
which describes "unwholesome"
or "rotten" words and then Paul describes the rotten fruit of rotten
words in Eph 4:30-note
- grieving God, the Holy Spirit!) Forgive me (us)
O Lord, and keep back Thy
servant(s) from presumptuous sins
(Ps 19:10-note ,
cf Nu 15:30, 31, read the two prayers in Ps 119:38, 133). Amen
MacKay - The people had
adopted a more aggressive attitude against the LORD than at Mal 2:17.
This expressed itself in strong criticism of him.
is a common verb in the OT (267 verses) and generally means to be or
grow firm or strong. Interestingly, chazaq is used frequently in
a positive sense in the exhortation to "Be strong" (Josh 1:6, 7,
9, Josh 10:25, Dt 31:6, 7, Dt 31:23) Chazaq is used in the
context of conflict, as with David and Goliath, where "David
prevailed over the Philistine." (1Sa 17:50). And so in Malachi,
chazaq seems to picture a conflict between Israel's words and God's
will. In a sense their words are pictured as strong against or
prevailing over God (which of course is impossible).
Yet you say 'What have we
spoken against You? - Once again the people take issue with God's
assertion (accusation). When a sinner is sinning it is very difficult
for them to truly see their sin for what it really is. Sin is deceptive.
So once again, perhaps now with less a sense of surprise then some of
the preceding divine accusations, they in effect deny God's charge.
MacKay - Again the people
were reacting to unfavorable circumstances, not by questioning what was
wrong with themselves, but by complaining against God. They should
rather ‘heed the rod and the One who appointed it’ (Mic. 6:9).
Malachi 3:14 "You have said, 'It is vain to serve
God; and what profit is it that we have kept His charge, and that we
have walked in mourning before the
LORD of hosts?:
(It is: Job 21:14,15 22:17 34:9 35:3 Ps 73:8-13 Isa 58:3 Zep 1:12)(that:
Isa 58:3 Joel 2:12 Zec 7:3-6 Jas 4:9)
= you have said, 'It is useless to serve God. How have we been helped by
keeping his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD
who rules over all?
= "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 of Heaven's Armies
that we are sorry for our sins?
It is vain to serve God -
These "arrogant words against" God (Mal 3:13) are a lie. They have believed a lie!
And so they contended that it did not pay to serve the Lord. (This
reminds me of Robert G Lee's famous sermon -
Pay Day - Some Day) It is never vain to
MacKay notes that serve
"goes beyond worship (Ex. 4:23; 7:16) to entail a life of total
obedience (Deut. 10:12; Josh. 24:14). It was intended to be a matter of
a total commitment to God, done gladly and willingly (1Chr 28:9; Ps.
100:2). This was what the LORD would bless. In contrast, what was
‘futile’ lacked substance and was worthless (compare the ‘dreams that
are false’, Zec 10:2). Contrary to what they had been taught, they had
concluded that serving God was the road to ruin and disaster because it
was all a sham and brought them no benefit."
Woodrow Kroll paraphrases
their arrogant words - What good does it do to serve Jehovah?
We’re better off to keep the 10 percent for ourselves. They looked at
the service of God from the standpoint of profit.
BKC - Ironically the
people, in a sense, were indicting themselves, saying their own worship
and service of the Lord was empty, useless, and without result. Hence
they felt they gained no benefits from serving Him.
means futility, worthlessness, fruitlessness (this is the same word used
in the commandment in Ex 20:7). Shav is that which has no
real value or is marked by futility. The Lxx translates shav in this
verse with the word
which describes that which is empty, devoid of force, lacking in
content, nonproductive, useless, of no real or lasting value.
Walter Kaiser - God had
offered to be put to the test and they had responded, in effect, “The
wicked have already put you to the test and have concluded that you are
a paper tiger. You threaten, but you never follow up on your
threats....It was useless, unsubstantial, unreal, valueless and
materially and spiritually worthless to the servant."
What profit is it that we have
kept His charge (‘observing what is to be observed’) - More arrogant nonsense!
MacKay explains that their question "presents a revealing insight
into their mentality. The dominant motive in their lives was personal,
material advantage...In rejecting (His charge), they were defying God
and saying that they were no longer prepared to live as the covenant
Paul says keeping God's
charge is of great profit, not only in this present life but that to
come! Service from a submissive servant heart is the "gift" that keeps
on giving. Paul exhorted Timothy (lest he forget)...
nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other
hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8 for bodily
discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is
profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present
life and also for the life to come. (1Ti 4:7-8-note)
Jesus spoke about the "profit"
of not keeping God's "charge"
summoned the multitude with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone
wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross,
and follow Me. 35 “For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it;
but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it (This
is REAL PROFIT!). 36 “For
what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit
his soul? 37 “For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38
“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful
generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in
the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mk 8:34-38)
is used largely in a negative sense and means dishonest, illegal or
unjust gain, ill gotten gain, gain made by violence (Jdg 5:19, Mic
4:13), a sin to be avoided (Ge 37:26; Ex 18:21; 1Sa 8:3; Ps. 119:36; Pr.
28:16). Betsa describes personal advantage derived from some activity.
Betsa described plunder gained by robbery after a military
victory (Jdg 5:19) Here in Malachi 3:14 betsa conveys primarily the
sense of advantage or benefit.
Kaiser comments that
profit was "a technical term for the weaver’s act of cutting a piece
of cloth free from the loom. Thus in Malachi it has the negative
connotation of men expecting their “cut” or percentage, as a racketeer
or gangster would demand his “cut” for his evil work (cf. Ge. 37:26)."
Oswalt writes "However, the more common connotation of the root is based
on a slightly different aspect of “cut off.” That is to cut off what is
not one’s own, or in the slang of our day, to take a “rip-off,” thus to
be greedy, covetous."
Betsa - 23 verses - Ge
37:26; Ex 18:21; Jdg 5:19; 1Sa 8:3; Job 22:3; Ps 30:9; 119:36; Pr 1:19;
15:27; 28:16; Isa 33:15; 56:11; 57:17; Jer 6:13; 8:10; 22:17; 51:13;
Ezek 22:13, 27; 33:31; Mic 4:13; Hab 2:9 (Lxx =
pleonexia); Mal 3:14 Usage in NASB:
dishonest gain(4), end(1), gain(7), illicitly(1), plunder(1), profit(4),
unjust gain(4), unjust*(1).
Oswalt notes that "lust for
personal gain is in direct opposition to unselfish devotion to God (Ps
10:3; 119:36; Isa 33:15) and must inevitably destroy the person who
succumbs to it (Prov 1:19; 15:27; Hab 2:9). Perhaps its most disastrous
result is its tendency to dull the hearing of God’s word (Ezek 33:31)."
Judah was guilty of the sin
of illicit profit...
“For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is
greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone
“Therefore I will give their wives to others, Their fields to new
owners; Because from the least even to the greatest Everyone is greedy
for gain; From the prophet even to the priest Everyone practices deceit.
“But your eyes and your heart Are intent only upon your own dishonest
gain, And on shedding innocent blood And on practicing oppression and
We have walked in mourning
before the LORD of hosts - NIV has " What did we gain
by...going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty?" The Hebrew
word for mourning is used only here in the OT and is translated by the
Lxx with the word hiketes which describes one who comes to seek
protection, a suppliant or fugitive. They are saying our mourning has
been to no avail.
Walter Kaiser - The
skeptics’ last impudent charge was that “mourning” had yielded no profit
either. The men had clothed themselves with dark clothing (the word for
“mourning” comes from the verb “to be dark”), or perhaps had darkened
their faces to convey grief and sorrow for the sin and plight of the
nation, but concluded that their acts were useless. It is little wonder
that they were useless, for once again the skeptics attributed worth to
the acts themselves, though they were devoid of genuine piety (cf. Is.
Malachi 3:15 'So now we call the arrogant blessed;
not only are the doers of wickedness built up but they also test God and
call: Mal 4:1 Es 5:10 Ps 10:3, 49:18, 73:12 Da 4:30,37 5:20-28 Ac 12:21
1Pe 5:5)(Mal 2:17 Job 12:6 21:7-15,30 Pr 12:12 Ec 9:1,2 Jer 12:1,2 Hab
1:13-17)(Job 22:23)(they also test: Nu 14:22,23 Da 6:16 Ps 78:18,41,56
95:9 106:14 Mt 4:6,7 Ac 5:9 1Co 10:9 Heb 3:9)
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." (Malachi 3:14-15)
So now we call the arrogant
blessed - This is the fourth and final mention of blessing in
Malachi. In Mal 2:2 God said "I will curse your blessings." In Mal 3:10
God encouraged them to test Him and He would bless them "until it
overflows." Mal 3:12 describes a future eschatological blessing promised
conveys the basic idea of pride, presumptuous (Ps 19:13), a sense of
self-importance, and often is exaggerated to defiance and rebelliousness
(Pr 11:2, Jer 49:16; 50:31-32; Ezek 7:10). This is the same word used
again in Malachi 4:1-note.
The doers of wickedness
(are) built up - "This atrocious insinuation, that God favored
evil-doers, was the highest insult they could have uttered, and was that
which, as it were, drove God to inflict his judgments upon them." (T V
Moore) Doers of wickedness indeed often do appear to be doing good, but
God gets the last word. Even godly Asaph lost sight of Who God really is
and as a result he fell into the same deception voiced here in Mal
these are the wicked; and always at ease, they have increased in wealth.
Surely in vain (Lxx =
I have kept my heart pure, and washed my hands in innocence. (Ps
They also test God and escape
- Kaiser "The wicked, they had blasphemously implied, can tempt God and
go free; nothing bad ever happens to them. How frequently have we heard
that claim in our day!"
Clearly Israel had either not read or had forgotten what they had read
in the Pentateuch where God declared...
the men who have seen My glory and My signs, which I performed in Egypt
and in the wilderness, yet (note the striking contrast!) have put
Me to the test (Hebrew = nacah; Lxx = peirazo) these ten times
and have not listened to My voice, shall by no means see the land which
I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it.
(Nu 14:22-23, cf Ps 78:18-19, 41-42, 56-58)
The psalmist also testifies
that those who tested God did not escape but were justly punished...
fathers tested Me, They tried Me, though they had seen My
work. "For forty years I loathed that generation, And said they are a
people who err in their heart, And they do not know My ways. "Therefore
I swore in My anger, Truly they shall not enter into My rest." (Ps
TO TEST GOD
Testing God to see how far
He would go in blessing
Testing God to see how far
they could go in evil
Then those who
feared the LORD
spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a
book of remembrance was written before Him for those who
fear the LORD
and who esteem His name.:
(feared: Mal 3:5 4:2 Ge 22:12 1Ki 18:3,12 Job 28:28 Ps 33:18
111:10 112:1 Ps 147:11 Isa 50:10 Ac 9:31 10:2 Rev 15:4)(spoke: Dt 6:6-8
1Sa 23:16-18 Es 4:5-17 Ps 16:3 66:16 73:15-17 119:63 Pr 13:20 Eze 9:4 Da
2:17,18 Lk 2:38 24:14-31 Jn 1:40-47 Jn 12:20-22 Ac 1:13 2:1 4:23-30 Eph
5:19 1Th 5:11,14 Heb 3:13 Heb 10:24 12:15)(and the: 2Sa 7:1 2Ch 6:7 Ps
139:4 Mt 18:19,20 Ac 4:31-33)(book: Es 2:23 6:1 Job 19:23-25 Ps 56:8 Isa
65:6 Da 7:10 Mt 12:35-37 Rev 20:12)(esteem: Ps 10:4, 20:7, 94:19, 104:33
Isa 26:3,8 Heb 4:12,13)
Then - After the nay sayers had had their say, then the godly spoke
Those who feared the
LORD (cp Mal 4:2) - In context fear of Jehovah describes the
of Jews who trusted
not in works of righteousness but trusted in the righteousness of the
Messiah for their salvation (cp Ge 15:6). Notice that fear of the LORD
is a key phrase (mentioned twice). "They feared the Lord, which
means they held Him in awe (Ed: honored, revered) and worshiped
Him as the Lord Almighty. They met together (spoke to one another),
not to complain but to encourage and edify each other." (Wiersbe)
The conclusion, when all has been
heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this
applies to every person. For (term
of explanation - what is
Solomon explaining?) God will bring every act to judgment, everything
which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. (Eccl 12:13-14)
John Piper - To fear the
Lord is to tremble at the thought of offending him by unbelief and
disobedience. It is the feeling that God is not to be trifled with. It
is the very opposite of the attitude of the people in Mal 3:13–15 who
speak with an incredible swagger: "It doesn't pay to serve God." Those
who fear God shudder at the thought of speaking that way about their
Majestic Father. Anything that dishonors God is anathema to those who
- In the midst of the spiritual declension that surrounded them they
were drawn together by their mutual concern of manifesting obedience to
the Lord. (Ed: A good pattern in our day of moral declension in
- The “fear of the Lord” is a virtual synonym for the righteous living
and holy lifestyle that grow out of this fear (Lev 19:14; Dt. 17:19; 2Ki
17:34). Fear (reverential fear) is one motivation for holy living and
maintaining an attitude of complete trust and obedience to the Lord as
one’s Master and Savior.
A book of
remembrance (book of memorial) ("memory book") - The NET Bible says
"A scroll was prepared before him in which were recorded the names of
those who respected the LORD and honored his name." Why did the godly
need this book? Or why would Malachi describe this book at this
juncture? John MacArthur has an interesting thought...
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 (click for Tony Garland's discussion)” in which the
names of God’s children are recorded (e.g., Ex 32:32–34; Ne 13:14; Ps
69:28; Da 12:1). The Persians had a custom of recording in a book all
acts of a person that should be rewarded in the future (e.g., Est 6:1,
2). The psalmist knew of such a book as well (Ps 56:8). (MacArthur
Leon Morris - In heaven, God
keeps records of not just the actions of His people but even of their
thoughts. This verse indicates His particular pleasure when His people
truly fear the Lord, and He occupies both their conversations and their
inward thoughts, even (perhaps especially) when most of their
contemporaries ignore or reject Him.
Before Him - Not merely in His presence but it is before
Him constantly as a reminder. The Septuagint uses enopion
which means literally in sight and thus means before or in front of God.
As Kroll says "The point of the figure is that God ever keeps
before Himself the names of those who are His and are in proper
relationship to Him."
Who esteem His Name
- KJV has "thought upon His Name." The NKJV
translates it as “meditate on His name” Those who fear His Name
will esteem His Name! Every time we pray "Hallowed be Thy Name" (Mt 6:9-note)
we esteem His Name!
Recall how Malachi's message began...
"A son honors his father, and a
servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I
am a master, where is My respect?' says the LORD of hosts to you, O
priests who despise (same word used in Nathan's reproof of King David -
2Sa 12:9!) My Name. But you say, 'How have we despised Thy
Name?' (Mal 1:6)
Kaiser - God’s “name”
comprises His person, His qualities, His doctrine, and His ethical and
moral standards—these were the things the believers judged to be their
highest and most prized possessions! If you asked any of these
God-fearers what they judged to be their wealth, property, or greatest
asset, they would have pointed to the name of God and all that it stands
for. This is exactly as our Lord counseled, “For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21-note).
Solomon said as well, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Pr.
23:7). The believers thought on the name of the Lord, and as a
consequence it was reflected in their character.
Name of the LORD is a Strong Tower:
G Campbell Morgan comments
that in this passage...
revealed the secrets of strength in an age of failure; they “thought
upon His name.” The Hebrew word translated thought is
elsewhere translated regard...they “thought upon His name,”
that is, they took an inventory of the wealth they had in His name,
people had nothing left to think of, other than the Name. The grandeur
of their nation was perished. The prophetic voices were silent. The
priests had corrupted the covenant. The kings had passed away. All about
them was formality devoid of power. But there was left them the real
value of life. It was the name. They thought upon His name. “The name of
the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is set on
high.” (Pr 18:10) When the king has failed, the priest is corrupted, and
the prophet is silent; when the national power has declined and we are
bewailing the failure of our age, then let us think on the Name, take an
inventory in the Name, count it as our wealth, take time to go over our
wealth in order to discover how rich we are.
The LORD gave attention
(KJV = "hearkened") and heard - Gave attention
is the Hebrew verb qashab meaning "to incline (ears)" giving us a
beautiful anthropomorphic picture of God giving heed and listening
carefully to His people. This believing remnant in Israel realized the
promise God had given in Mal 3:7 (Return to Me, and I will return to
you). As the psalmist says
"The righteous cry and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all
their troubles." (Ps 34:17).
We see God's ready response to the
righteous, Isaiah recording...
also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they
are still speaking, I will hear. (Isa 65:24)
G Campbell Morgan comments
on “hearkened and heard” (KJV) noting that
these words are pictorial. “Hearkened” is a word suggesting the
action of a horse at the sound of its master’s voice, the pricking of
the ears. It is only a figure of speech. The horse is arrested by the
voice it knows....Heard
means bending over patiently listening that no syllable may be missed.
When His people spoke with one another—not when they spoke to
Him—Jehovah hearkened, and heard. They thought on His name and talked to
each other of it, and He hearkened and heard. God always attends to
the conversation of those who are bound together by their loyalty to His
name, and their consciousness of the wealth of their possessions in Him.
Two or three of His people never meet together to speak of the deep
things of His Name and all the Name means to them, but that He hearkens
THE VALUE OF HIGH REGARD
FOR THE NAME OF GOD
Those...who esteem His Name
("honored His Name" = NET, "had high regard for His Name" =
HCSB; "Reverenced His Name" =
(chasab/hasab) means to consider, to think, to calculate, to
reckon oneself, to impute. Chasab conveys several meanings - devise,
plan (Divine = Zech 7:10, Human = Ge 50:20); making a judgment (Divine =
Isa 53:4, human = Job 33:10); "meditating" or running thoughts through
one's mind (Mal 3:16); impute (2Sa 19:20, Ge 15:6 quoted in Ro 4:3-note,
quoted in Ro 4:8-note)
Leon Wood - The basic idea
of the word is the employment of the mind in thinking activity.
Reference is not so much to “understanding” (cf. bın), but to the
creating of new ideas.
Chasab/hasab is used in Genesis 15:6
where Abram's faith was "reckoned (chasab/hasab)...to him as righteousness." In that
crucial OT passage, the
translates the Hebrew chasab/hasab with the
which means to take an
accounting of something. While this is not the Greek verb used in
Malachi 3:16, it does suggest a picture of what it means to esteem
His Name (see Morgan's comment in the next paragraph). The
chasab/hasab with the verb eulabeomai which means to show a
reverent regard and respect for God's Name.
the meanings of chasab as (1) credit, account reckon, imputer (Ge
15:6); determine value (Lev 25:27); (nif) accounted (2Ki 22:7); (2).
(qal) consider, i.e., pertaining to thought and thinking in a detailed,
logical manner, considering various factors, which has some focus on the
formulation of an opinion (Ge 38:15); (piel) consider (Ps 73:16; 77:6,
119:59); (nif) considered, accounted, reckoned (Dt 2:11); (hitp)
consider oneself (Nu 23:9+); (3). (qal) plan, plot, purpose,
devise, i.e., think about a course of action in some detail (1Sa 18:25);
(piel) plan, plot (Pr 16:9; 24:8); (4) (piel) be on the verge,
begin, i.e., be on the beginning of a course of action, as a figurative
extension of reckoning in a logical way (Jonah 1:4) (A
Dictionary of Biblical Languages w- Semantic Domains- Hebrew)
Chasab - 122 verses - Ge
15:6; 31:15; 38:15; 50:20; Ex 26:1, 31; 28:6, 15; 31:4; 35:32, 35; 36:8,
35; 38:23; 39:3, 8; Lev 7:18; 17:4; 25:27, 31, 50, 52; 27:18, 23; Num
18:27, 30; 23:9; Deut 2:11, 20; Josh 13:3; 1 Sam 1:13; 18:25; 2Sam 4:2;
14:13f; 19:19; 1Kgs 10:21; 2Kgs 12:15; 22:7; 2Chr 2:14; 9:20; 26:15; Neh
6:2, 6; 13:13; Esther 8:3; 9:24f; Job 6:26; 13:24; 18:3; 19:11, 15;
33:10; 35:2; 41:27, 29, 32; Ps 10:2; 21:11; 32:2; 35:4, 20; 36:4; 40:17;
41:7; 44:22; 52:2; 73:16; 77:5; 88:4; 106:31; 119:59; 140:2, 4; 144:3;
Pr 16:9, 30; 17:28; 24:8; 27:14; Eccl 9:10; Isa 2:22; 5:28; 10:7; 13:17;
29:16f; 32:15; 33:8; 40:15, 17; 53:3f; Jer 11:19; 18:8, 11, 18; 23:27;
26:3; 29:11; 36:3; 48:2; 49:20, 30; 50:45; Lam 2:8; 4:2; Ezek 11:2;
38:10; Dan 11:24f; Hos 7:15; 8:12; Amos 6:5; Mic 2:1, 3; Nah 1:9, 11;
Zech 7:10; 8:17; Mal 3:16 Usage in NAS: accounting(1),
calculate(5), composed(1), consider(3), considered(13), counted(1),
counts(1), designer(1), determined(1), devise(13), devised(8),
devises(1), devising(1), esteem(2), esteemed(2), execute(1), have(1),
impute(1), intend(2), make(2), makers(1), meant(2), mindful(1), plan(2),
planned(3), planning(5), plans(4), plotted(1), pondered(1), purposed(3),
reckoned(10), regard(1), regarded(8), regards(1), require an
accounting(1), scheme(1), schemed(1), seem(1), skillful(1), skillful
workman(9), think(3), thought(2), value(1).
G Campbell Morgan
emphasizes that in Malachi 3:16 we discover one of the "secrets of
(spiritual) strength in an age of failure (descriptive of
the apathy and indifference in most of Israel in Malachi's day)".
Morgan observes that the source of spiritual strength in the
upon His name. The Hebrew word translated thought is
elsewhere translated regard...they took an
inventory of the wealth they had in His name,
people had nothing left to think of, other than the Name. The grandeur
of their nation was perished. The prophetic voices were silent. The
priests had corrupted the covenant. The kings had passed away. All about
them was formality devoid of power. But there was left them the real
value of life. It was the name. They thought upon His name. “The name of
the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is set on
high.” (Pr 18:10)
When the king has failed, the priest is corrupted, and
the prophet is silent; when the national power has declined and we are
bewailing the failure of our age, then let us think on the Name, take an
inventory in the Name, count it as our wealth, take time to go over our
wealth in order to discover how rich we are.
They “spake one with another”...described constant, continuous, unbroken fellowship with each other,
based on thought centered upon the Name of Jehovah.
T V Moore - When the wicked
are talking against God, the righteous should talk for him. Religious
conversation is necessary, all the more, for the very reasons that often
chill and repress it. When a fire burns low, the coals that are alive
should be brought near together, that they may be blown into a flame. So
when all is cold and dead, living Christians should draw near and seek
the breathings of the Spirit, and kindle each other by mutual utterance.
Malachi 3:16-18 Returning God’s
The book of Malachi begins with this wholehearted word from the Lord
to His halfhearted worshipers: “I have loved you” (Mal 1:2). Though
Israel had long been the object of God’s love, they no longer returned
God listed the ways His people had offended His love through their
disobedience. Israel’s response was to question God. When He implored
them, “Return to Me, and I will return to you,” they questioned Him in
their blindness, “In what way shall we return?” (Mal 3:7). With divine
“tough love,” the Lord exposed their many blind spots. He did this so
that they might repent and accept His love, and return it with
We too are often halfhearted in our faith, appearing to love and serve
God but really loving and serving ourselves. Today, as in Malachi’s
time, God looks for people who reverence Him by maintaining two
spiritual practices: speaking to each other about Him, and meditating on
His wonderful attributes (v.16). The first is fellowship with God’s
people; the second is fellowship with God Himself. Not only are we to
receive and share God’s love, we are also to return it through glad
Such worshipers are God’s “jewels” (v.17). Are you one of them? — by
"We love You, Lord Jesus," we often will say,
But are we as ready His will to obey?
Let's heed what God's Spirit would have us to do—
That's how we show Him a love that is true. —D. De Haan
To love God is to obey God.
Malachi 3:17 "They will be Mine," says the
LORD of hosts, "on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare
them as a man spares his own son who serves him.":
(they will: Jer 31:31-34 Eze 16:8, Ezek 36:27,28 Zec
13:9 Jn 10:27-30 17:9,10,24 1Co 3:22,23 6:20 15:23 Ga 5:24 2Th 1:7-10
Rev 20:12-15) (My own possession: or, special treasure, Ex 19:5 Dt 7:6
14:2 26:17,18 Ps 135:4 Isa 62:3,4 Tit 2:14 1Pe 2:9)(and I: Ne 13:22 Ps
103:8-13 Isa 26:20,21 Jer 31:20 Zep 2:2 Mt 25:34 Ro 8:32 2Co 6:18 1Jn
3:1-3)(son: Mal 1:6 1Pe 1:13-16)
They will be Mine - This is
the language of covenant, specifically the New Covenant promised to
Israel and to Judah by
“Behold, days are coming,” declares
the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and
with the house of Judah, 32 not like the (Mosaic) covenant which I made with
their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of
the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a
husband to them,” declares the LORD. 33 “But this is the covenant which
I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the
LORD, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write
it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 “And
they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his
brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know Me, from the
least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will
forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jer
promise alluding to the righteous as God's possession is reiterated in Ezekiel...
And I will put My Spirit within you
and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe
My ordinances. 28 “And you will live in the land that I gave to your
forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.
On the day - Notice that this
expression of time,
which should always cause us to pause and ponder, asking "What time is
it?" "When (what) will take place "on that day"?"
Baldwin - The high privilege
God will bestow is to make these believers his own possession;
Mine is emphatic in the Hebrew, and My
special possession further endorses the point. These
words, quoted from the covenant inauguration (Ex. 19:5) and later
referred to in that connection (Dt. 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; Ps 135:4), draw
attention to the original election of Israel. The purpose which God had
in first choosing a people is shown in the last of the prophets to be
about to be fulfilled.
is related to an Akkadian cognate, sikiltu, means "private possessions."
Segullah refers to a treasured possession, that which is
valued personal property, that which is owned by someone and in which
the owner has special affection or holds special value (Ex 19:5; Dt 7:6;
14:2; 26:18; Ps 135:4; Mal 3:17). Segullah most frequently occurs
in reference to something God chooses, here referring to Israel, who God
choose from all the nations of the world (Ex 19:5, Dt 7:6, 14:2).
Segullah speaks of personal wealth in 1Chr 29:3, Eccl 2:8.
NET Note -
Segullah is a
technical term referring to all the recipients of God's redemptive
grace, especially Israel. The LORD says here that he will not forget
even one individual in the day of judgment and reward.
Segullah - 8 verses translated
possession(5), treasure(2), treasured possession(1).
Exodus 19:5 'Now then, if you will
indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own
possession (Lxx =
periousios) among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;
Deuteronomy 7:6 "For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the
LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession
out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
Deuteronomy 14:2 "For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and
the LORD has chosen you to be a people for His own possession
of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
Deuteronomy 26:18 "The LORD has today declared you to be His people, a
treasured possession (Lxx =
periousios), as He promised you, and that you
should keep all His commandments;
1 Chronicles 29:3 "Moreover, in my delight in the house of my God, the
treasure I have of gold and silver, I give to the house of my God, over
and above all that I have already provided for the holy temple,
Psalm 135:4 For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His
own possession. (periousiasmos = wealth, treasure)
Ecclesiastes 2:8 Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the
treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself male and female
singers and the pleasures of men-- many concubines.
Malachi 3:17 "They will be Mine," says the LORD of hosts, "on the day
that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares
his own son who serves him."
My own possession - Remember
that in context God is speaking to Israel not the church, so it is
Israel who will be His "own possession" or His own jewels
(or "peculiar treasure" in the KJV), on that day when He spares them.
Israel deserved annihilation, but because of His mercy (not giving them
what they deserved) and grace (giving them what they did not observe),
he will spare a
of Israel (cf Ro 11:25-29-note)
Believers today are of course
God's possession (valued property, peculiar treasure)
Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed
and purify for Himself a people for His own possession (KJV =
peculiar people =
zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:14-note,
cf Ro 14:7-9-note,
1Co 6:19,20-note ,
I will spare them - "I will
have pity on them." "I will have compassion on them." From the Lxx (see
below) we get the sense of God saying "I will choose them." His choosing
has a purpose, and in Mal 3:18 this purpose is to serve Him.
Spare (HCSB =
have compassion) (02550)(chamal)
means to spare (to forbear to destroy, punish, or harm, refrain from
attacking with necessary severity) or to have compassion ("had pity" Ex
2:6). Nathan told David, how the rich man spared ("unwilling")
his own lamb (2Sa 12:4). The Babylonians would not "spare" arrows in
their attack on Jerusalem (Jer 50:14). In Ezek 36:21, God said He had
"concern (chamal)" for His holy Name. When preceded by the Hebrew
negative particle (lo') chamal means to do something ruthlessly (Isa
30:14; Lam 2:2) or without any restraint (Jer. 50:14) Chamal " can take
on the nuance of holding on to something, desiring it, such as holding
evil in one’s mouth (Job 20:13) or being unwilling to do something right
or that is costly to oneself (2Sa 12:4)." (Baker) In Ezekiel (Ezek 5:11;
7:4, 9; 8:18; 9:5, 10; 16:5; 36:21) we see the repeated phrase that God
will "have no pity" (Hebrew = chus) nor will He "spare" (chamal) Judah.
From this it seems that chamal while expressing the attitude of
compassion or pity, also describes "compassion in action" so to speak
(albeit in all the Ezekiel passages it is used in a negative sense - God
would NOT spare them!).
uses an interesting verb in
Mal 3:17 to translate "spare" -- the verb hairetizo (29x - most
in the Lxx = Ge 30:20; Nu 14:8; 1Sa 25:35; 1Chr 28:4, 6, 10; 29:1; 2Chr
29:11; Ps 25:12; 119:30, 173; 132:13f; Ezek 20:5; Hos 4:18; Hag 2:23;
Zech 1:17; 2:12; Mal 3:17; Mt 12:18) which means to choose (from
haireo = to take > English "heresy" - from hairesis = action of
taking, choice). The idea of hairetizo involves choice or
selection (sole use in NT = Mt 12:18 referring to Jesus, "chosen" to
accomplish the purposes of God, even as the ones chosen here in Mal 3:17
are to serve God).
Chamal - 40 verses - Ex 2:6;
Deut 13:8; 1Sa 15:3, 9, 15; 23:21; 2Sa 12:4, 6; 21:7; 2Chr 36:15,
17; Job 6:10; 16:13; 20:13; 27:22; Pr 6:34; Isa 9:19; 30:14; Jer 13:14;
15:5; 21:7; 50:14; 51:3; Lam 2:2, 17, 21; 3:43; Ezek 5:11; 7:4, 9; 8:18;
9:5, 10; 16:5; 36:21; Joel 2:18; Hab 1:17; Zech 11:5f; Mal 3:17 Usage
concern(1), desires(1), had compassion(2), had pity(1),
had...compassion(2), have compassion(1), have pity(4), have...pity(1),
mercy(1), ruthlessly*(1), show pity(1), spare(11), spared(5), spares(2),
sparing(5), unsparing*(1), unwilling(1). The KJV translates as
pity 18, spare 18, have compassion 5
Pr 6:34 For (This
term of explanation
forces us to observe the preceding
= Pr 6:32-33) jealousy enrages a man, and he will not spare
(chamal) in the day of vengeance.
As a man spares (has pity)
his own son who serves him - This comparison (see
term of comparison// simile)
helps us understand God's heart in sparing a remnant. The remnant were
sinners also, but had made the choice to fear God, to esteem His Name,
to serve Him (Mal 3:18).
douleuo) Him -
Contrast those in Mal 3:14 who said "It is vain to serve God."
John Piper writes
Mal 3:14 says it is pointless to
serve God. And Mal 3:17 says God will count them his possession and
spare him who serves Him. What is the difference? It is the
difference between the service of a son and the service of a slave. It's
the difference between the younger brother and the elder brother in the
parable of the the Prodigal Son. The younger brother, broken and
humbled, wanted to serve because he knew that to be at home with the
father was the greatest blessing in the world—all his needs would be
met. The elder brother had the mindset of a slave—if anybody around here
deserves a party, I do. Who has worked harder than anybody to earn such
a blessing! There is a formal, slavish service of God that thinks in
terms of what it is contributing to the plantation and what the slave
owner owes me. That service is indeed in vain. But there is another kind
of service that thinks like a son in the house of his father—here is
total security, here is food on the table, here is rest and recreation
and love and education and inheritance and the fame and glory of my
Father! Why would I want to work anywhere else but here! That is the
mindset of the true servant of God. • Fear God. • Hallow his name
above all names. • And serve him like a son serves a Majestic Father. (I
Will Spare Them as a Man Spares His Son)
Malachi 3:18 So you will again distinguish between
the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who
does not serve Him.:
(Will again: Mal 3:14,15 Mal 1:4 Job 6:29, 17:10 Jer 12:15 Joel 2:14 Zec
1:6)(distinguish: Ge 18:25 Ps 58:10,11 Isa 3:10,11 Da 12:1-3 Mt 25:46 Ro
2:5,6 2Th 1:5-10)(between: Josh 24:15 Da 3:17-26 Jn 12:26 Ac 16:17 27:23
Ro 1:9, 6:16-22 1Th 1:9)
DOES NOT SERVE GOD
So you will again distinguish
between the righteous and the wicked - Will again is in a sense a
time phrase and conveys a promise of future blessing to Israel. This
would find fulfillment any time a Jewish man or woman choose to fear God
(to believe in Him, to receive imputed righteousness by grace through
faith), but will find its full and final fulfillment at the Return of
Messiah, Who will return to those who have "returned" to Him (see Ro
John MacArthur (MacArthur
Study Bible) agrees writing that "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." As added support
for this eschatological interpretation, Malachi continues the thought in
Malachi 4:1-2, which speak of the first and second advent of Christ. In
that day the LORD Himself with distinguish between the
righteous and the wicked.
You will again - This is the
Hebrew verb shub, which means return as in Mal 3:7 (also
used in Mal 1:4, 2:6, 4:6). Young's Literal = "And ye have turned back."
You have returned, obeying His call in Mal 3:7.
Distinguish - This is
literally the verb "you will see." NIV = "And you will again see the
Woodrow Kroll on the
distinction between the righteous and the wicked writes that "the
righteous remnant who have turned to the Lord and serve Him. They will
clearly be able to realize the falseness of the objection raised in
verse 16. They will realize that God does not treat the wicked and the
righteous in the same way, for He will sovereignly deliver the righteous
and destroy the wicked. The wicked may appear to prosper, but judgment
lies ahead for them. The righteous may suffer now, but a glorious
deliverance for them lies ahead."
Wiersbe - One of the sins of
the priests was that they failed to make the distinction between the way
of holiness and the way of sin. To them, one sacrifice was just as good
as another, yet they were supposed to teach the people “the difference
between the holy and the common, and cause them to discern between the
unclean and the clean” (Ezek. 44:23).
Between one who serves God and one
who does not serve Him - This theme of distinction between the godly
and ungodly is presented at the very beginning of the psalms...
For the LORD knows the way of the
But the way of the wicked will perish.
Malachi 3:17 - C H Spurgeon -
Faith's Checkbook - Exceedingly Precious
“They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make
up my jewels.”—Malachi 3:17
A Day is coming in which the crown jewels of our great King shall be
counted, that it may be seen whether they answer to the inventory which
His Father gave Him. My soul, wilt thou be among the precious things of
Jesus? Thou art precious to Him if He is precious to thee, and thou
shalt be His “in that day,” if He is thine in this day.
In the days of Malachi, the chosen of the Lord were accustomed so to
converse with each other that their God Himself listened to their talk.
He liked it so well that He took notes of it; yes, and made a book of
it, which he lodged in His record office. Pleased with their
conversation, He was also pleased with them. Pause, my soul, and ask
thyself: If Jesus were to listen to thy talk would He be pleased with
it? Is it to His glory and to the edification of the brotherhood? Say,
my soul, and be sure thou sayest the truth.
But what will the honor be for us poor creatures to be reckoned by the
Lord to be His crown jewels! This honor have all the saints. Jesus not
only says, “They are mine,” but, “They shall be mine.” He bought us,
sought us, brought us in, and has so far wrought us to His image, that
we shall be fought for by Him with all His might.