Bible: What Does Malachi 3-4 Teach Us About the Herald of the Messiah and Repentance?
John the Baptizer
The Lord Jesus
Prerequisite to Favor with God
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The Herald of the Messiah
Next, Yahweh draws attention to the one who would be the forerunner of "Me," "the Lord," "the Messenger of the covenant" who is coming to judge (v. 1).
Commentary: This former figure is John the Baptizer, and the latter, the Lord Jesus.
Note: the people seek Him, delight in Him, and He will come to His temple.
Nevertheless, what does He find there but greedy money-changers.
Initially, the forerunner arouses Israel's interest; however, the atmosphere in Malachi suddenly changes from anticipation to judgment.
The author portrays the Lord's coming as joyous, but then emphasizes Israel's purification through chastening.
Do verses two and three in any way fit into Christ's first coming? A parenthesis of time exists between verse one and verses two and three, and the latter refer to His Second Coming as Judge of Israel.
He will remove the dross from their lives, so that they might present righteous offerings once again, as Israel did in times of old (v. 4).
Those who have especially defected into evil and disobedience will face God's swift witness.
This event will occur “because they do not fear Me" (v. 5).
Yahweh's immutability guards them against total annihilation, i.e., God in His covenant mercy holds back the execution of His justice until He can no longer safely do so in the protection of His Name (v. 6).
Israel's continual unfaithfulness throughout history had merited judgment, yet God repeatedly called for the nation to repent in order to restore fellowship with them (v. 7a).
Evidence of Trust
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Fruit of Repentance
The fifth contention, therefore, involves the issue of repentance.
Seemingly, Israel recognizes his apostasy, for he inquires only how he can return (v. 7b).
God answers, "Refrain from 'robbery'” (v. 8).
Again, Israel's confession implies his perceived innocence in the matter; Yahweh, however, sees through the deception.
Through their unwillingness to supply food for the temple service, the people manifest a lack of trust in God to provide for their needs.
The LORD nevertheless encourages them to give of their means and test Him to see if He will not bless them abundantly (vv. 9-10).
If they do not rob Him by withholding their tithes and offerings, then He will prevent disease and scavengers from destroying their crops (v. 11).
This special providence will show the Gentiles that Israel is a blessed people and their land a "delightful land" (v. 12).
The sixth and final argument revolves around Israel's harsh words against Yahweh (v. 13a).
The LORD meets their excuse for not knowing what they have spoken against Him by repeating verbatim what they have said.
Their unbalanced words are commonplace among God's people who think that their service for Him has only caused them hardship, while believing that all sinners prosper in their wickedness (vv. 13b-15).
[Asaph considers this dilemma in Psalm 73].
Perhaps some of "those who feared the LORD'' hear the people's words and think that they should do something.
Yahweh apparently allows them to write "a book of remembrance'' to guide those who truly serve God (v. 16).
These men will survive and become God's ''jewels," being able to "discern between the righteous and the wicked" (vv. 17-18).
The Law of Moses
Will Elijah Return?
Will Elijah the prophet be one of the two witnesses of Revelation 11?
"The day of the LORD," on the one hand, will arrive as one of judgment for the wicked, and will leave them nothing to renew (v. 1).
On the other hand, it will be a day of salvation and healing for those who fear Him.
Prosperity and triumph will follow them (vv. 2-3).
Yahweh commands Malachi to "remember the Law of Moses,'' i.e., be sure to follow its statutes and judgments (v. 4).
Malachi prophesies about the coming of "Elijah the prophet" (another one like John the Baptizer, see Luke 1:17) on that day of Yahweh; this man will affect reconciliation in families in the last days (vv. 5-6).
SUMMARY QUESTIONS OF MALACHI
1. How many "controversies" does Yahweh discuss with Israel?
2. How does God show Israel that He loves them?
3. What were the people doing that showed disrespect for the LORD?
4. What have the priests done to merit God's correction?
5. Against what specific sins did Malachi preach?
6. How do people "weary" the LORD?
7. How do God's people "rob" Him?
8. What is contained in the "book of remembrance"?
9. What were Israel's "harsh words" against the LORD?
10. What does Yahweh command Malachi to remember?
11. In the book of Revelation, who might this "Elijah the prophet" be?
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