HomeVisionStatement Of FaithArticlesPhoto GalleryEditor's NoteLinksContact

A Message By My Messenger (Malachi Revisited)


The Book of Malachi was written about 100 years after the exiled Jews had returned to the Land. The city of Jerusalem and the second Temple had been rebuilt. But after a period of brief revival under Ezra and Nehemiah, their enthusiasm over God and spiritual matters soon deteriorated. The priests and people had backslidden and became slack in their observance of the laws of God. Their praise and worship were compromised, their lives were worldly, their offerings were polluted, and their tithes were faulted.

God sent a message by a messenger named Malachi to rebuke His people for their neglect of true worship of the Lord and called them to repentance. Using a question-and-answer method, there were about 23 questions posed by God to His people in this Book.

Malachi probably lived about 450 years before the birth of Christ. The name of Malachi means “my messenger.” A messenger is someone that brings a message. Malachi was a servant of God. Although Malachi declared this message, the exact words came from God.

Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament before the First Coming of Christ. I believe that it is an important Book for us to read again before the Second Coming of Christ!

Malachi 1

1 The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.

 

The Lord had an important message to tell His people and He sent it through His servant Malachi.

The message was a great burden to carry. Someone must be bold enough to declare His message faithfully. This awesome responsibility and duty fell on the shoulder of Malachi.

The Lord had made a covenant with His people. This covenant contained terms and conditions agreed between God and His people. Basically, God agreed to take care of His people, and in return His people agreed to love God and to obey Him.

Herein in this Book are 6 points of discussions or arguments between God and His people Israel.

They are:

  1. An argument about the love of God (Malachi 1:2-5)

  2. An argument about the honour of God (Malachi 1:6-2:9)

  3. An argument about people who do not do what they promise, especially in marriage (Malachi 2:10-16)

  4. An argument about whether God is a fair Judge (Malachi 2:17-3:5)

  5. An argument about people who are sorry because they have done wrong things (Malachi 3:6-12)

  6. An argument about people who say things against God (Malachi 3:13-4:3)

Israel Beloved of God

 2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord.
“Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’
Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?”
Says the Lord.
“Yet Jacob I have loved;

 

Herein the people of God doubted the love of God for them. But God affirmed them by saying that He loved Jacob. In other words, He chose to love Jacob.

The Lord changed Jacob’s name to Israel (Genesis 32:28). The 12 children of Jacob then became the nation of Israel. God loved Israel.

3 But Esau I have hated,
And laid waste his mountains and his heritage
For the jackals of the wilderness.”

 

But God chose not to love Esau. It simply meant that God chose Jacob and not Esau for His plan of salvation.

God’s redemptive plan was to send His Son Jesus to save us from the punishment for our sins and evil deeds. Jacob was chosen so that the Messiah would be born into the family of Israel.

The Lord had allowed an enemy to defeat Edom. Edom is the name of the country where the family of Esau lived. An enemy called the Nabataeans destroyed Edom probably about 500 BC. The people from Edom then moved to the desert south of Jerusalem. This was before Malachi wrote this book. 

4 Even though Edom has said,
“We have been impoverished,
But we will return and build the desolate places,”
Thus says the Lord of hosts:
“They may build, but I will throw down;
They shall be called the Territory of Wickedness,
And the people against whom the Lord will have indignation forever.

The people of Edom might say, “An enemy has beaten us down. But we will return and rebuild our country again.”

But the Lord said, "If they rebuild their country, I will destroy it." They would be called the wicked country. The Lord would always be angry with the Edomites.

5 Your eyes shall see,
And you shall say,
‘The Lord is magnified beyond the border of Israel.’

 

 

Some Israelites thought that God could only work in their own land. But when they saw His awesome work in Edom, they would say, “The Lord is great even outside Israel!”

Similarly, God cannot be boxed. God is not only working inside the Church, in our services or ministries; He is moving and touching people everywhere all over the earth. From the mountains to the valleys, from the heavens to the homes to the hearts of men and women.

Polluted Offerings

6 “A son honors his father,
And a servant his master.
If then I am the Father,
Where is My honor?
And if I am a Master,
Where is My reverence?
Says the Lord of hosts
To you priests who despise My name.
Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ 

These priests did not honour God. They did not respect him  

The priests working inside the temple or church leaders inside the churches had shown great disrespect to the Lord! They brought tremendous dishonour to His name! They despised Him by taking His name in vain and using His name for their own purposes and agendas. Neither did they serve God as their Master. Instead they served mammon their other master.

Matthew 6:24
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

7 “You offer defiled food on My altar,
But say,
‘In what way have we defiled You?’
By saying,
‘The table of the Lord is contemptible.’

 

 

God would not accept any person or thing that was unholy. Yet the priests offered unholy animals to God. This was unholy because there was something terribly wrong with them.

Because they did not give honour to God, the priests became unholy. Whatever the unholy priests offered on the holy altar of God was also unholy!

8 And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice,
Is it not evil?
And when you offer the lame and sick,
Is it not evil?
Offer it then to your governor!
Would he be pleased with you?
Would he accept you favorably?”
Says the Lord of hosts.

God had specifically told them to offer perfect animals acceptable to Him. Animals that were not perfect were unclean or unholy.

How animals were selected and sacrificed taught us about the Holy Lamb of God Who was sacrificed for the sins of the world. As the animals needed to be perfect, Jesus was perfect without blemish or defect.  As the animals had to die, Jesus had to die so that God would forgive our sins.

Unclean or unholy animals include animals that were blind, lame or diseased. These evil deeds of the priests were exposed when God confronted them with this proposal, “Offer them to your governor!” As their ruler would not accept such animals, God would not accept them also.  

9 “But now entreat God’s favor,
That He may be gracious to us.
While this is being done by your hands,
Will He accept you favorably?”
Says the Lord of hosts.

 

 

 

God would not accept the unclean or unholy things that the priests offered.

Therefore, Malachi exhorted them to pray to God for His forgiveness that He might be gracious to them and accept them with favour once again.

2 Chronicles 7:14
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

10 “Who is there even among you who would shut the doors,
So that you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain?
I have no pleasure in you,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“Nor will I accept an offering from your hands.

 

The priests did all these evil deeds behind closed doors. They shut the entrance doors of the temple so that nobody would know what they were doing.

God exposed them saying that all their offerings and sacrifices were unacceptable and all their fires were kindled in vain! It was useless to burn animals that were unclean or unholy. Burning the unholy animals on a holy altar of God didn’t make them holy! God would not accept animals that were unacceptable!

Similarly, inside the Church, if things are not done right in righteousness and love, God will not accept them no matter whether the leaders say that it is alright to do so. The important thing is whether God accepts them or not. Sometimes what are acceptable to the priests or church leaders may not be acceptable to God! God has no pleasure in these unholy offerings or things done in His name! 

11 For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down,
My name shall be great among the Gentiles;
In every place incense shall be offered to My name,
And a pure offering;
For My name shall be great among the nations,”
Says the Lord of hosts.

 

The name of the Lord will be great among the nations. From where the sun rises in the east to where it sets in the west. In every place, people will offer incense and pure offerings to His name.

Isaiah 56:7
Even them (the Gentiles) I will bring to My holy mountain,
And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
Will be accepted on My altar;
For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

What kind of offerings is God desiring us (who are Gentiles) to offer Him?

Romans 12:1-2
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 

12 “But you profane it,
In that you say,
‘The table of the Lord is defiled;
And its fruit, its food, is contemptible.’

 

By their disrespectful and irreverent actions, the priests were saying, “The table of the Lord is polluted, and the fruit of it, its food, is contemptible and may be despised.”

These religious leaders despised the things of God, and they thought that they could bring contempt to God by profaning His name, defiling His table and offering unholy offerings!

Galatians 6:7
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

13 You also say,
‘Oh, what a weariness!’
And you sneer at it,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick;
Thus you bring an offering!
Should I accept this from your hand?”
Says the Lord.

 

 

The priests or church leaders were tired of their relationship with God. They became burnt-outs. All their religion had become a daily routine and chore. They began to despise what they were doing.

They sneered and blew down their noses at the holy things of God. They even brought animals that were stolen, lame and sick, and offered them to the Lord. Most Israelites would not eat such animals, and yet the priests dared to bring them before the Lord.

In the same manner, many church leaders are doing the same. They have traded the holy things of God for the unholy things of the world. They dare even to offer their worldly praise and worship, and their questionable sermons before the Lord.

Just take a look at the kinds of contemporary praise and worship and the kinds of erroneous teachings in our churches today. How many Christians know how to have reverence and stand in awe before a holy God? How many Christians know what is holy and unholy before the Lord?

As the leaders do these things, their members also think that they are acceptable before the Lord. How many Christians know what God really desires and what the Bible really teaches? 

14 “But cursed be the deceiver
Who has in his flock a male,
And takes a vow,
But sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished—
For I am a great King,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“And My name is to be feared among the nations.

Sometimes the people of God promised Him a good animal sacrifice, if He answered their prayers. But when God did answer, they gave Him something inferior and not so good!

In doing so, they were cheating God. And this displeased God greatly!

Numbers 30:1-2
Then Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

Malachi 2

Corrupt Priests

1 “And now, O priests, this commandment is for you.

 

Numbers 35:2-3
Command the children of Israel that they give the Levites cities to dwell in from the inheritance of their possession, and you shall also give the Levites common-land around the cities. They shall have the cities to dwell in; and their common-land shall be for their cattle, for their herds, and for all their animals.

The priests came from the tribe of Levi. They lived in 48 towns in Judah. Like the other tribes, the Levites also reared cattle and animals. They were probably the people who cheated God and displeased Him most.

Yes, church leaders can cheat God today. A lot of the prosperity teachers, prophets and apostles are putting offerings and cash into their own pockets. They steal from what the people have given to God. They are highly corrupted. A den of thieves!!

Matthew 21:13
And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”   

2 If you will not hear,
And if you will not take it to heart,
To give glory to My name,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“I will send a curse upon you,
And I will curse your blessings.
Yes, I have cursed them already,
Because you do not take it to heart.

 

God punished people by sending a curse if they did not obey His laws. Deuteronomy 27 and 28 listed both the curses and blessings of God.

The Levites and priests read out these lists every year. They knew them by heart. They knew the covenant God had made with Israel. Yet they disobeyed them! They did not take those words to heart.

Knowing is one thing but doing is another. The people of God say in their mouths that they will give glory and bring honour to His name. Yet in their actions, they do otherwise.

Isaiah 29:13-14
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”

3 “Behold, I will rebuke your descendants
And spread refuse on your faces,
The refuse of your solemn feasts;
And one will take you away with it.

 

God would punish the children of these priests. In fact, God did not speak to them for more than 400 years until the birth of the Messiah and Saviour of the world!

God would rub their faces with the dung of the animals they had sacrificed to God! Just as the priests cleared the dung from the temple and burned it (Exodus 29:14), God said that He would also clear up His priests by taking them away from their homes and punishing them.

Just as the leaders of God have brought shame and profaned His name, God says that He will bring shame to them by exposing their sins done behind closed doors.

4 Then you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you,
That My covenant with Levi may continue,”
Says the Lord of hosts.

 

God then spoke to the Levitical priesthood, reminding them about their family history.

Levi was himself a cruel man (Genesis 34:25). Before Jacob, the father of Levi, died, he blessed his other sons but did not bless Levi. Instead of a blessing, Levi received a curse.

Genesis 49:5-7
Simeon and Levi are brothers— their swords are weapons of violence. Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased. Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel!!  I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.

But later, Moses pleased God greatly. And Moses was from the tribe of Levi. As the story of Exodus unfolded, God appointed priests from the family of Levi. And Moses blessed the tribe of Levi (Deuteronomy 33:8-11).

God was sending His priests a warning about their past so that His promise to Levi would continue in the future.

Hebrews 12:5-11
5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?
10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 

5 “My covenant was with him, one of life and peace,
And I gave them to him that he might fear Me;
So he feared Me
And was reverent before My name.

 

God had promised the Levites and priests life and peace. He had given them so that they would respect and stand in awe of His holy name.

Proverbs 8:13
To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. 

6 The law of truth was in his mouth,
And injustice was not found on his lips.
He walked with Me in peace and equity,
And turned many away from iniquity.

 

A priest of God should know His laws, and should obey them. When other people saw his godly behaviour and conduct, they would learn from him how to serve God in the way that pleased God. The priest would then turn many people away from sin.

Sin simply means not obeying God’s laws. In committing sins, sinners fall short of the glory of God!

Today, Christians are called a royal priesthood of God. This is a great and awesome responsibility and calling.

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.  

7 “For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge,
And people should seek the law from his mouth;
For he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.

 

Malachi, the messenger of God, told us that a priest was a messenger of the Lord too. A priest’s lips should preserve knowledge as people would seek instruction from his mouth.

2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage —with great patience and careful instruction.

8 But you have departed from the way;
You have caused many to stumble at the law.
You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,”
Says the Lord of hosts.

 

But these evil priests did not obey God’s laws. Not only that, they also taught other people to sin against God.

So these priests corrupted their covenant with God. But God remained faithful by not destroying His covenant with His priesthood. However He did punish the people that did not obey him.

2 Timothy 4:3-4
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 

9 “Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base
Before all the people,
Because you have not kept My ways
But have shown partiality in the law.”

 

So God exposed His priests and leaders. He had made them disgusting, and would humiliate them in front of all the people of Israel, because they had not followed His ways.

When they taught the people, they did not treat everyone alike. They had been unfair when applying the teachings of God.

They tried to make themselves popular by changing God’s laws. This did not bring honour to God.

Treachery of Infidelity

10 Have we not all one Father?
Has not one God created us?
Why do we deal treacherously with one another
By profaning the covenant of the fathers?

God is our father Who is in heaven (Matthew 6:9). He is also our Creator. If this is so, we should not spoil the covenant that God had made with our forefathers.

We will spoil it when we do not keep our promises to each other, and if we do evil against each other.

11 Judah has dealt treacherously,
And an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem,
For Judah has profaned
The Lord’s holy institution which He loves:
He has married the daughter of a foreign god.

 

The people of Judah had broken their promise to God and done a horrible thing in Jerusalem and all over the country. They had defiled the holy matrimony which the Lord had instituted from the beginning of Genesis. Men had married women who worshipped foreign gods

In the past, the Israelites had married people who were not Israelites. People that were not Jews could join the Jews when they left Egypt (Exodus 12:38). Also, Ruth married Boaz (Ruth 4:13). But the Bible made it very clear that these foreign people should obey the God of Israel (Exodus 12:48; Ruth 1:16).

Jews were not allowed to worship foreign gods which had standards differing from the God of Israel.

1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

12 May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob
The man who does this, being awake and aware,
Yet who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!

 

By cutting off these people who did this evil, the Lord prevented them from further spreading their sins to the community of Israel. He would never again let them participate in bringing offerings to the Lord.

They had done the evil deeds with eyes wide open. They were fully aware what they were doing them was against the will of God! Because they had had rejected the Lord, the Lord then rejected them.

Judges 3:7
The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs.

13 And this is the second thing you do:
You cover the altar of the Lord with tears,
With weeping and crying;
So He does not regard the offering anymore,
Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. 

This was another thing they had done. After doing evil deeds, they tried to undo their wrongdoings. They tried to cover up. They began to drown the Lord's altar with tears, weeping and wailing.  but God no longer accepted the offerings they brought Him. No more goodwill from the Lord.

God looks at the heart. The inside and not the outside.

Joel 2:13
So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.

14 Yet you say, “For what reason?”
Because the Lord has been witness
Between you and the wife of your youth,
With whom you have dealt treacherously;
Yet she is your companion
And your wife by covenant.

 

They asked why God no longer accepted them. It was because God knew that they had broken their promise to their wives they had married when they were young.

God was a witness to a marriage (Genesis 31:50; Proverbs 2:17). When partners were loyal and faithful to each other, God would bless them and their children.

The wife is her husband’s companion for life. By marrying other or foreign wives, these men had broken their promises and vows to their wives which they had made before God! 

15 But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.

 

Matthew 19:5-6
‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.

Didn't God make the husband and wife as one flesh? What was His purpose in doing this? It was so that they would have godly children. Thus the man must ensure that he should not break his promise to his wife.

16 “For the Lord God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”

 

 

 

“I hate divorce,” said the Lord God of Israel. “I hate it when one of you does such a cruel thing to his wife. Make sure that you do not break your promise to be faithful to your wife.”

The people of God had divorced their first wives in order to remarry other wives. This is a cruel act to their first wives. It was like a brutal and violent fight until their clothes were covered with blood.

Matthew 19:7-9
“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words;
Yet you say,
“In what way have we wearied Him?”
In that you say,
“Everyone who does evil
Is good in the sight of the Lord,
And He delights in them,”
Or, “Where is the God of justice?”

They had wearied the Lord out with their sweet talk.

But how had they tired Him? By saying that people who did evil things were pleasing to the Lord and that God were delighted in them.

They also questioned where the God of justice was.

Herein were two sins:

1.  When people say that there is no difference between right and wrong.

2.  When people say that God is not a fair Judge.

Really, they were saying that there was no God! They had been presumptuous in assuming that God would condone sins and wrongdoings by allowing the evil deeds to be left unpunished. But God was not mocked. He is a fair Judge.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Malachi 3

The Coming Messenger

1 “Behold, I send My messenger,
And he will prepare the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek,
Will suddenly come to His temple,
Even the Messenger of the covenant,
In whom you delight.
Behold, He is coming,”
Says the Lord of hosts.

 

 

 

God said, “Look at me! I will send My Messenger.”

The name of Malachi means “my messenger” or “a person who brings my message.” It also means a person who helps to prepare the way of the Lord. John the Baptist is also called “My Messenger.”

Mark 1:2-3
As it is written in the Prophets:
“Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.”
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’”

When all the preparations were complete, the Lord would suddenly come to His temple.

“Suddenly” tells us that it may not be a pleasant experience.

Let’s take a look at how Jesus cleansed the temple and removed the unholy activities inside it.

Matthew 21:12-13
Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”

The priests and Levites had turned the temple into a place of buying and selling, promoting their merchandise and making loads of money from the people. Even the offerings and sacrifices were sold at a great profit. Eventually the priests became super rich by relentlessly exploiting the people.

Thank God that He is sending His messenger to come and proclaim His covenant again. It won’t be long till we see Him face to face! He is our delight!

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 launderers’ soap.

 

When the Lord comes to His temple, four things will happen:

1.   Only the overcomers will endure and remain. 

2.   Nobody will be able to stand, and everybody will bow down and worship Him.  

3.   He will burn away the filth in everybody's life, and will refine us and restore holiness.

4.   He will be like soap and water, and He will wash us clean.

Ezekiel 36:25-28
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.  

3 He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver;
He will purify the sons of Levi,
And purge them as gold and silver,
That they may offer to the Lord
An offering in righteousness.

 

A refiner is a man who makes pure metals. In Bible times, he used fire. The dirt that a refiner burned away included other base metals and impurities. After a few round of refining, pure silver or gold would shine forth.

Just as a refiner of silver and gold, the Lord's Messenger will purify the priests, so that they will bring to the Lord the right kind of offerings - the offerings that will be pleasing and acceptable to Him. He will restore His righteousness and holiness in the Church!

4 “Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem
Will be pleasant to the Lord,
As in the days of old,
As in former years. 

After which, the offerings which the people of Judah and Jerusalem bring to the Lord will be pleasing to Him, as they used to be in the past.

5 And I will come near you for judgment;
I will be a swift witness
Against sorcerers,
Against adulterers,
Against perjurers,
Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans,
And against those who turn away an alien—
Because they do not fear Me,”
Says the Lord of hosts.

The Lord Almighty said, “I will appear among you to judge, and I will testify at once against those who practice magic, against adulterers, against those who give false testimony, those who cheat employees out of their wages, and those who take advantage of widows, orphans, and foreigners—against all who do not respect Me.”

Our God is an awesome God and He is coming to judge the world. And His judgment will begin at His house first.

1 Peter 4:17-18
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change;
Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.

 

Jacob was a cheater, and He cheated his brother Esau. The sons of Jacob were like their father Jacob. Like father like son, they were now cheating God.

But give thanks to the Lord for His love endures forever! His mercies never cease! Praise the Lord that He never changes!

Praise the Lord that we are not consumed!

1  Corinthians 3 :11-15
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 

7 Yet from the days of your fathers
You have gone away from My ordinances
And have not kept them.
Return to Me, and I will return to you,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“But you said,
‘In what way shall we return?’

Like their ancestors, the Israelites had turned away from the laws of God, and had not kept them. God was beseeching them to return back to Him, and He would return to them.

But the people of God still thought that they had not done anything wrong. So they asked, "How shall we return?" Their question simply said, “We will not return! Why must we turn back to You, O Lord?”

Jeremiah 6:16-17
Thus says the Lord: "Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, 'Listen to the sound of the trumpet!' But they said, 'We will not listen.'  

Do Not Rob God

8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.

 

Is it right for a person to cheat God? Of course not, yet they were cheating and robbing God! How? In the matter of tithes and offerings.

Just as the priests were cheating the people, the people were cheating God in their tithes and offerings.

The rules of giving were:

1.  The Jews gave a tenth to the Lord (Leviticus 27:30).

2.  The Lord allowed the Levites to use these tithes for themselves (Numbers 18:24).

3.  The Levites gave a tithe to the High Priest (Numbers 18:28).

If the leaders are doing unrighteousness and practicing lawlessness, the people of God will follow their footsteps, doing the same things that displease God. 

9 You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.

 

The disease of cheating and robbery had spread from the house of God to the whole nation. From inside the temple to outside. A curse was on all of them because eventually the whole nation was cheating and robbing God.

Just take a closer look at the churches today, and then another look at the nations in which the churches are situated. We will find similar traits and characteristics.

10 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.

 

Herein was a challenge of obedience put forward by God. It was to test and prove whether the people would carry it out or not.

It was all the tithes or the whole tithes. Not a percent less. God was not seeking these material goods and offerings. God was testing their hearts. When they passed this test by trusting and obeying His Word, God promised to bring them abundant blessings from heaven above.

Psalm 51:16-17
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise.

11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”
Says the Lord of hosts;

 

 

Herein was a promise of protection and fruitfulness. God would protect their crops from being destroyed by pests and bad weather such as droughts and floods. He would also cause their vines to bear abundant fruit.

God knows how to bless His people when they abide in Him.

John 15:5
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

12 “And all nations will call you blessed,
For you will be a delightful land,”
Says the Lord of hosts.

 

When God bestowed His favour and blessing upon Israel, all the nations would call her blessed. There would be plenty of everything. The land itself and all the people living therein would be delightful, rejoicing in the Lord always!

Genesis 12:2-3
I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

The People Complain Harshly

13 “Your words have been harsh against Me,”
Says the Lord,
“Yet you say,
‘What have we spoken against You?’

The people were saying many bad things about God. Their unkind words were very harsh against God. They simply did not have the joy of the Lord. As such, they did not have the strength to do the will of God!

14 You have said,
‘It is useless to serve God;
What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance,
And that we have walked as mourners
Before the Lord of hosts?

 

They had said, “It is of no use to serve God. It does nothing good. We gain nothing when we obey His requests. We go about in life like people at a funeral.”

They thought that God was dead! They went on mourning and mourning every day. If serving God is like that, it would be hard to carry on. 

Jeremiah 31:13
Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance,
And the young men and the old, together;
For I will turn their mourning to joy,
Will comfort them,
And make them rejoice rather than sorrow.

15 So now we call the proud blessed,
For those who do wickedness are raised up;
They even tempt God and go free.’”

 

They were not happy with God because He did not seem to be punishing the bad, proud and evil people.  But God asked them not to fret over evildoers.

Psalm 37:1-4
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

A Book of Remembrance

 16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another,
And the Lord listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him
For those who fear the Lord
And who meditate on His name.

 

Then the people who respected the Lord talked with each other. And the Lord listened to them and heard what they said. Then a book was written in front of Him to keep an account in eternal memory. It was for those people that respected the Lord. They gave honour to His name.

Proverbs 19:23
The fear of the LORD leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil.

17 “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts,
“On the day that I make them My jewels.
And I will spare them
As a man spares his own son who serves him.”

 

God declared that they would be His on the day when He would make them as a special treasure. He would not punish them as a man would not punish his son that served him.

Galatians 4:6-7
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 

18 Then you shall again discern
Between the righteous and the wicked,
Between one who serves God
And one who does not serve Him.

They would again see clearly the difference between the good people and the bad people, between people that serve God and people that did not serve Him.

Ephesians 5:12-14
For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”

Malachi 4

The Great Day of God

1“For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“That will leave them neither root nor branch.

A fire could make things pure. But a fire could also destroy things. It would happen to people who did not listen to God. It would happen to people who did not obey Him. It would also happen to people who said bad things against God.

As they were not sorry about their sins, they would be like a dead tree without any roots or branches after burning in the fire. Stubble is the dead remains of plants, portions that have become lifeless. They would be good fuel for the fire.

2 But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings;
And you shall go out
And grow fat like stall-fed calves.

 

The Sun of Righteousness will be awesome and glorious, shining victoriously. His wings are streams of light shining from the Sun touching and healing the people. This was a glorious and majestic description of Jesus Christ.

In a famous Christmas carol “Hark The Herald Angels Sing,” Felix Mendelssohn penned these lines:

Hail the heaven-born Prince of peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings.

Malachi said that when He comes, people will be delighted, shouting for joy and jumping about like young calves coming out from their pens.

3 You shall trample the wicked,
For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet
On the day that I do this,”
Says the Lord of hosts.

God is the great and just Judge. He will punish wicked people and reward the righteous. 

People must not try to punish their enemies on their own. On the day when God does this, people will step on the ashes of wicked people! The righteous are glad because God has saved them from the wicked.

Deuteronomy 32:35
Vengeance is Mine, and recompense;
Their foot shall slip in due time;
For the day of their calamity is at hand,
And the things to come hasten upon them.’

4 “Remember the Law of Moses, My servant,
Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel,
With the statutes and judgments.

 

Remember the law of Moses my servant. Remember all the laws and rules that God had given to him at Mount Horeb for all Israel.

And Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses. He did not disobey any law of God, not a single one. If Christ did not, we must not!

Matthew 5:17-20
Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

 

God said that Elijah will come to warn the people. He will warn them that the day of the Lord is near.

It will be a great and terrible day. God will do something no eyes have seen and no ears have heard. It will be the day when the ungodly people will be punished for the last time. It will be very terrible indeed. After which, no more wickedness and evil deeds! Righteousness and love will reign forever!

Psalm 1:4-6
The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

6 And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

Luke 12:52-53
For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

Elijah’s mission will be to change these terrible attitudes and heart conditions of the people. Then they will obey God’s commandments to love God and to love one another.

No more fighting inside the families. No more divorces. No more family strife and quarrels. No more murder and cheating over birthrights and inheritances.

All will align their lives with God as He works among them and in their hearts. But God will punish those who do not obey Him with a curse.

God is just. We must be faithful to Him as we await His justice. Even though other people may not be faithful but become successful in the eyes of the world, we should not fret over them. Just as the priests or church leaders have been offering unacceptable sacrifices, the people have been unfaithful in their tithes and offerings to the Lord. The result of these shortcomings can affect the whole nation. People begin to believe that no good comes out of serving God faithfully. They begin to serve mammon.

But Malachi assured us the differences between those who served God faithfully and those who did not will become very clear in the days to come. We need to return to the roots of our faith, the teachings of Moses and the prophets in the Old Testament, and also the teachings of Jesus and His apostles in the New Testament as we wait for the Day of the Lord. Preparing the way for the return of our King of glory!

Source: http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/malachi-lbw.htm

Written on 10 July 2012