The first words of this chapter answer the scoffers and the unbelievers. The prophecy of the soon to be coming John the Baptist. The man who will bring the announcement of the coming of Christ, the Baptist preparing the way before him and calling for the repentance of the people. This is the Messiah, he who the people have been calling for and now he is coming! The Messiah, the messenger of the covenant and those who seek comfort and peace shall find it in Him. He will prepare men’s hearts to be his temple by His words and convictions of His spirit during which He becomes the Messenger of peace and consolation. What does he bring to the world at this time? No lies, predetermined forms of acceptable behavior will be unable to endure His doctrine or  stand before His justice. Christ will distinguish between the actions of men and separate them between precious and the vile.  He will be a refiner, this Christ, by His gospel, he shall purify and reform his church, and by his Spirit working with it, shall regenerate and cleanse souls. He will take away the worthless things found in them. The corruptions, which render their faculties worthless and useless will be taken away but it is noted that the believer need not fear a fiery trial of afflictions and temptations.There is an interesting note here. The trial will last no longer than needed and Christ will intercede on behalf of the wicked but it is understood that where there is no fear of God is not a good place to be. God will not reside where evil and sin prevail and pursues sinners. God is unchangeable and we should be aware that while judgement of evil works may not come quickly, it will come because God is ever the enemy to sin. We all have to deal with evil and sometimes get caught up in it. While God does not change there is compassion for those who fear the Lord and seek to change.

The Rebuke… verses 7-12

While the people of that generation have turned away from God, not kept His ordinances, still God gives them a gracious call. They ask “how shall we return”? They fail to see that they must with all their hearts call out to the Lord, seek His presence and word. But they chose to be obstinate, to use their afflictions as an excuse for their sins ignoring an earnest call to reform. They put the interests of their bodies before that of their souls, forgetting that God must be served first. God has blessings ready for us and sometimes because of our weakness of faith and narrow-minded way of putting our desires first, they pass us by.We will lose nothing of worth by honoring the Lord first.

God’s Love… verses 13-18

There were those that continued to sin tempting God with their arrogant ways and refusing to observe the limits of what is permitted or appropriate. The day will come when these proud sinners will regret their ways. Yet there are those who spoke kindly, preserving a mutual love for one another even among the sin that they encountered each day. They spoke to each other in a way that those who believed in the Lord would understand, constantly keeping Him among them and in their hearts. Communication among people is a powerful thing. When we speak evil we corrupt good minds and actions, so it is only reasonable to think that good thoughts and words encourage good actions. God remembers our actions and those that believed will not perish with those that didn’t. Those that believed in the Lord will be filled with mercy and honor and the unbelievers will be filled with only their own wrath and dishonor. God loves us and he will not let His children be raised up to be careless in their duties to Him. They must serve and do so with a love and trust which is much like that of a child. 

All of us at one time or another will need that love and sparing mercy of God…for all will sin and fall short. The inescapable truth is that some will go to heaven, some to hell. We may deceive each other as to our character but at our judgement before Christ, on that Lord’s Day, everyone’s character will be known.We should be concerned as to our place in the judgement, but we also must leave that judgement of others to God. We who trusted God will in the end be considered to be happy and wise…we who served the Lord shall rise up on that day.

We will close out this series on Malachi with the forth and finial chapter of this book. 

Judgement of The Wicked…Happiness of The Righteous

4: 1-3

For those who call upon His name and have dressed themselves in the righteous armor of faith in our Lord and savior, He will be their shield and protector. They have been justified and sanctified and shall receive the graces and comfort and joy of Jesus Christ. The light has come to their world and they will increase in knowledge and spiritual strength. The day is fixed, the references here can be taken to mean both the first and second comings of Christ. There are definite signs that on the day of the Lord there will be judgement rendered on those proud, arrogant and sinful people. That day will be a day of great joy to those who have served the Lord, a day of sunshine and glory. But woe to the wicked, for in the light of this Holy “Son shine” they will burn as if in an oven. The victory will be God’s doing, not what we have done…for He has given us a savior, His son Jesus Christ. We will rejoice greatly as believers who have been brought from darkness into the light…Praise to the Lord evermore!

The Law…John the Baptist…The Messiah

4: 4-6

To conclude this prophecy and also the Old Testament we shall allow our conscience to remind us to remember the law. But may the future shall see us blessed with our bibles, also an increase in awareness of the importance of communion with our God. While others will boast of their proud reasoning, crediting it with their enlightenment, let’s keep close the sacred word of God and through His son Jesus Christ our souls will be filled with faith, hope and joy. We must keep believing the wondrous expectation of Christ, looking forward for the very beginning of it. John the Baptist preached repentance just as Elijah had done. We must turn our hearts to God and embrace our duty and service to Him in preparation for that great and dreadful day of salvation and judgement. The Baptist will preach a doctrine that will change the peoples hearts and work a change in them, so shall the way to the kingdom of heaven be prepared. The Jewish Nation had turned from God and ruin was at their very doorstep but God sent John the Baptist to preach repentance to them. Those who will believe will wait patiently and cheerfully expect that great day when Christ shall come that second time to complete our salvation. A warning here to those who will not turn and repent. None can escape who have broken God’s law and they will be denied the joy of being God’s chosen and redeemed people unless their hearts are turned from the sins of this world…to Christ and holiness.

Here ends the lesson, so to speak. I hope you have enjoyed this series and will be back in the Pew next week.

Life is Good