Malachi 3
  2:17  Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?
.1 ¶ Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

   The notes added on a separate page are important. Links to them appear with comments here, in the right column. We don't have enough space to explain everything with the texts.

  Messenger The messenger to prepare the way for the covenant messenger was John the Baptist mr0102, is4003, lu0304. The Lord who was looked for with eager hope is the Messiah.
  Suddenly From pithowm which implies surprise. Christ comes to His temple when most people are not expecting Him. He comes twice. See table.
  His temple The temple is His in that He is its high priest, its ordinary priest, its lamb, its light and so on. The temple or sanctuary represents His ministry for us mr1117, he0801, ex2508.
  Covenant The agreement between sinners and the Lord. In the ten commandments ex20, are found the principles of love and happiness bringing us into harmony with the Holy God.
  Messenger of the covenant Or "angel of the covenant." (same Hebrew word). He confirms the covenant at both comings. Many accepted His atoning sacrifice 1co1503 by His ministry personally and as completed by the disciples da0927, lu0172, ac0238ff. At His second advent, many will have been found faithful to the covenant by the preadvent judgment in the temple in heaven da0713f. They will be a testimony to His covenant power to save. The work of both times is seen in he0928. Compare jg0201.
  Shall ... come Emphatic compared to "will come." hk0203, he1037.
.2  But who may abide [endure] the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:    Who may abide? Some will not re0617. This implies judgment. The Jews of Jesus' time mistakenly taught that this punishment would be for the Gentiles when Messiah came. See am0518.
   Day of his coming This coming to the temple is at a specific time and, as seen in the context, it is for judgment. Temple judgment points to the day of atonement v17. In the symbolism of Daniel 7, He is brought near before the Ancient of Days, representing the mediatorial aspect of the most-holy-place judgment da0713.
  Appeareth The root word ra'ah means to see, literally or figuratively. Because this coming is for a cleansing process, it is preparation for Christ's coming in glory. This metaphor also describes His coming to the Jerusalem temple.
.2  But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap [laundry person's soap]:    Refiner's fire ... soap Receiving atonement requires accepting in humility the fire and the soap lu2018. This is more than hardship. It is cleansing of our characters 1jo0109. Compare na0106.
.3  And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

  Sit as a refiner Christ sits in judgment ps00907 as our priest he0801 and then stands as king da1201 to punish the wicked and rescue the righteous. This is good news about the preadvent judgment. Our Lord not only identifies the righteous, He refines us so we will pass the test!
  Purify sons of Levi The priests in the sanctuary system were sons (male descendants) of Levi who were also sons of Aaron. The sons of Levi who were not sons of Aaron were called the Levites. nu0147. Levites had temple responsibilities but were not priests and did not offer sacrifices. 2:1ff. The Lord, through Malachi, is pointing to spiritual leaders and corrupted religion.
  Purify When ordained, priests were washed le0806.
  Sons of Levi In the wilderness rebellion of making a the gold Calf to worship, the tibe of Levi went to stand with Moses. They are here represent those who claim salvation through the Messiah. See on v.4.
  That they may offer They had been offering polluted sacrifices 1:6b. "Offerings" here are grain offerings, minchah, le0201.
.4  Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.   Judah and Jerusalem were wicked in the time of Malachi. He was the last true prophet of record before Christ came. We may apply his words to the plan of salvation we have been discussing. Atonement was made during the year as sins were forgiven le0431. On the day of atonement, that forgiveness was confirmed le1619
  Days of old After the apostasy of worshipping the golden calf, the tribe of Levi accepted Moses' call to be pure ex3225. The Levites may here represent believers purified to receive the latter rain empowering them to proclaim God's end-time truth to the world zc1001.
.5  And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.

   Come near in judgment Here is the response to the accusation that God pays no attention to the evil of the people 2:17. Those who do not fear or respect God, as seen in their behavior, will be judged for punishment. Then, at the end of the thousand years, all the wicked are resurrected and stand before the great white throne re2011.
   Our interest is in the end-time judgment but it applies also to Christ's coming to His temple in Jerusalem. jn0213ff.
   Come near Before each time of punishment for major rebellion, the Lord has come down to investigate. This principle applies also to the judgment time before Christ comes in glory to reward the righteous and the wicked mt1627. Few people today understand this. See note and article.
  Swift witness A witness in court describes the evidence he saw. Here, the Lord comes near and we cannot doubt that He knows our characters. Testimony is given before the reward is decided.
   Sorcerers The occult is popular today and is sweeping away most of a generation of kids. go. Also ac1919.
   Adulterers See 2:14ff. All the items on this list may be found in chapters 1 and 2.
.6  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

   I Change not The true sons will not be consumed, or "have not come to an end." Not changing means He does not write on tables of stone and then say that, after the cross, His law doesn't need to be kept re1407, mt0517. Also see hb0306, ja0117, he1308.
   People have always tended to make their own gods. Those who profess to follow the creator God have tried to reshape their religion, too. This is clearly not God's plan.
  Therefore ... not consumed The eternal justice and mercy of God assure the salvation of the true sons of Jacob v3. His law doesn't change but He forgives when we repent.
  Sons of Jacob At the beginning of Malachi's book we found that Jacob, whom the Lord loved, was dishonoring Him. After the purification of the spiritual leaders (sons of Levi), all the faithful in Israel were spared being consumed. Remember that Jacob's sons represented the twelve tribes. At the end of time on this earth, the end-time representatives of the twelve tribes the 144,000 stand every test. They endure the blowing of the winds re0704a. As Malachi wrote, they will not be consumed! For more explanation see the note for verse 6.
.7 ¶ Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them mt0633. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?
.8  Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

   7 - Return. The appeal of love (through v15).
   Notice the two areas in which reform was needed: faithfulness in using God's material blessings v8 and in respect or fear of Him v13. Compare to the message of the first angel of Revelation 14 re1407d
   8 - Robbed me God owns everything ps05010ff.
He allows us the joy of giving and personally using His possessions for His glory.
   8 - In tithes ... Why are tithes and offerings mentioned? Offerings were an issue in v4. God's case is based on robbery the 8th commandment ex2015. Withholding wealth that belongs to God is, perhaps, the biggest obvious symptom of turning away from Him. The Hebrew word for offerings does not necessarily refer to ceremonial offerings. See ex2502f. Also see de1617. The tithe plan was confirmed by Jesus lu1142.
   How do we calculate the tithe. It's to be paid on the "increase" de1422. For a business, it's the profit. For a wage earner, I believe it's figured on all we get because we are (or should be) benefited by the amount paid in taxes. I like to set the tithe aside first.
.9  Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

  Cursed with a curse This seems redundant. God was reminding them of the curse He had predicted de2815ff.
  The curse is for more than bad money management. It's for neglecting to show dependence on God for material blessings. In returning the tithe we give Him the glory for all that we have and are. Even before the windows of heaven open v10, we can give the tithe.
  This whole nation The professed people of God before Jesus came. Remembering the dual fulfillment of the text brings home the idea that the tithes and offerings described in the next verses are important for us, too.
.10  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
 11  And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
 12  And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.

 Also see Latter Rain, sequence chart.
  10 - Tithes The word means a tenth. ge2830, le2730. This is a principle of stewardship, not a ceremony pointing to the cross. Thus it is for us, too. v6. Jesus' statement clarifies that it is still a requirement lu1142.
  10 - All the tithes For a true relationship with the One who provides all for us, only a complete tithe is appropriate. de0818.
  10 - Prove me Our Master is serious.
  10 - Windows of heaven The symbol is rain for the crops, especially the early and latter rains. Click for "chart" at the left.
  10 - Blessing The alternative is seen in v9, 4:6, and 2:2.
  10 - Storehouse This is the area where grains and other products were stored for use by the Levites those whose work it was to minister before the Lord. Thus tithe is not for building churches or feeding the poor. The offerings were part of this in the OT. They are mentioned in v8. Our monitory offerings may be used for advancement of the cause of God in other ways.
  11 - I will rebuke What magnificent promises. My wife and I have been richly blessed in following God's plan. We count more than financial blessings.
.13 ¶ Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?
.14  Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?
.15  And now we call the proud [arrogant] happy [blessed]; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.
  13 - Yet ye say The challenging questions began at 1:2 and run through the book.
  14 - What profit? Here is the problem as it is for many today. And for Job jb2114f.
  14 - Mournfully Tired of being mournful. See the note for v14.
  15 - Tempt God Compare ac1510. Often others prosper unjustly at our expense, but we need not worry. Continue to read the text.
  15 - Even delivered See ec0811.
.16  Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

  They that feared An insignificantly small number compared to the "whole nation" who were robbing God. They feared in contrast to the arrogant ones described in the preceding verses. To not fear is to be arrogant v15, an attitude of not wanting God of being above Him.
  Spake ... one to another The word, "another," translates the Hebrew reya which frequently means "neighbor." Both fellowship and witnessing are important da1203. The word "often" was apparently added by translators but it seems like a good idea. See the note for this verse.
  Book Or "scroll." The Lord keeps a record da0710, re0305.
  Before him He considers the record then declares the faithful ones His own. This is judgment.
  Thought Compare ph0408.
  His name They studied His character in order, by His grace, to become like Him 2co0318.
.17  And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
.18  Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

To hear the hymn which begins
"When He cometh, when He cometh, to make up His jewels; All His jewels, precious Jewels, His loved and His own." click.
   That day At v2 I suggested that it was the day of atonement le1630. Here it is the day of separating jewels from plain rocks which is certainly the day of atonement. Christ also comes to the earth in glory re0107. Being able to stand then depends on whether or not atonement (being made right with God) has been accepted le2327-32. When the rewards for good or evil have been decided in judgment, Jesus will come in glory with the angels re2211f. Actually we decide and heaven confirms our choice in judgment.
   Make up my jewels This describes the judgment. See the note for this verse.
   Jewels The Hebrew segullah means "special possession" or "property."
   18 - Return See v7.
   Discern At the end of the preadvent judgment.
   These verses are described at re1615a-ot. Also see 2:17 and v14. Evidence will be given ps05811.
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