Malachi 4
 3:18  Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
.4:1  ¶ For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
   Day Described as the "great and dreadful day of the Lord" in v5. Joel and others called it the "day of the Lord" jl0115.
   Day commeth Are the wicked burning now? Not according to Malachi. The final day of God's wrath is still future. It is the time of trouble da1201.
   Proud Or "arrogant," NASB. Isn't pride good? Not as understood here. Just think about it. What does pride do to our relationship with God? See table at re1407e.
   Wickedly ... stubble This verse is very clear. The wicked will not burn through all eternity. When the penalty for their evil is paid, the fire's job will be done. Nothing will be left. Satan the originator of evil represented here as the root, will be destroyed, too. In comparing Satan to the king of tyre, Ezekiel explained that Satan would be ashes. Then he added that he would cease to be ez2819, is4714.
.2  But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.    You who fear my name This is the second of only two groups. We will be either arrogant or fearful in our relationship to God. These two groups appeared in the previous chapter mal0313,16. We often equate fear with cowardice. This is not how it is to be understood here.
   Sun of righteousness The picture is of Christ coming in glory as the sun coming up in the morning. This is a metaphor. The literal sun is not Christ or God. Services of worship before the actual sun are patterned after pagan sun worship. Compare ho0603.
   Arise Jesus will come from the East (direction of the sunrise) mt2427.
   Calves The metaphor is expanded. Our freedom at the time of Christ's appearance will be like the young animals released from captivity in the barn.
.3  And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.    Tread ... wicked This is more literal than it seems. Eternal death is the price paid by those who do not turn from rebellion. The wicked will really burn, and when they are burned up, the fire will go out v1. While it burns it cannot be quenched is3409,10 . Because the holy city comes down from heaven, and the wicked surround it to capture it. They are burned up instead re2009asu, their bodies return to the elements of the earth from which they were formed as the earth is purified ge0319.
   We find a symbolic meaning, too. Having something under the feet is a symbol of victory over it 1ki0503.
.4 ¶ Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
.5  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
  4 - Remember ye the law This was the standard mal-2:6 but they had "departed out of the way." 2:8. At the end of time, the integrity of the divine law will be the great issue between the massive end-time religion re1308 and the faithful remnant re1217.
  5 - Elijah The prophecy was partially fulfilled in John the Baptist, mr0911, but the fulfillment before the "great and dreadful day of the Lord" is still future. This day is when the wrath of God is poured out without mixture to counter the deception of the massive end-time religion re1313b.
.6  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.   Heart of fathers Those who are ready when Jesus comes will have a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation. But the statement is also or primarily symbolic. Some will be called by the Lord to share the good news of salvation in the time of the latter rain zc1001. See chart and others with honest hearts will be moved to listen. They will be like fathers and children.
  Lest I come and smite This punishment is the alternative to pouring out a blessing which we may see as opening the windows of heaven to bless the earth with rain to make the crops grow. 3:10.

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