Malachi – Chapter 4

Verse 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.

This picture of a fire that burns like an oven is God’s judgment. Every doer of wickedness shall be turned into stubble. “Leave them neither root nor branch” – they shall have no hope of ever shooting up again to life.

Verse 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.

There is a huge contrast between the proud and wicked and those who fear the LORD, in scripture. Rightly so, when a person lives their entire life unto themselves, with no fear or thought of God All Mighty, why in the world would they want to spend an eternity with a loving God? However, those who are committed; gave their heart to Christ; have looked forward to spending all eternity with Christ, will do so.

Verse 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.

Verse 4 – “Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I command him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

These laws, given to Moses at Horeb (Mount Sinai), were the foundation of the nation’s civil, moral, and ceremonial life. We still must obey these moral laws because they apply to all generations.

Verse 5 – Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.

Verse 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.”

Look at verse 5 first – Some people think that it says, “One like Elijah,” and meaning John the Baptist crying out to repent before Christ shows up. But the verse doesn’t say that. It says, “I will send you Elijah, before the great and dreadful day of the LORD.” Proof – Revelation 11:3 – “And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophecy one-thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”

This time equals three and one-half years. Who are the two men in the Bible who didn’t see death? Enoch and Elijah were taken by God, so they will come again and stand in the city of Jerusalem and the Jews eyes shall be opened to whom their Messiah is.

Malachi closes his message by pointing to that great final day of judgment. For those who belong to Christ, it will be a joyous day and be ushered into all entering in God’s presence. To those who lived their lives ignoring God and not committing to Him, they will be turned into stubble. The choice is ours while we still live and breathe. Make the right choice.

This concludes the Old Testament. I started this in 2012 and it has been five years of studying and learning the character of God and the signs pointing to the coming Messiah. I hope everyone enjoyed this as much as I did. Don’t stop now, we are about to start in the New Testament with the knowledge of the Old. God bless each and every one that loves the Word of God.

Malachi – Chapter 3

Verse 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.

John the Baptist was the prophet of the Highest that went before to prepare God’s people for the coming Messiah; to give the knowledge of salvation; to tell them to repent in preparation for the Kingdom of Christ, was at hand (Isaiah 40:3 and Luke 1:76).

Verse 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 fuller’s soap.

Verse 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.

Without “Heat”, there can be no purifying. When metals are heated, impurities rise to the top, dross, and it leaves a pure smooth metal when done. The Levi’s were the priests, leader of the people and God was going to purge them.

When our God allows us to go through fiery trials and tests, its to purge us in order to prepare us for kingdom work. So don’t complain when they come, because God is preparing you for something much greater. There is always a bigger picture when God is involved.

Verse 4 – “Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasant to the LORD, as in the days of old, as in former years.

Verse 5 – And I will come near you for judgement; I will be a swift witness against sorcerers, against adulterers, against perjurers, against those who exploit wage earners and widows and the fatherless, and against those who turn away an alien – because they do not fear Me,” says the LORD of hosts.

Verse 6 – “For I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.

Verse 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?’

When the people replied, “In what way shall we return?” They implied that they hadn’t done anything wrong. And that is the exact reason some refuse to return to God today, because they won’t admit their sin and repent. They simply refuse to humble themselves because they compare themselves to someone else – “I’m not as bad as others!”

Verse 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.

Verse – 9 – You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation.

Verse 10 – Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.

The people had been neglecting the giving of their “first fruits.” The Levites had resorted to going to the fields to work because the people had neglected their responsibility to provide for them. So in turn, the people said they were too poor to give, but if they had combined what they gave, there would be plenty for all. Do you know that if all people tithed as they should, there would be no need for government assistance?

Verse 11 – “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sake’s, 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 host;

Look what God will do if we tithe; He will rebuke Satan from stealing from us. Everything we have is from God, so when we refuse to give a part of it back, we rob God.

Verse 12 – “And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,” says the LORD of hosts.

Verse 13 – “Your words have been harsh against Me,” says the LORD, “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’

Verse 14 – You have said, ‘It is vain 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?

Verse 15 – So now we call the proud blessed, for those who do wickedness are raised up; yes, those who tempt God go free.’ ”

Do you know people still ask this question today? “What good will it do me to serve God? O what’s in it for me?” Do we expect to receive a reward every time we give to God’s kingdom, or do we serve without ever  expecting anything in return.? Please don’t forget that God Himself said, “See if I won’t pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it and He will rebuke the devourer for you!”

Verse 16 – Then those who feared (worshiped) 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 feared the LORD and who meditate on His name.

Our deeds are present with God, whether good or evil. In the Day of Judgment, He will make them manifest to men and angels, as though read out of a book. Daniel 7:10, …The court was seated, and the books were opened.

Verse 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.”

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

Our Christianity should be genuine to the point of no one having to guess whether we belong to God, or not!

Malachi – Chapter 2

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

Verse 2 – If you do 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.

Does this sound harsh? Yes, but God warned them about their attitude towards Him and their behavior needed to change, because they were to represent Him to the people. The same goes for anyone who calls themselves a child of God. Worship should be heart-felt.

Verse 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.

This spread of refuses on their faces, is the expression of great contempt. In other words – your feasts shall be as dung to Me. He would take them away as dung was taken outside the camp and disposed of.

Verse 4 – Then you shall know I have sent this commandment to you, that MY covenant with Levi may continue,” says the LORD of hosts.

Verse 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.

This covenant was not with Levi himself, but with Aaron, His representative, with whom the covenant was made in the desert, and whom succeeded him in his office.

Verse 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.

Levi was the ancestor from the tribe  of Levi, the tribe set apart for service. The Levites became God’s ministers, first in the tabernacle, then in the temple.

Verse 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.

Verse 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.

The priests ignorance of God’s will was willful and inexcusable.

Verse 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.”

Playing favorites is contemptible in God’s sights. These priests showed favoritism to the wealthy and let them continue in their sin, because they were afraid to say anything to them.

Verse 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?

The people hadn’t openly said that they rejected God, but how they were living made them look as though God didn’t exist. People acted as though they could do anything without being punished. Jesus must be LORD of all!

Verse 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.

Verse 12 – May the  LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob the man who does this, being awake and aware, and who brings an offering to the LORD of hosts.

The most obvious way that Judah was violating the covenant was by intermarrying with women who worshiped foreign gods. Anyone who did this was cursed. However, they continued to offer sacrifices to God while continuing in their sin.

Verse 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 good will from your hands.

Do people honestly think a little crying and sorrow with no intention of really changing is going to be pleasing to God?

Verse 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.

In order to marry pagan women, the Jews were divorcing their Jewish wives that they had entered into the covenant of marriage with, and yet continued to defile the sanctuary by offering sacrifices to God.

Verse 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.

Not only were the men divorcing their Jewish wives, but they were braking the spiritual bondage between a husband and wife, which their offspring would be brought up to love the LORD. God hates divorce.

Verse 16 – “For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garments with violence,” says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”

How do you treat your spouse?

Verse 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?”

God was tired of the way people had cynically twisted His truths. They thought because God was silent, He approved of their actions or at least would never punish them. So many think the same way today. They think because nothing happens right away, they got by with their sin. God sees all and knows the intentions of the heart, so always do right, and then you won’t have anything to worry about.

 

The Book of Malachi – Chapter 1

Introduction:

Malachi is the last prophetic message from God before the close of the Old Testament period. This book captures the essential message of the Old Testament and shows the reader the nature of God and our relationship and responsibility to Him and to others in the covenant community.

Using the question and answer method, Malachi probes deeply into Israel’s problems of hypocrisy, infidelity, mixed marriage, divorce, and false worship, and arrogance. For four hundred years after Malachi’s condemnations, God went silent. Only with the coming of John the Baptist does God again begin communicating with His people through a prophet’s voice.

Verse 1 – The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.

Malachi preached after Haggai, Zechariah, and Nehemiah, about 430 B.C. The temple had been rebuilt for almost a hundred years, and the people had turned back to their old ways.

Verse 2 – “I have loved you,” says the LORD, “Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?” “Yet Jacob I have loved;

Verse 3 – but Esau I have hated, and laid waste his mountains and his heritage for the jackals of the wilderness.”

The people wanted to know, “In what way have You loved us?” Unfortunately, many people are cynical about God’s love because of their own circumstances. God chose Jacob to head His nation, but he also allowed Esau to father the Edomites, which were one of Israel’s most hated enemies.

Verse 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.

Although God disciplined Israel time and again, He did not completely destroy them as He had done with Edom.

Verse 5 – Your eyes shall see, and you shall say, ‘The LORD is magnified beyond the border of Israel.’

Verse 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?’

Ezra, the priest, had sparked a great revival around 458 B.C. However, by the time Malachi arrives on the scene, the nation’s leaders had once again fallen into complacency. The attitudes and neglect, had spread to the people. The only appropriate response to God’s holiness is wholehearted worship and devotion.

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

Verse 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’s law demanded only perfect animals to be used in sacrifices to Him. But the priest had used the sick and lame as offerings and kept the best for themselves. Their method of giving showed their true attitude toward God.

Verse 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.

Can we give God our “Left-overs” and still expect Him to show us favor?

Verse 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.

Religious activity not rooted in humble adoration of God as the source of all goodness and authority is not only useless, but is repulsive to Him, because it slanders His character.

Verse 11 – For from the rising of the sun, even to it’s 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 host.

Verse 12 – “But you profane it, in that you say, ‘The table of the LORD is defiled; and its fruit, its food, is contemptibly.’

After the temple had been rebuilt and the walls completed, the people were excited to see prophecies being fulfilled. But as time passed, the prophecies about God’s enemies being completely destroyed and the coming Messiah being fulfilled, did not immediately happen, so they grew  complacent. This complacency gradually led to blatant sin.

Verse 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.

Verse 14 – “But cursed be the deceiver who has in his flock a male, and makes 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.”

Following God’s standards had become a burden to the priest and the people. Too often people think following God should make their life easy and comfortable. The truth is that it often takes hard work and dedication to follow God’s high standards. It’s not easy living the Christian life. We will be mocked, ridiculed, and persecuted, because of our faith. However, whom would you rather spend eternity with, Christ or Satan?