Attention!
Tired of seeing ads while studying? Now you can enjoy an "Ads Free" version of the site for as little as 10¢ a day.

Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Malachi 3

Verse 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.

Behold. Calling especial attention to the momentous truths which follow. Ye unbelievingly ask, "Where is the God of judgment?" (Malachi 2:17.) "Behold," therefore, "I send," etc.

I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me. Your unbelief will not prevent MY keeping my covenant, and bringing to pass in due time that which ye say will never be fulfilled.

I will send my messenger, and ... he shall come. The Father sends the Son as "Messenger of the covenant:" the Son comes. Proving the distinctness of personality between the Father and the Son.

My messenger - John the Baptist; as Matthew 3:3; Matthew 11:10; Mark 1:2-3; Luke 1:76; Luke 3:4; Luke 7:26-27; John 1:23 - prove. This passage of Malachi evidently rests on that of Isaiah his predecessor (Isaiah 40:3-5). Perhaps, also, as Hengstenberg thinks, "messenger" includes the long line of prophets headed by Elijah (whence his name is put, in Malachi 4:5, as a representative name), and terminating in John, the last and greatest of the prophets (Matthew 11:9-11). John, as the representative prophet (the forerunner of Messiah, the representative God-man) gathered in himself all the scattered lineaments of previous prophecy (hence, Christ terms him "much more than a prophet," Luke 7:26), reproducing all its awful and yet inspiriting utterances: his coarse garb, like that of the old prophets, being a visible exhortation to repentance; the wilderness in which he preached symbolizing the lifeless, barren state of the Jews at that time, politically and spiritually; his topics, sin, repentance, and salvation, presenting for the last time the condensed epitome of all previous teachings of God by His prophets; so that he is called preeminently God's "messenger." Hence, the oldest and true reading of Mark 1:2 is, "as it is written in Isaiah the prophet;" the difficulty of which is, how can the prophecy of Malachi be referred to Isaiah? The explanation is, the passage in Malachi rests on that in Isaiah 40:3, and therefore the original source of the prophecy is referred to, in order to mark this dependency and connection.

And the Lord - Haa'aadown (H136) in the Hebrew. The article marks that it is Yahweh (Exodus 23:17; Exodus 34:23: cf. Joshua 2:11; Joshua 2:13). Compare Daniel 9:17, where the Divine Son is meant by "for THE Lord's sake." God, the speaker, makes "the Lord," the "messenger of the covenant," one with Himself: "I will send ... BEFORE ME," adding, "THE LORD ... shall ... come;" so that THE LORD must be one with the "ME" - i:e., He must be God "before" whom John was sent. As the Divinity of the Son, and His oneness with the Father, is thus proved, so the distinctness of personality is proved by "I send" and "He shall come," as distinguished from one another. He also comes to the temple as "His temple:" marking His Divine Lordship over it, as contrasted with all creatures, who are but "servants in" it (Haggai 2:7; Hebrews 3:2; Hebrews 3:5-6).

Whom ye seek ... whom delight in. At His first coming they "sought" and "delighted in" the hope of a temporal Saviour; not in what He then actually was. In the case of those whom Malachi in his time addresses, "whom ye seek ... delight in" is ironical. They did seek a Saviour to glorify the Jewish nation and themselves, but not the meek and lowly Jesus of Nazareth. They unbelievingly asked, When will He come at last? Malachi 2:17, "Where is the God of judgment" (see the note there; also, Isaiah 5:19; Amos 5:18; 2 Peter 3:3-4). In the case of the godly, the desire for Messiah was sincere (Luke 2:25; Luke 2:38). He is called "the Angel of God's presence" (Isaiah 63:9), also the Angel of Yahweh. Compare His appearances to Abraham (Genesis 18:1-2; Genesis 18:17; Genesis 18:33), to Jacob as "the angel of God" (Genesis 31:11; Genesis 31:13, and "the God which fed me all my life long, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil," Genesis 48:15-16), to Moses in the bush (Exodus 14:2-6); He went before Israel as the Shekinah (Exodus 14:19; and of Him God said, "Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way," Exodus 23:20); and delivered the law at Sinai (Acts 7:38).

Shall suddenly come to his temple - "suddenly," "as a thief." This epithet marks the second coming rather than the first; the earnest of that unexpected coming (Luke 12:38-46; Revelation 16:15) to judgment was given in the judicial expulsion of the money-changing profaners from the temple by Messiah (Matthew 21:12-13), where also, as here, He calls the temple His temple. Also, in the destruction of Jerusalem, most unexpected by the Jews, who to the last deceived themselves with the expectation that Messiah would suddenly appear as a temporal Saviour. Compare the use of "suddenly" in Numbers 12:4-10, where He appeared in wrath (see note, Malachi 2:17).

The messenger of the covenant - namely, of the ancient covenant with Israel (Isaiah 63:9) and Abraham, in which the promise to the Gentiles is ultimately included (Galatians 3:16-17). The Gospel at the first advent began with Israel, then embraced the Gentile world; so also it shall he at the second advent. All the manifestations of God in the Old Testament, the Shekinah and human appearances, were made in the person of the Divine Son (Exodus 33:20-21; Hebrews 11:26; Hebrews 12:26). He was the messenger of the old covenant as well as of the new.

Verse 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:

But who may abide the day of his coming? - (Malachi 4:1; Revelation 6:15; Revelation 16:17). The Messiah would come, not, as they expected, to flatter the theocratic nation's prejudices, but to subject their principles to the fiery test of His heart-searching truth (Matthew 3:10-12), and to destroy Jerusalem and the theocracy after they had rejected Him.

For he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap. His mission is here regarded as a whole, from the first to the second advent; the process of refining and separating the godly from the ungodly, beginning during Christ's stay on earth, going on ever since, and about to continue until the final separation (Matthew 25:31-46). The refining process, whereby a third of the Jews is refined as silver of its dross, while two-thirds perish, is described, Zechariah 13:8-9 (cf. Isaiah 1:25).

Verse 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.

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. The purifier sits before the crucible, fixing his eye on the metal, and taking care that the fire be not too hot, and keeping the metal in, only until he knows the dross to be completely removed, by his seeing his own image reflected in the glowing mass. So the Lord, in the case of His elect, applies the fire of trial, that He may purge away the dross, and see His own image reflected in the believer, and then He removes the saint out of the furnace (Romans 8:29; Job 23:10; Psalms 66:10; Proverbs 17:3; Isaiah 48:10; Hebrews 12:10; 1 Peter 1:7). He will sit down to the work, not perfunctorily, but with patient love and unflinching justice. The Angel of the covenant, as in leading His people out of Egypt by the pillar of cloud and fire, has an aspect of terror to His foes, of love to his friends. The same separating process goes on in the world as in each Christian. When the godly are completely separated from the ungodly, the world will end. When the dross is taken from the gold of the Christian, he will be forever delivered from the furnace of trial. The purer the gold, the hotter the fire now; the whiter the garment, the harder the washing (Moore).

And he shall purify the sons of Levi - of the sins specified above. The very Levites, the ministers of God, then needed cleansing, so universal was the depravity.

That they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness - such as they offered originally (Malachi 2:6), not such as they offered latterly (Mal. 50:7-14 ). So believers, the spiritual priesthood (1 Peter 2:5).

Verses 4-5

Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.

Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old - (Malachi 1:11; Malachi 2:5-6). The "offering" ( minchaah (H4503), Hebrew) is not expiatory, but beneficence, alms, "the sacrifice of praise to God continually," prayer, thanksgiving, and self-dedication (Romans 12:1; Hebrews 13:15-16; 1 Peter 2:5).

And I will come near to you to judgment - I whom ye challenge, saying, "Where is the God of judgment?" (Malachi 2:17.)

And I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers - I, whom ye think far off, and to be slow in judgment, am "near," and will come as a "swift witness;" not only a judge, but also an eye-witness against sorcerers; for mine eyes see every sin, though ye think I take no heed. Earthly judges need witnesses to enable them to decide aright: I alone need none. Sinners will be awfully undeceived, who flattered themselves, "God will never see it;" "How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?" (Psalms 10:11; Psalms 73:11; Psalms 94:7, etc.)

Sorcerers - a sin into which the Jews were led in connection with their foreign idolatrous wives. The Jews of Christ's time also practiced sorcery (Acts 8:9; Acts 13:6; Galatians 5:20; Josephus' 'Antiquities,' 20: 6; 'Bellum Judaicum,' 2:; 12: 23). It shall be a characteristic of the last anti-Christian confederacy about to be consumed by the brightness of Christ's coming (Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:13-14; Revelation 16:13-14; also 9:21; 18:23; 21:8; 22:15). Romanism has practiced it: an order of exorcists exists in that church.

Adulterers - stigmatized in Malachi 2:15-16.

Against those ... fear not me - the source of all sins.

Verse 6

For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

For I am the Lord - Yahweh: a name implying his immutable faithfulness in fulfilling His promises: the covenant-name of God to the Jews (Exodus 6:3), called here "the sons of Jacob," in reference to God's covenant with that patriarch.

I change not. Ye are mistaken in inferring that, because I have not yet executed judgment on the wicked, I am changed from what I once was-namely, a "God of judgment" (Malachi 2:17).

Therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Ye yourselves being "not consumed," as ye have long deserved, are a signal proof of my unchangeableness (Romans 11:29: cf. the whole chapter, in which God's mercy in store for Israel is made wholly to flow from God's unchanging faithfulness to His own convenant of love. So here, as is implied by the phrase, "sons of Jacob;" Genesis 28:13; Genesis 35:12). They are spared because I am Yahweh, and they sons of that Jacob with whom, and with whose "seed" of old, I entered into covenant, engaging to him and them the possession of Canaan, and spiritual privileges, in Messiah, the premised Seed. While I spare them I will also punish them, and while I punish them I will not wholly consume them. The unchangeableness of God is the sheet-anchor of the Church. The perseverance of the saints is guaranteed, not by their unchangeable love to God, but by His unchangeable love to them, and His eternal purpose and promise in Christ Jesus (Moore). He upbraids their ingratitude, that they turn His very long-suffering and "compassions" (Lamentations 3:22) into a ground for sceptical denying of His coming as a Judge at all (Psalms 50:1; Psalms 50:3-4; Psalms 50:21; Ecclesiastes 8:11-12; Isaiah 7:11; Romans 2:4-10).

Verses 7-12

Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

Reproof for the non-payment of tithes and offerings, which is the cause of their national calamities, and promise of prosperity on their paying them. Verse 7. Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away. Ye live as your fathers did when they brought on themselves the Babylonian captivity, and ye wish to follow in their steps. This shows that nothing but God's unchanging long-suffering had prevented their being long ago "consumed" (Malachi 3:6).

Return unto me - in penitence.

And I will return unto you - in blessings.

But ye said, Wherein shall we return? - (cf. Malachi 1:7; Malachi 2:17; Malachi 3:8; Malachi 3:13). The same insensibility to their guilt continues: they speak in the tone of injured innocence, as if God calumniated them.

Verse 8. Will a man rob God - literally, cover [ qaaba` (H6906)], hence, defraud. Do ye call defrauding God no sin to be "returned" from? (Malachi 3:7.) Ye have done so to me in respect to the tithes due to me-namely, the tenth of all the reminder after the first-fruits were paid, which tenth was paid to the Levites for their support (Leviticus 27:30-33): a tenth paid by the Levies to the priests (Numbers 18:26-28): a second tenth paid by the people for the entertainment of the Levites and their own families at the tabernacle (Deuteronomy 12:18): another tithe every third year for the poor, etc. (Deuteronomy 14:28-29).

Offerings - the first-fruits, not less than one-sixtieth part of the core, wine, and oil (Deuteronomy 18:4). The priests had this perquisite, also the tenth of the tithes, which were the Levites' perquisite. But they appropriated all the tithes, robbing the Levites of their due nine-tenths; as they did also, according to Josephus, before the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. Thus doubly was God defrauded-the priests not discharging aright their sacrificial duties, and robbing God of the services of the Levites, who were driven away by destitution, (Grotius). The priests connived at the people's blemished offerings (Malachi 1:7-10; Malachi 1:13-14) and neglect of the due payment of the Levites' tithes, in order to ingratiate themselves with the people, and get to themselves whatever offerings were presented. This was the first abuse rectified by Nehemiah on his return to Jerusalem, in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 13:6-13).

Verse 9. Ye are cursed with a curse - (Malachi 2:2). As ye despoil me, so I despoil you, as I threatened I would, if ye continued to disregard me. In trying to defraud God we only defraud ourselves. The eagle who robbed the altar set fire to her nest from the burning coal that adhered to the stolen flesh. So men who retain God's money in their treasuries will find it a losing possession. No man over yet lost by serving God with a whole heart, nor gained by serving Him with a half one. We may comprise with conscience for the half the price, but God will not endorse the compromise; and, like Ananias and Sapphire, we shall loss not only what we thought we had purchased so cheaply, but also the price we paid for it. If we would have God "open" His treasury we must open ours. One cause of the barrenness of the Church is the parsimony of its members (Moore).

Verse 10. Bring ye all the tithes - if ye desire to be prospered by the Lord (Proverbs 3:9-10).

Into the storehouse - (margin, 2 Chronicles 31:11: cf. 1 Chronicles 26:20; Nehemiah 10:38). "Eliashib the priest, having oversight of the chamber of the house of God," having become "allied to Tobiah," had, in Nehemiah's absence, given him the use of the "great chamber" which had been previously used as the "storehouse" of the tithes which ought to have been paid to the Levites. Malachi here supports Nehemiah in his resolute restoration of the chamber to its right use. Nehemiah "cast forth all the stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber," and cleansed it (Nehemiah 13:4-12), and caused "all Judah to bring the tithe of the grain, new wine, and the oil unto the treasuries" (margin, ''(storehouses'). Prove me now herewith - with this, by doing so. Test me whether I will keep my promise of blessing you, on condition of your doing your part. God was the same promise-keeping God now as in the days of Hezekiah, to whom "Azariah the chief print said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty; for the Lord hath blessed His people, and that which is left is this great store" (2 Chronicles 31:10).

If I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing - (2 Kings 7:2), literally, empty out: image from a vessel completely emptied of its contents; no blessing being kept back.

That there shall not be room enough to receive it, [ `ad (H5703) bªliy (H1097) daay (H1767)] - literally, even to not ... sufficiency - i:e., either, as the English version. Or, even so as that there should be 'not' merely 'sufficiency,' but super-abundance (Jerome, Maurer). Gesenius, not so well, translates, 'even to a failure of sufficiency,' which in the case of God could never arise, and therefore means forever, perpetually; so Psalms 72:7, "Abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth" - literally [ `ad (H5703) bªliy (H1097) yaareeach (H3394)], until there be no moon, or until a failure of the moon, which is never to be, and therefore means forever. I prefer the English version.

Verse 11. And I will rebuke the devourer (note, Malachi 2:3). I will no longer 'rebuke' (English version, "corrupt") the seed,' but will rebuke every agency that could hurt it (Amos 4:9).

Verse 12. And all nations shall call you blessed - fulfilling the blessing (Deuteronomy 33:29; Zechariah 8:13).

For ye shall be a delightsome land - (Daniel 8:9).

Verses 13-18

Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?

He notices the complaint of the Jews, that it is of no profit to serve Yahweh, for that the ungodly-proud are happy; and declares he will soon bring the day when it shall be known that He puts an everlasting distinction between the godly and the ungodly.

Your words have been stout - Hebrew [chaazquw], 'hard:' so "the hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him" (Jude 1:15). (Henderson.)

Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? The Hebrew [ nidbarnuw (H1696)] expresses at once their assiduity and habit of speaking God (Vatablus). The Niphal form of the verb implies that these things were said, not directly to God, but of God, to one another (Ezekiel 33:30). (Moore.)

Verse 14. Ye have said, It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have his ordinance - (note, Malachi 2:17). They here resume the same murmur against God. Job 21:14-15; Job 22:17, describes a further stage of the same sceptical spirit, when the sceptic has actually ceased to keep God's service. "What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?" Psalms 73:1-14 describes the temptation to a like feeling in the saint, when seeing the really godly suffer and the ungodly prosper in worldly goods now. The Jews here mistake utterly the nature of God's service, converting it into a mercenary bargain; they attended to outward observances, not from love to God, but in the hope of being well paid for it in outward prosperity; when this was withheld, they charged God with being unjust, forgetting alike that God requires very different motives from theirs to accompany outward observances, and that God rewards even the true worshipper not so much in this life as in the life to come.

His ordinance - literally, what He requires to be kept [mishmadtow], 'His observances.'

And that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? [ qªdoraniyt (H6941)] - in mournful garb, sackcoth and ashes, the emblem of penitence. They forget Isaiah 58:3-8, where God, by showing how hollow their pretended fasting was, and what is true fasting, similarly rebukes those who then also said, "Wherefore have we fasted, and thou seest not? Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge?" They mistook the outward show for real humiliation.

Verse 15. And now we call the proud happy. Since we are not prosperous who serve Yahweh, and "the proud" pagan flourish in prosperity, we must pronounce them the favourites of God (Malachi 2:17; Psalms 73:12).

Yea, they that work wickedness are set up - literally, built up [ nibnuw (H1129)]; metaphor from architecture (Proverbs 24:3: cf. margin, Genesis 16:2; margin, Genesis 30:3).

Yea, they that tempt God - dare God to punish them, by breaking His laws (Psalms 95:9). The speakers were unconsciously describing themselves. For they were such as tempt God by presumptuous cavils against His justice in His dealing with the world, prescribing, according to their self-sufficiency, what God ought to have done, and murmuring against Him (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:9-10; Numbers 21:5-6; Exodus 17:2; Malachi 2:17). Their own not prospering gave the lie to their assertion that "they that tempt God are delivered" (Exodus 17:2).

Verse 16. Then- "Then," when the ungodly utter such blasphemies against God, the godly hold mutual converse, defending God's righteous dealings against those blasphemers (Hebrews 3:13, where also there is reference, as here, to Psalms 95:1-11: cf. Hebrews 3:15). The "often" of the English version is not in the Hebrew. The same Hebrew verb is here used as in Malachi 3:13 [ nidbªruw (H1696)], marking the beautiful contrast. As the ungodly spoke with one another habitually in disparagemant of God's dealings, so the godly speak with one another habitually in justification and praise of God's dealings (cf. Matthew 11:16-19). There has been always, in the darkest times, a remnant that feared God (1 Kings 19:18; Romans 11:4).

They that feared the Lord - reverential and loving fear: not slavish terror. When the fire of religion burns low, true believers should draw the nearer together, to keep the holy flame alive. Coals separated soon go out.

And the Lord hearkened, and heard ... and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord - for their advantage, against the day when those found faithful among the faithless shall receive their final reward. The kings of Persia kept a record of those who had rendered services to the king, that they might be suitably rewarded (Esther 6:1-2: cf. Esther 2:23; Ezra 4:15; Psalms 56:8; Isaiah 65:6; Daniel 7:10; Revelation 20:12). Calvin makes the fearers of God to be those awakened from among the ungodly mass (before described) to true repentance; the writing of the book thus will imply that some were reclaimable among the blasphemers, and that godly should be assured that, though no hope appeared, there would be a door of penitence opened for them before God. But there is nothing in the context to support this view.

Verse 17. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels - (Isaiah 62:3). [ cªgulaah (H5459): in Titus 2:14, periousion (G4041)] - literally, my special treasure (Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2; Deuteronomy 26:18; Psalms 135:4; 1 Peter 2:9: cf. Ecclesiastes 2:8). Calvin translates [ layowm (H3117) 'ªsher (H834) 'ªniy (H589) `oseh (H6213)] more in accordance with Hebrew idiom, 'they shall be my peculiar treasure in the day in which I will do it' (i:e., fulfill my promise of gathering my completed Church; or, 'make' those things come to pass foretold in Malachi 3:5 above, Grotius); so, in Malachi 4:3, "do" is used absolutely, "in the day that I shall do this." Maurer, not so well, translates, 'in the day which I shall make,' i:e., appoint: as Psalms 118:24.

And I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him - (Psalms 103:17-18).

Verse 18. Then shall ye return, and discern - Then shall ye see the falseness of your calumny against God's government (Malachi 3:15), that the "proud" and wicked prosper. Do not judge before the time, until my work is complete. It is in part to test your disposition to trust in God in spite of perplexing appearances. and in order to make your service less mercenary, that the present blended state is allowed; but at last all ("ye," both godly and ungodly) shall see the eternal difference there really is "between him that serveth God, and him that serveth Him not" (Psalms 58:11).

Return - ye shall turn to a better state of mind on this point. He here speaks of the Jewish nation in general, not of the godly who justified God in His dealings. In the coming day of restoration the Jews shall be turned from their present blindness in prejudging God (Malachi 3:13-14), shall "discern" God's righteousness as the Judge and Governor of the earth.

Remarks:

(1) Man's unbelief (Malachi 2:17) will not prevent God from being faithful to His promise of coming.

(2) Many affect to "seek" and "delight in" the anticipation of the Lord's appearing, to whom His coming shall be the revelation of wrath, not a revelation of grace and glory. He shall come to most men "suddenly." They shall be utterly unprepared for it. Nothing shall they less expect than the manifestation of the Judge in all His majesty.

(3) As John the Baptist "prepared the way" before the Lord at His first coming, so ministers now, as the "messengers of the Lord of hosts" (Malachi 2:7), are preparing the way before the Lord against His second coming. To believers, the announcement of the Gospel of "the messenger of the covenant" is full of joy. For believers have a saving interest in the covenant by faith, and therefore the truly "seek and delight in" the Saviour and His salvation. But to unbelievers the Gospel message heard, but not hearkened to, is only the seal of increased condemnation.

(4) These two classes, which are already being secretly separated from one another by the unobserved judicial process even now going forward, shall be fully, manifestly, and finally separated at the glorious appearing of the Lord from heaven. It becomes us, therefore, to ask, "Who shall stand when He appeareth?" (Malachi 3:2.)

(5) If our faith in the Saviour be the genuine work of His Holy Spirit, it shall stand alike the furnace of affliction which is sent now to remove the believer's dross, and also the last searching judgment, when the Judge "shall sit" upon His throne (Malachi 3:3). (6) The believer needs not fear the fiery trial of afflictions and temptations to which he is subjected now. Christ will adjust the intensity of the fire, and the length of time during which his servants are exposed to it, with the nicest adaptation to their spiritual needs. And when His image is reflected in the glowing mass, the Heavenly Refiner will remove the thoroughly purified metal from the flame (Malachi 3:3).

(7) The Jews, as a nation, have passed, and are passing, through such a fiery trial. The final result shall be, in the wonderful grace of God, "the offering of Judah and Jerusalem shall be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old" (Malachi 3:4).

(8) On the other hand, to the sceptics who mockingly ask, "Where is the God of judgment?" (Malachi 2:17). He will "come near to judgment" (Malachi 3:5). Slow as he seems in executing wrath upon the ungodly, He is witness of all their ways, and soon will appear as "a swift witness" against them. For He is the same unchanging God (Malachi 3:6) at all times-on the one hand, consuming the ungodly at last, who continue to harden themselves against His love; and, on the other hand, sparing (Malachi 3:17) His elect, not for their goodness, but because of His own covenant of grace: as He saith, "I am the Lord: I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."

(9) It was because of His ancient covenant with Jacob that God continued so lovingly to beseech the Jews, "Return unto me, and I will return unto you (Malachi 3:7). But how sad a contrast to His tenderness does their insensibility present! "Wherein shall we return?" they reply, in the tone of injured innocence. And yet there had been a hereditary succession of transgression, the "fathers" having "gone away from God's ordinances," and the children following in their steps. A legacy of sin proves to be a legacy of sorrow. The only way to bar the entail of the "curse" (Malachi 3:9) is to return to the Lord in repentance, and He will return to men with blessings. The change must be in the sinner, not in God: for He changeth not (Malachi 3:6).

(10) They who try to "rob God" only rob themselves (Malachi 3:8). To withhold from the cause of God and of charity what is His just due, is virtually robbing God. Yet how many who have a high name for religion, in the esteem both of the world and of themselves, have no scruple about such robbery, and would indignantly repudiate the charge, saying "Wherein have we robbed Thee?"

(11) A leading cause of the spiritual deadness of Christians is their want of hearty and self-denying liberality. Let us resolve at once to put God to the "proof," by bringing to the Lord's treasury, at the least, not less than the Jews, who did not enjoy our high privileges, systematically gave-namely, a tenth of all our income, besides extraordinary free-will offerings, according as the occasion may require. We shall find that we shall not be losers, but immense gainers, even in this world, so far as concerns our truest good, by venturing boldly to act on the promise of God, and to take Him undoubtingly at His word. When we open our hearts and hands widely to give, God will "open the windows of heaven, and pour us out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:10).

(12) God takes note of the "stout words" and "hard speeches" which men utter against Him (Malachi 3:18). All the while such persons are so blinded by self-love as to be unconscious of their sin: so that, if they were accused by God, their reply would be, "What have we spoken so much against thee?" (Malachi 3:13.) It is presumptuous sin to re present the service of God as profitless, because it does not minister to the selfishness, worldliness, and covetousness of man (Malachi 3:14). Religion is not a matter of bargaining, but it is the love of God producing in the believer love, thankfulness, and instinctive obedience. Such as have this true love to God are truly "happy," which the "proud" never can be (Malachi 3:15); because pride is its own punishment.

(13) When the worldly and carnal speak against God, "then they that fear the Lord" should speak the more for His honour. Mutual love among Christians is promoted by frequent Christian communion. The flame of holy love is best kept alive by the burning coals being brought close together.

(14) Religious conversation is a great mean of spiritual edification. Therefore the believer ought to cultivate Christian fellowship: as David saith (Psalms 119:63), "I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts."

(15) God thinks of them that "think upon His name." They are in his "everlasting remembrance" (Psalms 112:6). A special "book of remembrance" is written before Him for them; and all who are written in that book shall be counted by the Lord among His own "jewels in the day of judgment" (Malachi 3:17). The thief who offered the prayer of faith when all others disowned Christ, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom," shall then be owned by the Lord as His. The godly shall be "spared," when the ungodly shall be overwhelmed. And all then shall see that which is now hidden in part, for the probation of men's characters-namely, that there is a momentous and everlasting distinction "between the righteous and the wicked."

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Malachi 3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/malachi-3.html. 1871-8.