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Bible Commentaries
Malachi 4

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Verse 1

The Day of the LORD Comes Burning

The day to come is the day of the LORD, that is the period in which Christ claims and exercises world government. Then it is over and out with ‘the human court’, literally ‘human day’ (1 Corinthians 4:3), that is the period in which man has everything in control, the time in which we live. The day of the LORD comes “burning like a furnace”, which means that that day is heralded by judgment. “Burning like a furnace” indicates the intensity of the fire, its heat, and shows the greatness of God’s vengeance (2 Thessalonians 1:7-Ruth :).

The arrogant, praised and blessed by the unfaithful members of God’s people (Malachi 3:15), and the wicked of the people themselves, will be nothing more than chaff in the flaming fire of God’s judgment. That is all that remains of the highly praised arrogance. The contrast between what they imagine in their lives without God and what they are when the fire of God’s judgment ignites against them cannot be painted more dramatically.

Once again Malachi says that the day that comes will set them ablaze. “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). He radically judges all who have rebelled against Him. There is nothing left of them on earth. “Neither root nor branch” is left. They are both ends of the tree: the root deep in the ground and the branch high in the air. Once the root has been eradicated, nothing can grow out of it. Once the branch is exterminated, it cannot take root. The judgment is total. God will remove all stumbling blocks from His kingdom and throw them into the fire (Matthew 13:41-Luke :).

By the way, this is about the appearance of the Lord Jesus on earth and not about His coming for the church in the air. No unbeliever will be a witness to the latter. If He appears on earth, it will be together with the church.

Verses 2-3

The Sun of Righteousness Rises

In these two verses we see the enormous contrast between what awaits the wicked and what awaits the believers. Again we see the fear of the Name of the LORD (Malachi 4:2; Malachi 3:16). On earth they have suffered for that Name, but when the Lord Jesus comes, the situation will change completely for them.

After the dark night of the great tribulation He comes as the Sun of righteousness bringing light, warmth, freedom, joy and health (cf. Isaiah 60:2; Psalms 84:11; Luke 1:78-1 Esdras :). He “is as the light of the morning [when] the sun rises, A morning without clouds,” (2 Samuel 23:4). The sun is the symbol of dominion over the day (Genesis 1:16). Thus, the day of the LORD is marked by His dominion.

The rays of the sun are compared to wings under which is healing. When the Lord Jesus comes, He will judge the enemies of His people. But for His people He brings healing. He will heal all the wounds inflicted upon His people. They will become a healthy people in body and mind. He makes everything well. He brings forgiveness and healing (Psalms 103:3).

His appearance will put an end to forced hiding for fear of the antichrist’s reign of terror. The believers will emerge from their hiding places. They will “skip about like calves” coming out of the stall after the winter in freedom and in the warmth of the sun. It is the picture of spring.

In addition, the believers of the remnant will be skipping with joy, they will also be used by the Lord Jesus to execute the judgment on the wicked (Malachi 4:3). Those who were trampled first, will now trample them by whom they were trampled. It will be a reversal of the earlier situation (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-Judges :).

Here it is clear that Christ, when He comes, will not enter a world that welcomes Him. He will not enter a world that has been won over to Him by the gospel. If that were the case, there would be no wicked people to trample on.

Verse 4


Malachi begins with his closing words. He makes a final appeal to the people. In doing so he connects himself as the last Bible writer of the Old Testament with the first Bible writer, Moses. Between them lies a period of more than twelve hundred years. Because they are both led by the same Spirit, there is no difference of opinion between them. Because there will be no prophet for four hundred years until John the Baptist starts preaching, the people of God will be all the more dependent on the Word of God through Moses.

Malachi calls on the people to remember this. They have to read and observe again the law of Moses which God has – not given, but – “commanded him”. A return to the Word of God is the only possibility for restoration. This applies to all times, including today (cf. Isaiah 8:20).

God commanded “in Horeb” the law “for all Israel”. The remembrance of the law of Moses is the remembrance of the unchanging basis of His covenant with them. Their safety, and ours as well, lies in obedience to God’s Word. We need the unchanging Word. If we forget it, we must be brought back to it.

Verses 5-6


In the previous verse Moses is presented as the legislator. In these last two verses we see Elijah. His service was to bring the people who had deviated from God’s law back to obedience to the law. In these last verses, Moses and Elijah are connected. The law and the prophets remain as long as the earth exists. We also see in Moses a look back to the origins and in Elijah a glimpse into the future, what it will be like. The assessment of the present must always take place in the light of the past or that of the future.

Both men together have been of great significance to the people of God and the significance of their service remains for future generations. We meet them together on the mountain of transfiguration in the presence of the Lord Jesus (Matthew 17:3). This is a foretaste of the time when Christ reigns in glory and everything will be in conformity with everything they, by order of God, have presented to the people.

When the Lord has come down from the mountain with His three disciples, they ask about Elijah (Matthew 17:9-1 Chronicles :). On the mountain they have tasted something of the coming kingdom. But they also know about this verse here, in Malachi. They have understood from what the scribes say that Elijah must first come before the Messiah can be revealed. Now they have seen the Messiah in the Lord Jesus, but without seeing Elijah coming beforehand.

The Lord answers that Elijah certainly comes first. In this the scribes are right, for it is in accordance with the prophecy. At the same time, He adds that Elijah will restore all things. The effect of the coming of Elijah is the restoration of all things. Also the Son of man has yet to come, that is to say in glory on earth. The Lord Jesus speaks about that coming in glory and in connection with what Malachi here (Malachi 4:5) speaks about, namely, the coming of Elijah. Also in Revelation 11 we have a reference to the service of Moses and Elijah in connection with the coming of the Lord Jesus to earth (Revelation 11:3-Joshua :).

Before He will come in that way, it is necessary that He be presented to the people as the promised Messiah to see if the people will accept Him. He has come to His people in humiliation, to test His people. The result is that He is rejected, as God has prophesied in the prophets. Because John the baptist has come in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17), the Lord Jesus can say that Elijah has already come. But they have rejected John as His forerunner (Isaiah 40:3-Deuteronomy :; Malachi 3:1).

After this explanation, the disciples understand that in John the baptist Elijah has already come, but that the people as a whole have not listened to his message and are therefore not ready to receive the Messiah. Malachi has also spoken about the coming of John the baptist (Malachi 3:1). If John the baptist had been accepted with his message, he would have been Elijah. He performed his service in the spirit and power of Elijah and testified of the coming Messiah.

But John is beheaded and Christ is crucified. That is why Elijah will come once again. He will come again to test the hearts in view of the coming Messiah Who then will not come in humiliation but in glory. Malachi speaks about the coming of Elijah here in Malachi 4:5-Joshua :.

The purpose of the coming of Elijah is to work restoration between the generations to make them spiritually fit to receive the Messiah (Malachi 4:6). Families are ruined by the loss of parental authority. Authority is the framework within which the right relationships between parents and children are developed. The devil is busy spiritually robbing us of our children. It is because of our changed view of them that he succeeds. That is why first the hearts of the fathers have to be restored to their children. Then the hearts of the children will be restored to their fathers.

This reunion is the basis of blessing. If there is no breakthrough here, this means that the LORD will have to smite the land with a curse when He comes. The Lord Jesus will indeed have to smite the land with a curse at His coming. We see how children increasingly disobey their parents (2 Timothy 3:2). More and more children do not even know who their parents are. A normal, biblical family life is disappearing more and more from society.

But there will also be those who will come to repentance through the work of God’s Spirit. They will listen to the call to repentance and be restored in their family relationships. The curse does not affect them. When the Lord Jesus comes, they go with Him into the realm of peace. There, under His blessed reign, they will enjoy all the blessings a family on earth can enjoy.

With these words about the service of Moses and Elijah, the prophetic testimony of the Old Testament ends. God no longer sends messengers to His people until He again speaks to them through John the baptist in the New Testament.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Malachi 4". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/malachi-4.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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