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This Chapter is not unlike the former in the opening of it; but the Prophet is soon led to speak in Jehovah's name of the Lord Jesus, under the character of Levi. The after part is in reproof for the people's infidelity.
We have an authority in the opening of this message, to refer it to the priests of the Jewish dispensation. But, I think, without violence, though the priests, as leaders in the temple service, are first in order, yet the doctrine contained in what is here said may be supposed to have respect to all that attended their service, since dung was to be spread upon their solemn feasts. And was it not (I do not say as much, only ask the question,) thus to show the total inability of all services, and all offerings, to bring glory to God? What otherwise could be the meaning of the punishment, to curse their blessings? Is not the curse of the fall upon every person, and every act, until taken away by Christ? And was not these things as shadows ministering to Christ? Oh! that men would now hear, and lay it to heart, both priests and people, that they might arrive at the Prophet's conclusion. Isaiah 64:6-7 .
All that is here said of Levi, must be understood only as typical of the Lord Jesus Christ; for never could it be said of any other but Christ, that iniquity was not found in his lips. And though it be spoken as of a thing passed, yet that is no uncommon thing respecting the Lord Jesus. Isaiah spake of him by the spirit of prophecy, as a man despised and rejected of men, ages before he was openly manifested. He is despised, said Isaiah, Isaiah 53:3 . And John declared him to have been the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8 . And if we read this blessed account of our Great Levi, the Lord Jesus Christ, and connect with what is here said our relationship to him, what can be equally lovely or blessed? It is with Him, Jehovah declares his covenant was made of peace. And indeed, He is the whole of it. And what endears it to our view under this most delightful character, is, that He, with whom the covenant was and is made, is the Fulfiller of it; the Messenger of it; the Administrator of it; and the Preserver of all the blessings of it. So truly blessed therefore, is this declaration of our God and Father, that we never can be sufficiently thankful for thus revealing his gracious mind and will concerning it. And those two verses come in, in this place, like a parenthesis, to relieve our souls from what was said before, and what follows, concerning the profaneness and impiety of the priests.
The Prophet is commissioned again in these verses, to follow up his former reproofs. The low and impoverished state of the Church, in the ordinances, which rightly used to lead to Christ, are real blessings; but if abused, to keep from Christ, become curses; these effects are said to be induced by their perversion. Then persons also are made contemptible. And it should seem also, from what is here said of their partial administration of the law, that they had forgotten their common relationship in Abraham. Hence the expostulation, have we not all one Father? Alas! how many evils spring out of one, even a departure from God!
These are all so many striking expostulations to the same amount; showing the people, that both in their conduct towards each other in relative and social duties, as well as in their reverence to the Lord, they had shamefully gone back, and committed transgressions. But in the midst of all, as if to show man his total unworthiness, and the Lord's own glory, Jehovah describeth himself under that endeared character, the Lord the God of Israel; that is, God in covenant; and therefore as such, he hateth putting away. This is the grand cause for which Israel indeed is not put away, after all his rebellions, and all his departures. See similar passages, Isaiah 42:0 the last verses with the first verses of Isaiah 43:0 . So again the close of Isaiah 43:0 with the opening verses of Isaiah 44:0 ; Ezekiel 16:58 to the end Ezekiel 36:31 to end.
Reader! while we take part in the just reproaches of Israel, in their kingdom of priests, in beholding their transgression, and feeling our own; let us seek relief from the distressing contemplation, by directing our view unto the Lord Jesus, our covenant of peace, and our all-sufficient righteousness. Hear what Jehovah, in this blessed portion of the Chapter, saith of Him. First, the Lord God bears testimony to Him, that He is the Lord's covenant. Secondly, that the Lord gave the people, with all the blessings of the covenant to Him. Thirdly, observe the high testimony of Jehovah to his personal holiness arid purity, the law of truth was in his mouth. And, lastly, the success of his undertaking; for he is said to have turned away many from iniquity. Pause, Reader! and think with holy rapture and joy, of those glorious credentials to thy precious Redeemer and Mediator. Then turn once more to thy Jesus, and behold Him as Jehovah hath presented him to thee, thy peace through the blood of his cross; and in his righteousness contemplate thy righteousness in Him. Yes! thou blessed, gracious, holy Redeemer! thou art indeed all this, and more to thy people! The covenant, in all its sum and substance, thou art. Thou wert present in its contrivance: the foundation, hope, and end of it, in its fulfillment; the Messenger of it to thy people in the delivery of it; the Administrator of all its blessings in its accomplishment; and the fountain and Keeper of all the grace of it here in this life, and the glory of the whole of it in the life to come. Hail! thou glorious Covenant-Head of thy body the Church! the fulness that filleth all in all.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Malachi 2". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany