This is a continuation of the previous chapter, so should be read in conjunction with chapter 3… remembering that all of Malachi is one prophecy, some part directly concerning the people who lived at that time, some part to do with the coming of the Messiah, and some part to do with the far future, the end of the world.
Verses 1 - 6
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.
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.
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.
Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
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.
God now tells the priests what they already knew, but which had escaped their thinking for a while: that everything we think, say, and do, has consequences. Adherence to sin in an unsaved man will result in his eternal damnation. The same adherence in a Christian, will result in an earthly separation from God’s presence and, possibly, a loss of crowns in heaven, but he will never be damned.
Nevertheless, “the day cometh”; a chilling prospect, whether we are saved or not, for it signifies the end of everything we now know. On that day, the literal end of the world, the earth and the whole universe will burn to nothing, destroyed. Just as old buildings are brought down and removed to make way for a brand new housing estate, so God will completely annihilate the universe, to make way for His new creation: a new heaven (universe) and a new earth.
At that time it does not matter who you are, proud or humble, king or pauper, vicious dictator or chained slave; all will be reduced to nothing and all knees will bow. No question of it: ALL knees will bow! Everything acquired and worked for by wicked men will be destroyed. Today the world is being subjected to a re-emergence of Marxist control, but when Christ returns and God burns everything He made, none of it will remain, and none of it will ever again be resurrected. And, also at that time, those who subjected God’s people to misery will be cast into hell forever, their evils being their own witness against them.
The opposite is promised to those who believe and obey, those who fear His name. For these, the “Sun of righteousness (will) arise with healing in his wings.” (verse 2). The word ‘sun’ is interesting, but what does it mean? Sun, shemesh, is based on a root meaning ‘brilliant’, rather like a strong light shining suddenly into darkness, bringing everything into clear view. The main meaning is that of a public show, and the shining one gets from many shields glittering in the daytime.
The “sun of righteousness” means that the true nature of God will shine forth suddenly at the last day, obliterating all darkness and sin. The “sun” in this case also means the “Son”, Jesus Christ, as the insertion of “his” shows. When He comes again, then, He will dispel sin and its effects, and bring the light of God’s abode with Him, and this will heal believers badly treated by evil men.
The word “wing”, kanaph, in this text, must mean the border of His garment (though a reference to ‘wing’ would also fit, as a recall of Christ’s role as a hovering mother bird at Creation). Both refer to the care and protection of Christ. There are other possible meanings, but the notion of care and protection is the main fact to bear in mind. The ‘healing’ means a cure for what ails, health, a remedy. Thus, the coming of Christ will bring health and strength back to His people. This is exemplified by saying we shall “go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall”.
That is, to spread out in green pastures, well-fed and healthy, frisky with the joy of life, after being tied-up on earth by our sins. A release from our human state as He changes us into beings fit to enter heaven, pure and holy, acceptable before God.
As the calves grow up into bulls, we shall then trample-down the wicked who oppressed the world. They shall be destroyed by the Lord’s vengeance, reduced to nothing and crushed by the trampling. And so we shall be vindicated and freed.
Malachi reminds the priests to get back to the law of Moses, to remember the Lord their God. Everything must be brought back as new, so that the priests may be holy before their God, and encourage the people to live likewise.
Then, Malachi prophesied that Elijah would return before the end of time comes. This is a reference to John the Baptist, who foretold and went before the coming of the Messiah. When this occurs, the people would turn back to God in large numbers, which is what happened when John and Christ came. One day, many more thousands will turn from dead Judaism to Christ, and they will be given the mantle of evangelism, once again to teach the Gentiles of the Messiah. Those who do not turn will be cursed.
And so this prophecy ends. In its words are warnings and rebuke, but also encouragement and promises. As believers we often sin, but we should not be in despair, for when we repent we will be sent many blessings, overflowing. None of us is perfect, but all of us must work to be so. No local church is perfect, but each one must work to become so. And, when we strive for this goal, God considers us to be already perfect, for we obey, and live to and for Christ, Whose righteousness covers our every failure and sin.
Always remember: God always forgives those who repent, whether completely wretched or fallen briefly. And the time to repent is always NOW. Trust God!
© November 2008
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
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