Commentary by Dr. Mark G. Cambron
Malachi was the last of the prophets. After he spoke there was a silence of over 400 years until the voice of John the Baptist was heard sounding forth: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." The name Malachi means "Angel of the Lord."
I. National Election (1:1-5)
II. National Rejection (1:6 - 4:6)
A. The Rebuke of the Priest (1:7 - 2:9)
1. Temple Abused (1:7-14)
2. Priestly Failure (2:1-9)
B. The Rebuke of the People (2:10-17)
1. Divorce (2:10-16)
2. Insincerity (2:17)
C. The Coming of Christ (3:1 - 4:6)
1. Judgment upon Evil Doers (3:1-6)
2. Specification of Evil Deeds (3:7-15)
3. Vindication of God's Way (3:16 - 4:4)
4. The Forerunner of Israel's Messiah (4:5-6)
Malachi is the last of God's prophets before the Rapture, but directed to Israel. Who he is, is not recorded, but we know by the contents in his prophecy that the Temple, though smaller and less expensive than Solomon's temple, is now complete. And the words of rebuke of the priests and their priesthood is strongly attacked shows that Israel was growing in numbers, and at the time of the books writing, people and priests were in a backsliding condition and indeed needed such rebuke as God through His servant Malachi was giving.
Speaking for God as His messenger, in God's stead He declares, "I have loved you, saith Jehovah." Yet you have the audacity to answer the Almighty in your answer, "Wherein has Thou loved us?"
Was not Esau Jacob's brother, saith Jehovah, yet I loved Jacob,
"And hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons (jackals) of the wilderness.
"Wherefore Edom (the descendants of Esau) saith we are beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins. Thus saith Jehovah Sabaoth, They may build, but I will throw down, and men shall call them the wicked territory, and the people against whom Jehovah is indignant forever.
"And your eyes will see this, and you will see this, and you will say, "Jehovah will be magnified beyond the borders of Israel."
Good manners deserve high appreciation for "a Son honors his father, and a servant his master." "If I then be a Father, where is my honor: and if I be a master, where is my respect (fear)? saith Jehovah Sabaoth unto you, O priests who despise My name." [Is it possible that the teachers of Israel forbid their congregations to utter the WORD "Jehovah" saying it is the forbidden name of God. There is no place in the Law which makes such a statement, nor in the Tenach. Is it that leaders despise the name Jehovah, the LORD's personal name, that the leaders despise the name of Jehovah?
Yet God in Joel 2:32 says, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of Jehovah shall be delivered (saved)." How can one call on Him and not mention His name?]
O priests that despise my name. But you say, "How have we despised Thy name?"
You are presenting defiled food (polluted bread) upon My altar. But you ask, "How have we defiled Thee?" In that you say "The table of the LORD (Jehovah) is contemptible."
But when you offer (present) the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now to your governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person saith Jehovah Sabaoth.
"Now will you not entreat God's favor, that He may be gracious to us? With such an offering on your part? Will He receive you kindly?" says the LORD of Hosts.
"Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for naught? Neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for naught. "I have no pleasure in you," saith Jehovah Sabaoth. "Neither will I accept an offering at your hand."
Because of Israel's unbelief, whether it be Jehovah Himself or His Temple or His feasts, or observances, therefore for the time being, Israel is only marking time to see whether Jehovah will close His eyes to Israel's inconsistencies or will chastise them sorely, only this, the generation which came after the 70 year Babylonian captivity was no better than the generation which was before the captivity. For the time being, (2000 years now) Jehovah is turning to Gentiles. And they will honor the name of Jehovah, and He shall be revered among the heathen (Gentiles). Jehovah's name shall be great among them.
Israel has profaned the name of his God, for he has said that the table of Jehovah is polluted, and the fruit thereof, its food is contemptible.
To worship Me, you say "How tiresome (weariness) it is to follow our God's direction, and you have sniffed at it, sayeth Jehovah Sabaoth, and you brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick, thus ye brought an offering; should I accept this of your hand? saith Jehovah.
"But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock, and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to Adonai, for I am a great King, says Jehovah, and My name is feared among the nations."
Verses 1 - 10
Message of Jehovah to his Priests continued.
"And now O you priests, this commandment is for you!
"If you will not hear,
"And if you will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith Jehovah Sabaoth, I will send even a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart.
"Behold, I will corrupt your offerings, and spread refuse upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts, and you will be taken away with it.
"Then you will know that I, Jehovah, have sent to you, that My covenant may continue with Levi (brother of Moses), says Jehovah Sabaoth.
The following certainly arouses our thinking on Levi — for it was he who carved the calf out of the collected gold by the children of Israel who wanted a god they could see, while Moses was upon Mt. Sinai receiving the two tablets of stone upon which God Himself wrote His Ten Commandments. But listen to our God. "My covenant was made with him (Levi) of life and peace, and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared Me and was afraid before my name.
Verses 6 - 7
The law of truth was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not found on his lips. He walked with Me in peace and uprightness and he turned many back from iniquity. He did his utmost to please Me — for the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the Messenger of Jehovah Sabaoth.
But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have corrupted the Covenant of Levi, says Jehovah Sabaoth.
So I have made you despised and abased before all the people just as you are not keeping My ways, but are showing partiality in the instruction.
Whether we be Jew or Gentile, do we not all have one father? Has not One God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother, so as to profane the covenant of our fathers.
Judah (the people of the lower Kingdom of two Tribes and Simeon) and as an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of Jehovah which He, Jehovah, loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god.
Jehovah adds this curse, "As for the man who does this, may Jehovah cut off from the tents of Jacob everyone who awakes and answers, or who presents an offering to Jehovah Sabaoth.
"Another sin of yours I point out, you cover the Altar of Jehovah with tears, with weeping, and with groanings because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hands.
"And another thing! For what reason?" "Because the LORD has a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant."
Some have remarked that this verse is hard to translate, but I believe that the paraphrased translation of the Living Bible is very good as it includes in the whole text the relationship of priest and wife in their union before their God. "You were united to your wife by the Lord. In God's wise plan, when you married, the two of you became one person in his sight. And what does He want? Godly children from your union. Therefore guard your passions! Keep faith with the wife of your youth."
Jehovah says, "I hate divorce. Are your trying to legalize your separation by seeking a divorce, lying to the leadership of the nation with this act of the flesh — a cover up of the real reason you seek such a separation!
"You have wearied Jehovah with your words." How come? you may ask. By declaring "Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of Jehovah, and He, God, delights in their action. Where is the God of judgment? He does not know nor care." What lies against our great God Jehovah.
Remember the word Malachi is in reality "an angel", the meaning of it equals "Messenger". A Malachian, therefore, could be a heavenly being with a heavenly message, or he could be an earthly being having an earthly message, or an earthly being having a heavenly message.
In this chapter we have two earthly beings, one with a earthly message (John the Baptist), the other an earthly being with a heavenly message — Jesus the Messiah.
In verse one we find that Jehovah is sending one John the Baptist who shall prepare the way of Messiah Jesus. (Isaiah, chapter 40 is the first reference to John the Baptist in the Old Testament Scripture.)
"Behold I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me:" Then we go to the Gospel of John and read in chapter 1 verses 6 - 8:
"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light." (John 1:6-8)
"John bear witness of Him and cried, saying, This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me" John 1:15. "And this is the record of John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, `Who art thou?' And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, `I am not Messiah (Christ)'" John 1:20.
"And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elijah? And He saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. They said unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the Way of the Lord as said the prophet Elijah (Esaias)."
"And they which were sent were sent of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizeth thou then, if thou be not that Christ (Messiah), nor Elias (Elijah), neither that prophet? John answered them saying, I baptize with (in) water: but there standeth among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me whose shoes latchet i am not worthy to unloose" (John 1:21-27).
"Next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me, for he was before me. And I knew him not but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come to baptize with (in) water.
"And John bare record saying I saw the Spirit (Holy) descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him. And I knew Him not; but He that sent me to baptize with (in) water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with (in) the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God" (John 1:29-34).
This was God's revelation to John the Baptist that Jesus the Messiah is the Son of God. But strange things can happen. John the Baptist was cast into prison by Herod for declaring that it wasn't lawful for Herod to marry his brother's wife. Later in prison, John the Baptist sent his messengers (angels) [earthly beings having an earthly message] to the Lord Jesus and asked "Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?" Luke 7:19. Just think, John the Baptist, under persecution and trial had doubts.
"And in the same hour, He cured many of their infirmities, and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind He gave sight. and Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Me" (Luke 7:21-23).
A great man was John the Baptist, a faithful servant of God became, but testing showed that he was just a man in the flesh because of adversity, he doubted. This can happen to the strongest Christian. But what did the Lord say? He didn't denounce John the Baptist, but signs he wanted and signs He gave.
Listen to the Lord Jesus:
"Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. for all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Matthew 11:11-15)
Here in the first verse of Malachi, chapter 3, God does not only reveal the forerunner of the Saviour, but the Messiah Himself!
"And the Lord whom ye see' here the word Lord is not LORD, Jehovah, but another name of God which is "Adonai" which is translated "Master, Owner". Even Sarah called Abraham "Adonai" Master, as related to a husband. This name of the deity is applied to human beings as well as to God Himself.
"shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant." Here Messiah Jesus, the Son of God, is declared to be the Angel of Jehovah. He is not a created being but the Creator manifest in the flesh.
In Isaiah, the triune God asked among themselves, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I Here am I, send Me" (Isaiah 6:8). Not only did Isaiah fulfill this question, but Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity answered "Send Me"! And the Triune God did send the second person of the Trinity to become the lamb of God who was to die upon the Cross for sinners. And He rose again form the dead after paying the demand God asked. Yes, He died for our sins according to the Scripture, and was buried and rose again according to the Scripture. He's alive! He's alive! He's alive!
The Messenger is Christ of the New Covenant. He became "the sent One," and He adds, "As the Father has sent me, so send I you!" (John 20:21)
What a promise over two thousand years ago
The coming One shall be
The Lord (Adonai, master, owner, yet God).
Messenger of the New Covenant, for the old Testament.
(The old covenant, the Law, has passed away. "For Christ, the Messiah, is the end of the law (old covenant) for righteousness to everyone who believes" Romans 10:4).
As we read this second verse, we know that it is speaking of Messiah when He appears the Second time. His first coming He came as a Lamb; at His Second Coming, He shall came as a Lion. When He came the first time, He came lowly, but at the second coming, He comes as one high and lofty.
The Scripture asketh "who shall stand when He appears the second time/ for he shall be as refiners' soap. And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. And He shall purify the sons of Levi [this excludes the Cohens (priests)]". Just think, for 2000 years the priests of Israel have had no temple, no sacrifices, and no atonement, but God has given encouraging words for Israel and the Levites.
"Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD (adonai Jehovah); Although, I have cast them far off among the heathen (Gentiles) and although I have scattered among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come" (Ezekiel 11:16).
Instead of a Temple of Stone, of Gold, and Bronze, God, the Almighty One, shall be Israel's sanctuary! But Israel has not sought him.
But when Messiah comes, the Holy One, Levi and the Cohens will offer unto Jehovah an offering in righteousness.
"Then shall the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasing to Jehovah as in the days of old and as in former years." (verse 4)
Who shall be the priest unto this New Temple that Messiah Jesus shall build? Born again believers, both of Israel and of the Gentiles.
"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:" (I Peter 2:5,9)
Messiah Jesus in His second coming shall certainly meet out judgment to the people of the world who are unregenerated, lost Gentiles and Israelites.
He, Jesus Messiah, the omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing) God manifest in the flesh shall witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers, against swearers, and those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and turn aside the stranger, and fear not Me, saith Jehovah Sabaoth.
"For I am Jehovah. I change not; therefore, ye sons of Jacob are not destroyed."
Beginning with your father you are gone away from mine ordinances, and not kept them. Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, saith Jehovah Sabaoth. But you said, Wherein shall we return?
Another profound accusation: Will a man rob God? Who would dare? You would! You have robbed Me! But you say "Wherein have we robbed thee? The answer: In tithes and offerings.
You are cursed with a curse — a curse upon Israel, God’s anointed people? For you have robbed me, even this whole nation!
Now bring you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now saith Jehovah Sabaoth, and if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. "Come on, let's take our God at His word!"
I will rebuke Satan for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith Jehovah Sabaoth.
And think of the appreciation the Gentiles shall have for Israel "And all nations shall call you blessed: for you shall be a delightsome land, saith Jehovah Sabaoth."
Your words have been arrogant against Me, saith Jehovah, yet you say, What have we spoken so much against thee?
You have said, It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinances, and that we walked mournfully before Jehovah Sabaoth?
And now we call the proud "happy"; yes, they that worketh wickedness are set up; yes, they that tempt God are even delivered.
But oh, what joy for the righteous: "And that feared the LORD spake often to one
[It was G. Campbell Morgan who said, "Before I was saved I was afraid what harm God would do to me, but after I was saved, I was afraid of what harm I would do to God."]
Another, and the LORD hearkened and heard it, and a "book of remembrance" was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and thought upon His name.
And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts in that day. When I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth Him.
Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth not.
In the Word of God we find that sometimes when the Lord speaks of a day He is speaking of a twenty-four hour day. Then at other times when the word is spoken, it can be an undetermined time. It could include several months and years such as the day of salvation, which began with the ministry of Messiah Jesus.
Then there is the Day of Jehovah. It shall begin with the nations gathering together against Jerusalem and Judah in the last half of the Tribulation (Zechariah 14:1-3) and shall continue on through the Millennium, together is 1003 1/2 years.
This first verse speaking of "the day" cometh which is part of the Day of the LORD. When the Millennium is set up and Messiah's enemies shall be judged and burnt up [this is not the great white throne] Matthew 24:37-41 [this is not the rapture] and Matthew 25:31,32,46.
The Great White judgment at the Throne occurs after the Millennium, and rapture occurs before the Tribulation begins.
Behold the day cometh after Messiah sets up His kingdom. The wicked Jews shall be judged (Matt. 24:37-41) then the lost Gentiles — these two companies are those who are alive but lost, in fulfilling 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10. "And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that KNOW NOT GOD and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all of them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day."
But unto you that fear My name, shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go forth, and grow up as calves in the stall.
And you shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, says the LORD of Host.
"Remember ye the law of Moses" — of course Israel has not come under the gloriousness of the New Covenant, though Jeremiah 31:37 clearly declares a New Testament other than the Old Testament made on Sinai which Covenant Israel broke. Israel couldn't conduct herself under the New Covenant for Israel was still blinded when God spoke through Jeremiah.
"Behold, I send you Elijah." The Lord Jesus said "if you can take it, John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah and fulfilled this verse.
That is so, but actually Elijah it is hoped, shall come before the Tribulation begins. Who will believe him?
Those whose hearts are turned to the children, and the children whose hearts are turned to the fathers "Lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."