Weekly Word from Bro. David
February 16, 2017
From The Pastor's Heart:
As we come to the end of our study in the OT book of Malachi we look once again at the last chapter of the book of Malachi. We have seen the people of God, going through the motions of serving God, of worshiping God and being God’s people. But we've also seen that we, the church of today, have a tendency to do the very same thing. My prayer for you is that this series has challenged you to lay aside apathy, complacency, and hypocrisy for genuine and faithful service to Jesus Christ.
In this last chapter of Malachi we are reminded of a prominent OT theme: the Day of the Lord. Throughout the OT, God has promised that there is coming a day of judgment that will make all things right. He will reward the righteous, judge the wicked, and straighten everything out. Malachi reminds us that this is a soon and coming day.
1 "For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up," Says the Lord of hosts, "That will leave them neither root nor branch.
2 But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
3 You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this," Says the Lord of hosts.
4 "Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments.
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
6 And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."
Sometimes it's hard for us to believe that judgment is coming. Because it hasn't happened yet, we tend to think it really won't happen. But throughout the Bible, OT and NT, God's judgment is promised. And it is clear that this coming Day of the Lord will be a day of punishment for the wicked and a day of reward for the righteous. Malachi reveals several facts about this soon and coming day.
We have seen two facts so far and now we see the last fact of this important day. The first fact of his coming we explored through Malachi 4:1 was the truth of His coming! Then we saw the second fact of His coming and it was the triumph of His coming found in Malachi 4:2-3. Now we finish as we see the third fact of his coming and it is the time of His coming in Malachi 4:4-6.
I've heard all my life that Jesus is coming again, but when? Do you know when He's coming? I don't know when. I just know that He is!
Malachi shows us that Moses promised it in verse 4. This verse is very unique and interesting, “Remember the law of my servant Moses.” It seems simple enough, but it's the only place in the OT where someone is exhorted to remember God's law. The command to “remember” is given by God elsewhere, but not involving the law. The idea of not forgetting the Lord, his covenant, his works, or his word does occur elsewhere. The term “remember” combines the ethical or behavioral with the cognitive. The Law of Moses points to a day when One will come to perfectly fulfill that lawand judge accordingly.
Remembering the book of the law was to cause Israel to fear God and honor his name, just as God's “book of remembrance” would cause him to act on behalf of those who feared him and “feared [or] esteemed his name.”
Next we see Elijah predicted it in verse 5. Malachi 4:5 promises that Elijah himself will come, and that his coming is related to the “Day of the Lord” that will burn the wicked like stubble. That's why Jesus said, “Elijah truly shall first come, and restore all things” (Matt. 17:11). Many students believe that Elijah is one of the two witnesses whose ministries are described in Revelation 11:3-12. They believe the other is Moses. It's worth noting that both Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:3), which explains why the three apostles asked about Elijah.
Lastly, John preceded it in verse 5. The prophet Elijah is mentioned at least 30 times in the New Testament, and 10 of those references relate him to John the Baptist.
Elijah has come, in the ministry of John the Baptist, who has indeed prepared the way for the Lord Jesus. But he was rejected and killed as the Son of Man, Jesus Himself, will be rejected and killed.
Like Elijah, John was a courageous man, a man of prayer empowered by the Spirit, a man who lived alone in the wilderness, and a servant who turned many people back to the Lord, but he was not Elijah returned to earth.
There is a fable that tells of three apprentice devils that were coming to this earth to finish their apprenticeship. They were talking to Satan, the chief of the devils, about their plans to tempt and to ruin men.
The first said, “I will tell them that there is no God.”
Satan said, “That will not delude many, for they know that there is a God.”
The second said, “I will tell men that there is no hell.”
Satan answered, “You will deceive no one that way; men know even now that there is a hell for sin.”
The third said, “I will tell men that there is no hurry.”
“Go,” said Satan, “and you will ruin men by the thousands.” The most dangerous of all delusions is that there is plenty of time.
The last phrase of Malachi says, “Lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” It seems odd that the Old Testament scriptures should end with the word “curse.” When we get near the end of the New Testament we read, “And there shall be no more curse” (Rev. 22:3). All of creation is eagerly awaiting the return of the Savior, expecting Him to deliver creation from the bondage of sin (Rom. 8:18-23). We too should be expecting Him and, while we're waiting, witness of Him to others. For when the Sun of righteousness arises, it will mean either burning or blessing (Mal. 4:1-2): blessing to those who have trusted Him, burning to those who have rejected Him.