1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Book of Malachi, Lesson XII, Malachi 2:17-3:1-6

We continue our study in the book of Malachi with the last verse of chapter two which fits so well with what is spoken in Chapter 3 verses 1-6.

In this part of Malachi we find a different situation whereby some were wondering why God was not doing something to correct the sins and corruption in the land.

And this wonder included accusations against God.

So we read in Malachi 2:17, Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?

God hears and hears and hears from Israel words that weary Him for they are faithless words, they are corrupt words.

Malachi presents a human picture of God saying that such words weary the Lord but we know that Almighty God cannot be weary nor fainteth not as Isaiah 40:28 expresses.

But Malachi uses this phrase to communicate something that happens to us after listening to constant complaints from some that nothing is right, all things are wrong with the question of why God does not intervene in the evil that is present all around. 

It is an expression parents use when their children try their patience and wear them out with constant complaining.

This constant question meets the ears of God: Why do the wicked prosper, where are you in all this wherein we who do good suffer while those who do evil seem to prosper?

So the question is asked: Where is the God of judgment?

These questions arise from those who receive doctrine by looking around instead of looking at God. 

It is the looking at the prosperity of the wicked and seeing no punishment for their wickedness. 

Just look around, just think about the nations around, just think of the Babylonians themselves whom they had served for 70 years, who served idols while abounding in wealth, strong in body, having all the goods and power of the world. 

Just looking around had brought them to the conclusion that there is no connection between obedience to Godís word and blessing in this life which is a corrupt conclusion. 

So letís live as we please and do all the things of pleasure, not caring about consequences, for where is the God of judgment?

Where was this glorious future for Israel prophesied by the prophets? 

Here we are still under foreign domination, subject to the commands of the heathen.

Where was the land yielding abundance?

Where was the promised glorious temple more glorious than Solomonís?

Looking around they compared themselves, themselves who had a knowledge of God, with those around, and saw themselves overwhelmed with unsatisfied need. 

Their conclusion is expressed in verse 17 wherein to them it seems that Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them. 

This is the conclusion of the looking around bunch who receive their doctrine, not from Godís word but by simply looking around.

It is the action of the faithless.

For it seemed to them that all things come about by blind chance, and not governed by any judgment of God, and they could even come to the conclusion that evil pleased God for it appeared that God delighted in the evil doers.

This is the kind of conclusion one would come to in Jesusí day as Lazarus, the beggar who sat before the gate of the purple robed rich man begging for the crumbs thrown away from the remnants of the table.

This is the conclusion of those who are not given to see where Lazarus and the rich man go upon leaving this life for they only are able to conclude from what they see and they never see the final chapter where Lazarus is in the comforting arms of Abraham while the rich man is tormented in the flames of Hell.

For without faith you will never know the full story.

Faith carries you beyond the present.

It is not hard to understand this conclusion of those who know not God and Godís word.

For our treasure is in heaven and the things of Earth fade from the sight as we look longingly to our eternal home for we have, through the agency of the new birth, been given eyes to see the things of God.

When those of faith look around they see the things of God.

God does not leave these questions unanswered.   

God is not one to leave people ignorant for Godís word is that which is the ultimate truth for man and all important questions are answered by God who does not wish his people to be without knowledge.

The question Where is the God of judgment? comes to Godís ears and through Malachi these words are given in:

Malachi 3:1-6, Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years. And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts. For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

God is never in a hurry and is always on time. 

We are always in a hurry and many times not on time. 

We are naturally impatient with others and that can even include impatience with God. 

Even those described in the book of Revelation who were under the altar of God that were slain for the word of God cried with a loud voice, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

But Godís timing is perfect and here in Malachi he quickly tells those with whom Heís weary of his plan to right every wrong and to punish all evildoers for judgment will come.

For that glorious message is proclaimed: The Messiah is coming, the Lord Jesus Christ is coming, suddenly to His temple.

But Malachi brings into the discussion the warning: Be careful what you ask for, for in verse 2 the questions comes:

But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:

Are you sure that you want him to come?  Are you sure you want justice?

Are you ready if He comes today? 

Who may abide the day of His coming for He is a refinerís fire and like fullersí soap, a refiner of silver and a purger of gold and silver.

A Fuller is one who makes newly woven cloth full and white by cleaning, bleaching, wetting and beating the fibers to a consistent and desirable condition making the cloth full.

His soap is composed of potash, an alkali, mixed with oil. 

Peter, James and John saw our Lord on the Mountain of Transfiguration and witnessed a shining Jesus, where his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.

The Messiah comes as the fuller of fullers, a purifier, for without purity nothing shall enter into Godís presence.

He will come to separate the wheat from the chaff for the chaff is only good for burning but the wheat will be carefully placed in Godís barns.

He will come suddenly but not without warning for he will send His messenger to prepare the way.

There is in this prophetic book a mixing of the two comings of our Lord for here Malachi speaks of the first coming of Christ where John the Baptist fits this preparation role.

 

Isaiah in Isaiah 40:3 spoke of John when he wrote: The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

 

Jesus verified that John the Baptist was spoken of by Malachi when He said in Matthew 11:10, For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

 

John the Baptist was the first to prepare the way but a second John the Baptist will come to prepare the way when Jesus comes the second time and this ďway preparerĒ is named Elijah by Malachi.

 

You can read this in:

 

Malachi 4:5, Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:

 

There are two comings of Jesus Christ, one already past and one to come. 

 

John prepared the way for the first coming and Elijah will follow in his footsteps, preparing the way for His second.

 

Upon completion of the Transfiguration of Jesus the disciples asked Him as recorded in:

 

Matthew 17:10-13,  And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. 10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. 13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

 

Here we see Elias is spoken of as coming first so both ďway preparersĒ are spoken of with the name Elias. 

 

This is simply the case, for both first and second ďway preparersĒ have the same function. 

 

The second Elias comes in the great and terrible day of the Lord indicating the time of tribulation to come.

 

So Malachiís prophesy, as many prophesies do, speak of a fulfillment of the two comings of Messiah.

 

John the Baptist came to prepare the way of the Lord, that way including Jesusí fulfillment of the Gospel message that all who believe will be saved.

 

And before Jesus second coming there are to be two witnesses and one of these witnesses will either be the literal Elijah of the Old Testament or an Elijah like prophet born and raised in the time of Christís second coming.

 

John the Baptist was a man born in the time of Christís first coming and was called Elias by Jesus so it is not without reason to think that Malachi when speaking of an Elijah that comes in that great and terrible day is also speaking of one born in that time and not necessarily the Elijah of old.

 

It is a mystery not clearly revealed by God so we are to be content in not knowing and instead trusting that in Godís perfect time it will be revealed.

 

But both Elijahís are commissioned to prepare the way.

 

As our wives prepare the house for the coming of guests, so too was the practice of preparing the way before the coming of a king of this earth to a town or city.

 

Messengers would be sent ahead proclaiming the coming of a great dignitary and the townspeople would go out and fill the potholes and ruts, clearing away any impediment in order that the way be made plain, for the king was coming.

 

God sends his messengers to announce his coming to the Earth. 

 

The two witnesses, perhaps including Elijah of old or a new Elijah-like prophet, like John the Baptist will make way for the coming of Messiah.

 

In a similar way our Pastors and teachers of today are Elijahs who proclaim the coming of the Lord for the Lord is indeed coming as he promised. 

 

As John the Baptist proclaimed, and as the Elijah to come will proclaim, Prepare yourself! Get ready, for the King is coming. 

 

And what is he coming to do, but refine, and wash, and purge and purify in a manner never seen in the forges or the refiners of the earth or by the soap that can only wash that which is on the outside.

 

But He not only comes to refine, to wash, to purify but he comes to judge.

 

As the people of Malachiís day looked around they asked: Where is the God of judgment? 

 

The inference of the response of Malachi is that the better question to ask is, Am I ready for His coming?

 

Can I stand when He appears?  

 

Do you know Him as your Savior or will you only know Him as your judge?

 

My, how the Lord is indeed longsuffering for He has sent out the warning alarm for thousands of years. 

 

The messengers of old have been replaced by new messengers, messengers who now warn all over the Earth by a multitude of new forms of communication that the King is coming but for most, the message is that the judge is coming and who can stand before the judge?

 

But regardless of the length of time this call to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and to see Him as your King, most will ridicule this message for unbelief is deep and wickedness and darkness prevails.

 

Peter in his day saw the day coming and he saw the Lord coming and he too heard questions from unbelievers recording this in:

 

2 Peter 3:3-10, Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.  For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

 

But the day of the Lord will come!  Malachi said it, Peter said it, Jesus said it and God continues to say it but He also says to Come unto me and I will give you rest.