Malachi Lesson Eight

Malachi Lesson Eight – The Day of the Lord

“For indeed, the day is coming, burning like a furnace, when all the arrogant and everyone who commits wickedness will become stubble. The coming day will consume them,” says the Lord of Hosts, “not leaving them root or branches. But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and playfully jump like calves from the stall. You will trample the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day I am preparing,” says the Lord of Hosts. “Remember the instruction of Moses My servant, the statutes and ordinances I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. Look, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome Day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.” (HCSB)

With this lesson, we’ll bring the study of Malachi to a close. There is both judgment and hope contained in this passage, with a final encouragement that those who hold fast to the Lord will be blessed.

Verse 1

The imagery here is referring to the day of judgment when all will be judged. There are two possible eternal paths for each person.

  • Hell for the unrighteous and unrepentant.
    • They will become like stubble – a reference to chaff that is discarded in the harvest process. Chaff is also easily burned.
    • Burning like a furnace. Those who are “discarded” during the harvest process will face a fire that will torment and consume them. 
    • Joel 2:1-3 – Blow the horn in Zion; sound the alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the residents of the land tremble, for the Day of the Lord is coming; in fact, it is near— a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and dense overcast, like the dawn spreading over the mountains; a great and strong people appears, such as never existed in ages past and never will again in all the generations to come. A fire destroys  in front of them, and behind them a flame devours. The land in front of them is like the Garden of Eden, but behind them, it is like a desert wasteland; there is no escape from them. 
    • They will have no hope, no future, no brighter day.
    • There will be no escape for those who live in disobedience to Yahweh.
    • Jesus warns that we shouldn’t fear the death of our body but what happens next.
    • We don’t know everything about hell, but there are some things we do know.
      • It is a real place.
      • It is a place of separation from God and all that is good.
      • It is a place of just punishment.
      • It is a place where there is memory.
      • It is a place of hopelessness. 

Verses 2-3

The first verse highlighted the judgment on the wicked. Here in the following two verses, we see what will happen to those that fear the Lord. 

  • The sun will rise over them. There are two interpretations of this illustration, and both are correct.
    • In the ancient Near East, it was common to describe the sun as the wings of a bird, as well as the healing that came with the protection found under the wings of a bird.
      • Psalm 84:11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and glory; He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity.
      • Psalm 104:1-3 My soul, praise Yahweh! Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with majesty and splendor. He wraps Himself in light as if it were a robe, spreading out the sky like a canopy, laying the beams of His palace on the waters above, making the clouds His chariot, walking on the wings of the wind.
    • A reference to the return of Jesus, the Son.
      • Isaiah 60:19-21 The sun will no longer be your light by day, and the brightness of the moon will not shine on you; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your splendor. 20 Your sun will no longer set, and your moon will not fade; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and the days of your sorrow will be over. 21 Then all your people will be righteous; they will possess the land forever; they are the branch I planted, the work of My hands, so that I may be glorified.
  • They will have unbridled joy. This illustration points ahead to a time when there will be no more sickness, no more darkness, no more sorrow, no more death, no more persecution, and no more sin.

Those who once were persecuted now find themselves in the favored position. I think it is important not to misunderstand the phrase “trample the wicked” as depicting the righteousness stepping on the wicked in an arrogant or self-righteous manner. Instead, it is the reversal of fortunes. Those who once physically and emotionally trampled on the righteous are now the ones who are trampled on in judgment from an infinitely holy God. Those who fear the Lord are given a place of honor for eternity, while those who rejected the Lord are given a place of condemnation.

Verse 4

Now Malachi refers Israel back to the law of Moses. However, this is the only instance in the Old Testament that a person or group of people are called to remember God’s law. It was often used in prayers for God to remember the person petitioning God in prayer. It was also used by God as a command to remember, but those cases didn’t involve the law. There are several points to consider regarding the phrase “remember the instruction” and “Horeb.”

  • Horeb was another name for Mt Sinai, and it has a strong connection with Yahweh’s covenant with Israel, which Moses received. 
  • It would cause Israel to fear God.
  • It would cause them to honor His name.
  • Israel was always called to remember God’s commands. Numbers 15:38-40 – 38 Speak to the Israelites and tell them that throughout their generations they are to make tassels for the corners of their garments, and put a blue cord on the tassel at each corner. 39 These will serve as tassels for you to look at, so that you may remember all the Lord’s commands and obey them and not become unfaithful by following your own heart  and your own eyes. 40 This way you will remember and obey all My commands and be holy to your God.
  • Malachi was calling Israel to live a lifestyle that was directed by the application of God’s Word and not by human wisdom, ambition, or cultural norms.

Verse 5

Not only does Horeb have a connection with Moses in the previous verse, but here there is a connection between Horeb and the prophet Elijah.

  • Exodus 3:1 – Meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
  • 1 Kings 19:8 – So he got up, ate, and drank. Then on the strength from that food, he walked 40 days and 40 nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.

It is also the location where Israel pleaded to “not to continue to hear the voice of the LORD our God or see this great fire any longer, so that we will not die!” (Deuteronomy 18:16). This plea is the reason Moses told the people, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15). The overwhelming position on this last verse is that Moses is pointing far into the future and identifying the Messiah. At the very least, it points to the succession of prophetic covenant mediators, of which Elijah is considered the greatest symbol.

Verse 6

The “Day of the LORD” referenced in verse five points not only to judgment but also to the ministry that must occur before that day.

Joel 2:28-31 – After this I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions. 29 I will even pour out My Spirit on the male and female slaves in those days. 30 I will display wonders in the heavens and on the earth: blood, fire, and columns of smoke.31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and awe-inspiring Day of the Lord comes.

The prophet Joel is pointing to a future period of revival before Jesus’ return.

There is also an implied reference to Messiah with Moses and Elijah, which we read about in the transfiguration account. Luke 9:29-31 – As He was praying, the appearance of His face changed,  and His clothes became dazzling white. 30 Suddenly, two men were talking with Him—Moses and Elijah. 31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of His death, which He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem. 

When we look at these last three verses of Malachi in conjunction with the transfiguration account, there are a couple of points we need to remember.

  • Moses was a prophetic servant.
    • He was an agent of deliverance for Israel and their bondage in Egypt.
    • He “officiated” the marriage covenant between Yahweh and Israel when the Mosaic covenant was instituted.
    • He brought God’s instructions to Israel and taught them that these instructions were to shape their relationship to Yahweh.
  • Elijah was the classic model of a prophet of repentance.
    • He was God’s prophetic messenger. 
    • He announced a new divine intervention and called for people to repent.
    • Those who failed to heed the words he spoke on behalf of Yahweh would be held accountable.
    • Jesus was the suffering servant.
      • He was the agent of deliverance for all mankind.
      • His blood instituted the New Covenant.
      • He called for people to repent.
      • He taught what was contained in Scripture, i.e., The Sermon on the Mount.
      • Those who don’t submit to His lordship will be held accountable on the day of judgment.

The “curse” that will come is eternal separation from God. It will be final and irrevocable.

As we close this book, we see a picture where Malachi draws a contrast between those whose actions display obedience to God and those whose actions are disobedient to God. There are two eternal destinations here.

  • It will be a day of blessing for those who have submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ.
  • It will be a day of pain and suffering for those who have rejected Jesus Christ.


  • The foremost question to ask yourself is, “am I follower of Jesus?” If the answer is no, then the day of judgment will be the start of eternal torment. If the answer is yes, then the day of judgment will be the start of eternal joy. We will all answer that question as we stand before the throne of Jesus. Submit your life and serve Him here and now.
  • For those who are followers of Jesus, do you share your faith with the understanding that the lost around you are on the path to eternal torment? Is there an urgency in your evangelism? If not, pray for courage and opportunities to share your faith.
  • If you once were a faithful follower of Jesus but have fallen away, repent and return. That is one of the overarching themes of Malachi. God is patiently waiting for the rebellious to return. However, there will be judgment for those who fail to come back.

Malachi Lesson Seven

Malachi Lesson Seven 3:13-18 – Righteous and Wicked

“Your words against Me are harsh,” says the Lord. Yet you ask: “What have we spoken against You?” 14 You have said: “It is useless to serve God. What have we gained by keeping His requirements and walking mournfully  before the Lord of Hosts? 15 So now we consider the arrogant  to be fortunate.  Not only do those who commit wickedness prosper, they even test God  and escape.” 16 At that time those who feared the Lord spoke to one another. The Lord took notice and listened. So a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who feared Yahweh and had high regard for His name. 17 “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of Hosts, “a special possession on the day I am preparing. I will have compassion on them as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. 18 So you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. (HCSB)

This passage introduces the final section of Malachi and provides more clarity with what was stated in the previous section. The weight of the discussion is focused on the fact that Israel had still not returned to Yahweh with all its heart. They were going through the motions and still failed to see their disobedience, leading them to believe that they were righteous but still being punished.

Verse 13

The words chosen for both sides in this discussion, Yahweh and Israel, set the tone of the exchange. Yahweh’s statement is very strong, as evidenced by the phrase, “says the LORD.” However, the Israelite’s response is even stronger and could be interpreted as arrogant or insulting. The phrase, “what have we spoken against you” is used in:

  • Divine judgment speeches.
    • 1 Kings 16:1 – Now the word of the Lord came to Jehu  son of Hanani  against Baasha:
    • 2 Kings 19:21a – This is the word the Lord has spoken against him: 
    • Ezekiel 36:5a – This is what the Lord God says:
  • It is also used to describe arrogant, slanderous, or insulting speech directed at other people or Yahweh.
    • Psalm 31:18 – Let lying lips be quieted; they speak arrogantly against the righteous with pride and contempt.
    • Psalm 109:2 – For wicked and deceitful mouths open against me; they speak against me with lying tongues.
    • 2 Chronicles 32:16-17 – His servants said more against the Lord God and against His servant Hezekiah. 17 He also wrote letters to mock Yahweh, the God of Israel, saying against Him: Just like the national gods of the lands that did not deliver their people from my power, so Hezekiah’s God will not deliver His people from my power.
    • Ezekiel 35:13 – You boasted against Me  with your mouth, and spoke many words against Me. I heard it Myself!

Verse 14

Here we find the warped reasoning behind the behavior and attitude of the Israelites and many Christians today. They don’t believe there is any satisfying or profitable in serving God. If they aren’t “rewarded” in some way, money/job/house/etc., there is only a shallow reverence for an infinitely holy God. They were putting on a facade of mourning and repentance, but their heart was nowhere near that.

But in a twisted way, they were right; their “service” to God was pointless.

  • Ritual carelessness.
  • Ritual faithlessness.
  • Treachery.
  • Sorcery.
  • Adultery.
  • Perjury.
  • Exploitation or neglect of the defenseless and needy.

Supposed good works that don’t flow from genuine faith and gratitude to God are the same as a check written from a bank account that doesn’t have any money in it. It may make the “giver” feel good for a short time, but the recipient, God, sees that there is no value in the offering. The people identified here were only interested in material gain and not in a relationship with God.

Verse 15

Here we see that the Israelites had joined the group who viewed God’s laws and instructions as something to be rejected. They gave two reasons for their decision and subsequent behavior.

  • The wicked prosper. 
  • The wicked test God and escape punishment.

However, the wicked will face a time of judgment and punishment, even if they (we) don’t see it.

  • Proverbs 11:21a – Be assured  that the wicked will not go unpunished.
  • Hebrews 12:25 – Make sure that you do not reject the One who speaks. For if they did not escape when they rejected Him who warned them on earth, even less will we if we turn away from Him who warns us from heaven.

As we reflect on these first three verses, we need to consider if we are just as guilty as the disobedient Israelites addressed in Malachi.

Verse 16

Even though there was a sizable portion of Israel that were disobedient to God’s instructions, we see here that there was at least a remnant who revered God and followed His instructions. Even though God was focused on the disobedient in the hope that they would repent and return, He hadn’t lost sight of those who were obedient from the motivation of right heart attitude. 

We may think that it makes little sense for the creator of the heavens and earth to need a book to remember these people, but this would resonate with the Israelites. An example of this is found in Esther 6:1-2 – That night sleep escaped the king, so he ordered the book recording daily events to be brought and read to the king. They found the written report of how Mordecai had informed on Bigthana and Teresh, two eunuchs who guarded the king’s entrance, when they planned to assassinate King Ahasuerus.

The idea of heavenly books is too widespread throughout Scripture to think they are just a metaphor.

  • Book of Life.
    • Exodus 32:32 – Now if You would only forgive their sin. But if not, please erase me from the book You have written.
    • Psalm 69:28 – Let them be erased from the book of life and not be recorded with the righteous.
    • Philippians 4:3 – Yes, I also ask you, true partner, to help these women who have contended for the gospel at my side, along with Clement and the rest of my coworkers whose names are in the book of life. 
  • The Book.
    • Daniel 12:1 – At that time Michael  the great prince who stands watch over your people will rise up. There will be a time of distress such as never has occurred since nations came into being until that time. But at that time all your people who are found written in the book  will escape.
    • Ezekiel 13:9 – My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and speak lying divinations. They will not be present in the fellowship of My people or be recorded in the register of the house of Israel, and they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord Yahweh.

The clear conclusion is that those who have submitted to God with a reverent and repentant heart, who desire to follow His instructions, who will stand against the evil in the world, and teach others what true worship looks like will not be forgotten. Instead, they have a sure reward waiting for them in eternal heaven.

Verse 17

Although the overwhelming thrust of Malachi is on pending judgment and destruction for the wicked, God is also merciful and has compassion for those who fear Him. The judgment will not be total or indiscriminate. God will spare those who are righteous and those who are wicked. This will happen on the eschatological day of the Lord when the righteous will be redeemed and the wicked punished.

This is God’s answer to the false understanding of the disobedient Israelites. Although they may think the wicked and arrogant are not being punished, God’s message is loud and clear. There will be a day of winnowing where the righteous will receive their reward, and the wicked receive their punishment; none will escape.

Verse 18

The “you” connects back to the speakers of the harsh words. Faithful servants of the King will be rewarded. Esther 6:9 – Put the garment and the horse under the charge of one of the king’s most noble officials.  Have them clothe the man the king wants to honor, parade him on the horse through the city square, and proclaim before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king wants to honor.’ 

The “garden” of the earth will face a final pruning on the Day of Judgment. 

Matthew 13:41-43 – The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather from His kingdom everything that causes sin and those guilty of lawlessness. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Anyone who has ears should listen!

The wicked will no longer prosper, and the righteous will no longer suffer.

What is the difference between these two groups of people…integrity and character. 

  • Those who fear the Lord walk with Him, and their thoughts are of God.
  • Those who don’t fear the Lord are always looking out for…themselves.

A proper understanding of the final result should lead us not to be envious of those who are wicked but prosper. Instead, we should feel deep sympathy and sorrow for them. The enjoyment they experience in this life is the only enjoyment they will ever have. Their temporary prosperity will be followed by eternal torment.

Psalm 73:17-20 – until I entered God’s sanctuary. Then I understood their destiny. 18 Indeed, You put them in slippery places; You make them fall into ruin. 19 How suddenly they become a desolation! They come to an end, swept away by terrors. 20 Like one waking from a dream, Lord, when arising, You will despise their image.


  • Do we envy or strive to be like those who are prosperous, even if those people are wicked? If that is the case, our focus is on the wrong thing. We need to focus and follow the Creator and not the created. 
  • Even if we are a persecuted minority in this world, we should always desire to part of the “remnant” that remains faithful to God no matter what is happening around us. No matter the circumstances we’re going through, God has not forgotten or forsaken us.
  • Do you consider yourself special? This is a tricky question. We are special and unique in God’s eyes, wonderfully made. Our identity and worth are found in Jesus, not in anything of the world. If the world tells you that you’re special, ignore them. Our “specialness” is found in Jesus.
  • Pray for the lost and wicked around you. There is an eternal destination for each of us, and judgment is very real. Do you have a passion for reaching those on the road to eternal destruction?

Malachi Lesson Six

Malachi Lesson Six 3:7-12 Robbing God

“Since the days of your fathers, you have turned from My statutes; you have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of Hosts. But you ask: “How can we return?” “Will a man rob  God? Yet you are robbing Me!” You ask: “How do we rob You?” “By not making the payments of the tenth and the contributions. You are suffering under a curse, yet you—the whole nation—are still robbing Me. 10 Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this way,” says the Lord of Hosts. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not ruin the produce of your land and your vine in your field will not fail to produce fruit,” says the Lord of Hosts. 12 “Then all the nations will consider you fortunate, for you will be a delightful land,” says the Lord of Hosts. (HCSB)

This passage introduces another dispute/rebuttal sequence between Yahweh and Israel. The topic is over tithing, although it is much deeper than just giving back to God. The real issue is obedience (faithfulness) versus disobedience (apostasy). 

Before beginning this passage, let’s have a quick reminder of how the previous lesson ended with verse six; the unchangeable nature of God. This theological doctrine is called immutability. Since God is perfect, He can’t and doesn’t change. Here are two important truths about this statement.

  • God can’t get better since that would mean He was less than perfect at some point, which would also indicate He is not God.
  • God can’t get worse because He would then be less than perfect, which He can’t be. 

God is and must remain perfect in all His attributes. Nevertheless, it is our unchangeable God who gives us a chance to change, which is something we all must do. The beginning of this passage will now reveal how that occurs.

Verse 7

This verse contains a three-fold exhortation.

  • Situation – Since the days of your fathers, you have turned from My statutes; you have not kept them.
  • Command – Return to Me.
  • Motivation – and I will return to you.

The statement “since the days of your fathers” covers a large period of time, approximately 1,000 years. Like all people, Israel had a long history of being disobedient to Yahweh. What may have contributed to the situation presented in Malachi is Old Testament teaching from the time of Moses before Israel entered the promised land. 

Deuteronomy 4:25-31 2“When you have children and grandchildren and have been in the land a long time, and if you act corruptly, make an idol in the form of anything, and do what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, provoking Him to anger, 26 I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that you will quickly perish from the land you are about to cross the Jordan to possess. You will not live long there, but you will certainly be destroyed. 27 The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be reduced to a few survivors among the nations where the Lord your God will drive you. 28 There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see, hear, eat, or smell. 29 But from there, you will search for the Lord your God, and you will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart and all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, you will return to the Lord your God in later days and obey Him. 31 He will not leave you, destroy you, or forget the covenant with your fathers that He swore to them by oath, because the Lord your God is a compassionate God.

In the mind of at least some of the Israelites, maybe most of them, they believed that since they had been restored from their exile. However, a quick review of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi shows that the prophecies regarding Israel’s repentance and spiritual restoration and blessings had not yet been completed.

Verse 8

Up until this point in Malachi, Yahweh had levied charges against Israel in the following areas.

  • Insulting worship – 1:4
  • Treachery against one another – 2:10
  • Intermarriage with pagan idolators – 2:11 
  • Treachery against their wives – 2:14
  • Toleration of sorcery, adultery, perjury, and exploitation of the weak – 3:5

Now, Yahweh draws their attention to the fact that they were not tithing as required. The Old Testament references “the land” more than 1,000 times, with the vast majority connected to Canaan. Canaan was the land that God promised patriarchs, the land given to Israel, the land where the people would be blessed. The way Israel treated the land and its produce was a key component of their responsibility under the covenant. Ownership of land was understood to mean participation in the covenant community to whom God had given the land. But that ownership was validated by an attitude of faith and thankfulness toward Yahweh. The land was given as an inheritance to Israel, but it was, in reality, stewardship and not ownership. The reason for stewardship and not ownership is because of the habit of humans to sin and forget who gave the gift.

  • Leviticus 25:23 – The land is not to be permanently sold because it is Mine, and you are only foreigners and temporary residents on My land.
  • Deuteronomy 6:10-12 – 10 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land He swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would give you—a land with large and beautiful cities that you did not build, 11 houses full of every good thing that you did not fill them with, wells dug that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant—and when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful not to forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.

In addition, every third year, the tithe was supposed to be distributed in the giver’s hometown to benefit the Levites, foreign residents, orphans, and widows.

Deuteronomy 14:28-29 – 28 “At the end of every three years, bring a tenth of all your produce for that year and store it within your gates. 29 Then the Levite, who has no portion or inheritance among you, the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow within your gates may come, eat, and be satisfied. And the Lord your God will bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.

Just like the Sabbath year, the tithe would benefit the poor and those who couldn’t own land (Levites), demonstrating love to God and their neighbors.

Let’s look at this concept from a New Testament perspective. Nowhere in the New Testament is the believer instructed to give a specific amount, tithe, or other. However, weekly offerings are described.

1 Corinthians 16:2 – On the first day of the week, each of you is to set something aside and save in keeping with how he prospers, so that no collections will need to be made when I come.

Also, in a general sense, the New Testament obligations of Old Testament legislation are increased rather than reduced. Understanding this, the moral conclusion is that Christians, being blessed with the fullness of life under the sacrifice of Jesus, should give more than a tithe since everything we have comes from and belongs to God.

Verse 9

The idea that Israel was robbing God is given two more pieces of evidence. 

  • They were suffering under a curse. Looking ahead to verse 11, the curse could have been in several different circumstances.
    • It could have been a plague on the harvest – locust or drought.
    • It could also refer to an enemy.
  • It was the entire nation that was guilty.

Verse 10

This verse is effectively split into two parts.

  • Bring the full tithe into the storehouse. The word “full” could be understood in two ways, both relevant and accurate.
    • Israel was not bringing the full tithe. Instead, they were withholding part, or all, of the requirement in the Law.
    • The whole (full) nation was guilty of this charge.
    • Because the Levites were dependent on the tithes for sustenance (since they couldn’t own land), if they were neglected, it was more than a simple sign of disobedience. It signified a deeper problem of falling away from their relationship with Yahweh that the Levites modeled (complete dependence on Yahweh).
  • Test Yahweh and see if He will bless and sustain you.
    • If the people would return to God and be obedient, they would receive an abundant blessing.
    • First, we need to understand what this is not. 
      • It is not support for or an endorsement of a prosperity gospel.
      • It doesn’t mean we’ll get a promotion, new house, new car, etc.
      • Those who promote the prosperity gospel are actually saying that human activity can force God into doing what they want. This is the same as implying that God is not sovereign.
      • Instead of a false “name it and claim it” theology, it would be more appropriate to promote a “live it” theology. Act like a child of God, and we’ll be treated as one.
    • It does mean.
      • God’s provision will match our needs.
      • It won’t lead to waste or overindulgence.

Verse 11

As mentioned under the discussion of verse nine, the word “devourer” can have more than one meaning. In general terms, it indicates something that eats. However, it is often found in expressions of destruction.

  • Fire: Hosea 8:14b – I will send fire on their cities, and it will consume their citadels.
  • Human armies: Jeremiah 30:16a – Nevertheless, all who devoured you will be devoured, and all your adversaries-all of them-will go off into exile.

Even though Israel was hanging under a curse, Yahweh was prepared to reverse that to a blessing if they would repent and turn back to Him. 

Amos 9:14 – I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel. They will rebuild and occupy ruined cities, plant vineyards and drink their wine, make gardens and eat their produce.

Jeremiah 31:5 – You will plant vineyards again on the mountains of Samaria; the planters will plant and will enjoy the fruit.

Verse 12

In this verse, Israel is described as a symbol of blessing and the recipient of God’s grace and favor. However, this does not occur apart from obedience and faithfulness. But it does point to a future time when Israel will undergo a national repentance the will precede the earthly reign of Jesus and be characterized by Yahweh’s protection, provision, prosperity, and presence.

  • Romans 11:26
  • Joel 2:18-32


  • If you have strayed from your relationship with God, cling to the promise He makes. Return to Him, and He will return to you.
  • Understand what it means to rob God. Are you giving back to God what He has blessed you with? Are you cheerful in your giving? 
  • Ask yourself if you truly believe that God will meet your needs (not wants). If the answer is no, then pray for more faith and opportunities to display that faith through action.

Malachi Lesson Five

Malachi Lesson Five 2:17-3:6 Judgment at the LORD’s Coming

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you ask, “How have we wearied Him?” 

When you say, “Everyone who does what is evil is good in the Lord’s sight, and He is pleased with them,” or “Where is the God of justice?” 

3 “See, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire—see, He is coming,” says the Lord of Hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who will be able to stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner’s fire and like cleansing lye. He will be like a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. And the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will please the Lord as in days of old and years gone by. 

“I will come to you in judgment, and I will be ready to witness against sorcerers and adulterers; against those who swear falsely; against those who oppress the widow and the fatherless, and cheat the wage earner; and against those who deny justice to the foreigner.  They do not fear Me,”  says the Lord of Hosts. “Because I, Yahweh, have not changed, you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed.

This passage concludes the second address in Malachi. Judah’s sin of unfaithfulness was widespread in the community and was primarily associated with injustice. However, Judah was unable or unwilling to recognize their corruption and instead viewed their economic and social issues as an indicator of God’s unfairness or unfaithfulness. God’s response to their grumbling was to announce the coming of a messianic messenger, who would purge and purify God’s people, including the priests.

Verse 2:17

Looking back at verse 16, we see that that injustice was widespread throughout Judah. It was because of this pervasive injustice that God didn’t bless the works of their hands. In the minds of the people, they felt they deserved divine blessings, but instead, they believed they received divine injustice. Israel believed that those involved in evil (but not them) were perceived as good in the eyes of God while they received mistreatment.

  • Deuteronomy 18:12 Everyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and the LORD your God is driving out the nations before you because of these detestable things.
  • Deuteronomy 25:16 For everyone who does such things and acts unfairly is detestable to the LORD your God.
  • Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

Verses 3:1-6

This section contains four predictions, with the first three being followed by the result and the last by an antithesis. 

  • First prediction/result.
    • God is sending His messenger.
    • The path is cleared.
  • Second prediction/result.
    • The LORD will go to His temple.
    • Who will be able to endure that day?
  • Third prediction/result.
    • He will refine and purify the people.
    • The righteous will be cleansed, and the unrighteous cast aside.
  • Fourth prediction/antithesis.
    • He is coming to judge.
    • God never changes; His promises are true and endure.

Verse 1

The divine messenger spoken about here would administer the covenant in two ways.

  • In a narrow sense, it would be the covenant made with Israel in the Sinai desert that promised judgment for unbelief.
  • In a broad and ultimate sense, the messenger would be sealing the covenant God made with Abraham that promised vindication to God’s chosen people and a blessing to all the nations of the earth.

Verse 2

This presents a rhetorical question as no one can endure His coming. The tense in the original Hebrew is a future tense, “who will endure…?”

The twin statement about refining and washing (cleansing lye) illustrates of a constant reminder found in the Old Testament of the separation between sinful man and an infinitely holy God. Thus, physical washing became linked to the need for cleansing a sinful soul.

  • Exodus 19:10 And the LORD told Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, They must wash their clothes.
  • Psalm 51:2 Wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.
  • Isaiah 1:16 Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves. Remove your evil deeds from My sight. Stop doing evil.
  • Jeremiah 2:22 Even though you wash with lye and use a great amount of soap, the stain of your sin is still in front of Me. This is the Lord GOD’s declaration.

However, cleansing can only be received through the sacrifice of Jesus.

  • 1 Corinthians 6:11 And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
  • Titus 3:5 He saved us – not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy – through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
  • Revelation 7:14 I said to Him, “Sir, you know.” Then he told me: These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Verse 3

Now we see an illustration of God as a metalworker creating a masterpiece. In contrast to the previous verse where God was depicted as fire, and the process is unpleasant, here He is depicted as an artisan who will remove all of the dross, leaving only the finest components behind. This refining will lead to a priesthood that is focused and obedient to God. Thus, throughout Scripture, we read about God “refining” people with the ultimate goal being cleansing and purification for holy work.

A second point to this verse is that the cleansing when the Lord comes must begin with the temple and the priesthood. For us today, that cleansing must begin in the church and with all of Jesus’ followers (we are all priests), but especially with those in leadership positions within the church.

Verse 4

This verse describes the result of the third prediction, contained in verse three. Since the verse contains the phrase “Judah and Jerusalem,” it should be understood that the cleansing that took place in verse three extends beyond just the official priests. 

In contrast to the beginning of this passage, where God was “wearied” by their disobedience, those who have been refined and cleansed now bring offerings that please God.

Verse 5

This verse is the last prediction contained in this passage. After the purification identified in verse three, God will exercise judgment against the wicked. There are six sins listed in this verse.

  • Sorcery: Attempting to control the physical and spiritual world through incantations, charms, and rituals. These practices were why the Canaanites were under God’s judgment. 
  • Adultery: Sexual activity outside of marriage.
  • False swearing: Making an oath but not keeping it, particular oaths that defraud or harm others.
  • Those who oppress widows and orphans: Defrauding, robbing, or oppressing widows and orphans.
  • Those who cheat their employees: Practicing extortion on employees.
  • Those who don’t give justice to foreigners: Just as the lack of fear of the Lord has resulted in religious practices that insult Him (1:6-14), this has also resulted in injustice towards the helpless. 

In the post-exilic Judah that Malachi was addressing, some members of the community had returned to the greed and corruption that had resulted in their exile. What is astounding is that although they had recently returned from this disaster, they were now speeding down the same path once again.

In this letter, Malachi has three main topics that he addresses.

  • Vain offerings (1:2-2:9).
  • Treachery in relationships (2:10-3:6).
  • Withholding of tithes (3:7-4:6).

A person’s spiritual health and completeness as a child of God can often be determined by three main indicators.

  • Attitude toward and relationship with God – the theological aspect.
  • Attitude toward and relationship with others – the social aspect.
  • Attitude toward and use of possessions – the economic aspect.

These three aspects form an ethical triangle and are woven together in our actions. Throughout this letter, Malachi is condemning the ethical state of post-exilic Judah (Israel). They are sliding quickly back into ethical bankruptcy. 

Verse 6

This verse is a direct and stinging rebuke of the peoples’ charge that Yahweh was treating them unfairly and was being unfaithful to their covenant relationship. If, in fact, Yahweh was being unfair and not remaining faithful to their covenant relationship, He would have already erased them from the face of the earth. Instead, Yahweh showed extreme patience and extended unmerited grace and mercy to them because of His faithfulness. Although God had punished them for their disobedience, He didn’t, and couldn’t, cut them off permanently. 

  • Isaiah 46:3-4 Listen to Me, house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been sustained from the womb, carried along since birth. I will be the same until your old age, and I will bear you up when you turn gray. I have made you, and I will carry you; I will bear and save you.
  • Romans 11:1 I ask then, has God rejected His people? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.


  • Evaluate your Christian walk. Is it possible that you are “wearying” God with your words and actions? If so, repent and live in a way that will be pleasing to God.
  • What would be the outcome for you if the “Day of the Lord” came today? Are you secure in your relationship with God, or will you not be able to endure His coming? Each of us is one breath away from eternity. When you leave this earth, will your next breath be in the coolness and peace of heaven or the agony and flames of hell?
  • If you are walking in righteousness, embrace the refining that God is putting you through. He is preparing you for future and greater works.
  • Evaluate your ethical triangle and see if you need to improve in any of the three areas. None of us are perfect; it is very likely that at least one area will be identified as needing improvement.