About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Chapter - Chapter 2
1 says that the following “abomination” is for the priests of Israel. The priests had abominated
the temple worship and now God is going to abominate the priests in
verse 2 God says that if the priests don’t “listen” to what He has
to say, and “if they don’t set their hearts” to honour God’s
name then God will bring judgment to them.
Note here there are two things the priests need to do.
The first is “to listen” to what God is now telling them, but
listening is not enough. As
James so often says in the New Testament, “faith without works is
dead”. Listening without
works is useless.
wants these priests to honour “His name”. The
way in which they are to honour the name of God is important.
They must honour God from their hearts.
It must be with heart felt conviction, and not simply out of
routine and tradition. Routine
and tradition is what they’ve been doing all along, and that has not
satisfied God in the least.
problem that was taking place back then, and is also present in parts of
the church today is that when people serve God out of routine and
tradition, and from a spirit of hypocrisy, those people misrepresent God
to those around them. People
seeing these Jewish priest, and people seeing many Christians today,
begin to have the wrong impression of who God is because of our
behaviour. God is far from
happy with this.
last part of verse 2 tells us what God will do if these priests don’t
listen and honour His name from their hearts.
God says that He will both curse the priests and their offerings.
It’s not just that God will reject their offerings, or even
reject them. He will go one
step further and curse both their offerings and the priests.
Once again, if God can do this to Old Testament Israel, He can do it to the New Testament church, and to nations as well.
The domination of
will also note in verse two that God “will curse the priest’s
blessings”. This means that as the priests blessed God’s people for
good, God would turn that blessing into a curse. Then God goes on to say
that in fact He’s done that already.
That which was meant to be for good from the priests, ends up
being bad, all due to God cursing the blessings of the priests
3 continues to show us how God felt about His wayward people.
He says that He will cut their descendents off, that is, cut them
off from the family of God. We often see the term “cut off” in the
Old Testament. It usually refers to being cut off from God’s chosen
people. In john 15 Jesus
uses the same phraseology when He speaks of His followers not abiding in
Him. He says that He will
cut them off from the vine. He
compares Christians to branches on a vine, and if the branches don’t
receive the nutrition from the vine, they will be cut off, thrown into
the fire and burned.
rest of verse 3 is sickeningly descriptive.
God says that He “will spread the offal from their animal
sacrifices on their faces and will they will be carried off with it”.
The word “offal” can be referred to any kind of waste
product. Dung would be an
example. Leftovers from the
burned animal sacrifices could be an example.
So what God is saying here is that anything left over from the
butchering of animals for sacrifices will be spread on the faces of the
Jews, and they, with these filthy faces will be carried away and burned
and buried with the waste of these animals.
That does not paint a very good picture of the fate on wayward Israel. You have to think about
this. This is God speaking
to His people. This is the
loving and just God , who is the God of the Bible, the God of all true
believers in Jesus. Most
people today do not view God in such a light.
says that at this point Israel
will know that He has made a covenant with Levi.
Most scholars suggest that the covenant spoken of here is the
Mosaic Covenant. The sons of
Levi were the priests of the tabernacle.
Levi thus represents the Law of Moses in a generic sense.
God cuts Israel
off from being His people, they then will remember the covenant God made
with their fore fathers. They will remember that God is the only true
God Almighty. Some suggest
that this is prophetic of end time
verse 5 God states that His covenant that He gave Levi, or in fact Israel, was “a covenant of life and peace’.
Within the covenant were the blessings and curses.
obeyed God, then they would be blessed.
If they didn’t, the would be curses.
God is now talking to Israel
about being on the verge of being cursed.
last half of verse 5 tells us one reason why God gave the Law.
It was to bring
in verse 5 God said that Levi showed “awe” for the name of God.
Levi reverenced the name of God by representing God properly
before His fellow Jews, and before the world.
God takes great pride in His name because it speaks to who He is.
When we do not properly represent God as we should, His name, who He is,
gets distorted and the world does not see a proper representation of
Him. Once again, it is
clear. How God felt against
verse 6 God speaks very highly of Levi.
He says that “true instructions were in his mouth”.
This means that Levi properly instructed the people to serve God
as they should. He spoke and
taught what was written in Scripture.
He did not teach or speak from his own thinking.
continues to say that “nothing false was on his lips”.
Levi was not a hypocrite. He
did not say one thing and do another.
What he said was true and accurate.
His words and life was one of integrity.
last part of verse 6 says that Levi walked with God.
Of course this is figuratively speaking. This means that as Levi
lived his life, He included God in all that He did.
He lived in such a way that He obeyed God in all things that
would bring glory and honour to God’s name, not his name.
Because Levi walked with God, his walk was one of “peace and
uprightness” says God, something that is always the case for those who
walk with God. Peace is
fundamental in a godly life, even in the midst of trials and troubles.
last phrase in verse 6 says that Levi led many away from their sin.
This too is the life of a godly person.
He or she will lead people away from their sin because they will
be an example of someone not walking in overt sin.
God is doing here is contrasting Levi, one of
verse 7 God continues to speak to the failures of the priest, those who
were to lead
is often the case in today’s world of church as well.
So often preachers preach what they feel is right, and much of
that is not Biblically based, is not from our Lord.
One of the main jobs of a godly leader is to preserve godly
knowledge and dispense it to those they are responsible to care for.
last phrase in verse 7 says, “because he is the messenger of God”.
The treasure-house of knowledge should be found in the priest,
and in our Christian leaders today because they are God’s messengers.
This was even more so in Old Testament days.
In New Testament times we have the Holy Spirit to teach us and to
tell us what is right and what is wrong.
Old Testament people did not have the Spirit of God living within
them. This means that we
will be judged more severely than those God is speaking to through
Malachi, and what He says through Malachi sounds pretty serious and
verse 8 God says two things about the priests of Israel. He says that they have forsaken the ways of God and have turned to
their own ways. The second
thing is that the priests had violated God’s covenant.
mere fact that second rate animals were being sacrifice was one example
of a violation of God’s Law, or God’s covenant.
in more liberal churches today, we see leadership forsaking the ways of
Biblical truth. We are not
under the Old Covenant, but we are under the New Covenant, and this
covenant is being violated today with a gospel of works, with the laying
aside of what the cross is all about, and most of all, laying aside the
Deity of Christ, which is fundamental to the New Covenant.
verse 9, because of the priests violation of the covenant God says that
He has humiliated the priest before all people.
The priests who were to be highly respected by men and women
would become respected by very few.
This too can be seen in many parts of the church today.
Christian ministers once were well respected men but because of
some of these men’s way of living, they have lost much of their
last part of verse 9 tells us another reason why the priests would lose
respect. They violated the
Law of Moses by “showing partiality
in matters of the Law”. This
means that some laws they obeyed, and others they didn’t.
They chose what were important to them, and those they felt not
important they found ways to get around them without disobeying them,
but in reality, they disobeyed them in their hearts, and that is where
Christians today do the same as the priest in Malachi’s day.
They pick and chose what parts of Scripture they feel important.
The liberal church will attempt to follow certain moral teachings of
Jesus, but won’t believe in His claim to Deity.
verse 10 we have a bit of a departure in writing style.
Whereas prior to this point Malachi writes as if God were
speaking. He now writes as
if he were speaking on behalf of God.
in verse 10 Malachi asks two questions. They are, “have we not all one
father”, and, “did not one God create us”?
question speaks to the core of Israel’s existence. They have
one God and Father. The word
“Father” refers to God.
then asks that if they do in fact have one God and one father, why do
they profane the covenant of their fathers by “breaking faith with one
another”. The term
“breaking faith” means “breaking trust”.
The foundation of
equates breaking up of trusting relationships between people with
breaking of the relationship these very people have with God.
In other words, when one breaks trust with another, they
break trust with God. This
is so because God is fully trusting. That’s just part of His nature.
Then we are to trust Him with our lives, just as Israel
was supposed to do back then. The natural thing to do next would be to
trust one another as an extension of trusting God.
The whole matter of trust originates with God, and when we break
trust, we’re breaking something that is part of God.
goes on to speak of a specific relationship here, but there’s a
general principle to be recognized.
Any relationship that has been put together by God, based on
trust, if that relationship is broken, then that affects the
relationship that those people have with God.
seen this to be true in Christian marriages.
When one partner leaves the other, for the most part, the leaving
partner has first left Jesus before he actually leaves his spouse.
It is this marriage relationship that Malachi is about to
address, but I believe the same principle applies to relationships
within the church today.
2:10 to 14 in the NIV states that
Hebrew word "chalal" is translated into English as
It means "to pierce, or, to rip up", as in "rip up
So, by "breaking faith", or, "acting
Hebrew word "bagad" is translated in the NIV as "broke
faith" and in the KJV as "treacherously".
"Bagad", in this context, means "to cover
up", as in hiding something.
Thus "bagad" means to "act covertly, to defraud,
or, to hide something from someone".
It's acting hypocritically; appearing to live one way but
actually secretly living another way.
tells us how
11 says that “
was detestable to God was the fact the men in
thought concerning this mixture concerns the church today.
In many respects we have married the church to worldly
philosophies and practices. The
church looks more like a business in the corporate world than it does a
New Testament church in many respects.
We should not have this mixture, and I’m sure God feels the
same way about our mixture as He did back in Malachi’s day with Israel.
verse 12 we see the just nature of God, something that has little to do
with modern day tolerance thinking.
God says that those men who have married women of foreign gods
will be “ cut off from the tents of Jacob”.
What I believe this means is that God cuts these men out of the
people of God. This is
exactly the terminology that Jesus uses in John 15 when He says that He
will cut those people out of the vine who refuse to remain in Him.
Those men, both in Malachi’s day and in our day, who do not
follow in the footsteps of the one and only true God, will not be a part
of His people.
the last phrase of verse 12 we note that these men may well continue to
bring their offerings into the temple for worship, but they mean nothing
to God. The bringing of
these offerings may make the men feel good, but they do nothing in the
eyes of God, and they will not benefit the men who bring them.
These offerings are a complete waste of time.
question can be asked of Christians today.
How much of what we do in the name of church, which we claim is
in the name of Jesus, is done in the same way s these men in Malachi’s
day? I’m convinced that
many things that many people do in church these days mean nothing to
God. They may benefit us in
some ways, but not in our relationship with our God.
church organizations that have forsaken Biblical truth, or other church
organizations who are so traditional that the presence of Jesus can’t
be found spend much of their time for naught.
verse 13 we see something else God is unhappy with concerning His
people. Apparently they come
to the altar of God with tears and with weeping, anguishing over the
fact that God does not appear to be with them. They cry out and ask for
God’s presence. The
problem is that their tears don’t match their way of living.
They appear spiritual at the temple but carnal once they leave.
learn something here. It
doesn’t matter what we do in church, or back in those days, in the
temple, if we are not living right.
The number one thing that Jesus got upset over was religious
hypocrisy. This is what is
being spoken of here in Malachi. God
does not like the hypocrite, something that these Jews were.
therefore cannot expect God to do for us what we think He should when we
are not living according to His will.
We may go through all of the motions, but once again, God may
turn His back and ignore us.
verse 14 we have God’s expected answer by these Jewish men.
They ask “why”? They
ask God “why have you forsaken us”?
God has no other choice but to forsake the religious hypocrite in
his sin. This is what took
place on the cross with Jesus. God
had no other choice but to turn His back on Jesus since He was so full
of our sinfulness.
answers these Jewish men by telling them that He was standing as “a
witness between these men and the wives of their youth”.
These men would have married in their youth, younger than most
people marry today. At some
point later on they divorced the wives of their youth to find another
wife, but this wife was not even Jewish.
These women were pagans.
would have been bad enough that these men divorced their wives and
remarried someone else, but to remarry a pagan, that’s double bad.
the words this verse ends with. They
are, “the wife of your marriage covenant”.
Marriage was seen as an everlasting covenant in those days.
It was not seen as an agreement that could be broken, at least in
the eyes of God. These men
had entered into a covenantal relationship with the wives of their
youth, but they broke that covenant.
to be clear. I have been
using the plural form of the word men and wives.
I’m not suggesting that these men had more than one wife, even
though some of them might have had more than one wife.
They were certainly not allowed to have more than one wife.
question is asked in verse 15, “has not the Lord made them both
one”? This is a clear
reference to creation when God made man and woman in marriage they would
be “one”. Jesus repeats
this though in His discourse In Matt. 19 on divorce when He uses these
words to say that Moses allowed for divorce but divorce was not part of
God’s original intention for men and women at creation.
next phrase helps clarify the question.
It says, “in flesh and in spirit they are one”.
This is very interesting to me.
I think most people consider the oneness of marriage spoken of as
being purely physical, but that is clearly not the case according to
these words. This
oneness is also spiritual. It
is my thinking that intimacy within marriage is more than physical, but
spiritual. You’ve often heard the phrase “kiss and make up” after
a couple have a fight. Well,
in the kissing and in the making up process a joining of spirits take
place. Two spirits are
joined that breaks down walls. This
is why the physical union between a husband and wife is so important.
thought concerning this spiritual union is that there is a spiritual
element to mankind, and this element should be seen in marriage.
question is now asked. “Why one”?
The answer is that God was seeking godly offspring.
The physical and spiritual union between a husband and his wife
would produce an offspring that was meant to be godly.
That was God’s intent. Divorce
tends to destroy the possibility of godly offspring because the children
do not see, neither do they
experience godly faithfulness and trust.
This results in them having no trust and faith as well.
the last part of verse 15 God says to “guard yourself in your spirit
and do not break faith with the wife of your youth”.
God first says “guard your spirit”.
It is deep within a man, or a woman as well, where the seeds of
mistrust and adultery begin. God
tells us over and over again in Scripture to guard our hearts.
Our hearts are where we feel, where we think, where we decide,
and if we don’t guard this part of who we are, being frail as we are,
we will stray.
clearly tells us not to break faith with the wife of our youth.
The “breaking of faith” is the problem here.
God is faithful. Faithfulness
and trustworthiness is basic to the very nature of who God is.
The breaking of trust in any kind of relationship goes against
the very nature of who God is. This
is why God says “I hate divorce” in verse 16.
another thing that is mentioned in verse 16 that God hates, and that is
when a “man covers himself with violence”. Another rendering of the
word “himself” is the word “wife’.
This statement seems to suggest some kind of violence the man has
taken against the wife of his youth.
God hates that.
not sure, but the reference to a “garment” in the next phrase might
suggest the husband covering the scars of the violence he has done to
section ends with the command, “so guard you spirit, and do not break
faith”. Once again, it’s
the guarding of our spirits that will save us from breaking faith, and
will also save us from many other sins.
Christian circles today, men and women are divorcing one another at
alarming rates. There is no
real difference in the divorce rate between Christians and
non-Christians. Both groups
divorce at pretty much the same rate.
We must know that God hates this and this is one reason why we
don’t see the supernatural in the church today as it was seen in the
book of Acts. When God’s
people fail to obey God, He will not attach His name and His miracles to
beyond divorce, God hates any kind of trust that has been broken.
A Christian should be true to his word because that is the very
nature of the God they serve. Therefore
if we are breaking faith, and breaking trust as Christians, we can
expect God to feel the same way towards us as He did towards these men
17 says that the Jews “Have wearied the Lord with their words”.
The Jews at this point in their history were complainers.
They complained about God not helping them in the restoration of
His temple and of His city. They
were like many people today who ask, “if there is a loving and caring
God, why does He allow all the sufferings in the world?”
would ask, “if we are God’s people, why isn’t He helping us?”
is clear from verse 17 that God does not like this complaining and
questioning of who He is and what He does.
Malachi says that God is weary of all these words.
God does get weary with His people, and if He got weary back
then, He probably gets weary today.
second part of verse 17 is
last part of this verse tells us specifically how Israel
is not walking as they should. They
claim that God likes those who do e
often hear Christians having a hard time understanding how sinners do
very well, while they don’t do so well.
Why are non-believers financially secure while they as Christians
are falling behind. There’s
nothing new with this mentality.
other thing that the Jews say that show how far they have strayed, and
shows why God doesn’t hear their prayers is their complaint of God not
being just. They ask,
“where is God’s justice”. Simply
put, if God is who He claims to be, that is, a God of justice, where is
the justice in sinners succeeding while His people don’t succeed.
simple fact of the matter is that God holds His people to a higher
standard than He does the rest of the world.
If we don’t rise to the level of where we should be, then we
are judged by Him accordingly.
3 verse 1 continues on from God’s side of the argument and is
explicitly prophetic. First
of all God says through Malachi that He will “send His messenger who
will prepare the way before me”. Most
scholars believe this messenger is John the Baptist.
The New Testament speaks of John being the one who would make
straight the way for the Lord. (John
might suggest that this is not John the Baptist because of what comes
next. John prepared Jesus’
way as seen in the New Testament. He
prepared the way for Jesus’ three year ministry, resulting in the
cross. But what comes next
in Malachi does not appear to be the servant Jesus who once appeared on
earth The Jesus that seems
to be portrayed next is the Lord Jesus who comes in judgment at the end
of this age.
says that “the Lord who you are seeking will come to His temple, the
messenger of the covenant, whom you desire will come”.
Note here that the one who is coming is the one who Israel
presently was seeking. But
the coming of that one is in a way that was not expected by the Jews.
They want God to come to them and help them succeed in restoring
of the temple and the city of
may seek God, and He may come to us and answer us.
But His coming and His answers may not be as we expect or even
term “messenger of the covenant” is used in verse 1.
This is a direct phrase relating to Jesus.
He is the One who has brought the New Covenant to the world, and
some say brought the Old Covenant to the world as well.
We need to note here that even though there is an old and new
covenant, the new should be understood in light of the old and an
extension of the old in one sense of the word.
2 says that “who can endure the day of His coming, and who can stand
when He appears”? This
has to be in reference to Jesus’ second coming because men and women
alike were able to stand before Him in His first coming.
the question is asked, “why does Malachi speak of John the Baptist in
reference to Jesus’ second coming when it appears that John made
straight the path for Jesus’ first coming.
It is only my thinking at present, but John the Baptists work of
making the Messiah’s path straight had more far reaching implication.
Because He made Jesus’ path a little straighter, it led to
Jesus’ three year ministry, His death, His resurrection, His
ascension, and then, His return. John the Baptist’s work included the
return of Christ.
this, I believe that John the Baptist himself was prophetic of another
John the Baptist like figure at the end of this age which Malachi names
as Elijah in chapter 4. This
Elijah will prepare the way for the Lord’s second coming.
the case, most commentators believe it is John the Baptist that is being
spoken of here.
2 is a perfect picture of what it will be like when Jesus returns.
No one will be able to stand in His presence.
Everyone will fall to their knees as Paul says and confess that
Jesus is Lord, and that means, Lord of all things.
You see Jesus’ return in the book of Revelation and it is one
majestic point in time.
last part of verse 2 compares Jesus to a refiner’s fire and a
launderers soap. When Jesus
returns, He will clean the world of all sin.
This is the great Judgment Day to come.
Satan and those who follow him will be cast into the Lake
in eternal judgment as seen in the book of Revelation.
verse 3 we see the refiner who purifies.
This is a continuation of the same thought from verse 2.
Malachi specifically says that the Levites will be the one who
will be purified. The
question that should be asked here is this, “does the Levites get
purified at the return of Christ, or at some point prior”.
For the Futurist who believe the book of Revelation is to be
fulfilled in the future, that is, the last seven years of this age, they
would say that this purification takes place during those last seven
years. The last seven years
of this age is called the Great Tribulation.
It’s also called “Jacob’s trials”.
Futurists believe that the Great Tribulation, although effecting
the whole world, is first and foremost meant to be judgment upon
verse 4 we see the purifying is over.
Malachi says that at this point acceptable offerings will be made
Futurists have a hard time with the idea of the Jews making sacrifices
during those thousand years. They
say that the cross has done away with all such things.
The Futurist replies to this with the idea that the sacrifices
are not for the forgiveness of sins, but a memorial for the forgiveness
Jesus purchased on the cross.
the thousand years is up, the devil will be released for a short time
and then Jesus will throw him and his followers into the Lake
the Futurists are right, the thousand years might all be about
Christians and Jews living as they were meant to live.
The Jews will live as they were meant to live in Old Testament
times with the understanding of looking back because of the cross.
Christians will live as they were to live during the New
verse 5 God says that He “will come near to
also says that “He will be quick to testify against” those who are
in verse 5 Malachi gives a list of wicked men that God will testify
against. They include
sorcerers, adulterers, perjurers, those who deprive workers of proper
wages, those who oppose widows and the fatherless, and those who deprive
aliens of justice. Beyond
these sinful people there was one other group of people, and this is the
most important. God would
testify against those who “did not fear Him”.
will note similar lists in the New Testament.
I believe that the reason why these men are the wicked men in the
above list is because they first did not fear God.
That is to say, an adulterer is an adulterer because he does not
fear God. A perjurer is a
perjurer because he does not fear God.
This lack of fear and lack of reverence ends with a lack of trust
in God, and for this reason men become the sinners they are that are
listed above. Sinners will
not burn in the