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The Day Of The Lord (ch. 4:1 - 6) 


Before we go onto chapter 4 we should note that these words in this chapter are the last words we hear from God in Old Testament times until He speaks through John the Baptist.  God shuts down His communication for about 400 years.  This is the second last chance Israel has until their Messiah actually comes.  Once He comes, He becomes their final chance, and of course, they rejected Him. 


Chapter 4 verse 1 begins with the words, “surely a day is coming. It will burn like a furnace”.  Malachi says that “all the arrogant, and all the evildoers” will burn.   Arrogance is one of our fundamental sins.  Satan in the Garden of Eden enticed Eve based on his arrogance. He said, “has God really said…”  By saying this, satan was arrogantly suggesting that he was on the same level of existence as God.  And by accepting satan’s suggestion, Eve was doing the same. 


The fire here is clearly speaking of the Lake of Fire as seen in the book of Revelation.  The fire will constantly burn those who are evil.  One thing to note here that is the reason why those evil doers are in the Lake of Fire is not based solely on the bad deeds they have done.  The number one reason why they are in the Lake of Fire is because of their unbelief.  They have failed to believe in Jesus.  They have failed to put their lives in the hands of Jesus and trust their lives to Him. It’s simple. John 3:16 and 17 says it all.  Those who believe will be saved, and those who do not believe  are condemned already.  So even though there is a judgment day ahead of us, we’ve condemned ourselves in this present life when we don’t believe. God just reinforces this condemnation on the Day of Judgment.


When speaking of the Lake of Fire and the coming day of judgment, we really can’t exclude the seven year tribulation period.  Those seven years that are known as Jacob’s trials lead up to the end of the age and the great day of judgment. They’re all wrapped up together.


Verse 1 also says, “not a root or a branch will be left to burn”.  Some people this to mean that the Lake of Fire will totally annihilate  the evildoer.  This would mean that “eternal punishment” is not eternal.  The evil doer simply will die and perish, and never will be again. I don’t believe this due to many other Scriptures.


Beyond this, you will note the following, what the verse really says.  It says that the evildoer will be reduced “to stubble”.  There’s not much left of the evil doer, just stubble.  This clearly implies that the evildoer will still be in the Lake of Fire, but reduced to something far less than what he was.  That’s stubble. 


Also, it says that “not a root or branch will be left to them”.  Note the words “to them”.  It doesn’t say that not a root or branch will be left “of them” or “from them”.  I picture it this way.  Paul speaks of the Christian’s works as being burned in the fire.  Only those works done in pure faith will stand the test of God’s fire.  The evildoers works will be burned as well.  Not a branch or a root of their works will be left, but they themselves in a diminished for will remain form eternal punishment.


Verse 2 is a contrast to verse 1.  Verse 1 spoke of the evildoer.  Verse 2 speaks of those “who revere God’s name”.  Revering God’s name means to fear God, reverence Him, and as we go out in His name, represent Him properly.  For those people who will do this, “the Sun of righteousness will appear with healing on His wings”.  This clearly is in reference to the coming of Jesus.  If you read the last two chapters of the book of revelation, you will note that the coming of Jesus and the coming of the New Jerusalem will be a source of healing for the nations.  We will not spend eternity in Heaven.  We’ll spend eternity on the new earth. Jesus will transform what the Great Tribulation has destroyed.  There will be a new earth for us to live on, and at that point the book of Revelation tells us that healing will come to the nations.  I believe these words in Malachi refers specifically to those days.  Verse 1 spoke of  eternal fire for the wicked, and verse 2 speaks of eternal healing for the just.


The last part pictures these righteous people who have revered the name of God and have received healing from the Sun of Righteousness.  Malachi pictures them as calves being finally let out of their stall.  They are so happy that they go skipping and jumping all over the place for joy.  So it will be with the righteous when their new lives begin on this new earth.  You will note in the last two chapters of Revelation that the nations will go in and out of the New Jerusalem and find healing from the tree of life in the city. The same wording is used in both Revelation and Malachi. They “will go out”, and once healed, we the righteous will jump for joy, much like the lame man in Acts 3.


Verse 3 says that “then you will trample down the wicked.  They will be as ashes under the soles of your feet”.  Israel will rule with Jesus and in this ruling their enemies will be under their feet.


In verse 4 God is telling Israel to remember the Law that He gave to Moses.  Obedience to this Law would bring the Jews into proper standing with God.  God needs to remind His people of these things since His people stray so easily.


God spoke of Moses in the last verse and now He speaks of Elijah in verse 5.  These two men seem to have special significance in God’s plans, besides what they did when they were alive on the earth.  You will remember that Jesus talked with them when He and them were transfigured before Peter, James and John.  Beyond this, many scholars believe that the two witnesses found in the book of Revelation are these two men. 


Concerning this Elijah, we need to understand that John the Baptist was not Elijah reincarnated.  John himself said that he was not Elijah in John 1:21 and 22.  Yet in Matt. 11:15 Jesus says that if we can hear it, “John was that Elijah  that was to come”.   Luke 1:17 gives you the answer to this so-called problem.  This verse says that “John came in the spirit and power of Elijah”.  John was not Elijah, but he was similar to Elijah, both in spirit and power.  Elijah  foreshadowed John the Baptist.


The question needs to be asked, “who is the Elijah in verse 5 speaking about”?  “Is it John the Baptist again”?  Many Evangelicals and most Futurists think that it’s not John the Baptist.   There is a time context concerning this Elijah.  God says that He will send this Elijah to the Jews, and this Elijah will come “before that great and dreadful day of the Lord”.   The Day of the Lord spoken of here is the end of the age that results in Jesus’ return in judgment and restoration.  It’s a great day.  It’s also a dreadful day for those who reject the Lord.  So it appears that this Elijah is not John the Baptist because he has nothing to do with the end of this age.


Jews all over the world throughout the ages believe that before their Messiah comes Elijah will come first.  We see the Jews speaking about this in the New Testament.  This is one reason why they did not believe Jesus was their Messiah. Elijah, in their eyes had not yet come.  Still to this day, for those Jews who celebrate Passover, they leave and empty chair and eat the meal with the door open, just in case Elijah returns during Passover.


There’s differences in thinking just who this Elijah might be.  Some feel it’s the real Elijah who comes back to earth.  Other’s feel it is a man, not unlike John the Baptist who comes in the spirit and power of Elijah.  Some might suggest that it’s the glorified church but I question that.  I think it is one man, because Elijah is one man.  Some people believe that one of the two witnesses seen in Revelation is historical Elijah and when he comes with the other witness, this is what is being talked about in verse 5.  I’m not sure that anyone really knows for sure at this point.


That all being said, some, but more of a minority,  suggest that this Elijah spoken of here in chapter 4 is John the Baptist, and that this verse refers to him preparing Jesus way as seen in the gospels.  I personally don’t believe that.


Verse six tells us that this Elijah “will turn the hearts of the children to their fathers”.  I quoted from Luke 1:17 already.   We’ve tied John the Baptist to Elijah because of what Luke 1:17 says.  He came in the spirit and power of Elijah according to Luke 1:17.  But the same verse in Luke says that Elijah will turn the hearts of the children to the father, and it is in reference to John.  So there is some controversy who the Elijah really is. 


Many prophecies have a double fulfillment.  I believe that John the Baptist in one sense of the word was  prophetic in himself.   He fulfilled prophecy while at the same time his life was prophetic of another Elijah that would prepare the way for the second  coming of Jesus.  That only makes sense. 


Malachi speaks of this Elijah turning the hearts of children back to their fathers.  Some suggest that this speaks of a revival among Jews and one aspect of the revival is the restoration of damaged family relationships.  Yet I think there’s another way in which you might want to look at this verse.  Elijah will turn the hearts of Israel back to their forefathers, Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac who followed God.  Thus the last generation of Jews will believe like their forefathers. 


The last phrase in the book of Malachi says, “or else I will come and strike the land with a curse”.   This is how the Old Testament ends.  It ends with a warning, and a severe warning at that.  We know from Romans chapter nine through eleven that in the end a remnant of Israel will be saved.  Paul makes that clear.  Because of this, God will not have to curse the land of Israel any more. 


From this point on, God does not speak to His people Israel, as far as we know, at least not on a national level.  He is silent until the first Elijah comes, and that is John the Baptist.    

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