Malachi 3:1-6

Malachi 3:1 (KJB)

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.


God now answers the question of 2:17 concerning where is the God of judgment?  God now states his coming actions which will affect the entire world and not just the nation of Israel.  The first one to come on the scene will be the messenger who shall prepare the way before him.  Notice God uses the word “me” which means that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one who is speaking and is telling them that the messenger will come before him.  That messenger who is to come will be John the Baptizer.  Matthew 11:10 (KJV) For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.  He was born about six months before the Lord Jesus Christ was born of Mary.  Luke 1:36 (KJV) And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.  Then once John the Baptizer appears on the scene, then the Lord Jesus Christ will come to him to be baptized and then begins the ministry of Jesus.  In the book of Haggai, God had chided the Jews that they needed to get the temple built because the glory of the latter temple would be greater than Solomon’s temple because the Lord Jesus Christ would visit the temple.


Haggai 2:7-9 (KJV)   And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.  {8} The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.  {9} The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.


Then the second messenger is mentioned in this verse and that is the “messenger of the covenant.”  This is speaking about the Lord Jesus Christ himself who will be the mediator of the new covenant which will be grace.  They thought they would delight in the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ because they thought he would be somebody like Moses or Joshua, instead the Lord Jesus would come with the covenant of grace to save all the elect named from before the foundation of the world.


Malachi 3:2 (KJB)

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:


The question is asked who may abide in the day of his coming?  When the Messiah appears in Israel, who will be able to stand?  Psalm 1:5 (KJV) Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.  This means who will be able to stand in the congregation of the righteous?  When the Lord comes on the scene he will continually be persecuted by those who think they can keep the law and by those who think that Christ was trying to abrogate the Law of Moses.  The only ones who will be able to stand and abide in the congregation of the righteous will be those who will become saved such as Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, Mary, the twelve apostles minus Judas, and others who will believe.  There will be a time of division when the Lord Jesus Christ would come to Israel, those who believe and those who do not believe.  The separation of the two groups would be like that of a refiner’s fire that would separate the dross from the precious metal like gold or silver.  The fuller’s soap is a very rough thing to go through for clothes.  First, they are boiled in hot water and allowed to soak to hopefully get the stains to become softened.  Then the clothes are taken out of the boiling water and rubbed with the fuller’s soap which is a rough step in getting the clothes clean.  Sometimes they mixed urine, chalk, bean meal mixed with water.  Some countries they would use their feet to clean the cloths and then rub them with their knuckles.  The ancient Egyptians would use an inclined plane to rub the clothes on.  There were many different methods used by the fuller to get the clothes clean.  Basically what is in view here with the symbol of the fuller’s soap is that the day of the Lord will be one of great trial, refinement, and purging as rough as a fuller is on clothes.


Malachi 3:3 (KJB)

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.


Notice the verse does not say he will stand but that he will sit.  This refers to the fact that the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ will be the final sacrifice for sin and no more sacrifices for sin will ever be accepted or happen again.  John 19:30 (KJV) When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.  What was finished?  God’s salvation plan for his Elect was finished and as a result the sacrifice of Christ was accepted by the Father.  He will not be refining or purifying the actual metal silver but this refers to the Elect of God who will receive salvation.  When it talks about the purifying of the sons of Levi, it is not talking about the Old Testament priesthood because that was done away with when Christ went to the cross in 33 A.D. but was speaking about the fact that every believer in Christ will become a priest.  Revelation 1:6 (KJV) And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.  The true believer will be purged of sin in their souls as gold and silver are purified in a fire.  The offering made to God in righteousness is the fact that a person is saved and seen as righteous before the Father because of Christ.  The offerings a believer makes are those of prayer, sacrifice, service, praise, good deeds, good works all done in the name of Christ.  John 4:24 (KJV) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.  The only ones who can worship God in spirit and truth are those who are saved and indwelt with the Holy Spirit.


Malachi 3:4 (KJB)

Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.


Once the people are saved who are predestined to be saved, their offerings will be pleasant unto the LORD because they will be done in righteousness and in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Then God compares those righteous offerings to those that were done in the time of Moses and the time of Solomon when the people were pure from evil and came to the temple and tabernacle with the right attitudes instead of the double mindedness the people had in the time of Malachi.  Hebrews 11:4 (KJV) By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.  Just like Abel who offered God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain did, this is how the difference will be when the Lord comes on the scene and dies for His Elect.  His sacrifice will be far more superior than those under the Old Covenant.


Malachi 3:5 (KJB)

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.


This verse is also another answer to the question of 2:17 about where is the God of judgment?  There is going to be a swift judgment against the following groups of people.  First, the group of sorcerers will face judgment because they were the ones who dealt with the occult (Deuteronomy 18:10-14).  Secondly, the adulterers will be dealt with those that had forsaken their wives and had adulterated their marriage by getting involved with the pagan women.  Deuteronomy 5:18 (KJV)   Neither shalt thou commit adultery.   Thirdly, those who swore falsely and then broke their vow either to God or to other people which would also include those who swore falsely in a setting of law.  Zechariah 5:4 (KJV) I will bring it forth, saith the LORD of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.  Then the fourth group will be the oppressors who oppress the hireling by not paying them.  James 5:4 (KJV) Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.  Then those who oppress the widows in which many times the priests would deal falsely with them.  Isaiah 1:17 (KJV) Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.  Then those who oppress the fatherless or the orphans or those who just live with their mothers whose husbands have died.  Psalm 82:3 (KJV) Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.  Fifthly, there is the group which dealt wrong with strangers by lying to them or cheating them or present false witness against them.  Ezekiel 22:7 (KJV) In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow.  Sixthly, there is the group that does not fear the Lord but goes about thinking they can do anything they want because God will not judge them.


Malachi 3:6 (KJB)

For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.


God declares his immutability in that he is stating that he does not change.  Whatever he has declared, he will bring to pass and he will not change his mind because these sins need to be dealt with and they will.  He is also immutable in the area of holiness and righteousness and imparts those to the believer but sin will be dealt with and just because he has not done so yet does not mean it is not coming because if God promises something, then it is only a matter of timing when it comes to pass, not if it comes to pass.  Hebrews 13:8 (KJV) Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.  The sons of Jacob was the line in which the Messiah was to come and that is why God did not consume them which means destroyed or ended.  These may also be the ones who become saved within that line.  This may also be a prophecy relating to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. when all the saved Jews had listened to the Lord Jesus Christ and left Jerusalem before the Romans attacked and killed over one million non-believing Jews.