The Malachi Prophecy: Then and Now

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He hath other waies of coming, besides that here spoken of: to every man, at his death, and after judgement, which though R. See Luke XVI. That some m Christians anciently should interpret the word, come, in the first place, of Christs first coming, and in this second, of his coming to Judgement, cannot but seem strange. The words will naturally bear no other sense. For in that day many shall be made white, i. True peace and joy he promiseth to them, but not without the preceding trial of q troubles, and afflictions, and so instructeth them that they might know that he came not to send peace on the Earth, Mat.

And certainly such Tradition may be as well founded on these words as any passage in the Prophets, although this place be not cited, where it is mentioned in the Talmud in the Tract of the Sabbath, c. So that, if that Tradition among them were ancienter then Christs coming, and the Gospel, it may not improbably be thought, that our Saviour did by such terms as were then in use among them, and in their mouths, set forth those dolorous times which they did talk of and expect; so to warn them to prepare for them, as now at hand; and a certain proof, that Messiah, of whose being come they were, by their own confession, to be a sign, was now come, and they ought to acknowledge it.

To express emphatically, I suppose, the terror here intimated. For if none can think of it by reason of the power or dreadfulness of his Majesty, who shall be able to abide or bear it? Jerom, including both significations. And so farther describing the terror of those times, or giving a reason of the terror of them, he adds, For he is like a Refiners fire, and like Fullers Sope. He is saies he like a Refiners fire, or as the construction will also bear, as y refining fire, though the other seems more proper.

The use of that fire is to melt metals and try them, that so what is pure may be by it self retained, the dross being either consumed, or so separated as to be taken away from it. The same is plainly likewise the meaning of the other similitude added, and like Fullers Soap, the use of which is to scour wooll or cloth, and purge out all spots and stains in it, and take them away, leaving the wooll or cloth, though by the same means fretted and rubbed, the more white or brighter colored.

As that takes away all spots, so shall he take away all wicked ones, saith R. The other d Exposition alone perhaps will not gain much from them. As to the expression here used, it may be compared with several others in the Scripture: So as Aben Ezra and Kimchi will with what is said, Zach. I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin : and Ezech.

Which what judgements they concern will not be to our purpose at present to enquire; but only thus much, that it is usual to compare Gods severity in proceeding against sin, to such purging and refining fire, which melts and tries the whole mass, but purifies the good, and g refines it, and separates and consumes the dross. Kimchi, as before, so here also, what ours and others attribute to the person of the Lord, takes as spoken of the time called the day of his coming, thus giving the meaning of the words, As a Judge that sitteth to judge the People, and to distinguish the offender from the innocent; so shall be that day, which shall refine and cleanse the silver, and take away from it the dross, or refuse; and they are the wicked.

And it cannot be here strictly taken in the notion of sitting, however it be attributed to the person; but rather to signify his set purpose and resolution of so doing, as one that fits to a work. The Chalde renders it, He shall be revealed, or reveal himself, to melt and cleanse, as a man that melteth and cleanseth silver. He means saith R. Tanchum he shall try and cleanse Israel, or the People, as silver, i. And he shall purify the Sons of Levi, and purge them. The Sons of Levi. But who are meant by the Sons of Levi is not well accorded by Expositors.

All these may be true, and well joined. As to the last which understands it of the Sons of Levi properly so called, as of that race; of such as were won to the obedience of Christ by the word of his Gospell, and had their hearts purified by faith in him; of them may it be truly verified, that they were purified and purged as gold and silver by him sitting as a refiner and purifier of silver : and it cannot be doubted, but that they had their parts in that sharp trial of afflictions too in those daies. It is said that he shall so purify and purge them, that they shall offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

In the times when this was spoken, that they did not so, is shewed in the preceding Chapters. As likewise, Isa. Then shall the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord. But what offerings are then to be understood? It is said they shall be pleasant as in the daies of old, and as in former years, in the daies of the pious Patriarks, say z some. But here is observable that from what he saith, that the Sons of Levi shall be purified, and then offer offerings in righteousness, and pleasant unto God, as those of holy men of old, on, and after the coming and appearance of the Lord the Messiah, there is an evident proof, that by that coming of his here spoken of, is not meant his last coming to judgement inasmuch as after that will be no time for such services: they are to be performed in this life and this World, not in the life and World to come but a coming in this World, after which it should yet last, in which is a time of purging; the other being a time only of remuneration, according to what men have in this done.

Abarbinel makes it as a proof against R. This is to be observed not only in respect to what hath been already said, but in respect of what follows also in the next verse, and other passages which are betwixt this and the end of this Prophecy: by which, taken by themselves, the judgement after this life and World may seem deciphered; and we ought to be put in mind of it.

He will come near to them in Judgement, to exercise judgement, which they complained was not executed. Will come ] at the end of the World, at the last Judgement, saith the same learned man, following e some others. But what to say of these see in the note on the former verse, as likewise of R. Kimchi 's note on the place: I will come near, viz. Salomo 's opinion, as to the former verse, yet will have it here to take place, viz. These being named, we cannot but think others included. Against the Sorcerers.

Micah V. In rendring the words, whereby the last sin here spoken of is described, viz. Which I suppose is all that the Masorites, or those that took care of the right writing and reading of the Hebrew Text, would have here to be observed by that note of theirs, which i some take notice of, viz.

That among the sins here reckoned up as provoking God to come in judgement, is not mentioned Idolatry as great as any, and which the former Prophets under the first Temple did oft inveigh against Abarbinel notes the reason to be, because that under the second Temple that sin was not found amongst them.

The same Doctor on the last words, and fear not me saith the Lord, notes, that he intimates, that if they should fear him, and k repent of these sins; he would pardon them. Saith the Lord of hosts. For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

The connexion of the former part of them with the preceding, according to the way that we have gone, will be easy; viz. Because as we said Expositors in giving the meaning of these words much differ, it will be convenient to take some of their Interpretations distinctly. Kimchi 's Exposition is thus, for I the Lord change not, for whatsoever I have spoken, though for a long time to come, shall certainly so come to pass; for I change not, neither do my words change: and all the things to come, which I have spoken to you by my Prophets, shall so be, or come to pass.

And as I change not, so ye also shall not be consumed, and in the latter daies ye shall return to your dignity, and shall be high above all the Nations of the Earth. But Jonathan paraphraseth it thus, For I the Lord have not changed my Covenant, which is from of old, but ye, O house of Israel, think, that he that dieth in this World, his Judgement ceaseth.

Thus Kimchi. Abarbinel, though he dissent from R. I have alwaies loved judgement and righteousness, but if it be not in this World, it shall be in the World to come, that is it which he saith, and ye children of Jacob are not consumed, for although you die, behold your souls remain to receive the recompence of your doings.

These words and opinions of these Doctors we recite, not as if they conduced to the right meaning of the place, for they are far from it; as R. Salomo 's, in that, what is spoken of a particular signal day and judgement in this World, he expounds of that which continually did befall, and still doth befall all men in their times; viz. However, that which he saith be in it self true, it is not here, by it self, to the purpose, and it seems to proceed on his former wrong supposal, that ver.

All which hath been already so fully compleated in the destruction of that People, within few years after Christs coming, that to pass by what hath been done, and look after things to be done, not at all by God here, or else where promised, is to delude, and not to give a true Exposition of this Prophecy. Ezra, and R. Tanchum agree with those already named, only that the latter of them thinks that both of them, though in the form of the preterperfect tense, ought to be rendred in the signification of the future, I will not change, and ye shall not be consumed ; making the former to include a reason of the returning of Gods Providence to them as it was of old, and giving for the meaning, These promises shall certainly come to pass, although they be deferred for a long while, for no change or failing shall happen to me: and likewise ye shall remain by the remaining of my Law among you, neither shall you be consumed or cease to be.

Into which meaning we shall not further enquire, he not fully expressing of it. If he mean the same that Kimchi doth, the same answer will serve. He had no occasion to say this, but he having said it, it was convenient to take some notice of it, lest others of his Sect might applaud him in it, and think to be true what he feigneth. But others, and they the major part, viz. For he the Lord who hath determined and pronounced that he will not leave impenitent sinners unpunished, doth not change his will and purpose. So that they cannot but say if they will rightly consider the matter it is of the Lords mercy that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

Great is thy faithfulness, Lam. This, however they differ in expressions, seems to be the scope that the most of q Expositors will have these words to aim at. This falls in with what hath been already said, and requires the same answer. And that so he effected it, is made evident by the history. So that, in respect to those who so spake, and to whom these things were then spoken, viz. Even from the daies of your Fathers ye are gone away from mine Ordinances. According to those that render the foregoing Verb in the notion of desisting or ceasing [from evil] these words will be a farther declaration of what was by it said, viz.

So Grotius looks on it likewise as a distinct speech, saying that here leaving off to speak to whom he spake in the last words, he returns again to speak to the wicked. Even from the daies of your Fathers ye are gone away from mine Ordinances, and have not kept them. Kimchi gives the meaning in plain and perspicuous words, thus. In much like manner Grotius ; Ye now so live as ye formerly lived when ye deserved to be carried away into captivity, and will again deserve to suffer the like.

Return unto me and I will return unto you. Return unto me by repentance, and I will return unto you in mercy and favor, and care over you, by my good Providence. Remove you the evil of your doings, and I will remove the evil of my Judgements, the effects of my displeasure for that evil. But ye said, wherein shall we return? To this he returns them answer by specifying what besides those things they were guilty in, viz. Will a man rob God? That of the ancient Latine, Si affiget homo Deum, quia vos configitis me, which the Authors of the Doway Translation in English, render, shall a man fasten God?

Ought a man to snatch or take away by rapine those things that are Gods? As Munster, Will a man do violence to the Judges? That we may judge between these, and if there be any other that differs in sense from some of these, and clear the sense, it will be expedient to enquire into the signification of the principal Verb in this expression, because on the acception of that depends the main of the matter, either for preferring any of these before the other, or reconciling them, if it be possible.

And this seldom use of it makes the signification not to be so well known as that of words oftner used. Surely the places which it is found in, in the Hebrew Text, which we have cited, do seem to require some other signification then that of fixing or fastning. And the Doway Translators who here render it, fasten, in the parallel forecited place of Prov. And R. Salomo on that place, notes that in the Syriack Tongue it signifies also, to rob, as he proves by an example out of the Talmud.

But the Latin, as we see, follows the second, of fixing, or fastning ; which yet divers of those Expositors which follow that, will not have to be understood properly of fastning, but rather of piercing and striking or sticking in ; that so the meaning may be, that by sinning against God, as they did, they did, as it were, pierce and wound him, i. So h divers learned men that follow the Vulgar Latin, giving to the word a figurative signification. And to this meaning seems Aben Ezra to incline, while he expounds it, to retain, or detain that which is due, which will also be confirmed by what follows, verse And this being granted, these two Translations, will a man rob God?

And so to fasten, or fix God to their allowance and stint him, not giving him his whole due, is to rob him. And so these two Expositions, which seemed most different, being brought thus far to agree, it will not be hard to reduce the rest to one of the forementioned significations. Do ye not know that it is not fit that a man should rob his God? Would any of them rob, or sacrilegiously defraud those whom they took, though falsely, to be Gods, of such dues, as under that notion of God, were looked on as belonging or due to them, though they were such as could do them no good?

They also who take as we before said God here for Judges, or great men, look on it as an argument concluding from the less to the greater. Yet ye have robbed me. In detaining these from the Priests and Levites, to whom by his command they were to be given, and so robbing and defrauding them, they, he saith, robbed him himself.

But a late learned m man thinks the meaning to be mistaken in this rendring, and that to be put for the effect, which was indeed the cause of their robbing God, viz. But God required that though they had scarcity, and his curse were on them, yet they should bring in his full tithes of what they had, which if they did he promiseth to return and bless them.

But if we consider the words in respect to what precedes, we shall find them to comprehend what is by either said. In the second Chapter, v. There was in that plainly a robbing of him, while detaining to themselves the best things which were due to him, they gave him only the worst, and that which they cared not for. And for that, he threatneth, if they would not amend it, to send a curse upon them; yea, tells them that the curse was already gone forth: they that would rob him in that kind, would not stick to rob him in others also, though not fully expressed till now, viz.

So that though we look on what he saith as true, in respect of the cause which they pretended for the robbing of God, yet we cannot but according to what others say look on that their fraudulent dealing, as a cause provoking God to send his curse on them, and so to joyn both Expositions together.

And in this the Jewish Expositors shew us the way. Aben Ezra thus, Because ye say, How shall we give with a good eye or cheerfully out of this little? By the curse you ought to have been corrected, or amended and not provoked to rob me. What is added, even this whole Nation, R. David Kimchi thinks to intimate, that the whole Nation was not equally guilty of the other forementioned sins, but of this they were.

And for the punishment they repined, but did not repent of the sin, but rather more obstinatly went on in it, and thought to have stood it out with God; but they took not a right course herein, they could not by this get the better of God. If they would be eased of the curse, it must be by pacifying him, not by thinking to make themselves whole out of his part; and therefore he shews in the next words, what is the only way for them to take, even to amend in themselves their errour.

For illustrating the things here said, it will be convenient to look on what we have of the History of those times recorded in the Book of Nehemiah, in which we read, c. And the occasion of this appears to be, because all the tithes were not paid, for so upon Nehemiahs contending with the Rulers about it, it is said, v.

(I-1) Introduction

But those things were not duly given to them as it appears by reason of the Peoples defect in bringing them in. Grotius thinks that the sin, here found fault with, was, that whereas out of the Terumah or offering mentioned, Deut. But neither here, nor in Nehemiah, is any thing specified in these kinds, but only the People accused for not bringing in all their tithes, by which failure in them, there was not meat in his house, i. For which sin he is angry with them, and commands it here to be redressed by the whole Nation, which were all guilty, by their bringing in all the tithes into the storehouse; and so in Nehemiah it is said that that zealous Governour caused all Judah to do, and that he then set treasurers over the treasuries, to see them distributed as they ought.

How long before that was done, this was spoken by the Prophet, the History of the Scripture doth not make clear. If they would be so just to God, and kind to themselves as to put it to the trial, by but doing what they ought to do, they should find that God would not fail in any measure of his Promise, but would on their obedience do more for them then by vertue thereof they might ordinarily expect. For saith he though the Law saith, ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, Deut. Kimchi, saith he, expounds it, till there be not vessels to put it in; and by this ye shall know that for transgressing in matter of tithes, this curse hath been on the corn or encrease of the Earth hitherto.

But however this rule may be elsewhere appliable, here seems to be no need of it. According to those here is a stop made after, prove me now here with, and a distinct member of the sentence to begin. To this purpose R. As likewise t Oecolampadius, saying, that Christian liberty exempteth none from tithes that were wont to be paid. But to receive what either they or any other in like kind, deduce and conclude from these words, will not be to our present purpose, which is to clear only the litteral Exposition of the words, and shew what meaning they will bear.

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It is therefore an ancient saying among the u Jews, that there be three keys which God hath reserved in his own hand, and hath not delivered to any Minister or Substitute, viz. Paul saith, that God left himself not without witness, in that he did good, and gave rain from Heaven, and fruitful Seasons, Act. When he restrains it, he is in a figurative speech said to shut up Heaven, as Deut.

Both the rain, and the making it a blessing, is from him and his ordering. And he saith of that blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. So according to our Translation; and so as we already noted from Abarbinel R. Kimchi reporting it as from his Father saith that the meaning is, in such plenty that you shall not have vessels, or storehouses sufficient to receive it.

Tanchum expresses it. For perfecting therefore the blessing here promised on their amendment of their waies, he promiseth also to secure them from these, and all hurt by them, saying, I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, or to, or for you i. They are wont to do hurt, not only to the fruits of the ground, the corn and herbage, but to the fruit-trees also, by causing them also not to be able to bring any fruit to perfection, as appears by Joel I.

And in the same sense Hos. Tanchum, a Land to be desired and chosen for its pleasantness, and excellency, to the same sense that it is said, which is the glory of all Lands, b Ezek. Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. For all look upon it to denote that their words were such as would be irksome, grievous, and burthensome to any man, and overcome his patience, by casting hard and odious things on him undeservedly; and so God speaking in the language of men looks on them as to himself; h or, that their words were more and more insolent against him.

Yet ye say wherein have we spoken so much against thee. Yet here Abarbinel thinks it may be more conveniently taken for a Verb passive, as well in signification as in form, and be rendred, what are we spoken of to thee, what is said of us to thee, or what are we reported by false accusers to have said aganst thee, as men use to do when they are accused of some ill that they have spoken in secret, to say to him that tells them of it, what false report is this that hath been brought to you concerning us? This way also Montanus commends, though not mentioning whom he follows in it.

He therefore to shew that he knew, both what was in their mouths and hearts, and to convince them of their guiltiness in that which he accuseth them of, answers them by a particular declaration of what they said. If ye say, what have we spoken against thee?

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Ye have said so, at least thought in your hearts, which is all one with speaking, in the ears of God. It is vain : to wit, to him that so doth: though it may, as k some think, be referred to him to whom it is done, i. The expression gives to suppose, that they served God, and this supposition the Syriack taking in renders, In vain have we served God, and so it well agrees with what follows, and what profit is it that we have kept his Ordinance, what Mammon, or wealth, have we gained?

What advantage have we gained by it? Which last words Abarbinel seems to expound otherwise, viz. Tanchum therefore, as he did also, c. But as to the former part of his words, it cannot be made out of what is here spoken, as neither out of the last verse of the second Chapter, but is destructive to the right meaning of them.

The word, often, is not expressed in the Hebrew, and therefore the words are by others rendred, only spake one to another. For here he would have the words rendred, as continued with the former, and part of what those blasphemers, before mentioned, said, viz. So in II Chron. Kimchi perspicuously expounds them and the following. And the Lord hearkned, i. God blessed for ever attended to their words, and gave them their reward for this. Of Gods book, and things being written in it, there is we know often mention in the Scriptures, besides those places which Kimchi recites, both in the Old and New Testament; and every where is much alike to be understood, viz.

And so where the books are said to be opened, it is the making manifest his knowledge of those things, by his passing sentence on men accordingly for good or bad: see Dan. The book of remembrance, is here said to be written for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name, viz. But before we pass to them, we may take notice of what is by some observed concerning the signification or force of that word which is rendred, and that thought upon his Name, viz.

Those, saith Kimchi, are meant who alwaies think of, or meditate in the waies of the Lord, and the knowledge of his God-head, for his Name is himself, and he himself is his Name. Aben Ezra understands it of the wise in heart, who know the secret or the mystery of the glorious awfull Name. He seems to allude to what is said, Psal. The Greek, that reverence his Name.

These things saith that Translation murmured they, that feared the Lord. So that S. But besides this signification it hath another given it, viz. Vessels of honour, and Vessels of dishonour, II Tim. But if this rendring please not any as a learned h Critick seems to except against it, both for rendring mine, and likewise make up my peculiar treasure, as harsh and unusual; we have another by most of Interpreters given, viz.

Such it was promised to Israel for a special priviledge and preeminence above all Nations, that they should be unto God, as Exod. And so Deut. And Psal. It is a priviledge that they still boast much of, all that can pretend to be of the race of Israel ; but it appears to be restrained by the same limits that the name of Israel is, and agrees only to such who truly deserve that name, viz.

Ordinary stones will not pass for Jewels with him, nor rubbish and dirt for treasure in the day of tryal, though till then they may not be perhaps discovered. In the day of Judgement wherein I shall execute judgement on the wicked, saith Kimchi. And the word peculiar not governed of that just in place before it, viz. Salomo Jarchi seems to give an Exposition different from all these, to this purpose, In the day which I make a reserved treasure, i. And if it were so understood, the expression would agree with that, Act.

But whatever differences may be betwixt Expositors, as to the rendring the words, the day in them spoken of is still the same, viz. Though such discrimination shall be fully made between all the godly and the wicked at Christs second coming, the general day of Judgement, to which, therefore, what is here spoken is by m divers referred, yet certainly here what is said, respects more particularly the Nation of the Jews, and the time of that nationall judgement denounced against them. These words are a farther declaration of Gods exceeding great favor, and compassion to those whom he would own, and look on as his peculiar, in terms of greatest elegance and height of expression.

Others following another reading, which t some observe to be more correct, and indeed comes closer to the Letter in the Original, though that admit of both; viz. Now all these look on the words as directed to the wicked, who thought it vain to serve God, as if he took no notice of what was done by men, spoken to vers. It shall be made beyond all doubt apparent in that day. But we do not look on that as the primary and proper scope of this Prophecy, but that it describes to us in the first place, and as its main intent, that national judgement which God threatned to the Jews, and accordingly executed on them in this World, shortly after the first coming of Christ, or at his coming; that word including all that time from his first preaching to the destruction of Jerusalem.


This here spoken saith Aben Ezra was spoken to the men of that generation, because this is the end of all the Prophecies. So say we too: for after Malachi was no other Prophet sent to the Jews, till John Baptist, Christs forerunner, and what is said therefore concerned them, the People of the Jews then being, and all their posterity, till that time that this Prophecy was fulfilled as by succession still one People to warn them by repentance to prevent the judgement threatned and declared for that end to them, f by the great mercy, and long suffering of God, not willing that any should perish, but all should come to repentance.

But seeing the generality of them would not be brought to repentance, nor know the things belonging to their peace, in that their day, as Christ complains of them, Luc. As to the scope of them it is well given by a learned a man, viz. That was certainly then to come on the Jews if not prevented by their repentance, as it was not, when the Prophet then spake this, but is long since come; this is yet still to come, but shall in Gods appointed time, as certainly come, as if it were already present. Of both, therefore, it might then be said; Behold the day cometh, i.

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Mean while we take that which we have given, viz. And though we cannot consent with the Jews in their opinion, yet may we take notice of some things that they say for illustrating our own; or for shewing the incongruity of their opinion, or for enquiry into the signification and literal meaning of some of the words. Nor do all Christians neither agree among themselves in the matter. We had before an expression to the same purpose, c. What could be said less to express the face of things, when their stately City, and magnificent Temple were all at once on fire, and none could quench it? Where is now then any occasion to say, as they did, c.

This also is a k proverbial speech to express utter destruction by a similitude taken from a tree, destroyed not only by having its boughs and branches cut off, but its roots also plucked up. The Chalde Paraphrast renders it, shall not leave them son nor nephew : because, saith Kimchi explaining it, the first son is as the root, and his son is as the branch but we may rather say, it shall leave neither them nor their posterity: the Father being the root, the sons and posterity branches from him. This he gives as his own opinion, though a very far fetched one, not knowing how to adapt otherwise the words of the Text to that punishment of the day of Judgement, which he here thinks to be the day spoken of.

By what hath been said, appears what little reason there was to account the proud happy, and those that work wickedness set up, and that God delighted in them, because at that time they were suffered to prosper, but whether there were any profit in serving God, and keeping his Ordinances, and what should be done for them by which any might discern betwixt the righteous and the wicked; that part of the question remains yet unanswered, for if they perish with the wicked, be involved in one common judgement with them; what is their case yet better then theirs?

To this therefore a full answer follows in the next words. What S. Peter saith, The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of Judgement to be punished, II Pet. But Interpreters think it not enough to stop here, but farther enquire who is meant by this Sun, and Christians generally agree that Christ who is, o Luke I.

Why Christ may be so called, many reasons may be, and are, brought by Interpreters. Much more of this Sun might it be said, that he did at his arising to those that feared the Lord, bring healing with him in his wings to them in that day of distress, worse then the darkest night, the shadow of death it self, which without his arising to them would necessarily have swallowed up them too in destruction, and could not but by the apprehension of it, make them as even sick at heart according to what he said, c.

In regard of both these, viz. And certainly in all respects doth that title of the Sun of righteousness agree to Christ the fountain of true heavenly light, who enlightneth every man coming into the World, u Joh. When he was here on Earth, great multitudes from all parts flocked to him to be healed of their diseases; and they that were vexed with unclean spirits, and they were healed.

Grotius notes, that it may well be looked on as having reference to, at least good correspondence with, this place. But withall, that healing vertue in him shewed it self, not more in the healing bodily distempers, then the worse maladies of the Soul, as appears in his words when he cured some bodily diseases, in saying, not, Be well or healed, arise and walk, but, thy sins be forgiven thee, y Mat. To prove that the Sun is in a sheath or cafe, because it is said, In them hath he set a Tabernacle for the Sun, Psal.

What proof, mean while, for the Pool of water in which the Sun is cooled?

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And ye shall go forth and grow up as Calves of the stall. Our Saviour gives us two, Luk. The other of Lot v. But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from Heaven, and destroyed them all. And a Vision there is presented to the Prophet Ezekiel, c. Which of these notions it will be best to take, if it be not indifferent to take either, as to this word, it will be better discerned when we shall have considered those joyned to it, and grow up as Calves of the stall : In rendring the first of which words, viz.

So doth R. And not far from this signification is that notion which the same root, viz. This signification also R. But perhaps they looked on it as a proper signification of the word distinct from the other, as well as besides them R. Tanchum, who intimates that the word having different significations, that is to be taken which the sense of the place requires, or best agrees to.

Tanchum well expresseth it, according to that notion, increase in happiness. Another signification is attributed to the word, viz. But in this place he hath not many that go with him, although R. Tanchum in his Notes on Nahum, intimate that some do, viz. But that signification may be also referred to the former of multiplying. And to say that here according to that notion it might signify that they should have rest and intermission from their troubles; and be secure and quiet, as Calves in a stall, would be no wide conjecture, nor disagreeable to the purpose.

The same word is used, I Sam. Campbell Morgan was said in one of the biographies of his life to have been riding along with Mr. Moody one day in the Northfield lanes. And they were great friends, and in the midst of this day in which they were riding over Northfield, Mr. Moody turned to Mr. Morgan and said, What is character anyhow? And Mr. Morgan said that he knew that he had something on his mind, so he said, Well, what is it?

Saint Malachy - Wikipedia

And Moody said, Character is what a man is in the dark. Someone else has said, When a grocer sells you a barrel of apples, you find his profession on the top, but as you work down, you discover his character. Now Malachi, I feel in the things that he is saying here, would like to see believers be individuals who truly serve the Lord in vitality and in reality. And he has some very harsh things to say about those who make a profession of spirituality but who do not have any spirituality at all.

I have a good friend; he preaches the word of God. And he has often spoke very strongly in favor of the capitalistic system. One day I was talking to him, and in the midst of our conversation, he made a statement that concerned his insurance policy. And I said, What insurance policy is that that you mentioned?

And he named the name of a mutual insurance company. And I said, Well, how does this comport with your statements so often in favor of the capitalistic system? Here you affirm a capitalistic system and affirm the legitimacy of a profit motive and you yourself buy a mutual insurance policy. So, when we in our spiritual life make great professions, Malachi would have us be sure that the things that we profess are really true in our lives.

Malachi, first of all, is placed in the cannon, as you can see, as the last book of the Old Testament in our English Bible. It is not the last book of the Hebrew Bible. The Hebrew Old Testament concludes with 2 Chronicles. But Malachi is the last of the Minor Prophets. It is the last word in our English Bible because it is the last book of the Old Testament to be written.

Its date is later than the others. Have you ever noticed it? Now, the Bible begins with man in the Garden of Eden created by God and placed there, you know. It also, in the 3rd chapter, describes the fall of man. So almost the whole of the Bible is the story of the history of fallen man. Now the end of the Book of Genesis ends with a coffin. Have you ever noticed that? In the last verse of the 50th chapter of Book of Genesis, Moses says. Some Bible teacher has made comment upon the fact that the Book of Genesis after the fall of man ends with that comment about a coffin in Egypt, that the Old Testament ends, our English Old Testament ends with the word of the curse upon the nation that does not return to the Lord.

Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. Now let me speak secondly a word or two about the prophet. Now we do not know a single thing about the Malachi or his family beyond that which is found in this book. There are differing views about who Malachi was or what this name really means. For example, some have said that the term Malachi is probably a title. The Hebrew word malack, now you could transliterate that something like m, a, l, a, c, k.

Now, Malachi is m, a, l, a, c, h, or c, k, i. The Hebrew word malack means simply a messenger. So malacki is my messenger. Now some have said Malachi is simply a title; all it means is my messenger. And in fact, some have said that Malachi would be an abbreviated form for malacki yah, that is, the messenger of Jehovah.

And we do not know at all the name of the person who may have written the book. So, the term Malachi, according to this view, is simply a title. And we do not really know the name of the prophet. It is also true that the Septuagint, that is the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Targums, the Aramaic paraphrases of the Old Testament, the Targum of this particular book, Jerome and Calvin thought too that this Malachi was simply a title. The New Testament never cites Malachi by name and it is the opinion of those who hold this view, that therefore Malachi probably is a title.

On the other hand, the great majority of the commentators have thought that Malachi was a personal name. I think it would be natural to expect that this should be a man, a certain specific man, because there should be some authentication of a message. And the prophets were men who had been set apart as God for specific work.

They were similar to the apostles in the New Testament in that they both were prophetic so far as the word of God was concerned. And it would be expected, I think, for us to have an authentication of their message. And personal identity would certainly seem to be involved in it. Now then, if we assume that his name is really Malachi, he is a person who has concealed from us the facts about his life and ministry. Someone who comes with the message of the Lord should not intrude himself so much into the situation that those who listen do not hear it as a message from the Lord.

They tend to sometimes unconsciously so intrude themselves into the message that they are preaching that you forget about the message and forget about the one from whom the message is come, and think about the preacher instead of what he is saying, instead of the message.

Now Malachi is certainly not guilty of that. Third, notice the people to whom this prophecy is addressed. It is addressed to Israel. Therefore, if this is the last of the books of the Old Testament written, the last of those books, this prophecy is addressed to the nation that had returned under Zerubbabel and also under Ezra.

And the picture of the audience is found in passages such as the Book of Ezra and the Book of Nehemiah. Fourth, the period of time in which the book was written and about which it is written. Evidently Malachi was written after the exile of the children of Israel to Babylonia, because the temple has been restored. Remember our important dates that we looked at when we were studying Haggai. In BC Jerusalem was captured and the temple was destroyed. Fifty years later in , Cyrus granted the rebuilding of the temple and there was a return of the children of Israel, a little under fifty thousand of them, under Zerubbabel.

And then in , after the delay, after they had come back to the land and had refused to do what they had come back for, Haggai and Zechariah urged the people to rebuild the temple and they set about their work and finished it around BC. Then in BC, there was a return of another group under Ezra. Now the story of that is told in Ezra chapter 7. In BC, thirteen years after the return under Ezra, Nehemiah, a high-ranking official of the Persians, a Jew, received permission to rebuild the walls of the city.

Nehemiah came to Jerusalem and the walls were completed, he says, in fifty-two days. They agreed on certain reforms; certain things were set out as moral reforms necessary in order to prevent the spreading corruption. Malachi will write about a great number of them. We will talk about them when we get tot hem in the context. After Nehemiah had been there for twelve years he had to return to Persia. And while he was there, he stayed there evidently for several years, the people violated every one of those agreements that they had made, which was evidence of the fact that they really did not have a relationship with the Lord that was vital in the heart.

And so shortly after that, well I guess three or four years after he had gone back, Nehemiah came back. We do not know the exact time when he came back but perhaps around the year BC. It is the opinion of many of the commentators on this book that Malachi was written shortly after Nehemiah came back to the land. The reason that they think that this was the time that it was written is because when Malachi begins to write, he writes about the same conditions that are set forth in the book of Nehemiah, the conditions with which Nehemiah was concerned. It is possible that it was written twenty or thirty years later, perhaps as late as BC.

But sometime during that thirty or forty year period of time, the Book of Malachi was written. The last of the books of the Old Testament. You have life insurance, fire insurance, accident insurance, health insurance. In fact, if you sat down and figured up how much of your budget goes to buying insurance, it probably would be alarming and disturbing. But have you insured the family itself? Do you have some kind of policy that guarantees your marriage against divorce? Is it safe? Unfortunately, you can't buy that kind of insurance, but, if I understand the word of God spoken through Malachi, there are steps you can take to protect the home against tragic destruction.

It's amazing how God enabled these Old Testament prophets to look beneath the symptoms of the age and put their finger on the problem, on the cause, on the source. The symptom in that age was social unrest, marital infidelity, flagrant divorce on every side. There were occasions of men who were leaving their Hebrew wives to be married to the wives of families that worshiped other gods.

They flagrantly put aside the wives with whom they had made covenants and took to themselves these pagan wives, and it is against that kind of social unrest, that Malachi writes this word. And in it he enunciates as clearly as you'll find in the Old Testament or in the New Testament, some of God's ideals as they relate to the family.

Twice in this passage an admonition is given which if followed will put your family under protection. Interestingly, in the text, the emphasis seems to be to the men of Judah. They were the violators of that day, but I think we will do no injustice to the text if we make it broad enough to apply to both husband and wives. Here is the admonition - you find it first in the fifteenth verse when he says, "So guard yourself in your spirit and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.

Now, when God repeats something, you and I certainly need to listen. He repeats it in the sixteenth verse when He comes to say, "So guard yourself in your spirit and do not break faith. You keep your spirit - you guard your inner spirit - so that you will not violate the commitment you made in that marriage vow; so you will not break faith with the wife or the husband of your youth. Guard your spirit. It is as you guard your spirit that you protect your family from those things that would slip in and undermine the foundations of the home and cause the family to come to ruin.

Now, if your family is to be used, you must have a family that is spiritually, and emotionally intact; in every way solid, and committed to exemplifying God's highest ideals for families. Those families that are filled with unrest, unhappiness and tensions and discontent are not useable in the hands of the sovereign and Holy God. I want to say to you three things from this text about: Guarding your spirit. The little girl was warned by her parents not to play near the busy highway in front of her home.

Her mother had caught her near the street on one occasion and had spanked her lightly as a warning. The child wandered once again toward the roadway to play her childish games. This time a spanking would have been a blessing compared to what happened. A truck came over the hill, struck the little girl solidly and threw her more than a hundred feet down the highway. Both of her shoes were knocked completely from her feet. She was killed instantly. In essence, we could say that the mother had pronounced a curse on the road and told the child to stay away from it. The child had chosen to do her own thing.

Now the girl was dead, the mother was grieving that her little one had not listened to her. The story I have just told you is true. It happened just up the road from my home when I was a boy. The little neighbor girl was about six years old when her life ended. We can use this incident as an analogy.

There are some things upon which God has pronounced a curse. The curse of God is not a divine power-play.

God told Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden that there was a curse of death upon anyone who ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We know what happened. The pair did not listen to God and the curse became a reality. God did n tell them about the curse because He was mad at them or because He wanted to hurt them, but He told them about it to protect them.

Just as the little girl's parents had warned her about playing in the road. It is sad to note that many people today treat God the way the little girl treated her parents. She thought, no doubt, that her parents were trying to deprive her of some pleasure, which she considered her right.

Why Are There No More Prophets?

The result was death. Since the days of Adam and Eve, we have had an internal desire to do our own thing. The result is to experience the curse upon our lives. Something often repeated is usually a message of importance. You know that I frequently refer to my wife as sweet Jayne.

Let me share an experience that illustrates the point of something often repeated and epitomizes why I refer to my wife in such kind terms. My wife is fond of moving furniture around in our home. I always look twice before I sit down to avoid the mistake of sitting where a chair used to be! The other day she moved the furniture in our den and I have to admit it looks a lot better.

When moving everything around, she arranged things so that a light switch on the wall activates two lamps, a floor lamp by my recliner and a table lamp in a corner of the room. Well, I didn't know that the table lamp was plugged into a socket that caused it to work with the light switch. So, every night when I left the den to go to bed, I would turn off the table lamp manually and then flip off the switch that turned off the floor lamp. For several days my wife would go into the den, flip on the switch and notice that the table lamp would not come on. She would then turn it on manually.

Finally, the other day, she came into the room when I was there, flipped on the light switch and the floor lamp came on but the table lamp did not. She went over to the table lamp, turned it on and gently said, "I wonder who is turning off this lamp by hand rather than using the switch to turn it off? Then she looked at me lovingly and asked, "It wouldn't be you, would it? I confessed that I didn't know that the switch turned off both lights and would refrain from the practice of turning off the table lamp manually so as not to make her life miserable.

The point of the story is that a recurrence of the table lamp not coming on when the switch was flipped conveyed a message that something was definitely happening from day-to-day that created the situation. Whenever we come to the Bible and find a repeated event or word from God, you can be sure that something very important is taking place and we ought to find out what it is. That is the case with our message today. Throughout the Bible there is a repetition, an echo if you please, of a promise from God.

It is the promise of the coming of the Lord to this earth. We need to understand that the Old Testament prophets did not foresee the birth of Christ, His ministry, His death, His resurrection, His ascension, His return in the rapture and His Second Coming in a neat, chronological order. They saw pieces of the puzzle and because of this their writing on the subject can sometimes be confusing to us. Nonetheless, they gave forth the word that the Messiah was coming.

We know that Christ came the first time, just as prophesied, to be born of a virgin in Bethlehem. We know that the forerunner, namely John the Baptist, came before Him as Jesus originated His earthly ministry. We know that He died on the cross; just as Isaiah the Prophet said that He would. He was the suffering servant and the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all. We know that He arose, as prophesied in the Bible. He ascended back to the Heavenly Father and one day is coming again. One preacher has stated that one out of every thirty Bible verses speaks of the second coming of Jesus Christ.

His Second Coming is mentioned eight times more often than his first coming. Angels, prophets, apostles and Christ mentioned his the promised Second Coming of Jesus. Whole chapters are given to this subject. We may ask, "What delays His coming? It is not the subject of the return of Christ, but the Savior who is returning that must capture our attention! Nobody likes a fake; we all want The Real Thing. I heard a story about two little boys trying to get enough money to go buy some candy at the store. So one of the little boys went up to a lady on the street and said, "Lady, if you'll give us a quarter, my little brother will imitate a chicken.

Cackle like a hen? He replied, "Oh, no. He wouldn't do a cheap imitation like that. He'll eat a worm. They little fellow was not about to cheapen his act with anything less than The Real Thing. Often, however, it is not the real thing that is actually presented. Tourists throughout the centuries have visited the famous Acropolis, the ancient religious citadel in Athens.

Thousands of sightseers from all over the world have picked up marble chunks as souvenirs. A question arises when one considers how many people have been to the famous Greek hilltop. Why hasn't the supply of pieces been exhausted long ago due to the many tourists taking pieces of the marble home with them? The answer is quite simple. Every few months a truckload of marble fragments from a quarry that is miles away is scattered around the whole Acropolis area.

So tourists go home happy with what they think are authentic pieces of ancient history, actually the tourists are carrying away useless, worthless pieces of marble. No real damage is done by the Greek tourist agencies using a little sleight of hand to keep people from totally destroying the famous sight of the Acropolis. But in most cases, having an imitation rather than the real thing is very costly. Imagine what would have happened if the buyer of either of those famous paintings had gotten home and discovered that the work they had purchased was a mere copy!

Even if the copy was so like the original that only an expert could tell the difference, the copy would have been worth mere pennies. Failing to have the real thing would have cost the owner millions of dollars. There is one area in which having the real thing is even more important, and that is in the realm of faith.

If you fail in the arena of genuine religion, you could pay for it for eternity. In the days of the prophet Malachi, the people were having a problem with genuine religion. Most of the people did not have the real thing so God sent a messenger to warn them of the danger of living in hypocrisy or false security. Is it possible that one of the reasons the church is in retreat today is that many church members do not have the real thing?

Today we shall look at The Real Thing. We shall view genuine religion from three perspectives. Every fourth of July, the town of Soddy-Daisy comes to a near standstill as people assemble together to celebrate American's freedom with food, fun, and fellowship. However, what draws the overflowing crowds is the finale of the day. The festivities are always concluded with an exciting fireworks presentation. It is a most interesting site to behold as total strangers huddle side-by-side, and even enemies are at peace to enjoy the spectacle. A couple of years ago, my family and I sat among the huge crowd prepared to see a light show in the sky.

Perhaps it was due to the unexpected rain that came late in the day, but the first few rockets that were sent skyward fizzled out before their display. A young child that was sitting near to us made an observation that carried more significance than he realized. He said, "Mom, it looks like the fire has gone out of the works. All across America, both writers and speakers have engaged themselves in theories and speculations as to what is wrong with the church today. There are worship wars, plateaued ministries, cultural preferences, and "come see what we are about" churches.

Anyone and everyone can easily offer commentary on the symptoms, but could the cause of our condition be hidden in the words of a child: "the fire has gone out of the work"? Throughout scripture, fire was an essential means by which God moved and spoke. It was God's fire that condemned Sodom and Gomorrah, yet consumed Pentecost. It was God's fire that directed Israel in the wilderness, yet defeated Nadab and Abihu. Today, there is a growing trend to "make God our buddy," and the result has left us with smoldering embers on the altar of His glory.

We cannot even hope to experience genuine revival until we gain the eyes of Moses and Elijah to see He is a God who still answers by fire! Why is God's fire so valuable to His work? We shall see that as we look at the text for today.

Also, you are not going to be able to talk about Jesus, because Jesus talked about money over and over as recorded in the New Testament. On one occasion, Jesus talked about a woman who had ten coins and lost one of them. That story was about money. Jesus told about a man who had two sons, and one of them came and asked for his inheritance. Then when the son who received his inheritance and wasted it in riotous living, he came home. His older brother complained because his brother had wasted the inheritance. That was about money.

Jesus told about a man who found a treasure in a field and went to buy it so he could own the treasure. Jesus told about a man who was going away on a journey and he gave money to three men and told them that when he returned he wanted to see what profit they had gained. That story was clearly about money. In truth, Jesus talked about money and possessions more than he talked about heaven and hell.

In fact, money is important to God and it ought to important to every child of God. I love a cartoon I saw in a newspaper some years ago. It was a Dennis the Menace cartoon. The preacher is smiling but the father appears to be troubled. John Broadus was a great Baptist leader from the past. One Sunday, as the offering was being received, Broadus stepped out of the pulpit and walked down the aisle of the church.

He watched each person as they placed their offerings in the offering plates. It was easy to see that the members were not too happy about it. Broadus walked back up to the pulpit and reminded the people that the Lord sees what is given by each person every week. He then added that God also knows exactly what you have left after you have given. That reminds me of the story from the Gospel of Luke where Jesus was with the disciples at the Temple watching what the people gave as they brought their offerings to God.

In those days, large vessels set outside the Temple and people placed their tithes and offerings into those vessels. The sound of the coins dropping into the vessels made a loud noise as some of the large gifts were given. People would often stand and watch to see the people place their gifts into the vessels and to hear the sound when someone dropped in a very large gift. If I may summarize in my own words, let me tell you what happened.