Surveying the Text/Malachi

Introduction:

This book is of uncertain date, and is probably to be located sometime in the fifth century B.C. The problems that are addressed in the book are also problems in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, and are addressed there as well. They include, but are not limited to, corrupt priests, mixed marriages, failure to tithe, social injustice, and the like.

The Text:

“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.” (Mal. 3:1).

Understanding This Book:

The book is not a simple prophetic denunciation, and neither is it a law court scenario. Rather it is more like a series of disputations, taking the rhetorical form called a diatribe. There are six of them found here, end to end. The form the disputations take is this: 1. a declaration is made, 2. a response comes back asking, “How so?” and 3. the declaration is then defended and explained.

The first dispute concerns whether Jehovah loves Israel (1:2-5). The second involves the offering of deficient sacrifices (1:6-2:9). The third is on the problem of marrying pagan wives and being unfaithful to their wives by covenant (2:10-16). The fourth dispute is over how they wearied Yahweh or Jehovah with their words (2:17-3:5). The fifth centers on an invitation to return to a real love for Jehovah (3:6-12). And the last dispute concerns their tendency to speak harshly about Jehovah (3:13-4:3).

The book then concludes with a coda about Moses and Elijah, the law and the prophets respectively, representing between them who would be with the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration.

A Miscellany:

There are some basic principles we should glean from this book:

God describes His sovereign election in terms of love (Mal. 1:2-3). Jacob wants to know how God loves him, and God replies by showing His rejection of Esau.

Try doing that on a human level (Mal. 1:8). What we know and understand about respect and honor among fellow creatures ought to be used by us as we meditate on how to approach God. But this is easy to miss.

Tithing is an act of responsible love (Mal. 3: 8-12). Refusal to tithe is a refusal to honor God, and is in fact robbery of God. Those who withhold the tithes and offerings are trying to pillage heaven’s treasuries, and all they succeed in doing is emptying their own.

God doesn’t listen to men who mistreat their wives (Mal. 2:13-14). The apostle Peter says essentially the same thing when he tells men to treat their wives right so that their prayers will not be hindered (1 Pet. 3:7)

The Refiner’s Fire:

In our canonical arrangement, the book of Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament canon, and it leaves us looking forward to the coming of the Messiah. There are several elements in the book that cause us to lean forward in this way.

“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.” (Mal. 3:1).

This passage is quoted three times in the New Testament—Matt. 11:10, Mark 1:2, and Luke 7:27. Jesus Himself applies it to John the Baptist in Matthew and Luke, and Mark quotes Malachi and Isaiah as his narratival introduction of John the Baptist. But when the Messiah comes, the one whom you have delighted in and desired in the abstract, you will discover that His coming is fierce. He will come like a refiner’s fire. Everybody want to be pure, but being purified means being thrown in the cauldron.

What else will this ministry of preparation consist of?

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, And the heart of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Mal. 4:5–6).

So when the final Elijah comes (again the Baptist), he will bring a spirit of repentance, and that spirit will be found in how the fathers are turned to their children, and how the children are turned to their fathers (see. Matt. 11:14; 17:11-13; Mark 9:11-13; Luke 1:17; John 1:21; Matt. 3:4; 2 Kings 1:8). This is what prepares the way for the Christ. This is part of what it means to level the mountains and raise the valleys.

All this is the ministry of preparation. What about the Messiah Himself? What will result when He comes?

“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise With healing in his wings; And ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall” (Mal. 4:2).

This is no impotent salvation. This is not God giving our redemption a try. No, Christ came to save the world, not condemn it (John 3:17).

“For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same My name shall be great among the Gentiles; And in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: For my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 1:11).

We are living in dawn of these glorious times. It is not through the law that Abraham and his seed will inherit the world, but rather through the righteousness of faith. And how is this righteousness spread? How is this conquering Word to go forth? It is through the proclamation of a crucified Christ, killed for you and resurrection for you. That is it. That is what God has done, is doing, and will do, world without end.

30
Leave a Reply

avatar
 
10 Comment threads
20 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
10 Comment authors
A Amos LoveMoor_the_MerrierkatechoJane DunsworthMalachi Recent comment authors

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Adam Jones Jr.
Guest

sigh… no preterism

mikebull1
Member

Yep – ch 4:5-6.

A Amos Love
Guest
A Amos Love

Doug

Have you ever wondered why?
With all the instructions Paul gave to believers, His ekklesia, he never asked them to tithe?

The Jerusalem council in Acts 15 never asks the new gentile believers to tithe?

Neither does Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Timothy, James or Jesus ask believers to tithe?

mikebull1
Member

Under the Law, sacrifices stood in for the Levite priests, who themselves stood in for Israel’s firstborn (Numbers 3:12). After Pentecost, people were finally blameless, and thus acceptable sacrifices (which is why Jesus calls Peter to feed His sacrificial sheep – for the slaughter – making the claims that our infants are lambs totally ridiculous). Revelation is about the offering of these firstfruits believers. So, why were they not commanded to tithe? Because they WERE the tithe. We have the Spirit to tell us how much to give. Grown ups don’t need everything spelled out.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

So, do we read you right in saying the tithe always represented the folks giving it?
And so it was commanded before because they didn’t have the Spirit telling when or how much to give like we do — but we’re all grown up and have the Spirit so we don’t need to be told like the boys of old?
(Who told Abe to give that stuff to Melchiz?)

mikebull1
Member

Yep, that’s how I take it. We are Abraham and Sarah – or Ananias and Sapphira! If we do not respond to the internal law of the Spirit, we are reminded by the external principles of our childhood.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

How in the world did folks manage back then with the Spirit hiding out? Ain’t that like thinking humans used to breathe without lungs?

mikebull1
Member

God works in layers, or fractals, so there were certainly earlier instances, but the Day of Pentecost was a game changer. Peter quotes Joel, which actually refers to the prophetic role of the “new Israel” after the exile, but Pentecost surpassed that. Regarding breath, Adam was given “earthly” breath, the same breath shared by the animals, the breath extinguished in the flood. But he failed to qualify for the heavenly breath, his own “Pentecost,” which would make him God’s prophetic representative. One breath pictures the other but they are not the same, just as sons of men picture sons of… Read more »

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Qualifying for the heavenly breath? Was that the human “race” the Spirit signed him up for – without a personal trainer in place?

mikebull1
Member

Ha – yes. The “personal trainer” was the serpent. Adam was supposed to out craft him.

A Amos Love
Guest
A Amos Love

Doug What was the substance of “the tithe” in the Old Testament? 1 – In the OT, wasn’t the tithe always food? To be eaten or sacrificed, burnt-up? Seed of the land, fruit of the tree, or animals? The “Tithe” was “Never” silver, gold, or Money. Except when Abraham gave a tithe, once, of the spoils of war, to Melchisedec… After slaughtering a bunch of kings. And only gave that tithe once. Malachi 3:10 KJV Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat (food) in mine house… Leviticus 27:30-34 KJV And all the tithe of… Read more »

A Amos Love
Guest
A Amos Love

Doug Who would EAT “the tithe” of food, in the Old Testament? 2 – Isn’t there a “Tithe” for **You and Your family** to EAT? And Rejoice? That **You and Your family** may learn to fear the LORD thy God? Deuteronomy 14:22-26 KJV Thou (You) shalt truly tithe all the increase of “thy seed,” that the field bringeth forth year by year. 23 And thou (You) shalt EAT before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy (Your) corn, of (Your) wine, and of thine (Your) oil, and… Read more »

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Don’t stop now!
Therefore?

Katecho
Member

Therefore, the widow’s mite.

A Amos Love
Guest
A Amos Love

katecho

Wasn’t it two mite’s? ;-)
That went into “The Treasury?”

And NOT a 501 c 3, non-profit, tax deductible Religious Corporation…
that the IRS calls church?

And, Was those two mites required as a “Tithe?”

Katecho
Member

The treasury may not have been a 501c3, but it was administered in a temple that was about to be destroyed because it was a house of leprosy. Somehow this didn’t deter Christ from observing the faithfulness of the widow. He didn’t call her a fool for giving to such a corrupt organization in her day. She still gave in faith. Perhaps she understood that God didn’t really need her two copper coins anyway, and that perhaps her giving was a tribute of faith in God’s provision, a public testimony of her ownership of her Lord and King, and as… Read more »

A Amos Love
Guest
A Amos Love

katecho

This was excellent… Much agreement…
“She still gave in faith. Perhaps she understood that God didn’t really need her two copper coins anyway, and that perhaps her giving was a tribute of faith in God’s provision, a public testimony of her ownership of her Lord and King, and as much for her own spiritual discipline as for anyone else’s earthly need of two copper coins.”

Vishwanath Haily Dalvi
Guest
Vishwanath Haily Dalvi

“And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple,”

This line often triggers a longing, what some call “sehnsucht” I think.

drewnchick
Member

Yay…my favorite!

A Amos Love
Guest
A Amos Love

Doug Who is God talking to in Malachi 3:8-12 KJV, when he says… “Will a man rob God?” “*Ye* are cursed with a curse?” “Bring *ye* all the tithes into the storehouse?” 3 – Isn’t this about The Priests? In Malachi? The Priests, Who were responsible for the storehouse? The Treasury? The Priests, Who were sacrificing to God, the “Blind, Lame, and Sick?” And, so, The Priests were robbing God, “In tithes and offerings.” The Priests, Who God, sent a curse upon, and cursed their blessings? Malachi begins talking to *the priests* in verse 6. Malachi 1:6-8 KJV A son… Read more »

A Amos Love
Guest
A Amos Love

Doug ***It is still the Levitical priests – the sons of Levi, who God will “purge” (purify) them as gold and silver, so *the priests* “may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.“ Malachi 3:2-4 KJV 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: 3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify *the sons of Levi,* (the priests) and purge them as gold and silver, that *they* (priests) may offer unto the… Read more »

Katecho
Member

“and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” — Rev 1:6

A Amos Love
Guest
A Amos Love

katecho

Heb 7:11-12 KJV
If therefore perfection were by the **Levitical priesthood,**
(for under it the people received the law,)
what further need was there that **another priest** should rise
after **the order of Melchisedec,**
and not be called after the order of Aaron?
For THE PRIESTHOOD **being changed,**
there is made of necessity **a change** also of the law.

Was wondering…

Are you a Priest after the order of the **Levitical priesthood?**

If you are, you are required to “Tithe.” And, sacrifice animals to God. :-)

Katecho
Member

I’m required to be a living sacrifice to God, mind, body, and soul. The widow’s mite is just an example of this greater principle. So if the question is about requirements and obligations and duties and God’s claims, they seem to have increased in this New Covenant. The tithe was just the training wheel. The tutor. To give God a tenth was not to teach the lesson that we get to keep nine tenths for our own agenda. Rather the lesson of the tenth was that everything we have comes from God, and all of it is to be stewarded… Read more »

A Amos Love
Guest
A Amos Love

katecho Yes – “I’m required to be a living sacrifice to God, mind, body, and soul.” NO – “The tithe was just the training wheel. The tutor.” This post talks about “the Tithe.” And, Robbing God. By WE, His Disciples… :-( If WE, His Sheep, do NOT give 10% of income, MONEY, to a 501 c 3, IRS church… NOT – “The tithe was just the training wheel. The tutor.” NOT – About giving. And, being a living sacrifice. 2 Cor 9:7 KJV, Kinda explains giving for WE, His Ekklesia… Every man according as he purposeth “in his heart,” **so… Read more »

Moor_the_Merrier
Guest
Moor_the_Merrier

Would it be fair to say that you do believe in giving generously of your resources, but that you do not believe a tithe is God’s requirement? Would it be fair to say that you believe this generous giving (presuming that such is your standard — feel free to remove the word “generous” and replace it with “purposed in your heart” if that is more satisfactory) should not include money? Or, if it does include money, that the money should or should not go to a local congregation, either exclusively or in part? I suppose, in short, I’m asking to… Read more »

A Amos Love
Guest
A Amos Love

Hi Moor_the_Merrier For me, Today, Giving Money, resources, things, became an issue of the heart. Being one of His Sheep, hearing His Voice and Following Jesus. WE, His sons, His Disciples, are to be led by the Spirit? Yes? And, I have experienced, “It is more blessed to give than to receive….” If we are to be stewards of God’s property? Money? Resources? Things? Why not ask Jesus what to do with His Property? Money? Resources? Things? Can God teach WE, and guide WE, and Direct WE, to give? Money? Resources? Things? To whom? What? When? How much? Money? Resources?… Read more »