Summary: Dealing with issues of real substance in finishing up this book study
MALACHI CHAPTERS 3 & 4
Bible Study by Pastor Eric Hanson
This is the latest in the series of teachings on the book of the prophet Malachi. If you missed any of the earlier ones, just ask for them and either of the elders will gladly get you what you need.
This chapter covers many things in few words. The Lord spoke future things and then current things both through Malachi in just a few moments worth of reading. This one needs to be considered almost verse by verse. Let's jump in now and gain insights and benefits from God's word. (Read each referenced verse first.)
3:1: The prophecy this long verse starts with came to pass in the person and ministry of John the Baptist, who was the Lord's messenger, preparing the way for the appearance of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. John announced the identity of Jesus shortly after the Lord's (Jesus') baptism in water. You may recall (Matthew 3) that John didn't want to baptize Jesus because of the Lord's sinless nature, but Jesus said that it needed to take place.
After the 40 days of temptation, which the Lord endured immediately after this, John announce Jesus as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World." Then Jesus came "suddenly" to the Temple, and he cleansed it as an act of judgment against the wrong ways Temple sacrifices were being done.
3:2: This refers directly to the above mentioned events, but it is also rich with imagery having to do with the second coming of Jesus Christ, which is still in the future.
3:3-4: There is much in this passage which will only find its fulfillment in the "Millennium" (the 1000 year period after the second coming of the Lord, during which he will literally sit upon David's throne in Jerusalem. The offerings at that time till not be animal sacrifices, (That would be an abomination after the Lord's blood has been presented in Heaven.) but the offering of pure devotion to the things of God, and pure obedience to the Lord.
3:5-6: This is another verse which can fit two time frames. It describes Jesus' kingly rule during the Millennium. It also foreshadows the Great White Throne Judgment which will take place after the Millennium is over, and the final Earthly battle has taken place. In verse six, God obliquely reminds the readers that only His patience and eternal nature has prevented Him from wiping them out for their widespread and ongoing sins of many kinds, postponing most judgments to the final Judgment Day.
3:7: He is about to bring up another specific sin of the remnant people living in Judeah at that time.
The Tithe, like the sanctity of Marriage (chapter two) even predates the Torah. Abraham tithed many centuries before Moses was even born. The Tithe was and is a foundational covenantal act of faith and ongoing obedience, which illustrates, over and over, our dependence upon God and His provision of all we need. It is
also the means God has chosen to finance his ongoing full time workers here on Earth. Like faithful and kind marriage, the Tithe is basic to godliness.
3:8: For believers, withholding the Tithe is robbing God.
3:9: Failing to Tithe brings on a curse.
3:10: Bringing the whole Tithe faithfully to the storehouse is key here to two things: 1. God's house (workers) being fully supplied, and 2. God sending blessings upon his people. God challenges them to test Him! This is the only thing God ever said such a challenge about.
3:11-12: Great blessings for the people of Judeah (see Deuteronomy 28:1-14) as they obey God in the Tithe. This promise carries through to us too, because the Blessings of the Covenant are eternal, while the Curse of the Covenant was absorbed by Jesus, as he hung on the Cross.
3:13-15: Speaking evil against God (What use is it to serve Him?) also brings the Lord's displeasure. Many places throughout the Bible tell us to guard our words. Job and his friends were strongly rebuked by God for the many incorrect things they had said about Him. It is sin to speak evil of God, or to speak presumptuously about why and how God does things, if we do not have scripture to back up what we are claiming.
3:16-18: God fearing people responded to these concerns. Other people did not do so. There is a difference! Those who are truly God's own; those who esteem His name will receive His inheritance, and those who don't won't. (See Chapter 4.)
4:1-3: Again, future judgments are referenced, but this time, the role that the saints of God will play is highlighted. In the future, we who love the Lord will be in our resurrection bodies and we will be part of the "cutting off" of the wicked. (those who reject the Lord and His ways) We who love the Lord will also have "healing in our wings". We will walk unhindered in supernatural power to heal and will help people during the Millennial Reign of the Lord.