Summary: The love of God is set to avert the curse.
UNWRAPPING GEMS IN MALACHI
The “burden” of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi is “I have loved you” (Malachi 1:1-2). Why has the LORD set His love on His people? Well, according to Moses, He loves us because He loves us (Deuteronomy 7:7-8)! It is not our love to God that saves us, but His love to us (1 John 4:10; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:4-5).
Perhaps this is the key to the whole book of Malachi - or even to the whole Bible. The plan of Malachi’s book, and the plan of the whole Bible, is that God’s love is set to avert the curse (John 3:16). The final word of Malachi’s prophecy is “curse”, but the whole (escape) clause reads “LEST I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:6).
There is another gem hinted at here in what Israel will say when they see Edom’s presumptuous and defiant rebuilding cast down: “the LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel” (Malachi 1:5). This is taken up again at the mouth of the LORD in His argument with Israel’s priests: “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” (Malachi 1:11). The extensiveness of this statement (cf. Isaiah 45:6) anticipates the calling of the nations (Psalm 72:11), and the great commission (Matthew 28:19).
The name Malachi means “My Messenger” (Malachi 1:1). The priest is also identified, ideally, as “the messenger”: “The priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 2:7). In this the Aaronic priesthood was failing, but there was to come a new and better priesthood after the order of Melchisedec (Hebrews 5:10).
We have another two messengers in Malachi 3:1. Watch carefully, exhorts the LORD. First, I will send My messenger (cf. John 1:6-8), who will prepare the way for the One whom you are seeking. Then, says the LORD, ‘the Messenger of the Covenant in whom you delight will suddenly come to His temple’ (Malachi 3:1).
Jesus appeared in the Temple as a baby, without being noticed by many more than two people (Luke 2:22). Then Jesus appeared in the Temple as a boy of twelve: He astonished all, yet still remained unrecognized (Luke 2:47). Then as a man He appeared again and announced, much in keeping with the message of Malachi: ‘You have made my Father’s house into a den of thieves’ (John 2:16). Malachi 3:2 reaches beyond the incarnation of Jesus to His return. Judgment must begin, and no doubt has begun, at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17).
Yet Jesus first came to establish a new covenant, and to make the once for all, final, and satisfactory sacrifice for the sins of His people (cf. Hebrews 9:28). This is the ultimate ‘righteous offering’ (cf. Malachi 3:3) to which all the sacrifices have always been pointing: the fulfillment of all the rites and ceremonies of the Old Testament era. The “sons of Levi” (Malachi 3:3) stood as representatives of all Israel: and now the Lord creates a new worship and a new people and establishes a priesthood of all believers. Our offerings to God, whether in worship or giving, are acceptable to Him only when our worship is centred on our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a return to the worship of former times, to the “days of old” (Malachi 3:4).
There is a wonderful reassurance in Malachi 3:6 - “I the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (cf. Lamentations 3:22-23; 2 Peter 3:9). There is also a conditional promise if we will “bring the full tithe into the storehouse” signifying our total commitment to the LORD. See if the LORD will not pour out a larger-than-capacity blessing in response! “And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightful land, says the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 3:10-12).
There was a remnant in the days of Malachi who reverenced the LORD and remained loyal to Him (Malachi 3:16-18). Those who revere the LORD are remembered by the LORD and are made up as His jewels.
And unto them does the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2). This can only be Jesus, the Righteous One, whose righteousness is imputed to those who put their trust in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).