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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Malachi 3

Verses 1-6

MALACHI - CHAPTER 3

FORERUNNER OF JESUS FORETOLD

Verse 1-6:

And The Coming Of The Messiah

Verse 1 announces that the Lord God will send His messenger (John the Baptist), who shall prepare the way for Jesus, the Messiah, whom they of Israel sought, Luke 1:17; Matthew 3:3; Matthew 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 1:76; Luke 3:4; Luke 7:26; John 1:23; Isaiah 40:3-5. The sudden coming of the Lord to His temple alludes to His second coming, when He shall come in power and expansive glory, Isaiah 63:9; Haggai 2:7; Luke 12:38-46; Revelation 16:15; Matthew 21:12-13; 2 Thessalonians 1:10. Jesus is here referred to as the messenger of the covenant, the one whom all prophecy had presented and God had promised as the Redeemer, Genesis 3:15; Galatians 4:4-5; Acts 10:43; Revelation 19:10.

Verse 2 asks who may abide or stand in the day of His coming, His coming in judgment, a thing the priests had actually questioned, Malachi 2:17; Revelation 6:17. The answer is that none shall stand, but all shall bow to the penalties of unforgiven sins, when He comes to cleanse and purify like refiner’s fire purifies silver and gold and like the power of cleansing in the fuller’s strong alkaline soap, Isaiah 4:4; Isaiah 13:9; Matthew 3:10-12.

Verse 3 declares that the Lord will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver who places the precious metal in the fire and sits and watches it closely, knowing just when the dross is gone, and when to pull the precious metal of silver or gold from the fire; When He could see His image in it. Even so the Lord would put the Levites through the fire of trial until they were cleansed from their treachery of sanctioning and practicing divorce of their Jewish wives and taking "strange wives" of the Gentile and heathen races. Even so the Lord chastens the believer for his sins today, to prepare him for acceptable worship, Romans 15:16; Hebrews 12:10; 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 2:5.

Verse 4 states that then the offering or worship of Judah and Jerusalem shall be acceptable to the Lord as in days of old, in the days of Moses and Aaron when Israel was a young nation, highly regarding the law of her God, Romans 12:1; Hebrews 13:15-16; 1 Peter 2:5. This seems to refer to the time of restoration of the morning and evening oblation sacrifices for a period of about 3 1/2 years, 42 months, or a time, times, and half times, immediately preceding the coming of our Lord in the air, Daniel 9:26-27; Daniel 12:7-13; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 11:1-4.

Verse 5 assured the priests who had asked, "where is the judgment of God?" Malachi 2:17, that He will come near to them to judgment, long after they had rejected the Messiah, John 1:11-12; John 5:41; Hebrews 10:20; Hebrews 10:38; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10. The Lord vows to be a swift witness against adulterers, sorcerers, false swearers, oppressors of people who worked for slave wages, oppressors of widows and orphans, and those who turned the stranger from doing right, and showed no fear for Him and His word, James 5:4-9. God is looking on, keeping record of the many forms of disobedience of men; He sees; He knows; and He requires repentance or an accounting hour, Psalms 10:11; Psalms 73:11; Psalms 94:7; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Acts 8:9; Acts 13:6; Galatians 5:20; See also Mt 24;30; 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

Verse 6 declares the Lord Jehovah to be the one who is giving this message. He asserts that He does not change in nature of Holiness, mercy, love, and justice, Numbers 23:19; Romans 11:29; James 1:27. It is because of His unchanging nature of mercy and longsuffering that the sons of Jacob, the nation of Israel, had not already been consumed, and would be spared, 1 Samuel 15:29; Lamentations 3:22.

Verses 7-15

Sins Of The People Resumed

Verses 7-15:

Robbing God In Matters Of Tithes And Worship

Verse 7 both indicts the people for sins and calls them to repentance, and a return to Him. He scolds them for asking wherein they should return, as in Malachi 1:7; Malachi 2:17; Malachi 3:8-9. They could not cover up their sins by pretending that they had none, even as some do today, 1 John 1:8; See also Acts 7:51; Leviticus 26:40-42; Deuteronomy 30:1-4; Jeremiah 3:12-14; Zechariah 1:3. Non-payment of tithes brought national calamity on Israel.

Verse 8 rhetorically asks, a man will not rob God, will he? and get by with it? The Lord then directly charges that they had robbed Him. Yet, they persisted asking, wherein? Or in what way? He replied, "in tithes and offerings," Ne 13:10.

Verse 7 called upon them to return from that sin. They were, by law, to tithe as follows:

1) Of the first fruits, offering one sixtieth of corn, wine, and oil, Deuteronomy 18:4.

2) The tithe of one tenth for the Levites, Leviticus 27:30-33.

3) A tenth paid by Levites to the priests, Numbers 18:26-28.

4) Another tenth paid by the people for entertainment of the Levites and their own families at the tabernacle, Deuteronomy 12:18.

5) Another tithe, every third year, for the poor.

The priests had misused the tithe that was paid so badly, that caused the people to withhold them, to which the priests then covetously reacted by permitting the use of torn, crippled, and diseased animals in sacrifices, Malachi 1:7; Malachi 1:10; Malachi 1:13-14: Such was the first grievous sin Nehemiah corrected, on his return to Jerusalem, in the 32nd year of Artaxerxes, Nehemiah 13:6-13.

Verse 9 declares "you all are cursed with a curse," because "yo4 all (the whole nation of Israel) have robbed, or defrauded me," of my due honor and holy worship. God had withheld His blessings from the whole nation of Israel because of her abuse and misuse of what He had so graciously given them. Men and families only rob themselves when they withhold from paying or giving back to God tithes and offerings, to carry on His order of worship and service, Luke 6:38; 1 Corinthians 9:13-14; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7; 2 Corinthians 9:15; Hebrews 7:8. Ananias and Sapphira did not profit by trying to hide, cover up, or deceive in pretending to give more of their income to the Lord than what they actually did. For their lying they were killed, Acts 5:1-11.

Verse 10 calls upon the people of Israel to bring forth their tithes into the storehouse, supervised by the Levites, that there might be food in the house of the Lord, Nehemiah 13:12. To do so was to prove or test the Lord and witness that He would then open up the windows of heaven and observe His pouring or doling out blessings like falling rain upon them, beyond which they were actually able to receive, Proverbs 3:9-10; 2 Kings 7:2; 1 Chronicles 26:20; 2 Chronicles 31:4; 2 Chronicles 31:11-12; Nehemiah 10:38; Nehemiah 12:44; Nehemiah 12:47; Nehemiah 13:12. See also Matthew 6:33; Luke 6:38; Ephesians 3:20; Psalms 72:7.

Verse 11 pledges that the Lord of hosts will rebuke the devourer, locusts and noxious creatures, for the sake of those who conscientiously paid tithes and gave offerings obediently to the Lord. He specifically promised to prevent destruction of their crops by plagues of insects and diseases, so that their vines would not cast off corrupt fruit or shed their fruit before it matured or ripened in the fields. He is the omnipotent (all powerful) God who controls the elements and seasons, Amos 4:9; Amos 7:1-3; Joel 2:20; Haggai 2:17.

Verse 12 foretells that all nations, races, or people shall recognize and call Israel "blessed," when she obeyed God’s law of the tithe and offerings. She is assured that in such obedience she would be a land of delight, of joy to herself and praise to her Lord: Such would confirm God’s ancient pledge to bless her, Deuteronomy 33:29; Zechariah 8:13; Daniel 8:9.

Verse 13 states that their words had been "stout" or "hard" against the Lord, while they with feigned (pretended) innocence asked, "what have we spoken so much against thee?" It was much as that of false prophets described Judges 1:15. They had developed an habit of denying that they were living in open disobedience against God in so many ways, Ezekiel 33:30-31; James 1:22.

Verse 14 charges them with three particular sins: 1) First, they questioned that to serve God was of any profit to them, but was a service rendered in vain; 2) Second, they questioned that there was any material or spiritual profit in keeping the ordinances of the Lord; and 3) Third, they denied that repentance of walking with mourning before the Lord of hosts brought any good response from him. They simply charged that God had no more seen, heard, or helped them than the idol gods they had taken to them with their "strange" or "heathen" wives, matters of blasphemous nature. They had simply murmured against, found fault with God, Job 21:14-15; Job 22:17; Psalms 73:1-14; Isaiah 58:3-8.

Verse 15 acknowledged through Malachi that the Israelites were calling the "proud" happy, the heathen who flourished in prosperity, Psalms 73:12. They "set up" on a pedestal, those who seemed to prosper in wickedness, Proverbs 24:3. They charged that those heathen who tempted God got by with it; Why then should they believe God was a God of judgment? Psalms 95:9; Numbers 21:5-6; Jeremiah 12:16-17; Exodus 1:21; Exodus 17:2; 1 Corinthians 10:9-10.

Verses 16-18

Verses 16-18:

The Faithful Rewarded

Verse 16 announces that those, who in the midst of the’ disparaging wickedness, feared the Lord, and spake often or fellowshipped one with another, were observed of the Lord, who hearkened to their prayers. What is more He recorded, in a book of remembrance, the deeds of those who feared Him, those who thought faithfully upon His name, or His authority, as a Persian king kept record and rewarded those of merit in his kingdom, Ezra 6:1-2; Psalms 56:9; Daniel 7:10; Romans 9:25-29; Isaiah 1:9. See also Matthew 11:16-19. The Lord will faithfully reward the faithful, 1 Corinthians 3:8; 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 22:12.

Verse 17 pledges that the Lord of hosts will claim or acknowledge those as His jewels, private, personal, property, when He makes up His royal crown of rule over the earth. He will spare the faithful as a father spares his own heir-son who faithfully serves him, at that hour of judgment of rewards, honors, and positions of service for His reigning era, Isaiah 62:3; Titus 2:14; Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 15:2; Deuteronomy 26:19; Psalms 135:4; 1 Peter 2:9; Psalms 103:17-18; Psalms 118:17-18. See also His pledge to the faithful in His church of this age, Luke 22:28-30; Matthew 25:21; 2 Thessalonians 1:10. To "spare" is contrasted with "to punish," Psalms 103:17-18.

Verse 18 asserts that at that hour of our Lord’s return the Israelites will repent or return and recognize that there is a difference between the righteous and the wicked, Luke 1:6; Genesis 6:9; Luke 2:25. They will then know those who serve Him and those who do not, Exodus 11:7; 1 Corinthians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 3:13-15; Galatians 6:7-8; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; Revelation 2:10; Revelation 22:12.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Malachi 3". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/malachi-3.html. 1985.