The Book of Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. After this, God was silent for more than 400 years in the history of Israel. It seems like God had said all He wanted to say in Book of Malachi. What have I discovered?
Book of Malachi 1:3
In the Book of Malachi 1:3, God said He hated Esau.
Why do God hate Esau? Doesn’t He so love the world (John 3:16) which should have include Esau and his descendants?
but Esau I hated, and made his mountains a desolation, and gave his heritage to the jackals of the wilderness.Malachi 1:3 WEB
Malachi was written 400 over years before Christ came. Esau despised his birthright and the blessing of God. Were these the reasons?
Anyway, Esau and his descendants do not seem cursed today. They are some of the richest nations in the world, controlling much of the global oil sources. How is this considered desolation? What did God really mean?
Lord Jesus, enlighten the eyes of my heart to know:
- the hope you called me into,
- the riches of my inheritance, and
- greatness of Your power towards me. (Eph 1:19)
Lead me into Godly conversations that prosper my soul. (3 John 1:2)
Book of Malachi 1:2
Perhaps instead of focusing on verse 3, I should be focusing on verse 2 where God profess love for Jacob who represent all Jews.
“I have loved you,” says Yahweh. Yet you say, “How have you loved us?” “Wasn’t Esau Jacob’s brother?” says Yahweh, “Yet I loved Jacob;Malachi 1:2 WEB
It is a direct profession of love. “I have loved you“. The covenant-keeping God said it.
- God love and is not shy to say it. God love me. I shall not be shy to receive it.
- The Israelites couldn’t see how God had loved them. They did not appreciate His love. I must remember that Lord Jesus is constantly protecting me even when I do not see or feel it.
Book of Malachi 1: 6-8
Malachi complained that the Israelites were doing the same thing as Esau, dishonoring God with blemished offerings.
They don’t even treat God as well as they would their father, master or governor. They offered Him blemished animals that they would not dare offer to the governor.
“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, then where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is the respect due me? Says Yahweh of Armies to you, priests, who despise my name. You say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ 7 You offer polluted bread on my altar. You say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ In that you say, ‘Yahweh’s table is contemptible.’ 8 When you offer the blind for sacrifice, isn’t that evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, isn’t that evil? Present it now to your governor! Will he be pleased with you? Or will he accept your person?” says Yahweh of Armies.Malachi 1:6-8 WEB
The offerings are stand-in for Jesus before He comes. By despising the offerings, they are doing the same to Christ. Christ is the reason for our protection. By offering blemished animals and defiling the altar, the Jews are removing their own protection.
- Jesus is God’s perfect sacrificial lamb. I shall diligently remind Yahweh of that. Esteem Jesus highly. He is the reason for my salvation and sanctification.
Abba Father, thank you for your perfect offering. Jesus is spotless and without any blemish. He has, once and for all, taken away my sins. In Him, I am now white as snow. Perfect and righteous in Your sight.
Book of Malachi 2:1-9
God rebuked the priests specifically for not following His commandment, failing their duties.
What is the commandment?
8 At that time Yahweh set apart the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of Yahweh’s covenant, to stand before Yahweh to minister to him, and to bless in his name, to this day. 9 Therefore Levi has no portion nor inheritance with his brothers; Yahweh is his inheritance, according as Yahweh your God spoke to him.)Deuteronomy 10:8-9 WEB
The Levites or priests have a special calling from Yahweh. They are appointed to take care of the ark of the covenant, to minister to Him. To bless in His name and glorify His name before the people.
5 “My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him that he might be reverent toward me; and he was reverent toward me, and stood in awe of my name.Malachi 2:5 WEB
The covenant is an important one for the people: of life and peace. It is for the people’s benefit. We may think that we are offering to God in exchange for his protection and blessing. Treating it like a transaction. This is not true.
God does not need our offerings. What do they do for Him?
The truth is that the world has fallen and we are constantly under the curse. The only escape is through Christ. We find refuge when we acknowledge this and not despise it.
If I may be irreverent for a while. The curse is like rain. It falls on everything. Christ is like the umbrella. We get shelter when we hold up the umbrella. But there are people who refuse to use the umbrella and insist on using their hands or get drenched. Why?
- Yahweh offered Jesus His perfect lamb for me. He did it for my sake. My response is to receive and thank Him. Glory belong to Him.
Book of Malachi 2:10-16
In this passage, Malachi associated the frequent divorces of Jewish wives and the marrying of foreign wives as profaning the covenant that God had with their forefathers.
According to the Expositor’s Bible Commentary (affiliate link), Malachi saw God as Father and the nation as a brotherhood or family. “Don’t we all have one father? Hasn’t one God created us?” (Malachi 2: 10 WEB). If so, then divorce hurts the family.
Book of Malachi 2:17
I did not quite understand verse 17, the last verse.
You have wearied Yahweh with your words. Yet you say, ‘How have we wearied him?’ In that you say, ‘Everyone who does evil is good in Yahweh’s sight, and he delights in them;’ or ‘Where is the God of justice?’Malachi 2:17 WEB
It seems to start and end abruptly. It does not seem connected to verse 16.
When I consulted the Expositor’s Bible Commentary (affiliate link), it explained that Malachi 2:17 is connected to Malachi 3:1-5 and should be read together.
When I did that, it began to make sense.
17 You have wearied Yahweh with your words. Yet you say, ‘How have we wearied him?’ In that you say, ‘Everyone who does evil is good in Yahweh’s sight, and he delights in them;’ or ‘Where is the God of justice?’
3 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, behold, he comes!” says Yahweh of Armies. 2 “But who can endure the day of his coming? And who will stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like launderers’ soap; 3 and he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them as gold and silver; and they shall offer to Yahweh offerings in righteousness. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasant to Yahweh, as in the days of old, and as in ancient years. 5 I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against the perjurers, and against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and who deprive the foreigner of justice, and don’t fear me,” says Yahweh of Armies.Malachi 2:17-Malachi 3:5 WEB
Malachi 2:17-3:1-5 is addressing another group of people. People who saw wickedness and are disheartened. They complained and asked “Where is the God of justice?”
I was one of these people. I used to see the world full of wicked people who are successful and I wondered where God is. Does not God see? Why didn’t He stop them? Why didn’t God punish them?
God replied that He will come and do something about it. He will send Christ.
But who can stand before Him?
I wanted Him to come and wipe out the wickedness not knowing that I will be counted amongst them. I see the wickedness in other people but am blind to my own wickedness. But God is not blind, He see all our wickedness.
So, before judgment come, purification via Christ must take place first. “Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasant to Yahweh, as in the days of old, and as in ancient years.” (Malachi 3:4 WEB)
In verse 5, God said He will judge and He will be a swift witness. This means He has seen. He has evidence. He is not blind to sorcery, adultery, lying, oppressors, and injustice.
- I see wickedness outside and forgot the wickedness within. He doesn’t punish quickly for my sake.
Book of Malachi 3:6-12
Yahweh and Yahweh of Armies
2 name variations of God appeared in Malachi 3:6.
6 “For I, Yahweh, don’t change; therefore you, sons of Jacob, are not consumed. 7 From the days of your fathers you have turned away from my ordinances, and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says Yahweh of Armies.Malachi 3:6-7 WEB
- LORD – יְהוָ֖ה (Yah·weh) – Strong’s 3068: LORD — the proper name of the God of Israel
- Armies – צְבָא֑וֹת (ṣə·ḇā·’ō·wṯ) – Strong’s 6635: A mass of persons, reg, organized for, war, a campaign
Yahweh of Armies has been also translated as LORD of Hosts, LORD of the Heavenly Armies, and LORD who rules over all in other bible translations.
According to International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (affiliate link), the meaning of the title Yahweh of Armies denotes leadership or dominion of God over the people. It expressed His great power.
Question: Is there a reason why God emphasized His leadership and power here?
Tithes and Offerings
In this passage, God also told the people to return to Him. Although they broke His covenant but it is still in effect. The people had changed but God had not. “Return to me, and I will return to you” (Malachi 3:7 WEB).
How to return?
By bringing back the tithes and offerings.
I wonder why God focused on the tithes and offerings. Shouldn’t the requirement be repentance? Perhaps tithes and offerings are the practical expressions of repentance but are there other reasons?
I also wondered what happened to the tithes and offerings after they are offered and collected. The answer is found in Numbers 18:8-24.
8 Yahweh spoke to Aaron, “Behold, I myself have given you the command of my wave offerings, even all the holy things of the children of Israel. I have given them to you by reason of the anointing, and to your sons, as a portion forever. 9 This shall be yours of the most holy things from the fire: every offering of theirs, even every meal offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs, which they shall render to me, shall be most holy for you and for your sons. 10 You shall eat of it like the most holy things. Every male shall eat of it. It shall be holy to you.
11 “This is yours, too: the wave offering of their gift, even all the wave offerings of the children of Israel. I have given them to you, and to your sons and to your daughters with you, as a portion forever. Everyone who is clean in your house shall eat of it.
12 “I have given to you all the best of the oil, all the best of the vintage, and of the grain, the first fruits of them which they give to Yahweh. 13 The first-ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to Yahweh, shall be yours. Everyone who is clean in your house shall eat of it.
14 “Everything devoted in Israel shall be yours. 15 Everything that opens the womb, of all flesh which they offer to Yahweh, both of man and animal, shall be yours. Nevertheless, you shall surely redeem the firstborn of man, and you shall redeem the firstborn of unclean animals. 16 You shall redeem those who are to be redeemed of them from a month old, according to your estimation, for five shekels of money, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which weighs twenty gerahs.
17 “But you shall not redeem the firstborn of a cow, or the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat. They are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar, and shall burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a pleasant aroma to Yahweh. 18 Their meat shall be yours, as the wave offering breast and as the right thigh, it shall be yours. 19 All the wave offerings of the holy things which the children of Israel offer to Yahweh, I have given you and your sons and your daughters with you, as a portion forever. It is a covenant of salt forever before Yahweh to you and to your offspring with you.”
20 Yahweh said to Aaron, “You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them. I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.
21 “To the children of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they serve, even the service of the Tent of Meeting. 22 Henceforth the children of Israel shall not come near the Tent of Meeting, lest they bear sin, and die. 23 But the Levites shall do the service of the Tent of Meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. Among the children of Israel, they shall have no inheritance. 24 For the tithe of the children of Israel, which they offer as a wave offering to Yahweh, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance. Therefore I have said to them, ‘Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.’”Numbers 18:8-24 WEB
The tithes and offerings are for the Lord but they are also an inheritance for the priests. Unlike the other tribes, the Levites and priests’ inheritance come from the tithe of Israel. If the Israelites do not tithe, the Levites suffer.
This is what had happened during Malachi’s time. It is not new. It had happened in Nehemiah’s time. (Nehemiah 13).
10I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them; so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had each fled to his field. 11 Then I contended with the rulers, and said, “Why is God’s house forsaken?” I gathered them together, and set them in their place. 12 Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, the new wine, and the oil to the treasuries.Nehemiah 13:10-12 WEB
The result of not tithing and offering is lack and fruitlessness. “You are cursed with the curse; for you rob me, even this whole nation” (verse 9) and “I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast its fruit before its time in the field” (verse 11)
The solution is straightforward. Nehemiah did it. Malachi repeated the call and added a promise to it.
10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and test me now in this,” says Yahweh of Armies, “if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there will not be room enough for. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast its fruit before its time in the field,” says Yahweh of Armies. 12 “All nations shall call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,” says Yahweh of Armies.Malachi 3:10-12 WEB
I noticed that it requires windows (plural) of heaven to pour out a blessing (singular). That one blessing is so large, it requires many windows to pour. Some have said that this blessing refer to Jesus. I agree.
It seems the first thing that is abandoned or neglected when times are tough is the ministry to the Lord. I find it so in my own life. When my life circumstances changes, planning my tithe is usually the last thing on my mind.
The irony here is that this neglect is often the reason for lack. The Lord didn’t institute the tithe for His benefit, it is for mine. In His presence, I receive. In my declaration of trust, I receive.
Malachi 3:13 – Malachi 4:6
What is the difference between 3:13 and 2:17?
In the Book of Malachi 2:17, the people asked, “Where is the God of Justice?”. In Book of Malachi 3:13, they asked, “What profit is it that we have followed his instructions, and that we have walked mournfully before Yahweh of Armies? “. The first wanted to see justice and punishment meted out on the wicked. The latter lament that there is no benefit for obeying God’s ordinances.
What is God’s response?
He shall reward “those who feared Yahweh spoke one with another” (verse 16). He shall remember them and protect them from the Day.
I am curious about what these people spoke about with one another.
Benson Commentary (affiliate link) suggested that the subject of the conversations could be about “what was right concerning God’s justice and mercy, his holiness, forbearance, and long-suffering, his wisdom and equity in his government of the world in general, and of his church and the members of it in particular. And by their pious discourse they endeavoured to arm each other against the impressions which such wicked suggestions as those above mentioned might otherwise have made upon their minds; and to confirm one another in piety and virtue.”
Upholding a good opinion of God in the face of naysayers. Building up each other’s faith and trust in the Lord in spite of the circumstances.
This passage is still so relevant. 2022 is full of bad news. Wars, natural disasters, diseases, and economic lack. It is easy and natural to behave like the Israelites and blame God.
Instead, continue to worship and honour Yahweh. Speak well of Him.
The Day was mentioned 3 times in the passage. What day is it?
The Book of Malachi 3:17, They shall be mine,” says Yahweh of Armies, “my own possession in the day that I make, and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son who serves him.
The Book of Malachi 4: 1, “For, behold, the day comes, it burns as a furnace; and all the proud, and all who work wickedness, will be stubble; and the day that comes will burn them up,” says Yahweh of Armies, “that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
The Book of Malachi 4: 5, Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Yahweh comes.
It is the Judgment Day. It is a sure occurrence. It is an answer to those who asked, “Where is the God of Justice?” He is coming.
For those who said, “It is vain to serve God.” Is escaping judgment important? It is not vain to be standing with the Judge instead of standing in front of Him.
Comparing Genesis 1:1 and Malachi 4:6
Jay Smith, author of The Ultimate Bible Summary Collection (affiliate link), compared the last verse in the book of Malachi (4:6) to the first verse in the book of Genesis (1:1)
Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Malachi 4:6, “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”
His conclusion was that the Old Testament began with the magnificent power of creation and ends with a sad dreary clunk of redemption.
If we focus on the sin and failure of mankind, that would be true. But if we focus on God’s redemption plan, then it is an exciting cliffhanger. How is He going to restore the fathers’ hearts to their children and vice versa.
From hindsight, I know God first restore His heart as a father by sending Jesus as a way of reconciliation. Jesus had revealed God as Father to the world. He had prayed,
26 I made known to them your name, and will make it known; that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and I in them.”John 17:26 WEB
The name that Jesus was referring to was “Father“.
This was all in God’s plan. For in the Book of Jeremiah, God said,
19 ‘How I desire to put you among the children, and give you a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the armies of the nations!’ and I said, ‘You shall call me “My Father”, and shall not turn away from following me.’Jeremiah 3:19 WEB
Yahweh is an awesome script writer!
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For God so loved you, He sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross for you. You are precious to Him.