(18 verses, 3:16 to read)
What I am about to READ
- Malachi prophesies about the coming Christ and the judgment He will bring at the end of the world.
- v. 1-4: Malachi prophesies about John the Baptizer and the Christ.
- vv. 5-15: Malachi prophesies about the judgment the Christ will bring.
- vv. 16-18: Malachi prophesies about the final separation of believers from unbelievers in eternity.
- This prophecy in verse 1 is cited in Matthew, Mark, and Luke as referring directly to St. John the Baptizer, who would be the final Old Testament prophet, pointing the people to the Christ. St. Luke’s Gospel picks up this theme, depicting Jesus in the temple at 40 days (Luke 2:22-38) and 12 years old (Luke 2:41-52). Even the Apostle St. John depicts the coming of Jesus to the temple early in his Gospel (John 2:13-22). Malachi’s prophecy predicted this close connection between the Baptizer and the Christ, proving that God is faithful to His promise.
- The Christ here is called the messenger of the covenant. Just as in the covenant with Abraham, God is the one who both initiates the covenant and takes upon Himself the threats associated with breaking it. Though we have sinned, God punished His Son, Jesus, for our sins, that we might be counted as righteous in His sight. As the Father purified the sons of Levi for acceptable, so also Jesus makes the once and for all sacrifice for sinners by going to the Christ.
- This prophecy also foretells Christ’s work as the final end times judge. God’s righteous anger over sin is on full display here. We must remember that God hates our sin and threatens to punish all who break His commandments. If we live our lives unafraid of the judgment God threatens to all who live as if His commandments do not matter, the perfect Law of God will be the standard by which we will be judged on the Last Day. God will hold up the mirror of His Law and show us our wickedness and how far we have fallen short of His demands.
- God’s demands in the Law always remain the same. He does not change the expectations, so that when we are confronted with our sin, we know exactly where to turn for forgiveness. As the Old Testament saints looked forward to the Messiah, so we look to that same Messiah–Jesus Christ–who bears the punishment for us.
- Finally, verse 18 seems to be a prophecy of what Jesus describes in Matthew 25, as the sheep are separated from the goats at the final judgment. This will be a public separation of those made righteous by faith in Christ and those who are outside of Christ and found guilty under the Law. Though we often cannot see the differences between those who serve Christ and those who do not due to our fallen nature, this will be made clear on the Last Day. This is a comfort to us especially, since we know that our own sins might cause others to doubt whether or not we belong to Christ. Our lives are hidden in His, and His blood covers all our sins so that the Father does not see them anymore.
- Prayer: O Lord, teach us proper fear of the return of Your Son in judgment, that we might not allow sin to rule in us. In the same way, teach us to lift up our heads, knowing that Your Son brings redemption and peace to all who trust in Him. Amen.
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-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN
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