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10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

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Psa. 122:6   Pray  shalom Jerusalem:3389/3384 (to flow as waters):  prosper love. 7 Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. 8 For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. 9 Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.


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Malachi Speaks Again

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Malachi Speaks Again Part 1

Jack Kelly

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


This is the latest in our series on the minor prophets called “The Prophets Speak Again”. As in the past, we’ll take a message from the Lord to ancient Israel and see if there’s a parallel application in our world today. But first lets get a little better acquainted with Malachi.



The name Malachi means “my messenger”. Very little is known about him, and some even speculate that Malachi was a title rather than a name, making the book’s author unknown. But most say he was a real person, a prophet who spoke to Israel for God somewhere between 433-425 BC. That would place his time of service after those of Haggai and Zechariah, during the early days of the Second Temple period.

According to Jewish history, a man named Malachi was a member of the Great Assembly, a body of 120 leaders who were the ultimate authority in Israel at that time. He was most likely the same Malachi whose book we’re about to read.

(The second Temple is often called Herod’s Temple but it was originally built under the direction of Zerubbabel following the return from Babylon. The first Temple, built by Solomon, had been destroyed by the Babylonians.

Zerubbabel’s Temple was expanded during the Hasmonean dynasty (140-116 BC), but in 20 BC King Herod began such a dramatic renovation project that it was swallowed up in the grandeur of his reconstruction, and that’s when the Second Temple became known as Herod’s Temple.)
The Jews of Malachi’s time had lost hope in the promises God had made through Haggai and Zechariah. These included a promise that the glory of Zerubbabel’s Temple, which was a much more modest structure than Solomon’s Temple, would be greater than the one it replaced and would be the place where God would grant peace (Haggai 2:9). He said henceforth He would always bless them (Haggai 2:19) and He said He would return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem (Zechariah 7:3) as king of the whole world (Zechariah 14:9).

We now know that some of these were fulfilled in the Lord’s first coming while others await His return. But in Malachi’s time the people felt they were overdue for fulfillment and began to doubt whether God was sincere.

By the time Malachi came on the scene this doubt had led to rampant corruption in the priesthood and a spiritual lethargy among the people. They became focused on their difficult circumstances and refused to see that their own sinfulness was the cause of their problems. Malachi’s task was to call them to account for their lack of faith. After all, it had been over 1,000 years since God had made His covenant with Abraham and their history was filled with the evidence of His faithfulness.

Most experts believe that Malachi was the last prophet of Old Testament times. After his time of service was completed a 400 year silence followed, ending when John the Baptist came on the scene to herald the coming Messiah. With that, let’s begin our study of the Book of Malachi

Malachi 1
An oracle: The word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi.
Israel Doubts God’s Love
“I have loved you,” says the Lord. “But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’ “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.”
Edom may say, “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins.” But this is what the Lord Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the Lord. You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the Lord—even beyond the borders of Israel!’ (Malachi 1:1-5).

God used the contrast in His treatment of Esau and Jacob as evidence of His love for Israel. No matter what the descendants of Esau did to restore themselves, He would destroy it, and they would be known as the Wicked Land. Yet He had been actively involved in Israel’s restoration in the Promised Land. Even though their sins against Him had brought about their judgment and 70 year captivity, He sent Cyrus the Persian to free them. And under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah He had brought them back to the land He had given their forefathers and helped them rebuild both their temple and their city.
Those who teach that people have no choice about being saved like to use Romans 9:13, which is a quote from Malachi 1:2-3, to justify their position. They say it proves that God can choose whoever He wants to and reject whoever He wants to, and man is in no position to object. And when Paul continued by saying, “It does not depend on man’s desire or effort but on God’s mercy” (Romans 9:16) they say it confirms their position.
But they ignore the fact that God was not talking about our salvation in Romans 9, he was defending God’s choice of Israel as His people. No one would argue that by selecting Abraham God was exercising His right of sovereign election, but that fact has nothing to do with how Gentiles become part of the Church. The Bible could not be any clearer in saying that accepting the Lord’s death as payment in full for our sins is a choice any of us can make (Matt. 7:7-8, John 3:16, Romans 10:13, etc).

And God did not always hate Esau. In fact, when Jacob and Esau split over the way Jacob got the bulk of Isaac’s inheritance, God gave Esau the land we know as Edom. We learn this from Deut. 2:1-6 where God told Moses He had given the territory they were about to enter to the descendants of Easu, and would not let the children of Israel have any of it. He told Moses to be very careful not to provoke them, and to pay them for any food and water they consumed while passing through Edom.
From Ezekiel 35 we learn that God was driven to everlasting hatred against Edom because of the way they treated Israel during the time of the conquests of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. They helped Israel’s enemies overcome them and then moved in to take possession of the promised land, all because they harbored an ancient grudge against God’s people. Notice how God said they harbored an ancient grudge. You never hear about God harboring a grudge about it. Jacob was a conniver but in Genesis 25:29-34 we see that Esau despised his birthright and brought the loss of it upon himself.

Breaking Covenant Through Blemished Sacrifices
“A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the Lord Almighty.

“It is you priests who show contempt for my name. “But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’

“By offering defiled food on my altar. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’

“By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible. When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty.

“Now plead with God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?”—says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 1:6-9)

There were two things wrong here. First, the offering of a lame or diseased animal as a sacrifice showed they were not honoring Him. It was a sign of disrespect. If their human governor would not be pleased with such a gift, what made them think God would find it acceptable?

Second, the sacrificial animals were intended as a substitute for the sacrifice of His Son. Jesus was the perfect example of humanity, and the animals they sacrificed were supposed to be perfect examples of their breed, without any spot or blemish. Offering less than perfect animals showed they no longer cared enough to do the right thing. They were just going through the motions and in doing so were breaking an important provision of their covenant with Him.
Only a very small percentage of Christians today give God our best. We’re admonished to present our whole being as a living sacrifice to God as our spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1-2).

But multiple surveys have shown that most of us just give Him the leftovers of our lives. If we have any time or money left over from things we consider to be more important we may share some of it with Him, but if not we don’t worry about it. Are we being any less disrespectful to the One who sacrificed His life to save ours?

“Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands. My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord Almighty.

“But you profane it by saying, ‘The Lord’s table is defiled,’ and, ‘Its food is contemptible.’ And you say, ‘What a burden!’ and you sniff at it contemptuously,” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 1:10-13).

We aren’t even aware of the extent to which we take God for granted, and it’s only because He has made peace with us through His blood shed on the cross (Colossians 1:19-20) that we’re not under judgment. I often wonder how much richer and fuller our lives would be, and how much greater our impact on the world, if we took His word seriously and followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit more enthusiastically.

But like the Jews of Malachi’s time we’ve grown weary of waiting. Many who call themselves Christian no longer live in expectation that He will fulfill His promises to us. And the worst part is that they’re too busy with other things to even realize it. Someone once said, “If you want to know what a man’s subconscious intentions are, notice what he pays conscious attention to.” If it’s our subconscious intention to leave here soon and begin our eternity with the Lord, wouldn’t we pay more conscious attention to getting ready?
“When you bring injured, lame or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the Lord. “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the Lord Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations (Malachi 1:13-14).

Before we allocated the bulk of our resources to the things of this world we could have chosen to allocate them to the kingdom. It’s not too late to start reversing that. He is a great King and deserves our best.
From Rev. 21:4 we know that when we stand before God He will wipe every tear from our eyes. I’ve heard it said that many of those will be tears of regret. We’ll shed them when we finally see with our own eyes the amazing future that’s been prepared for us, and realize how little we did during our time on Earth to express our gratitude to the One who prepared it. Don’t wait any longer. Every day is a new beginning with God. His mercies are new every morning. Stay tuned. There’s more to come




++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Disclaimer: Rapture Bible Prophecy Forum, ( http://www.rapturebibleprophecyforum.com ) does not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the reply button.

If you are new to this site and would like to post articles, opinions, youtube videos that are appropriate for this site just e mail me at

stevensandiego@ymail.com
I will send you a PASSWORD

Ybic
Steven



Re: Malachi Speaks Again

For Fair Use Discussion and Educational Purposes
Link: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/kelley/jack282.html
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Malachi Speaks Again. Part 2



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


We continue in our study of the Minor Prophets with chapter 2 of the Book of Malachi to see what the Lord had him say to the Israelites, and how it applies to us today.

Malachi 2

Additional Warning to the Priests

“And now, you priests, this warning is for you. If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,” says the Lord Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me.

“Because of you I will rebuke your descendants; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. And you will know that I have sent you this warning so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the Lord Almighty. “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin” (Malachi 2:1-6 ).

The Levitical system, named for Levi but established through his descendant Aaron, was put in place after God brought His people out of Egypt so they could worship Him and live in His presence. It was administered through the priests, who were responsible for bringing the prescribed offerings to God according to the instructions He had given them. It was also their job to teach the people what God expected of them in their daily life. Through the Levitical system the people learned how to live in a manner pleasing to God. Their lives were changed and they all received great blessings in return.

“For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the Lord Almighty. “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law” (Malachi 2:7-9 )

The priests were the teachers and the lawyers of Old Testament times and when they taught and administered both the spirit and letter of God's laws, they and all the people enjoyed a life of peace and plenty that was the envy of all who observed it.

But when they abandoned the way of the Lord in favor of their own selfish interests the whole nation suffered. Instead of bringing people to the Lord they caused many to fall away. Their legal judgments favored the rich and oppressed the poor. Eventually, instead of being respected by the people they were despised.

Compare this to our times and you can readily see how we've followed the same road to ruin. A quick look at the state of America's churches and our educational and legal systems tells the whole story. When God was at the center of these systems they were the envy of the world and America was blessed among the nations. But when He was excluded they turned into a cruel parody of their former selves.

Many of our churches still mention God's name but no longer teach the people about Biblical Christianity. Instead they have become weekend entertainment centers where the focus is on drawing big crowds who don't want to be burdened with concepts like sin and salvation.

Our public schools routinely “graduate” students without even the minimum skills necessary for life and it's common knowledge that justice is no longer the primary concern of our courts. They've become a game of chance only the wealthy can afford to play. A poor, innocent person runs the risk of being convicted whereas a rich guilty one stands a good chance of going free.

Breaking Covenant Through Divorce

Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?

Judah has been unfaithful. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the Lord loves by marrying women who worship a foreign god. As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the Lord remove him from the tents of Jacob—even though he brings an offering to the Lord Almighty (Malachi 2:10-12 ).

Speaking of the pagans in the land God had given to the Israelites He said,

Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you (Deut. 7:3-4 ).

From this we can see why the Lord had forbidden marriage outside the faith. He knew the pagan women would turn the men away from Him and entice them into worshiping their gods. Ezra (Ezra 9-10) and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 13:23-29) both tell of this problem in the time just after the return from Babylon, and by the Lord's criticism here we can see that it was still going on.

At the cross, God was able to reconcile Himself to us by making peace through the blood of Jesus which was shed there for our sins (Colossians 1:19-20). This allowed Him to see the penalty for all our sins as having been paid in full. That's why we don't find Him issuing the strong prohibitions against behavior like this in the New Testament that is prevalent in the Old Testament.

Even so, Paul cautioned us against marrying an unbeliever, saying we shouldn't be yoked together with one. He compared it to righteousness being yoked with wickedness or light being yoked with darkness. He said the two have nothing in common (2 Cor. 6:14-1 . Our faith is supposed to be the number one priority of our lives, and marriage to an unbeliever will inevitably cause it to be assigned a lower level of importance.

In using the phrase “unequally yoked” Paul was drawing on Deut. 22:10 where trying to plow with a donkey and an ox yoked together was forbidden. The idea was that the two different types of animal could not be made to function like a team, and would frustrate the plowman's attempts to make them do so. Their productivity would be limited by the physically weaker animal's capability.

In an unequally yoked marriage the Lord's attempts to accomplish His will in the marriage will be similarly frustrated. The two partners will not have the same world view and will not be able to function as a team. Their usefulness to the Lord will be limited by the spiritually weaker partner's capability.

Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.

Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.

“The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty.

So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful (Malachi 2:13-16 ).

From the very beginning the relationship between husband and wife was meant to be a model of the relationship between God and His people. In a marriage the man was in the role of God and the woman was in the role of the people. The marriage was a covenant that was not to be broken because the covenant between God and His people is an everlasting covenant.

Later Jesus explained that from the beginning, the only acceptable reason for divorce has been marital unfaithfulness (Matt. 19:8-9). This is because its a model of spiritual unfaithfulness, the worship of other gods. Since God can't be unfaithful, only the people could break the covenant, and then only by the worship of other gods. That means only the woman's unfaithfulness could justify ending the marriage. The man was simply not permitted to be unfaithful.

What made the Lord so angry here is that in fact it was the men who were being unfaithful. It was unacceptable to the Lord because it implied that He could be unfaithful to the people and abandon them if someone He liked better came along. He had to with hold His blessing and refuse to accept their offerings because they had symbolically violated the most important provision of the covenant, and that is the undying faithfulness of God.

When Paul applied this model to Jesus and the Church He again showed how much more extreme the man's role is in maintaing the relationship. He began by telling wives to submit to their husbands in everything just as the Church submits to Christ (Ephesians 5:22-24 ).

But to husbands he said we're to love our wives just as Christ loved the Church. And how did Christ love the Church? He gave himself up for us to make us holy, cleansing us by the washing with water through the word, to present us to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-27 ). A husband is to devote himself exclusively to his wife, putting her needs above his own, covering all her imperfections with his love, and considering her to be perfect in his sight.

I wouldn't even hazard a guess as to how many marriages can meet this test, and since the divorce rate among Christians parallels that of unbelievers I think our sin nature probably prevents it. In Ephes 5:32 Paul said this is a profound mystery but he was primarily talking about Christ and the Church. I wonder how many churches one would have to visit to find one that's submissive to Christ in all things? And yet His faithfulness to us is beyond question.

Breaking Covenant Through Injustice

You have wearied the Lord with your words.

“How have we wearied him?” you ask.

By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?” (Malachi 2:17 )

One of the signs that a nation is approaching judgment time is when good is called evil and evil is called good. Behavior God considers to be an abomination could soon become the law of the land both in America and other parts of the world. At the same time, those who are striving to live a Christian life are now considered to be potential terrorists. I'd say we're pretty far down the road.

Those who are upset about this say, “Where is the God of justice?” I'll tell you where He is. He's in Heaven. Having grown tired of trying to convince us to change our ways, He's giving the world enough rope to hang itself. It's a repeat of His attitude before the Great Flood, when He saw how great man's wickedness had become, and that that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. He said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal.” And having given them ample warning, which they ignored, He destroyed them all (Genesis 6:1-7 ).

But this time He's also putting the final touches on the greatest escape in history, when in the twinkling of an eye He will cause every living believer to disappear off the face of the Earth and instantaneously reappear in Heaven.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thes. 4:16-18 ) More next time.





++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Disclaimer: Rapture Bible Prophecy Forum, ( http://www.rapturebibleprophecyforum.com ) does not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the reply button.

If you are new to this site and would like to post articles, opinions, youtube videos that are appropriate for this site just e mail me at

stevensandiego@ymail.com
I will send you a PASSWORD

Ybic
Steven



Re: Malachi Speaks Again

For Fair Use Discussion and Educational Purposes
Link: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/kelley/jack283.html
Note: Before commenting on any posts please make sure you either watch or read each post in it’s entirety. Before, making a comment, if you don’t have the time to watch or read fully please restrain from commenting. When you do this it will help to reduce confusion.

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Malachi Speaks Again. Part 3

Jack Kelly

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


We continue our study of the Book of Malachi with chapter 3. As we'll see the Lord isn't finished with His criticism of Israel's behavior, and as was the case with the previous chapters some of His complaints about them could just as easily be made about us.

Malachi 3

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.

“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty (Malachi 3:1-5).

Here's another Messianic prophecy from the Old Testament. First, the Lord would send his messenger to prepare the way. This was fulfilled in the person of John the Baptist who called himself “A voice of one calling in the desert, prepare the way for the Lord make straight paths for Him” (Matt. 3:3). He was quoting Isaiah 40:3.

The Bible is silent about the Lord's formative years. From His birth to age 30 the only thing we know about is an incident at the Temple when He was 12 (Luke 2:41-52). Then shortly after John began warning the people to get ready He appeared, the one they had long desired.

But He wasn't what they expected. Instead of being a warrior king like David who would throw off the yoke of foreign rule and restore their kingdom, He was more concerned about their own sinfulness. His focus on the errors of their religious practices angered the priests and although many among the common people loved Him, the leadership rejected Him. They presented trumped up charges against Him to the Romans and had Him executed as a traitor never realizing that all the time He was the one putting them on trial. Unlike theirs His verdict was just, and the same Romans who had officiated at His execution oversaw the total destruction of their nation.

Today, the state of the world is similar in many ways to that of Israel in the Lord's time, and in our study of Malachi's previous chapters we've laid out the case for judgment. But when the Lord returns again there will be no doubt about who He is.

At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations (people) of the Earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory (Matt. 24:30).

They will mourn because they will finally realize that the things they had heard and rejected about Him are true, and now it will be too late. Their cries for mercy will go unheard. In the series of judgments that follow His return, believers will be ushered into the Kingdom while unbelievers will be removed from the planet to be held for judgment (Matt. 24:45-Matt. 25:46).

Malachi's prophecy about the priests will come to pass as well. Ezekiel 44:15-16 tells us that of all the descendants of Levi, only those of the family of Zadok had remained faithful when Israel went astray. Therefore only they will be allowed to stand before the Lord and offer sacrifices to Him in the Millennium. And only they will be allowed to enter His sanctuary to minister before Him.

Breaking Covenant by Withholding Tithes

“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.

“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’

“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.

“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’

“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty (Malachi 3:6-12).

This first sentence should have immediately put to naught all the claims of replacement theology. Its the false teaching that says when Israel rejected the Messiah, God transferred all the promises He had made them to the Church and has no more use for the Jewish people. But it should be obvious that while they lost their land for a time, God's people have never been destroyed. Now He has brought them back to their land physically, and as soon as they return to Him spiritually He will return to them just like He promised. This isn't the only time God said this. Jeremiah 31:35-37 and Ezekiel 36:22-30 are other examples among many.

In Deut. 6:16 the Lord had told His people not to put Him to the test like their parents had. But the issue of tithing was so important to Him that He dared them to test Him in this matter. In doing so He established an ongoing cause and effect relationship between their giving and His blessing.

Christians who don't believe in tithing like to point out that we're not under the Law so challenges like the one God had Malachi issue don't apply to us. What they don't realize is while things like tithing were “have to's” in the Old Testament, they've become “want to's” in the New Testament. These folks like to remind us that there's no New Testament commandment to tithe on our income and they're correct. But while Malachi said Israel had to tithe to restore the loss of material blessing, both Jesus and Paul said they want the Church to tithe to gain the benefit of material blessing. Jesus made it clear that the cause and effect relationship between our giving and His blessing still exists when He said,

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:3 .



Paul confirmed this cause and effect relationship, saying whoever sows generously will also reap generously. First he made it clear that we're not under compulsion to give. Moreover, our attitude toward giving is important because God loves cheerful givers (2 Cor. 9:6-7). Then he said that forming the habit of giving generously and cheerfully will result in our being made rich in every way so we can be generous on every occasion (2 Cor. 9:11).

Israel Speaks Arrogantly Against God

“You have spoken arrogantly against me,” says the Lord.

“Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’

“You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty? But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it’”(Malachi 3:13-15).

In effect they were denying the cause and effect relationship God had challenged them to test. They claimed to have experienced no benefit from serving Him while evil people around them prospered. They were accusing the “evildoers” who had accepted God's challenge, and received its blessing, of putting one over on God. Like immature children they were tattling on others in an attempt to deflect the blame from themselves.

In Psalm 37 God had anticipated this complaint and provided His answer.

Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun (Psalm 37:1-6)

People who write to me complaining that they have started giving more, but haven't seen any blessing, are missing the point. Generous and cheerful givers don't expect anything in return, they're giving out of gratitude for what they've already received. While they trust the Lord's promise to bless them, it's not the reason for their giving.

Giving more with the expectation of receiving more is not being generous, it's being selfish. And unless we can learn to be grateful for the little we already have, we'll never be grateful for the abundance He wants us to have (John 10:10). Besides, we're not expressing our gratitude because God has made us rich, we're expressing our gratitude because God has saved our eternal life.

The Faithful Remnant

Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.

“On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not (Malachi 3:16-1 .

Letting the people know about the scroll of remembrance accomplished two things. First it told them that those who improperly took advantage of His test hadn't gotten away with anything. By saying He could hear the conversations of the people who feared Him, He was implying that He could also hear the conversations of the people who didn't.

But more importantly, it answered their complaint that there was no benefit in serving the Lord. The people who sincerely feared Him and honored His name would be spared on the judgment day, and would dwell in His Kingdom, and they would know that the Lord is able to distinguish between the righteous and the wicked.

In 2 Tim 4:8 Paul spoke of a crown of righteousness that the Lord will award him on “that day”. He said he wouldn't be the only believer who will receive one. All those who long for the Lord's appearing will also qualify. This implies that some believers will qualify for this crown and others won't.

You may wonder why we should be rewarded simply for wanting Him to come back for us. I think its because we who long for His appearing are demonstrating that we “get it.” We get that even if we have a good life here, it doesn't compare to the life that's coming and we can't wait for it to begin. We get that it doesn't matter if evil doers seem to prosper, we take delight in the Lord and will receive the desire of our heart. We get that we live in a world that openly celebrates its rebellion against God. But we know that this world will soon be gone and the next one will exist forever. We get that in this world we'll have trouble, but we take heart because Jesus has overcome the world, and we know He has promised to come to take us out of it. In other words, we get that the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for judgment while continuing their punishment (1 Peter 2:9). Chapter 4 next time.





++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Disclaimer: Rapture Bible Prophecy Forum, ( http://www.rapturebibleprophecyforum.com ) does not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the reply button.

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Re: Malachi Speaks Again

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Malachi Speaks Again. Part 4

Jack Kelly

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In the Christian Bible the concluding chapter in the Book of Malachi contains the final words of the Old Testament. It would be 400 years before God spoke to Israel again and then His purpose would be to announce the birth of the Messiah. But in Malachi 4 He left Israel with the most important choice in their national history.

Malachi 4

The Day Of The Lord

“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the Sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go out and frolic like calves released from the stall. Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty (Malachi 4:1-3)

In Jeremiah 30:11 the Lord had said the purpose of the time of judgments that we know as the Great Tribulation will be to completely destroy all the nations among which He scatters His people. But He will not completely destroy them. He will only discipline them with justice, he will not let them go entirely unpunished. Here He's saying that those who survive will be those who revere His name. At the end of the judgment they will emerge with great joy, like young calves being released from the stall in which they were born. Isaiah put it this way;

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12).

What a day that will be. Never again will they be at the mercy of their enemies, for God will be their strength and their shield.

“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel” (Malachi 4:4).

This was the Lord's reminder that the way to be found among those who revere His name is to keep His laws. Horeb is another name for Mt. Sinai. He was drawing them back to the purpose of His message, which was to call attention to their disobedience.

“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6)

It's Your Choice

I've found that very few commentators really grasp the full meaning of these verses. The Lord was saying that when Elijah came they would be given a choice. They could either use his coming to return to the Lord or else they would suffer the destruction of the nation.

To see the importance of this, we have to understand that Elijah's ministry was not one of improving family relationships. It was one of preparing people for the coming of the Lord. Therefore, the phrase “He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents” has to have a deeper meaning than it would appear to have at first glance.

To find it, we have to realize that while Malachi was addressing the same people through out, he called them the parents in the first part of the phrase and the children in the second part. It sounds confusing to our way of thinking but if you'll bear with me, you'll see it all works out.

In Matthew 18:3 Jesus explained what turning the hearts of the parents to their children meant. He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” Little children are considered to be innocent. It's not that they don't sin, but their sins are not counted against them. To enter the Kingdom, the parents had to become like their children so that their sins would not be counted against them. The only way they could do that is to have all their sins forgiven, and that's exactly what Jesus came to do for them.

Now for the part about turning the hearts of the children to their parents. The word translated “parents” also means “forefathers”. This part means they had to return to the ways of their forefathers who were obedient to the Lord, who followed all His ways and were blessed.

During their time in the wilderness, the Lord had told them,

“You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:4-6).

They agreed and were given a nation of their own and a life that was the envy of everyone who heard of it.

So in plain language here's what Malachi 4:5-6 means. The Lord was going to send Elijah to introduce the Messiah to Israel. They would have to accept Him as the “Sun of Righteousness” with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2) who would forgive their transgressions and cover their sins, making them as innocent as children in the Lord's sight. And they had to return to the ways of their forefathers who had promised to obey the Lord and do everything He said. Otherwise the land would be cursed.

This was a choice for them to make, and the way they chose would determine the course of history for thousands of years to come. There's a reason why so many Old Testament prophecies seem to treat the 1st and 2nd Comings as if they were one and the same. It's because if Israel had chosen differently they would have been. And even though God knew how Israel would choose, the prophecies had to be stated in such a way as to be true no matter which choice they made. Otherwise Israel could have justly accused Him of not giving them a choice at all.



Elijah And John The Baptist

The arrival of John the Baptist could have been the fulfillment of Malachi 4:5-6. When the angel Gabriel came to John's father in the Temple to announce his birth, he said,

“Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.

And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:13,17).

Could God have been any more obvious? Gabriel stood in the His Temple and quoted from Malachi 4:5-6 to announce that John the Baptist would minister in the spirit and power of Elijah.

And yet thirty years later, when the officials in Jerusalem sent representatives to ask John if he was Ejijah, he said, “I am not” (John 1:21). Was it already too late for them to recognize the sign and accept him? Or was John speaking prophetically, knowing that they would ultimately reject him?



It appears John was speaking prophetically, because early in His ministry Jesus indicated there was still time to make the right choice. Speaking of John, He said,



“And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. Whoever has ears, let them hear” (Matt. 11:14-15)

(The phrase, “whoever has ears let them hear” means, “Listen up! This is important!)

Later, Jesus and three of His disciples came down from the Mount of Transfiguration, where the disciples had just received word from God Himself that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. But they had been taught that Elijah would precede the Messiah. If Jesus was the Messiah where was Elijah? They asked Him about it.

“Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”

Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist (Matt.17:10-13).

Well, you know the rest. Having rejected Elijah, they also rejected the Messiah just as Jesus said they would, and the “or else” clause from Malachi 4:5-6 kicked in. The land was struck with a curse that ended in the nation's destruction.

Don't Count Them Out Just Yet

Some say this was the end of Israel forever, that when they rejected the Messiah God transferred all His remaining promises from them to the Church. But both James and Paul told us otherwise.

For the last 2,000 years there has been a pause in the fulfillment of Israel's prophetic destiny while the Lord takes from among the Gentiles a people for himself. This was revealed by James in Acts 15:12-14. James also said after He had done this the Lord would turn His attention once again to Israel and rebuild David's fallen tent so that the remnant of men could seek Him (Acts 15:16-1 .

The particular wording James used literally means the Lord will take out of the Gentiles a people for Himself for the purpose of carrying them away. I believe it was a reference to the rapture of the Church, and since it will happen before the Lord turns again to Israel, it means the rapture will precede Daniel's 70th week.

(Daniel's 70th Week is the final seven years of a 490 year period of time set aside for Israel to fulfill all the remaining promises the Lord made to His people (Daniel 9:24-27). It was interrupted after 483 years by the execution of the Messiah, leaving 7 years for future fulfillment).

Paul confirmed this, saying Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in, after which Israel will be saved (Romans 11:25-27). Once again a literal understanding of the words Paul used is helpful.

Paul employed two nautical terms in this sentence. In his time the phrase “full number” referred to the number of personnel required to man a ship before it could set sail. The phrase “has come in” means the ship has arrived as its intended destination. From this, we understand that the Church will have to reach a pre-determined number before we can depart. Once that number is reached we will “set sail” for our intended destination, which Jesus identified as “my Father's house” in John 14:2-3. At that time the hardening Israel has experienced will be removed, and the interrupted process of Israel's salvation will resume.

These two passages also reveal that just as the coming of Elijah was meant to be a sign to Israel, the re-birth of Israel is meant to be a sign for the Church. As long as there was no Israel, we couldn't tell how close the end times might be. But now that there is an Israel again that's no longer the case. Isaiah 11:11 speaks of regathering God's people into the Land a second time before the End of the Age. The first was after the Babylonian captivity, and the second began in 1948 and continues. That means the end of the age is very close, and the rapture is even closer.

Elijah And Israel

But let's get back to Elijah and Israel. Is there unfinished business between them? Two hints in the book of Revelation indicate that there is.

The first is in Rev. 11:3, where the two witnesses are introduced. This will happen just before the Great Tribulation, which begins on Earth in Rev. 13. Malachi 4:5 says Elijah will come before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. The timing of both prophecies is the same.

When they appear, the two witnesses will prophesy for 1260 days. They will have the power to shut up the heavens so that no rain will fall during the time they are prophesying, and the power to turn water into blood and strike the Earth with every kind of plague (Rev. 11:6). Elijah had the power to prevent rain (1 Kings 17:1) and from James 5:17-18 we learn that the duration of the drought he prayed for was 3 ½ years. This is the same span of time as the ministry of the two witnesses. Of course Moses is the one most clearly identified with turning water to blood and causing plagues. Therefore, I believe he and Elijah will be the two witnesses.

In Rev. 14:12 we're told that Tribulation believers will be required to obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. Remember, this is the meaning we gave to the phrase “turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers” from Malachi 4:6. With the rapture, the Age of Grace will come to an end and God will reinstate the Old Covenant with Israel to complete the final seven years of Daniel's 70 weeks prophecy. During that time believers everywhere will have to keep the commandments and remain faithful to Jesus to maintain their relationship with God.

What's The Meaning Of This?

Israel missed the sign God promised them, made the wrong choice, and suffered the destruction of their nation. But in Malachi 3:6, the Lord said, “I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob are not destroyed.” As both James and Paul said, Israel will get another chance and this time they'll choose correctly. They'll say,

“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.
Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” ( Hosea 6:1-3)

Gentiles also get two chances. One is to become part of the Church. The only way to do that is to believe that Jesus died for our sins according the the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. By this gospel we are saved. Otherwise we have believed in vain (1 Cor. 15:1-4). To those who choose to become part of the Church, the Lord made a promise to rescue us from the coming wrath of the end times judgments (1 Thes. 1:10).

The second is to wait until the Church is gone before choosing. You won't get all the blessings promised to the church, and you'll have to endure the worst series of judgments in the history of the world, but you will inherit eternal life.
I think we can agree that choice number one is the right one. But just as the coming of Elijah was the critical sign to Israel, the re-birth of Israel is the critical sign to the world. They were both intended as a final warning that the time for making the right choice carries an expiration date. The world is in the final moments of grace. If you haven't made the right choice, do it now while there's time. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.




++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Disclaimer: Rapture Bible Prophecy Forum, ( http://www.rapturebibleprophecyforum.com ) does not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the reply button.

If you are new to this site and would like to post articles, opinions, youtube videos that are appropriate for this site just e mail me at

stevensandiego@ymail.com
I will send you a PASSWORD

Ybic
Steven