FIRE AND HEALING
Malachi closes with a reminder that a day of judgment is approaching. The day of the Lord will have different repercussions for individuals. Fire is used a descriptor for judgment in both testaments by prophets, apostles, and Jesus himself. Malachi compares the judgment to an oven for the arrogant and the wicked. God is holy, and he has to judge sin because it offends his holiness. God must punish sin, or he will be unjust. The day of the Lord is a punishment that results in the complete destruction of the unrighteous. They will be consumed until there is no root or branch.
The day of the Lord will be a day of rejoicing for the people of God. However, those who fear the Lord and worship him will see the sun of righteousness rise with healing in its wings. The sun of righteous will bring healing and blessing to the righteous. The day of the Lord would be a new day for the faithful that would bring great joy. The people of God will be like calves that are released from the confinement of a stall and to leap about with euphoria in their freedom. The day of the Lord will be victorious for the people of God as the righteous are vindicated and tread on the ashes of the wicked. God will reward the righteous and punish the wicked. Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament, but he exhorts the people to remember the law of Moses and to obey all that God commanded at Mount Horeb. God keeps his covenant, and he is faithful even when his people are unfaithful. The people should recall the way God displayed his holiness and the signs and wonders their ancestors observed during the giving of the law. God calls a people to himself so that the world will know him.
God would send Elijah the prophet as a sign for the people before the great and awesome day of judgment. Elijah would warn the people of God's impending judgment. Elijah did not die but was translated to heaven on a fiery chariot. Elijah would also appear on the Mount Of Transfiguration with Jesus and Moses. The Jews still look for Elijah and set a cup for him at Passover. Jesus would later explain to his disciples that John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah. John the Baptist came to prepare the way of the Lord and turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. John the Baptist would call people to repentance and lead a revival among the Jewish people. John prepared the people for judgment day by calling them to repentance and faith. Devastation would come to the land of Judea during the Roman war from 66–70 A.D. Four centuries would pass after Malachi's prophecy before John the Baptist would come to warn of the coming judgment.
Things To Consider:
- Should coming judgment have any bearing on how we live? Why?
- How does the reality of God's judgment make you feel?
- How does Christ give you peace in light of the coming judgment?
- How does Jesus heal us?
- How should we enjoy the freedom that we have in Christ?
- How does God use people to turn hearts?
- What should we remember as we look to Jesus' second advent?
- How does the Gospel save us from utter destruction?