Malachi Chapter 3: The Day of His Coming!Mar 22nd, 2012 | By admin | Category: Malachi, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)
Mal. 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
Mal. 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
“But who may abide the day of his coming [at the Second Advent]?” The trouble at the Second Advent will be different from that of the First Advent. At the Second Advent, the trouble will be immediate to, or tied in with, the public inauguration of the Kingdom, whereas at the First Advent, the trouble was an aftereffect.
Mal. 3:4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
As a review, Nehemiah, the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, was given a 12-year leave of absence to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls in 454 BC, which was the twentieth year of the king’s reign. When the 12 years ended, Nehemiah went back to Persia. Subsequently he got a second leave of absence to return to Israel. The Book of Malachi describes existing conditions at that time, that is, upon Nehemiah’s second return. The prophet decried those conditions.
In most Bibles, verses 1-6 of this third chapter form one theme, but we will purposely omit verses 5 and 6 for the time being. Verses 1 and 2 are very familiar, but the Lord’s Word is like silver refined seven times. There is much information in these two verses—much more than meets the eye initially.
Several questions arise. To whom do the pronouns “I,” “my,” and “me” refer? Who is the “messenger” in the beginning of verse 1? Who is “the messenger of the covenant” mentioned later in the verse? In order to be on the right track, we have to consider some other Scriptures.
“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
“And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isa. 40:3-5)
These three verses in Isaiah 40 and Malachi 3:1,2 are grouped together in the New Testament, as will be shown.
“As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Mark 1:2,3)
Notice that verse 2 is a partial quotation of Malachi 3:1, and verse 3 is a quotation from Isaiah 40:3. In other words, these two verses in the Gospel of Mark are excerpts from Malachi 3 and Isaiah 40.
“And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
“And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:76,17—notice the reverse order) We continue to exhaust New Testament texts that refer to Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3.
“And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
“As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Luke 3:3,4)
“This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.” (Luke 7:27; see also Matt. 11:10)
“Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
“He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.” (John 1:22,23)
The reference in the Gospels to “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” is a quotation from Isaiah 40:3-5. In the Gospels, the identity of that “voice” is clearly John the Baptist. However, notice the pronouns in the readings. For example, in Luke 7:27, “I” is God, and “thy face” refers to Jesus’ face. In other words, God was saying that He would send His messenger to introduce Jesus to the nation of Israel. Thus the pronoun “I” in the parallel Gospel citations refers to Jehovah.
However, Malachi 3:1 is phrased differently: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me.” On the surface, a problem exists, for the New Testament expressly states that Malachi 3:1 had at least a partial fulfillment in the ministry of John the Baptist, who introduced Jesus before the nation, and that Jehovah sent John as His messenger for this purpose.
Once again we will read Malachi 3:1 but with some explanatory insertions. “Behold, I [Jehovah] will send my messenger [The Christ, a multitudinous seed of which Christ is the Head and the glorified Church is the body], and he [The Christ] shall prepare the way before me [Jehovah].”
This interpretation is not disharmonious with the application in the Gospels because Malachi 3:1 has two fulfillments at two different times, one at the First Advent and one at the Second Advent.
At the First Advent, Jesus was in the flesh, and throughout the Gospel Age, the Church, which was not officially recognized until Pentecost, has been represented in the flesh.
Let us put the matter another way. What about Elijah the prophet from a symbolic standpoint?
Elijah represents The Christ, Head and body members, because a man in Scripture includes the head as well as the body members. When addressed separately, the Church is pictured as a woman. Therefore, Elijah the prophet is The Christ in the flesh, Jesus being the first. After he finished his ministry, the gospel Church did the work of Elijah. (We are omitting the minipicture of John the Baptist at this time.)
When Jesus was asked by his disciples, “Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?” he replied that Elijah would have a double fulfillment. “Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things” (Matt. 17:10,11). Notice, “Elias truly shall  first come, and  restore all things.” In other words, the Elijah in glory shall “restore all things” at his second coming, whereas the Elijah in the flesh expounds the truth in an attempt, if possible, to turn the hearts of the people to the Lord. However, what fails during the Gospel Age to exalt every valley, to bring down every hill, to make every crooked way straight, etc., will be accomplished in the Kingdom. The Pastor made a quantum leap in speaking about the Elijah class and the messenger as being not the Church in the flesh in the present age, suffering persecution, but the Church in glory, who will restore all things, achieving restitution.
The Elijah class would have a twofold mission: (1) an attempt to convert the world and (2) the actual conversion of the world. In one part of his life in the type, Elijah effectually killed the false prophets of Baal and of the groves. The slaying pictures that the antitypical Elijah class will be instrumental in the Kingdom Age in turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and vice versa. Jesus said that Elijah would be victorious in the final analysis: “Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things” (Matt. 17:11).
In summary, Malachi 3:1 is saying, “Behold, I [Jehovah] will send my messenger [The Christ] … [to] prepare the way before me … saith the LORD of hosts.” In contrast, the New Testament implies the way before Jesus.
What about the word “Lord” in Malachi 3:1? “… and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” The use of just an initial capital “L” (Hebrew adon) is a reference to Jesus. When John the Baptist said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord [Jesus], as said the prophet Esaias,” he was quoting from Isaiah 40:3, which has “LORD” in all caps, referring to Jehovah (John 1:23). Thus there are two fulfillments: (1) John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus at the First Advent, and The Christ will prepare the way for Jehovah at the Second Advent. The preparation of the way before God (Isa. 40:3) will be successful in that every valley will be raised up and every hill or mountain will be brought low. In addition, “the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.” The latter is a vertical correction, for the crooked are like a serpent that will be made parallel. With every mountain being brought low and every valley being exalted, the thought is that the contour of the land will be flattened out and made a plain in a horizontal correction.
Notice the use of the words “every” and “all.” These things were not accomplished in John the Baptist’s day. Obviously, this work awaits the Kingdom, when those who refuse to listen to the Messiah will be cut off, for then every knee must bow and every tongue must confess “that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10,11). Then shall the glory of Jehovah be revealed, “and all flesh [the whole world] shall see it together.” The light of that day will be like the sun sevenfold (Isa. 30:26). When the sun shines, it lightens the whole horizon.
The full fulfillment of Malachi 3:1-4 will occur at the Second Advent. Only a partial fulfillment took place at the First Advent. All will be fulfilled in the Kingdom. This context in the Book of Malachi, which is condensed like an acorn, is very comprehensive, and thus we began our consideration of the third chapter with the statement that the Word of God is like silver refined seven times (Psa. 12:6). Verse 4 reads, “Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” Verse 4 applies to natural Israel, and not to the Church in any sense of the word. If we go back one verse and reread verse 3, “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness,” we see that the reference is to both natural and spiritual Israel.
Bro. Russell was intent on explaining the spiritual (or higher) fulfillment, but verse 3 also has a natural fulfillment. The purging of the sons of Levi so that they can make “an offering in righteousness … as in the days of old” means a purging of natural Israel, namely, the Holy Remnant. Many brethren cannot see Israel as being at the forefront when the Kingdom is starting because the Jews are not in a proper heart condition. The nation is ungodly and does not manifest true reverence. However, the majority of Jews will not be part of the Holy Remnant class, and it is the majority voice that is currently being heard.
Isaiah 40:3,4 is sandwiched in between two events that particularize the Kingdom application.
Verses 1 and 2 read, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.” Then verse 5 states, “And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” Thus verses 3 and 4 are sandwiched in between a message to Israel. The balance of chapter 40 pertains to the inauguration of the Kingdom during Jesus’ Second Advent.
In other words, the same party who did a work at the First Advent will do a work now, at the Second Advent. When our Lord came the first time, it was to give his life a ransom for all, and at the Second Advent, he comes to apply the benefits of that ransom to mankind. Additional Scriptures bolster this fact, as follows.
“This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear” (Acts 7:37). Moses was a type of Christ. The next verse adds, “This [Moses] is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina[i], and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us” (Acts 7:38). Notice the words “church,” “angel,” and “him” (Moses in the type). There was a “church in the wilderness” in both the type and the antitype (during the 1,260 years). Now we have a little tie-in that Jesus is represented by Moses, who was closely identified with the Tabernacle in the wilderness. For instance, whenever Moses wanted a message, God spoke to him through an arrangement, and he came out with instructions for the people. Thus the Tabernacle was the “church in the wilderness.”
In another way too, Moses was in the “church in the wilderness.” Being a son of Amram, he was of the tribe of Levi, and the priests, as well as the Levites, were all sons of Levi. This relationship is represented by the Tabernacle arrangement, but the Tabernacle itself, in a peculiar sense, pictures the Church. The high priest represents the personality of the Messiah, the Head of the body class. In regard to the Levitical class, Malachi 3:3 states, “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.”
The same principle applies to the Truth movement. The prevalent doctrines are those of the majority, but that fact does not necessarily mean those doctrines are all correct. In fact, John the Baptist said, “He [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease”(John 3:30). By extension, those of the Little Flock who are still in the flesh are becoming fewer and fewer in number, while the Great Company are increasing percentage-wise. The views of the Little Flock are not being expressed by the movement as a whole, for the thinking and views of the Great Company are predominating. This is blunt talk, but people are afraid to talk bluntly today.
In the spiritual application, the sons of Levi represent the consecrated, those who are aspiring to be of the spiritual priesthood. We are all running for the prize of the high calling, desiring to be members of the spiritual priesthood in glory and to be kings associated with Jesus, but in the final analysis, only certain individuals selected by God will be members of the Little Flock.
Of course we cannot make the distinction, for all we have to do is to look inward and see our own imperfections. The question is, Will the Lord overlook our imperfections and grant us membership in that elect class? That is our hope, but we have no guarantee.
One sits “as a refiner and purifier of silver,” but the end result will be two classes: gold and silver (Mal. 3:3). Silver is used because it is common to both metals in the purifying process. Verse 3 pictures the testing of the consecrated, “silver” being the foolish virgins, the Elisha class, the Great Company, and the “gold” being the wise virgins, the Elijah class, the Little Flock.
The antitypical Levites, the Great Company, compromise in the present life, for they try to have one foot in the world and the other foot in heaven, one foot to please the public and the other foot to please the Lord. Their problem is one of double-mindedness; their situation is unstable. To be proven faithful even of this secondary class, they will have to wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb in the future great tribulation. However, not just at the end of the age but also down through the Gospel Age, there have been members of the Great Company class, although they will not be officially recognized until the Little Flock is complete. Proof of the existence of this antitypical Levitical class down through the age is the fact that the Apostle Paul relegated an individual over to Satan “for the destruction of the flesh” so that the spirit would be saved (1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Cor. 2:6,7).
As a sidelight, the refining process for silver begins with impurities. Reprobate silver is not used but silver that has the potential for purifying. When the refiner starts the flame, the metal gets hot, and the first color that appears is a deep red. Accordingly, when we consecrate, our imperfections are likened to scarlet. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18). When we enter the narrow way, we begin to see how much we have to develop to attain the hope of the high calling. As we strive against our imperfections, the red becomes orange—a little less, a paler red—and finally down to silver as we make sufficient progress. Silver is used in the back of mirrors, and so the Refiner sits there until he sees his face distinctly in the mirror, meaning that all impurities are removed. At the end of the age, even the Great Company will have their impurities removed when they wash their robes in the great Time of Trouble (Rev. 7:13,14).
Jesus looks for his reflection in each of the consecrated, and both the silver and the gold classes will get cleansed in the final analysis. Stated another way, to be of either class, one must reach the “silver” stage of development.
Silver and gold pertain to metals that must be melted to be rid of impurities. “Reprobate silver” pictures the Second Death (or reject) class, for it is silver from which the impurities cannot be removed.
Comment: In Harvest Gleanings, the Pastor said that the object of the refiner is to separate the dross, but if the metal clings too closely to its impurities, more and more heat will be applied until, finally, even the metal itself will be destroyed, thus illustrating the causes which lead to Second Death.
Malachi brought in the thought of not only metals but also clothing. The purpose of “fullers’ soap” is to clean clothing, or laundry. Thus there is a double work: the cleaning of both metal and clothing. Fullers’ soap is strong. Launderers or dry cleaners are usually quite successful in removing stains, but the problem is that the repeated removal of deep stains often damages the shirt because of the use of caustic solutions.
We will now consider verse 2. To understand the unknown, we sometimes have to reason from the known. If something is unknown and bewildering, it helps to take out the parts that are clear so that the problem part will not be as fuzzy.
“But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap.” When will verse 2 be fulfilled? The fulfillment will begin in the trouble at the end of the Gospel Age, during Christ’s Second Advent. Jesus has been sitting as an angel on a cloud with a sickle in his hand to reap the Lord’s true wheat before the grapes of wrath of the vine of the earth are cast into the great winepress of trouble (Rev. 14:14,15,18,19). First, he will reap the earth of the Little Flock—the wheat germ, or kernels of wheat.
Verses 2-4 have a fulfillment at this end of the age and even a little further on, but Jesus said there was a partial fulfillment back at the First Advent. Elijah in the flesh does a work but is unsuccessful. Then will come the great Time of Trouble when Elijah in the spirit will be empowered from on high and will succeed in converting the fathers to childlike obedience, humility, and meekness. The hearts of the fathers will be changed in the Kingdom Age when they come forth from the tomb.
Next we will return to verse 1. “Behold, I will send my messenger.” At the First Advent, the term “my messenger” was John the Baptist, but at the Second Advent, the term will refer to The Christ, God’s representative, who will do Kingdom work to make every valley and mountain level. In still another (or third) sense, the term “my messenger” can be considered the consecrated in the flesh, who have been preaching the gospel down through the Gospel Age beginning with Jesus, the Head, who said, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17).
When considered from one standpoint, “my messenger” prepares the way of Jehovah in the Kingdom Age. From another standpoint, the preparing of Adonai (Jesus) took place at the First Advent. Thus Malachi 3 contains two pictures.
The “messenger of the covenant” is primarily Jesus. In the larger sense in the future, the application is to The Christ in connection with the New Covenant. At the present time, we are practicing ministers of the New Covenant; that is, we are practicing now, hoping to qualify as ministers of the New Covenant for mankind. The New Covenant, which will be made with Israel, will be part of the overall Abrahamic Covenant.
As a point of interest, this book is called the “Book of Malachi,” and the word “Malachi” means “my messenger.” Thus this book is a paronomasia, a play on words, used by God to keep the message from being understood too clearly too quickly. Present truth is needed to even begin to scratch the surface.
A literal individual was named Malachi; that is, he was named “My messenger.” Malachi 1:1 states, “The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi,” and some Bibles use “my messenger” instead of “Malachi” in this first verse. As initially voiced, the words of the prophecy in chapter 1 through the Prophet Malachi were God’s message to natural Israel.
Chapter 2 gives another application to Malachi but in a plural form: “For the priest[hood]’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he [the priesthood] is the messenger of the LORD of hosts” (Mal. 2:7). The priests of Levi were supposed to dispense knowledge, but instead they dispensed misinformation, wrong instruction. Thus they were called “my messengers” but in a very modified sense. The priests did not realize their responsibility— that they had the privileged position of becoming the spiritual seed (or priesthood). They could have been both the natural and the spiritual seed, but they lost the latter. Hence “messenger” can be considered a collective community. “Priesthood” is a singular word, but it comprises a number of people.
The “my messenger” class of the Old Testament failed. In the restricted sense, the “my messenger” class of the Gospel Age has been loyal but not successful. In the broad sense, the priesthood of this age has failed as miserably as, or worse than, the priesthood of natural Israel.
Malachi was speaking of the priests, not the people. Spiritually speaking, Malachi was addressing us, the consecrated in the present life, because the spiritual priesthood is in the process of incremental development in the present age. The full fulfillment is yet future, but a partial fulfillment started at the First Advent, at the beginning of the Gospel Age.
Isaiah 4:2-5 reads:
“In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.
“And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:
“When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.
“And the LORD will create upon every dwellingplace of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence.”
When this purging work is complete, God’s presence will be manifested to every dwelling place.
The Prophet Isaiah was talking about natural Israel, about “he that is left” in Jerusalem, about the Holy Remnant, about the survivors of the future holocaust called Jacob’s Trouble. In the holocaust, not only will a large portion of Gog be destroyed (to come up in the resurrection later), but also a great number in Israel will go into the tomb. Every one of those who are left “shall be called holy.” The account implies that no one will survive Jacob’s Trouble unless, from God’s standpoint, he is considered holy—”every one that is written” in God’s book.
In all probability, since we are living at the end of the age, the Holy Remnant are all on the scene now. Of course they are not manifest yet, but they are here. Also, even in our midst, as well as in nominal Christendom, God knows those who are His very elect but are not yet manifest. As time goes on, those whom He has chosen will be revealed. There should be no problem with Israel’s being the chief nation in the Kingdom, for the Holy Remnant will be a truly changed people. Similarly, when we see some who have made a true conversion to Christ, our heart goes out to them. We admire them for the stand they are taking, knowing that trials and difficulties await them for walking anew in the spirit in the narrow way.
Q: Does Psalm 83:3 refer to the Holy Remnant with the term “hidden ones”? “They have taken crafty counsel against thy people [Israel], and consulted against thy hidden ones.”
A: Yes. Psalm 83 pertains to Israel’s being threatened by those living in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Transjordan, and up north toward Syria. The surrounding Arab nations in these areas will unite in purpose against Israel, conspiring to have a real jihad to destroy Israel utterly. Psalm 83 is Israel’s prayer; the Holy Remnant will figuratively get down on their knees.
The Christ will be represented in the flesh by the sons of Zadok in the Third Temple. A tried class, the sons of Zadok will be the earthly representatives of the gold class. Zechariah said of that time, “There shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts” (Zech. 14:21).
When the Third Temple is built at the beginning of the Kingdom Age, a tried class will be put into office, for God prepared the Ancient Worthies in Old Testament times. The Ancient Worthies will have a twofold application in the Kingdom.
Some will be put into an administrative civil type of service, and others will serve in a religious capacity. The Ancient Worthies are usually pictured in the broader service of being public agents of the Kingdom in all the world, but the Zadok priesthood, the religious class, who are also Ancient Worthies, will be confined to the Third Temple. Stated another way, in our vocabulary, the term “Ancient Worthies” normally refers to only the “princes in all the earth,” but the Zadok priesthood is included (Psa. 45:16).
“In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old” (Isa. 63:9). The pronouns “their” and “them” refer to the children of Israel. Verse 9 expresses the love, mercy, and pity of Jehovah on behalf of His people. He is the God of Israel, and the “angel of his presence” is the Logos. The word “angel” means “messenger,” a word that is repeatedly used in the Book of Malachi and that is identified with a covenant. The ostensible and publicly seen “messenger” of the Law Covenant was Moses, but actually God used the Logos as His “messenger.” The Logos, who went before Jehovah, appeared physically, as it were, to Joshua as an angel. When Joshua, a strong leader of the Israelites, saw a warrior with a drawn sword, he trembled (Josh. 5:13-15). Joshua asked, “Who are you?” and the man (the Logos) replied, “I am the captain of God’s host.” And it was the Logos who appeared to Moses in the burning bush when he was first called in Sinai. The angel, the Logos, said, “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”; that is, “I am the voice—the messenger, the mouthpiece, the Word—of Jehovah” (Exod. 3:2-6).
Therefore, the angel of God’s presence is Jesus, the mouthpiece of the Heavenly Father.
Jehovah is the One who sends this messenger. It is interesting that the Book of Revelation pictures Jesus in the Gospel Age as an “angel,” a messenger (Rev. 7:2; 8:3-5; 10:1,5,8-10; 11:1; 18:1; 20:1; 21:17; 22:6,8).
“For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts” (Hag. 2:6-9). The time of trouble came on Israel in AD 69-73, which was more than 30 years after the ministry of John the Baptist. Meanwhile, the one who was thought to be the Messiah ended up on the Cross. Thus ostensibly, Jesus was defeated in the eyes of the nation. The man who cured thousands and spoke as never man had spoken previously was crucified naked on the Cross on a hill where all could see him. However, the darkness that covered the land and the earthquake that accompanied the opening of the graves were signs that no one could refute or gainsay. The early Church fathers and the historians did not find fault with those details, for they did occur. Depending on the circumstance, sometimes what is not said is as loud as what is said. An expression is used: “The silence is deafening.”
The reign of Messiah at the Second Advent will be preceded by real trouble. Bodies of the slain will be on mountains all over the world, not just in Christendom (Isa. 34:3; 66:16; Jer. 25:33; Nah. 3:3). For various reasons, there will be many fatalities. This will be the day of God’s wrath, the “great and dreadful day of the LORD” related to Elijah the prophet (Mal. 4:5,6).
As already pointed out, the name Malachi means “messenger” (Mal. 2:7; 3:1). In the Second Volume, the Pastor showed that there are various applications of Elijah: (1) with John the Baptist, (2) in the Gospel Age, and (3) in the Kingdom Age. And so it is with this “messenger.”
Jesus is God’s messenger in the Gospel Age, and he will be God’s “voice” in the Kingdom Age. God “hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man [Jesus] whom he hath ordained” (Acts 17:31). As the Mediator between God and man, Jesus will do the judging in the Kingdom Age on behalf of the Father (1 Tim. 2:5). Thus the Malachi picture takes on a tremendous significance. Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament, but certainly it is not the least.
Comment: An additional Scripture about John the Baptist’s being a partial fulfillment of “the messenger” in Malachi 3:1 is Matthew 11:10, “For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.”
Comment: The statement that Jesus “shall sit as a refiner and … shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD [Jehovah] an offering in righteousness” corresponds with the Apostle Peter’s statement about the Little Flock: “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5).
Comment: Even though there will be animal sacrifices in the Kingdom, the term “offering in righteousness” implies a right heart condition.
Reply: While much of the aspect of sacrificing has not been understood down through the Gospel Age, the part that deals with the spiritual priesthood has been grasped to a greater or lesser degree.
While we mentioned the Holy Remnant in the past in discussing verse 3, we were speaking extemporaneously. We believe that the gist of what we are saying in this study is scriptural. We are living now at a time when it becomes more and more necessary to have a considerable amount of truth, but because the Laodicean period has lacked physical persecution thus far, we are getting fewer and fewer in number. John the Baptist said of Jesus’ followers, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Similarly, the Church class on this side of the veil is decreasing. We are living in perilous times, which require a searching of the heart. Our consecration is serious business, and we hope we will attain the high calling.
When the Temple is built and there is no Canaanite in it and the services are performed by those who have been handpicked and refined, “then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” The goals of the sons of Zadok are pictured as “gold” but on an earthly plane. Stated another way, they will be the representatives of the heavenly gold class, the Little Flock. The prince (the Ancient Worthy) who sits in the east gate of the Temple will also be the representative of the Church in glory.
God’s mercy is shown by the fact that the other ministers—the rest of the Levites and the Great Company—will be an in-between class. With His high and lofty thinking, God could have discarded them, but He is merciful because they committed their lives either to serve Him prior to Christ or to serve Jesus in the present life. They committed their lives to serve to the best of their ability. In summary, the work of verses 1-4 embraces the First and Second Advents.
When the government of the Kingdom is set up, the world of mankind will be dealt with. The offering will be “as in the days of old, and as in former years.” The New Covenant will be the old Law Covenant revised for the new Kingdom. Both covenants are “law” covenants, which are not to be confused with the Grace (or Sarah) Covenant. The Church is not under the New Covenant but will be part of the Mediatorial class of the New Covenant.
Mal. 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
Mal. 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
God said, through Malachi, “I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed [utterly].” God will purge out the sorcerers, adulterers, liars, etc., and the Holy Remnant will remain. However, the Holy Remnant in Israel will not necessarily know of this selectivity; they will just see that they are surviving and others are not. From God’s standpoint, all Jews not fit to be of the Holy Remnant will be purged out. As time goes on, each survivor will realize God has been doing a cleansing and a purging work. In addition, the Ancient Worthies will come forth.
Q: What is the thought in verse 1 that Messiah “shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger [The Christ] of the [New] covenant”?
A: For many years, we had wondered and longed to know what will cause the sudden conversion of the Jew in Jacob’s Trouble. Like us, the Jews are very strong-minded, whether for right or for wrong, so certainly a discourse will not bring the conversion. Therefore, we believe that there will be a literal beholding of a gigantic hologram of Jesus on the Cross. Every eye will see Jesus at that time and recognize him as the Messiah (Rev. 1:7). Such a huge scene will open the beholders’ minds instantly.
While sitting in a meeting in our home some time ago, Sr. Saphore told us that when she was on the Mount of Olives, an uncommon heavy rainstorm occurred with lightning. As she looked out the window, she was aghast to see opposite them on Calvary a vision of Jesus on the Cross. I was dumbfounded, and then, as several Scriptures flooded my mind, I knew that was the answer with regard to the conversion of the Holy Remnant. They will not see Jesus literally, but they will see a huge hologram of the Crucifixion, a three-dimensional picture, as they flee through the split Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4,5).
In the Jerusalem Post about a year later, in a column in the back, two rabbis testified that during another storm, they had seen Jesus on the Cross on the hill in Jerusalem. They got a lot of opposition for this testimony, but to us, this second account was a confirmation of the validity of a hologram appearing at the time God rescues the Holy Remnant in the near future.
Jacob’s Trouble will start when Gog and Magog are seen coming down and approaching Jerusalem. The Jews will experience real fear, knowing that the situation is hopeless from a natural standpoint. The conversion of the Holy Remnant has to be a greater experience than one like that of a drowning man who emotionally calls on God without a depth of consecration. Many Jews believe Jesus is a false Messiah, and some Orthodox Jews will even spit when his name is mentioned. For such individuals to see that Jesus truly is the Messiah will bring great fear, mourning, weeping, and contrition. That will be the conversion—when they recognize Jesus and realize the holocaust is God’s judgment coming on them to cleanse them.
Not only is Israel, the land, being prepared but also the people, the Holy Remnant.
Comment: Paul’s experience is an example of the conversion principle. He was so zealous in persecuting Christians that all it took was a vision to convert that zeal into proper channels.
Formerly Paul was of the disposition to spit at Jesus’ name. Subsequently he was ready to die for Jesus.
Supplemental Commentary on Malachi 3:1-6
There is a play on words in verse 1: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” Malachi used sarcasm in the clauses “whom ye seek” and “whom ye delight in.”
Through a series of questions, chapters 1 and 2 show the heart condition of the nation and the priests, who refused to recognize their sins. Hence they did not seek and delight in the Messiah to come. The priests’ service was hypocritical and superficial. If they were truly interested in the Lord’s Word and obeying the Law of Moses, the clauses would have been more meaningful. Therefore, Malachi inserted a strong tinge of sarcasm.
Although the term “messenger of the covenant” refers to Jesus and the New Covenant from the standpoint of the Jewish people, the term is broad with additional meanings. Jesus is the messenger of the covenants (plural), as follows: (1) The Law (or Hagar) Covenant was instituted with Moses, but the messenger sent of God to deliver the Law to him was the Logos. (2) At the First Advent, Jesus was the messenger sent of God for the Grace (or Sarah) Covenant. (3) With the New Covenant, the messenger is enlarged to include the Church and hence is The Christ.
Thus the “messenger” of the Law Covenant, the Grace Covenant, and the New Covenant applies to Jesus, respectively, in his preexistence, at the First Advent when he announced the opportunity of the high calling, and to the New Covenant in the future when his body members are with him.
The word “messenger” is the Hebrew malak, also meaning “angel.” Angels are usually messengers, although there is a slight difference between the two terms. In verse 1, Malachi called Jesus “the messenger of the covenant.” In connection with the Mosaic Law Covenant, the Logos was the “angel of presence”; that is, he spoke on behalf of God, acting as though he were God Himself. Actually, Jesus’ role is to be God’s spokesperson with all three covenants.
For example, the angels who announced Jesus’ birth at the First Advent said his name would be Emmanuel, meaning “God with us” (Matt. 1:23).
“The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple.” What is the “temple”? The context is future, for the suddenness of Jesus’ coming is related to Jacob’s Trouble, when a huge hologram of Messiah will be seen. “The LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him” (Hab. 2:20). The appearance of Messiah will bring about the repentance that is necessary in the Holy Remnant. First, God will deal with the Holy Remnant, miraculously sparing them from death because they are written among the survivors, but while they will be recognized of Him, they must repent and come into relationship with Christ in order to get full acceptance. Thus the selection of the Holy Remnant is a process in which God determines who will be part of the nucleus when the Kingdom of God is inaugurated down here on earth.
Q: Does the “house” of Haggai 2:7 apply to the “temple” of Malachi 3:1? “And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.”
A: The shaking process will take place at the end of the age, but the building of the “house,” the Third Temple, will require a little time. When completed, it will be a “house of prayer” for all nations (Isa. 56:7).
Notice that the class being addressed in Malachi 3:1 was natural Israel. Therefore, the “sudden” coming applies to the natural seed and has a future fulfillment at the end of the age. In the meantime, the spiritual “temple” class, the Church, must be complete before this visitation to natural Israel would apply.
Comment: Chapter 2 ends with the question “Where is the God of judgment?” Chapter 3 gives the answer in telling how He will come—with wrath and judgment and with Jesus doing a refining work.
Reply: Yes, the third chapter goes into the details of how God will come and the purging and cleansing aspect. It is true that Jesus sits as a refiner of silver and gold with regard to his gospel Church, but the thrust of the context here in Malachi is that the Holy Remnant will come through the trouble. Zechariah 13:8,9 reads, “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.” Two parts (the Little Flock and the Great Company) will be cut off, and the third part (the Holy Remnant) will go through the trouble. The application of Malachi 3:3 is primarily natural, but it has spiritual overtones. Both Zechariah 13:8,9 and Malachi 3:3 state that natural Israel will be refined as silver and gold.
Thus there is a hint in both Scriptures that the Holy Remnant may consist of two classes. Just as there are two classes spiritually (the Little Flock and the Great Company, Elijah and Elisha, etc.), so the Holy Remnant will consist of two classes, with the gold class having a few more leadership qualities.
Malachi 3:2 alludes to the washing of clothes: “But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap.” In a spiritual sense, the Great Company will wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb in the great tribulation (Rev. 7:13,14). However, in the natural context, the washing of clothes indicates that the secondary class of the Holy Remnant will need more cleansing. Evidently, some of the Holy Remnant have been living a life consistent with the Law as much as is humanly possible, but another portion of the Holy Remnant will need the experience of Jacob’s Trouble to awaken them to the need of further cleansing. We would suggest, then, that there is a double class of the Holy Remnant as well as of the spiritual “remnant” in the Harvest period. From the spiritual standpoint, Jesus sits on a white cloud with a sharp sickle, he sits down on the seashore and sorts fish, and his servant feeds his people with meat in due season (Rev. 14:14; Matt. 13:47,48; Luke 12:42-44). This refining work is a Harvest picture that culminates, first, in the completion of the gold class and then, later, deals with the silver class (the Great Company).
Comment: The situation with the Holy Remnant is almost like a reversal and duplication of the situation with Cornelius. Although Cornelius was not accepted until AD 36, he was ready and waiting.
Reply: That is true. Cornelius was in a waiting, praying, and serving attitude for years, whereas many Gentiles were converted suddenly, without having given much previous thought, as a result of hearing the apostles preach the gospel. The “Cornelius” class, which has tried to serve God in blindness, is more commendable.
And there is another point. Prior to his conversion, Paul tried to serve God zealously, even though he was persecuting the Church. When converted, he was more converted than the ones who were not trying to serve God previously. God appreciates both classes, but He appreciates the “Paul” class more, for they zealously try to serve Him in their ignorance and blindness.
Consider Peter, who said, “Since my youth, I have not eaten anything unclean” (Acts 10:14 paraphrase). Not an ordinary Jew, he had been faithful not to touch unclean things before his enlightenment.
Verse 5 describes categories of the unfit class to be dealt with in the Kingdom. Jesus will reign as a benevolent dictator, and he will make sure that all of these untoward attitudes and sins are eliminated. Those individuals who do not obey and kneel down before him will be expunged.
It is a wonderful arrangement that God even deals with unfit people whose hearts are turned toward Him and are trying to serve Him. There is a point of demarcation where the Father’s mercy and pity end and a judgment of Second Death is given, but as illustrated with the nation of Israel, He deals very mercifully with His people until that point is reached. With all the evils Israel committed for centuries, it is a marvel that He did not cast them into the dustbin. Surely the great Creator does not need us, for planet Earth, with everything on it, is like dust on a
scale (Isa. 40:12,15). Earth is microscopic in reality, but God is moved by those whose hearts and minds are centered on Him. His attributes of compassion, pity, and mercy are marvelously blended together with His attributes of power, judgment, and strictness. Natural and spiritual Israel are treated accordingly. Even nominal spiritual Israel, including popes who allowed cardinals to kiss their toe in a misappropriation of Psalm 2:12, will be dealt with mercifully in the Kingdom Age in that they will get an opportunity for life. Those rightly exercised will feel shame.
Comment: Verse 5 is a good Scripture to show that those who consider themselves Christians in the present age must utterly forsake these practices. The Apostle Paul said, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9,10). If God will not allow these practices in the Kingdom Age, He will not allow them now with the Christian.
Reply: That is true after consecration. Paul said in the next verse, “Such were some of you: but [now] ye are washed, … sanctified, … [and] justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
The categories of sin in verse 5 affect the life and destiny of others as well as self; that is, they are not just done to self. If one who is consecrated commits these sins, they burgeon into much greater responsibility. Therefore, to quote “love” as covering all sin would apply to sins prior to consecration, which are cast behind the Lord’s back. Willful sin on the part of the consecrated brings retribution in the present life. Even the Apostle Paul was left for dead on one occasion because as a witness, he had participated in the stoning of Stephen. We believe that Paul actually died but that he was resuscitated like Lazarus and then continued his ministry.
Stephen’s argument was so starkly precise that Paul practically quoted him later in his own life. Therefore, what Stephen said did get into Paul’s head.
Verse 6 states a principle: “I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Even though Jehovah is a God of justice, His other qualities of wisdom, love, and power balance out His plan, so that the world of mankind will be given an opportunity for life in the Kingdom. However, to get life, they must forsake their former practices of the present life, some of which are enumerated in verse 5.
Mal. 3:7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?
Comment: In verse 6, God said, “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed”; that is, the promise He had previously made to Israel still applied. Then in verse 7, he added, “Return unto me, and I will return unto you.” Thus, despite the harsh judgments that were coming and the disobedience, God said He would receive the people back if they repented. The same principle applies with the Christian.
Comment: A marginal reference is Acts 7:51, where Stephen was addressing the Jews with his defense: “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye.”
Verses 6 and 7 are a manifestation of agape love, which is a principled, unemotional, and disinterested love. God said, “I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed….Return unto me, and I will return unto you.” While agape love is a higher form of love in certain respects for the one who possesses it, yet for the receiver, phileo love is a closer love. God loves one who is serving Him; that is, agape love is manifested when one repents and turns to God, but it is not as close a love from the recipient’s standpoint as the love for one who has maintained and continues to maintain a relationship with God. We are admonished not to phileo (emotionally) love the world, or we will be guilty of friendship with the world, which God hates (James 4:4). Individuals of the world are enemies of God through wicked works and other things. However, God loves those of the world from the agape (detached, unemotional) standpoint in the sense that He allows them the opportunity of return. In contrast, His love for us now as individuals is the closer and more meaningful phileo love. Agape love is when God first calls and deals with a person or when a backslider repents, takes the proper steps, and comes back. Phileo love is a sonship love, as well as a brotherly and sisterly love.
Comment: The principle is expressed in James 4:8, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” Of course repentance is involved.
Reply: The Prophet Isaiah said, “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isa. 1:18).
Q: Does the question “Wherein shall we return?” mean “What have we done wrong?”
Comment: “Return unto me, and I will return unto you” is a reminder of the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
Reply: The errant son came to his senses when he was eating husks. To a certain extent, repentance was shown twice. (1) He said, “I have sinned against God, and I have sinned against my father and am not worthy of a gracious welcome” (Luke 15:18 paraphrase). (2) When his father saw him approaching in the distance, presumably the prodigal son was bent over in sorrow and anguish. Today the doctrine of forgiveness is taught regardless of the repentance of the party who has sinned. The Apostle Peter asked, “Lord, how often shall I forgive my brother if he sins against me? Shall I forgive him seven times?” Jesus replied, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven [that is, 490 times]” (Matt. 18:21,22).
However, Luke’s Gospel added another clause: “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him” (Luke 17:3). If the trespass occurs seven times in one day, he is to be forgiven if the forgiveness is preceded by repentance. These principles are defined quite distinctly.
Mal. 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
“Will a man rob God?” The normal response would be, “No! God forbid.” But God said through the Prophet Malachi, “Yet you have robbed me.” The natural response would be, “When did we rob you?” God replied, “In tithes and offerings.” In other words, “You have been remiss in the tithes and offerings that I commanded. Either you failed to perform them, or you cheated me by subtracting a little each time.” The reference was to literal, practical, material offerings pertaining to religious service. For example, tithes (or donations) for the sustenance of the priesthood were not properly performed. Since the priesthood had no inheritance in the land, this disobedience was a serious neglect. Instead of giving the required 10 percent, the Israelites gave 5 percent or perhaps nothing.
The point was not necessarily that they did not pay tithes and make offerings but that the type of tithes and offerings was unacceptable. For instance, every tenth healthy animal was to be committed to the Lord, but sick, lame, and blind animals were substituted. Presumably a good animal was being offered, but that was not the case. The offering served a double purpose for the Israelite: (1) Ostensibly it was a proper offering, and (2) the offerer wanted to get rid of the undesirable animal. However, nothing is hidden from God, but for those who lack faith, that fact becomes meaningless. Pride can also be a factor in putting something in the collection plate, to be seen of others. In any event, the service rendered to God was unacceptable for various reasons, yet the Israelites did not realize their wrong heart condition.
Comment: By extending the principle to the Christian in the Gospel Age, the individual who buries his talent in the earth is robbing God (Matt. 25:25).
Reply: Yes, Old Testament principles also pertain to the gospel Church. Although justification comes by faith and not by the works of the Law, the Christian is edified by studying the principles of the Law.
Comment: The Pastor likened robbing God to the Laodicean spirit. “Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17). The bottom line is to pay our vows to the Lord.
Comment: Nehemiah 13:10 states, “And I perceived that the portions [tithes] of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field [garden].”
Reply: Yes, when Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem the second time, he found great dereliction in the paying of tithes. Under the Law, the purpose of the tithes was to sustain the Levites, who had no inheritance in the land. Accordingly, they depended largely on the tithes that came from the people. For any inadequacies that developed, the Levites had gardens. However, because of a lack of time, they could not devote a lot of care to those gardens and thus could not reap an abundance from them, but whatever grew supplemented the tithes they were given. As a result, they had a decent living.
Comment: This same attitude will exist at the end of the Millennium, as shown in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matt. 25:31-46). The goat class will hypocritically ask, “Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?” They will not have served the Lord with a full heart.
Mal. 3:9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
God continued to speak, “In tithes and offerings, you are cursed with a curse, for the whole nation has robbed me.” This statement condemned the nation, for only a very few Israelites would not have been guilty of robbing God.
Mal. 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Mal. 3:11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
Jehovah enjoined the people to bring “all the tithes into the storehouse” so that there would be meat in His house. Then He added, “Prove me now herewith … if I will not open [to] you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Thus God issued a challenge. If the Israelites would bring all the tithes required, they would be materially compensated. In fact, they would be abundantly compensated for whatever deprivations might occur in connection with their faithfully giving the tithes.
In regard to opening the “windows of heaven” and pouring out a blessing, God mentioned the fruitfulness of the land, for it would yield an abundance of crops if the Israelites were faithful to their vows. For the 10 percent tithe that they were required to give, they would be compensated far more with the other 90 percent. Most of their offerings were freewill and voluntary, for although the tithes were mandatory, it was up to each individual to feel the responsibility and to give willingly. Since the people could not discern punishments for failure to give and obey, many thought, “Why bother?”
Verse 10 explains that the effect of the curse (verse 9) was along the lines of sparse productivity and low increase in the yield of the fields. No doubt the Israelites blamed God, the weather, or whatever, whereas the real problem was their robbing Him from a reasonable portion of their income. The Christian, who has committed his all to the Lord and is to provide things decent, needful, and honest in the sight of men, finds that this principle is true. The Lord does pour out a double or triple blessing for the generous freewill giving of one’s time, talents, etc.
Comment: The spirit of verse 10 is expressed as, “God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).
Comment: For those who knew Scripture, this terminology about opening the “windows of heaven” was powerful, for it hearkened back to the Flood in Genesis. There the “opening” was negative, but the abundance of water that poured out was being compared with the abundance of blessings the Israelites would receive for faithfulness.
Reply: Yes, the terminology was strong and emphatic. God was dealing with Israel, to whom material blessings were promised for obedience. With the Christian, the blessings are along spiritual lines. Christians are spiritually rewarded for bringing in “all the tithes,” that is, for being faithful to their consecration vows. If we are stingy in our consecration vows to God, He will be stingy to us. If our obedience is wholehearted and generous, we will be blessed proportionately—if not now in the present life then beyond the veil.
Comment: The Israelites were not just to bring tithes but “all the tithes.” If they fulfilled their whole part of the covenant, then God would do likewise. The spiritual lesson is that if we are faithful to our consecration vows, the divine nature will be the opening of our “windows of heaven” blessing.
Reply: Of course we tend to draw spiritual lessons, but the context is literal. If the Israelites faithfully brought tithes of all their crops and livestock, God would bless them abundantly.
The “devourer” would be plagues in nature, particularly a locust plague, which was common in Israel. In fact, a footnote in the Revised Standard Version uses the term “devouring locust.”
The various developmental stages of the locust constituted the plague. Joel 1:4 reads, “That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.” The four stages of development are listed as palmerworm, locust, cankerworm, and caterpillar. To simplify the matter, there are two kinds of common locust: the annual caterpillar and the more devastating locust, which occurs every 17 years or in another time frame.
We will consider the 17-year locust, starting with the mature insect, which drills a hole in a tree and deposits seed. Usually that seed does not develop until the next spring (or warmer weather), when it begins to do mischief inside the tree. We are inclined to think that the larvae are more apt to work when they are put into the tree, go into hibernation, and then come out as tiny microbes, which develop into caterpillars. The caterpillars subsequently develop into grasshoppers or 17-year locusts. The palmerworm does the work inside the tree, and the cankerworm is the same sort of larvae, or baby state, but outside the tree. The larvae are very small, hardly visible, but they develop into worms and then into insects that can fly. Thus a palmerworm in a tree develops into a cankerworm, which becomes a flying insect, or a locust.
These insects adversely affected the people’s livelihood—their crops, the food supply, primarily vines and trees that produced fruit. The mature locust was regarded as the real enemy, for not much could be seen in the larvae or pupae stage.
Comment: John the Baptist ate the fully developed locust with honey.
Reply: Yes. The protein content of the adult locust can sustain life. Depending on the part of the world, locusts can grow quite large.
Other Scriptures that mention locusts are as follows:
“When your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.” (Amos. 4:9)
“Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them…. All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.” (Deut. 28:38,39,42)
“It [the siege] shall eat thee up like the cankerworm: make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts…. Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.” (Nah. 3:15,17)
“And your spoil shall be gathered like the gathering of the caterpillar: as the running to and fro of locusts shall he run upon them.” (Isa. 33:4)
“And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.” (Exod. 10:13-15)
“The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands.” (Prov. 30:27) When locusts swarm in a plague, they darken the sky, causing an eclipse-like effect.
“He [God] gave also their increase unto the caterpillar, and their labour unto the locust.” (Psa. 78:46) The caterpillar and the locust are the same, but they differ in size and appearance.
The above texts are examples of how the Lord used the insect world for various illustrations in Scripture. We believe that in the Kingdom Age, all of the insects will be seen to have symbolic lessons. Since the Bible gives only a thumbnail description of certain insects, a tremendous amount of information and knowledge will be given to mankind in time.
Mal. 3:12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.
God will take care of the matter with Israel and bring the establishment of the Kingdom, at which time “the desert shall … blossom as the rose” and “the earth shall yield her increase” (Isa. 35:1; Ezek. 34:27). All of these blessings will become possible when wars cease and no enemy is permitted to interfere with the fruitage of the ground or the womb.
If the Israelites were faithful in giving all of their tithes, they would be called “blessed” by all of the other nations, and the land would be “delightsome.” Others would give them praise and express appreciation and get radial benefits by enjoying their land. Everyone would share in the happiness. Although these blessings did not happen back there, they will occur in the Kingdom. Of course there are counterpart lessons for spiritual Israel with regard to having the Lord’s favor.
Comment: This is a very good chapter for the Holy Remnant. In Jacob’s Trouble, the sons of Levi will be purified as gold and silver so that “the offering of Judah and Jerusalem [will] be pleasant unto the LORD … as in former years…. And all nations shall call … [the Holy Remnant] blessed: for … [they] shall be a delightsome land” (Mal. 3:3,4,12).
Reply: Yes, there is a prophetic application.
Comment: The Photodrama of Creation, page 8, states, “There are scientists who claim that the earth still has one ring about it, an electrical ring which, falling, will in a few years destroy fermentation, microbes and parasites, and greatly assist plant and animal life.”
Reply: Yes, the Pastor was quite far in advance of his day. We do believe that in the insect world is the same thing as in the human genome. For instance, the genome of the fruit fly was studied, and from what was learned, scientists branched out into other studies. Now they are trying to decode the human genome. We think that God will simply turn the switch, for everything is under His control. There is a death gene, whereas scientists are trying to find the life gene. We view matters the other way around. When the death gene is turned off, mortal life will become automatic. At that time, disobedience will be the only reason a person will die.
Mal. 3:13 Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?
Mal. 3:14 Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?
Mal. 3:15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.
How astounding that the Israelites would have thought this way! They actually thought they were generous in their offerings when they were perfunctorily and halfheartedly sacrificing diseased and lame animals. They had the nerve to blame God and ask, “Why do calamities befall us?” Notice their attitude: “We have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts.” In other words, although they wore sackcloth and ashes, their mourning was not sincere. Malachi was giving the history of the nation of Israel. The same sins were repeated over and over down to
his day despite the fact that God had provided the Law and the prophets and had raised up judges to deliver the people following periods of disobedience.
“What profit is it … that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?” The King James margin is even more forceful for verse 14: “What profit is it … that we have walked in black [being outwardly reverent] before the LORD of hosts?” A visual concept is given of the Israelites walking in dark clothing, being depressed.
For verse 15, the King James margin says the wicked are “built” up. The conditions were a test of faith, for those who were faithful to God suffered loss. Conversely, those who did wickedly seemed to be blessed because they prospered. They were “set up”; they were recognized and honored and given popularity. In fact, even those who openly challenged God prospered.
One who was a well-known elder in the truth for many years became a humanist and then an atheist. Finally he said that to prove there was no God, he would curse God with a clenched fist on any occasion. Thus we see what can happen, and the lesson is that providence has to be carefully analyzed. If we respond emotionally to providence, we may interpret it incorrectly.
Instead we should study the providence. Almost invariably when certain things happen, we should withdraw and ask, “If I follow this providence, what will it lead to?” for what seems to be a providence can be a test or a temptation. We should refrain from making a hasty verbal contract with an aye or a nay until we prayerfully evaluate a matter. Otherwise, we might emotionally respond and say nay to a true providence.
Here the people saw that those who did wickedly prospered, but should the observers do likewise just because such individuals were not punished? No! The wicked acted as if there were no God, but was that true? Such conditions test one’s faith. A wicked person might get recognition, prestige, and honor while a godly person gets dishonor, but should that situation change the latter’s relationship and covenant vows to the Lord? No! The implication is that if the majority of God’s professed people in the flesh (natural Israel) drew the wrong lesson, then spiritually speaking, this would also be the case. The great majority would not properly appraise the situation. However, this chapter of Malachi shows there is room for change. If, after consecration, a person awakens to his situation and truly repents, God will provide a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). The individual may not get a crown, but the possibility is that he will get life.
“Now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.” Because Satan is the god of this present evil world, such are the prevailing conditions.
Comment: Much of Psalm 73 talks about the prosperity of the wicked. At first, Asaph thought this condition was good, but then he came to his senses. In verse 22, he said, “So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.” He saw that only God can give strength and happiness. Also, Psalm 94:3,4 reads, “LORD, how long … shall the wicked triumph? How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?”
Verses 11 and 12 go on to say, “The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law.” Then the Psalm shows the joys of being chastened by the Lord, as opposed to being in the state of the wicked, and how things will change.
Reply: A proverbial saying is that the wicked are like “a green bay tree” (Psa. 37:35). This statement is powerful, for not only is the bay tree tremendous in size, but it spreads out its arms (its branches) and smothers everything under it.
Mal. 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
Verse 16 illustrates a very important lesson. When we think of the time element of Malachi’s day in the Jewish Age, his admonitions and lessons were primarily slanted toward Israel.
Although, to a certain extent, the principles and ramifications spilled over into other nations, which were also having plagues and problems, the nation of Israel should have known better because they had information from the Law and their prophets. The same principle of verse 16 also exists in the Gospel Age. It is natural to infer that if God wrote “a book of remembrance” with regard to those who died faithfully in the Jewish and prior ages, the same principle would apply to faithful Christians during the 2,000 years of the Gospel Age. Even though very few attain the Little Flock—let us say, one in a million—the number of all the consecrated who have served acceptably with different degrees of zeal would vastly increase over a period of time. It has taken 2,000 years to get 144,000, but what about the Great Company, whose number we do not know? Based on certain Scriptures, this class seems to be quite large from a human standpoint. We know very little about only a few of even the most outstanding Christians, such as Arius, Waldo, Luther, and Tyndale. If we wrote down names of such Christians, perhaps our list would consist of 100 at most, and even then, the list might contain names of some God did not approve in the highest sense in the final analysis.
We believe that some sort of record has been kept of the names of the faithful down through the ages. For the lack of a better word, we will call it a “computer,” which is a medium of remembrance. The period of activity during one’s lifetime has been, and is being, recorded. In fact, the names of all who are born and have the breath of life have been recorded in the book of life (Rev. 3:5; 20:12). The remembrance of an individual is not that important until the time comes for his awakening from the tomb. First, the Little Flock and the Great Company will be resurrected. Then will come the general resurrection (or resuscitation) of mankind. With the latter, there will be different time periods for their coming forth from the tomb.
Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). Jesus is present with the consecrated through the guardian angels, and no doubt the Lord himself listens to much that is said. However, whatever is said is recorded so that it can be recalled in an instant.
Comment: Two proof texts that verse 16 can apply to the Holy Remnant in regard to a “book of remembrance” being written are the following. (1) “At that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Dan. 12:1). (2) “And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem” (Isa. 4:3).
Reply: Yes, that information is very important for the Holy Remnant of natural Israel.
For the Christian, the spiritual application is very important. Hebrews 10:25,26 tells us not to forsake the “assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the [evil] day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.”
In other words, there is a danger of Second Death if we cut ourselves off exclusively from fellowship. We are to look for spirituality and help through fellowship with others—although it is permissible to exercise some discrimination in our choices.
Mal. 3:17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
Malachi gave this advice to his contemporaries, and probably extremely few responded to get that individual blessing. Prophetically speaking, this is advice for the Holy Remnant class, who will be spared but in a different way than the Christian is spared. As God’s beloved Son, Jesus Christ faithfully served his Father, yet he died on the Cross. The question, therefore, is a study in itself. How did God “spare” Jesus? God gave him sustaining grace for that experience and for his faithfulness greatly rewarded him with the number two position in the universe for eternity. Thus the sparing of one as a new creature is different from the sparing of one from the standpoint of the old nature.
When this prophecy is explained from the natural standpoint, it pertains to the Holy Remnant of Israel at this end of the age. When the prophecy is applied spiritually, the thought is that faithful Christians are blessed as new creatures, but they are not spared sickness, accidents, persecution, trouble, etc.
Comment: The mention of “jewels” in verse 17 reminds us of the high priest’s breastplate and the characteristics of the different jewels. The 144,000 will be divided into 12 spiritual tribes of 12,000 each.
Reply: A beautiful Reprint article (No. 2404) is entitled “Gathering the Lord’s Jewels.”
Comment: The KJV margin has “special treasure” for “jewels.”
Reply: Bible commentators almost universally say that “jewels” is not the application, but it is a good thought. Not only were jewels on the high priest’s breastplate, but they are related to the Little Flock. Spiritually speaking, the Lord’s jewels are gathered and then snapped into the ouches, or receiving pins, on the breastplate when they get the divine nature and are made kings and are set on thrones at the marriage of the Lamb. At that time, the antitypical jewels will be placed in the framework of the breastplate. However, the jewels are made and developed before placement in their proper setting. The gathering of the remaining jewels will take place at the end of the Gospel Age. Thus there is a spiritual “holy remnant” class and a natural Israel “holy remnant” class.
Comment: Reprint No. 4930, titled “Waiting for Messiah,” states, “These [faithful Christians] are to be God’s jewels on the spirit plane, as the faithful Jews of the past are to be the jewels on the earthly plane, marked or enrolled for distinguished honor in connection with Messiah’s kingdom.” To consider the faith of the Ancient Worthies is humbling, so calling them “jewels” is appropriate.
Q: Is verse 17 a proof text that the Little Flock will be spared the great Time of Trouble?
A: Yes, that is an application along spiritual lines.
From 2001 study
Christians who have already received their change are “jewels,” for they have made their calling and election sure. However, public recognition of the fact that they are the Lord’s jewels will come later. In the Kingdom Age, people will ask, “Where is so-and-so?” David supplied the answer in Psalm 87:5, “And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.” In the antitype, the jewels on the high priest’s breastplate will be complete when the feet members finish their course. At that time, all who comprise the Little Flock will know who the members are. Thus the public office or display of the breastplate is different from the selection of the stones earlier and their being snapped into the breastplate.
There will be 12,000 of each of the 12 jewel classes for a total of 144,000. When the Little Flock is complete, all 144,000 will be put in the breastplate; the antitypical High Priest, Jesus, will wear the breastplate; and the identification of the jewel class will be made known. The Father Himself saith, “They shall be mine … in that day when I make up my jewels.”
Verses 16 and 17 also apply to natural Israel, but as Christians, we apply them to spiritual Israel, of whom it is said, “Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God” (Isa. 62:3). The coronation of a king or queen, when someone sets the crown of authority on the head of the individual, is a public display. Of course the crowning ceremony for the Little Flock will not be seen down here on earth, for it will take place at the time of the wedding of the bride and the Lamb, but the repercussions of that ceremony will be “published” in the Kingdom Age.
Q: Do the jewels correspond to the stones in the foundation of the wall of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:19,20? “And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.”
A: That text pertains to the time at the beginning of the Kingdom when the Little Flock will be made known to the world. The jewels in the breastplate are basically the same except that a transformation will take place. The breastplate jewels will be changed from silicon, or semiprecious stones, to corundum, a higher family, as precious stones. For example, the sard, a semiprecious stone, pictures the tenderness and mercy exemplified by the Judah class. When the sard is transformed into a higher and harder type of stone, it will be a ruby, a precious stone—it is really the same but changed to glory. The lesson is also illustrated by a diamond.
Carbon is taken out of the coal pit, but when it is put in earth’s furnace, the carbon is changed to a diamond. The diamond is still carbon but radically different in appearance. The diamond seems to epitomize the change of all the stones on the breastplate, whereas in actuality, there will be variety among the stones. Stated another way, from one perspective, they will all be diamonds—hard, clean, and brilliant—but there will be variety. The miracle is the transformation that takes place.
Q: Is the thought, then, that verses 16 and 17 apply to both spiritual and natural Israel?
A: Yes, although the main application is spiritual.
The Ancient Worthies will include the faithful from the First Dispensation up to the Flood and also from the Patriarchal and Jewish ages in the Second Dispensation. For example, Abraham and Sarah were not Jews. Because they served God, Abram’s name was changed to Abraham, and Sarai’s name was changed to Sarah. Jacob came from a different background, and in time, his name was changed to Israel. With all three, it was like carbon being changed into a diamond—a radical difference. In other words, they became crystallized characters.
The crystallization of character that God is looking for in the Little Flock takes time, but it has to occur before death for one to be faithful unto death. Then will come the radical change into robes of actual righteousness; that is, the same person will have changed outer adornment.
Comment: Verses 16 and 17 can also be used to encourage the Holy Remnant, who will not be those who try to repent suddenly, at the last minute, when they see Gog actually coming down into Israel. Rather, the Holy Remnant will develop the proper repentant, contrite character earlier. Therefore, Christians (and especially the Great Company subsequently) can use verses 16 and 17 to encourage and admonish the Jews, for to be part of the Holy Remnant, they must fear God and think upon His name earlier.
Reply: That is true with regard to the end of the end time. The “book of remembrance” has been going on for a long time, ever since Adam, but the principles in back of it can be used in different ways depending on what age or time a person lives in. The Bible was written for all of God’s people in the various categories from relatively time immemorial, but of course from a prophetic standpoint, the Scriptures become more and more meaningful. The Ancient Worthies, the Little Flock, the Great Company, and the Holy Remnant are all called classes.
Comment: Ultimately the Little Flock are Jehovah’s jewels, not Jesus’ jewels. God is the One who calls us and determines our destiny.
Reply: Jesus is our brother. God is our Father, so we are His children. God begot us with the Word of truth and called us to His Son, through whom we have a vital relationship. In the next age, Jesus will become the age-lasting Father and Life-giver of a regenerated human race.
Mal. 3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
Comment: Verse 18 refers to the general resurrection in the Kingdom and particularly to the Jews warned by the Prophet Malachi in this chapter. In the present life, they did not distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, but when they come back from the tomb, they will see that the righteous, faithful minority—the Holy Remnant and the Ancient Worthies—have been installed in office and that the Lord and His principles were right.
Reply: Earlier in this chapter, the “ye” class said, “Wherein have we robbed thee [God]?” Generally speaking, the Jews were slack and careless in respect to serving God in the natural realm, but in the Kingdom, this class will see that God rewards and honors those who served Him faithfully, even though they were deprived in the present life.
Who will return and from what? The application can be both natural and spiritual.
Comment: The Ancient Worthies will return in resurrection at the beginning of the Kingdom Age and discern “between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”
Reply: The Holy Remnant will not necessarily be of the same rank as the Ancient Worthies, but they will be loyal and true. Even babies and children who have not yet come to the age of reasoning will be included in the Holy Remnant class because of their parents.
The fulfillment of verse 18 will eventually include everyone, for it pertains to what God has been doing. When the Kingdom is set up, all kinds of educational media will enlighten the generation who survive the Time of Trouble, whoever and wherever they are. The world will be apprised of the reason for the permission of evil, namely, that God has been calling out a class from ancient times to relatively modern times. God’s purposes will be made known.
Comment: The Pastor applied the first part of verse 18, “Then shall ye return,” to the world of mankind when Christ’s Kingdom is inaugurated, which will be “after the polishing of the jewels is complete and they have been set in the great crown.” He said, “There shall be a turning point, a change in the divine administration, though not a change in the divine plan. There will be a grand reversal of the present order of things.”
Reply: Chapter 4 tells how that reversal will be brought about.
For a moment, we will consider Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” Generally speaking, this verse is given a current application in the Truth movement. The Apostle Paul quoted many Old Testament texts that have their real fulfillment in the Kingdom Age, but he extrapolated the principles behind the Scriptures and applied them to the Gospel Age. Unfortunately, some have seen this extrapolation as the real interpretation. For instance, when Jesus cast out the money changers at the end of his earthly ministry, he said, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matt. 21:13). Clearly that Scripture refers back to Isaiah 56:7, which is talking about the Third Temple, the Temple to be built in the Kingdom as a “house of prayer for all people.” People from all nations will come to that Temple in Jerusalem. “Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” Thus Jesus gave a current application at the First Advent to a text that has not yet been fulfilled.
To show that the fulfillment of Isaiah 52:7 is future, to be fulfilled when the Kingdom is established, we will read Nahum 1:15, “Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.” The wicked will be utterly cut off at that time, and the Temple will be built. This proclamation will be made in Jerusalem, for at that time, Jews in other nations will hear about the establishment of the Kingdom. This announcement will be most important to those outside of Israel, for to the Jews in Israel, the establishment of the Kingdom will be obvious. The destruction of Gog from the land of Magog and the purging out of the rebels from among the Jews will have to be announced, for there will be no newspapers at that time or normal media (as we know it today) because of the severity of the trouble. Jews who find themselves as part of the spared Holy Remnant in lands other than Israel will be awakened by this announcement to realize that the God of Israel has finally introduced the Kingdom and that Messiah has come.
Those Jews will want to return to Israel, but how will they get there? The Gentiles will assist, feeling it is their responsibility. Instead of being anti-Semitic at that time, the Gentiles will be pro-Semitic; they will provide the transportation and send the Jews back with gifts, even carrying them in their arms. Thus the announcement of declaring to Zion, “Thy God reigneth!” will be not so much in Israel itself but in the other nations. The announcement will serve the double purpose of informing not only the Jews outside of Israel but also the Gentiles. God will make His holy name known in the midst of His people Israel and say, “I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel” (Ezek. 39:7). In other words, His name will be made known and honored in the sight of the Gentiles as well as among His people. Only one sixth of Gog will survive Jacob’s Trouble, but they will have to get back to their homelands to give an eyewitness account of the events. The communications media will have been destroyed, and computers will temporarily be nonfunctioning. Moreover, people will be concerned with their own problems in this dark period of silence. During such worldwide conditions, the Gentile survivors of Jacob’s Trouble will return to their homelands with news. Gentiles who hear the news will know it is the truth because of the very multiplicity of such accounts. Thus the declaring of the “good news” by word of mouth will be primarily outside of Israel. Its filtering out into all the world will constitute the publishing of peace.
Comment: With the power grid down, regular communications will be disrupted.
Comment: For brethren who feel that the feet members on this side of the veil declare, “Thy God reigneth!” the question would be, Who is giving such a message at the present time?
Reply: It is reasoned that the declaration goes out to spiritual Zion. The Apostle Paul applied the text this way in the sense of the principle, but the reality is another matter. Isaiah 52:7 and Nahum 1:15 are speaking of the reality. Nahum 1:15 says the wicked are “utterly cut off”—and that is future. Even among the Jews, only a humble, chastened people will be left in Israel and in other lands—those whose names are “written in the book” (Dan. 12:1; Mal. 3:16).
(2001, 1992, and 1971 Studies)