Malachi 3

1 “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.
2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.
3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness,
4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.
5 “So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty.

Breaking Covenant by Withholding Tithes

6 “I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.
7 Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings.
9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me.
10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.
11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty.
12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.

Israel Speaks Arrogantly Against God

13 “You have spoken arrogantly against me,” says the LORD. “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’
14 “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty?
15 But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it.’ ”

The Faithful Remnant

16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.
17 “On the day when I act,” says the LORD Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him.
18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

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Malachi 3 Commentary

Chapter 3

The coming of Christ. (1-6) The Jews reproved for their corruptions. (7-12) God's care of his people; The distinction between the righteous and the wicked. (13-18)

Verses 1-6 The first words of this chapter seem an answer to the scoffers of those days. Here is a prophecy of the appearing of John the Baptist. He is Christ's harbinger. He shall prepare the way before him, by calling men to repentance. The Messiah had been long called, "He that should come," and now shortly he will come. He is the Messenger of the covenant. Those who seek Jesus, shall find pleasure in him, often when not looked for. The Lord Jesus, prepares the sinner's heart to be his temple, by the ministry of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, and he enters it as the Messenger of peace and consolation. No hypocrite or formalist can endure his doctrine, or stand before his tribunal. Christ came to distinguish men, to separate between the precious and the vile. He shall sit as a Refiner. Christ, by his gospel, shall purify and reform his church, and by his Spirit working with it, shall regenerate and cleanse souls. He will take away the dross found in them. He will separate their corruptions, which render their faculties worthless and useless. The believer needs not fear the fiery trial of afflictions and temptations, by which the Saviour refines his gold. He will take care it is not more intense or longer than is needful for his good; and this trial will end far otherwise than that of the wicked. Christ will, by interceding for them, make them accepted. Where no fear of God is, no good is to be expected. Evil pursues sinners. God is unchangeable. And though the sentence against evil works be not executed speedily, yet it will be executed; the Lord is as much an enemy to sin as ever. We may all apply this to ourselves. Because we have to do with a God that changes not, therefore it is that we are not consumed; because his compassions fail not.

Verses 7-12 The men of that generation turned away from God, they had not kept his ordinances. God gives them a gracious call. But they said, Wherein shall we return? God notices what returns our hearts make to the calls of his word. It shows great perverseness in sin, when men make afflictions excuses for sin, which are sent to part between them and their sins. Here is an earnest exhortation to reform. God must be served in the first place; and the interest of our souls ought to be preferred before that of our bodies. Let them trust God to provide for their comfort. God has blessings ready for us, but through the weakness of our faith and the narrowness of our desires, we have not room to receive them. He who makes trial will find nothing is lost by honouring the Lord with his substance.

Verses 13-18 Among the Jews at this time, some plainly discovered themselves to be children of the wicked one. The yoke of Christ is easy. But those who work wickedness, tempt God by presumptuous sins. Judge of things as they will appear when the doom of these proud sinners comes to be executed. Those that feared the Lord, spake kindly, for preserving and promoting mutual love, when sin thus abounded. They spake one to another, in the language of those that fear the Lord, and think on his name. As evil communications corrupt good minds and manners, so good communications confirm them. A book of remembrance was written before God. He will take care that his children perish not with those that believe not. They shall be vessels of mercy and honour, when the rest are made vessels of wrath and dishonour. The saints are God's jewels; they are dear to him. He will preserve them as his jewels, when the earth is burned up like dross. Those who now own God for theirs, he will then own for his. It is our duty to serve God with the disposition of children; and he will not have his children trained up in idleness; they must do him service from a principle of love. Even God's children stand in need of sparing mercy. All are righteous or wicked, such as serve God, or such as serve him not: all are going to heaven or to hell. We are often deceived in our opinions concerning both the one and the other; but at the bar of Christ, every man's character will be known. As to ourselves, we have need to think among which we shall have our lot; and, as to others, we must judge nothing before the time. But in the end all the world will confess that those alone were wise and happy, who served the Lord and trusted in Him.

Cross References 61

  • 1. S Numbers 27:21; S 2 Chronicles 36:15
  • 2. S Isaiah 40:3; S Matthew 3:3; Matthew 11:10*; Mark 1:2*; Luke 7:27*
  • 3. Micah 5:2
  • 4. S Isaiah 42:6
  • 5. S 1 Samuel 9:20
  • 6. S Ezekiel 22:14; Revelation 6:17
  • 7. S Ezekiel 7:7; S Daniel 7:13; S Joel 2:31; S Matthew 16:27; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:4; S Revelation 1:7
  • 8. S 1 Samuel 6:20
  • 9. S Isaiah 1:31; S Isaiah 30:30; S Zechariah 13:9; Matthew 3:10-12
  • 10. S Job 9:30
  • 11. S Daniel 12:10; S 1 Corinthians 3:13
  • 12. S 1 Chronicles 23:28; S Isaiah 1:25
  • 13. S Job 28:1; S Psalms 12:6; 1 Peter 1:7; Revelation 3:18
  • 14. S Psalms 132:9
  • 15. 2 Chronicles 7:12; Psalms 51:19; Malachi 1:11
  • 16. S 2 Chronicles 7:3; S Ezekiel 20:40
  • 17. S Exodus 7:11; S Isaiah 47:9
  • 18. Exodus 20:14; James 2:11; 2 Peter 2:12-14
  • 19. Leviticus 19:11-12; S Jeremiah 7:9
  • 20. S Leviticus 19:13; James 5:4
  • 21. S Exodus 22:22
  • 22. S Exodus 22:21; S Deuteronomy 24:19; S Ezekiel 22:7
  • 23. S Deuteronomy 31:12; S Isaiah 1:2
  • 24. S Numbers 23:19; S Hebrews 7:21; James 1:17
  • 25. S Job 34:15; S Hosea 11:9
  • 26. S Exodus 32:8; S Jeremiah 7:26; Acts 7:51
  • 27. S Isaiah 44:22; S Ezekiel 18:32
  • 28. S Zechariah 1:3; James 4:8
  • 29. S Malachi 1:2
  • 30. S Zechariah 5:3
  • 31. S Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:21; S Nehemiah 13:10-12; Luke 18:12
  • 32. S Deuteronomy 11:26; Deuteronomy 28:15-68; S Zechariah 5:3
  • 33. S Exodus 22:29
  • 34. S Nehemiah 13:12
  • 35. S 2 Kings 7:2
  • 36. Isaiah 44:3
  • 37. S Leviticus 25:21; S Joel 2:14; 2 Corinthians 9:8-11
  • 38. S Joel 2:24
  • 39. S Exodus 10:15; S Deuteronomy 28:39
  • 40. S Exodus 23:26
  • 41. S Deuteronomy 28:3-12; Isaiah 61:9
  • 42. S Isaiah 62:4; S Ezekiel 20:6
  • 43. S 2 Chronicles 31:10
  • 44. Malachi 2:17
  • 45. S Malachi 1:2
  • 46. Psalms 73:13; S Isaiah 57:10
  • 47. Psalms 100:2; John 12:26; Romans 12:11
  • 48. S Joshua 22:5; S Isaiah 1:14
  • 49. Isaiah 58:3
  • 50. S Psalms 119:21
  • 51. Psalms 14:1; Psalms 36:1-2; Jeremiah 7:10
  • 52. S Job 21:7
  • 53. S Psalms 34:15
  • 54. S Exodus 32:32; S Psalms 56:8; S Psalms 87:6; S Luke 10:20
  • 55. S Deuteronomy 28:58; S Deuteronomy 31:12; Psalms 33:18; S Proverbs 1:7; Revelation 11:18
  • 56. Isaiah 43:21
  • 57. S Exodus 8:22; S Deuteronomy 7:6; S Romans 8:14; S Titus 2:14
  • 58. Nehemiah 13:22; Psalms 103:13; Isaiah 26:20; Luke 15:1-32
  • 59. Romans 8:32
  • 60. S Genesis 18:25
  • 61. Deuteronomy 32:4; Mt 25:32-33,41

Chapter Summary


This chapter begins with a prophecy of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ; and of the coming of Christ, and the effects and consequences of it, with respect both to the righteous and the wicked; and it contains accusations and charges of sin against the Jews, intermixed with exhortations to repentance. John the Baptist is promised to be sent, and is described by his office as a messenger, and by his work, to prepare the way of the Lord; and the Messiah is prophesied of, who is described by his characters; with respect to himself, the Lord and Messenger of the covenant; with respect to the truly godly among the Jews, as the object of their desire and delight; whose coming is spoken of as a certain thing, and which would be sudden; and the place is mentioned he should come into, Mal 3:1 and this his coming is represented as terrible to the wicked, and as trying and purifying to the righteous, expressed by the various similes of a refiner's fire, and fuller's soap; and the end answered by it, their offering a righteous offering to the Lord, Mal 3:2-4 but with respect to the wicked, he declares he should be a swift witness against them, whose characters are particularly given, and this assured from his immutability; the consequence of which to the saints is good, being their security from destruction, Mal 3:5,6 and next a charge is commenced against the wicked Jews, as that in general they had for a long time revolted from the Lord, and were guilty of sins of omission and commission, and are therefore exhorted to return to the Lord, with a promise that he will return to them, and yet they refuse, Mal 3:7 and, in particular, that they were guilty of sacrilege, and so accounted, even the whole nation, in withholding tithes and sacrifices, which they are exhorted to bring in; to which they are encouraged with promises of blessings of prosperity and protection, Mal 3:8-12 and that they had spoken impudent and blasphemous words against the Lord; which, though excepted to, is proved by producing their own words, Mal 3:13-15 and by the contrary behaviour of those that feared the Lord, who were taken notice of by him, and were dear unto him, Mal 3:16,17 wherefore it is suggested, that the time would come when there would be a manifest difference made between the one and the other, Mal 3:18.

Malachi 3 Commentaries

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