Malachi 3:16-18

The Book of Remembrance

16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD 1gave attention and heard it, and a 2book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name.
17 "They will be 3Mine," says the LORD of hosts, "on the 4day that I prepare My 5own possession, and I will spare them as a man 6spares his own son who serves him."
18 So you will again 7distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.

Malachi 3:16-18 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO MALACHI 3

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 3:16-18 In-Context

14 "You have said, 'It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His charge, and that we have walked in mourning before the LORD of hosts?
15 'So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of wickedness built up but they also test God and escape.' "
16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name.
17 "They will be Mine," says the LORD of hosts, "on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him."
18 So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.

Cross References 7

  • 1. Psalms 34:15; Jeremiah 31:18-20
  • 2. Isaiah 4:3; Daniel 12:1
  • 3. Isaiah 43:1
  • 4. Isaiah 4:2
  • 5. Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6; Isaiah 43:21; 1 Peter 2:9
  • 6. Psalms 103:13
  • 7. Genesis 18:25; Amos 5:15

Footnotes 6

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