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Biblical Illustrator Mal 3

Biblical Illustrator Mal 3

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 14, 2011
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BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR MAL 3CHAPTER III.Vers. 1-6. Behold, I will send My messenger. — Messiah's messenger : — The coming of the Messiah was in the time of the world's deepest wants. As inall instances of national degeneracy, two special causes bore their fruit in Malachi'atime. 1. eglect of the Divine ordinances. o Divine law has ever been giventhat was not essential to human well-being. A neglect of the Divine standardis consequently a sin against one's self. There is not a Bible precept that isiinreasonable, and therefore it is unreasonable to give no heed to what is written.In this respect the sufferings of Israel were self-imposed. 2. Decay of spiritual44 THE BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR. [chap. m.life. It is hardly possible to realise the depth of wickedness portrayed by theprophet. The priests despised the name of Jehovah. The people had robbedGod, and declared it a vain thing to serve Him. In a twofold way we observethe relation of such a lack of service to the national life. This sin resulted inthe alienation of the hearts of the children from their parents. It is a mark of national decay when the children make light of their fathers, when they scofE atformer virtues. Again, sin against God always carries with it wrong-doing againstman. Love cannot be localised upon men while withheld from God. The manwho cannot truly honour God will not truly honour man. Our deeds declareour religion. Well did the prophet ask, " Who may abide the day of His coming? "Who shall bear the tests of His judgment ? The prophesied coming of Elijahreferred to John the Baptist. There is something subUme in the rugged characterthat confronted a degenerate nation. He only who knows the Divine greatnessand power can have courage to rebuke the self-conceit that resists God. Thelife of the Baptist interprets the two great lessons of the prophecy in our textcalling for notice. 1. Our hope rests in the unchanging God. The idea of changeableness in the one trusted destroys all faith in its very essence. It isunhuman to love the being that to-morrow may turn against us. But for thisDivine characteristic no sinner could stand in God's sight. It was this truthagainst whose bright background Israel's sin is of the deepest guilt. 2. Thesuicide of imbelief. God added no terrors to Israel's sufferings in the fiery day.They had but to remember their words, " His blood be on us, and on our children."Unbelief can stay the exercise of Divine mercy towards the individual, but it
 
cannot keep back its own retribution. It can give blindness to the heart, but itcannot blot out the Divine judgment. Against the darlmess of the prophet'spicture there is another, of brighter meaning. There is a healing power in thebeams of the Sun of Righteousness. Light takes the place of darkness. Therighteous shall not be as flowers to fade and to die, but rather, strong and asource of joy, like the herds that feed in richest pastures. Jehovah is that blazingsun of glory. Unbelief brings a sunset of terror, while righteousness is itself the sunrise of everlasting joy. (Sermons by Monday Club.) The appearanceof the Great Deliverer : — The event announced is the appearance of that GreatDeliverer who had for many ages been the hope of Israel, and was to be a blessingto all the families of the earth. Concerning this desire of nations, Malachi heredelivers no new prediction ; but, by an earnest asseveration, uttered in the nameand, as it were, in the per.son of the Deity, he means to confirm that general expec-tation which his predecessors had excited. L The characters under which theperson is described whose coming is foretold. " The Lord," or Proprietor. Itdenotes dominion. " The Lord shall come to His temple." That is Jehovah's.Then the Christ whose coming Malachi announces is no other than the Jehovahof the Old Testament. From many texts it may be gathered that the promisedMessiah is described by the more ancient prophets as no other than the everlastingGod, the Jehovah of the Israelites. " The Messenger of the covenant." otthe Mosaic. Another covenant is spoken of as the new and the everlastingcovenant. Of this covenant, so clearly foretold, and so circumstantially describedby the preceding prophets, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Malachi thinks it unnecessaryto introduce any particular description. The Messenger of the covenant isJehovah's servant, for a message is a service ; it implies a person sending, anda person sent ; in the person who scndeth there must be authority to send, — sub-mission to that authority in the person sent. But the servant of the Lord Jehovahis the Lord Jehovah Himself ; not the same person with the sender, but bearingthe same name because united in that mysterious nature and undivided substancewhich the name imports. The same person therefore is servant and Lord.Another character of the Messiah must be added. He is the Messenger whom" they delight in." But this expression here is ironical; the words express thevery reverse of that which they seem to affirm. There is more or less of severityin this ironical language, by which it stands remarkably distinguished from thelevity of ridicule, and is particularly adapted to the purposes of invective andrebuKe. It denotes conscious superiority, sometimes indignation, in the personwho employs it ; it excites shame, confusion, and remorse in the person againstwhom it is employed, — in a third person, contempt and abhorrence of him whois the object of it. Irony is the keenest weapon of the orator. 2. The particularsof the business upon which the person announced is said to come. It is reducibleto these — the final judgment, when the wicked shall be destroyed ; a pieviouB
 
CHAP, m.] MALACHI. 46trial or experiment of the different tempers and dispositions of men, in order tothat judgment ; and something to be done for their amendment and improvement.The trial is signified under the image of an assayer's separation of the noblermetals from the dross with which they are blended in the ore. The means usedfor the amendment and improvement of mankind, by the Messiah's atonementfor our sins, by the preaching of the Gospel, and by the internal influences of theHoly Spirit, — all these means, employed under the Messiah's covenant, for thereformation of men, are expressed under the image of a fuller's soap, whichrestores a soiled garment to its original purity. One particular effect of thispurification is to be, that the " sons of Levi " will be purified. The worship of God shall be purged from all hypocrisy and superstition, and reduced to a feweimple rules, the natural expressions of true devotion. " And then shall thisoffering of Judah and Jerusalem " (that is, of the true members of God's trueChiu-ch) " be pleasant unto the Lord." All these prophecies were fulfilled, orwill yet be fulfilled, in Jesus of azareth. {Bishop Horsley.) Messiah andHis forerunner : — I. John the Baptist as a kind of connecting link between thelaw and the Gospel. He displayed much of the austerity of the prophets of old.He may be said to have taught that the law was about to be swept away as acovenant of works ; there was not to be introduced any system but one of strictand self-denying morality As he preached a baptism of repentance, and notone of mere ceremonial pvu-ification, it became evident that the long twilightof figure and type was about to be succeeded by the clear day of spiritual andheart work religion. John occupied a most singular position : commissionedneither to enforce the law nor to proclaim the Gospel. He may be called a manof two worlds. He stood mysteriously between the law and the Gospel, beingneither instructed to marshal the shadows nor privileged to exhibit the substance.And yet with all this John was not ignorant of the atoning sacrifice which Jesuswas to offer. From the lips of John flowed the first announcement of an expiatorysacrifice. " Behold the Lamb of Grod." But the preaching of the Gospel includesa vast deal more than the showing forth of the doctrine of the dying Redeemer.Upon this doctrine, as a foundation, rests every other ; but the superstructureis not to be confounded with the foimdation. Christ must be preached as a risen,a living, and a glorified Saviour. John was a messenger sent to prepare Christ'sway. But in every case the herald of an illustrious personage announces butpart of the biisiness on which that jiersonage comes. 2. otice the titles heregiven to Christ: " the Lord " (Adonai), and the " Messenger of the covenant."There is much in the latter title which has to do with the offices of Christ. Hisspecial business was, enacting a fresh covenant between God and the human

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