The Great Day of the Lord
4 “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts.
“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
Malachi 4 Commentary
by Hank Workman
I hadn’t really given much time or thought about this last chapter of Malachi. And then it struck me. These were the last words of God to the people of Israel. An end of an era was over when Malachi’s voice went silent. There would be no more prophet to the people, there would be no movement from God for 400 years. This was the Last Word God had for the people. Within these 6 verses, the wrath of God was spoken of what is yet to come but also there was incredible hope and prophecy yet to be fulfilled. It really is astounding to read this chapter with these thoughts – this last word was God’s parting shot to the people of Israel.
He warned the day was coming when the wicked would get what they deserved. He spoke of the Sun of Righteousness who would bring healing on His wings – this being the very coming of Jesus Christ. The brevity of the promise explained was the people who trusted in Him would go out in liberty and freedom, would become strong and yes, trample the wicked as God’s victory would be evident.
God also told them to remember the Law of Moses. Think about it, the last few words of the Old Testament, Malachi was instructed with the command for the people to not forget the Law, not forget the Word of God and apply it. The Word would sustain them, keep their own feet on the right track.
And finally… and to me, this is most fascinating, He told the people Elijah would come. What is so astounding is he did come as it tells us the Spirit of Elijah was upon John the Baptist who prepared the way for the Sun of Righteousness to come.
Truly this short book of Malachi is packed with practical thoughts and guidelines for our own commitment to God. Within it, we’re reminded God deserves the very best we have. We are confronted to change our wrong ways of living and turn toward Him. Family and spiritual leadership are of utmost importance with all we’ve been given. As the fires of life burn around, which happens again and again, we should recognize God is burning away the dross and impurities making us ready for His perfect use; looking to see His own reflection in us.
It’s interesting to consider that for the Jewish people, these were the last words declaring to be committed to the Word of God and look toward the Messiah’s coming. A cliffhanger on some levels you could say. The last word given to us as Believers is found in Revelation with the same kind of cliffhanger. Jesus is coming back. Be ready. Serve Him. Have a moldable heart. Listen to His rebuke and encouragement. Take strength through His Spirit and do not grow complacent or lukewarm.
God’s last words resounded in the Old Testament are of challenge to be looking and ready for the Messiah and stay committed to His Word. His last words in the New Testament are of challenge for us to be looking toward the return of Jesus and be actively pursuing Him. For, in the end, God will get the very Last Word of all when we come before His Son’s presence in all His glory.
Malachi 4 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and playfully jump like calves from the stall.Malachi 4:2 HCSB
In the final chapter of the Old Testament, Malachi offers a beautifully symbolic prophecy. Perhaps he meant the Son of Righteousness? Grace and forgiveness were coming soon.
“In many passages God is related to a planet or star (Psa 84:11, Isa 60:19, Rev 22:16, Num 24:17). Here, the Messiah is not only a Sun, but also the Sun of Righteousness who brings healing.”David Guzik
But I think the most fitting ending for the Old Testament is found in the final word – curse. As Malachi pens that last word, the curse of sin is very much alive and well. The law and sacrificial system of offerings only served to affirm the chains of bondage that could not be broken by man.
It would be Christ’s first sermon that would contain a much different word – liberty.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”Luke 4:18-19 ESV
The human race once cursed by God would now be blessed by Him. It never gets old. The contrast of the Old Testament curse and the image of Christ setting the captives free provides a backdrop for the heart of God.