There’s lots more that the prophets tell us about the Messiah, but this’ll be the last day we spend on that particular topic. Starting tomorrow, we’ll get back to the overview of their books.
The book of Malachi is poignant piece of writing for me. This was God’s last word to his people for several hundred years. I guess the Lord figured that this was all he needed to say until he was ready to send his Final Word, the Word made Flesh. In a couple of months, we’ll probably spend some more time on the writings of the last book of the Old Testament. Of course, strictly speaking, the last prophet of the Old Covenant was not Malachi, but John the Baptizer (per the words of Jesus). But Malachi was the last one who wrote a book for us to read.
And here he tells us a very important characteristic of the coming Messiah. There are three people mentioned in this passage, and it’s important for us to tell them apart. First there’s the “messenger” who will prepare the way for the Lord. This was fulfilled in John the Baptist, who spent years of his life trying to prepare God’s people for the coming of the Messiah. The Second is the “Messenger of the Covenant,” who appears to be different from the first Messenger mentioned, since the 2nd Messenger is coming to “his temple,” which as far as we know John never did. The Third Person is the Father, who sent the Messenger who accomplishes the task set before him.
I want to focus on the 2nd Messenger, since he seems to be the focus of the passage itself. What does he do? And when does this happen? Once again, I think this has a “partially then, more so now, and completely someday” aspect. It was partially fulfilled when our Savior came the first time. He literally cleansed the physical temple, and offered himself up to the Father in order to cleanse us from our sins. And he’s in the process of cleansing people today. Every time someone receives Christ, they’re cleansed from the stain of sin and the Great Cleanser starts the process of laundering out our personal lives. And someday he will complete the process when he comes again and the redemption of our bodies is completed.
But there’s another aspect to this that we need to consider. These are almost the last words of the prophet, and they warn of us of another cleansing. He is coming again not just to complete the redemption of his people but to cleanse away sin from the earth. Ever since the rebellion of our first parents, this entire planet has been contaminated by the stain of sin. It’s filthy in his eyes, a stench in his nostrils. And finally he’s going to do something about it.
And when he does, the prophet asks a great question, “[Who] can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears?” In our own righteousness, in our own goodness, the answer is no one. Paul said that before his Judgment Seat “every mouth [will] be silenced and the whole world held accountable to [him.]” He'll ask the questions, and no one will have any good answers. Their mouths will be silenced. All their snarky, sarcastic, snide remarks about how the Bible is full of myths? All their high-sounding arguments how Christians are narrow-minded and bigoted for telling people that Jesus is the only way to Heaven? I promise you: They won’t have any witty retorts on that Day.
You see, everyone and everything will be cleansed, one way or another. You can be cleansed here and now, or you can be swept away when he does his final scouring of all the universe. What can cleanse sin from our souls? There’s only one solvent for that stain—the blood of Jesus the Son.
If you haven’t been cleansed from your sin, then you can be. Please check this out If you have been cleansed by his blood, then be thankful.
Lord Jesus, what can wash away my sin? Nothing but your blood. What can make me whole again? Nothing but your blood, Jesus. How precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow! No other fount I know. . .
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