“The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel” through Malachi was that the lessons of the past be not forgotten and that the covenant made by Jehovah with the house of Israel be kept with fidelity. Only by heartfelt repentance could the blessing of God be realized.” Prophets & Kings, pg. 705
There were two classes of priests/individuals in the book of Malachi.
- 1. Those that feared God, and “serve Him” in truth.
- 2. Those that did not fear Him, and “serve Him not.” (See Malachi Chapters 2 & 3)
In the days of Malachi the prophet, we read about these two classes of priests in the book of Ezra. Now Ezra was the son of Zadok, the son of Phineas, the son of Aaron, the high priest. Why is this point important? Because Phineas entered into an everlasting covenant “for the fear wherewith he feared Me.” During the time when Balaam cast a stumblingblock before Israel, to eat things sacrificed to strange gods, many of the men of Israel were seduced into joining to the idolatrous worship of the gods of the heathen religions. They united themselves with women of these idolatrous nations, and forgot the statute expounding the principles of the first commandment which declares:
“Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.” (Exodus 34:12-16)
So through the prophet Balaam’s wickedness, this snare came to Israel. Much of Israel in the days of Balaam joined themselves to the sun worshippers of Baal (Numbers 25:3-5, Revelation 3:14)
“And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly (where children are conceived). So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel. And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy. Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace. And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood (the priesthood of Melchizedek- the everlasting covenant- See Ezekiel 44:15,48:11); because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.” (Numbers 25:7-13)
A “covenant of peace” was made with Phineas, and to his seed. Ezra the priest, the son of Phineas, saw the faithfulness of that covenant from a God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2), and of him, we are told that Ezra “had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” (Ezra 7:10; compare Malachi 2:6)
In the days of Malachi, there was an apostasy akin to the sun worship of Baalpeor. It says “Ezra the priest, with certain chief of the fathers, after the house of their fathers, and all of them by their names, were separated, and sat down in the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter.
And they made an end with all the men that had taken strange wives by the first day of the first month.” (Ezra 10:16-17)
It was by this cleansing that the iniquity of Israel was purged. In Malachi, this prophecy was given: “And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.
“My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips (See Revelation 14:4-5): he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 2:4-7; compare Numbers 25:7-13)
We are told that a priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and that the law of truth should be found at his mouth, being the messenger of the Lord of hosts. Not only are we brought to Phineas’ faithful example, and the covenant of peace made with him, but we are brought also to the Levites, from who Phineas and Ezra sprang, who would not worship the false gods of Egypt at Mount Horeb, and were committed by God with the priesthood, and the law of God, in which was shadowed the gospel.
We are told that there is another class of priest/individual in the Scripture:
“And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.” (Malachi 2:1-2)
The priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and the pronouncement of life and blessing would be with them:
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)
However, it says of these priests, that they would not give glory to God, and were cursed, even their seed:
“Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.” For their doings that were corrupt before God, they are reproved, and told that the covenant of peace, and the law of truth is not with them, but is with His messengers, with Levi; the sons of Phineas, the sons of Zadok. He says instead of blessing and life, that their seed would live, that they would be cursed.
“But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law. (Malachi 2:8-9)
To this, they then respond: “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?” (Malachi 2:10) to which the reply is given clearly: “Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.”
The messenger of the Lord of hosts, who had the law of truth and the everlasting covenant, was to turn people back to the law of the Lord.
“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1)
How will this way be prepared?
“Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet (“the messenger of the Lord of hosts”) before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:4-6)
Elijah was not only to restore hearts to the knowledge of the true God, but would cause the blessing of life, the covenant of peace, to be restored to Israel, making an atonement for Israel, “to turn away the wrath of the Lord God”, as Phineas did, to “turn many away from iniquity” (Mal. 2:6) and turn their hearts back to the true worship of God.
The relationship of an ecumenical society representing a nearly a quarter of the world’s population
The Message is For Today:
“What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” (1 Corinthians 6:6-7)
There could be no countenance with those who married the daughters of strange gods. Even today, there are many who say, “Don’t we all serve the same God? Isn’t He the Father of us all? Aren’t we all Abraham’s seed?” To many who make a profession of being united with Christ, but have made a marriage covenant with the inhabitants of the land, as many as doing through ecumenical relationships with the “mother of Harlots”, and as truly worship another god as did the Israelites of old. Likewise, there are many today which trample underfoot the law of Moses, with it’s statutes and judgments, which have the blessing of life pronounced upon the keeping of them in the gospel. It is the Elijah message which is the message of the everlasting covenant made with Abraham (Gen. 14-18, Romans 3, Galatians 4:22-29), which turns aside the curse, which declares: “Cursed is the man that confirmeth not all the words written in this law to do them.” (Deut. 27:26) The Elijah message is a call to repentance for trampling upon the good statutes of our God and Father, and not walking in His ways. Lastly, the Elijah message is a call to turn from false worship the the true worship, from the false gods, to the only True God.
God is purifying His messengers that prepare the way, that they may offer an offering in righteousness which He is holy and acceptable. (Mal. 3:3)
The Elijahs of today will repair the breaches made in the law through the covenant made with the inhabitants of the land, and through the worship of false gods, and call others into this message of reconcilation with our Father in heaven through the Son of God, and His everlasting gospel; fearing Him, as the prophecy declares the priests have feared Him, to remember His law, and to “give glory to His name” (Malachi 2:2, Revelation 14:7).
Here is the message of Malachi, the message of Elijah: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Revelation 14:6-7
Such a reverential fear is manifested in the hearts of the messengers toward the law of God in the Elijah Message, that he seeks to restore others to the blessings contained in the everlasting gospel, that the curse of sin will no longer triumph in both the lives of individuals, and in their families; that the cleansing of the sanctuary might be made (Malachi 3:2-4), and a sure atonement is made for Israel (Comp. Leviticus 16, Numbers 25:13).
With those who fear the Lord and His law, we are given this promise in the Scriptures:
“Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. (Malachi 3:16-18)
But to those who are otherwise, we read a repeat of the curse to those priests who were partial in the law, not fearing God, and not speaking often together one with another, not having God in all their thoughts, not considering His name & blessings:
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hosea 4:6)
God has ever promised the blessing of life to those that remember Him and keep His ways, to them and their seed after them: (Exodus 20:4 [Exo.31:13-17], Deuteronomy 16:3, 8:18, 8:2)
“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” (Malachi 4:2)
These are promised: “They shall be Mine, in the day when I make up My gems”, and are likened unto “a son” that “serveth” his father. Only when we worship God our Father in Spirit and in Truth, can He call us sons that serve Him. There are those who claim that He is their Father, but they “serveth Him not” (Mal. 3:18), nor is “the law of truth in his mouth.” (Mal. 2:6) Therefore he is as Esau (Mal. 1:2-6), who is truly a child of Abraham his father after the flesh, but not after the Spirit, selling off the covenant of promise, and is accursed, entering into marriage covenant with the daughters of strange gods, and drinking from their communion cup.
So who are these who are gems, who fear God, and remember His eternal power and Godhead, reverencing His law? They are a “royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9), children of the Lamb’s bride, the New Jerusalem, who is “the mother of us all” (Galatians 4:26):
“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:2)
To those who receive this message, they will be the adornments of the Lamb’s wife.
“For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours (the covenant), and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children (compare Psalm 119:165). In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” (Isaiah 54:5, 11-14)
“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered (which was accursed, not subject to the law), nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice (“the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart” Psalm 19:8) for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.” (Isaiah 65:17-19)
Those who have this gospel are those who fear God and keep His commandments. In remembering the law of Moses, they gather together from one Sabbath to another, and from one new moon to another (See Isaiah 66:23, Ezekiel 46:1), to worship the King, the LORD of hosts (See Zechariah 14:16). He is the One that makes them holy; so is everyone holy that is a gem that adorns the Holy Jerusalem.
“Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they might have right to the tree of life, and enter in through the gates of the city.” Revelation 22:14
Last Study Notes:
***Spake often together one with another:
In the blessings given in the statutes, there were blessings given at certain seasons for the development of His people, and to protect them from idolatry. After the admonition to keep from turning aside to other gods, there was given the command to gather in the place of God’s own choosing (Exodus 34:18-23, also see John 4:21-23, Hebrews 12:22), those that fear God, and think upon His name were called to gather on new moons, Sabbaths, and annual festivals of God’s own appointing.
“God gave direction to the Israelites to assemble before Him at set periods, in the place which He should choose, and observe special days wherein no unnecessary work was to be done, but the time was to be devoted to a consideration of the blessings which He had bestowed upon them.” 2Testimonies 573
“Anciently the Lord instructed His people to assemble three times a year for His worship. To these holy convocations the children of Israel came… They met to recount God’s mercies, to make known His wonderful works, and to offer praise and thanksgiving to His name.” 6 Testimonies 39
“The Lord saw that these gatherings were necessary for the spiritual life of His people. They needed to turn way from their worldly cares, to commune with God, and to contemplate unseen realities.
If the children of Israel needed the benefit of these holy convocations in their time, how much more do we need them in these last days of peril and conflict! And if the people of the world then needed the light which God had committed to His church, how much more do they need it now!” 6T, pg. 40
This point was so vital, that the apostle exhorted the Hebrew believers in Christ:
“…forsaking not the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25
Them That Fear His Name:
To those who give the call to fear God, and give Him glory, this is the fear He calls us to:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth forever.” Psalm 111:10
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding” Proverbs 9:10
Pro 16:6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
Pro 14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
“Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecc. 12
To the priests who not fear God, and do not keep His commandments, He has said, “Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” “Behold, I will corrupt your seed…” (Mal. 2:3)