Sanctuary as Revealed in Malachi
Malachi reveals God’s end time message of judgment and mercy to cleanse His people from their sins.
Especially are the chapters of Malachi 3 and 4 important to study! Its message is very relevant to our times.
Mal. 2.17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, wherein have we wearied him? When you say, everyone that does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them: or you ask, where is the God of judgment?
Sound familiar? People do not believe that God is a God of justice and judgement as well as a God of love.
In chapters one and two we read that the Israelites during this post exile time were going through the rituals of their religious ceremonies. They were offering their sacrifices and performing their religious “duties”. However, they were missing the spiritual connection and meaning. They were offering blind lambs and defective animals to God. They weren’t really living according to God’s moral laws either. They seemed to have considerable trouble with their marriages. Yes, they had been cured of idol worship, but they were misinterpreting God’s laws so they could break them under the pretense of keeping them!
From a cultural view, these people (Jewish people) weren’t notoriously bad sinners and they considered themselves quite righteous, especially as they compared themselves to the heathen. But they were sinning grievously in the eyes of God.
They would love to see God visit judgment upon those they deemed to be the wicked — the heathen. Their words implied, “If God is a God of judgment why doesn’t He punish the heathen? The heathen enjoy undisturbed prosperity so God must delight in them. Maybe we’d be better off just being like the heathen?” Thus they go through their religious routines without heart and without meaning.
Malachi’s messages points to Christ’s first coming. John the Baptist is the messenger to prepare the way. Then Jesus the Prince of the covenant (see also Daniel 9:27, 11:22) would come to their temple. The final years of their probation had come. Those who accepted Christ and believed were cleansed by His blood. Those who refused had no Savior.
Yet, Malachi’s message also points to the end of time when Christ would enter the heavenly sanctuaries courtroom.
Mal. 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me. The Lord shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in; behold, he shall come.
In 1844 the people though Jesus was coming to earth in glory. The coming of the Lord to His temple was sudden, unexpected. They were not looking for Him there. The coming of Christ as our high priest to the Most Holy Place, for the cleansing of the sanctuary , brought to view in Daniel 8:14; the coming of the Son of man to the Ancient of Days, as presented in Daniel 7:13; and the coming of the Lord to His temple, foretold by Malachi, are descriptions of the same event, the beginning of the investigative judgment.
Reminds me very much of Revelation 14:6-7 –A messenger flying through the air announcing the gospel and judgment messages!
The next words ask the question “Who may abide the day of His coming?” Who shall stand; as a fire separates the metal from the dross?
For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers soap; and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the lord an offering in righteousness. (3:2-3)
He shall sit –
Note the parallel with Daniel 7 “The ancient of Days took His seat. . .the judgment was set and the books were opened. Note the parallel with Ps. 79:9 “Help us O God and purge away our sins for they name sake.” Heb. 9:14 “Christ shall purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”
God sees the hearts of people — He wants to cleanse, purify and refine our characters. This is very biblical! This is the purification that must take place as we surrender our lives to Christ. This is the heart searching that was required of the Israelites on the day of atonement — this is the work of sincere repentance that is accomplished as the Holy Spirit is allowed to work in our lives.
Then shall the offering of Judah be pleasant unto the Lord. (3:4)
This is what Romans 12:1-2 is talking about — presenting ourselves a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. Not conforming to worldly things but being transformed by the renewing of our minds so we can proof what is good and acceptable and perfect according to the will of God.
Malachi continues with his message from God: I will come near to you to judgement: and I will be a swift witness against (your sins) saith the Lord (3:5)
God has declared through His prophet that He will cleanse His people from their iniquities. In all who submit to His power the Spirit of God will consume sin. But if people cling to sin, they become identified with it. Then they themselves will be consumed.
For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore you are not consumed.(3:6)
God has given us a choice — by rights we are all guilty and deserve death — but He has offered to cleanse us through His blood and through the purging of our hearts from sin. “Come,” He says, “let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet they shall be white as snow — wash you make you clean; put away the evil of your doings; cease to do evil . . .if you are willing and obedient you shall live —but if you refuse and rebel you shall be devoured” (Isaiah 1:16-20)
Return to me and I will return to you says the Lord almighty.(3:6)
How shall we awaken the people? Dreadful scenes are before us; Satan and his agents are bringing all their powers against God’s people. He knows that if they sleep a little longer, he is sure of them, for their destruction is certain. Awake! Return with your whole heart to the Lord and He will cleanse and fit you for heaven.
But the people said, wherein shall we return? Will a person rob God? Yet you have robbed me! You are cursed with a curse for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. (3:7-9)
Can a person rob God? How can we rob God? By applying the things He has reserved for Himself to our own use — be it money or time. We rob God by taking the hours He has sanctified and made holy and using it for our own pleasure and purposes! (Is. 58:13-14)
Now listen to what the people say in response to God’s message — it sounds very much like what the people on this forum are saying:
“It doesn’t pay to serve God. What profit is there in trying to keep God’s commandments? It just makes one mournful. We’ve changed our concepts. We see that the proud are happy, they that continue in sin are doing great, they that tempt the grace of God by sinning will be delivered.” (3:14-15)
God declares You have spoken stout or presumptuous words against Me” (3:13)
Yet there are people who still respect God —
They that feared God spoke often to each other and the Lord listened and heard and it was recorded in the books of heaven –for those who feared God and thought upon His name. (3:16)
Yes, there are record books in heaven from which we will be judged! Dan. 7:10 The judgment was set and the books were opened. Phil 4:3 There are names written in the book of life Rev. 3:5 Those clothed with Christ’s righteousness have their names in this book Rev. 21:27 Those that defile and work abomination do not
All who desire to have their names in that book need to come to Christ in repentance and honest dedication of heart and soul to Him. They need to encourage one another in the walk with God— speaking often with each other about the things of God.
And they shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him. (3:17)
What a wonderful promise! He will blot out the sins of the repentant sinner from the books, so they will not stand against us.(Is. 43:25) He will work out His righteousness in us if we invite Him unreservedly into our lives. We are very precious to Him. Like precious jewels — but also like precious jewels — the real beauty is not revealed without a refining process first. Then you will discern between the rightous and the wicked. (3:18)
Now the lines are blurry — many profess to be Christians but do not live in accordance to Christ’s ways — but the day will come when there will be a clear distinction — the sheep will be separated from the goats — the wheat from the tares. Mal. 4:1, 3 continues with the story of what happens to those who refuse the refining process. They shall be stubble — for the day that is coming shall burn them up — they shall be ashes under the feet of the righteous.
Mal. 4:3,4 gives us the joyous assurance that those who reverence the name of God and remember the law, will have the Sun of righteousness arise with healing and they will grow up to the image of God in which God created mankind in the beginning.