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1 Beholde, I will send my messenger, and he shal prepare the way before mee: and the Lord whom ye seeke, shall suddenly come to his Temple: euen þe messenger of the Couenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.

2 But who may abide the day of his comming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiners fire, and like fullers sope.

3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of siluer: and he shall purifie the sonnes of Leui, and purge them as gold & siluer, that they may offer vnto the Lord an offring in righteousnes.

4 Then shall the offerings of Iudah and Ierusalem bee pleasant vnto the Lord, as in the dayes of old, and as in former yeeres.

5 And I will come neere to you to iudgement, and I will bee a swift witnesse against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppresse the hireling in his wages, the widowe, and the fatherlesse, and that turne aside the stranger from his right, and feare not me, saith the Lord of hosts.

6 For I am the Lord, I change not: therefore ye sonnes of Iacob are not consumed.

7 Euen from the dayes of your fathers yee are gone away from mine ordinances, and haue not kept them: returne vnto me, and I will returne vnto you, saith the Lord of hosts: But ye said, Wherein shall we returne?

8 Wil a man rob God? yet ye haue robbed me. But ye say, Wherein haue we robbed thee? In tithes & offerings.

9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye haue robbed me, euen this whole nation.

10 Bring ye all the tithes into the store-house, that there may be meate in mine house, & proue me now herewith, saith the Lord of hostes, if I will not open you the windowes of heauen, and powre you out a blessing, that there shall not be roome enough to receiue it.

11 And I wil rebuke the deuourer for your sakes: and he shal not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shal your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.

12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.

13 Your words haue bin stout against me, saith the Lord, yet ye say, What haue we spoken so much against thee?

14 Ye haue said, It is vaine to serue God: and what profit is it, that we haue kept his ordinance, and that wee haue walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?

15 And now we call the proud happy: yea, they that worke wickednes are set vp, yea they that tempt God, are euen deliuered.

16 Then they that feared the Lord, spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it, & a booke of remembrance was written before him, for them that feared the Lord, & that thought vpon his name.

17 And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make vp my iewels, and I wil spare them as a man spareth his owne sonne that serueth him.

18 Then shall yee returne and discerne betweene the righteous and the wicked, betweene him that serueth God, and him that serueth him not.

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Commentary for Malachi 3

The coming of Christ. (1-6) The Jews reproved for their corruptions. (7-12) God's care of his people; The distinction between the righteous and the wicked. (13-18)1-6 The first words of this chapter seem an answer to the scoffers of those days. Here is a prophecy of the appearing of John the Baptist. He is Christ's harbinger. He shall prepare the way before him, by calling men to repentance. The Messiah had been long called, "He that should come," and now shortly he will come. He is the Messenger of the covenant. Those who seek Jesus, shall find pleasure in him, often when not looked for. The Lord Jesus, prepares the sinner's heart to be his temple, by the ministry of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, and he enters it as the Messenger of peace and consolation. No hypocrite or formalist can endure his doctrine, or stand before his tribunal. Christ came to distinguish men, to separate between the precious and the vile. He shall sit as a Refiner. Christ, by his gospel, shall purify and reform his church, and by his Spirit working with it, shall regenerate and cleanse souls. He will take away the dross found in them. He will separate their corruptions, which render their faculties worthless and useless. The believer needs not fear the fiery trial of afflictions and temptations, by which the Saviour refines his gold. He will take care it is not more intense or longer than is needful for his good; and this trial will end far otherwise than that of the wicked. Christ will, by interceding for them, make them accepted. Where no fear of God is, no good is to be expected. Evil pursues sinners. God is unchangeable. And though the sentence against evil works be not executed speedily, yet it will be executed; the Lord is as much an enemy to sin as ever. We may all apply this to ourselves. Because we have to do with a God that changes not, therefore it is that we are not consumed; because his compassions fail not.

7-12 The men of that generation turned away from God, they had not kept his ordinances. God gives them a gracious call. But they said, Wherein shall we return? God notices what returns our hearts make to the calls of his word. It shows great perverseness in sin, when men make afflictions excuses for sin, which are sent to part between them and their sins. Here is an earnest exhortation to reform. God must be served in the first place; and the interest of our souls ought to be preferred before that of our bodies. Let them trust God to provide for their comfort. God has blessings ready for us, but through the weakness of our faith and the narrowness of our desires, we have not room to receive them. He who makes trial will find nothing is lost by honouring the Lord with his substance.

13-18 Among the Jews at this time, some plainly discovered themselves to be children of the wicked one. The yoke of Christ is easy. But those who work wickedness, tempt God by presumptuous sins. Judge of things as they will appear when the doom of these proud sinners comes to be executed. Those that feared the Lord, spake kindly, for preserving and promoting mutual love, when sin thus abounded. They spake one to another, in the language of those that fear the Lord, and think on his name. As evil communications corrupt good minds and manners, so good communications confirm them. A book of remembrance was written before God. He will take care that his children perish not with those that believe not. They shall be vessels of mercy and honour, when the rest are made vessels of wrath and dishonour. The saints are God's jewels; they are dear to him. He will preserve them as his jewels, when the earth is burned up like dross. Those who now own God for theirs, he will then own for his. It is our duty to serve God with the disposition of children; and he will not have his children trained up in idleness; they must do him service from a principle of love. Even God's children stand in need of sparing mercy. All are righteous or wicked, such as serve God, or such as serve him not: all are going to heaven or to hell. We are often deceived in our opinions concerning both the one and the other; but at the bar of Christ, every man's character will be known. As to ourselves, we have need to think among which we shall have our lot; and, as to others, we must judge nothing before the time. But in the end all the world will confess that those alone were wise and happy, who served the Lord and trusted in Him.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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