Malachi 1:11 MEANING

Malachi 1:11
(11) This verse contains no verb, and, as far as the rules of grammar are concerned, its participles may be rendered either by presents or futures. If we take the words as referring to the present, we are met by the insurmountable difficulty that in no sense, at the time of Malachi, could the Lord's Name be said to be great over all the earth, or pure sacrifices to be offered to Him in every place. Nor can we, with many commentators, suppose that heathen rites are here referred to as being offered ignorantly, through idols, to the one true God. (Comp. Pope's universal prayer:--

"Father of all, in every age,

In every clime adored,

By saint, by savage, and by sage,

Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!")

For there is no hint given of any such meaning being intended; and, moreover, such a sentiment would be quite foreign to the Old Testament, which always represents heathen rites as being an utter abomination, and always speaks of the adhesion of the Gentiles to the worship of the true God as a thing of the future. We are compelled, therefore, to take the words as a prophetic announcement of the future rejection of Israel and calling of the Gentiles.

In every place.--In contradistinction to the one place (Deuteronomy 12:5-7). (Comp. our Lord's words to the woman of Samaria: John 4:21-24.)

Incense shall be offered . . .--This is a possible rendering of the words; but this Hebrew word is not elsewhere used for "incense," and may more naturally be rendered shall be burnt, as the passive participle of the verb used in Leviticus 1:9. Dr. Pusey's footnote on this passage is well worth reading, as, indeed, his footnotes usually are. We prefer, therefore, to take the words thus: "an oblation shall be burnt to my name, even a pure offering." In any case, unless we are to expect some future establishment of a universal offering of material sacrifices, we must understand both expressions in a spiritual sense, which is, in truth, the only reasonable way of interpreting such passages. (See Notes on Zechariah 2:6-13; Zechariah 3:8-10; Zechariah 6:9-15, and especially 14:16-21.) If, therefore, any Christians would claim this verse as a support for their custom of offering incense in churches, they must conform also with Zechariah 14:16-21, and go up every year to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. The word "offering," as in the preceding verse (comp. 1 Samuel 2:17; Isaiah 1:13), denotes sacrificial gifts in general, not the flour offerings as distinguished from the flesh offerings. The word "pure" is emphatic, not as signifying the bloodless sacrifice of the Mass (Council of Trent), as distinguished from the bloody sacrifices, but as the converse of "polluted" (Malachi 1:7). The above remarks we have made in no controversial spirit, but simply in the interests of truth; and lest any should suppose us to imply that the above interpretation was originated by the Council of Trent, we refer the reader to Dr. Pusey's Commentary, in which he shows, by quotations from SS. Justin, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Cyprian, Cyril of Jerusalem, Chrysostom, and Augustine, as also from Tertullian, Eusebius, and Theodoret, that it is quod semper, quod ab omnibus, quod ubique. Those, therefore, who prefer so-called authority to the results of calm criticism are bound to disagree with us.

Verse 11. - My Name shall be great. The course of thought is this: God does not need the worship of the Jews and their impious priests; he needs not their maimed sacrifices; his majesty shall be recognized throughout the wide world, and pure worship shall be offered to him from every nation under heaven. How, then, shall he not punish those who, being his elect, ought to have been an example of holiness, and prepaid the way for his universal reception? The LXX. treats this circumstance as already occurring at this time, Τὸ ὄνομά μου δεδόξασται, "My Name hath been and is glorified." This could only be said if it was allowed that the heathen in some sense, however blindly and imperfectly, did worship the true God. But the notion cannot be upheld for a moment; and there is a general consensus of commentators in referring the time to the Messianic future, when God's power is acknowledged and worship offered to him, not in Jerusalem alone, but in every place. The participles in this verse may be rendered by presents or futures, but there can be little doubt that a prophecy is intended, and not a statement of a fact - which, indeed, could not be truthfully maintained. When such a future is in stere, is this a time for Jewish priests to dishonour Jehovah? Incense shall be offered unto my Name, and a pure offering (minchah). The universal worship is expressed in the terms of the Jewish ritual (see note on Zephaniah 3:10). The Hebrew is more forcibly rendered, In every place incense is burned, oblation made unto my Name, and indeed a pure oblation. Incense is to our minds a type of prayer (Revelation 5:8; Revelation 8:3, etc.); the pure oblation is the symbol of the Christian sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; and the prophet, rising superior to Jewish prejudices, announces that this prayer and sacrifice shall no longer be confined to one place or one specially favoured country, but be universal, worldwide. The Fathers and mediaeval writers, and many modern commentators, see in this verse a prophecy of the Holy Eucharist, the "pure offering" commemorative of Christ's sacrifice, which is found in every nation under heaven where the Name of Christ is adored.

1:6-14 We may each charge upon ourselves what is here charged upon the priests. Our relation to God, as our Father and Master, strongly obliges us to fear and honour him. But they were so scornful that they derided reproof. Sinners ruin themselves by trying to baffle their convictions. Those who live in careless neglect of holy ordinances, who attend on them without reverence, and go from them under no concern, in effect say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. They despised God's name in what they did. It is evident that these understood not the meaning of the sacrifices, as shadowing forth the unblemished Lamb of God; they grudged the expense, thinking all thrown away which did not turn to their profit. If we worship God ignorantly, and without understanding, we bring the blind for sacrifice; if we do it carelessly, if we are cold, dull, and dead in it, we bring the sick; if we rest in the bodily exercise, and do not make heart-work of it, we bring the lame; and if we suffer vain thoughts and distractions to lodge within us, we bring the torn. And is not this evil? Is it not a great affront to God, and a great wrong and injury to our own souls? In order to the acceptance of our actions with God, it is not enough to do that which, for the matter of it, is good; but we must do it from a right principle, in a right manner, and for a right end. Our constant mercies from God, make worse our slothfulness and stubbornness, in our returns of duty to God. A spiritual worship shall be established. Incense shall be offered to God's name, which signifies prayer and praise. And it shall be a pure offering. When the hour came, in which the true worshippers worshipped the Father in Spirit and in truth, then this incense was offered, even this pure offering. We may rely on God's mercy for pardon as to the past, but not for indulgence to sin in future. If there be a willing mind, it will be accepted, though defective; but if any be a deceiver, devoting his best to Satan and to his lusts, he is under a curse. Men now, though in a different way, profane the name of the Lord, pollute his table, and show contempt for his worship.For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same,.... From east to west, which is all habitable; not so north and south, as Kimchi observes, the extremes of which are not habitable. Abarbinel thinks that in is causal; and that the sense is, because of the motion of the sun in rising and setting, the Gentiles acknowledge God to be the first mover and cause of all things; and who, though they worship the host of heaven, yet ultimately direct their worship to the supreme Being, the Cause of causes; and supposes this to be a reproof of the priests, who might have learnt better even of the very Heathens; but the former is to the true sense, which declares the large extent of true spiritual worship in the Gentile world:

my name shall be great among the Gentiles; through the preaching of the Gospel, attended with the spirit and power of God to the conversion of many; whereby he himself is made known, and the perfections of his nature, and his several names, and particularly that of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus; who, as such, is called upon, and greatness and glory are ascribed unto him for the gift of his Son, and the mission of him into the world, to be the Saviour of Gentiles as well as of Jews:

and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name; some Jewish writers understand this of Israelites, the disciples of the wise men, studying in the law, and putting up their evening prayers to God, in every place where they live among the Gentiles; which are as acceptable to God as if they offered incense, and a pure offering; this way goes Jarchi, to which agrees the Targum; and this sense is given in the Talmud (n), and other writings of theirs; but Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Abarbinel, interpret it of the Gentiles, though in different ways, and foreign from the sense of the text; which is, that not in Jerusalem the worship of God should be as formerly, but in all places in the Gentile world, and where particularly prayer should be made to God; see John 4:20 comparable to incense for its fervency, fragrancy, and gratefulness, Psalm 141:2,

and a pure offering; meaning either the Gentiles themselves, their souls and bodies, Isaiah 66:20 or their sacrifices of praise, good works, and alms deeds Hebrews 13:15 which, though imperfect, and not free from sin, may be said to be "pure", proceeding from a pure heart, sprinkled by the blood of Christ, and offered in a pure and spiritual manner, and through the pure incense of Christ's mediation:

for my name shall be great among; the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts; which is repeated for the certainty of it.

(n) T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 110. 1. Tanchuma apud Abarbinel in loc.

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