Again I'm taking issue with a note in the Scofield Study Bible. On the whole, I like it, but it is very focused on the second advent. The note on Malachi 3:1-5 reads "[...] the next words [...] are nowhere quoted in the N.T. The reason is obviously that [...] the picture in vv. 2-5 of the Lord who suddenly comes to His temple (Hab. 2:20) is one of judgment, not of grace. Malachi [...] saw both advents of Messiah blended in one horizon, but did not see the separating interval described in Mt. 13 which followed the rejection of the King[.] The Church Age was even less in his vision [.] "My messenger" (v. 1) is John the Baptist; the "messenger of the covenant" is Christ in both of His advents, but with special reference to the events that are to follow his second coming."
I don't read the passage the same; and I think their reading, while not necessarily wrong, is liable to enforce the kind of attitude which Christians must fight, tooth and nail, if we are to be taken seriously, and if we want to glorify God; the attitude is the complacent attitude that God's tremendous work is to be saved for the second advent, so we can wait patiently and complacently, go to Church once a week, and seclude ourselves in little "Christian communities" and forget the outside world, and when Jesus comes back, "Hallelujah! We're saved!"
That's not good enough. I would go so far as to say that isn't Christianity; it isn't faith; consequently, it is not grounds for salvation. We are called by God to fight injustice. We are called to be like Him; to be of one will with Him. So if our Lord was "anointed to preach good news to the poor", we also are anointed to preach good news to the poor. We also have been sent to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for captives and a release from darkness for the prisoners. We are called to live as citizens of God's Kingdom, and to live God's justice, God's hope, and God's love. We cannot afford to be complacent when our faith, and the souls of those around us are at stake.
I'm not saying I don't often find myself being complacent: it's human nature. But we have to understand that we must at the very least strive to be above that. It isn't okay, although, thankfully, with God's Grace, it is acceptable; so long as there is genuine, true repentance.
Getting back to Malachi 3:1-5, the NIV reads "'See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come' says the Lord Almighty.
"But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.
Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.
"'So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers, and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, bud do not fear me,' says the Lord Almighty."
The middle paragraph, I assume, is where the Scofield editors get the impression that only the second coming is being discussed. But who among those who have been saved can say that the process of becoming saved does not burn? Isn't it nearly unbearable? Such warmth, such light, and after such numbing, cold darkness. And surely Christ's coming was shocking and "sudden" to the religious leaders, and surely it burned more than they could imagine; why else would they have him killed, despite the governor's doubts?
And the rest "I will send my messenger" ... "the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple" ... "Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord" ... "I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers, and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, bud do not fear me." Does that not sound like the call for justice that Christ placed on our hearts, that Christ made our mission?
We should be moving, acting-- here; now. And not waiting complacently. Hope does not sit by idly, hope acts and strives for the satisfaction of promises.
Arbtirary thoughts on nearly everything from a modernist poet, structural mathematician and functional programmer.
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