1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Book of Malachi, The Judge Cometh But the Saved are Under His Wings, Lesson XVII, Malachi 4:1-3

 

Malachi 3:17, 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.

 

In this last verse of the book of Malachi, chapter three, God speaks of His jewels, referring to those whose lives were lives of service given to Him. 

 

He spoke of that group who decided to serve Him and in that day, the coming Day of Judgment, they would be spared.

 

Again we see that great contrast for in sparing some, in sparing those who make up Godís jewels, there must be judgment of those who lived their lives serving themselves, choosing instead to go it alone, totally without God. 

 

And God clearly speaks to that in Malachi 4:1-3, where He says:

 

For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. 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. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.

 

God, in this conversation that He has had with Israel has heard the mocking of those who live their lives thinking there is no such thing as a God who would think ill of them.

 

This idea has not been squelched throughout the centuries but in fact continues unabated and enlarged as Satanís argument to his own, in order that none of His own desire to serve

 God.

 

Satan has convinced the world to operate on emotion rather than  word, especially Godís Word, and that has convinced people that no God could judge them so severely as this God presented in the Bible.

 

Men and women throughout the world construct their own theology which always puts them in good stead as they pass from this world to the next. 

 

And that theology is the theology whereby all good people go to heaven and that most of the people of the world are good. 

 

In that world of thinking you have to be very, very, very, very, very bad to go to Hell and only a few fit this notion.

 

So this theology turns the narrow way into a very busy, multitude-filled way, while the broad way has nary a soul walking the wide lanes of travel with no congestion at all.

 

But here in Malachi and in many other places of scripture God says in a very loud and commanding voice:

 

For behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up

 

He speaks to them as we would to children announcing this truth with the commanding word, ďBeholdĒ.

 

He means for us to fix our eyes upon, to see with attention, to observe with care, to wake up, to pay attention. 

 

This idea is so often used in the classroom to arouse the sleeping for those who sleep learn only of their dreams. 

 

But this truth of coming judgment and deliverance is so important that God desires to arouse those whose eyes are focused upon themselves.

 

Behold! the day cometh! 

 

This announcement comes from the Lord of Hosts. 

 

This word comes from that One who rules over all, who speaks and it is done. 

 

We speak and it may be done but He speaks and nothing can undo it. 

 

Paul spoke of this day, a day of appointment known only to God in:

 

Acts 17:31, Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

 

When God speaks there is no turning back. 

 

Personal theology flies out the window. 

 

Personal ideas do not move God for God has appointed a day of judgement more certain than anything nature appoints, be it the seasons or the planets as they circle the sun in such majestic order.

 

The Lord of Hosts declares a day on the calendar of time, a day fixed from the endless ages of eternity past, a day of great burning and a day of great healing. 

 

It is certain to come, horror to the wicked, but great joy to the saved.

 

The Day of the Lord is a pouring out day for it is a day of the pouring out of divine wrath on the enemies of God but it is also a pouring out of divine blessing upon Godís people.

 

But God also declares the Day cometh so that those who hear and behold the severity of the day, may cry out for Godís mercy and call upon the name of the Lord to be saved, and thereby seek refuge in the Rock.

 

The Day of the Lord does indeed have two sides, for it is a demonstration of Godís sovereign rule, and one in which we would expect to see both wrath and blessing come at once.

 

Those who serve God look longingly toward those blessings, but those who refuse Godís hand of salvation are among those whom Peter speaks of in:

 

2 Peter 3:3-7, Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts (agenda), And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

 

God has fixed the day but God is full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth, not willing that any

should perish.

 

But men see the delay, and think in themselves that God has lied and will not keep the promise of his coming but just because judgment is delayed does not mean that it will not occur for God has spoken and warned of such throughout His word.

 

God speaks of these who think that He sleeps as proud, a word described in the New American Standard Version as arrogant.

 

Arrogant describes those who elevate themselves above others and in this case elevate themselves above God. 

 

These are people who give themselves in their minds an undue degree of importance, people who are haughty, people who are conceited. 

 

People who think of themselves more highly than they ought!

 

These are the people who oppose God in all things wishing to turn backwards every edict and order and commandment of God.

 

Jesus said No man cometh unto the father but by me but they say we will come unto the father any way we want for no one tells us what to do. 

 

So at the root of wickedness and evil is human self-reliance and self-centeredness.

 

But Jesus tells us in John 10:1 that anyone entering the sheepfold other than by the door, is a thief and a robber.

 

God sets the rules and He says His Son Jesus is the door, and there is no other door. 

 

God does not operate according to the fashion of the human heart.

 

God has provided one way to come to him and that way is called Jesus Christ. 

 

There is none good but God but the arrogant dispute that for the arrogant thinks how could any God refuse him? 

 

But in thinking this way the arrogant, who measures all by himself including God, does not understand how high and lifted up is God. 

 

He has no inkling of how absolutely holy is our God and no inkling at the deceitfulness of his own heart, a heart able to convince himself of a goodness which should impress such a holy God.

 

Our God says that his son Jesus Christ is the only standard satisfying to Him, but the arrogant take no notice of this as they take great pride in their own value and good works certainly sufficient to pass any standard God proposes.

 

But it is clear that the arrogant have not the vision necessary to see their own worth for all they see, for all they measure by, is that which God discounts as chaff, the discards of the harvest. 

 

God describes the arrogant, those who refuse to sing, who never knew our God, simply as chaff, simply as stubble fit only for the day of burning in a fire so hot it will leave neither root nor branch.

 

Leaving neither root nor branch means there is nothing to recover from such a burning.

 

In other words, God gives all men an opportunity to repent and seek Godís Grace whereby the Savior, the Shepherd awaits to take men and women into His fold for He is indeed the door. 

 

But to everything there is a season and the season for repentance is this life.  

 

Once this is over there is no turning back for once this is over there is neither root nor branch from which to begin life anew.

 

God has spoken to the proud, the arrogant but do we not rejoice when he speaks to those that fear his name as He does in verse 2 and 3.

 

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. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.

 

The contrast is so great!

 

The great gulf is so wide for while the wicked burn as chaff, burn as stubble, healing is taking place, there is going forth, there is growing, and there is treading down.  

 

Godís people are comforted, Godís people are delivered from the persecution and the wrath to come for Godís people do not fear Godís judgment for along with it comes deliverance.

 

The message to the wicked is to escape the wrath to come by receiving the One upon whom Godís wrath was applied upon the cruel cross.

 

Those who cling to this cross from which the precious satisfying blood was shed are safe in the arms of Jesus, being declared righteous not from any deeds of righteousness that they have done but only by the deed of the Righteous One, the Sun of Righteousness.

 

And what an exchange that is, our cloak of sin laid upon the shoulders of Christ while his cloak of righteousness placed completely around us totally enclosing our whole being that when God the Father looks our way only Christ is seen.

 

Those who fear God are indeed a new creation, for all things become new and the former judgment has passed away.

 

The Sun of Righteousness of verse 2, I believe speaks of Christ for he arises with healing in his wings.

 

For We Are Under His wings, We Are under His wings,
 And Who from His love can sever?
For Under His wings my soul shall abide,
   And Safely abide forever.

The Psalmist speaks of those wings in Psalm 91:4 where we are told:

 

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

 

Another thought concerning this idea of wings comes from the Hebrew word translated into ďwingsĒ in the King James Version of the Bible.

 

This Hebrew word, kaw nawfí means an edge or extremity. 

 

It can mean the edge of a wing, or the edge of a garment as a skirt or the edge of bed clothing.

 

Think back and remember the woman with an issue of blood twelve years who found healing in the hem of the garment of Jesus.

 

Luke 8:47-48, And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. 48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.

 

This woman came to the Sun of Righteousness and found healing in the hem of his garment.

 

Now God uses that word Sun spelled S-U-N as a contrast of those who live in the darkness of sin with those who live in Christ, the Light of the world.

 

I know from my own life in Christ the ever increasing light of the word of God that fills my life as I grow in Christ. 

 

Being faithful to Godís word and looking to Godís Spirit to instruct me in all things will bring the light to be brighter and brighter in my life and will draw me closer to Christ and service to Christ and His Cause.

 

The Sun of Righteousness comes with healing in himself, he sends forth a growing people whereby Satan sends forth a sin sick people, a diseased people, a broken people. 

 

The Sun of Righteousness sends forth a people of joy where there had been a people of sadness. 

 

And He puts them in a place bringing right where there was wrong. 

 

A place where: Ö ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.

 

The last shall indeed be first.