“…’It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance…” asks the Levite priests.
This quote is from Malachi 3:14a. It is the sum-total of the thinking (excuses) of the Levites and the Judeans. Today, one might call it a Freudian slip. The truth in their thinking surfaces. It has to do with profiting not worship. This type of profit first thinking may underline antisemitic attitudes over the centuries. Their demand and desires for riches exceeded their desire for Godly worship.
Malachi 3:1 Malachi in Hebrew means The Messenger. This verse talks about another messenger yet to come prior to the Messiah. This may have been a real downer for the Levite leadership. They have been waiting for their Messiah since Abraham. Now they are told there is to be another messenger yet to come. It is easy to see where in their minds they may think “how long must we wait?” We too as believers practice this impatience.
This is a promise of the New Testament John the Baptist. Following this Christ will be rejected by the sons of Israel at the 1st advent, a time of the Gentiles (Daniel’s 70-week prophecy), then the tribulation of Israel, finally followed by the 2nd advent of Messiah. To the sons of Israel this will be a bit of a shock. They rejected the 1st advent of Christ. It will take the Tribulation for the descendants of Jacob to finally realize their huge mistake. See Isaiah 40:3-5. Here is a simple graphics by starless-suite.blogspot.com
Verse 3:1 speaks of the suddenness of the coming of Christ as King of Kings. 1 Corinthians 15:52 affirms this suddenness.
Malachi 3:2 There is a second messenger according to this verse in Malachi. Who can endure his coming? The message of John the Baptist is ABOUT Jesus’ first advent. Malachi 3:2 is the second advent of Christ. How do we know the difference? The message of John the Baptist prepares the way for the ARRIVAL of Jesus and salvation to be provided by his crucifixion. The second talks about enduring. The entire 2nd verse, in a way, is threatening; to endure to the end of their (Israel’s) tribulation. Who can endure; who can stand when he appears (NOTE: not born but appears). This means Christ’s first coming has already happened. For those who do not know, Jews are still waiting for his FIRST coming.
…Malachi 3:3 is a continuation of verse 2. This verse once again identifies its primary audience, the Levite leadership. God’s promise is to purify the anointed Levites so once again their service will be honest; That they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.
NOTE: There is no mention or suggestion of the gentile New Testament believers commonly called The Church. This is specific to Israel as will be the 7-year Tribulation. Raptured believers will return with Christ at the 2nd advent. Another reason there is no need to mention the believers is that they have already been raptured.
QUESTION: Why is it so difficult for so many religious people to distinguish between the church as a building or denomination and the FACT it is exclusive to those who understand what real worship is and believe (to be and to live) in Christ?
Malachi 3:4 The issue with God through his messenger (Malachi) is that most Israelis and their leadership have departed from a true worship of God. He had become but one of several gods to them. Worship had become a traditional routine. Verse 4 points out that the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will [once again] be pleasant to the Lord. What worship was like in the times of Moses, Joshua, King David, and King Solomon, Israeli worship will be once again. This renewed integrity alone will position Israel as they were originally intended to be. A light on a hillside, admired by all others. (SEE NEXT VERSE AND THE ALIENS)
Malachi 3:5 is a powerful verse. Read it closely. We can easily understand the meanings of Jesus being the discerned or the judge. We can also see the basis for judging sorcerers, adulterers, perjurers, exploiting of widow and child-orphans (anyone in an honest need of help), but what about the aliens?
Verse 5 includes judgement against “those who turn away an alien”. Turn away aliens? Aliens are those who are not of Jacob’s DNA but living within the borders of Israel. It may mean those who are outside the borders of Israel and in need but refused their need by Israel. It may infer the lack of being a guiding light on the hillside for gentiles to admire then desire to emulate. One might find it of great interest the number of Bible commentaries that do not address this part of Jesus’s coming judgements.
We Teach but You Decide
JIV: In several of our previous Bible, book, or chapter narrative commentaries in ahabiblemoments, it has been pointed out that we must draw nearer to God for him to draw nearer to us. Verse 5 is one of but a very few times God moves closer to us first. This time it is in judgment. In other words, it is no longer a spiritual closeness but one that all will see; believers and nonbelievers alike.
Malachi 3:6 This verse is DEEP in demonstrating God’s genuineness. He does not change. To the relief of all sons of Jacob, even though they have fallen away from what God wanted them to be, God will not fall away from his covenants with Israel and their patriarchs. Therefore verse 6 states: This is why you are not (already) consumed, oh sons of Jacob.” Another way to see this… the sons of Jacob have been preserved and will through their eventual and selective end time tribulation…. On That Day.
Malachi 3:7 Sometimes stupid breeds stupid; arrogance breeds arrogance. This is the arrogance of the Levites asking a question for which they already knew the answer. None the less, Malachi points out mid-verse that constant…If you draw closer to me, then God will draw closer to you. Their question in and of itself is shallow…”In what way shall we return?” This is another Freudian Slip. Their question is actually a confession that they have fallen away from the ordinances God gave to them. How can one ask a question about returning if they think they have not left? It isn’t ignorance, it is arrogance. These Levites were trained in the ordinances of God. Their attempt to live inside their own will’s means living outside of God’s will. They wanted their Temple worship and traditional practices to suffice as the extent of their worship. By this time of Malachi, they were offering blemished or damaged animal sacrifices.
Malachi 3:8 The Levite leadership and priests are accused of robbing God of what is supposed to be his. They ask of Malachi, “in what way have we robbed God?” Earlier in Malachi 2 we discussed their shoddy sacrifices offered on the alter. Israelis had kept the best for themselves and offered fouled or leftovers as their offering and tithe. Deuteronomy 18:4, written by Moses almost a thousand years earlier, states that they were to give of the “first fruits” not the blemished and leftovers.
Malachi 3:9 is expository. All the sons of Jacob have robbed God of his first fruits. Now all will be doomed. This curse will not be lifted until the end of End Time; On That Day. This will be Israel’s tribulation. Some identify it as Jacob’s Troubles.
Malachi 3:10 Be cautioned here. This verse has been abused by not-for-profit TV evangelists and mega-church preachers. Even though this verse says for us to “try it, it will work” (paraphrased), the pleading for money basically enriches the crier. Here is the real thing: (3:10b)
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.“
Critical insight: Please grasp the intent of this verse. Is one giving in anticipation of receiving a high return on one’s investment? Is such more of an investment than a tithe? A true tithe is somewhat like the Lord’s Prayer. Go into your prayer closet praying in privacy. Wealthy so-called minister use this to extract funds from the one who is giving in hopes of a high return. This is not giving. It is investing. Their deceptive appeal is a play on words.
JIV NOTE: This is also why a group chanting or quoting the Lord’s Prayer is NOT scriptural prayer. Is it being done as commanded? Where is the prayer room and privacy in a group performance? Matthew 6:5-13. People wish to hear their own words instead of a prayer from the heart. Read the verses BEFORE the Lord’s Prayer. It explains the conditions upon which prayer should be offered. A group chant is NOT even remotely mentioned here.
Malachi 3:11 There is often an oversight in this verse. The first line in verse 11 promises that the devourer of Israel’s proceeds will be rebuked. This includes the deception of tithes and offerings including investing in hope of a great return. Is one’s tithes and offerings being bestowed upon the denomination without expecting a greater financial return for the giving? This incorporates both the one using a deceptive appeal for funds and the one giving to it. In short, Malachi is pointing out that God’s blessing will be equal to or greater than a tithe given as an offering. It has been heard by this writer to “give until it hurts.” To be more scriptural, one should say, ”Give until it feels right (good).”
Malachi 3:12 is after End Time and within the Millennial Kingdom. Thy kingdom come, thy will (is being) be done…
Malachi 3:13-15 is self-evident: [NKJV]
“Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the LORD, Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You? You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, And that we have walked as mourners Before the LORD of hosts? So now we call the proud blessed, For those who do wickedness are raised up; They even tempt God and go free.’ “
Note the underlying motive of the Levites. They asked, “what does it PROFIT US to keep God’s ordinances?”
Malachi 3:16 is a very consequential verse. Those who believed and followed what Malachi was pointing out are added to a Book of Remembrance. It isn’t that God needs a notebook to remember. Do we meditate on his name? Might this be one of the books that are opened as stated in Revelation 20:12? Also see Daniel 12:1. Take note that according to Daniel, Michael is the guardian angel of Israel.
Malachi 3:17 is prophetic. It states, “On that day…”. What day? The day of redemption. The day the books are opened. What may be overlooked is the fact that Israel will then become God’s jewels. We assume or have assumed that Israel was already the jewel of God. This verse states one of two things.
- Israel returns to being the jewel of God (see Jeremiah 3:8)…apple of his eye.
- This verse is speaking of all who believe (v16 and 17)
Rev Dr Jstark