"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 convenant, whom you desire, will come," says the Lord Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming?">

THE REFINING PROCESS

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As a young man in his college years of studying science, my father worked for two summers as a miner in the Black Hills at Lead, South Dakota. He used his summer study to complete examinations and to write a paper on the Geology of the Black Hills. Working mostly at the 1550 foot level, but for two brief periods, at the 3200 foot level, where the heat from the rocks was very great. The Prophet Malachi, whose name "Mal'achi" (מלאכי means "My messenger/angel," speaks of the refining process when he says:

"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 convenant, whom you desire, will come," says the Lord Almighty. 2) But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refinerís fire or a laundererís soap. 3) 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,.4) and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years. 5) "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, but do not fear me," says the Lord Almighty. Malachi 3:3 (NIV)

The term "messenger" is used of a prophet or priest. Who is the one taking the initiative here in sending His messenger, saying:"I will send My?" The Person speaking here is "the LORD," or "Yahweh" (see Malachi 2:17).

The Lord, The Messenger of the Covenant. In Malachi 3:3, God was sending the Prophet in a very real sense to reprove of sin. In the New Testament, John the Baptist was God's messenger who prepared the way of the Lord, in one sense. (see Matthew 11:7-11; Mark 1:2-4; Luke 1:63-76; Luke 7:24, 27).

He will purify and refine: The purpose of Mashiach's/Christ's first coming was to cleanse the Levites through God's word, and through them to effect change in the nation of Israel. "Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness." But He came to His own, and they received Him not, nationally speaking. Centuries passed from that day when Malachi proclaimed this message until the days of haMashiach's/Christ's incarnation -- But Israel's religious leaders did not welcome Messiah as God's "Messenger of the Covenant."

Primarily, the "messenger" spoken of in this verse is "the messenger of the covenant:" Yeshua haMashiach/Jesus Christ, who baptizes with the Holy Ghost and with fire. A discussion arose among John's disciples regarding purification, in John 3:25. (See Haggai 2:7)

Yeshua/Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), but He also came to purify (Malachi 3:3), to judge (Malachi 3:5), and to confirm and establish the covenant (see Isaiah 42:6). Jesus is the fulfillment of this Messianic prophecy.

Who will prepare the way before Me? The word "Me" here refers to "the LORD," "Yahweh, Himself." (Malachi 2:17). There are numerous scriptures regarding gold, but the earliest is found in regard to the gold God created when He created the Garden of Eden or paradise, where precious metals are found among the good things which God created.Genesis 2:10-12a:

"A river watering the garden flowed from Eden, and from there it divided; it has four headstreams. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good.

There are six different Hebrew names given to gold in the Old Testament, which seem to reflect the variations of color. Solomon imported the gold of Ophir, which may have been east Africa, west Arabia, or possibly India. Silver

The Hebrew term for silver is "keseph," which is also used for money. In Mesopotamia people were paid an average of a shekel of silver or 1/4 ounce for a month's wage. Old Testament books such as Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles refer to coins which may be interpreted either as the Persian gold darics or the Greek silver drachmas. The Old Testament speaks about the importance of silver from Tarshish (1 Kings 10:22; 2 Chron. 9:21; Jer. 10:9)

In Hag. 2:8, the Lord declares: "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine." But far more valuable than silver and gold as a precious metal, is the emphasis which God places upon His word.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The fear [respect] of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. (Ps. 19:10)

We were redeemed not with silver and gold but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18-19). God sends us trials so that our faith, "of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire," might inspire us until we find ourselves in the city of God, which is paved with streets of gold (Rev. 21:21).

We see the importance of gold with regard to the Temple of Solomon and the fact that gold was what the enemies of God's people looted and carried away in the following verses:

"Hiram's ships brought gold from Ophir...The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents [about 25 tons], not including the revenues from merchants and traders and from all the Arabian kings and the governors of the land. King Solomon made 200 large shields of hammered gold; 600 bekas [about 7 1/2> pounds] of gold went into each shield." (1 Kings 10:11, 14-16)

"Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god. This was the inventory: gold dishes 30, silver dishes 1,000, silver pans 29, gold bowls 30, matching silver bowls 410, other articles 1,000. In all there were 5,400 articles of gold and of silver. Sheshbazzar brought all these along when the exiles came up from Babylon to Jerusalem." (Ezra 1:7, 9-11)

The Refiners fire...Like launderer's soap. Both of these are used for purification. When Mashiach/Christ came the first time He was able to forgive and purify some sinners from sin (1 John 1:9 cf Jeremiah 17:13; John 4:10). But when His mercy and forgiveness was spurned, He pronounced judgment against the nation of Israel.

God has a holy remnant who cry day and night to Him to purge sin and injustice. In His first words, God answers those who believe that their deeds will go unpunished! "Behold, I will send My Messenger, that he may prepare the way before Me. And the Lord whom you seek shall suddenly come to His temple." (Mal. 3:3) The Lord comes to His Temple. (Heb. hekhel="palace") as God-King of Israel. (Ezek xliii.7) The identity of the "angel of the covenant" is given in parallel clauses. With the coming of the Lord, the judgment will begin not on the heathen here, but upon those of the covenant people not keeping covenant. And who endures the day of His coming? And who can stand at His appearing? For He is like the smelting and purifying fire, and like washer's lye. And will sit smelting andpurifying silver, that they may be an offering to Jehovah. As the smelter purifies gold and silver of it's dross, so the Lord shall refine the sons of Levi.

Our work will be tested

"If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver or costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work." (I Cor. 3:12, 13)

1) Who will stand at His appearing? Who will endure the testing as He appears and manifests His holy presence to His people? (Psalm 24:4) "Who may ascend to the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has cleans hands and a pure heart; who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false."

2) The Refiner is testing the metal we're made of. (Titus 2:11-14) "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say, 'no' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." 3) What will come forth as the dross is purged, is the image of the Lord to whom we are being conformed. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." (Matthew 5:8)

Who will be the administrator of this judgment? The Lord Almighty. The Hebrew "Yahweh Sabaot" (Strongs #H3068 + 6635) means "Lord of Armies, Mightiest Warrior (hence Lord Almighty)."

Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old, and as in former years.

As in days gone by, as in former years. This probably refers to Moses administration of the Law, and Phinehas whom God raised up, when a purging f the nation was needed. (see note on Malachi 2:5) We were talking about revival, and those who have allowed God to "come to the earthly tabernacle of their lives," and to conform them to His lovely image. My own foster parents were part of this. So mightily did the Spirit of the Lord rest upon "Daddy," that the whole house came under the presence of the Lord in a marvellous way because of his influence. As children, we were mentored to righteeousness and holiness of the truth. There were many such men in that revival. Again in the 60's and 70's, we saw so many people who didn't just jump high, but who walked straight when they came away from those Holy Ghost meetings. Do it again Lord!

The apostle was jealous for the Lord's people to retain this image of the Lord that bought them, when he wrote:

"... I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord" (Jude 3,4).

"For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. {Tit 2:11-14 RSV}

When He appears He shall be like fullers soap...

There are two "appearings" in this Titus 2:11-14 passage. The first begins the passage and the other occurs in the middle of it. That first appearing covers the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, for the thirty-three years He walked this earth. Thirty-three years, but one major appearing of Jesus Christ.

The second appearing is a part of bible prophecy, and awaits fulfillment today, some two thousand years after it was written. We read, "Looking for that blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us." The word "appearing" here is, in the original, "epiphany." It has been transliterated into English as "a shining forth." "The grace of God has dawned or shone upon the world, as the morning light." Grace means that the first subject on God's agenda to discuss with man is not judgment, but love. Yet as our Heavenly Father robed in Messiah, Immanuel, God with us, He expects us to look and behave like ambassadors of heaven. The scripture says, "God sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved." He has given the indwelling of His precious Holy Spirit, to provide power to walk the walk, and not to live vainly as the hypocrites do. Being conformed to the image of Messiah, is the focal point of God's plan of salvation, that He might have sons of God --Of Light-- in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.

Offering Him an offering in righteousness goes far beyond dropping 10 percent in the plate and saying: "Here am I, Lord send them!" Later in this Malachi 3 passage which gets around to money, the people have ccome to feel that it's "vain to serve God." haMashiach/Christ came to put the heart of what it truly means to be a son of Abraham back into the nation, and to exhort us all to holy living, through the power of the cross of Christ: (Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:46-48, Acts 19:5)

"Sacrifice and offering thou hast not desired, but a body hast thou prepared me. In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast no pleasure. Then I said: Lo I come to do thy will O God. In the volume of the book it is written of me, to do thy will O God." (Heb. 10:5-7)

Let's make straight pathes for our feet! Let's prepare the way of the Lord as the Spirit says! Cast up a highway of holiness for our God!

Tom & Alana Campbell 5214 South 2nd Avenue Everett, Washington 98203-4113

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Email: adazio@lycos.com