Different Destinies

Key Verse: “Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”
—Malachi 3:18

Lesson Scriptures:
Malachi 3:1-4, 16-18; 4:1-6

MALACHI’S PROPHECY speaks of a coming time of the Lord in which justice will be administered. The prophet asks a very personal question regarding this sudden return, “Who can endure the day of his coming?” (chap. 3:2, New International Version) Malachi speaks of a messenger to be sent, John the Baptist. In Isaiah we read, “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord” (Isa. 40:3), which is mentioned in Matthew 3:3.

John’s message was very forceful when speaking of Jesus. He said, “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”—Matt. 3:12

As prophesied, John did bring God’s message to his people, natural Israel. However, only a few heard the message and changed their ways. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:11,12) The majority ignored John’s message and in time Jesus uttered the words, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”—Matt. 23:37,38

Now was fulfilled our Key Verse, ‘Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.’ (Mal. 3:18) A few years later, A.D. 70, Titus’ army destroyed Jerusalem and its Temple, and Israel was scattered into all parts of the earth, losing its identity among the nations. “Who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth?”—Mal. 3:2

Malachi’s prophecy has a twofold fulfillment. Although Israel was not prepared for our Lord at the First Advent and did receive of God’s judgments, this prophecy is having its intended fulfillment now. Our Lord is invisibly present now, sitting as a refiner and purifier of gold and silver, picturing the church, the “sons of Levi,” the firstborn with whom our Lord is now dealing during his Second Presence. (vs. 3) To this class he is like a ‘refiner’s fire’ and ‘fullers’ soap.’ (vs. 2) The refiner’s fire heats an ore to such a high temperature that impurities are vaporized away from the metal. The fullers’ soap cleanses and bleaches away all impurity from the metal.

This analogy well pictures the trials that are needed to develop a pure class, cleansed from all impurity. In chapter four of Malachi, we are told that this day will “burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble.” (vs. 1) We see this great fire already burning. Today the proud are happy and those that work wickedness are set up. On the other hand, God’s people are said to speak often one to another, and that a “book of remembrance” is being written for those that reverence the Lord. God will “spare them” when he makes up his jewels.—Mal. 3:15-17

Dawn Bible Students Association
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