Fulfillment of Malachi

Discussion in 'OT Prophets' started by chuckd, Jan 15, 2020 at 1:50 PM.

  1. chuckd

    chuckd Puritan Board Sophomore

    Mal 3:2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?

    4:1 “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. 3 And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.

    I take both of these to be either the incarnation or ministry of Jesus due to the surrounding verses about John the Baptist. How did evildoers become stubble, or set ablaze, or become ashes?
  2. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Two answers:

    1. The "already and not yet" of the era between Christ's two comings. Evil is already defeated but that defeat is not yet completed.

    2. The collapsed nature of predictive prophesy. Malachi sees both the first coming of Christ and his second coming, but from his perspective the timeline is collapsed and he speaks as if there is not a great time span between them.
  3. chuckd

    chuckd Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thank you for the reply. I'm hesitant to take this prophecy as something that will happen at his second coming because of 3:1
    Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me.
    4:5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes."

    This makes me think John the Baptist was an immediate sign. i.e. the threats for the wicked were for those during Christ's day.

    Torshell on Malachi 4:2 refers to Matt. 3:12, John 9:39, and Luke 2:34 as fulfillment.

    Stock on Malachi 3:2 refers to Matt. 2:3 and 21:10. "None of the wicked shall be able to abide his preaching and ministry, but the preaching and the ministry of it is that which will cast them down and destroy them, wound them and kill them."

    I'm just having a hard time thinking of ways the wicked became stubble, or set ablaze, or became ashes treaded on by the righteous. John 9:39 referenced above does shed some light
    Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”

    Though the prophesy makes me think of a Sodom type judgment.
  4. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    In some ways, John the Baptist was thinking the same thing. In Lk.7 John is languishing in jail. Back in Lk.3:17 he was telling his hearers, "His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” Now he sends word to Jesus, v19, "And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”

    22 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. 23 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

    The prophets did not distinguish, or present in a linear timescale manner the Lord's two "comings." Nor is there always a way to tell, just from the prophetic presentation, if the expectation will come to pass in a visually stunning fulfillment, or just as stunning but only to the observation of eyes of faith. The prophets used both familiar language and concepts, and figures of speech that would powerfully prompt the imaginations of their immediate listeners; and also arrest the attention of future generations. But in neither case is there a requirement to map an element of vision to a physical instrument of fulfillment which may be recognized by just about anyone, believer or unbeliever.

    The prophets made use of hyperbole. Joel says that the sun will go black, and the moon turn to blood, along with "blood, fire, vapor, and smoke;" which Peter says is fulfilled on the occasion of the Spirit's fall on Pentecost. There, you have a concrete example of the correct interpretive paradigm. Indeed, there were physically observable astral phenomena that took place back at the death of Jesus, but that's a different event. At Pentecost, the events themselves are properly regarded as dramatic, as if a bomb went off, like it was a mental and sensory overload experience; even though for many of the clueless curious onlookers, all they thought was: "Who are these drunk people?" Peter replies by telling them it's Bloody Sunday.

    So, Malachi's particulars could be interpreted 1) as having fulfillment in the overwhelming success of Jesus' early ministry, destroying the works of the devil, verbally scything down his foes, capturing the hearts of the people. Or, in his great victory of triumph over his enemies in the cross--which certainly looked outwardly very different from the other angle. But it was a trampling of them, Is.63:6, a rout in fact.

    It can also be interpreted 2) in a Second Coming way and the invocation of the Day of Judgment. Then, he will put all his foes under his feet, who have not already been put there beforehand. But doesn't Malachi speak of the saints as those who do the trampling? Are we warriors in that dread Day? Actually, all the battle is the Lord's, and he does the fighting for us. But because he is the Head, and we the body, then what he has done--first in his ministry, then in his death and resurrection, now in his session, and ultimately in his return--we are said to do.

    So those who belong to him, from the day he was baptized and started to call disciples until today and until he has called them all, are just as triumphant--conquering and to conquer, experiencing no defeat or retreat, going from victory unto victory--and this, in spite of however the battle has looked to go, on any given day. And our weapons are not of this world.

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