Lest We Forget! (Malachi)

Scripture: Malachi 1:11
Date: 06/29/2013 
Lesson: 13
"Malachi teaches us the extent of God's commitment to His people but also points to their sacred responsibilities."
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church. We are coming to you from Sacramento central, right here on the west coast of the united states of America. And I know that there are many of you - not just here in the sanctuary - that are joining us from across the country and around the world. And I am so excited to tell you a little bit about some of the people that join us every week. There is a picture that will be up there that you can see.

Is it up? There it is. There it is. This is the york seventh day adventist church in york, england and they were also joined by members of the hull seventh day adventist church, which is about an hour away from york. And this is where my parents and I were last Sabbath and we were worshiping with them. This was a lovely group of people and I tell you, they love to sing and they are amazing.

Oh, I could have just sat there and listened to them sing forever. Wonderful, warm group of people and we got to worship with them and my dad was able to do baptism - two of the people that were actually wanting to come to central and be baptized but it never worked out and so he was able to baptize them in the same tank that he was baptized in 44 years ago. And that's - this is joy, the pastor is here on the left and then joy is mom and angelie is the daughter and the husband george - and he baptized the daughter and the husband last Sabbath. Beautiful family. And so the york and the hull churches recorded a message that we're going to play as they send their greetings to you here at central.

So they were very excited to send their greetings. And another beautiful family that we got to meet was diamond and sanjay and sanjia and simrin. And this was a lovely little family that we met in manchester who watch online and simrin, the little girl in the yellow, sends in song requests and they watch every week and - beautiful family - so wonderful and loving and warm and we had a hard time leaving. But it was so nice meeting some of our online family and they are watching, of course, so special greetings to everyone in york and hull and in manchester. And, of course, The Song we are going to sing is requested by the group at the york church and they would like us to sing #100 - 'great is thy faithfulness' - and so we are going to do that.

A lot of other people from all over the world sent in their requests for this one as well. We're going to sing all three stanzas - 'great is thy faithfulness'. Thank you so much. That is such a beautiful song. If you have a favorite that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming program, it's very simple.

All you have to do is visit our website at 'saccentral.org' and click on the 'contact us' link and you can send in your favorite hymn. If it's in here we will sing it. And we are learning new songs and we're continuing that today - #59 - 'great our joy as now we gather'. It's also the same tune as #5 so if you're following along with us and you think, 'oh, that tune sounds familiar' that is why. It's the same as #5.

So we're going to sing the first, second and fourth stanzas - 'great our joy as now we gather'. That was a request from kelvyn, myriam, janice and aurelie in mauritius. So I'm glad that we are learning these songs right along with you and keep on sending them in. At this time, let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for bringing us here - here in the sanctuary and here together as a world-wide family worshiping you.

Please fill us with your spirit today. Fill our hearts with your love. Forgive us of our sins and cleanse us and make us ready so that when you come in those clouds we will be ready to see you. Father, please help us not to lose sight of the church's mission to spread the good news of your soon coming to this world. Thank you so much for pastor doug.

As he brings us the lesson study I pray that you'll be with him and give him the words that we need to hear today. In Jesus' Name. Amen. At this time our lesson study will be brought to us by our senior pastor here at Sacramento central, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you very much to our musicians.

Happy Sabbath, friends. And I want to thank debbie, jolyne and Jordan for - Jordan just graduated this year from saa high school. Congratulations Jordan. And I want to thank you for joining us. If we have any visitors here today, we're very glad to have you.

Today I'm excited and sad. We're going to say goodbye to the minor prophets but I'm excited because we're going to study one of my favorite books in the minor prophets, the last book in the old testament - Malachi. And Malachi - the name of the lesson - it's lesson #13 - it's called 'lest we forget' and, of course, if you want to find that book just go to the book right before Matthew. Some of you, in your Bibles, you've got studies that are in between your old testament and your new testament. A lot of Bibles have sort of some intertestamental studies that are there and - but if you go to the book prior to Matthew you'll find the last book of the old testament - Malachi.

And the name Malachi means 'messenger of jehovah' - but I haven't read our memory verse yet, have i? I forgot a couple things - we've got a free offer and the free offer is the Amazing Facts study guide called 'in God we trust' - ask for offer #135. This lesson talks about tithe and offering - what the Bible says about it. It's a very important study because I meet a lot of Christians - especially Christians from various evangelical churches that say 'the principle of tithe is an old covenant principle. We don't need to worry about tithe anymore.' We'll talk about that. This lesson deals with that.

We'll send it to you for free. Ask for offer #135 and if you want to call in, just dial -study-more - that's -788-3966. We'll send you 'in God we trust'. And we have a memory verse and the memory verse for our lesson, it comes to us from Malachi 1, verse 11 - Malachi 1, verse 11. If you found that and you want to say it with us, I'll be reading it from the new king James version.

Are you ready? "'For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, my name shall be great among the gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name shall be great among the nations,' says the Lord of hosts." Isn't it interesting that in the last book of the old testament, before you turn to the new testament where the gospel sort of then spreads among the gentiles, is this prophecy and this promise - 'my name will be great among the gentiles'? And that's certainly what happened is as you go from the old testament to the new testament, we see Christ comes and it's through Christ that an explosion takes place with the gospel going everywhere. And in one generation there were more gentile believers in jehovah than Jewish. Did you know that? One generation after pentecost things radically changed. And so I think it's interesting that you find that prophecy in the book of Malachi. Now Malachi is an interesting prophet.

You know, you start out reading about Isaiah, The Son of Amos, or you read about Jonah The Son of amittai and the various prophets you're going to say 'The Son of'. Malachi doesn't tell you what his pedigree is. He just - his pedigree is 'I've got a message from God.' And he just kind of comes out swinging, so to speak, and nobody - you read the commentators - no one really questions that he was a prophet. He's recognized as a prophet. He's quoted by the new testament writers as a prophet, but there's silence from the time of Malachi.

We really need him because he is the last bouy that you see out there in the ocean for 400 years - from his time until you get to John the baptist. Malachi says that there's going to be a voice crying in the wilderness, so he's the prophet who tells us John is coming then there's silence until John comes. Years go by of no prophet that we know of - I mean, there may have been some but they weren't recorded or written as prophets and so this is a very important book for us. He talks, in the first verses - if you've got your Bible and you turn to Malachi chapter 1, "the burden of the word of the Lord" - now you find that phrase mentioned by several prophets. 'The burden' - Isaiah 13:1 talks about 'the burden of the Lord'.

Habakkuk 1:1 'the burden of the lord'. Zechariah 9:1, Zechariah 12:1, Haggai 1:1 and then Malachi 1. What? Why do these prophets - how would you like to have the job of a prophet and the first thing you say is 'the burden'? Well, that word burden doesn't mean exactly what we might think. It doesn't mean that the Lord has suddenly put a 50 lb weight on them, though it is a weighty responsibility to be a prophet, it meant a message that you were to carry and so the word 'burden' sort of took on a different meaning there. It meant 'the prophecy' - you've got a message about the future and it's the prediction.

You'll often find, when they begin by saying 'the burden', a prophecy follows. And so, I just wanted to clear that up a little bit at the beginning. And then he starts out - notice, in the first few verses - 'the burden by the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi' - and again, what does Malachi mean? Messenger of jehovah. Last of the old testament prophets, he lives after Zechariah and Haggai, but he's a contemporary, not too long after. They lived during the time when they were trying to get the temple built.

Malachi lives after the temple had been restored because he's then telling people to bring all the tithes and offerings into the temple so it must have been built by the time of Malachi. And you read in the first verses, 'the burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi' - he's not just talking to Judea, he's talking to God's people universally - "'I have loved you,' says the Lord. 'Yet you say, 'in what way have you loved us?' Was not esau Jacob's brother?' Says the Lord. 'Yet Jacob I have loved; but esau I have hated, and laid waste his mountains and his heritage for the jackals of the wilderness.'" First thing I want you to know - and then I'm going to talk about this very difficult verse - I loved Israel, hated esau. People say, 'you mean God just is up there in the sky going, 'he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not.

Eeney meeney miney mo, I love you and I hate you.' Is God arbitrary? 'I think I'll save you but you're going to burn forever. And you and you and you since the majority are going to burn forever, but I'll save you.' Is that how God operates? But a lot of churches believe - they call this predestination - they talk about the sovereignty of God and God has his elect and he just elects some people and he doesn't elect the others and they're lost. He created them to be lost. It's a really strange teaching but I'll get to that in just a second. First thing I want you to notice in this book - and this, to me, if you'll allow me to gently remonstrance with the author of the lesson, I would retitle this lesson.

Instead of 'lest we forget', I would title this lesson 'I love you' because he starts out by saying, 'I've shown you that I love you' and then through the rest of the book he said, 'why don't you love me?' Or 'why don't you love me better?' And he begins by saying in many of the passages, 'look how I've shown my love for you. And because I've shown this love for you and I've brought you back to the promised land - you were off in Egypt, I brought you back. You were off in Babylon, I brought you back. I've save you so many times, then why are you doing this if you love me?' And so really, the message of the book is - and this is a very great message to end the old testament with - 'look at your history. Look how I've shown you how I love you.

Then why are you behaving this way?' And he itemized a number of areas - Malachi's a great book for an evangelist. I mean, in Malachi he talks about - you want to talk about the state of the dead and hell? Go to Malachi chapter 4 - the day that burns as an oven. You want to talk about tithes and offerings? Go to Malachi chapter 3. You want to talk about divorce? You go to Malachi. Malachi - short book - 4 chapters.

Talk about the coming of Elijah and Jesus - Malachi. It's a great, great prophetic book, but he's really saying these things because he's talking about love. Alright, well now let's get to that difficult part. Someone read for me Romans 9:13. And this has often been quoted in support - do we have a hand over here? Okay, elizabeth you're going to read that for us.

And in Romans chapter 9 verse 13 - are we ready for that? Yeah, we are ready. You go ahead. "As it is written, 'Jacob I have loved, but esau I have hated.'" Now so many people, when they read that, they go back to the old testament to Genesis where it talks about Isaac and rebecca had two sons, Jacob and esau, and they're very different. One is a more smooth skinned - or less hairy skinned boy who likes taking care of sheep and God says he was going to give the inheritance to the younger as opposed to the older. And one is a shepherd and one is a hunter.

One has the sheep following them, the other is following after the deer and firing at them. They're very different when you think about the temperments of these two boys. But when we read here - Paul says, 'I have loved Jacob and I hate esau' doesn't that sound plain enough? No. What he's talking about is their offspring - the nations. So when you go back to Malachi and he says, 'I loved Jacob and I hated esau and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the jackals of the wilderness.

' If you look in Ezekiel 35 - read just like 1 through 3 - it talks about the judgment against mount seir. Mt. Seir was the land where the children of esau - the edomites - lived and there was a very high territory - a lot of rugged tall mountains with some valleys between. That's where the descendents of esau lived and God said, 'I've shown my love to you because I brought you back from Babylon - I preserved you - but when esau was overthrown they never recovered. Any of you meet any edomites lately? They're extinct aren't they? But have you met jews? So what God is saying is, 'look, because of what esau and his descendents did - I hated what they did.

' You remember when esau sold his birthright for a pot of beans? He basically was saying, 'I'm more interested in the flesh than the Spirit. I don't care about the Spiritual blessing, I'm hungry now.' And so he was more interested in satisfying his fleshly desires now than thinking about the Spirit and the future. Jacob said, 'I want that future. I'm thinking about the future. I want the birthright.

' And God said, 'you know, I love that about Jacob.' He wanted that spiritual birthright. Esau thought, 'he just wanted the physical assets of my father.' And so to prove that wasn't true, when Jacob came back from wandering in the land of heron when he was with laban and he got his two wives and about eleven - ten of his boys were born - maybe eleven. I think Benjamin was the only one born in the promised land. When he came back, first thing he did was he gave a bunch of money to esau. He gave a very lavish gift of goats and camels and sheep and servants to his brother - for a couple reasons.

One, Jacob had made a vow, he said, 'of all you give me I will pay a tenth to you if you bring me back.' Well, they were the only priests in the area - the family leaders were the priests. Abraham was the priest for his family, job was the priest for his family, esau was the priest for his family. Esau, with all his problems, still did worship jehovah. So Jacob, he paid a tithe to his brother. He was also showing his brother, 'I'm not coming back for dad's inheritance.

If that was true, why would I give you all this? He wanted the Spiritual inheritance of his father. As far as we know, esau ended up getting the other inheritance - whatever was in the bank of Isaac when he died. But so one was spiritual, one was carnal. That's why God said, 'I loved Jacob and I hated esau' - the judgment came on their descendents - it had nothing to do with them. It wasn't something that God did before they were born.

It was something - a judgment that came later because of behavior. You see that? That's what God hated. So that's often misused. Does God want everyone to be saved? Timothy 2, verses 3 and 4, "for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." It tells us in 2 Peter, 'God is not willing that any should perish' and 'whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.' How many does God want to be saved? 'Whosoever believes in him might not perish.' Whosoever. Everybody has a free will.

God has not arbitrarily decided some should be saved and some should be lost from the time they're born with them having no choice. What about when he hardened pharaoh's heart? Doesn't it say he hardened pharaoh's heart? It does. But you keep reading in Exodus, you'll also find where it says, 'pharaoh hardened his own heart.' What happened is the circumstances that God sent, the way that pharaoh responded to those, he hardened his heart. God knew, 'I'm going to send some circumstances that will end up hardening pharaoh's proud heart. But pharaoh made his own decision - is that clear? Everybody - that's a every important point.

Alright, now under the section - first section - 'great is the lord' - and this is based on Malachi 1:8. Who has Leviticus 1:3? Someone's going to read that for us. Keith has that. We'll get to you in just a second. First I'm going to read Malachi :8.

"'And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?' Says the Lord of hosts." What is the prophet talking about here? When they brought an offering to the Lord they were supposed to bring of their best. But what was happening was they were kind of going through their flocks and they'd say, 'oh, you know, I got that lamb there - he's, you know, got some birth defect and he's blind or he's maimed or that one got stomped on, he's ready to die. I've got to make an offering - well, may as well offer that one, it's no good anyway.' And Malachi is saying, 'if you were invited to visit the governor, you know, when you went and saw a king or a governor or a person in leadership - especially if there was a feast - you go to someone's house, you bring something. Sometimes you bring something - you go to a house for dinner, you bring something. So if you go into - a governor's invited you to a feast you might bring a lamb or goat and they would prep it and it would be part of the feast.

They used to do that really quick back then. Remember when Abraham had some guests come? Man, he slew a fatted calf and had a feast before you knew what happened. I mean they used to dress those things out in a hurry. But so they would bring - would you bring - you'd say, 'hi, thanks for inviting me, governor, to the feast. I know I've got this one it's got, you know, it's missing its back leg and it's got a little bit of mange and it's missing an eye - it's blind - but well, you know, it's not good for anything anyway so I'll give it to you.

' And what would be the response? Would you - they'd say - you would never do that. You know, you go to the president and you bring a gift - you're invited to a white house dinner and you bring your old rotten apples because you weren't going to eat them. Let the other people eat them, right? Is that the attitude? God is saying, 'if you would do that - you wouldn't do that to an earthly leader but you're going to give me that? Okay, go ahead and read that for us keith. Leviticus 1:3, "if his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord." A male without what? Without blemish. Numbers 29, verse 8, "you shall present a burnt offering to the Lord as a sweet aroma: one young bull, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year.

Be sure" - that means inspect them - "they are without blemish." You ever seen when people take their animals to these 4-h or county fairs to be inspected for, you know, which is the best cow or goat or pig or whatever it happens to be? Or you ever seen people when they go over a dog at a dog show? Have you ever seen that? You know, they prance them around and then they put them up on a table and then some inspector goes up and he runs his finger through their hair and he opens up their mouth and he looks at their teeth and he pokes in their ears. I mean that's what they do for a dog ribbon and when you were going to bring something to the lord, that was more important than him getting a ribbon from a county fair or a dog show. They were to give their best because this was for God. But yet the opposite attitude - it's like they were - you know some of us go through the garage for garage sales and we say, 'oh, I'll never use that.' Or for the thrift store - you know our church has a thrift store and sometimes the truck comes to pick things up for the thrift store and quite honestly we're just asking them to haul away our junk. Please don't give things to the thrift store that you should probably just take to the garbage.

So - but if it's to the Lord - I mean, you want the best. Why? Who did that lamb represent? Did Jesus ever sin? And so one of the reasons it was to be a lamb without blemish is because Christ lived an unblemished life. Isn't that right? You can read here, for example, in 1 Peter 1:18 - 1 Peter 1:18 and 19, "know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but" - here's what you're redeemed with - "with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." Now that's also significant because we are following a lamb without blemish. What is the purpose of the plan of salvation? To restore us to the image of God and that we should be a bride without spot or wrinkle. Isn't that what it says? And someone look for me in Genesis 2:24 - okay, jolyne's got that and we'll be ready in just a moment.

I'm going to read Malachi - we're still in Malachi. You know, I was tempted just to read through the book of Malachi with you because we could easily do it in our class, but I wanted to be able to have some time to do commentary. But I'm going to read Malachi :14 through 16, "yet you say, 'for what reason?'" - Why do you say that the Lord is disappointed because of our treachery? - "Because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously;" - what does the word 'treacherously' mean? Treachery is not just when someone on the street comes up to you and steals your wallet - that's not treachery. Treachery is when a friend steals your wallet. Treachery is not when somebody you don't know says, 'oh, I think you're ugly.

' Or they say something nasty about you. Treachery is when somebody who you thought was your friend, who you thought was on your side, who you thought loved you, suddenly betrays you. That's treachery. It's related to the word 'treason'. It means someone who's supposed to be loyal - if you're an American and you betray your country that you're supposed to love, it's called 'treason'.

It's treacherous. And what Judas did to Jesus was treachery. And the Bible says when you've got a spouse and you love them and you deal with them treacherously because you find someone else and you cast them off in place for that, God sees that. It says, "yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did he not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks Godly offspring.

Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. For the Lord God of Israel says that he hates divorce," - now if you want to know how God feels about divorce you might just circle that right there. Can that be misunderstood? That you don't want to say, 'well that means he's just not really fond of it. That's not what it says. It says he hates it.

Now, are there times when it's appropriate? Yes. Does that mean he likes it? No, he still hates it because whenever it happens it's bad. Did God tell Abraham he needed to divorce hagar? Yeah, he actually used the same word - he said, 'put away hagar'. Why? You already had a wife, you're not supposed to have more than one. So there are times - and then Jesus tells what those exception are - in cases of unfaithfulness - but God hates it.

I mean, what does it do? You know, he said - God wants Godly offspring. Did you catch that in that passage? You notice he makes a connection between divorce and offspring? One of the things that is a plague in our culture right now is children growing up with one parent - and I know sometimes there are circumstances - sometimes there's a death and there's lots of different reasons - there's abandonment and I'm not even going into what the reasons are, but I think we all know there's a lot of single family homes. And a lot of homes are growing up where maybe the parents remarry - they divorce and they remarry. But you know what happens? Those kids are always affected by that - always - to varying degrees but they are always impacted by it. It affects their trust.

It might affect their trust of God. It might say something to them about covenants between people that are just optional. It sends a message and the offspring may not be Godly because of that. the Lord wants Godly offspring and the best environment for Godly offspring is a man - it's the ideal - I know not everybody is called to marriage, there are some that are called to singleness, but it is the ideal for procreation in the Bible, right? If you're going to have children God wants you married and he wants the part of The Father, the part of the mother to bring up these children and to model God between the mother and the father - not The Father and the father or the mother and the mother but something about a man and a woman is the best stereo model for what God is like to bring up Godly offspring. Divorce tears that apart and so that's one reason that the Lord said that he hates it.

Now, read for us please Genesis 2:24. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." That word 'joined' there is the word 'glued' and you ever seen a carpenter where he takes two pieces of wood and he paints some glue and then he clamps them together and that's the word, really, in Hebrew - they had glue way back then. They used to make it out of the hooves of the horses and the sheep. They'd melt it down and that was a primitive glue. And some of it actually held up - archaeologists have found some of that ancient glue that they used made from horse hooves that still held after thousands of years.

So they knew what glue was. Sometimes they'd use sap and different things and they said when a man and a woman get married they are to be glued together - super glued together. Now Jesus, he gets asked a question. They said, 'if you say divorce is not right, then why did Moses say it's okay?' Now let's show you where it says that. Deuteronomy 24, verse 1, "when a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her," - now that uncleanness was supposed to mean some unfaithfulness.

It doesn't mean that she didn't clean the corner or she got clutter in the closet - "and he has found some uncleanness in her and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, when she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man's wife, if the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hands, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife, then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back" again. Now, just a show of hands, how many of you have known somebody or a couple where there was a divorce and they ended up getting back together? There may be exceptions where that's worked out but biblically, God said that you're not supposed to divorce - now some - I've known couples that divorced and got married again, but they didn't marry anyone else in the interval. But what happens to a culture - and this is why God had to make that law. What happened to a culture if God said, 'look, maybe you would like to divorce the person you're married to and try someone else on loaner for a while. I heard they had a television program where they were doing that.

They were - I guess they weren't supposed to be intimate with each other but families were swapping parents and wives to see how they got along in different families. Am I mistaken or did they have something like that? Well, there you go. A sign of the times. What do you? What would happen to a culture if God was to endorse - 'well, you know, maybe we would be better with someone else - let's try it for awhile. If it doesn't work we'll get back together.

' God said, 'look, if you're going to divorce there's no going back.' And so the Lord did everything through His Word to say, 'stay with the one you've made that covenant with.' And so, they asked Jesus - or Jesus says in Matthew 5:31, "furthermore it has been said, 'whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced" - he's talking again about that wife-swapping business - "commits adultery." Now, if a person marries someone who has biblical grounds for divorce, that's different. Jesus is talking about those who do not have biblical grounds for divorce, okay. Matthew 19 - same book, different chapter - he repeats the same principal. "They said to him, 'why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?'" - Very important you pay attention to this because is the old testament contradicting the new testament? Is Jesus saying, don't go by Moses because Moses has been done away with? He's not saying either. He's saying there are certain laws that are made because the people just couldn't handle it back then.

And he goes on - and this is a very, very - I want you to listen because this is a really important principle. It runs into a lot of things. This is a very important principle. "'Because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.'" From the beginning it was what jolyne read - cleave to one another. But because of the hardness of people's hearts God winked at certain ignorance, act 17, verse .

Was it God's will for us to kill and eat animals from the beginning? From the beginning it was not so but because of the hardness of our arteries God made a provision - was multiple wives part of God's law? Doesn't he have laws about how to treat your extra wives? He does. Was that his will? No, but because of the hardness of our hearts he made certain laws. Was slavery God's plan? No, are there laws in the Bible about how to treat your servants? Yes. Because it was his will? No. But because of the hardness of people's hearts.

He knew what people were going to do and he made laws to protect folks - to deal with that behavior and the selfishness of man. And you can apply that principle to several things in the Bible. It doesn't mean they were his ideal. You want his ideal, go back to Genesis. But with sin, all kinds of bad things happen.

Was it God's will that the children of Israel have a king? No. God said, 'I'm your king.' They said, 'give us a king like the other nations.' He said, 'okay. Because of the hardness of your hearts I'll give you a king and here's the laws regarding how the King will operate. He made laws regarding how the king will operate not because it was his plan. It was their plan and they needed laws to govern it, but it was the hardness and selfishness and stubbornness of their hearts, see? And that's the way it was with divorce too.

It's not that the Bible is contradicting itself. I often hear people quote these things. God made provisions because of the hardness of people's hearts. That's what Jesus makes pretty clear in that verse. Alright, that was a little side trail but I thought it was important.

Getting back to Malachi - then he says, in Malachi chapter 3, verse 1, "'behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, he is coming,' says the lord of hosts." And then John the baptist, when he begins his ministry and they say, 'who are you? Are you that prophet? Are you Elijah?' Well, he was coming in the spirit and power of Elijah, but they were asking John, 'are you Elijah reincarnated?' He said, 'no.' Later, Jesus said, 'if you can understand it, this is Elijah who was to come.' Because he came in the Spirit and power of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ's coming. Now even though this is Malachi chapter 3, verse 1, you also need to jump to Malachi chapter and if you look - one of the last prophecies in the old testament - matter of fact, I'm going to read starting at verse 4. I've actually memorized this because I've read it so much.

"Remember the law of Moses, my servant, which I commanded him in horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of The Fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse." Oh, this is important on so many different levels. First of all, one of the last things it says in the old testament is 'remember the law of Moses...behold I send you Elijah the prophet.' This represents the two witnesses of the Word of God - the law and the prophets. If you want to split it up and call it the new and the old testament, it's the Word of God.

The Word of God is given in a dual nature in the Bible. It is a sword with how many edges? Two edges. Revelation you've got two olive trees as you do with Zechariah. You've got the two lampstands. You've got the two witnesses.

Who appears to Jesus on the mount of transfiguration? Mark chapter 9 - Moses and Elijah - the last thing the old testament - Malachi - said? Remember the law of Moses...behold I send you Elijah. How do you identify God's church in the last days? Revelation 12:17, "the dragon was wroth with the woman, and he went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God," - you've got the law of Moses - "and had the testimony of Jesus" - and what is the testimony? the Spirit of prophecy. The law and the prophets, right? Two characteristics - God's people in the last days have the Word of God and they believe not just one testament, they believe the whole thing - both the new and the old testaments. They believe not just the law but they believe the prophets and so it's just a - such a fascinating inspired statement here at the end of the Bible. And then you turn the Bible and Moses and Elijah appear to Jesus in Matthew.

Isn't that right? So that's really important. But it says, 'I send you Elijah the prophet.' What did that mean? Did Elijah literally come? He did appear to Jesus on that mountain, but was that the fulfillment or did Jesus say in Matthew 11, 'if you can handle it, John the baptist,' he said, 'is Elijah who was to come.' But then he said something else - he said, 'behold, Elijah is coming and Elijah has come.' So Christ is telling us this prophecy is a dual prophecy. You know what I mean by a dual prophecy? Some of the prophecies in the Bible had a partial fulfillment in the time of Israel and then it had another fulfillment in the time of spiritual Israel in the last days. When Christ talks about the destruction of Jerusalem and he said, 'all these things are going to happen. There won't be one stone left upon another.

' He also gave prophecies about his second coming. A great tribulation that would come came to Israel and a great tribulation came during the dark ages - great persecution - and there's another great tribulation just before - when the seven last plagues fall, right? So there, that is not just a dual prophecy, that's kind of a tri-prophecy there. So some of these prophecies had more than one fulfillment. Elijah coming was fulfilled in that literally Elijah came - he appeared to Jesus. Secondly, John the baptist had the Spirit and power of Elijah.

You remember when Elisha got the spirit and power of Elijah? That should tell you it didn't mean reincarnation. It means that Elisha had a similar work to Elijah - the same spirit and power. John the baptist had a similar work to Elijah. Will there be - and yet Jesus said, 'and Elijah surely will come.' Even after John the baptist, Jesus said Elijah will come. Why? Is there going to be another Elijah message to prepare the world for the second coming of Jesus? If John the baptist came to prepare the world for the first coming of Jesus with a special message of revival, then will there be another Elijah message that will prepare the world for the second coming? I think so.

If John the baptist was supposed to prepare the way for the King when he came like a lamb, then will there be an Elijah message that will prepare when the King comes like a lion? So yeah, I think that we're due. We're overdue and that message is going to be a very bold message of repentance and revival that will be a message like John the baptist where he is fearless. He will stand out in a crowd. There might be more than one of them and - that's going to be calling the world to repentance and back to the Word of God and the church and there'll be rebuke and power as there was with John. It says, 'all of Judea and Jerusalem went out to hear him preach.

' So I jumped to chapter 4 because it was related to chapter 3 where it talked about the messenger of the covenant is coming. Now did Jesus come to his temple? John chapter 2, verse 14, "and he found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. And when he had made a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables. And he said to those who sold doves, 'take these things away! Do not make my Father's house a house of merchandise!'" Jesus, with power, came to that temple that existed during the time of Malachi - that was the same temple. It had been refurbished by herod.

That's why someone said, 'this temple was 42 years in building. Are you going to destroy it and rebuild it in three days? When herod became king he took the temple that Ezra, Nehemiah, and Joshua the high priest and zerubbabel had built and he refurbished it, but it was the same one. It was a remodel, you might say. And Jesus came to that temple that they had built. They thought it was so small compared to Solomon's temple.

But Malachi said, 'don't worry, the Lord is going to suddenly come to his temple.' And he came in with his whip. He cleaned it out. Not only did it represent that, but did Jesus come to the other temple - his church and cause a revival and clean it out? Yeah, Christ not only cleansed the temple physically, he cleansed the temple spiritually and is Jesus cleansing the temple in heaven right now? And will he come back when that is complete? So you've got all that happening in that prophecy. Now, in Malachi chapter 3 it talks about tithe in the storehouse. Tithe in the storehouse - somebody read for me Leviticus 27:30.

Who has that? Right over here? Let's get a hand - hold your hand up. And while we're getting there can I just read Malachi 3? You've heard so many pastors read this. You know, it's interesting to me, I run into a lot of evangelical friends and they say, 'we're not under the old covenant, we're under the new covenant.' And they have a problem when you start quoting from the old testament. But when it comes to tithe they usually don't have a problem going to this verse because they can't find a better verse. Malachi chapter 3, verse 8, "will a man rob God?" - My sermon this morning - you know we're going through the Ten Commandments - you can see it behind us - it's sort of a prop for our series right now.

Today is dealing with stealing and I'm going to be talking about this. You'll hear some of this twice. - "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me! But you say, 'in what way have we robbed you?' In tithes and offerings." - Now it's not just tithe. Can we rob God also in offerings? - "You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me now in this.

" - Test me now - this is the only place in the Bible that God is basically saying - when it comes to offerings - test me, and see - "says the Lord of hosts 'if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing'" - such a blessing - "'that there will not be room enough to receive it.'" More - pressed down, running over, shaken together - that you won't even have room enough for it. And not only will I increase what you do have, I'll protect what you have left. "I'll rebuke the devourer" - now that, back then, could mean moths or bugs or locusts that eat the crops. Have you ever had things that devour your paycheck before it gets to the bank? All these expenses that just start cropping up. God'll bless - you know what it boils down to is would you rather have 90% that is blessed or 100% that's cursed? % Of what you have, with God's blessing, will go much much farther that 100% where it's cursed.

You will be putting your resources into a bag with holes and that's why it's important for us to be faithful in our tithes and our offerings. "I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field." In other words, if you've got % that's blessed, it'll be a bumper crop. "'Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field.' Says the Lord of hosts; 'and all nations will call you blessed," - even others will say, 'boy, look at how blessed they are.' - "'For you will be a delightful land,' says the Lord of hosts." And so one of the ways that Malachi gives this message is he says that we need to be faithful in what we have. Have you experienced that blessing in your lives? Oh I - did I give out a verse that we haven't read yet? Yeah, go ahead. And what was that verse again? Leviticus 27:30, "and all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's.

It is holy to the Lord." Now when something's holy, that means it's set aside. If you're at a church picnic and a guy sees a gal that kind of takes his eye and he's single and he walks over and he gets to talk to her a little bit and in the conversation she mentions her husband, does that change the conversation? Because that means, 'oh, marriage is holy.' Few things are called holy. She is set aside for somebody else, right now, I've got to stop meddling. It's inappropriate. That first tenth of what you have with your income - don't say, 'I'll pay tithe if I have anything left.

' For one thing, chances are you won't have anything left if you put tithe to last. If you want God to bless what's left then you take tithe off the top because everything belongs to God anyway, right? Do you really believe that? So if I ask you to hold ten dollars for me and a few minutes later I say, 'can I have one of those ten?' You have no problem giving it to me because I just gave it all to you anyway - you believe it's mine. Sometimes we really wonder if it's God's. We say it's ours. And even in the very phrasing - you can hear people say, 'when I pay my tithe.

' Your tithe? Or are you just returning his tithe? You see what I'm saying? It's a lot easier - then he can bless that other 90%. Don't you want to give more to people who are faithful with what they do have? That's just a principle of life. If you know somebody that is faithful with what they do have, you're inclined to give them more. You want to get something done, give it to a busy person, right? And that's how it is with tithe. If you want God to bless you with more, be faithful.

He's ultimately the one who gives us the power to get wealth. Be faithful with what you do have. And I'm not chastising central, because this is a very faithful church with tithe. Most of you. We are very blessed in that way.

Alright, now we've got the last section here - I've got one minute. 'The sun of righteousness will arise with healing in his wings.' Who's got Revelation 1:16? Over here. Hold your hand up. This verse causes some people a little trouble because it says the sun of righteousness will arise with healing in his wings - it doesn't say s-o-n, it's s-u-n. People say, 'is this a type of Christ? Whoa whoa, how can we have Jesus be likened to the sun because isn't that sort of tempting people to sun worship? And so some people are wondering about that.

Go ahead, read for us - why does it use the analogy of the sun for Jesus? Read for us Revelation 1:16. "He had in his right hand seven stars, out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and his countenance was like the sun shining in its strength." How can you avoid comparing Jesus to the sun when the brightest object that we know of - at least, you know, ancient man - was the sun? No, we're not supposed to worship the sun but when you think about the brightest thing there is - several times in the Bible it compares Jesus to the sun. When Jesus appeared to Paul - acts 26 - he said, 'on the road I saw a light from heaven brighter than the sun.' What else could he compare it to? Brighter than something brighter than the sun that I can't think of.' You see what I'm saying? So don't get worried if Jesus is called the sun of righteousness arising with healing in his wings. Have you ever been thankful when the sun rises and takes away the darkness and warms the earth and brightens your life? And so that's all that's - it's not encouraging sun worship. You know, there's a - I don't know if it's still in our hymnal - there was a song in one of the hymnals that 'when I - I will - let's break bread together on our knees.

We pray on our knees with our face to the rising sun.' How many of you know what I'm talking about? That song? Boy, some folks are really troubled about that. They say it's talking about sun worship. I think that whoever wrote it was really thinking about when Jesus comes from the east. The Bible says a small - I don't know, who knows? You can put whatever you want in there but no the Bible does not endorse sun worship but Jesus is the sun of righteousness who arises with - don't miss the part - healing in his wings. He wants to bring healing into our lives.

We're out of time but we've gotten through the minor prophets. I've learned a lot - did you? This has been a blessing. I've learned a lot in studying this and have been blessed by it. And I'm looking forward to our next study, which is going to be dealing with revival and reformation. And don't forget we have a free offer that goes along with our lesson on Malachi and it's 'in God we trust'.

We'll send it to you. Ask for offer #135 when you call the number on your screen. God bless you until we study together again next week.

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