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Bible Study, The Minor Prophets: Malachi 3 and 4

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Posted on CCPC's website 2023

The Minor Prophets Study Index page.

Chapter 3

      Behold.... the Messianic prophecy we opened with.
      In this verse the term for 'messenger' is "mal 'aki" the same as the name given to this book and its prophet, the 'dream angel' in Zechariah (see example at 6: 4), and is generally regarded as John the Baptist. In any case, the messenger is going to....
      "pin nah" (clear / prepare (also 'turn')) before me "

      Discussion: In verse one there are two individuals on their way, but it speaks most about the Messenger. Then in verse two The Hebrew doesn't immediately specify just whose coming cannot be endured or stood. Of course the translations into English, and most reasonable people, would capitalize the "His" to make it the Lord's coming. The prophet leaves it up to you to decide if you want to read it that way. Which is quite effective. Then as the passage ends, the writer makes it spectacularly clear who's coming he was talking about that cannot be endured.
      ... for He is "ke 'es" ('like' fire) "me sa rep", "u ke bo rit" ('and like' 'soap') "me kab be sim" (launderer / washer 'soap').
      We've already discussed the smelting of precious metals, so now we'll talk about the laundry.
      Some of the translations had that last phrase as a 'fuller's sope (soap)'. Going back to ancient times, it would have been well understood as a process in the production and maintenance of woolen clothing, and during the time of the Prophets and through about 1300 AD, it was done by hand, and involved the washing of the garment being pounded on. There's links below that explains it in some detail.

      Summary: He will smelt the 'sons of Levi' as is done to purify gold and silver.
      ... "we ha yu" (they become) YHWH "mag gi si" (approach / come near) "min hah" (offering / tribute) "bis da qah" (righteousness / justice).

      "we 'a re bah" (sweet / pleasurable) to YHWH "min hat" (offering (same word) of Judah, and Jerusalem, "ki me" (days) "'o w lam" (before (and also) forever / everlasting) "u ke sa nim" (years) "qad mo ni ya wt" (former (implies: ancient)).
      Quite literally: As in the Good Old Days.

      "we qa rab ti" ('and I' will come) "lam mis pat" (judgment (legal implications)) "we ha yi ti" ('I will' come / become / etc) "'ed" (witness) "me ma her" (quick / haste / hurry / etc) "bam kas se pim" ('against' sorcerers) and "na 'a pim" (adulterers) and "la sa qer" (liars (but especially those who intentionally deceive others for their own gain ('politicians'))) and "u be 'o se qe" (oppress / defraud) "se ka r sa" (wage / reward) "kir" ('hired man') and widows and orphans, and those who 'turn away' a traveler "we lo" (because not) "ye re 'u ni" ('reverently fear') me says YHWH of Hosts.
      Oh, yes, Malachi got the note about Minor Prophets and Social Justice.

      The translations have this one good.

      Discussion: The theme of their ancestors turning away from God is replayed several times throughout the Minor Prophets, as we saw in the fourth verse of Zechariah, and elsewhere. We've also seen the promise about returning to God and He will return to you.
      ... and you ask, how do we turn back?

      COMMENT: How many church offering meditations have you heard this verse in?
      The translations are good.

      With a "me 'e rah" (curse) you are cursed, you have "qo be 'im" ('have' robbed) "hag go w" (people / nation) "kul low" (all)

      COMMENT 2: This is the other offering meditation verse. With an epic promise that is good in the translations.

      I will rebuke "ba 'o kel" ('for you' one that devours / consumes)...
      discussion. The Devourer could be another name for Satan. Except instead of describing a single individual devoted to evil, the verse is talking about crop failure. Does the Devil kill grapevines? Evidently.

      Paraphrase: You will be called blessed by all peoples because your land is delightful, says YHWH of Hosts.

      "ha ze qu" (strong / hard / severe / etc) "'a lay" (against 'me') "dib re kem" ('your' words) says YHWH. And yet you say what have we said against you?

      You said "saw" (vain / worthless) "'a bod" (serve / work / labor) for Elohim, what "be sa'" (gain / profit) is in "sa mar nu" (keep / observe / guard) "mis mar tow" (charges / duties / obligations), that we have "ha lak nu" (walked (as in: 'a lifestyle' / lived)) "qe do ran nit" ('as' mourners) "mip pe ne" (in front of / before) YHWH of Hosts.
      Discussion: They haven't seen the benefit of service, nor do they feel the joy or love of the Lord.

      "we 'at tah" ('so' now) we "me 'as se rim" (call blessed) "ze dim" (arrogant / proud / presumptuous) "gam" (also / even / furthermore / too / etc) "nib nu" (built / build 'up') "'o se" ('they' make / accomplish / do / etc) "ris 'ah" (wickedness (as an 'evildoer')) - Yes, they "ba ha nu" (test / try) Elohim "way yim ma le tu" ('and they' escape).

      Then spoke those "yir 'e" (fearful reverence) YHWH to "re 'e hu" (neighbor / another), "way yaq seb" ('and' listen with attention) YHWH, "way yis ma'" (heard and listened) "way yik ka teb" ('and was' written) "se per" (book) "zik ka ro wn" (memorial / remembrance) in front of Him and who (fear (same word)) YHWH and "u le ho se be" (considered / regard) "se mow" ('his' name).
      This passage calls to mind 'the books' that are opened in Revelation 20 :12. An image that is reinforced in the next verse.

      "we ha yu" ('and' (they (implied)) become / remain) "li" (mine), says YHWH of Hosts, "lay yo wm" (in the time / on the day) "'a ser" (which / that) I "'o seh" (make / made 'them') "se gul lah" (possession / treasure (not: 'jewels')) - "we ya mal ti" ('and I' spare / compassion) "'a le hem" (against / over / on / etc) "ka 'a ser" (which / who / what) spares (same word) a man his own "be now" (son) "ha 'o bed" (serves / works) him.

      "we sab tem" ('and' return / restore / bring back) "u ri 'i tem" (look / see / perceive / etc) between "sad diq" (righteous) "le ra sa" (wicked / evil), the ones that serve (same word) and the ones that don't.

Chapter 4

      Behold, the "hay yo wm" (time / day) coming "bo 'er" (burning (fire)) "kat tan nur" (oven / furnace) - and all "ze dim" (arrogant / proud (same word)), and yes all "'o seh" (make / do) "ris 'ah" (wicked (same root)) "qas" (stubble / chaff), and shall burn...
      The image is used repeatedly in scripture, including by Paul in 1 Corinthians 3 : 13

      Analysis: the word in the Hebrew is for the star in the sky that gives earth light and heat, "shemesh". It goes on to say that that sun is of "se da qah" (righteousness), with "marpe" (healing / 'cure') in "bi kan aph" ('his' wings)...
      This image is the ancient representation of the sun god from several different cultures, including Ahura Mazda who was, and is still, worshiped in the regions of the eastern part of the Middle East, as well as Ra from Egypt. This isn't the only time an image from the world outside is used to describe aspects of the Godhead. Said images recur even into Revelation.

      "we 'as so w tem" ('and you will' tread down) "re sa 'im" (wicked) shall be ashes under your feet...
      Again, the promise is of vanquishing the evil doers.

      History lesson. Horeb is the Mountain of God in Exodus 3, and is where the Ten Commandments were handed down. Twice.

      The 'Elijah Prophecy'. Is this related to the Messenger in the beginning of chapter 3? Very possible.
      Is the fact that Moses was mentioned in verse 4, and now it is talking about Elijah telling us that they are The Two Witnesses from Revelation 11? Could be, just as it could be that their appearance in Matthew 17 with Christ could be a sign that way.
      Or not.
PS: the following is used instead of '... of hosts'.
      ..... the day/time of YHWH "hag ga do wl" (great) and "han no w ra" (terrible / reverent fear / dreadful / etc)

      He will "we he sib" (restore / return / etc) "leb" (hearts / 'inner mind') ...
      ... "pen" (or / otherwise) "'a bo w" ('I' bring / come / enter / etc) the earth "he rem" ('with' curse / destruction / doom).

End Malachi
End Minor Prophets Study

Selected Sources for this chapter:

"Although the Romans practised fulling techniques, and probably first introduced the process to Britain, until the 12th Century, the process would have been a manual process involving people in physically trampling the cloth in tubs and then in streams.
However, fulling was the first part of the cloth-making process to become mechanised, and records dating to 1185, indicate a fulling mill at Temple Newsham, West Yorkshire..."

Santa Ines Mission Mills: The Fulling Process,Europe%20in%20the%2012th%20century.

Encyclopedia article about Ahura Mazda

Sources used throughout entire study:
Bible Hub Interlinear pages: We'll change this link as we change books.

the Geneva Bible downloadable

the 1611 KJV

The Minor Prophets Study Index page.

NOTE: The Bible Study Lesson presented above is posted as a reference document to begin a conversation of the topic. And that's it. Please accept it at such.

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