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LEST WE FORGET! (MALACHI). Lesson 13 for June 29, 2013. HISTORICAL CONTEXT. The Temple had been rebuilt many years ago in the Persian King Darius time. His successor Artaxerxes sent Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem as its governor .

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LEST WE FORGET! (MALACHI)

Lesson 13 for June 29, 2013

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HISTORICAL CONTEXT

The Temple had been rebuilt many years ago in the Persian King Darius time. His successor Artaxerxes sent Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem as its governor.

  • Ezra and Nehemiah led a movement of spiritual reformation among the people in that time (between 444 and 432 BC)
  • But when those two men were gone, the people yielded to spiritual idleness. Malachi was called to the prophetic ministry around 425 BC. His mission was to make the people think over their unfaithfulness to their Creator, to renew the old calling: “Return to Me, and I will return to you” (Malachi 3:7)

God deserves our faithfulness (Mal. 1)

God wants us to be happy with others (Mal. 2)

God promises to bless our faithfulness (Mal. 3:1-12)

God remembers our faithfulness (Mal. 3:13-18)

God gives His faithful people a mission (Mal. 4)

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OUR FAITHFULNESS TO GOD (MAL. 1)

““You also say, ‘Oh, what a weariness!’ And you sneer at it,” Says the Lord of hosts. “And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick; thus you bring an offering! Should I accept this from your hand?” Says the Lord”

(Malachi 1:13)

The priests scorned the rites in the sanctuary. They even accepted lame and ill animals for the sacrifice and considered the sacred rites and ceremonies to be tedious.

They were being unfaithful to God with that attitude. They were also rejecting Salvation, since they didn’t see “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) in those sacrifices.

  • “In that ancient ritual which was the gospel in symbol, no blemished offering could be brought to God’s altar. The sacrifice that was to represent Christ must be spotless. The word of God points to this as an illustration of what His children are to be—“a living sacrifice,” “holy and without blemish,” “well-pleasing to God.” Romans 12:1; Ephesians 5:27”
  • E.G.W. (The Ministry of Healing, cp. 8, “Training for Life’s Conflict”, p. 130)
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OUR FAITHFULNESS TO GOD (MAL. 1)

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence? Says the Lord of hosts to you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’” (Malachi 1:6)

God demands faithfulness because Hi is the Father, Lord and Great King of Israel (Mal. 1:6, 14)

The son must honor his Father.

The servant must honor his Lord.

The subject must honor his Great King.

We must triply honor our God as sons, servants and subjects.

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OUR FAITHFULNESS TO OTHERS (MAL. 2)

The people of God was accused of mutual unfaithfulness and of being disloyal to their spouses.

“Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another by profaning the covenant of the fathers?” (Malachi 2:10)

“Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant” (Malachi 2:14)

Malachi takes marriage as an example to illustrate the people’s lack of faithfulness and commitment to one another. According to the Bible, marriage is a sacred institution established by God. The people of Israel were warned against marrying outside the faith because by doing so they would compromise their commitments with the Lord and fall into idolatry (see Josh. 23:12, 13)

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SHOWING OUR FAITHFULNESS (MAL. 3:1-12)

“For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob” (Malachi 3:6)

The people of Israel deserved destruction because of their unfaithfulness. But God’s love and faithfulness never change, so they were not destroyed.

Now God requested proof of their (and our) faithfulness: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house” (Mal. 3:10 f.p.)

And He also added this promise and blessing:

““And try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”” (Mal. 3:10 l.p.)

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“Whenever God’s people, in any period of the world, have cheerfully and willingly carried out His plan in systematic benevolence and in gifts and offerings, they have realized the standing promise that prosperity should attend all their labors just in proportion as they obeyed His requirements. When they acknowledged the claims of God and complied with His requirements, honoring Him with their substance, their barns were filled with plenty. But when they robbed God in tithes and in offerings they were made to realize that they were not only robbing Him but themselves, for He limited His blessings to them just in proportion as they limited their offerings to Him”

E.G.W. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, cp. 33, pg. 395)

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OUR FAITHFULNESS IS RECORDED (MAL. 3:13-18)

Since God was delaying His judgment over the sinners, the Israelites came to the wrong conclusion: “It is useless to serve God; what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked as mourners before the Lord of hosts?” (Mal. 3:14)

“Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another,and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Himfor those who fear the Lord, and who meditate on His name. “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I make them My jewels.And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (Malachi 3:16-18)

But God listens and writes down all the words and acts of those who cry out for justice; those who cling to Christ’s merit and joyfully serve Him living on His grace.

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A WORK FOR THE FAITHFUL PEOPLE (MAL. 4)

“But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves” (Malachi 4:2)

God has set a double work for the faithful people living in the end time of the history of this world:

Remembering the Law given to Moses (Mal. 4:4)

Turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of everyone to God (Mal. 4:6)

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“In this age, just prior to the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven, such a work as that of John the Baptist is to be done. God calls for men who will prepare a people to stand in the great day of the Lord. The message preceding the public ministry of Christ was “Repent, publicans and sinners; repent, Pharisees and Sadducees; repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (see Matthew 3:2). As a people who believe in Christ’s soon appearing, we have a message to bear, “Prepare to meet thy God.” Our message is to be as direct as was the message of John. He rebuked kings for their iniquity. Notwithstanding that his life was imperiled, he did not hesitate to declare God’s Word; and our work in this age must be done as faithfully”

E.G.W. (The Upward Look, October 21)