Malachi 4 – The Coming Day of the Lord & Marriage and Divorcein Ancient Israel

Antikythera Computer – Click on Image to read more
One hundred fifteen years ago, an archeologist was sifting through objects found in the wreck of a 2,000-year-old vessel off the Greek island Antikythera.

Among the wreck’s treasures — beautiful vases and pots, jewelry, a bronze statue of an ancient philosopher — was the most peculiar thing: a series of brass gears and dials mounted in a case the size of a mantel clock.

Archeologists dubbed the instrument the Antikythera mechanism.At first glance, the piece of brass found near the wreck looks like something you might find in a junkyard or hanging on the wall of a maritime-themed dive bar. What remains of the mechanism is a set of rusted brass gears sandwiched into a rotting wooden box.

But if you look into the machine, you see evidence of at least two dozen gears, laid neatly on top of one another, calibrated with the precision of a master-crafted Swiss watch. This was a level of technology that archeologists would usually date to the 16th century, not well before the first.

This is the last chapter of the Old Testament.

When we look at life today and compare it to the life of  Ancient Man we are somewhat amazed at times.  We are unable to duplicate all the things that they did, such as the Great Pyramids.

Supposedly, in 1596, the first flushing toilet was invented and built for Queen Elizabeth I.  Yet, in the 6th century B.C. the city of Pompeii (to speak of one place) had toilets and running water.

In regards to computers, the first graphical operating system was invented in 1985, the first Windows computer was in 1992, but the first Antikythera computer was in 150-100 B.C.

Tomorrow we will look and see what happened in…

Malachi 4
The Coming Day of the Lord

1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city – Zech 14:1-9.

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever – Rev 11:15.

2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.

4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

“Elijah” – As Elijah came before Elisha (whose ministry was one of judgment and redemption), so “Elijah” will be sent to prepare God’s people for the Lord’s coming.  John the Baptist ministered “in the spirit and power of Elias” (Lk 1:17).  And some feel that Elijah may also be one of the two witnesses in Rev 11:3.

6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Marriage and Divorce
in Ancient Israel

At the heart of the Hebrew concept of marriage is the notion of covenant—a legally binding agreement with spiritual and emotional ramifications (Prov 2:17). God serves as witness to the marriage covenant, blessing its faithfulness but hating its betrayal (Mal 2:14-16).

Ramses II and his wife Marriage was regarded as alliance between families, a joining of clans and union of property. Couples became married when they decided to live together. There was nor civil or religious ceremony. Prenuptial agreements were routinely signed to protect property.

Some scholars believe that the wedding ring dates back to ancient Egypt. The finger ring was first used by the Egyptians around 2800 B.C. Some scholars believed that it may have symbolized marriage since the Egyptians viewed married as something that lasted an eternity and a circle or ring had no end. Rings of gold were prized by Egyptian nobility.

Egyptian exchanged sandals when they exchanged property or authority. A sandal was given to a groom by the father of the bride.

Some believe the word “honeymoon” comes from the ancient Egyptian custom of kidnaping the bride and holding her captive a moon (a month) and drinking a honey-sweetened drink during that time.

The Lord’s intimate involvement renders this legal commitment a spiritual union:

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh….(Matt 19:6).

The purpose of marriage as articulated in the Bible is to find true companionship (Gen 2:18; Prov 18:22), produce godly offspring (Mal 2:15; 1 Co 7:14) and fulfill God’s calling upon an individual’s life (Gen 1:28).

It was customary in ancient Israel for parents to arrange a marriage (Gen 24:47-53; 38:6; 1 Sam 18:17), although marrying for love was not uncommon (Jdg 14:2). Arranged marriages highlight the nature of the marriage covenant as a commitment intended to outlast youthful infatuation.

The declaration at the first marriage:

“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Gen 2:23-24).

Marriage binds husband and wife together into an entity greater than either partner as an individual, and it does so in order to assure continuity of the family lineage.

Marriage within the kinship group was encouraged so as not to alienate family land holdings (Gen 24:4; Num 36:6-9), and in the event that a woman’s husband died and left her childless, the law provided for the husband’s brother to act as a levirate in order to raise up offspring for the deceased (Gen 38:8; Deut 25:5-6).

An engagement period preceded the wedding celebration and the consummation of the marriage union. The pledge of engagement was regarded as being as binding as the marriage itself, and a betrothed woman was considered legally married (Deut 22:23-29).

The engagement was concluded by the payment of a bride-price to the woman’s father (Gen 29:18; Jdg 1:12). This may be understood as a compensation given to the family for the loss of their daughter.

The father enjoyed its usage temporarily, but the money reverted to the daughter at the father’s death or in the event she were widowed. In addition, gifts were given to the bride and her family at the acceptance of a marriage proposal (Gen 24:53).

Thus, marriage and its attendant economic investment brought the bride and groom’s families into legal relationship with one another (Gen 31:50).

Marriage negotiation

Israelite law included a provision for divorce—initiated by the husband only. Marriages were dissolved contractually with a certificate of divorce (Deut 24:1). This divorce document most likely recorded a formula of repudiation declared orally before witnesses:

…for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband (Hos 2:2).

The declaration might have been accompanied by a sign, the act of removing the woman’s outer garment as an annulment of the promise made at the time of the wedding to protect and provide for her (Ruth 3:9; Eze 16:8,37; Hos 2:3,9).

A man was not permitted to divorce his wife if he had forcefully violated her while she was yet unbetrothed (Deut 22:28-29) or if he had falsely accused her of non-virgin status at the time they had wed (Deut 22:13:19).

those 400 years between the books of Malachi and Matthew?