Malachi 3 – The Sins of the People & The Mount of Olives

Finger Pointing UpI know that You made man and woman to be a couple, to marry (Gen 2:23-24).  And it appears that you don’t like divorce, but You allowed it in Moses’ time (Deut 24).   Yet, Jesus made a slight alteration in regards to divorce (Matt  19:3-9).

Tomorrow we’ll look at…

Malachi 3
The Sins of the People

1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ sope:

1 Looking over the Kidron Valley
Looking over the Kidron Valley at the Mount of Olives from the David’s palace. The southeast corner of the Temple Mount is to the top at the left.

“Day of his coming” – the day of the Lord.  Malachi announces the Lord’s coming to complete God’s work in history, especially the work he outlines in the rest of his book.  His word is fulfilled in the accomplishments of the Messiah.

3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.

5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.

6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

“I change not” – contrary to what many in Malachi’s day were thinking, God remains faithful to His covenant.  The way God is today is the way He has always been, nothing changes Him because He is in control of everything.  When He makes a change it isn’t within Himself, but within or around us.

2 Standing at the base
Standing at the base of the southeast corner of the Temple Mount wall looking down into the Kidron Valley.

7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

“Storehouse” –the treasury rooms of the sanctuary.  In the ancient world there were no banks.  Temples were places where wealth was stored.

11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.

3 Looking south down
Looking south down into the Kidron Valley into the city of Silwan. The ancient City of David (Jerusalem of 1000 BC) is to the right (west) of the Kidron Valley.

This photo is taken from David’s Palace. It is easy to understand why the Jebusites felt secure as they looked down into this valley at King David and
General Joab to shout, “You will never take this city.”

12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.

13 Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?

14 Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?

“It is vain to serve God” – because the redemption they longed for had not yet been realized.  And of course, the redemption for them, for us, is much greater then we can imagine (1 Cor 2:9).

15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.

“Proud” – evildoers – those that challenge God.

“Happy” – or “blessed.”  In their unbelief, the Jews call blessed those whom the godly know to be cursed, but it is they who will be called blessed if they repent.

16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

“They that feared the LORD” – those who had not given way to doubts and cynicism.

17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

The Mount of Olives

5 The Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives or Mount Olivet is a mountain ridge east of and adjacent to the Jerusalem’s Old City. It is named for the olive groves that once covered its slopes. The southern part of the Mount was the necropolis of the ancient Judean kingdom.

The mountain is important to Jews, Muslims and Christians. There are many churches, and the largest Jewish cemetery in the world is located there. The mountain is 2,654 ft)above the sea level.

The Mount of Olives forms a ridge running north and south for about two miles just across the Kidron Valley east of Jerusalem. Zech 14:4 speaks of a split in this mountain that will run from east to west in the eschatological (end times) future.

This gulch will provide an avenue of escape, so the text tells us, when Jerusalem comes under a terrible siege (v. 2).

The Mount of Olives is explicitly mentioned in the Old Testament only here and in 2 Sam 15:30; however, the “hill east of Jerusalem” where Solomon constructed shrines to pagan gods (1 Kgs 11:7-8; cf. 2 Kgs 23:13) was probably the same location.

6 Galyn a tomb
Galyn examines a tomb cut into the side of the Kidron Valley during Jesus’ lifetime. The architectuaral style includes both Egyptian and Greek influence that came from the influence
of the kingdoms of the Ptolemies and Seleucids between 300-100 B.C.

In these Old Testament references there seems to be some association of the Mount of Olives with crisis and judgment. This trend continues in the New Testament, where the Mount of Olives is prominent in the ministry of Jesus:

When Jesus in his triumphal entry approached Jerusalem, moving downward from the Mount of Olives, he wept over the city’s coming destruction (Lk 19:30-44).

The cursing of the fig tree (Matt 21:17-19), a symbol of judgment on Israel, appears to have occurred there.

From this vantage point Jesus delivered his “Olivet Discourse” (Matt 24; Mk 13), a prophecy of judgment.

Jesus’ agony in the garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:30-42), as well as Judas’s betrayal of him (Jn 18:1-3), both occurred there.

…marriage and divorce in Ancient Israel.

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