Malachi Chapter 4  PDF  MSWord

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Mal 4:1

“the day is coming.” The day, or “time,” is coming when the wicked will be totally destroyed. This will start with the Great Tribulation and continue through the judgments, and finally be completed when the wicked are burned up in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:11-15). [For more on the prophecies of the destruction during the Great Tribulation, see commentary on Dan. 12:1. For more on the wicked being annihilated in the Lake of Fire, see Appendix 5, “Annihilation in the Lake of Fire”].

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Mal 4:2

“the Sun of Righteousness.” A title of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. This is a similar title to “the Rising Sun from on high” (Luke 1:78).

“wings.” The “wing” is the border or outer edge of the garment (cp. Ruth 3:9).

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Mal 4:3(top)
Mal 4:4

“Remember.” This is the idiomatic or “pregnant” sense of the word “remember,” and in this context it means to remember it and then “pay attention to it and obey it.” The NLT conflates the translation to “remember to obey.” It is appropriate to have this verse where it is because Malachi 4 starts with destruction foretold for the wicked (Mal. 4:1) but healing for the righteous who fear God (Mal. 4:2), then the destruction of the wicked again (Mal. 4:3) then the instruction on how to fear God and be righteous by “remembering” (obeying) the Law (Mal. 4:4). Then Malachi 4:5-6 foretells of the one who will come before the Messiah. So in this section, God does not just foretell the destruction of the wicked, He tells the people how not to be wicked.

[For more on the idiomatic sense of “remember,” see commentary on Luke 23:42].

“the law of Moses.” The Hebrew is “the torah of Moses,” where “torah” is much more than “law.” The torah involves instruction in many different ways (see commentary on Prov. 1:8).

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Mal 4:5

“Elijah the prophet.” This “Elijah” was John the Baptist (Matt. 17:10-13). Calling John the Baptist “Elijah” is the figure of speech antonomasia, “name change,” where a person is called by a name other than his or her own name in order to import characteristics from the other person. Antonomasia was used and understood in the biblical culture (cp. 2 Kings 9:31; Isa. 1:10), and Elijah had been dead for over 400 years when Malachi was written and over 800 years when John the Baptist was born, so thinking people would have known that the real Elijah himself was not going to come, but instead someone like Elijah would come.

[For more on John the Baptist being called “Elijah” and more on the figure of speech antonomasia, see commentary on Matthew 17:10].

“Day of Yahweh.” The phrase, “Day of Yahweh,” which is translated as “Day of the LORD” in most English versions is one of the more common terms that refers to the end times, and it can refer to the end times as a whole, or it can refer to a specific part of the end times. The meaning of the phrase must be determined from the context.

By far the majority of the times the phrase, “the Day of the Lord” is used, it is associated with wrath and destruction, and thus refers to the tribulation and destruction that will precede the Second Coming of Christ (cp. Ezek. 30:3, Joel 1:15; 2:1; Amos 5:20; Zephaniah 1:7ff; 1:14ff; Malachi 4:1-5; 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10). For example, in Isaiah 13, the day of the Lord is referred to as a “cruel day,” in which people will “wail,” and there is wrath and destruction (cp. Isa. 13:6, 9), and that cruel day is the Tribulation period before the actual Day of Judgment.

Some verses connect the Day of the Lord with the judgment that follows the tribulation (Joel 2:31; 3:14). Some Jews connected the Day of the Lord with God’s judgment of the nations, without properly realizing that they themselves would also go through the period of God’s wrath and the Judgment, but everyone alive on earth when the Tribulation occurs will experience it (Amos 5:18-20). Furthermore, the Jews will not get special treatment at the Judgment, but will be judged based on how they lived and what they did in this life, just as everyone else. The Old Testament scriptures, Jesus, John the Baptist, and the New Testament all with one voice warn the Jews not to think of themselves as special just because they are Jews, but to obey God if they want to do well on the Day of Judgment.

Sometimes it can be difficult or impossible to tell exactly in any given context if the phrase “Day of the LORD,” or equivalent phrases such as “that Day,” includes the Judgment itself or just refers to the tribulation that precedes it. When used to refer to the end times, “the Day of the Lord” can encompass the Tribulation that precedes the Second Coming of Christ, the Second Coming itself and the Battle of Armageddon, the judgments that follow Christ’s conquest of the earth, and the Millennial Kingdom of Christ on earth.

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