In the previous post, we discussed God’s criticism to the people of Israel and how it relates to our attitude and obedience to God today. Malachi also talks about the hope that is to come. God has a plan. The New Testament is about God’s salvation plan, not only for the Jews but also for Gentiles. His love for us is so deep that He wants all people to be saved. His plan was to send Jesus, His one and only son, God in the flesh, to come to this earth as a sinless man and take all of our sins to the cross and die for us, to be the sacrifice for each of us, for all of our sins, once for all.
For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations,” says the LORD of hosts.
God would reveal Himself to all peoples. Throughout the world, people recognize who He is and worship Him. Through Jesus, we are offered the gift of salvation. Grace came to us all when Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Jesus Christ would bring salvation to this earth. We cannot earn it, but He offers it as a gift of grace to all who believe and trust in Him. God would open doors and allow us direct access to Him. We can go directly to God for forgiveness of all of our sins. When Jesus came, God prepared the hearts of the people. He would send a messenger to prepare the way, not through the priests or religious leaders, who distorted God’s law to give themselves power, but through a lowly obedient man who was not afraid to speak the truth..
“Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD an offering in righteousness.”
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.
John came and preached the truth. He often ruffled feathers with the religious leaders and even the king. But, his message was simple. Repent. And he prepared the way for Jesus. Through his ministry, people would begin to realize that righteousness was of the heart. It was following God, not the religious leaders.
As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: ‘BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER BEFORE YOUR FACE, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.’
“Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
God spoke through Malachi saying that He would send a messenger to bear witness of the Lord. But when the Lord, comes, He will not come in the way people expect. He will not be a great military leader, but will be a humble servant, but with authority. Jesus was that man, God in the flesh. But the priests (sons of Levi) and religious leaders were corrupt, and Jesus exposed them. He brought true salvation. And God sent a messenger, John the Baptist to prepare the way, as He said He would.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ “
And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.