1“See, I am going to send my messenger,#Ex 23:20; 33:2; 2Ch 36:15–16 and he will clear the way before me.#Is 40:3; Mk 1:2; Lk 1:76 Then the Lord you seek#Hs 5:6 will suddenly come to his temple,#Ps 24:7–10 the Messenger of the covenant you delight in — see, he is coming,” says the Lord of Armies. 2But who can endure the day of his coming? And who will be able to stand when he appears?#Rv 6:17 For he will be like a refiner’s fire#Dt 4:24; Is 1:25; Zch 13:9 and like launderer’s bleach.#3:2 Lit cleansing agent#Jr 2:22 3He will be like a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver.#Ps 12:6; Pr 17:3; Ezk 22:22 Then they will present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. 4And the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will please the Lord as in days of old#Am 9:11 and years gone by.
5“I will come to you in judgment, and I will be ready to witness against sorcerers and adulterers; against those who swear falsely; against those who oppress the hired worker, the widow, and the fatherless; and against those who deny justice to the resident alien.#Ex 20:14,16; 22:18–24; Dt 18:10; 24:14,17; Jr 5:2,7; 7:6,9 They do not fear me,”#Dt 10:17–20; Mal 2:5 says the Lord of Armies. 6“Because I, the Lord, have not changed,#Nm 23:19; 1Sm 15:29; Ps 33:11; 119:89–91; Rm 11:29; Heb 6:17–18; Jms 1:17 you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed.#3:6 Or Because I, the Lord, do not change, you descendants of Jacob are not destroyed#Ps 124; Hs 11:9
7“Since the days of your ancestors, you have turned from my statutes; you have not kept them.#Jos 1:7; 23:6; 1Kg 8:58; 2Kg 17:15; Ezr 9:7; Am 2:4; Mal 2:8 Return to me,#Dt 4:30; 30:2; 2Ch 30:6,9; Is 55:7; Jl 2:13; Zch 1:3 and I will return to you,”#1Kg 8:33; Jr 15:19; 24:7 says the Lord of Armies.
Yet you ask, “How can we return?”
8“Will a man rob#Pr 22:22–23 God? Yet you are robbing me!”
“How do we rob you?” you ask.
“By not making the payments of the tenth and the contributions.#Lv 7:14,32–33; 27:30–32; Nm 18:8–24; Dt 12:5–19; 14:22–29; 26:12 9You are suffering under a curse, yet#3:9 Or because you — the whole nation — are still robbing me. 10Bring the full tenth into the storehouse#Jos 6:19,24; 1Kg 7:51 so that there may be food in my house.#2Ch 31:4–10; Neh 10:34–39; Ezk 44:28–31 Test me in this way,”#Ex 4:1–9; Jdg 6:36–40 says the Lord of Armies. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven#Gn 7:11; 8:2; Dt 11:16–17 and pour out a blessing for you without measure.#Dt 28:12; Is 41:18–20; Jl 2:18–32; Am 9:13–15 11I will rebuke the devourer#3:11 Perhaps locusts#Jl 1:4; 2:25 for you, so that it will not ruin the produce of your land and your vine in your field will not fail to produce fruit,” says the Lord of Armies. 12“Then all the nations will consider you fortunate, for you will be a delightful land,” says the Lord of Armies.
The Righteous and the Wicked
13“Your words against me are harsh,”#Ps 119:23; Ezk 35:13 says the Lord.
Yet you ask, “What have we spoken against you?”
14You have said, “It is useless to serve God. What have we gained by keeping his requirements#Lv 8:35; Dt 11:1 and walking mournfully#Ps 35:14; 38:6 before the Lord of Armies? 15So now we consider the arrogant#Ps 119:21,85; Is 13:11; Jr 43:2 to be fortunate.#Gn 30:13; Ps 72:17; Pr 31:28 Not only do those who commit wickedness prosper, they even test God#Ps 78:18,41,56; 95:9 and escape.”#Ezk 17:15
16At that time those who feared the Lord spoke to one another. The Lord took notice and listened. So a book of remembrance#Ex 32:32; Est 6:1; Dn 12:1 was written before him for those who feared the Lord and had high regard for his name. 17“They will be mine,” says the Lord of Armies,#Ex 19:5; Dt 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; Ps 135:4 “my own possession on the day I am preparing. I will have compassion on them as a man has compassion on his son who serves him.#Ps 103:13; Jl 2:18; Zch 11:5–6 18So you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.