Mt 11.10; Mk 1.2; Lk 1.17,76; 7.27. “Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2#Rev 6.17. 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 fullers' soap; 3he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord. 4Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
5“Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.
6“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. 7From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ 8Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How are we robbing thee?’ In your tithes and offerings. 9You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me; the whole nation of you. 10Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house; and thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. 11I will rebuke the devourer#3.11 Or devouring locust for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil; and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. 12Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.
13“Your words have been stout against me, says the Lord. Yet you say, ‘How have we spoken against thee?’ 14You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the good of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? 15Henceforth we deem the arrogant blessed; evildoers not only prosper but when they put God to the test they escape.’ ”
16Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another; the Lord heeded and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and thought on his name. 17“They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my special possession on the day when I act, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. 18Then once more you shall distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.