1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Adon, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith Yahweh of hosts.
The sudden coming of Christ to his temple, foretold in Mal. 3. I, refers to his second coming to his living temple. There were those in Malachi's days who answered to the class that Jeremiah (7:4) addressed, who said,
"the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these."
These were anything but the Lord's temple; as Malachi said they wearied the Lord with their words, saying,
"every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord."
... It was of this second appearing that Jesus was discoursing, when he employed the same word as Malachi, saying to his disciples,
"Watch ye therefore lest coming suddenly, he find you sleeping" (Mk. 13:35-6).
Of this community Paul said,
"Ye are the temple of the living God"; and again, says he, "the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
The Christadelphian, Apr 1888
Question.-Does the first verse of Malachi chap. 3. indicate that the Temple will be built before Christ comes? [J.E.B.]
-A reference to the first and fortieth chapters of Ezekiel shows that the glory of the Father is manifested in the form of the Cherubic chariot twenty years before the temple is ready for use. In the first chapter, Ezekiel is said to see
"the appearance of the likeness of the Glory of the Lord" in "the thirtieth year," and this "thirtieth year" was also "the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity." Turning to the fortieth chapter, we learn from the first verse that Ezekiel saw the temple-building in "the five and twentieth year" of the same captivity. The five years mentioned in chapter one must be deducted from the twenty-five years of chapter forty, leaving twenty.
Now since Christ is the head of the community, represented by the vision which Ezekiel saw by the river Chebar, it follows that he must appear upon the scene in the Cherubic manifestation, represented in the first chapter, and therefore twenty years before the building of the temple. The temple, therefore, will not be built before Christ comes.
It is testified of him as the "Branch," that he, even he, shall build the Temple of the Lord (Zech. 6:12-13). Christ, therefore, must return before the temple is built, and would arrive, one would think, before a single foundation is laid. He might appoint "the sons of strangers" to supervise the work of building (Isaiah 60:10), but no one could start on such a sacred and onerous task unless divinely commissioned by him.
And here let this opportunity be taken for correcting a statement, which, by mistake, has appeared. The writer never said, if he had the money and the men, he could erect the building from Ezekiel's measurements. All he contends for is, that the building could be erected from Ezekiel's specification, without anything further, if one sufficiently skilled for the purpose were provided with sufficient resources in money and men, the specification is so clear, there is not a doubt upon the point. But the writer, knowing what is involved in the Ezekiel measurement, does not believe himself competent to supervise such a work. If approved at the judgment seat of Christ and immortalised, the case might be different.
To return to the question of the passage in Malachi, if it does not mean that the temple will be built before Christ comes, what does it mean? Is not the passage explained by the words,
"The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come," &c.?
And by that which Jesus promised to the saints? Thus we read
"If any man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our abode with him" (John 14:23).
Jesus certainly was the "messenger of the new covenant," as Moses was the messenger of the old, or Mosaic. And are not the saints His temple? And does not he come suddenly to this temple at the resurrection? The period referred to must be a latter day period as the context shows, and therefore we are justified in looking for its fulfilment at the return of Christ. The prophet writes:
"But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand [in the judgment] when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers soap. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purge the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in former years."
The fulfilment of this prophecy may have some connection with Israel after the flesh in the restoration, but it must also be personally related to the work of Christ at his judgment seat.
Questions answered by Bro Henry Sulley
The Christadelphian, June 1888
The appearances, then, of the Messenger of the Covenant to the nation, are preceded by messengers sent by Yahweh to Israel-messengers, individually two, but officially and spiritually one.
The power and spirit of Elijah, viz., one spirit and power through whomsoever manifested, the operation of which in regard to Israel, prepares them for the appearance of the Messenger of the Covenant in their midst. This one spirit power is exhibited in the history of Elijah.
On comparing it with John's, their identity evidently consisted in both being possessed of the same spirit of prophecy and a like authority in Israel, which appears to have been "the power" referred to by the angel. The word of the Lord came to them both while sojourning by the Jordan, and thence their influence was felt among all ranks and classes of the nation. But "John did no miracle;" (Jhn x. 41) Elijah performed many of great magnitude: John's identity in power with Elijah was therefore not wonder-working.
Christ's mission to Israel was covenant-confirming and individually enlightening, and converting; (not political: his political mission pertains to the future. Yahweh's messengers who precede and introduce his king's appearing, have each a mission corresponding to Christ's. Hence John's mission in Elijah's spirit-power was confirming and personally enlightening, and converting; while Elijah's when he comes in his own proper person to Israel will be nationally enlightening, converting, and political.
The combined result of the Elijah-spirit-power mission, is the spiritual and political restoration of all things before Christ's manifestation to the Twelve Tribes as their king sitting on David's throne in Zion. The restoration effected by this power through John, was a spiritual restoration affecting the hearts of many of the people, not of all; a restoration of the Abrahamic mind and disposition in his contemporaries. Beyond this nothing was restored. But through "Elijah the prophet," the same spirit-power will "restore all things," and among these the tribes of Israel when its mission will be complete.
Such appears to me to be the Scripture teaching concerning Elijah. He has a great work to perform in the midst of Israel, before they are permitted the honour of a personal interview with their Lord and King in his glory. The angel in the bush did not go down into Egypt in person to meet Israel there, and preach to them. On the contrary, he sent Moses to bring them to him in the wilderness, where he would meet them as the representative of the Invisible Majesty.
When they arrived in Horeb he met them, but though they heard his voice, He did not permit them to see his personal glory. This was a privilege accorded only to the nation's chief men, not to the tribes at large. Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, were alone permitted to ascend Mount Sinai; but of them only Moses and Joshua were allowed to approach the Lord's glory on the top.
The rest were restricted to a lower altitude. After being with them on this part of the mountain for six days, Moses and Joshua left them, and were absent above towards the top during forty days and nights, leaving Aaron and Hur to attend to matters below. During the six days they saw above them the glory of the God of Israel.
Mystery of the Covenant of the Holy Land
16 Then they that feared Yahweh spake often one to another: and Yahweh hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared Yahweh, and that thought upon his name.
...the world to come is not based upon flesh, but upon spirit—upon knowledge, faith, obedience, character; the basis of which is constituted of the ideas of the Deity revealed in the word.
These ideas understood and believed become spirit in a man, working in him to will and to do. They become
"the law of the spirit of life,"
as opposed to "the law of sin and death," which is "the law of nature." This law impels us to do what we feel like doing, and is blind to the other law. He that thinks in harmony with God, and obeys the law of nature only so far as God permits, and conforms to his positive institutions, is a righteous man.
He is a character; a divinely generated character; a character, the nucleus of which was the first truth scripturally comprehended. The immortal of the future world is based upon, or rooted in, this character. The man may the and be dust four thousand years, it matters not; his character is written in the remembrance of God; and when he is re-fashioned from the dust, his sensorium will be so exactly similar to what it was, that being set into living action by spirit, all things will be brought to remembrance thereby.
The resurrected will then be able to give an account of himself; and if approved, will be immortalized; but if not, will be condemned to the second death.
Thus immortality is based upon character developed by the truth: and such only are the immortals required for the purpose of God. He intends to conquer the nations and rule them by such in righteousness, for a thousand years, to his own glory.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Mar 1861
The brain takes all its impressions from without, and it can only receive so much -- each day a little. It may be compared to a book of blank pages, on which each day writes something on each page... If a man's whole strength is each day spent, from sunrise to the evening shade, in attending to mortal matters, the natural man holds the pen all the time, and a natural man's record is the result. The brain is filled with images of natural perishing life, which profit nothing for the time to come.
But let God have the pen some part of the day; let the word be diligently read, let the soul ascend frequently to God in prayer, let the thoughts rest sometimes on the promises, let the business of God have some share of the day's counsel and strength, something then is written for God; and this process continued from day to day will fill up a good account.
The mind will be in-lettered with the ideas of God. It will be assimilated to the affairs of God, and the man brought into a state of increasing ripeness for the calling to which we are called by the Gospel.
Bro Roberts - Remembrance
Where are the mortal bodies of the saints to whom Paul wrote?
There are no such bodies in existence, upon the earth or under it. The mortal bodies to whom Paul wrote are now no bodies, and nowhere. There is nothing left of them but dust and ashes, and their record written in the Lamb's book of life. -(Mal. 3:16; Rev. 21:27.)
Thus, from the institution of sacrifice in Paradise till the death of Jesus on the cross, He was typically slain, and the accepted worshippers, being full of faith in the divine promise like Abel and Enoch, understood to what the slaughtered lambs referred.
Their names were consequently written in the remembrance of God (Mal. 3:16; Rev. 17:8; 20:12; 21:27), as inheritors of the kingdom, whose foundation was commenced in Paradise, and has been preparing ever since, that when finished it may be manifested "in Eden the garden of the Lord."
Elpis Israel 1.4.
17 And they shall be mine, saith Yahweh 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.
He will at last make up His jewels
They must be produced first. I suppose there are some kinds of precious stones that require darkness for their production, and the bowels of the earth for the workshop, and extreme pressure of heavy weight, and the fire of intense heat to develop them.
After a long time, men dig down and find them and bring them to the light, and show their sparkling colours. Tried and chosen men are compared to precious stones. They require days of evil and darkness for their preparation. The darkness does not prove forgetfulness but the reverse. It is part of the work. When the days of darkness have fulfilled their mission, the multitude of God's chosen will stand revealed, and they will prove to be those who have done the will of God for God's sake.