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Malachi 3:1-3

Context
3:1 “I am about to send my messenger, 1  who will clear the way before me. Indeed, the Lord 2  you are seeking will suddenly come to his temple, and the messenger 3  of the covenant, whom you long for, is certainly coming,” says the Lord who rules over all.

3:2 Who can endure the day of his coming? Who can keep standing when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire, 4  like a launderer’s soap. 3:3 He will act like a refiner and purifier of silver and will cleanse the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will offer the Lord a proper offering.

1 tn In Hebrew the phrase “my messenger” is מַלְאָכִי (malakhi), the same form as the prophet’s name (see note on the name “Malachi” in 1:1). However, here the messenger appears to be an eschatological figure who is about to appear, as the following context suggests. According to 4:5, this messenger is “Elijah the prophet,” whom the NT identifies as John the Baptist (Matt 11:10; Mark 1:2) because he came in the “spirit and power” of Elijah (Matt 11:14; 17:11-12; Lk 1:17).

2 tn Here the Hebrew term הָאָדוֹן (haadon) is used, not יְהוָה (yÿhvah, typically rendered Lord). Thus the focus is not on the Lord as the covenant God, but on his role as master.

3 sn This messenger of the covenant may be equated with my messenger (that is, Elijah) mentioned earlier in the verse, or with the Lord himself. In either case the messenger functions as an enforcer of the covenant. Note the following verses, which depict purifying judgment on a people that has violated the Lord’s covenant.

4 sn The refiner’s fire was used to purify metal and refine it by melting it and allowing the dross, which floated to the top, to be scooped off.



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