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MALACHI, iii. 1, 2.
And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in : Behold He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth?
FOR the general meaning of this all expositors both Jewish and Christian agree, and must indeed agree, in one interpretation; for the words are too perspicuous to need elucidation or to admit dispute. The event announced is the appearance of that Great Deliverer who had for many ages been the hope of Israel, and was to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. Concerning this Desire of
Nations, this seed of the woman who was to crush the serpent's head, Malachi in the text delivers no new prediction; but, by an earnest asseveration, uttered in the name and as it were in the person of the Deity, he means to confirm that general expectation which his predecessors in the prophetical office had excited. "Behold
He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.”. Saith the Lord of Hosts. This was a solemn form of words with all the Jewish prophets, when they would express the highest certainty of things to come, as fixed in the decrees of Heaven, and notified to man by him to whom power is never wanting to effect what his wisdom hath ordained.
And the full import of the expression is nothing less than this—that the purpose of him whose councils cannot change, the veracity of God who cannot lie, stand engaged to the accomplishment of the thing predicted. "He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts." With this solemn promise of the Saviour, Malachi, the last inspired teacher of the Jewish church, closes the word of prophecy, till a greater prophet should arise again to open it. It will be
a useful meditation, and well adapted to the present season*, to consider the characters under which the person is here described whose coming is so pathetically foretold, and the particulars of the business upon which he is said to come; that we may see how exactly the one and the other correspond to the person and performances of Jesus of Nazareth. These meditations will both much contribute to the general confirmation of our faith, and, in particular, they will put us on our guard against those gross corruptions of the Christian doctrine which the caprice and vanity of this licentious age have revived rather than produced.
First, for the characters under which the person is described whose coming is foretold. The first is, that he is the Lord. The word, in the original, is the same which David uses in the hundred-and-tenth psalm, when, speaking of the Messiah, he says"JEHOVAH said unto my Lord." The original word in this passage of Malachi,
The season of Advent.