“Behold I send My messenger, and he will clear the path before Me, and suddenly the Lord whom you seek will come to His sanctuary, and the messenger of the covenant for whom you yearn, behold he comes, says the Lord of hosts. Who can bear the day of his coming and who can survive when he appears? For he will be like the smelters fire and like the launderer’s soap. He will sit smelting and purifying silver; he will purify the children of Levi and refine them like gold and like silver, and they will be for the Lord presenters of offerings in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in years gone by.”
In this passage the prophet speaks of a visitation of the Divine into the Temple, but it does not specify in which Temple the manifestation will occur. The prophet simply states that the Master will enter His sanctuary suddenly. This could refer to the future Third Temple as easily as it could refer to the Second. This passage cannot be used as evidence that the Messiah must come before the destruction of the Second Temple as missionaries contend, because the prophecy does not indicate which Temple it is referring to.
What this passage does tell us is that when the manifestation does occur, it will not be a Christian manifestation. Christianity believes that the sacrificial system and the Levitical priesthood were terminated with the advent of Jesus. Malachi has a different message. Malachi teaches that the Levites will be purified so that the offerings of Israel will be pleasing to God exactly as they were in days gone by. There is no way that one can repudiate the Levitical priesthood together with the sacrificial system and claim to fulfill this prophecy at the same time.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal
You are correct. Most Christians don’t finish reading the passage and take it out of context.
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What is the correct understanding of the Ibn Ezra and the Targum Yonoson on these pesukim?
Shaya There is no Targum Yonasan on Daniel. The Ibn Ezra explains the pesukim as I have – that is where I got the explanation (one of the places). It will take me time to get to the Shteinzaltz commentary so please be patient 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >
This is a post about Malachi 3:1-4
Sorry about the confusion – I get the comments e-mailed to me and I didn’t look at the subject line and just assumed this was a continuation of your comments n Daniel – I’ll get back to you about this
Shaya Sorry about the delayed response. The Targum is almost a word for word translation so there is not much interpretive content. The Ibn Ezra clearly understands the passage to be futuristic, he understands “my messenger” to be Messiah son of Joseph (he offers this as a possibility) and the “Master” as well as the “Messenger of the Covenant” to be referring to the glory of God that was manifest in the Temple
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Can you write a refutation of the understanding of this verse that is brought at this link:
I am not sure what you (or the writers of the book) see in this commentary. Ibn Ezra understands that the second and third entities mentioned in this verse are two descriptions of the manifestation of God and Radak understands that these two entities are the Messiah and Elijah respectively. What is the question that needs to be refuted?