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The Messenger Before My (Thy) Face—continued. 

Whereas Malachi writes before the actual coming of Christ in the flesh he does not write “Behold my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before thee,” but he says “he shall prepare the way before ME.” This fact is noteworthy and also important to be understood. A comparison of the text here in Malachi 3:1 with that ofMark 1:2 is instructive. In the latter passage we read “which shall prepare the way before thee.” In Malachi 3:1the pronoun is in the first person and refers to the speaker: the LORD of hosts; here in Mark 1:2 the pronoun is in the second person and refers to Jesus Christ, the Son of God in our human nature, as appears from Mark 1:1. This distinction is maintained also by Christ himself in Matthew 11:10, where we read “For this is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thyface, which shall prepare the way before thee!” Here too we have the Lord’ not speaking of the messenger before His own face but before the face of Christ, His Son.

How must we account for this? 

Did the Lord Jesus misquote the passage from Malachi 3:1 in Matthew 11:10? And did Mark not quite understand in giving the key-note and beginning of his gospel with the change from “my face” to “thy face”? Or do we have a case here of inerrant interpretation of the sense of Malachi 3:1? A careful look at the text in Malachi 3:1 will show that a definite distinction is made between the “Lord” who will come to his temple and the “LORD of hosts” who makes the announcement. It is like the distinction in Psalm 110:1 “The LORD said unto my Lord, sit, thou at my right hand . . . .” The Lord to whom it is said to sit at the LORD’s right hand is Adonai. He is the heir and possessor of all things as the Son in our human nature, the Firstborn among many brethren. And, as such, he is the servant of the LORD. He is the one sent by the Father. However, in the time of Malachi he was not yet in the flesh, and whereas the LORD is also the Adonai (Lord) Emanuel, God-with-us, the two terms “my face” and “thy face” are interchangeable. That Christ speaks of before “thy face” is because he thus understood himself to be the “Adonai” and that the LORD was speaking this word concerning the forerunner to him. Wherefore in Matthew 11:10 Christ can truly speak of the greatness of John in relationship to Him, the Christ of God. Here we see more clearly the doctrine and teaching of the Trinity of God unfolded. It is a great step from Malachi 3:1 to Mark 1:2 and Matthew 11:10. Between two passages is the wonder of God, the Son, having been made flesh, and to dwell amongst us, so that we might behold His glory, glory as of the only-begotten Son of God. John 1:14

The Messenger of the CovenantMalachi 3:1-6

It can be stated without, fear of contradiction only here in Malachi 3:1 do we read the title: Messenger of the Covenant! What is specified in the text is that this is a messenger of the covenant “whom ye delight in.” 

What does this mean? Here we must try to answer various questions. What is the implication of the termcovenant in the text? What is the place of this “messenger” in this covenant? Why is this messenger the “delight” of Israel as he shall come to his temple and purify the sons of Levi, and make the offering of Judah and Jerusalem pleasant and lovely? 

In the light of all of Scripture the covenant here is the Covenant of God as it was raised up with Abraham and with his Seed forever in thousands of generations. The term here in the Hebrew is berith. Since the definite article ha=the, is added, we may conclude that the Lord calls attention to the well-known and only covenant of God. It is the covenant in which God alone passed between the pieces of the slain and disected animals which Abraham prepared as recorded inGenesis 15. He alone will pass through blood and eternal darkness to deliver his people from the bondage of Egypt, sin death and hell. Such is the covenant with Abraham. The term berith comes from the verb which means: to cut. Evidently, the term reflects the custom of two or more parties who covenanted; they would pass between the bodies of the slain animals, cut in half and laid opposite each other. The covenanting parties would then walk together between the pieces. However, in the case of Abraham in Gen. 15 Abraham did not walk between the pieces with the LORD, but God walked here all alone. He will bring it to pass. God’s covenant is the realization of. His sure and immutable promise to the heirs of the promise. His covenant is His testament. The Septuagint translates covenant (berith) here with the term diathekee: testament. This covenant is the covenant ever again referred to by God in the prophets. Because the Lord so often repeated this covenant it is called the “covenants,” although there is but one covenant of the Lord with His people in Christ. This covenant is never called an agreement between two parties in Scripture. It is the covenant which is “my” covenant. Gen. 6:18Gen. 9:15, 16Gen. 17:2, 4, 7, 9Ex. 2:24Ex. 6:4, 5Lev. 26:42, 44. Its fulfillment wholly depends upon the LORD. It is as sure as His word of promise. And the Scriptures often repeat what is revealed in the name JEHOVAH: I Am that I Am. He is faithful who hath promised it. Heb. 10:23;Heb. 11:11I John 1:9

It is interesting to notice that in the KJV of the Bible the Greek term diatheekee is translated some 20 times as covenant. However, here 6 times there is a marginal note which says “testament.” And it is translated 13 times as testament. However, it is never translated as agreement. For that the Greek has the term: syntheekee, like our English synthetic, which means to place together. In this covenant of God, God and the heirs are not contracting parties. The covenant is unilaterally brought about and realized by the Lord Himself alone! That he does for His Name’s sake, and the glory of His grace! 

This is not the place to give a treatise on the term covenant. We merely call attention to the meaning of this term to orient ourselves in properly interpreting the term covenant in the phrase, “messenger of the covenant.” 

The term “messenger” is really angel. He is a sent one. It therefore refers to the “Lord” here in his human nature as he is the sent one of God. Christ often calls himself God’s apostle. He speaks of the will of him who sent me. John 5:38John 6:29, 57John 7:29John 17:3, 18John 20:21Acts 3:20. He is the great messenger who speaks the things which He sees and hears with the Father.John 3:11John 3:32. When all the prophets have been sent as messengers, even John the Baptist, the greatest of them all, God finally speaks to us in these last days through his Son. This Son is the MESSENGER of the covenant. 

All the prophets searched out the time and manner of the time of the coming of his Messenger. I Peter 1:12. We think here of Haggai 2:7 who speaks of this messenger as the “Desire of all nations,” who shall come, and then shall the house of God be filled with glory. For the glory seemed to have departed from Israel with the destruction of the temple of Solomon at the Babylonian deportation. For the temple rebuilt under Zerrubabel was but a poor excuse for the temple of Solomon. Yet the Lord himself was breaking down the glory of the type (which really had no glory by reason of the more excellent glory, II Cor. 3:10) in order that Israel might set their expectation and affection upon the greater glory to come, when God shall not only shake the earth, but also the heavens, that He may give us the abiding inheritance and covenant which cannot be shaken and moved. Haggai 2:6Heb. 12:26-29

We cannot agree with Calvin when he opines that the phrase “Whom ye delight in” is merely irony of the part of the LORD of hosts; that the LORD meant to say that they did not delight in him. I believe that in this entire section we have the word of God to the true sons of Jacob, the Israel of God’s good-pleasure, who will be purified and set before the Lord in His temple worship. We think here of people such as we see the last remnants of in the aged Zacharias and. Elizabeth, the shepherds in the fields of Ephratha, and the aged widow Anna as well as the old Simeon, who waited for the Lord’s Christ, and who now die since he has seen the Lord’s salvation!! Yes, Abraham saw it from afar. Moses saw it on the mount and the glory of the vision radiated from his face so that Israel begged him to put a covering on it. Luke 1:5, 6Luke 2:8-10Luke 2:25-32. What a fond delight in this child on the part of these waiting saints. Yes, Moses wrote concerning him in all of the first five books of the Bible. John 5:46. Is He not a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of God’s people, Israel whom He hath loved? 

Yes, He, the long expected one and the one hoped for, will come as the Messenger of the Covenant. He will unfold the unsearchable riches of the glory of grace and mercy in the most holy place. He will establish the covenant of God forever in His own blood, and offer up himself once, through the eternal Spirit. Heb. 9:14

That the true Israel of God may not faint in their longing delight in which they cried: how long, Lord, and let it repent Thee concerning Thy people and Thine inheritance, the Lord of hosts who dwells between the cherubims in His high and lofty heaven, as pictured in the most holy place in the temple, gives His word of assurance here that this great and desired Messenger shall surely come. He shall come “suddenly to his temple.” This temple was, indeed, an earthly replica, fashioned after the heavenly reality. Thus Moses saw the pattern of the heavenly on the mount of God. Was not Moses admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle in the wilderness “see that ye make all things according to the pattern shewed thee on the mount.” Heb. 8:5. What Moses made was “the patterns of things in the heavens.” Heb. 9:23. Moses must have seen what John saw in the vision as recorded inRev. 4:2 “And, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sitting thereon.” For when Moses begins to make “the patterns” of the heavenly he first made the Ark of the covenant. Ex. 25:9, 10. It is the mercy-seat and the throne of grace unto which we can draw nigh with uncovered faces. He, God tabernacles with His people. The tabernacle of God is with man. Rev. 21:3. What a comforting word here to the waiting saints. Daniel can now rest in peace awaiting the latter days. His prayer, so beautiful and expressive of the heart of the true Israel, is heard. God heard him pray this prayer of all the saints “O, Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because of: our sins, and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us . . . . O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and, do; defer not for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.” 

Yes, this Messenger will come “suddenly” to the temple. He will come to his “own things” (John 1:11) and will cleanse the temple, and restore the pattern of the things which are heavenly. However, he will go far beyond this. He will bring about the things of heaven itself. The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth become a reality through Jesus Christ, our Lord, the Messenger of the Covenant. 

—G.L.

The Messenger Before My (Thy) Face—continued. 

Whereas Malachi writes before the actual coming of Christ in the flesh he does not write “Behold my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before thee,” but he says “he shall prepare the way before ME.” This fact is noteworthy and also important to be understood. A comparison of the text here in Malachi 3:1 with that ofMark 1:2 is instructive. In the latter passage we read “which shall prepare the way before thee.” In Malachi 3:1the pronoun is in the first person and refers to the speaker: the LORD of hosts; here in Mark 1:2 the pronoun is in the second person and refers to Jesus Christ, the Son of God in our human nature, as appears from Mark 1:1. This distinction is maintained also by Christ himself in Matthew 11:10, where we read “For this is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thyface, which shall prepare the way before thee!” Here too we have the Lord’ not speaking of the messenger before His own face but before the face of Christ, His Son.

How must we account for this? 

Did the Lord Jesus misquote the passage from Malachi 3:1 in Matthew 11:10? And did Mark not quite understand in giving the key-note and beginning of his gospel with the change from “my face” to “thy face”? Or do we have a case here of inerrant interpretation of the sense of Malachi 3:1? A careful look at the text in Malachi 3:1 will show that a definite distinction is made between the “Lord” who will come to his temple and the “LORD of hosts” who makes the announcement. It is like the distinction in Psalm 110:1 “The LORD said unto my Lord, sit, thou at my right hand . . . .” The Lord to whom it is said to sit at the LORD’s right hand is Adonai. He is the heir and possessor of all things as the Son in our human nature, the Firstborn among many brethren. And, as such, he is the servant of the LORD. He is the one sent by the Father. However, in the time of Malachi he was not yet in the flesh, and whereas the LORD is also the Adonai (Lord) Emanuel, God-with-us, the two terms “my face” and “thy face” are interchangeable. That Christ speaks of before “thy face” is because he thus understood himself to be the “Adonai” and that the LORD was speaking this word concerning the forerunner to him. Wherefore in Matthew 11:10 Christ can truly speak of the greatness of John in relationship to Him, the Christ of God. Here we see more clearly the doctrine and teaching of the Trinity of God unfolded. It is a great step from Malachi 3:1 to Mark 1:2 and Matthew 11:10. Between two passages is the wonder of God, the Son, having been made flesh, and to dwell amongst us, so that we might behold His glory, glory as of the only-begotten Son of God. John 1:14. 

The Messenger of the Covenant. Malachi 3:1-6. 

It can be stated without, fear of contradiction only here in Malachi 3:1 do we read the title: Messenger of the Covenant! What is specified in the text is that this is a messenger of the covenant “whom ye delight in.” 

What does this mean? Here we must try to answer various questions. What is the implication of the termcovenant in the text? What is the place of this “messenger” in this covenant? Why is this messenger the “delight” of Israel as he shall come to his temple and purify the sons of Levi, and make the offering of Judah and Jerusalem pleasant and lovely? 

In the light of all of Scripture the covenant here is the Covenant of God as it was raised up with Abraham and with his Seed forever in thousands of generations. The term here in the Hebrew is berith. Since the definite article ha=the, is added, we may conclude that the Lord calls attention to the well-known and only covenant of God. It is the covenant in which God alone passed between the pieces of the slain and disected animals which Abraham prepared as recorded inGenesis 15. He alone will pass through blood and eternal darkness to deliver his people from the bondage of Egypt, sin death and hell. Such is the covenant with Abraham. The term berith comes from the verb which means: to cut. Evidently, the term reflects the custom of two or more parties who covenanted; they would pass between the bodies of the slain animals, cut in half and laid opposite each other. The covenanting parties would then walk together between the pieces. However, in the case of Abraham in Gen. 15 Abraham did not walk between the pieces with the LORD, but God walked here all alone. He will bring it to pass. God’s covenant is the realization of. His sure and immutable promise to the heirs of the promise. His covenant is His testament. The Septuagint translates covenant (berith) here with the term diathekee: testament. This covenant is the covenant ever again referred to by God in the prophets. Because the Lord so often repeated this covenant it is called the “covenants,” although there is but one covenant of the Lord with His people in Christ. This covenant is never called an agreement between two parties in Scripture. It is the covenant which is “my” covenant. Gen. 6:18; Gen. 9:15, 16; Gen. 17:2, 4, 7, 9; Ex. 2:24; Ex. 6:4, 5; Lev. 26:42, 44. Its fulfillment wholly depends upon the LORD. It is as sure as His word of promise. And the Scriptures often repeat what is revealed in the name JEHOVAH: I Am that I Am. He is faithful who hath promised it. Heb. 10:23;Heb. 11:11; I John 1:9. 

It is interesting to notice that in the KJV of the Bible the Greek term diatheekee is translated some 20 times as covenant. However, here 6 times there is a marginal note which says “testament.” And it is translated 13 times as testament. However, it is never translated as agreement. For that the Greek has the term: syntheekee, like our English synthetic, which means to place together. In this covenant of God, God and the heirs are not contracting parties. The covenant is unilaterally brought about and realized by the Lord Himself alone! That he does for His Name’s sake, and the glory of His grace! 

This is not the place to give a treatise on the term covenant. We merely call attention to the meaning of this term to orient ourselves in properly interpreting the term covenant in the phrase, “messenger of the covenant.” 

The term “messenger” is really angel. He is a sent one. It therefore refers to the “Lord” here in his human nature as he is the sent one of God. Christ often calls himself God’s apostle. He speaks of the will of him who sent me. John 5:38; John 6:29, 57; John 7:29; John 17:3, 18; John 20:21; Acts 3:20. He is the great messenger who speaks the things which He sees and hears with the Father.John 3:11; John 3:32. When all the prophets have been sent as messengers, even John the Baptist, the greatest of them all, God finally speaks to us in these last days through his Son. This Son is the MESSENGER of the covenant. 

All the prophets searched out the time and manner of the time of the coming of his Messenger. I Peter 1:12. We think here of Haggai 2:7 who speaks of this messenger as the “Desire of all nations,” who shall come, and then shall the house of God be filled with glory. For the glory seemed to have departed from Israel with the destruction of the temple of Solomon at the Babylonian deportation. For the temple rebuilt under Zerrubabel was but a poor excuse for the temple of Solomon. Yet the Lord himself was breaking down the glory of the type (which really had no glory by reason of the more excellent glory, II Cor. 3:10) in order that Israel might set their expectation and affection upon the greater glory to come, when God shall not only shake the earth, but also the heavens, that He may give us the abiding inheritance and covenant which cannot be shaken and moved. Haggai 2:6; Heb. 12:26-29. 

We cannot agree with Calvin when he opines that the phrase “Whom ye delight in” is merely irony of the part of the LORD of hosts; that the LORD meant to say that they did not delight in him. I believe that in this entire section we have the word of God to the true sons of Jacob, the Israel of God’s good-pleasure, who will be purified and set before the Lord in His temple worship. We think here of people such as we see the last remnants of in the aged Zacharias and. Elizabeth, the shepherds in the fields of Ephratha, and the aged widow Anna as well as the old Simeon, who waited for the Lord’s Christ, and who now die since he has seen the Lord’s salvation!! Yes, Abraham saw it from afar. Moses saw it on the mount and the glory of the vision radiated from his face so that Israel begged him to put a covering on it. Luke 1:5, 6; Luke 2:8-10; Luke 2:25-32. What a fond delight in this child on the part of these waiting saints. Yes, Moses wrote concerning him in all of the first five books of the Bible. John 5:46. Is He not a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of God’s people, Israel whom He hath loved? 

Yes, He, the long expected one and the one hoped for, will come as the Messenger of the Covenant. He will unfold the unsearchable riches of the glory of grace and mercy in the most holy place. He will establish the covenant of God forever in His own blood, and offer up himself once, through the eternal Spirit. Heb. 9:14. 

That the true Israel of God may not faint in their longing delight in which they cried: how long, Lord, and let it repent Thee concerning Thy people and Thine inheritance, the Lord of hosts who dwells between the cherubims in His high and lofty heaven, as pictured in the most holy place in the temple, gives His word of assurance here that this great and desired Messenger shall surely come. He shall come “suddenly to his temple.” This temple was, indeed, an earthly replica, fashioned after the heavenly reality. Thus Moses saw the pattern of the heavenly on the mount of God. Was not Moses admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle in the wilderness “see that ye make all things according to the pattern shewed thee on the mount.” Heb. 8:5. What Moses made was “the patterns of things in the heavens.” Heb. 9:23. Moses must have seen what John saw in the vision as recorded inRev. 4:2 “And, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sitting thereon.” For when Moses begins to make “the patterns” of the heavenly he first made the Ark of the covenant. Ex. 25:9, 10. It is the mercy-seat and the throne of grace unto which we can draw nigh with uncovered faces. He, God tabernacles with His people. The tabernacle of God is with man. Rev. 21:3. What a comforting word here to the waiting saints. Daniel can now rest in peace awaiting the latter days. His prayer, so beautiful and expressive of the heart of the true Israel, is heard. God heard him pray this prayer of all the saints “O, Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because of: our sins, and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us . . . . O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and, do; defer not for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.” 

Yes, this Messenger will come “suddenly” to the temple. He will come to his “own things” (John 1:11) and will cleanse the temple, and restore the pattern of the things which are heavenly. However, he will go far beyond this. He will bring about the things of heaven itself. The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth become a reality through Jesus Christ, our Lord, the Messenger of the Covenant. 

—G.L.