Redmond Blair, Vancouver
Malachi 3:16 to 4:6 and Revelation 22:6-21
The closing passages of both parts of the Bible are full of interest, and will edify and instruct us in the closing days of the dispensation. They are both prophetic books, and while Malachi is much shorter than Revelation there are lessons to be learned. The closing verse of each of these books stands out in contrast to each other. Malachi closes with the solemn warning of a curse. The curtain, as it were, falls upon the scene and it is followed by that period known as "the four hundred silent years." No prophetic voice was heard until that time came, when Zechariah was offering the incense in the temple. This set in motion the events surrounding the first advent of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The closing verse of the Revelation has that beautiful word "grace" shining in all its splendor. What better way could be found to add a luster to the book, which is the capstone to the beautiful structure of the Word of God. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all the saints" (RV). This has also been followed with a period of silence for almost two thousand years, the age of grace when God is gathering out His Church. This will be interrupted by the coming of the Lord to the air for his saints. This will set in motion a train of events that will affect mankind in preparation for the glorious reign of Christ. Yet marvelous grace is extended to mankind during the age of grace. Malachi closes on a very somber note, while Revelation closes on a sweet note. Christ is there, the sacrifice has been made, the source of God's grace.
We could linger on this subject for some time, but we would like to consider three things which stand out in these two passages: the coming of the Lord, a little company and the Word of God. In order to keep our first subject in its proper prophetic place, we will look at the Revelation first.
The Coming of the Lord
The Lord Jesus is presented to us as the Bright and Morning Star. It is a night scene, and the dawn is about to break, but prior to that, he will appear. Three times he speaks of coming quickly, v. 7, v. 12, and v. 20. The first has a beatitude to those who keep the sayings of the prophecy of this book. The second has to do with rewarding every man according to his work. The third is the Lord's affirmation that he will come. Again in v. 6 there is imminence about these things, the things that shortly must be done. Then in v. 10 John is told, "seal not the sayings, for the time is at hand." Let us respond, "Amen. Even so come Lord Jesus."
Turning now to Malachi 4:2, the Lord is presented here as the Sun of Righteousness. The long weary night is over, the dawn of a new day is about to break on a sin cursed earth. His coming here is as much emphasized as in Revelation. It is spoken of here as, "a day." 'That day" in 3:17; "The day," in 4:1, 3, 5. "The great and dreadful day of the Lord." No day is mentioned in Revelation, because the Lord has not indicated that his coming for the church is connected with any prophetic fulfillment, or particular time. The other passage is associated with Israel, and days and events are more in keeping with His earthly people. That Glorious Sun will arise with healing in his wings on the one hand, to the righteous, and on the other hand, it shall burn as an oven or furnace to consume the wicked root and branch. This is borne out in other prophetic books, such as the latter chapters of Zechariah. It will be a solemn day for sinners when He comes to judge his enemies, and set up His righteous reign.
A Little Company
In Revelation 17 the Spirit and the bride are brought before us. The bride is waiting for the bridegroom to appear to take her away to the Father's house. Then will follow the marriage of the Lamb, and the marriage supper of the Lamb. What a happy occasion that will be, what rejoicing in heaven, when she enters those heavenly courts, so near, so dear, secured by the precious blood of the Lamb. The long night of waiting has come to an end. There will be no night there, dark and gloomy as we know now, for those whose names are written in the book of life.
In Malachi we also have a little company. 'Then they that feared the Lord, spake often one to another." "The Lord hearkened (pricked up the ears), and heard it.' Amidst all the departure there were those that were true to him. The Divine response to this was a book of remembrance written to record the names of these saints. They were to be his peculiar treasure, cherished and preserved for his glory. His fear and His Name, were the two things which distinguished them in that day of shallow formalism and mechanical order, without heart.
The Word of God
In Revelation 22:7 a blessing is pronounced upon those that keep the sayings of the prophecy of this book. In v. 14, another blessing is pronounced upon those that do his commandments. In contrast to the blessings there is a solemn warning given in vs. 18 and 19 to those who add to, or take away from the book. Has this not been evident in all systems of false teaching, either adding too, or taking away from the book, and its great central theme, the glorious person of Christ? Let us value the Word of God.
In Malachi also, importance is given to the Word of God. In chapter 4 three persons come before us, associated with three mountains. The Sun of Righteousness, the person of Christ when He returns to earth, which will be to the mount of Olives, Zechariah 14:4. This is the place of his tears and sorrow, from which he ascended back to heaven witnessed only by his own. This will be in full view for we read "every eye shall see him," as the solemn judge.
In v. 4 we read, "Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel." Their response to the law from the fiery mount was, 'All that the Lord hath said we will do.' How soon this was broken, and set aside by the nation throughout their history, not just at mount Horeb,
In verse 5, Elijah is brought before us, and our thoughts turn to that memorable occasion, in one of the darkest times in the history of the nation. Alone he stood with the people and the prophets of Baal, on mount Carmel. That word went forth, "How long halt ye between two opinions?" He sought to bring them back to God and to his Word. This was wondrously demonstrated by fire coming down from the Lord and consuming the sacrifice, the stones, the water and the dust. They were left in no doubt as to God's power.
May we in this late day of the church's history, be waiting and watching for His coming, with love and devotion as the waiting bride for her long-looked-for Beloved. Let us be faithful to God's word, by hearing and obeying it.
A period of silence followed the book of Malachi. A period of silence has followed the book of the Revelation. What was the resource of the saints in both these periods? The word of God with its precepts and promises. May we follow it carefully in these closing days of the dispensation.
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When way seems dark or
clouded, when heart would questions raise;
Let neither doubt nor reasoning, affect your note of praise.
Our all is in His leading, our safety His own choice;
We cannot doubt the issue, but listen for His Voice.