Old Testament: Malachi 1:1-2: 17
Malachi 1:1-2:17 Non-Prophet Organization
You’ve made it to the last book of the Old Testament. It is the book of Malachi. It’s pronounced MAL – a – kai. Don’t pronounce it MA-Lach-ee or it sounds like the name of a mobster. His name means, “My messenger.”
Nothing is known of Malachi personally. He was called to set the people straight after many of the exiles into Babylon returned to Jerusalem to re-build the Temple which was finished in 515 B.C. (cf. 2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1). The book of Malachi is in the form of a dialogue between God and the Jews. They were disrespecting the priesthood (Mal. 1:6-14), intermarrying with neighboring pagan nations (Matt. 2:11), taking advantage of the poor (Mal. 3:5), failing to support the Temple (Mal. 3:8-10), experiencing crop failure (Mal. 3:11), and disrespecting God (Matt. 3:13-16).
Malachi was the last prophet of God until John the Baptist arrived on the scene in Israel (cf. Mal. 3:1, Matt. 11:14).
In Chapter 1, the word of God comes to Malachi: He loves Israel. Israel doesn’t believe Him but He explains that He favored Jacob over Esau. Jacob became the nation of Israel whereas Esau became all the Arab nations (vv. 2-3). The people were not respecting the Jewish worship system. Their priests were not even eating according to the customs of the law, bringing the worst instead of the best animals for an offering (vv. 7-9). Word was getting out to the other nations that they were not respecting the Lord with first class offerings (vv. 11-14).
In Chapter 2, Yahweh promises to take blessing away from the priests for their behavior (vv. 1-9). Jews were forbidden to marry foreign women because He knew it would result in the defection of the men from the faith (Exod. 34:14-16 and Deut. 7:3). Today we are forbidden to marry non-believers for the same reason (2 Cor. 6:14-18).
The Jews were divorcing indiscriminately and violating their marriage vows (vv. 13-16). God is forthright about His attitude concerning divorce, He hates it (v. 16). It ruins the illustration of a man and wife showing love as God does to His people. It also ruined one of the other purposes of marriage, to produce godly children (v. 15).
They were calling good evil and evil good (cf. Isa. 5:20). They thought that since God was taking time to exercise punishment that He didn’t care about justice (cf. 2 Pet. 3:9).
New Testament: Revelation 21:1-27
Revelation 21:1-27 The City Seen From A Hill
After mankind fails to rise to God’s standards in the Millennium, after Satan has failed to establish his kingdom, after all sinners have been cast in the Lake of Fire for eternity (cf. v. 8), God creates a new Heaven and a new earth (v. 1). It comes down from Heaven (v. 2). God now “tabernacles” and dwells amongst His people (v. 3). No one will be unhappy. There will be no crying in Heaven, which if you have noticed is now on earth (v. 4).
Christ, on His throne, promises that all things will be new (v. 5). All will drink from the spring of the Holy Spirit (v. 6).
The angel who had the seven bowls with the seven last plagues introduced to him the bride of Christ (v. 9). The angel took John up on a mountain so he could see the city descending from Heaven (v. 10). It was simply gorgeous, having twelve gates, angels, and the names of the twelve tribes on the gates and the names of the twelve apostles on the twelve foundation stones (VERSE TWELVE, of course, v. 14).
Remember that measuring indicates ownership. The angel measured the city, its gates and wall (v. 15). It was a cube 1380 miles in each direction. The wall was 72 yards thick. If only one fourth was used as living quarters, it could accommodate 20 billion people comfortably (vv. 16-17; Ryrie). Various beautiful stones were used in the construction of the city wall with the twelve gates being made of a single pearl (vv. 19-21a). The street was made of gold and looked like perfectly pure glass (v. 21b).
There wasn’t a Temple in the city because Yahweh Himself served as the temple (v. 22). The glory of God acts as the Power and Light company for nations and kings (vv. 23-24). The gates are always open and there will be no nighttime (v. 25). All the really crumby people will be off “celebrating” in the Lake of Fire so only those who love the Lord will be in the city (v. 27). Everyone else will be giving off the sheen of the glory of the Lord and lighting the place up (v. 26).
Psalm 149:1-9 Singing Badly A Hymn By Anonymous
Proverbs 31:10-24 Pretty As A Picture, Part 1
My wife said she doesn’t like this last portion of Proverbs. I don’t know why. I guess maybe she sets the bar too high. But she shouldn’t have had to worry. She personifies this picture as much as anyone else. After all, she is married to me. Did you realize why a lot of historians think that Abraham Lincoln was so a great person because he was married to Mary. She was so difficult that Abraham had to be a great person (cf. Prov. 27:17, see Crunch Time).
Another reason why my wife shouldn’t have had to be concerned is because this portion of Scripture does not refer to just women. At least, I don’t think so. I think it is a summarization of the entire book of Proverbs. The book of Proverbs is an encapsulation of sayings on wisdom, basically a father (or a mother in this chapter) to a son. So this picture is of a person who lives with wisdom. So whether woman or man, a person should look like the picture in verses 10-31.
A person of wisdom is worth a lot more than jewelry (v. 10).
A spouse will trust in a person of wisdom (v. 11a). They will prosper spiritually (cf. 3 John 2), if not materially, if they marry a devoted Christian (v. 11b). A husband will love his wife (cf. Eph. 5:25) and a wife will submit to her husband (cf. Eph. 5:22).
Fish oil is certainly good for you. It’s good for the heart. But, personally, I like flax oil for the same purpose. A good wife will locate some flax for clothes, as well (v. 13b). And wool is great for coats as well as pajamas (v. 13a)! It will be the best material to make apparel for her family (v. 13c).
The woman, or man, in this passage is like a transport vessel. They loot after riots and fires. No wait, they bring things from a long ways away, afar (v. 14). Now we just go to grocery or department stores and they gather things for us. But this person is great at purchasing just the right things for the family. What an individual!
Get this: he/she also gets up before the sun comes up (v. 15) to make breakfast. She even makes more than her family needs to give to others. I always joke that my wife makes cupcakes to anyone who just happens to walk in front of our house on the sidewalk (v. 20, cf. Gal. 6:9-10)!
This person makes great investments (v. 16) and then re-invests! She works out every day (v. 17). She has self-confidence and keeps working after the sun goes down (v. 18).
She doesn’t use this staff. She uses that staff. No, wait. She makes cloth wound from raw materials using an ancient machine with a spindle, aka, a “distaff” (v. 19).
She shovels snow and has been preparing the family with warm clothes made from her material from her spinning (vv. 21-22, cf. 19, 13). The scarlet and purple clothing in verses 21 and 22 are suggestive of high-quality duds.
Her husband hangs out at the gates of the city which is where the prominent leaders met (v. 23). I’ll bet her wife had some opinions to contribute. And it’d be a good idea for him to share them!
She makes some scratch on the side (v. 24a). I remember when I grew up, my mother retouches the negatives of photographs in the dark of our little coat closet. I think she did pretty well doing that. Now my wife makes more as a admin assistant in a year than I make in a career in the ministry!
She also belts peddlers from out of town (v. 24b).
Aren’t women something?
But just as the salesman for Ronco might say in his TV ads, “wait, . . . and there’s more!”
See the conclusion of this passage in tomorrow’s blog.
Choose Life: Scripture: Revelation 21:4 NASB “It’ll Just Be Heaven”
” . . . and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
The worst things I can imagine in life have to do with death. If there was no death, wouldn’t that relieve an awful lot of suffering in the world?
In the eternal state that we see in Revelation 21, there is no death. The thief who comes only to kill, and steal, and destroy is not around any more at this point. He’s been thrown in the Lake of Fire (cf. Rev. 20:10). Death and the holding tank for the unsaved dead, Hades, are also tossed in the Lake of Fire to burn forever (Rev. 20:14).
All things that cause bad relationships will be banished so there won’t be any mourning, crying or pain. Joyful Jesus will wipe any tear from our eyes. There won’t be tears in Heaven as the song has said. Someone said there is no crying in baseball but there will be no tears in Heaven. In fact, there probably won’t be any baseball! No one will be crying because no one will be losing!
Pure joy! It may be hard to imagine but that is what is described as the norm of life for believers in Heaven.
Sometimes when I get really depressed and think that things will never get better, I cheer myself up by thinking of how I’ll probably feel the next day. I’m usually cheerful the next day and wonder how I could have felt so bad the day before. That’s what the devil wants us to do, lose hope and think that things will never get better. But this verse says that no matter how bad we might feel on a given day, some day we will live in perfect joy.
If you’re feeling down today, think of how tomorrow everything may be completely different. And if they’re not, think of how someday you will be so happy that you won’t remember any pain, suffering, or problems on earth.
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
I had a professor that was a mentor for me. He said something I thought was pretty interesting one time. Well, more than once. He was my mentor after all. But one time he said he thought we wouldn’t remember anything negative in Heaven. In fact, he didn’t think we would remember our lives down here at all. That was an astonishing statement.
Recently, I asked him about it to make sure I had heard him right. He said it was an inference from Scripture and that he might be wrong but it made sense to him. It makes sense to me, too. Paul said, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead” (Phil. 3:13). Even God says He won’t remember our sins (cf. Jer. 31:34; Heb. 8:12, 10:17).
So if Paul forgot his previous sins and God forgets our sins, will we be able to remember our sinful lives on earth?
It’s certainly something to think about. If you’re concerned that we won’t won’t recognize our loved ones in Heaven, I’d just say that God can work that all out.
It’s good to think that somehow there will nothing but joy in Heaven whatever that means. And it probably means we won’t remember any of our sin down here.
To think about that, for me, is a blessing.
I think it will be for you, too.
So think about it!
The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: A City From A Hill