A Purifying Fire – Malachi 3

The prophet Malachi foretold of a day when God Himself would appear at the temple in Jerusalem.  This would happen a first time when Jesus Christ was born of Mary to share the good news of the coming kingdom of God and to offer Himself as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world.

This will happen a second time when Jesus returns as King of that kingdom, to rule and reign over a purified earth, as foretold by multiple Old Testament prophets.

Malachi saw both future events, but as with what sometimes happens with two mountains, one closer and one distant, both events appeared to him as one.

1 “See, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire—see, He is coming,” says the Lord of Hosts.

But who can endure the day of His coming? And who will be able to stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner’s fire and like cleansing lye. He will be like a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. And the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will please the Lord as in days of old and years gone by.  Malachi 3:1-4 (HCSB)

John the Baptist, another subject of Malachi’s prophecies, would further elaborate on what Messiah will do when He comes:

11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but the One who is coming after me is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to remove His sandals. He Himself will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing shovel is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn. But the chaff He will burn up with fire that never goes out.”  Matthew 3:11-12 (HCSB)

We still live in the age of grace that was begun with Christ’s appearance as He offered the supreme sacrifice on the cross for all believers, dying in our place and rising again for our eternal life.  Those who reject Him and God’s ways to choose wickedness will be dealt with consequences when Christ returns.  Jesus discussed this in the parable of the wheat and the weeds.

24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” Matthew 13:30 (ESV)

Jesus went on to explain the meaning of the parable to His disciples.

37 He replied: “The One who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world; and the good seed—these are the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 Therefore, just as the weeds are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather from His kingdom everything that causes sin and those guilty of lawlessness. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Anyone who has ears should listen!  Matthew 13:37-43 (HCSB)

The people represented by the wheat seek to live in righteousness but those represented by the weeds choose wickedness, rejecting the generous outreach of God and instead tormenting and leading the wheat astray.  All people have sinned and done selfish things, but God offers a remedy through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. The window of God’s grace is open to all, but scripture tells us that the window will close at Christ’s return, and the time to turn away from evil is now.

Two years ago, a good friend of mine was taking a shower when he received a word of knowledge in his spirit from the Lord.  (For some reason, it does seem that the Lord likes to speak to people when they are in the shower.)

The word spoken into his spirit was: “Let both the wheat and the weeds grow together until the harvest, which works if someone is planting and attending to the wheat”.  After he told me about it, I borrowed it as a theme for this series of meditative studies.  I pray that God is using these writings to do both planting of and tending to the wheat for His kingdom harvest.

May the purifying fire of Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit burn away all of the worthless chaff in our lives and bring us closer to Him as we walk through our life’s journey.


Psalm 1 warns us that the way of wickedness has its natural consequences and wicked company is something that we must seek to avoid.

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,

Not so the wicked!
    They are like chaff
    that the wind blows away.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.  Psalm 1:1,4,6 (NIV)

Father God, help us to reject those who would tempt us towards wickedness, and to choose company with those who build up our faith and lead us to live a better, more holy life.  Teach us patience, love, and forgiveness towards all those You have placed around us.  We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

%d bloggers like this: