Sunday, February 24, 2008

McWorship...The Best Is Yet To Come

Sunday we concluded our McWorship series as we saw the final key word from the book of Malachi that helps us to be an authentic worshipper of God in the fast food culture in which we live. We saved the best word for last. It is the word HOPE. No matter what the circumstances are that we face, authentic worship realizes that for the believer in Jesus, the best is yet to come. In the closing verses of this last Old Testament book the prophet describes for us a day of burning, a day of healing, and a day of preparing.

When Malachi speaks of the day of burning, he says that the day is coming. He is speaking of the Day of the Lord which describes the second coming of Christ. What will this day be like? It will be a day of burning. The idea is one of fierce heat (Psalm 21:9). In the Old Testament divine judgment is frequently represented by the figure of fire or burning (Isaiah 4:4; 47:14). This is a fire that is second to none (Isaiah 2:10-19). Who is this day directed to? It is directed to the arrogant and every evil doer (see Malachi 3:13-15 and Jude 15-16). What will be the result of this day? The wicked will be chaff (stubble…dried up hay or grass). Like stubble, the wicked will be easily consumed. Like stubble, the wicked will be utterly consumed. Malachi states that it will leave them neither root nor branch (two extremes of the tree). This is not speaking of eternal annihilation as some religious groups teach. This is speaking of physical judgment. Beyond this there will still be an eternal judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). When will this day take place? The Day of the Lord begins immediately after the rapture of the church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) and includes the many judgments of the 7-year tribulation period. The Day of the Lord culminates with Christ’s return to the earth at the end of the tribulation to set up His 1,000 year Kingdom on earth (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).

But the day of burning for some is also a day of healing for others. The contrast is made between light from fire and light from the sun. Along with being a day of burning for the wicked, the Day of the Lord will also be a day of healing for those who fear His name (as seen in Malachi 3:16-18). God’s people will be spiritually restored and renewed. For the believer, the best is yet to come. The word picture is like claves enjoying open pasture after being penned up in the stall. The righteous coming out on top is a direct answer to the question asked by Israel in Malachi 3:14.

With this in mind, it is also a day of preparing. What should we do in response as followers of the Messiah? First, we must remember the Law of Moses (v4). Second, we must be prepared for the coming of Elijah (v5-6). The prophecy of Elijah coming was most likely fulfilled through John the Baptist (Matthew 11:7-10) though some believe that it will be fulfilled through the two witnesses of the tribulation seen in Revelation 11. Third, we must welcome the Messiah. And with this exhortation, the Old Testament revelation comes to an end. For the next 400 years there would be divine silence. The next revelation from God would be to announce the birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah who would end the curse of sin that entered the world back in Genesis and ensure for every child of God that the best is yet to come!

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