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Verse 1

Malachi 3:1. Behold, &c. To silence the cavils of unbelievers, spoken of in the last verse of the preceding chapter, the prophet here foretels the coming of the Messiah, who should set things in order; and of his harbinger, who should prepare men for his reception. I will send my messenger It is God who speaks here, for John the Baptist, who is here intended, was God’s messenger, and had his commission from heaven and not of men, Matthew 21:25-26; being sent by the same divine authority by which the prophets were sent, and for the same purposes, namely, to call men to repentance and reformation; and he shall prepare the way before me Before Jehovah, the fulness of whose Godhead dwelt in Christ bodily. Whoever compares this verse with Isaiah 40:3, &c., will easily see that both passages speak of the same person. The messenger here spoken of as sent to prepare the way before the Lord, who is described as coming immediately after this his forerunner, is represented in Isaiah as preparing the way of the Lord, who is spoken of as coming, and his glory as just ready to be revealed, Malachi 3:5-9. Both passages, according to the evangelists, were intended of John the Baptist, and indeed are applicable to no other person whatever. He is promised under the name of Elias in the following chapter, whom all the Jews, both ancient and modern, expected should come as the forerunner of the Messiah. This messenger, or prophet, (see the note on chap. Malachi 2:7,) here represented as the Lord’s harbinger, was to be as much inferior to the Lord himself, as servants are to a great person, of whose arrival they give notice. This John himself often confessed, Matthew 3:11; John 1:26; John 3:28; and so much appears by the following words. Instead of the reading here, which is the literal translation of the Hebrew, we read in three places of the New Testament, (see the margin,) I send my messenger before thy face to prepare thy way before thee, namely, before the Messiah, to prepare his way before him; the Messiah acting in the name of his Father, the Father being in him and he in the Father, John 14:10-11. John prepared the way of Christ by calling men to the practice of those duties which would qualify them for the reception of the blessings of the Messiah’s kingdom; and by taking them off from all confidence in their relation to Abraham as their father, which they thought would ensure the favour of God to them without a Saviour; and by giving them notice that the Messiah was now at hand, and so raising their expectation of him that they might readily enter into his measures for the setting up of his kingdom in the world.

And the Lord, whom ye seek That promised Lord or Shiloh, of whom you have such great expectations, and whose coming you so much desire; and who, if you obey him, will bring the greatest good to your state, and will also make foreign nations partakers of your blessings; shall suddenly come That is, soon after the messenger, or unawares, as Christ’s first coming was, and second will be; to his temple The second temple at Jerusalem, lately built by Zerubbabel and Joshua. All the Jews, before the birth of Christ, firmly believed that the Messiah was to come into that very temple, according to what the Prophet Haggai had expressly declared, Haggai 2:8. The word here rendered Lord, אדון , is the same that is used by David, Psalms 110:1, where he calls the Messiah his Lord, and properly means a basis, or foundation, and also a proprietor, and governor. It is a term peculiarly proper to Christ, who is at once the foundation and governor of his church, and was the Lord of that temple in which he was to make his appearance. Even the messenger [or angel ] of the covenant A phrase, says Secker, found nowhere else in Scripture. “It may mean the person by whose intervention the covenant is made, or by whom a covenant proposed by one party is sent to the other.” The same person is meant who is termed the angel of God’s presence, Isaiah 63:9; who delivered the law upon mount Sinai, as St. Stephen speaks, Acts 7:38, and as the apostle’s words imply, Hebrews 12:25-26. He is both the revealer and mediator of the new covenant, which the prophets foretold would take place under the Messiah, Jeremiah 31:31; Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 55:3; even that blessed one that was sent from heaven to negotiate a peace and settle a correspondence between God and man; commissioned from his Father to bring man home to God by a covenant of grace, who had revolted from him by the violation of the covenant of innocence. By his mediation this covenant is procured and established; and though he is the prince of the covenant, as some read the clause here, yet he condescended to be the messenger of it, that we might, upon his word, have the fullest assurance of God’s goodwill to man. Whom ye delight in Whose coming ye so much desire, the time of it being the subject of your earnest inquiry and diligent search, and the expectation of it your comfort and delight. Behold, he shall come The promise is repeated, and that in the name of the Lord of hosts, to give the fullest assurance of its accomplishment. There were few among the Jews who did not please themselves to think of the Messiah’s coming, though from various motives; the pious among them doubtless expecting spiritual blessings, such as a further revelation of God’s will, and larger communications of his grace and Spirit; but the great bulk of the nation looking for mere worldly advantages under a temporal kingdom, which they expected he would set up.

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