For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
There are three reasons why Christ has received this name, "The Sun of Righteousness."
I. He gives Light. He lived in the world and was the Sun of the world. The great and wise of every land—poets, philosophers, inventors, teachers—may be compared to the stars, but He alone is the Sun. Why? Because He brought knowledge to us infinitely greater and more precious than all other knowledge besides. He made God manifest to men. He revealed the means of saving the soul from death. He discovered to men a new world—the better land above the stars.
II. He gives Life. He is the life of the soul. Sin is its death. Sin is like the frost which withers and desolates the land. But Christ is like the summer sun that drives the cold away, and restores life and beauty to the dead earth. He releases our souls from the mortal hold of sin, and bids them live.
III. He gives Joy. Darkness has always been the symbol of sorrow, and sunshine of joy. Christ is the Sun of the soul, because He fills it with joy. There is no joy in the world like that which Christ gives. How does Christ give joy? It is by giving love and by giving salvation. Not only does He shine on those who love Him in this world, but He stands in the zenith of the better world and floods it for evermore with joy.
J. Stalker, The New Song, p. 105.
References: Malachi 4:2.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xvii., No. 1020; vol. xxv., No. 1463; Ibid., My Sermon Notes: Ecclesiastes to Malachi, p. 390; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xi., p. 217; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. i., p. 88; Preacher's Monthly, vol. v., p. 360.
I. Some points of resemblance between Moses and Elijah in their respective histories. (1) Moses and Elijah were both witnesses for God in a wicked age. They were confessors in their generation. (2) They were both summoned to a mountain, and there conversed with God. (3) Both of these prophets were endued with power to sustain an extraordinary fast of forty days; herein prefiguring the fast of our Blessed Lord in the wilderness. (4) Their miracles of power resembled one another. (5) In the manner of their departure from the world, there were points of resemblance. They were both forewarned of their departure; they were found of God in the midst of their work, and heard His call and went on their way till they were taken by Him; and after their translation their bodies could nowhere be found.
II. Why did Moses and Elijah appear on the mountain beside the Lord? The obvious answer will be, that the Law and the Prophets, as represented respectively by them, might witness to the Gospel. The law, in itself so good, may become a dead letter; and if it be revived by the Prophets, it cannot convey life. Our nature needs a living Saviour, ever living, ever present; not a Law to obey, nor a Prophet to hear, but a living person to fear, to love, to worship, in whom, it may lose itself, and crown itself with His own glory.
III. But to conclude with a few remarks on the practical influence of this scene upon ourselves. Perhaps the thought of heaven is the point of highest light in our hearts; but after all is it more than a point? The details of this life are almost infinite. How small in proportion is the space filled up by the thought of the life to come! Look at Moses on the mount. His life on earth was long and varied. And his apparition with Christ in glory, how short it was, how briefly told, a point of high light indeed, but only a point. And yet as every heart will own, that moment with his Lord in glory, comprised all his life. So will it be with you. Your life on earth seems long, and all its cares and interests a great matter. Nevertheless, you are really nothing, but what you are in God; in a sense far more profound than most of us feel, when we lightly use the words, "In Him we live and move and have our being."
C. W. Furse, Sermons Preached at Richmond, p. 189; see also Anglican Pulpit Today, p. 72; C. Kingsley, Sermons for the Times, p. 1.
References: Malachi 4:5.—G. Moberly, Brightstone Sermons, p. 244. Malachi 4:5, Malachi 4:6.—J. Fraser, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxi., p. 401.
Malachi 4:6(Revelation 22:21)
It is, of course, only an accident that these words close the Old and the New Testaments. In the Hebrew Bible Malachi's prophecies do not stand at the end; but he was the last of the Old Testament prophets, and after him, there were "four centuries of silence." I venture, then, to look at these significant closing words of the two Testaments as conveying the spirit of each, and suggesting some thoughts about the contrast and the harmony and the order that subsist between them.
I. Notice, the apparent contrast and the real harmony and unity of these two texts. In the first text we have distinctly gathered up the spirit of millenniums of Divine revelation, all of which declare this one thing—that, as certainly as there is a God, every transgression and disobedience receives, and must receive, its just recompense of reward. And then turn to the other, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all." What has become of the thunder? All melted into dewy rain of love and pity and compassion. The Apostolic benediction is the declaration of the Divine purpose, and the inmost heart and loftiest meaning of all the words which, from the beginning, God hath spoken is that His condescending, pardoning, self-bestowing mercy, may fall upon all hearts, and gladden every soul. So there seems to emerge, and there is, a very real significant contrast. But beneath the contrast there is a real harmony, for nowhere are there more tender utterances and sweeter revelations of a Divine mercy than in that ancient Law with its attendant prophets. And nowhere, through all the thunderings and lightnings of Sinai, are there such solemn words of retribution as dropped from the lips of the Incarnate Love.
II. Notice the relation of the grace to the punishment. (1) Is it not love which proclaims judgment? Are not the words of my first text, if you take them all, merciful, however they wear a surface of threatening? "Lest I come." He speaks that He may not come, and declares the issue of sin in order that that issue may never need to be experienced by us that listen to Him. (2) The grace is manifested in bearing punishment and in bearing it away by bearing it.
III. Notice the alternative which these texts open for us. You must have either the destruction or the grace. And, more wonderful still, the same coming of the same Lord will be—to one man the destruction, and to another the manifestion and reception of His perfect grace.
A. Maclaren, Christian Commonwealth, Nov. 25th, 1886.
Reference: Malachi 4:6.—W. G. Horder, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xix., p. 243.
But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.
Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. THE END OF THE PROPHETS.