Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom you seek…
1. John the Baptist as a kind of connecting link between the law and the Gospel. He displayed much of the austerity of the prophets of old. He may be said to have taught that the law was about to be swept away as a covenant of works; there was not to be introduced any system but one of strict and self-denying morality As he preached a baptism of repentance, and not one of mere ceremonial purification, it became evident that the long twilight of figure and type was about to be succeeded by the clear day of spiritual and heart work religion. John occupied a most singular position: commissioned neither to enforce the law nor to proclaim the Gospel. He may be called a man of two worlds. He stood mysteriously between the law and the Gospel, being neither instructed to marshal the shadows nor privileged to exhibit the substance. And yet with all this John was not ignorant of the atoning sacrifice which Jesus was to offer. From the lips of John flowed the first announcement of an expiatory sacrifice. "Behold the Lamb of God." But the preaching of the Gospel includes a vast deal more than the showing forth of the doctrine of the dying Redeemer. Upon this doctrine, as a foundation, rests every other; but the superstructure is not to be confounded with the foundation. Christ must be preached as a risen, a living, and a glorified Saviour. John was a messenger sent to prepare Christ's way. But in every case the herald of an illustrious personage announces but part of the business on which that personage comes.
2. Notice the titles here given to Christ: "the Lord" (Adonai), and the "Messenger of the covenant." There is much in the latter title which has to do with the offices of Christ. His special business was, enacting a fresh covenant between God and the human race. The only covenant God could make is one whereby He promises blessings and at the same time prescribes conditions. The whole drawing up of the covenant must be, so to speak, with God. God proposes it, and the only thing which man can have to do is merely to embrace it.
(Henry Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
WEB: "Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, behold, he comes!" says Yahweh of Armies.