Malachi 3:2
But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner's fire, like a launderer's soap.
Before the Son of ManHenry Schell Lobingier.Malachi 3:2
Christ's Second ComingE. Cooper.Malachi 3:2
Divine ManifestationsW. Osborne Lilley.Malachi 3:2
Solemn QuestionsHomilistMalachi 3:2
The Appearing of ChristMalachi 3:2
The Coming of Christ and the Purification of the ChurchVen. Archd. Whately, M. A.Malachi 3:2
The Coming of Christ not the Same Thing to AllHome MagazineMalachi 3:2
The Coming of the LordBishop of Carlisle.Malachi 3:2
The Day of Christ's ComingJames Parsons.Malachi 3:2
The Severe Side of Messiah's MissionR. Tuck Malachi 3:2
The Solemnities of the Last Great DayJohn Natt, B. D.Malachi 3:2
Christ as a Spiritual ReformerD. Thomas Malachi 3:1-4
Christ's ComingJ. Jowett, M. A.Malachi 3:1-6
Did Jesus Come AgainCanon Charles Kingsley.Malachi 3:1-6
England's Ideal Future, and Our Duty with Regard to ItA. J. Griffith.Malachi 3:1-6
Messiah and His ForerunnerHenry Melvill, B. D.Malachi 3:1-6
Messiah's MessengerSermons by Monday ClubMalachi 3:1-6
My MessengerThe ThinkerMalachi 3:1-6
Purifying Through the Lord's ComingS. C. Kapff.Malachi 3:1-6
The Advent of ChristG. Preston.Malachi 3:1-6
The Appearance of the Great DelivererBishop Horsley.Malachi 3:1-6
The Coming of MessiahWilliam Jay.Malachi 3:1-6
The Lord Coming to His TempleC. Bradley, M. A.Malachi 3:1-6
The Lord's Coming to His TempleStephen Jenner, M. A.Malachi 3:1-6
The Messenger of the Covenant Delighted InHon. and Rev. B. W. Nod, M. A.Malachi 3:1-6
Like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap. It is usually shown that the triumphant side of Messiah's mission wholly occupied the mind of the Jews, and that consequently the stern, judgment side needed to be presented vigorously. But some recent accounts of the actual condition of Jewish thought in the first century suggest that the fears of Messiah's time were so extravagant that they needed to be corrected and qualified. The stern things of the Gospels are mild and reasonable when compared with the extravagant fears of the people. "The people looked forward with dread to the coming of the Messianic era. They were afraid of seeing the war of Gog and Magog, which the scribes predicted as its precursor. They looked for fearful calamities. Rabbi Eliezar ben Abena said, 'When ye shall see nations rising up one against the other, then look for Messiah to follow. In the weeks of years in which the Son of David shall come, there will be in the first year abundance of rain upon one city, and drought upon another. In the second year the arrows of famine will go abroad. In the third there will be a great famine, and men, women, and children will die, as well as the saints and the rich; and there will be a judgment of forgetfulness upon those that study the Law. In the fourth there will be abundance for some and barrenness for others. In the fifth a great abundance; and they shall eat, drink, and rejoice, and the Law shall he again held in honour, among those who teach it. In the sixth year voices will be heard. In the seventh wars will break out, and at the end of the seventh the Son of David will appear'" It was as necessary to correct these delusions as those which pictured a triumphant earthly conqueror. The severity must be fully recognized as a moral, not material, severity.

I. MESSIAH WORKS TO REVEAL EVIL. This his very presence does. Put a foul thing beside a pure thing, and the pure thing shows and intensifies the foulness. Let God show, in a man's human life among men, what he requires and what he can accept, and wherever that man goes he is sure to bring evil to light. Christ is doing that work still.

II. MESSIAH WORKS TO PUNISH EVIL. "All judgment is committed unto the Son" But the sphere of the punishment is moral and spiritual. Christ never asked the secular arm to carry out his condemnations.

III. MESSIAH WORKS TO DELIVER FROM EVIL. This is indicated in his work as Refiner. He is getting the metal freed from the dross. Much of our evil is not us, only attached to us, blended with us, a bondage of us.

IV. MESSIAH WORKS TO CLEANSE FROM EVIL. This is indicated in the soap figure. The evil is conceived of as in us, and as having to be got out by the severe processes of the fuller, or washer, by pounding. - R.T.

But who may abide the day of His coming?
Look at this subject in two points of view.

I. AS A QUESTION OF SOLEMN REMONSTRANCE. That the Lord has come, we know; that the Lord will come, we profess to believe. The Scripture tells us much about that coming, but leaves much that is uncertain. One thing is clear — the return is to be sudden. But the very suddenness of that return teaches us that when the time comes

for the Lord's appearing, then the time of preparation is past. When our blessed Lord does come suddenly, He returns for judgment; no nice distinctions will then be drawn; party spirit must then sleep, and sleep for ever. Then shall it be seen who have worshipped God in spirit and in truth. A difference, however, will be made, absolute and relative — absolute to the right or to the left — relative, for we know there are degrees in glory. At the Lord's coming no secret shall be hidden, the mere outward appearance of religion will be unavailing. Then we shall learn who can abide His coming. There is a true and a false profession: and then the false profession will be detected, the veil of hypocrisy will be rent, and the mere formal hypocrite will be made known to all. It seems that the very teacher may then be lost. Then search and see whether there is Christian practice with the Christian profession. Those who have crowded together to hear the Word of God will then be detected.

II. AS AN APPEAL TO OUR CHRISTIAN CONFIDENCE. The Apostle says that some can stand in that day. Who? The real Christian alone: the man who has the Spirit of the living God dwelling in his heart. What is your preparation for eternity? Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is essential. The man that stands now, stands by faith. The man that does not trust Christ — I care not what his morality may be, I speak of him as one weighed in the balances of eternity.

(Bishop of Carlisle.)


1. The certainty of that event. That. Christ will come is a point on which we are not left to doubt and conjecture. We have the plainest testimony which words could give (Acts 1:11).

2. The manner of it. It will be glorious. The first coming was in all outward meanness and humiliation. The second is to be "the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour." His coming will be sudden.

3. The purpose and consequences of it. In His state of humiliation Christ came as a Saviour; when He comes in glory, He will come as a Judge.

II. ANSWER THE SOLEMN QUESTION OF THE TEXT. "Who may abide the day-of His coming? " Who will be able to bear that severe and close inquiry which will then be made into our lives and characters?

1. Those who will not be able to abide. Every open and habitual sinner. The worldly man, who has made the world his god, and has set up his idols in his heart. The hypocrite, who has the form of godliness, but is without the power of it. The man who is self-righteous, and trusts to his own merits and strength.

2. Those who will abide. The humble, penitent, believing Christian, a character widely differing from every other. His ground of confidence in that day will not be his innocence. He will claim an interest in the death of Christ. His penitence, his uprightness, his secret striving with sin, his useful life, his godly motives will be brought in evidence of the soundness and reality of his faith. The Judge Himself will own him as a friend.

(E. Cooper.)

The coming of Christ was the trial-test of the world. Men never needed Him more; were never less prepared to receive Him. It was the age of force. Society was not in a condition to hear Christ favourably. We say the time was ripe for His coming. As to necessity, yes; as to preparation, no. This was the "historical" day of Christ. Few were able to abide it. Few could stand when He appeared.

I. RIGID REQUIREMENTS OF HIS STANDARD. Christ's coming is represented as attended by healing, comfort, and blessing. An era of peace and goodwill. But these results were not immediate. God's promises are conditional. It is not easy to live by Christ's standard. What is the nature of these requirements?

1. Consecration, which implies self-surrender. The doctrine of the Cross is but faintly understood to-day.

2. Purity. Involves thought of the heart, speech, actions. Christ raised the white standard of chastity higher than ever before.

3. Non-resistance. Must not give blow for blow. Overcome evil with good.

4. Forgiveness of injury. We are actually to love our enemies. Must pray for them, and do them good.

II. DUTY OF STANDING BEFORE HIM. Christ does not judge the world in person to-day. Does this through the Gospel. Christ is the great refiner of men. It is our duty to stand before Him.

1. Because He is the only perfect standard.

2. Because it is the only way to secure His favour.

3. Because by this we reach our proper place. To hate sin, and love the sinning one — this is a Christlike prerogative. To separate the one from the other — this is a Christlike work. To stand before the Son of Man implies —

(1)That your life is in harmony with His.

(2)Watching and prayer.

(3)His favour and Divinest blessing.

(Henry Schell Lobingier.)


1. A false security. Jews thought they were ready for Messiah. The prophet sees them to be self willed, dreaming of their own notions rather than desiring God's truth. Religion only nominal.

2. The coming judgment.

3. A call to prepare.

II. THEY CONVINCE US OF — Indifference, worldliness, indolence, self-indulgence. We need God's call, the prophet's appeal. Christ is coming: are we ready to meet Him? to be examined and tested by Him?

III. HOW ARE WE TO REPLY? We are at first struck dumb. None can stand. So says conscience, experience, observation, Scripture. Then the Gospel message of forgiveness and salvation comes to us in the person of Him who was " presented in the temple" in our nature unto God, and is the Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. In Jesus we find our refuge, our hope, our holiness, our home.


I. THERE IS A MOMENTOUS PERIOD FOR MAN TO ANTICIPATE. The distinguishing characteristics of that day are —

1. It will be a day on which the Lord will visibly and personally appear in the presence of the universe.

2. It will be a day on which the Lord, by His coming, will perform great and wondrous acts. Note the inevitable certainty of that day.

II. THERE IS A MOMENTOUS QUESTION FOR MAN TO CONSIDER. "Who may abide the day of His coming?"

1. This inquiry shall be vindicated. Our right to press and urge this inquiry is as valid as was the right of the prophets of old. On what is our right founded?(1) On the nature of the commission which we have received in the ministry of the Lord.(2) Upon a just estimate of the value of your intelligent and immortal spirits.(3) Upon a just conviction of the fact, that while in a state of impenitent and unbelieving sin, you are in danger.

2. This inquiry is to be applied. To the infidel, the sensualist, the worldling, the Pharisee, the hypocrite.

3. This inquiry is to be advised upon.(1) To embrace from the heart the appointed method of preparation for the day of the Lord's coming.(2) To embrace this method of preparation without procrastination or delay. Consider the importance of the matter at issue; the hardening influence of sin, while there is delay; and the uncertainties of human life.

(James Parsons.)

These words of the prophet relate immediately to the first advent. They naturally lead our thoughts to the second advent.


1. The actual coming of the Lord, or His appearance in His human nature.(1) This revelation of Jesus Christ will be visible to the universal assembly of the human race.(2) It will be unspeakably glorious.

2. The resurrection of the dead. The bodies of the unnumbered millions, who through succeeding ages have inhabited the globe, wherever laid, or however consumed, will be restored to life, and reunited to their immortal souls; that, with them, they may participate their happiness or misery.

3. The general judgment. "The books shall be opened." The book of the Divine law: of God's omniscience; the book of life.

4. The assignment of an endless doom. Our departure into everlasting punishment, or our admission into life eternal.


1. The profane scoffer will not be able to abide that day.

2. Neither will that numerous class of persons, who live in the habitual practice of open and flagrant sin, be able to stand before the Judge.

3. Nor that more respectable class who, nevertheless, are wholly devoted to the world.

4. Nor those who pay attention to the duties of religion in a proud and self-complacent spirit.

5. Nor those who acknowledge that salvation is of. grace, but forget that we are created in Christ Jesus "unto good works." They insist much on faith, but are lamentably deficient in its fruits. Who then may abide the day of His coming? Only the Christian who is worthy of the name. The man absolved by the Judge is one who, condemned by himself for his transgressions, has deeply repented and sought pardon on the ground of Christ's meritorious obedience unto the death of the Cross, and works out his salvation with fear and trembling.

(John Natt, B. D.)

Scepticism abounded, but no moral gloom could deaden the prophet's faith. God, whose authority was contemned, would reveal Himself.

I. DIVINE MANIFESTATIONS ARE SEARCHING. If God were fully to disclose Himself no flesh could live. Veiled in material glory, His ancient saints found it difficult to bear His appearing. The manifestation of God in Christ, though veiled in the weakness of human flesh, was not easy to bear. Men felt it as a piercing light. Corrupt and oppressive rulers, selfish and self-satisfied moralists, hypocritical religionists, and ruthless evil-doers could not bear His presence. Some could bear His coming, and stand when He appeared. They were those —

1. Who were willing to feel, confess, and turn from their sinfulness.

2. Those who were sincerely waiting for His coming, as Simeon.

3. Those who had within them true faith, or spiritual receptiveness, as the Roman centurion and the Syrophenician woman. These could bear the most searching day in the world's history, when the Lord appeared among men.

II. DIVINE MANIFESTATIONS ARE SEPARATING. He is "like a refiner's fire." The appearance of the Lord on the earth tested and separated men. Society was then like seething, molten metal. The good were revealed and refined; the bad, like recrement, were separated from them, to be cast away. In His presence men discovered of what sort they were, and ranged themselves for Him or against Him. As fire, His Spirit still tests and separates men. Fire has been by several nations regarded as a symbol of the Deity. As a Divine heat, enkindling shame, disgust, and remorse at our failures and sins. He will not consume us, but our impurities.

1. That we have much dross in our natures need not lead us to despair.

2. We should be thankful that God manifests Himself to us as a refining heat.

3. We should seek for continued manifestations of God to our souls.

III. DIVINE MANIFESTATIONS ARE CLEANSING OR DESTROYING. He is like "fuller's soap." The fuller's trade was one well-known in Judaea. White garments were worn by the Jews on all festive occasions; these the fuller cleansed from all stains, and whitened them by rubbing them with a kind of marl. Creta limolia was probably the earth most commonly used. His soap (borith) was a vegetable alkali obtained from numerous plants, such as the Salsola huli, the Ajram, the Gilloo, and a heath which grows abundantly in the neighbourhood of Joppa. If a garment could not bear the work of the fuller, it was destroyed by it. So the coming of Christ would either cleanse men or hasten their destruction. Christ Himself is the cleansing power. He can wash out the most inveterate stains. None but He can cleanse men. If men will not bear His cleansing, their corruptions will destroy them. All Divine manifestations are essentially the same. There is one yet in the future for mankind. He who came in lowliness to redeem men will come in awful majesty to fix their doom. Who may abide that day of His coming? Who will be able to stand then? Only those who could have borne His first advent — the contrite, the sincere, the believing.

(W. Osborne Lilley.)

Thoughts suggested by the day. As Christ was presented pure in the temple, so it should be our prayer that by His blood and righteousness, and by the sanctifying power of His Spirit, we may be presented unto God by Him, at the last day, pure and spotless. We will consider —


I. John the Baptist prepared the way for that event —

(1)By giving warning that it was near at hand.

(2)By calling men to repent.

2. Christ is called ' the messenger of the covenant," because that covenant began to be spoken by Him (Hebrews 2:3). He who was also the prince of the covenant, condescended to be its messenger.

3. "Whom ye delight in." Christ is called "the desire of all nations." (Haggai 2:7); but especially was He the desire of the Jewish nation, because He was especially promised to them, and was to be one of themselves.

II. WHO MAY ABIDE THE DAY OF HIS COMING? Not the hypocrite, not the formalist, not the self-righteous, not the lukewarm Laodicean, not the stony-ground hearer who is ashamed when tribulation or persecution because of the Word ariseth; but he who can endure the refiner's fire and the fuller's soap.


1. By this process He will purify His visible Church, by sifting and testing it.

2. He will purify His own people by purging them.

3. The refiner of silver always sits, in order that he may watch the silver carefully; for if it be a minute too long or too short a time in the fire, the whole is spoiled, or at least injured. The sign which tells him when the silver is fit for use is his being able to see in it his own image. All this is a picture of the manner in which Christ purifies His people by trial, and of the end which He aims at.

(Ven. Archd. Whately, M. A.)

This truth was once brought out in an unusual manner at a gathering of literary men. After some general conversation it occurred to them to speculate how they would feel were certain of the illustrious dead suddenly to appear in their midst. "Think," said one, "if Homer were to enter this room, or Dante! How should we meet them? Or suppose," exclaimed another, "Milton or Shakespeare were to come?" "We should stand in profound respect; we should honour the great seers and singers of the past." "Ah," added one who had not yet spoken, "and if Jesus Christ stood before us? That would be wholly different," was the instant and united response; "He is above all. We should fall down on our knees and do homage to God's Son and man's Saviour."

Home Magazine.
Did you ever hear the sound of the trumpets which are blown before the judges as they come to a city to open the assizes? How different the feelings of the different people who hear the sound. The innocent man against whom there is no charge hears them unmoved. But the poor wretch waiting his trial in yonder cell, they tell him the day of his trial has arrived. Soon he will stand at the bar of justice, and receive his sentence. So will it be when Jesus comes; some will rejoice, but others will be afraid to meet Him.

(Home Magazine.)

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