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Malachi chapter 2 verses 1-9 A commandment for the priests

A commandment to the Priests

"And now, O priests, this commandment is for you. (2) If you will not hear, And if you will not take it to heart, To give glory to My name," Says the LORD of hosts, "I will send a curse upon you, And I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed them already, Because you do not take it to heart. (3) "Behold, I will rebuke your descendants And spread refuse on your faces, The refuse of your solemn feasts; And one will take you away with it. (4) Then you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you, That My covenant with Levi may continue," Says the LORD of hosts. (5) "My covenant was with him, one of life and peace, And I gave them to him that he might fear Me; So he feared Me And was reverent before My name. (6) The law of truth was in his mouth, And injustice was not found on his lips. He walked with Me in peace and equity, And turned many away from iniquity. (7) "For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, And people should seek the law from his mouth; For he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. (8) But you have departed from the way; You have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi," Says the LORD of hosts. (9) "Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base Before all the people, Because you have not kept My ways But have shown partiality in the law." Malachi 2:1-9 (NKJV)

Introduction

We open with the subject of Malachi's words for this section: "And now, O priests, this commandment is for you. So we see this is admonition to the priests. As we look into these verses I need you to remember of who we are in God's eyes. We find in 1 Peter 2:9 that Peter tells the Christians: But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light, or John tells us in Revelation 5:10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth." The words are no less important to us today, than to the priests of Malachi's day. We also need to see that the thrust of our Scripture today reminds us of the verse in Revelation that says to the church at Ephesus: Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. We have also seen as we have read this passage the wrath of God on His own people had already happened and was going to continue. In fact God's wrath, is being trickled out (His final wrath will be with fire) and continues through to today for the Jewish people as we saw well exampled in the Second World War, and even today Jews are persecuted in various places around the world, and they have world powers that limits its land, and does not recognise the nation as God presented it way back in Joshua's time.

The Law

With these important aspects well in mind let us then look at this passage in depth. The priests were a particular people - Levites, one tribe especially chosen. If we do a little remedial work we can go back to the Pentateuch, the Books of Moses; that is the first five books to see what the priesthood is all about. With that knowledge we can understand why God is so angry with them, and why His wrath was being poured out, and why God uses such strong language as 'dung' being spread on their faces - their own waste. Knowing the Old Testament is paramount for the Christian, for Jesus Himself said:

" Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil. or assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20)

Knowing how and where God is coming from, and knowing these things written in the Old Testament, and how they should affect our lives today, is absolutely essential. Sure we don't need to stone the adulterer, or offer a burnt offering, but adultery remains a sin, covetousness is still a sin, as are every one of the ten commandments, and many of the other commandments are very practical in life - think of those rules as to whom one should not marry. So we need to know what it was to be a priest, for why should the standards be different, even if the practical application is different.

Leviticus 21:6 is probably as good a place as any to start. Here are the instructions to the priests in terms of their own behaviour:

They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God, for they offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and the bread of their God; therefore they shall be holy. Leviticus 21:6)

This was so important that just a few verses on we read at the opening of chapter 22:

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aaron and his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they do not profane My holy name by what they dedicate to Me: I am the Lord. Say to them: "Whoever of all your descendants throughout your generations, who goes near the holy things which the children of Israel dedicate to the Lord, while he has uncleanness upon him, that person shall be cut off from My presence: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 22:1-3)

Holiness of the Priests

Here we see strong words about being clean and being holy. We can translate that into righteousness. The priests needed to be holy. If they were made unclean in their day to day life, for example going near a dead body, then he was not to approach God. If he did so, he would be cut off. God even forbade a Levite who had a deformity to be a priest at the altar - a man blind or lame, who has a marred face or any limb too long (21:18) God looked for holy perfection. Here we see this in practical, visible attributes. I will not go into each item that would defile a priest, but you can see the picture here in these couple of verses, in their role as priests, there were set behaviours, patterns of living, and rituals. A little more on this shortly.

The other item of great interest found in Leviticus is this commandment: "Command the children of Israel that they bring to you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to make the lamps burn continually. Outside the veil of the Testimony, in the tabernacle of meeting, Aaron shall be in charge of it from evening until morning before the Lord continually; it shall be a statute forever in your generations. He shall be in charge of the lamps on the pure gold lampstand before the Lord continually. (24:2-4) Why is this so important? If we skip ahead a little in our passage we are looking at we see this: For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. How do these two verses match? I suspect you already have the answer on your own lips, but let Scripture teach us Scripture with this verse in Psalms: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105). The light was the Word of God, in this context the law, and the LORD's commandments. We know this because Proverbs tells us: For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life (6:23). The priest was responsible both literally and metaphorically to keep the lamps burning providing light at all times in the temple, as well as ensuring the law and commandments of the LORD was known by the people - always. We shall come back to this thought as well.

Levites - a Separate People

So we have a little insight into the relationship between the LORD and the priest. It was a relationship that was holy, and holiness was expressed physically through perfection of the body, and through staying clean by obeying the laws that instructed them as to what was clean, what was unclean, and how to cleanse themselves so that they became clean if sin, or the unfortunate occasion came upon them where they became unclean through touching something that defiled them. Further to this we know that they were a separate people, they had a specific job to do, they did not have lands, rather places within the various tribal sections to live, and they were a gift from God to the people:

Behold, I Myself have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel; they are a gift to you, given by the Lord, to do the work of the tabernacle of meeting. Therefore you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything at the altar and behind the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood to you as a gift for service, but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death." (Numbers 18:6-7)

In return, the Levites had a much higher level of responsibility towards God. We can read further in Numbers:

"Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting. Hereafter the children of Israel shall not come near the tabernacle of meeting, lest they bear sin and die. But the Levites shall perform the work of the tabernacle of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a statute forever, throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. (18:21-23)

The Levites were to bear the iniquity of the people, and their reward was twofold; they were to be given tithes by the people, and in the preceding verse (20) …the Lord said to Aaron: "You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel. God was their inheritance, they were special before God. Nothing else, no land wealth, not tribal borders, just God. A commentator from 1880, some of you may know him - C M Mackintosh writes this: Nothing can be more lovely than the picture here presented. The children of Israel were to bring their offerings and lay them at the feet of Jehovah, and He, in His infinite grace, commanded His workers to pick up these precious offerings - the fruits of His peoples devotedness - and feed upon them. In His own blessed presence, with thankful hearts. Thus the circle of blessing went round. God ministered to all the wants of His people, His people were privileged to share the rich fruits of His bounty with the priests and Levites, and these latter were permitted to taste the rare and exquisite pleasure of giving back to God of that which had flown from Him to them[1]. As an aside, Mackintosh notes that in today's church (read 1880) that we have lost that connection, that reliance on God. He states: It is truly deplorable to find God's people and Christ's servants looking to the world for support, and trembling at the thought of that support being withheld (think of today's socialist systems in which we live, and how we are now so used to it we think it normality)[2]!

You may be wondering if I have gone off the track, but I trust it will all tie itself back together as we understand today's message, that of the corrupt, failing, contemptible and base priest that Malachi was talking to. Before we return though, we must finish the thought above related to 'they shall bear their iniquity' found in the Numbers' verse. If we read Hebrews 9:5: Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. We immediately understand what bearing their iniquity is if the phrase is said of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Hebrews we see first in the actions of the Christ at the cross, or when we look prophetically at the actions on the cross as found in Isaiah: "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.“ (53:6) The instructions in the Book of Numbers has been moved from the priests to Christ. Spurgeon tells us: The Lord Jesus Christ would have been incapable of receiving the sin of all his people as their substitute had he been himself a sinner: but he was, as to his divine nature, worthy to be hymned as "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth;" and, as to his human nature, he was by miraculous conception free from all original sin, and in the holiness of his life he was such that he was the spotless Lamb of God, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, and therefore he was on all accounts capable of standing in the room, place, and stead of sinful men.[3]

Like me, you may wonder at the expectations of the Levites, but we have seen, they were not to approach the altar, or serve the Lord whilst impure. They were to serve the Lord in the same way Jesus Christ served His Father at the cross, in perfection, but bearing the sins of everyone. It was a tough gig. Jesus however, did it without ever having sinned, the Levites were given the ritual of cleansing and cleaning, so they could step from their day to day life, into the service of the LORD, when it was their turn (so not every day), and become pure in the sight of God, righteous (after they offered their own sacrifice for their own sins), to offer the sacrifices for the people. This was the expectation of the Levites, and still was the expectation when Malachi came calling. I trust you now see the importance of the having the context in which to place the few verses we have read today.

Condemnation of the Levites

As we have read, Malachi gives the message to the priests as a commandment. He gives it with a do or die statement:

If you will not hear, and if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to My name," says the Lord of hosts, "I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. (2:2)

We have read already of the blessings, their inheritance being the LORD Himself. The words here by Malachi provide the context to the 'complaint' (though this is a weak word) for God's message that He has for this group of people - that of giving glory to His name. We need to remember at all times that this is what it is all about: this Christianity, this life that we lead now.

If we return to Hebrews briefly to make the point from there, (as that book best covers the application today), with Christ as our High Priest, and we His priests, we read:

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20).

Here the glory is to Jesus Christ for ever and forever. That is well and good as Jesus Christ is part of the Trinity. He is God revealed - but think a little and we remember what Jesus said Himself, on His knees before the Father: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Dear believer, see how all this works, the Father is always glorified through the Son, and that is in this context within Hebrews, through the finished work. The Levitical priesthood was a type, the picture of what was to come. They had to meet this same expectation when serving the LORD, that of glorifying Him through their actions, in righteousness, with holiness, and bearing the iniquities of the people as the special people God had made them to be, with all the blessings that went with the position.

God through Malachi then states: Behold, I will rebuke your descendants and spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your solemn feasts; and one will take you away with it. Then you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My covenant with Levi may continue". We do not have time not go into the feasts, but there were seven of them, a sermon in each one. The feasts were described in Leviticus in these words: These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. (23:4) They were representations of aspects of Christ, they were a getting together of the people for both celebration, and remembrance - convocation in this verse means to gather the people together in the 'correct context', therefore the people were to be set apart to take place at the solemn feasts, away from mundane aspects of day to day living, from petty quarrels, selfish disputes and so forth, and meet in the context of being with God celebrating that which He defined as worthwhile celebrating - for His own glory and worship.

The feasts in order were: the Sabbath, the Passover, the feast of unleavened bread, the first-fruits, Pentecost, the feast of trumpets, the day of atonement, and the feast of the tabernacles. The Sabbath strictly speaking was on its own, a separate occasion to the other seven. I urge you to take a study of these. The Passover of course represented Christ's own death to come, the feast of the tabernacles is a representation of the Millennial reign, the first fruits is resurrection and so forth. The point made by God through Malachi here was that He God could not see that their solemn feasts were at all of the Lord - there was no setting apart. In fact, it was so repulsive to Him that He was threatening to spread the very refuse of the feast on their faces, which can be translated dung. Like we read in the New Testament: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23:27-28) the priests were all into ritual, presumably cleansing, for that was a thing one could do that looked good, and God was saying, I will make you filthy with your own dung, because inwardly, that is what you are - unclean, white washed tombs - filled with death, though white and bright on the outside.

Living a spiritual life?

If we look at our own lives in context, we need to understand this verse: Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23) We can see an order here. May your spirit, soul and body - that is the order. First spiritual things, then soul matters, then bodily matters. Where do I sit, do I sit with God in terms of spiritual life? If I do not have that right, the rest cannot follow. We cannot expect our bodies as such, (think lust, think covetousness, think the tongue, or gambling, or excessive drinking, the list goes on), we cannot expect our bodies to be serving God in a way that is visible to all as being godly, if we do not have the right spiritual connectedness with God. The church in Sardis was told: 'I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. (Revelation 2:1-3) Alive but dead. Today we are in a church building, we have taken of the elements, sung a few hymns, prayed, and read from Scripture, but are we alive? Are our works perfect before God, because if they are not, then it is the spiritual self that is flawed. How do we fix this problem?

The words to Sardis tells us - repent. Hold fast to that which we have, no matter how small it may be, so long as it is the truth, found in the Word, and repent of all else. Without repentance, there is what? No remission of sins! We cannot have a right relationship with God (spiritualness) when we are in sin, and have failed to, or refuse to repent. We know this because Paul tells us: be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:23) or:

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. (Romans 6:12-13)

We too have a special blessing - we are His children (Galatians 3:26), we are heirs (Romans 8:17), we are sons (2 Corinthians 6:18), and we are priests and kings(Revelation 5:10). Have we become like the priests of Malachi's day? Are we dead as in the church at Sardis? Are we no longer meeting the covenant of Levi, which was changed into the better covenant of which we read in Hebrews: He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all? (10:9-10) What is our state, as seen by the most High God? Should we be smeared in our own dung so that the world knows the true state of our hearts? I trust not, but in the church of today, there will be many who meet the same criteria as those that Malachi was talking to for judgement. Woe to them in the last days, as they will stand shamed before the Lord, saved as by fire (1 Corinthians 3:15), all rewards gone, their works burned up into smoke and ash, with no gold, silver or precious stones to gift to our saviour. We cannot think ourselves immune to this behaviour. We must be always on our guard, always wear the armour that God has provided, for we are warned: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Malachi then returns to the original covenant with Levi:

Then you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My covenant with Levi may continue," says the Lord of hosts. "My covenant was with him, one of life and peace, and I gave them to him that he might fear Me; so he feared Me and was reverent before My name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and injustice was not found on his lips. He walked with Me in peace and equity, and turned many away from iniquity. "For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.

Another good example as pointed out by is this Scriptural example:

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: "Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. Therefore say, 'Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace; and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel. '" (Numbers 25:10-13)

Surely this was the passage of Scripture that God was giving through Malachi for the sentiment is very much the same. It relates to zealousness for the Lord. The priests were not being zealous at all towards the Lord. We see here in God's language through Malachi the 'white' being spoken as the foil to the 'black' that was being practiced by the priests. We can see that they were doing none of these things as listed by God, that a zealous and faithful priest would be doing, as in our example of Phinehas. You can see that Phinehas carried the iniquity of the children of Israel, he made atonement for them, and because of his attitude towards God, one that was holy, and faithful, God turns His wrath from judging the children of Israel at that time. Check out the story of Phinehas, and what he did.

Keepers of the Word?

Let us return to where we were in our introduction, that of being keepers of the Word. In today's Church we are to: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you (Matthew 28:19-20). We have a different context, more Scripture than the priests in Malachi's times, but the same solemn duty. For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge. A commentator - Hamilton says: Where under the Old Law, the lampstand was a physical object that held a spiritual meaning, under the New Law each Christian is a lampstand of righteousness which must not be allowed to go out. The light is the light of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4). The church's obligation is to spread the gospel, so they are represented as lampstands in the book of Revelation (Revelation 1:20). Churches that did not follow Christ were threaten with the removal of their lampstand (Revelation 2:5).[4]

Here in this portion of today's text we see the opposing argument, that which the LORD wanted from His priests. He wanted them to be ministering His Word. Think about the history of the ways of the priests, and the Scripture that they were supposed to uphold daily. 2 Kings 22:8 has this most amazing verse: Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, "I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord." I have found!! What a statement from the priest about that which was supposed to be before him every day! Where was the Book of the Law found? Hidden in the house of the Lord! Will we find Scripture here today? I think yes, but there are many churches where scripture is not found so well in the pews. It may be out the front, or on the computer, but in people's hands, in their homes, is it found? The priests of Malachi's day would have known this story and the revival that followed, yet God is saying that they are no longer doing what they should with His Word. Let us revisit Psalm 119, for David wrote at length on this. Perhaps this passage will stir our own hearts as to how we treat the Word of the Lord, His Scripture.

Heth

You are my portion, O Lord;
I have said that I would keep Your words.
I entreated Your favour with my whole heart;
Be merciful to me according to Your word.
I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies.
I made haste, and did not delay to keep Your commandments.
The cords of the wicked have bound me, but I have not forgotten Your law.
At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You, because of Your righteous judgments.
I am a companion of all who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts.
The earth, O Lord, is full of Your mercy; teach me Your statutes.
(Psalm 119:57-64)

Is the Lord our portion? When did I last make haste to keep His commandment? When did I last rise at midnight to give thanks for God's righteous judgement. Why would I do these things? - because that is what His Word says to do, and since I said 'I would keep Your words' when I became a Christian, has that changed?

In the New Testament we see Jesus Himself say: "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him." (John 8:28-29) The key in this verse is 'as My Father taught me, I speak these things'. What do we speak? Nonsense, things of the world? How much do we speak of the things the Father has taught me? I use the word 'we' purposefully, it takes two to make a conversation, so how much do I speak with you, on the Lord's things? Are we any different my beloved brothers and sisters than these priests of old. Some days one has to wonder. I do not think this is an overtly negative statement, if we keep it in front of us, we can ensure that we have zealousness for the Lord, and save some souls for Him.

Have you departed from the way?

Our passage finishes also on a sobering note:

But you have departed from the way; you have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi," says the Lord of hosts. "Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base before all the people, because you have not kept My ways but have shown partiality in the law."

Another commentator also from over 100 years ago, in 1888 Edward Dennett writes this: Would that this word of God might prove, as we read it, living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and be a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts; that we might truly take the place of self-judgement before God as our state and ways, and so receive restoring grace and blessings at His hands.[5 False preachers, false churches, the constant deviation of Christianity from the truths, where hell is no more, homosexuality is OK, and God is love without wrath is the state of the matter today, no different it seems as to Malachi's day. It is not unexpected for Paul writes many times the following warning: I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:6-7) or: Jesus himself: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

Conclusion

So we see that in the space of 1500 years from Moses to Malachi then 400 years with the coming of a Saviour, a new covenant, a new Way, man did not change. Man has still not changed 2000 years down the track, and we, the priests of today, can, and do fail. However, we as priests have a high priest unlike any that the Malachi's priests had. Our high priest does not dwell here on earth as such, yet He does, and because He does, then we need not be like the priests, nor should we need the admonition as given to by Malachi. The secret is found in Ephesians and Galatians (twice so we get the picture), and this is where we can leave it today, and come back next week for the second half of this chapter, the problem with the body. We have this promise set in concrete as it were in the Word:

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19) I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain." (Galatians 2:20-21)

May God grant us that strength, that we are willing to be crucified with Christ, and that He may dwell in our hearts and live through us. Let us pray.

References

[1] C M Mackintosh (1972) Genesis to Deuteronomy. Notes of the Pentateuch pg. 545, Loizeaux Brothers, England

[2] ilib

[3] A Sermon (No. 694) Delivered on Sunday Morning, June 10th, 1866, by C. H. Spurgeon, At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0694.htm (accessed 31 March 2014)

[4] La Vista Church of Christ: http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVanswers/2006/12-08.htm accessed 31 March 2014

[5] Dennet, Edward (1888) Malachi: The state of things at the end. (re-printed 2012) p.24 (Availble on line from various website et http://www.stempublishing.com/authors/dennett/Malachi.html (accessed 31 March 2014)

Stephen B Simon (CCC) 23 March 2014
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