Second marriages

Malachi warns people that if they are unrepentant, divorced and remarried their worship is unacceptable to God.

 And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out (the tears of the abandoned spouse and children-JK), insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant (Malachi 2;13,14). Futhermore marrying for a second time while the first spouse lives is adultery (Matthew 5:31, Romans 7:2,3) and adulterers shall not inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor.6:9). How many friends, even among professing Christians do you know in this position?

Book Alert! The Coming of Zion’s Redeemer

Our men should appreciate this having just completed a series of studies on Malachi.

The Three R's Blog

Coming_of_Zion_s_Redeemer -LgI was excited to find in my mailbox at church Sunday the latest offering from the Reformed Free Publishing Association – an important and significant new commentary on the last three prophecies of the OT. The 527 page book is authored by Rev.Ronald Hanko and carries the title, The Coming of Zion’s Redeemer: The Prophecies of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi (Jenison, MI: RFPA, 2014). The author is a Protestant Reformed pastor, ordained since 1979 and currently serving the Lynden, WA congregation.

In the “Foreword”, former parishioner Joel Sugg, provides this perspective of this new commentary:

The full commentary on each book may be read with great profit by virtue of the author’s trained, experienced, and studied insights. Three perspectives stand out: first, a living picture of Judah in the generation following the return from the Babylonian captivity with her special charge to reform true worship of God; next, a sharp…

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Malachi (review of book).

CPRC Men’s Bible Study


Approx. date of book…………400B.C.

Name of book: Malachi meaning “my messenger”

Major sins of the people…………………corrupt formal worship, priests and people divorcing their wives and  marrying foreign women, selfishly neglecting tithes.

Summary: Divide the book by chapters or some other way and fill in the blanks. Use multiple boxes if need be.

Chapter/Section Theme          Key verse(s) Description
 1-2:9 God’s sovereign love and hatred. Corrupt worship       Where is mine honour (1:6)  God proclaims his sovereign love and hatred. He condemns insincere worship and prophesies true Gentile worship.
 2:10-17  They have broken the


     Judah hath dealt   treacherously  (2:11)  Instead of being God-fearing teachers, the priests led in mixed marriages and treacherous divorce and remarriage.
 3  I will send the messenger of the covenant       Return to me (3:7)  The coming of John the Baptist, then Christ as the refiner to make up his jewels. Tithes.
 4 The second coming The Sun of righteousness shall    arise with healing in his wings      (4:2)     God will destroy the wicked  and free and save his people.

I believe the key verses of the whole book are 3:6-7 “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

Why? Because it seems to me the theme of the book is God’s covenant with his people and his call for them to repent from the specific sins outlined in the book.

The messenger of the covenant Christ speaks through this book of his own coming after John the Baptist and at the end of the world.

What particular need or lesson has the study exposed for you?

I am sure I speak for others in saying that I still harbour sinful fears for the future. Fears of humiliation, perhaps martyrdom, death of loved ones, even eternal death of loved ones. This despite knowing that my Father who loves me infinitely ordains all for his glory and my good! These doubts and fears display a lack of fear (reverence) and trust in God’s perfect love. Even in this book he proclaims his sovereign, loving, fatherhood. What can I do? Scripture teaches “perfect love casts out fear” ( I John 4:18). Pray Ephesians 3:17-19….”That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

What have you found helpful about the study?

1) The way God puts his finger on what specifically displeases him (as in his words to the seven churches in Revelation), namely the sins mentioned above.

2) The way God encourages his people, who were only a small elect remnant among the Jews of Malachi’s day by stressing his immutability, his covenant, his remembrance of their words of fellowship and his coming for us in glory.

What was particularly memorable about it?

Funnily enough the thing that stands out as memorable for me is the “back chat” of the people, namely their unrepentant denial of any wrongdoing which is expressed no less than five times in verses 1:2 and 7, 2:6 and 14 and 3:8. This is reminiscent of Matthew 25:44 which describes the protestations of many on the judgement day! One last thing so needed in the world and church today is  described in 4:6 namely the bringing together of fathers and children and children and fathers.

A very worthwhile study.

Now available in booklet form (or will be soon after reprinting)

Malachi study book.

If you e-mail me I can send you the PDF of these studies.

Malachi (revision study)



CPRC Men’s Bible Study

Approx. date of book…………

Major sins of the people………………………………………………………………………………………

Summary: Divide the book by chapters or some other way and fill in the blanks. Use multiple boxes if need be.

Chapter/Section Theme Key verse(s) Description



What particular need or lesson has the study exposed for you?




What have you found helpful about the study?




What was particularly memorable about it?




Any other points?







Malachi Lesson 9


Reading   Malachi  4



Perhaps at the outset it is worth emphasizing that Malachi declares the certainly of the day of the Lord, “Behold, the day cometh!”  That day must remain uppermost in our minds.

  1. It is the day of judgment. A dreadful day for the unrepentant wicked, when their hopelessness, guilt and doom will be made manifest and settled, ushering in their eternal destruction (perdition i.e. loss of everything, especially the soul). A day when God’s wrath will burn as fire. Psalm 50, Isaiah 13:9, 34:10, John 15:16, Heb.6:8. It is a day of indignation and vengeance and the end of the created universe as we know it. The judgment of the high and mighty proud on earth is also emphasized. However we recognise that those who do wickedly and never repent and obey the gospel are all the proud who do not believe God’s word in the gospel and ignore or despise the Son of God (Isaiah 2:12-21, Obadiah 15-17, Zech. 14). The unity of the scriptures is exhibited in the fact that the second coming is a theme running right through them. The fire will refine and purify the creation (II Peter 3:7-14) just as God in affliction purifies his people (Zechariah 13:9). We believe the only thing God actually consumes and annihilates is SIN! (Hebrews 12:29).
  2. Fire, we really do not know if it is literal or not, does not destroy the wicked (Rev.19:10, 20:10, 18. Isaiah 66:24 quoted in Mark 9:44, 45).
  3. For God’s people, who must all be brought in by then, this day brings rest, from labour and suffering, great joy in God (I Peter 4:13, I Thess.2:19), excitement, peace and the absence of fear because we are perfectly loved and go to meet our beloved Saviour if we are still on earth.

Elijah who is to come is John the Baptist who came in the bold spirit and power of Elijah. They were both prophets, dressed alike, lived in the wilderness, were “loners” and admonished kings. They preached repentance and God granted it to many through them (Matt.3:1-11).

We believe the ministry of John is carried on by all God’s people and true preachers who point people to Christ and call them to repentance before the great day comes.

In answering the difficult question of why Luke in 1:17 changes the quotation from Mal.4:6, we postulated that Malachi wrote with the Jews  (of Judea) in mind (fathers and children) and God’s curse did come on them in A.D.70 whereas Luke with Jew and Gentile in mind, speaks in more general terms of the conversion of all kinds of people, at a later date, as the end of the world approaches. In considering the hearts of fathers turned to the children and vice versa, we see this fulfilled in fathers loving, caring for, nurturing, teaching and admonishing (and not provoking) their covenant seed in line with God’s word. In like manner the children obey and reverence their parents. This comes about by:

  1. The conviction that this is a parental priority and giving their children time.
  2. The church teaching through preaching, catechism etc.
  3. Family devotions/prayer.

As we return to consider God’s people on this day we read of Christ coming as the great light, the source of our righteousness and the one who will heal us and all creation from the corrupting effects of the fall. This is pictured figuratively as the calves released from the stall who like us, will be freed from the miserable constraints of sin.


Furthermore, we will judge the wicked angels and people (in Christ) and this will be a great encouragement because it means justice and retribution.

Malachi, seeing the day of the Lord as one, including his birth and his return teaches us how God, in eternity, views time. A thousand years are as a day!

We also remembered that Christ is always coming in the salvation of his people in the incarnation, his baptism, his transfiguration, his cross, Pentecost, the effectual call through the preaching, the saint’s death and ultimately on the last day.

As we wait we must be characterised by purity and obedience.


Malachi Lesson 8

CPRC Men’s Bible Study


Malachi Lesson 8     Malachi 3:13-18

One of the key lessons of this portion was that God always has an elect remnant on earth and specifically among the Jews. The spiritual coldness and deadness among many was obvious from their responses to the prophet. They levelled charges against God. Their worship was formal and vain and they were defiantly unrepentant. Yet a faithful remnant turned to God and one another. They were characterised by the fear of God which comprised:

  • Knowledge of his character
  • Sense of his presence
  • Awareness of their obligation

The hardened state of many in Judah is clearly taught in each chapter. They despised his name, they called true worship polluted and spoke of weariness and contempt in worship. They in fact were guilty of corrupt worship which wearied God, saw no need to repent or give proper tithes and said it was vain to serve him.

The point to note is that a call to repentance, if unheeded, will cause a snowballing of sin and in the reprobate a hardening that ultimately brings judgement (e.g. pharaoh). We believe that the words of the prophet, as in all the word of God, will be profitable for the remnant even though it hardens the reprobate (Isaiah 55:11).

The Jews’ charge against God was that they served him in vain because they were not being blessed materially whereas the wicked prospered. This assumption has no Biblical basis. It is clear from Eccles.8:11-13 and 9:1-2 that both righteous and wicked are visited with the same calamities or apparently beneficial providence but these circumstances by themselves are no indication whether someone is blessed or cursed. Even tribulation is a blessing to the righteous! Christ says the same in Luke 12:15.

Believers are guided by Scriptures that say they must not covet but be content and who are told to seek spiritual riches. The proud, on the other hand manifest either self-righteousness or godless independence. But a day of reckoning, although it may be postponed, will come.

From Isaiah 58:1-7 and Micah 6:6-8 we learned that false and pretended humility is seen in asceticism (Pharisees, monks, nuns etc.) and also ostentatious (showy) worship which are both full of pride. Lowliness before God, on the other hand, is characterised by: contrition, true repentance, compassion, mercy and just dealings with others.

The fear of God has many characteristics:

Reverential love, awe, obedience, single-mindedness, forsaking sin, hating evil and true humility. Check a concordance! WE CONCLUDED IT WAS THE BASIC MARK OF A CHRISTIAN. Jeremiah 32:40 is proof, clearly showing that only regeneration grants this fear, and what a wonderful verse it is in its promise. The fear of God is nurtured in us and our children by every means in which we are exposed to the Scriptures.

The book of remembrance mentioned may have been an actual book but we believe it points to the books that will be opened on the last day which will catalogue the good works of all God’s people.

Repentance toward God and reconciliation and love towards God’s people go hand in glove because the two tables of the law stand together and cannot be divorced. Being God’s treasured possession (3:17) means we belong to him, are in his care, and are dependent upon him. He is our ever-present help (Psalm 124:8) and prayer to him may be instant and constant.

We are spared all condemnation. God will make up his jewels (us) on the last day.


Next BS (DV) Sat.30th August.

Malachi Lesson 7

CPRC Men’s Bible Study


“Will a man rob God?”

Malachi 3:7-12

Readings Malachi 3, Proverbs 3:9-10, II Cor.9:6-15.

The first thing that struck me in this study outline was the phrase, the “worship of giving”. This classes giving, as we hear each Lord’s day before the offering, as part of our worship of God.

As a result of their disobedience in this area God had cursed the Israelites’ crops (Deut.28). This was a sin prevalent through most of Israel’s history and was robbing God, as it was not giving him what was rightfully his. The “me first “ mentality runs counter to the scriptural teaching that Christ and his kingdom come first and this is exemplified by the poor widow in Luke 21:2 and the Macedonian believers in II Cor.8:2. These people had no grace.

So why give?

  1. God is recognised as the owner of all things. The first-fruits is a Biblical principle (Prov.3:9, 10). It is a gauge of our heart’s love. Stewardship recognises all we have is entrusted to us e.g., material things, money, body/abilities, time, children.
  2. Faithfulness in material things will mean we will be entrusted with spiritual riches (Luke 16:10-13)
  3. There are needs to be met including God’s ministers/missionaries, the poor (through deacons Gal.6:10) and buildings (I Cor.9:9-14).
  4. Covetousness, the opposite of generosity, is idolatry (Luke 12:15-21). Idolatry is placing material things, money, ambition or a relationship above God as something we believe will satisfy us−worshipping creature rather than Creator. Wars and strife are the result (Jas.4:2-3). Contentment is our calling (I Tim.6:6-8)
  5. God promises blessing (Acts 20:35). In contrast the miser is miserable!

Neither riches nor poverty are by themselves spiritual, as God is the giver of all things. Abraham was rich, Lazarus−a poor beggar (Prov.30:8).The “tithe” (giving a tenth) was a principle with Abraham before Moses. The O.T. tithes were for the livelihood of the priests and Levites. The Israelites of Malachi’s day neglected all the offerings and sacrifices. The people were commanded to repent and were cursed i.e., reprobate and therefore did not do so. Repentance is commanded of all men (Acts 17:30) because though, by themselves they are incapable of doing so because they are unwilling, they are therefore guilty. God may grant it if the person is elect (II Tim.2:24) and also grant it to his people in answer to prayer (Lam.5:21, Jer.31:18). Repentance granted by God in a heart produces contrition (acknowledgement and sorrow for sin), confession and a new zeal to obey.

The Heidelberg Catechism LD24 Qu.110 speaks of robbing God and breaking the tenth commandment by coveting and abusing and wasting God’s gifts. We ought to remember that both the unbeliever AND believer daily increase their debt to God, falling short of God’s glorious standards (Rom.3:23).

Our attitude to earthly things is to be characterised by:

a) thankfulness.

b) a loose hold on them.

c) wise and hearty use of them for God’s glory.

Principles of giving (II Cor.9:6-7).

  1. You reap as you sow.
  2. Plan.
  3. Cheerfully.
  4. Proportionately (Luke 12:48).
  5. Regularly (I Cor.16:2).We agreed no-one who gives faithfully, cheerfully and liberally to the church and the poor (Gal.6:10) would be themselves impoverished, provided they were not reckless. Saving for the future is also necessary and Biblical (Prov.21:20).

The “health, wealth and success” gospel which is no gospel is:

1) False because God does not want all his children rich or healthy (Ps.75:7, I Chron.29:12).

2) Covetousness because the lust for money, things or position is selfish and displeases God (I   Tim.6:6).

3) God wants us to be content (Phil.4:11).


There are excellent sermons here:



Malachi Lesson 6

CPRC  Men’s Bible Study


Malachi 3:1-6

The Coming of the Messenger of the Covenant

The promised Messiah is the “messenger of the covenant” who is the delight as well as the object of faith of all God’s people.

Messiah IS the covenant (Isaiah 42:6, 49:8), as the substance of the everlasting covenant made within the Trinity before the foundation of the world,he embodies the only way man and God can be reconciled.  He preaches the message of God’s covenant love throughout his ministry in Palestine and teaches that his shed blood and broken body are the basis of the covenant at the Last Supper. As the messenger he often repeats the fact that he was sent (John 6:44). He establishes the covenant by coming and dying. He is the Mediator of the covenant and the Scriptures time and again say prophesy the same as in Jeremiah 31:31 and confirm it in, for example, Hebrews 9:15 and 12:24. By his death and dying, he is the Testator of the covenant which is his will. Everything about the covenant is established and made effectual through Christ. His message, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6) is the same message from Genesis 3:15 till the last elect is brought in.

John the Baptist, as the forerunner, prepared a people, otherwise apathetic and having been through 400 silent years without a prophet, for the coming King. In a sense his preaching, that of the apostles and ours today all prepare for his coming (again).

That the messenger of the covenant is divine is clear from the words spoken by him in the scripture, that it is about himself (before me), that he comes to his temple and that only a divine person can be truly delighted in and sanctify people. In his earthly ministry, Christ very often said he was sent (as a messenger) by the Father.

The temple, a bit like “world” in scripture has many meanings. It may mean the physical building (Jer.7:4), the church (Zech.6:12-15, Eph.20-22), our body (II Cor.6:16),the false church (II Thess.2:4) and the New Jerusalem (Rev.3:12). In this passage it means the church on the last day.

Malachi lumps the incarnation and the second coming together as one coming because they encompass all his saving work in time as man. From his birth and naming as the only Saviour of men till the time he presents the perfectly sanctified church to himself at his second advent he is saving his people.

His coming will be the destruction of the wicked, on whom as a stone he falls. His vengeance will be terrible and there will be no escaping the day of his wrath (Luke 2:34, Matt.21:44,II Thess.1:7-10, Hebrews 12:24-26, Rev.6:13-17).

As to the purifying, a fuller used soap to clean sheep’s wool and a metalworker heated gold or silver to very high temperatures to melt them before skimming off the impure dross on the surface. In a similar way the Lord purifies believers in this life and at his coming. We, as a kingdom of priests are all the “sons of Levi”. The perfect offering  and his eternal inheritance is the bride, the church on the last day (Eph.5:26,27).

The sins mentioned of which Israel were guilty were:

Sin Meaning Admonitions/Examples
Sorcery Satanically-inspired witchcraft II Chron.33:6, Ex.22:18, Jannes and Jambres (II Tim.3:8) Elymas.
Adultery Sexual immorality especially between married people. Matt.19:9 Too numerous (David/Bathsheba)
False swearing False oaths, lies. Ex.20:16, Eph.4:25, Ananias/Sapphira.
Oppression of labourers Unjust wages Jas.5:4,
Oppression of widows, orphans and strangers Injustice to the weak Ex.22:21, Deut.23:16, Zech.7:10.

All these which for the most part deal with the second table of the law, were committed because there was no fear of the Lord.

The last and most comforting doctrine taught in this portion of scripture is the preservation of the saints (Mal.3:6). God’s immutability (un-changeableness) which encompasses his being and nature, his decree and his word and especially his grace toward his people (Psalm 102:26,27, Numb,23:19,II Tim.2:13, Jas.1:17) mean that we are kept by his power through faith unto (final) salvation (Psalm 136, I Peter 1:5, Phil.1:6, John 6:39-40,56, 10:28,29, Eph.1:4). Hallelujah!

I feel like the privileged man of Psalm 25:14, “ The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.”


Malachi Lesson 5

CPRC  Mens Bible Study


Malachi 2:11-17

A quick recap of the previous sections of the book of Malachi will help at this stage; in section 1 (1:2-5) we had covenant election questioned and affirmed, in section 2 (1:6-2:9) we had corrupt worship (the profanation of the covenant with Levi), and now in section 3 (2:11-17) we have treachery against the covenant of marriage.

The sins exposed in these verses are mixed marriages, divorce, and remarriage.

We reviewed the history of Israel and the repeated instances of this sin from Genesis 6:4, by Esau, Samson, David, Solomon, the time of Ezra and Nehemiah up till the time of Malachi. Haak makes the point that building a marriage on the sand and mire of carnal lust, which is what a mixed marriage is, is setting aside of the rock of spiritual oneness in the promise of Christ (Matt.7:24-27). The question why God, through his servant Malachi focuses on the sinful abuses of the marriage bond is that marriage was ordained to be a picture of the covenant bond between Jehovah and his people (Hosea 2:19-20 and Ezekiel 22). Treachery is being false to the one you confess to love and secretly working to destroy him. So the people’s professed devotion to God was not seen in the way they selected a wife or in the way they lived with their wives. Marrying a pagan is saying “I am not holy to the Lord” and brings paganism into the camp-Jehovah (in his people) marries the devil (in the pagans) just as II Cor.6:14 warns against. If you sacrifice your faith marrying outside the Reformed faith you deny Christ.

We reviewed the purpose of marriage from various Scriptures namely that it is a one-flesh union of body and soul (or spirit), it is a good thing, it includes headship and submission, it is like the union of Christ and the church and something to be received with thanks. Furthermore it is a bond of love and friendship (Ezek.16:7-12) and for life (I Cor.7:39).

What constitutes a marriage?

  • A willing union, usually with oaths or promises (Prov.2:17).
  • A ceremony accepted by society or the state.
  • The consummation.

God glues people together (Matt.19:4-6) believer or non-believer and a man’s wife is part of himself, as shown in the creation of woman, as the church comprises the members of Christ’s body (Eph.5:28-30). Any second marriage is NOT of God.

God’s covenant, pictured in marriage, consists of a betrothal (a promise) to a unique bride, eternal faithfulness, headship and submission, and the deep unity of mutual love and indwelling by the Holy Spirit (John 17:21-24).

Our marriages need these elements to reflect God’s covenant love:

1)      Spiritual unity. As in the unity of the triune God. John 17:21, Amos 3:3, II Cor.6:14

2)      Faithfulness. The lifelong bond of necessity is a unique relationship. I Cor.1:9, II Thess.3:3.

3)      Forgiveness. Forgiveness is the starting point with us and the first of all the blessings of salvation. Eph.1:7.

4)      Companionship (friendship and communication). John 15:13.

5)      Sexual relationship. Though not continued in heaven or part of his covenant with us, yet nevertheless reflects the oneness, pleasure and excitement of the spiritual union. I Cor.7.

The treachery of the people is clear when we review the many scriptural injunctions NOT to marry outside the people of God (Gen.24:1-9,26: 34-35, 28:2, Ex.34:16, Deut 7:3-4,I Cor.7:39,II Cor.6:14). Spiritual unity is vital because it is the right basis, means unity in purpose and prayer, means they dwell together, husbands cherishing and caring for their wives, progress in sanctification and covenant children (I Pet.3:7). The serious consequences of this treachery, if not repented of, may well be premature physical death and certain eternal damnation just as the unfruitful Jewish branches of Romans 11 were cut off and in the church unrepentant sinners (guilty of these particular sins) are, or should be excommunicated.

Our children must be taught to marry in the Lord.

Malachi 2:15 is a powerful argument against both polygamy and divorce and remarriage because it highlights the fact God made ONE woman for one man, desiring a godly seed, a seed suitable of the dignity of human nature made in God’s image, not like the seed of most beasts who have multiple partners.

God hates divorce (putting away). Adultery is a ground for divorce but not remarriage (except in the instance of hard-hearted unbelieving Israel in Deut 24). The teaching of Matthew 5:32, 19:3-12, Mark 10:3-13, Romans 7:2-4 and I Cor.7:27-29 based on the Genesis account, is that marriage is a lifelong bond only broken by God when one spouse dies. Divorce for adultery separates but does NOT dissolve the bond, allowing for repentance and reconciliation. Only this view of marriage correctly reflects God’s unbreakable covenant with his church. The Westminster Confession Section 24 allows other grounds for divorce e.g. desertion and for remarriage, both of  which are wrong.

The treacherous actions of the Jewish men meant much weeping by the women at God’s temple and made their offerings unacceptable to him (v13).

Spiritual life and health are tied to our marriages just as the two tables of the law are tied. Loving God (first table) is shown by loving neighbour (second table) and our spouses are our nearest neighbour! (I John 3:23).

Treachery which affected all their relationships is the opposite of covenant faithfulness. It means being unfaithful and letting others down. God, Jehovah (I AM) is unchangeable and faithful and we need to be so with each other (2:10 “we”). In covenant with us he says, “I will take care of you.” Listen to sermon here by Rev.Haak.

The final part of the section shows how the Jews like Asaph in Psalm 73 were questioning God’s justice in the wicked appearing to prosper, both not realizing that God’s blessing is NOT tied to earthly prosperity.

Excellent resources: Book “Marriage-the mystery of Christ and the church” by Professor David J Engelsma 1998 Reformed Free Publishing Association and booklet “From the beginning” by R J Hooper 2007. The first available from CPRC bookstore and the second on line.

Previous studies..





Malachi Lesson 4


Malachi 2:1-10

God’s covenant of life and peace.

Malachi exposes particularly the sins of the priests but also the people in the light of God’s covenant love for his people.

I wrote a short article on the covenant which can be viewed here.

The essence of God’s covenant is that it is a bond of fellowship between God and his people which is unilaterally established by God unconditionally. It is one everlasting covenant covering all ages (although there were various revelations of it e.g., Noah, David etc) that has it’s roots in the eternal covenant between God and Christ in which he undertook to be our covenant head. Our calling, which Malachi teaches here,  is to reverence God, walk with him and teach others his ways because we are a priesthood as were the Levites (I Peter 2:5,9).

Another aspect of the covenant is God giving himself (Gen.15:1) and the land (of heaven-Gen.17:8) to Abraham and to all his people. The covenant was with Abraham’s seed who is Christ. The blessings of the covenant include regeneration and forgiveness, union with him forever, the salvation of our elect seed and his will to do us good. The covenant phrase, oft repeated in Scripture is ” I will be your God and you will be my people (Heb.8:10).”  The unilateral, unconditional aspects of the covenant are seen in their institution in the example of Abraham, God, in the form of the blazing lantern alone passed between the pieces of animals (Genesis 15) signifying that whoever forsakes the covenant shall be cut asunder.

Christ is the messenger of the covenant (Mal. 3:1) and the covenant itself (Is.42:6). It is with him as our covenant head, God covenants with us. It is based on his eternal election and ours. He is the mediator of the covenant and the blessings are applied to us by his Spirit. The phrase “life and peace” emphasize regeneration (spiritual life), eternal life which is knowing God (John 17:3) and peace  with God and our own conscience.

Our calling in the covenant (accomplished by his grace), is fear and reverence, fear to displease God, walking with God by his Spirit which is agreeing with him and doing right, and instructing others in his ways. The covenant with Levi emphasizes the priestly aspect of our part in the covenant (we are prophets, priests and kings), thus our calling to offer spiritual sacrifices, be ourselves living sacrifices and to interceded for others.

The priests of Malachi’s day had profaned the covenant by being partial (taking bribes or respecting persons), depriving people of their rights, making others stumble, lying, oppressing, marrying heathen wives and even sorcery (Mal. 3:5). They were meant to be faithful teachers and godly examples as are our elders and we too with  our families and brethren. As brethren we are not to have false dealings with one another but rather to be people of integrity, honesty and mutual respect (Lev. 19:15, Deut. 16:19).

As members of the new covenant community we are bound to love one another (John 13:34,35) and apply all the other “one another” phrases in the NT (see below).

The warnings given to the unfaithful priests if they did not “lay it to heart) i.e.,repent, were that their “blessings” would be cursed (Prov.3:33, Psalm 69:22) e.g., harvests, they would be humiliated in the sight of the people (dung on faces) and eventually as they apostatized they would be cut off from the people (excommunication or death).

The “one another”  phrases (not exhaustive) Reference
Be united Romans 12:16
Forgive Col.3:13
Love I John 4:12
Have fellowship I John 1:7
Greet I Peter 5:14
Be subject I Peter 5:5
Be hospitable I Peter 4:9
Serve Gal. 5:13
Have compassion I Peter 3:8
Pray for James  5:16
Don’t grudge James  5:9
Speak not evil James  4:11
Provoke to good works and exhort Hebrews 10:24,25 (3:13)
Don’t envy, hate or lie Titus 3:3. Col.3:9
No preferring (respecting persons) I Tim.5:21
Edify I Thess. 5:11
Comfort I Thess. 4:18
Admonish Col. 3:16


Pray that we as a church, and all true churches we know, by his grace, will apply these teachings.

Lesson 3

Lesson  2

Lesson  1