Malachi 4:2 (English Standard Version)
Unique among the Minor Prophets, Malachi was the last of the Old Testament prophets. He lived in the mid 5th century before the coming of Christ, during one of the most disappointing periods of Israelite history. One would have hoped that the nation of Israel would have learned its lessons after losing its homeland and spending 70 years in Babylonian captivity. But alas! Israel took spiritual things for granted, neglected the proper sacrifices and failed to give the Lord what was due Him. Malachi asked direct questions for God such as these:
“If I am a father, where is My honor? If I am a master, where is My fear?” (Malachi 1:6)
“When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil?” (Malachi 1:8)
“Who can endure the day of His (the Lord’s) coming; who can stand when He appears?” (Malachi 3:2)
“Will a man rob God?” (Malachi 3:8)
To grasp the significance of these questions one needs to realize the disrespectful and ungodly attitudes and actions of the Israelites:
“You say, ‘The Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised’ ” (Malachi 1:12).
“You say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it” (Malachi 1:13).
“You say, ‘Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord’” (Malachi 2:17).
“You have said, ‘What is the profit of our keeping His charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts?’ ” (Malachi 3:14).
The kingdom that God had intended to be the light of the world now groped in its own darkness. Because Israel failed to respect and honor the Lord terrible things had been brought upon the nation. The spiritual light of God’s favor had gone out. Few rebukes equal the expressions of divine disfavor found in Malachi: “I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you will be taken away with it” (Malachi 2:3).
But wait! The future is not entirely bleak! God’s sinful people will not always remain in the darkness. On a coming day light will be restored. Forgiveness will be renewed! Israel will return to God! And when Israel returns to God, He will return to them! Look at what the future holds ….
LORD OF THE TEMPLE “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 in whom you delight, behold He is coming, says the Lord of hosts….He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord” (Malachi 3:1-3).
SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS “The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings” (Malachi 4:2). Just as the sun chases away the darkness when it rises to shine upon the earth, so spiritual darkness will be dispelled from the hearts of God’s people. When sinners are refined and purified like silver, when the sun rises, spiritual illness will be removed and spiritual healing will be restored. What a wonderful promise!
FAMILY LOVE AFFIRMED “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:5-6). Families will be united in love when the Lord ushers in the age of the “sun of righteousness.”
Jesus said John the Baptist was the “Elijah” spoken of in this passage (Matthew 11:14).
The Lord whom we seek, the Lord of the Temple, the Messenger of the Covenant is none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 2:13-17; Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 8:6). God’s forgiveness of our sins, the beginning of a “new creation,” the privilege of arising from the waters of baptism to walk in “newness of life” (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:3-4), is the time when “sun of righteousness” chases away the darkness of sin. The “light of the world” has come (John 8:12)! Obedient believers now receive “one grace after another” (John 1:16). We have been removed from the kingdom of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13).
The connection between Malachi’s promised “sun of righteousness” which dispels all the terrible consequences of sin and Jesus Christ, who now “shines upon us” (Ephesians 5:14) is astounding. Some translations actually capitalize Malachi 4:2 to make it obvious that the prophet Malachi was referring to the Messiah Himself. These translations read: “The Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings” (21st Century King James, Amplified, Darby, God’s Word, New Living, and Orthodox Jewish translations).
In the first century Zechariah the priest knew that the time was near, and declared that “the sunrise shall visit us from on high” (Luke 1:78). Isaiah predicted the coming of Christ and wrote: “Arise, shine, for our light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1). Again, he wrote: “Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily” (Isaiah 58:8).
Do you appreciate all the blessings God has in mind for you? The ultimate choice each of us must make is whether to walk in the darkness or to walk in the light; whether to live in the guilt of sin or to allow God to forgive us. No one needs to live in the cold, dark condemnation of sin. Jesus, the Son of Righteousness, the Light of the world can take all the darkness away. Why would anyone choose the darkness when he could walk “in the light as He is in the light”? Have you taken the steps of obedient faith to become His disciple? Have you been scripturally baptized so you can be transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light (Romans 6:3-4)? We want to help you discover the “sun of righteousness with healing in its wings.”