Reveal Day 5 The Longest Night: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) Why is God called the Lord of Armies? (verses 1 and 3)

2) Why does God remind the people of the statutes and ordinances given to Moses at Horeb? (verse 4)

3) What is the “great and terrible day of the Lord?” (verse 5)

Malachi 4:1-6

“For look, the day is coming, burning like a furnace, when all the arrogant and everyone who commits wickedness will become stubble. The coming day will consume them,” says the Lord of Armies, “not leaving them root or branches. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and playfully jump like calves from the stall. You will trample the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day I am preparing,” says the Lord of Armies. “Remember the instruction of Moses my servant, the statutes and ordinances I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. Look, I am going to send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.  6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

Original Intent

1) Why is God called the Lord of Armies? (verses 1 and 3)
Twice in the last chapter of Malachi, the prophet refers to God as “the Lord of armies.”  In Hebrew, according to, the name is “Yahweh Tsabaot. This name of God appears 261 times in the Old Testament. Yahweh is the name I AM, showing God’s self-existent, self-sufficient natureTsabaot, however, comes from the word saba, meaning army.”  This name of God, which also shows up as “LORD of Hosts,” “God of Armies,” and “LORD God of Armies,” appears so often in the Old Testament because this was precisely the way the Jewish people needed God to show up for them. Author, Justin Taylor, explains that “In the postexilic period of Malachi, the postage-stamp-sized Judah, as a tiny province within the vast Persian Empire, had no army of its own. It is precisely in such times, when God’s people are painfully aware of how limited their own resources are, that there is no greater comfort than the fact that the Lord has his invincible heavenly armies standing at the ready.”  The Israelites needed to know they served a God who would fight for them when they were outnumbered and would protect them when they were surrounded by the enemy on all sides. Indeed, the Scofield Reference Bible points out that the “revelation of God by His names is invariably made in connection with some particular need of His people, and there can be no need of man to which these names do not answer as showing that man’s true resource is in God.”  God wanted His people to know He could supply all their needs, even the need for an army to guard and protect them.  He wanted them to know He cared for them and that whatever they needed, He could supply.  The great news is that He is still the same God today, the Lord of armies, always fighting for us.

2) Why does God remind the people of the statutes and ordinances given to Moses at Horeb? (verse 4)
In the book of Malachi, the prophet is speaking to the Israelites, who have grown weary of obeying God and waiting for Him with little reward while watching the wicked prosper. (Malachi 3:14) The Lord tells Malachi to remind the people about Moses and the laws given to him at Horeb. (Malachi 4:4) Horeb, also known as Mt. Sinai or Gebal Mousa, was where Moses received the Ten Commandments and other laws for the Jewish people.  The Lord wanted the Israelites to remember the laws and obey them as they waited for His promises to be fulfilled. According to author David Guzik, “The last few words of the Old Testament are a call back to the Law, because under the Old Covenant, man related with God on the basis of Law.”  The Lord tells His people through Malachi that a day of judgment is coming, but it will go well for all those who fear His name. (Malachi 4:2) People living in Old Testament days displayed their awe and respect for God by keeping His laws and following His ways.  Author John Gill asserts that the laws Malachi urged the people to remember were “shadows of things to come; namely, those of them that were of a ceremonial nature, and therefore to be remembered and attended to as leading to Christ, and the things of the Gospel.”  The Jewish people would have to cling to this reminder to fear God and hope in His coming promises, for they would not hear from a prophet of God again for four centuries until the birth of the Messiah in the New Testament. (Matthew 1:18-2:23)

3) What is the “great and terrible day of the Lord?” (verse 5)
In Malachi 4, the prophet describes a time still to come when the wicked would be completely burned up, but those who fear the Lord will experience healing and joy. He calls this the “great and terrible day of the Lord.” (verse 5) Author James Burton Coffman says this refers to the “Messianic Age, that is, all of the time between the first and second Advents of Christ.”  This great and terrible day is the Second Coming of Christ, when God “will ‘heal’ the land of Israel and will establish His 1000 year (Millennial) kingdom.”  The views on all end of time study have countless viewpoints and opinions by many reputable scholars, but all of them agree on one thing, the Lord Jesus is indeed returning and judgement for humanity will come. The Lord warns His people through Malachi that judgment is truly coming; it will be great for the God-fearing and terrible for unrepentant sinners.  Malachi warns the Jews to follow God’s laws and heed His ways to avoid the terror the wicked will experience on this day of judgement. He also promises healing and joy for those who fear Him.  He says that the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings and that they God-fearing will leap like calves released from their pens. (verse 2) This is a reference to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Author Len Lecroix describes how the Hebrew words shem and esh combine in Malachi 4 to describe the Messiah as “the world-renowned, famous fire of righteousness whose face shines like the sun in all its strength and whose eyes are like fiery flames. He is the brilliant fire of righteousness, which may only be said of the one true G-d Yehova.“ Those who have been redeemed by the Messiah long for the day when the Sun of Righteousness rises with healing in His wings!

Everyday Application

1) Why is God called the Lord of Armies? (verses 1 and 3)
If you’re like me, you have some days when you feel overwhelmed and alone, wishing you had at least one person in your corner fighting for you.  It’s on those days when God’s name “the Lord of armies” means the most to me.  In Malachi 4 God is referred to as the Lord of armies, and it is a wonderful reminder that the God of the universe fights for you! Even when you feel you’re fighting battles all on your own, God is surrounding you with His angel armies.  When you start thinking you can’t win or go any farther, remember the Lord of armies is on your side. The angel of the Lord encamps around to rescue you! (Psalm 34:7) Life can feel like a battle with enemies waiting in ambush, difficulties flying at you like bullets, and circumstances blowing up in your face.  God knew we would face physical and emotional struggles in our lives, and that we would need the Lord of angel hosts to help us.  I am so thankful that those who fear God have the Lord of armies on their side!

2) Why does God remind the people of the statutes and ordinances given to Moses at Horeb? (verse 4)
When I was about 5 years old, my mom put me in the bath tub and went outside to check on something.  I splashed and played for what seemed like forever, but my mom never came back.  I put on my bathrobe to look for my mom, but I could not find her.  So, I took off my robe and plunked back in the bathtub, waiting for her to get me out of the tub like she had done at every other bath time of my life.  When she returned and found me still in the tub she was surprised, but I told her I was just following the rules as I understood them.  If mom puts you in the bath, mom gets you out of the bath! I still do the same kind of thing when I am not sure what to do, I follow the last known command until I hear otherwise.  It can be hard to continue doing the same thing, waiting for new and better orders that you know are coming. This is precisely what the Lord asked the Israelites to do.  His last message to them in the Old Testament was to continue following His laws and hoping in the Messiah to come. (Malachi 4:1-6) This was all they knew to do for four centuries, hope and obey.  David Guzik notes, “We never need to despair when God seems silent, because what He has already said is rich enough – if we will only remember.”  God gave His people what they needed at the time. All the while, He was preparing the world for the perfect timing of His redemptive plan to bring salvation to the world through His Son, JesusGod may have been silent, but He was not inactive. I try to remember this truth when I feel mired down in my situation, waiting for God’s promises to break forth in my life. God has a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and even though it doesn’t usually coincide with my timetable, I can trust that His timing is perfect for the plans He has for me. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

3) What is the “great and terrible day of the Lord?” (verse 5)
With the current chaos in our world, there is a lot of talk about the return of Jesus.  Some wonder if we are in the last days. Some argue how it very well could be, while others profess it cannot possibly be.  There is no doubt that one day, sooner or later, the “great and terrible day of the Lord” as described in Malachi 4 will be at hand. The prophet describes it as a day that will be burning like a fire, consuming the wicked. For those who fear God and have trusted Him alone for salvation, it will be a day of healing and rejoicing. As a child, this topic always frightened me. How could I be sure I didn’t get caught on the wrong side when Judgment Day came? My fears were flamed by speculations about what tribulation would be like and who would suffer it. I avoided studying the book of Revelation most of my life because it seemed unknowable and scary.  If the sun stopped shining and stars fell from the sky, then I might do a deep-dive into the book of Revelation, but I hoped I could get by without it. But reading Malachi reminds me that, for a Christian, the second coming of Christ is a joyous occasion, not a terrible one. No matter what the circumstances are surrounding His return, He promises to come with healing in His wings, bringing me joy.  (verse 2) Christ has reconciled me to Himself through His sacrifice on the cross (1 Peter 2:24), making me His child (John 1:12), His beloved (Colossians 3:12), and a joint heir with Him (Romans 8:17).  As a kid it was hard to comprehend that in Christ I had no need to fear (2 Timothy 1:7, 1 John 4:18), regardless of how frightening tales of the End Times seemed to me.  What I didn’t know then was God’s promise to bless everyone who reads His Revelation (Revelation 1:3) because it means we are taking in His truth about the end of time and the life to come.  So, these days I am opening the book of Revelation, willing to discover God’s plans about the day of judgment and confident in His saving grace.

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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