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And they shall build the cities that have been destroyed,
Lastly: In the prophet Malachit we have two passages which plainly refer to the advent of the expected Saviour; and as the events of the first advent cannot be said to have exhausted their meaning, nor adequately to have fulfilled their predictions, we must necessarily look to another coming of the Saviour.
1. Behold, I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the
way before me, And the Lord whom you seek shall suddenly come to his
temple : Even the messenger of the covenant, in whom ye delight; Behold, he cometh, hath Jehovah Sabaoth said.
My messenger,” as expositors in general assert, applies to John the Baptist. “ The Messenger, of
• Isaiah, Ixi.
+ Before Christ.420.
Angel of the covenant,” is a title of the great Redeemer : He is the Bearer of the glad tidings to the church of the covenant which he hath made for their salvation with the eternal Father. This prophecy, indeed, might be referred exclusively to the first advent and its precursor: but there are expressions in the following verses that seem to embrace the events of the second advent; and, indeed, “ the Lord's,"--or," the great - Lord's suddenly coming to his temple" seems to refer more strictly to the solemn occupation of the last temple by the Divine Presence, as described in Ezekiel, than to any particular event, that we can point out in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
2. But who shall abide the day of his coming,
Or who shall stand when he appeareth?
And as the fuller's soap:
And shall purify the sons of Levi;
ousness: 4. And the offering of Judah and Jerusalem shall be pleasing
Certainly, considered as altogether figurative language, this might be applied to what eventually took place at the first advent. The humbling and holy doctrines which Jesus taught, proved an offence and an occasion of falling to that very people, who professed to delight in the prospect of the coming of their Messiah; and the consequence was, the Jewish priesthood was discarded, and a new ministry of the word and sacraments instituted: but, upon the whole, I cannot think this to be the meaning of the prophecy. Jesus Christ, in the days of his flesh, expressly disclaims the character of judge and divider, * and as clearly claims it for himself when he shall come again in his kingdom; and this is the character symbolized by " the refiner's fire” and “ the fuller's soap.” Again; it would not be agreeable to the usual style of Scripture prophecy, to understand the “purifying of the sons of Levi,” concerning the superseding of that priesthood, and the substituting of the Christian ministry in its place; nor would “ the offering" of their ministration be called the " offering of Judah and Jerusalem,” contrasting its former with its present state, as in the passage before us.
At the same time, we know from other prophecies, † that the priesthood of Levi is to be restored, and that acceptable offerings are again to be offered on the holy hill of Jerusalem ; and that the reestablishment of this priesthood and of these sacrifices will be the issue of the manifestation of the Divine Presence in the last temple. By every rule of Scriptural interpretation, therefore, we must refer this prophecy to the second advent.
The last prophecy is that contained in the last chapter, which seems more exclusively to point to the second advent:
And all the proud and all that do iniquity are stubble;
said, So that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. • Luke, xii. 14.
+ Psalm li. 19; Isaiah, lxvi. 21; Jer. xxxii, 18, 21, and 22; Ezekiel, xx. 41, 42. Compare xxxvii. 26, &c.
This certainly characterizes neither the merciful intent of the first advent, nor that utmost meekness and forbearance of the blessed Saviour in the days of his flesh! And have the wicked been destroyed, so that neither root nor branch is left? No: this must apply to that emphatic day, when “the Lord Jesus is to be revealed in flaming fire, taking vengeance,” as we have seen in former prophecies.
2. But there ariseth on you that fear my name,
A Sun of righteousness, with healing in his wings,
the stalls :
For they shall be as dust beneath the soles of your feet,
The entire subjection and destruction of the wicked, and the triumph of the people of God, must, by every analogy of prophecy, be referred to the second advent. The rising of the Sun of Righteousness must also be referred to that era; and righteousness, according to the usual employment of this word in the prophetical parts of Scripture, will denote' the vindication of the people of God in all those rights, and in all that glory, which is their due, as the brethren and joint heirs of Christ. This is “the manifestation of the sons of God.” The metaphor is that of the sun arising after the wintry storms are dispersed, reviving the face of nature, and permitting the stalled cattle to roam at large. The title “ Sun of Righteousness”-“MINISTER of righteous judgment”may be illustrated from the language of the nineteenth Psalm.
The clear reference of “ the day of Jehovah” here spoken of—“the day of Christ's appearing and kingdom”
- has led also to the conclusion, that something further is meant than the mission of John the Baptist, in the close of the prophecy :
5. Behold, I send to you Elijah the prophet,
Before the day of Jehovah cometh,
The great and the dreadful day! 6. And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers together with the
John's ministry, the New Testament informs us, certainly was, in some sense, a fulfilment of this prophecy : but, it appears, it did not completely fulfil it; as that advent, which he preceded, did not completely fulfil the prophecies of “ the day of Jehovah.”
Do not the Scriptures themselves afford us the proper distinction ?-" John came in the spirit and power of Elias,” and typically fulfilled the prophecy; but he was strictly right when he asserted himself, “ I am not Elias :" and the words of our Lord, when he was descending from the mount of transfiguration, “ Elias verily cometh and restoreth all things,” may be fairly taken to assert, Elijah will come. Our Lord says, indeed, Elias is come, in reference to the Baptist's mission; but that may be understood in the typical sense before alluded to. Nor can I conceive that, in any sense whatever, the event of John's ministry can be called “ the restoring of all things.” I conceive, then, the “ Scribes" are right when they say, as they do say to this day, “ Elias will first come:" but
See Archbishop Newcoine's note.