And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver…
— These last sentences from Malachi's scroll are the specifications for the Kingdom of Christ. The perfected outline of this character and kingdom, and the preparation needed for the return of the Lord, is the theme of our chapter.
I. THE COMPLETED PICTURE OF THE COMING MESSIAH. Isaiah brings before us the Man of Sorrows. From Isaiah onwards the lineaments seem to change, and the tints to deepen. We become familiar with a martial step and warlike notes.
II. THE CHURCH IS TO BE PURIFIED AND REVIVED. This is a service which Christ will constantly render and require of His Church, — their cleansing. It is, as it were, a permanent employment. He is watching the crucibles and the scales, like the silversmith at his bench. This is the answer to a question of the day, "Is God doing the best He can for this world?" Controversy, the shaking and sifting of small and great, of good and bad, may have its wholesome results when presided over by the magisterial and gracious presence of Christ.
III. SOCIETY IS TO BE JUDGED AND TRANSFORMED. "And I will come near you to judgment." When the Lord comes into His temple He appears also as a swift witness against the iniquities of society. He is a swift witness against evil-doers.
IV. SPECIFICATIONS ARE MADE TO THE CHURCH, SOCIETY, AND THE INDIVIDUAL, IN REGARD TO THEIR SHORTCOMINGS. Men do not wish to be definite in their faith, or confine themselves to commended and well-tested helps to a Divine life. But even an imperfect comprehension of a great character yields more than an accurate inventory of an insignificant Person or thing. Much is said about religion not meeting the needs of men, but the truth is overlooked that men do not comply with the conditions of Divine help.
(William K. Campbell.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.