Moses in Malachi

At the start of Malachi 3, we read, “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me.” The figure called “my messenger” is regarded by most conservative scholars as Elijah, who is mentioned again in Malachi 4. John the Baptist only partially fulfilled this prophecy. It awaits a fuller fulfillment in the End Times.

Malachi 3:1 continues, “And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; ….” Conservative scholars agree “the Lord” refers to the Lord Yeshua (Jesus of Nazareth). When this happens, “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely . . . says the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 3:5). It will be time for the sinners in Israel to be held to account.

First, though, before the Messiah arrives and judges the wayward, He provides help. Elijah, representing the prophets, prepares the way for the second coming of Yeshua the Messiah. Moses, representing the Law, teaches the priests how to please the Lord. The description found toward the end of Malachi 3:1 fits Moses perfectly: “… and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.”

Many teach that the man called “the messenger of the covenant” will be Yeshua. Handel’s Messiah, for example, treats these verses as a description of Him. The question, however, is how the Jewish people can rejoice in Someone they don’t know. They will some day delight in the Messiah. Now, however, the vast majority don’t acknowledge Him as the Messiah, nor do they delight in Him.

Whom do the Jews delight in more than they do in Moses? No one. He is at the top of the list of their sages and heroes. Lois Tverberg notes: “The Jewish people regarded Moses as the greatest prophet of all time. All other prophets heard God speaking in dreams and visions, but God spoke to Moses face to face (Numbers 12:6-8). Moses had also done great miracles to free them from Egypt and led them out of bondage. He had mediated their covenant and given them their scriptures, and they considered him their greatest leader of all time.”[1]

Moses fits both of the criteria given in Malachi 3:1—he is the “messenger of the covenant,” the one through whom God delivered His Law to His people Israel. He is also “the one in whom you delight,” the one the Jews treasure down to the present day.

Moses will be working alongside Elijah as they fill the roles of the two witnesses described for us in Revelation 11. They prophesy during the second half of Daniel’s seventieth week, the time period also known as “the forty-two months.”

Malachi continues his description of Moses, the messenger of the covenant, with the question: “But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?” The implied answer is “no one can.” Moses will be an instructor of fierce countenance.

“For he [Moses] is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 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. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years” (Mal. 3:2-4).

Moses, from the tribe of Levi, will instruct the Levites. He will help them learn how to actually please their God (and ours) with the offerings that they present on His altar.

These Temple sacrifices, in ancient times, all pointed to the future, magnificent Lamb of God. In the same way, when these sacrifices are offered during the seventieth week of Daniel, and on into the Millennium, they will serve as powerful reminders of the Greatest Sacrifice, the Son of God—never as substitutes for Him or His work![2]

The priests and Levites have much to learn from their revered law-giver. Moses, mediator of the covenant between God and Israel, will train these men in living holy, set-apart lives. He will teach them to love, serve, and submit to Yeshua (Jesus), the Messiah. This will be an intense time for them. They will learn to look into their own hearts, and they will not always like what they find. They will need to repent before they can truly represent God to their people (and their people to God).

The great news is that Moses’ instruction bears fruit! The Levites learn to live their lives—and to present their sacrifices—in a way that honors God and His Messiah.

The Temple sacrifices must have begun either before or during the first half of the seventieth week.  We know this because Antichrist, the “man of lawlessness,” defiles the seventieth week Temple. He stops the sacrifices there, and he sets up the Abomination of Desolation.[3]

How, then, can good, pure offerings be presented at a Temple that has been defiled? They can be presented after the Temple has been re-dedicated. This re-dedication is implied in Daniel 9:24, which says that before the seventieth week ends the Most Holy Place will be anointed. Here is a rough timeline of my view on these events for your consideration:

The Abomination of Desolation is a desecrating object of some sort. The Antichrist sets it up in the Holy Place in the Temple of God at the middle of the seventieth week of Daniel (Matt. 24:15-16). He also puts a stop to sacrifice and offering at the Temple (Dan. 9:27), whether by this setting up of the Abomination or by some other means.

By the end of the seventieth week, Israel will experience all six astounding blessings spelled out in Daniel 9:24. One of these is the anointing of the Most Holy Place in the Temple.

When Moses and Elijah begin their work as the two witnesses (Rev. 11:3), this Abomination stands in the way of true worship. Therefore, it appears that those who love God will move it elsewhere (or perhaps even destroy it). Although the Antichrist is still powerful, he does not possess all power. He cannot triumph over the Lamb and His purposes. One of His purposes is to visit the Temple–but only after true worship has been restored.

So, to connect the dots, I suggest that the Abomination will be moved so that the Holy Place may be cleansed and the Most Holy Place prepared for anointing. When these tasks have been accomplished, then true worship may begin in the seventieth week Temple in Jerusalem.

Moses will, exactly as prophesied, “purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver” (Mal. 3:3b). They will then “bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord” (Mal. 3:3c).

After Moses’ commendable work, God’s holy Temple is ready for the arrival of the Messiah. He and His Father will approve of the Levites’ worship, for the offerings “… will be pleasing to the Lord as in days of old and as in former years” (Mal. 3:4).

 

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Brackets and ellipses mine, added for clarity.

[1] Tverberg, Lois A., Ph.D. “A Prophet Greater than Moses.” En-Gedi Resource Center. 2006. Accessed September 5, 2016. http://www.egrc.net/articles/Rock/Great Expectations/ProphetGreaterThanMoses.html.

[2] “These sacrifices did not take away sin in the Old Testament, but were done in obedience to the Lord in repentance of sin. In a similar way, future animal sacrifices … will not take away sin, but will serve as a reminder or memorial to the Lord (Hebrews 10:3). This is not unlike the way Christians take the Lord’s Supper during this current time period (or church age) as a reminder of Jesus’ death and resurrection.” “Millennial Sacrifices.” Got Questions Ministries. 2011-2016. Accessed October 10, 2016. https://compellingtruth.org/millennial-sacrifices.html. Ellipsis mine.

[3] See 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, Daniel 9:27, and Matthew 24:15-16.

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