The last book of the Old Testament is called Malachi, a word in the original Hebrew which translates as "my Messenger", and was written by a prophet some 500 years before Christ.
Nothing further is known about the author, but there are no less than six references to this book in the New Testament, five of which made by the Lord Jesus, although the name is not mentioned (Matthew 11:10; 17:12; Mark 1: 2; 9:11, 12; Luke 1:17; Romans 9:13).
It has the distinction of being the last occasion when the Lord calls upon the people of Israel to return to him, leaving their evil ways, purifying themselves of sin and worshipping him in sincerity of heart. The picture of the chosen people of God at that time is sad, indicating that there was a need for major reforms to pave the way for the arrival of the Messiah.
There were no more prophets until John the Baptist, who appeared at least four centuries later.
The prophecy consists of a series of questions on the part of the people, and answers given by the LORD, here called the LORD of hosts. In this article we will focus on one:
And the answer:
This translation suggests that these were thoughts that led to attitudes, but it is even more than that: those thoughts were expressed in words, contaminating others. The LORD gets wearied with them, in other words, they were not new to Him because these thoughts have always existed and will exist in the minds of those who do not fear God, and God gets tired of explaining his righteousness to men.
The first thought is that "Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them". Do they really believe that, or just said it sarcastically?
Anyway, they were vilifying the character of God. In the beginning He had said to Cain, "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. and its desire is for you, but you should rule over it"(Genesis 4: 7).
When God made the people of Israel for Himself, He gave them his law so that the people could eliminate the evil from their midst, with penalties to offenders and sacrifices for sin. Moses said to the people of Israel: "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil; in that I command ..." (Deuteronomy 30: 15). Good is identified with life, just as evil is with death as we read in Proverbs 11:19 "As righteousness leads to life, So he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death."
In their efforts to fill the seats of their temples, many today are preaching a God of love only, not taking into account that He is also a God of justice and righteousness. John 3:16 teaches us that "God loved the world", and really His love to His creation was immense but He certainly did not love the sin in which it was involved. In order to redeem it He "gave his only begotten son" to die so "that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life".
Whoever believes in Jesus Christ and receives Him as his Lord and Saviour has eternal life: he will enjoy fellowship with God for eternity, that is offered freely and never will be taken away. Those who reject Him "perish", like rotten fruit loses its usefulness and is thrown in the rubbish heap: it is eternal death, for they are aware of their existence, far away from the presence of God, forever. Certainly God is not pleased with these.
The second thought is expressed in the question: "Where is the God of justice?"
It is a question that comes through the ages, often by way of a challenge. Bad men achieve prosperity and seem to have no problems or conflicts as those who seek to serve God.
When the righteousness of God is doubted, morality standards quickly fall to a level of "new morality". "Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. "(Ecclesiastes 8:11). It seems that evil pays well.
The majority of people consider that crime pays if it is not found out, and each one seeks to get away with as much as he can. We see that in governments, in large companies, it was seen in recent scandals. It is the attitude of the community in General. The honest man is trampled and nobody bothers with this.
The psalmist Asaph says in Psalm 73, " I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no pangs in their death, But their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride serves as their necklace; volence covers them like a garment... Therefore his people return here, And waters of a full cup are drained by them. And they say, "How does God know? And is there knowledge in the Most High?"
Asaph had the answer when he entered the sanctuary of God and realized what their end was. The judgment of God is inevitable, but "the Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3: 9). God gives opportunity for repentance, conversion and a new life in communion with him.
Time goes by and each one of us will come one day to eternity - this is the "end" of each one of us and will last forever. The wicked may build today a "new morality" and accumulate as much wealth as they can, but they will have to leave everything and face the Judge tomorrow.
We must take care not to make ourselves judges with respect to the apparent lack of intervention of God in our contemporary society. Anyone who knows the Word of God knows that he is a sinner and that there is a God of justice. His judgment does not come immediately, but it is certain and infallible. All will go through it except those who have been justified by grace through faith in Christ Jesus.