The Messenger & The Messiah

You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you say, “How have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?”

“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts.

“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.”
Malachi 2:17–3:4

Malachi was last of the postexilic prophets; he was also the last prophet in Judah for over 450 years until John the Baptist begins to preach, and when the angel announces John’s coming birth to Zacharias, he will quote from the very last verse in Malachi:

“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”
Malachi 4:5

Angel Appears to ZachariasThis will be John’s calling and purpose:

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Luke 1:13–17

Jesus Himself identified John as the messenger of Malachi 3:1:

As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces! But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written,

‘Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’

“Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Matthew 11:7–14

Do you know what the name Malachi means? Gleason Archer writes:

“The most reasonable explanation for the meaning of Malachi (Mal’ ākī, Hebrew) is that it is hypocoristic [an endearing diminutive] for the full form Mal’ ak-Yah, or Messenger of Jehovah.”1

So Malachi, Messenger of Jehovah, prophesies of John, Messenger of Messiah, who will prepare the way and “turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord,” Jesus, the Christ.

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Архангел Гавриил поражает Захарию немотой The Angel Appears to Zacharias, Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov 1824.
1Gleason L. Archer, Jr., “Postexilic Prophets: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi,” A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Moody Press, Chicago IL: 1966, 1974) 430.

Copyright ©2010-2017 Iwana Carpenter

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“The righteous shall live by faith” Reformation 500

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Romans 1:16–17 (ESV)

One of the best courses I took in college was Reformation history—and this was not at a Christian school, but a secular university. Our professor’s enthusiasm brought us into the time, and into the heart of the conflict and the courage of Martin Luther.

R.C. Sproul on Luther & the Reformation

“On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther tacked up 95 theses on the church door at Wittenberg. With this act, he hoped to provoke a discussion among the scholars about the abuses of the indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church. He was not trying to create a public furor by any means, but within a fortnight, these theses had spread through the country like wildfire. The last thing Luther had in mind was to start some kind of major controversy, but nevertheless major controversy did begin.

“From the discussions at Wittenberg, the disputations began to accelerate and escalate…In 1520 a papal encyclical was issued which condemned Martin Luther as a heretic…

“…Martin Luther picked up his pen to challenge the entire penitential system of the Roman Catholic Church, which undermined in principle the free remission of sins that is ours in the gospel. By doing so, he was unswervingly advocating his commitment to sola fide, the doctrine of justification by faith alone…”

If you’re not familiar with the dramatic events that followed at the Diet of Worms, Dr. Sproul unfolds them at the above link. It was there, upon being asked if he would recant, Luther replied,

“Unless I am convinced by sacred Scripture or by evident reason, I cannot recant, for my conscience is held captive by the Word of God, and to act against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.”

Dr. Sproul writes, “And with that there was an instant uproar.”

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I highly recommend taking the time to read and work through Dr. Sproul’s The Very Heart of the Reformation. You can find other posts on the Reformation at the Ligonier Ministries blog.

Posted in Faith, Grace, Jesus Christ, Luther, Martin, Reformation 500, Romans, Salvation, Sproul, R. C. | Leave a comment

Happy Mother’s Day!

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
Titus 2:3–5

God entrusts mothers with the stewardship of our children’s lives. We are called by God to love our children and to rear them to know and love the Lord.

For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well….

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 1:5, 3:14–15

Children learn the most from the one who spends the most time with them. That’s an undeniable fact. What children learn of love and trust and relationships, and how they grow in comprehension and understanding of the world will primarily come from whoever is spending time with them. For children there is no such thing as quality time, there is only time.

Being home with children is a very necessary, worthwhile, and, in our society, courageous thing to do. Scripture enjoins women to love our children and to be workers at home. The church has lost sight of the importance of motherhood and home and family and has bought into the cultural notion that a woman must have a career. Meanwhile our children are suffering.

I know families can take a financial hit when mom is home with the children. The pressure of materialism and hearing things such as you’re wasting your time and education from family members can be difficult to handle. Yet I’ve seen the consequences of a mother’s working career, and I know that easy finances don’t keep heartbreak and estrangement from the door.

Motherhood can be draining, exhausting, tiresome, and frustrating, but times of bonding and mothering are precious blessings. Smiles, laughter; first words, first steps; there are so many things that you will want to be the one to experience. Watching your child grow and learn are moments that can never be regained. Children are not only a stewardship given to us from God—children are also a gift from God. Enjoy the blessings that your children are, and the blessings that your children give to you.

May God bless you as you are a mother to your children.

May God comfort those of you who have lost children or are estranged from your children.

May God strengthen those of you who have children in turmoil.

May those of you without children be blessed by those whom you have mothered in their time of need.

And for those of you who have been forsaken by your own mother:

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me,
And the Lord has forgotten me.”
“Can a woman forget her nursing child
And have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.”

God bless you!

Other posts to read today:

An open letter to pastors (A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day)

Unconditional Love in the Messiness of Mother’s Day
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Interieur mit Mutter und Kind, August Müller: Public Domain.
Forget me nots, cropped photo. Original: FreeFoto.com

Original content: Copyright ©2014-2017 Iwana Carpenter

Posted in Adversity, Children, Christian Life, Comfort, Compassion, Family, God, Hope, Love, Motherhood, Parenting, Personal Distress, Suffering | Tagged | Leave a comment

Journey of Belief

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.

Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.

They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”

Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.
Luke 24:13–35 ESV

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Zünd Gang nach Emmaus, Gemälde von Robert Zünd: Public Domain.
Die Jünger von Emmäus, Bernhard Rode: Cropped, Public Domain.
ESV: English Standard Version.

Original content: Copyright ©2014–2017 Iwana Carpenter

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Race of Hope

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene *came early to the tomb, while it *was still dark, and *saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. So she *ran and *came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and *said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together…
John 20:1–4a

Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre
James Gurney posted The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection by the Swiss artist Eugène Burnand on his Facebook page several years ago, along with these enlargements of the faces of Peter and John. He pointed out the complexity of emotions that Burnand caught on each man. You can literally see their thoughts chasing across their faces—the anxiety and hope against hope on John’s face, and the hope against hope tempered with sorrow and regret on Peter’s face.

In disbelieving shock, they run. Not knowing what they will find, they run. In hope against hope they run.

They run.

John's Face

Peter's Face

and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also *came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he *saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.
John 20:4b–8


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Eugène Burnand, The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection. Click on the painting for an enlarged view.

*The NASB Explanation of General Format has this explanation of their use of an asterisk in translation:
ASTERISKS are used to mark verbs that are historical presents in the Greek which have been translated with an English past tense in order to conform to modern usage. The translators recognized that in some contexts the present tense seems more unexpected and unjustified to the English reader than a past tense would have been. But Greek authors frequently used the present tense for the sake of heightened vividness, thereby transporting their readers in imagination to the actual scene at the time of occurrence. However, the translators felt that it would be wiser to change these historical presents to English past tenses.

Original content: Copyright ©2014–2017 Iwana Carpenter

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