DUH, In The Foyer; A Commentary On Malachi
July 1, 2006

C. R. Oliver

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July 1, 2006

DUH, In The Foyer
A Commentary On Malachi


Malachi was a Mr. "In Between." His message surfaced during the absence of Nehemiah (when he returned to Persia 432-425BC), as well as between the Old and New Testaments. (When Nehemiah returned after a seven year absence, he discovered the prophet's message.) Ninety-four years had passed since Zerubbabel and the first wave of returnees arrived to re-establish the nation following the Babylonian captivity. In that nearly one hundred year time-frame, national life was re-established, the Temple was rebuilt, a semi-revival had taken place under Ezra, and the wall around Jerusalem was finished. Also in that period, there was a denigration of true and faithful worship. (One might associate the one hundred year celebration of Azusa Street and the current conflux.)

The move from a freshly liberated people, who were grateful for their release, to an arrogant citizenry, with an equally arrogant priesthood, was no small turn. Sent to this scene was Malachi (My Messenger), the prophet.

Imagine a people having experienced the blessing of God for almost a hundred years, celebrating that event by the following responses:
  1. In what way have YOU loved us? 1:2 (speaking to God).
  2. Wherein have we despised you? 1:7 (expressing this not once but three times) (Despise: OT: 959 bazah : to disesteem, considered a vile person)
  3. What way have we defiled you? 1:7 (Used two times and is the same word as despised.)
  4. For what reason? 2:14 (Uttered when the Lord said He would not accept their offerings)
  5. In what way have we wearied Him? 2:17 (OT:3021 wearied: yaga , To be exhausted)
  6. Where is the God of justice? 2:17 (spiritual determination)
  7. In what way shall we return? 3:7
  8. In what way have we robbed you? 3:8
  9. What have we spoken against you? 3:13
Such questions (in reality they were actually answers) served as an affront to God in the same manner as a wayward child's remonstration upon being corrected or shown error. Can one not hear Israel's real heart in these questions? When reviewed as a whole they stand as a signal of the national spiritual state.

Would these examples not serve to signal the same today? Let a Malachi enter a Word (or Bible) Church with probing exactness, and one would observe the same pouting arrogance. Allow God to hurl the following invective into that congregation and observe the result. "This church is not true to the Word." Immediately would come forth, "In what way? How can you say that? What right do you have to make such an observation? Without a moment's hesitation, there would be a wholesale rebuke of the messenger and ultimately, the God who sent him. It happened to Jesus!

I once literally burst through the doors of a large Assembly of God Church while they were holding evening services. Without asking or seeking recognition, I cried out in my loudest voice the message of God to that body. The singing group, who were conducting a concert, fell silent as two ushers headed my direction. The pastor dashed to the front of the congregation and declared, "Don't touch him. God spoke those words to me this morning, and I felt it was too strong a word and I failed to deliver it. What he has spoken is from the Lord!" The whole church fell to their knees and began seeking God, repenting and calling out in the fear of the Lord. Mark the difference between a people who walk humbly before the Lord and those of Malachi's day.
Ask a righteous man a probing question about a spiritual offense, and his heart will melt and there will be a desire to repent and right the matter. Ask the same question to a hard-hearted religious die- hard and observe him take offense, watch him use rationalization and then assume an attitude of resistance.
(Sealed Unto His Coming, pg 291)
YHWH began His Word through Malachi with "I have loved you" and ended with "Remember the Law of Moses, My servant." His message was salted with "Return unto Me and I will return unto you." The nation had returned to their homeland, but had not returned unto their Father. God's heart flowed outward to a people whose only concern was establishing their national identity, returning to former lifestyles and to days of economic prosperity. In some respects, they had accomplished their goal! Now, they were a nation out of civil bondage and on the verge of losing their spirit. They had become a State, a State which served as a protectorate to an established and wayward religious order. Is it not the same today?

Grouping all the Questions of Priests and People as a Unit:
If one will group the fiats emanating from Israel's religious spirit as they passed by the several invitations of the Lord to "know Him," a startling pattern emerges.
  1. The table of the Lord is contemptible 1:7 Jehovah, "who hears the words of man's bed chamber," said the priests offered defiled food on His altar. It was defiled by their words. They began by despising His Name (the I AM THAT I AM). Ministry disesteemed Him. The table the Lord had set (see: Song of Solomon Chapter Two) was defined by them as "contemptible." Later in Malachi, God declares that He has made them like the table of their offering: "contemptible." God answered that it was only so because of their "input."

    Listen Church; it is the same today! The table of the Lord's blessing is set with favor and honor and loving portions of His willful plenty. That Banquet of Supply (Philippians 4:19) is only tainted by the sauce of twisted verbiage issued on a daily basis from the mouths of those who have not "returned unto Me."

    The table of the Lord is not contemptible; it is filled with that which nourishes the inner man and fills the person with life.

    Later in Malachi, the Lord declared that He will make the offering and the ministry which offers it-the same. If the offering is contemptible, so will the ministry be manifested as "contemptible." 2006-7 will see this identity process come to pass.

  2. The table of the Lord is defiled 1:12. After the Lord issued a call for "someone" to stand in opposition to the standard practices of delivering ministry, the leaders' answers are the same as before. God described a glorious table set for the Gentiles and one where HIS NAME is great among nations (1:11b); their reply was, "that table is defiled by Gentiles and the nations." National Israel still says the same nearly twenty-five hundred years later. The problem, however, has multiplied and now has infiltrated Christendom. The table set by those of current religious dementia is not the table of God. Communion with its participants and service from its plates lead to distortion and disesteem. It is a profaned table made so by a "sneering (1:13)" multitude that survey the precious offerings of Calvary and declare, "Oh, what weariness." Declaring they have eclipsed the whole of history with new doctrines and new formulas, their goal is to segment the table into at least two parts: "those who adhere to their schemes" and "those who do not." They push to the fringes those who seek to gather at God's table in order to substitute "higher order" menus filled with husks.

  3. Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them 2:17 (Observe the word "delights" and its root meanings. OT:2654 Hebrew: chaphets ; a primitive root; properly, to incline to; by implication (literally but rarely) to bend (like bowing in favor) ; figuratively, to be pleased with, desire: KJV - (have, take) delight, desire, favour, like, move, be (well) pleased, have pleasure, will, would.

    Reversal of truth is easy to swallow when one is accustomed to eating at the wrong table. Thus, this third relativity rolls outward from the teachings of those who have long since been addicted to the flavor of error. Malachi's third conclusion could have just as easily been based on current evaluative schemes applied to modern ministry. If a ministry has been declared outwardly successful and is filled with all the right ingredients from the table of the certified, then it is deemed, "Good in the sight of the Lord and He delights in them."

    Enter: "Duh, in the foyer."

    That which is devoid of the leading presence of the Spirit of God is evil when it has been dubbed, "His Table." Those who smilingly greet all comers and usher them into that table stand to be judged alongside the leadership whom they serve. Ignorance is no excuse. The God of Malachi accepts no such rationale! To believe God takes pleasure and bows in respect to such defilement is disillusioned mockery.

  4. So now we call the proud blessed, for those who do wickedness are raised up; yes, those who tempt God go free. 3:15. (Tempt: OT: 974 bachan; a primitive root meaning, to test (especially metals); generally and figuratively, to investigate: KJV - examine, prove, tempt, try [trial]). Not too far from one error is another. In answer to God's, "Your words have been harsh against Me," and "You have said, 'It is vain to serve God; what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance,'" comes the opiate(d) reply listed as #4. Today, a huge malaise permeates the air of most clergy which in essence leads to this same false conclusion. Later in this treatise, one can view God's judgment.

  5. Oh, what weariness. 1:13 Although this verse precedes the 3:15 verse, it is strongly attached to it. Weariness in offering the evening and morning sacrifices garnered a response from God that might be construed as "Don't weary yourself then, I won't accept those offerings anyway." Eating at the wrong table takes its toll. Weariness is what comes of routine retinues and receding power. Does not the ministry of today stand in this judgment? The answer might well be heard today, "Why bother, I won't accept your offerings anyway."
God's Reply:

Just as the previous groupings reflect a corporate mind, so does the grouping of God's oracles reflect His strong judgment.
  1. Jacob I have loved: but Esau I have hated 1:3
  2. They may build, but I will throw down 1:4
  3. I have no pleasure in you 1:10
  4. I will not accept an offering from your hands 1:10
  5. I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings, I have cursed them already 2:2
  6. I will rebuke your descendants and spread refuse on your faces. 2:3
  7. I also have made you contemptible and base before all the people 2:9
    (Contemptible is the same word as used by the priests in describing God's altar. God has made them like their altar…)
  8. I will come near you for judgment 3:5-6. I will be a swift witness against sorcerers, adulterers, perjurers, exploiters, and the unjust.
  9. Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse 3:6
Within the nine replies are specific messages toward His people, whether priest or citizen, whether Jew or Gentile.

To Israel:

I have loved you 1:2
You shall say, "The Lord is magnified beyond the border of Israel 1:5"
Magnified: OT: 1431 gadal (gaw-dal'); a primitive root; properly, to twist [compare OT: 1434], i.e. to be (causatively make) large (in various senses, as in body, mind, estate or honor, also in pride): KJV - advance, boast, bring up, exceed, excellent, be (-come, do, give, make, wax), great (-er, come to ... estate, + things), grow (up), increase, lift up, magnify (-ifical), be much set by, nourish (up), pass, promote, proudly [spoken], tower.
To Gentiles and to the nations:
My name shall be great among the Gentiles 1:11 I am a great King, My name is to be feared among the nations 1:14
To Edom:
They shall be called the Territory of Wickedness 1:4 (speaking to Edom)
Territory/border: OT: 1366 gebuwl (gheb-ool'); or (shortened) gebul (gheb-ool'); from OT:1379; properly, a cord (as twisted), i.e. (by implication) a boundary; by extens. the territory inclosed: KJV - border, bound, coast, X great, landmark, limit, quarter, space.

The people against whom the Lord will have indignation forever 1:4 (Jordan's Mts, sons of Esau).
Indignation: OT: 2194 za` am (zaw-am'); a primitive root; properly, to foam at the mouth, i.e. to be enraged: KJV - abhor, abominable, (be) angry, defy, (have) indignation.
To the Priests:
(when offering sacrifices for the people) Should I accept this from your hand? 1:13?
You have corrupted the covenant of Levi 2:8
Corrupted: OT: 7843 shachath (shaw-khath'); a primitive root; to decay, i.e. (causatively) ruin (literally or figuratively): KJV - batter, cast off, corrupt (-er, thing), destroy (-er, -uction), lose, mar, perish, spill, spoiler, X utterly, waste (-r).
To Judah:
The first thing:
Profaned the Lord's holy….(some interject "institution," while others use "sanctuary." Without the interjections, the scripture implies "all that God calls Holy." : 2:11
Profaned: OT:2490 chalal (khaw-lal'); a primitive root [compare OT:2470]; properly, to bore, i.e. (by implication) to wound, to dissolve; figuratively, to profane (a person, place or thing), to break (one's word), to begin (as if by an "opening wedge"); denom. (from OT:2485) to play (the flute): KJV - begin ( men began), defile, break, defile, eat (as common things), first, gather the grape thereof, take inheritance, pipe, player on instruments, pollute, (cast as) profane (self), prostitute, slay (slain), sorrow, stain, wound.
The second thing:
You cover the altar of the Lord with tears 2:13
Weeping is fine between the porch and the altar, but when one comes to the altar tears cease. (At the altar there is to be rejoicing for forgiveness, bright hope for tomorrow.)
To those that fear Him:

A book of remembrance was made before the Lord 3:16

The Lord listened and heard them…book of remembrance was written. 3:16

They shall be mine 3:17

I will make them My jewels 3:17

I will spare them 3:17

The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings 4:2

And you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves. 4:2

You shall trample the wicked for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this 4:3

I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.4:5
The Two Groups Apart From the General Population and the Leadership
Group 1: Someone to shut the gates and stand against the crowds 1:10
While the priests in complete co-operation with the people were offering stolen, blind and lame offerings on the altar of sacrifice (which was to be a reflection of the coming perfect sacrifice), God called for someone to wake up and shut the gates. While the priests and people stand before God and cry out, "Now we entreat God's favor, that He may be gracious to us," God calls for someone to shut the gate and their mouths.

That someone should be strong enough to close the gates against all opposition and forbid altar fires to be kindled for an unholy offering. Oh, Where is that Someone today? Where is the Someone who will stand in the foyer and forbid the crowds from entering so as not to offer one more unholy offering to God? Where is the Someone who will stand in the office of priest and forbid his wayward brothers from further corrupting the people? Where is that Someone?
Group II: Those who feared the Lord 3:16
Apart from priests and the general congregants stands a smaller grouping of "Those that feared the Lord." Oh, the contrast! See them as they converse with one another (they are known to each other by the Spirit) 3:16. One might guess the topic of their conversation and their mutual encouragement while standing apart. This group has the ear of God, "The Lord listened and heard (3:16)." He wrote a book of remembrance, recording those who meditate on HIS NAME. He claims them as His. He spares them from the impending judgment. By them a witness and measuring scale is accomplished. When a worldly church observes them, they can ascertain "Who serves God and who does not serve God (3:18)."
Father or Master?
Perhaps the question of 1:6 is as important in these times as in Malachi's. God is still asking for the church to determine Who He is to them. Am I Father? Then where is my honor? Am I Master? Then where is my respect? Deep in the heart of Malachi was the knowledge that God is a Great King and that He changes not! Malachi knew this was not the case with most of those he addressed. Seemingly, the issue of Malachi was about corrupted offerings, but the theme is greater than that. Hovering over every word of this prophesy is the Lord seeking a holy people to make holy offerings to Him. Those who grasp Chapter three for personal gain and make tithing a consternation and confusion do disservice to this momentous prophecy. Far from collections plates and offering envelopes is the cry of
If you will not hear, and if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to My name, says the Lord of hosts, "I will send a curse upon you." 2:2
Original Priesthood:
The Lord, in 2:4-7, painted a picture of His original intention with Levi and the priesthood. (Are not we priests? Are we exempt from this model? )
Then you will know that I have sent this commandment to you (those who fear Him),
That MY covenant with Levi may continue…
My covenant was with him, one of life and peace, and I gave them to him that he might fear Me; so he feared Me and was reverent before My Name.
The law of truth was in his mouth, and injustice was not found on his lips he walked with Me in peace and equity, and turned many away from iniquity.
Then God laid out the leadership role for everyone in five fold ministry:
For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger Of the Lord of Hosts. 2:7
But those messengers corrupted the "Covenant of Levi." Corruption cannot stand in the presence of the Almighty. When the Lord uttered this phrase, immediately those not in the real covenant of Levi were changed to contemptible beings. Like vileness in Nahum, they became contemptible in their inner most being and all that the people could see was their place before a defiled altar.

God also pointed out to Judah the strong connection between one act of disobedience and its rippling influence.
Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been Committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. 2:11
The Lord contrasted the divorce of the wife of one's youth to the divorce of a people from God. As many of them had married foreign women and worshipped the sun as god, The Lord declared that by contrast the true Sun of Righteousness would arise and there would be healing in His wings.

Both priest and people had entered a liaison to "Tread lightly on applying the Law." Their making divorce acceptable did not lesson its effect. God hates divorce!
It covers one's garment with violence…therefore take heed to your spirit. 2:16
Their actions spoke louder than their words. God said He was wearied with their words. He desired a holy people with a holy offspring.

God's Messenger of the Covenant:

And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, Even 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?
These words were written to those "who fear the Lord." From 3:16 to the end of the book, every single word of prophecy is written to this group ALONE. The coming day of the Lord, the prophet Elijah, the Sun of Righteousness with healing, the promise of provision, the power over the wicked, the Law of Moses, the statutes and judgments and the turning of hearts is written to God's jewels.

If there is a striking of the earth with a curse…it will lie squarely upon the shoulders of that group.


We have been overwhelmed with gratitude for the many folks who are joined with us through this newsletter as subscribers. As we observe the number multiply daily, our hearts give praise to the Living Lord.

Recently, some have sent offerings to go directly to missions. We are pleased to act as a connection to ministries on foreign soil.

In this month of patriotic appreciation for the independence of our nation, we just wanted to add our appreciation for our spiritual independence as well. Hallelujah, Praise His Name!

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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