Judgment Begins At The House Of God: A Theology Of Malachi -- By: Robert Gonzales, Jr.
RBTR 6:2 (July 2009) p. 7
Judgment Begins At The House Of God:
A Theology Of Malachi
Robert Gonzales Jr. is the academic dean of Reformed Baptist Seminary (www.rbseminary.org) in Taylors, South Carolina. He also serves as an adjunct professor for Midwest Center for Theological Studies. He has an M.A. in theology and a Ph.D. in Old Testament Interpretation from Bob Jones University.
Several decades have passed since the temple was rebuilt and the worship of Yahweh restored under the preaching of Haggai and Zechariah.1 The promised King, however, had not yet come (Zech. 9:9), nor had God’s promised glory filled the temple (Hag. 2:6-9). As a result, true worship devolved into dead religion. From Israel’s perspective, God existed solely to grant his people health and material prosperity as a merited blessing. When the people did not get what they wanted when they wanted it, cynicism and ungodliness began to smother the life out of their religion.2 Into such spiritual decadence God sends Malachi3 with a solemn warning.4 Using a series of rhetorical questions,5 the Lord identifies the sinful
RBTR 6:2 (July 2009) p. 8
attitudes and lawless behavior of his people. Then he admonishes them to prepare for a divine visitation. Such visitation will result in judgment for the wicked and salvation for the righteous. True religion will once again be restored.
A prevailing dead “orthodoxy” prompted God’s warning. The characteristics of this lifeless religion included faulty theology, defective worship, covenantal infidelity, ungodly living, and tight-fisted unbelief.
1. Faulty Theology
At the root of this spiritual decay was a defective view of God. Many Israelites had developed the attitude that Yahweh was to be served for profit (3:13-15).6 Despite previous revelation to the contrary,7 they continued to maintain a mechanical doctrine of retribution. Theirs was a “God-for-gain” religion (cf., 1 Tim. 6:5). But when the Lord refused to cater to their expectations, the people became impatient and critical towards God. In particular, they accused him of a lack of love (
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