From the rising of the sun - The total abolition of the Mosaic sacrifices, and the establishment of a spiritual worship over the whole earth, is here foretold. The incense of praise, and the pure offering of the Lamb without spot, and through him a holy, loving heart, shall be presented everywhere among the Gentiles; and the Jews and their mock offerings shall be rejected.
For - The form of words does not express whether this declaration relates to the present or the future. It is a vivid present, such as is often used to describe the future. But the things spoken of show it to be future. The Jewish sacrifices had defects, partly incidental, partly inherent. Incidental were those, with which the prophet had upbraided them; inherent (apart from their mere typical character) that they never could be the religion of the world, since they were locally fixed at Jerusalem. Malachi tells them of a new sacrifice, which should be offered throughout the then pagan world, grounded on His new revelation of Himself to them. “For great shall be My Name among the pagan.” The prophet anticipates an objection which the Jews might make to him. Joshua 7:9, “what then will God do unto His great Name?” Those by which He would replace them, would be more worthy of God in two ways:
1) in themselves,
2) in their universality.
“Then,” whatsoever the pagan worshiped, even if some worshiped an “unknown God,” His “Name” was not known to them, nor “great among them.” Those who knew of Him, knew of Him, not as the Lord of heaven and earth, but as the God of the Jews only; their “offerings” were not “pure,” but manifoldly defiled. A Hebrew prophet could not be an apologist for pagan idolatry amidst its abominations, or set it on a level with the worship which God had, for the time, appointed; much less could he set it forth as the true acceptable service of God. Malachi himself speaks of it, as an aggravation of cruelty in their divorcing of their wives, that they Malachi 2:11 “married the daughter of a strange god.”
The worship of those Jews, who remained, out of secular interests, in foreign countries, could not be represented as “the pure offering;” for they made no offerings: then as now, these being forbidden out of Jerusalem; nor would the worship of such Jews, as were scattered in the large empire of Persia, be contrasted with that at Jerusalem, as “the” pure worship; else why should the Jews have returned? It would have been an abolition of the law before its time. Malachi prophesies then, as had Micah, Isaiah, Zephaniah Zephaniah 2:11, of a new revelation of God, when, and in which, people should “worship Him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the pagan.”
Our Lord Himself explains and expands it in His words to the Samaritan woman; John 4:21, John 4:23-24, “Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth,” and declared the rejection of the Jews, sealing their own sentence against themselves Matthew 21:41, Matthew 21:43, “I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof;” and before Matthew 8:11-12, “Many shall come from the East and West, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, and the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness.”
“Incense shall be offered unto My name,” literally I think, “there shall be incense, oblation made unto My name” (this is a mere question of construction), “and a pure oblation.”
This sacrifice, which should be offered, is designated by the special name of “meal-offering.” (Leviticus 2:7 (Leviticus 2:14 in English) and the verses following.) God would not accept it from the Jews; He would, from the Pagan. It was a special sacrifice, offered by itself as an unbloody sacrifice, or together with the bloody sacrifice. (Leviticus 6:17 (Leviticus 6:10 in Hebrew)), “It is most holy, as the sin-offering and as the trespass-offering.” In the daily sacrifice it was offered morning and evening, with the lamb. Since this was typical of the precious blood-shedding of the “Lamb without spot” upon the cross, so was the meal-offering which accompanied it, of the holy eucharist.
The early Christians saw the force of the prediction, that sacrifice was contrasted with sacrifice, the bloody sacrifices which were ended by the “One full perfect and sufficient sacrifice oblation and satisfaction” made by our Lord “on the altar of the cross for the sins of the whole world,” and those sacrifices which He commanded to be made on our altars, as a memorial of Him. So Justin, who was converted probably 133 a.d., within 30 years from the death of John, says “God has, therefore, beforehand declared, that all who through this name offer those sacrifices, which Jesus, who is the Christ, commanded to be offered, that is to say, in the eucharist of the bread and of the cup, which are offered in every part of the world by us Christians, are well-pleasing to Him. But those sacrifices, which are offered by you and through those priests of yours, He wholly rejects, saying, “And I will not accept your offerings at your hands. For from the rising of the sun even to the going down of the same, My Name is glorified among the Gentiles; but ye profane it.”
He points out further the failure of the Jewish explanation as to “their” sacrifices, in that the Church was everywhere, not so the Jews. “You and your teachers deceive yourselves, when you interpret this passage of Scripture of those of your nation who were in the dispersion and say that it speaks of their prayers and sacrifices made in every place, as pure and well-pleasing, and know that you speak falsely, and endeavor in every way to impose upon yourselves; first, because your people are not found, even now, from the rising to the setting of the sun, but there are nations, in which none of your race have ever dwelt: while there is not one nation of people, whether Barbarians, or Greeks, or by whatsoever name distinguished, whether of those (nomads) who live in wagons, or of those who have no houses, or those pastoral people that dwell in tents, among whom prayers and thanksgivings are not offered to the Father and Creator of all things, through the name of the crucified Jesus. And you know that at the time when the prophet Malachi said this, the dispersion of you through the whole world, in which you now are, had not yet taken place; as is also shown by Scripture.”
Irenaeus in the same century “He took that which is part of the creation, namely, bread, and gave thanks, saying, ‹This is My body.‘ And the cup likewise, which is of the creation which pertains unto us, He professed to be His own blood, and taught people the new oblation of the New Testament; which the Church receiving from the apostles offers unto God in the world: unto Him who giveth us nourishment, the firstfruits of His own gifts, in the New Testament; of which in the twelve prophets Malachi gave beforehand this intimation (quoting Malachi 1:10-11); most evidently intimating hereby, that while the former people should cease to make offerings to God, in every place sacrifice should be offered unto Him, and that in pureness; His Name also is glorified among the Gentiles. Now what other name is there, which is glorified among the Gentiles, than that which belongs to our Lord, by whom the Father is glorified, and man is glorified?
And because man belongs to His Own Son, and is made by Him, He calls him His Own. And as if some King were himself to paint an image of his own son, he justly calls it his own image, on both accounts, first that it is his son‘s, next, that he himself made it: so also the Name of Jesus Christ, which is glorified in the Church throughout the whole world, the Father professes to be His own, both because it is His Son‘s, and because He Himself wrote and gave it for the salvation of men. Because, therefore, the Name of the Son properly belongs to the Father, and in God Almighty through Jesus Christ the Church makes her offering, well saith He on both accounts, ‹And in every place incense is offered unto My Name, and a pure sacrifice.‘ And incense, John in the Apocalypse declares to be the prayers of the saints. Therefore, the offering of the Church, which the Lord hath taught to be offered in the whole world, is accounted with God as a pure sacrifice, and accepted of Him.”
Tertullian contrasts the “sacerdotal law through Moses, in Leviticus, prescribing to the people of Israel, that sacrifices should in no other place be offered to God than in the land of promise, which the Lord God was about to give to the people Israel and to their brethren, in order that on Israel‘s introduction thither, there should be there celebrated sacrifices and holocausts, as well for sins as for souls, and nowhere else but in the holy land Leviticus 17:1-6; Deuteronomy 12:5-14, Deuteronomy 12:26-27, and this subsequent prediction of the Spirit through the prophets, that in every place and in every land there should be offered sacrifices to God. As He says through the angel Malachi, one of the twelve prophets (citing the place).”
Hippolytus, a disciple of Irenaeus, 220 a.d. martyr, in a commentary on Daniel, says that “when Anti-Christ cometh, the sacrifice and libation will be taken away, which is now in every place offered by the Gentiles to God.” The terms “Sacrifice offered in every place” are terms of Malachi.
So Cyprian, in his Testimonies against the Jews, sums up the teaching of the passage under this head, “That the old sacrifice was to be made void, and a new sacrifice instituted.”
In the “apostolic Constitutions,” the prophecy is quoted as “said by God of His ecumenical Church.”
Eusebius says, “The truth bears witness to the prophetic word, whereby God, rejecting the Mosaic sacrifices, foretells that which shall be among us. ‹For from the rising of the sun‘ etc. We sacrifice then to the supreme God the sacrifice of praise; we sacrifice the divine, reverend and holy oblation: we sacrifice, in a new way according to the New Testament, the pure sacrifice. The broken heart is also called a sacrifice to God - We sacrifice also the memory of that great Sacrifice, performing it according to the mysteries which have been transmitted by Him.”
Cyril of Jerusalem speaks of it only as prophesying the rejection of the Jews and the adoption of the Gentiles.
In the liturgy of Mark, it is naturally quoted, only, as fulfilled “in the reasonable and unbloody sacrifice, which all nations offer to Thee, O Lord, from the rising of the sun to the setting thereof,” not in reference to the cessation of Jewish sacrifices.
Chrysostom dwells on its special force, coming from so late a prophet. “Hear Malachi, who came after the other prophets. For I adduce, for the time, no testimony either of Isaiah or Jeremiah or any other before the captivity, lest thou shouldest say that the terrible things which he foretold were exhausted in the captivity. But I adduce a prophet, after the return from Babylon and the restoration of your city, prophesying clearly about you. For when they had returned, and recovered their city, and rebuilt the temple and performed the sacrifices, foretelling this present desolation then future, and the taking away of the sacrifice, Malachi thus speaks in the Person of God (Malachi 1:10 (end) and Malachi 1:12 (beginning)). When, oh Jew, happened all this? When was incense offered to God in every place? when a pure sacrifice? Thou couldest not name any other time, than this, after the coming of Christ. If the prophet foretelleth not this time and our sacrifice, but the Jewish, the prophecy will be against the law.
For if, when Moses commandeth that sacrifice should be offered in no other place than the Lord God should choose, and shutteth up those sacrifices in one place, the prophet says that incense should be offered in every place and a pure sacrifice, he opposeth and contradicteth Moses. But there is no strife nor contention. For Moses speaketh of one sacrifice, and Malachi of another. Where doth this appear? (From the place, not Judaea only; from the mode, that it should be pure; from the offerers, not Israel, but the nations), from East to West, showing that whatever of earth the sun surveys, the preaching will embrace. He calls the former sacrifice impure, not in its own nature but in the mind of the offerers; if one compares the sacrifice itself, there is such a boundless distance, that this (that offered by Christians) might in comparison be called ‹pure. ‹“
Even the cold, but clear, Theodoret has “Foretelling to the Jews the cessation of the legal priesthood, he announces the pure and unbloody sacrifice of the Gentiles. And first he says to the Jews, ‹I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept a sacrifice at your hands.‘ Then he foreshows the piety of the Gentiles, ‹For from the rising of the sun‘ etc. Malachi 1:11, you then I will wholly reject, for I detest altogether what you do. Wherefore also I reject the sacrifice offered by you; but instead of you, I have the whole world to worship Me. For the dwellers in the whole earth, which the rising and setting sun illumines, will everywhere both offer to Me incense, and will sacrifice to Me the pure sacrifice, which I love. For they shall know My name and My will, and shall offer to Me reverence due. So the Lord said to the Samaritan woman, ‹Woman, believe Me, that the hour cometh and now is, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem shall ye worship the Father.‘ The blessed Paul, being instructed in this, says 1 Timothy 2:8, ‹I will that men pray everywhere‘ etc., and the divine Malachi clearly taught us in this place the worship now used, for the circumscribed worship of the priests is brought to an end, and every place is accounted fit for the worship of God, and the sacrifice of irrational victims is ended, and He, our spotless Lamb, Who taketh away the sin of the world, is sacrificed.”
Lastly, Augustine, “Malachi, prophesying of the Church which we see propagated through Christ, says most plainly to the Jews in the person of God, ‹I have no pleasure in you, and will not receive an offering at your hands. For from the rising of the sun‘ etc. Since we see this sacrifice through the priesthood of Christ after the order of Melchizedek, now offered to God in every place from the rising of the sun to its setting; but the sacrifice of the Jews, of which it is said, ‹I have no pleasure in you, neither will I accept an offering from your hands,‘ they cannot deny to have ceased; why do they yet expect another Christ, since what they read as prophesied and see fulfilled, could not be fulfilled, except through Him?”
[The Path of Self-Denial in Eating Is the Path to Health—473]
254. It is impossible for any to enjoy the blessing of sanctification while they are selfish and gluttonous. These groan under a burden of infirmities because of wrong habits of eating and drinking, which do violence to the laws of life and health. Many are enfeebling their digestive organs by indulging perverted appetite. The power of the human constitution to resist the abuses put upon it is wonderful; but persistent wrong habits in excessive eating and drinking will enfeeble every function of the body. Let these feeble ones consider what they might have been, had they lived temperately, and promoted health instead of abusing it. In the gratification of perverted appetite and passion, even professed Christians cripple nature in her work and lessen physical, mental, and moral power. Some who are doing this, claim to be sanctified to God; but such a claim is without foundation.... CD 164.1Read in context »
Again, the apostle writes to the believers, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). Specific directions were given to ancient Israel that no defective or diseased animal should be presented as an offering to God. Only the most perfect were to be selected for this purpose. The Lord, through the prophet Malachi, most severely reproved His people for departing from these instructions. SL 27.1
“A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts.... Ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the Lord” (Malachi 1:6-13). SL 27.2
Though addressed to ancient Israel, these words contain a lesson for the people of God today. When the apostle appeals to his brethren to present their bodies “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,” he sets forth the principles of true sanctification. It is not merely a theory, an emotion, or a form of words, but a living, active principle, entering into the everyday life. It requires that our habits of eating, drinking, and dressing be such as to secure the preservation of physical, mental, and moral health, that we may present to the Lord our bodies, not an offering corrupted by wrong habits, but “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.” SL 27.3Read in context »
October, 1857, we visited the church at Monterey, Mich. There was an evening meeting appointed at the school-house near Bro. George Lay's and an expectation to hear preaching. My husband went to the house feeling that he had nothing for the people. He told the brethren on the way that he could not decide on any subject and wished them to select. A hymn was sung, and my husband prayed with much freedom. After singing again my husband gave liberty to others to improve the time. I felt impressed to speak, and was greatly blest in speaking, and sat down, and was soon lost to earthly things. For further description of that meeting I copy the following from my husband's report in Review for Oct. 22, 1857: 2SG 238.1Read in context »
Lust of Appetite and Love of Pleasure the Wrong Money-raising Appeal—We see the churches of our day encouraging feasting, gluttony, and dissipation, by the suppers, fairs, dances, and festivals gotten up for the purpose of gathering means into the church treasury. Here is a method invented by carnal minds to secure means without sacrificing. WM 289.1
Such an example makes an impression upon the minds of youth. They notice that lotteries and fairs and games are sanctioned by the church, and they think there is something fascinating in this way of obtaining means.... WM 289.2Read in context »