“At that time, those who feared the Lord spoke to one another. The Lord took notice and listened. So a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who feared YHWH and had high regard for His name. ‘They will be Mine.’ says the Lord of Hosts, ‘a special possession on the day I am preparing. I will have compassion on them as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. So you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked between the one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.’” Malachi 3:16-18
I love this passage because it reminds me of the people who study the Bible with me in coffeehouses. Those of us who fear the Lord are getting together and speaking about Him openly and publicly. Scripture says that the Lord is with us when we gather in Messiah’s Name. He takes notice and listens.
“For where two or three have gathered in My name, I am there in their midst.” Matthew 18:19
Two factors distinguish the believers Malachi speaks of 1) They fear the Lord, and 2) They have high regard for His name. Remember the third commandment: Do not receive the Lord’s name in vain. A “Book of Remembrance” is written before the Lord. All who fear YHWH are set apart as “a special possession” on the day of the Lord: the day when the Lord will judge the world. Malachi’s words are obviously Messianic.
Consider how the Lord will have compassion on those whose names are written in the book: “as a man would have compassion on his son.” Those who follow Jesus are called sons and daughters, co-inheritors with Messiah. (Rom 8:16-17) As God raised Jesus from the dead, so He will also raise those who, by faith, believe in Jesus. Finally, a distinction is drawn between those of Israel who fear the Lord and those who do not: righteous and wicked, servants and self-servers. Compare God’s offer of compassion (toward Israel’s repentant) in Malachi 3 with His attitude toward Israel’s wickedness in Exodus 32.
“The Lord replied to Moses: ‘Whoever has sinned against Me I will erase from My book. Now go, lead the people to the place I told you about; see, My angel will go before you. But on the day I settle accounts, I will hold them accountable for their sin.’ And behold, the Lord inflicted a plague on the people for what they did with the calf Aaron made.” Exodus 32:33-35
The idea that salvation is secured to the Jew simply by virtue of having been born Jewish is not supported even by the Old Testament. It is as ridiculous as the notion that damnation is unavoidable for the Gentile by being born a non-Jew. Righteousness must be imputed into each believer’s account, by God’s grace, alone. That transaction occurs when individuals turn from their sin and faithfully fear the Lord by trusting God’s Word concerning Messiah. This is how men are saved. This is how our names are recorded in the Book of Remembrance. (Revelation 21:27)
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