Friday, April 21, 2017

Malachi, part 2, Its Chiastic Structure

Malachi has a chiastic structure or pattern. That is, an artistic effect is achieved by balancing reversed clauses against one another. Here’s the chiastic structure in Malachi:
Message (1:1)
B Proof of God's Love (1:2-5)
C Condemnation (1:6—2:9)
D Marital Infidelity (2:10-16)
D' Marital Infidelity (2:17—3:6)
C' Condemnation  (3:7-12)
B' Proof of God's Love (3:13—4:3)

A' Message (4:4-6) 
(Stuart, Douglas. "Malachi." In The Minor Prophets: An Exegetical and Expositional Commentary, 3:1245-1396. 3 vols. Edited by Thomas Edward McComiskey. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1992, 1993, and 1998.(p. 1250))

Isn't that cool? Here's what each section is about:
A Superscription (1:1): Yahweh has a message for Israel.
B First Disputation (1:2-5): God distinguishes between the good and the wicked. The proof of His love is His sparing the righteous and condemning the wicked.
C Second Disputation (1:6—2:9): Condemnation of improper, begrudging offerings, promise of reversal of blessing, and the greatness of Yahweh's name among the nations.
D Third Disputation (2:10-16): The Lord is witness to marital fidelity, and Judah is unfaithful.
D' Fourth Disputation (2:17—3:6): The Lord is witness to marital fidelity, and Judah is unfaithful.    
C' Fifth Disputation (3:7-12): Condemnation of improper, begrudging offerings, promise of reversal of blessing, and the greatness of Yahweh's name among the nations.
B' Sixth Disputation (3:13—4:3): God distinguishes between the good and the wicked. The proof of His love is His sparing the righteous and condemning the wicked.
A' Summary challenge (4:4-6): Yahweh has a message for Israel.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Malachi, part 1, The Last Book of the Old Testament

Malachi, part 1
Malachi (“my messenger”) was written by Malachi. This book is the last of the Minor Prophets and fits in our timeline just after Esther and the institution of the feast of Purim. Since Malachi addressed many of the same matters that Nehemiah tried to reform, it is thought that we can date Malachi during Nehemiah's governorship. Both Malachi and Nehemiah deal with priestly laxity (Mal. 1:6; Neh. 13:4-9), neglect of tithes (Mal. 3:7-12; Neh. 13:10-13), and inter-marriage between Israelites and foreigners (Mal. 2:10-16; Neh. 13:23-28). When will they learn?
In a quick reading of chapter one you’ll find the Lord a bit angry to put it mildly. He says, “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” He calls out the priests for showing contempt for his name by offering defiled food on the altar. Read the following and you’ll begin to feel the mounting anger:
 10 “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands. 11 My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty.
 12 “But you profane it by saying, ‘The Lord’s table is defiled,’ and, ‘Its food is contemptible.’ 13 And you say, ‘What a burden!’ and you sniff at it contemptuously,” says the LORD Almighty.
   “When you bring injured, lame or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the LORD. 14 “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.
 What else is the Lord saying? Should we give Him our very best? How can I give the Lord anything less than my best?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Zechariah, part 3, Rebukes, Reminders, and Restoration



Now the book jumps ahead two years and there are rebukes and reminders before Israel can be restored. In chapter 7 the Lord rebukes the people for fasting and mourning for themselves instead of for the Lord. He reminds them to administer justice, show mercy and compassion, not to oppress widows, the fatherless, foreigners or the poor and not to think evil of each other. He reminds them that they did not do these things and as a result they suffered condemnation.
Chapter 8 outlines the restoration and that God will save His people and bring them back to live in Jerusalem. God will take them from poverty to productivity, from cursing to blessing, from fear to strength and power, and from fasting to feasting.
Next we have oracles and your Bible may have the print set up to look like poetry. The first oracle looks forward to the Good Shepherd’s rejection and the people’s acceptance of the anti-Christ. Look at 9:9:
“Rejoice greatly O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Who is he talking about? Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey!