1The Lord who rules over all says, “I will send my messenger. He will prepare my way for me. Then suddenly the Lord you are looking for will come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant will come. He is the one you long for.”2But who can live through the day when he comes? Who will be left standing when he appears? He will be like a fire that makes things pure. He will be like soap that makes things clean.3He will act like one who makes silver pure. And he will purify the Levites, just as gold and silver are purified with fire. Then the Lord's people will bring proper offerings.4And the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to him. It will be as it was in days and years gone by.5“So I will come and judge you. I will be quick to bring charges against all of you,” says the Lord who rules over all. “I will bring charges against you sinful people who do not have any respect for me. That includes those who practice evil magic. It includes those who commit adultery and those who tell lies in court. It includes those who cheat workers out of their pay. It includes those who crush widows. It also includes those who mistreat children whose fathers have died. And it includes those who take away the rights of outsiders in the courts.
Do Not Steal From God
6“I am the Lord. I do not change. That is why I have not destroyed you members of Jacob's family.7You have turned away from my rules. You have not obeyed them. You have lived that way ever since the days of your people long ago. Return to me. Then I will return to you,” says the Lord who rules over all. “But you ask, ‘How can we return?’8“Will a man dare to steal from me? But you rob me! “You ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “By holding back your offerings. You also steal from me when you do not bring me a tenth of everything you produce.9So you are under my curse. In fact, your whole nation is under it. That is because you are robbing me.10“Bring the entire tenth to the storerooms in my temple. Then there will be plenty of food. Put me to the test,” says the Lord. “Then you will see that I will throw open the windows of heaven. I will pour out so many blessings that you will not have enough room for them.11I will keep bugs from eating up your crops. And your grapes will not drop from the vines before they are ripe,” says the Lord.12“Then all of the nations will call you blessed. Your land will be delightful,” says the Lord who rules over all.13“You have spoken bad things against me,” says the Lord. “But you ask, ‘What have we spoken against you?’14“You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God. What did we gain by obeying his laws? And what did we get by pretending to be sad in front of the Lord?15But now we call proud people blessed. Things go well with those who do what is evil. And God doesn't even punish those who argue with him.’ ”16Those who had respect for the Lord talked with one another. They cheered each other up. And the Lord heard them. A list of people and what they did was written on a scroll in front of him. It included the names of those who respected the Lord and honored him.17“They will belong to me,” says the Lord who rules over all. “They will be my special treasure. I will spare them just as a loving father spares his son who serves him.18Then once again you will see the difference between godly people and sinful people. And you will see the difference between those who serve me and those who do not.
English Standard Version
1“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. (Isa 40:3; Mal 2:7; Mal 2:17; Mal 4:5; Mt 11:10; Mr 1:2; Lu 1:76; Lu 7:27)2But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. (Isa 4:4; Joe 2:11)3He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. (Isa 1:25; Zec 13:9; Mal 1:7)4Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years. (Eze 20:40)5“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts. (Le 19:13; De 24:17; Jer 29:23; Mal 2:14)
6“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. (Nu 23:19; Ps 102:27; La 3:22)7From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ (Zec 1:3; Mal 1:2; Ac 7:51)8Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. (Ne 13:10; Mal 3:7)9You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. (Mal 2:2)10Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. (Ge 7:11; Pr 3:9; 2Co 9:6)11I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. (Joe 1:4)12Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts. (Isa 62:4; Zep 3:19)13“Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ (Mal 1:2; Mal 2:17)14You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? (Job 21:15; Zep 1:12)15And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’” (Ps 95:9; Mal 4:1)
The Book of Remembrance
16Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. (Ex 32:32; De 6:6)17“They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. (Ex 19:5; Mal 4:3; Ac 17:31; 1Pe 2:9)18Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him. (Mal 4:1)