1“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will prepare and clear the way before Me. And the Lord [the Messiah], whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts. 2“But 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 launderer’s soap [which removes impurities and uncleanness]. 3He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi [the priests], and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord [grain] offerings in righteousness. 4Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in ancient years.
5“Then I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against sorcerers, against adulterers, against perjurers, and against those who oppress the laborer in his wages and widows and the fatherless, and against those who turn away the alien [from his right], and those who do not fear Me [with awe-filled reverence],” says the Lord of hosts. 6“For I am the Lord, I do not change [but remain faithful to My covenant with you]; that is why you, O sons of Jacob, have not come to an end.
7“Yet from the days of your fathers you have turned away from My statutes and ordinances 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?’
You Have Robbed God
8“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings [you have withheld]. 9You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, this whole nation! 10Bring all the tithes (the tenth) into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you [so great] a blessing until there is no more room to receive it. 11Then I will rebuke the devourer (insects, plague) for your sake and he will not destroy the fruits of the ground, nor will your vine in the field drop its grapes [before harvest],” says the Lord of hosts. 12“All nations shall call you happy and blessed, for you shall be a land of delight,” says the Lord of hosts.
13“Your words have been harsh against Me,” says the Lord. “But you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ 14You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God. What profit is it if we keep His ordinances, and walk around like mourners before the Lord of hosts? 15So now we call the arrogant happy and blessed. Evildoers are exalted and prosper; and when they test God, they escape [unpunished].’ ”
The Book of Remembrance
16Then those who feared the Lord [with awe-filled reverence] spoke to one another; and the Lord paid attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who fear the Lord [with an attitude of reverence and respect] and who esteem His name. 17“They will be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on that day when I publicly recognize them and openly declare them to be My own possession [that is, My very special treasure]. And I will have compassion on them and spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” 18Then you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and the one who does not serve Him.