|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-6 The first words of this chapter seem an answer to the scoffers of those days. Here is a prophecy of the appearing of John the Baptist. He is Christ's harbinger. He shall prepare the way before him, by calling men to repentance. The Messiah had been long called, He that should come, and now shortly he will come. He is the Messenger of the covenant. Those who seek Jesus, shall find pleasure in him, often when not looked for. The Lord Jesus, prepares the sinner's heart to be his temple, by the ministry of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, and he enters it as the Messenger of peace and consolation. No hypocrite or formalist can endure his doctrine, or stand before his tribunal. Christ came to distinguish men, to separate between the precious and the vile. He shall sit as a Refiner. Christ, by his gospel, shall purify and reform his church, and by his Spirit working with it, shall regenerate and cleanse souls. He will take away the dross found in them. He will separate their corruptions, which render their faculties worthless and useless. The believer needs not fear the fiery trial of afflictions and temptations, by which the Saviour refines his gold. He will take care it is not more intense or longer than is needful for his good; and this trial will end far otherwise than that of the wicked. Christ will, by interceding for them, make them accepted. Where no fear of God is, no good is to be expected. Evil pursues sinners. God is unchangeable. And though the sentence against evil works be not executed speedily, yet it will be executed; the Lord is as much an enemy to sin as ever. We may all apply this to ourselves. Because we have to do with a God that changes not, therefore it is that we are not consumed; because his compassions fail not.
Verse 4. - The offering of Judah and Jerusalem. When the purification has taken place, and the priests offer pure worship, then the sacrifices of the whole nation will be acceptable. Judah and Jerusalem represent the kingdom of the Messiah; for salvation is of the Jews, and the gospel was first preached at Jerusalem. As in former (ancient) years. As in the days of Moses, David, and Solomon, or still earlier in the case of Abel, noah, Abraham, and the patriarchs. (See the account of the ideal priesthood, ch. 2:5, etc.) The prophet does not necessarily expect that the Mosaic ritual is to last forever and to be maintained throughout the world, but he employs the terms with which the Jewish people were conversant to express the worship of the new covenant (comp. Malachi 1:11, and note there).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord,.... Or "sweet" (b); grateful and well pleasing to him, as all spiritual sacrifices are acceptable to God through Christ, being offered up in the faith of his atoning sacrifice and righteousness, without which it is impossible to please God:
as in the days of old, and as in former years: under the first temple, and when the tabernacle was set up by Moses, and in the times of the patriarchs; and even before the flood, and as early as Abel, who offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, Hebrews 11:4.
(b) "dulcescet", Vatablus, Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius; "dulce", Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. as in the days of old—(Mal 1:11; 2:5, 6). The "offering" (Mincha, Hebrew) is not expiatory, but prayer, thanksgiving, and self-dedication (Ro 12:1; Heb 13:15; 1Pe 2:5).
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