|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:1-3 Here is a reference to the first and to the second coming of Christ: God has fixed the day of both. Those who do wickedly, who do not fear God's anger, shall feel it. It is certainly to be applied to the day of judgment, when Christ shall be revealed in flaming fire; to execute judgment on the proud, and all that do wickedly. In both, Christ is a rejoicing Light to those who serve him faithfully. By the Sun of Righteousness we understand Jesus Christ. Through him believers are justified and sanctified, and so are brought to see light. His influences render the sinner holy, joyful, and fruitful. It is applicable to the graces and comforts of the Holy Spirit, brought into the souls of men. Christ gave the Spirit to those who are his, to shine in their hearts, and to be a Comforter to them, a Sun and a Shield. That day which to the wicked will burn as an oven, will to the righteous be bright as the morning; it is what they wait for, more than those that wait for the morning. Christ came as the Sun, to bring, not only light to a dark world, but health to a distempered world. Souls shall increase in knowledge and spiritual strength. Their growth is as that of calves of the stall, not as the flower of the field, which is slender and weak, and soon withers. The saints' triumphs are all owing to God's victories; it is not they that do this, but God who does it for them. Behold another day is coming, far more dreadful to all that work wickedness than any which is gone before. How great then the happiness of the believer, when he goes from the darkness and misery of this world, to rejoice in the Lord for evermore!
Verse 3. - Ye shall tread down the wicked (comp. Micah 4:13). They who were once oppressed and overborne by the powers of wickedness shall now rise superior to all hindrances, and themselves tread down the wicked as the ashes under their feet, to which the fire of judgment shall reduce them. In the day that I shall do this; rather, as in Malachi 3:17, in the day which I am preparing.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And ye shall tread down the wicked,.... As grapes in the winepress, as Christ did before them, Isaiah 63:2 and they by virtue of him; who makes them more than conquerors through himself, over all their enemies, spiritual and temporal:
for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet; this refers to the burning of them, Malachi 4:1 and may be literally understood of their being burnt with the city and temple; when afterwards, as Grotius observes, the city of Jerusalem being in some measure rebuilt, and called Aelia, there was a Christian church in it, governed by bishops, who were converted Jews; and so might be literally said to trample upon the ashes of the wicked, who had persecuted them in times past, they being upon the very spot where these men were destroyed by fire:
in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts: or "in the day which I make" (m); that is, by the rising of the sun of righteousness, the Gospel day. The Talmud (n) interprets this verse of the bodies of the wicked in hell, which after twelve months will be consumed, and the wind will scatter them under the soles of the feet of the righteous.
(m) "eo die, quem ego facio", Cocceius. (n) T. Bab. Roshhashanah, fol. 17. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. Solving the difficulty (Mal 3:15) that the wicked often now prosper. Their prosperity and the adversity of the godly shall soon be reversed. Yea, the righteous shall be the army attending Christ in His final destruction of the ungodly (2Sa 22:43; Ps 49:14; 47:3; Mic 7:10; Zec 10:5; 1Co 6:2; Re 2:26, 27; 19:14, 15).
ashes—after having been burnt with the fire of judgment (Mal 4:1).
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