And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver…
Moses gives Messiah the Leader, who should permanently take his place. Isaiah gives us Messiah the Sufferer, Conqueror, and Comforter, matching the condition of Israel as suffering and exiled. Daniel gives us Messiah the Prince, matching the condition of the people as anticipating the restoration of their kingdom. Malachi gives Messiah the Refiner, matching the condition of the people as in a state of moral and religious degradation. It is important to note the many sidedness of Christ's adaptation to human needs. This aspect of Christ as the Refiner is one that is suited to every age. Men make grave objections to the doctrine of human depravity, and yet all history declares, as with one united voice, that man has never yet been able to keep anything clean. Let him touch anything, and he brings in the stain.
1. Take the sphere of man's thinking. It is constantly observed that the followers of all great philosophers and teachers and thought leaders always complicate and deteriorate their systems. They bring in the dirt and the dross.
2. Take the sphere of man's religion. All the world over, and all the ages through, you may see man recalled to pure principles, and soon losing them again under the accumulating and debasing dross of ceremonies and superstitions.
3. Take the sphere of man's social relations. Self-interest has always proved to be the dross that gathers on and spoils the most perfect social schemes man has ever devised.
4. Take the sphere of man's personal life. The noblest ideals are unattained, for the dross of self-indulgence soon gathers, and in middle life men are content with low attainments. Getting the dross away is the great Refiner's work in every age and sphere.
I. GOOD SILVER MIXED WITH DROSS. There is a compliment in speaking of God's people as "silver," for silver is worth refining. It is a genuine and valuable metal. For mixture with dross see how lead, silver, and gold are found in the ore, surrounded with that which is comparatively worthless. Humanity is thus represented. It is not as God made it; it has become mixed. There is dross of heresy, vice, crime, etc.
II. GOOD SILVER FREED FROM DROSS. The result of renewed processes; always involving suffering for the refined, and anxiety for the Refiner. Silver has to go through the process seven times. The issue is the purity of the metal, by getting the dross perfectly away. Nothing can be usefully done with the metal while the dross still clings to it. Conclude by showing that Messiah did
(1) the work of his age;
(2) and does the work of this age.
He did his own work as Refiner then; he does God's refining work now. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.