Monday, December 04, 2006

Preparing Malachi 3:1-4 for 2 Advent (Part 4)

It strikes me that we should try to get some clarity on the two different messengers mentioned in v. 1 of our passage (Malachi 3:1-4). Okay, this is my reading. First, we have the messenger whom God sends, who prepares the way for God's apocalyptic advent. "Behold, I am going to send my messenger, and he will clear the way before me." To get a handle on this angel / messenger, recall how God led the Israelites on the exodus from Egypt in the form of an angel (Exodus 14:9; 23:23; 32:34; Numbers 20:16; Joshua 5:14). The presence of Yahweh is manifest in the angel. Just so, Malachi announces, the presence of Yahweh is about to make its spectacular advent on our little planet for all to see.

Malachi is looking forward to a new exodus and a new covenant, when we shall all be liberated from all the oppressive realites around us and freed to serve God as our covenantal suzerain. The aim and goal of the new exodus, as of the old exodus, is true human interrelationship in community. Malachi's second messenger, the "angel of the covenant, in whom you delight," is the covenant-mediator, the Mosaic prophet, mentioned in yesterday's post.

In the Bible's Sinai theology, God's people are co-vassals, living in dedicated interrelationship with each other as mutual servants of their Lord. You treat all God's covenant partners with mutuality and friendship, and each and every person who knows and loves God is a full co-vassal along with you. This is the reign of God that Malachi announces. May we begin to live into it in the here and now.

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