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The Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts] says, “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way for me [Is. 40:3; Matt. 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:27]. Suddenly, the Lord you are ·looking for [seeking] will come to his Temple; the messenger of the ·agreement [covenant; treaty], ·whom you want [in whom you delight], will come.” ·No one can live through [L Who can endure…?] ·that time [the day of his coming]; ·no one can survive [who can stand…?] when he ·comes [appears]. He will be like a ·purifying [refiner’s] fire and like ·laundry [launderer’s] soap. Like someone who ·heats [refines] and purifies silver, he will purify the ·Levites [L sons/descendants of Levi] and ·make them pure [refine them] like gold and silver. Then they will bring offerings to the Lord in ·the right way [righteousness]. And the Lord will ·accept [be pleased with] the offerings from Judah and Jerusalem, as it was in ·the past [L days of antiquity and former years]. The Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts] says, “Then I will come to you and judge you. I will be quick to testify against those who take part in ·evil magic [sorcery], adultery, and ·lying under oath [perjury], those who cheat workers of their pay and who cheat widows and orphans, those who ·are unfair to [turn away; deprive of justice] ·foreigners [aliens; immigrants], and those who do not ·respect [fear] me [Prov. 1:7].

Stealing from God

“I the Lord do not change. So you descendants of Jacob have not been ·destroyed [consumed]. ·Since the time [L From the days] of your ·ancestors [fathers], you have ·disobeyed [turned away from; spurned] my ·rules [decrees; commands] and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts].

“But you ask, ‘How can we return?’

“·Should [or Can] a person rob God? But you are robbing me.

“You ask, ‘How have we robbed you?’

“You have robbed me in your offerings and ·the tenth of your crops [tithes]. So a curse is on you, because the whole nation has robbed me. 10 Bring to the storehouse a full ·tenth of what you earn [tithe] so there will be food in my house [C the temple; Deut. 14:22–28]. Test me in this,” says the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts]. “I will open the windows of heaven for you and pour out all the blessings you need. 11 I will stop the ·insects [pests; or plague; L the devourer] so they won’t ·eat [destroy] your crops. The grapes won’t ·fall from your vines before they are ready to pick [or fail to produce a crop],” says the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts]. 12 “All the nations will call you blessed, because you will have a ·pleasant country [delightful land],” says the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts].

The Lord’s Promise of Mercy

13 The Lord says, “You have said ·terrible things about [L hard things against] me.

“But you ask, ‘What have we said about you?’

14 “You have said, ‘It is ·useless [futile] to serve God. ·It did no good to obey [L What profit is there to keep] his laws and to ·show that we were sorry [L walk about in mourning] for what we did before the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts]. 15 So we say that proud people are ·happy [blessed]. Evil people ·succeed [prosper]. They ·challenge [test] God and ·get away with it [escape harm].’”

16 Then those who ·honored [feared] the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened and heard them. The names of those who ·respected [feared] the Lord and honored ·him [L his name] were written in his presence in a ·book to be remembered [scroll of remembrance].

17 The Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts] says, “They ·belong to me [shall be mine]; on that day they will be my ·very own [treasured possession; special treasure]. As a ·parent [father] ·shows mercy to [spares] his ·child [son] who serves him, I will ·show mercy to [spare] my people. 18 You will again see the difference between ·good [the righteous] and ·evil people [the wicked], between those who serve God and those who don’t.

“I will send my messenger,(A) who will prepare the way before me.(B) Then suddenly the Lord(C) you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant,(D) whom you desire,(E) will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

But who can endure(F) the day of his coming?(G) Who can stand(H) when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire(I) or a launderer’s soap.(J) He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver;(K) he will purify(L) the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.(M) Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness,(N) and the offerings(O) of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.(P)

“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers,(Q) adulterers(R) and perjurers,(S) against those who defraud laborers of their wages,(T) who oppress the widows(U) and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners(V) among you of justice, but do not fear(W) me,” says the Lord Almighty.

Breaking Covenant by Withholding Tithes

“I the Lord do not change.(X) So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.(Y) Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away(Z) from my decrees and have not kept them. Return(AA) to me, and I will return to you,”(AB) says the Lord Almighty.

“But you ask,(AC) ‘How are we to return?’

“Will a mere mortal rob(AD) God? Yet you rob me.

“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’

“In tithes(AE) and offerings. You are under a curse(AF)—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe(AG) into the storehouse,(AH) that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates(AI) of heaven and pour out(AJ) so much blessing(AK) that there will not be room enough to store it.(AL) 11 I will prevent pests from devouring(AM) your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,(AN)” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed,(AO) for yours will be a delightful land,”(AP) says the Lord Almighty.(AQ)

Israel Speaks Arrogantly Against God

13 “You have spoken arrogantly(AR) against me,” says the Lord.

“Yet you ask,(AS) ‘What have we said against you?’

14 “You have said, ‘It is futile(AT) to serve(AU) God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements(AV) and going about like mourners(AW) before the Lord Almighty? 15 But now we call the arrogant(AX) blessed. Certainly evildoers(AY) prosper,(AZ) and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it.’”

The Faithful Remnant

16 Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard.(BA) A scroll(BB) of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared(BC) the Lord and honored his name.

17 “On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my(BD) treasured possession.(BE) I will spare(BF) them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son(BG) who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous(BH) and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.(BI)

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