Malachi 3:16-4:6

The great day of the Lord

16 Then the people who respected the Lord talked to each other. The Lord listened to what they said. While the Lord watched, someone wrote names on a scroll. Those were the names of the people who worshipped the Lord, and they respected the Lord's name. They wrote down their names so that people would remember them.

17 The Lord Almighty says, ‘These people will belong to me. One day I will come to judge everyone. At that time I will bring together all my own special people. I will not punish them. I will take care of them, like a father takes care of his son who serves him. 18 Because of that, you will see again that I am kind to good people, but I punish wicked people. I show the difference between people who serve me well and those who do not.’

Malachi 4

1 ‘The great day when I come to judge people will certainly happen. Punishment will come like the great fire of a hot oven. It will destroy all the proud people who do evil things. It will completely destroy them, like a fire that destroys dry grass. Nothing will remain.’

That is what the Lord Almighty says.

2 ‘But it will be different for you who respect my name. My power to make you well again will come to you. It will be like the sun that rises to shine on you. When that happens, you will be very happy. You will jump up and down like young cows when someone lets them go free. 3 Then you will walk over the wicked people. They will be like ashes under your feet. That will happen on the day when I do these things.’

4:2The sun can burn with a strong heat and it can cause a fire. But the sun can also make people well. When Jesus appears on the great day of the Lord, people who worship the Lord will become completely well. They will be very happy.

That is what the Lord Almighty says.

4 ‘Remember the rules that I gave to my servant Moses at Sinai mountain. Those rules and laws were for all the Israelites to obey.’

5 ‘Look! I will send my prophet Elijah to you. He will come before that great day of the Lord arrives. That will be a day that makes people afraid. 6 He will speak my message, so that fathers and their children return together to me. Then I will not have to come and bring punishment on the land.’

4:5Elijah was a prophet who spoke God's message to the people. See 1 Kings 17:1. Here, God promises that another ‘Elijah’ will come before the day of the Lord. About 460 years after Malachi wrote his book, John the Baptist was born. People thought that he was like Elijah. He prepared the way for Jesus to come.
4:6return together to me or return to each other as friends.