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Why is that? It was because she knew Him, whom her soul loved so well. She had been seated at His feet and hearing His word on many occasions. She knew what He liked and loved. She knew who He really was. She knew the reason why He had come. Knowing Him the way she did gave her the courage to demonstrate her love for Him in this extravagant manner without feeling intimidated by the opinions of others.

Knowing Him the way she did gave her serenity in time of sorrow and caused her to behave in a manner that made it easy for others to believe in Him also:.

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Less than a week after this incident there was another who did have a hundred pounds weight of ointment to give to the Lord. He was in a position to do so but had to make a sacrifice of a very different sort altogether. Nicodemus, the same man who had earlier come to Jesus in the night had learned a thing or two from the Lord Himself in those precious hours when there was nobody else around to disturb and distract. Like Mary who had waited for the right moment to offer her gift, so had Nicodemus.

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Just after the death of Christ on the cross Nicodemus was ready to anoint that precious body with the fragrant ointment far in excess of what was ever needed, but Nicodemus knew how worthy His beloved Lord Jesus was of such a gift. If he only had more he would have gladly given it all without reserve. It was because he knew His Lord so well. Who, by the way was another extravagant giver! In the dark of the night in the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus and His disciples were, there came a band of soldiers. They had come to take away the Lord for an illegal trial under the instructions of the priests and elders.

They had sought for a long time to silence this Man and now the opportunity was theirs thanks to Judas who led them to where he knew the Lord often resorted. Why would they do such a thing and go to all this trouble? Perhaps they were prepared for a scuffle or last ditch attempt of Jesus to save Himself from inevitable fatality. Of course from our standpoint, we know that never happened.

There was no scuffle and He went peacefully much to their surprise. Why was that? Why do we sometimes over prepare for imagined eventualities, only to find that for which we thought we were prepared never happened. Is it because we are fearful and perhaps unbelieving? Have you ever noticed that the fears we imagine never embrace the reality of the presence of God in our lives?

We spend our money, we give our time and worry ourselves to distraction and all because we have lost sight of the Lord Himself. Let us remember that the Lord whom we so often neglect is a cheerful giver Himself. In fact He gives to such excess we would perhaps think He was being wasteful, humanly speaking. Think of the stars in the night sky, a sunset, countless little bluebells on the forest floor bed, snowflakes, birdsong, water, autumn leaves; the list is endless.

Then there are the spiritual benefits for the believer like being loved by God and forgiven, being accepted by God in Christ, the certainty of His promised presence with us all the time, the assurance of a home in heaven all because He loved without reserve and regret and proved it when He gave Himself and became our substitute, dying to take away our sin. Have you noticed our friends that were mentioned earlier were a bit like the Lord they loved in their giving? Without even noticing they were mimicking His ways when they gave the way they did. Perhaps we then could utter as the hymn writer wrote:.

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. It is in the scriptures and in our hearts. But our hearts rejoice in its personal nature.

I don't know whether that's the case or not, but certainly it is a very graphic description of what it will be like in the Day of the Lord, when the Lord Jesus Christ will come to judge this world. George Adam Smith describes it like this: 'The apocalypse of this judgment is one of the grandest in all Scripture. To the wicked it shall be a terrible fire, root and branch shall be burned out; but to the righteous a fair morning of God, as when dawn comes to those who have been sick and sleepless through the black night, and its beams bring healing - even according to the popular belief of Israel, that the rays of the morning sun distil the dew.

They break into life and energy like young calves leaping from the dark pen into the early sunshine, and to this morning landscape another grim figure is added: they, the children of God, shall tread down the wicked and the arrogant like ashes beneath their feet'. It describes the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as being the rising of the Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings. What a description! There's no other metaphor like it in the whole of Scripture, describing the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ as the 'Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings'.

Matthew Henry, the great puritan commentator, says: 'This figure of speech is like the pillar of cloud and fire to the Old Testament people of God as they exit Egypt. For the pillar of cloud and fire has a dark side that was turned toward the Egyptians, the enemies of God that fought against Him, yet it also had a bright side that was towards the faithful, to the people of Israel who followed Him'.

That is exactly the same as this figure of speech concerning the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, that He will be the Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings; and that is a message, a savour of death, to those who do not believe, and yet it is a savour of life to those who can call themselves His children. I'm sure that you know that light can be a benefit, and it also can be to our detriment.

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If you can take one of the purest forms of light, which is a laser, you know that it can be used to destroy or it can be used to heal - and some of you have been party to that in a medical sense. In the same way, when our Lord Jesus Christ comes again as the Sun of righteousness, He will come not just to smite but to heal - but He will come to smite! He will come to judge the nations, the enemies of God, the enemies of God's people - with a rod of iron He shall smash His enemies as a potter's vessel. What a message, Malachi's final message to us is this evening, the message of the future!

He says: 'The day of the Lord cometh'. Look at that verse, the import of it, verse 1: 'For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven'. You could almost read that: 'Behold the Lord cometh', for the day of the Lord speaks of how the Lord will come, and what a day that will be!

We as believers are so familiar with singing 'What a day that will be, when my Jesus I will see You remember Judah asked the question in this book: 'Where is the God of justice? The righteous seem to be downtrodden, the wicked seem to be exalted and blessed, perhaps', they said, 'even by God Himself! Perhaps God is pleased to bless the wicked, and it seems', they say, 'that the proud are those that are happy' - but here we have the answer.

Where is the God of justice? Their sarcastic scepticism is answered: 'Behold, the day of the Lord comes, and it shall burn as an oven'. I want to speak to you tonight from Malachi's message on the future on this day, the Day of the Lord, and what we can learn from it. Here's the first thing: it will be a day of burning.

Verse 1: 'it shall burn as an oven'. It is the day of God's wrath, it is the day of His indignation, His fiery indignation. It was foretold as being Messiah's day in Psalm 21 verse 9: 'Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them'.

An oven! That's what the Day of the Lord is going to be like for some! Albert Barnes, in his commentary, states of the ovens in Malachi's day that it was a large hole that was dug in the ground, in the earth, and the sides of that hole in the ground would be plastered. Then a very fierce fire and furnace would be made at the bottom of that hole in the ground, and grass, thorns, twigs, you could call it 'stubble', would be placed there and lit. After the embers had flamed, they would be taken out and that oven would just be left, and flat cakes of bread would be stuck against the plastered sides of the oven, and very very quickly they would cook.

That oven is the picture that Malachi is giving us tonight of the fierce heat, the swift destruction that God will bring upon the earth in the Day of the Lord. The specific figure is the materials that are used at the bottom of this earthen oven, the stubble and the sticks, as they are quickly consumed so will the unrighteous be in the Day of the Lord.

Now you will know if you're familiar with the Old and New Testament that divine judgment is frequently represented by the figure of fire or the figure of burning. I'll give you a couple of examples: Isaiah 4 and verse 4 'When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning'.

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We know from the New Testament that our God is a consuming fire. Isaiah 'Behold, they shall be as stubble', the unrighteous wicked, 'the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame' - it will be impossible for the unrighteous to escape the Day of the Lord, the day of His fiery indignation.


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Hellfire and brimstone preaching is not popular today, but this fire that is spoken of concerning the judgment of God's wrath is a greater fire than ever consumed Nero's Rome, it's a greater fire than consumed and destroyed London town, it's greater even than the fire that rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah, it's greater than the atomic fire that consumed Hiroshima or Nagasaki - this is a fire that is second to none!

So fierce and terrible it is, that Isaiah in his day urged people, in light of that day, to flee. If you turn with me for a moment to Isaiah chapter 2, just to show you the fearful picture that is conjured up by these Old Testament prophets concerning the Day of the Lord. Isaiah 2, beginning to read at verse 10, Isaiah exhorts them to flee: 'Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low'. Verse 'And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth'. It will be an awful day!

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Revelation says that the kings of the earth, the great men, the chief captains will cry for the rocks and the mountains to hide them from the wrath, the fiery indignation, of the Lord. It is the day of the Lord's vengeance, the year of recompense for the controversy of Zion, the scripture says. The stars of heaven will be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up, Isaiah says in chapter 34, like a scroll - what a vision! What a day this is! No wonder Malachi tells us, exhorts us, captivates us to 'Behold!

What a vision. Can you imagine what it would have been for Malachi to have seen it? One expositor put it like this: 'There is something very forcible in these abrupt exclamations of Malachi, as if the prophet was elevated on some mount of vision and actually beheld this terrible power come rolling off the distant skies on a reddening pathway of fire and blood'.

Can you see it? Behold, the day is coming! Can you hear the cries of those who are without Christ in this day of burning? What it would be if we could see, if we could get a glimpse, a vision tonight of what the Day of the Lord will be like! There are some questions we must ask about this day. The first is: against whom is such wrath directed on this day? Who is God venting His fiery indignation against? Well, it is those who, we have learned in previous weeks, spoke stout words against the Lord. Specifically those who have been rebellious to the Lord even in Malachi, but right throughout Judah's and Israel's history - indeed, all the sinners of the earth that have rebelled and shook their puny fists against the face of Almighty God, those who are proud in themselves.

Those that we find in New Testament context who say: 'We will not have this Man, or this God to reign over us! We read of them in the book of Jude, you don't need to turn to it, I'll read it to you: 'Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him'.

God comes on the Day of the Lord, in Christ, to judge the ungodly! Malachi says in verse 1 that He will burn them up in this oven of His wrath just like stubble! We have seen the figure of the oven, what it means, the fiery heat of God's wrath - but what does this figure of 'stubble' mean? Well, you know what stubble is, that dried-up hay or grass, and stubble burns easily doesn't it?

A little spark and it is completely consumed. Malachi is saying: those, who right throughout all of time have accused God, who have stood against God's word and God's ways, those who have spoken stout words, given ungodly speeches down through all the eras of time; God easily, on this last day, will wipe them out.

What a sobering thought. As the stubble is easily consumed, so will the wicked on this day. But there is another thought, because stubble is utterly consumed, nothing is left, not even ashes. On this day there will be an utter consuming of the wicked, none will be left!

You might think that this is something very unjust or callous with God, but the fact of the matter is: it is their fault! They made themselves stubble, they stood against God, we see it right throughout this book - the sinful nature of even those who called themselves God's people.

Because of their wilful sinfulness against Him, He will consume them easily and utterly as stubble - and if you read verse 1 it says that 'neither root nor branch will remain'. We use this now as a modern expression: 'root and branch', to describe completeness - an utter cutting off! The wicked, the ungodly who have rebelled against God, who have been proud against God, there will be an easy, utter, complete, root and branch judgment of them on the Day of the Lord. You remember that the people of Judah said that they were coming to the place where they were now going to call the proud happy - where are those now on this day, who call the proud happy?

Where are God's accusers? God has righteously judged them, so that every mouth is stopped, every guilty sinner is dumb in their guilt as God judges them! Those who called the proud happy are now made completely miserable, as the fire of God's jealousy burns against them, as Zephaniah describes. It doesn't matter who they are or what they have, 'Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land'.

What a day, what an awful position to be in, to be counted among the unrighteous and the ungodly when Christ appears. Then a second question is not just against whom is this wrath directed, but when will this Day of the Lord take place? I'm not going to go into a lengthy prophetic discourse, but save to say that this will be the time when God directly intervenes in human history.

You could call the period that we are in now 'man's day', the day when man seems to think that he controls his own affairs politically, and even to an extent religiously; but there's a day coming when Christ comes, when God is going to intervene visibly. Of course, as the book of Esther teaches us, God is behind all the affairs, even though He may not be mentioned at times - but God is going to actively stride onto the stage of man's affairs.

This Day of the Lord will take place and, as we were singing at the beginning of our meeting, the church of Jesus Christ will be raptured, be taken home to be with the Lord in heaven, to the Judgment Seat, to the Marriage of the Lamb. Then, on this earth for seven years - if you want to read about what will take place, read Revelation chapters 6 through to chapter 19 - the awful things that will transpire in what the Bible calls 'The Great Tribulation', 'The Day of Jacob's Trouble'.

We thought about it briefly last night in our Gospel meeting, when Paul to the Thessalonians described this day in 2 Thessalonians , this is the day of our Lord Jesus Christ when He shall come: 'when He shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power'. What a day! Seven years of God's wrath and indignation!

Now let me just say, before I expound this day any more, that this verse in Malachi and the verses I have just read in 2 Thessalonians are held by a certain section of theologians as proving the doctrine of annihilation. Well, some people believe that you do not live after the judgment, that when God judges sinners, if you're unrighteous you will be sent to hellfire and you will be exterminated - your existence will be puffed out, you will cease to exist.

They believe that the figure and the metaphor of fire and fiery wrath and indignation here speaks to us that we will be blotted out, as it were, our life will be puffed out as a flame. But this is the mistake that they make: Malachi and 2 Thessalonians, and all of these other passages, are speaking of a physical judgment that will take place upon the earth - the Great Tribulation period, seven years upon the earth.

This is a physical judgment that will take place upon men's bodies, but those bodies will die and those bodies will either be consumed or buried, and there is a day coming when all of those bodies will rise again, and the spirits and the souls of those men will come again together with the bodies; and Revelation chapter 20 teaches us that the dead, small and great, from land and sea, will come and stand before God and will be judged.

Malachi and Thessalonians are talking about physically what will happen to people in their bodies in the Tribulation period, but they will not be exterminated. They will stand on another day, as Revelation 20 teaches us - John says: 'I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire' - a conscious torment forever and forever!

Believe you me, I would love to be able to get round theologically, intellectually, reasonably and conscientiously the doctrine of eternal punishment - but I cannot. It is in the Scriptures, taught by none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. It is an awful reality that there is the Day of the Lord, and for those who are found guilty on that day, they will consciously, eternally suffer torment and torture throughout the ages of eternity!

As we rejoice in the prospect of the Lord Jesus coming again, and we ought to rejoice, we must remember what it will be for those who are lost. When the Sun of righteousness appears, though He will have healing in His wings for some, there will be judgment in His wings for others; and they will be scorched by His holy, fiery indignation.

Do you know what that means practically? It means, because these words in Malachi are spoken specifically to the nation of Judah and Israel, we need to pray for Israel. Paul tells us in Romans chapter 11 that blindness in part has happened to the nation of Israel because of their rejection of Messiah. We need to pray for them! Thank God there's a remnant that are believing today, but there will be many judged because of their rejection of the Lord Jesus. Not only do we need to pray for Israel who are blind, but for the world around us who is blind - our friends, our loved ones, our neighbours, our work colleagues - this is what faces them!

While we're singing the songs of Zion about the Lord coming so soon, rejoice, again I say rejoice, but remember: remember what is ahead for those who do not have Christ, for a world whom the god of this world has blinded that they believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine unto them and they should be saved. Pray for them, pray for Israel, pray for those who will not see. Can I give you, tonight, an illustration of the blindness that prevails not only in Israel, but right across the world?

I speak specifically of the Jews in this regard, because in their exposition of Malachi and various other books of the Old Testament and the prophets they engineer God's word to suit their theological bent. Now what am I talking about? Well, because the word of God is uncomfortable to them in this issue of judgment - and I refer you to the fact that the last word in the Old Testament in the English translation is the word 'curse', of course Malachi is not the last book in the Jewish Scriptures - but in our English Scriptures there is the word 'curse' at the very end, almost as God's declaration and conclusion of all Israelite history, that they're still in their sins, they're in a curse.

What do the Jews do when they come to these Scriptures? Well, if you look in Malachi at that last verse that I have been referring to, look at it please, verse 6 at the end: 'lest I come and smite the earth with a curse'.