Your words have been strong against me,
says the LORD.
Yet you say, What have we spoken so much against you?
Read Chapter 3
Augustine of Hippo
Those who are spiritually immature put much stock in temporal promises and serve God with an eye to such remunerations. Then, when the people of evil life prosper, they are very much upset. For their enlightenment, Malachi goes on to differentiate the eternal blessedness of the New Testament, which only the good shall win, from the purely earthly good fortune of the old that as often as not comes to the wicked. He says, “ ‘Your words have been insufferable to me,’ says the Lord. And you have said, ‘What have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘He labors in vain that serves God, and what profit is it that we have kept ordinances and that we have walked sorrowfully before the Lord of hosts?’ Therefore now we call the proud people happy, for they that work wickedness are built up, and they have tempted God and prospered. Then they that feared the Lord spoke everyone with his neighbor, and the Lord gave ear and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that fear the Lord and think of his name.” The book in question is, of course, again the New Testament. Now let us hear the rest. “ ‘And they shall be my special possession,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘in the day that I do judgment; and I will spare the man as a man spares his son who serves him. And you shall return and shall see the difference between the just and the wicked, and between him that serves God and him that serves not. For behold, the day shall come kindled as a furnace, and all the proud and all that do wickedly shall be as stubble, and the day that comes shall set them on fire,’ says the Lord of hosts.” That day in question is, of course, the day of the last judgment, concerning which I will have a great deal more to say, God willing, when the proper time comes.