Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another. The Lord listened and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name.Malachi 3:16 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
In the midst of the apocalyptic portions of the book of Malachi, we find a hidden hint of mystery. As the context speaks of the advent of the Messiah, and who can stand in that day… We know this is of what is called the end days.
There is a some-2,000-year gap in the midst of those end days. I like to think of it as a respite. It has stretched the culmination of them (times of the Gentiles) for millennia, maybe more. But I doubt that.
Our verse above transitions the focus from judgment to the disposition of the believer. Watch as to what is in store for them.
They shall be Mine, says the Lord of Hosts, on the day when I make up My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him.Malachi 3:17 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
He calls those who believed His jewels. Another translation says His treasured possession. If you believe… That’s you. That is who you are. It’s not by anything you have done. It is his He Who considers you thusly.
But wait, there’s more! Just like the unbelievable commercials always promising more to entice. God promises more for the believer (that’s us) in those end days. Those will be spared.
One may ask, “Spared from what?”
To answer that, we must read a bit ahead.
Surely the day is coming, burning like an oven; all the proud, yes, all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming will burn them up, says the Lord of Hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.Malachi 4:1 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
It is being spared from what other texts call the indignation, the day of wrath, or Jacob’s Trouble. It is the judgment poured out onto the world because of Israel. Believers are spared this as sons. Which takes us to what is hidden.
Then you will again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.Malachi 3:18 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
In the particular translation I use, it’s not really clear. Here’s another.
You will return and see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and the one who does not serve him.Malachi 3:18 — The Lexham English Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012)
What is meant by “You will return?”
The Hebrew word that underlies the English return implies physical movement. We will venture a bit ahead in the text yet again. This is to clarify understanding.
But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. You will go out and grow up like calves from the stall. And you will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I do this, says the Lord of Hosts.Malachi 4:2–3 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
“You will go out.” And “you will tread down the wicked.” “You will return.”
Isn’t this clear that believers would be physically removed from the indignation and judgment and would then be the ones returning amidst and after that judgment?
If so… Could this be a hint of rapture?
Read the text for yourselves. Don’t believe me. The context is there. As is the subtle language of escape and return.