– Matthew 3:1-12 KJV
With Malachi’s death the voice of prophets was silenced for 400 yrs. A prophet like Elijah would come who was John the Baptist preaching and baptizing in the wilderness of Judea. John’s ministry and message was repentance for the Kingdom of God is at hand. Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. In those days good roads were not a common thing. If a king was coming that way, the people were called upon to prepare the road for the kings passing. John was calling upon the people to repent, prepare their hearts and clear the way for the King Jesus to come in their hearts and do a work in them.
John the Baptist a type of Elijah. Having the Spirit and Power of Elijah. “He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:17
The Pharisees and Sadducees came as spectators not to repent or to be baptized of John the Baptist. “And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.” Luke 7:29-30
John boldly called them generation of vipers or “snakes in the grass”. Asking who hath warned them to flee from the wrath to come? Since they were descendants of Abraham and under the law, they felt there was no wrath to come for them. “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20 Paul felt the same way until his conversion on the road to Damascus.
John was challenging the Pharisees and Sadducees to bring forth fruits of repentance. To change their rituals and behaviors. Corrupt hearts cannot be made to produce good fruits. God has no use for those who call themselves Christians and show no signs of fruit bearing. The axe is laid unto the root of the trees. If the tree produces no fruit it is nothing but to be hewed down and cast in the fire.
Do our actions match our words? How fruit productive are we for Christ?
John said he indeed baptized with water but he that cometh after him whose shoes he was not worthy to carry shall baptize with the Holy Ghost and fire. Whose fan is in his hand and he will purge his floor and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Winnowing is a picture ofGods judgment. A winnowing fork is a pitchfork use to toss wheat into the air to separate the wheat from the chaff and stubble. Unrepentant souls will be judged and burned in the fire of hell. “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like are finer’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:” Malachi 3:1-2
The refiner’s fire and fullers’ soap indicate the holiness and burning judgment of the Messiah when He returns to reign in Jerusalem at His second coming. His purifying brightness and absolute holiness will affect those who serve Him, creating a cleansed temple and purified priesthood. Those who repent and believe will be able to stand in the day of His coming.
Deaconess Roberta Douglas