Sun of Righteousness
We live in the 21st century in an age of intense communication, if something happens anywhere in the world, we will be told about it within hours of it happening. The speed with which Covid-19 travelled around the world is just an identifier of the way communication travels.
We also have internet, e-mail, ipod, Facebook, Twitter and mobile phones that can access all of the above from our armchairs, we must be connected. I think that our 21st Century approach to the scripture has given us a distorted perception of the scriptures, in some ways it clouds our judgement, we are 21st century thinkers.
We live in a Christian country in an age of “grace”, have we been lulled into a false sense of security about how we live and what it meant to God to send His Son to die for us? Have we forgotten that there should be a cost to us. We have been bought with a price, and God asks us to display His nature to a world that is so communicated that it is blind. So, what happens if there is no communication?
I have been reading Malachi recently and it is clear that, at the end of the time of the prophets, there was little or no communication happening. Israel was not listening to God and the last chapter of Malachi is a last ditch stand to get through to the people, then there would be no communication for 400 years.
There is a touch of sadness about this last chapter of Malachi. His parting words show how God's people had degenerated, how they had rejected God, they did not want Him to rule over them, walking after their own ways. Malachi is revealing their spiritual state denouncing their sins and warning them of judgment to come. God allowed captivities by the Assyrians, the Babylonians and finally, by the time that Jesus appears, the land is under the oppression of Rome.
Even in the final stages God does not leave them without hope. He tells them that for those that fear, stand in awe of, His Name, the Sun of Righteousness will arise bringing healing in His wings. This title marks one great purpose of His advent, considering the dark state that the human race was when Rome ruled the then known world.
In Malachi 4:2 the Hebrew word for wings is "kanaph" but it also means extremity, edge, border, corner, of a garment. So, Malachi 4:2 can be equally translated as:
"But for you who fear my name the Sun of righteousness will arise with healing in the fringes of his robe."
Jesus wore a Tunic or a full-length robe woven in one piece, which could also be called His Priestly Garment. We see in the miracle healing of the woman with the issue of blood who forced her way through the crowd to touch the hem of His robe. Under the Levitical law she was unclean and if she touched others it would make them unclean also but this didn’t stop her. She had spent all that she had on doctors. She came up behind Jesus and touched the edge of his garment or the wings of His tunic and immediately she was healed. Healing power immediately emanated from Jesus.
Had the woman remembered Malachi's messianic prophecy? Is this why she had enough faith/desperation to recognize Jesus as Healer and to push through the crowd and touch the fringes (or the hem) of his robe?
In Revelation we see a similar analogy at the end of age, Jesus Christ the Tree of Life in the midst of the river, the leaves of the tree are at the extremity of the branches similar to the hem of the garment, but this time they are for the healing of the repentant nations.
Prayer: We thank you for the faith of the woman who touched the hem of your tunic and was healed, we look forward to the end of the age when nations will come to You and be healed by feeding from the extremities of the Tree of Life. Amen