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THE PRESENTATION OF CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE

THE PRESENTATION OF CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE

(Malachi and Luke; Prophet and Evangelist)

By Roger Salter
www.virtueonline.org
February 25, 2018

There is a superintending symmetry to be discerned in Holy Scripture in the way in which the Old and New Testaments harmonize in their witness to the Lord Jesus Christ - those lovely links in reference to him. A network of unseen strands stretching from one passage to another and overlaying the biblical text binds the Testaments together and the Son of God is the unifying factor.

The intricate pattern portrays the Redeemer of mankind. Read one Testament and find its echo in the other. The correspondence is a marvel. The phenomenon points to the ultimate divine author of the Bible who arranges all things wonderfully in his providence and wisdom.

Malachi "the messenger" through divine inspiration announces the ministries of two future messengers yet to come: "See, I will send my messenger who will prepare the way before me.* Then suddenly the Lord* you are seeking will come to his* temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the Lord Almighty (Malachi 3:1). * Divinity of Christ.

The preparatory work of John the Baptist is forecast. The propitiatory role of the Savior is revealed (the messenger of the covenant and all that the covenant entails).

"But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears?" queries Malachi (v2). The principal One of whom Malachi speaks will come as a refiner and purifier. Consciences will be convicted at his arrival and his abiding among men. Sinners will sense their impurity and survey the list of their offenses before God. Their only access to reconciliation with God will come through the One who takes his place as an Atonement on their behalf and bestows a righteousness upon them (v3). Then God's people will be acceptable to the Lord (v4).

Malachi's reference is to the concurrent mercy and judgement of the Messiah.

When Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem to present their newborn Page 2 of 4 child to the Lord they happened by divine providence to meet an elderly saint of the remnant people called Simeon (Luke 2:27), religious and devout and awaiting the promised consolation of Israel. Simeon new well the message of the prophets of his nation.

The Spirit of the Lord granted him understanding and bestowed upon him the honor of confirming the coming of the Lord's Christ, the lifelong purpose of Simeon's being and the seniority he had attained (2:25-26).

The hope that Simeon held in his heart was soon embodied in the babe he held in his arms (v28). It was an occurrence of great praise: "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel (vv29-32).

The ejaculation of joy was instantly followed by a kindly blessing upon the parents of the Christ child and then the utterance of a solemn warning identical to the caution issued by Malachi. "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too" (vv 34-35).

The messenger of the covenant had made his first visit to the temple and his ministry and destiny had been foretold. Many would fall and rise at his coming and the course of his ministry.

Some sinners would refuse him and accuse him and contrive, as we know, to cause his death. The sign of his cross would be viewed with contempt. Many hearts will be revealed - their sinfulness and guilt, their stubborn rejection of the Lord's Christ, or their submission to his sovereign mercy in repentance and faith. The Son of God will exercise his compassion and condemnation concurrently. Mary will be grief-stricken at his persecution and passion as he inaugurates his new covenant through atoning death.

END

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