I send my messenger to prepare the way
1 Now I am sending my mes senger ahead of me to clear the way; then suddenly the Lord for whom you long will enter the sanctuary. The envoy of the covenant which you so greatly desire already comes, says Yah weh of hosts. 2 Who can bear the day of his coming and remain standing when he appears? For he will be like fire in the foundry and like the lye used for bleaching.
3 He will be as a refiner or a fuller. He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. So Yahweh will have priests who will present the offering as it should be. 4 Then Yahweh will accept with pleasure the offering of Judah and Jerusalem, as in former days.
5 When I came to you to do justice I shall demand the im mediate punishment of the sorcerers and the adulterers, of those who swear false oaths, who oppress the wage-earner, the widow and the orphan, who do not respect the rights of the foreigner. They do all this and have no fear of me, says Yahweh.
6 I, Yahweh, have not changed in anything; just as you, children of Jacob, are always the same. 7 Since the day of your ancestors you stray from my ordinances and do not practice them. Return to me and I will return to you, says Yahweh of hosts. But you ask: “Why do we have to return?” 8 Can a man deceive God? Yet you cheat me and moreover ask: “How did we cheat you?” I point out your sacred tributes and the tenth which is due to me.
9 Cursed be you who cheat me! Cursed be all the nation! 10 Turn over into the temple treasury the tenth part of all, that there may be food in my House. Then you may test me says Yahweh of hosts, to see if I will not open the gates of heaven and bring blessed rain to you up to the last drop. 11 I will rebuke the locusts that they may not devour your fields, and let not the vines wither in your land, says Yahweh. 12 Then all the nations will congratulate you because your land will be the choicest.
13 You say very harsh things about me, says Yahweh, and yet you say: “What harsh things did we say against you?” 14 You say: “It is useless to serve God. There is no benefit in observing his commandments or in leading an austere life for his sake. Happy are the shameless! 15 Those who do evil succeed in everything; though they provoke God, they re main unharmed.”
16 Those were the very words of those who fear Yahweh. Yahweh listened and heard what they said. He ordered at once that the names of those who respect him and reverence his Name be written in a record.
17 And he declared, “They will be mine on the day I have already set. Then I shall care for them as a father cares for his obedient son. 18 And you will see the different fates of the good and the bad, those who obey God and those who disobey him.
19 The day already comes, flaming as a furnace. On that day all the proud and evildoers will be burned like straw in the fire. They will be left without branches or roots. 20 On the other hand the sun of justice will shine upon you who respect my Name and bring health in its rays. You will come out leaping like fattened calves. 21 You will trample on the evildoers and they will be like ashes scattered on your way when I do this, says Yahweh.
I will send Elijah soon
22 Remember the law of my servant Moses, the laws and ordinances I gave him at Mount Horeb for the whole of Israel. 23 I am going to send you the prophet Elijah before the day of Yahweh comes, for it will be a great and terrible day. 24 He will reconcile parents with their children, and the children with their parents, so that I may not have to curse this land when I come.”