This post is also available at my Bible study blog, Bible Study Coffee Time.
Today (April 9, 2022) is Shabbat HaGadol, “The Great Sabbath.” On the Jewish calendar it represents the last Sabbath we spent in Egypt before the great miracle of our salvation (Passover 2022 starts on Friday, April 15). The events foretold by the Torah portion are also great, in the sense of being “awesome,” or awe-inspiring.
For some they will be terrifying.
The supplemental Torah reading for this day is Malachi 3:4-24, which talks in dramatic terms about the Great Reckoning to come.
The Great Reckoning is the moment in human history when the faithful among the Jewish people are saved, and the wicked ones are punished. Malachi, the last prophet, is charged with transmitting the last warning as well.
“Then [in the time of Redemption] the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem shall be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of yore and in the years of old. But [first] I will step forward to contend against you, and I will act as a relentless accuser against those who have no fear of Me: Who practice sorcery, who commit adultery, who swear falsely, who cheat laborers of their hire, and who subvert [the cause of] the widow, orphan, and stranger, said the LORD of Hosts.”Malachi 3:4-5
It is interesting that the prophecy is focused specifically on the Jewish people. If this were not the Bible, one might even call the text “anti-Semitic,” right? It goes on and on about our misdeeds.
But God is a truth-teller. He castigates us for thinking that one can be evil and get away with it:
“You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God. What have we gained by keeping His charge and walking in abject awe of the LORD of Hosts? And so, we account the arrogant happy: they have indeed done evil and endured; they have indeed dared God and escaped.”Malachi 3:14-15
We know that the evil ones among the people are going to be enslaved or wiped out. The Midrash on Malachi 3:14 relates how the Jewish people were punished for idolatry with slavery.
“The Israelites did what was offensive to the LORD; they ignored the LORD their God and worshiped the Baalim and the Asheroth. The LORD became incensed at Israel and surrendered them to King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram-naharaim; and the Israelites were subject to Cushan-rishathaim for eight years.”Judges 3:7-8
Slavery is not the worst punishment however. The Midrash also relates that the dedicated sinners among the Jewish people are destined for death in the end:
“All the sinners of My people shall perish by the sword, who boast, ‘Never shall the evil overtake us or come near us.”Amos 9:10
The prophet tells us that God can hear our discouragement. He knows that we wonder how bad people get away with their open defiance.
“In this vein have those who revere the Lord been talking to one another.”Malachi 3:16
God assures us, through the prophet Malachi, that the names of the God-fearing people are literally inscribed in a Heavenly scroll.
“A scroll of remembrance has been written at His behest concerning those who revere the LORD and esteem His name.”Malachi 3:16
God promises to care for the faithful “as a man is tender toward a son who ministers to him.”
“And on the day that I am preparing, said the LORD of Hosts, they shall be My treasured possession; I will be tender toward them as a man is tender toward a son who ministers to him.”Malachi 3:17
It will be a day when the truth is finally revealed–a mass-consciousness event–the penultimate “Great Awakening”:
“And you shall come to see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between him who has served God and him who has not served Him.”Malachi 3:18
The hidden reason why the “fake news” is so spiritually evil is that it prevents us from seeing reality clearly, and as such prevents the kind of awareness that would naturally lead to repentance. The purveyors of fake news cause the people to sin; they literally lead them to their deaths.
“That day is at hand, burning like an oven. All the arrogant and all the doers of evil shall be straw, and the day that is coming—said the LORD of Hosts—shall burn them to ashes and leave of them neither stock nor boughs.”Malachi 3:19
A note about Gematria and its relevance here: Devotion to the Torah leads one to cleave to God.
- The Gematria of “Malachi” (“my messenger” – the name is thought to be a pseudonym and also means “my angel”) is 101.
- There are 101 verses in Parshas Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20 – 30:10) and Jewish people remember this through the mnemonic “Michael,” which also has a Gematria of 101. This is the angel who is thought to guard the study of Torah.
- We learn that you should review the Torah 101 times, meaning to be diligent about it; the Gematria of the “evil angel” (name starts with “S,” we don’t enunciate it), who is also the angel of death, is one less or 100.
See also Dafei Tang’s interesting blog about Passover, the number 101 and resurrection. This is another promised event in the time of Redemption.
By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal (Dossy) All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain.