"But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.Malachi 4:2(NASB)
The closing verses of the Old Testament end with a description of the day of the Lord, where fiery judgement is poured out on all evil-doers and those who have rejected God’s gift of salvation. The Lord is a consuming fire, and this passage begins with a description of God's righteous judgement on the wicked, but continues by giving encouragement to those who fear the name of the Lord.
The Day of the Lord is an extended period that covers the great tribulation, Christ's second advent, His Millennial rule, the great white throne judgement of unbelievers and the creation of a new heaven and new earth. It is a time when self-sufficient unbelievers, who have relied on their own righteousness as a means to salvation will be tried in the fires of God's righteous judgement and found wanting.
John the Baptist repeated Malachi's fiery warning to the proud, self-sufficient evil-doers of his day. He warned that Christ would be their Judge. "He will baptise you with.. fire", was John's warning. He was speaking of the fires of God's righteous judgement and the terrible 'lake of fire', while those who glorify His name will "be baptised (into Christ), by the Holy Spirit".
Whenever God gives a warning of fiery judgement to the wicked, he also gives words of encouragement to the little remnant of believers, "But... for you who fear My name," we read in Malachi, " but for the remnant... the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall".
What a heartening contrast these verses are with warning in earlier verses! The people of God who fear and reverence His name have the assurance that the Day of the Lord will be one that ushers in the sunshine of God’s eternal love.
Gracious forgiveness, health and healing is the portion for those who call on the name of the Lord, "for the Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing on His wings". They are likened to young calves who leap and skip with joy and free abandon, when released from the confinement of their restrictive stalls.
The Sun of Righteousness came as the light of the world two thousand years ago. He came as the light to illumine the hearts of men. He came as the light of life to a lost and dying world. He came as a light to lighten the gentiles and He manifested the light of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ our Saviour. He is the fountain of light for all who put their trust in Him and He is our righteous Saviour, "The Lord Our Righteousness".
For those who reject Him, the same sun of righteousness will discharge blistering heat. Scorching pain will rain down on all who do not believe - not only during the Great Tribulation but within the burning 'Lake of Fire and Brimstone' - for our God is a consuming fire. BUT for those that are His... He has become our everlasting righteousness. He is Jesus, Who has been made to us 'the power of God and the wisdom from God' - and righteousness, and holiness, and redemption and salvation belong to Him.
This verse is in a passage that points to the coming wrath of God, which is soon to be poured out on a Christ-rejecting sinful world, but this verse points beyond the tribulation terrors, to the return of Christ Jesus as the Sun of Righteousness, Who will arise with healing on His wings. To all who believe he provides the warmth of His everlasting love and His protection from the destructive heat of The Day - for we are not appointed to wrath.
He is the Son of Man, Who comes to heal all who will call on His name, and He is the King of the Jews, Who will one day bind up the wounds of His people Israel. But we who have already trusted Him as Saviour need fear no condemnation.
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for HE died to set us free - for He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed.
Although this verse was given to Israel by Malachi and will be realised for them at Christ's second advent.. for ALL who have believed on Him in their hearts by faith.... this is a truth that has already been fulfilled in each of us at our salvation - for HE IS God our righteousness and He is God, our Healer and He is God our Saviour, Who has set us free from the slave-market of sin so that we can also go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.
Thank You Father for the healing touch of Your Son Jesus Christ, Who has clothed us in His righteousness and removed the scales of unbelief from our hearts. Look down in pity on all who do not know Your grace and have rejected the light of Your truth. Draw many from the kingdom of darkness into the light of the glorious gospel of grace – in Jesus' name we pray. AMEN.