My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 1:11, NIV)
For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.(Malachi 1:11, KJV)
“But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.”
Malachi 4:2 ESV
Note: Some of today’s blog post may seem familiar. Psalm 113:3 is a parallel verse to Malachi 1:11, so I covered a lot of the same ground in Day 148: Everywhere, All the Time, Praise (Psalm 113), But there are some different twists in Malachi that we didn’t see in Psalm 113, so if you have time, read on!
When you read Malachi 1:11 in different Bible translations, you get two different emphases. Some talk about the sun itself— “from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same” (KJV). Others, like the NIV, put the emphasis on geography: “From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets.” There’s beautiful truth in both.
One emphasizes when God will be praised— all day. One emphasizes where God will be praised— in every nation.
If I had to choose, I would side with the “where” emphasis, because that seems to fit with the rest of the passage. Once before and once after the phrase in question, God declares that His name will be great among the nations.
Then again in verse 14: “I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.”
But there’s also a beautiful truth to be found if you go with “when.” If Malachi is indeed saying that from sunrise to sunset, the name of the Lord will be praised, then realize that we actually know something that Malachi, writing three thousand years ago, didn’t (at least from a human perspective): In Malachi’s worldview, the world was flat. So in his understanding, the name of the Lord would be praised during the day. But we know the earth is round. Which means that every hour of the day, the sun is coming up somewhere!
In other words, there is no time of the day when the name of the Lord is not being praised. And there is no place on earth where the name of the Lord is not being praised. And there is no nation on the planet where God’s name will not one day be made famous.
Now, here’s what you get in Malachi that you don’t get from the parallel passage in Psalm 113:
At the end of Malachi, the prophet once again talks about the sun rising. Look at 4:2:
“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.”
Malachi 4:2 KJV
I switched to the King James for a reason, because it translates “his” wings instead of “its” wings. And I’m not enough of a Hebrew scholar to know whether or not this is grammatically appropriate, but it is for sure theologically appropriate. Because as we finish the Old Testament and move to the New Testament, we are transitioning to the point where the “it” of God’s covenant becomes the “He” of God’s Promise. The impersonal prophecy becomes the personal fulfillment of prophecy.
The “sun of righteousness” becomes the Son of righteousness. I know, I know… its only a homophone (two words that sound alike with different meanings) in English. But we are about to be introduced to Jesus, the Son of righteousness. Like the sun, He will bring light to all the nations. Like the sun, He will have healing in HIS wings.
And like the sun, the Son will rise.