“But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:” (Malachi 3:2)
The scene is rather vivid. While oppressing the poor and the needy, these men of Israel blessed themselves and cheered on the coming of the Lord; however, the Lord replies, “Who may abide My coming?” The self-deceived soul often blesses itself in its own ways while believing that God is working in its favor. The Lord rebukes such thinking in Amos 5:18 when He says, “Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.” Christ's coming will not be a joyous time for the apostate. Malachi assured his nation that their expectations were in vain as long as they continued in their present direction. They had accused God of perverting and passing over judgment, and now, He assures them that one is coming who will exercise the very judgment which they had accused Him of misappropriating. The refiner's fire and the fuller's soap bespeak of Christ's holy character. His holiness will burn and wash away all of man's deception. God is not fooled by religious ritual and false professions. He is not deceived by a man's hypocrisy. His eyes are as a flame of fire (Revelation 1:14), and He sees the very thoughts of each man's heart (Amos 4:13).