I well remember having sung, in Sunday school, a song with that title: “When He cometh, when He cometh to make up His jewels – precious jewels, precious jewels…”
Our young minds may not have much comprehended what the song really meant. But what we may have taken away from it, though, was that to God we were precious, “Like the stars in the sky that look down from the heavens,” as the song went on. And also that we were loved and appreciated, even as Christ said: “Unless you are converted and become as little children you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
Now that I’ve grown older – and hopefully wiser – I understand better the profound meaning of the Bible passage, Malachi 3:16-18, from which the song was taken:
“Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name. ‘They shall be Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘On the day that I make My jewels, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.’ Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.”
As we approach the “Feast of Trumpets” [to be observed by God’s people on September 19, the equivalent in the Roman calendar of the Hebrew calendar’s Tishri 1, the first day of the seventh month], I want to share some thoughts about the return of Jesus Christ (often called His “second coming”), which this feast pictures or signifies. [See: The Comings of Christ and God’s Feasts and the Jews — Part 2.]
What are jewels for?
This may be a no-brainer, but there are obvious, and less obvious, purposes of jewels. First, of course, is for adornment. Just about all cultures and societies have one form or another of personal bodily adornment or ornamentation: rings, necklaces, bracelets, tiaras, diadems, crowns, etc. Jewels are especially valued to signify the person’s status in society. Because it takes some means to obtain jewels, they are associated with wealth, prestige or social rank.
Jesus Christ is coming again soon as “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16). As such He will surely have not just one crown on His head, but several. Revelation 4:1-11 describes a vision which the apostle John saw of Christ on His heavenly throne, where He is surrounded by 24 spiritual elders [probably His angelic counselors] who are seated on 24 thrones and each having a crown on his head. Verse 10 describes how these elders fall down before Christ and cast their crowns before His throne – signifying their subservience to Him by submitting their crowns to Him.
Revelation 19:12 shows Christ judging and making war and having “many crowns” on His head. I think this shows that there is not a “department” in our individual and collective lives that can be exempt from Christ’s rule or “lordship.” Echoing Isaiah 45:23, the apostle Paul declared that “…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth” (Philippians 2:10). In 2 Corinthians 10:15 Paul urges that we bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
What it takes to become Christ’s jewel
Malachi 3:16 lists first “Those who fear the LORD,” and adds, “and who meditate on His name.”
The essence of the fear of the LORD is to depart from evil (Proverbs 16:16; 8:13). Jesus considers it precious that we fear Him by departing from evil. Why? Because He is holy and perfect – without sin or moral blemish whatsoever – and commands that we be holy and perfect like Him and His heavenly Father (Matthew 5:48). [See: “Be Holy for I Am Holy”.]
As the perfect Judge of all (Romans 2:16; John 5:22), Christ has the power and authority to destroy all the wicked in the fire of the “second death” (Revelation 21:8), and commands that we fear Him (Matthew 10:23). [See: Can We Fear and Love God at the Same Time?]
Meditating on Christ’s name
This will take a whole separate article to explain or expound fully. But suffice it here to say that there’s more to Christ’s names than the mere sound of them. Every name has a meaning, and herein lies its power – especially God’s or Jesus’ name.
The apostle Peter declared to the Jews: “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” – no other than the name of Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 4:9-12).
The apostle Paul adds: “Therefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).
Here are some of the many names of Jesus that we should meditate on, for our salvation:
• Son of God/ Son of Man (Matthew 4:3; 9:6; 12:8; Luke 1:38; etc.) – As the Son of God, Christ “made the worlds, upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:2-3). Paul told the people of Athens about God: “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). As the Son of Man, Jesus was made mortal so that He could die as a sacrifice for purging the sin of all mankind, and ransoming men from death. [See: The Ransomed of the LORD.]
• Lamb of God (John 1:29) –“who takes away the sin of the world.” Paul explained that “…it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats [sacrificial animals offered by the children of Israel] could take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). But we have, instead, “been sanctified [cleansed, purged, made holy] through the offering of the body of Christ once for all” (Verse 10). Peter adds: “…You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from, your aimless conduct, received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
• “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16) – “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15)! He will rule all nations for an initial 1,000 years and then on to eternity (Isaiah 9:7).
• Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42) – Christ will judge those who will remain alive at His return: those who are His faithful followers will receive everlasting life, while those who are wicked will be destroyed and given their real chance to be saved, together with all those who have died without knowing Christ, after His 1000-year reign (Revelation 20:5). [See: This Is Not the Only Day of Salvation.]
Christ to rule with His saints
Revelation 5:10 says of the “saints” (Verse 8), that Christ has made them “kings and priests to God and [they] shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 20:6 adds that “they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign [with Him] a thousand years.”
What God is looking for in those who will serve as priests to Him is that they should be able to teach God’s law to others? Malachi 2:7 describes the priest’s role: “For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.” [See: Moses and Jesus — Are They Contraries? and The Law of Christ.]
Hebrews 5:12-14 shows that those who are qualified to teach others should be so spiritually mature as to “have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” – just as Malachi 3:18 says.
Malachi 3:16 also describes those whom Christ will make His jewels as those who “spoke to one another” – and a book was written to record this. [See: God’s “Book of Remembrance.”]
Healthy conversation among a group of people presupposes a healthy, loving relationship. For when two or more people are at loggerheads, they often stop talking – or talk nastily — to each other. We say, “They are not in speaking terms.”
A healthy, robust relationship is based on Godly love, which is gracious and merciful to others. 1 Corinthians 13 is Paul’s sublime description of Godly love. Notice also Colossians 3:12-15 — “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Furthermore: “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6). To God this is most precious! [See: The Four Dimensions of Christ’s Love.]
“They shall be Mine”
Jesus claims as His own people — His precious possession (Malachi 4:17) — those who have His Spirit. Romans 8:9 declares: “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” It is through that Spirit that Christ would “know” us at His return. [See: “I Never Knew You!”]
As Christ’s return hastens on, are you preparing yourself so you can become one of Christ’s own precious jewels? I hope and pray that you are!
Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.