Read Part 1.
The people blame their problems on God’s lack of interest in their well-being (1:2; 2:17; 3:13-15). On their part, they profess to seek and delight in him (3:1).21 They even challenge God to make his presence known among them (2:17). In response, God announces a “house visit” (3:1-5). First, God will send his “messenger” to “prepare the way before [him]” (3:1), whom he later identifies as “Elijah the prophet” (4:5).22 Then the Lord himself will “suddenly come to his temple, even the Messenger of the covenant.”23 Furthermore, the prophet identifies this visitation as the “Day of the Lord” (3:1; 4:1, 5), a period of eschatological intrusion into human history.24 There are strong reasons for interpreting this visitation as the coming of Jesus the Messiah,25 which will prove to be a blessing for the righteous (3:3-4, 17; 4:2) but a curse for the wicked (3:5; 4:1, 3).26 This imminent divine visitation calls for serious self-examination: “but who can endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears?” (3:2).