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Monthly Bible Question | December

How will the Messiah be like a “refiner’s fire” or a “launderer’s soap”?

Malachi 3:2:But who can endure the day of his [the Messiah’s] coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.” [“fuller’s soap” in some versions]

Molten metal - H005, Wikimedia Commons

What does the imagery of a “refiner’s fire” or “fuller’s soap” tell us about the Messiah?

Refining is the process for removing impurities from metal. Metal would be heated at a high temperature until it melted. Impurities in the metal would rise to the surface and then be skimmed off and discarded.

Launderer’s or fuller’s soap was a cleaning agent used to wash and whiten cloth. This caustic alkaline paste was made from wood ash and mixed with oil to make soap.

Both the refiner’s fire and launderer’s soap refer to the judgement and purification that we will experience when the Messiah comes again – it will not be painless (high heat, corrosive substance), but it will refine and cleanse.

Isaiah 1:18: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

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