Mal.4:1,2 – For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the LORD of armies, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branches. But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and frolic like calves from the stall.
This is the last chapter of the Old Testament, in this passage Malachi is prophesying about the Lord suddenly appearing in His temple. He compares His coming to fire; this fire effects each of us differently. For the lost who continuously reject the Lord the fire will be consuming. For those who know and love the Lord it will be empowering and renewing. Here is how Matthew Henry says fire effects those who reject the Lord.
“Christ is a consuming fire to those who rebel against him. The day of his coming shall burn as an oven (furnace); it will be a day of wrath, of fiery indignation.…It will be a day of terror and destruction like the burning down of a city, or rather of a wood, of which the trees are withered and dried — for that is what seems to be alluded to here:”
Amazingly the fire of God is pleasant to those who know the Lord. It is filled with power, renewal, guidance, and revelation light. Here is how Henry describes this.
“From where this mercy and comfort will flow to them: To you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings. Just as the day that comes will be a stormy day for evildoers…..a day of clouds and thick darkness, so it will also be a fair and bright day to those who fear God; it will be as reviving as the rising sun is to the earth.”
This passage immediately reminds me of the time when Jesus cleansed the temple in Jerusalem. He came in the fire of God and literally drove the hypocrites from the house of God. After this He began to minister to the hurting people gathered in the temple. For those there with improper motives the fire drove them out. For the broken who were there to worship and honor God He poured out His love. This fear will either drive someone away or draw them into to His fiery love.