Fuller’s Soap? What’s That?

I was reading this morning in the Old Testament when I had to pause and ponder.  I have read this probably a thousand times and yet this time, I could not go forward without going deeper.

Malachi 3:2 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: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary:


” The word “full” is from the Anglo-Saxon fullian, meaning “to whiten.” To full is to press or scour cloth in a mill. This art is one of great antiquity. Mention is made of “fuller’s soap” ( Malachi 3:2 ), and of “the fuller’s field” ( 2 Kings 18:17 ). At his transfiguration our Lord’s rainment is said to have been white “so as no fuller on earth could white them” ( Mark 9:3 ). En-rogel (q.v.), meaning literally “foot-fountain,” has been interpreted as the “fuller’s fountain,” because there the fullers trod the cloth with their feet. ”


There is a field in Jerusalem, the fuller’s field which existed early in Bible History. The first mention of it is in the time of King Hezekiah (Kings of Israel and Judah), when the “invade and conquer” Assyrians (Ancient Empires – Assyria) were threatening the land of Israel:


“And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the House of The Lord [see “My Father’s House”], and in the treasuries of the king’s house. At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the Temple [see Temples] of The Lord, and from the doorposts which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria. And the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rabsaris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Fuller’s Field.” (2 Kings 18:15-17 RSV)”In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. And the king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem, with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller’s Field.” (Isaiah 36:1-2 RSV) (see also The Day Sennacherib Challenged God)

“And The Lord said to Isaiah, “Go forth to meet Ahaz, you and Shearjashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller’s Field” (Isaiah 7:3 RSV)

The returning Messiah will be like a “refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap”

“Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before Me, and The Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to His Temple [Why Did They Face East?]; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, He is coming, says The Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming, and who can stand when He appears? “For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to The Lord.” (Malachi 3:1-3 RSV)

Fact Finder: At The Transfiguration, as witnessed by Peter, James, and John (see The Inner Circle), did Jesus’ clothing appear brighter “as no fuller on earth could bleach them”?
Mark 9:3


So anyway, the job of the fuller was to make the cloth “fuller” more suitable for weaving or sewing.


So as we walk with the Lord there should be a cleansing, we need to experience the “bleach, wet, beat’ of our spiritual fibers to a ‘consistent and desirable condition.’

It is how we become more like the Lord; that is the goal right?  We need to prepare, we need to be ‘full’–consistent and desirable. Just as in baptism our sins are washed away, so as we are out in the world from day to day, we must be refined and cleansed.


Like the purifying process, it may seem harsh, impossible at times, but it is all meant to prepare us to ‘be an offering in righteousness’ when He returns for His bride.


As our children (ourselves too) come to a greater understanding of Him and His Word, we gain our very own testimony and relationship with the Lord. We need, each, our own xperience in this life we live for Him. And as we develop we begin to understand the Gospels more and more.  A strong and true relationship with Christ-, develops from this-then we are made ‘full’ , we are cleansed, we are refined, as He has planned for us to be.


May we always use our fuller’s soap in the most beneficial and faithful ways.


English: Aleppo soap, Syria Français : Savon d...

English: Aleppo soap, Syria Français : Savon d’Alep, Syrie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



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