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The Book of Zephaniah
God's Severe Judgment On Judah For Its Idolatry and Neglect of Him. The Rapid Approach of God's Judgment, and the Impossibility of Escape.
Zephaniah 1:1 The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah. (KJV)
Zephaniah identifies himself as being of the royal family. Hezekiah, king of Judah, was his great-great-grandfather. Zephaniah prophesied during the days of the reign of Josiah, which was the period of the last spiritual movement that took place in the southern kingdom of Judah. There was a revival during that time, not a big one, not one that lasted long, but there was a revival. Zephaniah knew of the evil reigns of Amon and Manasseh. He was able to see that judgment was coming upon his nation and upon his people, and his message is an extremely harsh one.
In the days of Josiah . . . had Judah's idolatries been under the former evil kings, Judah might have said, Our kings have forced us to that. But under Josiah, who did everything in his power to bring them back to God, they had no such excuse.
Son of Amon . . . the idolater, whose bad practices the Jews clung to, rather than the good example of Josiah, his son.
Judah . . . Israel's ten tribes had gone into captivity before this.
Zephaniah 1:2 I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD. (KJV)
These prophets certainly were bold! And the used very strong language. God says, "I am going to judge, and when I do, I will scrape the land clean, just the way you would clean a dish." God's wrath had come to the boiling point!
But . . . what about this country in which we live? Are we not piling up our sins in the eyes of Almighty God? Romans 2:5-11 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God. (KJV) . . . It amazes me that people just seem to think that they can get by with their sins! And our government just keeps passing more laws condemning those who try to live by God's Book! We are not allowed to mention the Name of Jesus . . . EXCEPT in blasphemy! THAT is permitted! Abortion and homosexuality are rampant, but when we speak out against it, we are the bad guys! It makes me sick!
As we move deeper into Zephaniah's prophecy, we will see that this judgment covers MORE than just the land of Israel. Zephaniah predicts a worldwide devastation! The Book of Revelation confirms this and places the time of this judgment as the Great Tribulation period (Rev.6-18). During that horrific time, this Earth will absolutely be made bare the judgments that will come upon it.
Zephaniah 1:3 I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD. (KJV)
I will consume man and beast . . . all living creatures are included in this judgment . . . either by war or pestilence. Even the waters shall be infected, and the fish destroyed. The air will become contaminated, and all the birds will die. All species will become extinct at that time. This shall be a very severe judgment.
The "all things" (Zep. 1:2; Jer. 9:10; Hos. 4:3).
The "stumbling-blocks" . . . idols which cause Judah to offend God or stumble (Eze. 14:3-4, 7-8).
With the wicked . . . the idols and their worshippers shall be involved in a common destruction.
Zephaniah 1:4 I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests; (KJV)
I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem . . . God now makes it clear, through Zephaniah's words, that Judah and Jerusalem are to be singled out for judgment.
I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place . . . what is it that brings the judgment of God upon the land? It is quite clear! Idolatry! In the prophecy of Habakkuk, God mentions five woes (Hab.2:6,9,12,15,19), He was going to bring upon the people because of certain sins which they had committed. Idolatry was the last one there, but Zephaniah narrows it down and puts his hand on IDOLATRY! That my friend, is ANY false religion and cults, which is rampant in the world today! I will cut off the remnant of Baal . . . refers to the reformation which Josiah was to bring about (2 Ki. 23:5).
And the name of the Chemarims with the priests . . . Chemarims actually means black priests. They wore black, like those who worship Satan today, and some others. It is not original with them, for it goes all the way back to these idolatrous priests who wore black robes. Zephaniah says that these priests shall be judged. The Chemarims were black-robed priests of different idol gods (2 Ki.23:6). These were put down by Josiah.
The first step in any nation's decline is religious apostasy, a turning away from the one and only living and TRUE God. The second step downward for a nation is immorality. The third step downward is political chaos, disorder and rebellion. Look at this country. BEWARE! She is rapidly sinking in the eyes of God!
Is the problem of the the United States in Washington, D.C.? Yes! BUT, it is the people who have no moral standards according to God, plus they are the addicts or drunks, they steal, are violent, and millions expect the government to keep them (2 Thes.3:10). But I think the biggest problem is in this country is religious apostasy. If people would turn back to God, there would be very little immorality, very little crime! And that brings about immorality and political chaos.
For anyone to betray Christ while professing to be Christian, is utterly ridiculous! WHY do they even go to church? But, then, the vast majority of today's churches are led by false teachers, who teach only what people WANT to hear, just like in the days of Isaiah (Isa.30:9-11; 2 Tim.4:3-4).
See our articles: . . . http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_1_false_teachers.1.htm
Consider what the historian Gibbon said about the fall of Rome. Here is why he says Rome fell:
- #1. The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.
- #2. Higher and higher taxes; the spending of public money for free bread and circuses for the populace.
- #3. The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming every year more exciting, more brutal, more immoral.
- #4. The building of great armaments when the great enemy was within; the decay of individual responsibility.
- #5. The decay of religion, fading into mere form, losing touch with life, losing power to guide the people.
The USA is guilty of every one of the above things.
Zephaniah saw what was happening to Judah. The people were on the way down, and judgment was coming. Idolatry is the problem of every great nation that has gone off track. When a nation (or a person) departs from the living and only TRUE God, when it lapses into idolatry; gross immorality and political chaos follows.
Zephaniah 1:5 And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham; (KJV)
And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops . . . worship of the host of heaven: the sun, moon, planets and stars, like some do today. This worship was one of the oldest and the most common of all idolatry (2 Ki. 23:5-6, 12).
Upon the housetops . . . rooftops were flat (Jer.19:13; 32:29). Swear by the Lord . . . (2 Chron. 15:14); solemnly dedicating themselves to Him (Isa. 48:1; Hos. 4:15) . . . yet with strange inconsistency (1 Ki. 18:21; Eze. 20:39; Mat. 6:24) swear by Malcham, who was the national idol of the Ammonites; the same as Molech (Am. 5:25), and "Milcom the god of . . . Ammon" (1 Ki. 11:33). Malcham was Molech, the god of the Ammonites. Their housetops were flat, and a place where the family gathered in the evening. Zephaniah says that the housetop became a place of worship, so you can see how idolatry was moving into the homes. It meant that every home was a heathen temple where idolatry was practiced; idolatry was really reaching into the homes.
My friend, if you give Satan half your heart, he will take it ALL! . . . BUT, if you offer the Lord just half your heart . . . He will take NONE of it!
That swear by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham . . . you CANNOT associate the name of an idol with that of the Most High GOD! For Malcham (Hos.4:15; Am. 5:26).
Them that worship the host of heaven . . . Zephaniah now mentions the second kind of idolatry that was rampant in that land. The sun, the moon, the stars was worship of the creature rather than the Creator. They worshiped that which had been made rather than worshiping the One who created it. This was the second form of idolatry which they adopted.
The worst, the most sophisticated, and the most subtle of all the forms of idolatry, is the one that is mentioned next .. . "and them that worship and that swear by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham" was a worship in which they actually sacrificed their children. The craziness of it all was that at the same time they professed to worship the living and TRUE God. They went to the temple. They said that they knew the Lord, that they believed in God . . . BUT . . . they also worshiped Molech, who demanded their offspring! What about people today? Are they not doing the same thing by aborting their innocent little babies to the idol of "pleasure"? Sorry . . . but that is how I feel!
The TRUE church is built around a Person, and that Person is Jesus Christ! The early church met together to worship and adore Him, to come to know Him, and to have fellowship with Him. Everything they did pointed to Jesus! How many churches are there today, where the Truth about Jesus is not even mentioned? His deity is completely denied. They deny that Jesus is God. They do not worship Him, but they give lip service to Him. They talk about the teachings of Jesus and that He was a wonderful man. Some even call Him a "superstar"! But they DENY and REJECT everything that has been set down in the Scriptures for us. Is Jesus God? YES!!!
There was subtle idolatry everywhere in the land of Judah in that day. People were still going through the rituals, still going to the temple on the Sabbath . . . BUT . . . they were actually worshiping Molech. People deny the great facts of the Christian faith today! They practice immorality, wickedness . . . things that are contrary to the Word of God. BEWARE!
Zephaniah 1:6 And them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for him. (KJV)
This verse describes more completely those guilty of abandoning God in any way (Jer. 2:13, 17). The people had turned completely away from God. Two classes are mentioned: backsliders and those who were never saved.
And them that are turned back from the LORD . . . this is a clear statement about backsliders . . . them that turn back from God, after they know Him (Hos.11:7; Heb.10:38; Rev.2:4-5).
And those who were never saved (2 Pet.2:20-22; 1 Jn.2:19; Rev.3:15-16). He will cut them off (Zep. 1:4-6). Because God cannot lie (Tit.1:2), He is under obligation; He must do as He said He would do!
And those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for him . . . that have not sought the Lord and/or neglected Him; but instead embraced a false religion instead of the true.
Nor inquired for him . . . although the prophets preached against apostasy, calling for the priests and people to forsake the idols, and inquire after God, yet they would NOT inquire. These also are doomed to destruction.
Zephaniah 1:7 Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests. (KJV)
Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD . . . there is very little reverence for Almighty God today. So many think of Jesus as a sort of a "buddy," and they casually refer to the Almighty God as the "man upstairs." Our God is a HOLY God. We should revere Him, we should honor Him, we should respect Him, we would fall down on our faces before Him because of who He is! He is the Great God, the Creator of the Universe, and we are just little creatures that He could squash like a bug, should He so desire! WHY can't people see this?
For the day of the Lord is at hand . . . this is the first mention of the Day of the Lord in this Book. The Day of the Lord is presented here primarily as the time of judgment. To fit it rightly into God's program, it is the Great Tribulation period. That is when the Day of the Lord begins. That day is yet to come. Today, we are living in the day of Christ, the day of grace (Rom.6:14-15).
The Day of the Lord will begin when the church leaves this Earth (1 Thes.4:13-18). Then God will begin to move in judgment, such as this world has never known (Mat.24:21).
Prior to that day, which is still in the future, there have been times which have been likened unto the Day of the Lord. When Nebuchadnezzar finally came and destroyed Jerusalem, burned it to the ground, and plowed it under, he left that land bare. There is still evidence of what the enemy did. The Babylonians were followed later by the Medo-Persians, then Alexander the Great, and finally the Romans. Enemy after enemy has come into that land. WHY? Because of Israel's sin and wickedness and rejection of God.
God made it very clear of what He was going to do . . . and He did it. The evidence is still there today. That judgment was for the people of that time, and it was for them "the day of the Lord," but it does not completely fulfill the prophecies. Zephaniah tells us plainly that the Day of the Lord is that day which is yet in the future and which will be carried out when Christ comes and establishes His Kingdom here upon this Earth.
The Lord hath prepared a sacrifice . . . meaning the wicked among the Jews, whom He will sacrifice by the Chaldean's sword.
He hath bid his guests . . . God summoned beasts of the field and fowls of the air, to eat the flesh and drink the blood of slain Jews, whom the Babylonians slew. It shall be worse in the Day of the Lord (Rev.19:17-21).
With bitter and piercing sarcasm, Zephaniah says, "For the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests." Sad . . . the guests shall be the sacrifice, and the sacrifice is the judgment that is coming upon the nation.
Zephaniah 1:8 And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD'S sacrifice, , and all such as are clothed with strange apparel. (KJV)
And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD'S sacrifice . . . of slaughter to be made by the Babylonians, called here a day of sacrifice, that we might see clearly the just and perfect proceedings of God. The people had sinned in sacrificing to strange gods, and God will punish them, making them an odd sacrifice to His anger. It reveals that what God threatens, He will most surely execute. The punishment shall appear to be from His Hand, as He often threatens by Ezekiel (Eze.6:14; 13:9; 14:9).
That I will punish the princes, and the king's children . . . meaning the princes; nobles of the court, the great ones, who dreamed of being better than others, but fell with the first (2 Ki. 25:19-21). The king's children; sons and grandchildren of good Josiah. Jehoahaz died a captive in Egypt, (2 Ki. 23:34). Jehoiakim died on the way, or in Babylon, buried with the burial of an ass (Jer. 22:18-19). Jeconiah, carried to Babylon, did little better; there he died a captive. As for Zedekiah; his children were killed in front of him, then his eyes put out, and he was led into miserable captivity.
Clothed with strange apparel . . . some say the strange apparel means that of idolatrous priests; others say the clothing of foreigners.
Zephaniah 1:9 In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters' houses with violence and deceit. (KJV)
In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold . . . those that leap on the threshold are the servants of the rich, hurried from their homes to plunder the property of others to enrich their masters. They would take over the land and the homes of the poor. What was happening back then was that the middle class disappeared, leaving the very rich and the very poor. This same thing is happening in this country today. God tells them that He is going to judge them for this.
Which fill their masters' houses with violence and deceit . . . meaning with goods obtained by violence.
Zephaniah 1:10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills. (KJV)
And it shall come to pass in that day . . . In that day (Zep. 1:9).
Saith the Lord . . . any time the Lord says something, it is a thing of certainty.
That there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate . . . the noise, the voice, the cry is a very great outcry and lamentation, from the fish-gate, which was on the west side of Jerusalem, through which gate they brought in fish from Joppa and other sea towns on the west sea, or the Mediterranean, at which gate the Babylonians are said first to enter into the city when they took it. So this is a prediction of what gate the enemy would enter. Fish gate (2 Chron. 33:14; Neh. 3:3; 12:39).
And an howling from the second . . . a howling, great and horrid, and confusion from the desperate multitudes, crying out bitterly, from the second gate, which was in the second wall of Jerusalem, which on that side was fortified with three walls; or second part of the city, or the middle city, for it was divided into three parts.
And a great crashing from the hills . . . a great crashing; the noise of what is broken into pieces; possibly the noise of doors, windows, closets, in the houses of nobles, likened here to hills. The fleeing Jews, pursued by the Chaldees, lost what they carried with them, and their lives too. All places were full of bloodshed and outcries.
Zephaniah is saying that in any direction you went, there was this wailing of the people when the time of judgment has come upon them. That was very harsh judgment, but they had been warned by God. To these people, this was like the Day of the Lord.
Zephaniah 1:11 Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off. (KJV)
Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh . . . some say this signifies a mortar, or a rock in form of a mortar, and was the name of a quarter of Jerusalem where they hulled rice, corn, etc. Some think the city of Jerusalem is meant, where the inhabitants should be beat and pounded to death as grain is pounded in a mortar. Still others say it is the lower city, and it is the valley in Jerusalem, which divided the upper from the lower city. Others Jerusalem itself, so called as lying in the midst of hills (Isa. 22:1; Jer. 21:13) and as doomed to be the scene of its people being destroyed as corn or wheat is pounded in a mortar (Pro. 27:22). Compare the similar image of a "pot" (Eze. 24:3, 6). The reason for the destruction is its merchants' greediness of gain.
For all the merchant people are cut down . . . the merchants were either residents or they came to trade. The "Canaanite people"irony: all the merchant people of Jerusalem are very Canaanite in their greed for gain, and in idolatries (Hos. 12:7). But now, by the invasion of the land, and by the siege, all trade is cut off, and many merchants either slain or made slaves.
All they that bear silver are cut off . . . the merchants, moneychangers, usurers, rich men. They load themselves with what will prove but a BIG burden (Hab. 2:6). Are cut off ; shall be, just as surely as if it already were.
Zephaniah 1:12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil. (KJV)
And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles . . . Zephaniah says that God shall search out Jerusalem with candles. NO guilty one would escape. He would bring to light ALL the wickedness and ALL the sin. God is omniscient! He sees ALL things, and He needs NO help for discovering anything! But by this expression, God through Zephaniah foretells just how fully He would both discover and punish SIN.
And punish the men that are settled on their lees . . . settled on their lees is an image of the hardened, settled crust that forms at the bottom of wines bottles, if not transferred to other bottles to purify (Jer. 48:11). The effect of wealthy undisturbed ease ("lees") on the ungodly is hardening, for they become foolishly secure (Ps. 55:19; Am. 6:1).
That say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil . . . sometimes people do not use common sense. Surely people know of God's power, and His hatred of sin. Surely they have heard of His wrath and His judgment in the past! Why then, do they think that "The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil." Why do so many think that God does not see the bad things that happen (Eze. 8:12), think God has forsaken the Earth? ALL atheists will be punished severely by God, count on it! All sinners shall be judged "according to their works" (Ps.28:4; 62:12; Pro.24:12,29; Ecc.8:14; Dan.7:10; Jer.25:14; 32:19; Mat.16:27; 25:31-32; Jn.12:48; Rom.2:15-16; 1 Cor.3:12-15; 2 Cor.5:10; 2 Tim.1:9; 4:14; Rev.2:23; 20:12-13). They shall see it shall be well with the righteous, and ill with the wicked. People then and today, are at ease. People today do not believe they will be judged any more than the people in the past. They deny that God renders good to the good; or evil to the evil (Ps. 10:4; Mal. 2:17). They are WRONG! You need God my friend!
Zephaniah 1:13 Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof. (KJV)
Therefore their goods shall become a booty . . . all they own, in which they trust, shall become a booty, to the Chaldeans. They shall have NO profit of their labors. These are goods which they took by plundering and pillaging and robbing are going to be taken away from them in just the same way as they got them.
And their houses a desolation . . . another way to put it, there would be ghost towns in Israel. The houses they have built they shall not live in.
And they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof . . . God is saying that they will plant vineyards, but they will never drink the wine from them because of their sin. (Deut. 28:30, 39; Am.5:11) show the same evils threatened. The enemy is going to come in like a flood.
Zephaniah 1:14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. (KJV)
The great day of the LORD . . . this great Day of the Lord is the time of the Great Tribulation in the future (Rev.6-18). In Zephaniah's day, after Josiah's rule, there never arose in the southern kingdom another good king. Every one of them was bad. Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Zedekiah . . . all were wicked, corrupt kings!
Zephaniah said that now judgment was going to come upon the nation and upon the people for their departure from God. But they shall experience only a very small part of what is in store in the future, in the great Day of the Lord. Of the Lord . . . appointed, foretold, and now actually brought on them by the Lord.
Is is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly . . . it is near; very near; it is doubled to show just how close it is, and also to assure us of it as well. The Second Coming of Christ is scoffed at by millions! Where is He? They ask (2 Pet.3:4). There IS a day when Jesus shall return! And when He does, there shall be JUDGMENT! (Ps.1:5; Dan.7:10,26; Mat.7:2; 11:22,24; 12:36; 13:30,39; 21:40; 25:31-32; Lu.10:14; Acts 24:25; Rom.2:5,16; 14:10; 2 Cor.5:10; Heb.6:2; 9:27; 1 Pet.4:6; 2 Pet.2:4,9; 3:7; 1 Jn.4:17; Jude 1:6-7, 14-15; Rev.11:18; 14:7; 20:11-15).
And hasteth greatly . . . their enemies were eager to pounce on the prey. Their sins and supposed security justly provoked the Lord's anger, making the day of their judgment hasten.
Even the voice of the day of the LORD . . . God's Voice was within hearing, the sound was in their ears. God was ushering in that day with a roar of vengeance against the guilty (Jer. 25:30; Am. 1:2). All those who would not heed His Voice by His prophets, would certainly heed it when uttered by the avenging enemy.
The mighty man shall cry there bitterly . . . the valiant and stout-hearted among the Jews, shall cry bitterly; their courage gone! They shall cry out most fervently, like women in hopeless despair. The Wailing Wall would soon come into existence. And it will be there until after the Great Tribulation period because Israel will never know peace until the Prince of Peace comes and they acknowledge their Messiah.
Zephaniah 1:15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, (KJV)
#1. That day is a day of wrath . . . (Isa.22:5; Jer.30:7; Joel 2:2,11; Am.5:18; Zep.1:18). From verse 14 to 16, there is a most vivid increase and intensification of the disasters that were coming on Jerusalem: the invasion, the raid, the attack, the carnage, the utter confusion, the horrible noise broken occasionally by the sound of the trumpet, the cries of the people, and the shrieks and groans of the dying . . . all of which are pointed out with great force and mighty effect by Zephaniah.
#2. A day of trouble and distress . . . Zephaniah uses words of much the same meaning, to express just how grievous the troubles of those times which would suddenly come upon them were. A most distressing trouble, with NO one knowing how to bear up under it, or where to hide from it.
#3. A day of wasteness and desolation . . . the Hebrew terms express the dreary monotony of desolation (Nah. 2:10).
#4. A day of darkness and gloominess . . . This could be symbolic. The "day" itself may have been a bright and sunny day, but with all that God sent their way in judgment, to the people it was dark and gloomy.
#5. A day of clouds and thick darkness . . . most likely clouds of thick darkness arose from the smoke and fire of the city every where, when the enemy set fire to buildings.
Zephaniah is speaking here of the harshness, the intensity and the severity of the judgment that is coming, and the question one many ask: "How can a loving God do this?" The picture can be presented in such a way that it looks like God is being cruel and harsh . . . but God IS a God of love and purity and truth! God hates SIN. God hates wickedness of any kind! And God cannot lie. When He promises that judgment shall fall when He is disobeyed, you can be sure that He will do as He said. God has always warned people before His judgment falls. In the old days, it was through His prophets. Today we have the Bible. The warnings are in there, and are for you and for me. It is YOUR fault if you do not pay attention to God's warnings.
Even in the great day of wrath and judgment of God, the love of God is present. No matter what takes place, God is love. Even in judgment, God is still a God of love. He judges because it is absolutely necessary for Him to judge all that is evil. He MUST be true to Himself! IF He did not judge evil, He would not be true to Himself or those who are righteous. By judging sin He is good to His TRUE children.
If God were to permit sin throughout eternity, if God did not intend to judge sin, if we had to struggle with evil and sorrow throughout all eternity . . . HOW could THAT be a God of love? But, for those of us who strive to please God, when we know that God IS going to judge sin, that He IS coming with a mighty and righteous judgment, and that He IS going to remove sin from His universe, I'm going to say, "Praise God!" God is a God of love, and I am very glad He is!
Zephaniah 1:16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. (KJV)
A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities . . . God's trumpet calls the Chaldeans, and the Chaldeans' trumpet gathers their troops (Am. 2:2). Alarm . . . is the war shout, against the fenced cities of Judah.
When God gave Israel the trumpets (Num.10:1-3) that they were to blow in the wilderness march, there were several ways in which they were to be used. Having mentioned the different ways the two silver trumpets were to be used, the Lord says: Numbers 10:9 And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. (KJV)
Zephaniah says here that it is "a day of the trumpet" . . . they are going to blow the alarm, but God does not intend to deliver them. WHY? Because He was going to judge them. He would deliver them TO the enemy, NOT deliver them FROM the enemy. Is this not a warning to us today?
And against the high towers . . . the high towers were stately palaces and strong munitions, fortified with high towers, built at the angles of walls, and therefore the Hebrew calls them high corners (Isa.2:15; 5:2; Neh.3:1; 2 Ki.9:17; Judg.8:9; 9:46).
The following was taken from the Talmud: . . . http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14466-tower
A building of strength or magnificence (Isa. ii. 15; Cant. iv. 4, vii. 4), and, with a more limited connotation, a watch-tower in a garden or vineyard or in a fortification. It was customary to erect watch-towers in the vineyards for the guards (Isa. v. 2), and such round and tapering structures may still be seen in the vineyards of Judea. Similar towers were built for the protection of the flocks by the shepherd, in the enclosures in which the animals were placed for the night (comp. the term "tower of the flock," Gen. xxxv. 21; Micah iv. 8), and it is expressly stated that Uzziah built such structures in the desert for his enormous herds (II Chron. xxvi. 10). Around these towers dwellings for shepherds and peasants doubtless developed gradually, thus often forming the nuclei of permanent settlements.
Towers for defense were erected chiefly on the walls of fortified cities, the walls themselves being strengthened by bastions (Neh. iii. 1), and the angles and gates being likewise protected by strong towers (II Kings ix. 17). Thus the walls of the city of Jerusalem were abundantly provided with towers in antiquity, and the ancient tower of Phasael (the so-called "tower of David") in the modern citadel is an excellent specimen of this mode of defense, its substructure being of massive rubblework, and the ancient portion of the tower erected upon it being built of immense square stones (for illustration see Jew. Encyc. vii. 142). The citadel forming the center of a fortified city was also termed "migdol" (Judges viii. 9, ix. 46). It was usually erected at the highest point of the city, and formed the last place of refuge in case the town was besieged and its walls stormed (Judges ix. 46).
Zephaniah 1:17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. (KJV)
And I will bring distress upon men . . . God, through Zephaniah, says: "I will surround them with distress and calamities which shall greatly trouble and perplex them." Upon men . . . means the high-up big boys, the richest ones who think they are safe; the mighty men.
That they shall walk like blind men . . . like blind men, they will not know what to do or where to go. None shall be fit for counsel or action.
Because they have sinned against the Lord . . . all this judgment shall come because of their great sins against the Lord! These well known "men of note" had been considered to be much greater in their sin, because of their state above others, and therefore shall be much deeper in distress. Again, a warning to the high-up people today, the rich, the famous, the powerful, and those in government!
And their blood shall be poured out as dust . . . their blood shall be poured out as freely and abundantly as dust in the highway. We are still talking about those big shots.
And their flesh as the dung . . . WHAT is it, that is done with manure? It is spread on the earth to improve it. The lives of these "men" shall be of NO more value than dust, and their honor NO more regarded than smelly dung! This is extreme judgment.
Zephaniah 1:18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land. (KJV)
Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath . . . riches shall NOT be able to deliver anyone!
The sultan of Babylon, had been formerly satisfied with presents and tribute money, but will be no more. His soldiers will not spare or save any, but instead slay man, woman and child, as in the taking of Jerusalem (Ps. 137:7-9).
The Lord's wrath . . . IF it were the wrath of man, bribes and gifts might appease it; but it is the wrath of God, who is a righteous Judge, and He receives NO bribes, NO gifts. (Pro.11:4).
Neither their silver nor their gold . . . sometimes these have purchased friends, and redeemed a life at the hand of greedy soldiers, who have been spared with promise of money; but not now. Neither silver nor gold shall help.
But the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy . . . fire of His jealousy (Eze. 38:19-20). His wrath comes from jealousy for His honor, and He shall consume the guilty like fire. By the fire of his jealousy . . . because their sins provoked the Lord . . . their sins kindled a raging fire, that now burns and NO one can quench it (Deut. 28:15).
Shall be devoured . . . utterly ruined, its wealth carried away, its provisions eat up, its stores exhausted, and its stock utterly destroyed (Zep. 1:2).
For he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land . . . complete destruction, "full end," (Jer. 46:28; Eze. 11:13).
Sin against God will lead to God's wrath and end with His judgment falling upon the guilty ones.
Zephaniah mentions the day of the Lord in Zep. 1:17-18. This section of the prophecy is to be fulfilled in the future, at the Second Coming of Christ.
Facts about the Day of the Lord:
- #1. It is the day of the Lord's sacrifice. This refers to the destruction of the multitudes at the battle of Armageddon (Zep. 1:7-8; Isa. 34:6; Jer. 46:10; Eze. 39:17-21; Rev. 19:11-21).
- #2. His bidden guests in that day are to be the beasts and birds who will eat the dead bodies; those slain at Armageddon (Eze. 39:17-21; Mat. 24:27-28; Luke 17:34-37; Rev. 19:17-21).
- #3. Princes, king's children, robbers, merchants and all other classes will be destroyed in that day (Zep. 1:8-18).
- #4. It will be a day of desolation and destruction of houses and vineyards, and especially of men who should have enjoyed their homes and crops (Zep. 1:13).
- #5. It will be a great day of the Lord (Zep. 1:14).
- #6. It will be a day of wrath (Zep. 1:15).
- #7. It will be a day of trouble and distress (Zep. 1:15).
- #8. It will be a day of waste and desolation (Zep. 1:15).
- #9. It will be a day of darkness and gloominess (Zep. 1:15).
- #10. It will be a day of clouds and thick darkness (Zep. 1:15).
- #11. It will be a day of trumpet and alarm (Zep. 1:16).
- #12. It will be a day of distress upon men so that they will walk like blind men (Zep. 1:17).
- #13. It will be a day of bloodshed (Zep. 1:17).
- #14. It will be a day of the Lord's wrath which men will not escape (Zep. 1:18).
Book of Zephaniah
Ch1 . Ch2 . Ch3