Zephaniah was the son of Cushi, and great-grandson of
Hezekiah, and the ninth in the order of the minor prophets. He
prophesied in the days of Josiah, king of Judah (641-610 B.C.), and was
contemporary with Jeremiah.
(Zep 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.
We see here plainly that God is a God who does not
want to destroy and bring judgment. He sends more than one prophet with
the same message. He didn't just sent only Jeremiah, but He sent more
than one to warn and try to get Judah and Israel to repent and turn
back to God. If they refused to repent then of course judgment has to
come because God cannot allow sin to continue forever and to make an
example for others to observe.
The world that existed in the days of Noah must have
gotten to the point of no return for God to have allowed them to be
destroyed. I'm sure God sent them prophets to warn and try to bring
them to repentance. We see from our own times that very few heed the
call to repentance. People do not want to change. They do not want to
repent and do not want what is good. For some strange reason, human
nature wants to sin and wants to justify their sin. They may try to be
a good person and do a few good deeds to justify themselves but
basically they desire to sin.
(Zep 1:2) I
will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the
(Zep 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.
(Zep 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;
After God delivered Israel from Egypt, He fed them in
the wilderness and gave them water to drink. Their shoes did not wear
out the whole time. Because of unbelief they had to stay in the
wilderness for forty years until those in rebellion had died off and a
younger generation arose. God led them to the promised land that was
rich in provisions and all they would need. After a few years of good,
they began to sin against God and worship the idols of other nations
that surrounded them. They desired to sin and justify their sin by
changing gods. They wanted a god that would allow them to sin and still
be religious. How many religions today offer that same set of
principles? Some perform rituals and religious ceremonies that people
attend thinking they can worship God in that way and still live how
they want any other time. Some trust in infant baptism or some other
ritual to save them instead of repenting of sin and being changed by
the power of God (born again). Some go to churches where they are told
they can be rich if they give to certain ministries and that God wants
only good for them, never have a sick day, or be hard up for
money. These are not reality and they soon get discouraged when
trouble comes. This is why it is so important for us to read and
study the word of God and not just take a few scriptures while ignoring
the rest of them. Baal was one of the gods of the Canaanites which
occupied the land of Canaan before Israel was given the land.
Chemarims were the Gentile priests. Gentile priests assisted the people
in the worship of other gods who were not really gods.
(Zep 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;
Other nations may claim ignorance to idolatry but
Israel and Judah had no such claim. They had the miracles, the signs,
the presence of Lord, victory in battle and the works. Yet, they
worshipped the host of heaven. The worship of the sun, moon,
constellations or any other heavenly body is forbidden in the
scriptures. Malcham is a name for an idol. Other idols they worshipped
are Molech and Baal. This is grievous in the sight of God. Only those
in rebellion against either God or His commandments would worship
another god. False religion will bring with it good religious feelings and
experiences but a life of true godly holiness and repentances from sin will be
lacking. They may openly claim a legalistic type of supposed holiness but
in reality there is a license to sin among those at the top especially while
those under their authority are in bondage.
(Zep 1:6) And
them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have
not sought the LORD, nor enquired for him.
When those who once knew God do not seek after Him
any longer, it usually mean that they wish to return to sin and seeking
God would only remind them of their sin. The two do not mix.
(Zep 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.
(Zep 1:8) And
it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD'S sacrifice, that I will
punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are
clothed with strange apparel.
Perhaps strange clothing not common among Israel is what this
refers to. My
guess is it means clothing that the heathen nations wore. I wonder what God
thinks of our clothing today. Talk about strange. The day of the Lord means a
day of judgment. This will have an immediately fulfillment upon the people
of God who once knew Him but have turned to idols and a future fulfillment
during the great tribulation or the time of Jacob's trouble. The above
mention of God preparing a sacrifice makes us think of the sacrifice of Jesus
when He died upon the cross but it is most likely to be the great sacrifice at
the battle of Armageddon.
Rev 16:16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew
Rev 19:17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud
voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather
yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
Rev 19:18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the
flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and
the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
(Zep 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.
Sounds like they were stealing and plundering by
using violence to take away by force. God actually sees and brings
vengeance upon those that plunder the poor or innocent. Leaping upon the
threshold is also a superstitious activity supposed to bring good luck. It has
to do with the idol of Dagon. Perhaps that is where we get the "Carrying
over the threshold thing done by newlyweds". Of course we know it is just
innocent fun in our day but at one time it may not have been innocent.
There was a time when brides were kidnapped and they had to be carried against
their will. I'm not saying that these passages in Zephaniah were
all these traditions but it is just a thought. Whatever they did, we see
that they caused much violence and deceit. The opposite of false religion
is peace, joy and compassion.
(Zep 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.
Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut
down; all they that bear silver are cut off.
The law of reaping and sowing. If we steal, we will
suffer theft ourselves. If we live by the sword, we shall die by the
(Zep 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.
Lees are the dregs or sediment from strong drink. We
see this attitude today. Many do as they please thinking in their heart
that the Lord doesn't bring good as a reward or evil as a
judgment. They are mistaken in this matter. Some seem to think of
God as someone out in the distance somewhere if they believe in God at all and
assume He has no personal interest in the affairs of men. Well, He
had such an interest as to send His Son to suffer and die for every ugly sin
that mankind has ever committed in the past, in the present and in the future.
Of course one has to turn from sin and believe in this one God sent to us in
order for His death and payment of our sins to count on our behalf. It is
not an automatic redemption, we have to receive it ourselves and believe.
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
Their work in planting and building will be in vain
for others will reap what they sowed.
(Zep 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.
(Zep 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,
(Zep 1:16) A
day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the
(Zep 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.
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.
Again I will mention that the day of the Lord is a day of judgment usually
referring to the latter day great tribulation but in this case there is an
immediate fulfillment that comes when God allowed the enemies of Judah to take
them into captivity. There is also a latter day fulfillment just before
the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Some believe the day of the Lord means
the Second Coming but usually that term refers to the judgment of God for the
sins of mankind. The tribulation comes first and then the literally Second
Coming of Jesus Christ. To God it would seem as if the event were at the
The same message is still needed in today's world.
The message to repent and turn back to God. The only difference is that
now we must go to God through His son, Jesus Christ but it still
requires repentance or turning from sin.
This message is so hard to get people to see. In the
days of Noah, only 8 people listened to God and were delivered from the
flood that covered the entire world. In the days of the prophets only a
remnant survived God's judgment. Judgment will come again to all
nations. Are we ready? Are we laughing at the prophets and preachers?
Are we simply ignoring their message and choosing to listen to the ones
with fair words and speeches.
Someone made a comment the other day that they are
sick of Christians trying to force their message on everybody.
Do Christians use force? We have a commandment from
the Lord to go into all the world and preach the gospel. We should do
that but never with force. A forced conversion could never be a true
conversation. Beware accusing Christians of using force and rejecting
their message. God may just allow a religious group to take over that
really uses force. Is that what we want? Do we want to cast aside the
message of the gospel and accept a message that uses force and kills
those that refuse their forced conversions?
Many work to cast out prayer from schools, remove the
ten commandments from the court house and reject any part of the
Christian message of salvation. Beware of this because if God would
lift His hand of protection and allow a wicked nation to rule that
executes those that disagree with their religion or politics then you
will see that the old Christians you despised were not so bad after
Take the example of Israel in the Old Testament. They
rejected God and His goodness and in return they got slavery,
oppression, starvation and ruin. Is that what we want? If we in the
United States and other parts of the free world continue to reject that
which is good, holy and just, we will get that which is bad. We seek to
get by with sin and reject holiness, then that sin will destroy us. God
just may allow us to have what we want and we will see that what we
wanted is deadly. Satan is out to kill and destroy. He will succeed
only if we let him by our rejection of God and His word.
Zephaniah Chapter 2