Zephaniah 1-3

Introduction of Zephaniah | Evidence Unseen

Chapter 1 begins with a conclusion of Judgement on the entire Earth: man, animals, and nature!  We know from our past reads that this prophecy will include the Babylonian captivity with a second embedded prophecy of End Times.

We turn now to the Judgement on Israel.  The most fundemtnatl sin is the first 2 commandemtns:  Exodus 20:

“You shall have no other gods before] me.

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

During the time of Manasseh he had made Jerusalem a center of pagan worship.  The people were worshiping false gods such as Baal ‘lord’ and Moloch (they would sacrifice their babies in the fire to the god)

GOD Rejected ISRAEL #Moloch #Baal - YouTube

When the Assyrians took Israel back in 722 they introduced new forms of worship: sun gods, moon gods, and worshiping the stars (like some people rely in superstitions or astronomy today).

Chapter 1 goes deep.  There are technically 3 oracles of judgement.  First judgement will come upon the nobles, the traders and the wealthy.  They have abused their power.  The second oracle (verse 10) is the business men:  The fish gate and the New Quarter were the “financial district” where the merchants would come in. (Nothing hits them harder than in the wallet)

The Gates and Walls

The Fish Gate - Wednesday Evening Service 8/22/18 - Pastor Bob ...

By verse 13 we see judgement on those that relied on their wealth for security.

18 Neither their silver nor their gold
    will be able to save them
    on the day of the Lord’s wrath.”

intense huh!!

Chapter 2- God begs us to seek Him!  He calls Judah to repent and then speaks of the Judgement of the foreign nations.  Philistia is the first nation mentioning specifically the cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Ekron. (Gath isn’t mentioned because it has already been destroyed)

Map of the Territory of the Philistines (Bible History Online)

However, God uses the judgement of the evil nations to make a land for the Remnant people when they return.

That land will belong
    to the remnant of the people of Judah;
    there they will find pasture.

Moab and Ammon:  OK…let’s see who has a memory??  Where did these nations begin?  Who can remember without cheating?

Chapter 2 ends with Cush (Egypt) and Assyria.   We have mentioned several times the three world powers surrounding Israel.  He will destroy Cush and Assyria, leaving Babylon as the instrument to take Judah in captivity…THEN He will deal with Babylon.

Empires Attack the Promised Land — Watchtower ONLINE LIBRARY

Chapter 3

The charges against Judah:

  • Jerusalem is corrupt
  • They have forsaken the Lord
  • Their leaders are evil

BUT!!!   Why does God discipline His chosen people??  Why does a parent?  To correct them and bring them back.  Starting in verse 9 you see a Restoration of the nation brought our of captivity.

17 The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

He loves us

20 At that time I will gather you;
    at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
    among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes[l]
    before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.

Many see this book as wrath.  I see Love.


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