The Book of Zephaniah

The Book of Zephaniah (meaning the Lord conceals, or the Lord protects), was written around 518 B.C. between the twelfth and the eighteenth year of Josiah, or about three years before the fall of Nineveh. Zephaniah was the son of Cushi (meaning Ethiopian), son of Gedaliah son of Amariah son of Hezekiah, in the days of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah. In a society where genealogy was considered extremely important because of God's covenant with Abraham and his descendants, the author may have felt compelled to establish his Hebrew lineage. However, the author of Zephaniah does not shrink from condemning the Cushites or Ethiopians. Chapter 2:12 contains a succinct but unequivocal message: "You also, O Ethiopians, Shall be killed by my sword."

Despite its relatively short length, the book of Zephaniah incorporates a number of common prophetic themes. Zephaniah includes one of the most vivid descriptions in the prophetic literature of God’s wrath. Yet, it is also unequivocal in its proclamation of a restoration for those who survive the "The Great Day of the Lord."

Zephaniah 1

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. The Lord gave this message to Zephaniah. Hizkiah = King Hezekiah. In other words, Zephaniah was in the Kings line of Judah. 

Zep 1:2 I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD. I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth. (Isaiah 6:11).

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. Sweep away people and animals alike. Reduce the wicked (the lawless ones), to rubble, and wipe out humanity from the face of the earth. "Says the Lord." (Jeremiah 12:4, Hosea 4:3).

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; I will crush Judah and Jerusalem and destroy every trace of their Baal worship. This word "Chemarims" is "kamar" Strong's H3648 meaning "idolatrous priests." (i.e. those priests who worship and pray to statues and idols). "Even the memory of them will disappear." (II Kings 23:4-5, Hosea 10:5). Baal worship was introduced to the nation of Israel when Ahab, the king of the northern kingdom, married the daughter of the king of the Phoenicians, Jezebel. Their daughter was then married off to the son of the king of Judah, and she brought Baal worship into the southern kingdom.

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; Those who go to the rooftops and bow down to the sun, moon, and stars. (Astrologers). They claim to follow the Lord, but they worship Malcham (king god, or king idol) = Milcom also known as Moloch or Molech. (I Kings 11:33, Amos 5:26). This was the god of the Ammonites. Molech worship involved the burning of live babies to their bronze god. Molech worship was brought to Jerusalem by Solomon because of the pressures from some of his wives. (I Kings 11:7).  

Zep 1:6 And them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for him. Those who used to worship the Lord but no longer do will be destroyed because they no longer seek guidance or blessings from the Lord. (Psalm 10:4, Psalm 14:2-3, Hosea 7:7).

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. The day of the Lord's judgment is near. The Lord has prepared His people for a great slaughter and has chosen their executioner. "Day of the Lord," spoken of in, (Ezekiel 13:5, 30:3, Joel 2:1, 3:14, Amos 5:18, 5:20, Obadiah 1:15). Again, the day of God's judgment. This would refer to the upcoming Babylonian invasion, as well as the time of the end in the great tribulation, when God's wrath of judgment is poured out upon the earth.

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. "On the day of judgment." God will punish the leaders and children, the sons or princes (i.e. the royal house) of Judah. Strange apparel = foreign or those who follow pagan customs. 

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. Referring to the servants of rulers sent to enter the houses of others and steal. (Plain old robbers).  

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. "On that day," says the Lord, "a cry of alarm will come from the fish gate (one of the city gates in Jerusalem), and echo through the second. (the new quarter of city). (II Kings 22:14).

Zep 1:11 Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off. All who live in the market area (merchants and traders), will be destroyed. (James 5:1). "This should bring our attention to when Christ cleared out the house of God of the money changers." (John 2:16). 

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. Search in the darkest corners to punish those who are hiding in their sins. They think God will not find or do anything to them. (You can't hide anything from God, He sees everything). 

Zep 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. Their property will be plundered and their homes ransacked. They will even build new homes but never get the chance to live in them. They will plant new vineyards but never drink form them. (Amos 5:11, Micah 6:15).

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. Judgment day is right around the corner. The return of our Lord is near and comes swiftly. Even the strong men (gibbor-warriors-tyrant-giants-valiant man) will cry out. (Joel 2:1, Revelation 6:17, Revelation 6:15-17). Along with all that were deceived that are in shame for what they believed in and taught to others. "Super preachers, phony pastors, and false teachers."

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, The day of God's wrath being poured out, a day of terrible distress and anguish, a day of ruin and desolation, darkness and gloom. (Joel 2:2, II Peter 3:7, Revelation 6:17). Remember (Revelations Chapter 1 verse 10), this is the Lord's Day, and the wrath of the Lord has come. Who will survive It? There is two tribulations. The tribulation of anti-Christ which comes first and then the tribulation of the real Christ. The first tribulation we stand against the anti-Christ and if you are in Christ, you do not need to worry about the second tribulation, Christ is not coming to harm you.

Zep 1:16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. The trumpet sounds and down goes the walled cities and the strongest battlements. 

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. Because you have sinned against the Lord, you will grope around like the blind. Your blood will be poured into the dust, and your bodies will lie rotting on the ground.

Zep 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. Your wealth means nothing. Your silver and gold will not save you on that day of the Lord's Judgment. The whole land will be devoured by His fire. There will be a terrifying end of all the evil people that dwell on earth. (Proverbs 11:4, Jeremiah 7:20, Zephaniah 1:2-3). Remember that our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29), who warms the hearts of the righteous, but will destroy all those who are evil.

Zephaniah 2

Zep 2:1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; Collect yourselves together you undesirable (shameless and greedy) nation.

Zep 2:2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD'S anger come upon you. Gather before judgment day begins. Before it is to late to repent and the fury of the Lord is upon you. (Jeremiah 23:20, Malachi 4:1), Judgment day is coming and the wicked will be burned up like straw. (Matthew 3:12, II Thessalonians 1:8, II Peter 3:7). Again, remember that God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:29).

Zep 2:3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger. Seek the Lord, all who are humble and follow His commandments. (Psalm 22:26, Psalm 25:8-9, Matthew 5:5). If you seek what is right, perhaps the Lord will protect you from His anger on the day of judgment. (Jeremiah 39:18, Isaiah 26:20, Colossians 3:2-4). 

Zep 2:4 For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up. Gaza and Ashkelon will be abandoned and Ekron torn down. (Amos 1:6-8). (The Gentile nations around Judah would also be judged).

Zep 2:5 Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant. Sorrow awaits you Cherethites (Philistines), that live along the coast and in the land of Canaan. Judgment is against you too. "The Lord will destroy you."

Zep 2:6 And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks. The Philistine coast will become a wilderness pasture. A place for shepherd camps and enclosures for sheep and goats.

Zep 2:7 And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity. The remnant of Judah will pasture there. They will rest in the abandoned houses in Ashkelon (A Philistine city). The Lord will visit His people and restore their prosperity again. (Jeremiah 23:3, Jeremiah 29:14, Jeremiah 30:3, Amos 9:14-15). 

Zep 2:8 I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border. I have heard the taunts of the Moabites and the insults of the Ammonites that mock My people and invade their borders. (Ezekiel 36:2, Jeremiah 49:1-6, Amos 1:13-15). 

Zep 2:9 Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them. God swears here that "Moab and Ammon will be destroyed just as Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19:24-25). 

Zep 2:10 This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of hosts. This will be the wages of their pride, because they have scoffed at the people of the Lord. (Obadiah 1:3, I Peter 5:5). Remember that pride was Satan's downfall.

Zep 2:11 The LORD will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen. God will destroy all the gods in the land. (Hosea 2:17, Zechariah 13:2). No more idol worship and no more false prophets. (Revelation 20:1-3). All the roles of Satan shall be bound. "The nations around the world will worship the Lord." (Psalm 86:9).

Zep 2:12 Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword. Judgment will come upon "Ethiopia." (Southern Egypt). 

Zep 2:13 And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness. The Lord will strike the lands of the north, destroying the land of Assyria. Nineveh (the capital of Assyria), will be a desolate land.

Zep 2:14 And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he shall uncover the cedar work. The proud city, "also referring to Babylon of the end times" (Revelation 18:2), will become a pasture for the flocks and herds, and all sorts of animals will settle there. Total desolation to all their homes and buildings.

Zep 2:15 This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand. Once a rejoicing city that was so secure. "Boasting that it was so great." Now it is in ruins and just a haven for wild animals. The people will pass and hiss, laughing as they shake their fists. (Ezekiel 27:36, Revelation 18:10-19), just as Babylon of the end times will be made desolate in one hour.

Zephaniah 3

Zep 3:1 Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! Her = Jerusalem and should read. What sorrow awaits Jerusalem who is polluted and rebellious with violence and crime. Jeremiah saw it (Jeremiah 23:14). Right in the house of God they practice sodomy.

Zep 3:2 She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the LORD; she drew not near to her God. She knows it all and no one can tell her (Jerusalem) anything. She refuses correction and does not trust in the Lord or draw near to God. (Jeremiah 32:33, Jeremiah 35:17). This kind of looks at the direction that this country is heading. Taking God out of everything and following instruction from man rather than God. Some of the perversion in this country is greater than in Sodom and Gomorrah.

Zep 3:3 Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow. The leaders are like roaring lions that hunt their victims. The judges are like ravenous wolves at night. (Jeremiah 5:6, Habakkuk 1:8). 

Zep 3:4 Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law. The prophets are arrogant liars seeking their own gain. The priests defile the Temple by disobeying God's instruction. (Jeremiah 2:8, Ezekiel 22:26). The priest do not even seek the truth.

Zep 3:5 The just LORD is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame. The Lord is still present in the city, and He does no wrong. Day by day He sees to justice and He does not fail. But those wicked perverted ones know no shame. "We live in a world of deceit and injustice, but that will all change." (Psalm 101:7-8, Jeremiah 8:12). In the time of visitation, God is going to clean house again. (Luke 19:43-46). Christ straightens out all the false teaching and changes made by the scribes.

Zep 3:6 I have cut off the nations: their towers are desolate; I made their streets waste, that none passeth by: their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, that there is none inhabitant. God is saying that He has wiped out many nations laying them waste. Their streets are deserted and their cities lie silent in ruin. "No survivors at all." (Watching other nations being destroyed should have been a warning to Judah as well as us here in the U.S.). (I Corinthians 10:6, 10:11). Examples to us, so you know how it will go down in the end.  

Zep 3:7 I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction; so their dwelling should not be cut off, howsoever I punished them: but they rose early, and corrupted all their doings. The Lord is saying that, "Surely they will have reverence for Me now and listen to My warnings. Then I will not need to strike again and destroy their homes." "But no way." They still get up early and continue in their evil deeds. (Micah 2:1-2, Hosea 9:9). 

Zep 3:8 Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. Be patient, says the Lord. "Soon I will accuse all the evil nations. I will gather the kingdoms of the earth and pour out My fiercest anger and fury on them. The whole earth will be devoured by fire of My jealousy." (II Peter 3:10). Be on guard and know the season for His return, when all evil (all the wicked & rudiments), will be burned up. Judgment Day!

Zep 3:9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent. God will purify the speech of all people, so that everyone can worship the Lord together. Just as it was in the beginning. (Genesis 11:1).

Zep 3:10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering. Even the scattered people who live beyond the rivers of Ethiopia will come to present their offerings. (Psalm 68:31).

Zep 3:11 In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. On that day (the Lords day), you will no longer be ashamed. "God will remove your shame if you believe in Him." (Romans 9:33). God will remove all the proud and arrogant among you. 

Zep 3:12 I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD. Those who are left will be the lowly and the humble. It is those who trust in the name of the Lord. (Psalm 37:40, Matthew 5:3, James 2:5, Ephesians 1:12-13).

Zep 3:13 The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will never lie or deceive one another. "They will eat and sleep in safety, and no one will make them afraid." (I Peter 3:14, Revelation 7:15-17).

Zep 3:14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. There will be a lot of rejoicing going on on the Lords day for those who believe in Him. (Revelation 19:1-6). The same joy as the praising angels when Christ was born. (Luke 2:10-14). "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Zep 3:15 The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. The Lord removes His hand of judgment and disperses the armies of the enemy. The "King of Israel" "God Himself," will live among us. Wow... "At last, our troubles will be all over, and we will never fear disaster again." When Christ returns at the second advent, He will rule and reign from Jerusalem, right in the midst of His people. (Revelation 21:3-4). He will dwell here with men. In Hebrew; "The Shekinah Glory!" (Shekinah meaning "He caused to dwell"). No more pain because all is destroyed including hell. "GONE" The second death.

Zep 3:16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The announcement to Jerusalem in that day will be will be, "Cheer up, Zion... Don't be afraid." 

Zep 3:17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. God will be living right among us. Can you imagine how cool this will be. He will be right there rejoicing with us. "The real party of the end times."

Zep 3:18 I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. He will gather all those who mourn for the appointed festivals; you will be disgraced no more. 

Zep 3:19 Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. God will deal with those who oppresses you. He will save the weak and helpless ones; and bring together those who were chased away. To those who have been mocked and shamed He will give glory and fame. (Ezekiel 34:16, Micah 4:6-7, Isaiah 62:7).

Zep 3:20 At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD. On that day (the Lords Day), I will gather you together and bring you home again. I will give you a good name (Isaiah 62:12), a name of distinction, among the nations of the earth. I will restore your blessings before their very eyes. "ALL OF ISRAEL." (Ezekiel 28:25, Ezekiel 37:21, Amos 9:14, Isaiah 61:9, Isaiah 62:7, Malachi 3:12). "The Lord has spoken." Zephaniah is reminding us what lies ahead in the end times. Yes we live in a fallen world, but God doesn't want us to forget His plan for us. It will be a day that "those in Christ" have all been waiting for. "The Lord's Day."

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Keep The Faith,
Bart