Zephaniah 1:14



The Bible says in Zephaniah 1:14-17, “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.[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,[16] A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.[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 these verses are both a history of what happened to Israel and a prophecy about what will happen to the whole world in the future, let’s look at the future this time. I think that one of the reasons that God reveals some details about the future to us is so that we will be comforted knowing that the future is in God’s hands and no matter what happens, He is in control. He knows. He has a plan. It says in the first part of Zephaniah 1:14, “The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly.” The concept that the day of the Lord and thus the end of this age, is near is taught throughout the Bible. It means that the return of Christ can happen at any moment. There are no intervening events that must happen first and then Christ will only come after such events.


Jesus might come today to rapture the church. Jesus Himself taught this. Jesus said in Matthew 24:35-44, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.[36] But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.[37] But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.[38] For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,[39] And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.[40] Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.[41] Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.[42] Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.[43] But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.[44] Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” It says in First Corinthians 15:51-52, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,[52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” In the very last verse of the Bible Jesus is speaking and it says in Revelation 22:20, “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”


The Bible says in 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.” It seems strange that people want money so badly, as much money as they can get, and yet there are so many important things that money cannot buy. Money cannot buy love. Money cannot buy happiness. Money cannot buy peace. Money cannot buy forgiveness of sins. And the Bible points out in verse 18 that money will not be able to deliver the people of the world “in the day of the LORD's wrath.”


The Bible says in Zephaniah 2:1-3, “Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired;[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.[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.” These verses show the graciousness and mercy of God. The Lord is still offering these people the chance to turn to Him for forgiveness. Even though God has already arranged the judgment, and even though the judgment is a very short time away, still God will forgive them if they would only seek Him. That is the power of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Anyone can be forgiven at any time: even at the twelfth hour. As the clock ticks away, when there is just one tick remaining, you can still turn to the Lord and be saved. Notice that verse three is addressed to the “meek.” To be meek means to be surrendered and submissive to the Lord. A strong human will is what keeps many people from Christ. In order to truly seek the Lord, you must be meek. In other words you must surrender to the Lord Jesus.


Zephaniah 2:3 tells those who seek the Lord to also “seek righteousness.” That means to seek to do the right thing. Seeking to do the right thing is always a part of genuine repentance. There is no such thing as asking for forgiveness without also wanting to start doing what is right. Because God is holy and righteous and good, the way to walk with God is to do the right thing: always do the right thing. Bob Jones Senior said, “Do right until the starts fall.” Whenever you come upon any situation in life, simply ask this question: what is the right thing to do? Even if you are going to lose materially or any other way, simply ask this question, “What is the right thing to do?”


The Bible says in Zephaniah 2:4-7, “For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up.[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.[6] And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks.[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.” We have seen this message before in the Old Testament about this area in the Middle East where Israel is located. It is also a message that will be true in the last days. The message is this: there are many peoples that live in that part of the world, but the land will be taken from all of them except for one. There are three well-known names that have been applied to that region of the Middle East. First it was called Canaan. Notice it says in Zephaniah 2:5, “the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan.” God promised Abraham that Canaan would be given to Abraham and his descendents: that means Israel. It says in Genesis 12:1-5, “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:[2] And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:[3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.[4] So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.[5] And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.”  


Zephaniah 2:4 also mentions “the land of the Philistines.” The word “Palestine” got its name from the name Philistine. Even today that part of the Middle East is sometimes called Palestine. But notice that the names Canaan and Palestine will be relegated to history. They have no future because of God’s promise and God’s plan. The stubbornness of man will not change that. The determination of world leaders will not change. The strongest army in the world will not change that. Pay close attention to another name that is used in Zephaniah 4:7: the name “Judah.” It says, “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.” Judah was the southern kingdom of Israel. Judah represents all of Israel because it was the last man standing. The northern kingdom was taken captive by Assyria well before Judah was taken captive by Babylon. Also, Judah was the ruling tribe of Israel. King David was of the tribe of Judah, and therefore, so was Christ because Jesus came in the lineage of Judah. Early in the prophecies Judah was given its central place of rule. For example, it says in Genesis 49:10, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people beJudah is a name that God loves. The name represents in may ways God’s great promises that were made to Abraham: the great promises that will be fulfilled by Jesus Christ. The word “Jew” comes from the name Judah, being based upon the sound of the first syllable. Thus the word “Jew” is a name that God loves too. That name and the name “Judah” will endure forever, being forever associated with the Promised Land in the Middle East. The other names and peoples in the Middle East will perish.


The Bible says in Zephaniah 2:8-10, “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.[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.[10] This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of hosts.” One of the things to notice about these verses is that God is extremely displeased with what the other nations said about the Jewish people. The other nations did not do anything: they simply reproached and reviled the Jewish people. The Jewish people are God’s people. God loves them because of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and God has a future planned for them. Anyone who even speaks against the Jews has set their own destiny in motion: it ends in destruction and “perpetual desolation.” You had better not hate the Jewish people and you had better not speak against them. All of this hatred for the Jewish people will end in one way and one way only: destruction for the haters.


The Bible says in Zephaniah 2:11-14, “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.[12] Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword.[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.[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.” These verses are another reminder of one of the reasons that God’s judgment must come and will come upon the nations of the earth: false religion. We were born to serve the Lord. We were born to know the Lord, to love Him, and to turn away from false religion. We come to know the Lord through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. When nations turn away from the truth, and when whole peoples turn away from the truth, there can be only one ultimate result: judgment. No one shall escape the judgment. That is why it says in verse 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 only escape is through the loving arms of Jesus and the forgiveness that only He can give.                              




Copyright; 2015 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved