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Bible

Understanding

Made Easy

Zephaniah

Introduction

  • Though this book is only three chapters long, it is a powerful book and authentic Word from God (Zephaniah 1:1)! 

  • Chapter 1 tells us that this prophecy came to Zephaniah the prophet from God during the reign of Josiah of the Southern Kingdom of Judah (Zephaniah 1:1). 

  • This is a prophecy of doom for sinful Judah.​

God’s Coming Judgment Would Devastate Judaea and the Capital City of Jerusalem

  • God tells the people that He will destroy man and animal off the face of the earth. 

  • He would destroy their idols, the idol worshippers themselves, and the idolatrous priests as well (Zephaniah 1:2-5). 

  • God’s anger was boiling mightily against Judah indeed! 

  • God’s destruction of Jerusalem will be so devastating that the rulers of Judah, thieves, and merchants will be cut off (Zephaniah 1:2-11). 

  • God, in His judgment of Jerusalem, will search out for the sinful. 

  • He will have the city looted and the place will be abandoned due to the judgment of the Lord (Zephaniah 1:12-18).

Zephaniah Foretells The Destruction Of The Entire World At The Judgment Day To Come

  • Zephaniah 1 is obviously a prophecy foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and also the captivity of the children of Israel under the Babylonians, but God was saying something even greater than this. 

  • He was saying that one day He was going to judge the whole world as well. 

  • This is what Jesus was saying regarding God assigning the righteous to eternal life, but the wicked at His Second Coming will go to eternal punishment (Zephaniah 1:2-3; John 5:28-29).

God Will Also Judge The Non-Jewish Nations For Their Sins!

  • Moving on to Zephaniah 2, like other Old Testament books, God reveals to the Jews of Judah that even the foreign nations nearby are going to be judged for their sins including the Philistines (their cities were Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Cherethim), Moab, Ammon, Ethiopia, and Assyria.

  • Thus, this shows us that God is in control over all nations and will judge them for their deeds. 

  • No nation has control over God, but God has control over them! 

  • But always keep in mind that God still called mankind to repent so they can escape His judgment (Zephaniah 2:2-3). 

  • Remember, repentance could have stopped the Babylonian invasion and captivity of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 7) (Nave, 1995). 

  • It can also stop individuals from going to eternal punishment as well at the final judgment of mankind (Acts 2:38).

The Double Fulfillment of Zephaniah 3 - Return of Judah From Babylonian Captivity And The Coming of the Church

  • Finally, Zephaniah 3 tells us some important information. 

  • The Jews of Judah would definitely be returned to their earthly homeland after God freed them from the Babylonian captivity. 

  • Of course, this is the immediate fulfillment of Zephaniah 3, but the ultimate fulfillment is that of the coming church of Christ (the spiritual Israel). 

  • This is when their true King would be in the midst of them (Zephaniah 4:15; John 12:12-13; 1 Timothy 6:14-15; Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:13; Romans 16:16).

  • Jesus is that true King and is reigning in His Kingdom church this very day (Colossians 1:13; Ephesians 5:23; John 1:1-3, 14; 20:24-31; Psalm 2).

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