Last Prophet Before the Exile
The study of the Prophet Zephaniah’s writings can be immensely profitable to every student of God’s word. The setting of the work is the troubled time of the last days of Judah’s Commonwealth – around 606-604BC. His active period is assigned to the reign of Josiah, one of only a few “good” kings of Judah – a reformer of the first order, and a righteous king over his people.
The years of Josiah’s reign are thought to be BC641 to BC610 – a 31-year span. Josiah was perhaps the best of all Judah’s kings since the time of David. It is said he began well, continued well, and ended well in every aspect of his demeanor.
Josiah has the unique privilege of having been named as a future king during the reign of Jeroboam, some 300 years before he was born (I Kings 13: 1, 2, q.v.).
Of the prophet Zephaniah, we are given few details. His name means “Jah has secreted, or hidden” according to ESword note in Strong’s Concordance.
He was active just prior to the Babylonian aggressions against Judah. His credentials are rather strong, however, being (uniquely among the prophets) carried back four generations:
Zephaniah 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 (Hezekiah)”, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.
If this great-grandfather “Hezekiah” is King Hezekiah of Judah, it becomes clear that Zephaniah was of royal blood.
As a member of the royal household, he should have had ready access to the young King Josiah, and was perhaps influential, along with Jeremiah, upon Josiah to follow the ways of the Lord, and to reform Judah, a people who should not long thereafter descend back into the pits of depravity and idolatry, thus dooming itself to the catastrophic conquest by Babylon, and the darkness of the captivity that followed.
Another advantage of Zephaniah would be that his ministry did overlap that of Jeremiah, his words giving credence and support to the testimony of Jeremiah, who prophesied rather the same circumstances and outcomes prophesied by Zephaniah.
The two prophets should, therefore, have given certification to each other’s words of destiny for Judah.
Having so stated, the writings of Zephaniah remain perhaps the least-studied and least-known of all the prophets of Israel. We have found in this present review, that his utterances are profound and far-reaching in every aspect – his reassurances to his people of Judah overarching ... and faith-generating if heeded by them.
His writings seem to reflect the words of all who came before him, and are so perhaps because these condemnations and accusations needed to be re-stated yet again in the ears of a deaf people. They needed to be heard from yet another source – another credentialed, certified prophet of God, Zephaniah.
Setting the stage for this study, we may consider some of the immediate reforms undertaken by Josiah (during his sixteenth year of life, his eighth year as their king).
2Chronicles 34:2-7 gives comprehensive details of his crusade of the destruction of the numerous idols and shrines to the heathen gods of Canaan which had been set up by his forbearers.
2Ch 34:2 And he (Josiah) did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand nor to the left. 3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year, he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images. 4 And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. 5 And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. 6 And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about. 7 And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.
We must realize quite early (as with all the other prophets) that the words of dire warning which Zephaniah gave were the inspired words of the Almighty, directly breathed from His mind and mouth, and that they contained the valid counsel that Judah needed to hear.
For the time was soon to come, when …
Zephaniah 1:2 I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD.
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 (the idols) with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD.
The destruction of Judah – the remaining tenant of the Land at this time – would be both comprehensive and completely devastating. In addition, the verdant land should undergo the depravity of captivity and comparative desertion by its people, who should be carried away to Babylon. Peoples from the neighboring regions would inflow the land, ravaging its fields and forests and rivers. They would neglect and abuse the land itself, sucking every last advantage from it for their own greedy purposes, and leave it desolate, forlorn, forsaken.
Perhaps the most consummate destruction should be that of the idols of the land – the shrines and monuments and altars of Baal, the abominations of Milcom of Ammon, and worshippers of the host of heaven …
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;
We are familiar enough with Ba’al; but we must inquire here, just who are the Chemarims? What does this word mean?
Strong, in his Hebrew and Greek Dictionary, defines the word (H3649, kamar) as being “an ascetic, as if shrunk, with self-maceration; an idolatrous priest.” These self-appointed pagan officers brought their mystical practices among God’s people, corrupting and condemning them to His coming wrath.
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 (that is, Milcom, god of the Ammonites);
Zep 1:6 And them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for him.
These excoriating words seem to include almost all the errant people of Judah – nearly universally corrupt and unfaithful to the LORD – in denial of His Fatherhood and His benevolence, and His inherent right to be worshipped and obeyed.
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 inevitable day of reckoning is well on its way during Zephaniah’s tenure – note its designation as "the day of the LORD" (one among many such); its imminence is palpable and threatening to the people; it shall be a “sacrifice of the LORD,” according to the prophet’s next words:
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.
It will not be surprising to some that this latter phrase referring to “strange apparel” pointedly includes transvestites, who are summarily condemned in Deuteronomy 22:5: “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”
These “abominations” are closely related to the practice of homosexual behavior, both male and female, which was also globally denounced.
And these, in turn, are lumped intimately with those who practiced the vile rituals of Canaanitish idolatry, every one of which included male and female prostitution practiced within their temple precincts – both fornication and adultery!
These abominations are of one cloth; they bear one sentence of condemnation: death.
Can our Father’s displeasure at these filthy practices be stated more clearly?
Zep 1:9 In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold (or, "that leap over the threshold," by which is evoked the practice of the Philistines, who, after the time that Dagon fell (twice) before the ark of the LORD, and was broken on the threshold, leaped over the threshold (did not tread upon it) in respect for Dagon, when entering his temple), which fill their masters' houses with violence and deceit.
This reference to some, who “leap on the threshold,” has in the past been obscure, but, to recap the above note, is plainly explainable in terms of the episode in which the Philistine god Dagon fell on its face on the threshold of its temple. There were some in the congregation of Israel who also honored the practice of “leaping over” (not stepping on) the threshold of their homes in actual commemoration of the demise of Dagon in his Philistine temple!
It is a tacit acknowledgment of the sanctification of the cult of Dagon in their superstitious minds.
The recorded account is found in 1Samuel 5:3 – And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. 4 And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was (again) fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him. 5 Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.
This mysteriously divine destruction of the Philistine deity proved to sensible observers that Dagon was utterly subservient to the God of Israel, before whose Ark the idol was mysteriously (miraculously) made to prostrate itself twice – the second time, with injuries which in human terms should have been fatal – a clear and visible example to all observers that Dagon was absolutely powerless, inanimate, helpless, and an abomination.
Yet there were still those culpable in Israel who observed this reprehensible practice of honoring Dagon!
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.
Zep 1:11 Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh (this is said to be a section of Jerusalem, probably a mercantile district, judging by the words that follow) for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off.
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 (indicative of a settled, complacent mien – indifference): that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.
The impending punishment is “up close and personal” to an extent perhaps never experienced by the people of Jerusalem, specifically. In other terms, in their convictions, the LORD was just not interested or concerned – He was indifferent, claimed they, and therefore their transgressions would pass without repercussion or punishment.
The prophet’s next sentence nullifies that conclusion, clearly spelling out the impending consequences of their iniquity.
Zep 1:13 Therefore their goods shall become a booty (shall be ripped away and taken violently from them), and their houses (made) a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.
Their future habitation of their lands and properties is near extinction; they are soon to be deprived of all their substance and living and taken in chains, forcibly, to a land far away.
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 high towers.
These dire warnings are almost perfect echoes of those given through the Prophet Joel, in his chapter two. We believe those words of Joel referred directly to, and illustrated the impending but eventual destruction of Judah and Jerusalem at the hand of Rome, in 70AD.
These words of Zephaniah forecast their impending (and foreshadowing) destruction by Babylon the Great under Nebuchadnezzar. The result shall surely be extreme discomfort, inconvenience, and suffering for all the people.
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.
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.
The sentence is stated as if written in stone – absolutely certain, inevitable, dreadful, terrible – its consequences so horrible as to be incomprehensible, unrealizable and even unbelievable, by the transgressors.
But now the narrative shifts its emphasis; it begins to admonish the people toward a course of purposeful evasion; the sentence of destruction is not yet inevitable as it may have seemed.
The way is still open for them to avert this coming disaster!
The Inspirer offers a plan for their temporal salvation and gives careful instructions for its execution. <HEL>
Zep 2:1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired;
The words “a nation not desired” here actually indicates a nation not desirous – of service to their God.
The clarion call is for a revival of spirituality and subservience to the LORD, and to His ways – a renewal of the humble service and careful devotion to the God of Israel that they should have exhibited all along.
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.
Action must be taken – imperative action – and repentance sought with righteousness and faith. He admonishes them to depart from their present pathway, to SEEK the LORD.
It is crucial for the people to examine their ways, and to correct them – to hear the word of the LORD.
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.
There are obviously some who are malleable, pliable, and convert-able, within the people of Judah – a few who are relatively innocent of the great transgression, and still thoroughly committed in their devotion to the LORD. These are promised a route of escape – of their “hiding” in the day of the LORD’s anger. There must also be those who are marginally amenable to His instructions – men and women who have not been consumed by the idolatry about them.
Not only is Judah in the crosshairs of the coming Babylonians. The destiny of their neighbors, and all those of unrepentant Judah who agree with them is now addressed:
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.
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.
Who are the Cherethites? The term means “life-guardsman,” but that definition is nearly meaningless to our minds. Whoever they are, they relate closely to the remaining inhabitants of Canaan and Gaza, the southwestern sea coast of the land. The Philistines are thought to have been Sea People originally (or lately, at least) to have invaded Israel from the Island of Cyprus or Crete, and are also associated with Egypt.
This emphasis firmly grasps our attention, forcing us to note especially the vile behavior of the “Philistines” of today (who still inhabit the precise region of the land and are designated Hamas) against the people of God.
The words of the prophet have a startlingly contemporary sound, for they indicate the animosity and contrariness which we see exhibited today against not only Israel but against Israel’s God.
God’s enemies are THEIR enemies (Micah 5:1-3).
Notice carefully these specifically named areas – all of which at that time were strong influences upon the people of Judah, leading them to adopt their heathenistic “religions” and their abominations – are all condemned in the strongest of terms.
They are sufficiently defined for God’s people of Judah; the warning is clearly given for Judah to come out from among them and be separate both as to location and in practice.
We are reminded of the admonition in the Apocalypse to the inhabiters of the earth relative to Great Babylon, to “Come out 0ut of her, My people:” And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Revelation 18:4, 5
Contrary to popular opinion, ‘togetherness” in such human affairs is not divinely advisable or permissible. Uniting with mongrels such as these on any basis is to be avoided by the faithful.
Their bounden duty is to remain separate and distinct from a close association and intimate contracts with those who pursue not the ways of God.
Our Father has always required separation of His people from the rabble of humanity in every circumstance.
That requirement is not intended to be an hindrance to our obligation for preaching the Truth to our contemporaries; it is merely an impediment to close and intimate association with the heathen on their terms, even to the extent – yes, especially to the extent – of not being “yoked together” with such in marriage. 2Corinthians 6: 14, q.v.
Once His impending indignation has over-passed – and pacification and rectification have been achieved in the Land – the divine changes shall be remarkable, and are voiced as promises to His people.
The result is pictured as a sylvan setting of peace and safety universelle, and conversion to God’s Way of the remaining populations of all the peoples whose previous animosity and influence have so often caused their demise.
The ultimate description is idyllic and utopian for those remaining in the Land … the overall description is that of utter peace and tranquility in the land and among His people.
Zep 2:6 And the sea coast (Philistia, in contrast to today) shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks.
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 emphasis of the prophet’s words is pointedly directed toward the current enemies of the State of Israel – the peoples who have long been nettlesome and hurtful to them (their thorns and briers, as indicated by Isaiah 10: 17 – and see also Isaiah 27: 4, Psalm 97:3) as in the reassembled congregation of God of the end-time.
These words so pitifully bring to our minds the late, contemporary actions of Ariel Sharon, recent Prime Minister of Israel, who forcibly moved all the Jewish citizens out of their homes and properties in Gaza, turning all their estates over to the “Palestinians.”
Did that vast concession bring peace and security to Israel?
What was its result?
The remaining Arabs of Gaza quickly swarmed over the properties and the hastily vacated facilities of the Jews, and in their hatred for the former residents, immediately razed their properties, strewed debris over their rich farmlands, and destroyed hundreds of greenhouses where the former residents had made an excellent living growing flowers and edible foods.
The depth of such ignorance is hard to fathom.
The beautiful seaside resort hotels, the ranches and farms of the Jews who had moved out were all destroyed and desolated, much to the hurt of the remaining people – and all this was supported and encouraged by the “Palestinians” of the Strip.
The idyllic conditions described in the last two verses are destined to be restored, however, following this desecration of the memory of the Jews who were forcibly removed.
The Contemporary Shift in the Prophecy
It is at this precise place in Zephaniah’s prophecy that his words become pointedly relevant to the end-time.
The last two verses have been a preamble to this shift in emphasis …
The previous remarks have outlined the essential background for our understanding of contemporary events – the rationale of the main actors against God’s people; the words reassure us that we have understood the Father’s prophecies correctly.
How poignant are his references to our current times!
Now, the names of His enemies are brought further forward into contemporary times – expanded to include enemies further away from the epicenter, to include cultures who fully agree with those primitive ones – naming enemies which, although still given ancient names, can readily be defined and understood as to their contemporary identities.
Zep 2:8 I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon (both located in modern Jordan) whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border.
This reference emphasizes many additional rabid enemies now located on Israel’s periphery – some of the Proximal Islamic powers, or the nations round about Israel – and does not include those scattered within the State of Israel itself, who are directly nominated by the small prophet, Obadiah (q.v.), in every verse of his only chapter of text! See also the direct prophecy of Isaiah 11: 11 et seq.
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 (both these are decidedly extinct – having been incinerated, evaporated by the wrath of the Almighty), even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people (the citizens of Israel today) shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them.
Here is the bottom line!
Only the final picture assumes maximum importance – and it shows clearly the ultimate predominance of God’s people, Israel, who shall survive as a “residue” (a remnant, in other references) into the end-time, when that remnant in our experience has been, is being, and shall be recovered by the Almighty (Isaiah 11:11). The process is well into its full term, but still requires a few significant years ahead.
The enormous pride and arrogance of the proximate Islamic powers “round about” Israel now become prominent in the text:
Zep 2:10 This shall they (these enemies) have for (as a result of) their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of hosts.
You see, their vilification and invective against the actively re-gathering People of God have accumulated as an high wall of evidence against these enemies of God.
Even their words are considered as aggression against Israel, not even considering their active physical aggression against Israel.
Of these, in another place, the Almighty warns His enemies, Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against Me, and have multiplied your words against Me: I have heard them. Ezekiel 35:13
The clear meaning of this is that words DO inflict hurt upon the object of their invective. Their weight is palpable to the Almighty, Whose might always repels any opposition in His own good time.
For, in the finality His patience does have a terminal breaking point; eventually, He will take action but in His own good time.
The next statement of the prophecy is surely an understatement – “terrible” seeming to be one of the milder terms for the punishment indicated.
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. 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.
These named countries and city-states have suffered the beginnings of this promise of decline since their earliest victories as seen in ancient time.
Assyria and Nineveh have passed away; Ethiopia has always been a third-class society, contributing almost nothing to civilization of value.
The nation of today which occupies the space of ancient Assyria and its capital, Nineveh (now known as Mosul), is Iraq, along with Syria to its south.
These entities are spoken of by Micah (chapter 5) as being a latter-day force called “Assyria,” which shall “smite the Judge of Israel on the cheek.”
The inevitable repercussion is the pervasive and terminal destruction of Assyria in the end-time.
We believe we recognize ISIS as this entity, but time will tell.
ISIS, the Islamic State, had earlier proclaimed itself an Islamic Caliphate, with Abu-Nasr al-Baghdadi as the self-proclaimed caliph.
Lately, it has suffered severe defeat and diminution of numbers (c.2018). Its demise is inevitable, and will be the landmark event marking the certain transition of the people of Israel passing under the sovereignty of its long-awaited Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, Who shall return to “save His people.”
That statement clearly implies that Israel of that future time will NEED His physical salvation.
Spiritual salvation is a given need (Matthew 1:21); but we are here discussing physical salvation – the act of saving them from destruction at the hand of their enemies. The Prophet Zacharias literally foretold that, at the coming Messiah, Israel should “… be saved from our enemies ... and those who hate us” Cf., Luke 1: 71-74.
We cannot forecast the predicament into which Israel shall come that will necessitate Jesus’ “saving” them from their enemies – but that is the forward-looking, prototypical claim that He makes through the words of the prophet: 2Samuel 3:18 … the LORD hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of My Servant David I will save My people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.
That activity of saving His people from their enemies is the basic subject of all the prophecies of the Phase One end time wars of Israel! Our now prospective view of this “salvation” is firstly their physical salvation ... followed by their spiritual salvation.
The Christ of the Second Advent steps unexpectedly into the midst of the battle of Israel with its enemies round about, and decisively and very quickly destroys them!
This pronouncement is not difficult to understand; but to some it is difficult even to accept – for those detractors’ convictions (based upon their experience of Israel’s military prowess to the present day) is that Israel will NOT NEED to be saved from their enemies.
Moshe Dayan once said, “We can handle the Arabs; it’s the Russians that worry us.”
We beg to differ, Mister General!
These cited verses specifically tell the faithful reader of scripture, that the Almighty will SAVE MY PEOPLE Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.
This clear claim to be their physical Savior initially from these vile enemies is undeniable to the rational mind based upon scriptural considerations – regardless of our personal convictions or bias, or our personal view of Israel’s military capabilities at the present time!
These temporal events are merely a precursor to the great deliverance which He shall effect for them from ALL their enemies of the end-time – the inevitable spiritual salvation which He shall bring.
Many other passages bear upon this necessity of His saving His people: some of these are:
Psalm 72: 4, He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. These words address physical aggression and possible domination of His People in a primary sense.
Psalm 72:14 He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight. These verses (4 and 14) address both the PHYSICAL and SPIRITUAL salvation of His people. But others speak more decisively of their physical redemption.
Psalm 82:4. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
Isaiah 35:4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart (fearful of being destroyed!), Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you (i.e., deliver you from their threats).
Isaiah 34:8 For it is the day of the LORD'S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.
Even these succinct words imply physical salvation for multiple wrongs done physically to His People; it is inevitable that their spiritual deliverance comes following their physical deliverance!
Isaiah 37:36 Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.
See a brief discussion of this major incident below; it is typical of the physical salvation which Christ shall effect for His people of the end time. This account is a sure “type” of events to come!
Note well the profusion of His reassurance of physical salvation in such passages as these from Isaiah ...
Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 11 Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing, and they that strive with thee shall perish. 12 Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. 13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. 14 Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
See also Isaiah 65: 15 For, behold, the LORD (Jesus Christ) will come with fire, and with his chariots (Hebrew merkaba, often a symbol of the Redeemed of the Lord! Cf., Isaiah 68: 17) like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.
The carnage of this appointed day is almost beyond our reckoning, or comprehension. And please note that this military action is aimed at the nations round about - not at any invader from beyond the Rivers (Nile and Euphrates). These multiple conflicts are those of "the Valley of Jehoshaphat," as indicated by the Prophet Joel 3: 2, 12, and do not address the Gogian war. That conflict is largely contained in two chapters of Ezekiel - 38 and 39. In our opinion, this local affair MUST be settled with the Proximal Arabs before Israel may dwell in "peace and security."
These conflicts will accomplish two important goals: (1) Israel's Land shall be cleansed of all their enemies round about and then shall dwell in true peace and security. Her military forces will be disbanded, her walls torn down, her borders secured, her land cleared of all Islamic resistance. (2) Israel shall have, as a result of this series of conflicts, shall have gathered "the wealth of the Gentiles" (see Zechariah 14: 14) and at that time shall possess the vast wealth of those adjacent lands, which shall constitute the "spoil and prey" which the Gogian host seeks as a reward for their expected conquest.
These facts are so easy to understand ... yet they are overlooked by many students of end-time prophecy! They MUST be taken into consideration; these conditions MUST be met in order for the next events to take place...
In that day NO holds are barred.
The fury of the LORD Jesus is released in a great flood upon His enemies in bloody, terminal recompense for their hatred of His people. A direct reference to this conflict is Isaiah 59: 16-20, which tells of the direct intervention of the Master, Israel's Messiah, when the enemy shall come flooding over Israel's border as a flood of water (verses 19-20) causing a "Standard" to be raised against them (the proximate Islamic states surrounding Israel) - that "Standard " in our opinion is the Lord Jesus Himself ... because the next verse plainly states that "the Redeemer shall come to Zion." Airtight case!
Many other references are made to this action in the holy writ …
Deuteronomy 32:35 To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. 36 For the LORD shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left. 37 And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, 38 Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection. 39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. 40 For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. 41 If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. 42 I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy. 43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.
He shall give no quarter ... and offer no respite to His vile enemies of this day! BUT ...
Hosea 1:7 But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
The certain implication is that He shall save them by the “breath (ruach) of His lips” with which He shall “slay the wicked,” as in … Isaiah 11:4: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
Others are …
Zephaniah 3:16-17 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. 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.
Zechariah 2:8-10 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. 9 For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me. 10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD.
In addition, the assault of Assyria upon Israel by Sennacherib prior to the destruction by Babylon is a type of Israel’s final deliverance from the latter-day Assyrian. In that account, without lifting a hand against Assyria, Israel remained within the fortification that was Jerusalem and beheld the salvation of the LORD, as the death angel crept in during the night and slew 185,000 Assyrians in the valleys round about Jerusalem.
So shall the latter-day victory be accomplished as foretold by Micah 5: 6: And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall He deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders. See Isaiah 37: 36 as the record. These actions are clearly, physical retribution upon His enemies – and positively indicate His salvation which He shall bring to them in their terminal days of ominous peril.
The final verses of this chapter continue to address Assyria, and Nineveh its capital … reassuring words illustrating the pacification of an eternal enemy of His People...
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. 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.
Thusly shall the Assyrian of the end-time pass into oblivion and infamy – condemned out of hand by the Master of the Kingdom of God on the earth – having suffered the awful condemnation outlined for her by the prophet Micah in his 5th chapter, and in other places in scripture.
Thus “Assyria” shall be obliterated per se.
She shall never
rise again as Assyria, but shall be wholly converted to the service of the Almighty One of the earth of that day – and be united with Egypt as one with Israel (cf., Isaiah 19: 25), when the conquest of the Land of Promise has been completed as the first objective of the Christ of the Second Advent, beginning at the moment when He emerges upon the world scene, coming brilliantly and stupendously into the lenses of contemporary mankind in a way which they could never have imagined – and for a purpose which they have never conceived! <HEL>
Now the prophet turns his attention to Israel of our own day, as a reflection of the Judah that was in his own day. He describes her precisely and outlines His divine course of her correction by Him.
This course of correction includes the two exiles (to Babylon, by Babylon; and to all nations by Rome in 70AD), and leads beautifully into the Restoration of Israel in the end time.
The ravenous qualities of Jerusalem as representing Judah are first reviewed by Zephaniah.
Zephaniah 3:1 Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city!
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.
These failures brought her demise on both occasions.
The character of her rulers seems exactly similar to those of the heathen rulers located round about her. Zephaniah includes her princes, her judges, her prophets and her priests in his damnation of the People.
Zep 3:3 Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow.
Zep 3:4 Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.
But there remains a factor of His Grace which is absolutely demanded by the righteousness of the Almighty One, Who is in their midst even given their utter failure.
He assures them in other places that His favor is “not for your sake, but for My holy name’s sake.”
His comprehensive blessings upon the unworthy People is explained in principle in these effusive words of His ultimate sanction found in Ezekiel 36:21 - But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. 22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. 23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
This great summary blessing of recovery and redemption always brings sobriety and supreme gladness to our hearts in its comprehensive, overarching set of benefits to His people, to be given them simply because He had made an unbreakable promise to their forefathers – a promise which was unilateral – which did not depend upon their agreement with it or to their obedience to Him (but a promise which would be consummated only after their national repentance of Zechariah 12 and 13, q.v.).
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.
At this point in the prophecy the Almighty has leaped forward over many details, and now summarizes the end point of that great votive of grace and mercy to His people.
Indicating its absolute certainty of fulfillment, the narrative moves into the past tense here – but refers to the time after Christ’s immediate and terminal victory over the nations which now threaten His people with destruction.
Destruction of His people is an eventuality which was never really possible or viable of course, but one which, in the overall Israeli understanding, lacking perfect faith, might not have been impossible.
Their present-day inheritance of their homeland has always on the surface been viewed as being at great hazard, and their lives and fortunes susceptible to those round about them, even given the Father’s (largely un-recognized) angelic protection, since they set their hearts upon the goal, and took concrete measures, to return to His land in full force (cf., Daniel 12:1-3).
But now His words, “I have,” gives them – and us – reassurance of His faithfulness in this matter. By His stating it in the past tense, its conclusion is foregone and certain.
It shall be done.
Notice the finality of their state in his poignant words.
Zep 3:6 I have cut off the nations (Hebrew, goyim, or heathen nations – at first, ONLY those “round about” Israel): their towers (strongholds) 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.
This specific prophecy is now underway – in rapid process of its fulfillment!
But its effect, though pervasive and exhaustive in the target region, must be realized to be limited in scope: these goyim are not all the goyim of the world, for if that were so, there would be no peoples left to which the Gospel of the Kingdom Age might be conveyed, and no remaining great multitudes to be converted to His way – a condition which we know scripturally shall consist.
Recently we have viewed flyover images of cities in Syria which are absolutely in shambles. Not a building or house remains intact. There is no shelter for the population – a terrible calamity which has created the enormous flow of people out of Syria and Iraq, sending them to Turkey and Greece, and onward through the Balkans to Eastern and Central Europe.
The destruction which awaits Damascus (see Isaiah 17; Jeremiah 49) will bring to completion and correlate with the termination by the returned Jesus of modern-day Assyria and its “religion” of Islam in all its permutations in the Land between the Rivers and the Seas (Psalm 72:8).
The effect of waves of refuge-seeking human migrants upon Europe has been ghastly – even moreso than the Europeans seem to recognize at this moment! Germany alone has received over one million refugees from this carnage, and is nearly overburdened with their care and feeding. Fully six percent of the population of Sweden consists now of the human Islamic detritus from this catastrophe!
But conditions will worsen soon!
His next words turn back to Israel, His people; He clarifies His determination as from the beginning of their history in reassuring them that they SHALL fear Him, and that they SHALL receive His laws. In His care for them – and His benevolence for His Land and People – he reassures them:
Zep 3:7 I said, Surely thou (My people) 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.
In past time, the response of His people to His commandments had been faulty in every way.
But now the tide shall turn, and the waters of blessing shall flow inward upon them in abundance.
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 (these are the goyim, the nations “round about” the Jewish State today – their remarkably determined and vicious foes, who are also foes of the Almighty), 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.
Please take careful notice that the Almighty here is not addressing all the nations of the world. These are proximate targets which are slated for utter destruction!
Should He decimate all the nations of the earth, who would remain? And to whom might He convey His words of salvation in the kingdom age?
These are the immediate and proximate (nearby) enemies of Israel today, and as such, are identifiable with the phrase “all nations” of which He speaks through Zechariah in chapter 14, recalling when He brought (now past tense) “all nations” against Jerusalem – at the time when half of Jerusalem passed into captivity (1948), but was later liberated on June 7, 1967, at the terminal date of the prophecy of the 2300 Evening-Mornings – the 2300 day-years, of the Sanctuary Cycle.
Internal inspection helps the reader realize that the reference is only to the nations which had attacked His People on that fateful day of May 15, 1948.
In Zechariah 14:12, the prophet defines “all nations” as “all the people (nations) that have fought against Jerusalem,” thus limiting the word “all” to those defined...
That specificity limits the enemies encountered there to those which are located between the Nile and the Euphrates Rivers, and between the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf (and the Indian Ocean?). They are the squatters and interlopers that long ago in-fluxed the Land and settled there to live off the bounty which they initially found.
In doing so, they desecrated the land, a particularly special ability of the Arab mindset and habit, and lost (virtually wasted, and squandered) all its productivity over the long centuries.
Although many Jews also inhabited the Land during this time, their influence and industry was pathetically insignificant; its reversal of blessing required the influx of the people of The Great Aliyah of the late 19th century to begin to bring about economic and agrarian reforms such as swamp drainage, terracing, land reclamation, reforestation, and intensive cultivation; these intensive, combined efforts of the new Jewish immigrants induced a vast, steady increase in productivity.
Today the land is probably as productive as it ever has been, even during its heyday as David’s and Solomon’s kingdoms. And that even in light of the severe national drought of the years since 2012.
There are hidden implications – blessings – in these words which are not readily discovered by non-Hebrew readers – words which greatly strengthen our conviction in His word …
As a commentary upon these two verses, I quote my own researched Study Notes, Reference 530: “Zephaniah 3: 8, 9 - Vs. 8 utilizes ALL the letters of the Hebrew aleph-bet.”
“Restated for emphasis, its words are:
“Zephaniah 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.
“Mark Biltz, an Hebrew scholar of some note, has made the observation that this verse – alone, in all the Bible – utilizes every one of the 22 letters of the Hebrew aleph-bet including the “final forms” of the five letters that have final forms that are unique!
“It therefore appropriately celebrates the Hebrew language – God’s pure language – as does Psalm 119 (q.v.) in its own unique way.
But the amazing additional fact is the next verse: it is a firm statement of intent to which we look with anticipation ...
“Zephaniah 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.
“This singular verse tells the reader plainly and pointedly that in the kingdom age, Hebrew shall [in the finality] be the only language spoken! It is the “pure language” in which His word (the Old Covenant) was almost entirely composed. It contains structures and themes which are consistent throughout. It contains thousands of pinpointed encoded messages at equidistant letter spacing. It contains anagrams which reveal such content as the name of God in Esther – which is purported not to contain the name of God (it is revealed four distinct times, in anagrams!). It encompasses so many unique and highly unusual features that it stands out among all languages of the earth as divine!”
In addition, its character is colorful, illustrative, pictorial and entirely enlightening in every way.
Built upon certain standard root words, the cross-currents of its facilitative language are deeply enlightening to the reader of the Hebrew language – facets of its character which go entirely unappreciated by students of God’s word in any other language.
Its return to His people has been accomplished chiefly through the dedication of one man – Eliezer Ben-Yehuda – who migrated to Israel in his late youth with his family and dedicated his life to the re-development of Hebrew as the working language of the State that was to become Israel of today.
The use of every Hebrew letter in the aleph-bet is uniquely appropriate in verse 8 – in this passage which summarizes the beginning of the global return of the Jews to their land. That event coincided with the interest of Ben-Yehuda in the revival of the language itself.
The unifying factor of the common language of their forefathers lent unparalleled cohesivity to the greatly diverse society, binding together the assorted cultures of over 100 countries represented by the Jews who continue to make Aliyah – to ascend to Jerusalem, yearly.
To have this unique verse 8 followed immediately by the clearly divine assertion (in verse 9) of the superiority of the Hebrew language among the returned People is an additional impetus for believing the stated premise – that Hebrew will be the language of the Kingdom of God on the earth!
The cosmopolitan, international scope of the Return is expressed in the next verse, treating “the rivers of Ethiopia” as being tantamount to the ends of the earth, from which His people, the Jews of Israel, are returning today.
Zep 3:10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.
This verse is startling in its message, for nearly everyone now alive who is over 35 years of age has seen with his own eyes the fulfillment of this specific prophecy – the recovery of many of God’s People from Ethiopia.
It speaks of those transported to Israel in Operation Moses in 1984 and Operation Solomon on and around May 25, 1991, when, those folk will remember, the spectacular rescue of thousands of Ethiopian Hebrews (not Jews, for they are not of Judah’s Tribe).
According to Wikipedia (q.v.) they are of the Tribe of Dan. At the present time, there are about 125,000 Ethiopian Hebrews living in mostly central Israel! “Mine offering” indeed!
In order to accomplish a rapid evacuation of the people because of critically failing diplomatic arrangements with the Ethiopian authorities for their departure during Operation Solomon, we remember that El Al, the national air carrier of Israel, stripped the seats out of Boeing 747 aircraft in their fleet and flew to Ethiopia to bring hundreds of Ethiopians in each flight.
We remember that one plane had contained over 1,000 Ethiopian Danites who had filed into the plane without fear although they had never seen such a machine close-up, trusting in their rescuers, the Israelis, and sat packed together on the floor of the giant plane without any restraints (seat belts).
We were amused to hear that during this flight one man assembled some sticks of wood which he had brought with him and started to build a campfire to do some cooking; his initiative was quickly and thoroughly squelched needless to say!
The exoneration of His people, and the expiation (release) of their guilt in their long-standing disobedience is more than evident in the prophet’s next words.
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.
The stereotypical Jewish arrogance and pride shall be removed; it shall be no more.
The people shall have received a new heart of flesh, and be amenable to being taught, and to passing their knowledge faithfully to others as they become a great “light to the Gentiles,” as promised in Isaiah 49:6, where the word “Gentiles” is Strong’s H1471, goy, the word that is almost universally used for the non-Hebrews of the earth.
Throughout the long years of having to drink of the Cup of the LORD’s Fury (Isaiah 51:22), the people have been drastically reduced in number time and again by their oppressors in every country on earth, and now truly constitute a mere remnant of the People.
Their diminished number is nearly always referred to as a “remnant,” for such it really is in every sense. The result is “an afflicted and poor people” (poor is spirit – for their overall physical wealth is to be legendary in that time), whose trust shall be in the name – the personage – of the LORD.
They shall do no more iniquity; they shall speak no more lies; their tongues shall be bereft of deceit, and none shall make this righteous People afraid.
These are the gracious promises made to His repentant and redeemed People in the final words of the Prophet Zephaniah – the relatively unknown and unstudied prophet of Judah, who filled his divine office near the end of Judah’s Commonwealth, but looked far into the future to behold the glory and the might of Israel his people in the latter days.
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.
These qualities are in contradistinction to the practice of their forefathers, who did NOT so trust.
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.
Finally, the prophet extols the basis for their great joy – the loss (the expiation, really) of the Almighty’s judgments against them; for these have now been expunged, removed forever.
The People are created anew – a rejoicing and a joy before Him. His indignation against His People has been satisfied, and now He intends only a great advantage for them!
Indeed, we believe Isaiah 26: 20 is a statement of that indignation against their enemies, and that His recovered People are here, in particular, advised to enter their shelters while He dispatches all their vicious enemies! They have not to lift a finger to defend themselves, although indications are that the IDF will at some period during the overall conflict, enthusiastically combat their foes alongside the Christ of the Second Advent and His immortal Saints!
Finally, His Tabernacle – His blessed Son – is with them, even in their midst. Their prospects are brighter than one might ever have thought, based upon their past history – and are the benevolent product of a loving, forgiving, merciful and compassionate heavenly Father. Their prospect is never again to “see evil!” – a munificent advantage of all those who love the LORD and the observance of His precepts.
The great, swelling words describing this era may go almost without any additional comment:
Zep 3:14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.
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.
It is concretely evident that when this condition is fulfilled, the LORD shall be literally “in the midst of them” and the way perfectly to have been paved for the invasion of the Gogian coalition at some near time in the future from that day.
The conditions described here are precisely those which invite the unsuspecting rogues of Ros (Russia) and the Distal Islamic countries in his coalition to decide on their fatal mission of destroying Israel and its upstart, naïve, lately-arrived “king.”
Note the further clarification of this condition of absolute peace and security being enjoyed by Israel in that day.
Zep 3:16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.
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.
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.
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.
The fortunes of Israel are destined to rise to the most supreme heights of human esteem and glory in that future day, contrary to all the physical signs that we have seen prior to the beginning of their second Recovery from the nations (officially, 1949, when the truce was reached in August and free immigration to Israel could begin in earnest).
In contrast, by cursory examination, we can perceive their improving fortunes since that date until the present time in which Israel has diplomatic relations with all but about 10% of the countries of the world!
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.
This grand summary of the benefits which shall have accrued to His People is stated in the most loving of terms.
The supreme esteem of the Almighty for His People is evident and conspicuous.
Their ultimate worth to Him and His Purpose stands forth as the premier blessing of a people by their God.
Zephaniah’s last words here reaffirm and further establish such promises by other prophets who brought similar messages, such as Isaiah, who wrote of an expanded kingdom for this same people – one which shall extend to the ends of the earth, with Jerusalem as its capital city, and with all the world’s peoples traveling to that great metropolis once each year to observe the Feast of Tabernacles, and to celebrate the divine pacification of that age, and the love and benevolence of the Great King Who sits there among them:
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. Isaiah 2:2-4.
<HEL 12O, rev. 1P, 9Q> ~10,400 words. An eTPL Exposition of Zephaniah: January 11, 2016, revised; also September, 2018.