zephaniah the worship prophet, part 1

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Zephaniah: The Worship Prophet:

Zephaniah: The Worship Prophet Rev. Brian Chilton Friendship Baptist Church

Question of the Week::

Question of the Week: Question 25: Who did Haggai speak to at the opening of his prophecy? Hint: He is the son of Shealtiel and is the governor of Judah. Answer: Zerubbabel , the son of Shealtiel (Haggai 1:1) Question 26: Who did God tell Haggai to ask concerning the law?

Zephaniah: Introduction:

Zephaniah: Introduction Author: Zephaniah’s name means “Yahweh hides.” As with many of the Minor Prophets, little is known about the prophet Zephaniah other than what we know in the book. Zephaniah is the great-great grandson of Hezekiah, so Zephaniah is of a royal lineage. He may have been a distant relative of King Josiah whom he prophesied about in his book. Date: Between 622 and 612 BC Theme(s): The Day of the LORD (“Yom YHWH”) is mentioned more in Zephaniah than in any book in the Bible. God promises to protect His people Worship of God is a theme, too

Zephaniah Outline:

Zephaniah Outline I. Introduction (1:1) II. The Day of Yahweh’s Judgment (1:2-3:8) A. Judgment on all the earth (1:2-3) B. Judgment on Judah and Jerusalem (1:4-2:3) 1. The objects of judgment (1:4-13) a. The idolaters (1:4-7) b. The princes (1:8) c. The oppressors (1:9) d. The merchants (1:10-11) e. The indifferent (1:12-13) 2. The description of judgment (1:14-18) a. The nearness (1:14a) b. The horror (1:14b-18) 3. The deterrent to judgment (2:1-3) a. A summons to the nation: Repent (2:1-2) b. A summons to the humble: Seek God (2:3) C. Judgment on the surrounding nations (2:4-15) 1. On Philistia (2:4-7) 2. On Moab and Ammon (2:8-11) 3. On Ethiopia (2:12) 4. On Assyria (2:13-15) D. Judgment on Jerusalem (3:1-7) 1. The prophet’s indictment (3:1-5) 2. The Lord’s judgment (3:6-7) E. Judgment on all the earth (3:8) III. The Day of Yahweh’s Restoration (3:9-20) A. The restoration of the nations (3:9-10) B. The restoration of Israel (3:11-20) 1. The redemption of the nation (3:11-13) 2. The joy of the nation (3:14) 3. The Ruler of the nation (3:15-17) 4. The reward of the nation (3:18-20) John F. Walvoord , Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, vol. 1, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-), 1524.

Part One Outline:

Part One Outline I. Introduction (1:1) II. The Day of Yahweh’s Judgment (1:2-3:8) A. Judgment on all the earth (1:2-3) B. Judgment on Judah and Jerusalem (1:4-2:3) 1. The objects of judgment (1:4-13) a. The idolaters (1:4-7) b. The princes (1:8) c. The oppressors (1:9) d. The merchants (1:10-11) e. The indifferent (1:12-13) 2. The description of judgment (1:14-18) a. The nearness (1:14a) b. The horror (1:14b-18 ) 3. The deterrent to judgment (2:1-3) a. A summons to the nation: Repent (2:1-2) b. A summons to the humble: Seek God (2:3)

I. Introduction (1:1) :

I. Introduction (1:1) 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 , in the days of Josiah the son of Amon , king of Judah. (KJV) 1 The word of the LORD which came to Zephaniah son of Cushi , son of Gedaliah , son of Amariah , son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah son of Amon , king of Judah: (NAS95)

Introduction:

Introduction (1) Most prophets take the genealogy of their ancestry back one generation. However, Zephaniah takes it back four. Zephaniah points to the fact that he is related to the “good” king Hezekiah. This would make Zephaniah of royal lineage. This would also make Zephaniah kin to the reigning king, Josiah.

II. The Day of Yahweh’s Judgment (1:2-3:8) A. Judgment on all the earth (1:2-3) :

II. The Day of Yahweh’s Judgment (1:2-3:8) A. Judgment on all the earth (1:2-3) 2 I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD. 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. (KJV) 2 "I will completely remove all things From the face of the earth," declares the LORD. 3 "I will remove man and beast; I will remove the birds of the sky And the fish of the sea, And the ruins along with the wicked; And I will cut off man from the face of the earth," declares the LORD. (NAS95)

Judgment on all the Earth:

Judgment on all the Earth (2) Zephaniah is not one who beats around the bush. Zephaniah begins his book by stating that the Day of the LORD would affect everyone when judgment comes. Much as the impending flood in Noah’s day would bring judgment to all; the impending judgment of fire should be the warning to our generation. (3) Zephaniah uses language that is similar to that found in the creation account in Genesis. “Man and Beast” refers to the creation of the sixth day and “birds and fish” refer to those animals created on the fifth day. Judgment is coming to the wicked only, but everyone will be affected in some way.

a. The idolaters (1:4-7) :

a. The idolaters (1:4-7) 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; 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 ; 6 And them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for him. 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. (KJV) 4 "So I will stretch out My hand against Judah And against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, And the names of the idolatrous priests along with the priests. 5 "And those who bow down on the housetops to the host of heaven, And those who bow down and swear to the LORD and yet swear by Milcom , 6 And those who have turned back from following the LORD, And those who have not sought the LORD or inquired of Him." 7 Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near, For the LORD has prepared a sacrifice, He has consecrated His guests. (NAS95)

The Idolaters:

The Idolaters (4) Judah is the focus in this first section. She would be punished due to her involvement with false religions. Even though Josiah tried to eliminate Baalism (the worship of Baal), there were still pockets of the population that still worshipped this idol. God takes a nation’s commitment to Him seriously. Are we guilty of the worship of false idols?

The Idolaters (cont’d):

The Idolaters (cont’d) (5-6) See 1 Kings 11:33. Judah was guilty of syncretism. “Syncretism” defined: 1 : the combination of different forms of belief or practice 2 : the fusion of two or more originally different inflectional forms ( Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary., Eleventh ed. (Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).) Combining religions in order to appease and avoid conflict is dangerous and goes against God. God is “El qanna ” a “jealous God” and is not willing to share devotion with a false god. (7) Here is why we define Zephaniah as the “ worship prophet” . Zephaniah calls the people to begin worshipping God. They need to be silent before the LORD or be reverent to the LORD because judgment was impending.

b. The princes (1:8) :

b. The princes (1:8) 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. (KJV) 8 "Then it will come about on the day of the LORD'S sacrifice That I will punish the princes, the king's sons And all who clothe themselves with foreign garments. (NAS95)

The Princes:

The Princes (8) The leaders seemed to want to be like the leaders of other nations. They wore “foreign garments” or clothes from foreign nations instead of their own. The leaders were family members of Zephaniah, but this did not stop the prophesying of Zephaniah. Zephaniah gave the message exactly as the LORD directed. The ruling party allowed for this infiltration of foreign beliefs. They would receive a greater punishment.

c. The oppressors (1:9) :

c. The oppressors (1:9) 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. (KJV) 9 "And I will punish on that day all who leap on the temple threshold, Who fill the house of their lord with violence and deceit. (NAS95)

The Oppressors:

The Oppressors (9) The NASB adds a word that helps explain the phrase “leap on the threshold.” They add that they “leap on the temple threshold.” “ ’Stepping on the threshold’ may reflect a cultic practice of pagan priests avoiding stepping on a defiled…threshold….More likely this passage refers to theft and plunder” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, OT Abridged Ed, 1502). This “stepping over the threshold” could be compared to the old children’s game “Step on a crack and break your mother’s back” when walking on square concrete slabs. Regardless, this shows disrespect for God and His temple.

d. The merchants (1:10-11) :

d. The merchants (1:10-11) 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. 11 Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh , for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off. (KJV) 10 "On that day," declares the LORD, "There will be the sound of a cry from the Fish Gate, A wail from the Second Quarter, And a loud crash from the hills. 11 "Wail, O inhabitants of the Mortar, For all the people of Canaan will be silenced; All who weigh out silver will be cut off. (NAS95)

The Merchants:

The Merchants (10) “On that day” refers to the impending Day of the LORD. The Fish Gate may either be the now Damascus Gate or may be near the Damascus Gate. It would be from this gate that a cry will be heard when the Day of the LORD is at hand. The Second Quarter is northwest of the Temple. (11) It is here that God refers to the corrupt merchants of the day. The merchants would face judgment.

e. The indifferent (1:12-13):

e. The indifferent (1:12-13) 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. 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. (KJV) 12 "It will come about at that time That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And I will punish the men Who are stagnant in spirit, Who say in their hearts, 'The LORD will not do good or evil!' 13 "Moreover, their wealth will become plunder And their houses desolate; Yes, they will build houses but not inhabit them, And plant vineyards but not drink their wine." (NAS95)

The Indifferent:

The Indifferent (12) The people had become very materialistic. It was not so much that they did not believe in God, as some are today; rather, it was that they had become deists. Deists are those who believe that God does not interfere in the human experience. Therefore, they thought God was harmless and just part of the social phenomenon. (13) Zephaniah shows that God has the power and ability to bring judgment. The people who had left their relationship with God would carry on with normal activities, but would not be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Vineyards will be planted but they would never see grapes. Builders would build homes, but never inhabit them.

The description of judgment (1:14-18) :

The description of judgment (1:14-18) 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. 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. 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. (KJV) 14 Near is the great day of the LORD, Near and coming very quickly; Listen, the day of the LORD! In it the warrior cries out bitterly. 15 A day of wrath is that day, A day of trouble and distress, A day of destruction and desolation, A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness, 16 A day of trumpet and battle cry Against the fortified cities And the high corner towers. 17 I will bring distress on men So that they will walk like the blind, Because they have sinned against the LORD; And their blood will be poured out like dust And their flesh like dung. 18 Neither their silver nor their gold Will be able to deliver them On the day of the LORD'S wrath; And all the earth will be devoured In the fire of His jealousy, For He will make a complete end, Indeed a terrifying one, Of all the inhabitants of the earth. (NAS95)

Description of Judgment:

Description of Judgment (14) Zephaniah describes the coming Day of the LORD. He first shows the nearness of that day. It may seem long to us, but to God it is like preparing for the next day’s newspaper. The word “great” is “ gabol ” which means big or mighty. Even mighty warriors will flee on that day. (15) In this verse, Zephaniah gives descriptions of the gloomy, dark day for the wicked person. (16) The trumpets represent warning alarms for the city. It is a horrific scene. Smoke billows, screams are heard, and the alarms are sounding off.

Description of Judgment (cont’d):

Description of Judgment (cont’d) (17) Verse 17 discusses the gruesome nature of that day. People are lying in the streets laid open. God is showing love by warning the people so that they may flee and not be part of this day. However, many will not have the trust in God to listen. The same thing applies to being “saved” from Hell. (18) On this day, no one will be able to bribe their way out of their plight. Money will not buy them out of their problems.

3. The deterrent to judgment (2:1-3) :

3. The deterrent to judgment (2:1-3) 1 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. (KJV) 1 Gather yourselves together, yes, gather, O nation without shame, 2 Before the decree takes effect--The day passes like the chaff--Before the burning anger of the LORD comes upon you, Before the day of the LORD'S anger comes upon you. 3 Seek the LORD, All you humble of the earth Who have carried out His ordinances; Seek righteousness, seek humility. Perhaps you will be hidden In the day of the LORD'S anger. (NAS95)

a. A summons to the nation: Repent (2:1-2):

a. A summons to the nation: Repent (2:1-2) (1) Zephaniah called all nations to worship God and repent before it was too late. Unfortunately, many of the people would be hardened to sin. (2) Like us all, the people would only have a certain period of time to make things right before the Day of the LORD approached.

b. A summons to the humble: Seek God (2:3):

b. A summons to the humble: Seek God (2:3) (3) All was not hopeless, if the people repented, they would be spared. Repentance would be manifested by works. This repentance would be manifested by a lifestyle of righteousness. This repentance would also be marked by a lifestyle of obedience. The righteous would LIVE by faith and this faith would be manifested by obedient works.

Next Week: Judgment of other Nations :

Next Week: Judgment of other Nations

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