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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

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.

For further study - Zephaniah 1:1-18

Zephaniah is a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah, thus he would have exercised his ministry during the reign of Josiah, which would have been prior to the 70 years of Babylonian captivity.

During Josiah's reign, there had been somewhat of a revival among the Jewish people. A closer study of the time of this revival, which was a superficial revival, made it inevitable that the pending judgment of the Babylonian captivity would take place.

This is the situation in Zephaniah's day of ministry as God brings this Jewish prophet to His people to warn them. As we join Zephaniah, we see he is revealing to the Jews the approaching "Day of the Lord". This phrase, "the Day of the Lord", is a key phrase, and used often, in Bible prophecy.

The phrase, the "Day of the Lord", was first introduced by the ancient prophet Joel and is a phrase used by many of the prophets. The definition of the phrase is, "any time in history when God intercedes in the affairs of man personally on the earth". That definition certainly describes the approaching judgment for the Jews in Zephaniah's day.

Zephaniah, in this reading for today, will use the term 7 times. Indeed, the Lord will intercede in the affairs of the Jewish people and even though there was a revival, God's chastisement did come and it did happen in the "near future", as it relates to Zephaniah's day.

When God uses a prophet to tell the people the future, those prophecies will either have a short-term fulfillment or a long- term fulfillment. Sometimes the prophecy will have both a short-term and/or a long-term future fulfillment. Zephaniah's prophecies in our reading today are to warn the people of the coming of the Babylonian captivity, which was close at hand.

But as mentioned, there is also a long-term fulfillment in view here as well. The long-term fulfillment is to come about, I believe, in the not to distant future. Let me remind you that the Babylonians of Zephaniah's day are the Iraqis today.

Prophecy even tells us that the literal city of "Babylon" will be center stage as the final-days drama unfolds not too far down the prophetic pathway, Revelation 18.

As we look at current events in the Middle East, with a focus on Iraq, we see that the stage is being set, all the actors are moving onto the stage, and the curtain is about to go up on the last act in the drama for the "end times".

That being the case, we also are about to leave this earth and go up into the heavenlies, as soon as Jesus shouts to call us to join Him in His Father's house. That shout could come today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, help me this day to live as if it indeed will be the day Jesus will shout to call us to join Him in the heavens.