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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Zephaniah 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.

For further study - Zephaniah 2:1-15

As is the case in much of Bible prophecy in each prophecy there may well be a "short term" fulfillment and/or a "long term" fulfillment. Thus, the prophecy we are looking at may be fulfilled in the near future, sometime soon after the prophecy was given.

It may also have a long term fulfillment, in other words it will be fulfilled in the future, certainly in the future from Zephaniah's day, as well as future as it relates to our day.

Our devotional reading for today, the extended reading, has both a short-term fulfillment and a yet to be fulfilled aspect to the prophecy. Zephaniah was telling his people that there was judgment coming to Judah in his day, in the times of King Josiah.

Zephaniah was a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah who also called for judgment upon Judah. The time period was around 630 - 625 BC before the capture and destruction of Judah in 586 BC. The Babylonians would come as God's agents in the punishment of Judea, at the time when they would be carried out of the land of Israel into Babylon for 70 years.

The often used phrase in this book, "the Day of the Lord", is evidence that the prophecy also pertains to the last days, the days when Messiah Jesus Christ comes to judge and then to rule and reign in Jerusalem.

Zephaniah is a prophet to Judah and the Jewish people, but also a prophet with a prophecy for our present day. Notice verse 1 as it relates to the gathering together of a people, the Jewish people, into a nation that is not desired by the world. This is certainly the case in our world today. The Jewish nation of Israel is a nation not wanted by many nations in the Middle East.

The phrase the "Day of the Lord" is referring to the times leading up to the return of the Messiah, Jesus, which includes the seven-year Tribulation Period preceding the Second Coming.

It is very interesting to note the geographical areas referred to by Zephaniah found in verses 4-15. This is a prophecy focused by Zephaniah on the neighbors of the Jews in Israel. Look at verse 4 where it names the location of Gaza, a "hot-spot" today in the Middle East.

Gaza, Ashkelon and Ashdod, towns in Biblical times located in the lands of the Philistines, will come under judgment. By the way the Philistines are not the Palestinian people of today. The present-day Palestinians are descendants of Esau and the Edomites.

However, this geographical location and its inhabitants today are the ones who will face judgment. Obadiah 15-18 and Ezekiel 35 tell of the coming judgment on the people of Gaza today, the Palestinians.

These passages of prophecy indicate that the Palestinians will be as if they never were a people. This prophecy, the prophecies of Obadiah and Ezekiel, and the present-day situation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, focused on the Gaza and the Gaza Strip, reveal to us that the stage is being set for the final drama to begin. Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, since I can know the times of Your return as described in Bible prophecy, help me to understand our present days and look and live for Your soon return.