This prophecy is about God’s judgment against the wickedness of physical and spiritual Judah and Israel; the day of the Lord. Zephaniah is about God’s judgment on the wickedness of Jerusalem which as the capital would include all of physical and spiritual Israel and their leaders.
Zephaniah is also about God’s judgment on the coming New Europe of Babylon and all the world’s wicked; followed by the conversion of all nations and a Song of Joy for the goodness of the Eternal.
Remember that God is no respecter of persons and we must all take any scriptural correction with serious personal self-examination to see if we fit the description. All scripture is written for US.
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
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.
God utters his judgments against Judah and the nations of Israel and all of the wicked, for our many idolatries of men and false traditions and the overspreading of our many sins.
1:2 I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD. 1:3 I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumbling blocks [the idols of men who lead the people astray] with the wicked: and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD.
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 [destroy all idols including every false tradition of men] from this place, and the name of the Chemarims [false teachers and idol worshipers] with the [wicked priests and elders who follow idols of men and not God] priests;
Those that have divided affections, calling themselves godly and boasting that they are God’s people as they follow idols of men and false traditions; and all those who do not live by EVERY WORD of God will be powerfully afflicted.
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;
1:6 And them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for him.
Moloch (Molech, Milcom, Malcham) the name of the national god of the Ammonites; This idol was called Chemosh among the Moabites.
In context, this is a general reference to idol worship. Remember that worship is obedience and not some form of lip-service. If we pollute the Sabbath because some man says that it is OK; then we are obeying man rather than God and that is idolatry!
The stern correction will begin at the House of Israel and at Jerusalem. This happened anciently and today’s Spiritual Ekklesia is the spiritual equivalent of the temple at Jerusalem, being the temple of God’s Spirit with the Shekinah dwelling in them. God’s correction will come upon those faithless followers of men calling themselves God’s church as well as on the nations.
Shekinah, Shekinah, Shechinah, Shekina, Shechina, or Schechinah, (Hebrew: שכינה) is the English spelling of a grammatically feminine Hebrew word that means “the dwelling or settling,” and is used to denote the dwelling or settling of the divine presence of God, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem.
This is God’s Holy Spirit which rained down as fire upon Solomon’s temple and has now officially moved to dwell in men.
2 Chronicles 7:1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house.
7:2 And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house.
7:3 And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
After this correction begins on the apostate Laodicean brethren of today, it will continue to spread until all wicked persons are corrected and the great battle of the Lord comes at Jerusalem.
Zephaniah uses the term “Day of the Lord” to refer to the entire last 42 months as a lead up to the actual coming of Christ with his saints; beginning with the correction on Jerusalem, Judah and Israel [both physical and spiritual].
The wicked who argue to justify their own evil ways today, shall have their mouths stopped and will be made silent before the correction of the Eternal, unable to justify themselves before the furious correction of God.
Zephaniah 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.
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 [symbolically clothed with sin and not the garments of righteousness] apparel.
1:9 In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the thresholds [that break into or rob houses], which fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit.
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.
1:11 Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh [the Negev], for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off.
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 [well established people who are at ease and will feel secure when the coming peace deal is ratified]: that say in their heart [which have the attitude that], The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil [God does not see us, he is far off].
1:13 Therefore their goods shall become a booty [for their enemies], and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them [their houses and goods will be given to others]; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.
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.
The great tribulation of our correction is at hand to be followed by the final great day of the Lord’s coming.
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,
1:16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.
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.
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 nations are called to sincere repentance
Zephaniah 2:1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; 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.
Before all these things the warning goes out to the meek, humble and faithful who zealously live by EVERY WORD of God. That warning is going out via this work now!
2:3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness [turn to God in humble wholehearted zeal]: it may be ye shall be hid [in God’s prepared refuge] in the day of the LORD’s anger.
After Israel is corrected, Gaza will be corrected beginning late in the third year or during the first half of the fourth year.
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.
The correction of Gaza because they will join in the Psalm 83 confederation to afflict Judah
2:5 Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites [the Philistines of Gaza]! 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.
2:6 And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks.
2:7 And the coast shall be for the remnant [proving this is about the latter days] of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening [the millennial kingdom at the end of the age of man]: for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.
The final judgment on Jordan because they also join the Psalm 83 confederation and attack Judah to enrich themselves and take land to enlarge their borders.
2:8 I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people [attacking Judah during the tribulation], and magnified themselves against their border.
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, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: [showing that this prophecy is about the end of the tribulation and the beginning of the millennium] the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them.
2:10 This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against [against Judah and also for trying to destroy the zealous of spiritual Israel who are seeking refuge Revelation 12] the people of the LORD of hosts.
2:11 The LORD will be terrible unto them: for he will famish [destroy all false gods and idols of men] all the gods of the earth; and [all] men shall [be brought to repentance to live by every Word of God the Eternal] worship him [the Eternal], every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen.
All other nations shall be corrected as well as Israel / Judah and Gaza and Jordan
The New Europe will take over Egypt and the Ethiopians shall serve that ten nation revival of the church state Holy Roman Empire, Babylonian system of Daniel 2.
2:12 Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword.
The end of ancient Nineveh and Assyria as a fore-type of the fall of today’s Germanic dominated now rising New Federal Europe.
2:13 And he will stretch out his hand against the north [the Assyrians who dwell north of Palestine] , and destroy Assyria [Germany, Austria, Hungary and the rising New Europe]; and will make Nineveh [Assyria, the Germanic peoples] a desolation, and dry like a wilderness.
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.
2:15 This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly [secure and without fear], 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.
Revelation 18 explains the wrath of God towards the now rising ten nation revival of the Holy Roman Empire, Babylonian church/state system.
Woe to all those who are full of the filthiness of rebellion against living by every Word of God, exalting wickedness above the goodness of God
Zephaniah 3:1 Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city!
Nineveh as the capital and head of Assyria is a type of the whole nation of Assyria, and this prophecy is dual also applying to a second fulfillment in this latter day.
3:2 She obeyed not the voice [of God]; she received not [will not accept] correction; she trusted not in the LORD; she drew not near to her God.
3:3 Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves [devouring wolves]; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow.
3:4 Her prophets are light [shallow] and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law. [making God’s law of no effect by their own false traditions just as today’s called out Ekklesia do, paying lip-service to the law and then deciding for themselves what is right and wrong].
The Eternal is Justice and his Law is Just
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.
The Eternal punishes the wicked in the hope that they will forsake their wickedness and turn to live by his righteous Word.
3:6 I have cut off [corrected] the nations: their towers 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.
God is not a respecter of persons and he will correct every sinner and idolater who is not zealous to live by every Word of God, which brings life eternal. God corrects us out of his awesome love for us; afflicting our flesh to save our spirit and to turn us to righteousness, and to stop the sin which is corrupting and killing us
3:7 I said, Surely thou 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.
3:8 Therefore wait ye upon me [ye faithful], 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 [at Jerusalem], to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
The espoused Husband of the “Called out Elect” is a jealous Husband who will not tolerate our adulteries with strange gods.
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.
A new universal language free from the names of idols and the deceitfulness of men will be given to all men. This is much more than some automatic change of speech patterns to one universal language.
This is accomplished by converting and placing God’s Spirit in all flesh, so that all people will know and live by every Word of God. So that all people will fully internalize the mind of God and be filled with the righteousness of God. Then they will be able to discern between godliness and evil; thereby casting out all deceitfulness, false teachings and idolatry!
The tongue speaks out of the abundance of the heart: to purify the tongue, one must first purify the heart, the mind, the spirit!
When Messiah the Christ comes, the dispersed of Israel will be gathered from all the places where they have been scattered.
3:10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants [sincerely repentantant], even the daughter [latter day descendants] of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.
God will destroy the proud and those who follow idols of men, to rebel against HIM; exalting their own words in haughty pride above the Word of God. In that day the people will learn that being God’s people means living by every Word of God, and that God will correct those that he loves to save them from eternal death.
3:11 In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy [wicked] 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.
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.
After this final correction, physical and spiritual Israel will sincerely repent and shall be forgiven and delivered and will go forward to sin no more.
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 [on every Word of God] and lie down [rest in peace], and none shall make them afraid.
The term daughter refers to the latter day descendant of, and in this case refers to the latter day repentant who are delivered by the Eternal. In truth all nations will be grafted into a kind of spiritual Israel of the New Covenant and all nations shall rejoice at the salvation of the LORD!
3:14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.
3:15 The LORD hath taken away thy judgments [erasing the judgments against us and forgiving us (Col 2:14)], he hath cast out thine enemy [from oppressing you]: [and] the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.
3:16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack [to work and build godliness in all the earth] .
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.
3:18 I will gather them that are sorrowful for the [sins of] solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden.
When Israel repents and turns to follow the Eternal with a whole heart; they will become the example for all nations that God has always intended!
Even so, when the called out of spiritual Israel sincerely repent and turn to live by every Word of God and turn to follow the Eternal in wholehearted zeal; they shall be changed to spirit and raised to eternal life and they will become teachers and examples of godliness for all peoples, as God has intended from the beginning!
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.
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.