Old Testament Survey: The Book of Zephaniah

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Old Testament Survey:
The Book of Zephaniah
“Seek the LORD, all
you meek of the earth,
who have upheld His
justice. Seek
righteousness, seek
humility. It may be that
you will be hidden In
the day of the LORD'S
anger.” (2:3)
A World
Judgment
Background
• Period of Zephaniah: 630—625 B.C.
• 100 years since the days of Micah.
• Assyrian captivity in 722 B.C.
• Judah continuing but becoming more corrupt.
• Zephaniah prophesied in Jerusalem, to the
nation of Judah.
• The name Zephaniah means “Jehovah hides.”
Background
• Hezekiah was Zephaniah’s great-great grandfather.
• Hezekiah’s good reign is now being followed by the
evil reign of his son, Manasseh.
• Manasseh—Judah’s most wicked king.
• Manasseh’s son, Ammon, followed in his father’s
footsteps.
• There was terrible idolatry and moral corruption.
• Social injustice was widespread.
• Luxury and extravagance on every hand.
Background
• By Zephaniah’s time, Judah had her last good
king—Josiah.
• Introduced reform in Judah by abolishing
idolatry and breaking down the idols.
• Restored the true worship of God—but he was
not completely successful.
• Reforms recorded in 2 Chronicles 34,35.
• In the east, Babylon was rising to power.
Background
• In 625, the Babylonians rebelled
against Assyria.
• Nebuchadnezzar was general of the
Babylonian army.
• In 612, he destroyed Nineveh.
• Began building the Babylonian Empire.
• Zephaniah prophesied during the
Chaldean rise to power.
Theme and Plea
• Zephaniah declared the certainty of God’s love and
wrath.
• He was extremely loyal to God and
uncompromising as a prophet.
• He prophesied that the great day of the Lord’s
anger against all evil doers is “at hand.”
• This included Judah!
• Israel is warned but unconcerned.
• “Day of the Lord” refers to the rendering of God’s
judgment.
Keys to Book of Zephaniah
• Key words
– Divine jealousy and wrath
• Key phrase
– “The day of the Lord”
(7 times)
• Key chapter
– Chapter 3
• Key verse
– 1:14
“The great day of the LORD is
near; it is near and hastens
quickly. The noise of the day of
the LORD is bitter; there the
mighty men shall cry out. That
day is a day of wrath, a day of
trouble and distress, a day of
devastation and desolation, a
day of darkness and
gloominess, a day of clouds
and thick darkness.”
Keys to Book of Zephaniah
• Key words
– Divine jealousy and wrath
• Key phrase
– “The day of the Lord”
(7 times)
• Key chapter
– Chapter 3
• Key verse
– 3:9
“For then I will restore to
the peoples a pure
language, that they all
may call on the name of
the LORD, to serve Him
with one accord.”
The Book
• Somber in tone; yet ends with glad day—”coming of
the Lord”
• The “Day of the Lord”—a declaration of divine
retribution
• Rebuke of heathen nations—call to repentance
• Jerusalem’s sin, future hope and promise of
redemption
• Divine judgment (1:14-18)
• Divine blessings (3:14-17)
The Book ‘s Message
• JUDGMENT ON THE ENTIRE WORLD, ESPECIALLY JUDAH
(1:1-18)
• Terrible judgment on the face of the earth (1:2,3)
• Judgment on Judah for idolatry (1:4-6)
• Sinners of every rank (1:7,8)
• Thieves (1:9)
• Corrupt and dishonest traders (1:10,11)
• Wealthy and indifferent (1:12,13)
The Book ‘s Message
• JUDGMENT ON THE ENTIRE WORLD, ESPECIALLY JUDAH
(1:1-18)
• Referred to as “the great day of the Lord”
• A day of wrath and of trouble
• Darkness and gloom; clouds and thick
darkness; trumpet and alarm (1:15,16)
• Silver and gold cannot save (1:17,18)
• Sin always brings God’s judgment!
The Book ‘s Message
• GOD’S CALL TO REPENTANCE (2:1—3:8)
• Calls on people to “turn back to Him”
• He wants them to seek the Lord (2:2,3)
• Their only hope for a hiding place in the day of
such terror—”in the Lord”
• Pronounces judgment against nations (2:4-15)
• If the heathen nations will be punished for
idolatry and wickedness, so will Judah! (3:1-8)
The Book ‘s Message
• SALVATION OF THE REMNANT (3:9-20)
• Book closes with a bright picture of hope to be realized
in the distant future
• The age of the Messiah
• In the Messianic kingdom, both Jews and Gentiles will
be saved.
• God would be in their midst to save and bring joy.
(3:17)
• Gathered to God with praise and glory (3:19) {Kingdom
and in Christ today}
Great Lessons from Zephaniah
• THE DAY OF JEHOVAH IS A DAY OF
JUDGMENT UPON THE WICKED.
• If God judged and punished wicked
nations in that day, how will any nation
escape unless it returns to His
righteousness.
• All Bible judgments point to a FINAL
JUDGMENT to come!
Great Lessons from Zephaniah
• THE BOOK TEACHES THAT THE LORD GOD IS
THE ONLY GOD OVER ALL THE EARTH.
• All the world must respect, honor, and
obey Him—or face the consequences!
Great Lessons from Zephaniah
• JUDGMENTS MUST COME UPON THE WICKED,
AND WHEN THEY COME, THE ONLY WAY TO
RECEIVE REFUGE AND SAFETY IS BY TURNING
TO GOD!
• It is better to turn to Him before
judgment than to wait until it comes—
then, it will be too late.
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