Christian Churches of God
Commentary on Zephaniah
(Edition 1.0 20141003-20141003)
This important prophecy was written approximately a dozen years before the fall of Nineveh, and before the captivity of Judah. This last prophet before the captivity spoke directly of the Chemarim or Black Cassocked priests of Baal and Ashtoreth or Easter the Mother Goddess cult. These priests still inhabit Jerusalem in the thousands and soon they will be removed and forced to repent and teach no more heresy.
Commentary on Zephaniah
Zephaniah is listed ninth among the prophets of the OT canon. His genealogy is listed over four generations because the word of his ancestor in the KJV is the same word in Hebrew as Hezekiah and the authorities are confident he was the great-great grandson of Hezekiah King of Judah.
It is considered by E.A. Leslie (Interp. Dictionary of the Bible, Bk. IV, pp. 951ff.) that his work is dated by the activities of the Scythian invasion ca 630-625 BCE. The activities of the Baal and Mother Goddess cults of the Assyrian and Babylonian religions had entered Judah after the Assyrian expansion and Manasseh erected altars and chariots on the upper chambers of King Ahaz to worship the Sun and Mystery cults. They worshipped the sun, moon and all the signs of the zodiac and all the Host of heaven (2Kgs. 23:11ff). New emphasis was given to the Mother Goddess cults with Ashtoreth or Easter consort of Baal coming in from the Assyro-Babylonians in much greater strength. The system became immensely popular and entire Judean families participated in it with each of the members playing their parts in the same way we see the Sun worshipping Trinitarian cults of today applying the 25 December Christmas cult in the same way today as it was present and condemned by the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 7:17ff; 10:1-9) who was contemporaneous to Zephaniah.
The Scythians were barbarian hordes from the North that invaded Asia Minor to the border of Egypt. Pharaoh Psammetichus I of Egypt (Herodotus I, 103-106) bribed them and they retreated from his borders and pillaged Ashkelon and Beth-shean.
This prophecy is not simply a condemnation of Judah at the time of the Scythian invasion and before the fall of the Assyrians in 605 BCE to the Babylonians. It was a condemnation of the entire creation for their complicity in the Sun Worshipping Cults as we see from Zephaniah 1:2-3.
 The word of the LORD which came to Zephani'ah the son of Cushi, son of Gedali'ah, son of Amari'ah, son of Hezeki'ah, in the days of Josi'ah the son of Amon, king of Judah.
Thus we are pinpointed to the time of Josiah king of Judah (642/1–609). Josiah’s Restoration in his 18th year had not been completed as we see from a comparison with 2Kings 23. Thus this text was written prior to the Restoration but perhaps consequent to the finding of the Book of the Law for the Restoration for the Jubilee in 624 BCE.
Its prophecies against Nineveh were fulfilled with the fall of Nineveh and its destruction by the Medes and Babylonians in 612 BCE. The Babylonians defeated them entirely and the influence of Egypt at the Battle of Carchemish in 605 BCE one Sabbatical cycle later. The reference in Zephaniah is not as direct as that of the prophet Nahum which is more detailed in its prophecy concerning the fall of Nineveh.
This is a
prophecy that concerns the Last Days:
 "I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth," says the LORD.  "I will sweep away man and beast; I will sweep away the birds of the air and the fish of the sea.
I will overthrow the wicked; I will cut off mankind from the face of the earth," says the LORD.  "I will stretch out my hand against Judah, and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Ba'al and the name of the idolatrous priests;  those who bow down on the roofs to the host of the heavens; those who bow down and swear to the LORD and yet swear by Milcom;
Milcom was the Hebrew word for the national God of Ammon, i.e. Molech. He was associated with the Star of the God Remphan which is the Six Pointed star now found on the Flag of Israel and incorrectly known as the Star of David. God acted against Judah and sent them into captivity to the Babylonians and they are to be dealt with on the day of the Lord. This is not the Babylonian Captivity, it is not the Roman Captivity, it is both, and through the dispersion into the Last Days. The Day of the Lord is explained in the paper The Day of the Lord and the Last Days (No. 192). There are twenty references to the Day of the Lord (Heb. Yom Yahovah) in 16 instances beginning in the text as Isaiah 2:12 (then again at Isa. 13:5; Joel 1:15; 2:1,11; 3:14; 4:14; Amos 5:18,20; Obad. 15; Zeph. 1:7,14,14; Mal. 4:5). In four passages it is with Heb. Lamed (i.e. Zeph. 2:12; Ezek. 30:3; Zech 14:1,17) where it is a day known to Yahovah and in other places it is combined with the words wrath or vengeance.
In the NT it occurs four times in 1Thes. 5:2, 2Thes. 2:2, 2Pet. 3:10, Rev. 1:10, and Bullinger sees it as being indicative of the number four and everything is done to abase man and exalt Yahovah in its usage and the prophecies in which it occurs.
 those who have turned back from following the LORD, who do not seek the LORD or inquire of him."  Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is at hand; the LORD has prepared a sacrifice and consecrated his guests.  And on the day of the LORD'S sacrifice -- "I will punish the officials and the king's sons and all who array themselves in foreign attire.  On that day I will punish everyone who leaps over the threshold, and those who fill their master's house with violence and fraud."  "On that day," says the LORD, "a cry will be heard from the Fish Gate, a wail from the Second Quarter, a loud crash from the hills.  Wail, O inhabitants of the Mortar! For all the traders are no more; all who weigh out silver are cut off.
The preparation of the Lord’s Sacrifice occurred under Christ and the consecration of the Lord’s Guests occurred at Pentecost 30 CE.
In 597 BCE they were sent into captivity to the Babylonians to prepare Judah and restore them so they could last until the Messiah and be brought to judgment and the Church established. Then Judah would be dealt with as the church was selected and brought out over the 40 jubilees from 27 CE to 2027 CE. The end period will be from the Wars of the End to the Vials under the Messiah ending at Atonement 2024. 2025 will be the Treble harvest year before the Sabbath and Jubilee of 2026 and 2027. Jerusalem was taken and then restored and then destroyed because they were utterly corrupt. Judaism was established as a false system and it will be destroyed between 2015-2024.
 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are thickening upon their lees, those who say in their hearts, `The LORD will not do good, nor will he do ill.'  Their goods shall be plundered, and their houses laid waste. Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them; though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink wine from them."
The Last Days will be like nothing before it and even as Jerusalem was cut off and the zealots burnt their own granaries and destroyed the Daily Sacrifice under the Roman invasion so also will many suffer again. The major activity was in the Holocaust in 1941-1945. God is now dealing with the Middle East and the surrounding tribes and nations as it has gone on for 2520 years from the fall of the Temple in 597 to the Palestinian mandate of 1922/23. In 1922 Palestine was handed to Britain (whereas 1917 had seen the Balfour declaration). In 1948 an independent Israel was established and 1967 saw Jerusalem restored to Judah under the Six Day War. This was the period representing the Mourning for Aaron and Jerusalem had been regained but the true priesthood had no control and the Temple system was not able to be restored. This began the Restoration Period; then the Wars of the Last Days began after the period of the Last Thirty years of the Mourning for Moses, which started in 1997 at the end of the Time of the Gentiles (see the paper The Fall of Egypt Part II: The Wars of the End (No. 036_2)).
 The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter, the mighty man cries aloud there.  A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness,  a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements.  I will bring distress on men, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the LORD; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung.  Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them on the day of the wrath of the LORD. In the fire of his jealous wrath, all the earth shall be consumed; for a full, yea, sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.
It is at this time that the Messiah is sent to deal with mankind in the Vials of the Wrath of God.
(See the paper Wars of the Last Days and the Vials of the Wrath of God (No. 141B).)
The next chapter deals with the attitude of the people of the land and how the humble and meek shall inherit the land. The command is to seek humility and righteousness.
The text then goes on to deal with Gaza and the Palestinians. This dealing shall be from Gaza to the northern coastal cities of Lebanon.
Zephaniah Chapter 2
 Come together and hold assembly, O shameless nation,  before you are driven away like the drifting chaff, before there comes upon you the fierce anger of the LORD, before there comes upon you the day of the wrath of the LORD.  Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his commands; seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the wrath of the LORD.
Thus it is the meek and the righteous that are protected on the Day of the Wrath of God.
Note the names of the tribal groups and what is to happen to them. These comments also accord with the prophecies of others of the group of the Twelve Prophets.
In these Last Days Gaza under Hamas has brought destruction down upon itself. As the Assyrians and the Babylonians and the Persians and then the Romans came in to conquer and occupy so also in the Last Days will these Arabicised Philistines bring God’s Wrath down on them again. This insane violence will not cease until Gaza is a vacant allotment of rubble and the King of the North will occupy it and spread his palatial tents as foretold by the prophet Daniel (11:40-45). It will spread from Gaza to Ashkelon and Ashdod and Ekron with none to remain in the current holdings and the last beast power of the King of the North will occupy Jerusalem as we see from Daniel.
Ekron was the northernmost of the Philistine pentapolis (Josh. 13:3) 14 km east of the beginning of the Valley of Sorek leading to Jerusalem. It is probably an old Canaanite city as we deduce from Joshua 13:3 (and cf. Joseph. Antiq., V.iii.1).
It might be argued that the Assyrians under Senaccharib had captured it and put the rebels that occupied it under Hezekiah to death and thus ended the sequence but that is not possible. This text refers to the Last Days. The area thus occupied by the King of the North in the Last Days referred to here and in Daniel stretches from the south of Gaza to the area of Ekron and on into Jerusalem.
 For Gaza shall be deserted, and Ash'kelon shall become a desolation; Ashdod's people shall be driven out at noon, and Ekron shall be uprooted.
The group of the Cherethites are then mentioned.
 Woe to you inhabitants of the seacoast, you nation of the Cher'ethites! The word of the LORD is against you, O Canaan, land of the Philistines; and I will destroy you till no inhabitant is left.
The text here refers to the nation of the Cherethites. The Cherethites and the Pelethites were part of the personal Army of David who recruited these two contingents from the Philistines and they proved fiercely loyal to him. They were part of his retinue when he settled in Jerusalem. Benaiah son of Jehoiadah was their leader (2Sam. 8:18; 20:23). Cherethites were settled in the south of Judah in the Negeb. They are part of the Sea Peoples and thus their name may well be derived from the Carites who also later became mercenaries from the area to the north in Asia Minor. The prophecy notes the people seemingly outside of old Philistia will also be relocated.
This prophecy allocates all the areas of these groups to the house of Judah and thus they will come under the regional grouping of Judah in the Federation of Israel for the millennial system.
 And you, O seacoast, shall be pastures, meadows for shepherds and folds for flocks.  The seacoast shall become the possession of the remnant of the house of Judah, on which they shall pasture, and in the houses of Ash'kelon they shall lie down at evening. For the LORD their God will be mindful of them and restore their fortunes.
This prophecy seems to link Ashkelon to the federation of Israel under Judah. The fortunes of all will be restored.
 "I have heard the taunts of Moab and the revilings of the Ammonites, how they have taunted my people and made boasts against their territory.
The territorial disputes of the Palestinians and the continual refusal to be at peace and to compromise will see them dealt with in the coming days. As a result of the coming wars the east bank lands shall be seriously damaged. Israel will occupy them and they will form part also of the federation of Israel.
The following text actually reads “Is the Oracle of Yahovah the God of Israel.”
 Therefore, as I live," says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, "Moab shall become like Sodom, and the Ammonites like Gomor'rah, a land possessed by nettles and salt pits, and a waste forever. The remnant of my people shall plunder them, and the survivors of my nation shall possess them."  This shall be their lot in return for their pride, because they scoffed and boasted against the people of the LORD of hosts.
These areas will have to be restored and the pride of Ammon and Moab will bring them low.
They will not be as fertile as they were when Lot first occupied them. Yet the prophecy seems to be directed at destroying the capacity of the gods of the earth to profit from these lands.
 The LORD will be terrible against them; yea, he will famish all the gods of the earth, and to him shall bow down, each in its place, all the lands of the nations.
The him here is the Messiah as High Priest of the One True God and he will subjugate and rule as prophesied in Zechariah 14:16-19 when they send their delegates to Jerusalem each year at Tabernacles.
The text then turns South to the Ethiopians and then North to the Assyrians. This is in the Wars of the Last Days as we know that the Assyrians come out of the North hand in hand with Israel and the Ethiopians are controlled during the Last Days at the behest of the king of the North as are the North Africans from Lybia west and then they are controlled by the Messiah.
 You also, O Ethiopians, shall be slain by my sword.  And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and he will make Nin'eveh a desolation, a dry waste like the desert.  Herds shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the field; the vulture and the hedgehog shall lodge in her capitals; the owl shall hoot in the window, the raven croak on the threshold; for her cedar work will be laid bare.
We see Nineveh was destroyed but that is not all the prophecies concerning Assyria. It is their idolatrous centres that will be destroyed.
 This is the exultant city that dwelt secure, that said to herself, "I am and there is none else." What a desolation she has become, a lair for wild beasts! Every one who passes by her hisses and shakes his fist.
It is correct that Nineveh was destroyed in 612 BCE and the reference may refer to an earlier occupation of Ethiopia but the prophecies concerning the Last Days are specific. Whilst God destroyed Nineveh then He will bring them from the north in the Last Days and re-establish them as part of the threefold trading alliance with Israel and Egypt. God says He will reclaim Judah and Ephraim and all Israel from Egypt and from Assyria in the north and re-establish them (Zech. 10:10-11) and they shall be blessed as a trading alliance in the system under Messiah when they are connected by a highway from Egypt to Assyria; and Israel shall be a third part of that alliance and a blessing in the land where the Lord of Hosts shall bless them saying, “Blessed be Egypt My people and Assyria the work of My hands and Israel My inheritance” (Isa. 19:23-25).
God then deals with Jerusalem in this last section. Jerusalem is condemned. Judaism accepts no correction at all over the last 2000 years from Messiah to the return and final correction. She is now about to be dealt with but under conditions that limit the nations in what they are able to do. The priests of Judah and Levi have profaned the Calendar and the Covenant and invented the Talmud and made the law say what it does not say and they have perverted the law.
Zephaniah Chapter 3
 Woe to her that is rebellious and defiled, the oppressing city!  She listens to no voice, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the LORD, she does not draw near to her God.  Her officials within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves that leave nothing till the morning.  Her prophets are wanton, faithless men; her priests profane what is sacred, they do violence to the law.
Here God compares His actions with the condition of her princes, priests and prophets and their wanton condition.
 The LORD within her is righteous, he does no wrong; every morning he shows forth his justice, each dawn he does not fail; but the unjust knows no shame.  "I have cut off nations; their battlements are in ruins; I have laid waste their streets so that none walks in them; their cities have been made desolate, without a man, without an inhabitant.
He then asks that surely they will repent but they don’t repent.
 I said, `Surely she will fear me, she will accept correction; she will not lose sight of all that I have enjoined upon her.' But all the more they were eager to make all their deeds corrupt."
This text then shows that he will rise up in the last days and deal with all nations and we are thus beyond doubt that this text is Messianic. These are the Vials of the Wrath of God listed in Revelation.
 "Therefore wait for me," says the LORD, "for the day when I arise as a witness. For my decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out upon them my indignation, all the heat of my anger; for in the fire of my jealous wrath all the earth shall be consumed.
Then God will change the speech of all nations to a pure speech and then deal with the nations.
 "Yea, at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord.
We see here in this text that He reverses what He said in the previous chapter regarding the Ethiopians and all those who turn to Him from beyond the border of Ethiopia throughout Africa and beyond.
 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, the daughter of my dispersed ones, shall bring my offering.  "On that day you shall not be put to shame because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain.  For I will leave in the midst of you a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD,  those who are left in Israel; they shall do no wrong and utter no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue. For they shall pasture and lie down, and none shall make them afraid."  Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!  The LORD has taken away the judgments against you, he has cast out your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall fear evil no more.  On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: "Do not fear, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak.  The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing  as on a day of festival. "I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it.  Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.  At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you together; yea, I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes," says the LORD.
It is at this time when God, through Messiah and the elect, gathers the faithful and gives them a new and pure speech that He removes disaster and reproach from them. In this text we see the prophecy in Isaiah 65:17-25 where God promises to restore the heavens and the earth as it will have been damaged through its entire atmosphere and over the earth and the seas.