Zephaniah: The Day of the Lord

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The Day of the Lord

Judgment and Restoration.

Background: Zephaniah's preaching (about 630-625 BC) led to revival during the reign of King Josiah
Theme: The Great and Coming Day of the LORD
Outline: Judgment and Restoration
Key Verse: "Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD's anger." (Zeph 2:3, NIV)

Zephaniah Chapter Index


The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Vol I, Old Testament) is an excellent resource and is referred to as the BKC.

I. Introduction (1:1)

II. Day of Yahweh's Judgment (1:2-3:8)

1:2-3:8 Take note of the chiastic structure of this book. There is a rapid transition among the objects of the LORD's judgment. Also, sprinkled throughout are reminders of the preservation of the faithful remnant.

1:2-3 Re-read this paragraph in the BKC commentary. I agree with Mr. Hannah. Although the language "sweep away everything" implies universal and total destruction, the greater context including 3:9-13 specifies that a remnant will be preserved. The destruction is therefore limited to the wicked, perhaps the faithful will be affected but will not be destroyed.

1:5-6 Syncretism, taking aspects of various beliefs and merging them, is a way of trying to please everyone. It is a very real danger to our faith today. It is so easy to accept someone's use of a statue, religious (but not Christian) jewelry, or an astrology column in the newspaper. It is also difficult to remove a vestige of paganism which has become tradition or a cultural aspect of our church, even when all acknowledge its origin (shall I mention Halloween?). God certainly expresses His opinion of such things here.

1:9 Such wicked people are compared to the pagan Philistines in terms of religious idolatry (preceding verses) and in terms of "violence and deceit." I do not think the leaping over a doorstep to enter a house rapidly is the same thing as "avoiding stepping on the threshold." The object of attention in the latter case is entering the house rapidly. In the Philistine case and according to the specific wording here, it is the threshold that is the object of attention, and special superstitious care taken to not step on it.

1:18 "Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the LORD's wrath. In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth." (NIV) A 'day' is mentioned for the LORD's wrath. It is difficult to consistently interpret how long the LORD's wrath will last.  In my view, it is a short time very near the end of the tribulation period, although it is popular for some to view the whole tribulation (perhaps seven years) as the day of wrath.   Perhaps more important than the duration, which we may argue about, is that such a day is coming.

III. Day of Yahweh's Restoration (3:9-20)

3:12 This verse is similar to the beatitude "the meek shall inherit the earth."

3:19-20 Although we may be mocked occasionally for our walk with the Lord, in His time we will be honored.

Please send comments or suggestions to ron@iStudyBible.com
Updated March 2012

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