Showing posts with label Zephaniah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zephaniah. Show all posts

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Mining the Minors: Zephaniah (9)

The word “Armageddon” has become the generic way of referring to almost any end of the world scenario. In scripture, the word only occurs once, in Revelation 16:16, which we are going to look at today.

The book of Revelation describes the biblical end of the world as revealed to the apostle John by the glorified Christ. In this prophecy, Armageddon is the place where all the major Gentile nations assemble to do battle at the climax of the great tribulation period, in which God will bring about Israel’s repentance and recognition of its Messiah while simultaneously judging the nations of the world for their various evils and mistreatment of his people.

Saturday, August 05, 2023

Mining the Minors: Zephaniah (8)

Zephaniah gives us a brief glimpse in these closing verses of the glories of the millennial reign of Christ in Israel, maybe the earliest among the Minor Prophets and one of the more fully developed visions of the Bible’s version of our future to date. Zephaniah concentrates primarily on the impact that the presence of Christ will have on his earthly people and his restoration of their perpetually-divided and much-maligned nation.

Where will Christians be in all this? Good question.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Mining the Minors: Zephaniah (7)

In the course of our studies in the Minor Prophets, it has come to our attention repeatedly that prophetic utterances often apply to multiple times and places, and that their fulfillments may be literal, spiritual or both. It is possible to read Zephaniah 1:1 through 3:7 as applying almost exclusively to the period from the reign of Josiah in Judah through to the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem and the decades that followed. All but a few verses in these passages have already been fulfilled.

From 3:8 on, however, it is evident the prophet is speaking about days that are still future even for today’s reader.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Mining the Minors: Zephaniah (6)

The last verses of the previous chapter of Zephaniah contemplate the obliteration of the capital city of Assyria, Nineveh.

Much has been said in the writings of other prophets concerning the evils of the world’s biggest cosmopolitan center in that day. Through Zephaniah, God singles out the sin of self-confidence, though the rulers of Nineveh had plenty more than that for which to account. Nineveh put its trust in a natural moat, rivers that surrounded it on three sides and forced attackers to approach it from the west. Its inhabitants said to themselves, “I am, and there is no one else”, because they could not imagine anyone more powerful than they were.

But of course there was. There was always God. Nineveh fell to the Chaldeans in 612 BC, as the Hebrew prophets foretold, and it was the Lord who gave Nebuchadnezzar his victory over them.

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Mining the Minors: Zephaniah (5)

Buried amidst all the specific prophesied judgments of Zephaniah 2 is this more general statement: “The Lord will … famish all the gods of the earth, and to him shall bow down, each in its place, all the lands of the nations.”

We should never forget as we read the scriptures that the rise and fall of nations, past and present, is not merely the product of the ingenuity of human generals or the whims of the kings of the earth. Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin are not the people calling the shots. Behind the scenes lie the principalities and powers, the “gods ['ĕlōhîm] of the earth”. In pitting nation against nation, God is displaying his superiority to and sovereignty over every spirit being in the universe, no matter how powerful or influential. He promises to “famish” or starve them, diminishing their glory and demonstrating their relative insignificance.

The rest of the chapter is the evidence that backs up this statement.

Saturday, July 08, 2023

Mining the Minors: Zephaniah (4)

Lee Child writes about two fictional Colorado towns called Hope and Despair, both established by settlers on their way west to California. In his story, the Rockies are visible from the flatlands around Hope, blue and dominating, tantalizingly close. However, the territory west of Hope is mildly elevated, providing a clearer picture of the real distances. Only a few miles further west, the wagon trainers in Child’s story come to realize their earlier optimism was the product of an optical illusion, and that they are still hundreds of miles from their goal. Hence the name Despair for the second town.

Prophetic distances are equally hard to estimate from afar.

Saturday, July 01, 2023

Mining the Minors: Zephaniah (3)

“In the hand of the Lord there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.”

There are banquets where we’d all appreciate a place at the table — the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, the Lord’s Supper. In scripture, there are also meals to which nobody in his right mind would want an invitation. Nobody covets a seat at the dinner served during the “day of the Lord”.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Mining the Minors: Zephaniah (2)

In studying the Minor Prophets we run into one difficult question repeatedly. The answer to it significantly affects our understanding of the intended scope of a particular prophecy. Wherever we come across Hebrew words that describe geography ['ăḏāmâ, 'ereṣ or ], there is considerable ambiguity about what they are intended to denote. Scholars tell us both 'ăḏāmâ and 'ereṣ may legitimately be translated as either “earth” or “land”. Further, the word may refer to an actual island, or to a larger region far away that is approached (naturally) from the coast. Where “land” is the better translation, the intent is usually (but not universally) to refer to the land of Israel.

So then, a prophet may be predicting something that will affect the entire planet or something that will affect only Israel. Global or local, and context is the only way to determine which is which. Sometimes there simply isn’t enough information in the context to know with certainty.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Mining the Minors: Zephaniah (1)

Top-down, imposed reform doesn’t work. Not long term at least.

Canada is a mess right now, and if you look at the problem at only the surface level, you might imagine a change of government would go a long way to resolving our many issues. But that’s the surface level. I am out and about with average Canadians shooting off their mouths after a few drinks enough to convince me that if Justin Trudeau resigned tomorrow, the Liberal Party would almost surely replace him with someone worse, and next election would produce the closest carbon copy of Trudeau’s globalist progressivism the Canadian electorate could possibly come up with.

Monday, June 12, 2023

Anonymous Asks (253)

“What does it mean that God will rejoice over us with singing?”

The question comes from a verse in Zephaniah, which reads: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

It provides a great illustration of the way many people tend to read the Bible.