April 30, 2011

Minor Prophets LXXIX: Some People Never Learn

We see the phrase, "The day of the LORD," declared clearly in Zephaniah. It is the most abundant frequncy of its use in the Minor Prophets outsode of Joel. 

Zephaniah 1:2-[Judgment on the Whole Earth in the Day of the LORD ] “I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” declares the LORD.

Zephaniah 1:7-Be silent before the Sovereign LORD, for the day of the LORD is near. The LORD has prepared a sacrifice; he has consecrated those he has invited.

Zephaniah 1:14-The great day of the LORD is near— near and coming quickly. The cry on the day of the LORD is bitter; the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry.

Zechariah 14:1-[ The LORD Comes and Reigns ] A day of the LORD is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls.

The other prophets that contain this coming day are Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Zechariah and Malachi are the other prophets (both major and minor).

In Zephaniah 2, in light of the coming "day of the LORD," Zephaniah offers a prophets advise in verse 1-3. Judah is summoned to repent. Period. Judah is addressed as a nation. They are called to seek the Lord before it is too late which leads one to believe that they were not looking for Him or not acknowledging Him. It is clear judgment is imminent. For the same reasons we can believe that they were not trying to be righteous, were not being humble and because of this they were provoking God’s wrath and anger.
As a point of comparison I will now list the various nations that are promised judgment Zephaniah 2:4-15 and then the lists of the nations promised judgement in other prophetic books.

Philistia: The names Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron (and Gath not mentioned) were City-States in Philistia. These names are intentional wordplays in Hebrew to create similar sounds. Woe to you who live by the sea.

Moab and Ammon: The Lord speaks in the first person here. He says He has heard the insults of Moab and the taunts of the Ammonites that insult His people and makes threats against them. They will meet the same demise as Sodom (Moab) and Gomorrah (Ammonites). They will become a place of weeds and salt pits and a wasteland forever.
Cush: Cush’s promised judgment is succinct, “You Cushites, too, will be slain by my sword.”

Assyria: Assyria’s end will not be pretty either. He will stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria, leaving Nineveh utterly desolate and dry as the desert.

...and now the list of nations found in Isaiah 13-23, Jeremiah 46-51, and Ezekiel 25-32.

Isaiah 13: Prophecy Against Babylon, Philistines
Isaiah 15 & 16: A Prophecy Against Moab
Isaiah 17: Prophecy Against Damascus
Isaiah 18: Prophecy Against Cush
Isaiah 19: Prophecy Against Egypt
Isaiah 20: Prophecy Against Egypt and Cush
Isaiah 21: Prophecy Against Babylon, Edom, Arabia
Isaiah 22: Prophecy About Jerusalem
Isaiah 23: Prophecy Against Tyre

Jeremiah 46: Message About Egypt
Jeremiah 47: Message About the Philistines
Jeremiah 48: Message About Moab
Jeremiah 49: Message About Ammon, Edom, Damascus, Kedar, Hazor, Elam
Jeremiah 50: Message About Babylon

Ezekiel 25: Prophecy Against Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia
Ezekiel 26: Prophecy Against Tyre
Ezekiel 27: Lament Over Tyre
Ezekiel 28: Prophecy Against the King of Tyre and a Prophecy Against Sidon
Ezekiel 29: A Prophecy Against Egypt Judgment on Pharaoh
Ezekiel 30: A Lament Over Egypt-Destruction of Egypt and their allies.

I sense a pattern with some of these nations like Egypt, Tyre, Babylon, etc etc…duhhhh. When we see these patterns repeated ad nauseum in the Old Testament it is understandable that God would judge them since He is a just God. Modern readers (or any readers for that matter) really show their misunderstanding of the Bible when they make ridiculous statements like, "The God of the Old Testament was harsh or more judgemental" the God of the New Testament is much more loving and friendly. First off, if man got what he really deserved as many  often demand of God...they would be incinerated and burnt to a cinder where they stood because of their sin. Second, they have not done a really good job of reading the book of Revelation either. Because The Revelation of Jesus Christ is clear. The Tribulation will be worse than anything that has come before it bar-none. That includes World Wars, the Holocaust and the all the death and destruction of the Old Testament. In other words: All Hell is going to break loose.

Perhaps we in this day and age can learn a lesson vicariously through our ancient counterparts? Or maybe not. I dare say we are repeating in a mirror form the same sins of these ancient peopless and we see how they ended up. Do we want to meet the same end? Do we repent or continue on this path of sinfulness and wickedness? I dare say we have definitively turned our back on the only One who matters and we have not just begun to walk away from Him...we have begun to run.

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