The Book of Zephaniah Chapter 2: End Times, Psalm 83, Jacob’s Trouble

Oct 29th, 2009 | By | Category: Psalm 83 and Gog & Magog, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name), Zephaniah

The Book of Zephaniah Chapter 2: End Times, Psalm 83, Jacob’s Trouble

(1992)

Zeph. 2:1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired;

The “nation not desired” is primarily Israel, and secondarily Christendom. But in what way is Israel a “nation not desired”? Israel needed judgment in Zephaniah’s day because of the corruption.

Comment: Another translation has, “O nation without desire for repentance.”

Reply: The advice to the Holy Remnant will be to repent. Those Jews who have the right heart condition will have a marvelous destiny. The Masoretic and RSV have, “O shameless nation.”

Out of that shameless nation of Israel, Zephaniah was seeking the meek and righteous element who wanted to be hidden. Just as with John the Baptist, advice at the end of the age will go to three classes who are concerned: (1) true Christians (the consecrated), (2) nominal Christians (the general public), and (3) Israel (the Holy Remnant).

Zeph. 2:2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you.

“Before the decree bring forth [judgment].” The decree would not change, but before the pronounced judgment came, the people could still repent. Zephaniah repeatedly emphasized the word “before.” “Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you [Israel, the ‘nation not desired’].” Zephaniah prophesied about 50 years before the trouble of 606 BC. Each day that passed in the prophet’s life brought the judgment a little closer, so preaching this type of message was appropriate.

Zeph. 2:3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.

In the context of the first two verses, verse 3 is instructing that righteousness and meekness have to be acquired before the day of Jehovah’s wrath. Is there a distinction between those who “have wrought” (past tense) God’s judgment and the instruction to “seek righteousness, seek meekness”? We sometimes describe certain unconsecrated people we know as “good, kind, and trying to do what is right.” In other words, they are trying to do that which is right according to their limited understanding, but more is needed in connection with the impending judgment. They have to “seek” righteousness and meekness; that is, they have to do a little more in pursuing those qualities. The RSV reads, “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.”

In the previous chapter, Zephaniah’s pronouncement of the Lord was, “I will utterly consume all things from off the land … man and beast” (verses 2 and 3). With regard to the land in 606 BC,

no distinction was made between the good and the bad, for the land was rid of all inhabitants so that it could fulfill its sabbaths. However, the bad, the majority, were consumed with death, and the good, a minority, were taken captive. When Zephaniah’s sobering message came, the people had to search their hearts and conduct, and if they wanted to please the Lord, the burden of their prayer and desire had to be to do God’s will even more diligently than they might have in the past and to hearken to Zephaniah as well as to the Old Testament.

The name Zephaniah means “the LORD hides or protects.” God overruled so that Zephaniah providentially got his name at birth—long before he preached this message about hiding. His name indicates that his role was to seek out and encourage, enlighten, and strengthen the class who were righteously inclined so that they would be hidden in 606 BC, the day of God’s wrath. Incidentally, a New Testament example of providential overruling is that the tree Zacchaeus climbed had to be planted a number of years before Jesus’ First Advent began and Zacchaeus came on the scene.

When John the Baptist warned of coming trouble, various classes who feared the trouble asked him what to do (Luke 3:7-14). Advice was given to each class, as follows:

1. To the general populace: If you have extra clothing or food, give it to those who have none.

2. To the publicans: Take only what is appointed to you and no more.

3. To the soldiers: Do no violence, be content with your wages, and do not falsely accuse anyone.

The people understood that there would be a baptism of “fire” (trouble) on the nation, especially on the wicked. The refuse would be destroyed in the coming day of fire. However, when asked for advice, John did not tell the people to consecrate. Instead he gave specific instructions to three different classes.

With regard to 606 BC, the antitypical counterpart of Zephaniah’s message to the Jews is a warning of the trouble that is to come on Christendom in the near future, that is, to all nations and the people who are professedly Christian. John the Baptist’s advice is also appropriate for the end of the age. For the unconsecrated who hearken to that advice, their chances for survival will be greatly enhanced.

In Zephaniah’s day, those who sought meekness and complied with his advice were favored by being taken into captivity instead of being slain. The Apostle Peter spoke of the spiritual counterpart for our day: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Pet. 4:17,18). In other words, “Seeing that we understand about the future and are looking forward to the Kingdom, wherein a new heavens and a new earth will replace the old, we, as Christians, should examine ourselves very carefully to be sure we really are trying to please God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.” Peter was talking about the end of the Gospel Age—our day—when the change is about to take place. He was urging sobriety and not just careless talk about the beautiful Kingdom. First will come very soul-searching conditions. The apostle’s advice is to Christians, not to the world.

Zephaniah’s advice to seek meekness and righteousness was addressed to the nation of Israel as a whole. And John the Baptist’s advice was addressed more or less to classes of “worldlings,” that is, the general public. Therefore, to “seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger” applies not to us but to the general public. Christians are not to go into a closet to be hidden at that time. Only as new creatures do we want to be covered and pass through the trouble and, by God’s grace, become members of the Little Flock or, by His extra grace, get life as part of the Great Company.

To repeat: Peter’s advice is addressed to the consecrated, whereas Zephaniah and John the Baptist gave advice more or less to the general public. With regard to Israel in the near future, the righteous class, the Holy Remnant, will be hidden—they are guaranteed survival—for they are “written” in the book of survivors (Dan. 12:1; Isa. 4:3). That class will be handpicked to live through the trouble that will occur when Michael stands up. Aside from Israel, the nominal people elsewhere who are trying to do good may be hidden if they follow general counsel; that is, there is no guarantee, but if they refrain from doing violence or defrauding others and stay out of the way of the Lord’s steamroller, their chances of survival will be better. With Christians, the goal is to be faithful unto death, to survive as new creatures, not according to the flesh.

Zeph. 2:4 For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up.

Zeph. 2:5 Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant.

Starting with verse 4, the rest of the chapter is directed to specific places, some of which exist today. With regard to the Philistine cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Ekron, verse 4 had a fulfillment in the prophet’s day. From that fulfillment, we will try to extrapolate a little further, but first, we will discuss the fulfillment back there. King Nebuchadnezzar laid waste the whole land in 606 BC. When Israel went into captivity for 70 years so that the land would enjoy her sabbaths, other areas were included as well, for the whole land had to rest.

Comment: The cities are listed from south to north: Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Ekron.

Reply: Yes, those cities were in Philistine territory, and so were the Cherethites.

“The word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines.” This scathing remark refers indirectly to Ham, who migrated that way and inhabited the land. Eventually the land and the people became corrupt, being described as seven peoples: Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, Hivites, Hittites, Jebusites, and Perizzites. In this instance, the term “Canaan” referred to “the land of the Philistines,” a people who, generally speaking, occupied the valleys, the lowlands, in a fairly large area south and west of Judah.

The Cherethites were Cretans from the Isle of Crete, who dwelled in the same area with the Philistines. They, too, would be judged.

Zeph. 2:6 And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks.

Zephaniah prophesied that the land would be desolate and forsaken in the coming judgment, but later it would be used for shepherds and flocks. When the Israelites returned in 536 BC from their 70-year captivity, they would take over the places, pasturage, and dwellings that were formerly occupied by these various peoples. These verses also apply to the near future in harmony with Psalm 83.

Zeph. 2:7 And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.

“And the coast[land] shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah.” This prophecy had a fulfillment when the Jews returned from their 70-year captivity. They occupied the Mediterranean coastland of the Philistine territory just described including inland portions—Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Ekron—all of which were in the land deeded to Judah. Therefore, it was logical for those returning from captivity to go to their former places and territory.

“They shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity [in Babylon].”

To understand prophecy clearly, we must first consider the literal. Then the account can be studied to see if there is a double picture, an antitype. Literal history is important. Now we can see that the prophet was slowly beginning to change gears to give an admonition that will be worldwide. A little of that admonition is in chapter 2, but the bulk is in chapter 3.

The “[Holy] remnant” at this end of the age will also occupy these places. In the literal application, the land was laid desolate in 606 BC. In the future, a little before Israel’s deliverance from Jacob’s Trouble, Psalm 83 will have some bearing. Verse 7 of that Psalm mentions the Philistines. The whole Psalm is like an unuttered prayer of Israel that expresses the thinking of the people in the near future when they are threatened on all sides by the Arabs. Even today Israel has enemies within and without its borders, but the trouble will be felt more keenly in the future. For example, the Gaza Strip is a thorn to Israel within its borders, and hostile neighbors are thorns without. Psalm 83, a prayer for deliverance, does not tell about the outcome. The cry for help will go forth: “O Lord, deliver us, for we are surrounded on all sides by our enemies. O my God, make them like a wheel, as stubble before the wind. As the fire burns a wood, and as the flame sets the mountains on fire; so persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm” (Psa. 83:13-15 paraphrase). This Psalm shows the problem that exists and that will persist and become even worse as we go further into the future before Jacob’s Trouble.

Psalm 83 does not say these places are destroyed, but it does pinpoint them. What will be the solution in the Kingdom for these enemies of Israel? These Arab peoples will have to become subservient to Israel, for out of Zion will go forth the law and from Jerusalem will go the pronouncement, the word of Jehovah (Isa. 2:3). People will have to hearken and obey.

Q: The contrast between verses 4 and 7 seems to be significant. Verse 4 says, “They shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day,” and verse 7 states, “The remnant … shall lie down [peacefully] in the evening.” Is the thought that after the astounding defeat of the Arabs, there will be a little period of peace and prosperity for Israel before the final invasion of Gog?

A: Yes. God will help Israel to defeat the enemies—until the hordes come down from the north in the Gog and Magog situation of Ezekiel 38 and 39. The numbers will be so overwhelming at that time that Israel will have no hope until God fights for the Holy Remnant miraculously and single-handedly, as it were. God will fight for His people as “in the day of battle” (Zech. 14:3).

Many Jews will want to fight, even though the odds seem hopeless, and depending on the heart condition, such individuals can be of the Holy Remnant. The city of Jerusalem will be taken—actually captured—before God saves the Holy Remnant (Zech. 14:2).

The thought is not necessarily that there is no hope in the Kingdom for the Philistines—those of Ashdod, Gaza, etc.—but that when the Kingdom is inaugurated, not many will be on hand.

They will come forth from the tomb subsequently and be treated like the world and given an opportunity to gain everlasting life. Based upon their obedience, these “strangers” will be reckoned as citizens of Israel (Ezek. 47:21-23).

Back to the question that was asked about a portion of verse 4: “They shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day.” The term “noon day” means “high noon,” that is, a critical time of judgment like midnight. In hot climates, noon is siesta time, when activity ceases. Thus this judgment in the near future will be sudden. The Arabs will be taken by surprise and be unprepared; their guard will be down. The Companion Bible supports the thought of a siesta.

Zeph. 2:8 I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border.

The previous warning pertained basically to the Philistines. Now the reproach is directed against Moab and Ammon, who had taunted Israel and “magnified themselves against their border.” This taunting occurred when the king of Assyria invaded the land and took the ten tribes captive. Particularly Ammon did the taunting because the territory of the Ammonites more or less bordered that of the ten tribes. When the ten tribes were removed, the Ammonites moved into their land. In other words, they viewed the adversity of the ten tribes as a godsend, and they added to the hardship of the ten tribes by taunting them during the process of their being taken captive. Being very avaricious, the Ammonites took advantage of the goods and the land of the ten tribes. This spirit was manifested twice: when the ten-tribe kingdom was taken captive and when Judah went into captivity in 606 BC, which was future from Zephaniah’s ministry and prophecy.

Zeph. 2:9 Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them.

The making of Moab and Ammon as Sodom and Gomorrah, respectively, is one time period, and the end of verse 9, “the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them,” refers to a later time period. Moab and Ammon were made a desolation when King Nebuchadnezzar took Judah and neighboring peoples captive around 606 BC—about 50 years future from Zephaniah’s day. Moab and Ammon “shall be [future tense] as … the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation.” Although Psalm 83 does not show a judgment being inflicted, we can sense that quite a visitation will come on these Arab peoples shortly before Jacob’s Trouble.

On a tour of Transjordan about 30 years ago, we went to the sites of some of the former big cities, of which Petra was one. Today the cities are in ruins, yet previously they were a civilization. Basically, no people are presently living in that whole area, as we witnessed in a four- to five-hour ride from Amman, the capital of Jordan, down to Petra, which is a considerable distance south of the Dead Sea. Other than a few little hamlets, this area is empty and barren almost 2,500 years later. According to the Kings and Chronicles accounts, hundreds of thousands of sheep and goats from this territory were given as presents, which means that millions of sheep and goats were being raised there. The paucity of animals today is the result of a long-time curse that has been on this land. Indeed there was a harsh fulfillment on Moab and Ammon in 606 BC. Jordan is an artificial country and people formed in more recent times in connection with the Hashemite kingdom. The name Amman has been retained from the past.

Incidentally, in a barren area near Petra, which is 100 to 200 miles from Sodom, there is evidence today of the volcanic destruction that rained on Sodom and Gomorrah. Pieces of lava are extensively scattered about, some with the appearance of canon balls, showing that a violent explosion occurred at the time of the destruction. Now we can better understand why, with their limited vision, the two daughters of Lot felt they were the only survivors on earth and wanted to have children by their father. The two sons who were subsequently born were Moab and Ammon.

We will again consider the end of verse 9: “The residue of my people [Israel] shall spoil them [Moab and Ammon].” Then the thought is repeated: “And the remnant of my people [Israel] shall possess them [Moab and Ammon].” The fulfillment will take place in the Kingdom when Israel’s borders are expanded. In 536 BC, Cyrus gave a decree for the Jews to go back to their land, but history shows that, in addition, the other peoples were subsequently permitted to return to their land. Egypt was also taken captive and made desolate, yet secular history contains no such record of that nation being devoid of a population—or Moab or Ammon.

Thus we can see how valuable the Bible is from a historical standpoint. Moreover, the Bible is very specific, whereas much of history that is considered reliable is written by man. Not only do most of these authors have very little knowledge, but they lived many years after the fact— sometimes thousands of years later. The Bible presents history in a methodical way, yet people do not worship the Creator or sufficiently appreciate His Word.

When the Israelites came back from Babylonian bondage, they built Zerubbabel’s Temple. A little later Nehemiah was given permission by the king of Persia to rebuild the walls of the city.

With a shovel in one hand and a weapon in the other hand—that is, under very troublous conditions from hostile neighbors—the Israelites rebuilt first the Temple and later the city.

They first settled in Judah in order to build the Temple, and afterwards some of them went up to the north and began to populate that land. Only a minority of those who returned from Babylon were from the ten tribes, but that minority gravitated back to the homes of their ancestors. The point is that we do not have any historical record of the residue of the people occupying much of that land. In his earthly ministry, Jesus did some preaching in Transjordan but relatively little. Therefore, this prophecy in the end of verse 9 is relegated to the future. In other words, the prophecy has not had a past fulfillment in the sense of occupying the large territories of Ammon and Moab.

Then there is the matter of the deed to the land. For instance, the Scriptures mention Gilead. In the Kingdom, Israel will be so densely populated that the Jews will spill over into Gilead, the northern part of Jordan, which is basically Ammon. Relatively speaking, Moab is the southern portion of Jordan. At the time of Moses, the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh were deeded properties east of the Jordan River in what is now called Jordan. Moab and Ammon were cut in half, so each of these two nations suffered some occupation back in Moses’ day. However, as time went on, they enlarged their territories. Verse 9 is saying that the remnant, the residue, are to occupy these territories. In other words, the deed given in Moses’ day will be reactivated in the Kingdom Age to embrace not only land west of the Jordan River but also a large tract of land on the east side. Therefore, this “residue” and “remnant” will be the Holy Remnant, who survive Jacob’s Trouble. As they multiply and increase, they will possess these other territories, not totally but to a large extent, as in Moses’ day.

Psalm 83 pertains to the Arab conflict with the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and hostile neighbors such as Syria. The setting of that Psalm shows the Israelis being so frustrated with this situation and the dark picture in front of them that they are praying for help. Since the people have not yet prayed in the manner described, the Psalm suggests that the circumstances will become more and more grievous—in fact, to such an extent that they will call on Jehovah for relief as they feel threatened with extinction.

The first chapter of Zephaniah and part of the second chapter speak of the complete desolation that occurred when Nebuchadnezzar invaded the land and left no inhabitants. Although the judgment to occur on the Arabs in the near future will not be utter desolation, there will, nevertheless, be devastating developments to remove the Arab threat. This judgment will solve the problems with Israel’s more local and surrounding enemies, but not with the distant ones, who will be dealt with when God saves the Holy Remnant out of Jacob’s Trouble.

After the strong defeat of the Arabs in harmony with the prayer of Psalm 83, there will come a little period of peace so that Israel can become a land of unwalled villages and get much “cattle and goods,” that is, experience prosperity (Ezek. 38:11,12). Something has to happen to give the nation a temporary sense of security. At present, the surrounding hostile element would have no reservations in sending missiles with an atomic warhead into Israel. Thus the threat is becoming more and more real as time goes on. For Israel to have a measure of security before the Gog and Magog situation means the Arab threat has to be eliminated. We think that Israel will act against the Arabs when the so-called Christian nations are at loggerheads with war and confusion occurring throughout the earth. Then Israel will be able to deal with the threat without Western interference. For example, the United States, England, and Russia intervened with stern threats to stop the success of the last war when Israel could have conquered Egypt.

Not all Arab inhabitants will be removed from the land but a sufficient number to give Israel a decided victory.

In summary, we believe there is a double picture here in chapter 2. The primary picture is the literal one back in 606 BC. The secondary picture pertains to our day with overtones of a problem and judgment in the near future.

Zeph. 2:10 This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of hosts.

Because of the taunting, Moab and Ammon will receive harsh judgment. With regard to the destruction of the future, those who die will come forth from the grave in the general resurrection and be dealt with individually under Messiah’s established, organized, controlled rod-of-iron government. The Moabites and the Ammonites will return to their lands but under new and changed circumstances. Thus, in spite of the destruction of life, cities, and places, they will have an opportunity for everlasting life just like the rest of the world of mankind  under the New Covenant in the Kingdom Age of blessing.

Zeph. 2:11 The LORD will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen.

Verse 11 is unquestionably future. The last part of the verse is interesting: “Men shall worship him, every one from his [own] place, even all the isles of the heathen.” No rain will fall on any nation that refuses to send a representative element to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles in the Kingdom (Zech. 14:16,17). Thus verse 11 is saying that the majority of people will remain in their resident places and worship God from there, while sending a delegation to Israel to represent them and show their obedience and submission to the new order.

For a while, a greater responsibility will be laid upon the Gentile eyewitness survivors of God’s intervention on behalf of the Holy Remnant in Jacob’s Trouble. It will be incumbent upon them to return to Jerusalem annually for the Feast of Tabernacles. In fact, so devastating and awesome will the events be in the rescue of the Holy Remnant that the eyewitnesses will want to go back to manifest and give evidence of their submission.

“The LORD … will famish all the gods of the earth.” For “famish,” the King James margin has “make lean,” that is, “starve.” Thus a little ironic but constructive humor is interjected into the account. In the type, sacrifices were brought to various deaf and dumb idols that could neither move nor eat. Because offerings will no longer be brought in the Kingdom, the idols will figuratively starve. All false religions and forms of worship will be exposed as impure and false, and thus will experience starvation and elimination.

Zeph. 2:12 Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword.

Zeph. 2:13 And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness.

Zeph. 2:14 And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he shall uncover the cedar work.

Verses 12-15 are presented against a backdrop of the previous castigation of the lands of Canaan (the cities of the Philistines), Moab, and Ammon. The next areas against which God’s wrath will be directed are Ethiopia and Assyria, Nineveh being the capital of Assyria at that time. The “Ethiopia” of Zephaniah’s day was Egypt. (At that time in history, Ethiopia dominated and embraced Egypt.) Notice that the judgment is stated very briefly: Egypt “shall be slain by my [God’s] sword.” Based on other prophecies, such as in the Book of Isaiah, we

believe that only a portion of Egypt will be affected in the coming judgment.

More detail attends the judgment on Assyria. If we put ourselves back in the day when Zephaniah wrote this prophecy, Assyria was the world power. The Assyrians and their kings were very cruel people, continually fighting. Assyria and Nineveh would be thoroughly despoiled future from the prophet’s day. This judgment first occurred at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar’s father, that is, before the visitation of judgment by his son on Ammon, Moab, and the Philistine cities. In league with other powers, Nebuchadnezzar’s father successfully defeated Assyria, and Babylon was part of the booty he received. Subsequently Babylon not only became a separate government but grew into a world empire. Although Egypt and Assyria were earlier world powers, the setting of Daniel’s prophecy began with Babylon as the head of gold (Dan. 2:38).

“He [God] will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria [Ethiopia, or Egypt, was to the south]; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness.” When Assyria was laid waste, the capital was no longer Nineveh but became Babylon, for Babylon was the world power that succeeded Assyria.

These places were made such a desolation that Nineveh was only discovered or unearthed in the twentieth century. Probably more ancient writings were found in a library in Nineveh from one of the last kings than in any other place. At least 20,000 to 30,000 cuneiform tablets were found. Incidentally, Assyria covered parts of modern-day Iraq and Iran.

“Nineveh [would become] a desolation, and dry like a wilderness.” Desert sands covered this place and left only a few pillars, or columns. For example, what is called Baalbek in Lebanon has some gigantic stone pillars and nothing else. Nineveh is similar, although the columns are not as well preserved. Thus Zephaniah prophesied that Nineveh would become dry like a wilderness with the sand creeping in. The irrigation would stop, so there would be no vegetation. Birds perched on the top of the pillars and came in to lodge in the upper lintels and columns of the buildings. In other words, Nineveh became so desolate that birds which normally would be frightened by civilization and avoid the city moved in. The same was true with the wild beasts, so that Nineveh became a habitation of wild creatures such as hyenas.

The voices of the cormorant and the bittern would “sing in the windows.” These “windows” were open with no glass; they were openings on top of columns that allowed light to penetrate and thus illuminate the temples. Above the windows was a roof, or a covering. The birds perched and lodged there and chirped and sang. Zephaniah was describing a picture of utter desolation with the sounds of birds and wild creatures. For example, in the Temple of Dendara in Egypt, the guide who led us up an ancient staircase shouted and clapped his hands to scare away any bats, scorpions, or vipers.

“He shall uncover the cedar work.” Presidential palaces were paneled with cedar. Since the giant cedars were large trees, the logs were especially prized. Conquerors took the cedar work as a spoil and used it to panel their own temples. It not only beautified their structures but was like a trophy of the victory.

Comment: Leeser says, “Ruin shall be on the thresholds; for the cedar wainscoting shall be torn away.”

Zeph. 2:15 This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand.

“This is the rejoicing city that [previously] dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in!” Notice the exclamation point. “Every one that passeth by her shall hiss [whistle], and wag his hand.” The traveler who came on this situation whistled and wagged his hand, the latter expression meaning that he pinched his nose in disgust and waved his hand to indicate he wanted no part in the matter.

Nineveh’s boast reminds us of Revelation 18:7 with regard to Papacy or Catholicism: “How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” Isaiah 47:8 applies to Babylon, or Chaldea, “Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children.” Just as literal Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar boasted, and both the king and the empire had to be humiliated, so spiritual Babylon boasts and will be destroyed. Nineveh is also a picture of Papacy, or spiritual Babylon. Incidentally, Nineveh was destroyed 40 years after the repentance in Jonah’s day.

Comment: Verse 15 is a proof text that the Vatican will literally be destroyed.

Reply: Yes, that thought is certainly suggested, even though there are no details. The Vatican will become a stench.

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  1. […] Re: Hamas Leader Khaled Mashaal Flees Damascus Originally Posted by Twinklingofaneye Zephaniah 2:9 Now, as surely as I live," says the LORD of Heaven's Armies, the God of Israel, "Moab and Ammon will be destroyed–destroyed as completely as Sodom and Gomorrah. Their land will become a place of stinging nettles, salt pits, and eternal desolation. The remnant of my people will plunder them and take their land." Is this yet to happen? The following link is a study thats worth the time on this topic The Book of Zephaniah Chapter 2: End Times, Psalm 83, Jacob’s Trouble | FinalTrump.com […]

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