In the spiritual application, the “destroying wind” is a figurative “storm” from the north coming down on mystic Babylon. We immediately think of Gog from the land of Magog, and “north” pictures God’s vengeance. In the type, God was behind Nebuchadnezzar to visit punishment on Israel, but now we have a completely different picture with Babylon being the focal point. Against the enemies of the truth in the near future will come God’s judgment.
Posts Tagged ‘ Zephaniah ’
The call to come out of Babylon is an individual call. For the truth’s sake, one may have to leave his father, mother, sister, brother, friend, or anyone else who stays behind and obey as an individual. Christians get rooted in spiritual Babylon; they are comfortable there with their social friendships that are enjoyable, good, and wholesome for the most part. For one to come out of Babylon means to leave friendships and thus to suffer a loss. Taking a stand and leaving mystic Babylon is very searching. The call is to come out so “that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4). To spiritually come out of Babylon is to move from one condition to another. Sometimes very tender ties have to be broken. Then comes the Christian walk, the journeying to “Jerusalem which is above” (Gal. 4:26).
Zephaniah strongly castigated Israel: “You are filthy! You are corrupt from the top of your head to the tip of your toes—your princes, your prophets, your priests, and your judges!” His hearers would have felt he was using tough and insulting talk, likening them to ravening wolves. In referring to their condition, the prophet spoke truth boldly. Most of his hearers were angry, but the right-hearted element hearkened and looked inward. Thus Zephaniah gave a carte blanche condemnation of the people, yet among them were some with a proper heart condition. While his message was helpful in his day in regard to encouraging the people to go back to Israel and build the Temple, he was actually addressing individuals in our day. The main thrust will be fulfilled when God assembles all nations in the near future. While some of these verses had a partial application back there in the prophet’s day, the primary emphasis is on the end of the Gospel Age.
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.
In other words, for 70 years, God would clean the land of all kinds of false worship and atheistic tendencies. Zephaniah went into detail to show just how thorough the Lord’s reform would be—a thoroughness that was guaranteed! Hearing the prophet’s words, Josiah tried to establish the reform, and he will be blessed in the Kingdom Age for his efforts, even though pockets of idol worship remained. He risked his kingship and suffered unpopularity for a while, but when temporal benefits began to accrue from his reform efforts, the people followed him. Josiah must have been a wonderful leader and very unusual to win the confidence and support of the people. Other prophets tried to effect a reform through their message and were persecuted as a result.
We are learning that while God could have spoken to the world with force and power, as represented by the wind and earthquake and the fire, yet all of these would not have expressed to the world the Lord’s real character. To know the Lord they must be permitted to hear the still small voice—the voice of truth, the voice of love, the voice of wisdom. Moreover, we see that the Lord is about to bring upon the world of mankind just such experiences as might be symbolized by these matters displayed to Elijah. The strong winds of war are to be let loose upon the world—indeed quite probably they are already being let loose. The effect will be the rending and tearing of earth, society, the nations. Then will follow a great earthquake, symbolical—a revolution—referred to in Revelation as so mighty an earthquake as had never before been known amongst men. (Revelation 16:18) It will be a revolution which will affect all the governments of the world, socially, politically, financially and ecclesiastically. Following this will come the fire— symbolical fire that will symbolically consume the earth, consume society. “The elements [society] shall melt with fervent heat, the earth [society] also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” Such is the symbolical description given by the Apostle Peter.
End time prophecy indicates that at the time of the Lord’s second advent, activities among men would be much like that of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 18:20-19:28) The Apostle Paul stated of our time: “in the last days… men will be lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God…” (See 2 Timothy 3:1-7) Knowing that the times in which we live would bring great pressure upon Christians to be influenced by worldly thinking, the Apostle Peter admonished Christians, “Seeing that all these things shall be dissolved [this present evil world] what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?” 2 Peter 3:11