CHAPTER THIRTY TWO
ZEPHANIAH - THE ROYAL PROPHET
Zephaniah - Outline
Zephaniah (634-625 BC) gives an account of his ancestry more than any of the other prophets. His reference to "Hizkiah" is undoubtedly a reference to Hezekiah, therefore making Zephaniah a descendent of that godly King, and thus in the line of David. Zephaniah was a contemporary with Jeremiah and, probably a leading figure in the great religious revival in Josiah's reign.
The kings of Judah reigned in turn as good kings and bad kings, between the worship of God and the worship of idols. Each revival and reformation was followed by a return into idolatry. But with each return to paganism, Judah sank lower and lower. Very little lasting effect resulted from reform, for it was like the old story of "Too little, too late". The last flicker of Judah's hope, before it was finally extinguished, was in Josiah's reforms. In Babylon, they would learn the hard and bitter truth that idolatry is a mockery and a lie.
Zephaniah spoke over and over again of the "the great day of God." He looked face to face with the impending Babylon invasion with its horror. And then through inspiration, looked far beyond that to even worse sufferings for the Jews at the end of the age. Zephaniah hammers hard at the nations concerned, in contrast to the tender wooing of Jeremiah. He does, however, end on a happier note, looking beyond the present wrath to the blessings which would follow.
Joel, Hosea, Amos, Micah, Isaiah and others spoke of "the day of the Lord.' The same theme is picked up in the New Testament in II Thessalonians 2:2. God has already manifested his wrath time and time in judgments upon peoples and nations. The "Day of the Lord" has to do with the time when the wrath of God will be poured out upon the earth and to the time of blessing afterward. It is one of the chief themes of the book of Revelation.
His message was very pertinent to his own generation, and also is pertinent to ours as well.