Christ in All the Scriptures
by A.M. Hodgkin
- V. Christ in the Prophets
16. Zephaniah --
- This short book has been called ''The Compendium of all prophecy.'' It is a survey of the universal government of Jehovah, His judgment of the whole earth.
Zephaniah (''the watchman of Jehovah'') gives his own genealogy to the fourth generation, showing his descent from Hizkiah, who is probably identical with King Hezekiah. He prophesied during the early part of the reign of Josiah, before idolatry had been put away by the reforms of that king.
Zephaniah's prophecy is marked by the emphasis he lays upon the Day of the Lord. The final application is to the Day of Christ. The impressive language can only find its fulfilment in the great Day of His wrath, described in Revelation 6. ''A day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasting and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and alarm'' (Zeph 1:14-16).
But meanwhile, a day of judgment was near for Judah on account of her sins. He urges her to seek the Lord while there is still time [2:1-3]. He then proclaims God's judgment upon various nations which have oppressed God's people-- upon Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Ethiopia, Assyria, prophesying the fall and utter desolation of Nineveh.
The third chapter shows God's coming judgment upon Judah and Jerusalem, and the future restoration and joy of God's people in the day of the Messiah.
- The Lord in the Midst.
- The third chapter [also] contains a beautiful lesson, taken spiritually. It describes the sinful condition of a soul apart from Christ-- verse 1, sins of commission; v. 2, sins of omission. Those, who should have been leaders in righteousness, are leaders in iniquity-- princes, judges, prophets, priests [v.3,4]. Then the Lord Himself takes the place of these leaders, and we see Him ''in the midst,'' fulfilling each office in turn.
- First, He comes to our hearts as Judge, and convicts us of all that is sinful there, bringing His judgment to light (v.5-7).
- Second, He comes as Prophet, teaching us with pure lips to call upon His Name-- still ''in the midst,'' dealing blessing, in the presence of His holiness (v.8-13).
- Third, He comes ''into our midst'' as King, to reign in undisputed sway in the heart that is surrendered to Him. When the Lord reigns, thus the song begins (v.14-17).
- Fourth, He is ''in the midst'' as our Great High Priest, bringing us into the place of communion with Himself. Here we know Him as the Beloved of our souls. ''He will rejoice over thee with joy, He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.''
The chapter closes [v.18-20] with six beautiful ''I wills'' of what the Lord will do for us.
[Although the above paragraphs make spiritual application of this passage to believers of the present age, remember that the primary application is to the believing remnant of Israel, which the Lord has promised to restore, according to His unfailing love and the unconditional aspects of His covenant with that nation, when in the Messianic Kingdom, He is in the midst of them. These promises will be fulfilled ''at that time...'' v.19,20; cp. Isa 11:12; 27:12; Eze 28:25; 34:13; 37:21-28; Amos 9:14; Zech 2:10,11; 8:3.]
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For another brief look at this book of the Bible,
see the related chapter in OT Reflections of Christ, by Paul Van Gorder.
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