“I said, ‘Surely you will fear Me, you will receive instruction’ – so that her dwelling would not be cut off, despite everything for which I punished her. But they rose early and corrupted all their deeds.” Zephaniah 3:7.
“Therefore wait for Me,” says the Lord, “until the day I rise up for plunder; My determination is to gather the nations to My assembly of kingdoms, to pour on them My indignation, all My fierce anger; all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy.” Zephaniah 3:8.
As we have done throughout this study, verse 7 from “The Tyrannical City, part 4” posted here on 8-13-20 has been included above for context. But more than that, it has been included to show a time gap between verses 7 and 8.
Zephaniah chapter three has up to this point suggested an impending doom for Jerusalem if she persisted in her godless conduct.
While said punishment is not given here, many other Scriptures give us their punishment, and record historically what happened to Jerusalem and all of Judah.
With Nebuchadnezzar’s rise to power Judah soon fell into his hands around 605 B.C. and by 587 B.C. Jerusalem was sacked and the temple destroyed.
The people who heard and read Zephaniah’s prophecies were taken as prisoners to Babylon about 20 years after his warnings. Then after a period of 70 years they were allowed to return to Jerusalem, not all of them went back.
Shortly after their return there was a revival and the people lived righteously. However in time the Jews, while not returning to idolatry did take on a form of religion which became a religion of ritual, rules and works.
This paved the way for the legalistic, Pharisaic Judaism which Jesus faced when He began His ministry in about 30 A.D.
If you were to read Zephaniah 3:1-5, you would have a very accurate description of the leaders that persecuted Jesus during His ministry here on earth.
But this is not the time gap between verses 7 and 8 that was mentioned earlier. No, the time gap does not happen until after the death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, celebrated by all of Christianity as Easter Sunday.
Jesus was not just another man that the Romans crucified, He was God incarnate. Nor was He just another crucifixion, the pain He felt was not just the continuous agonizing pain that everyone endured on a cross, it was the crushing pain in His soul as He took the punishment of Hell for the sin of all mankind.
In the book of Daniel he describes a vision of God the Father seated on a throne of judgment, it is as follows.
“I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him.” Daniel 7:9-10a.
When I visualize the last phrase above, the fiery stream issuing from before the throne, I see a flow of volcanic lava flowing out like a river before Him; this is the dreadful judgment for sin. Though men could not see it, Jesus was plunged into this suffocating stream for three hours!
“Now when the sixth hour [noon] had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour [3 pm]. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” Mark 15:33-34.
They took a Man down from the cross, but His soul had been burned to ashes within Him. No one can make a movie of this, and no one can write a book about it, imagination would fail, and hearts would break.
This crucified Man was God incarnate, the only completely satisfactory and eternal sacrifice for sin.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:2.
“For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer [cow under 3 years of age], sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:13-14.
“Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of Grace?” Hebrews 10:28-29.
Since Jesus has been plunged into the fiery flood for all of mankind’s sins, why would anyone want to endure for all eternity a punishment which has already been paid for?
Is God being harsh because He will send those who reject Christ as their Savior to the lake of fire?
The answer would seem to be yes, but remember this, the same God who judges men for their sins also paid for their sins so they would not have to be separated from Him for eternity.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation [full payment] by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:23-26.
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:5-10.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18.
It was on Resurrection Sunday, that God showed mankind and all of creation that the death of Christ had fully paid for the sin of the world.
“Now after the Sabbath, as [Sunday] the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.’” Matthew 28:1-6.
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me [Apostle Paul, Acts 9:1-31] also, as by one born out of due time.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.
It is at this point with the death and resurrection of God the Son Jesus Christ that God’s prophetic clock stops. It begins ticking again in our study with the first phrase in Zephaniah 3:8. Soon after that will be the death knell of the governments of men on this earth.
“Therefore wait for Me,” says the Lord, until the day I rise up for plunder…” Zephaniah 3:8a.
This will be taken up in our next study of Zephaniah chapter 3.
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [full payment] for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10.
The Tyrannical City, Part 5 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 4-15-17, updated on 8-16-20.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.