The Tyrannical City

“Woe to her who is rebellious and polluted, to the oppressing city! She has not obeyed His voice, she has not received correction; she has not trusted in the Lord, she has not drawn near to her God.” Zephaniah 3:1-2.

The book of Zephaniah was written circa 625 B.C. In 605 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar head of the Babylonian army came into possession of lands like Syria and Palestine on down to the Egyptian border even to Jerusalem and all of Judah.

As he traveled through these lands solidifying his holdings, Nebuchadnezzar began to take young men as prospective government personnel, Daniel and his three friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were among these.

Because of Israelite arrogance and because they would not be a vassal state to Babylon the kings of Judah rebelled more than once against the Babylonians.

Finally, Nebuchadnezzar, who became king in 604 B.C. angered by their rebelliousness, besieged Jerusalem and destroyed it completely.

After ignoring many warnings by God’s prophets telling them to submit to Babylonian rule with the promise that He would keep them secure, Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in July 586 B.C.

Untold loss of life, misery from starvation, complete property loss and destruction, including Solomon’s temple built 400 years earlier. Finally, all but the poorest of them were marched off to Babylon.

Zephaniah chapter three is one of those prophecies.

“Woe to her who is rebellious and polluted, to the oppressing city!” Zephaniah 3:1.

As noted earlier, there were many prophets who warned the leadership in Jerusalem of impending disaster if they did not repent of their many sins.

“Now let me sing to my Well-beloved a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: my Well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it; so He expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, please, between Me and My vineyard. What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes? And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned: and break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned or dug, but there shall come up briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; for righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.” Isaiah 5:1-7.

This prophecy, circa 740-680 B.C. concerns both the southern kingdom of Judah with Jerusalem as its capitol and the northern kingdom of Israel consisting of ten of the twelve tribes. The northern kingdom was taken by Assyria in 722 B.C. and Judah was carried off in 586 B.C.

God states here that He both established Israel and cared for it like a master gardener, yet His care was spurned by Israel and they did as they pleased. Even reckoning the good things God did for them as having been given by their false gods.

It is important to see that God established Israel with godly men and women. But the decline was swift and determined as children forsook God for idols, which bring in filth and depraved behavior.

American history shows that this country was started by godly Christians. And it too over time has fallen into the sewage pit of atheistic relativism, socialism, gross immoral behavior, false religions, and the sinister web of politically correct indoctrination which silences free speech and destroys independent thinking.

This country too, also reckons the good God has done for us as having come through random chance and the hard work of man.

And when God sends drought or harsh weather as a punishment, Mother Nature is said to be on a rampage. Even my computer will automatically capitalize the words mother nature.

The process with God is essentially the same, God establishes, and nurtures, while man becomes fat, dumb, and happy and wanders off into the dark swamp of Satan’s domain.

“Woe to her who is rebellious and polluted…” Zephaniah 3:1a.

In spite of the many warnings and pleadings from God through His prophets, Israel rebelled against God, yet kept her ridiculous moral façade of being God’s chosen people.

“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked [obstinate] people!’” Exodus 32:9.

“[Stephen, an evangelist] You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One [Jesus Christ], of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.” When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.” Acts 7:51-54.

There can be no wonder why Zephaniah 3 begins with the word “Woe.”

Jerusalem was rebellious and polluted; she was polluted with the filth of idol worship where babies were burnt alive in sacrifices to Molech or Baal.

Where pedophilia, incest, adultery and homosexual rituals were carried out in what were called the high places.

Such practices only lead to a loss of respect for other Jews male or female and Gentiles especially, so life itself was held in little esteem. Usury, fraud, robbery, murder, adultery, rape, unchecked perversity, are some of the results which came in like a flood.

Almost half of the population of the United States has embraced most of this new morality, we are reaching critical mass.

“Woe to her who is rebellious and polluted, to the oppressing city!” Zephaniah 3:1.

With these faults in abundance, Jerusalem would be oppressive indeed the entire land of Judah would be oppressive. Oppressing has the meaning of oppressive to the widow, the orphan, and the poor.

In one commentary it was called the tyrannical city, which is where the title for this post came from.

Do not be deceived, the rich, in general, have no compassion for the poor or the helpless.

You will notice that the rich wring their hands over the plight of the poor, and then use our taxpayer money to help them, not their own, unless it can be written off on their tax returns.

“He [the wicked] sits in the lurking places of the villages; in the secret places he murders the innocent; his eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless. He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den; he lies in wait to catch the poor; he catches the poor when he draws him into his net. So he crouches, he lies low, that the helpless may fall by his strength. He has said in his heart, ‘God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see it.’” Psalm 10:8-11.

The rich are powerful, and sometimes (often?) abuse that power, but when it comes to the sin nature all of us have that potential.

Ignorant people think that getting rid of the rich will rid the country of poverty. But the rich, as well as the working class make up a balanced system that works for the good of the economy and the entire nation, if it is left alone, i.e. no government intervention; except to punish the criminals within the system.

Government has only four functions:
To maintain order.
To protect its borders from invasion.
To provide a safe environment for legitimate business.
To, impartially, administer justice.

“She has not obeyed His voice, she has not received correction; she has not trusted in the Lord, she has not drawn near to her God.” Zephaniah 3:2.

Jerusalem the holy city and all of Israel was given to the twelve tribes, the children of Israel, by God. Here is a quote from Deuteronomy spoken by Moses.

“He [God] has brought us to this place and has given us this land, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey…’” Deuteronomy 26:9.

Though the Israelites were dispossessed out of their land, as the prophets continually warned them of, it is still their land.

“Concerning the gospel they [the Jews] are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:28-29.

Those who say that the Israelites are squatters in Palestine and should be evicted are only repeating a satanic lie. However, the Bible tells us, “…the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.”

In spite of all this history the Jews continued to disobey God and ignore His words through the prophets and His written word, they have “…not obeyed His voice.”

They have “…not received correction”. Over a period of about 400 years Israel had received warning after warning and correction after correction with, at best, temporary repentance then it was right back to sin and idolatry.

Correction took the form of droughts, inflation, crops not yielding their full potential, even foreign invasions wherein the whole nation was enslaved and forced to pay tribute.

Each time God rescued them when they cried out to Him, then afterward they backslid into their national sins.

Even after the northern kingdom of Israel was carried off by the extremely cruel Assyrians in 722 B.C. the southern kingdom of Judah only proceeded to sin even more. While at times she did have godly kings she never turned back to the true and living God in her heart.

“O Lord, are not Your eyes on the truth? You have stricken them, but they have not grieved; You have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to return.” Jeremiah 5:3.

Even America which was established by God through godly men has ignored God in Christ and wandered off like so many lost sheep stupidly ignoring correction after correction.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6.

This country has endured a tremendous number of corrections without ever turning to God nationally.

Wars run by politicians which are designed for nothing more than killing our young men, the Korean War (which they disingenuously called Korean Conflict) 36,516 dead, and the Vietnam War 58,209 dead.

Ever since 911 we have thrown good young men into a killing machine called the Middle East approximately 6,713 (Iraq and Afghanistan) dead, and it’s not over yet. No matter how many Muslims we may kill, there will always be more to volunteer for their virgins and rivers of honey.

This is not a diatribe against war; it is a reminder that these are corrections from God, not random acts. Mammoth earthquakes and unstoppable forest fires have wracked this country over the years, along with the droughts, floods, category 5 tornadoes.

Inflation, an influx of illegal aliens, and illegal Muslim invaders, which taxes our welfare system, and endangers our citizens, terrorist acts have cost many lives including the nearly 3,000 lives lost in the 911 attacks carried out by Muslims who were in this country.

“Remember the Alamo” was the cry that went out when 200 plus Americans were killed by Mexican forces in 1836.

“Remember the Maine” became the call to war when the battleship Maine was blown up in Havana Harbor in 1898, killing 260 American sailors.

“Remember Pearl Harbor” became the cry when a Japanese sneak attack killed 2,403 soldiers, sailors, and citizens on December 7, 1941.

Where has the outrage gone? What is the cry now?

“Praise Allah they only killed 3,000 innocents on 911”?

The final death count, was more than Pearl Harbor, at 2977, discounting the 19 terrorist.

Yet 911 too was a correction from God because we relied on our own strength to protect this country.

And still atheists are trying to rid this country of God, while Muslims are trying to replace Him with Sharia law and Allah, who is not the same person as the God of the Christians and the Jews.

“She has not obeyed His voice, she has not received correction; she has not trusted in the Lord…” Zephaniah 3:2.

Jerusalem trusted in the fact that they had the temple within their city. They trusted in the fact that they were God’s chosen race. They would cling to their Holy Scriptures like a lucky rabbit’s foot. But they did not cling to God.

“There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.” “Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “the poison of asps is under their lips”; “whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:10b-18.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6.

“…she has not drawn near to her God.” Zephaniah 3:2b.

If they have not obeyed His voice, if they have not received correction, if they have not trusted in the Lord, how shall they draw near to their God?

It is not as though God had deserted them; they had deserted Him.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8a.

It is as simple as that. However, this is only the beginning of the process for a real relationship with God.

“Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:8b-10.

Even though Israel had turned their back on God, He will not go back on His promise. This promise could be for America if she would turn to Him. No matter what happens with this country though, the promise below is for all Christians and all of believing Israel.

“Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been upheld by Me from birth, who have been carried from the womb: even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.” Isaiah 46:3-4.

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18.

“We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:1-2.

The Tyrannical City taken from posted 3-29-17, updated on 7-3-24 ck.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

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