The believer is called to study the scriptures and seek the Lord - not visit an oracle! Zephaniah, the ninth of the minor prophets, focuses upon the Day of the Lord. Absence of the fear of the Lord leads to a state of deception and, often, an inappropriate attitude of over-familiarity with God, expressed in both lifestyle and worship. Zephaniah's name (literally, The first manifestation of leaping over the threshold is the, Whereas there was a damaging trend toward theological intellectualism from the period of the Enlightenment, the reverse trend which started within parts of the Charismatic movement, has led to a departure from study and a move away from the scriptures. The key passage speaking to the modern Church is found in the address to the offenders in Zephaniah 3:1-7, where they are described as rebellious and defiled. A generation of both Jewish and Christian scholars have worked tirelessly to formulate a renewed understanding of the message of Jesus and attempt to find what that message meant the first hearers of that message. ), standing alone among the prophets descended from royal blood (1:1). Secondly 'threshold leaping' has allowed alien practices to insinuate their way into both the practice and the theology of some parts of the Church. The final judgment will be founded upon two issues: works and faith in Messiah (Rev 20:13-15). Another way to prevent getting this page in the future is to use Privacy Pass. 1:7 ). Your IP: 188.8.131.52 Unbiblical preaching prevents the meaningful operation of Church discipline - as believers begin to drift apart. The early Church was empowered by their being of 'one accord' (Acts 1:14, 2:1, 2:43, 5:12). Israel had been called out from the nations of the earth to be a blessing to those nations (Gen. 12:1–3). The third problem caused by 'threshold leaping' is that there is little or no fear of the Lord (Prov 1:7, 2:5 and many others). Purpose of Writing: Zephaniah’s message of judgment and encouragement contains three major doctrines: 1) God is sovereign over all nations. His warning to those who 'leap ever the threshold' has a particular relevance today. Worldwide judgment. If Church leaderships are to exercise their function of protecting the flock, there must of necessity be a consensus of opinion, based upon the scriptures as to what the minimum standards are that may be taken to represent the faith. 1) and then Judah’s oppressors (ch. Zephaniah's presentation of the Day of the Lord illustrates the beginning of the genre that would develop into the apocalyptic writings of the inter-testament period. If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware. Those who humble themselves enough to trust him will escape his punishment despite their sin. We may observe the following comparisons today, in the hope that the prophet's cry may be heard, lest the Church be considered among the rebellious and defiled upon the Day of the Lord. Zephaniah is the ninth of the Minor Prophets, the last 12 books of the Old Testament. The prophet himself dates his message during the reign of Josiah (640 – 609 B.C. • Whereas there is a wonderful unity that may be found in diversity, and whilst often practice has more to do with taste than theology, there is a responsibility within the body to be in submission to each other. In the tradition of Israel's great prophets, Zephaniah's pronouncement of judgment carries with it the remedy (Zeph 3:9). “From beyond the rivers of Cush”—that is, from beyond the known ends of the earth in the time of Zephaniah—“my worshipers, the daughter of my dispersed ones, shall bring my offering” (Zeph. Must not sin, even the sin of his people, be punished? The message of Zephaniah to the global church of the twenty-first century is the certainty of the coming “day of the Lord ” ( Zeph. The rebellious and the defiled are they who have leapt over the threshold (Zeph 1:9a) or gladly served their own idols of self-interest - attempting to conform the faith to their own perceptions (leaping over the threshold refers to the practice of mounting the steps of a platform upon which an idol was enthroned). Rebellious human hearts and the actions that such hearts produce will not escape the punishment of God. The reign of Hezekiah's son Manassah was marked by the re-establishment of pagan worship abolished by his father. . 3:9). In conclusion, the Church will not attain the dynamic needed to be an effective tool in the Lord's hand until there is a unity of the Psalm 133 type. The man Zephaniah has an interesting pedigree: he traces his lineage back to a man named Hezekiah. There is no greater need in the human heart than for divine love. • Heb 11:37. He will bring every wrong against them to justice. There is nothing wrong with cultural distinctives in Christian worship - but these cultural distinctives must not replace or compromise the biblical basis of the faith. Worship in music and dance are beautiful expressions of one's devotion to the Lord and as such should be highly valued - not brought down to the level of light entertainment. 3:16–17). Zephaniah probably had Ethiopian ancestry and was a Godly influence in the royal court. Fred Wright turns to the Prophet Zephaniah and his message against those who 'leap over the threshold'. 1:15), was experienced by Jesus Christ on the cross. Rather than influencing the world, Israel had been influenced by the world. The Global Message of Zephaniah. The reign of Hezekiah's son Manassah was marked by the re-establishment of pagan worship abolished by his father. © 2020 Prophecy Today is published by C&M Ministries, a charity registered in England and Wales (1029797). On that day, punishment will be executed on all God’s enemies from many nations ( 2:11; 3:8) and salvation will be granted to all God’s people, also from many nations ( 3:9–10 ). This faith was that which we refer to as the Old Testament, along with the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, which at the time Jude was writing were not contained in a single volume. God had determined that the Babylonians would be His instrument to punish the nation of Judah. https://www.insight.org/resources/bible/the-minor-prophets/zephaniah The main message of the first chapter in the book of Zephaniah is the Day of the Lord… See here. The book of Zephaniah exists because of this dilemma. For God has taken them into covenant with himself and has dealt with their sin through the atoning work of his Son. 42:6; 49:6), can escape the corruption and rebellion that fill the earth because of the fall (Genesis 3). Consequently, the elevation of the experiential, along with the creation of private canons, pave the way to heresy and apostasy. 2) The wicked will be punished and the righteous will be vindicated on the day of judgment. If the body is united, the exercise should be easily transferrable and capable of being effective in most situations. Yet this glorious calling had been tragically frustrated when Israel wound up exhibiting the same idolatry and selfishness that she had been sent to heal. Beneath every other valid need is the need to be loved by the One who knows us better even than we know ourselves. It is no longer just the gay and lesbian Christian movement that will not accept the biblical teaching upon this important matter – it is the entire established Church. Specifically, actions against God’s own people will not escape God’s punishment. In consequence the Day of the Lord is seen a naive and rosy way. If one of these two themes rises to the surface, however, it is the theme of global salvation. The practice of elevating worship in music to the extent that on occasion it is the sole content of a weekly meeting can have adverse effects, particularly if the content of the music does not major on the Lord but upon the individual; the worship itself can become an idol. And to those who look to him, to those who make the Lord their refuge, he himself says, he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zeph. | Certified Educator The book of Zephaniah in the bible consists of three chapters. Whereas there was a damaging trend toward theological intellectualism from the period of the Enlightenment, the reverse trend which started within parts of the Charismatic movement, has led to a departure from study and a move away from the scriptures. Zephaniah was prophesying during the reign of, After the death of Hezekiah, religion in Judea had rapidly deteriorated. The Lord, because of his impartiality, judges all of mankind - believer and unbeliever (Heb 9:27). Royal genealogy would have given him the ear of Judah’s king, Josiah, during whose reign he preached. The judgment of God’s people. Those who did not receive the light of the Law of Moses will be judged outside the Law of Moses (Rom 2:12); their judgment will be on general revelation as instanced by Paul (Rom 1:20) and that which is written in the heart (Rom 2:15). Zephaniah may be assumed to have been of the royal house (Zeph 1:1) and probably included an Ethiopian in his ancestors ('Cushi' is a generic term for Ethiopian rather than a proper name). Fred Wright turns to the Prophet Zephaniah and his message against those who 'leap over the threshold'. If you are at an office or shared network, you can ask the network administrator to run a scan across the network looking for misconfigured or infected devices. Consequently, the elevation of the, The practice of unbiblical preaching, and by this is meant the littering of unbiblical teaching with a few texts (although some now no longer even find this necessary), creates a situation where there can be little possibility of effecting any meaningful operation of Church discipline - as there is little or no common ground. The prophecy opens by recounting Judah’s sin. Church discipline by its nature as well as having a beginning, needs an end. ). In spirit, Zephaniah was akin to Isaiah (Isa 2:11, 17, 20) and Amos (5:18, 8:9), prophesying judgment upon Judea first and then the nations, climaxing with a hope for the future restoration of Judea. Using the figure of Jerusalem, which in biblical terms (often in addition to a primary application) stands as a figure of God's dealings in salvation, the prophet declares that the Lord will purify the lips of those that call out his name (in repentance). Zephaniah's graphic descriptions of the Lord sweeping away everything from the face of the earth and the cutting off of mankind should fill the reader with a healthy fear of this particular event (see also Joel 2:30-32 and many passages in the Book of Revelation). Discipline is not a punitive, or vengeful action, it is the act of discipling. In the rabbinic writings he is on occasion referred to as an Ethiopian. Yes, indeed—and in sending his own Son to bear that punishment, God remains just and punishes sin in what is also a supreme act of covenant love. Let us not confuse worship with other forms of Christian music, which have inestimable value in the edification of the believer. Zephaniah may be assumed to have been of the royal house (Zeph 1:1) and probably included an Ethiopian in his ancestors ('Cushi' is a generic term for Ethiopian rather than a proper name). The rebellious stance of some Christian leaders and the elevation of personal opinion over the scriptures has caused a raft of difficulties, not in the least that the process becomes non-transferable. Even though current circumstances may indicate to the contrary, all sin will be brought to justice. Zephaniah, the ninth of the minor prophets, focuses upon the Day of the Lord. This is because the day of the Lord, “a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom” (Zeph. Amos declares clearly that the day of the Lord is a day of darkness and not of light (Amos 5:18). On that day, punishment will be executed on all God’s enemies from many nations (2:11; 3:8) and salvation will be granted to all God’s people, also from many nations (3:9–10). Church discipline should be understood as the practice of approaching one in error in a loving manner to enable them to be restored to a right position with God. Iconostasis of Zephaniah, Kizhi Monastery, Karelia, Russia. When God had a message for the people, He spoke through the prophets. 3:19–20). No one, not even those called by God to be a light to the nations of the world (Isa.