The Minor Prophets often seem to have a despairing tone. Evil appears to run unchecked. The wicked die apparently unaccountable for their deeds of cruelty and greed. God’s people fail to obey. Death takes them all away. But there is a light in the distance. Rays of hope stream from the promise that the Righteous Judge will make all things right. And on the horizon is a world brand new. Impossible? No, God has already planned the ending. Zephaniah traces a bit of it in his closing words. Remember, because Zephaniah is a summary of the previous prophets, his content and style are very similar to the other eight.
· Like them he speaks of the failure to keep God’s standard and the resultant wrath.
· Then like them, he reminds the world that the God of Israel is the Lord of all the earth and calls them all to heed Him.
· Finally, as his predecessors, Zephaniah declares that although the wrath of God is inevitable so is His promised restoration and blessing at a yet future day.
So, no matter what your burden and struggle, come to the perfectHiding Place in Christ!
To best learn from Zephaniah, let’s back into his book. Turn to the third chapter and discover with me – THE LORD IN THE MIDST. This chapter contains a beautiful lesson, taken spiritually. It describes the sinful condition of a soul apart from Christ (v. 1-2). Those who should have been leaders in righteousness are leaders in iniquity-princes, judges, prophets, priests. Then the Lord Himself takes the place of these leaders, and we see Him “in the midst,” fulfilling each office in turn.
Christ our perfect judge. First
He comes to our hearts as judge, and convicts us of all that is sinful there,
bringing His judgment to light (5-7). And then what does He say? John 8:10-11 When Jesus had raised Himself
up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those
accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one,
Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin
no more.” (NKJV). Flee to Jesus because He said John 6:37 “All that the Father gives
Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
(NKJV). But when we come we come Just as I am, Thou wilt receive, Wilt
welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve, Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come! (Charlotte Elliot)
Christ our perfect prophet. Second, He comes as Prophet, teaching us with pure lips to call upon His name-still “in the midst,” dealing with the pride of heart, and bringing us low into the place of blessing, in the presence of His holiness (8-13). Luke 5:3-8 Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. 4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (NKJV)
Christ our perfect King. 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 (14-16). Luke 24:45-53 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem . 48 “And you are witnesses of these things. 49 “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
50 And He led them out as far as Bethany , and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen. (NKJV)
Christ our perfect high priest. 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.” Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (NKJV)
This chapter closes with the six beautiful “I wills” of what the Lord will do for us. Zephaniah 3:18-20
1. god looks for genuine contrition over sin. (3:18) “I will gather those who sorrow over the appointed assembly, Who are among you, To whom its reproach is a burden.
2. god deals with our adversaries in his time. (3:19a) Behold, at that time I will deal with all who afflict you;
3. god is the defender of the weak and perfects their weaknesses. (3:19b) I will save the lame, And gather those who were driven out;
4. god will give back to us a thousand-fold all we have lost for him. (3:19c) I will appoint them for praise and fame In every land where they were put to shame.
5. god has his kingdom plans all in order – timing, sequence and all. (3:20a) At that time I will bring you back, Even at the time I gather you;
6. god has chosen to restore israel to the head of the nations in the millennium. (3:20b) For I will give you fame and praise Among all the peoples of the earth, When I return your captives before your eyes,” Says the LORD. (NKJV)
This Prophet, whose name means he whom Yahweh hath hidden(ii. 3), appears to have been the great-great-grandson of King Hezekiah (i. I). He prophesied in the reign of Josiah (B.C. 640-610), and, it is commonly agreed, in the early part of his reign) before his reformation began, probably about 630-626. His contemporaries were Nahum and Jeremiah. He vividly Portrays the state of Judah and Jerusalem in his time. Dark had been the days of Manasseh and Amon, and in a time of spiritual void comes God’s man calling for the remnant to hide themselves in the mercies of God.
Zephaniah the prophet stands at the head of the nine pre-exilic prophets. (Those who prophesied before Judah was carried away into the 70 year exile). The last three Minor prophets (Haggai through Malachi) are speaking for God after Cyrus, King of Persia allows the captives to return to Judah . Although Habakkuk writes after Zephaniah, all that Habakkuk says is summarized in Zephaniah.
A possible theme of this book made be found by looking at the opening and closing words of the book. Note Zephaniah 1:2 ” I will utterly consume everything From the face of the land,” Says the LORD; (NKJV). This is JUDGMENT. Now look at Zephaniah 3:20 At that time I will bring you back, Even at the time I gather you; For I will give you fame and praise Among all the peoples of the earth, When I return your captives before your eyes,” Says the LORD. (NKJV). This is REJOICING. Thus we can say this prophet traces the work of God in bringing His people from chastening to blessing. Another way to express this is from “JUDGMENT to JOY”.
The shared theme of all the Minor prophets is seen in Zephaniah as he declares the three step program of a Holy God: He PERMITS man and his sinfulness to run its course. Then He PUNISHES with justice and equity. And finally, He PERFECTS His own people according to His Sovereign plan. The Lord of History, who works out His plan does so with Inescapable Wrath and with Unstoppable Love. The great Bible teacher God. Campbell Morgan once said, “When I decided to take up these Minor Prophets, I expected to study a very magnificent section of prophecy in which I should hear stern, hard, magnificent Hebrew prophets thundering against sin. I found this even more than I expected, but the supreme thing in every one of their prophecies is that the God with whom these men were intimate was known by them to be a God of tender love, intimate compassion . . . a God angry because He loves.”
I. The Inward Look 1:1 – 2:3 LOCAL PROBLEMS
II. The OUTWARD Look 2:4 – 3:7 GLOBAL PROBLEMS
III. The UPWARD Look 3:8 – 20 PERMANENT SOLUTIONS
I. The Inward Look 1:1 – 2:3 LOCAL PROBLEMS
A. (1:4) Worship of the FLESH = ADULTERY
1. Spiritual Adultery in loving the World. Judahwas also guilty of worshiping the “queen of heaven” (Jer. 7:18; 44:17,19,25), who was probably the goddess Ashtoreth (equivalent to the Babylonian-Asyrian goddess Ishtar, the Canaanite Astarte, the Greek Aphrodite, and the Roman Venus). She was the goddess of sensual love, maternity, and fertility, and licentious worship was conducted in her honor. The great King Solomon erected idols to this goddess inJerusalem (1 Ki. 11:5), and the wicked King Manasseh reestablished worship to her years later (2 Ki. 23:13). In Scripture she is called Ashtoreth instead of Ashtaroth, her ancient name. The writers of Scripture altered her name, giving it the vowels of their word for shame.
a) This spiritual adultery soon manifested itself in their wearing the clothes of the world (Zephaniah 1:8 And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD’S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.)
b) And before long, following the customs of the world (Zephaniah 1:9 In the same day I will punish All those who leap over the threshold, Who fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit. (NKJV))
2. Physical Adultery in worshiping Baal. The name Baal master or Lord and is often used synonymously with idolatry. Describing the vile worship of Baalism, Dr. Barber wrote,
In the Canaanite pantheon, Baal was the son of El. He was the god of fertility as well as the god of the storm and of war. His worship was extremely sensual. Open immorality was practiced “on every high hill” and “under every green tree” (I Ki. 14:23). Baal’s sister-consort was Anat, sometimes referred to as Anath. Her characteristic complemented his. Religious or “sacred” prostitution was practiced in her name by the priestesses connected with her temples. All of that was done to ensure the fertility of the earth and an abundant harvest. It was believed that if Baal and Anat saw humans cohabiting on the earth, they would be reminded of their own conjugal responsibilities. Their cosmic union would then produce on earth bountiful crops and increase the size of flocks and herds.
God strongly condemned these abominable practices. His Law clearly taught that the land itself would vomit out the Canaanites (Lev. 18:25) for such practices, and if Israel did not heed God’s warning, the land would spew her out as well (Lev. 18:28).
B. (1:4) Worship of False Gods = IDOLATRY Zephaniah foretold that God would also “cut off … the name of the Chemarim with the priests” (v. 4). The name Chemarim (idol-priests) refers to foreign priests brought into Judah to conduct Baal worship. Zephaniah also prophesied that no form of Baal worship would remain in Judah after God’s judgment. Although King Josiah tried to rid the land of idolatry (2 Ki. 23:424), it later reappeared, but the Babylonian captivity (586 B.C.) eventually rid Israel of idol worship forever.
C. (1:5a) Worship of Creation = ASTROLOGY. There were those in Judah who worshipped the “host of heaven upon the housetops” (v. 5). They erected family altars on the flat roofs of their homes and burned incense in the morning and evening to the moon, and stars (Jer. 19:13; 32:29). The Law condemned such practices (Dt. 16:21-22; 17:2-5; 2 Ki. 17:16). The sin of stellar worship contributed heavily to the collapse and ultimate destruction of the ten tribes of Israel (722 B.C.). Of those Americans who are involved in astrology, most deny that they worship the stars; however, many who practice astrology do not begin the day without first consulting their horoscope and gearing the day according to its predictions. This holds true for many evangelical Christians as well. For example, one writer has revealed, In 1975 a Gallup poll indicated over 32 million Americans believed “that the stars influence people’s lives” and … many of them consulted their daily or weekly horoscopes … A Gallup poll in 1984 revealed that among teenagers (aged 13-18), 55% believed in astrology …. A 1988 Gallup poll indicated 10% of evangelicals believe in astrology …. Astrology is the subject … of millions of books in print. Since 1960 the annual production of new titles has doubled every ten years …. Over 80% of all U. S.newspapers now carry horoscope columns…. Astrology is estimated to be anywhere from a $200 million to a one billion-dollar-a-year industry. If God judged other nations for trusting in the stars for divine guidance, He may also judge our nation for the same sin.
D. (1:5b) Worship of the True God falsely = APOSTASY. Judeans were guilty of syncretistic worship, for they swore to the Lord as well as to Malcam (v. 5). The Judeans were binding themselves to God by an oath while at the same time calling upon Malcam as god. The name Malcam is synonymous with Molech (Lev. 18:21) and Milcom (1 Ki. 11:5), the national god of the Ammonites. They believed him to be a protecting father and honored him by sacrificing their children to him (Jer. 32:35). Although the worship of Molech was forbidden in the Law (Lev. 18:21; 20:1-5), Solomon built an altar to him at Top in the Valley of Hinnom , and Manasseh honored him through idolatrous orgies and the sacrifice of his own son (2 Ki. 21:6). King Josiah desecrated the altar in the Hinnom Valley (2 Ki. 23:10), but Jehoiakim later revived the cult (2 Ki. 23:37): Although such evil types of worship are not practiced today (with the exception of Satanism), many people are syncretistic in their beliefs. Some people who claim to be Christians are involved in organizations that embrace ancient religious systems condemned in the Bible. A modem-day form of syncretistic belief is practiced in the Masonic Lodge, a fact that has recently come to light through the research of John Ankerberg and John Weldon. They wrote, The Masonic Lodge teaches in the Royal Arch degree that it knows the true name of God. The candidate is instructed that from now on the true name of God is Jahbulon …. The term Jahbulon is a composite term for Jehovah (Jah), Baal (Bul or Bel), and Osiris (On, a corruption of Os). Masonic authorities such as Coil and The Masonic Ritual and Monitor admit that “Bul” or “Bel” refers to the Assyrian or Canaanite deity Baal and that “On” refers to the Egyptian deity Osiris. Wagner reveals the Masonic goal in this pagan trinity: “In this compound name an attempt is made to show by a coordination of divine names … the unity, identity and harmony of the Hebrew, Assyrian and Egyptian god-ideas, and the harmony of the Royal Arch religion with these ancient religions. This Masonic ‘unity of God’ is peculiar. It is the doctrine that the different names of gods [such as] Brahma, Jehovah, Baal, Bel, Om, On, etc., all denote the generative pro-creative principle, in that all religions are essentially the same in their ideas of the divine.” Masons would not think of incorporating Baal worship into their beliefs or practices, but they follow a syncretistic-type teaching by combining the above mentioned gods with the true God of the Bible. Such practices are condemned by God. Another group within Judah had abandoned God; they were “those who are turned back from the LORD” (v. 6). These people knew the Law and had at one time worshiped God, but eventually they became apostates. The word apostasy means to fall away-a deliberate and total abandonment of the faith previously professed but not possessed. Such a falling away was evident in Zephaniah’s description of Judah ‘s religious practices. It is apparent that apostate teachings are finding fertile ground in which to germinate through some churches and seminaries today. A report in Redbook magazine revealed that in a survey of ministers in training, “56%rejected the virgin birth, 71% rejected life after death, 54% rejected the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, and 98% rejected Christ’s return to earth.”
II. The OUTWARD Look 2:4 – 3:7 GLOBAL PROBLEMS
1. Danger of Pluralism. Pluralism is dangerous when it extends beyond the belief that people live, worship and believe differently. This is true and acceptable. But dangerous pluralism is found when we accept the erroneous notion that reality is pluralistic. Though human choose to believe different things there is but one True and Living God, one Way to Him and One Reveled Savior in one inspired book. God is neither pluralistic nor relativistic, He is Absolute and Only God! Edward Gibbon wrote the monumental work chroniclingThe Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. In this book he observed that at the end of the empire as it crumbled beyond repair there were three prevalent beliefs. The masses of people believed all religions were equal and true. The writers and philosophers believed they were all equally false. The magistrates or rulers believed they were equally useful.
2. The Danger of Compartmentalsim. This error is the false belief that convictions in one area of my life need not spill over into other areas. This results in the belief that parts of our life may be lived totally separate from other areas. We can have one set of personal ethics, another of business ethics and another for our spiritual lives. This fragmented world must exist outside of the Lordship of Christ, because He demands oversight of all of our lives! The Hebrew prophets thundered that the God of Israel was the Lord of the Universe. He was in charge of all aspects of life and every group of people. No matter what religious conviction one may hold God was the Supreme Judge and would determine the destiny of all. Each individual would one day face Him and give an accounting of their life to Him.
B. Judgments described:
1. PHILISTIA 2:4-7. The nation of Philistia (or the Philistines) was located in the coastal area to the west of Judah . There were five cities that ruled the area. These cities are mentioned in the Bible as Gaza , Gath , Ekron, Ashdod and Askelon. The earliest history of these peoples is unclear but by Abraham’s time (2166 – 1991 BC) they are inhabiting the coastal areas (Gen. 21:32) and engaging in maritime trade and commercial ventures. The depth of their sin is not detailed by Zephaniah because Amos had already condemned them for enslaving entire cities for mere profit (Amos 1:6). This is not a condemnation of slavery which was common for soldiers captured in a lost war or for debtors. This was a condemnation of cold, cruel calculating hard hearted profiteering.
2. MOAB & AMMON (2:8-11) These two nations are lumped together because of their geographic and ancestral proximity. Both were located east of Judah . Both descended from Lot , nephew of Abraham. In this dark scene Lot who escaped the judgment of God upon Sodom by the mercy of the Lord and the intercession of his uncle flees to the mountains. His wife is lost for her longing look at Sodom which petrified her body in salt. Realizing their descendants would be cut off his tainted daughters engaged in intoxicating their father, seducing him to illicit sexual relations with them and conceiving sons of their own. The oldest daughter brazenly names her son MOABwhich means “from Father”. The second names her son Ben-Ammi which means “son of my people”. The nations of Moab and Ammon were thus descended. For the most part they are enemies of God and His people. There are two notable exceptions. King David’s great-grandmother was Ruth a Moabitess and King Reheboam’s mother was Naamah the Ammonite wife of Solomon in I Kings 14:21. Amos also condemns these nations for their atrocities. He describes the horrors of Ammon’s cruel ripping out unborn babies from their mothers to destroy future generations of Israelites in Gilead (Amos 1:13). He also decrys the sacrilege of Moab ’s burning the bones of the King of Edom (Amos 2:1). This was an insult to the heritage of the Edomites by the heartless Moabites. The only sin Zephaniah records against them is the pride demonstrated in their insults mocking God’s people (2:10).
3. CUSH or ETHIOPIA (2:12) Cush, son of Ham, on of Noah and his descendants the Cushites or Ethiopians are mentioned only a few times in the Scripture. Although their specific sin goes unmentioned it was clear they were the enemies of God. Most notably was the attack by Zerah and his million man army that ended in utter defeat as the Lord fought for Israel (I Chronicles 14:9). But for whatever violation of His Righteousness, they were guilty. As are all who shall stand to give account of themselves before the Judge of all the earth. Only the protection of Christ who died to take away sin avails to avert God’s wrath.
4. ASSYRIA (2:13-15) Nineveh was the world’s largest city of ancient times. The inner city was surrounded by a wall eight miles in circumference. It was one hundred feet high and so wide that three chariots could race around it abreast. It had twelve hundred towers and fourteen gates. Beyond this was a much longer, outer wall. There was an inner city, an outer city, and what we would call extensive suburbs beyond that. In Jonah this wide expanse was termed a “three days’ ” journey (Jonah 3:3). Sennacherib’s palace was called “The Palace With No Rival.” It was of cedar, cypress, and alabaster. Lions of bronze and bulls of white marble guarded it. Its great hall measured forty by one hundred and fifty feet. Sennacherib’s armory, where he kept his chariots, armor, horses, weapons, and other equipment, covered forty-six acres and took six years to build. What a magnificent city this was! Yes, but what a wicked city! And with what cruelty and violence was it constructed! Nineveh grew rich at the expense of the nations she had plundered. Nahum who focuses exclusively of the sins of Assyria names three prominent areas abhorred by God: idol worship (1:14), cruel violence (3:1-3) and witchcraft (3:4). The self-reliant city and nation are brought to utter ruin. Any people of any age that think themselves above God’s wrath are poised at the threshold of His judgment. History is replete with examples of those brought low by the Hand of God (Isaiah 14:12-15).
5. JERUSALEM (3:1-7) The prophet finally turns his gaze toward the city of God , the place of His holy Temple is described as filthy and polluted. The exposure to heathen pagan ways had been the pollution. The result was the adoption of godless habits. Zephaniah lists them (3:2-4) as: closed ears to God’s word “voice”, closed hearts to God’s way “correction”, closed wills to God’s wishes “trusted not”, closed doors to God’s wooing “drew not near”. Leading the chorus were those God had entrusted with the direction of His people. The Princes were predators “lions”. The Judges were scavengers “wolves”. The Prophets were false “light and treacherous”. The Priests were polluted “doing violence to God’s law”. Even warnings from the fate of the enemies of the Lord does not move hardened Israel (v. 5-6). So He says because they will not turn back from the path of destruction, they shall have what they “rise early” and seek after. They too shall face His wrath.
Jesus describes a similar situation near the close of his public ministry. In Matthew 21:33-40 he tells a story about a wealthy landowner who gives the care of his farm to tenants that are allowed to work it. At harvest he sends servants to collect the owner’s portion of the crops. The renters seize and beat one, kill one and stone another. Finally the king sends his son to collect his due. The renters realize this is the heir, so they kill him hoping to seize the farm. When Jesus told this story the religious leaders saw so clearly that they were the wicked tenants that they at once set out to destroy Jesus. The very thing the story portrayed them as doing. Jesus clearly explains his story. The King is God. The renters are the leaders of Israel and He is the Son. The result of hard hearted neglect of those entrusted with the truth is declared in Matthew 21:41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. (KJV).
What a sobering reminder to all who hear the good news today. On this side of the Cross we have so much to rejoice in. The free gift of salvation. The forgiveness of sin. But neglected and turned from the gospel becomes the indictment. It is inescapable if neglected. Hebrews 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (KJV)
III. The UPWARD Look 3:8-20 PERMANENT SOLUTIONS. The Minor prophets often seem to have a despairing tone. Evil appears to run unchecked. The wicked die apparently unaccountable for their deeds of cruelty and greed. God’s people fail to obey. Death takes them all away. But there is a light in the distance. Rays of hope stream from the promise that the Righteous Judge will make all things right. And on the horizon is a world brand new. Impossible? No, God has already planned the world to come. Zephaniah traces a bit of it in his closing words. Remember, as the summary of the previous prophets Zephaniah follows a similar path. First he speaks of the failure of keeping God’s standard and the resultant wrath. Second he reminds the world that the God of Israel is the Lord of all the earth and calls them all to heed Him. Finally, as his predecessors, Zephaniah declares that although the wrath of God is inevitable so is His promised restoration and blessing at a yet future day.
A. A Present Hope of Personal Salvation
1. Have you Called on the Lord? Zephaniah 3:9 “Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder to shoulder. (NIV). The mouth filled with unrighteousness and poison as asps is now framing the name above all names. Calling on Him is salvation. Finding in Him a new heart and a new spirit, opened eyes and purged away sins. This is the hope of life eternal.
2. Have you Bowed to the Lord ? Zephaniah 3:11-12 On that day you will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from this city those who rejoice in their pride. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill. 12 But I will leave within you the meek and humble, who trust in the name of the LORD. (NIV). This is the humble yieldedness of the Cross. The life that is no longer I but Christ who now lives in me. The stiff neck of pride is broken by the death to self with Christ. And the sweetness of His present grace motivates us to follow and obey.
3. have you followed after the Lord ? Zephaniah 3:13 The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will speak no lies, nor will deceit be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.” (NIV). This is holy living, a transformed life. This is the proof of salvation and the new heart God has promised.
B. A Future Hope of National Salvation
CHRIST IN THE PROPHETS 215
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 fulfillment in the great Day of His wrath, described in Revelation vi. 11 A day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of warning and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and alarm ” (Zeph. i. 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. 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 andJerusalem , and the future restoration and joy of God’s people in the day of the Messiah.
 Unfolding Drama, J. Sidlow Baxter, p. 382.
 Chester MacCaully Notes quoting EBC p. 543, Larry Walker..
 Minor Prophets, p. 111-12.
 Merril F. Unger, Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Ashtoreth (Chicago: Moody Press, 1957), pp. 412-413.
 Cyril J. Barber, Everyman’s Bible Commentary, Habakkuk and Zephaniah (Chicago: Moody Press, 1985), p. 91.
 John Ankerberg and John Weldon, The Facts on Astrology (Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, Inc, 1988), pp. 8-10.
 Israel my Glory, August/September 1990.
 Merril F. Unger, The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Molech (Chicago: Moody Press, 1988), p. 488.
 John Ankerberg and John Weldon, The Facts on The Masonic Lodge (Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, Inc., 1989), p. 31.
 T. Wilson Litzenberger, Startling Trends in our Generation, Religion (Broadview: Gibbs Publishing, 1974), pp. 172-173.