God spoke through Zephaniah to give an oracle of worldwide judgment that has yet to be fulfilled. The Lord has not been slow in keeping His promises, but has been accomplishing His will in the years that have passed since those days. He said, “I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” and He surely will do just that.
Before the Old Covenant era was over, Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Babylonians. Zephaniah pointed to the faithlessness of religious leaders who worshiped not only Yahweh but also “Milcom,” an Ammonite deity. Others kept the form of sacred tradition, but they did not really believe in the sovereign power of the I-AM. They said, “The Lord will not do good, nor will He do ill.” These rulers and the nation at large had become worldly, taking on “foreign” ways of life and ignoring the commandments of God.
Destruction would soon come upon the Jews, but in the distant future a final calamity will overwhelm the entire globe with “distress and anguish.” Before that frightening cataclysm, all the people groups of the earth would hear the gospel of hope in Christ. Nonetheless, many human beings will lose everything in the wrath of God. They will remain in their sin “against the Lord” because of their continued unbelief and idolatry.
The loss of our current global society will be “full and sudden.” We have been warned by Christ and His apostles that Jesus will arrive like “a thief in the night” (Matthew 24:43 and 1 Thessalonians 5:2). Until the final trumpet sounds, we have been told to remain at our posts, waiting, watching, and working in the service of the King of kings. His victory over death for sinners was certainly the complete answer for our right standing with God. At the Lord’s predestined time we will see Jesus coming on clouds of glory, and every knee in heaven and on earth shall bow before Him. (Philippians 2:10-11)
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord of Hosts, a great Day of Destruction is coming against the world. You have warned us that judgment begins with Your household, and that You will purify Your church. How will we stand when You bring distress upon mankind? Forgive us, for we have violated Your commandments. Will we be safe if we worship You and also bow down before false gods? Our money will not deliver us from Your hand. Your Son is our only hope. Please have mercy upon us.