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There had already been a return to Jehovah under king Hezekiah but all good things had been lost again by the godless reigns of Manasseh and Amon. Zephaniah is a prophet of judgment.

Zephaniah 1:1

He prophecies of the imminent devastation of the land of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem because of Judah's injustice, hypocrisy and idolatry chap. This prophecy was fulfilled in BC. This is why the faithful remnant is called to seek Jehovah when the nations near and far will feel Jehovah's vengeance chap. The actual corrupted state of things stands in contrast to the future blessings of the people as described in chapter 3. The whole book makes it clear that Zephaniah looks far ahead of the imminent destruction of Jerusalem on to that dreadful day of Jehovah, the day of His anger and judgment, upon which however will follow the blessing of the millennial reign of peace.

New Testament

The day of Jehovah plays an important part in Zephaniah's prophecy. It is not the time of the then imminent destruction of Jerusalem but the time of the Messiah's reign which is still to come.

Zephaniah 1

This day will start with the Messiah's appearing to judge the nations and will include the following time of the millennial reign of peace. It is called "day of the Lord" in the New Testament 2 Thessalonians 2: Peculiarities in the commentary on Joel.

The book of Zephaniah shows extremely many similarities with other prophetic books of the OT. By this the godly harmony is shown in the prophecies of such different men who have lived at totally different times but who always presented the one goal of God: In his short book we read 25 times "the word of Jehovah" or "thus says Jehovah".

John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible: Zephaniah: Zephaniah Introduction

His only goal thereby is to reach the hearts of the Jews so that they would give God the first place in their lives. This is why the book of Haggai is very popular for our days and time as well! Haggai has to reproach the Jews because of their indifference towards God on the second day of the sixth month to wake them up from their lukewarmness. In fact Zerubbabel the governor and Joshua the high priest were encouraged to take up the building work at the house of God together with the entire remnant of the people of Israel chap. The second message of God through Haggai on the 21 st day of the seventh month Haggai 2: The view is also focused towards the time of the end that is the appearing of the Messiah.

Heavens and earth will be shaken that is the upheaval of all things before Christ will be revealed.

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The third message is uttered on the 24 th day of the ninth month and contains one of the clearest warnings against spiritual defilement of the Old Testament. Here also follows an encouragement at the end Haggai 2: On the same day follows the forth message in which Zerubbabel is seen as a type of the coming prince of peace who will execute judgment over the nations at His appearing Haggai 2: God directs seven questions to His people to search their hearts and to lead them to return and revival.

Zephaniah 1:1

These questions of God are found in chap. God appeals five times to the Jews to consider their ways.

The literal meaning is "to concentrate one's heart upon something" for man's decisions are taken in the heart. These passages are in chap.

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Then said I, O my Lord, These are the words of the Prophet Zechariah to the angel that showed him this vision: And the angel that talked with me; who seems to be different from the Angel of the Lord, the man among the myrtle trees, Zechariah 1: And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, And so prevented the angel from giving the account he was about to give; and who was more capable of it, and which to do was great condescension in him, and was doing the prophet a singular honour: And they answered the Angel of the Lord, that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, That is, the ministering angels, signified by the red horses, speckled, and white, replied to what the Angel of the Lord had said concerning them; or rather agreed to and confirmed his account of them; or else gave up the account of their tour through the earth, with their observations upon the state of it: We have walked to and fro through the earth; according to their mission and commission: Then the Angel of the Lord answered and said, The same that was among the myrtle trees in the bottom, Zechariah 1: These words are expressive of the intercession of Christ on the behalf of the people of the Jews, his professing people, both with respect to their temporal and spiritual good: And the Lord answered the angel that talked with me, So the angel that communed with me, Having an order from the other Angel, or the Lord of hosts: The Targum renders it, "prophesy": And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease, The Chaldeans and Persians, and other nations, enemies of the Jews, who were now free from war, and enjoyed great prosperity, when the state and condition of the Jews was very low and discouraging: The word in the Arabic language, signifies to "abound" u ; and the meaning is, that they abounded in bringing evil upon the people of the Jews; they multiplied their afflictions and distresses.

Therefore thus saith the Lord, I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies, Having returned the people of the Jews from their captivity to Jerusalem, in which he had shown abundant mercy to them: The meaning is, that not only the temple should be built, but the city likewise, and that in great order, and with great exactness and symmetry; see Zechariah 2: The Targum paraphrases it, "upon the building of the walls of Jerusalem".

That is, "prophesy again", as the Targum paraphrases it; publish and declare openly before all: Then I lifted up mine eyes, To behold another vision which follows: Cocceius interprets them of four kings, Shalmaneser, Nebuchadnezzar, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes the first, called Longimanus; and may be applied to the antichristian states, Pagan and Papal, in the various parts of the world, called horns, Daniel 7: And I said unto the angel that talked with me, Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Drusius, Cocceius.