by Rev. Mark Robinson
The first chapter of Zephaniah brings us front and center with the theme of this book – the
“Day of the LORD.” There are two parts to the “Day of the LORD.” One of unparalleled wrath and
judgment from God followed by great blessings from God. The focus of this first chapter is on the
unparalleled wrath and judgment that is coming.
1 The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of
Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of
Amon, king of Judah.
The ministry of Zephaniah took place during the reign of Josiah, 2 Chronicles 34:1-3.
Josiah was eight years old when he began his reign of 31 years. He was a godly king. In the 21st
century it is unfathomable that an eight year old would be the head of a government. In fact we
are told about Josiah, “he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the
ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.” When we look at
the condition of the government of the United States we certainly couldn’t do any worse with a
godly eight year old in charge. But, I digress. Josiah made many reforms honoring Jehovah. But,
the writing of this book was likely in the years prior to the reform.
2 I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD.
3 I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes
of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from
off the land, saith the LORD.
The destruction of all things goes beyond what is coming with Babylon and begins the
theme of the “Day of
the Lord” that is prominent in this book. The “Day of the LORD” starts at the beginning of the 7
year Tribulation period. In the latter part of the Tribulation period, during the “bowl” judgments,
the 2nd Bowl Judgment states: “And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it
became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea,” Revelation 16:3. A
statement that parallels what we have in these verses in chapter one.
One of the purposes of the coming “Day of the LORD” is to show the inhabitants of the
earth that there is a God who reigns in heaven and all are ultimately accountable to Him for their
actions. The “stumbling blocks of the wicked” are the different barriers that the world erects
against God. These barriers are idols against the truth of God. These barriers – evolution, atheism,
materialism, Marxism, etc. – will be removed when Jesus returns and reigns on the throne of
4 I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of
Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of
the Chemarims with the priests;
5 And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that
worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham;
6 And them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the
LORD, nor enquired for him.
The destruction specifically addresses Judah and thus, in vs. 4-6, refers to the coming
The Chemarims were priests who practiced idolatry, thus were religious hypocrites. People, vs. 5,
who were involved in the occult and those that claim to believe in the LORD but also accept other
deities will be destroyed. Finally, vs. 6, apostates and those who have never shown any interest in
God will be destroyed.
One of the most striking statements of these verses is “them that worship and that swear by the
that swear by Malcham.” “Malcham” is Klm, transliterated “melek.” Melek is the word for king in
Hebrew and the same Hebrew word in verse 8 is translated king(s). The reference is to the pagan
god Moloch (Leviticus 20:2; Amos 5:26) which means king. The hypocrisy of the people in the
elevating of the false god Moloch to the level of Jehovah is stunning. The most basic command to
the Jewish people is “thou shalt have no other gods before me,” Exodus 20:3.
Payday is coming. There are no other Gods other than Jehovah. Those who worship other
gods, including those who, in essence, worship themselves as god – secular humanists – will one
day answer to the Creator of heaven and earth. There are many who claim to worship God – and
this includes Jesus, the Son of God, who is part of the Triune God – but elevate things such as
religious tradition before the teaching of the word of God. They are just as idolatrous as the most
pagan religious practitioner. The rest of this chapter warns the inhabitants of planet earth that
God’s day of reckoning has arrived.
7 Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand:
for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.
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.
9 In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their
masters’ houses with violence and deceit.
The prophet now turns back to the future “Day of the Lord.” The sacrifice of verse 7 is
further detailed in Ezekiel 39:1-8; 17-22 and Revelation 19:11-18. His guests are the carrion creatures of the world.
The meal is the dead bodies of the armies who have come against Israel.
“And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to
every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side
to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of
Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.” Ezekiel 39:17
“And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the
fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the
supper of the great God.” Revelation 19:17
The rulers of this world will be destroyed. As Psalm 2 tells us the “rulers take counsel
together, against the LORD, and against his anointed,” vs. 2. But, God laughs at their at their desire to overthrow Him,
vss. 3-4. Thieves (“those that leap on the threshold”) who to please their “masters” (think of
politicians, CEOs, etc. in today’s world) use whatever means needed, whether violence or lies, to
steal from the people so as to enrich their “masters.” They will be destroyed.
10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that there shall be the noise of
a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing
from the hills.
11 Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they
that bear silver are cut off.
12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and
punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD
will not do good, neither will he do evil.
13 Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall
also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not
drink the wine thereof.
The “Day of the Lord” judgment continues with a warning to those who are complacent
and believe in a God, but think He has no power or say in the affairs of men, vs. 12, – in essence, practical atheists.
These are religious people who don’t know God personally but profess to be religious. A prime
example is Joe Biden, President of the U.S.A. and Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of
Representatives. They claim to be “good Catholics.” In reality they govern and legislate as if God
“will not do good, or do evil.” The U.S.A., as well as other countries of the world, are full of these
type of people. The day is coming when peoples wealth (“silver and gold”) and influence will be
14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of
the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.
15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and
desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick
16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high
17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they
have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and
their flesh as the dung.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the
LORD’S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy:
for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
The “Day of the Lord” is coming and it is a “day” like no one has ever experienced (on a
world-wide basis). Notice the words that describe the “Day of the LORD.” It is “a day of wrath,” “a
day of trouble and distress,” “a day of wasteness and desolation,” “a day of darkness and
gloominess,” and “a day of clouds and thick darkness.”
The judgment is from God! He will bring distress upon them and they will walk like blind men.
The ways of these people, who have rebelliously sinned against God, are without direction. Think of a blind
man put into a strange place and ask him to navigate the area successfully. It would be
impossible. What an apt picture of the direction the United States is going. The leaders of this
country are doing things that are illogical, destructive, counter-productive, and in opposition to
biblical morality. In the coming “Day of the LORD,” the rudderless direction of the countries of the
world will be increased exponentially.