The little book of Zephaniah (3 chapters or 53 verses) begins by prophesying the destruction of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) in the days of King Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. It moves on to prophecies about Judah and the nations as the day of the Lord (a term often applied to the Tribulation period that Zephaniah used more than any other prophet in the Bible) approaches and plays out. Then, it finishes with Judah’s restoration during the millennial reign of the Messiah.
These prophecies clearly have past fulfillments, but some writers think Zephaniah was saying those experiences would be small compared to a greater fulfillment in the future. One of Zephaniah’s more famous statements reads, “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. 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 darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities (Israel has built a fence to protect her cities), and against the high towers” (Zeph. 1:14-16).
Dropping down to Zeph. 2:1, God told the Jews to gather themselves together (to assemble) and He calls Judah a “nation not desired.” Israel is clearly the apple of God’s eye, but this could mean she is a nation not desired by God at this time because she has rejected her Messiah. And it could also mean that she is a nation not desired by the nations of the world because they want to destroy her.
In Zeph. 2:2, God told the Jews He wants them to assemble “Before the decree bring forth (before the 7 year covenant is signed), before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you (to assemble before the Tribulation Period comes upon the Jews).
In Zeph. 2:3, God told the Jews and all who will humble themselves to “Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.” He wants the Jews and everyone on earth who will humble themselves to meet before the Tribulation Period begins to seek three things: the Lord, righteousness and meekness. Those who do may be hidden (Raptured) before the Tribulation Period begins, but after it begins it will be too late.
In Zeph. 2:4, God mentions four cities: “For Gaza shall be forsaken, andAshkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekronshall be rooted up.”
God said Gaza, one of the largest and most northern cities in the Gaza Strip, will be forsaken. As I write this article, IDF planes are dropping leaflets in the northern part of the Gaza Strip for a second time advising residents to forsake their homes and clear out. The first time Israel did this, thousands of residents left, but many stayed because they were told to ignore Israel’s warnings. This time, it looks like Israel’s troops will enter the city and it remains to be seen how many people will stick around.
God said Ashkelon, a Jewish city of more than 100,000 people about 8 miles north of the Gaza Strip border, will become desolate. Its closeness to Gaza makes it a frequent target of Muslim rockets. As I write this article, more than 60 rockets have been fired at Ashkelon in recent days; an Israeli teen has been seriously injured; an Israeli man has been lightly wounded; many Jews are spending the day in bomb shelters; and some have moved to safer territory.
God said Ashdod’s residents will be driven out. More than a quarter of a million people live in Ashdod and it is about 18 miles from Gaza. As I write this, the Iron Dome Missile System has shot down 5 rockets; a Patriot missile has shot down a drone; an 8-year old boy has been slightly injured while playing in his yard; fear and anxiety are spreading in Ashdod; and Hamas has rejected an Egyptian cease fire proposal.
Kiryat Ekron is a Jewish city of slightly more than 10,000 people. It is named after the Biblical city of Ekron and it is located about the same distance from Gaza as is Ashdod. I have read of sirens sounding in Ekron and the surrounding area, but no injuries.
I can’t predict how things will play out, but a best case scenario could be another temporary suspension of hostilities. And a worst case scenario could be that this conflict spreads into a war with Israel’s neighbors (Psa. 83), including Syria (Isa. 17) and Egypt (Isa. 19), or even the Russian/Islamic invasion of Israel (Ezek. 38-39). One more thing, based on the Jewish Talmud (not the Bible) some are saying a Tetrad of blood moons are an omen of war for Israel. It is a debatable issue, but no one can deny that the first blood moon in the current Tetrad occurred on April 15, 2014 (the Feast of Passover) and the next one will occur on October 8, 2014 (the Feast of Tabernacles). Between these first two blood moons in this Tetrad war is raging.
[Last minute update: Israel is attacking the Gaza Strip from one end to the other by land, sea and air. It is too early to say that Gaza will be forsaken at this time; and Ashdod, Ashkelon and Ekron are still inhabited; but God is in control, His Word must eventually be fulfilled, war rarely goes exactly as planned and, if God allows it, I plan to keep watching Israel and Gaza.
Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck