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Prophet Summary: Zephaniah & Haggai

by PastorMinton on February 26th, 2017

PROPHET SUMMARY

ZEPHANIAH

Zephaniah prophesied during one of the great “Golden Age” in Israel, under the reign of King Josiah (640-609 BC). Zephaniah himself was the great-grandson of King Hezekiah. Josiah, in whose reign Zephaniah prophesied, was also a great-grandson of King Hezekiah. This family connection (second cousins) may or may not have had an impact on Zephaniah’s reception in his own time, but he does seem to be in an elevated position for simply being in the royal family.

In the first chapter, Zephaniah speaks about the impending judgment that was coming upon Judah. This judgment was first pronounced by God to King Hezekiah through Isaiah the prophet after the Babylonian envoys had departed from Jerusalem (Isaiah 39; 2 Kings 20:12-19). In the third generation after Hezekiah, “the Day of the LORD is near” (1:7). This terrible and terrifying Day is not one that anyone would want to live through: “A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements” (1:15-16).

Chapter 2 covers the judgment upon Judah’s enemies who gloated over Judah’s judgment. He especially speaks against the Philistines and the people of the seacoast before moving inland to Moab, Ammon, Cush and Assyria.

While the preceding chapters have been very dark, chapter 3 turns the light upon God’s salvation and forgiveness. Again, he prophesies agaisnt Jerusalem for her spiritual adulteries under Manasseh and Amon (Josiah’s father and grandfather). But God turns the fire of His wrath into the refiner’s fire that blesses the faithful (1 Corinthians 3:12-15; Malachi 3:1-4). When God’s fire has gone through and destroyed all of sin’s dross, He will restore and bless the true Israel with His presence.

PROPHET SUMMARY

HAGGAI

Haggai is a twin prophet with Zechariah during the time of Jerusalem’s rebuilding after the return from Babylon under Ezra and Nehemiah. Unlike Zechariah, Haggai’s prophecy is extremely short. In most Bibles, it takes up barely more than a page printed in English. Its brevity should not allow itself to be overlooked. Haggai does have an important message to deliver to the returning exiles and to the exiles in the twenty-first century.

Haggai takes his short moment of delivering God’s Word to exhort the returning exiles to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple.

While the exiles were certainly worried about their own safety and need for shelter, Haggai exhorted them to take care of their greatest need. Beyond the safety of the wall, beyond the security of a roof over the head, Israel needed the Temple. The place where God had promised for His name and His glory to dwell among His people. As America spread out into the western frontier, they followed Haggai’s exhortation. Typically, the first building erected in a new town was the church building. The town would grow up and expand out from this central building. While Haggai is brief, his message is still needed today. Church and God’s Word should be the central focus of our lives.

Reading Schedule:

February 27 – March 5: Zephaniah 1

March 6-12: Zephaniah 2

March 13-19: Zephaniah 3

March 20-26: Haggai 1-2

Read each section at least once each week.

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